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Here was the residence of the Governor, and the place of the meeting of the profusion of expense, generosity, unrestrained passions, chivalric attention to the fair, .. Information derived from aged lips, which it was once my pleasure to listen to, and my Blackmore Hughes-Roger Shackelford-Ricbard AMuir — William. Feb 23, MyKronoz reveals a full-color smartwatch with mechanical watch hands . car care; manhattan; parking; highlights; pronunciation; fine dinging; formal Wind Rider Mountain Festival ; Wood & Wire; Meeting Of The Spirits Swept Away; Rainer Maria; chivalrous amoekons; the roots of music; credit. It included Canadian variations of pronunciation, spelling and meanings, .. are Somali and the protagonists meet at a bar called the Transit Lounge. Richard Marsden assesses the interlinear gloss of a manuscript of the Old . Troye, the critique of chivalry in the works of Christine de Pisan, multivalent.
In her bosom was the first of those colonies, that have increased and multiplied into the United States of America. As the mother of great men, and theatre of great events, in Church and State, all posterity will acknowledge her claims. While political events have had their historians, and political men their biographers, the great struggle for Religious Liberty which preceded the Bill for Religious Freedom, has never been set forth.
It has been but slightly referred to in the record of those very events over which it had a controlling influence. And while it remains unknown, Virginia, both past and present, remains unknown. The power of the religious principle in moulding the civil and political institutions in Virginia has not been appreciated. The law for religious freedom, in the Statute book, cannot be duly estimated, while the history of the men, that thought and laboured and suffered for the unrestrained liberty we enjoy, remains unwritten.
It was a child of principle, cradled in sufferings, and fed on tears. Afflicted beyond endurance, it fled from the old world, and suffered, and toiled in patience, and gained the victory in the new. It is the glory of Virginia that the contest for civil and religious liberty began so early in her borders, and was so soon followed by that phenomenon, entire freedom of conscience, novel to herself and strange to the old world.
The object of the following sketches is to delineate some of the scenes witnessed in Virginia, and portray the characters of some of her children, and of some, who captivated by her beauty and fertility, cast in their lot, for life or for death, for glory and wealth, or poverty and suffering, and aided in the working out the system of things which has been, and is, the glory of Virginia.
These have not been given in any volume of History or Biography presented to the public; and their omission has rendered the history of Virginia enigmatical. Effects have been delineated for which no sufficient cause has been given. And readers of voluminous histories of Virginia have risen from this enjoyment, or task, with very imperfect, if not utterly erroneous views of the principles and doings of the past.
Some reference has been made in history to classes of people that, at different times, previous toappeared, were opposed, persecuted, in part put down, in part driven away, but not annihilated; but history has not said that they finally wrought a change in the sentiments of the freeholders of Virginia, and consequently in her constitution.
These sketches will attempt to set forth these men and their doings. And if they appear to be sketches of a denomination, it is because the men whose acts have been worthy of something better than vituperation and forgetfulness were of that denomination. The materials for these sketches have been gathered in every section of the State. Records of Civil Courts and Ecclesiastical Judicatories, in manuscript, have been examined, volume after volume. Private journals, diaries, memoranda, and family genealogies have been fully consulted and freely used.
Magazines of unquestioned standing, and pamphlets to be relied on, have contributed largely. Comparatively little has been taken from any political history, in general circulation. The writings of Captain John Smith are an exception. The sources of traditionary information have been examined. Over these the grave is rapidly closing; already the memory of what was done and said in the Revolution speaks out, at distant intervals, from here and there a solitary representative of the last century.
Traditions have been compared with written documents, and nothing has been received from conjecture, or preconcieved hypothesis. The sources of information are faithfully given, in all cases, where the knowledge of the source is supposed to be of any importance. No invidious comparisons are designed in these sketches, whose object is to rescue from oblivion the names and virtues of noble men,-" Sons of Liberty"-of that liberty which rejoices all good men.
In making this rescue, facts and characters will be brought into view worthy of the study of the aged and the young, of the minister of the gospel and the statesman. The principles of liberty, in matters of religion and the State, will be seen struggling against error and misconceptions, gaining the ascendency step by step, conflict by conflict,-" the blood of the slain multiplying the martyrs,"-till at last the groans are lost in the shouts of victory.
And if in doing this, the names of men not yet recorded in their proper place in history, and the relation of events, not hitherto noticed, or slightly passed over, hold a prominent place, there can be no complaint. Truth is stronger and more strange than fiction. Every writer gives what he supposes, or wishes others to suppose, the most important in the past.
Political writers seem to labour under a great difficulty in making record of the principles and doings of religious men,-at least of some religious men,-and also in stating the proper influence of religion, either in principle or in practice. It has of late years become a matter of earnest inquiry,-What has the religious principle done? That strange, abused, inexplicable Carlyle has turned the current of English history for generations.
The obscure past outshines the present. The clouds that overhung the Puritans are dissolving, and long defamed names are resplendent in letters of glory. The labours of the man, who uncheered by any companions, through many years of toil and suffering, unstimulated by ap-'plause, in the colony or the mother land, laid the corner stone of a majestic spiritual building to the honour of the Lord Jesus, in the New World, are not now appreciated, because unknown.
The importance of the congregations, gathered by his sufferings and solitary labours, is not felt because not understood. Davies, Robinson, Waddel, Craig, Brown, Henry, and Todd, and the congregations gathered by them, and multiplied by the Smiths and Grahams and Hoge, and the men trained by their teaching and their example, it will be necessary to take a view of the civil and'religious condition of Virginia during the first seventy years of her colonial existence.
Reference must be made to the condition of Ulster, Ireland, during the same period, and some preceding and some succeeding years, because so many Virginia families and Virginia principles claim Ireland, and through her Scotland, as their Mother Land. The cavaliers of Virginia and the Puritans of New England agreed in thinking religion an essential part of the State; and that the will of the majority should decide in all ecclesiastical concerns. They each established their forms, and resolutely defended them.
They each drove out from their borders, as far as practicable, all dissenters, and called it self-defence, the liberty of the majority. The emigrant from Ulster, contended for the liberty of the minority, and in this differed from the Cavaliers and the Puritans. On the subject of civil liberty, the Puritan and the Presbyterian agreed, and both for a time disagreed with the Cavalier. The union of the three wrought the American Revolution, and established the liberty of law.
The part of history, not yet written, contains the developement of the principles of these people, modified by education and circumstances. And if these sketches shall throw any light on important facts hitherto imperfectly known, they will have fulfilled the object for which they were designed. To a great extent, and generally as far as practicable, or useful, the important facts are given in the words of the original writer, or author of the tradition, that the reader may make his own construction.
By this mearfs numerous footnotes are avoided, the searching out authorities for verification less necessary, and the liability to misconstruction greatly lessened. Due acknowledgment is made, or intended to be made, of the assistance rendered by friends of truth, in the chapters in which their assistance was given.
The reader will perceive that the treasury, from which these sketches have been drawn, is not exhausted. Whether another volume shall follow in succession will depend, other things being equal, much upon the reception this may meet with from an indulgent public. It is proper to state that great use has been made of Hening's Statutes at large. The laws of Virginia that appear in the following sketches have been taken from that work. They are quoted by their number, and the year.
It will be understood without continual reference, that the Extracts are from the laborious collections of W. I have also made frequent use of the labours of the Rev. His collections are a treasury of facts for an American Ecclesiastical historian. It is not impossible there may be valuable papers, illustrating particular facts, hereafter brought to light, which may modify or strengthen the statements made in these sketches.
All things bow to the majesty of truth. THE year is an epoch in English history. The protestant succession was then secured to the crown of England. The protestant religion was established as the religion of the State; in England, under the form of prelacy, in Scotland, of presbytery. Civil liberty made a great advance, and the anglo-saxon race ascended in the sight of all Europe, regaining what had been lost after Cromwell, and thenceforward holding the balance of power.
The civil and ecclesiastical condition of Virginia, at that time, cannot fail to be interesting to those, who take pleasure in noticing the progress of the human race, in the discovery, the possession, and the defence of the rights of man.
Virginia, as she was then, and as she is now, exhibits strongly by contrast, colonial dependence on arbitrary power, and republican liberty. About that time, commenced in Virginia, a contest for religious liberty, which, after a hundred years of conflict, ended in the famous law entered on her statute book indeclaring the citizens of the commmonwealth as free in mind as in body, in religion as in politics. Four score and two years had passed since the little fleet of three ships, whose whole capacity for burden did not exceed one hundred and sixty tons, set sail from Blackwall in England on the 19th of December,under the command of that experienced navigator, Christopher Newport, bearing a company of adventurers to the wilderness of Virginia.
Three of these enter-,prising men will be famous to all posterity, Bartholomew Gosnold, Rev. Robert Hunt, and Captain John Smith. The names of the others have been saved from absolute oblivion by the famous Smith in his history of Virginia.
On the 26th of Aprilthe fleet, driven by a storm, entered the Chesapeake. The voyagers named it Point Comfort, because after their long voyage and the late storm it had-"put them in good comfort. There they commenced the first permanent colony in North America. In honour of the king, James I. Here was a theatre, on which the enterprise, courage, and magnanimity of Smith, and the piety and patriotic devotion of Hunt displayed themselves.
Here was the residence of the Governor, and the place of the meeting of the Burgesses, who claimed and exercised in the wilderness all the privileges of Englishmen. Here at the time of the accession of the Prince of Orange, inwas the only place in the colony that might be called a town. In the plantations in Virginia were scattered along the shores of the Chesapeake,-across the narrow strip of land, that separates the bay from the ocean,-along the banks of the rivers and creeks that fall into that noble bay, and on their tributary streams to the head of tide water.
No settlement had been made above the falls where the river Powhatan, " falleth from the rockes farre west. The expectation of finding abundant mines of the precious metals had allured multitudes, of the early adventurers, to Virginia. This had passed away, and the more sober, and ultimately more enriching, pursuits of agriculture occupied the public mind.
The colony had become permanent in its inhabitants, and in its occupations. Few emigrants came, as at first, with the expectation of sudden wealth, and a speedy return to England.
A cheerful independence, in the new country, in preference to poverty in the old, was the more reasonable expectation and desire. The emigrants also came in families, or sought to unite themselves, by marriage, with the older colonists. They were encouraged to do this, by the patrons in England, to give importance to the colony and increase their income; and by the colonists, to add to their numbers, their pecuniary strength and warlike means.
The importation of wives by the cargo, that stroke of policy in the patrons, had long ceased, and men wooed and won their wives, according to the usages of civilized life.
Children, grand children, and great grand children claimed Virginia as their home, England as the fatherland. Of all the productions, which the earth brought forth in abundance, tobacco received the greatest attention.
It met the entire reprobation of the Queen. In less than ten years after the settlement of the colony, at Jamestown, tobacco was the principle article of export. The demand increased with the consumption, and the cultivation with the demand.
The making of tar, pitch, and turpentine, and the hunting of mines, the objects of the first emigrants, were abandoned for the occupation of the planter. Governor Berkely says, in" commodities of the growth of our own country we never bad any, but tobacco, which yet is considerable that it yields his Majesty a great revenue. The supply from the savages, always scanty and precarious, became wilfully less, as the wants of the planters increased. The Indians desired by all, and every means, to drive the intruders from their fields and rivers.
Laws were passed by the House of Burgesses to enforce the production of corn, and limit the amount of tobacco. Inat the first Assembly, whose records have been preserved, it was resolved, by act 16th-" That three sufficient men of every parish shall be sworne to see that every man shall plant and tende sufficient corne for his family.
Those men that have neglected so to do are to be by the said three men presented to be censured by the Governour and Counsell.
And if any planter shall be found delinquent therein, hee shall forfeit all his tobacco, which bee made of his cropp that yeare the one halfe to the informer, the other to bee employed to publique uses for the good of the country. In the revisal ofAct 8th, the penalty was changed to-"five hundred pounds of tobacco per acre defective. Induring the Commonwealth of England, the act for planting two acres of corn was renewed, with the same penalty on the planters; the constables not being mentioned.
Tobacco became the standard of value, and supplied, in part at least, the place of a circulating medium of the precious metals. By act 64, in —"The Secretaries fees shall be as followeth, viz-ffor a warrant 05lbs of tobacco,-ffor a passe lOlbs,-ffor a freedom 20, —for Commission of Administration 20,-The Marshalls fees shall be, ffor an arrest 10lbs of Tobacco,-ffor warning the cort 02,-imprisonment, coming in 10, going out 10,-Laying by the heels 5, —whippinge 10,Pillory 10,-Duckinge The house of Burgesses was slow in admitting Lawyers to plead in the courts, on any terms.
One of the charges, —"Duckinge 10lbs,"-refers to the English law for the punishment of turbulent women. The price of tobacco was always fluctuating on account of the varying quantity and quality of the crops.
Some years, immense crops were tended, and the supply of good tobacco was greater than the demand; in other years the quantity was less, and the quality inferior.
Keeping accounts in tobacco became inconvenient, especially if payment were delayed for a length of time. It was therefore enactedAct 4th"Whereas it hath beene the usuall custome of marchants and others dealinge intermutually in this colony to make all bargains, contracts, and to keep all accounts in tobacco and not in money, contrary to the former custome of this plantation and manner of England, and other places within the Kings dominions, which thinge hath bredd many inconvenienceys in the trade, and occasioned many troubles as well to the marchants as to the planters, and inhabitants amongst themselves.
In there were no large towns in Virginia, nor any number of small ones, or even villages. The Legislature, in conformity to the wishes of the mother country, encouraged the gathering of numerous families, in close community, for the purpose of traffic and mechanical trades. It layed out towns and made regulations for them. It directed that foreign traffic should be carried on, exclusively at these towns.
Ports of entry were made in sufficient numbers to accommodate the country, and secure the revenue. But the places, called towns, or ports of entry often consisted of a single dwelling-house with a store, or office; and not a single flourishing town was to be found in the whole province, Jamestown, the capital, not excepted. The trade now collected in cities, as centres, was then scattered over the whole country.
The planters preferred making sale of their own tobacco directly to the foreign trader; and welcomed the vessels that cast anchor, for the purpose of trade, in the nearest river, or at the most convenient landing, not very scupulous whether the port was established by law or chosen for convenience.
A statute of Assembly required the planters to report, on pain of fines, the number of hogsheads they sold these foreign vessels. Whether the change effected, by transferring the principal business of the whole country to a few cities, either within or without the state, has proved beneficial to community at large, by confining to a few hands the business once shared by all, is a matter for discussion.
The popular feeling is, however, in favour of cities, and the course of trade is settled on the principle, the more merchants the more traffic, and the better business. The inhabitants of the colony were all planters. Scattered over the country as suited their interest or convenience, they lived unrestrained, fed by their plantations and the abundance of the sea.
Their first exposure had been to the pressure of famine; and the next to massacre from savage hands. The plentiful crops gathered, in consequence of the watchful care of the legislature, and the remembrance of past sufferings from their improvidence, had removed the fears of want; and their increasing numbers, and the wasting strength of the Indian tribes, had relieved them from the alarms of midnight attacks.
Yearly, we suppose, there comes, of servants, about fifteen hundred, of which most are English, few Scotch, and fewer Irish, and not above two or three ships of negroes in seven years.
Eight thousand horse could be easily called together on alarm. Each lived on his own freehold, and could draw from the soil abundant provisions; and from the neighbouring streams and marshes, fish and fowl in variety; and from the surrounding forests, the wild deer, and innumerable smaller game.
Captivated with this kind of life, few mechanics, that came to the colony would continue to carry on their trade. The planters purchased in England, or from-vessels direct from the motherland, what their necessities required; and indulged in luxuries as far as their tastes demanded, or their resources permitted. They delighted in an isolated life.
The aversion to living in contiguous dwellings, or even in neighbourhoods, was carried to an extent, that required legislative interference. Act 5th,says-" Whereas the despatch of business in this country is much obstructed for want of bridle wayes to the severall houses and plantations, It is enacted by the Grand Assembly and the authority thereof, that every person having a plantation shall at the most plaine and convenient path that leades to his house make a gate in his ffence for the convenience of passage of man and horse to his house about their occasions at the discretion of the owner.
Act 16th, " Whereas it is frequent with diverse inhabitants of this country to entertaine strangers into their houses without making any agreement with the party what he shall pay for his accommodations, which if the party live causeth many litigious suites, anid if the stranger dye lays a gap open to many avaricious persons to ruyne the estate of the person deceased, ffor remedy whereof for the future,-Be it enacted that noe person not making a positive agreement with any one he shall entertayne into his house for dyett or storeage shall recover any thing against any one soe entertayned or against his estate, but that every one shall be reputed to entertayne those of curtesie with whom they make not a certain agreement.
Some preparatory movements had been made for the erection of a college, in the early days of the colony; some donations were mnade for that purpose; and the subject had been repeatedly agitated in succeeding years, without success. Efforts had been made by individuals to establish free schools, as appears from Act 18th,3"' Be it also enacted and confirmed upon consideration had of the Godly disposition and good intent of Benjamin Symme, deceased, in founding by his last will and testament a free school in Elizabeth county, for the encouragement of all others in the like pious performances, that the said will and testament with all donations therein contained concerning the free school and the situation thereof in the said county and the land appertaining to the same, shall be confirmed according to the true meaning and godly intent of the said testator without any alienation or conversion thereof to any place or county.
He says, in in answer to the inquiry what was done in education-" The same course that is taken in England out of the towns; every man according to his ability instructing his children. But I thank God there are no free schools nor printing, and I hope we shall not have these hundred years; for learning has brought disobedience and heresy, and sects, into the world, and printing has divulged them, and libels against the best government, God keep us from them both.
Instruction of children was a domestic duty. The government of the colony, inwas the same as Berkeley tells us it was inbeing in-" a Governor and sixteen Counsellors, who have, from his sacred majestie, a commission of Oyer and Terminer, who judge and determine all causes that are above fifteen pounds sterling; for what is under there are particular courts in every county, which are twenty in number.
Every year, at least, the Assembly is called, before whom lye appeals, and this Assembly is composed of two Burgesses out of every county. Previously to the yearthe number of Burgesses to be sent by each neighbourhood, or plantation, as the settlements were called, or by shires after they were formed, was indefinite. The first Assembly, whose records have been preserved, was held in Ten years afterwards, by act of Assembly, the country was divided into eight shires-" which are to be governed as the shires in England.
And as in England, sheriffs shall be elected to have the same power as there; and serjeants, and bailiffs where need requires. In the yearthe number of burgesses from each county, was limited to four, except James City county, which might send five, and the city one. Act 84th, in the yeardeclares —"that hereafter noe county shall send above two burgesses who shal be elected at those places in each county where the county courts are usually kept.
All freemen, at first exercised the right of suffrage. They sent their suffrage to the place of election, in writing, when it was most convenient not to attend personally. Neither the place of election, or the qualifications of candidates for the Assembly were established by law, till necessity compelled. Act 8th,declares-" The persons who shall be elected to serve in Assembly shall be such and no other than such as are persons of known integrity and of good conversation and of the age of one and twenty years.
In the Revisal of8, the right of suffrage was extended to-" all persons inhabiting in the colony that are freemen. In article 2d, he says —" You shall take care that the members of the Assembly be elected only by Freeholders as being more agreeable to the custome of England, to which you are as nigh as conveniently you can to conforme yourselfe.
In the Indians in Virginia were a subdued people. They never welcomed the English to a permanent settlement. They met, with warlike demonstrations, the little band that stepped on shore at Cape Henry the 26th of April,and woundced them with arrows. For about seventy years, they resisted the English at every advance into the country, as enemies whose destruction they would gladly compass at all hazards. Their power and spirits were broken by Nathaniel Bacon in Powhatan never loved the whitemen.
He made every effort, a sagacious savage could devise, for their destruction. The influence of that admirable girl, Pocahontas, was wonderful and extensive but temporary. It is an exhibition of the power of loveliness and gentleness over barbarians. She was the beauty of her tribe,-of Virginia; as gentle and kind as she was beautiful. Her father loved her passionately. The nation admired her. The father's love, and the nation's admiration were the Englishman's shield.
The Virginia Indians, in their almost numberless tribes, had, from the head of tide water to the ocean, been brought under the dominion of the warlike Powhatan.
Full text of "Words, facts, and phrases; a dictionary of curious, quaint, & out-of-the-way matters"
The fierce Opechankanough, in his implacable enmity, breathed the true spirit of the savages. Brave in war, open in his enmity, he carried the hearts of the redmen with him. He knew well there could be no divided empire with the English. He turned the chafed spirits of the subjugated tribes against these intruders. The fires of exterminating war burned in every savage breast. They asked no peace while the habitation of a whiteman encumbered their cornfields, or his footsteps were traced in their forests.
Opechankanough died as he lived, a brave, implacable savage. The doings of the English, in the early years of their settlement, were not calculated to win the confidence of the natives, or break their courage. The ease with which they would be surprised, provoked the depredations of the savages. And the unwise and feeble revenge of the colonists embittered the already aggravated and cruel spirits of barbarous men, that fought for their forest fields and comfortless homes.
The seacaptains, and traders, and explorers seemed to forget that the Natives had rights or feelings, and that revenge is the darling passion of the savage. Corn grew luxuriously, in the Indians' fields, along the river banks, yielding abundance for the tribes, but not enough to supply the colonists, and the vessels visiting the coast. When traffic and persuasion, and threats, failed to procure the wished supply, resort was had to violence.
Rolfe's narrative, as given by Smith, says,-" In December Captain Ward returned from Patawomeek the people there dealt falsely with him, so that he took eight hundred bushels of corne from them by force.
They trembled at his very name. His bravery, his strength, his power of command, his excellence in every thing a savage admired,'united to his accomplishments as an Englishman, entirely overawed their fierce spirits. Ardently desiring his death, they knew not how to kill him when in their power.
The rest they hated, and murdered as occasion offered. The early charters speak of christainizing the savages as part of the objects designed in making settlements in Virginia. In the letters patent to Sir Thomas Gates,the beginning of a plantation in America, between thirty-eight and five and forty degrees of north latitude, is spoken of as-"a work which may, by the Providence of Almighty God, hereafter tend to the glory of his divine majesty, in propagating Christian religion to such people as yet live in darkness and miserable ignorance of the true knowledge and worship of God, and may in time bring the infidels and savages living in those parts, to human civility, and to a settled quiet government.
Efforts, for the conversion of the savages, were early made, by some ministers, and some pious laymen. Opechankanough pretended a desire to become a christian. He beguiled the pious head of the college, Mr. Thorpe, to take much pains in instructing him, in hopes of numerous converts, till the fatal Friday, March 22d, That good man, with multitudes of others, was horribly massacred, according to the secret plans of this wily chief, who under the mask of religion plotted the complete and sudden destruction of the English.
Robert Hunt is one of the few of that company who landed at Jamestown on the 18th of May,whose biography posterity will desire.
He appears to have been equal to his station as pastor of the colonists. Whitaker instructed and baptized Pocahontas, in preparation for her marriage; but neither the baptism nor the marriage exercised any happy influence towards the conversion of her nation to Christianity.
But you right worthy that hath adventured so freely, I will not examine, if it were for the glory of God, or your desire of gaine, which it may be you expect should flow unto you with a full tide, for the conversion of the Salvages: I wonder you use not the means.
I confess you say well to have them converted by faire means, but they scorne to acknowledge it, as for the gifts bestowed on them they devoured them, and so they would the givers if they could, and though many have endeavoured by all means they could by kindnesse to convert them, they find nothing from them but derision and ridiculous answers. We have sent boies amongst them to learne their language, but they return worse than they went; but I am no Statesman, nor love I to meddle with any thing but my bookes, but I can find no probability by this course to draw them to goodnesse; and I am persuaded if Mars and Minerva goe hand in hand they will effect more good in one houre than these verbal Mercurians in their lives, and till priests and ancients have their throats cut, there is no hope to bring them to conversion.
It spread over the colony, and through England; and efforts for the conversion of the Indians were few previous to the eighteenth century. That individuals felt deeply interested for the salvation of this unhappy race is unquestionable; but public sympathy was not with them for a century after the fatal massacre of The Acts of Legislature passed in4, show the terror of the colonists and their hostile feelings towards the authors of their sufferings.
Act 23d says, "that every dwelling house shall be pallizaded in for defence against the Indians. Act 25th —" that men go not to worke in the ground without their arms and a centenell upon them. At last it became disgusting. William Shakespeare as playwright has been linked to five plays outside the traditional play canon the First Folio plays plus Pericles and The Two Noble Kinsmen.
This year I checked off the almost-never-produced Sir Thomas More Night Shift Drunken Shakespeare by watching my son perform portions of a scene long known to have been written by Shakespeare. Shakespeare and John Fletcher also are known to have written Cardenio, but the Lewis Theobald—edited version that has come down to us, aka Double Falsehood which I saw produced incontains no remnants of Shakespeare my opinion and that of artists who have worked on the play.
Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th Edition, "English Language" to "Epsom Salts"
I found no North American productions of the play this year, and I was fine with that terrible play; terrible. The fifth play is The Spanish Tragedy. I am stretching Shakespeare's Canon beyond even my previous experience by devoting a week with the Hudson Shakespeare Company as it tours The Spanish Tragedy to libraries across northern New Jersey.
Written by Thomas Kyd some time between the late s andThe Spanish Tragedy was the Elizabethan era's first theater blockbuster, inspiring playwrights from Christopher Marlowe and Shakespeare to John Webster. Scholars since have speculated that Shakespeare might have written the additions to the fourth edition of The Spanish Tragedy printed inand recent stylistic studies support that theory, making its relationship with Hamlet more intriguing.
Might a revival of The Spanish Tragedy have prompted the writing or revising of Hamlet, or vice versa? After his day job, he would cross the Hudson River to work as a technician for New York theater companies, including the late great Riverside Shakespeare Company. New York was brimming with Shakespeare, but Johnson noted that the Jersey side of the Hudson had a dearth of such theater, so he launched a company of actors to tour productions to parks in Jersey City and Hoboken.
The library officials who book the shows tell me audience sizes range from as many as 70 at Montclair and 50 at Westfield to a couple dozen at South River. This week the numbers are 42, 29, and 14 respectively. These communities lie within a mile stretch of Jersey, industrialized suburbia, but they have cultural identities all their own. Adventures With the Bard. South River is a community comprising mostly Russian, Portuguese, and Latino immigrants, and I see a diverse crowd around the front desk securing library cards or checking out books and DVDs.
Of the three, South River's audience is the most intensely engaged in the show, including a woman doing needlework in one corner. The generally older audience at Montclair seems mostly bemused by the play, though one woman walks out halfway through.
Stagecraft covers the deed, but it nonetheless cues squeamish gasps. The actors report that the tour previously visited one library where the stage was set in a space adjoining the stacks. Actors glancing through books on the shelves as they await their entrances. This production with a cast of eight and crew of one Director Noelle Fair, the company's managing director, running fight calls and soundboard travels in one car carrying the richly rendered costumes and one van carrying a small backdrop with a white sheet, black drapes, and a garland of roses, plus four small tables.
The cast includes Juan Pablo Mendive, born and raised in Argentina, playing Balthazar, the Portuguese prince in the Spanish court—yes, the play's non-Spaniard is the only character speaking with a heavy Spanish accent, which does stress his foreignness in the story.
The Spanish Tragedy is his professional English-language Shakespeareanish debut. He cites a profound difference between performing Shakespeare in the two languages: Kyd, of course, is not Shakespeare. Is The Spanish Tragedy Shakespeare? I made a point of not reading the play before seeing it here.
My intent, for the sake of the Canon Project, was to experience a Shakespeare production as a Shakespeare virgin. That, it turns out, is impossible and proves me disingenuous. I've read each play at least six times and have seen staged Shakespeare productions up to this point; I could more accurately be called a Shakespeare gigolo. Reading the play this week after seeing the shows doesn't help because I've got the text: Notably, most of these Shakespearean elements are not in the edition of the play; Fair used the text, the one containing the additions identified as Shakespeare's.
The actors note these internal variances, too. The play has some strange matter Hieronimo killing the Painter makes no sense whatsoever—and that's Shakespeare's scenebut I quite enjoy how Kyd weaves a half dozen revenge plots into a single storyline.
He also creates a couple of standout characters, aside from Hieronimo being an antecedent to Hamlet. Bell-Imperia Brett Molik is a thoroughly modern woman. Intellectually strong, sexually free, and self-empowered, she speaks lines that sound so contemporary. Shakespeare is lauded for drawing strong female characters for his time, but the leading women in The Spanish Tragedy and Arden of Faversham are strong female characters for our time.
What subsequent Shakespeare villain does Lorenzo serve as prototype? How about all of them: Revenge Anne Whitaker is disturbingly seductive as she leads the ghost of Don Andrea Olivia Lodge through the play, which recounts what happens after his death to his lover Bell-Imperiabest friend Horatioand killer Balthazar. And our satisfaction, too, though this is no pat ending. Kyd revels overlong in mythological depictions of the afterlife, including Don Andrea opening the play by describing his journey through purgatory and ending the play assigning characters to various eternities.
We exit our hotel, the Georgian Terrace, just north of downtown. Opened inthis lovely hotel has been the luxury choice for movie stars, famous musicians, statesmen, business titans, and socialites. We, however, are walking four blocks down Peachtree Street to the Shakespeare Tavern Playhouse built by and for the Atlanta Shakespeare Company insix years after Artistic Director Jeff Watkins founded the company. Back then, the walk we are taking today was nefarious, though the porn shop next door to the theater made this location perfectly Shakespearean.
Once inside, all was good, and still is. The staff is ever-pleasant even when crushed, the audience the seat venue is sold out tonight is relaxed and anticipating, and Watkins strolls among the tables talking to patrons in his Peachtree drawl and the wiley humor of a Chicago or New York street-performing magician, which is how he started his show biz career. The Shakespeare productions, all historically costumed and by the book, sometimes are uneven in quality, but they always are intimately entertaining as the actors bring the action to our tables.
Tybalt once took a swig of my Coke before brawling with Mercutio. One of my favorite Shakespeareances happened here. By the time Quince screamed at Bottom's Pyramus played by Watkins to die already, three generations of Mintons around our table were convulsed in laughter, every one of us wiping tears from our cheeks. Such conversations inspired my creating Shakespeareances. As the Shakespeare Canon Project was intended to put that particular truth on vivid display, I was determined to include the Atlanta Shakespeare Tavern.
A Shakespeare Tavern Playhouse audience waits for a play to begin. The four-block walk here now takes us past condominiums, upscale apartments, and businesses.
The porn shop is gone. The Atlanta Shakespeare Company has acquired an adjoining apartment building on the other side of the Tavern Playhouse that serves as its Shakespeare Academy. When we attended plays here in the latter half of the s, the Atlanta Shakespeare Company was the new kid on this block and the Atlanta theater scene.
Now, it is an economic driver on the block and a progenitor of Atlanta theater, thanks in large part to its Apprentice Program breeding actors who have filtered out through the community. Sir John Falstaff J. Inside the Tavern, the theater has been expanded, but nothing else has changed: And the company of good actors.
In fact, we first saw tonight's Falstaff, J. Drew Reeves, who played an indelible Trinculo in that production of The Tempest, Puck in that dream of a Dream, and the Coke-stealing Tybalt in The brawl starts with blades, moves into a bloody fistfight, and ends after almost five minutes with a knife thrust so realistically rendered that a doctor at one performance thought Hal had really stabbed Hotspur.
For the Henry IV repertory, the three-level stage has been extended with a low, square platform thrust into the dining area. Part of what makes the Hal-Hotspur fight so intense is that it ends on that platform.
Indeed, tonight, the hostess seats us at a "Table of Excitement" next to that thrust stage. If it does accidentally get moved, please see the House Manager. The bulk of that does happen on that thrust stage, which also serves as the bedchamber where Prince Hal, thinking his father dead, takes off with the crown, leading to his final, emotionally charged interview with King Henry IV. Henry IV, Part Two, not so much.
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Sure, it has a larger dose of Falstaff, but it lacks the narrative drive, thematic unity, and sharp composition of Part One. Some actors here even wonder if Shakespeare was the sole writer. Hal, after becoming king, banishing Falstaff. And this company pays it off with interest. Troy Willis balances the comedy and the gravitas of the Lord Chief Justice in his early scenes, imbuing his character with dignity and empathy that enriches the moment when he must defend his previous actions toward Hal now that the prince is king.
This Sir John has a dark edge, baring his teeth and growling when he feels cornered. That Shakespeare is being produced all across the North American landscape, and that every William Shakespeare—penned play is worthy of being staged. It turns out, too, that this was inevitable for this place and this time: Davenport is one-fourth of the Quad Cities, neighboring with Bettendorf on one side of the Mississippi River and Moline and Rock Island, Illinois, on the opposite bank.
Despite four individual municipalities and two state governments, this close-knit confluence of communities embraces its unified Quad Cities identity in fact, East Moline wants to be known as the fifth Quad City. It has a hip arts community with some dozen community theaters, including the Quad City Music Guild, based in Moline, that has produced musicals sinceand the Genesius Guild that has produced free Shakespeare and Greek drama in a Rock Island park since Ina group of Genesius Guild actors wanted to do Shakespeare year-round and go deeper into the canon.
Now in its 16th season, Prenzie Players is undertaking a campaign to complete the Shakespeare Canon by its 20th season. Mischa Hooker is the coordinator of my visit.
He has set me up with a four-day itinerary of 10 interviews with cast members and founding company members. After my initial meeting with Hooker, my next interview requires a half-hour drive north to Geneseo and the home of Angela Rathman. Since moving with her now ex-husband to the Quad Cities, she taught Shakespeare programs for at-risk youths and acted with Genesius Guild. Her wholehearted passion for Shakespeare is derived not from studying the Bard but living him, and not just on stage but through the experiences of troubled youths and in her own hardscrabble life.
Rathman exemplifies the attitude of this company, though most other members were born and raised here and either never left going to college at one of the two Quad Cities liberal arts schools, Augustina in Rock Island and St. Ambrose in Davenport or returned in early adulthood.
Acting is a sideline; most have full-time jobs not related to theater. Kitty Israel worked hard to learn a Spanish accent to play Katherine, stressing the text's emphasis on the queen being a foreigner in the English court while making sure her performance does not fall into caricature.
Henry VIII is so seldom played for a reason: Most characters are two-dimensional, and Henry himself is barely one-dimensional: Brasher fleshes him out by putting his impatience, both to anger and to love, on full display while also exhibiting genuine respect for Katherine. The plot is a string of four plots: When he meets his sudden fall, Wolsey displays heroic traits as a truly repentant man, finding grace in his own comeuppance.
Then there is Katherine. As her political stature falls, her character stature heightens, and she speaks lines that could have been culled from cable news interviews and U. To King Henry, who intends to divorce her: Sir, I desire you do me right and justice; And to bestow your pity on me: To Cardinal Wolsey, who serves as her prosecutor and judge: You sign your place and calling, in full seeming, With meekness and humility; but your heart Is cramm'd with arrogancy, spleen, and pride.
You have, by fortune and his highness' favors, Gone slightly o'er low steps and now are mounted Where powers are your retainers, and your words, Domestics to you, serve your will as't please Yourself pronounce their office.
I must tell you, You tender more your person's honor than Your high profession spiritual. She loves the material so much and has become, by testament of several cast members, an encyclopedia of the historical events portrayed in the play that she is working on a novelization of the story.
To get the production down to two hours, Pascarella made several cuts, including the Cranmer subplot but she keeps his prophesy of Elizabeth at the end.