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The Heiress; a comedy, in five acts   By: (1792?-)

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First Page:

[Illustration: HEIRESS. MISS ALSCRIPT YOUNG WOMAN WHERE WERE YOU EDUCATED ACT II SCENE III PAINTED BY R SMIRKE R A PUBLISHED BY LONGMAN & CO ENGRAVED BY CHAS WARREN 1808]

THE HEIRESS; A COMEDY, IN FIVE ACTS;

By GENERAL BURGOYNE.

AS PERFORMED AT THE THEATRE ROYAL, DRURY LANE.

PRINTED UNDER THE AUTHORITY OF THE MANAGERS FROM THE PROMPT BOOK.

WITH REMARKS BY MRS. INCHBALD.

LONDON:

PRINTED FOR LONGMAN, HORST, REES, AND ORME, PATERNOSTER ROW.

WILLIAM SAVAGE, PRINTER, LONDON.

REMARKS.

The author of this play was an elegant writer, and a brave soldier yet, as an author he had faults, and as a general failures. His life was eventful; and he appears to have had, among his other qualities, that of patient philosophy: or if, in the warmth of youth, or pride of manhood, he was ever elated by prosperity, it is certain he bore adversity with cheerful resignation; that adversity, which is more formidable to the ambitious, than poverty to the luxurious disappointment of expected renown.

Secret love, and clandestine marriage, composed the first acts of that tragi comedy, called his life. His cultivated mind, and endearing manners, reconciled, in a short time, the noble house of Derby to his stolen union with Lady Charlotte Stanley: her father, the late Earl of Derby, acknowledged him for his son in law; while the present Earl considered him, not only as his uncle, but his friend[1].

The author was, at that period, but a subaltern in the army. The patronage of his new relations, more than his own merit, it is probable, obtained him higher rank. He was, however, possessed of talents for a general, and those talents were occasionally rewarded with success. But his misfortunes in battle have been accompanied by circumstances more memorable than his victories the latter were but of slight or partial consequence; his defeat at Saratoga was of great and direful import.

He sent an able, and most pathetic account, from America, of the surrender of his whole army it was correctly written, and the style charmed every reader but he had better have beaten the enemy, and mis spelt every word of his dispatch; for so, probably, the great Duke of Marlborough would have done, both by one and the other.

General Burgoyne appears to have been a man capable of performing all things that did not require absolute genius. He was complete in mediocrity, A valiant, but not always a skilful, soldier; an elegant, but sometimes an insipid, writer.

When the comedy of "The Heiress" was first acted, it was compared, and preferred by some persons, to "The School for Scandal." It attracted vast sums of money from the east, as well as the west part of the metropolis; but was more justly appreciated when the season of acting was over, and the playhouses closed.

Still, it is a production which claims high respect, from a degree of refinement which pervades the whole work; from the peculiar situation of its author; and from other circumstances closely connected with its performance on the stage. "The Heiress" is dedicated to the Earl of Derby; and the present Countess of Derby was the Lady Emily of the drama when it was first acted.

The author, in his Preface, has, with much art, paid a deference to Miss Farren, by a compliment separate from her brother and sister performers; at the same time, wisely taking care not to excite their jealousy, while he soothed the partiality of his noble relation. He thanks and praises her merely for speaking his Epilogue, in which, of course, no other performer had a claim to his acknowledgments.

Lieutenant General Burgoyne is the author of another comedy, called "The Maid of the Oaks," and the excellent farce of "Bon Ton." He was enamoured of the stage, and was at a play, in the little theatre of the Haymarket, the night previous to that on which he died suddenly, in the summer of 1792.

He was a Privy Counsellor, Colonel of the 4th regiment of foot, and Member of Parliament for Preston, in Lancashire... Continue reading book >>




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