from le comédien to the actor*
Hill’s treatise entitled The Actor and
treatises on acting published in
we have seen, with his treatise Hill helped to spread the innovatory ideas and
concepts of Le Comédien in the
out of the wish to ‘submit to the opinion of the Managers of the British theatres’ what ‘St
treatise, based on the second edition of Le
Comédien, was first published anonymously in 1750
two editions of The Actor have all
too often been described as translations and adaptations of Rémond de
Sainte-Albine’s Le Comédien, implying
that the original text and the English versions are virtually identical
investigation has enabled us to touch on some questions which lie behind the
whole discussion concerning the English treatise such as the problem of the
identity of the author of the 1750 and
1755 versions and the existence of two intermediate editions of the text
“Sir” John Hill’s Life and Works
The biography of John Hill enlightens us on two aspects of the man: on
one hand his literary output, testifying to his dedication to study and the
multiplicity of his interests, and on the other his provocative and polemical
nature which inevitably hampered his career and tarnished his reputation
John Hill, youngest of four sons born to the Reverend Theophilus Hill
(1680-1746) and Ann Susannah Yorke, was
baptised on 17 November 1714, probably in
The fame of Linnæus and the novelty of his system of botany, which was
causing a considerable sensation in
Hill was invited to take up residence at Goodwood House, the seat of the Dukes of Richmond near Chichester in
It seems likely that some time between 1738 and 1742 Hill married
Susannah Travers, the daughter of the house steward of Richard
Boyle, third Earl of Burlington, even though no document relating to the
wedding has come down to us
From 1742 Hill spent lengthy periods up in
In 1748 Hill oversaw the fourth edition of the translation of
The year 1750 saw the publication, anonymously, of The Actor, which was followed by a second edition, also anonymous,
From 5 March 1751 to 7 July 1753 Hill was responsible for the daily
column The Inspector, a pseudonym with which he became famous, in The London
Daily Advertiser and Literary Gazette, the newspaper he founded and
directed. Meanwhile he published A History
of the Materia Medica, The Adventures
The years 1753 to 1757 were an extremely prolific period in Hill’s life
Hill’s annus mirabilis was
1758. Enjoying the patronage of the Earl of Bute, he strengthened his ties with the leading printers and booksellers in
London and published a whole series of books: The Construction of the Nerves, and the Cause of Nervous Disorders;
The Virtues of Wild Valerian in Nervous
Disorders; An Idea of a Botanical
Garden in England; The Management of
the Gout; The Book of Nature; or the
History of Insects; The Gardener’s
New Kalendar; A Method of producing
Double Flowers from Single; The Old
Man’s Guide to Health and Longer Life; Outlines
of a System of Vegetable Generation; The
Then in 1759, at the
instigation of his patron, Hill began work on his magnum opus, The Vegetable
System (1759-1775), which ran to
twenty-six volumes with 1,600 engravings featuring 26,000 plants
The same year saw the publication of several works on botany – Exotic Botany illustrated; The Origin and Production of Proliferous
Flowers; The Usefulness of a
Knowledge of Plants; The Practice of
Gardening – a pamphlet denouncing David Garrick, To David Garrick, Esq
Flora Britanica was published in 1760: this was the first British botanical publication
to adopt Linnæus’s system of classification and to use, albeit not throughout,
the binomial nomenclature
In 1764 he first began to suffer from the health problems, probably due
to gout and dropsy, which in the space of a few years were to take Hill to
death’s door and which led to a reduction in his
In 1767, financial difficulties caused by the diminution in his annual
publications spurred Hill to export his medicinal herbal preparations to the
American colonies. The following year saw the publication of Hortus Kewensis, A Method of
curing the Jaundice, Polypody and
A New Astronomical Dictionary (a new
edition of Urania)
The years 1771-1772 saw the publication of Cautions against the Use of Violent Medicines in Fevers, Fossils arranged according to their Obvious
Characters and an important work of geology, entitled Spatogenesia
In 1774 he was decorated by Gustavus III of
The last writings to be published before his death were: Enquiries into the Nature of a
new Mineral Acid discovered in
In 1775, following a trip to the
In spite of the diligence and dedication he had invariably shown in his
work, and the incredible number of publications to his name, Hill died in
poverty, very likely on account of the love of luxury and ostentation which had
made him a favourite butt for satire
Hill and the Theatre
The world of the theatre held a great fascination for Hill, and even if
his achievements in this domain failed to match up to either his expectations
or his ambitions, it remained, together with botany, one of his main interests
throughout his life
His first contacts with the contemporary theatrical world came through
his ambition to act, although the attempt to give a reliable account of his
experiences as an actor proves to be anything but simple, since we only have
fragmentary details of his activities
Maria Chiara Barbieri suggests that the young gentleman making his début
who features in the playbill of
Even if Hill’s acting début was not particularly successful – there
seems to have been only one performance of Othello
at the Little Theatre in the Haymarket – he sought to pursue his career,
appearing in other roles in various
You may remember […] the extraordinary Pains he [Mr
Woodward also referred to the roles of Lothario in The Fair Penitent (1703) by Nicholas Rowe, of the ‘Reverend Botanist’ in Romeo and Juliet, and of Constant in The Provok’d
In reality Woodward’s criticism did not stop at pillorying Hill’s
shortcomings as an actor
WILL not dispute whether a Dog, a Monkey, or a Hare, may act the Part of a Hero,
the Gentleman, &c
Hill’s interest in
the theatre is shown not only by his numerous, albeit vain, attempts to make a
name for himself on stage but also by his authorship of a number of plays
If Hill saw the stage as the real opportunity for his genius to be
revealed to the world at large, all his attempts to shine on it and ensure
himself a pre-eminent position on the contemporary dramatical scene came to
Hill received another refusal in 1754, when both David Garrick, at Drury
Lane, and John Rich, at
He returned to the attack when he had the backing of Lord Bute, whose
wife was a friend of Garrick’s, hoping to persuade the actor-manager to put on
a farce in two acts called The Rout
The farce, presented as a work written by a “person of quality”, was put
This marked the definitive break with Garrick, who subsequently gave vent to his opinion of Hill in three epigrams:
Hill puffs himself: forebear to chide!
An insect vile and mean
Must first, he knows, be magnified
Before it can be seen
The worst that we wish thee, for all thy vile crimes,
Is to take thy own physic, and read thy own rhymes.
For Physick and Farces, his Equal there scarce is,
His Farces are Physick, and his Physick a Farce is.
We should add that The Rout
was also the motive for a clash between Hill and the actor and impresario
Alongside his attempts to make his mark as a playwright and actor, Hill
was also active as journalist and theatre critic
Hill in the Opinion of his Contemporaries
A man of many parts, Hill was a prolific and eclectic writer: there is
hardly any subject which he did not tackle, and he produced getting on for a
When, for example, he applied to become a member of the Royal Society,
in 1747, he did not manage to secure the number of votes necessary to ensure
According to Isaac Disraeli’s account, when the Sloane Collection was handed over to form the core of the
In general Hill’s contemporaries regarded him as a man of talent with
the consuming vice of vanity, a disproportionate idea of his own abilities, and
‘a pride, which was perpetually laying claim to homage by no means his due, and
a vindictiveness which never could forgive the refusal of it to him’. He was accused of being dominated by egotism, by forwardness and by
Tobias Smollett accused Hill of harming the sales of The Adventures of Peregrine Pickle: just two weeks before the
novel’s publication, when it was too late for Smollett to make any changes,
Hill brought out The History of a Woman
of Quality: or, The Adventures of Lady Frail, which claimed to tell the
true story of Lady Vane. Then in August 1752, Hill had had the first issue of a periodical
called The Impertinent published anonymously, in which he launched a
violent attack on the poet Christopher Smart. At the same time, in his column The Inspector, he took the part of the
latter, condemning the cruel treatment he had received in The Impertinent. In this way, Hill had hit on an astute expedient to harass Smart freely
and without any apparent incongruity
Pimp! Poet! Puffer! ‘Pothecary! Play’r!
Whose baseless fame by vanity is buoy’d,
Like the huge earth, self-center’d in the void.
In this poem, Hill was persuaded to abandon the profession of apothecary to devote himself to the writer’s calling by a ‘tawny Sybil’ who significantly recompensed him with all the riches and fame that six pennies could buy. Once he had become ‘th’ INSPECTOR’ and had been admitted to the presence of the gods, he aroused the suspicions of Zeus, who was surprised to find that Nature, whose labours are never in vain, in his case had
On mere privation […] bestow’d a frame,
And dignify’d a nothing with a name,
A wretch devoid of use, of sense and grace,
Th’ insolvent tenant of incumber’d space.
The poem ends with Fame’s pronouncement:
While in the vale perennial fountains flow,
And fragrant Zephyrs musically blow;
While the majestic sea from pole to pole,
In horrible magnificence shall roll,
While yonder glorious canopy on high
Shall overhang the curtains of the sky,
While the gay seasons their due course shall run,
Ruled by the brilliant stars and golden sun,
While wit and fool antagonists shall be,
And sense and taste and nature shall agree,
While love shall live, and rapture shall rejoice,
Fed by the notes of Handel, Arne and Boyce,
While with joint force o’er humour’s droll domain,
Cervantes, Fielding, Lucian, Swift shall reign,
While thinking figures from the canvas start,
And Hogarth is the Garrick of his art.
So long in flat stupidity’s extreme,
Shall H-ll th’ ARCH-DUNCE remain o’er every
Henry Fielding, the great novelist and magistrate, clashed with Hill over the controversial case of Elizabeth Canning. The legal battle between the opposing factions – Canningites and Egyptians – had attracted such interest that vignettes and caricatures were circulating and a full-blown pamphlet war was being waged. Fielding and Hill joined in the controversy, the former with A Clear State of the Case of Elizabeth Canning (1753), in which he maintained the veracity of the version provided by the young woman, and the latter with The Story of Elizabeth Canning (1753), presenting the case as a fabrication and contradicting Fielding’s arguments to uphold the innocence of Mary Squires.
The dispute between the two actually went back to the previous year
And still we have not come to the end of the list of Hill’s detractors
Three great wise men, in the same Æra born,
Britannia’s happy island did adorn:
Rock shone in physic, and in both John Hill.
The force of Nature could no further go,
To make a third she join’d the former two.
In the satire The Rosciad (1761), which lampooned contemporary actors and actresses, Charles Churchill referred to him ironically as a ‘Proteus’:
With sleek appearance, and with ambling pace,
And, type of vacant head, with vacant face,
The Proteus H-LL, put in his modest plea, –
“Let Favour speak for others, Worth for me
For who, like him, his various pow’rs could call
Into so many shapes, and shine in all?
Who could so nobly grace the motley list,
Actor, Inspector, Doctor, Botanist?
Knows any one so well, – sure no one knows, –
At once to play, prescribe, compound, compose?
Who can? – But WOODWARD came, – H-LL slipp’d away,
Melting like ghosts before the rising day.
In 1765, under the pseudonym Mercurius Spur, Cuthbert Shaw published The Race, a poem featuring Johnson, Smollett, Churchill and others, where also Hill appears to put in his claim to fame:
Not so repuls’d, nor overaw’d with shame,
Next Hill stood forth, a darling child of Fame;
But, as to Justice, Fame herself must bow,
The poets’ bays shall never deck his brow:
Else who, like Hill, can save a sickly age;
Like him arrest the hand of death with sage?
But this the ancients never knew, or sure
They ne’er had died while sage remain’d a cure
Oh, matchless Hill! if aught the Muse foresee
Of things conceal’d in dark futurity,
Death’s triumph by thy skill shall soon be o’er,
Hence dire disease and pain shall be no more;
‘Tis thine to save whole nations from his maw,
By some new tincture of a barley-straw
He bow’d, and spoke: – ‘Oh, Goddess, heavenly
To thy own Hill now show a mother’s care; [fair!
If I go unrewarded hence away,
What bard will court thee on a future day?
Who toils like me thy temple to unlock,
By moral essays, rhime, and water-dock?
With perseverance who like me could write
Inspector on Inspector, night by night;
Supplying still, with unexhausted head,
Till every reader slumber’d as he read?
No longer then my lawful claim delay’ –
She smil’d – Hill simper’d, and went pleas’d away.
In the face of such numerous and vitriolic attacks, one can almost
concur with Samuel Johnson’s observation: ‘Dr
Nonetheless, we should point out that the sarcasm shown to Hill by his
contemporaries seems to have been stirred up not only by his provocative and
polemical behaviour but also by his versatility as a writer, by his readiness
to express himself in every form of creativity, and above all by the financial
success which attended his alleged incompetence
Ridiculed by his compatriots, forgotten by the scientists, abandoned by
his patron Lord Bute, Hill died a poor and broken man
For his tireless activity of research and classification, for his powers of intuition and above all for his determination not to rein in his curiosity or limit his range of study and action, Hill can be considered to have been ‘more modern, for better or worse, than many of his distinguished contemporaries’.
The Actor (1750-1755): Textual Issues and Characteristics. The Question of Attribution
the exception of some anticipations in the Mercure
de France in October and November 1745,
the first edition of Rémond de Sainte-Albine’s essay was published in 1747,
followed by a second, definitive edition, “augmentée et corrigée”, in 1749. The Actor, which appeared anonymously in
1750, was the English translation and adaptation of this second version, with
several variants and additions
years later, in 1769, Michele Sticotti translated the 1755 version into French, with the title Garrick ou les Acteurs Anglois, probably unaware of the fact that
it was based on a French original.
Diderot, as is well known, lost no time in attacking Sticotti’s work in an
article entitled ‘Sur une brochure intitulée Garrick ou les acteurs anglais’, which came out in
article, which spoke out against the emotionalist positions, formed the core of
Diderot’s subsequent Paradoxe sur le
comédien, written during the 1770s and published posthumously in 1830
then were the stages, in outline, of the debate concerning acting that raged in
On 28 April 1750
to Maria Chiara Barbieri it was in the wake of this edition that notice began
to be taken of the work, with John Hill generally being identified as its
before going into the question of the identity of the author of The Actor, we have to deal with another
point which lies behind the whole question of attribution, namely the existence
of two intermediate editions of the treatise
Published respectively on 30 November 1752 and 30 October 1753, the two intermediate editions have titles which are essentially identical – with the exception of the mention of the actress Horton, not found in the 1753 version – but differ from that of the first 1750 edition, and are only partially similar to that of the 1755 edition:
A Treatise on the Art of Playing
to what can be desumed from the titles, both volumes could contain elements
capable of opening up new lines of enquiry or prompting a re-examination of the relationship between the 1750 and 1755 editions
actors mentioned in the titles of the 1752 and 1753 editions are already cited,
sometimes if only in passing, in the text of the first 1750 edition
fact that the two intermediate editions are unavailable not only makes it
impossible to make an accurate comparison with the editions of 1750 and 1755,
but also poses some other questions concerning the important question of the
In presenting itself as “a New Work”, does the 1755 edition make this claim with respect to the first 1750 edition or the one that had appeared in 1753? Or again, if we suppose that, in spite of the difference in their titles, the contents of the first and third edition were identical, is it possible that the 1755 version wished to present itself as a novelty with respect to both editions? And furthermore, when in the 1755 text the author claims paternity of the previous edition, was he referring generically to all the preceding editions or only to that of 1753?
any case, the intermediate editions, which joined the two better known ones,
undoubtedly testify to the widespread success which the treatise must have met with at the time
said, on the question of the author’s identity the opinions expressed by
scholars and the data provided by the sources are in contradiction
arguing that the author of the 1750 treatise is Aaron Hill, Jacques Chouillet
set out not only to reconstruct the development of the mistaken attribution to
John Hill but also to provide concrete proof for his own thesis
Actor; or a Treatise on the art of Playing
proof adduced by Chouillet consists in a note to be found in the Dictionary of Anonymous and Pseudonymous
In this note the Dictionary’s
editors, Halkett and Laing, attributed The
Actor, in both the 1750 and 1755 versions, to Aaron Hill, denouncing the
mistake committed by the compilers of the catalogues of the British Museum
Library in ascribing the work to John Hill
in the British Library’s on-line catalogues, both editions of the treatise are
attributed to Rémond de Sainte-Albine, with the specification, concerning the
1750 version, that it is a translation and adaptation of Le Comédien
Chouillet, who receives the endorsement of Paolo Alatri in the introduction to the Italian translation of Diderot’s Paradoxe, also bases his argument on the substantial continuity and conceptual coherence which he identifies between Aaron Hill’s writings on the theatre and the ideas elaborated in The Actor, in particular in the first part of the treatise.
Concerning the 1755 edition, Chouillet does not give an opinion on its attribution: ‘We do not have any information making it possible to reply to this question. One may suppose that the success of the first edition induced the anonymous author to rework the first text, embellishing it with numerous examples’.
thus treats the two versions of the treatise as completely autonomous, and
views the allusion to Aaron Hill contained in the 1755 edition – ‘Aaron Hill,
an author of allowed merit, requires to be studied as a classic
However, the attribution to Aaron Hill has been dismissed by William Archer: since it is explicitly stated in the 1755 edition that the treatise is the work of the “Author of the former”, and since it contains references to events which occurred after the death of Aaron Hill, it is clear that both texts cannot be ascribed to him. Nonetheless Archer does not mention John Hill by name: the author of the treatise remains a ‘nameless writer’.
reality, various elements militate against the attribution of The Actor to Aaron Hill, starting with
some circumstances in his biography
in the final period of Aaron Hill’s life, when he returned to London to undergo
further treatment for a kidney ailment that had degenerated, it seems unlikely
that he can have gone to the theatre often enough to be able to write about all
the actors mentioned in the treatise, or to witness the performances that are
referred to or described therein
The Actor we find, for example, a
reference to the performance of Macbeth
Hill did not have any further firsthand experience of the theatre until 1749,
when Garrick agreed to stage his Merope at
is one more important circumstance to add to these considerations: Aaron Hill
obtained and consulted Rémond de Sainte-Albine’s original treatise
many very just remarks, no new ones: they are only generals, and
such as tend but to display, what should be done,
without attempting to disclose the art of doing
this passage shows, Aaron Hill’s interest in Rémond de Sainte-Albine’s work
gives no sign that he was about to set work translating it
for the substantial continuity in approach linking the observations set out in
Aaron Hill’s writings on the theatre and the ideas developed in The Actor advocated by Chouillet, we
must say that there are differences in terms of concept and content, and also
of style, between the treatise in question and Aaron Hill’s publications
concerning the theory and practice of acting
is true that the emphasis placed on the sensibility and emotional identification
of the actor with his character constituted an important element in Aaron
the light of these considerations, the most likely author of the treatise
appears to be John Hill
any case various elements enable us to corroborate the hypothesis of the
treatise’s attribution to John Hill
likelihood of his experience with a company of strolling players in the years
1730-1735, the amateur theatricals he took part in at Goodwood House, where he
met various figures in the contemporary acting milieu including David Garrick
and Margaret Woffington, his subsequent attempts to undertake a career in the
London theatres not just as an actor but also as an author, are all
circumstances which show, or at least suggest, that John Hill’s frequentation
of the theatrical milieu of his time was sufficiently assiduous to enable him
to know the actors mentioned in the treatise or to be present at the
performances referred to or described therein
it is possible to find parallels with the observations expressed in the
treatise in the articles on the theatre which John Hill
published between 1746 and 1753, first in The
British Magazine and then in The
London Daily Advertiser and Literary Gazette
From 1746 to 1750 Hill was responsible for various
columns, entitled respectively The Visiter [sic],
The Moralist and The Occasional
Spectator, in The British Magazine,
which he had founded together with Charles Corbett and Ralph Griffiths, the
first issue appearing on 1 April
On 4 March 1751
the first issue of The London Advertiser and Literary Gazette appeared, a daily
newspaper founded and directed by Hill
The articles on
the theatre published in both journals give us a variegated portrait of the British theatrical
milieu in those years, painted with great acuteness and often with a pungent
The Actor: A Treatise on The Art of Playing (1750)
The first version
of John Hill’s treatise, as we have seen, was published by
The anonymous author was thus submitting ‘to the
opinion of the Managers of the British
theatres’ what ‘St
The premise that authenticity and naturalness in
acting were essential to creating the effect of illusion necessary in drama had led Rémond de Sainte-Albine to redefine not only the requisite
qualities for aspiring actors but also the structure of the text
Rémond de Sainte-Albine, Hill begins the first Book – In which many of the common Prejudices of the Age are considered; and
Observations made on the necessary Qualifications of Performers on the Stage in
general (Dans lequel l’Auteur combat
différens préjugés, et fait plusieurs remarques, sur quelques-uns des avantages
nécessaires en general à tous les Comédiens) – by examining the natural
requisites which are indispensable to embark on an acting profession, covering
both the actor’s physical characteristics and some rather uncommon interior
The description of
the basic categories of the art of acting – understanding
[esprit], sensibility [sentiment], fire [feu], figure – dealt with
in the four chapters comprising Book I is also clearly modelled on its French
Given that it is
only by having recourse to sensibility that the actor can achieve an accurate
and effective rendering of his role, conferring on his performance that
veracity and illusionary effect which are essential to get through to and
involve the spectators, he has to shed his own personality, remaining
indifferent to his own everyday problems, and become ‘like soft wax, which,
under the hands of a judicious artist, is capable of becoming, in the same
minute, a Medea and a Sappho’. Of course, as for
Rémond de Sainte-Albine, there was no question for Hill that making emotive
participation, and spontaneous and natural expression of sentiments, the
cornerstone of the art of acting meant inviting the performer to surrender to
the impulses of emotional stimuli
The third requisite for the actor is fire or, as Hill calls it, ‘Promethean heat’, a sort of creative energy which animates the sentiment, bestowing naturalness and authenticity on his interpretation – Chapter III: Whether an Actor can have too much Fire? (Un Comédien peut-il avoir trop de Feu?).
The fourth chapter
contains a description of the actor’s physical characteristics, under the title
Whether it wou’d be to the Advantage of
all Players to be of a distinguished Figure? (Seroit-il avantageux que toutes les
personnes de Théâtre fussent d’une figure distinguée?). As for Rémond de
Sainte-Albine, an aesthetically pleasing figure does not constitute an
essential requisite for appearing on stage
Book I of the
English treatise concludes, like Le
Comédien, with two Reflections.
Once understanding, sensibility, fire and figure have been
established as indispensable qualities for aspiring actors, the first Reflection lays down this condition:
‘Those Actors who appear in subordinate Characters can no more succeed without
a good Understanding, Sensibility, and Fire; than those who play the principal
Parts’ (‘Les Comédiens, dans les rôles subordonnés, ne peuvent pas plus se
passer de Feu, d’Esprit et de Sentiment, que dans les premiers rôles’)
Book II, entitled Of the Advantages in which it is requisite
that those Players, who play the capital Parts, shou’d be superior to those who
perform the subordinate Characters (Par
quels avantages il importe que les Acteurs, qui jouent les rôles dominans,
soient superieurs aux autres Comédiens), reviews the qualities
which must distinguish actors who play leading roles
The first section of Book II deals with the interior characteristics – Of the interior Qualifications which an Audience requires in the Players, who perform the capital Parts (Des Dons interieurs qu’on desire chez les principaux Acteurs) – and the second section with the physical characteristics: Of those Qualifications which, when they fall to the Share of that Class of Actors spoken of in the Second Book, peculiarly interest the Senses of an Audience (Des Dons, qui chez les Acteurs, dont il s’agit dans ce second Livre, interressent les sens des Spectateurs).
Among the interior
qualities, Hill paraphrases Rémond de Sainte-Albine in pointing to ‘gaiety of
Temper’ and ‘elevation of soul’ as the fundamental requisites of the comic and
the tragic actor respectively – Chapter I: A
gaiety of Temper is absolutely necessary to the Players in Comedy, whose
Business it is to make us laugh (
Chapter III of the
first section – As all Players have occasion
for the great Quality of Sensibility; those in a particular manner who propose
to themselves to succeed in drawing Tears from us, have more Necessity than any
others, for that peculiar kind of it, which we sometimes express by the Word
Tenderness, tho’ more strongly by the appropriated Term Feeling (Si toutes les personnes de Théâtre ont besoin de
Sentiment, celles qui se proposent de nous faire répandre des larmes, ont plus
besoin que les autres de la partie du Sentiment, désignée communément sous le
nom d’Entrailles) – expands on the concept of sensibility in relation to tragic roles, analysing some of the
factors which can hinder its correct application
Chapter IV – Players who are
naturally amorous, are the only ones who shou’d perform the Parts of Lovers
upon the Stage (Les personnes, nées pour
aimer, devroient avoir seules le privilege de jouer les rôles d’Amans) – develops the
concept of the necessity for actors impersonating the roles of lovers of a
natural predisposition to sentiments of love and tenderness, while Chapter V – Which is a corollary to the foregoing Chapter (Qui n’est qu’un Corollaire du Chapitre precedent) – makes it clear
that an actor who is no longer young must refrain from donning the clothes of
the lover since such a role is not suited to his age and physiognomy
It has to be
pointed out that in his translation, Hill incorporates the theoretical
contradictions which characterized the French treatise: as Earl R
In the second
section of Book II, which discusses the physical characteristics of the actor,
Hill keeps closely to the French text in describing both the qualities of the
voice – Chapter I: That sort of Voice
which may be very adequate to certain Characters, may be by no means sufficient
for the Actor, in Parts by which we are to be peculiarly moved and affected
(Telle voix, qui peut suffire
dans certains rôles, ne suffit pas dans les rôles destinés à nous interresser) – and the
actor’s physical appearance – Chapter II: An
audience expects to find in the Person who acts the Part of a Lover, in Comedy,
an amiable figure; and in him who acts the Part of a Hero in Tragedy, a
majestic and striking one (On demande aux
The necessity for a physical conformity between performer and character leads to the reiteration of the stricture that an actor who is no longer young has to refrain from roles in which the age and physiognomy clash with the reality – Chapter III: Of the real or apparent conformity there ought to be between the age of the actor, and that of the person represented (Du rapport vrai ou apparent, qui doit être entre l’âge de l’Acteur et celui du Personnage).
The last chapter
in the second section – Of the Characters
of Footmen and Chambermaids on the Stage (Qui
regarde particulierement les Soubrettes et les Valets) – reviews the
requisites for actors who have to perform the secondary roles of servants
Part the Second of The
Actor, entitled Of those Assistances
which Players ought to receive from Art (Des
secours que les Comédiens doivent emprunter de l’Art), also reproduces
the French treatise, analysing the modalities in which actors can develop their
own innate ability and perfect their stage business with
the support of art
The notion of
representative truth and the ways in which it is to be achieved occupy the
first chapter of the second part, In what
the Truth of a Representation on the Stage consists (En quoi consiste la verité de
As for the ‘appearances’ caused by the actor’s behaviour, in Chapter II – On the Truth of Action on the Stage (De la verité de l’Action) – Hill, following Rémond de Sainte-Albine, explains that the performer’s task consists in rendering his role in a clear and precise manner, not only in terms of the character’s age and social condition, and the circumstances and situation described in the text, but also bearing in mind the particular historical period in which the action takes place and the character’s nationality.
Chapter III, entitled Observations
on the two principal Things essential to the Truth of Action (Remarques sur les deux parties essentielles
à la verité de l’Action), specifies
how the term “natural” is used in relation to acting: it is always to be seen as
a “theatrical natural”, meaning reality
enlarged and emended
The requisite of
representative truth had led Rémond de Sainte-Albine to reject the principles
underlying the way in which tragedy was declaimed on the French stage
Chapter VII, Of certain Obstacles which impair the Truth
of the Recitation (De quelques-uns
des obstacles qui nuisent à la verité de
As we have seen,
for Rémond de Sainte-Albine the effect of representative truth depended not
only on the actor’s craft but also on the staging
In the original
French version Chapter X – In which some
important Rules are added to the Principles before establish’d, of the Truth of
Action and Recitation (Dans lequel,
aux principes déja établis sur la verité de
The concept by
which “natural” acting should not be taken to mean an exact reproduction of
reality is enlarged on in Chapter XI of the second part of the treatise,
entitled Of natural Playing (Du Jeu naturel). As in the French text,
it is divided up into three Observations,
explaining that in some cases, in particular in comic roles, it is necessary to
confer on the character all the affected or exaggerated traits which
characterise him, making him larger than life
Up until this
point Hill kept to Rémond de Sainte-Albine’s treatise in illustrating how, in
his reliance on the resources of emotive participation, the actor can render
clearly and precisely all the details of his role, in an interpretation which
will be both natural and “true to life”. It is even more significant that Hill
adopts another fundamental concept from the French text
The next three chapters deal with the various finesses which the actor can call on in the two genres – Chapter XIII: Of the Finesses in playing, which peculiarly belong to Tragedy (Des finesses qui appartiennent au Tragique); Chapter XIV: Of the Finesses in playing, peculiar to Comedy (Des finesses particulieres au Comique) – as well as the principles underlying the use of this resource – Chapter XV: Rules which ought to be observ’d in the use of Finesses (Régles à observer dans l’usage des finesses).
Chapter XVI, Of Bye-play, or what are called Stage-Tricks
(Des Jeux de Théâtre), talks about
those particular finesses which ‘depend entirely upon the
action, and therefore are lost if they are not attended to by the eye’. Like Rémond de
Sainte-Albine, Hill also divides them up into two distinct groups: those which
add veracity to the action can be applied both in tragedy and in comedy, while
those which embellish the performance and make it more appealing are better
suited to the comic genre
chapter, entitled Of Variety in Playing
In Chapter XVIII, Of graces in Playing (Des Graces), Hill echoes Rémond de Sainte-Albine in defining ‘grace’ as ‘the art of rendering nature elegant even in her defects’. The actor must not simply portray everyday reality, or ordinary nature, but must represent it, says Hill, ‘in its fairest light’, giving to the character a sort of ideal perfection.
In the two
following chapters, the first – Observations on
some Parts of the Art of Playing, of a subordinate Kind to those we have
hitherto been treating of (Des quelques
parties de l’Art du Comédien, inférieures à celles qui jusqu’ici ont fait
l’objet de nos réflexions) – contains remarks on how the voice is to be projected
and on gestures, as well as some brief considerations on ‘the
art of treading the stage’, while the second gives the Objections
which featured in Le Comédien
questioning the fundamental principle by which, to undertake the actor’s
profession, it is necessary to acquire technique in addition to possessing
If, in order to
excel in his profession, an actor has to have undergone an adequate
preparation, involving constant study, it is equally important that he should
be conscious of his limits so as avoid taking on roles which go beyond his
abilities and resources
In The Conclusion (Conclusion de cet Ouvrage) Hill
reiterates Rémond de Sainte-Albine’s notion according to which the actor cannot
achieve the same degree of perfection in both tragedy and comedy
As for the
difficulty of representing sentiments
or roles which are far removed from or quite alien to the performer’s own propensities,
both texts argue that sensibility, the innate capacity to experience all
the human passions, should allow an actor to adopt any emotive state required
by the play in question
The authors of
both The Actor and Le Comédien conclude their remarks on the
art of acting by condemning the habit of glorifying the great actors of the
past and inviting their readers to encourage and support the younger
generations of talent
might readily deduce from this brief résumé of
the English treatise that it is identical to the work it presents as its model
accounts for some of the modifications carried out by Hill in translating the
text of Rémond de Sainte-Albine, ranging from slight changes in translation to
significant enlargements of the original text
The same kind of motive underlies the modification
Hill made in Chapter IV of the second Section of Book II, concerning the
characteristics that pertain to the roles of servants
The wish to make the sense clearer for the British
reader can also account for such changes as substituting or adapting references
and examples given by Rémond de Sainte-Albine, while the insertion of
definitions not found in the original text could go to clarify the meaning of
some terms or add further details to what had been said
this does not account for all the differences between The Actor and Le Comédien
fact, although the total number of pages in the two treatises is more or less
the same (326 pages in The Actor and
anecdotes, critical remarks and observations concern primarily the British
theatrical world, even though there are also references to its French
the references to British theatre which Hill introduced either ex novo or to substitute allusions to
French theatre go some way to compensating for the lack of attention paid to
the practice of acting as opposed to the
While keeping to
the overall plan, ideas and content of Le
Comédien, Hill shows evidence of an indubitable wish to innovate which is
made explicit above all in the integrations
of varying length inserted in the original text
The Actor: Or, A Treatise on The Art of Playing (1755)
12 March 1755 what is generally known today as the second version of John
Hill’s treatise appeared: The Actor: Or,
A Treatise on the Art of Playing
But what are the innovatory elements of this edition with respect to that of 1750?
to William Archer, Hill did no more than present again topics and opinions from
the first version of the treatise, themselves originating in Rémond de
Sainte-Albine’s Le Comédien,
restricting himself to adding new material by way of examples
reality, even a superficial comparison of the two editions immediately reveals
some striking differences
closer inspection, with respect to the 1750 edition Hill has introduced some
considerably more substantial modifications, including the elimination or
condensation of some chapters and the insertion of new ones, and the addition
of new material in order to clarify and illustrate the concepts expressed
on one hand we can subscribe to the view that the 1755 version of The Actor does not depart radically from
the 1750 edition, reproducing its fundamental topics and concepts and
presenting them, in the work’s overall layout, in the same order in which they
appeared in the first edition, on the other it has to be recognised that the
two texts diverge not only on account of a reorganization of the material,
making for structural differences, but also, and above all, on account of the
difference in the way the theories on acting are developed, justified and
exemplified, resulting in differences in content
In the 1755 Introduction, which is entirely new, acting is numbered among the scientific disciplines, whereas in the 1750 version it had been viewed as one of the arts:
THE intent of this treatise is to shew what acting truly is; to reduce to rules a science hitherto practised almost entirely from the fancy; and by that means to assist certain performers in their attempts to attain perfection in it, and some parts of an audience how they may regularly judge of it.
This concept recurs in Chapter I (Concerning the powers of nature, and their limits, and of the necessity of rules and art to form a perfect player), in which it is stated quite explicitly that ‘playing is a science, and is to be studied as a science’.
These affirmations mark an immediate divergence between the two works, and are to be read as a declaration of authorial intent.
Starting from the premise that acting is a science and
thus presupposes a period of study and preparation prior to being practised, when
Hill states in the Introduction that
he wishes to regulate this discipline, ‘hitherto practised almost entirely from
the fancy’, he also indicates what is to be the guiding thread of the treatise:
the notion that “natural” acting must be regulated and refined by means of
technique forms the core of the 1755 version
In the 1750
version Hill had maintained the structure of Rémond de Sainte-Albine’s text,
organizing his material according to the requisites incumbent on whoever wished
to enter the acting profession in two distinct parts, the first concerning the
innate qualities of the player and the second the technique which had to
underpin his activity
Understanding, sensibility, fire and figure are all gifts of nature, even though granted to each human
being in different measures
To prove the truth of this premise Hill refers to David Garrick, emphasising that people often think of him as a born actor, undervaluing the work and technique that underlie his remarkable results: ‘those who imagine that he has not cultivated with an indefatigable assiduity the talents he possessed from nature, have a very imperfect knowledge of the source of that merit which so much astonishes them’. The impression of reality and illusion of truth which confront the audience are the fruits of the ability of the actor in dissimulating the art he is employing:
we hear men say, is all; playing is not to be acquired by
study: as it is the representation of human life, they say it ought to be the
sole production of nature; and that to give it rules, is to take from it all
Thus actors are warned: ‘he who, with all that nature ever did, or can do for a man, expects to succeed wholly without the effects of that study, deceives himself extremely’.
In Chapter II, Of the necessity of a good understanding to the player, which is three times longer than in the 1750 version, Hill reiterates that the actor’s task is based on a full understanding of the role in all its nuances, an indispensable condition for arriving at an interpretation which is faithful to the author’s purpose. This premise lies behind his condemnation, in no uncertain terms, of those who maintain that a mechanical imitation of given interpretative models can take the place of understanding.
We also find here
a fundamental concept already present in the 1750 treatise and originating in
Rémond de Sainte-Albine, that of the actor as artist or creator
are many instances also in which the author has been able only to sketch out
the out-line of what is to be done, and it is left to the actor or player to
add the light, and finish, or in a great measure to make the picture
Hill then devotes three lengthy chapters to the question of sensibility, whereas in the 1750 version this topic occupied just one chapter. Chapter III (Concerning Sensibility, and the proportion of it necessary to different actors), itself twice as long as in the 1750 version, is integrated by some thirty pages on the same topic in the next two chapters (Chapter IV: Of the means by which an actor may improve natural sensibility; Chapter V: On the due regulation and proper use of Sensibility).
It is above all in
Hill’s treatment of the notion of emotive participation that we can see the
most significant aspect of this new text, namely the greater emphasis on the
necessity of controlling the actor’s means of expression
we should wish in the perfect player is, that he have all the sensibility […]
and yet all the command of himself that is necessary to regulate its emotions
innate capacity to actually experience the sentiments he intends to convey must
not only be regulated and trained but also cultivated, extended and refined
nay, and must have been born with him
It is the texts of the great tragedians which can provide the instruments suited to developing the actor’s natural sensibility, enabling him to give a comprehensive rendering of the various nuances of a passion and to confer variety on his performance:
he reads such passages; he will find his mind enlarge, and, as it were, dilate
However, even though he has affirmed the need for the actor to maintain control over his means of expression, Hill believes that, in some cases, abandoning oneself to the instinct of emotional stimuli, being almost overwhelmed by passion, proves to be a useful and indeed necessary resource in order to fully communicate the beauty of a certain passage:
tho’ it is very happy for the player to possess this quality of sensibility, it is necessary for him to have that command of himself, that he can keep in from interrupting his utterance, or taking away the articulation of his voice: but there are passages in which it may be allowed even this effect; and instead of a blemish it will communicate the greatest beauty.
He does nonetheless recommend actors to limit their recourse to this possibility:
Strokes of this kind in playing are like figures in oratory, a few of them enliven, elevate, and give an unconquerable power to a discourse; but to be eternally introducing them, robs them of all their merit and force: for the one, as well as the other, by this frequency, will be found to be the result of art and consideration, not of nature and sensibility.
In making these affirmations, according to Paul Goring, Hill ‘puts forward his own paradox: if an actor floods the stage with genuine sensibility, it will appear to the audience as artificial, but if signs of sensibility are introduced with tact and subtlety, they will be found powerfully affective’.
The discussion of
sensibility continues with Hill reiterating arguments expounded in the past, as
for example when he criticises the mistake made by some actors in substituting
their own emotions for those of the character, or warns them against lapsing
Chapter VI (Concerning Spirit, and what is called, in an
actor, Fire), concerns creative energy in the actor, a quality by means of
which he breathes life into and animates his interpretation. In the 1755
edition fire takes on characteristics
similar to the state of divine inspiration that characterised the priests of
is no longer himself, when he assumes his character; he possesses himself that
he is the king or hero he represents, and inspired by the sentiments of his
author, and merely what his own mind conceives from the several circumstances
and incidents, he lives, not acts the scene
Chapter VIII (Concerning the figure of a player) deals with the actor’s physical features. Whereas in the 1750 edition it was stated that physical difformities of any kind were considered unacceptable on stage, in the 1755 version, while safeguarding the premise that the actor’s features must be regular and well proportioned, Hill goes so far as to say that some ‘singularities of figure’ or ‘bodily imperfections’, far from prejudicing the performance, can on the contrary prove to be useful.
The text goes on
to a description of the indispensable requisites for actors who play secondary
roles (Chapter IX: Concerning the players
who are intrusted only with subordinate characters), and a discussion of
the actor’s duty not only to choose roles in keeping with his age but also to
retire once he has passed a certain age (Chapter X: Of the time of life at which performers should quit the stage). Here the 1755
treatise expresses a criticism of contemporary British society, explicitly
accusing the nation of abandoning actors to their own devices and of being
indifferent to their fate
In the three subsequent chapters Hill considers the qualities, both physical and interior, which in general have to characterise the actors who take the leading roles, and in particular the protagonists of comedies and tragedies (Chapter XI: Concerning the peculiar qualifications necessary to the principal performers; Chapter XII: Concerning that gaiety of disposition, which is essential to the comic actor; Chapter XIII: Of greatness of soul as necessary to the acting the character of an hero).
Chapter XIV (Of tenderness, that species of sensibility which is necessary to love-characters) extends the concept of sensibility in relation to the roles of the lover, whereas in the 1750 version the discussion dealt more in general with the use of sensibility in tragic roles.
Chapter XV (Of an amorous disposition, and its advantage to certain players) incorporates Chapters IV and V of the first section of Book II in the 1750 edition, setting out the concept by which, in order to play the roles of a lover, the actor must be naturally inclined to sentiments of love and tenderness, together with the corollary, whereby an actor who is no longer young must refrain from taking on such roles.
We should point
out how, in maintaining that, on one hand, an actor should conceal his own
personality so as to take on that of his character and, on the other, should
possess a natural predisposition for certain passions, Hill did not trouble to
remove from the new edition of The Actor
the theoretical contradictions which, inherent in Rémond de Sainte-Albine’s
text, had also characterised the 1750 version of his treatise
Chapters XVI (Concerning the peculiar kinds of voice, suited to peculiar characters) and XVII (Of that peculiar figure which is suited to particular characters) examine respectively the vocal and physical characteristics of the actor in relation to certain types of roles.
Chapter XVIII (Concerning the age of the player, as connected with that of the character) develops the notion that there must be an outward conformity between actor and character, while Chapter XIX (Concerning the characters of footmen and chambermaids) looks at the requisites for actors destined to play the secondary roles of servants.
Chapter XX (Concerning the general assistance that the
natural accomplishments of the player may receive from art) concerns the
way in which the actor can perfect his own natural gifts through technique and
a former treatise, under the same name with this, the general observations were
divided under the two heads of the advantages of nature, and their assistances
from art, but as it was impossible to speak of the former, without frequent
mention of those assistances, the latter part of that work had too much the air
In the following chapter, called Of the general truth of theatrical representations, he explains what such truth consists in, while one of its fundamental elements, the actor’s behaviour on stage, is discussed in Chapters XXII (Concerning the truth of action) and XXIII (Concerning truth in Recitation). In the latter Hill reiterates the necessity of doing away with magniloquent and artificial acting in comedy and tragedy, as well as the impossibility of establishing the exact tone of voice required to express each sentiment.
Chapter XXIV (Concerning a declamatory recitation) deals with tragic declamation and the hindrance to an authentic and natural interpretation, topics which in the 1750 version were discussed respectively in Part II, Chapters VI (Whether Tragedy ought or ought not to be spoke in a declamatory manner) and VII (Of certain Obstacles which impair the Truth of the Recitation).
The actor’s mnemonic ability, the advantages to be derived from prolonged experience on stage and familiarity with a role, as well as the two other elements involved in truth of representation, costumes and staging, are dealt with in Chapter XXV, Of the being perfect in remembering the words.
In the 1755 version the fundamental concept according to which “natural” acting does not mean a direct imitation of reality and the consequent notion whereby, in some cases, the actor should overdo the traits of the character are expounded in two separate chapters (Chapter XXVI: Concerning what is called natural playing; Chapter XXVII: Concerning what is called force in playing). In the 1750 version these topics had been discussed in two of the three Observations which constituted Chapter XI in Part II (Of natural Playing). The third observation, concerning the tendency of the public to consider ‘every exaggeration, every heightening of a part by the performer, a fault’, was omitted in the 1755 edition.
The consideration of the finesses which the actor can employ both in tragedy and in comedy takes up a sole chapter (Chapter XXVIII: Concerning what are called finesses in the art of playing) in the 1755 version, as opposed to three in the 1750 edition. The principles which are to guide the actor in the use of the finesses are set out in Chapter XXIX (Containing some rules which ought to be observed in the use of finesses), while the ‘finesses of the lowest kind’, or ‘stage-tricks’, are dealt with in Chapter XXX (Concerning bye-play, or what are commonly called stage-tricks).
The ability of the actor to diversify his interpretation in rendering one particular role, and the talent for embellishing his part with those finesses able to add variety and new life, are the topics of Chapter XXXI, Concerning variety in playing.
The last chapter of the treatise (Concerning graces in playing), shows how everyday reality has to be transfigured on stage, through the actor’s ability to confer on his character a sort of ideal perfection.
What in the 1750
version comprised the last three chapters (Chapter XIX: Observations on some Parts of the Art of
Playing, of a subordinate Kind to those we have hitherto been treating of; Chapter XX: Objections;
XXI: Some Remarks which may be of Service
to certain modern Actors) were suppressed in the 1755 version
On the basis of
this brief analysis of the structure and contents of the 1755 treatise we can
endorse Joseph R
In undertaking a complete re-elaboration of what had been expressed in the first edition of the treatise, Hill did indeed bring into being “A New Work”, in which there is greater emphasis on the need to regulate the actor’s means of expression, with particular importance being given to the analysis and critique of what was happening at that time in the London theatres, refining and reinforcing the concepts expressed previously by means of a new and more personal approach.
* Translated by Mark Weir, Università di Napoli “L’Orientale”.
 Pierre Rémond de
Sainte-Albine (1699-1778), member of the Académie Royale des Sciences et Belles
Lettres, Berlin, held office as Censeur Royal from 1751. He was the author
of plays as well as theoretical works on the theatre. He collaborated with L’Europe savante and Gazette de France in the years 1733 to
1749 and 1751 to 1761, and from 1748 to 1750 was chief editor of Mercure de France; in this journal he
published two comedies and some excerpts from the first version of Le Comédien. Other works include: L’Amant difficile ou L’Amant constant, a comedy written with Houdar de
 Jean-Léonor Le
Gallois, Sieur de Grimarest (1659-1720), man of letters, acted as French
teacher and cicerone for tourists visiting
 Charles Gildon
(1665-1724), man of letters, playwright, author of biographies of the major protagonists of the English Restoration and collections of plays by authors such as Aphra Behn
and William Wycherley, as well as being a translator and adapter. He gave up a
possible career in the church and settled in London where, after spending his
allowance, he turned to the theatre and wrote The Roman Bride’s Revenge (1697), Phaeton, or The Fatal Divorce (1698), based on a French play of the
same name of 1683, Love’s Victim; or, The
Queen of Wales (1701), The Patriot;
or The Italian Conspiracy (given in late 1702 at the Drury Lane and
published in 1703). In 1700 he put on an adaptation of Shakespeare’s Measure
for Measure. He also oversaw
the seventh volume of Nicholas Rowe’s edition of Shakespeare’s works, including
his own Essay on the Art, Rise, and
Progress of the Stage in
 Luigi Riccoboni
(1676-1753), known as Lelio, impresario, actor and man of letters. Having
become head of a theatrical company at the age of twenty-two, he set about
reforming Italian theatre but met with opposition. Then he accepted an
invitation from the French regent Philippe d’Orléans to move to
 Antoine-François Riccoboni (1707-1772), actor, poet, playwright, and member of the Société du Caveau together with Crébillon fils, Gentil-Bernard, Collé and Saurin. Son of Luigi Riccoboni and the actress Elena Balletti, François followed in their footsteps, making his début in 1726 at the Théâtre Italien in Marivaux’s Surprise de l’amour (given for the first time in 1722 and published in 1723). He retired from acting in 1750, aged forty-three, although he made sporadic comebacks up until 1758. Among more than fifty plays written for the Théâtre Italien, often in collaboration with Dominique and Romagnesi, we can recall the celebrated Les Comédiens esclaves (1726), Les Amusements à la mode (1732), Le Conte de fée (1735), Le Prétendu (1760), Les Amants de village (1764) and Les Caquets (1761) based on Goldoni.
to the Managers of the Two Theatres, in John Hill, The Actor: A Treatise on the Art of
Playing. Interspersed with Theatrical Anecdotes, Critical Remarks on Plays, and
Occasional Observations on Audiences,
In 1705 his father, who graduated in medicine at
Some sources give Hill’s date of birth as 1716 or 1717, without saying where
(David Erskine Baker, Isaac Reed, Stephen Jones, Biographia Dramatica; or, A Companion to the Playhouse, 3 vols., London, Hurst and others,
1812, I, part I, p. 342; ‘Hill’, in The Thespian Dictionary; or,
Dramatic Biography of the Present Age, London, J.
Cundee, 1805). A. D. Morris states that Hill was baptised on 4
February 1707 at St. John the Baptist’s, Peterborough (see A. D. Morris, ‘“Sir”
John Hill, M. A., M. D., 1706-1775, Apothecary, Botanist, Playwright, Actor,
Novelist, Journalist’, Proceedings of the
Royal Society of Medicine, 53, no. 1, January, 1960, p. 55). According
to George S. Rousseau he was baptised on
17 November 1714, ‘probably in Peterborough-Spalding’ (G. S.
Rousseau, The Letters and Papers of Sir
John Hill 1714-1775, New York, AMS Press, 1982, p. xxvii).
The date of 1714 is confirmed by the Oxford
Dictionary of National Biography (ed. by
H. C. G. Matthew and B. Harrison,
Both George S. Rousseau (The Letters and
Papers of Sir John Hill 1714-1775,
p. xxvii) and the Oxford Dictionary of
National Biography refer to a source, without giving any further details,
recording that Hill took part, between 1730 and
 Robert James Petre (1713-1742), eighth
Baron Petre. One of
 Charles Lennox (1701-1750), second Duke of Richmond,
Margaret Woffington (1720?-1760), known as Peg or Peggy, Irish actress. She
made her début as an actress aged ten, in a production of John
Beggar’s Opera (1728) in
 ‘A Letter from Mr. John Hill, Apothecary, to the President, concerning the Manner of the Seeding of Mosses’ and ‘A Letter from Mr. John Hill, Apothecary, to the President, concerning Windsor Loam’. The first issue of the Philosophical Transactions was published by Henry Oldenburg in March 1665, six years after the foundation of the Royal Society. Among the most famous contributors we can mention Isaac Newton, Michael Faraday, William Herschel and Charles Darwin.
 It is likely that
Hill continued as editor of The British Magazine until December
 The columns The Visiter and The Occasional Spectator were published on and off in 1746 and 1747, often with inconsistent numbering. Some issues of The Moralist, which appeared regularly from 1746 to 1750, were also published in 1751. Moreover several articles were published without any numbering.
 The first English translation of Pomet’s work appeared in 1712.
 This journal was
founded in 1749 by Ralph Griffiths, who continued as editor until his death in
1803. All the articles appeared anonymously. In many cases, however, we can
identify the contributors thanks to
 Two sources refer to this event without specifying the date (David Erskine Baker, Isaac Reed, Stephen Jones, Biographia Dramatica, I, part I, p. 345; The Thespian Dictionary). A. D. Morris dates it to about 1750 (see A. D. Morris, ‘“Sir” John Hill, M. A., M. D., 1706-1775, Apothecary, Botanist, Playwright, Actor, Novelist, Journalist’, p. 56).
published as The London Advertiser and
Literary Gazette, from 18 April 1751 this paper took the name The
John Stuart (1713-1792), third Earl of Bute. During the Jacobite Rebellion
(1745), he moved to
 Albrecht von Haller (1708-1777),
Swiss medic and poet, is considered the founder of
experimental physiology. In Icones anatomicae (1743-1756)
he gave the first description of arterial circulation in the human body, and
studied the properties of the nervous and muscular systems in De
partibus corporis humani sensilibus et irritabilibus (1752).
Johannes Gessner (1709-1790),
Swiss medic and naturalist. Professor of
mathematics and physics at the Collegium Carolinum in
 The Royal Botanic Gardens of Kew,
generally known as
 Apart from some volumes of The Vegetable System, in 1765-1767 only three works were published: The Power of Water-Dock against the Scurvy, Centaury, the Great Stomachic and Hypochondriasis. This diminution in publications is only due in part to his illness. Hill’s reputation had suffered as a result of the attacks and polemics in which he was involved, and it was no longer so easy for him to negotiate with publishers or gain the favour of the reading public.
 Although this title had been awarded by a foreign monarch, George III allowed Hill to use it.
 Cf. M. C. Barbieri, La pagina e la scena. L’attore inglese nella trattatistica del ‘700, Firenze, Le Lettere, 2006, p. 226.
 Cf. ibid., pp. 226-227.
 The London Stage 1660-1800, Part III (1729-1747), ed. by A. H. Scouten, 2 vols., Carbondale, Southern Illinois University Press, 1961, II, p. 975.
 Cf. G. S. Rousseau, The Letters and Papers of Sir John Hill 1714-1775, p. xxviii.
 In the cast list we find: ‘Othello=a Gentleman: (Foote); Lodovico=Gentleman: (Hill) being their first appearance on the stage; Iago=Macklin’ (John Genest, Some Account of the English Stage, from the Restoration in 1660 to 1830, 10 vols., Bath, H. E. Carrington, 1832, IV, p. 76).
 Charles Macklin (ca. 1699-1797) founded various schools of acting, not
only as a cover for outlawed theatrical activity following the strictures of
the Stage Licensing Act of 1737, but also out of a genuine interest in training
actors. In 1743 for example, when the actors at Drury Lane went on strike in
protest against the impresario Charles Fleetwood and Macklin was excluded from
the theatre, he ‘collected together a company of unfledged performers, and
undertook to instruct them in the science of acting’ (John Genest, Some Account of the English Stage, IV,
p. 76). For further details see W. W. Appleton, Charles Macklin: An Actor’s Life, Cambridge, Harvard University
Press; London, Oxford University Press,
 Hill refers to this in the first edition of 1750 (The Actor: A Treatise on the Art of Playing, I, Book I, Reflection I, pp. 73-74) and more briefly in the 1755 edition (The Actor: Or, A Treatise on the Art of Playing, London, R. Griffiths, 1755, chap. IX, pp. 156-157).
 Henry Woodward (1717-1777).
Engaged by John Rich, he made his début at
 In his column
Hill gave a sarcastic account of the incident that occurred during a
performance of Harlequin Ranger, a
 Henry Woodward, A Letter from Henry Woodward, Comedian, The Meanest of all Characters; to Dr. John Hill, Inspector-General of Great-Britain, the Greatest of all Characters, London, M. Cooper, 1752, p. 4.
 According to The Thespian Dictionary, Hill played the role of Oroonoko at the Little Theatre in the Haymarket. It has not been possible, however, to corroborate this with any more specific reference to Hill, or indeed the play in question or the exact date of the performance.
 Henry Woodward, A Letter from Henry Woodward, pp. 4-5.
 According to
Woodward, Hill played the role of Lothario ‘at the celebrated Theatre of May Fair’, with Dagger Marr in the role
 Probably in the adaptation by Theophilus Cibber staged on 11 September 1744 at the Little Theatre in the Haymarket. The cast list is incomplete and contains no reference to Hill.
 Henry Woodward, A Letter from Henry Woodward, p. 6. It has not been possible to find any other evidence to corroborate Woodward’s affirmations.
 Ibid., pp. 21-22.
 Arthur Murphy
(1727-1805), Irish playwright, was also actor, journalist, theatre critic,
impresario and lawyer. He made his acting début in 1754, as Othello at
Spouter, or The Triple Revenge,
 This was probably
due to the overly personal and vulgar contents of the farce. It does not even
feature in The Works of Arthur Murphy
 Having come in for Hill’s satire in his column The Inspector, Murphy had already launched an attack on him in The Gray’s Inn Journal and various pamphlets.
 Pistol is the
actor who is jealous of others’ success. Cibber had contested the monopoly of
the licensed theatres by publishing An
Epistle from Mr. Theophilus Cibber to David Garrick, Esq. (1755) and Dissertations on Theatrical Subjects
(1756), in which he launched a severe personal and professional attack on
Garrick, then manager of
 Dapperwit is the
author who plagiarises the works of others. Murphy chose to present Foote in
this light because in 1753 the playwright had put on a farce called The Englishman in Paris, and he intended
to bring out a sequel. He had informed Foote, who however preceded him, having
his own version, The Englishman return’d
 John Genest gives a detailed résumé of the text (cf. John Genest, Some Account of the English Stage, IV, pp. 459-461).
 John Rich (1692-1761), actor and impresario, known as “the father of
English pantomime”. In 1714, on the death of his father Christopher, he took
over the direction of
 Published in 1739, it went into a second edition in 1740.
 The long diatribe between Hill and Rich, which began with the announcement of the performance of Orpheus and Eurydice, came to a head with the publication of An Answer to the Lyes Advanced by Mr. J. Rich, Harlequin, and contain’d in a Pamphlet, which he vainly and foolishly calls, An Answer to Mr. Hill’s Preface to Orpheus – in which Hill accused Rich of copying much if not all of his manuscript – and Mr. Rich’s Answer to the many Falsities and Calumnies Advanced by Mr. John Hill, Apothecary, and contained in the Preface to Orpheus, An English Opera, as he calls it, Publish’d on Wednesday the 26th of December last – where Rich argued the two works’ complete extraneousness. Orpheus and Eurydice, put on in 1740 with Hippisley as Drudge, Rich as Harlequin and Giuseppe Grimaldi as Pantaloon, was revived by Rich in 1747 and 1755, and in the latter case received thirty-one consecutive performances.
This performance took place on 24 April 1756 at
 Cf. G. S. Rousseau, The Letters and Papers of Sir John Hill 1714-1775, Letter 86, ‘To David Garrick’, pp. 94-95.
 Cf. ibid., Letter 89, ‘To David Garrick’, pp. 97-98; Letter 91, ‘David Garrick to John Hill’, pp. 99-100.
 Ibid., Letter 99, ‘To David Garrick’, p. 106, note 1.
immediately retorted: ‘If it’s true, as you say, I have injur’d a letter, /I’ll
change my note soon, and I hope for the better./May the just rights of letters
as well as of men/Hereafter be fix’d by the tongue and the pen;/Most devoutly I
wish, they may both have their due,/And that I may be never mistaken for YOU’.
I quote from English Theatrical
 Both citations are given in G. S. Rousseau, ‘John Hill, Universal Genius Manqué: Remarks on His Life and Times, with a Checklist of His Works’, in The Renaissance Man in the Eighteenth Century, ed. by J. A. Leo Lemay and G. S. Rousseau, Los Angeles, William Andrews Clark Memorial Library, 1978, p. 56.
 G. S. Rousseau, The Letters and Papers of Sir John Hill 1714-1775, Letter 100, ‘David Garrick to John Hawkesworth’, p. 107.
 For Garrick’s reply see ibid., Letter 95, ‘David Garrick to Arthur Murphy’, pp. 103-104.
 Cf. G. S. Rousseau, ‘John Hill, Universal Genius Manqué’, p. 56. Regrettably Rousseau does not specify where Murphy expressed these opinions which, concerning The Actor, could have constituted proof for the attribution of this text to Hill.
 In London Hill was able to meet some of the most eminent British scientists and members of the Royal Society: Sir Hans Sloane, Martin Folkes, Henry Baker, William Watson, James Parsons, Emanuel Mendes da Costa. He corresponded with John Bartram, Peter Collinson, Jean-Baptiste de Secondat, Johannes Gessner, Albrecht von Haller, Carl Linnæus, Richard Pulteney. He also knew the leading exponents of the literary and theatrical world of the period, including James Boswell, Henry Fielding, Samuel Johnson, Samuel Richardson, Tobias Smollett, Laurence Sterne, David Garrick, Charles Macklin, John Rich. Hill’s correspondence, published by George S. Rousseau (The Letters and Papers of Sir John Hill 1714-1775), provides interesting information on some of these contacts.
 Hogarth’s prints of Beer Street and Gin Lane were published in support of a campaign in favour of legislation for controlling the consumption of gin (Gin Act, 1751). Also in 1751 Henry Fielding published An Enquiry into the Causes of the late Increase of Robbers, where the increase in criminality was imputed to the abuse of gin.
 Isaac Disraeli, The Calamities and Quarrels of Authors,
Sir Hans Sloane (1660-1753), Irish medic and naturalist. On his death he left
to the nation a library containing 50,000 volumes, an immense herbarium and a
splendid art collection, on
condition that Parliament pay £20,000 to his executors. This legacy, initially
acquired by the
 Cf. Isaac Disraeli, The Calamities and Quarrels of Authors, p. 373.
 Cf. G. S. Rousseau, The Letters and Papers of Sir John Hill, p. xxxi.
 David Erskine Baker, Isaac Reed, Stephen Jones, Biographia Dramatica, I, part I, p. 344.
 Tobias Smollett
(1721-1771), Irish medic and author. After graduating in medicine he moved to
 Hill’s text was published anonymously – “By an Impartial Hand” – on 8 February 1751. On 25 February The Adventures of Peregrine Pickle came out, which included some chapters entitled The Memoirs of a Lady of Quality, quite probably the work of Frances Anne Hawes (1713-1788), wife of Lord William, second Viscount Vane. Shortly after its publication an anonymous pamphlet, probably by Hill, began to circulate, A Parallel between the Characters of Lady Frail, and the Lady of Quality in Peregrine Pickle, comparing the two novels. Moreover Hill set out his own version of the facts in Observations on the Memoirs of the Lady of Quality in Peregrine Pickle, on the History of Lady Frail, and on the Parallel between those two Characters, published in The Inspector (no. 8). A report of these events, from January to April 1751, is contained in W. Scott, ‘Smollett, Dr. John Hill, and the Failure of “Peregrine Pickle”’, Notes and Queries, 200 (September, 1955), 389-392.
 Christopher Smart (1722-1771) directed and collaborated with various journals, wrote songs, farces and miscellaneous texts for the theatre, and a series of translations of the works of Horace. His published works include Poems on Several Occasions (1752), A Song to David (1763) and Jubilate Agno (the fragments of this work, composed between 1759 and 1763, were first published in 1939 and in a definitive edition in 1954).
 Hill’s invective
in The Impertinent was aimed not just at Christopher Smart, whose Poems on Several Occasions he ridiculed,
but also at Henry Fielding. In The Covent
Garden Journal the novelist and magistrate had sided with one Mr. Brown
who, having been defamed by The Inspector, had taken the law into his own hands
and assaulted Hill in Ranelagh gardens. On the controversy between Hill and
Fielding, which also involved Smart, see L. Bertelsen, ‘“Neutral Nonsense, neither False nor
True”: Christopher Smart and the Paper War(s) of 1752-
 Christopher Smart, The Hilliad: An Epic Poem, in The Poems, of the Late Christopher Smart, 2 vols.,
 Ibid., pp. 176-177.
 Ibid., p. 178.
 Ibid., p. 189.
 Ibid., pp.
201-203. Hill’s reply to Smart’s invective came in The Smartiad, a Satire. Occasioned by an Epic Poem, intitled The Hilliad (
 On 1 January 1753, the young servant Elizabeth Canning disappeared while returning home after spending an
evening with relatives. About a month later she turned up at her mother’s house
saying she had been abducted by two men who had robbed her and stunned her with
a blow to the head. On regaining consciousness she found herself in a room with
two women. The elder of the two tried to persuade her to become a prostitute.
She managed to escape almost a month later. Susannah Wells was apprehended as the landlady of the place where she had
been sequestered, and
 The term “Egyptian” was commonly used for members of nomad groups, and gives us the word “gipsy”.
 Henry Fielding, A
 Hill also proclaimed his opinion on the Canning case in The Inspector (no. 186, 7 June 1754).
 Frederick Lawrence, The Life of Henry Fielding; With Notices of
His Writings, His Times, and His Contemporaries, London, Arthur Hall,
Virtue, & Co., 1855, pp. 303-
 The ‘paper-war’ pitting Fielding against Hill, the former writing in The Covent Garden Journal and the latter in The London Daily Advertiser and Literary Gazette, also involved other exponents of the literary world. For an account of this literary dispute see Frederick Lawrence, The Life of Henry Fielding, pp. 305-308. For further details see: B. Rizzo, ‘Notes on the War between Henry Fielding and John Hill, 1752–53’, Library, ser. 6, 7, no. 4 (December, 1985), 338-353; B. A. Goldgar, ‘Fielding’s Periodical Journalism’, in The Cambridge Companion to Henry Fielding, ed. by C. Rawson, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2007, pp. 94-108.
 The Gray’s Inn Journal, no. 6 (25 November 1752), in The Works of Arthur Murphy, V, p. 56. Murphy also dedicated a satirical poem to Hill, published under the pseudonym Quinbus Flestrin and entitled Doctor Bobadil’s Monody; Occasioned by an Unhappy Accident he met with at Ranelagh Last Summer; With a Preface and Notes Variorum (1752). Another version of this text bears the title The Inspector’s Rhapsody or Soliloquy, on the Loss of his Wigg, in a Scuffle with some Irish Gentlemen at Ranelagh (1752).
 Charles Churchill
(1731-1764), poet. Following ordination in 1756 he succeeded his father as
Churchill, The Rosciad,
 Cuthbert Shaw
(1738/1739-1771), poet. Born in Yorkshire, he soon moved to
 Cuthbert Shaw, The Race. By Mercurius Spur, Esq. With Notes
by Faustinus Scriblerus, in The Poetical
Works of Cuthbert Shaw. Collated with
the best editions: by Thomas Park, ESQ. F.S.A.,
 William Kenrick (1725?-1779), journalist, playwright and translator. From 1759 to 1769 he collaborated with The Monthly Review and from 1768 with The Gentleman’s Journal. In 1775 he founded The London Review of English and Foreign Literature. He wrote several plays and compiled a Dictionary of the English Language (1773). In 1765 he published the pamphlet A Review of Dr Johnson’s New Edition of Shakespeare; In which the Ignorance, or Inattention, of that Editor is exposed, and the Poet defended from the Persecution of his Commentators. Among his poems we can recall: The Pasquinade (1753), Epistles Philosophical and Moral (1759), Poems; Ludicrous, Satirical, and Moral (1768).
 Cf. William
Kenrick, The Pasquinade. With Notes
 James Boswell, The Life of Samuel Johnson, 4 vols.,
 G. S. Rousseau, ‘John Hill, Universal Genius Manqué’, p. 89.
 See: A. D. Morris, ‘“Sir” John Hill, M. A., M. D., (1706-1775): Apothecary, Botanist, Playwright, Actor, Novelist, Journalist’; G. S. Rousseau, ‘John Hill, Universal Genius Manqué’; G. S. Rousseau, The Letters and Papers of Sir John Hill 1714-1775.
 G. S. Rousseau, ‘John Hill, Universal Genius Manqué’, pp. 91-92.
 The fascicule of October 1745
included the ‘Préface’, while that of November 1745 included the
‘Introduction’, the first section of Part I – ‘Des principaux avantages
que les Comédiens doivent tenir de
 First edition: Le Comédien. Ouvrage divisé en deux parties. Par M. Rémond de Sainte Albine, Paris, Desaint & Saillant et Vincent fils, 1747. Now in S. Chaouche (ed.), Sept traités sur le jeu du comédien et autres textes. De l’action oratoire à l’art dramatique (1657-1750), Paris, H. Champion, 2001, pp. 541-669. Second edition: Le Comédien. Ouvrage divisé en deux parties. Par M. Rémond de Sainte Albine. Nouvelle édition, Augmentée et corrigée, Paris, Vincent Fils, 1749. This second edition, including the corrections indicated in the errata corrige of the first edition, presented an Avertissement de l’Auteur sur cette seconde Édition and three extra chapters – XIX, XX, XXI – at the end of Part II. Various changes had also been made to the conclusion in chapter XXII.
 Garrick ou les Acteurs Anglois; Ouvrage contenant des
Observations sur l’Art Dramatique, sur l’Art de
 Friedrich Melchior Grimm, Denis Diderot, Guillame-Thomas-François Raynal, Jacques-Henri Meister (eds.), Correspondance littéraire, philosophique et critique, par Grimm, Diderot, Raynal, Meister etc. (Paris, Garnier Frères, 1877-1882), 16 vols., Nendeln, Liechtenstein, Klaus Reprint, 1968, VIII, pp. 134-141 and pp. 149-158. Diderot’s article appeared in the Correspondance littéraire in two parts, respectively 15 October and 1 November 1770.
 Denis Diderot, Paradoxe sur le comédien, in Œuvres Complètes de Diderot (Paris, Garnier Frères, 1875-1877), 20 vols., Nendeln, Liechtenstein, Kraus Reprint, 1966, VIII, p. 358.
 The first scholar
to reconstruct this itinerary was William Archer in Mask or Faces? A Study in the Psychology of Acting,
 Cf. M. C. Barbieri, La pagina e la scena. L’attore inglese nella trattatistica del ‘700, p. 219.
 Cf. ibid., pp. 220-221.
 From The Public Advertiser, 30 October 1753.
 We learn of both intermediate editions in English Theatrical Literature 1559-1900 (p. 74). Since they had not been able to see the texts, the editors refer, for the 1753 edition, to George W. Stone (The London Stage 1660-1800, Part IV, 1747-1776, p. 387). Stone had taken the information on the 1753 edition from The Public Advertiser, a daily which published theatrical playbills and gave general information on important events such as the publication of works on the theatre. For the 1752 edition, contrary to what Barbieri maintains (see M. C. Barbieri, La pagina e la scena. L’attore inglese nella trattatistica del ‘700, p. 221, note 6), the editors do not refer to Robert William Lowe, which in fact contains no reference to the intermediate editions (see A Bibliographical Account of English Theatrical Literature from the Earliest Times to the Present Day, London, J. C. Nimmo, 1888).
 Cf. M. C. Barbieri, La pagina e la scena. L’attore inglese nella trattatistica del ‘700, pp. 221-222.
 These questions are raised by M. C. Barbieri in ibid., p. 222.
 It is not possible to say with certainty whether the fact of homonymy played any role in the attribution. The question is raised by M. C. Barbieri in ibid.
 George Clement
Boase, William Prideaux Courtney, Bibliotheca
Catalogue of the Writings, both Manuscript and Printed, of Cornishmen, and of Works
relating to the County of Cornwall, with Biographical Memoranda and copious
Literary References, London, Longmans and others, 1874-1882, I, p. 153
(the information between square brackets is by
Boase and Courtney). In the catalogue the treatise appears under ‘Samuel Foote’
and is mentioned as a text including references to the playwright: ‘Note. –
Account of S. Foote, pp. 156, 166,
 S. Halkett, J.
Laing (eds.), Dictionary of Anonymous and
Pseudonymous English Literature, New
and enlarged edition by James Kennedy, W. A. Smith and A. F. Johnson,
Edinburgh and London, Oliver and Boyd, 1926-1962, I, p. 24. The Dictionary dates from 1882-1888 (A Dictionary of the Anonymous and
Pseudonymous Literature of
 Cf. J. Chouillet, ‘Une
source anglaise du Paradoxe sur le comédien’, Dix-huitième siècle – Revue
annuelle publiée par
 Aaron Hill, The Actor; or, Guide to the Stage;
exemplifying the whole Art of Acting: in which the Dramatic Passions are
defined, analyzed, and made easy of Acquirement. The whole interspersed with
Select and Striking Examples from the most popular Modern Pieces,
 Aaron Hill, The Works of the Late Aaron Hill, Esq. Consisting of Letters on Various Subjects, and of Original Poems, Moral and Facetious, With an Essay on the Art of Acting, 4 vols., London, Printed for the Benefit of the Family, 1753.
 Cf. M. C. Barbieri, La pagina e la scena. L’attore inglese nella trattatistica del ‘700, p. 223.
 ‘The book has generally been attributed to Aaron Hill, the adaptator of Voltaire’s Zaïre, Alzire, and Mérope’. William Archer, Masks or Faces? A Study in the Psychology of Acting, p. 16.
 P. Alatri, Introduction to Paradosso sull’attore, by Denis Diderot, pp. 9-10. Alatri states that in Garrick ou les Acteurs Anglois Michele Sticotti translated not the first but the second edition of The Actor, the latter being ‘the work of an anonymous author’ (p. 10).
 The French scholar refers to The Art of Acting (1746).
 ‘Aucun renseignement ne
permet de répondre à cette question
 John Hill, The Actor: Or, A Treatise on the Art of
Playing. A New Work, Written by the Author of the former, and Adapted to the
 ‘qu’il rééditait un ouvrage de cet écrivain’. J. Chouillet, ‘Une source anglaise du Paradoxe sur le comédien’, p. 219.
 William Lowe reported Lowndes’s statement concerning The Actor – ‘A very sensible performance, written by Aaron Hill’ (William Thomas Lowndes, The Bibliographer’s Manual of English Literature, London, New York, Bell and Daldy, Scribner, Welford, & Co. 1869, I, p. 7, reprint of the London edition by Henry G. Bohn, 1857-1864) – and expressed the same opinion: ‘as Aaron Hill died February 8, 1749-50, and, as the 2nd vol. of “The actor” treats of theatrical incidents after that date, this must be an error’ (Robert William Lowe, A Bibliographical Account of English Theatrical Literature, p. 2).
 William Archer, Masks or Faces? A Study in the Psychology of Acting, pp. 15-17.
 The Actor (1750), II, chap. IX, p. 226.
 See Aaron Hill, To Mr. Mallet (April 20, 1744), in The Works of the Late Aaron Hill, Esq., II, Original Letters, pp. 34-36.
 See Aaron Hill, To Mr. Mallet (April 20, 1744); To Mr. Garrick (June 30, 1746); To Mr. Garrick (October 13, 1746), in ibid., II, Original Letters, p. 35, p. 245 and p. 264.
 Aaron Hill, Merope. A Tragedy. Acted at the Theatre-Royal in Drury Lane, By His
 The Actor (1750), I, Book I, chap. II, p. 21.
 Aaron Hill, To Mr. Garrick. On his united Ideas of Actor and Writer, in The Works of the Late Aaron Hill, Esq., IV, Original Poems, p. 92.
 Cf. M. C. Barbieri, La pagina e la scena. L’attore inglese nella trattatistica del ‘700, p. 225.
 Aaron Hill, To Mr. Mallett (September 29, 1748), in The Works of the Late Aaron Hill, II, Original Letters, p. 347.
 Edwin Duerr, who has made a comparative study of Le Comédien and The Actor, ascribed the latter to John Hill, but erroneously attributed the last three chapters to him as an original elaboration (cf. E. Duerr, The Length and Depth of Acting, New York, Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1962, p. 242). In actual fact they were added by Rémond de Sainte-Albine to his 1749 edition.
 ‘This Day is publish’d, Price 3s. In One Volume. Twelves. Dedicated to the
Managers of the British Theatres. THE ACTOR: A Treatise on the Art of
Playing, Interspersed with theatrical Anecdotes, critical Remarks on Plays, and
Occasional Observations on Audiences. Printed for R. Griffiths, at the Dunciad
 J. Boswell, On the Profession of a Player. Three Essays
by James Boswell. Now first reprinted from The
 It is likely that Hill was the author of many more articles than he has been credited with to date. It has not, however, been possible to determine exactly which, since from 1748 onwards, already a target for detractors, Hill chose to conceal his identity under pseudonyms. Nor can one say with certainty how many collaborators worked for the paper in the early years of its existence; there is no doubt that from 1748 several authors collaborated.
 The Inspector, 2 vols., London, R. Griffiths, J. Whiston and B. White, S. Baker,
W. Shropshire, L. Davis, J. Ward,
 Dedication to the Managers of the Two
Theatres, in The Actor (1750).
The “Managers of the Two Theatres” refers in all probability to David Garrick
and John Rich, respectively managers of
 The Actor (1750), I, Book I, chap. II, p. 15. Rémond de Sainte-Albine: ‘cire molle, qui sous les doits d’un savant Artiste devient alternativement une Medée ou une Sapho’ (Le Comédien, 1749, I, Book I, chap. II, p. 32).
 Le Comédien (1749), I, Book I, chap. I, p. 21.
 The Actor (1750), I, Book I, chap. I, p. 4.
 Ibid., I, Book I, chap. III, p. 28. The expression ‘Promethean heat’ may come from Shakespeare’s Othello: ‘I know not where is that Promethean heat/That can thy light relumine’ (V, 2, 12-13).
 Ibid., I, Book I, chap. IV, p. 63. Rémond de Sainte-Albine: ‘un juste accord entre toutes les parties, dont son extérieur est composé’ (Le Comédien, 1749, I, Book I, chap. IV, p. 61).
 Ibid., I, Book II, sect. I, chap. I, p. 89; chap. II, p. 98. ‘Gaieté’ and ‘hauteur de sentimens’ in Rémond de Sainte-Albine (Le Comédien, 1749, I, Book II, sect. I, chap. I, p. 79; chap. II, p. 88).
 E. R. Wasserman, ‘The Sympathetic Imagination in Eighteenth-Century Theories of Acting’, The Journal of English and Germanic Philology, 46, no. 3 (July, 1947), p. 268, note 22.
 The Actor (1750), I, Book II, sect. II, chap. I, p. 128. Respectively ‘une voix légere et flexible’ and ‘forte, majestueuse et pathétique’ (Le Comédien, 1749, I, Book II, sect. II, chap. I, p. 111).
 Ibid., p. 130. Rémond de Sainte-Albine: ‘La voix d’un Comique doit être noble, s’il joue le rôle d’un homme de condition: elle doit être interressante, s’il joue le rôle d’un Amant […] il est nécessaire que celle des Amantes soit enchanteresse’ (Le Comédien, 1749, I, Book II, sect. II, chap. I, pp. 114-115).
 Ibid., II, chap. I, p. 156. Respectively ‘le concours des apparences, qui peuvent servir à tromper les Spectateurs’, ‘le jeu des Acteurs’, ‘[le] travestissement qu’il emprunte’, ‘la décoration de l’endroit où il joue’ (Le Comédien, 1749, II, chap. I, p. 135).
 The latter concept is expressed in chapter XIII of Part II: Of the Finesses in playing, which peculiarly belong to Tragedy (Des finesses qui appartiennent au Tragique).
 The Actor (1750), II, chap. VI, p. 195. Rémond de Sainte-Albine: ‘le débit pompeux est admis, et même nécessaire’ (Le Comédien, 1749, II, chap. VI, p. 168).
 ‘préparer et de graduer les grands mouvemens, et de nuer les passages de l’un à l’autre’ (Le Comédien, 1749, II, chap. X, p. 197).
 The Actor (1750), II, chap. XVI, p. 284. Rémond de Sainte-Albine: ‘dépendant de [l’action de l’Acteur], ont besoin d’être vûes’ (Le Comédien, 1749, II, chap. XVI, p. 283).
 Ibid., pp. 286-287. Rémond de Sainte-Albine: ‘se concerter tellement, qu’il régne dans le rapport de leurs positions et de leurs mouvemens toute la précision nécessaire’ (Le Comédien, 1749, II, chap. XVI, pp. 286-287).
 Ibid., II, chap. XVII, p. 298.
 Ibid., II, chap. XVIII, p. 301. Rémond de Sainte-Albine: ‘rendre la nature élegante jusques dans ses défauts’ (Le Comédien, 1749, II, chap. XVIII, p. 296).
 Ibid., p. 307.
Ibid., II, chap. XIX, p. 314. Rémond de Sainte-Albine: ‘la marche dans
 ‘English draws a
fairly clear distinction between sensibility
 Le Comédien, 1749, I, Book II, sect. II, chap. IV, pp. 129-130.
 The Actor (1750), I, Book II, sect. II, chap. IV, pp. 150-151.
 Le Comédien, 1749, I, Book I, chap. I, p. 21. Hill: ‘nice discernment to perceive the affinities of things, and the dependances of the incidents on one another’ (The Actor, 1750, I, Book I, chap. I, p. 4).
 The number of pages given for each text includes the indexes.
 William Archer, Masks or Faces? A Study in the Psychology of Acting, pp. 16-17.
 In reality the treatise comprises 31 chapters in all, with the seventh missing, probably for a printer’s error.
 The Introduction. Containing certain general observations, in The Actor (1755), p. 2.
 Ibid., p. 1.
 In the 1755 edition this chapter replaces the brief section which, in the 1750 version, introduced the first part of the treatise (Of the principal Advantages which a Player ought to have from Nature).
 The Actor (1755), chap. I, p. 12.
 According to Joseph R. Roach and Maria Chiara Barbieri, the scientific approach taken by Hill in his treatment of acting is clearly linked to his own biography: a man of multifarious interests, John Hill was first and foremost a scientist (see J. R. Roach, The Player’s Passion, pp. 100-101; M. C. Barbieri, La pagina e la scena. L’attore inglese nella trattatistica del ‘700, p. 228).
 The Actor (1755), chap. I, p. 5.
 Ibid., pp. 5-7.
 Ibid., p. 12.
 In the 1750 version this topic occupied the Chapter I of Book I (Can an Actor excell in his Profession, without a good Understanding?).
 The Actor (1755), chap. II, pp. 30-31.
 Specifically the Chapter II of Book I, entitled Of Sensibility. Whether this Quality of the Heart be more important to the Performers in Tragedy, or in Comedy?.
 The Actor (1755), chap. III, p. 48.
 Ibid., pp. 54-55.
 Ibid., chap. IV, p. 78.
 Ibid., chap. V, p. 95.
 Ibid., pp. 98-99.
 Ibid., chap. III, p. 56.
 Ibid., chap. III, p. 57.
 P. Goring, The Rhetoric of Sensibility in
 In the 1750 version the chapter corresponds to the Chapter III of Book I (Whether an Actor can have too much Fire?).
 The Actor (1755), chap. VI, pp. 110-111. Hill’s description can be compared with that given in Plato’s Ion, in which the modes of poetic creation and acting are assimilated to the state of trance, or divine inspiration, of the priests and priestesses in ancient temples when they uttered the divine oracles (cf. C. Vicentini, ‘Theory of Acting I. Acting Theory in the Ancient World’, Acting Archives Essays. Acting Archives Review, Supplement 1, April 2011).
 As we have already said, chapter VII is missing, probably through a printer’s error. Chapter VIII corresponds, in the 1750 version, to Chapter IV in Book I, entitled Whether it wou’d be to the Advantage of all Players to be of a distinguished Figure?.
 The Actor (1755), chap. VIII, pp. 138-139.
 The two chapters correspond to the Reflections – Reflection I. Those Actors who appear in subordinate Characters can no more succeed without a good Understanding, Sensibility, and Fire; than those who play the principal Parts’; ‘Reflection II. Tho’ Persons are happy in the principal Advantages which are required in theatrical Performers, ought they not in general, after a certain Age, to quit the Stage? – which ended Book I of the 1750 edition.
 In the 1750 edition these topics were dealt with in the Introduction to Book II (Of the Advantages in which it is requisite that those Players, who play the capital Parts, shou’d be superior to those who perform the subordinate Characters) and the first two chapters of the first section of Book II (Chapter I: A gaiety of Temper is absolutely necessary to the Players in Comedy, whose Business it is to make us laugh; Chapter II: No Man who has not naturally an elevated Soul, will ever perform well the Part of a Heroe upon the Stage).
 The title of the chapter in question (the third of the first section of Book II) makes the difference in content explicit: As all Players have occasion for the great Quality of Sensibility; those in a particular manner who propose to themselves to succeed in drawing Tears from us, have more Necessity than any others, for that peculiar kind of it, which we sometimes express by the Word Tenderness, tho’ more strongly by the appropriated Term Feeling.
 Chapter IV: Players who are naturally amorous, are the only ones who shou’d perform the Parts of Lovers upon the Stage; Chapter V: Which is a corollary to the foregoing Chapter.
 The Actor (1755), chap. XII, p. 176. On this resemblance we read: ‘it is well known that his excellence in representing the fops, induced many to imagine him as great a coxcomb in real life as he appear’d to be on the stage, so, he informs us, that from the delight he seem’d to take in performing the villainous characters in tragedy, half his auditors were persuaded that a great share of the wickedness of them must have been in his own nature’ (Life of Colley Cibber, Esq., in The Dramatic Works of Colley Cibber, Esq., 5 vols., London, J. Rivington and Sons, C. Bathurst, T. Longman, T. Lowndes, T. Caslon, W. Nicoll, and S. Bladon, 1777, I, p. 11).
 In the 1750 edition these topics were developed respectively in the first two chapters of the second section of Book II (Chapter I: That Sort of Voice which may be very adequate to certain Characters, may be by no means sufficient for the Actor, in Parts by which we are to be peculiarly moved and affected; Chapter II: An Audience expects to find in the Person who acts the Part of a Lover, in Comedy, an amiable figure; and in him who acts the Part of a Hero in Tragedy, a majestic and striking one).
 The two chapters correspond, in the 1750 version, to Chapters III and IV of the second section of Book II (Chapter III: Of the real or apparent conformity there ought to be between the age of the actor, and that of the person represented; Chapter IV: Of the Characters of Footmen and Chambermaids on the Stage).
 The Actor (1755), chap. XX, p. 223.
 This topic occupied the Chapter I of Part II of the 1750 treatise (In what the Truth of a Representation on the Stage consists).
 In the 1750 edition this topic was developed in Chapters II and III of the second part, entitled On the Truth of Action on the Stage and Observations on the two principal Things essential to the Truth of Action.
 The topics developed in Chapter XXIII of the 1755 edition occupied respectively Chapters IV (On the Truth of Recitation) and V (What ought to be the Manner of Recitation in Comedy) of the second part of the 1750 treatise.
 For a printer’s error this chapter appears as XXVI.
 These topics occupied respectively Chapters VIII and IX of the second part of the 1750 treatise (Chapter VIII: Of the Care that ought to be taken perfectly to implant the Parts of a Play in the Actor’s Memory, in order to its being play’d with Truth; Chapter IX: Containing a Digression concerning certain Articles, which in themselves are foreign to theatrical Representation; yet without which the Truth of acting is never to be arrived at). Chapter X was suppressed (In which some important Rules are added to the Principles before establish’d, of the Truth of Action and Recitation).
 The Actor (1750), II, chap. XI, Observation III, p. 245.
 Chapters XII, XIII and XIV in the second part, entitled respectively Of the Finesses in the Art of Playing in general, Of the Finesses in playing, which peculiarly belong to Tragedy and Of the Finesses in playing, peculiar to Comedy.
 The Actor (1755), chap. XXX, p. 275. The two chapters correspond to XV (Rules which ought to be observ’d in the use of Finesses) and XVI (Of Bye-play, or what are called Stage-Tricks) in the second part of the 1750 treatise.
 Corresponding, in the 1750 version, to Chapter XVII of Part II (Of Variety in Playing).
 This topic occupied Chapter XVIII (Of graces in Playing) of the second part of the 1750 version.
 J. R. Roach, The Player’s Passion, p. 101.