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theatrical world, and we believe the author himself, gave a decided preference to “ John Bull;" but we admit that as we are unfashionable enough to prefer Sheridan's “Rivals” to his “School for Scandal,” so are we prepared unhesitatingly to declare our opinion that “The Heir at Law” is Colman's chefdæuvre.

“The Poor Gentleman” is an excellent play; and “Who wants a Guinea ?" although not so decidedly successful as its predecessors, teems with that rich humour and quaintness of thought which so strongly characterise the writings of its author. His farces of “The Review," “ Love laughs at Locksmiths,” “ We fly by Night," and several others, are all admirable in their way. These were given to the town as the productions of Arthur Griffinhoofe, a nom de guerre, however, which proved quite inefficient in making the public mistake the source whence their amusement was derived.

In 1819, Mr. Colman finally retired from the proprietorship and management of the Haymarket Theatre. Upon the escape and fight from England of Captain Davis, the lieutenant of the Yeoman Guard, his Majesty George the Fourth appointed Mr. Colman to succeed him; and on the death of Mr. Larpent he also received the appointment of Examiner of Plays. The former office he relinquished in favour of Sir John Gete, some three or four years since; and in the latter he has, as our readers know, been succeeded by Mr. Charles Kemble.

It would be unjust and unfair to the memory of Mr. Colman were we to let slip this opportunity of saying a few words upon the subject of his conduct in the execution of the duties of this situation ; because it has been made the object of attack even by men of the highest talent and reputation, as well as the low ribald abuse of their literary inferiors,—which, however, considering the source whence it came, is not worth noticing.

It has been alleged that Mr. Colman was unnecessarily rigid in his exclusion of oaths and profane sayings from the dramatic works submitted to his inspection; and the gist of the arguments against him touching this rigour went to show that he ought not to expunge such expressions as examiner, because he had used such expressions himself as an author. This reasoning is absurd, the conclusion inconsequential. When Mr. Colman wrote plays, he was not bound by oath to regulate their language by any fixed standard ; and, as all other dramatists of the day had done, in sharpening a dialogue or depicting a character he used in some - perhaps all his dramas-occasional expletives. But Mr. Colman's plays then had to be submitted to an examiner, who, conscientiously, did his duty; and, from the high moral character of the late licenser, there can be little reason for doubting that he, like his successor, drew his pen across any expression which he might have considered objectionable ; but no one ever complained of this, because Mr.

Larpent had never written a play, or used an oath in its dialogues.

When Mr. Colman assumed the legal and necessary power of correction, he had but one course to pursue : he was sworn to perform a certain duty assigned to him to the best of his judgment, and to correct any expressions which he might consider injurious to the state or to morality. What had he to do, as licenser, with what he had himself done as author ? The tu quoque principle in this case is even more than usually absurd; it is as if a schoolmaster were to be prevented from flogging a boy for breaking windows, because, when he was a boy, he had broken windows himself.

As we have already stated that it is not our intention to make these few pages a piece of biography, we shall leave to some better qualified person to give the more minute details of Mr. Colman's life. The following lines, written by himself, now many years since, and when he himself was under fifty, give as good an epitome of his career up to that period as fifty pages of matter-of-fact; and from that time until the occurrence of the sad event to which the last stanza, so pathetically—as it now reads ---refers, he lived on in happiness and comfort.



Come on, old Time!-Nay, that is stuff ;
Gaffer! thou comest fast enough ;

Wing'd foe to feather'd Cupid !-
But tell me, Sand-man, ere thy grains
Have multiplied upon my brains,

So thick to make me stupid ;


Tell me, Death's journeyman !—But no!
Hear thou my speech : I will not grow

Irreverent while I try it;
For, though I mock thy flight, 'tis said
The forelock fills me with such dread,

I never take thee by it.


List, then, old Is, Was, and To-be;
I 'll state accounts 'twixt thee and me.

Thou gav'st me, first, the measles ;
With teething would'st have ta'en me off';
Then mad'st me, with the hooping-cough,

Thinner than fifty weasels.


Thou gav'st small-pox, (the dragon now
That Jenner combats on a cow,)

And then some seeds of knowledge,-
Grains of the Grammar, which the flails
Of pedants thresh upon our tails,

To fit us for a college.

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It is a curious coincidence-although considering the proximity of their ages there may be nothing really strange in it—that Mr. Colman and his intimate friend Bannister should have quitted this mortal world so nearly at the same time. The circumstance, however, gives us an opportunity of bringing their names together in a manner honourable to both. We derive the anecdote from the “ Random Records;" and we think it will be at this juncture favourably received by those who admire dramatic authors and actors, and who rejoice to see traits of private worth the concomitants of public excellence.

After recounting the circumstances of his first acquaintance with Bannister, Mr. Colman says,

“In the year of my return from Aberdeen, 1784, unconscious of fear through ignorance of danger, I rushed into early publicity as an avowed dramatist. My father's illness in 1789 obliged me to undertake the management of his theatre; which, having purchased at his demise, I continued to manage as my own. During such progression, up to the year 1796 inclusive, I scribbled many dramas for the Haymarket, and one for Drury-lane ; in almost all of which the younger Bannister (being engaged at both theatres) performed a prominent character: so that, for most of the thirteen years I have enumerated, he was of the greatest importance to my theatrical prosperity in my double capacity of author and manager; while I was of some service to him by supplying him with new characters. These reciprocal interests made us, of course, such close colleagues, that our almost daily consultations promoted amity, while they forwarded business.

“ From this last-mentioned period, (1796,) we were led by our speculations, one after the other, into different tracks. He had arrived at that height of London popularity when his visits to various provincial theatres in the summer were productive of much more money than my scale of expense in the Haymarket could afford to give him. As he wintered it, however, in Drury-lane, I profited for two years more by his acting in the pieces which I produced there. I then began to write for the rival house in Covent Garden, and this parted us as author and actor : but separating, as we did, through accident, and with the kindest sentiments for each other, it was not likely that we should forget or neglect further to cultivate our mutual regard: that regard is now so mellowed by time that it will never cease till Time himself,—who, in ripening our friendship, has been all the while whetting his scythe for the friends,-shall have mowed down the men, and gathered in his harvest.

“One trait of Bannister, in our worldly dealings with each other, will nearly bring me to the close of this chapter.

“In the year 1807, after having slaved at some dramatic composition, I forget what,-I had resolved to pass one entire week in luxurious sloth.

“At this crisis, just as I was beginning the first morning's

sacrifice upon the altar of my darling goddess, Indolence,-enter Jack Bannister, with a huge manuscript under his left arm ! This, he told me, consisted of loose materials for an entertainment, with which he meant to “ skirr the country,” under the title of BANNISTER'S BUDGET ; but, unless I reduced the chaos into some order for him, and that instantly, he should lose his tide, and with it his emoluments for the season.

In such a case there was no balancing between two alternatives, so I deserted my darling goddess to drudge through the week for


old companion.

“To concoct the crudities he had brought me, by polishing, expunging, adding, -in short, almost re-writing them, -was, it must be confessed, labouring under the “ horrors of digestion ;" but the toil was completed at the week's end, and away went Jack Bannister into the country with his BUDGET.

“ Several months afterwards he returned to town; and I inquired, of course, what success ?-So great, he answered, that in consequence of the gain which had accrued to him through my means, and which he was certain would still accrue, (as he now considered the Budget to be an annual income for some years to come,) he must insist upon cancelling a bond which I had given him, for money he had lent to me. I was astounded; for I had never dreamt of fee or reward.

To prove that he was in earnest, I extract a paragraph from a letter which he wrote to me from Shrewsbury.

“For fear of accidents, I think it necessary to inform you that Fladgate, your attorney, is in possession of your bond to me of £700, as I consider it fully discharged, it is but proper you should have this acknowledgment under my hand. J. B.'

“Should my unostentatious friend think me indelicate in publishing this anecdote, I can only say, that it naturally appertains to the sketch I have given of our co-operations in life ; and that the insertion of it here seems almost indispensable, in order to elucidate my previous statement of our having blended so much sentiment with so much traffic. I feel, too, that it would be downright injustice to him if I suppressed it; and would betoken in myself the pride of those narrow-minded persons who are ashamed of acknowledging how greatly they have profited by the liberal spirit of others.

“ The bond above mentioned was given, be it observed, on a private account; not for money due to an actor for his professional assistance. Gilliland, in his . Dramatic Mirror,' says that my admission of partners enabled the proprietors to completely liquidate all the demands which had for some time past involved the house in temporary embarrassments. This is a gross mistake ; the Haymarket Theatre was never embarrassed (on the contrary, it was a prosperous speculation) while under my direction. My own difficulties during part of this time are another matter : I may touch slightly on this hereafter ; but shall

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