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In a paper delivered by Sir Henry Herbert to Lord Clarendon and the Lord Chamberlain, July 11, 1662, which will be found in a subsequent page, he states the emolument which Mr. Thomas Killi grew then derived (from his two shares and three quarters,) at 191, 6s. Od. per week; according to which statement each share in the king's company produced but two hundred and ten pounds ten shillings a year. In Sir William D'Avenant's company, from the time their new theatre, was opened in Portugal Row, near Lincoln's Inn Fields, (April. 1662,) the total receipt (after deducting the nightly

the company, they being the only poets remaining to us. Mr. Crowne, being under the like agreement with the duke's house, writt a play called The Destruction of Jerusalem, and being forced by their refusall of it, to bring it to us, the said company compelled us, after the studying of it, and a vast expence in scenes and cloaths, to buy off their clayme, by paying all the pension he had received from them, amounting to one hundred and twelve pounds paid by the king's company, besides near forty pounds he the said Mr. Crowne paid out of his owne pocket.

"These things considered, if notwithstanding Mr. Dryden's said agreement, promise, and moneys freely giving him for his said last new play, and the many titles we have to his writings, this play be judged away from us, we must submit. 09009001


Charles Killigrew.anes
Charles Hart.

Rich. Burt.
Cardell Goodman.

Mic. Mohun.”

It has been thought very extraordinary that Dryden should enter into a contract to produce three new plays every year; and undoubtedly that any poet should formally stipulate that his genius should be thus productive, is extraordinary. But the exertion itself was in the last age not uncommon. In ten years, from the death of Beaumont in 1615 to the year 1625, I have good reason to believe that Fletcher produced near thirty plays. Massinger between 1628 and 1638 brought out nearly the same number; and Shirley in fifteen years furnished various theatres with forty plays. Thomas Heywood was still more prolifick,


charges of "men hirelings and other customary expences,") was divided into fifteen shares, of which it was agreed by articles previously entered into, that ten should belong to D'Avenant; viz. two "towards the house-rent, buildings, scaffolding, and making of frames for scenes; one for a provision of habits, properties, and scenes, for a supplement of the said theatre; and seven to maintain all the women that are to perform or represent women's parts, in tragedies, comedies, &c. and in consideration of erecting and establishing his actors to be a company, and his pains and expences for that purpose for many years." The other five shares were divided in various proportions among the rest of the troop.

In the paper above referred to it is stated by Sir Henry Herbert, that D'Avenant "drew from these ten shares two hundred pounds a week;" and if that statement was correct, each share in his playhouse then produced annually six hundred pounds, supposing the acting season to have then lasted for thirty weeks.

Such were the emoluments of the theatre soon after the Restoration; which I have stated here, from authentick documents, because they may assist us in our conjectures concerning the profits derived from stage-exhibitions at a more remote and darker period.

From the prices of admission into our ancient theatres in the time of Shakspeare, which have been already noticed, I formerly conjectured that about twenty pounds was a considerable receipt at the Blackfriars and Globe theatre, on any one day; and my conjecture is now confirmed by indisputable


These articles will be found in a subsequent page.

evidence. In Sir Henry Herbert's Office-book I find the following curious notices on this subject, under the year 1628:

"The kinges company with a generall consent and alacritye have given mee the benefitt of too dayes in the yeare, the one in summer, thother in winter, to bee taken out of the second daye of a revived playe, att my owne choyse. The housekeepers have likewyse given their shares, their dayly charge only deducted, which comes to some 21. 5s. this 25 May, 1628.

"The benefitt of the first day, being a very unseasonable one in respect of the weather, comes but unto £.4. 15. 0."

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This agreement subsisted for five years and a half, during which time Sir Henry Herbert had ten benefits, the most profitable of which produced seventeen pounds, and ten shillings, net, on the 22d of Nov. 1628, when Fletcher's Custom of the Country was performed at Blackfriars; and the least emolument which he received was on the representation of a play which is not named, at the Globe, in the summer of the year 1632, which produced only the sum of one pound and five shillings, after deducting from the total receipt in each instance the nightly charge above mentioned. I shall give below the receipt taken by him on each of the ten performances; from which it appears that his clear profit at an average on each of his nights, was £.8. 19. 4.3 and the total nightly receipt was at an average—₤.11. 4. 4.

1628. May 25, [the play not named,]-£.4. 15. 0.

"The benefitt of the winters day, being the second: daye of an old play called The Custome of the Cuntrye, came to £.17. 10. 0. this 22 of Nov. 1628. From the Kinges company att the Blackfryers


On the 30th of October, 1633, the managers of the king's company agreed to pay him the fixed

1629. "The benefitt of the summers day from the kinges 6 company being brought mee by Blagrave, upon the play 3001 of The Prophetess, comes to, this 21 of July, 1629,£.6.7.0.

"The benefitt of the winters day from the kinges Taboo company being brought mee by Blagrave, upon the play of The Moor of Venise, comes, this 22 of Nov. 1629, unto-.9. 16. 0.

1630. [No play this summer on account of the plague.]

"Received of Mr. Taylor and Lowins, in the name of their company, for the benefitt of my winter day, upon the second day of Ben Jonson's play of Every man in his humour, this 18 day of February, 1630, [1630-31]£.12. 4. 0.

1631.Received of Mr. Shanke, in the name of the kings a company, for the benefitt of their summer day, upon ye second daye of Richard y Seconde, at the Globe, this 12 of June, 1631,-£.5. 6. 6.

"Received of Mr. Blagrave, in the name of the kings company, for the benefitt of my winter day, taken upon The Alchemiste, this 1 of Decemb. 1631,-£.13. 0.0. 1632. Received for the summer day of the kings company ye 6 Novemb. 1631-£.1. 5. 0.


Received for the winter day upon The Wild goose chase, ye same day,-£.15. 0. 0.

"R. of ye kings company, for my summers day, by Blagrave, the 6 of June 1633, ye somme of £.4. 10. 0." I likewise find the following entry in this book:

"Received of Mr. Benfielde, in the name of the kings company, for a gratuity for ther liberty gaind unto them of playinge, upon the cessation of the plague, this 10 of June, 1631,3. 10. 0."-" This (Sir Henry Herbert adds) was taken upon Pericles at the Globe."

In a copy of a play called A Game at Chess, 1624, which was formerly in possession of Thomas Pearson, Esq. is the following memorandum in an old hand: "After nine days, wherein I have heard some of the actors say they took fifteen hundred pounds, the Spanish faction, being prevalent, got it suppressed, and the author, Mr. Thomas Middleton, committed to prison." According to this statement, they received above 1661. 12s. on each performance. The foregoing extracts show, that there is not even a semblance of truth in this story. In the year 1685

sum of ten pounds every Christmas, and the same sum at Midsummer, in lieu of his two benefits, which sums they regularly paid him from that time till the breaking out of the civil wars.

From the receipts on these benefits I am led to believe that the prices were lower at the Globe theatre, and that therefore, though it was much larger than the winter theatre at Blackfriars, it did not produce a greater sum of money on any representation. If we suppose twenty pounds, clear of the nightly charges already mentioned, to have been a very considerable receipt at either of these houses, and that this sum was in our poet's time divided into forty shares, of which fifteen were appropri ated to the housekeepers or proprietors, three to the purchase of copies of new plays, stage-habits, &c. and twenty-two to the actors, then the per

when the London theatres were much enlarged, and the prices of admission greatly increased, Shadwell received by his third day on the representation of The Squire of Alsatia, only 1301. which Downes the prompter says was the greatest receipt had been ever taken at Drury Lane playhouse at single prices. Ros cius Anglicanus, p. 41.

The use of Arabick figures has often occasioned very gross errors to pass current in the world. I suppose the utmost receipt from the performance of Middleton's play for nine days, (if it was performed so often,) could not amount to more than one hundred and fifty pounds. To the sum of 150l. which perhaps this old actor had seen as the profit made by this play, his fancy or his negligence added a cipher, and thus made fifteen hundred pounds.

The play of Holland's Leaguer was acted six days successively at Salisbury Court, in December, 1631, and yet Sir Henry Herbert received on account of the six representations but one pound nineteen shillings, in virtue of the ninth share which he possessed as one of the proprietors of that house. Supposing there were twenty-one shares divided among the actors, the piece, though performed with such extraordinary success, did not produce more than six pounds ten shillings each night, exclusive of the occasional nightly charges already mentioned.

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