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original in his possession, a letter of Dr. Burney to Mr. Quin's grandfather, Dr. Quin ; and to George Finlayson, Esq., for several useful suggestions, besides what has been already stated.
All other persons from whom I have asked or received assistance, are requested to accept my thanks.
It is right also that I should acknowledge having derived valuable information on the subject of the oratorio of the Messiah, from the preface by Dr. Rimbault, to his edition of the Messiah, published by the Handel Society : and from a preface, signed “T. B.," and dated “Exeter-Hall, August, 1844,” to a book of the words of the Messiah, issued by the “Sacred Harmonic Society” of London.
Not having had an opportunity of consulting the London newspapers of the last century, or the manuscripts of Handel's music, I rely, for the accuracy of any statement respecting them, on the concurrent testimony of Dr. Burney and other writers.
March 17, 1852.
VISIT OF HANDEL TO DUBLIN.
In the days when Handel visited Ireland, the district of Dublin adjacent to the Castle, and comprising Chancery-lane, Hoey’s-court, and other old localities, was inhabited by many of the wealthier and higher classes. Still are to be found here the remains of what were then considered to be fine houses, the residences at that time of several eminent persons; but the descendants of those who built them, and took pride in them, now occupy handsome squares and streets which had no existence then; and the haunts of their ancestors, abandoned to poverty and neglect, offer no attraction, save to those who love to trace the history of former days in their relics. Fishạmble-street, in this quarter of the town, is one of the oldest streets in Dublin. In a record of the 19th year of Richard II., it is called “ Vicus Piscatorius, in parochia Sancti Johannis” (Fish-street, in the parish of St. John); and its date may be traced to a much remoter antiquity.* Under the eastern gable of
* Harris's History of Dublin, p. 87.
the ancient Cathedral of Christ Church, separated and hidden from it by a row of houses, it winds its crooked course down the hill from Castle-street to the Liffey, as forlorn and neglected as other old streets in its vicinity. A number of trunkmakers' shops give it an aspect somewhat peculiar; miserable alleys open from it on the right and left ; a barber's pole or two overhang the footway; and huxters' shops are frequent, with
1 their wonted array of articles more useful than ornamental.
One would never guess, looking at this old street, that it was once the festive resort of the wealthy and refined. It needs an effort of imagination to conceive of it as having ever witnessed the gay throng of fashion and aristocracy—the Viceregal cortege-ladies, in hoops and feathers; and “white-gloved beaux,” in bag, and sword, and chapeau; with scores of liveried footmen and pages; and the press of coaches, and chariots, and sedan-chairs. Yet such was the scene often presented here in the eighteenth century.
The street is not without a few features still existing to testify to the better condition of things in former days. Within a court-yard, on the left as you descend from Castle-street, you have a glimpse of a stately mansion, of red brick, with stone architraves to the door and windows, which was once the Deanery-house of Christ Church, but has for many years ceased to be so occupied, and is now used as a parish school and almshouse.
Passing the old Deanery, you come to where the street expands on the right into an oblique angle, in the far corner of which, rather retired from the houses, appears a mean, neglected old building, with a wooden
porch. It is known to few of the inhabitants of Dublin by sight, but to many by name, as the Fishamble-street Theatre.
It was originally a music-hall, built more than a century ago, by the subscriptions of a charitable musical society; in whose advertisements, in Faulkner's Journal, it is described as “their New Room, which is finished in the most elegant manner, under the direction of Captain Castle."* It was first opened to the public on the 2nd of October, in the year 1741, and was subsequently the resort of various brilliant assemblies. A Musical Academy used to hold its meetings here, under the presidency of the Earl of Mornington, father of the Duke of Wellington. The members of this institution were exclusively persons moving in the first circles of society - ladies, noblemen, statesmen, lawyers, and divines. Accordingly, in the list of members we find Lord Mornington, leader of the band; among the violoncellos, Lord Bellamont, and Dean Burke, afterwards Archbishop of Tuam, and Sir John Dillon; among the flutes, Lord Lucan ; at the harpsichord, Lady Freke, Dr. Quin, and the Right Hon. W. Brownlow; and other eminent names of ladies and of gentlemen allotted to the different departments of the orchestra. The meetings of this Academy were private and select, excepting once a-year, when, for the benefit of some charity, the members performed at a public
* Quere-Castell, or Cassell ?
† Faulkner's Journal. The title of this newspaper is “ THE DUBLIN JOURNAL,” but it is commonly mentioned or quoted as “ Faulkner's Journal.” It was published in Dublin, on Tuesdays and Saturdays; “Printed by GEORGE FAULKNER, in Essex-street, opposite to the Bridge.”