Primary Resource

"To the Citizens of Richmond," Richmond Enquirer (December 31, 1811)

In an open letter published in the Richmond Enquirer on December 31, 1811, members of the Placide and Green Company seek the city's "mercy" and "forgiveness" after the Richmond Theatre fire. The blaze killed more than seventy people on December 26.

Transcription from Original

To the Citizens of Richmond;

In the sincerity of afflicted minds, & deeply wounded hearts, permit us to express the anguish which we feel for the late dreadful calamity, of which we can not but consider ourselves the innocent cause. From a liberal and enlightened community we fear no reproaches, but we are conscious that many have too much cause to wish they had never known us. To their mercy we appeal for forgiveness, not for a crime committed, but for one which could not be prevented. Our own loss cannot be estimated but by ourselves—'tis true (with one exception) we have not to lament the loss of life—but we have lost our friends, our patrons, our property, and in part, our homes. Nor is this all our loss—In this miserable calamity we find a sentence of banishment from your hospitable city. No more do we expect to feel that glow of pleasure which pervades a grateful heart, while it receives favours liberally bestowed. Never again shall we behold that feminine humanity which so eagerly displayed itself to sooth the victim of disease, and view with exultation the benevolent who fostered the fatherless, and shed a ray of comfort on the departed soul of a dying mother. Here then we cease—the eloquence of Grief, is Silence.

James Rose,

Hopkins Robertson,

Chas. Young,

Charles Durang,

William Twaite,

William Anderson,

Thomas Burke,

A. Placide,

J. W. Green,

Wm. Clark