Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 01.djvu/195

This page has been validated.
Aickin
Aidan
181

learning accompanied with extreme whimsicality of character. Mr. Agutter was the author of several other sermons on such topics as the miseries of rebellion and the abolition of the slave trade. His death occurred at Upper Gower Street, London, 26 March 1835.

[Bloxam's Register of Magdalen Coll. Oxford, vol. iv. (vol. vii. in series) pp. 56–57; Gent. Mag. 1793, part i. p. 479, 1835, p. 98.]

W. P. C.

AICKIN, or AIKIN, FRANCIS (d. 1805), actor, was born in Dublin and brought up to the trade of his father, a weaver in that city; but, following the example of his younger brother, James [q. v.], he became a strolling player. Having appeared as George Barnwell and sustained other characters in various country towns, he joined the manager of the Smock Alley Theatre, Dublin. He made his first appearance at Drury Lane as Dick in the ‘Confederacy’ on 17 May, 1765. He continued a member of the Drury Lane company until the close of the season of 1773–4. In the following year he carried his services to Covent Garden, and appeared there every year until the close of the season of 1791–2. He had commenced business as a hosier in York Street, Covent Garden, and obtained the patronage of certain members of the Royal family. He closed his shop in 1787 on the death of his first wife, an Irish lady of family and some fortune, and entered upon the management of the Liverpool Theatre. His success was not great, but he prospered by a second marriage with a widow dowered with 800l. a year. He was, afterwards, with Mr. John Jackson concerned in the management of the Edinburgh Theatre. He was of pleasing person, good judgment, his voice was sonorous and distinct, and from his success in the impassioned declamatory parts of tragedy he obtained the nickname of ‘Tyrant Aickin’—‘a character in private life no man was more the reverse of, either in temper or the duties of friendship.’ Nor did all his merit lie in tragedy; in the serious parts of comedy, such as Sir John Flowerdale in the ‘School for Fathers,’ the pleasing harmony of his tones, and his precision of expression were of great service to the performance. Genest gives a list of upwards of eighty characters which Francis Aickin was accustomed to assume. Francis Aickin and his brother were members of the ‘School of Garrick,’ a club composed of actors who were contemporaries of Garrick.

[Secret History of the Green Rooms, 1790; Thespian Dictionary, 1805; Genest's History of the Stage, 1832; Hitchcock's History of the Irish Stage, 1794.]

D. C.

AICKIN, or AIKIN, JAMES (d. 1803), actor, a native of Ireland, was the younger brother of Francis Aickin [q. v.], and like him brought up to be a weaver. After joining a company strolling through Ireland, and gaining some experience of the stage, he embarked for Scotland, and presently accepted an engagement to appear at the Edinburgh Theatre. He was very favourably received, and gradually, from his merit as an actor and his sensible deportment in private life, became the head of the Canongate company, playing most of the leading parts in tragedy and comedy. But in January 1767 a riot took place in the theatre because of the discharge by the management of one Stanley, an actor of small merit, in whom, however, a section of the public took extraordinary interest. The inside of the building was demolished, the furniture ransacked, and the fixtures destroyed. It was not until troops from the castle had come to the relief of the city guard that the rioters were dispersed, and the theatre saved from further injury. James Aickin, who had particularly offended the rioters, left Edinburgh, and, accepting an engagement at Drury Lane, made his first appearance there in December 1767 as Colonel Camply in Kenrick's comedy of the ‘Widowed Wife.’ He continued a member of the Drury Lane company, with occasional appearances at the Haymarket Theatre during the summer months, until his retirement in 1800. He was for some years one of the deputy managers of Drury Lane, and was reputed to be a useful and pleasing actor, easy, graceful, and natural of manner. ‘His forte lay in the representation of an honest steward or an affectionate parent.’ Boaden states that while the tones of his voice were among ‘the sweetest that ever met the ear,’ he was not happy in his temper. In 1792 he took offence at some of John Kemble's managerial arrangements, was personally rude to him, and challenged him to a duel. The actors met in ‘some field in Marylebone,’ a third actor, Charles Bannister, undertaking the duties of second to both combatants. Aickin discharged his pistol, but fortunately missed his manager, who declined to fire in return; a reconciliation was then accomplished. Kemble afterwards explained that ‘he saw from his adversary's levelling at him that he was in no danger.’

[Jackson's History of the Scottish Stage, 1793; Secret History of the Green Rooms, 1790; Genest's History of the Stage, 1832; Boaden's Life of John Philip Kemble, 1825.]

D. C.

AIDAN (d. 606), king of the Scottish kingdom of Dalraida, was the son of Gabran, a former king of Scottish Dalraida, which was