tickets. He acted with so much applause, and the result was financially so successful, that Ryan petitioned in 1752 for a renewal of the favour for a third time. Quin, according to Miss Bellamy, wrote: ‘I would play for you if I could, but will not whistle Falstaff for you. I have willed you 1,000l.; if you want money you may have it, and save my executors trouble.’ After his retirement, Quin, who had previously held aloof from Garrick, met him at Chatsworth, at the Duke of Devonshire's, and, making overtures to him, which were accepted, became a frequent visitor at Garrick's villa at Hampton. While here an eruption of a threatening kind appeared on his hand, and caused him much alarm. He returned home in a state of hypochondria, which brought on fever and great thirst. Feeling the end near, he expressed a wish that the last tragic scene was over, and a hope that he should go through it with becoming dignity. He died in his house at Bath on Tuesday, 21 Jan. 1766, at about four o'clock A.M., and was buried in the abbey church on the 24th. Garrick wrote a rhymed epitaph which appears over his tomb. Among the numerous generous bequests in Quin's will is one of 50l. to ‘Mr. Thomas Gainsborough, limner, now living at Bath.’
Quin was a man of remarkable qualities and gifts, and almost a great actor. He had an indifferent education, and was no wise given to what is technically named study, ridiculing those who sought knowledge in books, while the world and its inhabitants were open to them. Walpole admired Quin's acting, especially in Falstaff, and estimated him before Garrick, whom he always depreciated. He also declared Quin superior to Kemble as Maskwell. Davies, on the other hand, declares that Quin was utterly unqualified for the striking and vigorous characters of tragedy, and adds that his Cato and Brutus were remembered with pleasure by those who wished to forget his Lear and Richard. His Othello, Macbeth, Chamont, Young Bevil, Lear, and Richard were all bad; and in opposing Garrick in these parts he afforded the younger actor an easy triumph. Victor praises highly his Comus, Spanish Friar, the Duke in ‘Measure for Measure,’ and Æsop. Tate Wilkinson says that Quin was excellent as Henry VIII, Sir John Brute, Falstaff, Old Bachelor, Volpone, Apemantus, Brutus, Ventidius, Bishop Gardiner in ‘Lady Jane Gray,’ Clause, &c. His Ghost in ‘Hamlet’ was also much admired. Churchill declares Quin incapable of merging in the character he played his own individuality, and says:
Nature, in spite of all his skill, crept in—
Horatio, Dorax, Falstaff—still 'twas Quin.
Garrick, in well-known verses, describes Quin as ‘Pope Quin,’ who damns all churches but his own, and urges him,
Thou great infallible, forbear to roar.
This was penned in answer to Quin's assertion that Garrick was ‘a new religion,’ and that people would in the end ‘come back.’ Quin was of generous disposition. His friendship to Thomson is described as a ‘fond intimacy’ by Dr. Johnson, who says: ‘The commencement of this benevolence is very honourable to Quin, who is reported to have delivered Thomson, then known to him only for his genius, from an arrest by a very considerable present; and its continuance is honourable to both, for friendship is not always the sequel of obligation’ (Works, viii. 374). But Quin was at the same time vain, obstinate, and quarrelsome. Disputes between him and actors named respectively Williams, a Welshman, and Bowen, led to two encounters, in which Quin killed each of his opponents. Quin, on 10 July 1718, was found guilty of manslaughter on account of Bowen's death, but escaped with a light penalty.
Quin was emphatically a wit. Horace Walpole, who has incorporated in his correspondence many of his stories, gives a spirited account of a discussion between him and Warburton: ‘That saucy priest was haranguing at Bath in behalf of prerogative, when Quin said: “Pray, my lord, spare me; you are not acquainted with my principles. I am a republican, and perhaps I even think that the execution of Charles I might have been justified.” “Aye,” said Warburton, “by what law?” Quin replied, “By all the laws he had left them.” The Bishop would have got off upon judgments, and bade the player remember that all the regicides came to violent ends—a lie, but no matter. “I would not advise your lordship,” said Quin, “to make use of that inference; for, if I am not mistaken, that was the case of the twelve apostles”’ (Letters, iv. 339, ed. Cunningham). Walpole rhapsodises over the answer, avowing, ‘The more one examines it, the finer it proves.’ An animated picture of Quin is supplied in Smollett's ‘Humphrey Clinker.’ From this it appears that Quin's wit was apt to degenerate into extreme coarseness and his manner into arrogance. Garrick's verses abound with references to Quin's gormandising propensity.
Two portraits of Quin, ascribed to Hogarth, are in the Garrick Club, where there is also a third portrait by an unknown painter. A fourth, by Gainsborough, is in Buckingham Palace. A portrait by Hudson was engraved by Faber in 1744. An engraving