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tail of its many claims to public attention. Though the author has not given his name to the work, he is so circumstantial with regard to facts, dates, and persons, and so unreserved upon the subject of his relatives and connexions, that it is evident he is not very anxious to conceal himself, and that when the book is circulated, the author's name will be no secret. From what we have already observed in the course of our reading it, nothing is more clear to us, than that all the old inhabitants of the state, and particularly those who acted principal parts in the important drama of seventy-six, will immediately recognise him: in which case, the general opinion respecting the work will naturally be influenced by the feelings of individuals, and take an occasional tincture from passion more than from discreet judgment. Of the author, or his connexions of the transactions he adverts to, or the persons concerned in them, we have no knowledge whatever: of course, therefore, we make use of our judgment wholly upon the intrinsic value of the work itself; and viewing it dispassionately, we have no scruple whatever in declaring, that having read many works of the same kind, we do not remember one which appeared to us more attractive, or more deserving of praise. Every line bears the stamp of sincerity; the author asserts himself and his opinions with the frankness of a gentleman, the freedom of a true republican, and the boldness of a soldiersyet without a tincture of egotism. Of himself he speaks as he would speak of another in his situation; and while he addresses his readers, he seems as if conversing with his friends, or amusing a domestic circle round his blazing hearth, with a simple unostentatious recital of the leading events of his life.
Possessing the power so forcibly to strike the imagination, and interest the feelings, of an entire stranger, how irresistible must these memoirs come home to the business and bosoms of those contemporaries of the author, who, in every transaction alluded to, will find some fond memorial of friends who still live in their attachment--of happy times that have gone by them, and of proud and pleasing events they have witnessed; and who, while they contemplate the occurrences recorded in these pages, may say with no les's truth than could the author when he wrote them,
Quæque ipse miserrima vidi
THEATRICAL JOURNAL, FOR SEPTEMBER, 1811. In obedience to the wishes expressed by some of our subscribers, and perhaps entertained by all, we propose to give the observations we have to make on the performances of the actors, regularly in the number for that month in which they take place, and to postpone to the recess the consideration of such plays as we think deserving of a particular analysis. To this end, we have adopted the plans of the best theatrical publications in London, and like them will confine our observations to such things as will be most likely to claim an immediate interest in public opinion. Of performances which have been already noticed in this work, or of plays which have been for so long a time and so frequently represented that every frequenter of the theatre knows all that can be said of them, nothing will be said, unless it be to notice some novel circumstance, some new performer, or some unusual acts of merit or misconduct, which call for the wreath or for the rod. There needs no ghost come from the grave to tell the world that Warren was excellent in old Rapid, Sir Peter Teazle, Cacofogo, or Falstaff;that Wood was delightful in young Rapid, Tangent, or Harry Dornton; or Mrs. Wood interesting in Susan Ashfield, Jessy Oatland, and all such characters;-that M.Kenzie is good in old Norval; Jefferson, Blisset and Francis exquisitely droll, and Mrs. Francis not less so. These are facts already so much taken for granted, that if we were disposed to make the public think otherwise, they would not believe what we said. We will not, therefore, weary our readers and overload our summaries with propositions of that selfevident kind, and we are sure that our friends will approve of it. Having thus explained our purpose and motives, we proceed to our Journal for the Philadelphia theatre for the season 1811.12.
Monday, September 9th, 1811, opened with Town AND COUNTRY,
and OF AGE TO-MORROW. For the criticism on this comedy see Vol. I. p. 66. The only change of consequence in the cast this night was in the performance of the Hon. Mrs. Glenroy by Mrs. Twaits, who sustained the character respectably.
Wednesday, September 11th,
SOLDIER'S DAUGHTER- -WAGS OF WINDSOR. Mrs. Mason made her first appearance in Philadelphia this evening in the character of the Widow Cheerly, and received the most unequivocal marks of approbation. Her merit is indeed of that sterling kind, the value of which all conditions and capacities are capable of perceiving, and must admire. In that particular department of comedy, to which the sprightly and benevolent widow belongs, we much doubt whether Mrs. Mason has a superior-in this country she certainly has not an equal. In characters of humour, it is very difficult to avoid coarseness without dwindling into insipidity (for in the very nature of humour there inheres more or less of that robust vivacity which fastidiousness would call coarse) and in the characteristic performance of them, a lady runs the risk of having imputed to her that which belongs, not to herself, but to the character. Mrs. Mason had the peculiar felicity to hit the mark with great exactness. Her humour was distinguished by ease and elegance no less than by spirit and vivacity. If she fell short of Miss Farren in the courtly graces, and deportment of the highest polished life, her humour was more forcible--and if she excited less laughter perhaps than Mrs. Abington could have done, it may also be said that she exhibited none of that masculine confidence, which so detracts from the delicacy of females, and with which, to borrow the amiable Thomson's words, they “ roughen to the sense, and all the winning softness of the sex is lost." The polished manners and elegant deportment of the woman of fashion were in Mrs. Mason's widow blended with the bewitching sportiveness, and undefinable fascination of high comedy. Through the whole of her performance there was nothing that approximated vulgarity, nothing coarse, nothing forced, nothing studied, nothing which the most fastidious taste would wish were otherwise: none of that broad grimace-none of that common-place artifice called stage-trick, which, when it ceases to strain, loses its hold none of that frisking affectation of sprightliness-none of that daubed overdoing which, like caricature in painting, raises coarse merriment at the expense of nature, propriety, and truthBut all was of that refined, polished, yet natural and pungent quality of humour, that skilfully attenuated pleasantry, which, if I may be allowed the expression, casts a mild sunshine over the heart, filling it with pure enjoyment-which rather exhilirates the spirits than provokes laughter, and imparts sensations of an order much superior to those of mere side-shaking merriment.
With the exception of Cooke, we know of no performer whose first appearance seemed to make so deep and pleasing an impression as did that of Mrs. Mason. And it is perhaps the only instance of general applause, unalloyed by the slightest disapprobation. For having made it our business to collect the opinions of as many as we could speak to on the subject, we can with truth affirm that not one spoke of Mrs. Mason's Widow Cheerly in less than terms of unmixed praise. But one sentiment prevailed through the houseand it cannot be doubted that if this lady's comedy be all nearly equal to her Widow Cheerly, and her tragedy (which we can scarcely hope) but half as good as her comedy, she will hold as high a place in public favour here as her ambition, if it be at all reasonable, can prompt her to expect.
Having said so much for our elegant visiter, it becomes our duty to say a few words of our old friends, to whom we in common with the public owe so much for the capital entertainment of this evening. In most of its characters the comedy was performed in as great perfection as imagination could well reach to. Warren, Wood and Jefferson were so peculiarly excellent, that we should have no hesitation in setting them against the performers of the same characters in any theatre in Europe. Jefferson afforded us uncommon gratification, not only on account of Timothy Quaint, which he did to perfection,
but because, whether it was owing to the particular nature of the character, or to a laudable disposition of return from his devious wanderings to the path of pure nature, he was so simple, so natural, and free from extravagance,-so exactly that which we once viewed with admiration, and for which he is marked by nature, that we could not help greeting him as a friend returned after a long absence, Jefferson was himself again.
It would be unpardonable to omit the praise due to Mrs. Mason for her delivery of the epilogue in character: in which she showed herself not less a mistress of accomplished utterance, than an adep! in that species of humour.
Friday, September 13th,
PIZARRO THE WEATHERÇOCK.
Saturday, September 14th,
SPEED THE PLOUGH-Don Juan. This comedy is so well known, and has been so often before the public in pretty nearly the same cast as it was presented in this evening, that we made no scruple to go into the country, upon the presumption that there was no likelihood of any thing new occutring to demand our notice. We were, however, greatly mistaken; and we consider it as peculiarly unfortunate that our absence deprived us of the twofold gratification of seeing the character of Henry better performed (we speak upon manifold and indubitable authority) than it ever was in this country, and that by a youth whose private qualities we have always approved, and of whose success in his profession we have long entertained good hopes, having for two seasons back prognosticated it with confidence,-and we may add too, in contradiction to the opinions of some persons whose judgment we greatly respected. If he were ten feet high instead of six, Barrett is still but a boy; for what more could even a giant of seventeen years of age be considered; and as we contemplated him in his fifteenth and sixteenth years, (the most disadvantageous time of life for an actor in voice, face, shape, every thing) and perceived that notwithstanding so many disadvantages, he always evinced a correctness in his readings and his action, for which we often looked in vain among his elders, we could not help predicting that as his person filled and knit into strength, as his face rose from baby softness towards the muscular expression of manhood, and as his voice lost that disagreeable tone inseparable from the neutral intervening time of life between boy and man, he would become a marked favourite with the public. His performance of Tressel last season, when Mr. Cooke played Richard, justified our prediction, and drew flattering acknowledgments from the audience. His Henry, however, has gone much further, and laid a strong foundation for the favourable opinion of the public, upon which we have little doubt his own industry and good sense will enable him to build in a few seasons a structure that nothing but matchless neglect can overset. We most heartily wish him success, and look for. ward with sanguine expectation for the time when we shall be enabled to add the character of one of the best of players, to that of the most exemplary son.