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BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH OF
MR. ANDREW CHERRY is the eldest son of the late Mr. John Cherry, an eminent printer and bookseller in the city of Limerick in Ireland, whose ancestors possessed a considerable estate, on which they, for centuries, resided, near Sheffield, in Yorkshire, and were of the people called Quakers; one of whom, disclaiming the mild tenets of the primitive church, and possessing a thirst for martial glory, followed the fortunes of king William the IIId. and fought under him, as cornet of horse, in all the Irish wars. On the capitulation of Limerick, he married an Irish lady, and purchased an estate at a place called Croome, near Limerick, where the family resided for many yearstill the imprudence of our hero's grandfather deprived him and his successors of a paternal property, which, in the presert day, yields an annual income of many thousands..
The subject of these memoirs was born in the city of Limerick, in Ireland, on the 11th of January, 1762, and received what is generally called a respectable school education, which his father intended to have completed at the university, as he designed his son for a member of the church; but disappointments in life obliged him to abandon his favourite plan, and the study of theology was resigned for the printing-office, and in the year 1773, at eleven years of age, his father placed him as a typographical tyro, under the care of Mr. James Potts, a respectable printer and bookseller, of Dame-street, Dublin. About this time the rivalship of the theatres at Smockalley and Capel-street, were the subjects of general conversation; and in Mr. Pott's printing-office, the merits and demerits of the plays and performers of both theatres were fully discussed, each house having its strong partizans ainongst the typographical critics. Our young hero now first began to feel a glowing wish to enter the door of a theatre, which he soon gratified, on the last night that illstarred but accomplished actor, Mr. Mossop, performed Zanga, in the Revenge. The exquisite acting of this celebrated tragedian infamed his imagination for theatrical exhibitions, the sight of which he indulged as often as his master and pocket-money would, allow. He soon found his taste for business rapidly decline ;' the printingoffice had no charms for him, and he began to despise the drudgery of a mechanic employınent. In conjunction with his playfellows, whose stage-struck fancies were not inferior to his own, he made his first appearance, at the age of fourteen, in the character of the Fair Lucia, in the tragedy of Cato, in a large room, at the Black-a-moor's head, Towers's Street, Dublin.
The applause that attended this juvenile essay greatly increased his passion for dramatic exhibitions; and, in a short time after his first debût, Mr. Martin, a country manager, hearing him recite, in company with other young men, whom Mr. Martin had found means to assemble, with a view to delude them into engagements, invited him to join his sharing company. Cherry readily accepted the offer, and before he reached his seventeenth year, he launched into a profession, of all others, perhaps, the most arduous and envious. His first appearance, as a public performer, was in a town called Naas, fourteen miles from Dublin, under the management of this Mr. Martin, and in the character of Colonel Feignwell; his performance evinced much talent, and the manager, with many encomiums on his exertions, presented him with ten-pence halfpenny, which was his dividend of the profits of that night's performance, as well as continued to cheer hin with words of fair comfort and encouragement. But the circumscribed situation of his finances rendered those promises abortive.
The towns that he visited were small, the receipts, consequently, scarcely furnished an existence for himself and company. Yet such was our hero's enthusiasm for a theatrical profession, that he endured a probation of ten months with this manager, constantly employed in the laborious study of alınost all the principal characters în tragedy and comedy, without even possessing a guinea during the whole of that period; nay, frequently without the means of common sustenance, and so iinpoverished, yet so industriously inclined to what he had undertaken, that his greatest regard generally arose from his want of means to purchase candles; whereby he might study the characters that were daily allotted to him.
In this situation our hero endured more than the usual hardships attendant on a strolling life; he was, at one time, even on the point of starving, having passed more than three days, without any refreshment. At the close of Mr. Martin's campaign, he returned to his relations, by whom he was received with all the warmth of parental affection; he then resolved to relinquish all ideas of the stage, and attach himself solely to business; but the applause he had rem ceived continually rung in his ears, and in the comforts of ease and plenty, he soon forgot the drudgery of study, and the poignant want he was obliged to endure, whilst endeavouring to attain it. In short, he again returned to the profession, when, after making several short excursions of little moment, he enlisted under the banners of Mr. Richard William Knife, a dramatic commander of much esteem in Ireland, and whose daughter our hero married at Belfast. The fame which. Mr. C. was daily acquiring in the North of Ireland, soon made its way to the capital, and on Mr. Ryder's being engaged at Covent Garden theatre, Mr. Cherry was called upon, by the Dublin manager, to supply that gentleman's place, which was considered a service of eminent danger, as Mr. Ryder had been, for more than thirty years, the unrivalled favourite of a Dublin audience. Our hero made his first appearance in the Smock-alley theatre, in the winter of 1787, in the character of Darby in the Poor Soldier ; his success was beyond his most sanguine expectations, and he continued, for five years, under the management of Mr. Daly, in full possession of public favour, and a range of comic characters as various as they were extensive.
The first original character he performed in Dublin, was a Spouting Barber, in a very pleasant entertainment called the Hypochondriac, which gave great satisfaction to the author, Mr. Franklin, whose dramatic productions are in much esteem in this country.
Mr. Cherry daily advanced in professional reputation, and was considered an actor of considerable abilities.
From the increase of his family, and the payments of the theatre not being quite as certain as the Bank of England, our hero was induced to turn his thoughts towards an engagement in some of the provincial theatres of England; the dread of breaking fresh ground at first had great weight with him, but the encouragement he had received from the accomplished Miss Farren, with whom he played all the principal characters the preceding season, operated as a stimulus to his wishes, and supported him under the idea of a trial, which then appeared to him arduously awful. But while he debated with himself upon this question, he received an offer from Tate Wilkinson, manager of the York Theatre, to supply the place of Mr. Fawcett, now of Covent Garden Theatre. . Mr. Cherry made his entré on the Wakefield boards, in the characters of Vapid, in the Dramatist, and Lazurillo, in Two Strings to your Bow ; from his masterly delineation of the above parts, he was marked with such general approbation and applause, as gave him a delightful presage of future prosperity, and he continued three years under Mr. Wilkinson's management, in full possession of public favour. Miss Farren having made a summer engagement at the Theatre Royal, Dublin, the manager was under the necessity of dispatching his deputy, Mr. Hitchcock, into Yorkshire, to re-engage Mr. Cherry to perform with her, which he accomplished, upon terms that appeared very flattering, for nothing but the welfare of his family could have drawn him from a situation where his comforts were perfectly established; he therefore returned to Dublin, and appeared with abundant greeting from his countrymen, in Sir Peter Teasle. He continued two seasons in Ireland, during which time he wrote and produced two operatical pieces, which were received at Crow-street Theatre, with general approbation; but, from the manager's ungrateful and irregular conduct, he returned with his family to Birmingham, for a summer, where he added much to his popularity and interest, and then entered into an engagement with Messrs. Ward and Banks, managers of the Manchester company, with whom he continued two years; and, on the abduction of Mr. Blisset and Mr. W. Bigys, Mr. Cherry was invited to the Bath theatre, where he made a most successful entré in the character of Sir Bashful Constant; and, notwithstanding popular prejudice ran high in favour of Mr. Blisset, who had been an established favourite of the Bath and Bristol Public, our hero received every approbation that his exertions warranted; each new character gave him additional strength, and his performance of Captuin Bertram, in the Birth Day, was pronounced, by the Bath critics, to be as highfinished a picture of scenic art as ever had been witnessed on the boards of that theatre. His reputation, as an actor, soon became fixed and determined, and for four seasons he enjoyed the most honourable patronage and support. On the resignation of Mr. King, he obtained an engagement at Drury-lane Theatre, where he offered himself for public approbation in the characters of Sir Benjamin Dove, in the Brothers; and Lazarillo, in Two Strings to your Bow.
The success he met with, in both these parts, is well known to our readers. Mr. Cherry has since maintained his credit with the public in a variety of other characters, and is justly considered one of the most sterling and valuable comedians in the Drury-lane company. In addition to his repute as an actor, he has lately secured to himself a distinguished rank among our dramatic authors, by the production of the Soldier's Daughter, a comedy, now in the zenith of its attraction. We understand he is to receive from the bookseller, no less a sum than three liundred pounds for the copy-right. It is certainly one of the very few modern comedies that will stand the test of the closet.