The runaway, a comedy: as it is acted at the Theatre-Royal in Drury-Lane.
Cowley, Mrs. (Hannah), 1743-1809.
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AMIDST the regrets I feel for your quitting the Stage, it is peculiarly gratifying, that a Play of mine closes your dramatic life—It is the highest pleasure to me, that that Play, from its success, reflects no disho|nour on your judgement as a Manager.

Posterity will know, thro' a thousand Channels, that Mr. GARRICK was the ornament of the eighteenth Century, that he possessed the friendship of those whose Names will be the glory of English History, that the first ranks in the kingdom courted his society—may my small voice be heard amongst those who will inform it, that Mr. GARRICK's Heart was no less an honour to him, than his Talents!

Unpatronized by any name, I presented myself to you, obscure and unknown. You perceived dawnings in my Comedy, which you nourish'd and improved. With at|tention, and sollicitude, you embellish'd, and presented it to the world—that World, which has emulated your ge|nerosity, and received it with an applause, which fills my heart with most lively gratitude. I perceive how much of this applause I owe to my Sex.—The RUNAWAY has a thousand faults, which, if written by a Man, would have incurred the severest lash of Criticism—but the Gallantry of the English Nation is equal to its Wisdom—they be|held Page  [unnumbered] a Woman tracing with feeble steps the borders of the Parnaffian Mount—pitying her difficulties (for 'tis a thorny path) they gave their hands for her support, and placed her high above her level.

All this, Sir, and whatever may be its consequences, I owe to you. Had you rejected me, when I presented my little RUNAWAY, depressed by the refusal, and all con|fidence in myself destroyed, I should never have pre|sumed to dip my pen again. It is now my task to con|vince You and the World, that a generous allowance for a young Writer's faults, is the best encouragement to Ge|nius—'tis a kindly Soil, in which weak Groundlings are nourish'd, and from which the loftiest Trees draw their strength, and their beauty.

I take my leave of you, Sir, with the warmest wishes for your felicity, and Mrs. GARRICK's—to whose taste, and sollicitede for me, I am highly indebted. May your recess from the Stage be attended with all the blessings of retirement and ease—and may the world remember, in its most distant periods, that 'tis to Mr. GARRICK the English Theatre owes its emancipation from grossness, and buffoonery—that to Mr. GARRICK's Judgement it is indebted for being the first Stage in Europe, and to his Talents for being the delight of the most enlight|ened and polish'd age.

I am, Sir, your most devoted, and obedient humble Servant, THE AUTHOR.