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D. L. 1714-1715.
In consequence of the Queen's death in the Summer, the License was to be renewed—as Collier had made the last penny of the Managing Actors they felt themselves under no obligations to him; and as they knew they must pay the £700 a year he had levied on them, to some person, they wished to pay it to Steele in preference to any body else, since the stage was under obligations to him for his writings, there being scarcely a Comedian of merit, who had not been recommended to the Public in the Tatler; and the house had been frequently filled by the influence of his pen—they therefore wished him to get the License renewed with his own name inserted in it, instead of Collier's—this Steele easily obtained through the Duke of Marlborough—( Cibber)—on the change of the Ministry Collier became a nonentity.
On Oct. 18 a new License was granted to Steele, Wilks, Cibber, Dogget and Booth.
On Dec. 18 the new theatre in L. I. F. was opened—in consequence of this the Managing Actors represented to Steele, that as he now stood in Collier's place, his pension of £700 per Ann. was liable to the same conditions that Collier had received it upon—which were, that it should be payable only during their being the only company permitted to act, but in case another should be set up against them, that then his pension should be liquidated into an equal share with the other persons concerned in the License—while they were offering to proceed
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Steele stopt them short, by assuring them, that as he had come among them by their own invitation, he should always think himself obliged to come into any measures for their ease and service—he also told them that he had reason to think he could get the License (which subsisted only during pleasure) enlarged into a more ample and durable authority—this was a prospect beyond their hopes, and what they had long wished; for tho' they had no reason to complain of the personal severities or behaviour of any one Lord Chamberlain, yet the several officers under him, who had not the hearts of Noblemen, had often treated them with that insolence of office, which narrow minds are apt to be elated with; and a Patent they knew would free them from this abject state of dependence—they therefore desired Steele to lose no time in making his applications—Steele said to them he had reason to think a Patent would be more easily obtained, if they were willing that it should be granted to him only, for his life and 3 years after; he promised that he would then assign it over to them in conjunction with himself—to this they assented; and in a few days Steele told them that his Majesty being apprized that others had a joint power with him in the License, it was expected that they should under their hands signify that his petition for a Patent was preferred by the consent of them all—such an acknowledgment was immediately signed, and the Patent was thereupon passed. (Cibber.)
Steele in 1719-1720, having a dispute with the Lord Chamberlain, published a State of the Case, in which he inserted a copy of his Patent—the Patent is dated Jan. 19th in the 1st year of our reign—that is in 1714-1715—here we have another striking proof of Gibber's inaccuracy as to dates—he says they received the Patent Jan. 19 1718.
Sep. 21. Recruiting Officer 23. Old Batchelor.
Oct. 5. Indian Emperour 6. Jovial Crew.
7. Othello 9. Julius Caesar 11. Constant
12. Sir Solomon 13. Oronooko.
14. Not acted 3 years, Love's last Shift.
15. Richard the 3d 19. Feigned Innocence.
20. No play on account of the Coronation.
22. Double Gallant. Clarinda = Mrs. Mountfort: Sylvian Mrs. Santlow: Lady Sadlife = Mrs. Bicknell.
25. Rule a Wife 27. Silent Woman.
26. Unhappy Favourite. Essex=Booth. Nov. 3. Venice Preserved. Jaffier = Booth. 9. Scornful Lady 12. Fatal Marriage.
15. Spanish Fryar. Dominic = Bullock: Gomez = Norris: Torrismond = Booth: Lorenzo = Wilks: Bertran = Mills: Queen = Mrs. Porter: Elvira = Mrs. Oldfield.
16. Lancashire Witches——18.■ Albion Queens.
19. Emperour of the Moon—revived at the particular desire of several persons of Quality—no characters.
24. Love makes a Man. Louisa = Mrs. Rogers: Angelina = Mrs. Santlow: Elvira = Mrs. Porter.
27. Man of the Mode. Old Bellair = Norris: Young Bellair = Bullock Jun.: Harriet = Mrs. Mountford: Lady Woodvil — Mrs. Knight.
29. Squire of Alsatia.
30. Love for Love. Ben = Griffith from Ireland.
Dec. 2. Comical Revenge. Widow = Mrs. Oldfield.
6. Committee. Teague = Griffith: Careless = Booth: Blunt = Mills: Obediah = Johnson: Day = Norris: Abel = Bullock: Mrs. Day = Mrs. Knight: Ruth = Mrs. Mountford: Arbella = Mrs. Porter.
16. Wonder 17. Royal Merchant.
18. King Lear. Lear=Booth: Cordelia = Mrs. Santlow.
22. Not acted 9 years, Island Princess—no characters.
From Dec. 22 to 27 there are no bills for either Theatre—no reason is assigned for this omission.
Jan. 5. Marriage a-la-Mode. Rhodophil = Booth: Melantha = Mrs. Bicknell: Florimel = Mrs. Mountfort :—rest as usual.
6. Committee. Teague = Bowen.
12. Island Princess. Pinkethman performing his own part.
14. iEsop. Quaint and Sir Polydorus Hogstye = Pinkethman: with Country Wake.
15. Othello. Othello = Booth: Iago = Cibber: Cassio = Wilks: Roderigo = Bowen: Desdemona = Mrs. Porter: iEmilia = Mrs. Saunders.
22. Hamlet. Hamlet = Wilks: Ghost = Booth: King = Evans from Ireland: Gravedigger = Johnson: Queen = Mrs. Porter: Ophelia = Mrs. Mountfort.
24. Julius Caesar. Brutus = Booth: Antony = Wilks: Cassius = Elrington from Ireland: Julius Caesar = Mills: Casca is omitted: Portia = Mrs. Porter.
25. Pinkethman's bt. Love makes a Man. Louisa = Mrs. Porter: Elvira = Mrs. Mountfort.
2G." Recruiting Officer. Kite = Evans.
Feb. 3. Spanish Fryar — Evans: Torrismond = Elrington.
4. Never acted, Country Lasses, or the Custom of the Manor. Modely = Wilks: Heartwell = Booth: Freehold = Mills: Sir John English = Johnson: Lurcher (his nephew) = Bickerstaffe: Tim Shacklefigure (Sir John's steward) — Norris: Doublejugg (his butler) = Birkhead: Vultur = Quin: Carbuncle — Cross: Sneak = M iller: Longbottom = Bowman Jun.: Aura = Mrs. Santlow: Flora = Mrs. Mountfort :—acted about 4 times—Flora and Aura pretend to be Country Lasses, and to be a part of Freehold's family—Heartwell and Modely fall in love with them —Heartwell marries Flora—he is told that it is the Custom of the Manor, for the Lord of it to have the privilege of a husband on the first night, when the daughter of one of his tenants is married—Heartwell is highly incensed, till he is informed that he is himself the Lord of the Manor, as having married Flora to whom the Manor belonged—this part of the plot is founded on Fletcher's Custom of the Country—in the 4th act Modely is making love to Aura with too much violence—Freehold enters with two thrashers —they seize Modely—Aura runs off—Freehold tell Modely that Aura's lover shall call him to an account for his behaviour to her—Aura, disguised as a man, fights with Modely—she pretends to be killed— Modely is taken into custody—in the last scene Aura's sex is discovered—she and Modely agree to marry, if they should continue to like one another at the end of two years—in the modern editions of the play