Volltext: A history of caricature and grotesque in literature and art

qf C arzkature 
perfuaded him to difinherit his fon, and he labours to feduce his wife and 
to deceive his daughter. His bafenels is expofed onlyjuft foon enough to 
defeat his defigns. Such a production as this could not fail to give great 
offence to all the Jacobite party, of whatever thade, who were then rather 
numerous in London, and Cibber affures us that his reward was a con- 
iiderable amount of adverfe criticifm in every quarter where the Tory 
influence reached. His comedies were inferior in brilliance of dialogue 
to thofe of the previous age, but the plots were well imagined and 
conducted, and they are generally good acting plays. 
To Samuel Foote, born in 1722, we owe the latl change in the form 
and character of Englifh comedy. A man of infinite wit and humour, 
and poH'eH'ed of extraordinary talent as a mimic, Foote made mimicry 
the principal inftrument of his fuccefs on the itage. His plays are above 
all light and amuting; he reduced the old comedy of live acts to three 
acts, and his plots were ufually Gmple, the dialogue full of wit and 
humour; but their peculiar characteriftic was their open boldnefs of per- 
fonal fatire. It is entirely a comedy of his own. He fought to direct 
his wit againlt all the vices of fociety, but this he did by holding up to 
ridicule and fcorn the individuals who had in fome way or other made 
themfelves notorious by the practice of them. All his principal characters 
were real characters, who were more or lefs known to the public, and 
who were fo perfectly mimicked on the ftage in their drefs, gait, and 
fpeech, that it was impofiible to miltake them. Thus, in "The Devil 
upon Two Sticks," which is a general fatire on the low condition to which 
the practice of medicine had then fallen, the perfonages introduced in it 
all reprefented quacks well known about the town. "The Maid of Bath" 
dragged upon the Rage fcandals which were then the talk of Bath fociety. 
The nabob of the comedy which bears that title, had alfo his model 
in real life. " The Bankrupt " may be confidered as a general fatire on 
the bafenefs of the newfpaper prefs of that day, which was made the 
means of propagating private fcandals and libellous accufations in order to 
extort money, yet the characters introduced are laid to have been all 
portraits from the life; and the fame ftatement is made with regard to 
the comedy of " The Author."


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