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A letter of acknowledgment to Lord was engaged upon an elaborate analysis Southampton for an act of bounty runs of them, warned the public by handbills in this strain :
to put no faith in Vortigern. As counGratitude is alle I have toe offer, and that is ter-bills were immediately issued by the tooe great and tooe sublyme a feeling for poore Irelands, this only had the effect of mortals toe expresse. O my Lorde, itte is a stimulating curiosity upon the subject. dyes; itte cherishes sweet Nature, and lulls the John Kemble, however, who was equally calme breaste toe softe, softe repose.
persuaded of the imposture, though
bound by his engagement with Sheridan The Profession of Faith, which impressed Dr. Wharton by its superiority all his influence as stage manager to
to take the part assigned to him, used to the English Church Service, con
make the performance ridiculous. In cludes thus :
the attempt to fix it for April Fool's O God! manne as I am, frayle bye nature, Day he was overruled, but succeeded in fulle offe synne, yette greate God receyve me selecting the farce of My Grandmother toe thye bosomme, where all is sweete con
as an after-piece. To secure an adverse tente and happynesse, alle is blysse where discontente is neverre hearde, butte where onne
verdict from the public, he is said to bond of freyndeshippe unytes alle menne.
have instructed a band of claqueurs to Forgive O Lorde alle our synnes, and withe hiss at a given signal, but the charge of thye grete goodnesse take usse alle toe thye his having resorted to such unworthy chickenne thatte under the coverte offe herre tactics rests upon very doubtful authorispreadynge wings receyves herre lyttle broode ty.* The house was crowded, and the and hoverynge overe themme, keepes themme piece received a quiet hearing until the harmlesse and in safetye. Wm. Shakespeare.
fifth act was reached, in the second
scene of which a speech of Vortigern's Shakesperian students of our own day contained the ominous linewill require no further evidence to determine their judgment upon the ques
And when this solemn mockery is o'er. tion of authenticity, and may have a This Kemble delivered with marked difficulty in believing that anyone of the emphasis, and the clamor which followsmallest critical sagacity or training can ed showed that his shot had told. Havhave been for an instant deceived. Yet ing paused for a moment, he repeated such mawkish stuff as this, unworthy the line in a tone of such sardonic scorn of a “ Laura Matilda's” brewing, was that no one in the house could mistake potent enough to inspire conviction, not his meaning, and the rest of the piece only in experts so learned as Parr and was inaudible. Chalmers, but in a wit and dramatist so Though the author must be allowed brilliant as Sheridan. He was eager to some imitative ingenuity in modelling a secure the unpublished play of Vortigern few declamatory passages upon the dicfor Drury Lane, of which he was then tion of the Elizabethan dramatists, the lessee, and his interest prevailed over impudence of his attempt to father his that of Harris, the manager of Covent bantling on Shakespeare may be suffiGarden, who offered a carte blanche for ciently estimated by an extract from the privilege of representation. Upon one of the songs :payment of 300l., and an undertaking
She sang, while from her eye ran down to divide the profits for sixty nights,
The silv'ry drop of sorrow; the play was made over to him. Linley From grief she stole away the crown, having coniposed music for the play, Sweet patience too did borrow; and prologues being written by the Lau
Pensive she sat while fortune frown'd reate and Sir James Bland Burgess, it
And smiling, woo'd sad melancholy. was announced for performance in the Soon after the fiasco of Vortigern, spring of 1796, with John and Charles Malone published his Kemble and Mrs. Jordan in the lead- the Authenticity of the manuscripts. ing parts. On the appearance of the His exposure of their factitious archaism advertisements, Edmund Malone, the was fairly complete. Apart from the first Shakespearian critic of the day, suspicion attaching to the unsupported who had already detected the spuriousness of the published manuscripts, and *W. H. Ireland's Preface to Vortigern, 1832.
narrative of their discovery and owner- whom he had duped. Notwithstanding ship, and any doubt as to the resem- this avowal, the elder Ireland remained, blance of the handwriting to Shake- or affected to remain, incredulous of speare's, the evidence of error in minute the forgery, and for two or three years particulars of language, spelling, and afterwards kept up a paper warfare in date was so cumulative as to determine its defence ; vindicating his own honor the question in the minds of all impartial at the same time by discarding his son. judges. Many of the experts who had The latter, thrown upon his wits for a compromised their reputation were now livelihood, and bitterly complaining of satisfied that they had been duped, but the persecution which he underwent for a few still clung to their belief, especial- an act of youthful folly, maintained himly George Chalmers, who, in two bulky self more or less creditably by literature, volumes of “ Apology, marked by until his death in 1835. He repeated considerable research, attempted to re- his former narrative with some further fute Malone's arguments. Samuel Ire- details in a volume of Confessions publand also put forth an immediate reply lished in 1805, and adhered to it in the to them, but rather by way of vindicat- preface to a reprint of Vortigern, in ing his character from the imputation of 1832 ; but is said to have made a last fraud, than of sustaining the credit of confession shortly before his death, in the papers. Any chance of his doing so which he recanted all that he had said with success was rendered hopeless by before as “a tissue of lies," invented the simultaneous appearance of a pam- for the sole purpose of gaining money. phlet written by his son, William Henry If this final version may be trusted, it Ireland, young law-studentwho
was his father who originated the forgavowed himself the sole author of the ery, and systematically employed him imposture. Induced in the first in- and his sisters in elaborating it. Other stance, according to his own account, evidence has been adduced to show that by the sole motive of gratifying his the elder Ireland was not wholly incafather's ardent wish for Shakespearian pable of the part imputed to him, but relics, he had commenced by the forgery how much credit can be given to the of a single autograph, and finding this testimony of
testimony of a thrice-convicted liar succeed, was prompted partly by a mis- against a deceased accomplice, and what chievous desire to see how far credu
may be their respective shares of crimility would go in the search for antiqui- nality, it would scarcely be profitable to ties," and partly by flattered vanity, to enquire. carry the deception further. When It will be more instructive to consider pressed by his father to disclose the how a fact so unique in the annals of litsource whence he obtained the manu
erature as the duping of several eminent scripts, he concocted a story that they experts at once, and under circumstances belonged to a descendant of the actor singularly favorable to the detection of Heminge, who had been a comrade of fraud, may be reasonably explained. Shakespeare's, and acquired them as his We shall hardly err in ascribing the trustee of certain bequests to an imagin- forger's success, in great measure, to the ary W. H. Ireland, which had never been opportuneness of the occasion which he fulfilled. The owner's readiness to part selected. The indifference with which with his treasures to a namesake and Shakespeare's genius had been regarded presumed representative of the man by his greatest countrymen since the whom his ancestor had defrauded, and his reluctance to let his own name be known, were thus plausibly explained. * See Willis's Current Notes, Dec. 1855, and This curious confession, in which the
Dr. Ingleby's Shakespeare Fabrications, app. i. writer particularises the gradual process ject 'may consult a paper recently (March 27th,
1859. Those who are curious on the subof his forgery, the places where the ma- 1878) read before the Royal Society of Literaterials were procured, and the persons ture, by Dr. Ingleby, in which, after reviewing whom he entrusted with the secret, ex
by the light of fresh evidence the conclusion
to which he had formerly come, that the imculpates his father from any complicity
posture was concocted between the father and in it, and pleads on the score of his
son, he reverts to the generally accepted view youth for a lenient verdict from those that the latter was alone responsible for it.
death of Milton, was exchanged during covering his signature to a deed or some the eighteenth century for a suddenly reference to his property that had been awakened interest which grew with the hitherto overlooked, all available reposistudy of his works, and quickly ripened tories of family papers, wills, and legal into reverence. Warburton, Johnson, proceedings were unearthed and reFarmer, Steevens, and Malone founded searched. The little world of collecta school of careful Shakespearian criti- ors, in short, had gone mad in the purcism, and the vigorous, impassioned in- suit of Shakespeariana. When the supterpretation of the poet's great characters ply is limited of a genuine commodity, by the acting of Garrick and the Kembles for which the demand is large, it is noinspired a widely-diffused appreciation torious that there is always a manufacof his dramatic art, which in the present ture of spurious articles to meet it. W. condition of the stage it is difficult for us H. Ireland was one of the first to seize to realise. Veneration for his master the opportunity which thus presented was carried by Garrick himself to the itself, and made use for the purpose of point of idolatry. At his villa by the his father's real or assumed enthusiasm Thames at Hampton, he erected a me- as a Shakespearian collector. His imimorial temple, in which he enshrined the tations of sixteenth-century handwriting poet's statue by Roubiliac, and to do were undoubtedly skilful, and the prehim public honor organised the famous cautions which he took to procure genBirthday Festival, which was celebrated uine paper of the period, and produce at Stratford in 1769, and raised sub- by artificial means the effect of age upon scriptions for the monumental effigy now the ink and wax employed, were suffiin Westminster Abbey. The success cient to disarm suspicion. The unsetwhich attended these efforts testified to tled state of Elizabethan spelling was the spread of Shakespearian enthusiasm an advantage of which he availed himamong a large class. Towards the close self to the full. He exaggerated its of the century this reached its height. archaism, indeed, to the utınost limits of One or two of its effects were admirable, possibility, but kept so far within them such as the design, on which Alderman as not to transcend the experience of Boydell spent a fortune, of itlustrating men possessed, like Chalmers, of more the poet's finest creations by the best learning than logic, who, if they could contemporary art ; and the impulse find a single instance wherein a contemwhich the study of Elizabethan literature porary of Shakespeare had spelt for gave to the dramatic genius of Coleridge, forre" and as asse, saw no objecLandor, and Procter, and to the critical tion to the genuineness of a manuscript insight of Lamb and Hazlitt. But, like in which such exceptional redundancy all such movements, when carried be- was the invariable rule. Once having yond the bounds of moderation, it be- persuaded themselves that they were came ridiculous. The quiet little War- dealing with an authentic work of wickshire town in which the poet was Shakespeare, the experts were blinded born and died became the goal of as by their reverence to all evidence of its many pilgrimages as a mediæval martyr's intrinsic worthlessness. Their faith tonib, and the mulberry tree that had paralysed their reason, and made a fool grown in his garden was manufactured of their imagination. In the tumid into as many relics as “ the true Cross." bombast and insipid sentiment of the Picture galleries were diligently hunted Profession and the letters, they discernover for any old portrait that might beared only the poet's glowing fancy and the faintest resemblance to his. Anti- devout feeling. The tawdry rhetoric by quaries made it the business of their which the forger thought to improve the lives to collect with scrupulous care every language of Lear, and the discords which scrap of fact connected with his pedigree he introduced into its music, appeared and family history. Literature of the to them characteristic marks of the poorest quality was ransacked for con- master's daring licence ; and the palpatemporary verdicts upon his works, or ble crudeness and extravagance of Vorallusions, however remote, to his theat- tigern were triumphantly explained by rical career and the biographies of his assuming it to be a production of his fellow-actors. On the chance of dis- youthful genius." It required that a
critic whose reverence had not deadened dispassionate dissection before their his judgment should subject the internal supposititious character became apparand external evidence for the MSS. to a ent.—Cornhill Magazine.
PETER THE GREAT.
SEVERAL of the thrones of Europe at held up above the crowd to be cheered the beginning of the eighteenth century at, and having no other function in sowere occupied by men of unusual force, ciety to fill ; or if any kind of activity is freshness, and uniqueness of character. desirable in such exalted beings, rather Charles XII., Frederick William, and that which goes to make them Founders Peter the Great were every inch of them of a Family than Fathers of a People. real and not merely titular kings, and Especially is this true of Frederick announced the existence of their several William and Peter, and of Peter, perempires to the older sovereignties, who haps, more than of his brother of Prussia. hitherto had treated them with a con- The force that was in the Swedish hero temptuous and condescending toleration, showed itself in the line of the soldier, with an emphasis that compelled atten- and not in that of the reformer and tion. If there was little of the trappings statesman ; but the genius of true kingof a king about them, there was in them ship was in him, and, had circumstances abundance of that fire and force which been more propitious, would have made goes to the building up and consolida- for itself an outlet in the nobler direction of empires, and without which the tion. A man's development is detertinsel and spangle, the gold lace, the mined by the element around him. It pompous ceremonial, the mock dignity, is not our purpose to draw any contrast are rather ludicrous than solemnising. between the relative worth of the lifeThey were kings though they could not work of these three heroes, but rather to play at kings. Their royal progresses try to realise to ourselves a picture of were not empty melodramatic or scenic one of them, to walk round and round posturings before the people ; a practical him, and learn what manner of man he purpose ever lay at the root of them. was, and stamp on our imagination a They did not disdain to visit the courts conception of his modes of living, of of justice, hear complaints, witness the thinking, and of looking at things; his administration of righteousness by their manners, habits, tastes, and ambitions ; representatives and deputies, and inquire his bearing in, and influence on, that carefully into the habits and industries strange Russian society into which he of the districts through which they pass- had been born. Not being historians, ed. I do not suppose that these mon- either philosophical or matter-of-fact ; archs ever wasted a moment in devising nor yet Russian subjects, anxious about methods and means to foster the senti- the origin and continuance of Russian ment of loyalty ; and certainly they gave greatness, Peter the man is far more promore care to the sacred duty of further- foundly interesting to us than Peter the ing and planning the development of King, the Captain, and Reformer. their country, and the happiness and There is a deep universal human interest prosperity of their subjects, than the about him as there is in every man who consolidation of their thrones and the lives and shapes his life by the spirit establishment of their dynasties. They within him, not wholly by the convenmust have seemed wild sports and freaks tionalities and approved routines and of nature, grotesque enigmas and phe- views of the society in which Fate has nomena, in the eyes of their crowned placed him ; and, as long as it holds true brethren whose ideal of the life-work of that the proper study of mankind is man, a king was to be and look solemn, pom- so long will character in its wider, and pous, self-conscious and vacant on occa- not in its local and special aspects-in sions of public pageantry ; and to be its human, not in its national or sectaconsiderate of personal amusement and rian developments, have a peculiar fascigratification when the solemn hour was nation for inen, and enable us to grasp past - a mere ornamental figure-head and hold the sublime doctrine of the in
destructible brotherhood of man in spite Genghis Khan. A marriage-market of of the sects, breeds, and creeds into all the young ladies willing to becone which the race has been split.
candidates for the vacancy was held in a Well, then, when we stand a little room set apart or hired for the purpose. back from our hero and take a glance at The aspirant to matrimony made his him, the thing that will chiefly strike us round, winding and interwinding among is the heterogeneousness of the elements the applicants, who spared no thought, of which he was mixed, the contradicto- expense, or toil, in spreading out their riness of the qualities of which the tissue charms to the best advantage ; and after of his being was woven.
careful inspection and balancing of the bundle of contradictions ; in nearly rival claims, he selected the lady whose equal parts hero and churl, social regen- grace and beauty most fascinated his erator and sot ; lawless tyrant and benefi- heart, and eye, and fancy. Natalia Nacent legislator. He was born, bred, riskin, Peter's mother, was chosen to be and died a barbarian ; yet he was a the second wife of the Czar Alexis in this powerful civilising energy in Russian manner out of some fifty or sixty young life.
He used sadly and self-reproach- ladies of breeding and beauty who all ingly to complain that though he could competed for the Czar's vacant heart and reform his people he could not reform throne. In her case, however, the imhimself. He was fierce, explosive, even promptu character of the selection was a blood-thirsty ; yet there was a good body farce got up to pacify and deceive the of solid and even loveable manhood in higher nobility, in whose ranks the him ; a cruel tyrant, yet a scent of jus- parents of the young lady were not entice can always be suspected in his wild- rolled. The Czar had met Natalia at est outbreaks of vengeance ; and there the house of one of his ministers, and his were tears in him for the sorrow-stricken, heart had been taken captive on the and sympathy and ready help for the spot. A few days afterwards he returned widow and the orphan. It is doubtful and asked her hand in marriage, to the if he ever read a book, yet he founded great alarm of his minister, who saw at the Imperial Academy of Sciences at St. once that the powerful nobles would rePetersburg, and even attempted to intro- gard the marriage as the result of an induce the Italian Opera. His temper trigue. By the minister's advice the was cruel and irascible, yet a meek and Czar resolved to follow the popular cuspatient defiance of it, based on reason tom, and ordered the daughters of the and right, becalmed it in a moment and nobility to present themselves befora brought it under the control of his bet- him. It was arranged that Natalie ter mind. He had from his birth, and should appear among them, and that the far on into his riper years, a nervous Czar's choice of her should have a quite dread of water, yet he made himself a impromptu look. The fruit of this margreat sea-captain and Russia a great riage, celebrated in Moscow in 1670, was maritime power ; and, in spite of his one son and one daughter. On his rereckless, perverse, impatient spirit, turn from his wanderings through Euschooled himself to learn the art of war rope to learn civilisation Peter abolished in the bitter school of defeat and disas- this curious custom. Indeed, his achieveter, and taught it at last to his tutors and ments as a social reformer are not his conquerors.
least claims to greatness, accomplished I cannot introduce the story of Peter's as they were in the face of great opposibirth better than by giving an account of tion on the part of the whole nation, both the manner in which Russian kings and priests and peasants, nobles and serfs, nobles selected their brides, a custom anyone of these classes being quite as igwhich Peter afterwards abolished, and norant, prejudiced, and barbarous as the which looks like a survival from the others. He set himself to provide optimes of Ahasuerus and Esther; it prob- portunities and occasions on which the ably was so, for the Russians were of youth of both sexes should mix freely Oriental or Tartar descent—'Scratch a and openly on terms of social equality. Russian and you will find a Tartar '— Not only did he throw his own palaces and • Czar' is a title borrowed from that open to all married and unmarried perheld by the petty chiefs descended from sons who were willing to come and see