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in a treatife not intended to tire you with its length, have room to expatiate as much as should be neceffary on the others.
The great principle we have laid down in this work is, That to be qualified to judge, a man must be unprejudic'd; and we flatter ourfelves that it will appear we are fo in an eminent degree you will here find a great deal of justly-merited praife, together with much as justly-merited cenfure. We hope we fpeak in both not only our own fense of the matter, but that of your audiences in general. We fhall be glad to find the juft praise we have beftowed on the more deferving, heightening in them that honeft pride which is the fureft guardian of their fame, and the noblest incentive to engage their attention to the real ornaments of their profeffion: and if, on the other hand, our cenfure may prevent thofe who are incapable of playing interesting characters, from engaging for the future in so romantick a pursuit of praise, even tho' the ignorance, or the private views, of a Manager, fhould tempt them to do so, our views will be fully answer'd.
But the good effects of our admonitions we expect to receive, Gentlemen, more immediately from you: we fee you at the head of companies, in each of which there are many actors of great merit, fome of moderate merit, and fome of no merit at all: we hope we fhall make it appear that your own interefts, as well as our fatisfaction, require it of you to do hereafter what we are almost ashamed to mention, as a thing yet to be done,to proportion, in every reprefentation, the burthen to the fhoulders that are to bear it, and to give us, in the beft characters, the best players you have for them.
You cannot be uninform'd that Monf. Sainte Albine fome years ago gave laws to the French stage, which were founded on nature and reason, and therefore very unexceptionable: we know they were coolly received indeed by the players, but the audiences thought fo well of them, that they interested themfelves to see many of them put in execution; and the immediate confequence was, the railing that theatre to a degree of reputation it never did, nor ever cou'd have risen
to without them. What St. Albine laid before the French audiences, we fubmit to the opinion of the Managers of the Briti theatres; we know, Gentlemen, that no body. is fo able to judge of the merits of our obfervations as you are, and we flatter ourfelves, that when you are convinced 'tis your intereft to confider things in the light in which we reprefent them, you will not fail to give them your fanction, by introducing them into practice. You have now a long vacation before you, to confider of thefe things in; and we hope to fee the future emulation between you, exerting itself not in difputing who fhall have most good performers in pay, but who fhall employ them most adequately to their talents, most to their own honour, and to the fatisfaction of their audiences.
If this prove the confequence, we fhall not be follicitous of telling the world to whom they are indebted for giving you thefe hints; or you, who it is that has taken fo much pains to prove himself,
Your very fincere Friend,
and obedient bumble Servant: