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William Godwin: his Friends and Contemporaries
Ch. IV. 1793
Thomas Abthorpe Cooper to William Godwin, 11 March 1793

Contents Vol. I
Ch. I. 1756-1785
Ch. II. 1785-1788
Ch. III. 1788-1792
Ch. IV. 1793
Ch. V. 1783-1794
Ch. VI. 1794-1796
Ch. VII. 1759-1791
Ch. VII. 1791-1796
Ch. IX. 1797
Ch. X. 1797
Ch. XI. 1798
Ch. XII. 1799
Ch. XIII. 1800
Contents Vol. II
Ch. I. 1800
Ch. II. 1800
Ch. III. 1800
Ch. IV. 1801-1803
Ch. V. 1802-1803
Ch. VI. 1804-1806
Ch. VII. 1806-1811
Ch. VIII. 1811-1814
Ch. IX. 1812-1819
Ch. X. 1819-1824
Ch. XI. 1824-1832
Ch. XII. 1832-1836
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Produced by CATH
Portsmouth, March 11, ’93.

“I gave my mother all the information you require in the letter I sent yesterday, and I thought that might save the additional trouble and expense of postage, for I have a great deal to do. Though I play seldom, whenever I play I have to study the character; but as necessary information cannot in London be conveyed half a mile, I will with pleasure endeavour to do it from seventy miles’ distance. You desired to be acquainted with some of the gentlemen of the company. Their names are as follows:—Tyler, Curtis, Stanewix, Gill, Kelly, Woolley, Baker, Davies, Barrett; Mesdames Tyler, Maxfield, Kelly, Davies, Collins, Balls, and Lings. Mr Tyler is the chief singer, and has £1, 11s. 6d. salary a week. He plays, besides, in middling parts, is good-natured and rather formal, and about thirty-eight years of age. Mr Curtis is a kind of pompous fool, never seems to attempt anything in acting, stands always in one position, and as erect as if he had a spit thrust through him. Mr Gill is—nobody. Mr Stanewix is a young beginner—he has been but nine months on the stage. I do not well know what to make of him. His understanding is above mediocrity, but I believe he will never be a good actor. He plays French parts and fops. Mr Maxfield is the tragedy hero. It so happened that he did not till last night play one of his best castes, when he played ‘George Barnwell’ with some merit; but though this man is their Richard III., their Essex, &c., such is the nature of this company that last night, after playing ‘George Barnwell,’ he went on as a sailor in ‘Captain Cook,’ without a word to say, or anything to do. Kelly is a Jack in all parts—a young man who would have merit in some caste, if
he did not undertake all. Woolley, Baker, and Davies are low comedy men, and all have an equal and middling share of merit. Perhaps Woolley is the best. Barrett is the auxiliary to the company in the same manner as Holman was, but in my mind a very bad actor. He is about forty-seven years of age, plays genteel comedy, Plune, Kerger, Lord Townley, &c. He has been a manager somewhere, played ‘
Don Juan’ at the Royalty, and is six foot high. He is a wit, but of all the dull who profess that character, I never knew a duller. I will give a specimen. Somebody asked whether Mrs Inchbald’s play was cast. Another replied that if he had the direction of it, it would be cast into the fire. ‘Then,’ rejoined Barrett, ‘it would be an outcast.’ He was complaining one day of a dilemma to which he was reduced. ‘I am in a damned scrape; I almost think I am a fiddle, I am in such a scrape,’ running his stick backwards and forwards across his arm by way of illustration. When Mrs Davies, Mrs Laing, and Mrs Rivers are mentioned, I have mentioned all the women who are not non-entities. I have, since I wrote last, played Worthy and Philip in ‘The Brothers.’ The salary is only 15s. a week, not to me only, but to everybody except Tyler and Barrett. Next week is Passion Week, during which there are no plays, and no pay.

Thomas Cooper.

“I expect every day to be pressed, and neither appearance nor friends can save me. Masters of houses have been taken away. I know a common sailor who sometime ago was a player.”