Brutus was first performed in New York on March 15, 1819. Brutus was Payne's first mature original play which had its initial performance at Drury Lane, where he was working. It was an immediate success and became one of the most popular tragedies of the 19th century.
John Howard Payne was born in New York City, but was raised mostly in Boston. Though at the age of 13 he began a career as a clerk in a counting house, he soon found himself wanting. He began publishing the theatrical paper, Thespian Mirror. At around this same time, he wrote his first play, "Julia; or, The Wanderer", which at the time was considered quite shocking. In 1809 he made his stage debut as Young Norval in "Douglas". Later, in 1813, he emigrated to London, where he continued to enjoy success on the stage. There, he published the periodical, Opera Glass. In 1832, he retired from acting, returned to the United States and spent his days writing plays. He is perhaps best known as being the author of the song Home Sweet Home. In 1841 he was appointed American Consul to Tunis, where he died in 1852. He is estimated to have written around 50 plays. In this collection is an original edition of his first play, "Julia; or, The Wanderer", as well as an original edition of "Brutus; or, The Fall of Tarquin".
References: Three centuries of drama.; American, 1714-1830; Three centuries of English and American plays, 1500-1830. Longworth. Stoddard # 337. Hill #222. S&S #49029. Hornblow vol. 1, p.270-271, Wegelin p.77-78, Bordman p.539. BAL 15773; American Bibliography 49029 (Inventory #: 0543)