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Certificate of the Sharers of the Blackfriars Theatre, found by
Mr. Collier in the Ellesmere Collection. (See note 23, p. 47.)
“These are to sertifie your Right Honble Lordships that her Maiesties poore playeres, James Burbidge, Richard Burbidge, John Laneham, Thomas Greene, Robert Wilson, John Taylor, Anth. Wadeson, Thomas Pope, George Peele, Augustine Phillippes, Nicholas Towley, William Shakespeare, William Kempe, William Johnson, Baptiste Goodale, and Robert Armyn, being all of them sharers in the Blacke Fryers playehouse, have neuer giuen cause of displeasure in that they haue brought into their playes maters of state and religion, vnfitt to be handled by them or to be presented before lewde spectators: neither hath anie complainte in that kinde ever beene preferred against them or anie of them. Wherefore they truste moste humblie in your Lordships' consideracion of their former good behauiour, beinge at all tymes readie and willing to yeelde obedience to anie commaund whatsoever your Lordships in your wisdome may thinke in such case meete, &c.
Verses relating to a “wager laid by some brother actor, that
Alleyn would be adjudged superior to Kempe in some part
“Sweete Nedde, nowe wynne an other wager
The moneyes downe, the place the Hope,
Petition of the Players. (See note 6, p. 60.)
First printed by Mr. Collier in his Hist. of English Dram. Poetry, &c., where he introduces it with the following remarks: “The Blackfriars Theatre, built in 1576, seems, after the lapse of twenty years, to have required extensive repairs, if, indeed, it were not, at the end of that period, entirely rebuilt. This undertaking, in 1596, seems to have alarmed some of the inhabitants of the Liberty; and not a few of them, some of honour,' petitioned the Privy Council, in order that the players might not be allowed to complete it, and that their farther performances in that precinct might be prevented. A copy of the document, containing this request, is preserved in the State Paper Office, and to it is appended a much more curious paper—a counter petition by the Lord Chamberlain's players, entreating that they might be permitted to continue their work upon the theatre, in order to render it more commodious, and that their performances there might not be interrupted. It does not appear to be the original, but a copy, without the signatures," &c. Vol. i. p. 297.
“ To the right honorable the Lords of her Maiesties most honorable Priuie Counsell.
"The humble petition of Thomas Pope, Richard Burbadge, John Hemings, Augustine Phillips, William Shakespeare, Wil
liam Kempe, William Slye, Nicholas Tooley, and others, seruauntes to the Right Honorable the Lord Chamberlaine to her Maiestie, - Sheweth most humbly, that your petitioners are owners and players of the priuate house, or theater, in the precinct and libertie of the Blackfriers, which hath beene for manie yeares vsed and occupied for the playing of tragedies, commedies, histories, enterludes, and playes. That the same, by reason of having beene soe long built, hath falne into great decaye, and that besides the reparation thereof, it hath beene found necessarie to make the same more conuenient for the entertainement of auditories comming thereto. That to this end your petitioners haue all and eche of them putt down sommes of money, according to their shares in the saide theater, and which they haue iustly and honestlie gained by the exercise of their qualitie of stage-players; but that certaine persons (some of them of honour), inhabitantes of the precinct and libertie of the Blackfriers, haue, as your petitioners are enfourmed, besought your honorable lordships not to permitt the saide priuate house anie longer to remaine open, but hereafter to be shutt vpp and closed, to the manifest and great iniurie of your petitioners, who haue no other meanes whereby to mainteine their wiues and families, but by the exercise of their qualitie as they haue heretofore done. Furthermore, that in the summer season your petitioners are able to playe at their newe built house on the Bankside callde the Globe, but that in the winter they are compelled to come to the Blackfriers; and if your honorable lordships give consent vnto that which is prayde against your petitioners, they will not onely, while the winter endureth, loose the meanes whereby they nowe support themselues and their families, but be vnable to practise themselues in anie playes or enterluds, when calde vpon to performe for the recreation and solace of her Maiestie and her honorable court, as they haue beene hertofore accustomed. The humble prayer of your petitioners therefore is, that your honorable lordships will graunt permission to finishe the reparations and alterations they haue begunne; and as your petitioners haue hitherto beene well ordred in their behauiour, and iust in their dealinges, that your honorable lordships will not inhibit them from acting at their aboue named priuate house in the precinct and libertie of the Blackfriers, and your petitioners, as in dutie most bounden, will euer praye for the encreasing honour and happinesse of your honorable lordships."
The Right Hon. the Master of the Rolls having directed an official inquiry into the authenticity of the above document, the gentlemen chosen for the investigation declared their opinion as follows:
"We, the undersigned, at the desire of the Master of the Rolls, have carefully examined the document hereunto annexed, purporting to be a petition to the Lords of Her Majesty's Privy Council, from Thomas Pope, Richard Burbadge, John Hemings, Augustine Phillips, William Shakespeare, William Kempe, William Slye, Nicholas Tooley, and others, in answer to a petition from the Inhabitants of the Liberty of the Blackfriars; and we are of opinion, that the document in question is spurious. 66 30th January, 1860.
"Fra. PALGRAVE, K.H., Deputy-Keeper of H. M.
British Museum.” The reader ought also to be informed that the above-mentioned 6 Petition of the Inhabitants of the Blackfriars" is no longer to be found.
Letter to Henslowe from a person named Veale, servant to Ed
mond Tylney, Master of the Revels, concerning the preceding Petition of the Players; discovered by Mr. Collier at Dulwich College. (See note 6, p. 60.)
“Mr. Hinslowe. This is to enfourme you that my Mr., the Maister of the Revelles, hath rec. from the Lords of the Counsell order that the Lord Chamberlen's servauntes shall not be distourbed at the Blackefryars, according with their petition in that behalfe, but leave shall be given unto theym to make good the decaye of the saide House, butt not to make the same larger then in former tyme hath bene. From thoffice of the Revelles, this 3 of Maie, 1596.
Fragment relating to a complaint of the inhabitants of Southwark
against some particular annoyance, discovered at Dulwich College. (See note 8, p. 61.)
" Inhabitantes of Sowtherk as have complaned, this — of Jully 1596.
Letter from Daniel to Sir Thomas Egerton, thanking him for his
advancement to the office of Master of the Queen's Revels, discovered by Mr. Collier among the Ellesmere Papers. (See
note 41, p. 83.) " To the Right Honorable Sir Thomas Egerton, Knight, Lord Keeper
of the Great Seale of England. “I will not indeavour, Right Honorable, to thanke you in wordes for this new, great, and vnlookt for favor showne ynto me, whereby I am bound to you for ever, and hope one day with true harte and simple skill to prove that I am not vnmindfull.
Most earnestly doe I wishe I could praise as your Honour has knowne to deserue, for then should I, like my maister Spencer, , whose memorie your Honor cherisheth, leave behinde me some worthie worke, to be treasured by posteritie. What my pore Muse could performe in haste is here set downe, and though it be farre below what other poets and better pennes have written, it commeth from a gratefull harte, and therefore maye be ac