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and Corry gave it as their opinion that he certainly died of a broken heart, in consequence of the family afflictions which he had lately experienced.
RIOT AT THE HAYMARKET THEATRE. Victor's History of the Stage contains the following account of the contest, in 1749, at the Haymarket Theatre, upon the attempted introduction of French actors, at a period when the English ones were actually in want of bread, the former acting too, as per advertisement, by authority, in a time when the same Theatre and that of Goodman's Fields had been shut up on the national performers.
People went early to the Theatre, as a crowded house was certain. I was there, in the centre of the pit, where I soon perceived that we were visited by two Westminster justices, Deveil and Manning. The leaders, who had the conduct of the opposition, were known to be there, one of whom called aloud for the song in praise of English roast beef, which was accordingly sung in the gallery, by a person prepared for that purpose, and the whole house, besides joining in the chorus, saluted the close with three huzzas. This, Justice Deveil was pleased to say, was a riot, upon which disputes commenced directly, which were carried on with some degree of decency on both sides. The justice first informed us, that he was come there as a magistrate to maintain the king's authority; that Colonel Pulteney, with a full company of the guards, was without, to support him in the execution of his office; and that it was the king's command the play should be acted, and that the obstructing it was opposing the king's authority; and if that were done he must read the proclamation, after which, all offenders would be secured by the guards in waiting directly..
“ To all these most arbitrary threatenings, and the abuse of his majesty's name, the reply was in the following effect: that the audience had a legal right to shew their dislike to any play, or actors; that the judicature of the pit had been acknowledged and acquiesced to, time immemorial; and, as the present set of actors were to take their fate from the public, they were free to receive them as they pleased. By this time, the hour of six drew near. The French and Spanish ambassadors, with their ladies, the fate Lord and Lady Gage, and Sir Thomas Robinson, a commissioner of the excise, all appeared in the stage-box together. At that instant the curtain drew up, and discovered the actors standing between two files of grenadiers, with their bayonets fixed, and resting upon
their firelocks. At this, the whole pit rose and unanimously turned to the justices, who sat in the middle of it, to demand the reason of such arbitrary proceedings. The justices either knew nothing of the soldiers being placed there, or else thought it safest to declare so. At that declaration, they demanded of Justice Deveil (who had owned himself the commanding officer in the affair) to order them off the stage: he did so immediately, and they disappeared.
“ Then began the serenade; not only catcalls, but all the various portable instruments that could make a disagreeable noise, were brought upon this occasion, and were continually tuning in all parts of the house; an attempt at speaking was ' ridiculous; the actors retired ; and they opened with a grand dance of twelve men and twelve women; but even that was prepared for, and they were directly saluted with a bushel or two of peas, which made their capering unsafe. After this, they attempted to open the comedy; but, had the actor a voice of thunder, it would
have been lost in the confused strains from a thousand various instruments.
“Here, at the waving of Deveil's hat, all were silent, and (standing up on his seat) he made a proposal to the house, to this effect : That, if they persisted in the opposition, he must read the proclamation; that, if they would permit the play to go on, and be acted through that night, he would promise, on his honour, to lay their dislikes and resentments before the king, and he doubted not but a speedy end would be put to their acting. The answer to this proposal was very short and very expressive. “ No treaties; No treaties.” At this, the justice called for candles, to read the proclamation, and ordered the guards to be in readiness; but a gentleman seized Mr. Deveil's hand, stretched out for the candle, and begged of him, to consider of what he was going to do, for his own sake, for our's, for the king's; that he saw the unanimous resolution of the house, and that the appearance of soldiers in the pit would throw us all into a tumult, and must end with the lives of many. This earnest remonstrance made the justice turn pale and passive. At this pause, the actors made a second attempt to go on, and the uproar revived, which continuing some time, the Ambassadors and their ladies left the box, which occasioned an universal huzza from the whole house; and, after calling for some time for the curtain, down it fell.”
One of Fielding's farces having been hissed from the stage; when published, instead of the usual annunciation, in the title, of “ As it was performed, &c.” he substituted the more correct reading of, “ As it was damned at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane."
In October 1813, a very witty farce, entitled “ The Nondescript,” was played at Covent Garden Theatre, and completely condemned before the end of the first act. The humour it displayed, however, was so striking, that it induced á bookseller to publish it on his own account; and the author very generously sent him a preface replete with facetiousness, and a sketch of a title in which it was stated it was not performed.
EPITAPH ON JACKSON, OF THE NORWICH
Thomas Jackson, who was a favourite provin