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[225] at the close of the fifteenth century. This preference for foreign scenes, especially in Spain or Italy, remains one of the significant features of this type of play. There has been a tendency to criticize these playwrights for failing to confine themselves to national themes, which in view of the existence of Hamlet, Julius Caesar, and Othello seems beside the point. But there is nothing so satisfactory in a review of our early drama as the steady progress in romantic tragedy from The Prince of Parthia in 1767 to Francesca da Rimini in 1855.

Little criticism, indeed, may be levelled at the quantity of the plays based upon native themes, historical or contemporary. Disregarding mere pantomime, theatrical history down to 1860 records performances of nearly two hundred plays with a national background, of which some forty are available for examination. First in point of time come the Indian dramas, of which the most important are Stone's Metamora, Bird's Oralloossa, and the series of plays dealing with the Pocahontas theme. The best of these are The Indian Princess by Barker (1808), Pocahontas or the settlers of Virginia by George Washington Custis, first played in Philadelphia, 16 January, 1830, Pocahontas, by Robert Dale Owen, acted first 8 February, 1838, in New York, with-Charlotte Cushman as Rolfe, and The forest Princess, by Charlotte Barnes Conner, acted in Philadelphia, 16 February, 1848. They all emphasize the love story of Rolfe and Pocahontas and make John Smith a central character. Mrs. Conner alone takes Pocahontas to England, where she dies. Of the colonial dramas, Barker's Superstition (1824) and R. P. Smith's William Penn (1829) seem the most significant.

As was natural, the Revolution was the most appealing theme. Practically every great event from the Boston Tea Party to the Battle of Yorktown was dramatized. The treason of Arnold and Andre's capture was a favourite theme and it is to our credit that Andre usually is a heroic figure.1 Marion and Franklin were also favourites, but everyone else runs a bad second to Washington so far as the stage is concerned. One of

1 See Matthews, Brander, Int. to his reprint of Andre in Dunlap Soc. Pub., Ser. I, No. 4, 1887.

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