[William Howley, Archbishop of Canterbury.] Autograph Letter Signed ('W. London') as Bishop of London, to an unnamed male recipient, regarding possible action 'to prevent gross abuses at the Theatre' and 'profane amusement encroaching on the sabbath'

William Howley (1766-1848), successively Bishop of London (1813-1828) and Archbishop of Canterbury (1828-1848) [theatres in Georgian London; sabbatarianism; Sunday observance; censorship]
Publication details: 
London. 6 March 1828.
SKU: 14897

4pp., 12mo. Bifolium. In good condition, on lightly-aged paper, with slight loss at the head of the second leaf affecting a couple of words of text. The letter begins: My dear Sir, | I have on different occasions interfered to prevent gross abuses at the Theatre to which you call my attention, and have I believe to a certain degree procured their correction. But thhere is great reason to fear that by attempting too much more may be lost than gained. The interposition of Ecclesiastics always produces disposition to resistance in some quarters; if anything therefore is to bee done it must be through Laymen who come forward through zeal for the public good. It would undoubtedly be desirable to remove the possibility of any profane amusement encroaching on the sabbath'. He continues by stating that it is believed that 'the performances terminate at twelve', and that 'any attempt to change the day would not succeed - as the engagements of all the Performers at different places are framed with regard to the existing arrangement', and Saturday is the only day 'on which the Members of eithe rHouse can be sure of attending'. Consequently he cannot act the recipient's suggestion, 'through apprehension of doing mischief'. Nor would he recommend any Clergyman to do so, unless there was 'a strong disposition on the part of the public at large to second his endeavours'.