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And heard'st me swear, while her dear hand I prest
liness she strays,
“ Then, while the dear remembrance I behold,
I join my Angel Friend—to part no more!” To the conduct of Mr. Sheridan, during the last moments of his father, a further testimony has been kindly communicated to me by Mr. Jarvis, a medical gentleman of Margate, who attended Mr. Thomas Sheridan on that occasion, and whose interesting communication I shall here give in his own words :
“On the oth of August, 1788, I was first called on to visit Mr. Sheridan, who was then fast declining at his lodgings in this place, where he was in the care of his daughter. On the next day Mr. R. B. Sheridan arrived here from town, having brought with him Dr. Morris, of Par; liament Street. I was in the bed-room with Mr. Sheridan when the son arrived, and witnessed an interview in which the father showed himself to be strongly impressed by his son's attention, saying, with considerable emotion, 'Oh Dick, I give you a great deal of trouble!' and seeming to imply by his manner, that his son had been less to blame than himself, for any previous want of cordiality between them.
“On my making my last call for the evening , Mr. R. B. Sheridan, with delicacy, but much earnestness, expressed his fear that the nurse in attendance on his father, might not be so competent as myself to the requisite attentions, and his hope that I would consent to remain in the room for a few of the first hours of the night; as he himself, having been travelling the preceding night, required some short repose. I complied with his request, and remained at the father's bedside till relieved by the son, about three o'clock in the morning ;-he then insisted on “Sir,
taking my place. From this time he never quitted the house till his : father's death; on the day after which he wrote me a letter, now before me, of which the annexed is an exact copy :
Friday Morning “ I wished to see you this morning before I went, to thank you
for your attention and trouble. You will be so good to give the account to Mr. Thompson, who will settle it; and I must further beg your acceptance ofthe inclosed from myself.
“ I am, Sir,
“ I have explained to Dr. Morris (who has informed me that
will recommend a proper person), that it is my desire to have the hearse, and the manner of coming to town, as respectful as possible.”
". The inclosure, referred to in this letter, was a bank-note of ten pounds ,
s-a most liberal remuneration. Mr. R. B. Sheridan left Margate, intending that his father should be buried in London ; but he there ascertained that it had been his father's expressed wish, that he should be buried in the parish next to that in which he should happen to die. He then, consequently, returned to Margate, accompanied by his brother-in-law, Mr. Tickell, with whom, and Mr. Thompson and myself, he followed his father's remains to the burial-place, which was not in Margate church-yard, but in the north aisle of the church at St. Peter's."
Mr. Jarvis , the writer of the letter from which I have given this extract,
as he informs me, the intention of having a cenotaph raised, to the memory of Mr. Sheridan's father, in the church of Margate'. With this view he applied to Dr. Parr for an Inscription, and the following is the tribute to his old friend with which that learned and kind-hearted man supplied him:
“This monument, A. D. 1824, was, by subscription, erected to the memory of Thomas Sheridan, Esq., who died in the neighbouring parish of St. John, August 14, 1788, in the 69th year of his age, and, according to his own request, was there buried. He was grandson to Dr. Thomas Sheridan, the brother of Dr. William, a conscientious non-juror, who, in 1691, was deprived of the Bishopric of Kilmore. He was the son of Dr. Thomas Sheridan , a profound scholar and eminent schoolmaster, intimately connected with Dean Swift and other illustrious writers in the reign of Queen Anne. He was husband to the ingenious and amiable author of Sidney Biddulph, and several dramatic pieces favourably received. He was father of the celebrated orator and dramatist, Richard Brinsley Sheridan. He had been the school-fellow, and, through life,
Though this idea was relinquished , it appears that a friend of Mr. Jarvis, with a zeal for the memory of talent highly honourable to him , has recently caused a monument to Mr. Thomas Sheridan to be raised in the church of St. Peter.
was the companion, of the amiable Archbishop Markham. He was the friend of the learned Dr. Sumner, master of Harrow School, and the well-known Dr. Parr. He took his first academical degree in the Univer.. sity of Dublin, about 1736. He was honoured by the University of Oxford with the degree of A. M. in 1758, and in 1759 he obtained the same distinction at Cambridge. He, for many years, presided over the theatre of Dublin; and, at Drury-Lane, he in public estimation stood next to David Garrick. In the literary world he was distinguished by numerous and useful writings on the pronunciation of the English language. Through some of his opinions ran a vein of singularity, mingled with the rich ore of genius. In his manners there was dignified ease ;in his spirit, invincible firmness ;--and in his habits and principles, unsullied integrity."
Illness of the King. - Regency:-Private life of Mr. Sheridan.
Mr. SHERIDAN had assuredly no reason to complain of any deficiency of excitement in the new career to which he now devoted himself. A succession of great questions, both foreign and domestic,
one after the other, like the waves described by the poet , –
" And one no sooner touch'd the shore, and died,
Than a new follower rose, and swellid as proudly.”
Scarcely had the impulse which his own genius had given to the prosecution of Hastings, begun to abale , when the indisposition of the King opened another field, not only for the display of all his various powers, but for the fondest speculations of his interest and ambition.
The robust health and temperate habits of the Monarch, while they held out the temptation of a long lease of power to those who either enjoyed or were inclined to speculate in his favour, gave proportionably the grace of disinterestedness to the followers of an Heir-Apparent, whose means of rewarding their devotion were, from the same causes, uncertain and remote. The alarming illness of the Monarch , however, gave a new turn to the prospect :Hope was now seen, like the winged Victory of the ancients, to change sides; and both the expectations of those who looked forward to the reign of the Prince , as the great and happy millenium of Whiggism, and the apprehensions of the far greater number, to whom the morals of His Royal Highness and his friends were not less formidable than their politics, seemed now on the very eve of being realised.
On the first meeting of Parliament, after the illness of His Majesty was known, it was resolved, from considerations of delicacy, that the House should adjourn for a fortnight ; at the end of which period it was expected that another short adjournment would be proposed by the Minister. In this interval, the following judicious letter was addressed to the Prince of Wales by Mr. Sheridan :
“ From the intelligence of to-day we are led to think that Pitt will make something more of a speech, in moving to adjourn on Thursday, than was at first imagined. In this case we presume Your Royal Highness will be of opinion that we must not be wholly silent. I possessed Payne yesterday with my sentiments on the line of conduct which appeared to nie best to be adopted on this occasion, that they might be submitted to Your Royal Highness's consideration, and I take the liberty of repeating my
firm conviction, that it will greatly advance Your Royal Highness's credit, and, in case of events, lay the strongest grounds to baffle attempt at opposition to Your Royal Highness's just claims and right, that the language of those who may be, in any sort, suspected of knowing Your Royal Highness's wishes and feelings, should be that of great moderation in disclaiming all party views, and avowing the utmost readiness to acquiesce in any reasonable delay. At the same time, I am perfectly aware of the arts which will be practised, and the advantages which some people will attempt to gain by time : but I am equally convinced that we should advance their evil views by showing the least impatience or suspicion at present; and I am also convinced that a third party will soon appear, whose efforts may, in the most decisive manner, prevent this sort of situation and proceeding from continuing long. Payne will probably have submitted to Your Royal Highness more fully my idea on this subject, towards which I have already taken sotne successful steps'. Your Royal Highness will, I am sure, have the goodness to pardon the freedom with which I give my opinion ;-after which I have only to add, that whatever Your Royal Highness's judgment decides, shall be the guide of my conduct, and will undoubtedly be so to others.”
Captain (afterwards Admiral) Payne, of whom mention is made in this letter, held the situation of Comptroller of the Household of the Prince of Wales, and was in attendance upon His Royal Highness during the early part of the King's illness, al Windsor. The following letters, addressed by him to Mr. Sheridan at this period, contain some curious particulars, both with respect to the Royal patient himself, and the feelings of those about him, which , however secret and confidential they were at the time, may now, without scruple , be made matters of history :“ MY DEAR SHERIDAN,
Half-past ten at night. “ I arrived here about three quarters of an hour after Pitt had left it. I incl you the copy of a letter the Prince has just written to the Chancellor, and sent by express, which will give you the outline of the
'This must allude to the negotiation with Lord Thurlow.
conversation with the Prince, as well as the situation of the King's health.
that carried the Chancellor's letter; in addition to which , the Prince has desired Doctor Warren to write an account to him, which he is now doing. His letter says, if an amendment does not take place in twenty-four hours, it is impossible for the King to support it -he adds to me, he will answer for his never living to be declared a lunatic. I say all this to you in confidence, (though I will not answer for being intelligible,) as it goes by your own servant; but I need not add, your own discretion will remind you how necessary it is that neither my name nor those I use should be quoted even to many of our best friends, whose repetition, without any ill intention, might frustrate views they do not see.
“ With respect to the papers, the Prince thinks you had better leave them to themselves, as we cannot authorise any report, nor can he contradict the worst; a few hours must, every individual says, terminate our suspense, and, therefore, all precaution must be needless : -however, do what you think best. His Royal Highness would write to you himself;--the agitation he is in will not permit it. Since this letter was begun, all articulation even seems to be at an end with the poor King; but for the two hours preceding, he was in a most determined frenzy. In short, I am myself in so violent a state of agitation, from participating in the feelings of those about me, that if I am intelligible to you, 'tis more than I am to myself. Cataplasms are on His Majesty's feet, and strong fomentations have been used without effect : but let me quit so painful a subject. The Prince was much pleased with my conversation with Lord Loughborough, to whom I do not write, as I conceive 'tis the same, writing to you.
“ The Archbishop has written a very handsome letter, expressive of his duty and offer of service; but he is not required to come down, it being thought too late.
“Good night.--I will write upon every occasion that information may be useful.
“Ever yours, most sincerely,
"J. W. PAYNE.” “ I have been much pleased with the Duke's zeal since my return, especially in this communication to you." - Dear Sheridan,
Twelve o'clock, noon. “ The King last night about twelve o'clock, being then in a situation Meaning, the communication to the Chancellor.