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sily imagine how rapid the spread of fire must be among such combustible materials, and what food must have been afforded to the names by the canvas scenery, and the thin wooden partitions and machinery upon the stage. The flames raged with most astonishing fury. The fire engines were immediately sent for, and in the mean time every effort was made to save as much as possible from the theatre. The horses were all got out without injury; but it was impossible to save, as we understand, any of the scenery or machinery, the flames were so rapid. The engines arrived as soon as possible, and began playing upon the theatre which occupies a considerable depth from the street. Little effect wai produced for some time. The fire in the mean time had communicated to the adioining houses. Never were firemen more active and unremitting in their exertions; but the houses unfortunately were most of them small, and slightly built, many of them chiefly of wood.
The mother of Mrs. Astley unfortunately was in the house that was inhabited by her son and daughter, in front of the theatre. She was an old lady, about sixty, and rather infirm. Two gentlemen, Messrs. Moor and Burnett, made use of every effort in their power to save her. A ladder was raised to the window, which she was seen to approach, and to run back on a sudden, as if recollecting something; probably she wished to save some papers or money in the house. As she was coming back to the window a second time, the floor of the room gave way, and she was seen to fall in with it. It was now impossible to •ave her: she was burnt to death.
The whole of the theatre is consumed, and nothing is left of that beautiful little building but a heap of black and smoaking ruins. The range of the fire was most fatal towards and in Phoenix street. Between ten and twenty houses a.re consumed in that street; and, as it is inhabited by poor people, none of whom are, we suppose, insured, their distress may easily be imagined. They were running about for hours in a state of frantic despair. Here a mother might be seen, with her naked and screaming child clasped to her breast, running about the street in the wildest agony—there a poor mechanic, wringing his hands at the loss of all the little implements of his trade. The scene was dreadful beyond conception. About six o'clock the flames were got under.
The fire broke out in the lamp-room; some sparks from the fireworks fell upon the tow in the room, and set it in a blaze. The top of the theatre was much higher than the adjoining houses. When the roof fell in, it fell upon them, and did them much damage. Nearly forty houses are either destroyed or injured.
The flames, when they reached the scenes, of which there was an immense quantity, and chiefly painted in oil, raged with such fury, and diffused such an intense heat, that there is scarcely a pane of glass within the distance of fifty feet which was not either cracked or shrivelled. The houses in front, at each side of the Amphitheatre, the inhabitants having received a timely alarm, and being supplied with water, have been but slightly injured.
The visitation of the same kind, and in the same place, occurred on the Duke of York's birth-day, August 16, 1794. The destruction which then took place, and in a similar way, was as complete as in the present instance. The horses belonging to the theatre were saved by a young man, who has been em
ployed there as a carpenter and scene-shifter, in a manner at once curious and extraordinary. It is a well-known fact, that horses can hardly be ever made to go away from a house which is on fire, and that they will remain fixed to one spot until they are burnt to death. One of the horses which was in the stable of the theatre on Thursday night, had been, through great exertion, saved during the fire of 1794. This horse, as if recollecting his former peril, suffered himself to be led away, and the remaining horses, which otherwise would have been im* moveable,. followed him.
The total insurance on the house, in different offices, did not exceed £.5,000. Mr. Astley's loss is not to be estimated at less than 30,000. Mr. and Mrs. Astley, junior, were sleeping at a small country house they have in Surrey, about ten miles from town. An express was sent immediately the fire was known, to Mr. Astley, who was on the spot by five o'clock, just in time to know that the flames had completely devoured the whole of his property, valued at more than thirty thousand pounds. Mrs. Astley followed, and on hearing the fate of her mother, she fell into violent hysterics, from which she did not recover forsome days. The situation of Mr. and Mrs. Astley is indeed deplorable. His mother died about a week ago; her mother was on Friday burned to death; his father is a prisoner of war in France, unjustly held there by the Corsican Monster, at the moment his wife, to whom he had been married many years, was expiring; and now the whole of his property and his hopes are in one night gone.
With the exception of the horses, scarcely any part of Mr. Astley's property was saved. A few scenes, not more than loaded a cart, which were in the outer apartments, were obtained, but nothing else. The music room, with all its contents, were entirely destroyed. In this was deposited the music of all the pieces which had ever been brought out at the Amphitheatre, and which, in all, had cost Mr. Astley fifteen thousand pounds. The music was legible on Friday on the black flakes of the consumed paper. All the musical instruments, some of them very valuable, belonging to individuals of the band, were destroyed. Some wrecks of them could be seen scattered about the ruins. Indeed the ruins presented many curiosities. The contents of the property room, which, after being burnt, had fallen into the stables, through the stage, were curious. Here were swords, the barrels of muskets, tin armour, and all the paraphernalia of kings and warriors, which the flames could not devour. Many individuals belonging to the theatre, as well as the surrounding neighbours, have lost considerable property; and the least loss to the performers is nOtthat of their benefits, which were approaching. Of these they are now deprived, and with them the means of clearing off many an annual score.
Mrs. Woodman, who perished in the fire at Astley's, was originally introduced to the notice of the public, as a singer, by the celebrated Dr. Arne, to whom she was a pupil, above thirty years since; she appeared at Covent Garden theatre, in Euphrosyne, in Comus, and was a competitor with the celebrated Miss Brent, afterwards Mrs. Pinto. Her name was then Spencer, and she was better known by the appellation of Buck Spencer, being uncommonly elegant in her dress and person; she afterwards sung at Marybone Gardens, where she received additional instructions from the late Dr. Arnold, and from thence went to Ireland, where she became deservedly a great favourite, and continued on the Dublin stage for many years. She married a gentleman named Smith, by whom she had the present Mrs. Astley. After his decease, she married a Mr. Woodman, from whom, on account of some disagreement, she was separated.— The latter part of her life she resided entirely with her daughter, to whom she was much attached, and who is inconsolable for her loss.
Mrs. Woodman would have been saved, had she not been induced to return to her chamber, where she had deposited, in a secret corner of her bed, the receipts of two evenings, which, in consequence of the death of old Mrs. Astley, were entrusted to her care.
For the further security of the metropolis, a measure, (which was some time since mentioned as intended) is now adopted, and even begun to be put in execution, which will effectually protect it, on the eastern side, for an extent of nearly 20 miles. A dam is to be constructed on the Lea River, which will enable government, on the shortest notice of the landing of the enemy, to overflow the whole valley from near Ware to the Thames.
Advertisement copied from the Vermont Journal!—Run away from his wife and children, on Friday last, John Spriggs, five feet three inches high; squint eyed, along red nose with a lofty bridge; primes and loads (takes snuff and chews tobacco); fiddle backed, very loquacious, so much so, that he will talk to himself rather than let his poor tongue get a little rest; affects a great deal of religion, usually carries a prayer book in one pocket, and a pack of cards in the other.
The late king of Sweden left a large chest of papers behind him, sealed up, with an injunction that they should not be opened till half a century after his death. This chest is now deposited in the university of Upsal.
Parliament is further prorogued to Thursday, the 3d day of November next.
A general fast is appointed for the 19th of October.
The Lady of Colonel Conway, of a daughter. At Ruport House, Southampton, the Marchioness of Winchester, of a son. In Wigmore-street, Cavendish-square, the Lady of Capt. Poyntz, R.N. of a son. The Lady of Dr. Crichton, of Clifford-street, Burlington-gardens, of a daughter.
At Eltham, Kent, Capt. Rawlins, of the 30th Regiment, to Miss Ann Taylor Rawlins.
In Well >eck-street, aged 6*, Sir John Braithwaite, Bart. In Carnarvonshire, the Rev. Griffith Griffith. At Edinburgh, Major-General F. Halket. At^ Alnwick Castle, county of Northumberland, Lady Frances Percy, third daughter of his Grace the Duke of Northumberland. Tate Wilkinson, Esq. Patentee of the Theatres Royal York, Hull, &c. &c.
A PORTRAIT OF MR. ROBERT PALMER, ENGRAVED BY RIDLEY, FROM AN ORIGINAL PAINTING BY DE WILDE.
Roman Letters 219
Select Sentences 222
Sketch of an Historical Eulogium
Hindoo Manual and Creed 229
Original Letter from the late Wil-
Celestial Notices 233
On Whims 235
The Works of Chatterton 238
Lord Wimbleton's Defence of
REVIEW OF LITERATURE.
The Trial of John Peltier, Esq.
Select Poems, by the Author of
Rhodes's Epigrams, 246
Leopold; or the Bastard 247
Barber's Tour through South
Review of a Battalion of Infantry,
Card's History of the Revolutions
A Bibliographical Dictionary,
Pratt's John and Dame, or the
Turner's Vindication of the Ge-
Blagdoq's Grand Contest delibe-
Car^s Stranger in Prance
Flowersof Literature for 1801 and
Giles's English Parsing .
ORIGINAL POETRY. Sonnet, by Capel Loflt, Esq 270
Sonnet.to Mr. H. K. White 272
Canzonet, by Mr. H. K. White ib.
Elegy, written at Midnight 273
Elegy on the death of a favourite
Sonnet written on the Sea-Shore .. 275
PRINTED, FOR THE PROPRIETORS,
By J. Wright, No. 20, Denmark-Court, Strand,
The Biographical Sketch of Mr. Palmer will appear in. No. 97. .
We lament that our arrangements will not permit us to avail ourselves of the proposal of A. B. whose Essay we have perused with great satisfaction.
We have received a patriotic address entitled English, Scots, and Irishmen, but it being in print, we are only enabled to express our sense of its great poetical merit.
The following articles shall be inserted at the earliest opportunity j viz.
Address to Mr. Mackintosh, on reading his speech to the Loyal North Britons. By a Highlander.
Address to Humility, by Viator.
Mortimer cannot send us any thing that will be unacceptable. The mode and the order of communication we leave to his own judgment and conveniency. With respect to the Essay, we think his friends havejudged wisely, and we hope their suggestion will be adopted.
The Verses written by Sir H. W. shall certainly appear.
The Article transmitted by G. S. Reeves, has been lately presented to the public through various channels. We nevertheless thank our Correspondent for his attention.
We have found means to accommodate A. O. but we are too much in arrear with other contributors to give him always the preference.
We are greatly obliged to Mr. H. K. White for his prompt compliance with our wishes. Melancholy Hours, No. VI. in our next.
We are obliged to Peter Peep for the insight he has afforded us, and we shall be upon our guard in future.
We perceive the force and the justice of E. A. P.'s remarks, but we thinlr they are penned with rather too much asperity.