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The first portion of the following work is a reprint of the exceedingly scarce life of James Quin, published in 1766.
This actor was a man who reached such a high standard of excellence in his profession, and who consequently acquired such an enviable celebrity, being surpassed, or at any rate equalled, by one other comedian only of his time, his fellowperformer at the same theatre, David Garrick, that it is confidently believed the reproduction of a work now rarely to be met with will be welcome in dramatic and other circles.
Facilities for printing not being as great a century ago as they are now, there is frequently a great paucity of material for the compilation of a biographical sketch. Efforts, however, have now been made to collect, in the form of an appendix, fragmentary notices scattered in various directions, in order to add them to the work in question, and, as far as possible, render it complete.
From the author's words in his opening chapter, there appears to have been special difficulty in the accomplishment of this particular task, "the Histories of the Stage,” he remarks, “scarcely mentioning Quin, either as an actor or as a man,” so that what he had to offer to the reader was “principally gathered from conversation and acquaintance." He hopes, however, he says, "that from these materials and such other as he can obtain, some future biographer may transmit to posterity this actor's memory."
The publisher of this book submits it to the collector as an attempt to fulfil the above.