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= Miss Pope:—with Sultan. Roxalana = Mrs. Jordan :—the house was a very good one—but it has been said, that Sheridan went to the Treasury and carried off the money, so that Benson's widow and children never got a sixpence.
13. Katharine and Petruchio by Mrs. Goodall and Palmer:after which the Prize—and Irish Widow. Kecksey = Dodd : Sir Patrick O'Neale = Moody: Widow Brady=Miss De Camp :—this was Dodd's last app. on the stage.
14. My Grandmother - Tit for Tat—and Lyar. 15. Mahmoud, and Deaf Lover-last play.
No play ever came out which excited the curiosity of the public more than this, as it was pretended, and by many believed, to have been written by Shakspeare-Samuel Ireland published Dec. 24 1795 certain miscellaneous papers and legal instruments attributed to Shakspeare, Queen Elizabeth, the Earl of Southampton, and others—to which were added Kynge Leare and part of Hamblette, both alleged to be printed from a copy in the handwriting of Shakspeare.
These Manuscripts S. Ireland said he had received from his son William Henry, a youth, by whom the discovery of them was accidentally made at the chambers of a Gentleman-before they were published, they had been viewed by many persons who testified in favour of their authenticity-among these was that distinguished scholar Dr. Parr-Dr. Farmer, Steevens, and Malone did not see them-S. Ireland meeting with Porson, afterwards Greek Professor at Cambridge, and Dr. Burgess, afterwards Bishop of St. David's, desired them to come to his house and see the MSS., which they did-Porson told me as far as he could judge he thought the MSS. spurious, but that he did not wish to have given any opinion about them-S. Ireland had prepared a paper to this effect-« We whose names are underwritten “ believe these to be genuine MSS.,” &c.—to this he asked Porson if he had any objection to put his name -Porson had a peculiar knack of parrying a question which he did not choose to answer- but at last he was pressed so home, that he was obliged to say, “ I detest subscriptions of all kinds, but more espe“ cially to Articles of Faith.”
Some time after this, a letter was published signed England, in which the writer pretended to have found in an old trunk some Manuscript plays of Sophocles ; and of which he presented the public with a specimen in 13 lines -- these lines were the old song of “ Three children sliding on the ice” translated into Greek lambics—they were attributed to Porson.
A short time after Vortigern was acted, Malone published in about 400 pages 8vo. his Inquiry into
the authenticity of these Manuscripts-he says—“I “ was so conversant with the subject of the spurious
publication, that a single perusal of it was suffi“ cient, and in one hour afterwards, the entire foun“dation of this book was laid, and all the principal “ heads of objection briefly set down—the expanding “ of topics, and the minute examination of autho“rities, necessarily required more time.”
S. Ireland as the publisher of these MSS. was by many persons considered as the fabricator of them -W. H. Ireland, in order to vindicate his Father from this imputation, printed a pamphlet, in 1796 in which he acknowledged himself the forger of all these MSS.-the
themselves, and the circumstances attending their production, had so highly excited the public curiosity, that the whole edition of the Younger Ireland's pamphlet was disposed of in some few hours—and, sometime afterwards, it became so scarce, that a single impression, instead of the original price of one shilling, was sold at an auction for a Guinea.
W. H. Ireland in a subsequent publication says, that after his pamphlet was printed, it was boldly asserted by all the believers in the MSS., that the individual who had written it could never have been the author of the language to be found throughout the Shaksperian productions — he adds, that the praises bestowed on the first paper which he produced as the composition of Shakspeare, operated so strongly on his vanity, as to get the better of every other consideration - and the suggestion frequently thrown out that more papers of Shakspeare might be found by referring to the same source, induced him to proceed-he observes, that the gentlemen, who came to inspect the papers, had themselves to blame for the variety of productions which came forthand that if any person had minutely compared the writing of the first production, with those MSS. which were penned after he had acquired a facility in committing to paper the disguised hand, he must instantly have discovered the difference.
In 1797 Chalmers published in about 600 pages 8vo. an Apology for the Believers—in which he controverted almost all of Malone's arguments--he afterwards published a Supplement consisting of more
than 500 pages.
It is particularly to be observed that the name of the Gentleman, who was said to have given young Ireland the Shakspeare-papers was studiously concealed—a circumstance which ought to have made every person, not indeed an unbeliever, but a skeptic -whatever appearance of authenticity there might be in the MSS. themselves.
In 1805 W. H. Ireland printed his “Confessions,” in which he candidly gives a full account of the progress of the forgery—but he is so far from having a proper sense of the crime of which he had been guilty, that he speaks of the labyrinth of perplexity, in which he had so innocently involved himself-he seems to think that his having been a youth, or, as he chooses to call himself, a boy of 17 years and half old, when he began the MSS., was a sufficient excuse for what he had done-Youth is certainly an extenuation for many things which strictly speaking are wrong—but forgery cannot at any age be considered as a venial offence, and is peculiarly opposite to that ingenuousness, which is generally the characteristic of youth—Paley observes, there is something in falsehood mean and base, abstracted from any mischief which may ensue.
W. H. Ireland has the unparalleled effrontery to express a hope, that nothing contained in his “Con“ fessions ” may tend to his detriment in the estimation of the public—to which Malone might have replied in the words of Juvenal -
Quamvis jurato metuam tibi credere testi.”
W. H. Ireland has certainly made a fair confession --but as he has expressed little or no contrition, he is clearly not entitled to absolution—if he had been a sincere penitent, Fletcher would have furnished him with a most apposite conclusion to his book
“ I beseech thee to be warn’d by me,
“ Yield miseries a thousand-fold
ut to return to Vortigern - at the time this play came out, the town was divided between believers and unbelievers - Sheridan and Harris were both