in ‘Hamlet,’ Drury Lane, where he remained until his death. A list of his parts, of those even which were original, would occupy columns. The chief are Prospero, 1708; Melantius in the ‘Maid's Tragedy;’ Antonio; Macbeth; Pylades, an original part, in Philips's ‘Distressed Mother,’ 17 March 1712; Julius Cæsar; Sempronius; Buckingham in ‘King Richard III;’ Falstaff; Bajazet; Titus Andronicus; Cassius; Lear; Othello; Cato; Orestes; Hamlet; and Wolsey. He was the original Belmour in ‘Jane Shore,’ 2 Feb. 1714; Fantôme in the ‘Drummer,’ 10 March 1716; Zanga in the ‘Revenge,’ 18 April 1721; Sir John Bevil in Steele's ‘Conscious Lovers,’ 7 Nov. 1722; and Manly in Vanbrugh and Cibber's ‘Provoked Husband,’ 10 Jan. 1728. At the close of the season of 1734–5 Mills was selected as one of a committee of management at Drury Lane, but this arrangement was not carried out. His last performance (4 Dec. 1736) was as the King in the ‘Second Part of King Henry IV.’ He was afterwards announced for Macbeth, and was seen by Davies hurrying to the theatre to play it, but was taken ill, and resigned the rôle to Quin. He died on the 17th, after an illness of twelve days, at his residence in Martlet's Court, Bow Street, and was interred in the parish church of St. Martin's-in-the-Fields on the 20th, his pall-bearers being Charles Fletewood (sic), Colley Cibber, Johnson, Quin, Griffin, and Theophilus Cibber.
The ‘London Evening Post,’ 18 Dec. 1736, says that ‘he deservedly acquir'd a very great reputation; not only for his capacity, but also for his application and diligence in his profession,’ and for his conduct in public and private life. It adds: ‘He liv'd so generally and deservedly beloved that his loss is not only a great misfortune to the stage and his brethren there, but to the public in general, he being in all respects a very worthy and good man.’ This testimony is borne out from other sources. Victor calls him ‘the most useful actor that ever served a theatre,’ speaks in high praise of his Bajazet, and describes his person as ‘nearly approaching to the graceful; and his voice a full deep melodious tenor, which suited the characters of rage.’ His features appear, however, to have been large rather than expressive. Colley Cibber says that he owed his advancement to Wilks, to whose friendship his qualities as an ‘honest, quiet, careful man, of as few faults as excellences, commended him,’ and adds that he was advanced to a salary larger than any man actor had enjoyed during his (Cibber's) time on the stage. Mills's salary, 4l. a week, with 1l. for his wife, was in fact the same as Betterton's. Rich, in an advertisement provoked by a quarrel with his players, says that ‘the salary was paid for little or nothing.’ Steele in the ‘Tatler,’ No. 201, taxes Mills with want of sentiment, and suggests that ‘making gesture too much his study, he neglected the higher attributes of his art.’ Pierre, in which ‘he is charged with wearing a white hat,’ was his best part, in the opinion of the actors and of the public. As Corvino in ‘Volpone’ he was held to surpass Colley Cibber. His wife played few important parts. William Mills, his son, known as ‘the younger Mills,’ died of dropsy 18 Aug. 1750, his benefit being announced for the 21st. Davies praises his Julius Cæsar, and says ‘he was in general a snip-snap speaker,’ whose eccentricities Garrick mimicked very happily in the ‘Rehearsal.’ He was an indifferent actor.
[Genest's Account of the English Stage; Cibber's Apology, ed. Lowe; Downes's Roscius Anglicanus; Davies's Dramatic Miscellanies; Victor's History of the Theatres; Notes and Queries, 8th ser. i. 25, 78.]
MILLS, JOHN (d. 1784?), writer on agriculture, was in Paris in 1743 for the purpose of bringing out, in concert with Sellius, a German historian, a French edition of Ephraim Chambers's ‘Cyclopædia;’ but Lebreton, the printer commissioned by him to manage the undertaking, cheated him out of the subscription money, assaulted him, and ultimately obtained a license in his own name. This was the origin of the famous ‘Encyclopédie.’ Mills, unable to obtain redress, returned to England, and Sellius died at Charenton Lunatic Asylum in 1787. In 1763 Mills continued, completed, and dedicated to the Earl of Bute ‘Memoirs of the Court of Augustus,’ by Thomas Blackwell the younger [q. v.] Finding his true vocation as a writer on agriculture, he translated in 1762 Duhamel du Monceau's ‘Practical Treatise of Husbandry.’ In 1766 he published an ‘Essay on the Management of Bees;’ in 1770 a translation from the Latin of G. A. Gyllenberg's ‘Natural and Chemical Elements of Agriculture;’ in 1772 an ‘Essay on the Weather’ (translated into Dutch in 1772), and ‘Essays, Moral, Philosophical, and Political’ (anonymous, but advertised under his name); and in 1776 a ‘Treatise on Cattle.’ His chief work, ‘A New System of Practical Husbandry,’ in 5 vols., appeared in 1767. It was the earliest complete treatise on all branches of agriculture, and contains the first mention of the potato as grown in fields. It combines the results of the experience and observations of such writers as Evelyn, Duhamel, John Worlidge, and Jethro Tull, and is highly commended by Donaldson, who gives an abstract