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He bad wit, infinite pleasantry and inimitable powers of mimicry, which he felt himself privileged to employ, and employed only too successfully. The season of the winter theatres passed over, and when the Haymarket house opened, Henderson came from Bath with all the powers of his genius on the alert, and upon the summer stage fully justified everything that I and others had said of him through the winter, and established himself completely in the public favor. A great resort of men of talents now flocked around him; the town considered him as a man injuriously rejected, and though, when they imputed it to envy, I am sure they were mistaken, yet when Garrick found that by lending his ear to foolish opinions, and quibbling about terms, he had missed the credit of engaging the best actor of the time, himself excepted, it is not to be wondered at if the praise bestowed on Henderson's performances was not the most agreeable topic that could be chosen for his entertainment. He could not indeed always avoid hearing these applauses, but he did not hold himself obliged to second them, and when curiosity drew him to the summer theatre to see Henderson in the part of Shylock, he said nothing in his dispraise, but he discovered great merit in 'Tubal,' which of course had been the cast of some second-rate performer.
Henderson, in the mean time, was transferred from the Hay. market Theatre to Drury Lane, under the direction of Mr.
"On a subsequent page, Cumberland has given his estimate of Henderson's character and talents more at length. That he was an actor of uncommon and versatile powers, is generally conceded. Comedy, however, was his forte. Unlike Garrick, he had many disadvantages to overcome, in order to obtain, as he did, the first honors of his profession. His person,' says the 'Biographia Dramatica,' was not striking, nor were his features interesting. He had nothing in his appearance to create, at first sight, that surprise and admiration which conciliate favor and prejudice judgment.' 'On the other hand,' says the same authority, ‘his excellences were of the most solid kind; they depended on a mind gifted with wonderful powers of feeling, and with powers of expression equally wonderful. Of the great compass of his talents, the proof is easy: he was the lineal successor of almost all the first performers in the preceding age; of Quin, in Falstaff; Woodward, in Bobadil ; Macklin, in Shylock ; Mossop, in Zanga ; Digges, in Wolsey ; Barry, in Evander; and Garrick, in Richard, Lear, Benedick, Sir John Brute, and almost all his other characters; but the greatest triumph of the comic muse, perhaps, was Henderson's representation of the fat knight, Falstaff; it is probable, 'We ne'er shall look upon its like again !'' Vol. i. p. 42, Introduc.
In this high praise the critics are not unanimous. His defects are said to have been an occasional sawing of the air, and latterly a habit of impregnating every character with a tinge of Falstaff.'-Life of Henderson, Modern British Biography, vol. iv. p. 380. Henderson's face and person,' says Taylor, 'were not fitted for tragedy, but he was an excellent comedian; and though his Falstaff was the most facetious I ever saw, yet it always struck me that it was a mixture of the old woman with the old man.'— Records of my Life, p. 213.
As a man, Henderson is said to have been estimable. His failings were an inordinate love of money, and inordinate vanity.
Sheridan, where I brought out my tragedy of "The Battle of Hastings,' in which he played the part of Edgar Atheling, not indeed with the happiest effect, for he did not possess the graces of person or deportment, and as that character demanded both, an actor might have been found, who, with inferior abilities, would have been a fitter representative of it. As for the play itself, it was published, and is to be found in more collections than one; its readers will probably be of opinion, that it is better written than planned; a judgment to which I shall most readily submit, not only in this instance but in several others.
About this time died the Earl of Halifax. He had filled the high stations of First Lord of Trade and Plantations, Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, Principal Secretary of State, First Lord of the Admiralty, Lord Lieutenant of the county of Northampton, and Knight of the Garter. He had no son, and his title is extinct. IIis fine mansion and estate of Stansted, left to him by Mr. Lumley, was sold after his decease. I saw him in his last illness, when his constitution was an absolute wreck; I was subpænaed to give evidence on this point before the Lord Chief Justice Mansfield, and according to my conscience deposed what was my opinion of his hopeless state; his physician, Sir Noah Thomas, whose professional judgment had justly more authority and influence than mine, by his deposition superseded mine, and the death of his patient very shortly after contradicted his. I never knew that man, whose life, if circumstantially detailed, would furnish a more striking moral and a more tragical catastrophe. Nature endowed him liberally with her gifts, Fortune showered her favors profusely upon him, Providence repeatedly held forth the most extraordinary vouchsafements - what a mournful retrospection! I am not bound to dwell upon it. I turn from it with borror.1
A brighter scene now meets me, for whilst I was yet a subaltern in the Board of Trade, uncomfortably executing the office of clerk of the reports, by the accession of Lord George Germain to the seals for the colonial department I had a new principal to look up to. I had never been in a room with him in my life, except during his trial at the Horse Guards for the affair of Minden, which I attended through the whole of its progress, and regularly reported what occurred to Mr. Dodington, who was then out of town; some of his letters I preserved, but of my own, according to custom, I took no copies. When Lord George had taken the seals, I asked my friend Colonel James Cunningham to take me with him to Pall Mall, which he did,
| Halifax had abilities; but lacked cautious, prudent self-control. He fell a victim to intemperance.
LORD GEORGE GERMAIN.
and the ceremony of paying my respects was soon dismissed. I confess I thought my new chief was quite as cold in his manner as a minister need be, and rather more so than my intermediate friend had given me reason to expect. I was now living in great intimacy with the Duke of Dorset, and asked him to do me that grace with his uncle, which the honor of being acknowledged by him as his friend would naturally have obtained for
This I am confident he would readily have done but for reasons which precluded all desire on my part to say another word upon the business. I was therefore left to make my own way with a perfect stranger, whilst I was in actual negotiation with Mr. Pownall for the secretaryship, and had understood Lord Clare to be friendly to our treaty, in the very moment when he ceased to be our first lord, and the power of accommodating us in our wishes was shifted from his hands into those of Lord George. I considered it, therefore, as an opportunity gone by, and entertained no further hopes of succeeding. A very short time sufficed to confirm the idea I had entertained of Lord George's character for decision and dispatch in business; there was at once an end to all our circumlocutory reports and inefficient forms, that had only impeded business, and substituted ambiguity for precision; there was (as William Gerard Hamilton, speaking of Lord George, truly observed to me), no trash in his mind; he studied no choice phrases, no superfluous words, nor ever suffered the clearness of his conceptions to be clouded by the obscurity of his expressions, for these were the simplest and most unequivocal that could be made use of for explaining his opinions, or dictating his instructions. In the mean while, he was so momentarily punctual to his time, so religiously obsery. ant of his engagements, that we, who served under him in office, felt the sweets of the exchange we had so lately made in the person of our chief.
I had now no other prospect but that of serving in my subordinate situation under an easy master with security and comfort, for as I was not flattered with the show of any notices from him but such as I might reasonably expect, I built no hopes upon his favor, nor allowed myself to think I was in any train of succeeding in my treaty with our secretary for his office; and as I had reason to believe he was equally happy with myself in serving under such a principal, I took for granted he would move no further in the business.
One day, as Lord George was leaving the office, he stopped me on the outside of the door, at the head of the stairs, and invited me to pass some days with him and his family at Stoneland, near Tunbridge Wells. It was on my part so unexpected, that I doubted if I had rightly understood him, as he had spoken in a low and submitted voice, as his manner was, and I consulted his confidential secretary, Mr. Doyley, whether he would advise me to the journey. He told me that he knew the house was filled from top to bottom with a large party, that he was sure there would be no room for me, and dissuaded me from the undertaking. I did not quite follow his advice by neglecting to present myself, but I resolved to secure my retreat to Tunbridge Wells, and kept my chaise in waiting to make good my quarters. When I arrived at Stoneland I was met at the door by Lord George, who soon discovered the precaution I had taken, and himself conducting me to my bedchamber, told me it had been reserved for me, and ever after would be set apart as mine, where he hoped I would consent to find myself at home. This was the man I had esteemed so cold, and thus was I at once introduced to the commencement of a friendship, which day by day improved, and which no one word or action of his life to come ever for an instant interrupted or diminished.
Shortly after this it came to his knowledge that there had been a treaty between Mr. Pownall and me for his resignation of the place of Secretary, and he asked me what had passed; I told him how it stood, and what the conditions were, that my superior in office expected for the accommodation. I had not yet mentioned this to him, and probably never should. He said he would take it into his own hands, and in a few days signified the king's pleasure that Mr. Pownall's resignation was accepted, and that I should succeed him as Secretary in clear and full enjoyment of the place, without any compensation whatsoever. Thus was I, beyond all hope and without a word said to me that could lead me to expect a favor of that sort, promoted by surprise to a very advantageous and desirable situation. I came to my office at the hour appointed, not dreaming of such an event, and took my seat at the adjoining table, when Mr. Pownall being called out of the room, Lord George turned round to me and bade me take his chair at the bottom of the table, announcing to the Board his majesty's commands as above recited, with a positive prohibition of all stipulations. When I had en
I deavored to express myself as properly on the occasion, as my agitated state of spirits would allow of, I remember Lord George made answer, 'That if I was as well pleased upon receiving his majesty's commands as he was in being the bearer of them, I was indeed very happy.' If I served him truly, honestly, and ardently ever after, till I followed him to the grave, where is my
merit? How could I do otherwise ?
THE AMERICAN CONTEST.
The American contest-Services to Lord George Sackville-His children
Opera of Calypso—The Widow of Delphi’--Lady Frances Burgoyne-Robert Perreau—Dr. Dodd-Rodney-Anecdote of Germain-Anecdote of RodneyCharacter of His nautical maneuvre-Lines to Lord Mansfield,
The conflict in America was now raging at its height; that was a business out of my office to be concerned in, and I willingly pass it over; but it was in my way to know the effects it had upon the anxious spirit of my friend, and very much it was both my wish and my endeavor by every means in my capacity to be helpful at those hours, which were necessary for his relaxation, and take to my share as many of those burdensome and vexatious concerns, as without intrusion upon other people's offices I could relieve him from. All that I could I did, and as I was daily with him, and never out of call, I reflect with comfort, that there were occasions when my zeal was not unprofitably exerted for his alleviation and repose. I might say more, for those were trying and unquiet times. It is not a very safe or enviable predicament to be marked out for a known attachment to an unpopular character, and be continually under arms to turn out and encounter the prejudices of mankind. There is a middle kind of way, which some men can hit off, between doing all and doing nothing, which saves appearances and satisfies easy consciences; but some consciences are not so easily satisfied.
I had now four sons at Westminster school boarding at one house, and my two daughters coming into the world, so that the accession to my circumstances, which my promotion in office gave me, put me greatly at my ease, and enabled me to press their education with advantage. My eldest son Richard went through Westminster with the reputation of an excellent school-scholar, and I admitted him of Trinity College, but in one of his vacations having prevailed with me to let him volun. teer a cruise with Sir Charles Hardy, then commander of the home fleet, the rage of service seized him, and by his importunity I may say, in the words of Polonius, he'wrung from me my slow leave to let him enter himself an ensign in the first