Jeremy Collier (1650-1726)
From Anecdotes About 17th Century Authors

In his Short View of the Immorality and Profaneness of the English Stage the Reverend Jeremy Collier singled out Congreve as one of the chief offenders, and took exception to a number of passages in The Old Bachelor. To this Congreve made a rather ineffective reply, in the course of which he remarked of his first comedy: 'When I wrote it, I had little thoughts of the stage; but did it, to amuse myself, in a slow recovery from a fit of sickness.' He regretted, he said, that he had allowed himself to be drawn in to the business of playwriting — 'a difficult and thankless study' —and so to become involved 'in a perpetual war with knaves and fools'. If Congreve thought he had disposed of Collier satisfactorily, he was mistaken; for Collier had at his command the gift of witty repartee that was so much prized in the period.

'What his disease was,' Collier replied, 'I am not to inquire; but it must be a very ill one to be worse than the remedy.'

See William Congreve, Amendments of Mr. Collier's False and Imperfect Citations (1699), p. 39;
Jeremy Collier, A Defence of the Short View (1699), p. 42.

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