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In presenting to the Patrons and Friends of the GENERAL THEATRICAL FUND the Report of the Seventh Anniversary Festival, the Directors have the cheerful duty of thankful congratulation on the state of the Institution. They feel that supported by the continuance of that distinguished patronage which has been hitherto so kindly bestowed upon the Fund, and presided over by individuals so distinguished as have honoured the Chair on the occurrence of the Anniversaries, there can be no doubt that the GENERAL THEATRICAL FUND will be second to no Benevolent Institution in the Kingdom. Still, they feel that much remains to be donethat the objects of the Association are still imperfectly known; and that as each succeeding year will add to the number of claimants, so greater exertions will be necessary to obtain increased support, in order to carry out fully the praiseworthy intentions of its founders. The continued support of the Public is therefore to be desired, and it is hoped that the administration of the affairs is such as to secure that desirable result.
It should be borne in mind, that in this Institution there is no restriction whatever ; that it is not alone those who have filled London engagements in one or other particular theatre, but that performers over the
whole Empire (being members) are objects for its sympathy and relieving care.
The Directors again return their grateful thanks to the Hon. Mr. Justice Talfourd, Charles Dickens, Esq., and Benjamin Bond Cabbell, Esq., M.P., the Trustees of the Fund; to Benjamin Webster, Esq., W. C. Macready, Esq., Charles Kean, Esq., William Farren, Esq., T. P. Cooke, Esq., and to Mrs. Theodore Marten, late Miss Helen Faucit, for their constant assistance and support from the foundation of the Association,
To Captain Chappell, R.N., John Forster, Robert Clarke, W. H. West Betty, James Davidson, Robert Feast, Charles Manby, W. Gardener, Charles Mears, William Sams, Charles Hill, John Strut, John Marston, John Brady, T. G. Lye, Herbert Sturmy, Walter T. Fawcett, and Henry Hill, Esquires, for their kind and constant patronage.
The Directors also have pleasure in acknowledging their great obligation to the Ladies and Gentlemen of the musical profession, who so ably and kindly assisted them on the day of the Festival, and who have with such continued kindness displayed their friendly interest in the Institution on every Anniversary.
On Monday, the 5th April, 1852, the Members and Friends of this Association, established in 1839, and recently Incorporated by Royal Charter, held their Seventh Anniversary Festival at the London Tavern, Bishopsgate-street, Sir Edward Lytton Bulwer Lytton, Bart., M.P., in the Chair, supporter by Captain Chappell, R.N.; John Forster, Esq. ; Charles Dickens, Esq.;. Mark Lemon, Esq., Benjamin Webster, Esq,; J. B. Buckstone, Esq.; T. P. Cooke, Esq.; R. Bell, Esq. ; C. Manby, Esq.; T. Willott, Esq.; W. Creswick, Esq.; T. J. Jerwood, Esq.; W. R. Sams, Esq.; and about 140 other Gentlemen.
The dinner, which was admirably served, having concluded, and the cloth removed, “ Non nobis Domine” was sung by a number of professional Gentlemen.
The CHAIRMAN then rose amidst loud cheers, and said he had to propose a toast which was always the first on the lips of every Englishman. He begged to give them the health of “Her Gracious Majesty the Queen,” -(cheers)—and, in doing so, he might be allowed to inform them that their Royal Patroness had, on Saturday
last, enriched the fund, by a further donation of £100.(Cheers.)
The National Anthem having been sung,
The CHAIRMAN proposed “His Royal Highness Prince Albert, Albert Prince of Wales and the rest of the Royal Family."-(Cheers.)
The CHAIRMAN would next call the attention of the company to the Army and Navy, with which he felt he had a sort of professional connexion, having in his earlier days belonged to the Army, though envious fate had opened up to him other means for rendering himself useful than were to be enjoyed in his position as a cornet. It appeared that at the present moment all parties were for calling out militiamen, but as he saw at their table a Gentleman connected with one of the more regular branches of the profession, he would give them The ·Army and Navy," calling upon Captain Chappell to return thanks.—(Cheers.)
CAPTAIN CHAPPELL, R.N., believed they all knew that he belonged to a profession more given to action than to speaking, and they must therefore excuse him if, in trying to make a speech, he showed any deficiency in a knowledge of his part. He had spent upwards of twelve
years of the best part of his life at sea, and seen Nelson on the quarter deck; and, though it was a long time since he had taken part in his profession, he believed that if his life were to come over again, there was nothing on earth which would make him adopt any other. – (Cheers). He thought there was a good deal of similarity between his profession and that of the actor. They had heard a good deal of the decline of the drama, and
if they had not heard, he had felt the decline of the Navy. (Laughter) For the last thirty years the Government had gone on pulling down the Navy little by little, until it was now low indeed. During the last war, whatever might be the merits of the Army, he believed it was to the Navy that England was mainly indebted for the posi. tion she maintained ; and he believed, that should their services be again required, the members of the Navy would be found as willing and able as ever to defend their native land.-(Cheers.) He had shown them that the decline of the Drama and the Navy were simultaneous, and he must now be allowed to allude to one illustrious individual who had done all in her power to stop that decline. Her Sacred Majesty the Queen had shown her sympathy with the Navy, by putting her son into the dress of a tar; and had shown herself ready at all times to hold out her hand-in the best manner she had been advised to do som to support the Drama.—(Cheers.) He had seen the Prince in his dress of a tar, a few days since, on Southampton waters, and he trusted that when it came to his turn to act a more important part in life’s Drama, he would act it as well as his Royal Parents had done theirs, and that he would ever keep in view the interests of the profession, into which he had been inducted.—(Cheers.) In addition to returning thanks for the Navy he found that he was expected to acknowledgd the compliment paid to the Army. Now, as he had once before said on a similar occasion, in the presence of his friends, Mr. Buckstone and Mr. Harley, it was rather hard upon him to expect him to play Box and Cox at the same time.(Laughter.) He could, however, assure them that he