IT may be recorded as a species of Puritanic savageness and Gothic barbarism, that no later than in the year 1757, a man of genius was persecuted because he had written a tragedy which tended by no means to hurt the morals; but on the contrary, by awakening the piety of domestic affections with the nobler passions, would rather elevate and purify the mind.
When Home, the author of the tragedy of Douglas, had it performed at Edinburgh, and because some of the divines, his acquaintance, attended the representation, the clergy, with the monastic spirit of the darkest ages, published the present paper, which I shall abridge for the contemplation of the reader, who may wonder to see such a composition written in the eighteenth century.
“On Wednesday, February the 2nd, 1757, the Presbytery of Glasgow came to the following resolution. They having seen a printed paper, intituled, ‘An admonition and exhortation of the reverend Presbytery of Edinburgh;’ which, among other evils prevailing, observing the following melancholy but notorious facts: that one who is a minister of the church of Scotland did himself write and compose a stage-play, intituled, ‘The tragedy of Douglas,’ and got it to be acted at the theatre of Edinburgh; and that he with several other ministers of the church were present; and some of them oftener than once, at the acting of the said play before a numerous audience. The presbytery being deeply afffected with this new and strange appearance, do publish these sentiments, &c.” Sentiments with which I will not disgust the reader; but which they appear not yet to have purified and corrected, as they have shown in the case of Logan and other Scotchmen, who have committed the crying sin of composing dramas!
¶ This article first appeared in early (1790s) editions of the Curiosities: from which the above is repeated almost verbatim.