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WSG to The Era, Dec. 3, 1887 (Issue 2567), p. 10


To the Editor of The Era.

Sir, – Some days since I received a letter from Messrs. James and Thorne asking permission to place my name upon the list of the committee formed to organise a testimonial benefit to Mr. C. Warner.  Now, rightly or wrongly, I hold very distinct views about benefits.  I believe that, properly applied, they are a valuable means of raising a substantial sum of money for a distressed actor or actress, and I have never yet refused to subscribe towards such an object, and I hope I never may.  But when a benefit is organised to place a large sum of money into the pockets of an actor who (if I am rightly informed) has been for many years in the uninterrupted receipt of a very large salary, then, as it appears to me, the benefit is quite out of place, and its efficacy for what I conceive to be its legitimate purpose is seriously weakened.  I may be entirely wrong in entertaining these views, but, be that as it may, I do entertain them, and I expressed them at some length to Messrs. James and Thorne as my reasons for declining to allow my name to be placed upon the committee.  I was, therefore, not a little astonished at receiving a programme of the proposed entertainment in which my name figured as a committee member.

  Your obedient servant,
    W. S. GILBERT.
London, Dec. 1st, 1887.

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