Charles, an English actor, born in London, June 28, 1776, died in Plymouth, June 28, 1835. He was educated at the merchant taylors' school, and subsequently was apprenticed to his father, a bookseller. He gradually imbibed a predilection for the stage, and after appearing at several provincial theatres as an amateur, was engaged, as a comedian at the theatre royal, Dublin. Meeting with unjust treatment here both from the manager and the public, he determined to return to his father's business; but on the way to London he accepted an engagement at Swansea, where he performed for some time with success. After acting several years at York, he became a member of the Haymarket company, and on May 16, 1803, made his debut before a London audience as Jubal in "The Jew." He performed for many years at the principal London theatres; but feeling that the parts assigned to him did not afford fair scope for his talents, he instituted in 1818, in imitation of Foote and Dib-din, a species of entertainment in the form of a monologue, which, under the title of 'Mathews at Home," proved very successful.
For five successive seasons he drew crowded audiences to the English opera house, where, by his comic songs, recitations, anecdotes of personal adventure, and imitations of well known actors, he greatly enhanced his reputation. In 1822-'3 he made a successful tour in the United States, where he gathered materials for his "Trip to America," which was received with not less favor than his "At Home." He continued both entertainments for more than ten years longer, appearing at intervals on the stage in the regular drama; and in 1834 he returned to America and performed his "Trip." He died soon after his return to England. His powers of mimicry, combined with an expressive countenance, a flexible voice, and kirn discernment, gave him a high position on the English stage. His Mawworm, Sir Fretful Plagiary, Morbleu, Monsieur Mallet, Multiple in "The Actor of All Work," etc, were among the most finished and original conceptions of the comic drama. His imitative powers were abundantly displayed in his " At Home," which was written for him by various authors. In private life he was greatly esteemed, and possessed the friendship of Coleridge, Lamb, and other eminent men.
His "Memoirs" wen-published by his widow (4 vols. 12mo, Philadelphia, 1839).
Charles, son of the preceding, also a comedian, born in December, 1803. He was educated as an architect, but subsequently went upon the stage, and has for many years held a prominent place as a light comedian. In connection with his first wife, better known as Madame Yestris, who died in 1857. he was for years manager of the Olympic and Lyceum theatres in London. In 1857-'8 he made a professional tour in the United States, where he married Mrs. Davenport, an acti known as Lizzie Weston. In 1860 he withdrew for a time from the stage, and gave entertainments similar to those of his father, in which he was assisted by his wife. In 1863 he visited Paris and performed in a French version, made by himself, of one of bis own plays. He visited the United States again in 1869 and 1871, going in the interim to Australia, and in 1872 returned to England, where his wife died in 1873.