Lee, Henry (1765-1836) (DNB00)

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LEE, HENRY (1765–1836), author of 'Caleb Quotem,' was born on 27 Oct. 1766, apparently in Nottingham, where he was educated. He early contributed poetical articles to Moore's Almanacks. He lived some time at Normanton, and soon after the age of twenty-one went to London and became an actor. Joining Stratford's company at Newport Pagnell, he travelled with it, chiefly in the west of England. At a later date he seems to have owned and managed theatres at Taunton and other places. He also went to the Channel Islands. His farce of 'Caleb Quotem' was written about 1789, and after being performed in the country was brought out at the Haymarket on July 1798 under the title 'Throw Physic to the Dogs' (Genest, Hist. of the Stage, vii. 887). It was acted twice, and then withdrawn and altered. The revised version was offered to George Colman the younger [q. v.] but refused. Soon afterwards Lee charged Colman with borrowing the character of Caleb Quotem in 'The Review, or Wags of Windsor,' a play of Colman's produced at the Haymarket in 1800. Colman later on printed 'The Review,' in some respects, as Lee said, 'quite different from what it is always represented.' and this induced Lee to publish his farce under the title given below. Lee, who speaks of his life as irregular and eccentric, died in Long Acre, London, on 30 March 1836. His published works are:

  1. 'Caleb Quotem and his Wife! or Paint, Poetry, and Putty! An Opera in three Acts. To which is added a Postscript, including the Scene always play'd in the Review, or Wags of Windsor, but omitted in the edition lately published by G. Colman. With prefatory remarks.' &c., London, Barnstaple (printed), 1809.
  2. 'Poetic Impressions, a Pocket-book with Scraps.' London, Barnstaple (printed), 1817.
  3. 'Dash, a Tale in Verse,' London, Barnstaple (printed), 1817.
  4. 'J. Gay's Chair, edited by H. L., to which are added two new tales, "The World" and "Gossip," by the Editor.' 1820.
  5. 'The Manager, a Melodramatic Tale in Verse,' London, 1822.
  6. 'Echoism, a Poem.'
  7. 'Memoirs of a Manager, or Life's Stage with new Scenery.' Taunton, 1830. The last-named work consists of desultory reminiscences, interspersed with poems and letters, of little biographical value.

[Gent. Mag. 1836, pt. i. p. 564; Preface to Caleb Quotem; Brit. Mus. Cat.]

T. B. S.