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competition with the foreign manufacturer. This acknowledgment on the part of the Coventry ribbon weavers clearly proves that there is but one article in which the English have to apprehend competition, that where Italian thrown silk is used; and, consequently, if the duty were reduced upon it, the manufacturer of each country would be upon equal terms. Is not this policy of the English manufacturer, of selecting the goods in which he can defy competition, driving the East Indian Bandanas out of the market ?
If the manufacturers are so dreadfully oppressed by this heavy sort of goods as they represent, why do they not buy their raw material at the East India House sales, at 10s. ld. and 158. 1d. per pound, and proportionably, according to the degrees of value of the different descriptions, instead of running them up by competition to an advance on these prices of 6s. and 78. per pound. Notwithstanding the lamentations of the Coventry memorialists over their ruined manufacture, the ribbon trade has extended itself more than any other branch of the silk manufacture.
We shall conclude this article with a few extracts from Mr. Charles Grant's unanswerable speech at the close of the last session of parliament, upon the state of the silk trade :
The Right Honourable Gentleman, having shewn the increased consumption of the raw material, observes—“It is notorious to all who have any acquaintance with manufactures, that none has ever been so nursed or bolstered up by protecting duties as the silk manufacture generally, but especially the branch of it connected with thrown-silk. The throwing of silk may, in some sort, be looked upon as a separate manufacture, and the whole trade long exhibited a singular exception to the activity and animation of other British manufactures; there has been no improvement, and contented mediocrity was all that it ever, attained without the display of that genius and invention which usually accompany the enterprise of our traders. It affords a most remarkable and humiliating proof of the paralyzing effect of protecting taxes, that in this department we were below foreign nations. While in other manufactures we feared lest the advantage of our machinery should be communicated to foreigners, in this we ostentatiously avow our inferiority. It was an argument used both in and out of Parliament, that in respect to the machinery employed in the silk trade, it was impossible for Great Britain to compete with France. What then has been the consequence of pursuing that course, which it was said at the time would throw the nation prostrate at the feet of its rivals ? In proportion as the ordinary motives of human actions have been allowed to operate upon this branch as upon others, in proportion has a spirit of competition been encouraged ; in that proportion has a new spirit been breathed into the silk trade, and new improvements adopted of which there had been no anticipation. These are not my sentiments only, but the sentiments of those best qualified to judge; even of the silk throwsters themselves, who candidly confess that the measures of Mr. Huskisson have not so much improved an old, as created a new trade. The price of throwing silk has been reduced from 8s. and 10s, per lb., to 3s. and 5s. per Ib., and one throwster in London has lowered it even to Is. 6d. per lb. The effect of the change in the law has been to produce a spirit of exertion and economy of labour.
" It has been admitted on all hands that if the old machinery were adhered to, it would be impossible to compete with rivals ; and very recently only the spirit of enterprise and improvement that marks our other manufactures has exercised its influence upon that of silk. New establishments have started up in different parts of the kingdom; at Cardiff and at Macclesfield—while at Manchester they have risen like exhalations. But the throwing of silk is only a subsidiary and subordinate department; it is only a means towards an end, and, if driven to choose between the general manufacturer of silk and the throwster, it ought to be recollected that the one may flourish, though the other should be destroyed; but the legislature is not reduced to that painful alternative, for the result clearly proves that the throwing of silk may be performed even cheaper than it has yet been done since the alteration of the law. The throwing of silk, I may add, is the only re. maining difficulty, and if it could be done cheaper, there is no part of the world to which Great Britain might not send the productions of her looms. Attempts have been made to rival France in different parts of the process ; with what success may be seen even by the unskilled eye of any gentleman entering the Repository at Charing-Cross. Even in colour the comparison is not to the disadvantage of this country. What do I argue from this ? That if the cost of throwing silk be reduced, we need fear no foreign markets. It would be easy
for me to multiply instances, where similar success has attended the measures of Mr. Huskisson ; but I have said enough to prove that a new spirit would be generated in all branches, if the legislature would but relax the yet existing restrictions. We now command the home market; we might then fearlessly enter the foreign market. I trust that next session the legislature will look into the subject. It interests the nation most deeply; for the silk manufacturers do not dread foreign competition, but illicit introduction encouraged by a high protecting duty.”
We were very glad to recognise on the envelope of the following article, the goodly character in which the Sympathetic Numbers were written. Our politely-intimated wish was thus as politely complied with. But, we confess we by no means as thoroughly go along with our Correspondent in this case as the last; and we print the communication as a lively and able piece of advocacy on one side of a question, on which we beg to be considered as giving no opinion at all. On one point, however, we must say a word, for it is a matter of fact, involving property. The writer compares invasion of the existing dramatic monopoly, with the general inventions which have superseded old-fashioned goods. But the case is widely different. In the latter instance, the field was fairly open to all. The owners of the old goods had not given any sums of money to have the privilege of selling them without competition. This is the case—and the sums are enormous—with the patentees of our Winter Theatres. The difficulty of fairly getting rid of these patents is one which, we confess, we have not yet seen any means of overcoming. If any such be discovered, we should be the first to hail the free. dom with delight ; and then we should agree with the most part of what is said by our Correspondent in so rapid and tranchant a tone. We should not with all, however. For, we cannot attach much importance to the actors and actresses being strictly the King's servants—nor do we consider the practice of bringing them back to be clapped at, to shew their submission to the audience (which is the point on which it is rested here), as having much connection with dramatic excellence. However, it is fair to let the reader now hear what our Correspondent says; which is, at any rate, more amusingly said than are our objections.
THE THEATRE. “ Ower mony masters-ower mony masters ; as the toad said to the harrow,
when ilka tooth gave it a tug."-SCOTT. Many and plausible are the reasons assigned for the decline of the dramatic art in England. My own theory on the subject,-one singularly obnoxious to the spirit of the times,-is, that since actors and actresses have written themselves “ the servants of the public," instead of “ His Majesty's Servants,” they have been good for little: I was about to say for nothing, but the names of Charles Kemble, Young, and Farren, rose in judgment against the word. In the mean time, Ude and late dinners,—turnpike acts and early debates,—the gradual journey of the metropolis “ Westward Ho!''-and the increase and splendour of private entertainments, are alternately assigned by the managers as an apology for their “ beggarly account of empty boxes,' and the equally beggarly condition of their inhabited ones; and at
length wearied of catering for reluctant guests,—despairing of winning back
my Lord Duke and Sir Harry to their Salmi de bécasses and Chambertin, they are forced in their own despite to spread their board with half-raw beef, and heavy pudding, liquified with the comfortable creature small beer,” to re-create the voracious throats of Alderman Gobble in the dress-circle, and honest John Tompkins in the pit ; nay! to provide still filthier cates for the obscene maw of the nameless rabble of the two shilling gallery! These, say they, are the veritable and sole remaining patrons of the drama.
The evil thus insured is necessarily reciprocal. The scattered remnant of amateurs of the legitimate drama, forming a respectable minority, are driven from their post of
observation by the perpetual glare and tumult and flippant coarseness of the modern stage; and the dramatic art is finally abandoned to operetta, melo-drama, -farces worthy of the suburbs,—and worse than all—to Shakspeare's matchless text, wafted “ upon a jig to heaven!” And all this because the actors are the servants of the public-of the many-headed monster, John Bull ; who loves to welcome Cherry Ripe' in the midst of a Roman tragedy,—who endures the · Hypocrite' only for the sake of Mawworm's blasphemous parody,-and insists upon hearing “ Kate the curst” scold, in three sharps, to Rodwell's measures.
They do these things better in France," and excellently well in Germany; and those who are inclined to hear Shakspeare,-genuine, uninterpolated Shakspeare,—Shylock without variations, and Parolles without a song, may visit Vienna; and in the classical adjustment of costume, and purity of delivery, believe the days of Clive, Barry, Garrick, and the Kembles come again. I have seen the Merchant of Venice' and · All's Well that Ends Well,' represented there in the very perfection of art; and to audiences so deeply interested, that not a whisper interrupted the performance. But then the boxes were private boxes,—the pit was filled with a highly respectable class,—the arduous and emulous actors were “ His Imperial Majesty's Servants," and His Imperial Majesty himself was an unobtrusive but attentive spectator.
On the continent, the higher order of players are literally the king's servants; paid in great part by the king's wages; subdued into decency by the king's presence; and secure, through the king's liberality, of a competence for their old age. A pension waits upon their retirement from the stage, and a prison upon their misconduct while they still tread the boards. Under this excitement of rewards and punishments, no doubles are forced upon the endurance of the yawning public,—the stage never “ waits,”—the heroine of the drama does not
oblivious," '- nor the hero to be “ much be-mused in port;" the soubrette does not coquet with the pit, nor play fantastic tricks before high Heaven to provoke the thunders of the gods ;-old Capulet's mantle is not put on awry, nor his shoes “unpinked i'the heel ;" for be it observed that none are more truly submissive to the public, than the king's servants. Clairon, the proudest Semiramis that ever declaimed from a throne, was sentenced to a week at Fort l'évêque as a penalty for impertinence; and some years ago I saw Levert, in one of her most popular parts, mark her respect for a general titter that had saluted her entrée, by changing, between the acts, the coeffure which had provoked the risibility of the public. Never did I hear a more genuine burst of applause than that which saluted her re-entrance in a more moderately-proportioned turban. Nay! to so great an extent is this respect carried in Germany, that actors are frequently called for, not only on the conclusion of the performance, but between the acts, and even to the interruption of the piece; and so well accustomed are they to stand bowing to the decree of the audience, that last year, in the magnificent theatre at Munich, I was witness to the resurrection of Marie von Beaumarchais, in Goethe's play of Clavigo. Scarcely had the funeral of the deceased maiden traversed the stage, when three rounds of applause compelled her to step out of her coffin, and perform the ko-too in her shroud. I recollect too seeing Jocko required to exhibit his three bows, between the acts of the ballet; with his tail as much de trop as that of a comet. I marvel what explosion of huzzas would summon Miss Paton from her peaceful grave?-or induce Kean or Macready to doff their vests in token of respect to their “very worthy and approved good masters"-the public?
presume to be
It is, unfortunately, an established dogma of modern times, that the English are not a play-going nation,—to which it might be added-in England; for throughout France, Italy, and Germany, experience proves them to be the most determined frequenters of the theatre from high to low—from the Scala and St. Carlos, to the Ambigu Comique, or the Leopoldstadt. But there they are not compelled to rise at an earlier hour than usual in order to travel to the play in time for the overture; nor to sit six consecutive hours upon a wooden bench, deafened by the hammering of sticks and iron heels, or cries of " Boxkeeper,” and “ Turn him out."
It is not, however, necessary to cross the channel in order to note the theatrical propensities of the English nation. Let us examine the audiences collected by Laporte at the English Opera House; or those attracted to the King's Theatre by the performances of Georges, and of Mars. Is it to be supposed, that the mere fact of listening to a French play is a sufficient attraction to the higher orders of London society? or shall reason prompt us to acknowledge that they are easily and cheerfully congregated by the sight and sound of genuine tragedy, comedy, and farce ?—that an English theatre, established at the west end of the town, upon the system of the Théatre dé Madame, at Paris, the performances to be restricted between the hours of eight and eleven, would be eminently successful,—that its boxes would be permanently engaged, and creditably filled; and thật even royalty itself
, when unconstrained by the formalities of beşpeaking a play, and calling out the household troops as an escort through St. Giles's, would probably seek a refined relaxation within its walls.
At Covent Garden, or Drury Lane, setting the mischiefs of their remote locality aside, a reform of the abuses sanctified by time and custom is altogether impossible. John Kemble, wisely conscious of the advantage he should derive from a more enlightened auditory, extended the proportion of private-boxes; and the denizens of the pit