Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 58.djvu/103
Van Ceulen Vancouver
was placed in the office of a solicitor in Lincoln's Inn Fields. His name was Alfred Peck Stevens. After some efforts in the country as an actor, he accepted an engagement of fifty shillings a week at the Preston theatre, under Edmund Falconer [q. v.], to play secondary parts, including harlequin. He then went on the Northampton circuit and elsewhere, and engaged under Copeland at Liverpool, where he opened a dancing academy. He is said also to have kept a dancing and fencing school in Carlisle. Vance then took on tour an entertainment after the manner of Samuel Houghton Cowell [q. v.], visiting most country towns. A monologue entertainment, entitled ‘Touches of the Times,’ in which he presented many different characters, obtained much popularity. On the suggestion of J. J. Poole, at one time manager of the South London Music-hall, Vance adopted the ‘variety’ stage, appearing at the Metropolitan and South London music-halls. He was a poor singer but a clever dancer, and his sketches of character took a firm hold upon the public. All London rang with the words and tune of his ‘Chickaleery Cove,’ and other Cockney songs were only less popular. In 1864 he was at the London Pavilion Music-hall, and he was at various periods associated with the Strand Music-hall, on the spot now occupied by the Gaiety Theatre, and with the Canterbury Music-hall. For many years he travelled round the country with what was called Vance's Concert Company. He also played the clown at the St. James's Theatre, and under Chatterton's management appeared at other houses. Among the songs which obtained much public favour and secured him royal recognition were ‘Jolly Dogs’ and ‘Walking in the Zoo.’ He was known latterly as the ‘Great Vance.’ On Wednesday, 26 Dec. 1888, at the Sun Music-hall, Knightsbridge, when he had given two songs and had sung in the wig and robes of a judge three verses of a third, called ‘Are you Guilty?’ Vance, who suffered from heart disease, fell down at the wing, and was found to be dead, the cause being rupture of the aorta. Vance was buried at Nunhead cemetery.
[Era newspaper, 29 Dec. 1888; Times, 28 Dec. 1888; Stuart and Park's Variety Stage (1895), pp. 104–5; Scott and Howard's Life of E. L. Blanchard, 1891; Era Almanack, various years.]
VAN CEULEN, CORNELIUS JANSSEN (1593-1664?), portrait-painter. [See Janssen.]
VANCOUVER, CHARLES (fl. 1785–1813), agriculturist, was an American by birth, though he can hardly have been, as is sometimes stated, ‘Of Vancouver's Island,’ as that island was named after George Vancouver [q. v.] in 1794. His first book, ‘A general Compendium of Chemical, Experimental, and Natural Philosophy, with a complete System of Commerce,’ was published at Philadelphia in 1785 (see Catalogue of the Boston Athenæum), and in 1786 he is described as ‘Vancouver of Philadelphia’ in Young's ‘Annals of Agriculture,’ to which he contributed an account of the farming of Kentucky. Kentucky was being settled at this time chiefly by emigrants from Virginia and Maryland, and Vancouver had taken up fifty-three thousand acres in that district. His letter to Young is practically an invitation to English settlers to come out to America and farm portions of this vast area (Annals of Agriculture, 1786, vi. 405).
Between 1786 and 1793 he came to England, and, on the establishment of the board of agriculture, he was engaged by Sir John Sinclair [q. v.] to write reports on the state of agriculture in different English counties.
The board published in 1794 an account of Vancouver's tour in Cambridgeshire, and in 1795 an account of a similar tour in Essex. He also visited Sussex for the purpose of a survey. Maria Josepha Holroyd, daughter of Lord Sheffield, speaks of him in July 1795 as a sensible well-informed man, who had visited several countries and profited by his travels (Girlhood of Maria Josepha Holroyd, 1896, p. 326).
Apparently about the end of the century Vancouver returned to his American estates, and he says in 1807 that he has been long engaged in ‘cutting down the woodland and clearing the forests in Kentucky.’ In 1806 he was again in England, and Arthur Young mentions that he was consulted by the secretary of the treasury, Nicholas Vansittart (afterwards Baron Bexley) [q. v.] concerning his tour scheme, of which Vancouver did not approve (Autobiography of Arthur Young, 1898).Vancouver wrote two more county reports for the board of agriculture: on the county of Devon, 1808 (republished in 1813); and on Hampshire, 1813. William Marshall (1745–1818) [q. v.], who criticised most severely the majority of the board's reports, spoke of Vancouver's ‘Cambridgeshire’ with approval, but regarded his Essex report with less favour, and was yet more qualified in his praise of the Hampshire and Devonshire reports (Marshall, Review, vol. iii., Eastern Department, 1818, pp. 226–7, 473; Gent. Mag. 1818, i. 59). Vancouver also wrote, in 1794, a paper on the drainage of the fens of the Great Level, and especially of Cam-