Volltext: A history of caricature and grotesque in literature and art

and Art. 
In the midft of this abufe, there fuddenly appeared a book which 
created at the time a great fenfation. The comedies of the latter half of 
the feventeenth century were not only indecent, but they were tilled 
with profane language, and contained fcenes in which religion itfelf was 
treated with contempt. At that time there lived a divine of the Church 
of England, celebrated for his Jacobitifm-for I am now fpeaking of the 
reign of king William-for his talents as a controverfial writer, and for 
his zeal in any caufe which he undertook. This was Jeremy Collier, the 
author of feveral books of fome merit, which are feldom read now, and 
who fuffered for his zeal in the caufe of king James, and for his refufal to 
take the oath of allegiance to king William. In the year 1698 Collier 
publifhed his " Short View of the Immorality and Profanenefs of the 
Englilh Rage," in which he boldly attacked the licentioufnefs of the 
Englifh comedy. Perhaps Collier's zeal carried him a little too far; but 
he had offended the wits, and efpecially the dramatic poets, on all fides, 
and he was expofed to attacks from all quarters, in which Dryden himfelf 
took an active part. Collier fhowed himfelf fully capable of dealing with 
his opponents, and the controverfy had the eifetft of calling attention to 
the immoralities of the Itage, and certainly contributed much towards 
reforming them. They were become much lefs frequent and lets grofs at 
the opening of the eighteenth century. 
Towards the end of the reign of king Charles II., the {tage was more 
largely employed as a political agent, and under his fucceffor, James II., 
the Puritans and the Wliigs were conftantly held up to fcorn. After the 
Revolution, the tables were turned, and the fatire of the Ptage was often 
aimed at Tories and Non-jurors. "The Non-juror," by Colley Cibber, 
which appeared in 1717, at a very opportune moment, gained for its 
author a penhon and the oliice of poet-laureate. It was founded upon the 
"Tartuffe " of Moliere, for the Engliih comedy writers borrowed much 
from the foreign ftage. A difguifed prieft, who paffes under the name of 
Dr. Wolf, and who had been engaged in the rebellion of I715, has in- 
finuated himfelf into the houfehold of a gentleman of fortune, of not very 
itrong judgment, Sir John Woodvil, whom, under the title of a Non-juror, 
he has not only induced to become an abettor of rebels, but he has 


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