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[tions, first proclaimed and adopted republican
principles as rules of action. The American
stage, founded by the contemporaries and im-
mediate fellow-actors of Garrick, at Goodman's
Fields, boasts thereby no mean origin. That
theatre gave birth to the incomparable "Ros-
cius," and was also the parent of the American
company; and, if the pioneers did not bring
with them all the genius or the sould of Garrick,
they at least [imbibed?] his manner, reading, and
the general mechanical part and spirit of the
scene as developed in his illustration of charac-
ter and stage business. Barry, Mossop, and
other prominent actors, who divided approba-
tion and applause with Garrick at that time, at
the national houses of London, must have fur-
nished a school par excellence to those who emi-
grated to us. To aver that we never had a school
of acting in America to refer to (as we have
often heard sneeringly alleged by foreigners) is
a misconceived notion - a prejudice of a jaun-
diced kind. We have had a school of dramatic
art from the very foundation of the drama here.
The temples and its accessories, were, perhaps,
in a crude state, but the acting was of the most
orthodox kind, being that of the disciples of
Garrick, Macklin, Mossop, Barry, & c. Hence,
from the earliest dramatic dates, our audiences
had good material on which to inform their
judgments, to correct their taste, and to become
critics of intellectual and legitimate acting. In
our travels some years since, through Virginia
and north Carolina, we were surprised to see
fine brick buildings (somewhat antique) erected
to the cause of Thespis, especially in Newbern
and Wilmington, N.C. These theatres were in
a dilapidated state, and were without much
scenery or scenic gear. At newbern, indeed,
the reamins of a great deal of old-fashioned
machinery and well-painted scenery were found.
But our astonishment was increased when the
company of actors to which we were attached
came to represent the old English comedy. We
found ourselves most critically handled by well
written articles from the pens of some of the old
inhabitants - and we had some clever actors and
actresses in our small corps. But these wonders
ceased when we heard the names of a few of
the old American company who established
these theatres, and many of us must remember
similar exclamations from foreign actors coming
fresh amongst us - expressions of surprise at the
matured state of judgment and chaste ideas with
which our audiences seemed imbued. this re-
sult is to be found in the fact that the American
stage has been furnished with the first order of
talent from the London theatres i the days of
their highest refinement, and, very often, with
the first genius and gems of those national in-
stitutions, now, alas! prostrate in the land of
Shakspere, never, we fear, to rise again in their
wonted beauty. an early day, in our stage his-
tory, gave us Mesdames Merry and Whitlock - the
latter a sister of Mrs. Siddons, and the former the
celebrated Moggy McGilpin, known here as Mrs.
Williamson; Mrs. Oldmixon - once the celebrated
Miss George - one of the best comic actresses and
singer of ballads in England: Mrs. Johnson

was truly an elegant lady, and shone with bril-
liancy in high and sentimental comedy; Mrs.
Wrighten, long celebrated in London in comedy
and opera, made her appearance here as Mrs.
Pownall. Mrs. Pownall was the original Lucy
in "The Beggar's Opera." Mr. Bernard, Mr.
Cooper, Mr. Fennell, and others, might be proud-
ly named to sustain our position.

We leave, however, all speculation on this
subject, which has been ably descanted upon by
Bernard in his reminiscences; by Dunlap in his
history of the American Stage; and, we pre-
sume to anticipate, will be fully reviewed by
mr. W. B. Wood, in his forthcoming work. We
will, therefore, pass the subject over informally,
as it might prove tedious to our readers. Re-
serving the right, when inclination may serve,
to indulge in details or abstractions. At some
future day, we shall "fall back to matter more
germain" to our purposes. We, therefore, give
the names of the Old American Company, at
their closing seasons, under Hallam & Henry.
Managers, Messrs. Wignell, Morris and Wools
- these were sharers; Messrs. Harper, Martin,
Hammond, Heard, Ryan, Durang, Biddle, Robin-
son, Macpherson and Bisset - salaried actors.

The actresses were Mrs. Morris, Mrs. Henry -
[?]arers; Mrs. Hamilton, Mrs. Rankin, Mrs. Gray,
Mrs. Harper and Miss Tuke - these were on

The company, after this season, was recruited
in England by Mr. Henry. Mr. Thomas Wignell
separated from his co-mates and relative, Hal-
lam. Mr. Wignell having just cause to exclaim,
with Hamlet, at his cousin's treachery,

"Somewhat more of kin and less than kind."

The circumstances were these in realtion to
Wignell's secession from his cousin's company.
It was announced in one of the newspapers of
the time that Mr. Henry was immediately going
to england to engage performers for the com-
pany. This gave umbrage to Mr. Wignell, to
whom the agency for that purpose had been
previously promised by Mr. Hallam. It having
been determined in their manageriel cabinet
councils to strengthen the company in numbers
and talent, with other auxiliary aid, as new
pieces, wardrobe, books, music, & c. The rapid
growth of the cities and consequent increase of
taste in all those matters, required the effort.
With all Mr. Wignell's popularity, personal and
professional, being as it were the Nestor of the
company, and desirous to be the agent to Lon-
don, he was not selected, maugre his remon-
strances. Hallam extenuated to himself his
violated promises to Wignell, thus: - "If he
(Wignell) goes to England we shall have to
close. If henry goes we can continue to play
and maintain ourselves." Wignell at once saw
his position and its ultimate tendency. he
promptly resigned his situation, and associated
himself with Mr. Reinagle, a professor of music
in Philadelphia, and a composer of some note at
the time. This respectable association founded
the first Chesnut street theatre, which became
the model Thespian institution of the New World,
for many years, in all that constitutes the legiti-
mate objects of the drama: high talent in its
vaious walks, private worth and respectability,

moral and instructive entertainments, internal
regulations of government, professional as-
siduity, scenic decorations, characteristic cos-
tume, orchestral ability, dramatical and musical
libraries, embracing all the minutiae and formulae
of Drury Lane and Covent Garden theatres.
The opening of the Chesnut street house under
such liberal judicious arrangements consti-
tuted a new era in the theatrical history of our
young country. It became, as it were, an
academy of the fine arts, the focus of science in
the polite circles, whither the polished, the in-
tellectual, congregated to drink of the Castalia
fountain of parnassus, made sacred to the Muses.
This may be called rhodomontade. it is the
impulse of enthusiasm we admit - the sweet
recollections of our very early days. But, for
its sober truth, "let facts be submitted to a
candid world!" or, let reference be made to those
of our elder citizens who may be still in this
breathing orb, who, happily, were witnesses to
its birth, adolescency and maturity, attest the

Mr. Wignell's talent and influence, we should
have supposed, would have entitled him to a
co-ordinate position with the managers, Hallam
& Henry; this, however, from jealousy, or
other unamiable feeling, was denied to his
merits. Wignell saw, then, that his professional
standing might be seriously affected by the im-
portation of actors in his own line, being with-
out a voice to guard his own interests - his own
relative seemingly conspiring to render his ser-
vices subservient to their whims and ca-
prices. In this dilemma, he wisely acted for

Mr. Henry went to England on his own mis-
sion, followed by Mr. Wignell. The latter was
furnished with ample funds to carry out his
views while the new theatre was "being built."
The rival managers were both men of address
and tact in theatrical deplomacy, skilful in ma-
noeuvring their recruiting service, and both
animated by rivalry. Their generalship will
subsequently be seen. The victory was ulti-
mately with Wignell & Reinagle.

Having thus laconically brought down the
operations of the old american corps to a point,
where its virtual dissolution may be dated, or
where the field of its extensive exercise became
limited to a lesser sphere of action; by rival
managements, we will take leave of the sub-
ject for the present.

Chapter XVI.
The Northern Liberty theatre - The Kenna family - "The
New American Company" - Gradual formation of a the-
atrical corps - Donegani's company of tumblers, wire
dancers, &c. - Mons. Dumoulain's company of French
dancers - Performances by Indian Chiefs - Appearance
of Godwin - Mrs. Kenna's embarrassing situation - Close
of the Northern Libery theatre - Salaries - The star sys-
tem, etc.

We have hitherto devoted our attention to the
first and second theatres opened in Philadelphia.
These were "The Society Hill theatre," corner
of South and vErnon streets, erected by David
Douglas, adn the larger "Southwark theatre,"
built by the same gentleman. It is now proper
to say something about the third theatre opened
in this city, an establishment about which very
little is known. This was "The Northern Lib-
erty theatre," which stood above Pool's bridge,]

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