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William Godwin: his Friends and Contemporaries
Ch. IV. 1801-1803
John Philip Kemble to William Godwin, 28 September 1801

Contents Vol. I
Ch. I. 1756-1785
Ch. II. 1785-1788
Ch. III. 1788-1792
Ch. IV. 1793
Ch. V. 1783-1794
Ch. VI. 1794-1796
Ch. VII. 1759-1791
Ch. VII. 1791-1796
Ch. IX. 1797
Ch. X. 1797
Ch. XI. 1798
Ch. XII. 1799
Ch. XIII. 1800
Contents Vol. II
Ch. I. 1800
Ch. II. 1800
Ch. III. 1800
Ch. IV. 1801-1803
Ch. V. 1802-1803
Ch. VI. 1804-1806
Ch. VII. 1806-1811
Ch. VIII. 1811-1814
Ch. IX. 1812-1819
Ch. X. 1819-1824
Ch. XI. 1824-1832
Ch. XII. 1832-1836
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Produced by CATH
No. 89 Great Russel Street, Bloomsbury Square.
Sep. 28, 1801.

My Dear Sir,—If it could be supposed that a Play of your writing resembled the Production of those unfortunate ‘Sempstresses, Hairdressers and Taylors’ you condescend to waste your contempt on, I should not wonder if after a reading of ‘three or four pages of it,’ it had been thrown aside out of despair of finding in it ‘a glimmering of Common Sense from one end to the other,’ and I fancy too that under such a Supposition there would be nothing outrageously reprehensible in the matter. If instead of ‘fifty or a hundred Manuscripts’ you talked of five or six hundred, you would go nearer the Truth, I assure you, and he must be prodigal of Patience indeed, who would persevere through a toil, when the mere entering on it had at once convinced him that it would be fruitless.

“Your Play, there is no room to doubt, has been read with the attention due to it, and I have all the reason in the world to believe that the answer you have received was dictated by an upright regard to the Interests of the Proprietors of the Theatre and yours.

“You love Frankness:—now give me leave to ask you whether or not it is quite fair to seem to draw me into a difference with you, by telling me that ‘I hint at alterations.’ If I do, which is more than I own, you will be so good as to remember that I only take a hint of your own offering. In the Letter, which I had the honour of receiving with your Manuscript, you say, ‘The Play is too long, then are parts which ought to be omitted, and Parts which might be improved’ Shorten it, exchange what you think objectionable, amend what seems to you imperfect, if there are any ‘men whose Sense and Experience’ you can rely on, take their opinions. In the very note I have this moment opened from you you allow that your ‘principal Character’ is unfinished. When you have completed it, I shall have the Honour of presenting your Piece for a Re-perusal, and be assured that the Theatre will
be as well pleased to receive a good Tragedy, as you to be the Authour of it. I am, very dear Sir, your very obedient Servant,

J. P. Kemble.”