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Literary Life of the Rev. William Harness
Charles Kemble to William Harness, 24 April 1834

Chapter I.
Chapter II.
Chapter III.
Chapter IV.
Chapter V.
Chapter VI.
Chapter VII.
Chapter VIII.
Chapter IX.
Chapter X.
Chapter XI.
Chapter XII.
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“New York, 24th April, 1834.
“My dear friend,

“When I left England I promised I would write to you, and I am ashamed that I have so long neglected to redeem my promise; but I rely upon your good-nature to excuse me, although I confess

* The last page of the letter is crossed.

I hardly deserve forgiveness.
Fanny, I know, has already told you all that we have seen and done; so that you have not been left in ignorance of our proceedings by my sin of omission. Pray, which are considered more deadly by Divines, sins of omission, or sins of commission? You will not have time to answer me on this point before we meet; therefore, I must seek for information from my friends of the cloth in this hemisphere—Dr. Wainwright or Dr. Channing: both learned men and pious Christians. Wainwright, with whom I am better acquainted than I am with Channing, seems to me more of a man of the world; ho mixes with general society, and is a well-bred, liberal clergyman, an Episcopalian, and likely to become the next Bishop of Boston. Channing, you know, is a Unitarian, a mild, engaging person in discourse, an eloquent and impressive preacher in the pulpit. Wainwright is a good preacher, too; he has much more physical power than Channing, but in my opinion is far his inferior in point of intellect.

“So much for the leaders in your profession. For those in mine, you are almost as well acquainted with their merits as I am. Mr. Booth, as well as Mr. Hamblin, you must have seen in England; and Mr. Forrest you will probably see, for report says he is to visit London. He is in person of Herculean proportions, fitter, in appear-
ance, for a drayman or a porter than an actor. I have seen him but in two parts, Pierre, which he acted indifferently well; the other, Oroloosa, an Indian; in the representation of which characters he has acquired his reputation. There was an American of the name of Scott, whom I preferred, in the same tragedy; but he is thought by his countrymen very inferior to Forrest. There are two favourite actresses, too, not very distinguished for talent. Miss Vincent and
Miss Clifton: the latter is a very tall but beautiful girl.

“We hope to find you and your dear sister at home when we reach London. We did intend to sail from New York on the 16th of June, but for the advantages of a superior ship and a more agreeable captain, we have been induced to postpone our departure until the 24th of June: so pray look out for the arrival of the ‘United States’ commanded by Captain Holdritch. How happy Fanny’s friends will be to see her once more before she is married, won’t they? The legitimate drama will have another chance, I hope, of resuscitation; and we shall both at least take leave of the British stage in a manner worthy of the house of Kemble!

“God bless you! give my affectionate regard to your dear sister; and believe me, my very dear friend, unalterably yours,

C. Kemble.

Fanny has told you of the irreparable loss we have sustained by the death of her aunt. May all our deaths be as peaceful and as happy!”