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Daniel Watson ; whose approbation induced him to write a second Tragedy, “ The Tyrant of Orixa." Both these Plays were, through the friendship of Dr. Carr of Hertford, submitted to Mr. Harris, the Manager of Covent Garden Theatre ; but neither of them was either acted or printed. (See p. 428.)
In the mean time Mr. Hucthinson adopted a hint given by Mr. Watson; and produced “The Princess of Zanfara, a Dramatic Poem;" which was also introduced to Mr. Harris by Dr. Carr in 1788, but without success. It was printed in 1789, and has been frequently performed at Provincial Theatres.
Besides the Works already enumerated, Mr. Hutchinson left in MS (ready for the press) “ The Pilgrim of the Valley of Hecass, a Tale :” and a volume of “ Letters addressed to the Minister, 1798, by a Freeholder North of Trent;" containing many judicious observations, on the British Parliament; The Church of England; Church Possessions; the Law; the Cultivation of Common Land; the Maintenance of the Poor; the Post-office; and the Stamp Duties. He left also a copy of his “ History of Durham," corrected for a second Edition; and had prepared a Poetical Sketch of his own Life.
A very short time before the publication of the Eighth Volume of the “ Literary Anecdotes," my worthy Friend George Allan, Esq. (on favouring me with the Portraits of his Father and Mr. Hutchinson) took notice of the latter gentleman's “faculties, though at a very advanced age," being perfectly equal to the business of his profession:" but, before that Volume was actually finished, Mr. Hutchinson was released from the cares of life, April 7, 1814, at the age of 82; having only two or three days survived his wife, whose age was 78. They were both buried in the same grave.
Three daughters survive ; and one son, to whom I am obliged for the communication of the Letters of Mr. Watson, Mr. Pennant, and Mr. Grose.
Extracts from Letters to Mr. HUTCHINSON, by the
Rev. DANIEL WATSON, and Dr. John CARR.
Middleton Tyas, Feb. 19, 1788. “ You were never more mistaken, I assure you. Instead of exclaiming 'Is the man mad?' I was not at all surprized. The first piece ) saw of yours was Historical - the remark I made upon it to Mr. Allan was this : "This friend of yours cannot keep to the easy narrative ; his imagination perpetually runs away with him into apostrophe and blank verse; and his style in some parts, how well soever it may suit a Dramatic piece, becomes in the Historian Prose run mad. What unforeseeing Demon made you an Attorney, I know not. Sure I am, he mistook your forte, though not your interest ; Parnassus being a very bare pasture, I read The Death of Pygmalion' (for that ought to be the title) the afternoon I received it. The next step I took, you may think not much to the purpose; it was reading it to my women, to see what effect it had on their passions. I was much pleased to find theirs were more interested than my own had been. You pay me too great a compliment by submitting it to my judgment. In the course of next week I will set about making a sheet of remarks upon it, but shall not by any means alter a syllable in the MS.; and, if I am not able to do the part of a severe and just critic, assure yourself of the kind offices of an honest man and a friend. I give you the trouble of this in the mean time, that you may not suspect the MS. is thrown aside and neglected. I think, so far as I can yet judge, it merits a very different treatment.--But is it possible it could be the effusion, as you call it, of one week ? Jf so, set your imagination to work on horror and pity; and, if love be necessary, take it in too. Your subject, any of the West India Islands belonging to the English. Your Persona, a rascally Captain of a Ship in the African trade, two more rascally and barbarous Planters with their white servants, a Negro Prince and Princess, a faithful Negro of each sex, faithful from connexions in early life in their native country, an insurrection as tragic as you can make it; the Prince, the Hero.
“Do not suppose I am saying this to amuse - very far from it; I was never more in serious earnest ; and, if you have time, and will set about it, I shall think myself obliged. Such a piece would be well tímed, and would do infinitely more towards promoting the great cause of humanity now on the tapis, than any thing that has been written on the subject. Managers indeed are iil to deal with; but on such a subject, at this time, I think they might be induced to take it. Do not read “The Royal Slave,' for fear of having your own imagination warped, and for fear of your insensibly mixing the language with your own. “ Yours, very truly,
D. Watson." “ DEAR SIR,
Middleton Tyas, Feb. 23, 1788. “The Address to Old Ocean is well conceived, and well written,
except shake thy laughing side, which is too bold a metaphor. And you may, perhaps, find a better epithet than surly for Chaos."
After a long Letter of similar remarks and corrections (all of which Mr. Hutchinson adopted), Mr. Watson proceeds :
“ Had my poor friend Sterne been alive, I should be better warranted in saying the perforinance will do you credit. I will, however, on my own judgment, take upon me to say, it can do you no discredit in the closet. Have you any friends in London who have interest with the Managers? Much depends on this, and on a fair copy in a plain hand ; not an Attorney's, like this. If you shew it to any other, I desire you would keep my remarks to yourself. But, indeed, I do not know any one, my friend Carr excepted, who has a taste for compositions of this kind. His assistance I can easily procure you on a more legible copy.-A Letter from George* to-day, with a very good account of his father at Bristol. His appetite much better, and he is much amused with the Antiquities, &c. of the place. I wish he may not take cold in hunting after them in damp Churches; and it is a wonder to me he took none in travelling through a country not fit for any other inhabitants but Frogs and Dutchmen, int visiting Lincoln and Peterborough.
D. WATSON." “Dear Sir, Middleton Tyas, March 13, 1788. “ I thank you for your expedition. I entertained not any expectation of hearing from you sooner than next Saturday. Ho:v rapid your pen ! how fertile your imagination! I read it first myself, then gave it to my wife ; whose remark was, “that you had had Tom Southerne in your head ;' and, after returning me yours, retired to her own room, to read Tom; and told me in the evening' that Hutchinson was the better Poet.' How, my dear?'
First, in point of language; and secondly, in making his Personce speak in character. In Oroonoko, they have all the same ideas ; and their habits and modes of thinking speak them all of the same country. Bravo! Dolly. I will read it again, and then I will dispute the matter with you ; for ! must not give up Tom Southerne, if it was but for the sake of his Prologue.' –There is no contesting with women. I was obliged to come so far into her way of thinking, that, if yours can be well supported with Stagetrick, as Tom's always has been, and is to this day, it would just now more affect an audience. Nor do I see many epithets that are improper. The winding up is too like Oroonoko indeed ; and, for fear of that, I wished you not to read it; though I had neither read nor seen it for many years, yet I retained so much of it, that I was afraid you might retain more. I wrote to Hertford about • Pygmalion;' and at the same time acquainted my friend there, that you had promised, at my request, to try your Muse on the Slave Trade ; and begged his good offices, as an honest Critic, on the former or the latter, as would be most agreeable to him ; adding, that you would esteem it as no ordi* The late Mr. George Allan, whose father was then at Bristol.
nary obligation, and I should consider it as a favour done to 'myself. If he is not in London, as I think he is not, I expect his answer very soon ; and when it comes, you shall hear from me. All I shall say more at present is, that of these two, I think the younger brother the better gentleman.
« Now for our friend at Bristol, whose account of himself is such as rejoices us all. I have had two Letters lately. In the former he says, “Hutchinson ought not to be let loose into the wild fields of imagination. He is a better Antiquary, and has already begun to transcribe Horsley.' Is this true? Why give yourself such unnecessary labour? The old text would do well enough. In the latter Letter be talks of visiting some Druidical scenes, and of a visit of 4 or 5 days at Bath this week, on Mr. Vane's invitation. — He also mentions your conversation at Grange. Do you really think old James begins to think he has gone too far *? I wrote thus to him the other day, and sent my son Horace with it to Grange.
“ A Letter, not from your grandson, whose, modesty would
not permit him to write himself, but from one of his friends, has given me such satisfaction, that I cannot resist the pleasure of communicating it to you. There were no fewer than sixteen arguments brought against his question, and he took off twelve of them; when the Moderator dismissed the combatants with these words : Domini Opponentes, satis et optimè disputâstis : Tu autem, Domine Respondens, non sine magno acumine ingenii satis et optimè disputâsti ; et in hoc tuo certamine, tui primus ordinis, tantum exemplum industriæ præbuisti, ut non solùm de me, sed de totâ Academia
laudem maximam merearis.' “ As he was the first Fellow Commoner that ever appeared
in such a character, the School was astonishingly crowded - above 200. The compliment paid him was equally great and just, and the honour he has received will not
soon be forgot. I give you joy of it, and am, &c. “What effect this will have, is uncertain ; or whether any; yet one would think it would be grateful to his pride, if to no other passion. It gives the poor father great joy; and as it is the only incident of a pleasurable colour he has had for a long, very long time, I trust the tide is turning in his favour. D. WATSON." “ DEAR SIR,
Middleton Tyas, March 18, 1789. “ A Letter last night. My friend Carr will be glad to see the Tragedy; and to act the part, not only of a friendly critic, but will try his strength with Harris, brother to Harris the Manager of Covent Garden, to bring it on. He observes, no time is to be lost, lest the people be set a-gaping at some new object, when
Mr. George Allan's father. This alludes to some family misunderstandings, wbich were afterwards happily adjusted. --The old gentleman died in the January following.
the Slave Trade grows stale. Will you give me leave to send it by the coach, and let it take its chance? Your name will be concealed to all but friends. Tell me immediately by sending a line to Greita Bridge. There is no time to make the alteration you proposed. A much better judge than I am is reading it just now, but your name is concealed. I write in haste, to save the post. The Doctor asks, if Mr. Hutchinson's Muse gives him time to eat his dinner. Yours faithfully, D. Watson." “ Dear Sir,
Middleton Tyas, April 2, 1788. “ If I can judge by my own feelings, you will perhaps already expect some account. But that would he, unreasonable; for, owing to your own son staying so long at York, it was not put into the Mail-coach so soon as I sent it, and even at last not by him; so that Dr. Carr cannot yet have formed any judgment. I write this merely on account of what I suppose your feelings must be ; and that you may not be too sanguine, I send you the sentiments of a friend of mine, to whom I communicated not only the Persone, but a sketch of their characters ; informing him, that I could not write in theatrical language, but had prevailed on a Friend * to undertake it, who had performed in one week, what, I thought, if supported with half the stage-trick that had been and was still employed for Oroonoko, would do him great credit. His words are, “ I perfectly see into your plan; it resembles that of Oroo
noko so much, that the Managers would at once reject it, however well written. This would undoubtedly be the case, if there was no other resemblance than that of the Prince and Princess to Oroonoko and his wife. But, besides this, there is a fellow slave, friend to the Prince; there is a rascally Captain, a villainous Governor, an insurrection ; indeed the whole Dramatis Persone of the one is similar to
the other, as far as the tragic characters are concerned." “Do not let this discourage you. My friend has been unfortunate, and is sore with what he thinks the ill-treatment he has met with from the Managers. His · Hecuba’ was damned, in spite of Garrick's friendly endeavours and great expence in dresses, &c. to save it. His · Heraclidæ,' which the late Mrs. Allan of Grange sent for because she knew it was written by a friend of mine, fared no better. Indeed all he has written shared the same fate; and owing to the same cause, the Greek chorus, which nothing can make him abandon. They all please in the closet; but nei.ther his, nor Mason's, nor any body's on the Greek plan, has yet succeeded on the stage. I still am of opinion myself it will do you credit, if the Managers can be but managed. Turn out how it may, your name is concealed from every body but Dr. Carr, and Mr. George Allan at Bath; and it shall be concealed till you give leave to have it known. Nor shall it cost you any thing, as it was obligingly written at my request. . This friend was the Rev. Robert Potter,