Garrick in Dublin in 1745-46.
Garrick's Dublin Season
The obvious places for a theatre historian to turn for state-of-the-art accounts of Garrick's forays into Ireland are the standard biography by George Winchester Stone Jr. and George M. Kahrl (1979) and the authoritative 103-page Garrick entry in the Biographical Dictionary of Actors by Philip H. Highfill Jr., Kalman A. Burnim, and Edward A. Langhans (volume 6 of which was published in 1978). What Stone and Kahrl have to say about the first trip is merely "He spent the summer season of 1742 in a series of performances at the Smock Alley theatre in Dublin, to the delight of the Irish." Of the 1745-46 season, they say only that before Thomas Sheridan left London in the summer of 1745, "he engaged Garrick to be his comanager for the 1745-46 season" at Smock Alley (1)--a statement that is probably untrue on two counts. The authors of the Biographical Dictionary do decidedly better. In a half-page or so they quote a cheery letter from Garrick about his reception in 1742, naming nine roles in which he appeared and remarking on the "Garrick fever" that swept Dublin. (2) They devote about a page to the 1745-46 season. They report Thomas Davies's account of a dispute over terms (unspecified flat fee versus equal share of the profits with Sheridan), settled when Sheridan pulled out his watch and demanded acquiescence "in a few minutes" and Garrick "submitted." (3) They list parts Garrick played during the season (information evidently derived from Esther Sheldon's book on Sheridan); sensibly question a claim by George Anne Bellamy that she forced Garrick to play to an almost empty theatre after he consigned her to a lesser part than she wanted in King John; and report a social slight by Lord Chesterfield, then Lord Lieutenant of Ireland. Their account concludes, "Garrick set out for London with his Dublin seasons earnings of 600 [pounds sterling] on 3 May 1746 and arrived a week later." (4) The implication is that Garrick earned 600 [pounds sterling] as his half of the profits made at Smock Alley in the course of four and a half months.
There are some oddities to this picture, though no one seems to have stopped to think about them. Who hires a "co-manager" for a company without settling the terms until he arrives in the country where it performs? And why would a co-manager arrive nearly two months after the opening of the season and leave five weeks before it ends? Given that theatre in Dublin was notoriously unprofitable; that Thomas Sheridan claimed the company could perform only two nights a week; and that a startlingly high proportion of the performances were benefits at which there was no managerial profit (33 of 75, to be precise, or 44 percent)--could the theatre really have generated 1,200 [pounds sterling] in profits during the time Garrick was there? Actually, since the terms turn out to be one-third to Thomas Sheridan, one-third to Garrick, and one-third to the building proprietors, the profit would need to be 1,800 [pounds sterling], which is demonstrably impossible. Something is seriously amiss with our picture of Garricks second trip to Dublin. Can we do better than this?
Studying theatre in Dublin has mostly been very hard to do. Lacking a Dublin equivalent even of John Genest's London performance calendar (1832), let alone The London Stage, 1660-1800, theatre historians have had to work without even primitive cartographic aids. (5) William Smith Clark's The Early Irish Stage (1955) got the basics right up to 1720, and in 1993 the publication of John C. Greene and Gladys L. H. Clarks The Dublin Stage, 1720-1745 vastly improved access up to the point at which Dublin theatre really started to flourish. (6) The rest of the century remained a dark continent, so to speak. Happily, that is now a thing of the past.
In 2011 Lehigh University Press published John C. Greene's lifework, a two-volume Theatre in Dublin, 1745-1820: A History (708 pages) and his six-volume Theatre in Dublin, 1745-1820: A Calendar of Performances (4,672 pages). (7) These are not small pages: the print block is 16.5 by 23 cm. Greene's eight volumes are in both literal and figurative terms a gigantic contribution to Irish theatre history, and given the extensive linkage with London theatre, a significant contribution to British theatre history as well. Probably not many readers will be familiar with these sets. The History lists for $200 and the Calendar for $770, so they will not be available in every library. A brief description seems in order. Greene has mapped a huge subject, calendaring some 18,000 performances. His History is altogether superior to the Introductions to the five parts of The London Stage. He systematically reviews what is known of such things as theatre buildings, regulation, theatrical practice (season, times, command performances, the benefit system, house charges), finances (no account books survive, alas), managers and administration; repertory, scenery, machines, costumes; performers, rehearsal practice, salaries, contract conditions, specialty entertainments, and the audience. The season introductions are exemplary--even better than those in Charles Beecher Hogans part 5 of The London Stage. Greene indicates which performers are new and which returning after an absence of more than two years. Benefits are itemized and categorized. Repertory is systematically analyzed. (8) We are given a list of the new plays mounted in London each season, with statistics on how many ever got performed in Dublin and when. This makes the interconnection of London and Dublin theatre wonderfully easy to study. Greene is commendably non-elitist, covering concerts, music halls, pleasure gardens, and circuses. Unlike the London Stage editors, Greene provides a great deal of data analysis, organized in useful ways.
Navigating this intimidating plethora of data and analysis is made astonishingly easy. Greene supplies an extremely helpful 148-page index to the History, but for the Calendar he produces some of the best access tools I have ever encountered in a reference work. On the Lehigh University Press website are to be found twenty-six separate indexes totaling 7,171 pages. Plays occupy 737 pages; the same data occupies another 737 pages, organized by playwright. Actors are accorded 4,226 pages, detailing every performance of every role, and specifying role, play, date, and theatre. (9) If you are curious, for example, about benefit recipients, you will find 108 pages of index devoted to them. Irish theatre scholars will quickly discover what a fabulous resource Greene's History and Calendar provide for them, and London theatre historians will benefit significantly as well. A great many London actors started out in Dublin, and quite a few who worked in London spent time in Dublin. There is a vast amount to be learned. My object at present, however, is to see if employing Greenes monumental reference work in tandem with a variety of primary and secondary sources can help us make sense of Garrick's second visit to Dublin.
Three primary sources and two twentieth-century works of scholarship are obviously relevant to this investigation. Thomas Sheridan's shrill and aggrieved An Humble Appeal to the Publick (1758) is primarily concerned with the state of Smock Alley at a later crisis point in its history, but it contains retrospective commentary and is a crucial (though decidedly treacherous) source. Benjamin Victors History of the Theatres of London and Dublin (1761) contains commentary by a man who knew the principals. Victor arrived in Dublin in January 1746 while Garrick was there, and became treasurer and deputy manager at Smock Alley under Sheridan in October of that year. From 1759 until his death in 1778 Victor served as treasurer at Drury Lane, working for Garrick there until Garrick retired in 1776. We also have Robert Hitchcock's Historical View of the Irish Stage, a two-volume study written by the prompter at Smock Alley, the first half of which was published in 1788. (10) Hitchcock knew a lot, had access to primary sources that no longer survive, and evidently talked with a bunch of old stagers. Victor was one of his published sources. The most useful modern studies are Stockwell and Sheldon. La Tourette Stockwell's Dublin Theatres and Theatre Customs (1938) is a richly detailed and heavily documented compilation, though more reportage than analysis. Esther K. Sheldon's Thomas Sheridan of Smock-Alley (1967) is an impressive piece of historical scholarship comprising some 530 pages and based on extensive investigation of newspapers, pamphlets, and books of the time.
I propose to address six linked questions. (1) Why did Garrick go to Dublin? (2) Did Garrick serve as co-manager at Smock Alley? (3) What evidence do we have for Garrick's "earning" 600 [pounds sterling]? (4) How prosperous was Smock Alley in 1745-46? (5) Could Garrick have made 600 [pounds sterling], or even the 400 [pounds sterling] perhaps implied by Sheridan's pamphlet--and by what means? (6) How much of the testimony about Garrick's visit seems to hold water? In short, I want to see how well the anecdotal picture holds up in light of documented fact and such further evidence as Greene and others can provide.
Why did Garrick go to Dublin in 1745? How Garrick wound up temporarily in Dublin in 1745 is quite clear, though the story is tortuous, complex, and requires a bit of unpacking. Following his spectacular season at Goodman's Fields in 1741-42 Garrick contracted to spend 1742-43 at Drury Lane, where his impact on box-office receipts was simply astonishing. (11) He was owed a 525 [pounds sterling] salary, plus a benefit, but he pressured Charles Fleetwood (the patentee/manager) into giving him two more plus another hundred guineas in salary, bringing the total to 1,135 [pounds sterling]. Fleetwood failed to pay 235 [pounds sterling] of this, for which Garrick held a bond and judgment. (12) Fleetwood was a rogue and con man who was short-paying (or just not paying) performers and staff. Drury Lane apparently made about a 3,000 [pounds sterling] profit that season, but Fleetwood was suffering huge gambling losses and appropriated unto himself rather more than 6,000 [pounds sterling], leaving the performers underpaid by about 3,300 [pounds sterling]. The result was the actors' rebellion of 1743: they struck, and petitioned the Lord Chamberlain for redress of grievance. (13) They wanted either a guarantee that they would be paid the salaries owed them, or a license to perform for themselves. Garrick had sent a proposal to Fleetwood via Owen Swiney, offering to "assure the Patentee the sum of fifteen hundred pounds for the profits of the said Theatre the insuing season or one thousand pounds certain, and the remaining profits to be divided between the Patentee and him so that he [Fleetwood] is sure of one thousand pounds, and is an adventurer only for further Gain." (14) Fleetwood turned a deaf ear.
The Lord Chamberlain was the Duke of Grafton, whose only response to the actors' petition for redress was to express outrage at the high salaries they were owed. (15) This left actors and house servants at the mercy of the patentee, who needed the performers (most especially Garrick) but chose to exclude Charles Macklin from the settlement at the end of October 1743-leading to an ugly public row and permanent enmity between Macklin and Garrick. We know that by 8 November Garrick was definitely thinking about decamping to Dublin, because eight of the other actors wrote to him on that day, having heard that he is "determined to go to Ireland" begging him not to do so for fear of reprisals against those left behind. (16) Garrick returned to the Drury Lane stage, massively discontented and short of options. From the summer of 1744 scraps of evidence of his frame of mind can be found in letter after letter.
On 16 September 1744 he tells Somerset Draper that he got his arrears from Fleetwood only by refusing to perform in 1744-45 until he was paid. (17) His hope was that "Theatrical Revolutions" could be "quite Settled" if Fleetwood went broke and was forced to sell the theatre and the remaining years on the twenty-one-year patent, due to expire in 1753. As he explains in a letter to John Hoadly on 29 December 1744, this possibility fell through: he had hoped to write the letter "signd Manager of Drury Lane for I have been very near buying ye Patent, Lease of ye House, Cloaths Scenes &-- ... Mr Fletewood has sold all his Right & Title to Mr Orator Lacy ... who has furnishd f Money, is Yet a Secret." (18) He was "invited Strongly to take a Share of it," but apparently did not like the terms, or the look of Lacy (or both). By July 1745 Benjamin Victor was writing to a friend reporting "the very great likelyhood of our friend Mr. Garrick's performance" in the Dublin "theatre royal, in preference to any one in London" during 1745-46. (19) On 10 October Garrick tells Draper "I expect every day some offers from Ireland, which, if good, I will accept; if not, I will be contented with my present ease, at a small expence, and lie by till the Managers shall think it worth their while to make every thing agreeable to me" (Letters, 1:50). Later that month Garrick writes to Francis Hayman, complaining bitterly of abuse from Lacy ("false Accusations ... low, weak Calumny & defamation ... & malevolent Disposition"). Lacy proposed to give him 500 [pounds sterling] a year for three years, "& be oblig'd to play whenever he pleases." Garrick took a firm stand: "All [w.sup.ch] I have rejected; I won't agree for three Years, I will have ye Sallary I have had hitherto & all my arrears shall be paid; I am not able to Act two principal Characters two Nights successively" (Letters, 1:53). A surviving draft of a long and angry letter he sent to Lacy that month says he will not compromise on any point, adding that "nothing but the grossest impositions & tyrrany of a manager can make me think of quitting the English stage," but that he is determined to do so, given Lacy's outrageous treatment of him (Letters, 1:58-64). By 23 October he is telling Draper "My thoughts bend towards Ireland" and on the 26th he expressed his determination to sue Lacy for his arrears if "Counsel" approves (Letters, 1:65, 67).
Neither Sheridan's proposal letter nor Garrick's response survives, but Sheridan's proposition (which Davies says Garrick described to his friend Colonel Wyndham as "the oddest epistle I ever saw in my life") was cranky and stiff-necked. Garrick says that Sheridan
made an offer to divide all profits with him ... after deducting the incurred expenses. He told him, at the same time, that he must expect nothing from his friendship, for he owed him none; but all that the best actor had a right to command, he might be very certain should be granted. (20)
At some point Garrick was presented with an alternative possibility. He may have queried John Rich about performing at Covent Garden, but far more likely Rich approached Garrick, perhaps as anxious to deprive Lacy of his box-office appeal as to acquire his services for Covent Garden. All we know of their negotiation is a strange note, supposedly from Garrick "To His Brethren at The Queen's-Arms" [a tavern where a dub of Garricks friends met], saying that "He is now with Rich, drawing up a Memorandum," whose text is appended (Letters, 1:68). Rich offers Garrick 600 guineas and a free benefit before any other performer, both for the present season (starting by 25 December) and for the next. The note survives only in a transcript published in the Morning Post and General Advertiser of 30 September 1786, where it is dated "Nov. 23, 1745." The date cannot be right since Garrick's arrival in Dublin on 24 November was reported in Faulkner's Dublin Journal, a journey that often took a week. (21)
On 1 December 1745 Garrick informed Draper that he has written to Rich "in a very civil manner, and given him my reasons for not accepting his offer" (not specified); he also says he will be back in London in March, but that if "no revolution should happen in the mean time at Drury-lane" he might return to Dublin the next season and obtain "a subscription." He adds, "I have no inclination to Covent-garden, I am afraid of the house, and other things" (Letters, 1:68-70). I take "afraid of the house" to mean that he doubts the power of his voice can meet the demands of Covent Garden's acoustics. "Other things" may well refer to John Rich's autocratic managerial style and devotion to pantomime. (22)
Garrick wanted to buy Drury Lane and the remaining term of the twenty-one-year patent. He reports to Draper in mid-December 1745 that Susanna Cibber believes they can buy the patent; says he can come quickly if the revolution occurs; and expresses hope that Hutchinson Mure can be part of the deal for the patent (Letters, 1:71-72). (23) About the twenty-sixth he writes to Draper, having heard about the insolvency of the bankers who financed Lacy. He presumes that "Sure some thing must happen in the theatrical state," adding "if you can conveniently wriggle your little friend into the patent upon good terms, you make me for ever" (Letters, 1:73-74; emphasis Garrick's). Throughout 1746 and into the spring of 1747 Mrs Cibber sends Garrick missive after missive, suggesting various possibilities (for example, making a partner of James Quin). Finally, on 9 April 1747, Garrick and Lacy sign the agreement that makes them co-owners and co-managers on a fifty-fifty basis. (24)
This was very definitely not what Garrick wanted. He wished to work neither for nor with James Lacy, whom he despised and distrusted. Garrick had gone to Dublin to buy time (and pick up a bit of money) with the hope that in his absence Lacy's enterprise would crash and burn, which must have seemed not only possible but highly probable. Mrs Cibber wrote on 26 February 1746 to say that "There has been no office these three weeks at Drury-lane" (i.e., the treasurers office was not open on Saturday to pay the weekly salaries), though she suspects that Lacy is paying something to principal actors on the sly. (25) Against all expectation Lacy averted bankruptcy and survived by persuading Garrick to come back to Drury Lane as star attraction and partner. I shall return to their awkward connection, but for the moment my concern is with Garrick's time in Dublin. He went there to stall, hoping that lack of his drawing power would reduce audiences at Drury Lane to the point that Lacy's management would collapse, leaving Garrick and his allies to pick up the pieces. (26) But Garrick also wanted to earn some money and assess Dublin's potentialities. We need therefore to ask on what terms Garrick went to Dublin and what happened there.
Did Garrick serve as co-manager at Smock Alley? Lacking Sheridan's proposal letter of October 1745, all we know of its contents is its oddity and that Sheridan offered to "divide all profits" with Garrick. Beyond that, we have Davies's report that
When Mr. Garrick arrived at Dublin, he soon had a meeting with Mr. Sheridan, who offered to fulfil his promise of sharing profit and loss; but the former insisted upon a stipulated sum for playing during the winter.... After some little dispute, which Sheridan decided by taking out his watch and insisting upon an answer in a few minutes, Mr. Garrick submitted. (27)
Apparently Garrick tried to blackmail Sheridan into submitting to different terms, but had his bluff called. In his 1 December letter to Draper, Garrick says that he has
agreed upon terms, which (by the bye) are very indifferent ... however ... I commence joint Manager with Sheridan from the 9th of December next, and am to continue acting twice a-week till the first week in Marcia; the profits arising from it are to be divided into three shares, one to the Proprietors, another to Sheridan, and the third to myself. I am to have two benefits, the first will be the fourth night of my playing, clear of all expences; the second any time in January, paying 15 [pounds sterling] for it. (Letters, 1:68-69)
Neither Stone and Kahrl nor the Biographical Dictionary report these terms, which seems very strange.
On 1 December Garrick himself says he will "commence joint Manager ... from the 9th." Evidently he thought so, or at least presumed that receiving half the managerial two-thirds of profit would involve him in duties beyond acting. He did begin to perform on the ninth. One may wonder how well he could help manage a company already in the midst of a season and about which he can have known very little. Garrick had been wooed to Dublin for the sake of his drawing power. Nothing in the surviving record of letters and contemporary commentary demonstrates his involvement in management. Esther Sheldon points out that "Garrick's few letters from this time speak only of roles he was learning or playing and of the gay time he was having in Dublin society, eating, drinking, and being rather idle, as certainly Sheridan was not. (28) There is nothing in the extant testimony to suggest that Sheridan wanted or needed a co-manager. Stone and Kahrl's assertion (quoted above) that Sheridan engaged Garrick as co-manager before leaving London the previous summer is demonstrably false in timing (his offer to Garrick came by mail in October), and without any citation of evidence as to manager versus actor. They make this claim in a chapter entitled "The Beginning Manager," and it appears to be nothing more than an assumption.
Benjamin Victor says that when he arrived in Dublin in January 1746 he found "Mr. Garrick at the Theatre-Royal, with Mr. Sheridan, as Sharers and Adventurers; and Mr. Barry engaged at a Salary by the Proprietors," saying nothing of management. (29) The one quasi-contemporary source that treats Garrick as co-manager (other than his own letter of 1 December) is a passing reference in Davies, who says, "During the management of the Dublin stage by Garrick and Sheridan, a genius started up"--referring to Spranger Barry. (30) Hitchcock draws on Davies and clearly respects him, but responds directly to this comment about Barry:
I must here beg leave to set Mr. Davies right in one particular. In his life of Mr. Garrick, he says, "During the management of the Dublin stage by Garrick and Sheridan, a genius started up whose eminence," &c. meaning Mr. Barry. In the first place Mr. Garrick had no share in the management, though he had in the profits; the former was Mr. Sheridan's sole province. As to Mr. Barry ... he first played in February, 1744. (31)
On balance, the evidence seems strong that Sheridan did not want a co-manager but was prepared to give half of the managerial profits to an actor whose drawing power would greatly increase those profits. We have no good reason to believe that Garrick was brought to Dublin as co-manager or that he functioned in that capacity.
What evidence do we have for Garrick's "earning" 600 [pounds sterling] at Smock Alley in 1745-46? The sum Garrick gained from his second visit to Dublin is important--not just as a matter of curiosity about this season, but because it has bearing on Garrick's thinking about his future. So far as I am aware, no eighteenth-century source names a particular sum of money as Garricks remuneration for the season--save Thomas Sheridan, who says in 1758 that "twelve Years ago, Mr. Garrick, in his height of Reputation, asked but four hundred Pounds of Mr. Sheridan for a Seasons Playing." (32) We will have to return to this problematical figure, but note that Sheridan says "asked," not "got." This dearth of evidence notwithstanding, the authors of the Biographical Dictionary say flatly that "Garrick set out for London with his Dublin season's earnings of 600 [pounds sterling] on 3 May 1746." (33) No documentation is supplied. Why do Highfill, Burnim, and Langhans think they know this? My best guess is that they picked up the number from Percy Fitzgerald's chapter on "Second Dublin Season." Fitzgerald says, "It was rumoured that the amount of money divided between Garrick and Sheridan was something incredible," (34) a phrase lifted without acknowledgement from the memoirs of the highly unreliable George Anne Bellamy. (35) Fitzgerald goes on to say that Garrick arrived back in "London on the 10th of May ... bringing with him six hundred pounds, the spoil and profit of his campaign." (36) If he had evidence, I have failed to find it.
Another conceivable (if unlikely) source of the Biographical Dictionary's 600 [pounds sterling] figure is suggested by a mishap in Greene and Clarks Dublin Stage, 1720-1745. Looking just beyond their chronological coverage in that book, they say that "In the autumn of 1745 Garrick was asked to perform in Dublin and was offered a provisional contract (called a 'Memorandum') which specified that he would receive the sum of six hundred guineas for acting from Christmas until the end of the season," plus "a clear benefit" before any other performer, and the same terms "for the next season." (37) They add, "In the event, Garrick declined these terms, settling instead" on what he outlined to Draper in his letter of 1 December. All this is perfectly true, except that the 600-guinea offer was from Rich for Garrick to perform at Covent Garden, not from Sheridan for him to perform in Dublin. This book was published in 1993 and so could not be the direct source of the Biographical Dictionary's figure, but Greene was long ago Highfill's student, and perhaps one of them confused the other. Quite aside from the offer being from London, the refusal does not stand up under logical scrutiny. Supposing that Garrick was determined to go to Dublin, he would hardly have refused 600 guineas and a free benefit for three months there in favor of two benefits and half the managerial profits at Smock Alley for that period.
Pending the unlikely discovery of archival evidence that proves or disproves 600 [pounds sterling] (or guineas) as the sum that Garrick carried back to London, we really cannot take that figure seriously. What we can usefully do, however, is to try to piece together bits of evidence that can give us some notion of how profitable the theatre was at the time of Garrick's visit and what the magnitude of benefit earnings might have amounted to.
How prosperous was Smock Alley in 1745-46? Such information as has come down to us is mostly not from that decade, scrappy, and of questionable trustworthiness. However, we have enough to work from that we can draw some useful conclusions. Greene reports 75 performances (plus a concert) by the company Garrick joined. Sheridan's An Humble Appeal says that though the company was strong (true), "they were not able to exhibit Plays offener than two Nights in a Week [not true, as we will see], and could seldom ensure good Houses to both those Nights. And that the Receipt of the whole Season did not exceed three thousand four hundred Pounds." (38) We have no way of verifying that figure, but we can extrapolate a daily average and test its plausibility. Within four years the company's fortunes had changed drastically for the better: by 1749-50 the company spent "in one Season near eight thousand Pounds on Theatrical Entertainments, and the Receipt of one Season amounted to more than nine thousand Pounds." (39) Greenes Calendar shows that the company gave 132 performances, including 36 benefits. In 1745, however, those figures would have been difficult to imagine: since 1740 Smock Alley had averaged 71 performances per season and never exceeded 90. (40)
Greenes calendar allows us to analyze with some precision the circumstances in which Garrick worked during the part of the 1745-46 season that he spent in Dublin. The lack of surviving theatre account books for this and all other eighteenth-century Dublin theatres is unfortunate, but we can make pretty good sense of the situation even without daily numbers. The season opened on 11 October, but only 2 performances were given before November. Garrick first played on 9 December, and participated on a total of thirty nights (plus one on which he only spoke an epilogue), ending on 26 April. Of the 75 nights of plays during the whole season, 34 were (by my count) devoted to benefits. Profits to the managers would, therefore, have to be made out of the remaining 41 nights. I doubt that Garrick would have been entitled to profits from plays performed when he was not in Ireland. During the time of his residence in Dublin there were just 29 non-benefit performances. What Garrick was owed was in fact one-third of the profit (as Garrick explained to Draper, Sheridan was entitled to a third, and the building proprietors the remaining third). Could the Smock Alley theatre have generated 1800 [pounds sterling] in profits off just 29 performances? Not unless they were grossing well over 100 [pounds sterling] per night. To make sense of the scraps of evidence that have come down to us we need to rethink from the ground up. In particular, we will have to confront the vexed issue of the theatre's capacity.
Exactly what evidence do we have as to the prosperity of the Smock Alley company in 1745-46? The Humble Appeal offers two key specifics, whether accurately or not. (1) "Mr. Garrick, in his height of Reputation, during the November Term, in a Parliament Winter, played the fourth Night of his Performance to a Receipt of little more than forty Pounds." (41) (2) "The Receipt of the whole Season" (whatever that may mean) did not exceed 3,400 [pounds sterling]. The first of these claims is false. The fourth night of Garrick's acting was his first benefit night. Faulkner's Dublin Journal of 17-21 December 1745 reported that "Last Night the Comedy of the Rehearsal was acted for the Benefit of Mr. Garrick, to the most polite and crowded Audience that hath been seen at any Play: His Excellency the Earl of Chesterfield, by whose Command it was performed, was present; and vast Numbers of People went away for Want of Room."
Exactly what "The Receipt of the whole Season" includes is a good question, one which cannot be answered with complete confidence. Most likely it means the gross collected and kept by management before paying salaries and expenses of all kinds. Or put another way, it probably does not include the money owed beneficiaries above whatever charges were made against receipts on that night. Sheridan reports 3,400 [pounds sterling] collected over 75 nights, which would amount to 45 [pounds sterling] per night (benefit nights included, but excluding "free" benefits). This does not make "under 40 [pounds sterling]" as reported by Sheridan seem so very small a nights receipt.
To get a grip on Smock Alley finances, we need at least minimal information about three things: the baseline budget as reflected in the "constant charge"; some sense of the theatres capacity; and some notion of high, low, and average daily income. We lack all these things for 1745-46 but do have some facts and figures from the mid and later 1750s. Extrapolating backwards is unquestionably speculative, but I find the figures suggestive--and consonant with the sense of the 1745-46 season we can derive from Greene's calendar.
We do not know as much about constant charge at Smock Alley as we would like. Sheridan claims in An Humble Appeal that in 1758 the constant charge is 50 [pounds sterling] per night, "nor can the utmost Frugality bring it lower than thirty five, exclusive of Rent, Wardrobe, and all certain annual Expences." (42) Circumstances twelve seasons earlier were distinctly different, but the company was not a small affair: the constant charge had to cover twenty-one actors, two singers, three dancers, an unknown number of musicians, and a variety of house servants. Rent on the premises might have run something like 5 [pounds sterling] for each performance (a guess based on late seventeenth-century London figures), (43) and light, heat, taxes, costumes, and incidentals do add up. Top salaries went up quite a lot between the mid-1740s and the mid-1750s. In 1744-45 Sheridan was offered 150 [pounds sterling] for the season, plus a benefit guaranteed at 100 [pounds sterling]. (44) By way of contrast we may note that Victor tells us that in 1754-55 Barry was offered an 800 [pounds sterling] salary for 60 performance nights--about 14 [pounds sterling] a night, and was docked 9 nights' pay when he only appeared 51 times. (45) For 1755-56 Hitchcock reports that Henry Mossop was engaged on terms that gave him one-third of the net above 40 [pounds sterling] charges, and that acting only 24 times (plus three benefits) netted him "between eight and nine hundred pounds." (46) Tate Wilkinson informs us that as late as 1757 Sheridan's "charge for a benefit was only 40 [pounds sterling]," whereas by 1760 Barry was charging beneficiaries 60 [pounds sterling] with "loss" to management. (47) Greene quotes Faulkners Dublin Journal for 12-16 March 1754 to the effect that the "Actual Expence of a Night's Performance ... amounts to 42 [pounds sterling] 14s 5 d without making ... any allowance for the Wardrobe, Scenes, etc." (48)
In all probability, the constant charge at Smock Alley in the mid-1740s was lower. Given the large number of benefits (approaching half the performances), this was a crucial part of the managerial calculus. Income to management on benefit nights needed to cover costs, or management was in serious trouble. This explains the Dublin practice of short-paying actors' salaries so that the house charges for a benefit could be collected in advance of the benefit. (49) Greene points out that this was not the custom in London (where deficiencies had to be repaid at a later date), and that "In Dublin, the benefit could not be advertised until the charges had been paid."
A dozen years after Garricks second visit, Dublin theatre was much changed--and was about to change a great deal more very rapidly. Tate Wilkinson observes that "At Dublin, in 1757, one hundred and fifty pounds was a great house indeed" and he says proudly that at his first Smock Alley benefit (which occurred on 15 February 1760), "The receipt of my house was 172 [pounds sterling] the greatest ever known at that time in that theatre." (50) Smock Alley had undergone some significant alterations by that time. The original 1735 theatre had exterior dimensions of 31 by 13m (101ft 8in by 42ft 7in). According to Linzi Simpson, its length was extended by 3m (almost 10ft). (51) From cartographic evidence, Greene believes this happened by 1756. (52) By my reckoning, that might easily have added 100 spectators to auditorium capacity. In 1745, however, I suspect that 125 [pounds sterling] was about as much as a crowded theatre could generate at normal prices. We must remember, of course, that "capacity" is a flexible concept in a theatre where only boxes had individual seats and extra seating could be crammed onto the stage.
To visualize the financial circumstances of the Smock Alley company in 1745-46, we have two pieces of evidence. The first is Sheridan's assertion (twelve years later) that total income was 3,400 [pounds sterling] (a sum that really cannot include what was paid to beneficiaries). The second is the fact that 34 of the 75 nights that season yielded no more than house charges--but also no less, except in the case of free benefits, which were presumably rarities. If we hypothesize that almost all benefits were charged at 35 [pounds sterling], then (say) thirty-two benefits would generate roughly 1,100 [pounds sterling] of income for management. (53)
If 3,400 [pounds sterling] was indeed the total income to management, then 2,300 [pounds sterling] came from roughly 40 non-benefit nights, which is an average of about 57 [pounds sterling] per night. We have no daily figures for 1745-46, but Sheridan does supply some for 1755 and 1758. (54) He lists daily receipts (with titles of plays) for 21 nights in 1758 when he acted, with a high of 118 [pounds sterling], a low of 41 [pounds sterling], and an average of about 78 [pounds sterling]. For 1755 the figures for 26 nights when Barry acted show a high of 126 [pounds sterling], a low of 37 [pounds sterling], and an average of about 70 [pounds sterling]. Various dismissive remarks about 40 [pounds sterling] houses in the context of 1745 suggest that 40 [pounds sterling] was at or below the profit/loss breakpoint. If we guess that 40 [pounds sterling] might cover all expenses, then outgoings for the season would be about 3,000 [pounds sterling] and the profit divided between building proprietors and management would be about 400 [pounds sterling]. But if costs averaged 45 [pounds sterling] (which does not seem unlikely), then profit on the 3,400 [pounds sterling] would be essentially nil.
My immediate concern, however, is with income and expenditure during the period when Garrick was participating in the company's performances and receiving one-third of the operating profits. What we learn from the 1755 and 1758 figures is that--at a substantially more prosperous time in Smock Alleys history--the theatre could generate at least 125 [pounds sterling] in one night (and probably as much as 150 [pounds sterling]), but that the average in the height of the season was only a bit more than half that.
What does this look like in terms of filling seats? By 1744-45 the old "benefit" prices had become the norm. They were calculated in Irish coinage, with a discount of a penny in the shilling (approximately 8.33 percent) for English money. (55) For calculations as rough and hypothetical as these, I shall not worry about the difference, but will simply round down, calculating box and stage seats at 5s; "Lattice" 4s, Pit 3s, First Gallery 2s, Upper Gallery Is. (56) There is no way to estimate how much seating capacity Smock Alley actually had in each category, but the table below offers some hypothetical demonstrations of what attendance might generate different levels of income. (See Table.)
The capacity of Smock Alley is a vexed issue. By my reckoning, in terms of its dimensions and what is known of its interior, Smock Alley ought to have been able to hold the roughly 800 audience members needed to generate circa 125 [pounds sterling] with a very full house as of 1745-46. If the theatre could not, in fact, hold that many, then the known maximum receipt could have been achieved if a slightly higher proportion of the audience bought expensive places. Victor says that when Sheridan had to make a public apology in 1756, he had "to appear singly before a thousand People," (57) but we need to be suspicious of round figures. We need also to remember that on special occasions theatres occasionally squeezed in amazing numbers of people. My best guess is that a very crowded capacity of 900 or 1,000 may have been possible after the extension that occurred by 1756. Prior to that extension a normal capacity in the vicinity of 800 seems plausible. Even in the mid-1750s average attendance seems to have been no more than two-thirds of capacity. Speaking of that era Victor can say "the House was not half full, (sixty Pounds)." (58)
Looking at the fifty-two performance nights during the period when Garrick was acting in Dublin, we find that he played 29 or 30 times. Twenty-three nights were benefits of one sort or another: Garrick participated in just 7 benefits (three of them for himself). He performed twice for Dr Michael Clancy, a playwright as well as a physician (very likely someone in Garricks social circle) and once voluntarily for the retired Benjamin Husband (1672-1756), described in a newspaper paragraph as "the oldest actor now living." (59) The only member of the company for whom he performed was Spranger Barry: Garrick did not participate on 15 nights when actors and staff had benefits, or in a performance for Daniel Sullivan, a visiting musician. This may seem surprising, as Garrick tended to be generous about performing in colleagues' benefits at Drury Lane: compare his participation in the spring of 1743 and the spring of 1749. In Dublin, however, Garrick was expected to exercise his powers of attraction on nights when the proprietors and managers might benefit. Other members of the company had ample motive to hawk tickets vigorously for their own profit. If the basis on which I have estimated the daily average on non-benefit nights is sound, then we may suppose that the average profit per day was somewhere between (say) ten and seventeen pounds.
Could Garrick have made 400 [pounds sterling] or 600 [pounds sterling]--and if so, how? This returns us to the issue of what Garrick actually carried away from Dublin in 1746. Thomas Davies, almost always sunny and hagiographically inclined, says that "after having considerably added to his stock of money, Mr. Garrick left Ireland." (60) Victor says merely that Garrick got "a great Sum" in Dublin. (61) Commenting on the steep rise in star actors' salaries, Sheridan states that "twelve Years ago, Mr. Garrick, in his height of Reputation, asked but four hundred Pounds of Mr. Sheridan for a Season's Playing." (62) This statement must be viewed with some skepticism. Sheridan appears to be saying that Garrick requested a salary of 400 [pounds sterling] for 1745-46 (and was refused). (63) As Sheldon tartly comments, however, Sheridan's account "was written from a blurred memory." (64) He was quite wrong about the dismal size of the audience on Garricks fourth night, and Greene's Calendar demonstrates what Sheldon had found: plays were offered four and even five nights a week at times that year, not just twice a week as Sheridan claimed. (65) She suggests that the 400 [pounds sterling] figure "may have been" what Garrick "asked in the fruitless interview with Sheridan" when he was forced to accept half the profit owed to the manager. Or alternatively "it may be what Sheridan twelve years later remembered Garrick to have made that season." (66) Either is possible. Let us look at the issue from a different angle. Could Garrick have departed from Ireland with 400 [pounds sterling] (less his travel and living expenses)? Sheldon does not address this question, but I think the answer is unequivocally Yes.
I doubt that Garrick made much from the profit-splitting agreement, but he had three benefits, at least the first of which was spectacularly well attended by an overflow audience. Garrick was present in Dublin for about 29 non-benefit nights and performed on 22 of them. We know neither the average gross on those nights nor the constant and incident charge. But if the total average profit from those nights was (say) circa 10 [pounds sterling], then Garrick's share would be only about 3 [pounds sterling] and change. Twenty-nine such nights would yield something like 95 [pounds sterling]. If we are working on the assumption that Garrick might have collected 400 [pounds sterling], then the three benefits would have to yield 305 [pounds sterling]. Garrick paid no house charge on his first benefit, and only 15 [pounds sterling] on his second; what he paid on the third is anyone's guess. But if the three nights yielded 125 [pounds sterling], 100 [pounds sterling], and 80 [pounds sterling], that would bring our hypothetical total to 400. (67) [pounds sterling]
Could Garrick have made more than 400 [pounds sterling]? If we hypothesize total management costs of 45 [pounds sterling] per night and income of 57 [pounds sterling] (as calculated above), then Garrick would have cleared about 4 [pounds sterling] per night, or a total of about 115 [pounds sterling] from management profits. What he got out of benefits is guesswork, but we know the first was a sellout, and "Garrick fever" ought to have generated relatively full houses at the other two, especially since the bill was altered late so Garrick could exhibit a character he had not previously performed in Dublin. (68) "Guinea tickets" at the benefits could have raised the total to a significant degree. (69) All one can really say is that for Garrick to have gained 400 [pounds sterling] seems entirely plausible, and even 600 [pounds sterling] or more has to be considered within the bounds of possibility. We cannot be sure that Garrick received anything at all from his half of the managerial profits deal, but we can be virtually certain that his benefits made the trip extremely lucrative. Lack of account books or even direct testimony about benefit receipts notwithstanding, we have excellent grounds for believing that he made a lot of money. The profits must, however, have been principally derived from the three benefits, not from his half of the two-thirds of the profit that Thomas Sheridan was splitting with him.
How trustworthy is the anecdotal testimony about Garrick's visit to Dublin? The picture that we get from all sorts of commentators, starting with Arthur Murphys biography of 1801, (70) is inevitably dependent on two sorts of primary sources: memoirists like Victor and Davies, and such testimony as other participants in Smock Alley's 1745-46 season thought fit to publish. (71) Much therefore depends on the knowledge and veracity of Thomas Sheridan and George Anne Bellamy, the former writing twelve years later and the latter upwards of forty.
Sheridan wooed Garrick to Dublin because he desperately needed to attract customers, which Garrick was pretty well guaranteed to do. Sheridan did not have to like it. Their earlier correspondence makes clear that Sheridan felt outclassed and resentful. (72) Garrick's trying to demand terms he had not been offered was a dirty trick, but he clearly resented having his bluff called. Writing to Draper as early as 1 December 1745 Garrick says "Sheridan is a--" (Letters 1:69). (73) The deleted term was sufficiently opprobrious that, as Sheldon observes, (74) the editor of the Morning Post declined to print it in 1786 (Thomas Sheridan did not die until 1788). Garrick adds, angrily, "I intend to behave in such a manner, that no blame shall light upon me, but (entre nous) he is as shifting as Lacy, and has got an indifferent character among the people here." At the age of twenty-eight, Garrick was already capable of exercising the self-control that allowed him to work, mostly without overt friction, with James Lacy and then with Lacy's despicable son for twenty-nine seasons at Drury Lane. But to be as bad as Lacy was to be bad indeed.
A key passage from Sheridan's Humble Appeal has been quoted by practically all ancient and modern commentators:
... it is amazing to consider that Mr. Garrick, in his height of Reputation, during the November Term, in a Parliament Winter, played the fourth Night of his Performance to a Receipt of little more than forty Pounds, and that a Messenger was dispatched to Mr. Sheridan to hasten him to Town (he having retired for a while to prepare himself in some new Characters in the same Plays with Mr. Garrick) in order that they might join Forces, for the immediate Support of the Business. That with all their Strength united they were not able to exhibit Plays offener than two Nights in a Week, and could seldom ensure good Houses to both those Nights. (75)
This creative bit of narrative implies that even near the outset of Garrick's stay in Dublin he could not draw more than a sparse audience on his own. The facts are otherwise, as I have already demonstrated. The fourth night was Garricks wildly successful first benefit, which drew an overflow crowd. The next performance (after Christmas) was a repetition of The Rehearsal, with a special advertisement asking that certain streets be treated as oneway for coaches because acute crowding and traffic jams near the theatre were anticipated.
Did Garrick (or anyone else) send word to Sheridan in the country in a panic, begging him to rush to town to save the day? Not likely. Sheridan did join Garrick in Nicholas Rowe's The Fair Penitent at the next performance (2 January 1746), and after the show Garrick wrote to Draper to say "I have just now played Lothario [in The Fair Penitent] to a very good house; I never was in better spirits, and indeed Sheridan [as Horatio] played the scene well with me" (Letters, 1:75). In short, Sheridans testimony could at best be termed grossly misleading. One might call it something like a malicious falsehood. We can readily understand Sheridans jealousy and self-serving aggrandizement.
Bellamy's fabrications are on an altogether grander scale of fantasy and misrepresentation. Of the nine pages Bellamy gives to Garricks time in Dublin, eight are devoted to a pair of elaborately contrived tales, one of which is demonstrably a pack of lies. (76) She--or perhaps her editor/ghostwriter Alexander Bicknell--was writing almost forty years after the fact and probably without any documentation to which she could refer, so one would not expect particularly reliable history, but the story she spins is outrageous. She says that "After some time [following Garrick's arrival], the tragedy of [Shakespeare's] 'King John' was proposed." Sheridan wanted her to play Constance; Garrick refused. She had her heart set on the part, "the performance of which I had stipulated in my articles." She complained to her "patroness, Mrs. Butler," who "possessed very great power in the genteel world" and who told all socialites to boycott the performance. The result was a "very thin" house whose "receipts did not amount to forty pounds." Garrick, having suffered "the first theatrical humiliation" of his life, "severely repented" what he had done. Better yet, "when the same play was again performed" with Bellamy as Constance, "more people were turned away than could get places."
But--according to Bellamy--this was not the end of her triumph over Garrick. He was to have two benefits. One was to be "early" and he wanted to do Rowe's Jane Shore, but she "absolutely refused" to play the title part. Garrick then wrote her a note, saying '"that if I would oblige him, he would write me a goody goody epilogue; which, with the help of my eyes, should do more mischief than ever the flesh or the devil had done since the world began.' This ridiculous epistle he directed 'To my soul's idol, the beautified Ophelia.'" (77) But his servant gave it to a porter, who had no idea how to deliver it, and it "got the next day into the public prints." Thus was Garrick "mortified," and his "imbecility" displayed to the public.
There are a number of problems with this tarradiddle. First, since when do fourteen-year-old novice actresses stipulate what roles they will play when they sign their articles? Second, this would be a highly peculiar piece of casting. Constance is a widow, and mother of King John's nephew Arthur, a claimant to the English throne. Third, only one performance of King John was advertised this season, with Bellamy not in the cast--suggesting that she did not in fact play the part, and that there was no overflow audience panting to see her in it. Fourth, the receipts at King John on 5 February 1746 are not known, but I see no reason to believe what Mrs Bellamy says of them. To reduce the average take to less than 40 [pounds sterling] would require lowering the audience from circa 400 to under 250. Whether one hostile socialite could do that when people were curious about Garrick seems very questionable. Fifth, the performance of King John was six weeks after Garrick's first benefit and a week after his second one, as Greene's Calendar demonstrates. So Bellamy's alleged refusal to perform as Jane Shore could not have been a response to her not being cast as Constance in King John. Sixth, turning down the part is implausible. In the London theatres there were stiff fines for refusing a part, and a fourteen-year-old novice would be ill-advised to play such games. (78) And seventh, the "goody, goody epilogue" tale is hard to credit. No such report has been found by either Sheldon or Greene, both of whom searched the newspapers assiduously.
I doubt the truth of Bellamy's parting shot, an account of how her friend Mrs. Butler gave Garrick a "valuable packet" to open after he left Ireland that he imagined contained "not only a valuable present ... but a declaration of ... tender sentiments." The actual contents were '"Wesley's Hymns,' and Dean Swift's 'Discourse on the Trinity.'" Garrick (allegedly) later told her that when he opened the packet "he was so much chagrined, that instead of benefiting by the Christian precepts to be found therein" he tossed them into the Irish sea. Garrick employed Bellamy at Drury Lane for three seasons starting in 1750-51, but not thereafter, and at a guess she was glad to get a bit of her own back while using his name to help sell her memoirs. Garrick was in no position to rebut her tales (having died six years earlier), and no reader would have had any way of checking her merry assertions.
Scholars have repeated Bellamy's tales just about verbatim, mostly without any cautionary disclaimers. Highfill, Burnim, and Langhans note "her cavalier attitude toward specific dates"; admit "many omissions of fact" and "a vague retrospection ... which diminishes ... credibility"; quote Horace Walpoles refusal to believe what she says; and grant "the many falsifications and anachronisms." (79) Nonetheless, they presume that she did succeed in creating a "thin house" for King John, even though they know that the second performance did not take place--and they repeat the goody goody tale without comment. (80) Fitzgerald repeats her tales in toto. Sheldon not only accepts the King John story but goes so far as to assume that the "second" performance did take place with Bellamy as Constance, supposing that it happened but did not get advertised. (81) Greene reports Bellamys statements in his Calendar, which is perfectly proper, but he does not test them rigorously or issue cautions about her unreliability. Nothing Bellamy says should be accepted by a theatre historian unless it can be verified with reference to a credible independent source. I disagree with Highfill, Burnim, and Langhans when they say that "the Apology remains a useful work, if only because there is none more accurate covering the same period of Mrs Bellamys life." (82) Introducing fantasy, lies, and nonsense into our historical record is no help to anything but the generation of confusion and error. For example, the Biographical Dictionary reports Bellamy's statement that "Woodward and Mossop, contending managers at Dublin, vied for her services, and she settled upon Mossop at Smock Alley for 1760-61 at a salary of 2000 guineas (she claimed)." (83) Bellamy had been getting 10 [pounds sterling] 10s a week at Covent Garden--and no performer in a London patent theatre (a vastly more prosperous pair of enterprises) ever at any time in the eighteenth century had a salary of 2,000 guineas for a season.
Extirpating George Anne Bellamy from our picture of Garrick in Dublin in 1745-46 leaves us on more solid ground, but largely in the dark. A few details are worthy of notice. Davies comments about the parts performed and Garricks cooperation with Sheridan that "sometimes they acted parts of importance alternately, such as Hamlet, and Richard the Third. To give a peculiar strength to the tragedy of Othello, they for several nights acted the parts of the Moor and lago by turns." (84) Bellamy says that "Mr. Garrick and Mr. Sheridan, agreed to play Shakespear's characters alternately, and to unite their strength in every performance." (85) Greene's Calendar, however, almost entirely demolishes these claims. The only swapping of parts recorded is in two performances of Othello on 26 and 28 February. And as for Garrick and Sheridan uniting their strength "in every performance," Greene's season introduction reports that they played together eleven times in five plays in the thirty nights Garrick performed. (86)
Garrick was not physically strong or especially healthy, and he fiercely resisted playing major roles back to back from very early in his career. Yet this season in Dublin we find him playing Othello on 26 February, Lothario on the 27th, and lago on the 28th. On two occasions he acted in both main-piece and afterpiece--not coincidentally, one suspects, for his second and third benefits. On 27 January he did Sir John Brute (in Vanbrugh's Provok'd Husband) and Mass Johnny (in Cibber's School Boy); on 26 April he did Hastings (in Rowe's Jane Shore) and Sharp (in his own Lying Valet). Garrick was extremely protective of his health and stamina (and needed to be), but for the sake of maximizing profit from a benefit he was evidently prepared to extend himself. We should note, however, that both Lothario and Hastings are relatively light roles.
Garrick always had a shrewd eye for opportunities for self-promotion and good publicity. On 19 March he performed the title role in George Farquhar's Sir Harry Wildair at a benefit for the ancient Benjamin Husband, who thanked him in print: "I must ever acknowledge Mr. Garrick's free and generous offer to play Sir Harry Wildair for me, to whose eminent talents as an actor, I am so much indebted for the success of it." (87) On 15 April he spoke an epilogue by Henry Brooke at a command performance in honor of the Duke of Cumberland. For his third benefit and final performance in Dublin on 26 April he announced a second performance of Shakespeare's Macbeth, but on the 22nd he advertised that "As several Gentlemen and Ladies have desired to see Mr. Garrick in a New Character, the Play of Macbeth is altered to Jane Shore," and at the conclusion of the afterpiece on the 26th he rounded off the evening with a farewell "Address to the Town." (88) At the age of twenty-eight Garrick was already a consummate politician and a skillful builder of his public image.
GARRICK'S RETURN TO LONDON
Garrick's performance of the title role in Tate's adaptation of Shakespeare's King Lear on 14 March 1746 (his twenty-fifth appearance, if he also took Lear on 31 January) was advertised in Faulkner's Dublin Journal of 8-11 March 1746 as the "last time of his acting this Season under his present agreement." I infer that he had hoped that the Lacy management would collapse in the course of the winter, and wanted to be free to flit back to London to benefit from the "revolution" he longed for. (89) The revolution not yet having occurred, he stayed on a bit, on what financial terms we can only guess. He performed in benefits for Husband and Dr Clancy (19 March and 3 April), possibly gratis. (90) Faulkner's Dublin Journal of 5-8 April announced that "Garrick will play three or four times more, before he leaves the Kingdom." He duly performed on 10, 14, and 23 April, the third date advertised as "For the last time this season," but the offer of a third benefit kept him in Dublin for Jane Shore and The Lying Valet on the 26th.
Garrick must have been extremely frustrated. Drury Lane was in horrible shape, and Lacy's management ought to have collapsed. The evidence is not merely anecdotal. A season account book for Drury Lane in 1745-46, discovered in the Hugh Owen Library of the University College of Wales, Aberystwyth, in the 1980s and published in 1990, fully documents a gruesome situation. (91) No wages at all for actors or house servants were paid on 15 and 22 of February; half wages on 1 and 8 March; nothing on 15 and 22 March. As of 8 March the treasurer notes "26 Days arrears due to the performers." All performances after 2 April were benefits, evidently granted to allow the performers the chance of earning some much-needed grocery money. Total receipts to management (not including profits paid to beneficiaries) had been 14,267 [pounds sterling] in 1741-42 and 14,056 [pounds sterling] in 1742-43. In 1745-46 they came to 8,811 [pounds sterling], a sum that would not cover constant and incident charge, let alone the 315 [pounds sterling] owed to the person who had procured the now dwindling twenty-one-year patent, the 500 [pounds sterling] annuity owed to Fleetwood, taxes, and operational costs for such things as scenery and costumes.
Lacy's Drury Lane was definitely on the rocks, but he obstinately refused to abandon ship. Victor tells us that he and Garrick travelled to London together, leaving Dublin on 3 May and arriving on 10 May. (92) What were Garrick's options? He could negotiate with Lacy, who might by May 1746 have been inclined to give him the terms he had demanded the previous summer--but Garrick wanted nothing to do with Lacy, and was clearly still hoping to take control of Drury Lane, either solo or with actor-partners. He could make a proposal to the Smock Alley proprietors. How much of a problem Thomas Sheridan would have posed is not clear. He was firmly in charge at Smock Alley by the time the next season opened on 30 October 1746. Greene says "This is the first season during which Sheridan exercised real financial control of Smock Alley." (93) Back on 15 April, however, at a command performance of Ambrose Philips's The Distrest Mother for the Countess of Chesterfield for which Garrick spoke an epilogue, Sheridan was advertised as Orestes, "tho' his engagements in the theatre had ceased." (94) Garrick must have known this: he was still very much in Dublin. The season continued into June, apparently with wretched receipts after Garrick's departure. (95) Someone must have been in operational charge. But the ambitious young Garrick wanted to be Monarch in London, not a Princeling in Dublin. His third option, however little he liked it, was John Rich and Covent Garden.
Sometime in the second half of December 1745, writing to Draper, Garrick mentions advice from "Perry" (a mutual friend the editors of Garrick's letters were unable to identify): "He mentions my playing with Rich at the end of the season, but not a word of next year; nor would I upon any account engage with him, until I had experienced my power in his house" (Letters, 1:72). "Power in his house" could refer to Rich's high-handed ways, but what Garrick more probably means is that he wants to test his voice in the theatre before contracting to spend a season there. This is, in fact, precisely what he wound up doing. He performed six plays on six nights at Covent Garden, spaced out between 11 and 27 June 1746 (Shakespeare's King Lear, Hamlet, Richard III, Othello, Farquhar's The Beaux Stratagem, and Shakespeare's Macbeth). This was clearly a special arrangement: the company had advertised back on 13 May in the General Advertiser that this day would be "the last time of the Company's performing this season." Victor reports that Garrick "agreed directly with Mr. Rich for the Performance of six Plays ... the Profits of which were divided between them, by which six Plays Garrick added three hundred Pounds to a great Sum got the preceding Season in Dublin." (96) This deal is startlingly at odds with Rich's normally parsimonious ways. (97) I deduce that Rich agreed to these terms (which turned out to amount to 50 [pounds sterling] per night) as a means of persuading Garrick to give Covent Garden a trial and that Garrick found the price irresistible.
Given the inflationary tendencies of theatrical anecdote, we need to ask if this sum is credible. The answer is definitely Yes. We have no season account book for 1745-46 at Covent Garden, but British Library Egerton MS 2268 gives us daily figures for 1746-47 with Garrick in the company. Taking February 1747 as a sample--after excitement about Garrick's return had died down and before the thick of the benefit season--what sort of receipts was the company pulling in? Twenty-four performances generated 4,002 [pounds sterling], an average of 167 [pounds sterling] per night. Drop the five lowest nights in February (as atypical), and the other 19 performances averaged 181 [pounds sterling] a night. The benefit charge was 60 [pounds sterling], so any night that totaled 160 [pounds sterling] or more would have generated the 100 [pounds sterling] profit that would have given Garrick and Rich 300 [pounds sterling] apiece for 6 nights in May-June 1746. Tight-fisted as Rich unquestionably was, he was smart enough to pocket 300 [pounds sterling] while inveigling Garrick into testing his voice at Covent Garden, and as things fell out, convincing Garrick to join the company for 1746-47.
Between late May 1746 and early April 1747 David Garrick must have felt profoundly stymied. By all rights the Lacy management ought to have gone bust, leaving Garrick to swoop in and seize the golden opportunity he had long coveted. The authors of the Biographical Dictionary say in their account of James Lacy that during this time "Garrick was stalling, keeping information close to his vest, all the time dealing for a partnership with Lacy himself." (98) This is preposterous. Garrick was not yearning to be taken into partnership with Lacy; he ultimately decided he would settle for that.
Until twenty years ago (after The London Stage and the Biographical Dictionary were in print), little was known of the state of Drury Lane in 1746-47. Happily, the Yale University Library acquired Richard Cross's prompters diary for that season at the Phillips (London) sale of 19 March 1992. (99) The company was not without talent and some drawing power, employing Spranger Barry, Charles Macklin, Kitty Clive, and Peg Woffington. They were, however, competing against a powerhouse troupe featuring Garrick, James Quin, Susannah Cibber, and Hannah Pritchard. Receipts on non-benefit nights were 8,396 [pounds sterling] at Drury Lane, 17,443 [pounds sterling] at Covent Garden. The total gross was 13,704 [pounds sterling] as against 22,449 [pounds sterling]. The daily average on regular performances was 79 [pounds sterling] versus 131 [pounds sterling]. The reality was rather worse than even these lopsided comparisons might suggest because Fleetwood had left a long string of unpaid debts behind him and mortgaged the property for everything he could get out of it. Much new light is shed by two Chancery suits unknown to theatre historians until 1995. (100) The gist so far as money goes is that Drury Lane was unable to pay even its operating expenses because its income was being drained off to pay mortgage costs and loans taken out to meet the demands of angry creditors.
Somehow, Lacy hung on. How he managed to do so is a mystery. He was born in 1696 to an Irish family impoverished by its loyalty to Charles I. He had been a minor actor working for various London and provincial companies for twenty years and may have served John Rich briefly as an assistant manager. The authors of the Biographical Dictionary suggest that he "had acquired some influence by having ingratiated himself--at hunting, it seems--with the Duke of Grafton, who as Lord Chamberlain controlled the patent." (101) He had some other "important patrons": Lady Burlington, Lord Hartington, and John Roberts, Secretary to Henry Pelham, Minister of the Treasury. He did have enough influence to get the twenty-one-year patent renewed: his April 1747 agreement with Garrick guarantees that he will do so, and he did within little more than a month--admittedly at the cost of a 300-guinea annual payment to the facilitator (a Mr. Calthorpe). Lacy did not buy the theatre and the remnant of the patent from Fleetwood. Rather, the bankers Richard Green and Norton Amber did so (apparently using borrowed money), and they installed Lacy as manager.
Much confusion has surrounded what is usually called Garrick's purchase of a half-interest in the enterprise from Lacy. Highfill, Burnim, and Langhans say in their Garrick entry that he paid 8,000 [pounds sterling] for his half of the business; in their Lacy entry they state that "Lacy had sold Garrick half interest in the patent [and the building and the company's scenes and costumes] for 12,000 [pounds sterling]." (102) Neither seems an accurate statement. (103) In fact, Lacy held little or no equity interest in the property, which was vested in Hutchinson Mure as mortgagee and trustee for Fleetwood. As I read the evidence, Garrick and Lacy agreed jointly to accept responsibility for some 8,800 [pounds sterling] in unpaid debts and salaries, plus a figure variously reported as 3,200 [pounds sterling], 3,500 [pounds sterling], and 4,000 [pounds sterling] to buy Green and Amber's interest from their creditors. I see no reason to believe that either Lacy or Garrick put up much cash: they apparently jointly borrowed most or all of 12,000 [pounds sterling], which they got on the strength of Garricks proven appeal to the London audience. In modern parlance, we would term this a hugely leveraged buyout in which the future earnings of the company were used to acquire it. (104) In the event, the plan worked. According to John Powel, Drury Lane grossed 40,906 [pounds sterling] (exclusive of benefit profits) in two seasons, netting an operating profit of 15,558 [pounds sterling]. Some of this they spent on costumes and other investments, but the entire purchase price and all debts were paid off within three seasons.
This is what actually happened. Obviously it should not have occurred. If Fleetwood had not been a compulsive gambler, he would not have been compelled to sell the theatre and what would have become of it in 1747 at the time of his death is anyone's guess. It would certainly not have come into the hands of a penniless adventurer like James Lacy. If Lacy had possessed a grain of sense, he would have paid Garrick's arrears and met his terms in the winter-spring of 1745, after which he could probably have enjoyed sole possession and fat profits until he finally died in 1774. Lacy's presence is mostly ignored by theatre historians, who have tended to assume that Garrick's taking over Drury Lane was right, natural, and heaven ordained: great actor rightly gains control of great theatre. In fact, it was an improbable fluke. So let me offer a pair of counterfactuals. First hypothesis. Garrick settles in at Covent Garden; discovers that Rich (a successful socialite in high society himself) is not the buffoon he seemed, and can be made to see reason; and they become a highly successful odd couple. Second hypothesis. Garrick finds Covent Garden's acoustics too demanding or Rich too annoying (or both). And he finds the prospect of partnership with Lacy at Drury Lane intolerably aggravating. So he retreats to Dublin and makes himself the monarch of all he surveys, theatrically speaking, in the boondocks. Perhaps he eventually has a chance to return in triumph to London or perhaps not. Is this imaginable? I think it is.
Garrick had a fine time in his almost five months in Dublin in 1745-46. Had he returned, he would not initially have made as much money as he had been getting in London. He got 1,135 [pounds sterling] at Drury Lane in 1742-43 (or was supposed to get it, anyhow). On a "salary" basis that season he should have been paid what amounted to 6 [pounds sterling] for each of (105) performances (benefits included). On a "total compensation" basis he ought to have made 10 [pounds sterling] 16s. At Covent Garden in 1746-47 he got 700 [pounds sterling] in salary plus a free benefit that netted [pounds sterling] 274 17s, for a total of 974 [pounds sterling] 17s.105 This amounts to about 7 [pounds sterling] for each of about a hundred nights on a salary basis, or nearly [pounds sterling] 10 in terms of total compensation. If he got 400 [pounds sterling] in Dublin (and I strongly suspect he got at least that) for about 30 performances, then he was getting fully 13 [pounds sterling] a night--and Garrick knew he needed to keep his load light. Four hundred pounds is a far cry from circa 1,000 [pounds sterling] or more, but if Garrick had become manager/director of Smock Alley in 1747 he would soon have increased his take. (106) The number of performances per season was rising at Smock Alley: generally 130 or more; 154 in 1750-51; 163 in 1751-52. If Garrick had gone to Dublin he could have made quite a lot of money. In 1754-55 Smock Alley offered Spranger Barry 800 [pounds sterling] for playing 60 nights in the season. (107) Barry also received four benefits (terms and profits not known).
Garrick was invited into the Drury Lane ownership and management in 1747 only because Lacy was desperate for his drawing power. Commenting on their long partnership, Highfill, Burnim, and Langhans say that "Garrick never really liked Lacy, and it is doubtful that Lacy cared much for Garrick, but the partnership held profitably together for 27 years, until Lacy's death." (108) This is far from the whole truth.
Garrick was a suave, diplomatic, self-controlled politician, but in letters to his brother George and to close friends he sometimes revealed the feelings he must have had to swallow or mask many times a month. (109)
"Lacy's great penetration cannot yet fathom the obscure, inconceivable, and impenetrable designs of our antagonist ... Some folks have a pleasure in raising molehills upon the evenest ground, and strain at gnats, when they swallow camels like poached eggs" (22 June 1750).
"What a mean, mistaken creature is this Par[tn]er of mine! ... Oh, I am sick, sick, sick of him!" (17 August 1751).
"What News from ye profound Lacy?" (17 August 1752).
"You have fathom'd ye Dirty Heart of my Partner"; " ... thanks to my Partner Timbertop" (25 August 1752).
"He ought to have a thorough Scouring before his inside will be tolerably clear from ye filth & Nastiness that he has been gathering from his Youth upward till now-- ... there is a rank viciousness in his Disposition that can only be kept under by ye Whip & curb" (1 September 1752).
"Lacy's behaviour astonishes Me ... I am quite Sick of his Conduct towards Every body that loves Me ... I wish Myself well out of the Sock & Buskin" (31 October 1764).
"I can very readily believe what You tell me of my Brother Consul" (10 March 1765).
"What ye Devil has he in his maggot-breeding pericranium--?" (8 March 1766?).
" ... I am sick of his mean, ungratefull, wretched behaviour ... I am so angry wth Lacy--that what Ever plan Chamberlain & You settle, I will pursue most punctually" (11 July? 1768).
"I have ... withstood very great temptations to be easy at Drury-Lane, & to End my theatrical Life there, but Fate & Mr Lacy, who seems to be alone insensible of my Merit 8; Services, will drive me away, & they shall have their Ends" (21 August 1768).
Garrick can be tactful and even gracious when writing to Lacy. See, for example, his letter of 27 July 1750 (Letters, 1:152-53). There can be no doubt, however, that Garrick detested Lacy from the start, and that his hostility only increased over the years.
In 1765 Garrick was seriously thinking that he wanted nothing more to do with Drury Lane, and a contract of dissolution of partnership was actually drawn up in 1765; two years later sale by both men was rumored and apparently close to consummation. (110) Garrick gloried in his position in London society; he made a lot of money out of Drury Lane, year by year; and he got 35,000 [pounds sterling] for his half share when he sold out to the Sheridan consortium in 1776. James Lacy was, however, for twenty-seven years a perpetual thorn in his side and strain on his temper--and Willoughby Lacy proved worse. Garrick must sometimes have wondered if he had been overhasty in yoking himself inextricably to a partner he loathed. He might have been wiser to retreat to Dublin for 1746-47 and bide his time.
Penn State University
An oral version of this article was presented at the East-Central American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies meeting in Baltimore, Maryland, on 2 November 2012. For advice and assistance of various sorts, I am indebted to John C. Greene, Scott Paul Gordon, Kit Hume,
Ashley Marshall, and Judith Milhous.
(1) George Winchester Stone, Jr., and George M. Kahrl, David Garrick: A Critical Biography (Southern Illinois U. Press, 1979), 52, 54.
(2) Philip H. Highfill Jr., Kalman A. Burnim, and Edward A. Langhans, A Biographical Dictionary of Actors, Actresses, Musicians, Dancers, Managers and Other Stage Personnel in London, 1660-1800,16 vols. (Southern Illinois U. Press, 1973-93), 6:10.
(3) Thomas Davies, Memoirs of the Life of David Garrick, ed. Stephen Jones, 2 vols. (London: Longman, Hurst, Rees, and Orme, 1808), 1:122.
(4) Highfill et al, Biographical Dictionary, 1:15.
(5) Emmett L. Avery, Charles Beecher Hogan, Arthur H. Scouten, George Winchester Stone Jr., and William Van Lennep, eds., The London Stage, 1660-1800, 5 parts in 11 vols. (Southern Illinois U. Press, 1960-68).
(6) William Smith Clark, The Early Irish Stage: The Beginnings to 1720 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1955); John C. Greene and Gladys L. H. Clark, The Dublin Stage, 1720-1745: A Calendar of Plays, Entertainments, and Afterpieces (Lehigh U. Press, 1993).
(7) John C. Greene, Theatre in Dublin, 1745-1820: A History, 2 vols. (Lehigh U. Press, 2011) and Theatre in Dublin, 1745-1820: A Calendar of Performances, 6 vols. (Lehigh U. Press, 2011).
(8) Benefits are classified as author, performer, house personnel, and charity. Repertory each season is classified as mainpiece or afterpiece, and then by genre (e.g., comedy, tragedy, tragicomedy, farce, burlesque, masque) and by period of origin (pre-1660, 1660-99, 1700-19, 1720-29, etc).
(9) Turn to Garrick, and in one minute you can calculate from the list of roles that he took 19 parts in 18 plays (having done both Othello and lago) in a total of thirty-two performances in 1745-46 (two of them in afterpieces on the same night as a mainpiece). In fact the total should very likely be thirty-three performances. King Lear was given on 31 January, but without an advertised cast. Garrick took the title role in the other three known performances (13 January, 14 March, and 23 April), so he probably played the part on 31 January as well. Sheridan is not known to have played Lear in either Dublin or London until he did so at Smock Alley on 18 June 1747.
(10) Hitchcock had worked for Tate Wilkinson's circuit company and for the elder Colman at the Little Haymarket in the 1770s. He did not move to Dublin until 1781, but he clearly had access to local records and made good use of them. For its time, his Historical View is a remarkably good piece of history.
(11) For particulars, see Judith Milhous and Robert D. Hume, "David Garrick and Box-Office Receipts at Drury Lane in 1742-43," Philological Quarterly 67.3 (1988): 323-44.
(12) National Archives, LC 5/204, pp. 75-76.
(13) On this episode, see Judith Milhous and Robert D. Hume, "The Drury Lane Actors' Rebellion of 1743," Theatre Journal 42.1 (1990): 57-80.
(14) National Archives, LC 5/204, pp. 62-63.
(15) Davies, Memoirs, 1:73-74.
(16) [Charles Macklin and David Garrick], Mr. Macklins Reply to Mr. Garricks Answer (London: J. Roberts and A. Dodd, 1743), 16.
(17) The Letters of David Garrick, ed. David M. Little and George M. Kahrl, 3 vols. (Harvard U. Press, 1963), 1:43.
(18) Garrick, Letters, 1:45-46. Nothing is known about these abortive negotiations except what Garrick says here.
(19) Benjamin Victor, Original Letters, Dramatic Pieces, and Poems, 3 vols. (London: T. Becket, 1776), 1:106. 20 Davies, Memoirs, 1:121-22.
(21) The date might just be an error for "13" November or thereabouts. Another oddity about this document is that it seemingly places Garrick in London immediately before he travelled to Dublin, though he had said he would not come to London. The Private Correspondence of David Garrick, ed. James Boaden, 2 vols. (London: Henry Colburn and Richard Bentley, 1831-32), 1:36, 38.
(22) Rich played the buffoon, but was in fact a canny and highly successful manager--and like Garrick, a successful socialite. For a recent reassessment, see Robert D. Hume, "John Rich as Manager and Entrepreneur," in "The Stages Glory": John Rich, 1692-1761, ed. Berta Joncus and Jeremy Barlow (U. of Delaware Press, 2011), 29-60.
(23) Hutchinson Mure (1709-94) had made a fortune in the cabinet and furniture business and had loaned Fleetwood 7000 [pounds sterling] on the security of Drury Lane's scenery and costumes. See Garrick, Letters, l:73n5.
(24) Preserved in the Forster Collection in the Victoria and Albert Museum; printed in Private Correspondence, 1:50-53; reprinted in Garrick, Letters, 3:1344-49, with additional MS material from the Harvard Theatre Collection.
(25) Garrick, Private Correspondence, 1:39-40.
(26) During 1745-46 Garrick frequently expresses his belief that without his services the Lacy regime at Drury Lane must collapse in short order. See, e.g., Garrick, Letters, 1:71, 74, 75.
(27) Davies, Memoirs, 1:121-22.
(28) Esther K. Sheldon, Thomas Sheridan of Smock-Alley (Princeton U. Press, 1967), 61.
(29) Benjamin Victor, The History of the Theatres of London and Dublin, From the Year 1730 to the Present Time, 2 vols. (London: T. Davies, et al, 1761), 1: 88-89.
(30) Davies, Memoirs, 1:124.
(31) Robert Hitchcock, An Historical View of the Irish Stage; from the Earliest Period Down to the Close of the Season 1788 [actually terminated in 1774], 2 vols. (Dublin: R. Marchbank, 1788; vol. 2, William Folds, 1794), 1:163-64.
(32) Thomas Sheridan, An Humble Appeal to the Publick, Together with some Considerations on the Present Critical and Dangerous State of the Stage in Ireland (Dublin: G. Faulkner, 1758), 54.
(33) Highfill et al, Biographical Dictionary, 6:15.
(34) Percy Fitzgerald, The Life of David Garrick, new and rev. Ed. (London: Simpkin, Marshall, Hamilton, Kent, & Co., 1899), 95.
(35) Bellamy says "it must reasonably be supposed, that the season turned out very lucrative to Mr. Garrick and to Mr. Sheridan. What the emoluments of Roscius were, I do not recollect, but it was reported that they were almost incredible." George Anne Bellamy, An Apology for the Life of George Anne Bellamy, Late of Covent-Garden Theatre. Written by Herself, 3rd edn., 6 vols. (London: J. Bell 1785), 1:125. How much Bellamy herself wrote is undeterminable. The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography says that the Apology was "edited by" Alexander Bicknell, whatever that may mean. Bellamy was old, unwell, and in difficult circumstances by the 1780s.
(36) Fitzgerald, Life, 96.
(37) Highfill et al, Biographical Dictionary, 51, citing the "To His Brethren" note from Garrick, Letters, 1:68.
(38) Sheridan, Humble Appeal, 18.
(39) Sheridan, Humble Appeal, 21.
(40) For what the claim may be worth, Alicia Lefanu states that between 1743 and 1758 "the sums received" at Smock Alley rose under Thomas Sheridan's management from 2,000 [pounds sterling] to 10,000 [pounds sterling] per annum, "benefits excluded." Lefanu, Memoirs of the Life and Writings of Mrs. Frances Sheridan (London: G. and W. B. Whittaker, 1824), 28-29.
(41) Sheridan, Humble Appeal, 18.
(42) Sheridan, Humble Appeal, Appendix, 41.
(43) Drury Lane's rent was set at 3 [pounds sterling] 10s in 1673 (British Library Add. MS 20,726, fols. 8r-9v) though raised to 5 [pounds sterling] 14s in 1682 (National Archives, C7/298/35). The Dorset Garden rent was set at 7 [pounds sterling] per performance day (National Archives, C8/595/71).
(44) Greene and Clark, The Dublin Stage, 52.
(45) Victor, History of the Theatres, 182,188.
(46) Hitchcock, An Historical View, 1:262-63.
(47) Tate Wilkinson, Memoirs of His Own Life, 4 vols. (York: Printed for the Author, 1790), 2:154-55.
(48) Greene, History, 1:177.
(49) Greene, History, 1:165.
(50) Wilkinson, His Own Life, 4:123,2:173. "Prices as usual" were advertised (Greene, Calendar, 1:641).
(51) Linzi Simpson, Smock Alley Theatre: The Evolution of a Building, ed. Margaret Gowen, Temple Bar Archaeological Report no. 3 (Dublin: Temple Bar Properties, 1996), 32.
(52) Greene, History, 1:29.
(53) In this crude estimate I am ignoring Garricks free benefit and his [pounds sterling]15 second benefit. Sheridan, who also had three benefits, probably negotiated or awarded himself similar terms.
(54) Sheridan, Humble Appeal, Appendix, 44-45.
(55) Greene, History, 1:175-76. On the relative value of English and Irish currency, see G. E. Boyle and P. T. Geary, "The Irish Currency Report of 1804," EconPapers (National University of Ireland, Maynooth, 2003), http://econpapers.repec.org/paper/maymayecw/nl341203.htm.
(56) I have omitted the "slips" or "green boxes" from consideration because they are not mentioned in playbills prior to 1 October 1753.
(57) Victor, History of the Theatres, 1:220.
(58) Victor, History of the Theatres, 1:197.
(59) Faulkners Dublin Journal, 4-8 March 1746.
(60) Davies, Memoirs, 1:125.
(61) Victor, History of the Theatres, 1:90.
(62) Sheridan, Humble Appeal, 54.
(63) Garrick's initial agreement (terminating 14 March) was evidently for 25 performances, meaning that he was asking 16 [pounds sterling] per night.
(64) Sheldon, Thomas Sheridan, 74.
(65) Sheridan, Humble Appeal, 18.
(66) Sheldon, Thomas Sheridan, 74.
(67) My calculation assumes a free benefit drawing 125 [pounds sterling]; second benefit drawing 115 [pounds sterling] less 15 [pounds sterling] charges; the third benefit drawing 115 [pounds sterling] less the presumptive 35 [pounds sterling] standard charge.
(68) Faulkner's Dublin Journal, 19-22 April 1746.
(69) This phrase refers to the custom of wealthy patrons giving the beneficiary a guinea (21s) for a ticket whose face value for a place in pit or boxes was no more than 4s or 5s. If a hundred well-heeled patrons wanted to do this in order to have a chance to chat up Garrick, that would add 80 [pounds sterling] to his take--money that would not show in the theatres accounts
(70) Arthur Murphy, The Life of David Garrick, Esq., 2 vols. (London: Printed for J. Wright ... by J. F. Foot, 1801).
(71) Garrick's own letters were largely unavailable until James Boaden edited and published 242 of them in the Private Correspondence (1831-32). More than half of the 1,362 Garrick letters now known remained unpublished until the Little-Kahrl edition of 1963.
(72) Garricks letter to Sheridan of early April 1743 does not survive (we have no Garrick letter from 1743), but its content can be deduced from Sheridans reply of 21 April 1743 concerning Garricks "proposal of our playing together" (Garrick, Private Correspondence, 1:15-16).
(73) The editors of Garrick's letters print the dash and report in a note that "The source here prints an asterisk, with a note reading: 'There is not any hiatus in the Manuscript; but out of respect to the living, we have created one'" (Letters, l:70n3). The only known copytext for this letter is what was published in the Morning Post of 2 September 1786. Garrick was famously suave and diplomatic, but in private correspondence he could be quite crude. Writing to his brother George in 1752, Garrick says that the Auretti family one and all "may Kiss my A-se," and that when he sees Miss Auretti's "Name in a Letter, my Stomach falls a heaving as Yours would do, if You were to sit with Your Nose over a Pot with a Stale Turd in it, & that turd not yr own" (Letters, 1:187). We may deduce that whatever term Garrick used to characterize Thomas Sheridan was pungently offensive.
(74) Sheldon, Thomas Sheridan, 61.
(75) Sheridan, Humble Appeal, 18.
(76) Bellamy, Apology, 1:120-28.
(77) Odd that Garrick would (allegedly) address her as Ophelia, given that she had apparently never played the part. She is not known to have performed it in Dublin in 1745-46 (or indeed ever).
(78) In 1675 at Drury Lane the company "Articles" state that an actor who refuses a part will forfeit a week's wages (National Archives, LC 5/141, p. 307). The "Rules and Regulations" for Crow Street in Dublin in 1811-12 specify that a performer who refuses a part is liable to forfeit 10 [pounds sterling] "and it shall besides be in the option of the manager to retain or discharge such performer for the remainder of the season" (Greene, History, 2:431).
(79) Highfill et al, Biographical Dictionary, 2:11,18.
(80) Highfill et al, Biographical Dictionary, 2:9.
(81) Sheldon, Thomas Sheridan, 64, 66.
(82) Highfill et al, Biographical Dictionary, 2:18.
(83) Highfill et al, Biographical Dictionary, 2:15.
(84) Davies, Memoirs, 1:122-23.
(85) Bellamy, Apology, 1:120.
(86) Greene, Calendar, 1:1.
(87) Faulkner's Dublin Journal, 25-29 March 1746.
(88) Faulkner's Dublin Journal, 22-26 April 1746.
(89) Garrick uses "revolution" and "theatrical revolution" in letters written in December 1745 (Letters, 1:69, 71).
(90) Garrick was generous in participating in colleagues' benefits throughout his career, and Husbands letter of thanks (published in Faulkner's Dublin Journal of 25-29 March, 1746) refers to Garricks "free and generous offer to play" for his benefit.
(91) See Judith Milhous and Robert D. Hume "A Drury Lane Account Book for 1745-46," Theatre Flistory Studies 10 (1990): 67-104, particularly analysis at 95-100.
(92) Victor, Flistory of the Theatres, 1:89.
(93) Greene, Calendar, 1:27.
(94) Faulkner's Dublin Journal, 15-19 April 1746.
(95) In a letter to Garrick dated Dublin 6 June 1746 Spranger Barry says "I never received a penny of my salary since you left Dublin," and reports receipts of 18 [pounds sterling] for Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice, cancellation of a performance of Otway's Orphan, and dismissal of the audience with only "Ten pounds in the house at seven o'clock" for Shakespeare's 1 Henry IV on Sheridan's own benefit night (Garrick, Private Correspondence, 1:41).
(96) Victor, History of the Theatres, 1:89-90.
(97) Rich had an ugly reputation as a hard-bargaining skinflint, but he could also be wonderfully generous to retired actors and house servants, and he was astonishingly open-handed with charity benefits. See Highfill, et al, Biographical Dictionary, 12: 337-53, esp. 347-48; and Hume, "John Rich as Manager and Entrepreneur," esp. 33.
(98) Highfill et al, Biographical Dictionary, 9:94.
(99) Fora complete transcription and an extensive analysis, see Judith Milhous and Robert D. Hume, "Receipts at Drury Lane: Richard Cross's Diary for 1746-47," Theatre Notebook 49.1-2 (1995): 12-26, 69-90.
(100) National Archives, C11/2101/3 and C11/2105/7. Their implications are analyzed by Milhous and Hume in "Receipts at Drury Lane: Richard Cross's Diary for 1746-47."
(101) Highfill et al, Biographical Dictionary, 9:94.
(102) Highfill et al, Biographical Dictionary, 6:17, 9:95.
(103) For some technical details (mostly from lawsuits, and many of them unavailable to the authors of the Biographical Dictionary), see Milhous and Hume, "Receipts at Drury Lane: Richard Cross's Diary for 1746-47," particularly 90n30.
(104) This is pretty much what John Powel says in "Tit for Tat" (MS of unpublished pamphlet in the Harvard Theatre Collection, TS 1574.31b, 37-38). The transcription printed in part 4 of The London Stage (1:121-28) is marred by some disturbing omissions (e.g., dropping "for 12,000 [pounds sterling]") and errors (e.g., printing 815 [pounds sterling] for 315 [pounds sterling] as the "Perquisite" payable for the patent).
(105) The salary as shown in the account book was higher than the 600 guineas promised in the November 1744 "Memorandum." Quin received the same salary and terms this season.
(106) In December 1745 Garrick wrote to Draper, "If Sheridan had not been engaged [for 1745-46], I should have got, in all probability, 6 [pounds sterling] or 700 [pounds sterling]" (Letters, 1:69). I take this to mean from acting and management, exclusive of benefits.
(107) Victor, History, 1:186-89. Victor notes that this was approximately 14 [pounds sterling] a night, and that Barry was docked that sum for each of the 9 nights his performance total fell short of sixty.
(108) Highfill et al, Biographical Dictionary, 6:17.
(109) For the following quotations, see Garrick, Letters, 1:146, 172, 183, 185, 188; 2:427, 495-96, 619, and 622.
(110) Highfill et al, Biographical Dictionary, 9:96.
Table. Hypothetical attendance necessary to generate various levels of gross receipts. 125 [pounds 75 [pounds 40 [pounds sterling] sterling] sterling] gross gross gross Box and Stage 170 105 55 Lattice 140 95 50 Pit 240 130 65 First Gallery 150 80 50 Upper Gallery 75 45 30 [total attendance] 775 455 250
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|Author:||Hume, Robert D.|
|Date:||Sep 22, 2014|
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