[It has been suggested to the Author, that it might be well
to reprint here a detailed account of the public dinner alluded
to in the foregoing Introduction, as given in the newspapers of
the time; and the reader is accordingly presented with the following
extract from the Edinburgh Weekly Journal for
Wednesday, 28th February, 1827.]



  Before proceeding with our account of this
very interesting festival---for so it may be termed
---it is our duty to present to our readers the following
letter, which we have received from the



  Sir,---I am extremely sorry I have not leisure
to correct the copy you sent me of what I am
stated to have said at the Dinner for the Theatrical
Fund. I am no orator; and upon such occasions
as are alluded to, I say as well as I can
what the time requires.

  However, I hope your reporter has been more
accurate in other instances than in mine. I have
corrected one passage, in which I am made to
speak with great impropriety and petulance, respecting
the opinions of those who do not approve
of dramatic entertainments. I have restored what
I said, which was meant to be respectful, as every
objection founded in conscience is, in my opinion,
entitled to be so treated. Other errors I left as I
found them, it being of little consequence whether
I spoke sense or nonsense, in what was merely intended
for the purpose of the hour.
                 I am, sir,
                    Your obedient servant,
                                    Walter Scott.
  _Edinburgh, Monday_.


  The Theatrical Fund Dinner, which took place
on Friday, in the Assembly Rooms, was conducted
with admirable spirit. The Chairman, Sir Walter
Scott, among his other great qualifications, is well
fitted to enliven such an entertainment. His manners
are extremely easy, and his style of speaking
simple and natural, yet full of vivacity and point;
and he has the art, if it be art, of relaxing into a
certain homeliness of manner, without losing one
particle of his dignity. He thus takes off some of
that solemn formality which belongs to such meetings,
and, by his easy and graceful familiarity,
imparts to them somewhat of the pleasing character
of a private entertainment. Near Sir W. Scott
sat the Earl of Fife, Lord Meadowbank, Sir John
Hope of Pinkie, Bart., Admiral Adam, Baron Clerk
Rattray, Gilbert Innes, Esq., James Walker, Esq.,
Robert Dundas, Esq., Alexander Smith, Esq., &c.

  The cloth being removed, ``Non Nobis Domine''
was sung by Messrs Thorne, Swift, Collier,
and Hartley, after which the following toasts were
given from the chair:---

  ``The King''---all the honours.

  ``The Duke of Clarence and the Royal Family.''

  The Chairman, in proposing the next toast,
which he wished to be drunk in solemn silence,
said it was to the memory of a regretted prince,
whom we had lately lost. Every individual would
at once conjecture to whom he alluded. He had
no intention to dwell on his military merits. They
had been told in the senate; they had been repeated
in the cottage; and whenever a soldier was the
theme, his name was never far distant. But it was
chiefly in connexion with the business of this meeting,
which his late Royal Highness had condescended
in a particular manner to patronise, that
they were called on to drink his health. To that
charity he had often sacrificed his time, and had
given up the little leisure which he had from important
business. He was always ready to attend
on every occasion of this kind, and it was in that
view that he proposed to drink to the memory of
his late Royal Highness the Duke of York.---
Drunk in solemn silence.

  The Chairman then requested that gentlemen
would fill a bumper as full as it would hold, while
he would say only a few words. He was in the
habit of hearing speeches, and he knew the feeling
with which long ones were regarded. He was sure
that it was perfectly unnecessary for him to enter
into any vindication of the dramatic art, which they
had come here to support. This, however, be
considered to be the proper time and proper occasion
for him to say a few words on that love of representation
which was an innate feeling in human
nature. It was the first amusement that the child
had---it grew greater as he grow up; and, even in
the decline of life, nothing amused so much as
when a common tale is told with appropriate personification.
The first thing a child does is to ape
his schoolmaster, by flogging a chair. The assuming
a character ourselves, or the seeing others
assume an imaginary character, is an enjoyment
natural to humanity. It was implanted in our very
nature, to take pleasure from such representations,
at proper times and on proper occasions. In   all
ages the theatrical art had kept  pace  with  the  improvement
of mankind, and with the progress of
letters and the fine arts. As man has advanced
from the ruder stages of society, the love of dramatic
representations has increased, and all works
of this nature have been improved, in character
and in structure. They had only to turn their eyes
to the history of ancient Greece, although he did
not pretend to be very deeply versed in its ancient
drama. Its first tragic poet commanded a body of
troops at the battle of Marathon. Sophocles and
Euripides were men of rank in Athens, when
Athens was in its highest renown. They shook
Athens with their discourses, as their theatrical
works shook the theatre itself. If they turned to
France in the time of Louis the Fourteenth, that
era which is the classical history of that country,
they would find that it was referred to by all
Frenchmen as the golden age of the drama there. 
And also in England, in the time of Queen Elizabeth,
the drama was at its highest pitch, when the
nation began to mingle deeply and wisely in the
general politics of Europe, not only not receiving
laws from others, but giving laws to the world,
and vindicating the rights of mankind. (Cheers.)
There have been various times when the dramatic
art subsequently fell into disrepute. Its professors
have been stigmatized; and laws have been
passed against them, less dishonourable to them
than to the statesmen by whom they were proposed,
and to the legislators by whom they were
adopted. What were the times in which these
laws were passed? Was it not when virtue was
seldom inculcated as a moral duty, that we were
required to relinquish the most rational of all our
amusements, when the clergy were enjoined celibacy,
and when the laity were denied the right to
read their Bibles? He thought that it must have
been from a notion of penance that they erected
the drama into an ideal place of profaneness, and
spoke of the theatre as of the tents of sin. He did
not mean to dispute, that there were many excellent
persons who thought differently from him, and
he disclaimed the slightest idea of charging them
with bigotry or hypocrisy on that account. He
gave them full credit for their tender consciences,
in making these objections, although they did not
appear relevant to him. But to these persons,
being, as he believed them, men of worth and
piety, he was sure the purpose of this meeting
would furnish some apology for an error, if there
be any, in the opinions of those who attend. They
would approve the gift, although they might differ
in other points. Such might not approve of going
to the Theatre, but at least could not deny that
they might give away from their superfluity, what
was required for the relief of the sick, the support
of the aged, and the comfort of the afflicted. These
were duties enjoined by our religion itself. (Loud

  The performers are in a particular manner entitled
to the support or regard, when in old age or
distress, of those who had partaken of the amusements
of those places which they render an ornament
to society. Their art was of a peculiarly delicate
and precarious nature. They had to serve
a long apprenticeship. It was very long before
even the first-rate geniuses could acquire the mechanical
knowledge of the stage business. They
must languish long in obscurity before they can
avail themselves of their natural talents; and after
that, they have but a short space of time, during
which they are fortunate if they can provide the
means of comfort in the decline of life. That
comes late, and lasts but a short time; after which
they are left dependent. Their limbs fail---their
teeth are loosened---their voice is lost---and they
are left, after giving happiness to others, in a most
disconsolate state. The public were liberal and
generous to those deserving their protection. It
was a sad thing to be dependent on the favour, or,
be might say, in plain terms, on the caprice, of the
public; and this more particularly for a class of
persons of whom extreme prudence is not the
character. There might be instances of opportunities
being neglected; but let each gentleman tax
himself, and consider the opportunities they had
neglected, and the sums of money they had wasted;
let every gentleman look into his own bosom, and
say whether these were circumstances which would
soften his own feelings, were he to be plunged into
distress. He put it to every generous bosom---
to every better feeling---to say what consolation
was it to old age to be told that you might have
made provision at a time which had been neglected
---(loud cheers),---and to find it objected, that if
you had pleased you might have been wealthy. 
He had hitherto been speaking of what, in theatrical
language, was called _stars_, but they were
sometimes falling ones. There were another class
of sufferers naturally and necessarily connected
with the theatre, without whom it was impossible
to go on. The sailors have a saying, every man
cannot be a boatswain. If there must be a great
actor to act Hamlet, there must also be people to
act Laertes, the King, Rosencrantz, and Guildenstern,
otherwise a drama cannot go on. If even
Garrick himself were to rise from the dead, he
could not act Hamlet alone. There must be generals,
colonels, commanding-officers, subalterns.
But what are the private soldiers to do? Many
have mistaken their own talents, and have been
driven in early youth to try the stage, to which
they are not competent. He would know what to
say to the indifferent poet and to the bad artist. 
He would say that it was foolish, and he would
recommend to the poet to become a scribe, and the
artist to paint sign-posts---(loud laughter).---But
you could not send the player adrift, for if he
cannot play Hamlet, he must play Guildenstern.
Where there are many labourers, wages must be
low, and no man in such a situation can decently
support a wife and family, and save something off
his income for old age. What is this man to do
in latter life? Are you to cast him off like an
old hinge, or a piece of useless machinery, which
has done its work? To a person who had contributed
to our amusement, this would be unkind,
ungrateful, and unchristian. His wants are not of
his own making, but arise from the natural sources
of sickness and old age. It cannot be denied that
there is one class of sufferers to whom no imprudence
can be ascribed, except on first entering on
the profession. After putting his band to the dramatic
plough, be cannot draw back; but must continue
at it, and toil, till death release him from
want, or charity, by its milder influence, steps in
to render that want more tolerable. He had little
more to say, except that he sincerely hoped that
the collection to-day, from the number of respectable
gentlemen present, would meet the views entertained
by the patrons. He hoped it would do
so. They should not be disheartened. Though
they could not do a great deal, they might do
something. They had this consolation, that every
thing they parted with from their superfluity would
do some good. They would sleep the better themselves
when they have been the means of giving
sleep to others. It was ungrateful and unkind, that
those who had sacrificed their youth to our amusement
should not receive the reward due to them,
but should be reduced to hard fare in their old
age. We cannot think of poor Falstaff going to
bed without his cup of sack, or Macbeth fed on
bones as marrowless as those of Banquo.---(Loud
cheers and laughter.)---As he believed that they
were all as fond of the dramatic art as he was in
his younger days, he would propose that they
should drink ``The Theatrical Fund,'' with three
times three.

  Mr Mackay rose, on behalf of his brethren, to
return their thanks for the toast just drunk. Many
of the gentlemen present, he said, were perhaps
not fully acquainted with the nature and intention of
the institution, and it might not be amiss to enter
into some explanation on the subject. With whomsoever
the idea of a Theatrical Fund might have
originated, (and it had been disputed by the surviving
relatives of two or three individuals,) certain
it was, that the first legally constituted Theatrical
Fund owed its origin to one of the brightest ornaments
of the profession, the late David Garrick. 
That eminent actor conceived that, by a weekly
subscription in the Theatre, a fund might be raised
among its members, from which a portion might
be given to those of his less fortunate brethren, and
thus an opportunity would be offered for prudence
to provide what fortune had denied---a comfortable
provision for the winter of life. With the welfare
of his profession constantly at heart, the zeal
with which he laboured to uphold its respectability,
and to impress upon the minds of his brethren, not
only the necessity, but the blessing of independence,
the Fund became his peculiar care. He
drew up a form of laws for its government, procured,
at his own expense, the passing of an Act
of Parliament for its confirmation, bequeathed to
it a handsome legacy, and thus became the Father
of the Drury-Lane Fund. So constant was his
attachment to this infant establishment, that be
chose to grace the close of the brightest theatrical
life on record, by the last display of his transcendent
talent, on the occasion of a benefit for this child
of his adoption, which ever since has gone by the
name of the Garrick Fund. In imitation of his.
noble example, Funds had been established in
several provincial theatres in England; but it remained
for Mrs Henry Siddons and Mr William
Murray to become the founders of the first Theatrical
Fund in Scotland. (Cheers.) This Fund commenced
under the  most  favourable  auspices;  it  was
liberally  supported  by  the  management,  and  highly
patronised by the public. Notwithstanding, it fell
short in the accomplishment of its intentions. 
What those intentions were, he (Mr Mackay)
need not recapitulate, but they failed; and he did
not hesitate to confess that a want of energy on
the part of the performers was the probable cause. 
A new set of Rules and Regulations were lately
drawn up, submitted to and approved of at a general
meeting of the members of the Theatre; and
accordingly the Fund was re-modelled on the 1st
of January last. And here he thought he did but
echo the feelings of his brethren, by publicly acknowledging
the obligations they were under to
the management, for the aid given, and the warm
interest they had all along taken in the welfare of
the Fund. (Cheers.) The nature and object of
the profession had been so well treated of by the
President, that he would say nothing; but of the
numerous offspring of science and genius that court
precarious fame, the Actor boasts the slenderest
claim of all; the sport of fortune, the creatures of
fashion, and the victims of caprice---they are seen,
beard, and admired, but to be forgot---they leave
no trace, no memorial of their existence---they
``come like shadows, so depart.'' (Cheers.) Yet
humble though their pretensions be, there was no
profession, trade, or calling, where such a combination
of requisites, mental and bodily) were indispensable.
In all others the principal may practise
after he has been visited by the afflicting hand of
Providence---some by the loss of limb---some of
voice---and many, when the faculty of the mind is
on the wane, may be assisted by dutiful children,
or devoted servants. Not so the Actor---he must
retain all he ever did possess, or sink dejected
to a mournful home. (Applause.) Yet while they
are toiling for ephemeral theatric fame, how very
few ever possess the means of hoarding in their
youth that which would give bread in old age!
But now a brighter prospect dawned upon them,
and to the success of this their infant establishment
they looked with hope, as to a comfortable
and peaceful home in their declining years. He
concluded by tendering to the meeting, in the
name of his brethren and sisters, their unfeigned
thanks for their liberal support, and begged to
propose the health of the Patrons of the Edinburgh
Theatrical Fund. (Cheers.)

  Lord Meadowbank said, that by desire of his
Hon. Friend in the chair, and of his Noble Friend
at his right hand, he begged leave to return thanks
for the honour which had been conferred on the
Patrons of this excellent Institution. He could
answer for himself---he could answer for them all
---that they were deeply impressed with the meritorious
objects which it has in view, and of their
anxious wish to promote its interests. For himself,
he hoped he might be permitted to say, that
he was rather surprised at finding his own name
as one of the Patrons, associated with so many
individuals of high rank and powerful influence. 
But it was an excuse for those who had placed
him in a situation so honourable and so distinguished,
that when this charity was instituted, he happened
to hold a high and responsible station under
the Crown, when he might have been of use in
assisting and promoting its objects. His Lordship
much feared that he could have little expectation,
situated as he now was, of doing either; but
he could confidently assert, that few things would
give him greater gratification than being able to
contribute to its prosperity and support; and, indeed
when one recollects the pleasure which at
all periods of life he has received from the exhibitions
of the stage, and the exertions of the
meritorious individuals for whose aid this fund has
been established, he must be divested both of gratitude
and feeling who would not give his best
endeavours to promote its welfare. And now
that he might in some measure repay the gratification
which had been afforded himself, he would
beg leave to propose a toast, the health of one of
the Patrons, a great and distinguished individual,
whose name must always stand by itself, and which,
in an assembly such as this, or in any other assembly
of Scotsmen, can never be received, (not
he would say with ordinary feelings of pleasure or
of delight,) but with those of rapture and enthusiasm.
In doing so he felt that he stood in a somewhat
new situation. Whoever had been called
upon to propose the health of his Hon. Friend to
whom he alluded, some time ago, would have found
himself enabled, from the mystery in which certain
matters were involved, to gratify himself and his
auditors by allusions which found a responding
chord in their own feelings, and to deal in the language,
the sincere language, of panegyric, without
intruding on the modesty of the great individual
to whom be referred. But it was no longer possible,
consistently with the respect to one's auditors,
to use upon this subject terms either of mystification,
or of obscure or indirect allusion. The
clouds have been dispelled---the _darkness visible_
has been cleared away---and the Great Unknown
---the minstrel of our native land---the mighty
magician who has rolled back the current of time,
and conjured up before our living senses the men
and the manners of days which have long passed
away, stands revealed to the hearts and the eyes of
his affectionate and admiring countrymen. If he
himself were capable of imagining all that belonged
to this mighty subject---were he even able to give
utterance to all that as a friend, as a man, and as
a Scotsman, he must feel regarding it, yet knowing,
as he well did, that this illustrious individual was
not more distinguished for his towering talents, than
for those feelings which rendered such allusions
ungrateful to himself, however sparingly introduced,
he would, on that account, still refrain from
doing that which would otherwise be no less
pleasing to him than to his audience. But this his
Lordship hoped he would be allowed to say, (his
auditors would not pardon him were be to say less,)
we owe to him, as a people, a large and heavy
debt of gratitude. He it is who has opened to
foreigners the grand and characteristic beauties of
our country. It is to him that we owe that our
gallant ancestors and the struggles of our illustrious
patriots---who fought and bled in order to
obtain and secure that independence and that liberty
we now enjoy---have obtained a fame no
longer confined to the boundaries of a remote and
comparatively obscure nation, and who has called
down upon their struggles for glory  and freedom
the admiration of foreign countries. He it is who has
conferred a new reputation on our national character,
and bestowed on Scotland an imperishable name,
were it only by her having given birth to himself.
(Loud and rapturous applause.)

  Sir Walter Scott certainly did not think that,
in coming here to-day, he would have the task of
acknowledging, before 300 gentlemen, a secret
which, considering that it was communicated to more
than twenty people, had been remarkably well kept. 
He was now before the bar of his country, and
might be understood to be on trial before Lord
Meadowbank as an offender; yet he was sure that
every impartial jury would bring in a verdict of
Not Proven. He did not now think it necessary
to enter into the reasons of his long silence. Perhaps
caprice might have a considerable share in it. 
He had now to say, however, that the merits of
these works, if they had any, and their faults, were
entirely imputable to himself. (Long and loud
cheering.) He was afraid to think on what he had
done. ``Look on't again I dare not.'' He had thus
far unbosomed himself, and he knew that it would
be reported to the public. He meant, then, seriously
to state, that when he said he was the author,
he was the total and undivided author. With the
exception of quotations, there was not a single
word that was not derived from himself, or suggested
in the course of his reading. The wand was
now broken, and the book buried. You will allow
me further to say, with Prospero, it is your breath
that has filled my sails, and to crave one single
toast in the capacity of the author of these novels;
and he would dedicate a bumper to the health of
one who has represented some of those characters,
of which he had endeavoured to give the skeleton,
with a degree of liveliness which rendered him
grateful. He would propose the health of his friend
Bailie Nicol Jarvie, (loud applause)---and he was
sure, that when the author of Waverley and Rob Roy
drinks to Nicol Jarvie, it would be received with
that degree of applause to which that gentleman has
always been accustomed, and that they would take
care that on the present occasion it should be =prodigious=!
(Long and vehement applause.)

  Mr Mackay, who here spoke with great humour
in the character of Bailie Jarvie.---My conscience!
My worthy father the deacon could not have believed
that his son could hae had sic a compliment
paid to him by the Great Unknown!

  Sir Walter Scott.---The Small Known now,
Mr Bailie.

  Mr Mackay.---He had been long identified with
the Bailie, and he was vain of the cognomen which
he had now worn for eight years; and he questioned
if any of his brethren in the Council had given
such universal satisfaction. (Loud laughter and applause.)
Before he sat down, he begged to propose
``the Lord Provost and the City of Edinburgh.''

  Sir Walter Scott apologized for the absence
of the Lord Provost, who had gone to London on
public business.

  Tune---``Within a mile of Edinburgh town.''

  Sir Walter Scott gave, ``The Duke of Wellington
and the army.''

  Glee---``How merrily we live.''

  ``Lord Melville and the Navy, that fought till
they left nobody to fight with, like an arch sportsman
who clears all and goes after the game.''

  Mr Pat. Robertson---They had heard this
evening a toast, which had been received with intense
delight, which will be published in every
newspaper, and will be hailed with joy by all Europe.
He had one toast assigned him which he had
great pleasure in giving. He was sure that the
stage had in all ages a great effect on the morals
and manners of the people. It was very desirable
that the stage should be well regulated; and there
was no criterion by which its regulation could be
better determined than by the moral character and
personal respectability of the performers. He was
not one of those stern moralists who objected to
the Theatre. The most fastidious moralist could
not possibly apprehend any injury from the stage
of Edinburgh, as it was presently managed, and
so long as it was adorned by that illustrious individual,
Mrs Henry Siddons, whose public exhibitions
were not more remarkable for feminine
grace and delicacy, than was her private character
for every virtue which could be admired in domestic
life. He would conclude with reciting a few
words from Shakspeare, in a spirit not of contradiction
to those stern moralists who disliked the
Theatre, but of meekness:---``Good my lord, will
you see the players well bestowed? do you hear,
let them be well used, for they are the abstract
and brief chronicles of the time.'' He then gave
``Mrs Henry Siddons, and success to the Theatre-Royal
of Edinburgh.''

  Mr Murray.---Gentlemen, I rise to return
thanks for the honour you have done Mrs Siddons,
in doing which I am somewhat difficulted,
from the extreme delicacy which attends a brother's
expatiating upon a sister's claims to honours
publicly paid---(hear, hear)---yet, Gentlemen, your
kindness emboldens me to say, that were I to give
utterance to all a brother's feelings, I should not
exaggerate those claims. (Loud applause.) I
therefore, Gentlemen, thank  you most cordially
for the honour you have done  her, and shall now
request permission to make an observation on the
establishment of the Edinburgh Theatrical Fund. 
Mr Mackay has done Mrs Henry Siddons and myself
the honour to ascribe the establishment to us;
but no, Gentlemen, it owes its origin to a higher
source---the publication of the novel of Rob Roy
---the unprecedented success of the opera adapted
from that popular production. (Hear, hear.) It
was that success which relieved the Edinburgh
Theatre from its difficulties, and enabled Mrs Siddons
to carry into effect the establishment of a
fund she had long desired, but was prevented from
effecting, from the unsettled state of her theatrical
concerns. I therefore hope that, in future
years, when the aged and infirm actor derives relief
from this fund, he will, in the language of the gallant
Highlander, ``Cast his eye to good old Scotland,
and not forget Rob Roy.'' (Loud applause.)

  Sir Walter Scott here stated, that Mrs Siddons
wanted the means but not the will of beginning
the Theatrical Fund. He here alluded to
the great merits of Mr Murray's management, and
to his merits as an actor, which were of the first
order, and of which every person who attends the
Theatre must be sensible; and after alluding to
the embarrassments with which the Theatre had
been at one period threatened, be concluded by
giving the health of Mr Murray, which was drunk
with three times three.

  Mr Murray.---Gentlemen, I wish I Could believe,
that, in any degree, I merited the compliments
with which it has pleased Sir Walter Scott
to preface the proposal of my health, or the very
flattering manner in which you have done me the
honour to receive it. The approbation of such an
assembly is most gratifying to me, and might encourage
feelings of vanity, were not such feelings
crushed by my conviction, that no man holding the
situation I have so long held in Edinburgh, could
have failed, placed in the peculiar circumstances in
which I have been placed. Gentlemen, I shall not
insult your good taste by eulogiums upon your
judgment or kindly feeling; though to the first I
owe any improvement I may have made as an actor,
and certainly my success as a Manager to the
second. (Applause.) When, upon the death of
my dear brother the late Mr Siddons, it was proposed
that I should undertake the management of
the Edinburgh Theatre, I confess I drew back,
doubting my capability to free it from the load of
debt and difficulty with which it was surrounded. 
In this state of anxiety, I solicited the advice of
one who had ever honoured me with his kindest
regard, and whose name no member of my profession
can pronounce without feelings of the deepest
respect and gratitude---I allude to the late Mr
John Kemble. (Great applause.) To him I
applied; and with the repetition of his advice I
shall cease to trespass upon your time-(Hear,
hear.)-``My dear William, fear not; integrity
and assiduity must prove an overmatch for all difficulty;
and though I approve your not indulging a
vain confidence in your ownability, and viewing with
respectful apprehension the judgment of the audience
you have to act before, yet be assured that
judgment will ever be tempered by the feeling
that you are acting for the widow and the fatherless.''
(Loud applause.) Gentlemen, those words
have never passed from my mind; and I feel convinced
that you have pardoned my many errors,
from the feeling that I was striving for the widow
and the fatherless. (Long and enthusiastic applause
followed Mr Murray's address.)

  Sir Walter Scott gave the health of the

  Mr Vandenhoff.---Mr President and Gentlemen,
the honour conferred upon the Stewards, in the
very flattering compliment you have just paid us,
calls forth our warmest acknowledgments. In tendering
you our thanks for the approbation you have
been pleased to express of our humble exertions,
I would beg leave to advert to the cause in which
we have been engaged. Yet, surrounded as I am
by the genius---the eloquence of this enlightened
city, I cannot but feel the presumption which ventures
to address you on so interesting a subject. 
Accustomed to speak in the language of others, I
feel quite at a loss for terms wherein to clothe the
sentiments excited by the present occasion. (Applause.)
The nature of the Institution which has
sought your fostering patronage, and the objects
which it contemplates, have been fully explained
to you. But, gentlemen, the relief which it proposes
is not a gratuitous relief---but to be purchased
by the individual contribution of its members towards
the general good. This Fund lends no encouragement
to idleness or improvidence; but it offers
an opportunity to prudence, in vigour and youth,
to make provision against the evening of life and
its attendant infirmity. A period is fixed, at
which we admit the plea of age as an exemption
from professional labour. It is painful to behold
the veteran on the stage (compelled by necessity)
contending against physical decay, mocking the
joyousness of mirth with the feebleness of age,
when the energies decline, when the memory
fails, and ``the big manly voice, turning again towards
childish treble, pipes and whistles in the
sound.'' We would remove him from the mimic
scene, where fiction constitutes the charm; we
would not view old age caricaturing itself. (Applause.)
But as our means may be found, in time
of need, inadequate to the fulfilment of our wishes
---fearful of raising expectations, which we may be
unable to gratify-desirous not ``to keep the word
of promise to the ear, and break it to the hope''---
we have presumed to court the assistance of the
friends of the drama to strengthen our infant institution.
Our appeal has been successful, beyond
oar most sanguine expectations. The distinguished
patronage conferred on us by your presence on
this occasion, and the substantial support which
your benevolence has so liberally afforded to our
institution, must impress every member of the
Fund with the most grateful sentiments---sentiments
which no language can express, no time obliterate.
(Applause.) I will not trespass longer on
your attention. I would the task of acknowledging
our obligation had fallen into abler hands. (Hear,
hear.) In the name of the Stewards, I most respectfully
and cordially thank you for the honour
you have done us, which greatly overpays our
poor endeavours. (Applause.)

  [This speech, though rather inadequately reported,
was one of the best delivered on this occasion.
That it was creditable to Mr Vandenhoff's
taste and feelings, the preceding sketch will show;
but how much it was so, it does not show.]

  Mr J. Cay gave Professor Wilson and the University
of Edinburgh, of which he was one of the
brightest ornaments.

  Lord Meadowbank, after a suitable eulogium,
gave the Earl of Fife, which was drunk with three
times three.

  Earl Fife expressed his high gratification at
the honour conferred on him. He intimated his
approbation of the institution, and his readiness to
promote its success by every means in his power. 
He concluded with giving the health of the Company
of Edinburgh.

  Mr Jones, on rising to return thanks, being
received with considerable applause, said he was
truly grateful for the kind encouragement he had
experienced, but the novelty of the situation in
which he now was, renewed all the feelings he
experienced when he first saw himself announced
in the bills as a young gentleman, being his first
appearance on any stage. (Laughter and applause.)
Although in the presence of those whose indulgence
had, in another sphere, so often shielded
him from the penalties of inability, be was unable
to execute the task which had so unexpectedly devolved
upon him in behalf of his brethren and
himself. He therefore begged the company to
imagine all that grateful hearts could prompt the
most eloquent to utter, and that would be a copy
of their feelings. (Applause.) He begged to trespass
another moment on their attentions, for the
purpose of expressing the thanks of the members
of the Fund to the Gentlemen of the Edinburgh
Professional Society of Musicians, who, finding
that this meeting was appointed to take place on
the same evening with their concert, had in the
handsomest manner agreed to postpone it. Although
it was his duty thus to preface the toast he
had to propose, he was certain the meeting required
no farther inducement than the recollection of the
pleasure the exertions of those gentlemen had
often afforded them within those walls, to join
heartily in drinking ``Health and prosperity to
the Edinburgh Professional Society of Musicians.''

  Mr Pat. Robertson proposed ``the health of
Mr Jeffrey,'' whose absence was owing to indisposition.
The public was well aware that he was
the most distinguished advocate at the bar; he was
likewise distinguished for the kindness, frankness,
and cordial manner in which he communicated
with the junior members of the profession, to the
esteem of whom his splendid talents would always
entitle him.

  Mr J. Maconochie gave ``the health of Mrs
Siddons, senior---the most distinguished ornament
of the stage.''

  Sir W. Scott said, that if any thing could reconcile
him to old age, it was the reflection that he
had seen the rising as well as the setting sun of
Mrs Siddons. He remembered well their breakfasting
near to the theatre---waiting the whole day
---the crushing at the doors at six o'clock---and
their going in and counting their fingers till seven
o'clock. But the very first step---the very first
word which she uttered, was sufficient to overpay
him for all his labours. The house was literally
electrified; and it was only from witnessing the
effects of her genius, that he could guess to what
a pitch theatrical excellence could be carried. 
Those young gentlemen who have only seen the
setting sun of this distinguished performer, beautiful
and serene as that was, must give us old fellows,
who have seen its rise and its meridian, leave to
hold our heads a little higher.

  Mr Dundas gave ``The memory of Home, the
author of Douglas.''

  Mr Mackay here announced that the subscription
for the night amounted to L.280; and he expressed
gratitude for this substantial proof of their
kindness. [We are happy to state that subscriptions
have since flowed in very liberally.]

  Mr Mackay here entertained the company with
a pathetic song.

  Sir Walter Scott apologized for having so
long forgotten their native land. He would now give
Scotland, the Land of Cakes. He would give
every river, every loch, every hill, from Tweed to
Johnnie Groat's house--every lass in her cottage
and countess in her castle; and may her sons stand
by her, as their fathers did before them, and he
who would not drink a bumper to his toast, may
he never drink whisky more!

  Sir Walter Scott here gave Lord Meadowbank,
who returned thanks.

  Mr H. G. Bell said, that he should not have
ventured to intrude himself upon the attention of
the assembly, did be not feel confident, that the
toast he begged to have the honour to propose,
would retake amends for the very imperfect manner
in which be might express his sentiments regarding
it. It had been said, that notwithstanding
the mental supremacy of the present age, notwithstanding
that the page of our history was studded
with names destined also for the page of immortality,
---that the genius of Shakspeare was extinct,
and the fountain of his inspiration dried up. It
might be that these observations were unfortunately
correct, or it might be that we were bewildered
with a name, not disappointed of the reality,
---for though Shakspeare had brought a Hamlet,
an Othello, and a Macbeth, an Ariel, a Juliet, and
a Rosalind, upon the stage, were there not authors
living who had brought as varied, as exquisitely
painted, and as undying a range of characters into
our hearts? The shape of the mere mould into
which genius poured its golden treasures was surely
a matter of little moment,---let it be called a Tragedy,
a Comedy, or a Waverley Novel. But even
among the dramatic authors of the present day, he
was unwilling to allow that there was a great and
palpable decline from the glory of preceding ages,
and his toast alone would bear him out in denying
the truth of the proposition. After eulogizing the
names of Baillie, Byron, Coleridge, Maturin, and
others, he begged to have the honour of proposing
the health of James Sheridan Knowles.

  Sir Walter Scott.---Gentlemen, I crave a
bumper all over. The last toast reminds me of a neglect
of duty. Unaccustomed to a public duty of this
kind, errors in conducting the ceremonial of it may
be excused, and omissions pardoned. Perhaps I
have made one or two omissions in the course of the
evening, for which I trust you will grant me your
pardon and indulgence. One thing in particular I
have omitted, and I would now wish to make
amends for it, by a libation of reverence and respect
to the memory of Shakspeare. He was a
man of universal genius, and from a period soon
after his own era to the present day, he has been
universally idolized. When I come to his honoured
name, I am like the sick man who hung up his
crutches at the shrine, and was obliged to confess
that he did not walk better than before. It is
indeed difficult, gentlemen, to compare him to any
other individual. The only one to whom I can at
all compare him, is the wonderful Arabian dervish,
who dived into the body of each, and in this way
became familiar with the thoughts and secrets of
their hearts. He was a man of obscure origin,
and, as a player, limited in his acquirements, but
he was born evidently with a universal genius. 
His eyes glanced at all the varied aspects of life,
and his fancy portrayed with equal talents the king
on the throne, and the clown who crackles his
chestnuts at a Christmas fire. Whatever note he
takes, he strikes it just and true, and awakens a
corresponding chord in our own bosoms. Gentlemen,
I propose ``The memory of William Shakspeare.''

  Glee,---``Lightly tread, 'tis hallowed ground.''

  After the glee, Sir Walter rose, and begged to
propose as a toast the health of a lady, whose living
merit is not a little honourable to Scotland. The
toast (said he) is also flattering to the national
vanity of a Scotchman, as the lady whom I intend
to propose is a native of this country. From the
public her works have met with the most favourable
reception. One piece of hers, in particular, was
often acted here of late years, and gave pleasure
of no mean kind to many brilliant and fashionable
audiences. In her private character she (he begged
leave to say) is as remarkable, as in a public
sense she is for her genius. In short, he would
in one word name-``Joanna Baillie.''

  This health being drunk, Mr Thorne was called
on for a song, and sung, with great taste and feeling,
``The Anchor's weighed.''

  W. Menzies, Esq., Advocate, rose to propose
the health of a gentleman for many years connected
at intervals with the dramatic art in Scotland. 
Whether we look at the range of characters he
performs, or at the capacity which he evinces in
executing those which he undertakes, he is equally
to be admired. In all his parts he is unrivalled. 
The individual to whom he alluded is, (said he)
well known to the gentlemen present, in the characters
of Malvolio,  Lord  Ogleby,  and  the   Green 
Man; and,  in  addition  to  his  other  qualities,  he
merits, for his perfection in these characters, the
grateful sense of this meeting. He would wish, in
the first place, to drink his health as an actor; but
he was not less estimable in domestic life, and as a
private gentleman; and when be announced him
as one whom the chairman had honoured with his
friendship, he was sure that all present would cordially
join him in drinking ``The health of Mr

  Mr  William  Allan,  banker,  said,   that   he   did
not rise with the intention of making a speech. He
merely wished to contribute in a few words to the
mirth of the evening---an evening which certainly
had not passed off without some blunders. It had
been understood---at least be had learnt or supposed,
from the expressions of Mr Pritchard---that
it would be sufficient to put a paper, with the name
of the contributor, into the box, and that the gentleman
thus contributing would be called on for the
money next morning. He, for his part, had committed
a blunder, but it might serve as a caution
to those who may be present at the dinner of next
year. He had merely put in his name, written on
a slip of paper, without the money. But he would
recommend that, as some of the gentlemen might
be in the same situation, the box should be again
sent round, and he was confident that they, as well
as he, would redeem their error.

  Sir Walter Scott said, that the meeting was
somewhat in the situation of Mrs Anne Page, who
had L.300 and possibilities. We have already got,
said he, L.280, but I should like, I confess, to have
the L.300. He would gratify himself by proposing
the health of ail honourable person, the Lord
Chief Baron, whom England has sent to us, and
connecting with it that of his ``yokefellow on the
bench,'' as Shakspeare says, Mr Baron Clerk---
The Court of Exchequer.

  Mr Baron CLERK regretted the absence of his
learned brother. None, he was sure, could be more
generous in his nature, or more ready to help a
Scottish purpose.

  Sir Walter Scott.---There is one who ought
to be remembered on this occasion. He is, indeed,
well entitled to our grateful recollection---one, in
short, to whom the drama in this city owes much. 
He succeeded, not without trouble, and perhaps at
some considerable sacrifice, in establishing a theatre. 
The younger part of the company may not recollect
the theatre to which I allude; but there are
some who with me may remember by name a place
called Carrubber's Close. There Allan Ramsay
established his little theatre. His own pastoral
was not fit for the stage, but it has its admirers in
those who love the Doric language in which it is
written; and it is not without merits of a very peculiar
kind. But, laying aside all considerations of
his literary merit, Allan was a good jovial honest
fellow, who could crack a bottle with the best.---
The memory of Allan Ramsay.

  Mr Murray, on being requested, sung, ``'Twas
merry in the hall,'' and at the conclusion was greeted
with repeated rounds of applause.

  Mr Jones.---One omission I conceive has been
made. The cause of the fund has been ably advocated,
but it is still susceptible, in my opinion, of
an additional charm---

     Without the smile from partial beauty won,
     Oh, what were man?---a world without a sun

And there would not be a darker spot in poetry
than would be the corner in Shakspeare Square,
if, like its fellow, the Register Office, the Theatre
were deserted by the ladies. They are, in fact,
our most attractive stars.---``The Patronesses of
the Theatre---the Ladies of the City of Edinburgh.''
This toast I ask leave to drink with all
the honours which conviviality can confer.

  Mr Patrick Robertson would be the last
man willingly to introduce any topic calculated to
interrupt the harmony of the evening; yet he felt
himself treading upon ticklish ground when be approached
the region of the Nor' Loch. He assured
the company, however, that he was not about to
enter on the subject of the Improvement bill. They
all knew, that if the public were unanimous---if
the consent of all parties were obtained---if the
rights and interests of every body were therein
attended to, saved, reserved, respected, and excepted
---if every body agreed to it---and finally, a
most essential point---if nobody opposed it---then,
and in that case, and provided also, that due intimation
were given---the bill in question might pass
---would pass---or might, could, would, or should
pass---all expenses being defrayed.---(Laughter.)---
He was the advocate of neither champion,and would
neither avail himself of the absence of the Right
Hon. the Lord Provost, nor take advantage of the
non-appearance of his friend, Mr Cockburn.---
(Laughter.)---But in the midst of these civic broils,
there had been elicited a ray of hope, that, at some
future period, in Bereford Park, or some other place,
if all parties were consulted and satisfied, and if intimation
were duly made at the Kirk doors of all
the parishes in Scotland, in terms of the statute in
that behalf provided---the people of Edinburgh
might by possibility get a new theatre.---(Cheers
and laughter.)---But wherever the belligerent
powers might be pleased to set down this new
theatre, he was sure they all hoped to meet the
Old Company in it. He should therefore propose
---``Better accommodation to the Old Company
in the new theatre, site unknown.''---Mr Robertson's
speech was most humorously given, and he
sat down amidst loud cheers and laughter.

  Sir Walter Scott.---Wherever the new
theatre is built, I hope it will not be large. 
There are two errors which we commonly commit
---the one arising from our pride, the other from
our poverty. If there are twelve plans, it is odds
but the largest, without any regard to comfort, or
an eye to the probable expense, is adopted. There
was the College projected on this scale, and undertaken
in the same manner, and who shall see the
end of it? It has been building all my life, and
may probably last during the lives of my children,
and my children's children. Let not the same prophetic
hymn be sung, when we commence a new 
theatre, which was performed on the occasion of
laying the foundation stone of a certain edifice,
``behold the endless work begun.'' Play-going
folks should attend somewhat to convenience. The
new theatre should, in the first Place, be such as
may be finished in eighteen months or two years;
and, in the second place, it should be one in which
we can hear our old friends with comfort. It is
better that a moderate-sized house should be crowded
now and then, than to have a large Theatre
with benches continually empty, to the discouragement
of the actors, and the discomfort of the spectators.
---(Applause.)---He then commented in flattering
terms on the genius of Mackenzie and his
private worth, and concluded by proposing ``the
health of Henry Mackenzie, Esq.''

  Immediately afterwards he said: Gentlemen,---
It is now wearing late, and I shall request permission
to retire. Like Partridge I may say, ``non
sum qualis eram.'' At my time of day, I can agree
with Lord Ogilvie as to his rheumatism, and say,
``There's a twinge.'' I hope, therefore, you will
excuse me for leaving the chair.---(The worthy
Baronet then retired amidst long, loud, and rapturous

  Mr Patrick Robertson was then called to the
chair by common acclamation.

  Gentlemen, said Mr Robertson, I take the
liberty of asking you to fill a bumper to the very
brim. There is not one of us who will not remember,
while he lives, being present at this day's festival,
and the declaration made this night by the
gentleman who has just left the chair. That declaration
has rent the veil from the features of the
Great Unknown---a name which must now merge
in the name of the Great Known. It will be
henceforth coupled with the name of Scott, which
will become familiar like a household word. We
have heard the confession from his own immortal
lips---(cheering)---and we cannot dwell with too
much, or too fervent praise, on the merits of the
greatest man whom Scotland has produced.

  After which, several other toasts were given,
and Mr Robertson left the room about half-past
eleven. A few choice spirits, however, rallied
round Captain Broadhead of the 7th hussars, who
was called to the chair, and the festivity was prolonged
till an early hour on Saturday morning.

  The band of the Theatre occupied the gallery,
and that of the 7th hussars the end of the room,
opposite the chair, whose performances were greatly
admired. It is but justice to Mr Gibb to state
that the dinner was very handsome (though slowly
served in) and the wines good. The attention of
the stewards was exemplary. Mr Murray and Mr
Vandenhoff, with great good taste, attended on Sir
Walter Scott's right and left, and we know that
he has expressed himself much gratified by their
anxious politeness and sedulity.