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which I hope you will think as well entitled to a place in the pages of your valuable and interesting miscellany, as my former attempts of the same nature.
Our theatre opened for the winter in January last, and since then has continued regularly open three nights in each week. As the benefits are now begun, I suppose it will not be long before the manager closes a season of uncommon success; a success, however, which must be ascribed, in a great degree, to the number of plays which have been bespoke by distinguished individuals, and by the military corps in the town and neighbourhood.
Though still defective in some important points, our company must be acłnowledged, on the whole, to be considerably improved, and, of late, the plays have been got up with much greater correctness and attention than formerly. We have had John Bull, the Marriage Promise, Hear both Sides, the Wife of Two Husbands, Raising the Wind, a House to be Sold, and especially the Soldier's Daughter, represented with considerable effect.
Our theatrical corps, at present, consists of Messrs. Kemble, (the manager) Liston, Noble, Foote, Lee, Mara, Chippendale, Kelly, Lindoe, Bland, Suett, &c. Mrs. Kemble, Miss Kemble, Mrs, Stanley, Miss A. De Camp, Mrs. Jones, Mrs. Noble, Mrs. Lee, Miss Benson, Mrs. Mara, Mrs. Chippendale, Mrs. Bland, &c.
With Mr. Kemble's abilities as an actor, you are sufficiently acquainted. His Falstaff-like appearance confines him to a very limited range of characters; to these he has lately added that of Governor Hearthall in the Soldier's Daughter, which he performs with uncommon animation and effect.
Mr. Liston is our chief support in comedy, and is deservedly a very great favourite. He combines all the whimsicality of Mr. Fawcett, with the comic simplicity and rustic humour of Mr. Emery, but, for his own sake, I would advise him not to attempt tragedy, and to keep as much as possible out of the way of genteel comedy. He has, lately, however, performed several characters very creditably, which are quite out of his line, but when he returns to Zekiel Homespun, Dan, Shenkin, John Lump, Ralph, &c, he may then exclaim with truth, Liston “ is himself again!”
Mr. Noble has, of late, retrenched a good many of his gallery grimaces and practical jokes. He is indeed extremely improved, and certainly possesses a vein of comicality, which, when it does not outrage nature, is highly amusing, especially in ridiculous old men, vulgar Irishmen, sailors, &c.
In Timothy Quaint, the immoveable position of the muscles of his visage is highly diverting.
Mr. Foote is always perfect in his part, and evidently bestows great care and attention on every character in which he appears; if he does not, therefore, always succeed, it is undoubtedly not owing to the want of his own exertions. In the character of Hamlet, which he has studied with peculiar diligence, he has great merit; in the commencement of the play, before the feelings of the prince are roused to any high degree of violence, he delivers the sentiments with propriety and elegance, but his voice is not well calculated for impassioned and de. clamatory scenes.
Mr. Lee is a good-looking man, but possesses no great power as an actor.
He performs, however, with spirit and animation several of the secondary characters of genteel comedy, and some sentimental parts. Frederic, in Lover's Vows, Tom Shuffleton, Dick Dowlas, Captain Woodley, &c. are among his best efforts.
Mr. Mara attempts a great variety of characters, and is certainly the most general and useful actor in the company, but there is a tiresome uniformity in his manner, and mediocrity is the highest degree of praise to which he can aspire.
Mr. Chippendale is seldom employed in characters of any consequence, but possesses comic humour that might be very useful in low comedy.
I now proceed with pleasure to the enuineration of our female talents, of which we can boast a very distinguished share. • On the various merits of Mrs. Kemble, I could enlarge with much pleasure. She may be truly said to be “ ever pleasing, ever new.” To a country theatre she is an invaluable treasure from the universality of her talents, and though pathetic characters and those of comic simplicity, are her peculiar forte, yet her Isabella, Belvidera, Jane Shore, &c. &c. are characterized by great feeling and expression, and she has lately, for her own benefit, performed the Widow Cheerly with great spirit and vivacity: indeed she can, at pleasure, assume the various excellence of a Siddons, a Jordan, or a Bland.
Miss Kemble gains daily upon the favour of the town; her vocal powers have acquired greater strength and certainty of execution, and she articulates the words of songs with uncommon distinctness. Her style of singing is, indeed, characterized by peculiar correctness, delicacy, and expression, and when her voice acquires a greater degree of power and compass, she will certainly be a very superior singer. I would recommend it to her, however, to practise the shake with great care and attention, as it is in that only there is any deficiency to be remarked. Her memory is excellent, her enunciation distinct, and her action greatly improved; indeed she holds out every prospect of being a pleasing actress, as well as an excellent singer.
Mrs. Stanley (late the honourable Mrs. Twisleton) joined our company about a month ago. She made her debat in Elvira, in Pizarro. She is a very elegant woman, with a voice, action, and figure peculiarly well adapted for tragedy. As yet she has appeared in very few characters, but, from the abilities she evidently possesses, much may be expected.
Miss Adelaide De Camp is a most charming little girl. Her spirit and vivam city, naiveté and good humour, have already made her a great favourite. In the characters of Hoydens, pert chambermaids, and lively young ladies, she is nature itself. Her Miss Peggy, in the Country Girl; Amelia, in Lovers' Vows; Dolly, in the Woodman ; Little Pickle, &c. are among the best performances we have seen for several years; but her line of characters is not very extensive, and she is by no means calculated for the sentimental cast of parts which she is sometimes obliged to assume.
Mrs. Jones is a very useful actress, and supports old maids and ridiculous characters with great ability, though she is apt a little to “ o'erstep the modesty of nature."
Mrs. Noble is, I understand, half-sister to Mrs. Henry Siddons, and much resembles that elegant actress in the contour of her figure, though certainly no two countenances can be more unlike. Mrs. Noble dresses with uncoramon elegance and propriety, and makes an excellent soubrette, but the plainness of her features, and an unfortunate lisp, render her unfit for any other line of parts.
Miss Benson is very young, and her figure is yet scarcely formed; but she dances with neatness and ease.
Of the rest of the ladies and gentlemen nothing need be said; they hardly rise above the rank of attendants.
In the foregoing sketch, I have endeavoured to describe the present state of our company, if not with judgment, at least with impartiality. You may easily perceive we are in no want of a reinforcement of female talent; and if we had an actor capable of supplying the place of our late favourite Mr. Egerton, (now at Bath) in genteel comedy, and a singer to support Miss Kemble in the comic operas, our theatrical corps would then be as strong as can reasonably be expected on provincial boards.
If you favour me by the insertion of these observations, I shall shortly trouble you with some remarks on the new regulations respecting the future management of the theatre, and the new agreement into which the proprietors have entered with Ms. Kemble ; but it would occupy too large a portion of your valuable pages,, were I to enter upon the subject at present. I shall conclude this letter, by subscribing myself, with much respect,
Gentlemen, your constant reader and well-wisher,
JULIUS. Theatre Royal CANTERBURY.---Mrs. Baker's company hath this season been occasionally reinforced by a set of " choice spirits") from Old DruryDouton, Cherry, and Suett, alternately performed some of their most favou. rite characters with success. Mrs. Baker deserves the good opinion of the inhabitants, for yielding to their wishes in this particular, because, in some instances, their engagements have not been very productive.
Mrs. Baker will sustain an almost irreparable loss in Mr. Carleton, who, we understand, is engaged by Wilkinson of York. Carleton's abilities are extremely respectable in fops and men of fashion; there is an ease and gentlemanly deportment in the carriage of this young man indicative of future excellence. His Michael Perez, often reminded us of the chaste acting of Lewis; and if we had not seen the venerable King in Puff, we should hazard a very strong expression in favour of Mr. Carleton. Mrs. Dowton was very successful in Estifania.
The original Theatre, FEVERSHAM.---Some itinerants have chosen to invade the privileges of Mrs. Baker, in Feversham, by usurping this lady's rights in the opening a theatre, which they are pleased to call original, and so would be the acting, with the exception of Mr. and Mrs. H. Johnston of Drury-lane,
Duke D'ENGHEIN.-This brave and accomplished prince, son of the Duke of Bourbon, and grandson of the Prince of Condé, has been brought to trial by the blood-thirsty and revengeful spirit of a sanguinary despot, who triumphs in the power of shedding the best blood of ancient France on the scaffold erected by his own tyranny. The Duc d'Enghein was charged with having borne arms against France; with having offered his services to the English government ; with having accredited the agents of England, and affording them the means of forming connexions in France, as well as conspiring with thein against the interior and exterior security of the state ; with having placed himself at the head of a body of emigrants, in the pay of England; with having spread false intelligence at Str.sbourg, in order to occasion a rising in the neighbouring departments, that might prove a diversion in favour of England; and, lastly, with being one of the agents and accomplices of the conspiracy formed by the English against the life of the First Consul, &c. Of these charges he was unanimously found guilty by his judges, and as unanimously condemned to die. The hurry with which the trial took place is extraordinary. On the 15th the Prince was taken in the territory of Baden, and on the 21st doomed to death at Vincennes, near Paris. The manner in which the Duke d’Enghein was taken was this:-The French government having received information that a number of emigrants were assembled at Ettenheim and Offenbourgh, in the territories of the Elector of Baden, resolved to seize them--the Duke d’Enghein was among the number.
The following account of the execution of the unfortunate Duke d'Enghein is given in the Hamburgh Correspondent, in an article dated Paris, March 13.
« On Wednesday morning, two hours after midnight, the Duke d'Enghein was executed in the forest of Vincennes. Several generals, it is said, were present at the execution. The persons appointed to try him had already been named before he arrived at Paris. On his arrival there he was first taken to the Temple, but he did not enter it, as an order was waiting for his being carried to the castle of Vincennes, where the military commission was assembled to try him. He was so completely worn out and exhausted, by the fatigue of his journey, that he fell fast asleep during his trial. When his sentence was pronounced, he desired to speak to the First Consul. On being informed that that was impossible, he resigned himself to his fate with perfect calmness and composure ; but he in. sisted, as it is said, that his eyes should not be bound. It is asserted, that, when he was taken, he was determined to defend himself; and that, had it not been for the earnest entreaties of those who were with him, he would not have allowed himself to be seized without resistance."
« The execution of the Duke must inspire the great mass of the French people with horror and detestation of the foreign tyrant and usurper. The Duke d'Enghein was no less distinguished for his amiable manners than for his bravery in the field. He commanded the vanguard of the corps of his grandfather, the Prince of Conde, in 1795. After the battle of Hohenlinden, and the retreat on the river Inn, he went to Stiria, and soon after to Ettenheim, where he continued until seized by Bonaparte's butchers.”
The following particulars relative to this unfortunate prince are given in pri. vate accounts from Paris.
“ In the morning, before day-light, on the 22nd, Gen. Murat arrived at Vincennes, escorted by fifty Mamelukes, and accompanied with four aid-decamps, and Generals Mortier, Hulin, and Louis Bonaparte, who had come on purpose from the coast. Each Mameluke held a fambeau, and 200 Gens d'Armes, and 300 men of the Italian troops, surrounded the castle, prevented the approach of every one, and guarded all the avenues to that part of the wood, about an hundred yards distant from the castle, fixed for the place of execution. The Duke being told that his sentence was to be executed, said, calmly, I am ready and resigned.' When he heard, upon enquiry, that the grenadiers who should shoot him were Italians of Bonaparte's guard, he said, " Thank God! they are not Frenchmen. I am condemned by a foreigner, and God be praised that my executioners are foreigners too : it will be a stain less upon my countrymen. Upon the place of execution, he lifted his hands towards heaven, and said, “ May God preserve my king, and deliver my country from its foreign yoke.' Two gens d'armes then wanted to tie a handkerchief over his eyes, but he said, ' A loyal soldier, who has so often been exposed to fire and sword, can sce the approach of death with naked eyes, and without fear.' His hat was then taken off ; but in looking at the grenadiers, who had already pointed their arms at bim, he said, in Italian, · Grenadiers, lower your arms, otherwise you will naiss me, or only wound me.' Of the nine grenadiers who fired at him, seven hit him-seyen bullets pierced his body. Immediately after his murder, General Murat sent his aid-de-camp to Malmaison. A small coffin, filled with lime, was ready to receive his body, and a grave had been dug in the garden of the castle, where he was buried. Such was the end of the Duke d’Enghein, butchered in the thirty-second year of his age, by the barbarous foreign usurper of the throne of his family. He possessed the sincere affection, not only of his royal relatives, but of every Frenchman who had served under him, and of every person who knew him. He had not only the esteem, but the friendship, of the Archduke Charles, who, during several campaigns, had been assisted by his talents, and witnessed his courage. He was as generous as brave; and, in the age of pleasure, deprived himself of all enjoyments, to assist his numerous distressed countrymen."
His Royal Highness Monsieur, brother to the King of France, was the only one of the French Princes who first received any information, by the Hamburgh mail concerning the melancholy fate of his relative, the late Duke d'Enghein. With agonized feelings, he went in the evening to Wanstead House, to communicate the sad tidings. He was met at the door by the Duke of Bourbon, who, perceiving grief and sorrow marked on every feature, immediately anticipated the cruel fate of his son. Without hearing or uttering a word, he locked himself up in his study, and there gave a vent to his sorrow. His groans and sobs were heard by those outside, who, in vain, implored access, in order to administer consolation to his afflicted spirit. Monsieur himself, though long versed in misfortune, stood in need of friendly support; but with that laudable resignation, which has always distinguished him, and summoning up resolution, he entered the apartment of the Prince de Conde, with apparent com.