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turned up a knave, to cry, • There's a these were direct and open pasquin. director for you!” The period of ades, and gave great umbrage to the the South-Sea bubble was particularly ministry ; and amongst them two of prolific in caricatures. A vast number the most conspicuous were a lampoonappeared in Holland and France, and ing farce called Pasquin, and a dra. for the first time political caricatures malic satire entitled the Historical became common in England. Those Register for the year 1736, boih by of which copies are given in Mr. Fielding. A still more abusive piece, Wright's book bave small claims to to be entitled The Golden Rump, wit. Most of the foreign ones were was spoken of as forthcoming; but, aimed at Law, and those published in before it appeared, the matter was this country at the 'Change Alley brought before the House of Com. speculators. Hogarth's first political mons; an act was passed “for re. caricature related to the bubbles of straining the licentiousness of the 1720, and appeared the following stage,” and the office of Licenser of year.
Plays was established.
Thus a stop As in France the temporary glut was put to stage-politics: but neverof wealth produced by Law's financial theless and although, in an age when operations had the most unfavourable parties ran so high, this suppression effect upon the public morals, so in must materially have diminished the England “ the South-Sea convulsion attractiveness of theatrical entertainhad hardly subsided, when a general ments—the theatres continued, for outcry was heard against the alarming many years, and from various causes, increase of atheism, profaneness, and to receive a very large share of public immorality; and an attempt was attention, and to be made the subject made 10 suppress them by act of par- of numerous prose and verse pamliament, but the bill for that purpose phlets, and of occasional caricatures. was not allowed to pass.”. Masquer- Pantomime and burlesque were still ades were especially inveighed against in vogue, but not to the exclusion of by the upholders of propriety, and the regular drama ; and Shakspeare were made the subject of much satire. gained ground, interpreted, as he was, The ugliness of Heidegger, “le surin- by first-rate actors-by Garrick, Quin, tendant des plaisirs de l'Angleterre," and Macklin, by Mrs. Woffington, Mrs. as the French called him, the conceit Clive, Mrs. Cibber, and others. About and caprices of the opera-singers, then, the middle of the century, the rivalry as now, notorious for their extortion between Drury and the Garden ran ate greediness and constant bickerings so high as to be a subject of annoyand jealousies; the neglect of Shak- ance and inconvenience to the public. speare and the old dramatists; the “ In October 1749 the Coveni-Garprevailing taste for pantomime and den company opened the theatrical buffoonery-were so many targets for campaign with Romeo and Juliet—a the wits and caricaturists of the day. play in which Barry, and especially But neither Hogarth’s pencil nor the Mrs. Cibber, had shone with peculiar pungent pen of Pope had power to excellence. Garrick had armed himself correct the depravily of public taste. for the contest: he had prepared a rival Masquerades continued the favourite actress in Miss Bellamy; and he proamusement of the town, and opera and duced, to the surprise of his opponents, pantomime preserved their vogue. the same play of Romeo and Juliet, at The satirists persevered in their Drury Lane, on the very night it came crusade, and as late as 1742 we find out at Covent Garden. The town was Hogarth still working the mine, in a divided for a long time between the capital caricature of Monsieur Des- two Romeo and Juliets,” which -pronoyer and Signora Barberina,—the duced a mass of contradictory criti. Taglioni and Perrot of their day,- cism, and finished by almost emptying whose graceful attitudes he cleverly both houses, for everybody began to burlesques. Previously to the year tire of the monotonous repetition of the 1737 the stage was used as a political same play.” There is not much danengine, and violent attacks on the ger, at the present day, of rivalry of government were
introduced into this sort. How Garrick and Quin farces and pantomimes. Some of would stare, were they galvanized out
of their graves, to see Grisi queen of and Lord Trentham, the government Covent Garden, and Jullien lord of candidate, was accused of favouring Drury Lane ! Theatrical opposition and protecting them. He spoke is a thing nobody now dreams of, un- French well, and was said to affect less it be between a French vaude. French manners; and all this, of ville company and an English troop course, was made the most of for of low comedians. And were a con- electioneering purposes. He was lamtest to arise between the English pooned as " the champion of the theatres, it would most likely be of French strollers ;” and the mob, with the nature of that which occurred in their usual wisdom and admirable the reign of George the First, between logic, said, “ that learning to talk the rival harlequins, when it was French was only a step towards the common enough for the two great introduction of French tyranny.” A theatres to bring out pantomimes deluge of ballads descended upon the founded on the same subject—as in heads of the candidate and his assumed 1723, when Harlequin Dr. Faustus had protégés; and the quality of the poetry great success at both Drury Lane seems to have been on a par with the and Covent Garden. That was also liberality of the sentiments—to judge, the period of the first introduction, on at least, from the following brilliant the English stage, of wild beasts, dra. specimen :gons, monsters, and goblins of various kinds, besides mountebanks, tumblers,
“Our natives are starving, whom Nature has and rope-dancers. Even Garrick, however, did not disdain the panto. Whilst apes are caress'd, which God made by
The brightest of wits, and to comedy bred; mime, when he saw in it the means to
chance, annoy and injure a rival. “ At the The worst of all mortals, the strollers from beginning of 1750 he brought out a new pantomime, entitled Queen Mab, in which Woodward acted ihe part of This is wretched enough, even for an harlequin. The great success of this election ditty. And we are little dispiece, which drew crowded houses for posed to join in the regret expressed forty nights, without intermission, gave in Mr. Wright's preface, that no one, rise to a very popular caricature, en as far as he has been able to discover, titled The Theatrical Steelyard, in “ has made any considerable collecwhich Mrs. Cibber, Mrs. Woffington, tion of political songs, satires, and Quin, and Barry, are outweighed by other such tracts, published during Woodward's Harlequin and Garrick’s the last century and the present; Queen Mab. Rich, (the Covent-Gar- since the wit and the merit of those he den manager,) dressed in the garb of has been able to get together are in harlequin, lies on the ground expir- general so exceedingly small. He is, ing." Excepting in the two impor- very judiciously, sparing of his extant particulars, that good actors were tracts, except when he stumbles upon then as plentiful as they now a really good song, or set of verses, a scarce, and that the two great thea. few of which are scattered through his tres were occupied by Shakepeare and volumes. Englishmen, instead of by fiddlers To return to the mob-hatred of the and foreigners, there is much coinci- French. After the Westminster elecdence between recent occur- tion, this feeling was kept up by squib rences in the theatrical world and and caricature; and in November others a hundred years old. Then, as 1755, Garrick having occasion to emnow, attempts were made to drive ploy some French dancers, in a grand French actors from the country. These spectacle brought out at Drury Lane attempts arose, however, from no ap- under the title of The Chinese Festival, prehension of foreigners injuring or a theatre row was the result. It was eclipsing native talent, then so supe. kept up for five nights; and on the rior to such fears, but from the anti- sixth the mob smashed the lamps, Gallican feeling abroad at the time. demolished the scenery, and did seDuring the Westminster election of veral thousand pounds' worth of 1749 a company of French players damage This popular antipathy to were performing at the Haymarket, the French did not, bowever, extend
to the produce of France, or prevent circumstance, that her royal mistress's the higher classes from patronising sole rebuke was by throwing her own and importing French luxuries of all veil over the immodest beauty. The kinds as well as a host of milliners, host of caricatures to which this gave governesses, quacks, valets, and pro. rise, and the grossness of many of fessors of other menial and decorative them, in that day of great pictorial arts. The Gallomania of the fashion- license, are easily imagined. After able world offered a fine field to this there were very few masquerades the caricaturists, who made the during ten or twelve years, at the most of it, to the great delight of end of which time the court again set the populace. French fashions, cook- the fashion of them, soon after George ery, education, and nicknacks, were the Third's accession. Towards 1770, alternately taken as targets for the Mrs. Cornelys got up ber « Harmonic shafts of ridicule. Mr. Wright transfers Meetings," at Carlisle House in Soho to his pages a ludicrous fragment of a Square. These subscription balls and print by Boitard, entitled “ The Im- masquerades were attended by most ports of Great Britain from France,” of the nobility and leaders of the ton ; in which an English woman of quality is and, at one of them, we learn the preseen embracing and caressing a French sence of “two royal dukes, and nearly female dancer, and assuring her that all the fashionable portion of the arisher arrival is to the honour and de- tocracy. On this occasion, Colonel light of England. And the mob of Luttrell (the same who had opposed that day went so far as to believe that Wilkes in the election for Middlesex) it was the love of the aristocracy for appeared as a dead corpse in a shroud, French perfumes and delicacies, cooks in his coffin.” Much used, from the and coiffeurs, which prevented En- very first, for purposes of intrigue, glish ministers from properly protecting these assemblies soon became unbearthe national honour, and avenging the ably licentious. The company fell off, insults put upon us by our neighbours. both in numbers and respectability, The real evil, far more important than until the only way to fill the rooms the consumption of French finery and was by the admission of bad characcosmetics, was the importation of ters. This made them sink lower and French corruption and immorality, so Jower, until “ we read in the St. James's prevalent in England during the whole Chronicle of April 23, 1795, the remark reign of George II., and during a por- that • No amusement seems to have tion of that of his successor. By this fallen into greater contempt, in this time the masquerades and ridottos, country than the masquerades. which had kept their ground in spite of They have been lately mere assem. the moralists, had grown so flagrant in blages of the idle and profligate of their excesses and indecencies that, both sexes, who made up in indecency about the end of 1755, they were what they wanted in wit.'”. A descripnearly suppressed; the earthquake at tion that has ever since been appliLisbon having come to the aid of cable to London masquerades, which the anti-maskers, who took advan. still continue, we apprehend, to be tage of the panic it caused in Lon. mere pretexts for debauchery; whilst don, to represeni it as a judgment on even in Paris, whose atmosphere, and the profligacy of the age. Previously the character of whose inhabitants, to that, masquerades not only those at have generally been found more fapublic establishments, such as Vaux- vourable to that class of amusements, hall and Renelagb, but at the priva!e the famed opera balls have sunk, with. houses of persons of rank and fashion in the last twenty years, into the -offered glaring examples of indeco- saturnalia of idle students, profligate rum-to use the very mildest word, apprentices, and ladies of uncertain until at last Miss Chudleigh, maid of virtue. honour to the Princess of Wales, and It would be unjust to leave out afterwards Duchess of Kingston, Samuel Foote, in a work treating of showed herself at the Venetian am. the satires and caricatures of the last bassador's in a close-fitting dress of century. Possessing neither the brush flesh-coloured silk. We may judge of of Hogarth nor the pen of Churchill, the court morals of the time from the he wielded a weapon as formidable in
its way—that, namely, of dramatic a sure and cowardly wound. But mimicry, or stage satire; and he is Hogarth caricatured others till others properly named by Mr. Wright the learned to caricature him, --with less great theatrical caricaturist of the age. talent, certainly, but with sufficient For a time, the reckless and vindic- malice to annoy and harass the artist, tive wit was the terror of the town: and finally, it is said, to break his an affront to him, real or imaginary, heart. His constant practice,” says caused the unlucky offender to be pa- Mr. Wright, “ of introducing contemraded before the world, under some poraries into his moral satires, had fictitious name, upon the boards of procured him a host of enemies in his theatre, which, at first, was the ihe town ; whilst his vain egotism, “ little” one in the Haymarket. For and the scornful tone in which he some time Foote and Macklin had it spoke of the other artists of the age, between them, but, disagreeing, Mack- offended and irritated them.” How lin left, whereupon his ex-partner im- seldom do satirists preserve temper mediately caricatured him upon the and coolness under the retort of their very stage he had 60 lately trodden. own aggression! After more than a “ The Haymarket was an unlicensed quarter of a century passed in turntheatre, and Foote evaded the law bying his neighbours into ridicule, Ho. serving his audience with tea, and garth might be thought able to endure calling the performance in the bills a rub or two in his turn, and even to
Mr. Foote's giving tea to his friends.' receive them with good grace and a His advertisement ian, · Mr. Foote pre. smiling countenance.
But many a sents his compliments to his friends and veteran has found, to his cost, that a the public, and desires them to drink tea life passed in the field does not render at the Little Theatre in the Haymarket, bullet-proof. Hogarth made good every morning, at playhouse prices.' fight to the last, but his offensive The house was always crowded, and arms were better than his defensive Foote came forward and said, that as ones; his enemies' shot fell thick and he had some young actors in training, fast, and all he could do was to die he would go on with his instructions upon his guns. For the last twelve whilst the tea was preparing.”. After or fifteen years of bis life he appears wards he got a license, and rebuilt the to have been particularly unpoputheatre. But his bitter wit and gross lar, and continually caricatured. His personalities continually got him into Analysis of Beauty, published in trouble, frequently caused his pieces 1753, drew upon him a great deal of to be prohibited; exposed him 10 ridicule; and in 1758, his opposition to threatened, if not to actual castigation; the foundation of an Academy of and, finally, were the indirect cause Fine Art was the signal for a shower of his death, accelerated, it is gener- of abuse and caricatures, niore or less a!ly believed, by shame and vexation witty—oftener less than more. But at the false but revolting charge the campaign that finished him-the brought against him by a clergyman Waterloo of the unlucky humoristhe had savagely lampooned.
was one he rashly undertook against The fate of Hogarth was not dis- Wilkes and Churchill, previously his similar to that of Foote, with the differ. friends. This was imprudent in the ence that the painter was slain literally extreme; for he might be sure that with his own weapons. Foote’s vic- all the minor curs, who had so long tims had neither the ability nor the yelped at his heels, would redouble opportunity to expose him, as he did their wearisome assaults when reinthem, upon the stage. The Metho- forced by such formidable champions dists, Dr. Johnson, the East India as the North Briton and Bruiser” Company, and the Duchess of Xing- Churchill. Wilkes warned Hogarth ston, each in turn subjected his that he would no be kicked unrevicious attacks, retorteu as best they sistingly, but the painter persevered ; might by pamphlets and cudgels, and Wilkes kept his word. No. but apparently made little impression 17 of the North Briton was sting. on the player's tough epidermis, until ing retaliajion for No. 1_of The a disreputable parson devised the Times; and Churchill's “ Epistle to poisoned dart with which to inflict William Hogarth was at least as
galling to the artist as his well-known faro-purse empty and an execution in portrait of
A Patriot” could be to his house, could hardly afford to be Wilkes. The quarrel was kept up particular as to the strict cleanliness with much spirit till the death of Ho- of the path to the treasury bench garth in October 1764.
Then or never was the moment to The American war, and the ill- sacrifice public weal to private adadvised colonial legislation which vantage. And accordingly, when, brought it on, gave rise to many the 3d December 1777, the Court caricatures, some of them of con. was thunderstruck with the disastrous siderable merit. The first of intelligence of the surrender of Gene. which a transcript is given us by Mr. ral Burgoyne and his army at SaraFairholt's graver, relates to the Bos- toga, the Upposition could hardly ton tea riots of 1770. In it Lord conceal their exultation; the disgrace North is pouring tea down the throat and loss which had fallen on the of America, personified by a half- British arms were exaggerated, and naked woman with a crown of fea- chanted about the streets in doggerel thers, who rejects the unwelcome 'ballads.” An“ Ode on the success of draught in his lordship’s face. Bri. his Majesty's Arms,” written in De. tannia weeps in the background, an ber, and printed in the Foundling Lord Chancellor Mansfield, the com- Hospital for Wit, celebrates ironipiler of the obnoxious acts, holds cally the glorious results of the down the victim. When war actually campaign, and the skill and prudence broke out, and the bloody fight of of the ministers at home; and ends Bunker's Hill gave a foretaste of its with a congratulation on the old tale disasters, satires fell thick upon the of King George's mechanical amuseministry as well as upon the king, ments :whose will, the Opposition maintained,
“ Then shall my lofty numbers tell, was law with Lord North's cabinet.
Who taught the royal babes to spell, In June 1776 a long poem, smart
And sovereign arts pursue ;
To mend a watch, or set a clock, enough, but very violent and unpa
New patterns shape for Herrey's frock, triotic, was published under the title of Lord Chatham's Prophecy.
The homely tastes of George III., “Your plumbed corps though Percy cheers,
his love of farming, and habit of And far-famed British grenadiers,
amusing himself with a turning-lathe, Renown'd for martial skill;
were great themes for scurrilous atYet Albion's heroes bite the plain, Her chiefs round gallant Howe are slain,
tacks upon the royal person, both in print and caricature. Mr. King the
button-maker” was held up to ridiSubsequent verses foretell all manner cule in every low publication on the of evils to Great Britain, and the Opposition side of the question. The whole poem breathes a spirit of ex. Oxford Magazine frequently returned ultation at our reverses, which would to the charge, sometimes with almost have been less ungraceful from
much humour as impertinence. American than from an English pen, This was rather earlier than the Ameand which, at the present day, no rican war, which gave rise to still amount of party feeling would be more offensive inuendoes against the held to justify. But the shameless- sovereign. Thus, when an outcry ness of whiggery was then at its was got up against the employment height; the pseudo-patriots of the of Indians in conjunction with the time recked little of their country's British troops in North America, misfortunes when these gave them and when all manner of horrible opportunity of triumph over a politic stories of cannibalism and so forth cal antagonist. What cared they for were set afloat, we are shown a carithe reverses of British arms, or the cature of the king squatted on the lopping off of British colonies, if ground, cheek by jowl with a bethey thereby saw themselves nearer feathered savage. The Indian handles the possession of the place and power a tomahawk, the king holds a skull, whose emoluments they so greedily and “the Allies” (this is the title of coveted ? Charles Fox, with his the disgusting print) gnaw each al
Or buttons made at Kew."
On fallow Bunker's Hill.)