Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 40.djvu/189

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Neilson
Neilson
183

and in 1841 he was elected to the united legislature for his former seat of the county of Quebec. He had now become a strong conservative, and resolutely opposed the demand for responsible government, promoted mainly by the inhabitants of Upper Canada. In 1844 he was made speaker of the assembly. In October 1847 he headed a deputation of citizens of Quebec, and read a long address to the governor, Lord Elgin. A chill caught on this occasion settled on his lungs. He died on 1 Feb. 1848, and was buried in the cemetery attached to the presbyterian church at Valcartier, near Quebec.

[Morgan's Lives of Celebrated Canadians; Histories of Canada, by Garneau and Withrow; Canadian Parliamentary Reports; English Parliamentary Reports.]

G. P. M-y.


NEILSON, LAURENCE CORNELIUS (1760?-1830), organist, was born in London about 1760. At the age of seven he went with his parents to the West Indies, where his father died. Returning with his mother to London, he studied music under Valentine Nicolai, and began teaching at Nottingham and Derby. He was organist for two years at Dudley, Worcestershire, and in 1808 succeeded to the teaching engagements of Samuel Bower at Chesterfield, where he died in 1830. His compositions, none of which are important, include pianoforte sonatas, duets, songs, a 'Book of Psalms and Hymns,' and some flute music. His son, E. J. Neilson, was one of the ten foundation students of the Royal Academy of Music.

[Biographical Dictionary of Musicians, 1824; Brown's Dictionary of Musicians.]

J. C. H.


NEILSON, LILIAN ADELAIDE (1848-1880), whose real name was Elizabeth Ann Brown, actress, was daughter of a somewhat obscure actress named Brown, subsequently known as Mrs. Bland. She was born at 35 St. Peter's Square, Leeds, on 3 March 1848, lived as a child at Skipton, and subsequently worked as a mill hand at Guiseley. Her lather's name is unrevealed. Before she was twelve years of age she used to recite passages from her mother's play-books. At the parish school of Guiseley she showed herself a quick child and an ardent reader. She then became a nurse girl, and on learning the particulars of her birth grew restless and, ultimately, under the name Lizzie Ann Bland, made her way secretly to London. Her early experiences were cruel, and remain unedifying. During a portion of the time she was behind the bar at a public-house near the Haymarket, where she had a reputation as a Shakespearean declaimer. She was first seen on the stage in 1865 at Margate as Juliet. Lizzie Ann Bland then blossomed into Lilian Adelaide Lessont, afterwards changed to Neilson, a name she maintained after a marriage contracted about this time with Mr. Philip Henry Lee, the son of the rector of Stoke Bruerne, near Towcester, from whom she was divorced in 1877. Her first appearance in London was made as Juliet at the Royalty Theatre in Dean Street in July 1865, her performance being witnessed by a scanty audience, including two or three theatrical reporters or critics, whom it profoundly impressed. Such knowledge as she possessed had been obtained from John Ryder, a brusque but capable actor, whose pupil she was. She possessed at that time remarkable beauty, of a somewhat southern type, girlish movement, and a voice musical and caressing. The earlier scenes were given with much grace and tenderness, and in the later scenes she exhibited tragic intensity. She was then engaged for the Princess's, where she was, 2 July 1866, the original Gabrielle de Savigny in Watts Phillips's 'Huguenot Captain,' and the same year she played Victorine in a revival of the drama of that name at the Adelphi. On 16 March 1867 she was, at the same house, the original Nelly Armroyd in Watts Phillips's 'Lost in London.' On 25 Sept. 1868, at the Theatre Royal, Edinburgh, she was seen as Rosalind in 'As you like it,' appearing subsequently as Pauline in the 'Lady of Lyons,' and Julia in the 'Hunchback.' On 2 Oct. she was the heroine of 'Stage and State,' an unsuccessful adaptation of 'Beatrix, ou la Madone de l'Art,' of Legouve. In November she played at Birmingham in 'Millicent,' an adaptation by Mr. C. Williams of Birmingham of Miss Braddon's novel the 'Captain of the Vulture.' Returning to London she 'created,' 6 March 1869, at the Lyceum, the part of Lilian in Westland Marston's 'Life for Life.' At the Gaiety she was, on 11 Oct. 1869, the first Mme. Vidal in 'A Life Chase,' by John Oxenford and Horace Wigan, adapted from 'Le Drama de la Rue de la Paix,' and on 13 Dec. the first Mary Belton in H. J. Byron's 'Uncle Dick's Darling.' At the same house she appeared the following April as Julia in a revival of the 'Hunchback,' and on 26 May 1870 she began, at St. James's Hall, a series of dramatic studies consisting of passages from the 'Provoked Husband,' 'Love for Love,' the 'Taming of the Shrew,' 'Wallenstein,' and 'Phedre,' with accompanying comments. She appeared as Amy Robsart in Andrew Halliday's adaptation of 'Kenilworth' at Drury Lane 24 Sept. 1870, Rebecca in Halliday's version of 'Ivanhoe' on 23 Sept. 1871, and Rosalind on 18 Dec. A series of fare-