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the publication some years ago, of a singular manuscript, purporting to be the confession of faith of John Shakspeare, whom I conjectured to have been either. the father or brother of the poet; but I am now convinced that I was altogether mistaken. I have already, I trust, satisfactorily proved, p. 53, that he had no brother of the name of John, and I have as little doubt that the person by whom this paper was drawn up, was not his father”. That these opinions were not entertained by the poet himself, must be evident at once from a perusal of his works. The sentiments which we find him expressing in Henry VIII. and King John, could not have fallen from one who was friendly to the pretensions of the Papal See; and in Romeo and Juliet, we find him speaking of evening mass, a mistake which could not have occurred to a Roman Catholick.
Gildon, without authority, I believe, says, that our author left behind him an estate of 300l. per ann. This was equal to at least 1000l. per ann. at this day; the relative value of money, the mode of living in that age, the luxury and taxes of the present time,
2 Mr. Malone has already expressed this opinion, in his Detection of the Ireland forgery ; and has there mentioned, that he had obtained documents which clearly proved that this confession of faith could not have been the composition of any one of our poet's family. I have not been able to discover this documentary evidence, but I suppose it may have been connected with his discovery of John Shakspeare the shoemaker, whom he mentions in the commencement of this Life, and who has been hitherto confounded with the poet's father. It is highly improbable, indeed, that the latter, who held the situation of Bailiff of Strata ford, should have been a Roman Catholick. Boswell.
and various other circumstances, being considered. But I doubt whether all his property amounted to much more than 2001. per ann, which yet was a considerable fortune in those times. He appears from his grand-daughter's will to have possessed, in Bishopton, and Stratford Welcome, four yard land and a half. A yard land is a denomination well known in Warwickshire, and contains from thirty to sixty acres. The average therefore being forty-five, four yard land and a half may be estimated at about two hundred acres. As sixteen years purchase was the common rate at which the land was sold at that time, that is, one half less than at this day, we may suppose that these lands were let at seven shillings per acre, and produced 701. per annum. If we rate the NewPlace with the appurtenances, and our poet's other houses in Stratford, at 601. a year, and his house, &c. in the Blackfriars (for which he paid 1401.9 at 201. a year), we have a rent-roll of 1501. per annum. Of his personal property it is not now possible to form any accurate estimate; but if we rate it at five hundred pounds, money then bearing an interest of ten per cent. Shakspeare's total income was 2001. per ann. To Shakspeare's income from his real and personal property must be added 2001. per ann. which he probably derived from the theatre, while he continued on the stage. In The Merry Wives of Windsor, which was written soon after the year 1600, three hundred pounds a year is described as an estate of such magnitude as to cover all the defects of its possessor :
. 3 See Appendix.
4. Burrell fr.
NEW PLACE, From a Drawing in the Margin of an Ancient SUKVZ», made by Order of SIK GEORGE CAREW, aflerwards Karot caruw of (loptón, and kans ofTorxess) and found at llopton near Imatford upon Ilvon in 1786.
Published or who sur din...
“0, what a world of vile ill-favour'd faults..
The residence in which Shakspeare spent the latter part of his life, must from that circumstance be ever regarded with veneration. The following account of it is given by Mr. Theobald :
“ In 1614 the greater part of the town of Strat, ford was consumed by fire; but our Shakspeare's house, among some others, escaped the flames. This house was first built by Sir Hugh Clopton, a younger brother of an ancient family in that neighbourhood. Sir Hugh was Sheriff of London in the reign of Richard III. and Lord Mayor in the reign of King Henry VII. By his will he bequeathed to his elder brother's son his manor of Clopton, &c. and his house, by the name of the Great House in Stratford. Good part of the estate is yet [in 1733] in the possession of Edward Clopton, Esq. and Sir Hugh Clopton, Knt. lineally descended from the elder brother of the first Sir Hugh.
“ The estate had now been sold out of the Clopton family for above a century, at the time when Shakspeare became the purchaser: who having repaired and modelled it to his own mind, changed the name to New-Place, which the mansion-house, since erected upon the same spot, at this day retains. The house, and lands which attended it, continued in Shakspeare's descendants to the time of the Restoration ; when they were re-purchased by the Clopton family, and the mansion now belongs to Sir Hugh Clopton, Knt. To the favour of this worthy gentleman I owe the knowledge of one particular in honour of our