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in a treatise not intended to tire you with its length, have room to expatiate as much as should be necessary 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 ourselves that it will appear we are fo in an eminent degree: you will here find a great deal of justly.merited praise, together with much as justly-merited censure. We hope we speak in both not only our own fense of the matter, but that of your audiences in general. We shall be glad to find the just praise we have bestowed on the more deferving, heightening in them that honest pride which is the furest guardian of their fame, and the noblest incentive to engage their attention to the real ornaments of their profession: and if, on the other hand, our cenfure may prevent those who are incapable of playing interesting characters, from engaging for the future in to romantick a pursuit of praise, even tho' the ignorance, or the private views, of a Manager, should 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 imniediately from you: we see you at the head of companies, in each of which there are many actors of great merit, some of moderate merit, and some of no merit at all : we hope we shall inake it appear that your own interests, as well as our satisfaction, 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 representation, the burthen to the shoulders 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 Mons. Sainte Albine some 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 so well of them, that they interested themselves to see many of them put in execution ; and the immediate consequence was, the raising 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 submit to the opinion of the Managers of the British theatres; we know,Gentlemen, that no body is so able to judge of the merits of our observations as you are, and we flatter ourselves, that when you are convinced ?ris your interest to consider things in the light in which we represent them, you will not fail to give them your sanction, by introducing them into practice. You have now a long vacation before you, to consider of these things in ; and we hope to see the future emulation between you, exerting itself not in disputing who shall have most good performers in pay, but who shall employ them most adequately to their talents, most to their own honour, and to the fatisfaction of their audiences.
If this prove the consequence, we shall not be sollicitous of telling the world to whom they are indebted for giving you thefe hints ; or you, who it is that has taken so much pains to prove himself,
Your very sincere Friend,