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Early American Plays by Oscar Wegelin

[Illustration: =William Dunlap= FROM THE PAINTING BY CHARLES C. INGHAM]

EARLY AMERICAN PLAYS 1714-1830

A Compilation of the titles of Plays and Dramatic Poems written by authors born in or residing in North America previous to 1830.

BY OSCAR WEGELIN

Compiler of "Early American Poetry."

[Illustration]

SECOND EDITION REVISED

NEW YORK THE LITERARY COLLECTOR PRESS 1905

THE EDITION OF THIS WORK IS LIMITED TO TWO HUNDRED NUMBERED COPIES NO. 156

COPYRIGHT, 1905, BY OSCAR WEGELIN.

_To_

EVERT JANSEN WENDELL, ESQ.

FOREMOST AMONG AMERICAN COLLECTORS OF DRAMATIC LITERATURE, I DEDICATE THIS BOOK

PREFACE

In his ably written introduction to the first edition of this work, Mr. John Malone makes the following statement: "It may be set down as a safe rule of judgment as to dramatic quality that the plays which were printed were fit for no more than the use to which an indulgent Providence and the Dunlap Society have dedicated them--to serve as examples of the good-will and sympathy with which a few great and good men in the days of our country's fiery trial held out their helping hands to the gentle art of drama."

This statement, with a possible exception or two, is in the main correct. Few of the plays which are here catalogued have survived because of their literary excellence. We, however, must not look at the contents of this book from this view-point, but rather from the historical. Poorly written as many of the plays may be, they still possess to the student of American history an interest which far exceeds that of every other class of writing, the purely historical excepted. The _first_ play written by a resident of what is now the United States was _Androboros_ (the Man-Hater) written by Robert Hunter, Colonial Governor of New York, assisted by Lewis Morris. This play, or rather dramatic satire, was written to ridicule sundry residents of that colony, principally Dr. Vesey and several members of Trinity Church. This play, which was issued in 1714, was not followed by another dramatic production, as far as known, until _The Suspected Daughter_, a farce by "T. T.," was printed at Boston in 1751. Who "T. T." was is not known, nor can I trace a copy of the play. Little of importance came to light previous to the Revolution, but that event, stirring as it was, seems to have been a stimulant to native ambition, and a number of dramatic productions were written and printed. Among these may be mentioned _The Battle of Bunker Hill_ and _The Death of Montgomery_ by Brackenridge, then a schoolmaster; _The Adulateur_ and _The Group_ by Mercy Warren, afterwards well known as one of the foremost dames of the colonies; and several others, some from the Royalist side, as Sewell's _Cure for the Spleen_ and an anonymous production, _The Battle of Long Island_.


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