Josh Silsbee, “the Great Yankee Actor”, and Benjamin Barnett, at the Prince’s Theatre, March 1852

Josh Silsbee


A small advertisement on the front page of The Glasgow Herald, on Monday the 15th of March, 1852, notified readers that Josh Silsbee, “the Great  Yankee Actor,” would be appearing at the Prince’s that evening, in “Two Popular Characters.” Also performing, was Mr. Ben. Barnett as “Mons. Jacques.” Boxes cost three shillings; seats in the stalls were two-shillings-and-sixpence; and one shilling in the pit.


On page four of the same edition of the Herald, is the following notice:


Prince’s Theatre.— This evening Mr. Josh Silsbee, the inimitable American

comedian, commences his short engagement. On the same evening, Mr.

Benjamin Barnett is to make his first appearance in this city, as ‘Pauvre

Jacques’ in his brother, Mr. Morris Barnett’s exquisite little drama of the

same name. We have much pleasure in noticing this gentleman’s dramatic

debût in Glasgow, because the piece is first-rate, and his personation of the

broken-hearted musician has received the hearty and unanimous approval

of the press and public of London. With Silsbee and Barnett, the Prince’s

theatre will be abundantly attractive this week, and we hope that the public

will reciprocate the efforts which the manager is thus making for their



For further information about Josh Silsbee, please see: The-Gilbert-Trowbridge-Silsbee-Chapman Saga


There is a review of Silsbee’s and Barnett’s performances on page five of the Herald, on Friday the 19th of March. It reads:


Prince’s Theatre.— At this establishment Mr. Josh. Silsbee, the famous American comedian, and Mr. Benjamin Barnett, have been performing nightly to

good houses. Of the former we do not well know what to say that may not be construed into fault-finding and hypercritical fastidiousness. But we cannot

help what may be thought of what we are about to say. Mr. Josh Silsbee is very off-hand, very vulgar, by no means comic, and does not speak intelligibly.

Perhaps his performances give a true picture of the genuine Yankee of a certain class, if so, Heaven forbid that we should ever have any more thorough

acquaintance of the impudent, rude, and untamed ‘critturs.’

What surprised us not a little was that on the evening we heard him first tell an interminable and pointless yarn about his courtship, he seemed to give

unbounded satisfaction to the audience, while, at the same time, his yarn contained matter which must have sounded very strange to the ears of Scotchmen

— ‘Vell, vat ov it,’ as the Dodger might say, he got the applause, and that is everything. We were highly delighted with the Pauvre Jacques of Mr. Ben.

Barnett. The part is one requiring no ordinary dramatic talent, and versatility; but this gentleman was fully up to the mark in every respect, and was repeatedly

and enthusiastically cheered during the performance of the drama.”