Jan 17

To the Printer of the Public Advertiser. / SIR,               Jan. 17. / I Generally come to London with my Family about this Time, and as we are all musical, I must own that the Expectation of the approaching Oratorios is no small Inducement. / At the same Time however that we adore the immortal Handel, yet give me Leave to say, that I have heard his favourite Oratorios so often, that I begin to want a little Variety. / For God’s Sake, Mr. Woodfall [i.e. the editor], is it musical High Treason to desire some new Compositions, or a Revival of what hath not been so much hackneyed.  I remember to have heard with Rapture, the Paradise Lost some Years ago; I need say no more of it than that the Words are the most finishing Passages in our English Epic Poem, and that the Composer Mr. Smith, hath done Justice to them. / I am, SIR, / Your constant Reader, / T. W.[1]




Feb 7

[first performance: 7 February 1766.]



Mrs. Qu[aver].  O Bravo, Colonel!  Musick is my Flame.

L[or]d. Min[um].  And mine, by Jupiter! […]

Col[onel]. T[rill].  What, do you love all Musick?

Mrs. Qu[aver].  No, not Handel’s.[2]




Mar 19

For the Public Advertiser. / After hearing a Practice of Mr. HANDEL’s / MESSIAH. / O MORE than Extasy!—O Strains divine! / A Mansion in the Realms of Bliss is mine. / Such Strains were heard, when the Seraphic Choir / Tun’d their bright Harp, and breath’d harmonious Fire. / Heav’n’s radiant Gates flew open at the Sound, / Th’ ador’d MESSIAH was with Glories crown’d, / When, rising from the Grave, he captive led / Death’s grisly Train, and crush’d the Serpent’s Head. / HARMONICUS.[3]




Mar 16





Due for thy sweet songs that amus’d my day!

Where Fancy held her visionary reign,

Or SCOTLAND’s honours claim’d the pastoral strain,

Or MUSIC came o’er HANDEL tears to pay:


Receive just praise and wreaths that ne’er decay,

By FAME and VIRTUE twin’d for thee to wear.


                    16 March, 1766.[4]




Apr 21

Mr. HUMPHRY [...] A portrait in miniature.  [Horace Walpole note:] good.  head of old John, porter of the Academy.  His picture was purchased by the King.  he had been a Waterman, + was chosen by Roubiliac for a model, having been rowed by him to Vauxhall, when he went thither to place his figure of Handel.[5]




What sends PETER TEWKSBURY every Night

To the Play with such infinite Joy and Delight?

Why PETER’s a Critic, with true Attic Salt,

Can damn the Performers, can hiss, and find fault,

And tell when we ought to express Approbation,

By thumping, and clapping, and Vociferation;

So he gains our Attention, and all must admire

Young TEWKSBURY’s Judgment, his Spirit and Fire. [67]

But JACK DILETTANTE despises the Play’rs,

To Concerts and musical Parties repairs,

With Benefit-Tickets his Pockets he fills,

Like a Mountebank Doctor distributes his Bills;

And thus his Importance and Interest shews,

By conferring his Favours wherever He goes:

He’s extremely polite both to me and my Couzen,

For he often desires us to take off a Dozen:

He has Taste, without doubt, and a delicate Ear,

No vile Oratorios ever could bear;

But talks of the Op’ras and his Signiora,

Cries Bravo, Benissimo, Bravo, Encora!

And oft is so kind as to thrust in a Note

While old Lady CUCKOW is straining her Throat,

Or little Miss WREN, who’s an excellent Singer,

Then he points to the Notes, with a Ring on his Finger,

And shews Her the Crotchet, the Quaver, and Bar,

All the Time that she warbles, and plays the Guitar:[6]





[preface: June 1766]


There are also Drums made of Brass, called Tymbals, or Kettle-drums, used among Horse Soldiery: Two of which are laid across the Horse’s Shoulders, before the Drummer, richly clad; who beats them with two small Iron Rods, with Balls on their Ends, making very odd Gestures at the same Time.  These Tymbals may be beat so soft as to be used in Concerts, Tragedies, Oratorios, and the like.



Oratorio—A Sacred Opera on a Divine Subject from Scripture, whose Musick should be set in the greatest Perfection.[7]




Jun 20

[Horace Walpole to George Montagu, Friday 20 June 1766]


There is a new thing published that will make you bepiss your cheeks with laughing.  It is called The New Bath Guide. {...} It is a set of letters in verse, in all kind of verses, describing the life at Bath, and incidentally everything else—but so much wit, so much humour, fun, poetry, so much originality, never met together before.  Then the man has a better ear than Dryden or Handel.  Apropos, to Dryden, he has burlesqued his St Cecilia, that you will never read it again without laughing.[8]




Sep 1

[Monday, September 1.]

Last Friday afternoon the ceremony of the dedication of the new-built Synagogue [in Duke’s Place,] was performed with the greatest pomp and solemnity, in which the Chief and other eminent Rabbis, belonging to the Portuguese Jewish nation, assisted; when the prayer for their Majesties and the royal family, which was always read in their liturgy in Hebrew, was at this time pronounced by the chief Rabbi in English, and followed by Handel’s Coronation Anthem, performed by a numerous band of the most eminent musicians.  The processions and other ceremonies on that occasion in the Synagogue, were accompanied with several anthems, chorusses, &c. by the same performers, amidst the applause of a very crouded audience[.][9]




Sep 4

[Henry Bates, in Halifax, to his sister Grace, 4 September 1766]


I have now half an hour’s leisure to acquaint you

with the particulars of our last week’s grand

celebrity.  You have been already informed that

we totally defeated our adversary on the 10th

of July, in consequence of which victory it was

determined to open our Organ with the performance

of the Messiah:  And my Brother & myself

were desired to undertake the management

of it.  Accordingly we engaged a band of between

90 and 100 instruments & voices; amongst whom

were many performers of the first class.  We had

between twenty & thirty Violins, seven tenor

Violins, six Violoncello’s, two double Basses, four

Hautbois, four Bassoons, two trumpets, two

French horns, Kettle drums, & a Chorus of about

forty singers, besides the principal singers.  This

noble band being assembled on Thursday last,

the 28th of Augt. on a scaffold erected on purpose

in the front of the new loft, & extending

from pillar to pillar, performed the Messiah in

such a manner as to give infinite satisfaction to

the most polite and numerous assembly that ever

appeared in Halifax upon any occasion.  The best

Judges declared they never heard any thing in

London to equal it.  The next day the performance

was repeated with, if possible, still greater

applause ... My Brother played a Concerto on

the Organ each day between the first & second

Acts of the Oratorio ... In my list of instruments

I forgot to mention the Organ, which is an

exceeding fine one, & was played by my Brother

thro’ the whole performance ... H. BATES.[10]




On ALEXANDER’s FEAST being performed for a distressed Family.


MUSIC, that charms and elevates the soul,

Attunes your reason to the friendly bowl;

That harmonizes social joys, that move

The heart, and ev’ry faculty to love.

Love! so inspir’d, seraphic and benign,

That fills the mind with sentiments divine,

Sues for relief from ev’ry gen’rous heart,

For her aged sons, who well perform’d their part;

So often pleas’d you with their tuneful strain:

Let not my sons then sue, and sue in vain.

Hibernia, still renown’d for charity,

Let not your elder sister rival thee;

Shew your true taste in arts and science too,

In those no nations should shine more than you;

Whom distant records dedicate to fame,

Secur’d of glory, and illustrious name. [191]

Hark! who presides, and animates our land;

Dubourgh! our envy’d son, whose happy hand

Commands the science, and directs the band.[11]






Inscribed to my FRIENDS.


LET others boast Palladian skill

  The sculptur’d dome to raise;

To scoop the vale, to swell the hill,

Or lead the smooth meand’ring hill

  In ever-varying maze;

                  To strike the lyre

                  With Homer’s fire, [25]

                  Or Sappho’stender art;

Or Handel’s notes with sweeter strains inspire,

  O’er Phidia’s chisel to preside,

  Or Titian’s glowing pencil guide

                  Through ev’ry living part.


Ah! what avails it thus to shine,

                  By ev’ry art refined;

Except BENEVOLENCE combine

  To humanize the mind!





[on the practice of multi-part composition in instrumental music.]


Whereas in the Composition of 7 and 8 Parts, the Harmony of the Notes are doubled: this is effected by the common Practice, after the most easy manner, by doubling whole Parts: That is to say, by two alternate Parts moving through every Note in unison, when in full Concert.  And likewise other two alternate Parts.  Thus the first and third Violins play in unison: and the second and fourth.  And, when these Parts are not thus doubled, the third and fourth Parts rest.  Or otherwise, in some passages they take part of the Harmony from the other Parts […] ; excepting only in longer Notes than the upper Parts.  The Concertos of Corelli, Geminiani, and the Overtures of Handel, are Instances of this.


In the works of the most celebrated Masters, as Corelli, Geminiani, Handel, Vivaldi, &c the Solo part [of the Bass line] is allotted to the Violoncello; while the Organ rests: or, it may be, strikes the first Note of each passage, generally in the Octave below.  In full Concert the two Instruments play in Unison.  In Corelli’s Sonatas, the Organ in many places, expresses the subject, while the Violoncello rests.[13]




[Jennens, Esq.]


Portrait of Handel                                               Hudson.


[The Foundling Hospital.]

In the Chapel, the altar-piece painted by an Italian painter, represents the Wise Men [184] making their Offerings.  The fine organ was presented by Mr. Handel.[14]



[1] The Public Advertiser, Friday 31 January 1766, [4].

[2] George Colman and David Garrick, The Clandestine Marriage, A Comedy (London: T. Becket, et al., 1766), no pagination (p. 92).

[3] The Public Advertiser, Wednesday 19 March 1766, [2].

[4] The Poetical Works of John Langhorne.  In Two Volumes (London: T. Becket and P. A. De Hondt, 1766), 1:no pagination; a slightly revised version appeared in The Poetical Works of John Scott Esq. (London: J. Buckland, 1782), 316.

[5] A Catalogue of the Pictures, Sculptures, Designs in Architecture, Models, Drawings, Prints, &c. exhibited by the Society of Artists of Great-Britain, at the Great Room, Spring-Garden, Charing-Cross, April the Twenty-First, 1766.  Being the Seventh Year of their Exhibition (London: the society, 1766), 7.

[6] [Christopher Anstey], The New Bath Guide: or, Memoirs of the B---r---d Family.  In a Series of Poetical Epistles (London &al.: [?], 1766), 66-67.

[7] William Tans’ur, The Elements of Musick display’d: Or, its Grammar, or Ground-Work made Easy (London: Stanley Crowder, 1772), 115, 206.

[8] Horace Walpole’s Correspondence with George Montagu II (“The Yale Edition of Horace Walpole’s Correspondence, Vol. 10”), ed. W. S. Lewis and Ralph S. Brown, Jr (New Haven: Yale University Press / London: Humphrey Milford, Oxford University Press, 1941), 218.

[9] The Whitehall Evening-Post; Or, London Intelligencer, no. 3170, Saturday 30 August – Tuesday 2 September 1766, [2]; The British Magazine 7 (1766): 498.

[10] Betty Matthews, “Joah Bates: A remarkable amateur,” The Musical Times 126 ([no. 1714, December] 1985), 749-53: 749.

[11] Catherine Jemmat, Miscellanies, In Prose and Verse (London: the author, 1766), 190-91.

[12] James Woodhouse, Poems on Several Occasions (London: the author, 1766), 24-25.

[13] John Trydell, Two Essays on the Theory and Practice of Music (Dublin: printed for the editor, 1766), 60, 64.

[14] The English Connoisseur: Containing an Account of whatever is curious in Painting, Sculpture, &c. In the Palaces and seats of the Nobility and Principal Gentry of England, both in Town and Country, 2 vols. (London: L. Davis and C. Reymers, 1766), 135, 183-84.