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be contested; but, independent of your being the immediate successor of Mr. Garrick, and a most eminent writer in dramatick poetry, the author of the most pleasing and successful entertainment of the stage which has ever been presented ; besides too, your being endowed with many shining qualities and amiable virtues, I confess I had another motive for this dedication ; gratitude was my strongest incentive to it; your kindness shewn to me at a time when I most stood in need of your friendship, can never be blotted from my remembrance.
This is a subject which I could with delight enlarge upon ; but I am convinced, from the constant pleasure
you feel in conferring favours, you would rather do a thousand
generous actions than be told of one.
If this little book should by good chance afford an hour's amusement to the candid reader, he will owe that pleasure to Dr. SAMUEL JOHNSON, who has long honoured me with his friendship and patronage. He prompted and encouraged me, justly diffident as I was of my abilities, to write The Life of Mr. Garrick; a work which should comprehend A HISTORY OF THE STAGE, during his administration of it, with characters and anecdotes of other actors his contemporaries.
To him I am indebted for the early part of Mr. Garrick's life. Dr. Johnson was familiarly acquainted with his nearest relations; and often had the pleasure, as he informs us himself in his Life of Edmund Smitb, to meet him at the house of their common friend, Mr. Walmsley, register of Litchfield.
To the same excellent friend I am indebted for several diverting anecdotes in this narrative;
and I heartily wish I could boast of farther assistance from one so able to give it.
A long acquaintance with the stage, and an earnest inclination to excel in the profession of acting, to which I was for many years attached, afforded me an opportunity to know much of plays and theatrical history.
I can truly say, that I have no where willingly misrepresented either fact or character. Mistakes I may have fallen into ; but I shall not incur the charge of falsehood, for that implies an intention to deceive.
In this Third Edition, I have endeavoured to remove some mistakes and inaccuracies of the two former impressions.