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THE

CABINET;

OR, MONTHLY REPORT OF

POLITE LITERATURE.

OCTOBER, 1807.

GEORGE FREDERICK COOKE, Esq. GEORGE FREDERICK Cooke was born in the barracks of Dublin, in the year 1756: his father being a subaltern in one of the regiments that composed the garrison. His mother was of Scotch extraction, and by her inarriage incurred the displeasure of her family, who, with a very moderate portion of substance, richly abounded in that beggarly pride, which forms a leading feature in the character of our Northern neighbours. At little more than two years of age, our hero accompanied his father to London, where he continued till the year 1763, when he was placed in a school in the North of England. It was during his residence at this school, which lasted till 1771, that he became infected, as he himself terins it, with the theatrical inania.

On bis einancipation from school discipline, in 1771, our hero went to sea, and afterwards embarked in business ; but less from inclination than necessity. Accordingly the moment the law made him his own master; or, in other words, the moment he attained the enviable age of one and twenty, he spurned at trade, as an occupation

VOL. II.

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unworthy of his aspiring mind, and coming into pose session of a legacy bequeathed him by a distant relation, quitted all employment to indulge, without let or lestation, his favourite passion and pursuit. It was not, however, till he had run through his inheritance, that he made his debut on the public boards. pearance on any regular stage was in the spring of 1778, when he performed the part of Castalio, in the Orphan, at the Haymarket Theatre, for the benefit of Mrs. Massey, and with such complete success, as determined him to embrace the profession, as his future means of support. He played" two or three subsequent nights at the Haymarket, and then joined a provincial company.

From this period till the summer of 1786, our hero ran the customary round of Thespian itenerancy; passing his noviciate in various provincial companies, particularly those of Nottingham and Lincoln. In July, 1786, he enlisted under the banners of the York manager, Mr. Wilkinson, and came out in the part of Count Baldwin, the same night that Mrs. Siddons made her first appearance at that theatre, as Isabella, in the Fatal Marriage. The May following he repaired to Lancaster, having joined the Newcastle company, with whom he continued four years, performing successively at Newcastle, Chester, Lancaster, Preston, and other towns belonging to that district. In April 1791, he entered into an engagement with the manager of the Manchester theatre, to whom his talents were already experimentally knom, :. Mr. Cooke having, previous to his treaty with the York manager, acted at Manchester a whole season with great applause, besides a winter spent at Liverpool. In November, 1794, Mr. Cooke visited the capital of the sister kingdoin, at the pressing invitation of Mr. Daly, at that time director of the Dublin stage. He returned to England the following year, and in March 1796 rejoined the Manchester company, with whom he stood in high favour and repute; and, indeed, it reflects no small honour on the taste and penetration of the inhabitants of that town, that, among the foremost to discern, they have been among the foremost, likewise, to foster and encourage the talents of a man, who owes his professional success entirely to his own intrinsic merit.

In October 1797, Mr. Cooke made a second trip to Dublin, the management of that theatre having de

volved into the hands of the present patentee, Mr. Jones. He there remained three years, rapidly rising in celebrity and favour, being justly regarded as the hero of the Dublin stage, and the Roscius of the sister kingdom.

On the 31st of October, 1800, he made his first appearance on the Covent Garden boards, in the character of Richard III, apd made a more powerful impression on the audience of London, than any actor since the debút of Garrick. He has ever since remained on the same stage, and in a variety of principal characters, particularly Richard, Kitely, Shylock, Jago, Sir Pertinus Macsycophant, and Sir Archy Macsarcası, certainly possesses stronger powers of attraction than any individual performer now on the stage.

ON FINE GENTLEMEN,

WITH THE CBARACTER AND DESCRIPTION OF AN UPSTART.

PROFUSION is become an essential of a man of honour: a young fellow cannot be of the ton without it; and oeconomy, or any degree of prudence is utterly incompatible with that largeness of soul, which, while it squanders thousands upon the turf or at Arthur's, perhaps reluctantly affords half-a-crown to distress.

Full of these sublime ideas, an insolent formerly lamented, in my hearing, that the circumstances of his house had destined him to a profession; for that “ himself was the gentleman of it. He had indeed brethren of professions, and liberal professions too, who were able and accomplished, as well as honest and worthy men; but then, they were not gentlemen. They wanted that freedom of spirit and humour, which elevates above accounts, calculations, and other minute and groveling attentons : they wanted that easy, careless, sauntering habit, which is so very becoming, because it sits so very naturally, upon gentlemen who have nothing to do. method, a littleness of management, favouring of pedantry and the schools, in all they did: and, though likely to get well enough through life by playing a safe game, yet they would never win a prize, any more than other dull fellows snatch a grace, beyond the drudgery

There was a

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