Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 39.djvu/161

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Morton
Morton
155

Royal Agricultural Society,' and contributed largely to its pages, as well as to the 'Journal of the Society of Arts.'

[Information kindly supplied by J. Morton, Earl of Ducie's Office, Manchester; Gardeners' Chron. and Agricultural Gazette, 4 Oct. 1873, with portrait; Agricultural Gazette, 30 July 1864 and 7 May 1888, p. 428, with portrait; Journ. Royal Agricultural Soc. 2nd ser. xxiv. 691 ; Brit. Mus. Cat.]

B. B. W.

MORTON, JOHN MADDISON (1811–1891), dramatist, second son of Thomas Morton (1764?–1838) [q.v.] , was born 3 Jan. 1811 at the Thames-side village of Pangbourne. Between 1817 and 1820 he was educated in France and Germany, and, after being for a short time at school in Islington, went to the well-known school on Clapham Common of Charles Richardson [q.v.] , the lexicographer. Here he remained 1820–7, meeting Charles James Mathews [q.v.] , Julian Young, and many others connected with the stage. Lord John Russell gave him in 1832 a clerkship in Chelsea Hospital, which he resigned in 1840. His first farce, produced in April 1835 at the Queen's Theatre in Tottenham Street, then under the management of Miss Mordaunt, subsequently known as Mrs. Nisbett, was called ‘My First Fit of the Gout.’ It was supported by Mrs. Nisbett, Wrench, and Morris Barnett. Between that time and the close of his life Morton wrote enough plays, chiefly farces, to entitle him to rank among the most prolific of dramatists. With few exceptions these are taken from the French. He showed exceptional facility in suiting French dialogues to English tastes, and many of his pieces enjoyed a marvellous success, and contributed greatly to build up the reputation of actors such as Buckstone, Wright, Harley, the Keeleys, Compton, and others.

To Drury Lane Theatre Morton gave the ‘Attic Story;’ ‘A Thumping Legacy;’ ‘My Wife's come;’ ‘The Alabama,’ and pantomimes on the subjects of William Tell, Valentine and Orson, Gulliver, and St. George and the Dragon. At Covent Garden appeared his ‘Original;’ ‘Chaos is come again;’ ‘Brother Ben;’ ‘Cousin Lambkin;’ ‘Sayings and Doings;’ and the pantomime of ‘Guy, Earl of Warwick.’ Among the pieces sent to the Haymarket were ‘Grimshaw, Bagshaw, and Bradshaw;’ the ‘Two Bonnycastles;’ the ‘Woman I adore;’ ‘A Capital Match;’ ‘Your Life's in Danger;’ ‘To Paris and Back for Five Pounds;’ the ‘Rights and Wrongs of Women;’ ‘Lend me Five Shillings;’ ‘Take Care of Dowb;’ the ‘Irish Tiger;’ ‘Old Honesty;’ the ‘Milliner's Holiday;’ the ‘King and I;’ the ‘Three Cuckoos;’ the ‘Double-bedded Room;’ ‘Fitzsmyth of Fitzsmyth Hall;’ the ‘Trumpeter's Wedding;’ the ‘Garden Party’ (13 Aug. 1877); and ‘Sink or Swim,’ a two-act comedy written in conjunction with his father. The Adelphi produced ‘A most Unwarrantable Intrusion;’ ‘Who stole the Pocket Book?’ ‘Slasher and Crasher;’ ‘My Precious Betsy;’ ‘A Desperate Game;’ ‘Whitebait at Greenwich;’ ‘Waiting for an Omnibus;’ ‘Going to the Derby;’ ‘Aunt Charlotte's Maid;’ ‘Margery Daw;’ ‘Love and Hunger;’ and the ‘Steeple Chase.’ At the Princess's, chiefly under Charles Kean's management, were produced ‘Betsy Baker;’ ‘From Village to Court’ (13 Nov. 1850) ‘Away with Melancholy;’ ‘A Game of Romps;’ ‘the Muleteer of Toledo;’ ‘How Stout you're getting;’ ‘Don't judge by Appearances;’ ‘A Prince for an Hour;’ ‘Sent to the Tower;’ ‘Our Wife;’ ‘Dying for Love;’ ‘Thirty-three next Birthday;’ ‘My Wife's Second Floor;’ ‘Master Jones's Birthday;’ and the pantomimes of ‘Aladdin,’ ‘Blue Beard,’ ‘Miller and his Men,’ and ‘White Cat.’ The Olympic saw ‘All that glitters is not Gold;’ ‘Ticklish Times;’ ‘A Husband to Order;’ ‘A Regular Fix;’ ‘Wooing One's Wife;’ ‘My Wife's Bonnet;’ and the ‘Miser's Treasure,’ 29 April 1878.

Morton's most popular piece, ‘Box and Cox,’ afterwards altered by Mr. F. C. Burnand, and set to music by Sir Arthur Sullivan as ‘Cox and Box,’ was produced at the Lyceum 1 Nov. 1847. It is adapted from two French vaudevilles, one entitled ‘Une Chambre à deux lits;’ it has been played many hundreds of times, and translated into German, Dutch, and Russian. The same house had already seen on 24 Feb. 1847, ‘Done on both Sides,’ and the ‘Spitfire;’ and subsequently saw ‘Poor Pillicoddy.’ At Punch's playhouse, afterwards the Strand, he gave ‘A Hopeless Passion;’ ‘John Dobbs;’ ‘Where there's a Will there's a Way;’ ‘Friend Waggles;’ ‘Which of the Two;’ ‘A Little Savage;’ ‘Catch a Weazel.’ The St. James's saw the ‘Pacha of Pimlico;’ ‘He would and she wouldn't;’ ‘Pouter's Wedding;’ ‘Newington Butts;’ and ‘Woodcock's Little Game.’ At the Marylebone was seen a drama entitled the ‘Midnight Watch.’ To the Court he gave, 27 Jan. 1875, ‘Maggie's Situation;’ a comedietta, and to Toole's (his latest production) 7 Dec. 1885, a three-act farce, called ‘Going it.’ The popularity of burlesque diminished the influence of farce, and the altered conditions of playgoing a generation or so ago practically took away Morton's earnings. In 1867