« 上一页继续 »
of guests that the house can contain, will provide a series of mobbing, crowding, squeezing, screaming, fainting, scrambling, &c. &c. enough, I should sup pose, to gratify the most ardent admirers of personal fatigue and danger, and to produce such a number of colds, and other inflammatory affections of the lungs, as may give an extraordinary eclat to a rout, and enable the parties to ascertain, with great exactness, the night they caught the disorder.
In the mean time, until it shall please some of these noble hosts and hostesses to instruct us in the rationale of making their guests alarmed and unhappy, 1. I should humbly propose a little addition to their routs. They are already dignified by the presence of the Bow Street Officers, for the better preservation of morals and property; and to this I would propose to. add a Medical Staff for the safety of lives; and, in addition to the ball-room, the saloon, the gallery, and the supper-room, I would add a Dispensary, lo which the wounded and fainting may be removed, and properly taken care of; provided that removing, or moving at all, be practicable. When I look back to our former ideas of social comfort, I must own it is to me an odd species of compliment to say of any one of our fashionable parties, that "we are happy to add, no lives were lost," as we formerly used to say of a fire, or a shipwreck.
I am, Sir, yours,
ADVANCEMENT OF THE STAGE.
TO THE EDITOR OF THE MORNING CHRONICLE,
is now nearly a century since I have thought it worth while to address myself to the public. Though my notions have been since that time very
much adopted, I have not had much encouragement; my most valuable productions having been attributed to Dean Swift, a fellow whose wit I could never perceive, and who owes no small portion of his reputa tion to the meanness of having insinuated to the lite. rary world of that day that he, forsooth, was the real author of the Treatises, learned and elaborate, which I then gave to a discerning public.
My Art of Sinking in Poetry" seems to have been almost universally pursued since that valuable tract was published, with the exception of one or two of my contemporaries of that day, and two or three obscure fellows, whom I shall not condescend to retrieve from oblivion. But whatever obligations they (the Poets, Dramatists, and Critics) have been under to me, they have never had the magnanimity to allow it; and I now call your attention to an act of injustice and ingratitude which cannot be sufficiently reprobated. The Drama being so great and so lucrative a part of Poetry, I then published my proposals for "The Advancement of the Stage." I shall trouble you with some extracts from this my project, and I will submit to your judgment whether I have not been treated with the basest ingratitude by Messrs. Kemble and Harris, who, like the Poets, have almost to a man followed my precepts, without having the candour to confess the source of their information, or who it has been that has principally directed their efforts. Read my proposals; you must perceive their plagiarism" It is proposed, in the first place, that the two Theatres be incorporated into one Company; that the Royal Academy of Music be added to them as an Orchestra; and that Mr. Figg with his Prizefighters, and Violante with his Rope-dancers, be admitted into Partnership.
2. That a spacious building be erected at the
public expense, capable of containing at least ten thousand spectators, which is become absolutely necessary, by the great addition of children and nurses to the audience since the new entertainment. That there. be a stage as large as the Athenian, which was near ninety thousand geometrical paces square, and separate divisions for the two Houses of Parliament, my Lords the Judges, the Honourable the Directors of the Academy, and the Court of Aldermen, who shall all have their places frank."
I shall occupy too much of your paper by quoting verbatim the remainder of my propositions; but I suggested the propriety of demolishing Somerset House, that the said Theatre might be built upon its site; and I have it, upon pretty good authority, that when Mr. S. was Treasurer of the Navy, he had a great inclina tion, which was indeed thwarted only by the obstinacy of his colleagues in office, to carry the scheme into effect.
The classical mind of Mr. Kemble can never be sufficiently admired for introducing quadrupeds on a regular Theatre; but I flatter myself, that the idea would not have suggested itself, had I not previously recommended the Rope-dancers and Prize-fighters.+ The size of the Theatre is evidently from my plan, and the Private Boxes, which were thrown open by a barbarous effort of the multitude, is as certainly taken from my proposal of particular seats for the privileged orders.
I am an old man; but as a new Theatre is speedily to be erected on the site of the old one in Drury Lane, I hope to see it quite upon the principle I proposed to my less enlightened countrymen so many years since; with this addition, that as the two rival Houses will vie with each other in the classicality of their productions, I should command the building of Stables round the
the Theatre, that the principal Actors might be conve niently lodged. I have the honour to be
Your profound admirer,
TO THE RIGHT HONOURABLE THE LORDS AND COMMONS OF THE UNITED KINGDOM, IN PARLIAMENT ASSEMBLED.
The humble Address, Remonstrance, and Petition of a Guinea, MOST HUMELY SHOWETH,
THAT your Petitioner hath, for ages past, been held in universal estimation by the people of these kingdoms, borne the stamp of its monarchs, and been preserved in its purity by the wisdom of the legislature.
That your Petitioner lays claim to no peculiar distinction, but what arises from its intrinsic worth: that the labour and expense of collecting any portion for the convenience of mankind, is a sufficient security against the evils of excess; whilst its inherent qualities protect its possessor from the artful designs of the impostor. "With endowments like these were its rude ancestors brought from the mines of Golconda and Peru; with the aid of its numerous family these favoured kingdoms have had the ready means of extracting from the habitable world all their rarities, commanding all their labour; bringing armies into the field in war, and preliminary articles to a favourable conclusion by a definitive treaty of peace.
That in domestic life it has soothed the sorrows of many an afflicted family, given life and animation to the heglected, secured assistance to disease, and snatched the prostrate victim from the voracious jaws of death. Those are only a few of its qualities-it may be considered as the universal linguist, since it facilitates the intercourse between nations whose vocabulary is not known to each other; it softens the acerbities of ap
proach to the high; and elevates the low with whom it associates.
That its value was known to the most remote antiquity, because it "would abide the fire * ;" and when the Queen of Sheba visited the court of Solomon, the wisest monarch of the East, she brought with her gold in abundance and precious stones; her present to the King was 120 talents, besides the six score talents from King Hiram, and 420 talents brought from Ophir, making in the whole 660 talents of pure gold poured into the treasury of that potent Prince in one year.
History furnishes no example where the ancestry of your Petitioner have been contemned, and it now becomes its painful duty to utter the language of complaint; it is driven into exile by the severity of penal enactments said to be made for its preservation-it is associated with companions from the rags and filth of the people; and these meretricious children, who only a few years ago sprang from the loins of your afflicted Petitioner, have now usurped its authority, and have the audacity to disown their neglected parent t.
Your Petitioner, that used to glisten on the eyes and gladden the hearts of the people, is condemned to solitude without a crime; it never sees the light with the impression of a beloved Monarch, but it trembles for its existence as well might it have been buried for ever in the bowels of the earth, as to remain thus impotent and degraded. Your Petitioner only claims its lost rights-it only claims the rank that the common consent of mankind gave it—and it asks now for that, with confidence, which is given to the impression of
The Militia, who volunteered into the line during the expedition to the Helder, ate their bounty with their bread, which was paid to them in Bank-notes. Vide all the ministerial Newspapers in 1799.
Vide Chalmers, Perceval Elliot, Bosanquet, Coutts, Trotter, &c.