1816 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Thomas John Dibdin

Anonymous, in Biographical Dictionary of Living Authors (1816) 93-94.



THOMAS DIBDIN, son of Mr. Charles D. sen. and brother of the preceding [Charles Dibdin Jr.], born 1771. He was apprenticed to Sir William Rawlins, then in business as an auctioneer and upholsterer; but a growing passion for the stage impelled him at the age of eighteen to quit business and commence actor under the assumed name of Merchant. In 1793, he married Miss Hillar, of the Manchester theatre, and in 1799, his farce of the Jew and the Doctor, brought out at Maidstone, introduced him to the notice of Mr. Harris, who at first engaged Mr. D. as a performer at Covent Garden. The success of that piece however induced the managers to make it worth his while to quit the stage as an actor, and to retain him as an author. His salary, however, was continued, on condition that he should furnish a pantomime every Christmas, and produce, when called upon, any prelude, interlude, or spectacle that public events of interest or notoriety might render fit subjects for the theatre. Besides some pieces not printed, he is the author of [list omitted].