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DEFENCE OF THE STAGE,
INQUIRY INTO THE REAL QUALITIES
THEIR SCOPE AND TENDENCY.
BEING A REPLY TO A SERMON ENTITLED
"THE EVIL OF THEATRICAL AMUSEMENTS
LATELY PUBLISHED IN DUBLIN, AND PREACHED IN THE WESLEYAN
SUNDAY, NOVEMBER, 4TH, 1838,
BY THE REV. DR. JOHN B. BENNETT.
INCLUDING AN EXAMINATION OF THE AUTHORITIES ON WHICH
BY JOHN WILLIAM CALCRAFT,
LESSEE AND MANAGER OF THE THEATRE ROYAL, DUBLIN.
"To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.-
"Be not righteous over much; neither make thyself over wise: why shouldest thou
"Speak evil of no man."-Titus, iii. 2.
"Be not too hasty to erect general theories from a few particular observations."-
MILLIKEN AND SON GRAFTON-STREET,
BOOKSELLERS TO THE UNIVERSITY.
"Orator ad vos venio ornatu prologi,
Sinite exorator sim.
Quia sciebam dubiam fortunam esse scenicam
Spe incerta certum mihi laborem sustuli."
Terent. Prol. Hecyr.
PRINTED BY R. GRAISBERRY,
THE following remarks have been thrown together more hastily than I could have wished, had other avocations permitted me the necessary leisure. I am aware that the subject might have been much more deeply considered, and that what I have written is a summary rather than a dissertation. A great deal more may be said, should occasion arise. At present I have chiefly confined myself to two leading points. An objection to the manner in which the authorities against us are produced, and the strength of our defences in the host of authorities that speak in our favour. It is easy to enter into a controversy, but difficult to retire from one.
"Facilis descensus averni
Sed revocare gradum hoc opus, hic labor est.”—Virg.
Setting aside the time it occupies, which few professional men can command, controversy is ob
jectionable on another ground; it engenders irritable feelings, and inclines even gentle natures to asperity. Literary warfare has often rendered men, otherwise amiable, callous and uncharitable on a favourite question. Milton expressed no compunction for the death of Salmasius, nor has the Quarterly recorded any penitence for the article that put an end to Keats. My object in the present instance is to maintain what I believe to be a correct view of the subject, and in support of which I have produced many evidences: at the same time I am ready to alter my opinion when those evidences are set aside by sound argument. It is only necessary to add, that I have verified every extract introduced into the following pages by a careful examination of the original authors: this is not mentioned from any parade of erudition or research, but because I think every man is bound to do so who wishes to be considered an honest reasoner, and because I have endeavoured to show that our antagonists have not done so, in more than one important instance.
QUOTED IN defence of THE STAGE, OR REFERRED TO IN THE FOLLOWING WORK.
St. Antoninus, Archbishop of Dr. Porteus, Bishop of Lon
Pope Leo X.
Dr. Horne, Bishop of Norwich.
Dr. Percy, Bishop of Dromore.
Dr. Warburton, Bishop of Glou