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execute vengeance on his murderer. The judges are resolved not to lose their process; they affirm to his face, that he is dead; they brand him with the accusation of imposture for saying that he is alive; they tell him that he deserves exemplary punishment for coining a lie before the tribunal of justice; and maintain, that their procedures are more credible than his testimony. In a word, this criminal process continued eighteen months before the poor gentleman could obtain a declaration of the court “ that he was alive."
M. de Voltaire relates several other instances of the criminal precipitation, or still more criminal iniquity, of the French tribunals, in condemning to death, in its most cruel forms, innocent, inoffensive, nay, virtuous citizens. The story of Monthaille, who without any accuser, witness, or any probable or suspicious circumstances, was seized by the superior tribunal of Arras, in 1770, and condemned to have his hand cut off, to be broken on the wheel, and afterwards burned alive, for killing his mother, is one of those horrors that astonish and counfound. This sentence was executed; and his wife was on the point of being thrown into the flames as his accomplice, when she pleaded her pregnancy, and gave the Chancellor of France, who was informed of this infernal iniquity, time to have the sentence reversed, when her husband had fallen a victim to the bloody tribunal of Arras. “ The pen trembles in my hand,” cries our author, “while I relate these enormities! We have seen by the letters of several French lawyers, that not one year passes, in which one tribunal or another does not stain the gibbet or the rack, with the blood of unfortunate citizens, whose innocence is afterwards ascertained, when it is too late.”
LITERARY BLUNDERS. The following is related of a French nobleman, by a learned lady. A young nobleman one day attempted to prove to me, that Seneca was contemporary with Henry the Fourth. To convince me that he was right, he produced the works of Seneca, dedicated to that prince, and showing me the title page, “ See,” says he, “ is not here the name of Seneca, and immediately beneath it, that of Henry the Fourth? What have you to say now?” I told him, that this was a translation of the original author, made many ages after his death; but my assertion had little avail with him; he only
laughed at me, and affirmed, if I was not convinced, I certainly ought to be so, from what he had shown me.
Vicelius, a man in other respects not ignorant, believed, that Plutarch wrote the life and actions of Charles the Fifth, because the life of that monarch, in some Latin editions of Plutarch's works, is added at the end.
A Franciscan monk, resident at Porto Bello, in the East Indies, who asserted, of some copies of Ovid's Metamorphoses, that they were English Bibles; and showing his audience the engravings, “ See," said he, “ how those abominable wretches worship the devil, whilst he changes them into beasts.”
Proba Falconia, a very illustrious female, wrote what she termed, “ Centones Virgiliani," on certain parts of Scripture. By the blunders of printers, she was called, “ I'roba Falconia Centona," which error is to be seen in the edition of the work printed at Paris, in 1509, the title of which runs thus: “ Probæ Falconiæ Cen. tonæ clarissimæ fæminæ,” &c.
Earl of Ormond. When Lord Strafford was Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, he made an order that no peer should be admitted into the House of Lords in that kingdom, without leaving his sword with the doorkeeper. Many peers had already complied with this insolent order, when the Duke, then Earl of Ormond, being asked for his sword, he replied to the doorkeeper, “ If you make that request again, Sir, I shall plunge my sword into your body.” Lord Strafford hearing this, said, “ This nobleman is a man that we must endeavour to get over to us."
A legal gentleman of the Temple, who for a considerable time paid his addresses to the daughter of a bookseller in Holborn, was a few days ago forbidden the house, on which he immediately sent in a bill of ninety-one pounds thirteen shillings and four pence, for two hundred and seventy-five attendances, advising on family affairs, &c.
For February, 1811. 1 Friday 1st, The Revenge-(Zanga by a gentleman, his first ap
pearance on any stage.)-The Lady of the Rock. 2 Saturday 2d, George Barnwell.--Columbus. 3 Monday 4th, Distressed Mother.-A Recitation. --A Budget of
Blunders. For the benefit of Mr. Fennell. 4 Wednesday 6th, The Doubtful Son.-Irishman in London. 5 Friday 8th, De Monfort. The Forty Thieves. For the benefit of
Mr. Wood. 6 Saturday 9th, The Foundling of the Forest.-- A Budget of Blunders. 7 Monday 11th, Venice Preserved (Pierre by the gentleman who
played Zanga.)-The Irish Widow. 8 Wednesday 13th, The Doubtful Son.-Blue Beard. 9 Friday 15th, The Robbers.-Ella Rosenberg. 10 Saturday 16th, The Doubtful Son.-La Foret Noire, a pantomime. 11 Monday 18th, The Deserted Daughter. -Matrimony-and various
entertainments. For the benefit of Mr. Jefferson. 12 Wednesday 20th, The Foundling of the Forest.-A Recitation.-Adop
ted Child. For the benefit of Mr. and Mrs. Barreft. 13 Friday 22d, Abaelino, the Great Bandit.-The Tale of Terror. For
the benefit of Mr. Cone. 14 Saturday 23d, The Stranger. Oscar and Malvina. For the benefit of
Mr. Francis. 15 Monday 25th, The Wheel of Fortune.-Recitations.-Valentine and
Orson. For the benefit of Mr. M'Kenzie. 16 Wednesday 27th, The Road to Ruin. Dr. Last's Examination. A
Budget of Blunders. For the benefit of Mr. Blissett.
The limits prescribed to the bulk of this work rendering it impracticable to include, in any single number, the whole of the critical observations demanded by the performances of one month, we are reduced to the necessity of reserving the greater part to be continued during the theatrical recess. In the mean time, we VOL. III.
select for the numbers of the current months those parts of the transactions of our stage which, by their novelty or prominence, lay more particular claim to attention. Conformably to this plan, we have already followed Mrs. Beaumont through several of her characters; in the course of which so much has been said of that lady, that our opinions respecting her talents, in general, are perhaps as well understood as if we were to devote a volume to the subject. In the characters to which we have not yet adverted, her merits and defects, her beauties and eccentricities, were pretty nearly of the same kind as those we have already particularized. In all the parts she has yet gone through, her portraits were nearly akin, and bore one leading family feature: the materials precisely the same, though mixed up perhaps in different proportions. As we make it a rule not to speak of any actor, whose performances we cannot approve, we have nothing to say respecting Mr. Beaumont, but that a fine person and a manly face seem to be his only requisites for the stage. It will become our duty again perhaps to advert to Mrs. Beaumont, when we return to a discussion of the performances, in their regular order: in the mean time a strict conformity to our plan calls upon us to introduce our readers to the gentleman who made his first appearance on any stage in the character of Zanga.
This gentleman, whose name is CALBRAITH, though, by birth an Irishman, has lived so long in this city, and has “even from his boyish days,” been so well known to its inhabitants, that he may be called a child of Philadelphia. Very early in life, and at a time when the affluence of his father precluded the idea of his ever going on the stage, he disclosed talents which pointed it out as his natural walk in life. As he grew up, those indications grew stronger; and when certain family occurrences took place, which rendered it
necessary for him to pursue some kind of profession, in order to obtain an establishment, his intimate friends and the companions of his social hours, unanimously marked out the stage as that for which nature had designed him. In all their calculations upon the subject, however, the idea of tragedy never entered into their heads; of his enlisting himself under the banners of Melpomene, he himself alone entertained a conception: and such was the opinion with which his comic powers had inspired his acquaintances, that, when his appearance in the character of Zanga was announced, their partiality could not prevent the far
greater number of them from foreboding, if not a total failure, at least such a falling off from his natural course, as could not fail to operate to his disadvantage. How far they were mistaken he demonstrated on the first night of his appearance.
If the talents of a performer may be estimated by the measure of a compound ratio of the difficulties belonging to the part he plays and his success in playing it, that measure will be more particularly applicable to a performer on his first appearance. It would, therefore, be doing great injustice to the object of our present criticism if we were to enter upon an examination of his performance of Zanga, without first investigating that character and unfolding the difficulties which, from the structure of the tragedy to which it belongs, beset the performer who attempts to personate it.
In the first place, the obvious similitude and, at the same time, the great inferiority of the tragedy of “The Revenge" to Shakspeare's Othello, operates greatly to the injury of the former, and diminishes the relish with which a play of equal merit would be tasted if unfoiled by so very disadvantageous a comparison. In the next place, the dialogue, being very much composed of long and laboured speeches, hangs with a dead weight upon the performer, and, though the lines in general be vigorous and smooth, becomes tiresome to an audience in almost every scene;-what is worse, the wearisome heaviness of the dialogue is not relieved by a proper share of incident, or even by an ordinary portion of variety in the
Nor are those the only difficulties which the performer of Zanga has to encounter. He receives no relief from the other characters, who are so uninteresting, and so feebly drawn, that the play may be said to rest, with all its cumbersome weight, upon the sole support of Zanga; who, after all, has, in the second, third and fourth acts, very little
upon which an actor can display his talents to any great purpose
of effect or interest. In the first and in the last act there are some very brilliant effusions of genius; but they are of a nature which require an energy of action and utterance, together with a wildness of expression, under the correction of a strict propriety, which more than any other association of qualities is difficult to be found in an actor, and which we firmly believe Mossop alone ever fully possessed.
When those who have witnessed Mr. Calbraith's personation of