Page:Notes and Queries - Series 11 - Volume 11.djvu/134

This page needs to be proofread.


NOTES AND QUERIES. [iis. XL FEB. 13,1915.

description of the costume, cast of the cha- racters, exits and entrances, relative position of the performers on the stage, and the whole of the stage business, as now performed at the Theatres-Royal, London. London: Samuel French, Publisher, 89, Strand. New York : Samuel French & Son, Publishers 28 West 23rd Street." Duodecimo, 2 [title] +3-8 +9-59.

1800-2. [* * *]

In a recent dissertation by W alter Sellier* ' Kotzebue in England ' (Leipzig, 1901), the writer has included in his bibliography (p. 95) the following :

" The Theatrical Repertory by Holcroft. <1801/02)."

Starting from the date, I find my way towards the magazine which, I believe, Sellier means. On p. 388 of this periodical, The Theatrical Repository, or Weekly Rosciad, in the issue for Monday, 1 March, 1802, No. XXIV., I find the statement :

" A letter addressed to T H , Esq. on

account of Mr. D gv e being engaged to get up the New Ballet, and signed ' No Lover of Neto Fnces,' shall have an early insertion, if the writer will favour us with his name." This is the only connexion I can find between this periodical and Holcroft, and it seems to

me not to be a connexion at all. " T

H , Esq.," might, just as well have

stood for Thomas Harwood, Theodore Hook, Thomas Hurlstone, or Thomas Hull (with the greatest amount of probability on the last of these) as for Thomas Holcroft. The ascription to Holeroft, though, would be a very likely one, if we did not know that Holcroft left England in July, 1799 (' M.e- rnoirs,' p. 247), and did not return until the summer of 1803 (' Memoirs,' p. 234). From the character and the context of the period- ical, it is obvious that the editor was prob- ably at " No. 2, Little Russell -street, Covent-Garden," the publisher's office, or thereabouts, and not on the Continent, both on "Monday, July 5, 1802" when the Dedication is dated and from 19 Sept., 1801, to 28 June, 1802, the first and last dates of issue. The only reason I can find for Sellier's mistake lies in a remarkable coincidence which will at once be made clear by the following extract from the

  • Memoirs ' (p. 229), telling of Holcroft's

activities in Hamburg :

" The first literary attempt which Mr. Holcroft made after he was settled on the continent failed. This was to set up a journal, (The European Repository] containing an account of the state of foreign literature, and anecdotes of celebrated characters. It only reached the second number."

I should think that Sellier, unless he had sources of information inaccessible to me,

has in some way confused the real Theatrical Repository, London, 1801-2, discussed above ; Holcroft's Theatrical Recorder, London, 1805- 1806 ; and this elusive European Reper- tory. I use the word " elusive " advisedly, for I have had trouble in discovering a single copy of it ; have been able to learn but very little about it beyond the above pas- sage from the * Memoirs.' The notes to th.3 Waller-Glover 1902 edition of the 'Memoirs ' are discreetly silent. G. F. Russell Barker in the ' D.N.B.,' and many other compilers of biographical notices, have merely mentioned the work as a failure after two numbers ; but no one has found out anything about it. No wonder ! I think the title is wrong. I find in the " Catalogue of the Library of Books, the property of Thomas Holcroft, Esq. (Deceased. ) . . . . Sold by Auction .... Tues- day, Oct. 17, 1809," the following item, evidently Holcroft's own copy :

" 323. European Repertory, 2 Nos."

And finally, what I had deemed to be the impossible or should I say the unknowable ? has been achieved. Just before the war broke out. there was in the Hamburg Staat- bibliothek the following :

"The European Repertory. Tor January 1800." Octavo, 100 pp.

The book is in the form of a magazine, of which this number is the only one which I have located. Nowhere about the publica- tion does there appear the name of Thomas Holcroft, but I think that, from the general circumstances and the internal evidence as well, we can be fairly certain about the validity of our ascription.

I believe that the rarity of this item will warrant my taking up a little space here with a full transcription of the Preface and an outline of the contents of the number. From these we can pretty well make up our minds as to the general character of the magazine. The Preface runs :

" The progress of knowledge, the state of the arts, and a history of literature and men and [sic] letters throughput Europe, have from the first dawn of returning science, excited an increasing spirit of inquiry. It has uniformly been a cause of regret, among those Englishmen who are mosfc assiduous in these researches, and who are in want of some common channel through which they may be prosecuted, that no work solely dedicated to this object has been undertaken. But what appeared to be remissness was only the want of means. It did not arise from anv dis- inclination in writers, but from the difficulty of obtaining such immediate and quick supplies of intelligence as are indispensible [sic]. To those who are properly stationed, the materials are abundant. Travelled men of education, meeting with the journals that are spread over all Ger- many, France, and the continental kingdoms, have