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trating such libraries in the metropolis, in preference to dispersing them in distant and remote parts of the kingdom, it is presumed no one can entertain any doubt.

It is necessary to remark, that a subsequent Act of Parliament has required the printer of every work to retain one copy of it in his possession, to produce, if required: consequently, this, with the copy which the author has proposed should be delivered at the time of entry at Stationers' Hall, would make two copies, which are as many as are required in France.

The Author submits his views on the subject, to the members of the Committee and the Legislature, with the fullest conviction, that if there is any thing worthy of notice in this statement, it will not fail to meet with due attention. He is not conscious of having over-stated any fact, or given to any argument an undue weight: if he has made use of rather strong language in soine parts, he trusts that it will be excused, as proceeding from that esprit du corps which all honorable minds must feel, more or less, and which he conceives is fairly called forth by the language of the advocates for the learned bodies claiming the right. Such as they have been, and it is hoped, such as they are, the booksellers have honored their country and themselves by the publication of works, which, with all the advantages of learned ease and affluence, the Universities have never been able (nor even attempted) to rival. The edition of Clarke's Cæsar, published by Tonson; of Thuanus, by Buckley; and, in our own time, the editions of the Bible, Shakspeare, and Hume, will not soon be forgotten, It is melancholy to reflect, that the result of the publication of these three last works has proved, that in England, the larger and more extensive any literary undertaking, the more likely it is to be attended with great ultimate loss to the proprietor.

April 6, 1813.

Dramatic Emancipation,

OR

STRICTURES

ON THE STATE OF THE THEATRES,

AND THE CONSEQUENT

DEGENERATION OF THE DRAMA;

ON THE

PARTIALITY AND INJUSTICE OF THE LONDON MANAGERS;

ON

MANY THEATRICAL REGULATIONS;

AND ON THE

REGULATIONS ON THE CONTINENT

FOR THE SECURITY

OF LITERARY AND DRAMATIC PROPERTY. PARTICULARLY DESERVING THE ATTENTION

OF THE SUBSCRIBERS

For a Third Theatre.

BY JAMES LAWRENCE
KNIGHT OF MALTA,

Author of the Empire of the Nairs,'— Englishman at
Verdun,' &c.

ORIGINAL.

DRAMATIC EMANCIPATION,

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EVERY thing has improved within a century except the Drama, because every thing else is free. The Stage only is subject to a monopoly.-All the success of a Dramatist depends on the taste, caprice, indolence, avarice, or jealousy, of three individuals, the Managers of the three London Theatres; for in England a piece is never represented for the first time on a provincial stage; and Douglas is probably a solitary instance of a drama first performed at Edinburgh.

When a Dramatist has presented his production to the London Manager, it is perhaps totally neglected; for above 200 dramas are annually offered to each of the great Theatres; and consequently, if the piece be not recommended by the reputation or influence of the author, it is never read at all. When he calls again in all humility to inquire, whether it is judged fit for representation, he has perhaps the mortification of finding that his manuscript has been mislaid. Many a good author has renounced the Drama in disgust.

So long as the Theatres enjoy exclusive privileges, neither Comedians nor Dramatists should be managers.Should a second Garrick give a specimen of his abilities to Kemble, or another School for Scandal be offered to Sheridan, would they be accepted? I wish not to insinuate that either circumstance has occurred; but they might occur; I speak in general; the jealousy of authors and actors is proverbial.

If the stage were free, a dramatist might follow the bent of his genius. He would introduce the characters that his judgment or fancy should prompt; and it would be the interest of the manager to procure performers qualified to do them justice. Whereas now the dramatist is reduced not only to consider the pretensions, the vanity, the abilities, of the actors and actresses, but their age and corpulency. He must take their measure as well as the stage tailor.

If the stage were free, every manager would endeavour to induce an author of talent to give him the preference; whereas now an author must go cap in hand to solicit the favor of a manager; and should he succeed in this, some actor or actress may think that the part destined for them would not exhibit them to advantage, and may refuse to co-operate. Few authors of rank, of liberal sentiment, or independent fortune, would enter a green-room cabal. Hence the degeneracy of our drama. Scenes of high life have been pourtrayed by individuals, who have had little intercourse with good company, and genteel comedy has given place to buffoonery and brogue.

Before 1737, though the Theatres were licensed, the dramas were not; but the personal and political satire introduced on the stage necessitated an Act, that every play should be licensed by the Lord Chamberlain. This Act,

quence.

reasonable and necessary as it may be, passed not without opposition, in which Lord Chesterfield exerted all his eloLet this Act continue in force; but this very measure supersedes the necessity of licensing the Theatre itself. An improper play should not be acted at all; but all Britons have an equal right to act a proper one.

An individual is not prohibited from setting up a cotton or woollen manufactory, lest it should hurt the interest of a manufactory already established; and yet the ruin of a number of industrious journeymen has greater claims on the attention of the legislature than that of a company of players.

What contradiction in the British jurisprudence! Actors are styled vagrants, and yet a greater solicitude is taken about their welfare than about any other class of people. It is illiberal to stigmatize them with opprobrious denominations; but leave them to shift for themselves.

All laws should consider the interest of the public, and not that of actors and managers; for however great one's passion for the Theatre, one must allow that we could do without it. Should tailors or shoemakers refuse to work from a disgust at any ordinance, we should be in a dilemma; but should our comedians adopt any other profession, however their secession might be regretted by amateurs, it would cause no loss to the state.

Why has the system of travelling improved so much within a century? Its being left to itself. We travel with comfort and expedition, because every innkeeper is licensed to let post horses, or to set up stage-coaches. If the post here were on the same footing as in Germany, we should probably travel here as uncomfortably and slowly as there. Let any man open a Theatre to act licensed plays. Theatric amusements might be made objects of taxation; for taxes

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