Gilliland, Thomas (DNB00)

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GILLILAND, THOMAS (fl. 1804–1816), writer, is the subject of severe attack in the ‘Satirist.’ According to it, he attracted attention as a frequenter of the green-room of Drury Lane Theatre. Upon inquiry it appeared that he was ‘no other than the famed Mr. Thomas Gilliland, ci-devant scout to Anthony Pasquin.’ A remonstrance against his presence was made by Charles Mathews the elder, and signed by actors who objected to the appearance among them of ‘this spy upon the private conduct of public men.’ He met this by a voluntary withdrawal (Satirist, i. 420). He is said to have written for a living, and to have been ‘countenanced’ by ‘Monk’ Lewis and ‘Anacreon’ Moore (ib. iii. 534). Gilliland is responsible for various compilations of which the ‘Dramatic Mirror’ alone can be said in any sense to survive: 1. ‘A Dramatic Synopsis, containing an Essay on the Political and Moral Use of a Theatre, involving Remarks on the Dramatic Writers of the Present Day and Strictures on the Performers of the two Theatres,’ London, 1804, 8vo. This production, which contains some sensible opinions, was subsequently expanded into: 2. ‘The Dramatic Mirror, containing the History of the Stage from the Earliest Period to the Present Time,’ &c., London, 1808, 2 vols. 12mo, a work of little merit, giving some information concerning the country theatres. It supplies biographies of the principal actors from the time of Shakespeare and of dramatic writers subsequent to 1660, is illustrated with portraits and other engravings, and is dedicated to the Prince of Wales. 3. ‘Elbow Room, a Pamphlet containing Remarks on the shameful Increase of the Private Boxes of Covent Garden,’ &c., London, 1804, 8vo. 4. ‘Jack in Office, containing Remarks on Mr. Braham's Address to the Public, with a full and impartial consideration of Mr. Kemble's conduct with regard to the above gentleman,’ London, n.d. (1804, 8vo, Brit. Mus. Cat.) The two works last named are satires upon Kemble's management. 5. ‘The Trap, a Moral, Philosophical, and Satirical Work, delineating the Snares in which Kings, Princes, and their Subjects have been caught since the days of Adam; including Reflections on the Present Causes of Conjugal Infidelity. Dedicated to the Ladies,’ London, 1808, 2 vols. 12mo, a satire dull and indecorous. 6. ‘Diamond cut Diamond: Observations on a Pamphlet entitled “A Review of the Conduct of His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales,” comprising a free and impartial View of Mr. Jefferys as a Tradesman, Politician, and Courtier. By Philo Veritas,’ 5th edition, enlarged, London, 1801, 8vo. These works are in the British Museum. On the title-page to the ‘Trap’ is mentioned: 7. ‘Diamond new Pointed.’ A portrait prefixed to the ‘Dramatic Mirror’ presents the not unpleasing features of a man aged somewhere near thirty. Gilliland was alive in 1816, in which year his name appears in ‘A Biographical Dictionary of Living Authors.’

[Books cited; Lowndes's Bibl. Man.]

J. K.