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Act I. Scene i. 2-6. In 1778-9 there was much public excitement at the want of success in the naval warfare with the French. The Admiralty was attacked in the House of Commons, and Lord Sandwich, the First Lord of the Admiralty, escaped a vote of censure only by a narrow majority. Sir Charles Hardy was called upon to succeed Keppel in the command of the Channel Fleet in 1779, though he had retired from active service twenty years earlier. There was fear of an invasion by the French and Spanish, but Hardy warded off an engagement, and the enemy withdrew to Brest in September. Hardy died in the following year. A large encampment of militia was formed at Coxheath, near Maidstone, in July 1779, in the expectation of an invasion.
I. i. 84. The Opera House. Before the beginning of the season of 1778-9 there had been a coalition between the patentees of the two theatres, Drury Lane and Covent Garden, and actors were lent from one house to the other. This arrangement was the subject of a satire, Goalition,“ a farce founded on facts," 1779.
I. i. 102-3. See Hamlet, III. ii. 24:—"Anything so overdone is from the purpose of playing, whose end, both at the first and now, was and is, to hold, as 'twere, the mirror up to nature; to show virtue her own feature, scorn her own image, and the very age and body of the time his form and pressure”; and II. ii. 548: “Let them be well used; for they are the abstract and brief chronicles of the time." I. i. 306. Churchill had written (as Mr Low points out),
“Still pilfers wretched plans, and makes them worse;
Like gipsies, lest the stolen brat be known,
Defacing first, then claiming for his own."
I. ii. 234. Mr Dodd. James William Dodd (died 1796) created the parts of Dangle in The Critic, Sir Benjamin Backbite in the School for Scandal, and Lord Foppington in the Trip to Scarborough. Lamb spoke highly of his representation of Sir Andrew Aguecheek.
I. ii. 237. Mr Palmer. John Palmer (died 1798) was the original Joseph Surface in the School for Scandal. In The Critic he took the part of Sneer,
I. ii. 240. Mr King. Thomas King (1730-1805) was the first Sir Peter Teazle, and the humour of the present passage lies in the fact that he acted the part of Puff, and thus had to utter these compliments about his fellow actors in this scene, and especially himself.
I. ii. 244. Mr De Loutherbourg. Philippe Jacques de Loutherbourg (1740-1812) became a Royal Academician in 1781. He rendered great service to the stage between 1773 and 1785, in designing scenery and superintending costumes, but he quarrelled with Sheridan, who wished to reduce his salary.
I. ii. 353. Tablature. Lord Shaftesbury writes :-" 'Tis then, that in painting we may give to any particular work the name of tablature, when the work is in reality a single work, comprehended in one view, and formed according to one single intelligence, meaning, or design.”
I. ii. 393. Paul Jones (1747-1792), a Scotchman, was a naval adventurer, who served in the American war against England. In the autumn of 1779 he was cruising in the North Sea, threatening Leith and the Tyne. 1. ii. 394. John Byron, vice-admiral (1723-1786), had
two indecisive encounters with the French feet in the West Indies in July 1779.
II. ii. 249. Handel's opera of Ariadne, which contains a famous minuet, was produced in 1733.
II. ii. 373 seg. Terms used in fencing. In Hamlet, V. ii. 266, Osric says, “ A hit, a very palpable hit."
Ill. i. 88. See Othello, III. iii. 90.
III. i. 129. Lord Burleigh shakes his headIn “ The Historical Register," Fielding introduced four Patriots, who met and shook hands, but said nothing :-“Sir, what they think now cannot well be spoke, but you may conjecture a great deal from their shaking their heads."
III. 1. 326. As Mr Fraser Rae points out, the procession at the end of the play would appeal to the patriotic feelings of the audience, as England was at war with France and Spain in 1779, and the enemy's feets were cruising off our coasts.
TURNBULL & SPEARS, PRINTERS, EDINBURGH,