Open main menu

Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 29.djvu/357

This page has been validated.

Newspaper,' of which he was editor and part proprietor. After six months it grew unprofitable, and finally, changing its name, passed out of his hands. From 1852 till his death he edited 'Lloyd's Weekly Newspaper' at a salary at 1,000l. per annum. One of his chief supporters in the new venture was Thomas Cooper, the Chartist, whose lasting friendship Jerrold had secured by finding a publisher for the 'Purgatory of Suicides,' after the author had appealed in vain to Disraeli, Forster, and Harrison Ainsworth. The paper's circulation increased slowly, until its reports of the death and funeral of the Duke of Wellington established it permanently in public favour. He contributed three columns of leaders each week, as well as literary reviews. In his last years he restricted himself to this work, he gave up writing for the stage in 1864, and in the same year a projected tour in Italy was abandoned in consequence of the issue by the Austrian government of orders that he should not be admitted to Austrian territory. In 1856 he removed from St. John's Wood to Kilburn Priory. He had long suffered from sciatica and rheumatism, and had written some of his most brilliant work while prostrate with pain. On 8 June 1857 he died, and was buried on the 14th at Norwood cemetery. His circumstances were unfortunately involved. After his death performances, both in town and country, were organised by Charles Dickens, and 3,000l. was thus secured for his family. His son, William Blanchard Jerrold is separately noticed.

In person Jerrold was short and sturdy; his profile was strikingly sharp and classical, his eyes blue, his grey hair falling in profuse masses about his forehead. An engraving from a bust of him by E. H. Bailey, R.A., is prefixed to the biography by Blanchard Jerrold, and there is a portrait in the National Portrait Gallery by Sir Daniel Macnee dated 1853. In manner he was to the last conspicuously vivacious, simple, and boyish, but was singularly clumsy in his movements. He sang well, and was fond of music. He was in temperament impulsive and fiery, rarely pausing to think whether his acrid wit would give pain to friends or foes, but overflowing with scorn of meanness, and indignation at injustice. In politics he was a radical, but cared nothing for philosophic utilitarianism. Though on one or two occasions he spoke well, notably in presenting the Shakespeare testimonial to Kossuth, he always disliked public speaking, and more than once broke down in the middle of his addresses. He had great social gifts, and was the founder of numerous literary clubs which attained some celebrity, 'The Mulberries' in 1824, the 'Museum' in 1847, the 'Whittington,' 'Our Club' (see Willert Beale, Light of Other Days, vol. i. ch. vi.; T. Sydney Cooper, My Life, ii. 32), and others. His reputation as a brilliant wit, for which he himself had anything but an affection, has overshadowed is literary fame. His brightly-written essays always repay perusal, but his plays have not held the stage, and his novels are little read. Jerrold's 'Works' were published in a collective edition, 8 vols. 1851-4. They include, besides those already mentioned:

  1. 'The Smoked Miser,' a one-act interlude, produced at Sadler's Wells, and published in 1833.
  2. 'The Witch of Derncleugh,' a version of 'Guy Mannering,' produced about 1823.
  3. 'Beau Nash,' a three-act comedy in prose, produced at the Haymarket, and published in 1625.
  4. 'Wives by Advertisement,' a comedy, produced about 1825.
  5. 'Sally in our Alley,' a comedy, produced about 1826.
  6. 'Ambrose Gwinett, or a Seaside Story,' a three-act melodrama in prose, puhlished in 1828.
  7. 'Fifteen Years of a Drunkard's Life,' the earliest of his domestic dramas, a three-act melodrama, published about 1828.
  8. 'Law and Lions,' a two-act prose farce, published about 1828.
  9. 'John Overy,' a three-act prose drama, published in 1828.
  10. 'Martha Willis,' a domestic drama in two acts, published in 1828.
  11. 'The Flying Dutchman,' a play produced in 1829.
  12. 'Thomas à Becket,' a five-act historic play, published in 1829.
  13. 'The Tower of Lochlain,' a three-act prose melodrama.
  14. 'Vidocq,' a play, published in 1829.
  15. 'The Mutiny at the Nore,' a two-act nautical drama in prose, 1830.
  16. 'The Golden Calf,' a three-act prose comedy, produced in 1832.
  17. 'The Rent Day,'a two-act domestic prose drama, published in 1832.
  18. 'The Housekeeper,' a three-act prose drama, produced at the Haymarket,and published in 1833.
  19. 'Nell Gwynne,' a two-act prose comedy, produced at Covent Garden, and published in 1833.
  20. 'The Wedding-gown,' two-act prose comedy, published in 1834.
  21. 'Doves in a Cage,' produced at the Adelphi, and published in 1835.
  22. 'The Hazard of the Die,' a two-act tragic prose drama, produced at Drury Lane, and published in 1835.
  23. 'The Man's an Ass,' produced at the Olympic Theatre in 1835.
  24. 'The Schoolfellows,' a two-act comedy, produced at the Queens Theatre, and published in 1835.
  25. 'The Bill-Sticker,' a play produced at the Strand Theatre in 1836.
  26. 'Hercules, King of Clubs,' a play produced at the Strand Theatre in 1836.
  27. 'The