Imagens das páginas

have done great service to the cause of truth, and have everlastingly benefited many a mind that without their aid would have remained ignorant and unproductive ; but they were intended for the mass of men, not for individuals; and by the mass of men they are neither honoured nor supported. It was thought that these Institutions would supply a healthier and better recreation to the mechanic than the tavern or the theatre, and that, therefore, they would be the means of dethroning Intemperance and promoting rational enjoyment; but, alas ! taverns, gin-palaces, beer-shops, flourish more than ever; and there is scarcely a Literary or Mechanics' Institution in the land that pays its expenses. Month after month we receive from these various societies accounts of the most cheerless and discouraging nature, and we believe we are speaking quite within bounds when we say, that out of the 250 Literary and Mechanics' Institutions in Great Britain, not more than ten are in a prosperous condition.

Now we cannot contemplate this fact without thinking that there must be some grand defect in the constitution of these various societies which operates to prevent the many from estimating their value, and partaking of their advantages; and in comparing with one another, and carefully examining the accounts before us, we are led to believe we can perceive the great fault, and that we shall be enabled to show it to our readers.

We think, then, that the great and fundamental error of the founders of Literary Institutions is, that they do not sufficiently combine amusement with instruction ; that they seek to teach, but are not careful to please. They offer nothing to charm the ear or the eye; but content themselves with communicating dry and abstract information. Now this is a great mistake. A Literary Institution is not like a school, to which the scholars are forced to go!-those who join it do so voluntarily; and it is requisite, therefore, that there should be something to induce and tempt those persons to become members for whom its benefits are intended. Now we have invariably found--this may be regarded as an unquestionable fact—that the more prominent a place amusement holds in the proceedings of an Institution, the more that Institution is frequented, and the better it succeeds; whilst, on the other hand, when the business of the Institution is of a dry and studious character, the Society is scantily subscribed to, and, consequently, soon decays and dies. It is idle to say that they are not meant to amuse, that their object is to instruct-instruction never was and never will be well communicated but through a pleasing medium. We hold, therefore, that if an Institution is to succeed, amusement as well as instruction must be provided—and plentifully provided for the student.

Now, of the various studies pursued by the members of Literary and Scientific Institutions, we know of none that can be turned to better account for the communication of instruction with entertainment than the art of Elocution. We need not stay here to enlarge upon the value of the art of speaking—it is universally admitted—the importance of the study, therefore, will not need to be proved: but that it may be made a source of amusement may not be so generally imagined. We purpose, therefore, to dwell for a brief while on this subject; and we are the more induced to consider it in consequence of having recently been present on several occasions where the fruits of this art were displayed, and on which it is our intention to offer a few critical comments.

We believe it is pretty generally known, that the City of London Literary and Scientific Institution is one of the most successful of such societies. It has pursued its prosperous course for many-we believe, nearly twenty years—and has done no mean service to the cause of enlightenment. Doubtless, amongst the chief causes of the success, its excellent situation in the heart of the City, the great exertions of its Managers--and especially the labours of the talented and indefati. gable gentleman who is its Secretary, must be mentioned; but, unquestionably, it owes much of its prosperity to the many recreating studies which it holds out to its members. Its Music, Discussion, Drawing, and Elocution Classes, present constant and ever-changing amusements, and are known to be strong and successful temptations to young men to join the Society. And we cannot but feel highly rejoiced that this is the case. We believe that these arts exert a most powerful and humanizing influence on those who practise them or witness their display ; and we never see a large assembly convened at a concert, or at a display of Elocution practice, without feeling that good is being done, and happiness communicated. We would, therefore, urge these studies on Institutions generally, and we feel assured, that if in this respect they will copy the practice of the Society referred to, they will achieve similar prosperity.


The first occasion we shall notice is the late Public Quarterly Meeting of the English Elocution Class of the City of London Literary and Scientific Institution, which was held on the 29th of October last. The Theatre was densely crowded, and was honoured with the presence of a numerous throng of ladies. The Chair was taken by J. HUMFFREYS PARRY, Esq., the well-known Lecturer on Oratory, who, in a few able remarks, introduced the business of the meeting, by calling on Mr. Thomas Tagg to recite a Poetical Address, written for the occasion. This was succeeded by the following Recitations :Mr. Druitt ; Extract from " Lalla Rookh" . . Moore.

Scriven ; The Apprentice Boy . . . . Grimston.
March ; Cato'

Eastham; Morning Hymn

Hill ; Henry the 5th to his Soldiers . . Shakspere.
Tagg ;
The Broken Lute

Church; Rienzi's Address

Carswell : Highland Mary

March ; Lochinvar

Eastham ; Lioni's Soliloquy

The Captive ,

Tagg; Mr. Ferdinand Pigswiddy.

J. L. Smith.
F. Rowton; Paddy the Piper .

Lover. These recitations were generally very well delivered. The efforts of Messrs. Eastham, Tago, and T. P. Hill merit particular mention ;---the first-named gentleman was very successful in his powerful delivery of Coleridge's beautiful lines composed in the valley of Chamouni: Mr. Hill, in his performance of M. G. Lewis's extraordinary poem “ The Captive,” and Mr. TagG, in his humorous recitation of “Mr. Ferdinand Pigswiddy," extracted from this Magazine. We were much pleased, too, with Mr. CARSWELL's delivery of Burns' exquisite poem, “ Highland Mary,” in which he displayed very great feeling and pathos.

Mr. WARWICK then moved, and Mr. Tagg seconded the proposition, that the best thanks of the meeting should be given to the Chairman; which was carried with acclamation.

Mr. Parry, in returning thanks, expressed his high sense of the honour conferred upon him, and eloquently dwelt upon the advantages the art of Elocution bestows upon its students.

At the meeting of the Southwark Institution, the proceedings were opened by the recitation of a Poetical Address, written for the occasion, in which the importance of the art of Elocution in the still greater art of Love, was very pointedly and warmly urged ; and we must do the reciter, Mr. MITCHELL IZARD, the justice to say, that he appeared to speak as though he had felt and proved the great truth he was uttering. This was followed by selections from our best poetical and prose writers-Shakspere, Otway, Byron, Scott, Mitford, Hood, Ingoldsby, and last, though far from least, Charles Dickens.

Most of these addresses were exceedingly well delivered. The “Silent Sorrow" of Mr. ALGAR, in Hood's Hullah-baloo, was a very amusing performance; as was also Mr. NOTTINGHAM's recitation of Serjeant Buzfuz's Speech in the celebrated case of Bardell v. Pickwick. We were much pleased, too, with Messrs. HAYDON. and E. Rowton's extracts from Rienzi and Julius Cæsar. The Rialto Scene from Venice Preserved, was very ably enacted by Messrs. Izard and E. Rowton, and received a very large share of applause. Mr. Fellows's humourous delivery of the “ Norfolk Tragedy" excited considerable laughter, to which the author's quaintness, and his touching description of the murderers “ Scragging Jane and Spifflicating Johnny," doubtless contributed much. A scene from “Werner" elicited considerable approbation; the acting of Messrs. BOUSFIELD and POINTING as Siegendorf and Ulric was exceedingly creditable; and Mr. WOODMAN, as Gabor, would have been highly effective but for the great and very perceptible nervousness and trepidation under which he laboured throughout his recitation. Mr. Gold's performance of The Siege of Corinth was discreet, gentlemanly, and impressive. If among so much that was well done we might place any first, it would be the recitation of the comic tale entitled “ Mr. Ferdinand Pigswiddy," which appeared in the first number of this Magazine. Mr. Rowton pourtrayed the love-lorn Ferdinand and the maternal physician with great humour, and drew down the deafening plaudits of the crowded audience.

[ocr errors]

At the conclusion of the recitations, Mr. MITCHELL IZARD, in a short and happy speech, besought the good opinion of the audience for the selection offered to their notice, on the ground that, whatever other interests might have been neglected, at least those “ of the little gentlemen in a pair of wings and nothing else' (meaning Cupid we suppose), had had their best attention : and further reminding them, that “'tis a muckle sign of grace to be thankfu' fu sma' mercies :"--concluding by moving the thanks of the meeting to Mr. Tagg for his kindness in taking the chair, and the urbanity and courtesy he had evinced therein.

This resolution being seconded by Mr. ALGAR, was carried unanimously.

Mr. Tagg, in acknowledging the compliment, took occasion to explain that it was not simply from these meetings the benefits of Elocution Classes were to be judged, but rather in the weekly meetings of its members, wherein opportunities for criticism are afforded; and further urged on all the importance of joining so valuable a Class. In conclusion, Mr. Tagg explained that in this exhortation he did not include the ladies, as it was admitted on all hands that they have arrived at proficiency in the art. During the cheering that followed this remark Mr. Tagg retired.

Of the meeting at Crosby Hall it is our pleasing duty to speak in the highest teems of praise. The selection was most admirable, and the Recitations were one and all exceedingly well delivered. We feel called upon to mention the names of Messrs. Whittle, GRAHAM, Bax, W. Avery, GLOVER, FOLKARD, and W. ROWTon, as entitled to particular commendation. Mr. Whittle's Sir Anthony Absolute, Mr. GRAHAM's Monsieur Tonson, and Mr. FOLKARD's Dazzle (a character in Bourcicault's Comedy of “London Assurance"), were truly excellent. Amongst the most successful of the Recitations were “The Young Avenger," by Mr. W. Avery, and “Lord Chatham's Speech on America," by Mr. W. ROWTON. We were also highly pleased with Mr. Keys', recitation of “ Cato's Soliloquy," which was quietly but very effectively delivered, and received great approbation : and we must not forget to notice the pleasing Address which commenced the proceedings. The beautiful Hall was quite full-crowded, in fact—and the audience were most highly delighted with their entertainment.

It is å matter of great astonishment to us, that at the public meetings of this Class, there is not, as at other assemblies of the same sort, a Chairman appointed. A public meeting without a Chairman!---who ever heard of such a thing? To say nothing of the opportunity which such an occasion offers for the introduction of gentlemen of eminence to the interesting proceedings of the Class-opportunities by-the-by which have been made good use of at the City of London Institution, where the chair has been taken by such men as Lover, SERLE, Elton, &c., to the great good of the Class ;-to say nothing of this, a chairman is very useful in main. taining order on such occasions. The want of one, indeed, was strikingly felt on this very evening; for, in consequence of there being no one to interfere, a disorderly individual in the gallery was suffered to annoy the audience all through the proceedings. We do trust that our hint will be taken.

We have next to refer to the third Half-yearly Meeting of the City of London Elocution Society, which took place at the George Hall, Aldermanbury, on Monday, Nov. 28th, Chas. WARWICK, Esq., being in the chair. Mr. WARWICK having briefly stated the objects of the Society, Mr. T. P. Hill recited a most excellent poetical Address, written by Mr. TAWELL. We regret that our space will not allow us to print it, for it is of a highly meritorious character. This was followed by Mr. TIPPLE's delivery of Mrs. Hemm's lines, entitled “The Spanish Champion," which were very effectively given. Mr. DRUITT then recited, with great powerand feeling, Byron's magnificent description of the present aspect of Greece. Next came Mr. Fawcett's exquisite recitation of an anonymous, but highly powerful poem, called the “ Dying Greek Warrior.” After this followed Mr. BOLLEN's delivery of Pitt's spirited reply to Walpole, which was very warmly received: then Campbell's poem “ The Last Man," which was done ample justice to by Mr. Godden. Mr. Share then recited, with considerable humour, Colman's laughable lines called “ Lodgings to Let,” which was followed by Mr. J. BRITTEN, jun.'s, recitation of Scott's description of the “Death of Marmion." Messrs. KREDERER and CARSWELL then gave "Lochiel's Warning," to the great satisfaction of the audience; and after them, Mr. Tawell (the author of the Address) delivered an extract from Young's “Night Thoughts," with much pathos and power. We have next to notice Mr. Bishop's excellent conception and delivery of Thomas Ingoldsby's “ Tragedy,"


which moved the mirth of the audience most surprisingly -- the “Speech of Henry the Fifth before Agincourt,” which was very well delivered by Mr. Carswell: and the vivid and powerful poem of “ Eugene Aram” magnificently given by Mr. T. P. Hill. The entertainment was concluded by Mr. KREDERER, who recited Boz's ludicrous story “ The Baron of Grogzwig," with much humour and effect.

The Chairman then delivered some eloquent remarks enforcing the Art of Speaking, which were received with great applause, and the meeting separated.

The Half-yearly Public Meeting of the French Elocution Class of the City of London Literary and Scientific Institution was held on Tuesday, the 13th of December. The audience was very numerous, the Theatre being filled, and a large number of ladies graced the assembly with their presence. The meeting was presided over by Mr. C. FARROW, a gentleman who assisted at the forination of the Class, and who has continued one of its most valuable supporters. The following was the list of Recitations delivered :

1. Mr. T. A. Hinton, . Le Cid, Acte 4, Scène 3. . . CORNEILLE. 2. Mr. F. DE YRIGOYTI, Le Marseillais et le Lion,

VOLTAIRE. 3. Mr. E. KREDERER, . La Mort d' Ailly, (Extrait de la HENRIADE) Do. Mr. J. BROUGH,

| L'Ecole des Vieillards, Acte 1, Scene 1. {CAS Mr. W. H. JACKSON, 5. Mr. W. S. Hinton, · Les Catacombes de Rome ..

DELILLE. 6. Mr. A. W. Porter, Monsieur de Pourceaugnac, Acte 2,1 m

Mr. F. DE YRIGOYTI, Scène 6 . . . . 7. Mr. W. H. JACKSON, Les Etoiles qui filent . . . BERANGER. 8. Mr. E. KREDERER, L Le Dépit Amoureux, Acte 2, Scènes 7,1 MOLIERE. Mr. W. PARRY, S 8, and 9, . . .

( La première cause de Maître Adolphe 9. Mr. A. W. Porter, . Camuchet, Avocat à-la-Cour Royale

(Physiologie de l'homme de Loi) . ) 10. Mr. C. J. Delille, LeFanatisme, Acte 2, Scène 5, Mr. W. S. Hinton,

. VOLTAIRE. 11. Mr. F. DE YRIGOYTI, Ma femme et mon parapluie . . ANONYME. 12. Mr. J. BROUGH,

Le Joueur, Acte 4, Scene 13, .
Mr. C. J. DELILLE, )

REGNARD. The selection was highly creditable to the taste of the members, containing as it does some of the finest specimens of the most eminent French writers, and combining in due proportion “ the grave and gaythe lively and severe."

The whole of the recitations were admirably delivered, and elicited the wellmerited plaudits of the audience. The dialogues deserve especial commendation, from the spirited manner in which they were given.

The splendid scene from " Le Fanatisme," recited by Messrs. DELILLE and W. S. Hint n, was very effective. The Mahomet of Mons. DeLille was a powerful piece of declamation, displaying all the variety of expression which distinguishes the character in this scene. This gentleman was indeed the Talma of the Corps Dramatique. He was most ably supported by Mr. W. S. Hinton as ZOPIRE, who in this, as in the recitation of the “Ca'acombes de Rome," exhibited elocutionary powers of the highest order. We were much pleased, and the audience likewise, with the scene from that finest of modern French comedies, the “ Ecole des Vieillards." Mr. BROUGH, as the enraptured Benedict, and Mr. Jackson, as the determined old Bachelor, appeared, from the gusto and genuineness of feeling with which they delivered their sentiments, to have chosen “con amore” their respective characters. Notwithstanding, however, BONNARD's eloquent display of the pleasures of celibacy, we are of opinion DANVILLE had the majority on his side the question. MOLIERE, too,--the inimitable MOLIERE !- was worthily introduced to the meeting : the humorous scene from Monsieur de Pourceaugnac by Messrs. F. DE YRIGoyri and PORTER, was a most perfect piece of acting, and the audience testified their delight by repeated shouts of laughter. The scene from the “ Depit Amoureur" afforded also much entertainment; nor must we omit to notice “ La premiere cause de Maitre Adolphe Camuchet," recited in a very humorous manner by the Secretary of the Class, Mr. PORTER, and which caused the most hearty mirth and enthusiastic applause; the same may be said of Mr. F. DE YRIGOYTI'S " Marseillais et le Lion.” The extract from the HENRIADE was very suecessfully recited by Mr. KREDERER. Mr. DELILLE displayed his powers in another forte in the scene from the Joueur with Mr. Brough, which concluded the evening's entertainment. The naiveté and humour of HECTOR (Mr. Delille) contrasted with the passion and desperation of VALERE, his master (Mr. Brough), was a scene of the most genuine Comedy, and was greatly appreciated. Mr. DELILLE (in moving a vote of thanks to the Chairman) eloquently observed, that the Classe d' Elocution Francaise, with such audiences, and such support, could not fail to be immortal; and here we must offer our meed of commendation to Mr. DELILLE for his urbanity in rendering his valuable assistance to the Class; the kind and uniform symapthy and interest evinced by him in the studies of the members, cannot fail to produce the best results. In acknowledging the vote of thanks, Mr. Farrow made some appropriate observations, after which the audience departed, resolved, we are fully convinced, to patronize the future meetings of this important and interesting Class.

In concluding our remarks upon this subject, we indulge a hope that the examples thus set by the various Societies to which we have referred, will be followed by other Institutions, and we feel assured that, wherever adopted, they will be productive of great advantages.

City or WESTMINSTER LITERARY, SCIENTIFIC, AND MECHANICS' INSTITUTION. -His Royal Highness Prince Albert, patron of the above Institution, has just presented Twenty Guineas to its funds.

THE NORTHAMPTON AND NORTHAMPTONSHIRE MECHANICS' INSTITUTE was established at the commencement of 1833, for the purpose of providing for the inhabitants generally--but more especially for the Working Classes--the means of mental culture and enlightened recreation, by the establishment of a Library and Reading Room, and by securing, as circumstances permitted, the delivery of Lectures on the various departments of Science, Literature, and the Arts.

The operations of the Institute were carried on with fluctuating success during the earlier years; but in 1840 the affairs assumed a more promising aspect, and have steadily improved to the present time. This gratifying state of things has been brought about by the generosity of a gentleman of truly patriotic views, whose time and income are extensively devoted to the benefit of Mechanics' Institutions, as presenting the best means of furnishing to the people that supplementary education so much needed by them. Since June, 1840, this Library has been increased from 800 volumes to 6,600, by the boundless liberality of this individual, independent of extensive contributions towards a Museum of Natural History. The Library consists of works of established character on almost every branch of knowledge, nearly the whole being open to circulation among the members for the trifling subscription of six shillings annually, or one shilling and sixpence per quarterwhich also gives admission to the Reading Room and to the Lectures, the number of which varies from twelve to twenty during the year; and it is doubtful if the same advantages are offered on terms so exceedingly low by any similar Institution in the kingdom.

Much praise is due to various parties for the readiness with which they have contributed to the wants of the society by the delivery of excellent Lectures, gratuit. ously; others have been delivered at various times, professionally, by some of the most popular lecturers of the day.

In consequence of subscriptions being paid quarterly, the number of members is continually fluctuating; at present they amount to about 400.

Much inconvenience has been felt from the want of suitable accommodation, and exertions are being made to effect the purchase of premises more worthy of the establishment, and better adapted to its wants.

One peculiar feature in the management of this Institute is, the allowing to the conductor of every Free-School and Sunday School in the town the nomination of one scholar each, who is admitted free to all the privileges of the Institute, with the exception of voting on any subject brought before the members.

The management is by a Committee of twenty-one, chosen by ballot indiscriminately from the whole body of adult male members.

City of LONDON LITERARY AND SCIENTIFIC INSTITUTION-Lecture Class.On Tuesday evening, the 6th instant, a Lecture on the Poetry and Character of

« AnteriorContinuar »