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Royal Scotch Boroughs. He had been, singularly enough , selected , in the year 1787, by the Burgesses of Scotland, in preference to so many others possessing more personal knowledge of that country, to présent to the House the Petition of the Convention of Delegates, for a Reform of the internal government of the Royal Boroughs. How fully satisfied they were with his exertions in their cause may be judged by the following extract from the Minutes of Convention, dated 11th August, 1791 :

" Mr. Mills of Perth, after a suitable introductory speech, moved a vote of thanks to Mr. Sheridan, in the following words :

The Delegates of the Burgesses of Scotland, associated for the purposes of Reform, taking into their most serious consideration the important services rendered to their cause by the manly and prudent exertions of Richard Brinsley Sheridan, Esq., the genuine and fixed attachment to it which the whole tenor of his conduct has evinced, and the admirable moderation he has all along displayed,

“ Resolved unanimously, That the most sincere thanks of this meeting be given to the said Richard Brinsley Sheridan, Esq., for his steady, honourable, and judicious conduct in bringing the question relative to the violated rights of the Scottish Boroughs to its present important and 'favourable crisis ; and the Burgesses with firm confidence hope that, from his attachment to the cause, which he has shown to be deeply rooted in principle, he will persevere to exert his distinguished abilities, till the objects of it are obtained, with that inflexible firmness, and constitutional moderation, which have appeared so conspicuous and exemplary throughout the whole of his conduct, as to be highly deserving of the imitation of all good citizens.

“ John Ewen, Secretary.” From a private letter written this year by one of the Scottish Dele-gates to a friend of Mr. Sheridan, (a copy of which letter I have found among the papers of the latter,) it appears that the disturbing effects of Mr. Burke's book had already shown themselves so strongly among the Whig party as to fill the writer with apprehensions of their defection, even on the safe and moderate question of Scotch Reform. He mentions one distinguished member of the party, who afterwards stood conspicuously in the very van of the Opposition, but who at that moment, if the authority of the letter may be depended upon, was, like others, under the spell of the great Alarmist, and yielding rapidly to the influence of that anti-revolutionary terror, which, like the Panic dignified by the ancients with the name of one of their Gods, will be long associated in the memories of Englishmen with the mighty name and genius of Burke. A consultation was, however, held among this portion of the party, with respect to the prudence of lending their assistance to the measure of Scotch Reform ; and Sir James Mackintosh, as I have heard him say, was in

company with Sheridan, when Dr. Lawrence came direct from the meeting, to inform him that they had agreed to support his motion.

The state of the Scotch Representalion is one of those cases, where a dread of the ulterior objects of Reform induces many persons to oppose its first steps , however beneficial and reasonable they may deem them, rather than risk a further application of the principle, or open a breach by which a bolder spirit of innovation may enter. As it is, there is no such thing as popular election in Scotland. We cannot , indeed , more clearly form to ourselves a notion of the manner in which so important a portion of the British empire is represented, than by supposing the Lords of the Manor throughout England to be invested with the power of electing her representatives, the manorial rights, too, being, in a much greater number of instances than at present, held independently of the land from which they derive their claim, and thus the natural connection between property and the right of election being, in most cases, wholly separated. Such would be, as nearly as possible, á parallel to the system of representation now existing in Scotland ;-a system, which it is the understood duly of all present and future Lord Advocates to defend, and which neither the lively assaults of a Sheridan, nor the sounder reasoning and industry of an Abercrombie, have yet been able to shake.

The following extract from another of the many letters of Dr. Parr to Sheridan shows still further the feeling entertained towards Burke, even by some of those who most violently differed with him :

During the recess of Parliament I hope you will read the mighty work of my friend and your friend, and Mr. Fox's friend, Mackintosh : there is some obscurity and there are many Scotticisms in it; yet I do pronounce it the work of a most masculine and comprehensive mind. The arrangement is far more methodical than Mr. Burke's , the sentiments are more patriotic, the reasoning is more profound, ind even the imagery in some places is scarcely less splendid. I think Mackintosh a better philosopher, and a better citizen, and I know him to be a far better scholar, and a far better man, than Payne; in whose book there are great irradiations of genius, but none of the glowing and generous warmth which virtue inspires; that warmth which is often kindled in the bosom of Mackintosh, and which pervades almost every page in Mr. Burke's book—though I confess, and with sorrow I confess, that the holy flame was quite extinguished in his odious altercation with you and Mr. Fox."

A letter from the Prince of Wales to Sheridan this year furnishes a new proof of the confidence reposed in him by His Royal Highness. A question of much delicacy and importance having arisen between that Illustrious Personage and the Duke of York, of a nature, as it appears, too urgent to wait for a reference to Mr. Fox, Sheridan had alone the honour of advising His Royal Highness in the correspondence that took place between him and his Royal Brother on that occasion. Though the letter affords no immediate clue to the subject of these communications, there is little doubt that they referred to a very important and embarrassing question, which is known to have been put by the Duke of York to the Heir Apparent , previously to his own marriage this year;—a question, which involved considerations connected with the Succession to the Crown, and which the Prince, with the recollection of what occurred on the same subject in 1787, could only get rid of by an evasive answer.

CHAPTER XV.

Death of Mrs. Sheridan.

In the year 1792, after a long illness, which terminated in consumption, Mrs. Sheridan died at Bristol, in the thirty-eighth year of

her age.

There has seldom, perhaps, existed a finer combination of all those qualities that attract both eye and heart than this accomplished and lovely person exhibited. To judge by what we hear, it was impossible to see her without admiration, or know her without love; and a late Bishop used to say that she “ seemed to bim the connecting link between woman and angel'.” The devotedness of affection, too, with which she was regarded, not only by her own father and sisters, but by all her husband's family, showed that her fascination was of that best kind which, like charity, “begins at home;" and that, while her beauty and music enchanted the world, she had charms more intrinsic and lasting for those who came nearer to her. We have already seen with what pliant sympathy she followed her husband through his various pursuits , --identifying herself with the politician as warmly and readily as with the author, and keeping Love still attendant on Genius through all his transformations. As the wife of the dramalist and manager, we find her calculating the receipts of the house, assisting in the adaptation of her husband's opera , and reading over the plays sent in by dramatic candidates. As the wife of the senator and orator we see her, with no less zeal, making extracts from state-papers, and copying out ponderous pamphlets,--entering with all her heart and soul into the details of elections, and even endeavouring to fathom the mysteries of the

'Jackson of Exeter, too, giving a description of her, in some Memoirs of his own Life that were never published , said that to see her, as she stood singing beside him at the piano-forte , was “ like looking into the face of an angel."

Funds. The affectionate and sensible care with which she watched over, not only her own children, but those which her beloved sister, Mrs. Tickell, confided to her, in dying, gives the finish to this picture of domestic usefulness. When it is recollected, too, that the person thus homelily employed was gifted with every charm that could adorn and delight society, it would be difficult, perhaps, to find any where a more perfect example of that happy mixture of utility and ornament, in which all that is prized by the husband and the lover combines, and which renders woman what the Sacred Fire was to the Parsees ,--not only an object of adoration on their altars, but a source of warmth and comfort to their hearths.

To say that, with all this, she was not happy, nor escaped the censure of the world , is but to assign to her that share of shadow, without which nothing bright ever existed on this earth. United not only by marriage, but by love, to a man who was the object of universal admiration, and whose vanity and passions too often led him to yield to the temptations by which he was surrounded, it was but natural that, in the consciousness of her own power to charm,

she should be now and then piqued into an appearance of retaliation, and seem to listen with complacence to some of those numerous worshippers who crowd around such beautiful and unguarded shrines. Not that she was at any time unwatched by Sheridan ;-on the contrary, he followed her with a lover's eyes throughout; and it was believed of both, by those who knew them best, that, even when they seemed most attracted by other objects, they would willingly, had they consulted the real wishes of their hearts, have given up every one in the world for each other. So wantonly do those, who have happiness in their grasp , trifle with that rare and delicate treasure, till, like the careless hand playing with a rose,

" In swinging it rudely, too rudely, alas ,

They snap it-it falls to the ground."

They had, immediately after their marriage, as we have seen, passed some time in a little cottage at Eastburnham, and it was a period, of course, long remembered by them both for its happiness. I have been told by a friend of Sheridan, that he once overheard him exclaiming to himself, after looking for some moments at his wife, with a pang , no doubt, of melancholy self-reproach ,“Could any thing bring back those first feelings?" then adding, with a sigh, “Yes, perhaps, the cottage at Eastburnham might." In this, as well as in some other traits of the same kind, there is assuredly any thing but that common place indifference, which too often clouds over the evening of married life. On the contrary, it seems rather the struggle of affection with its own remorse, and,

like the humourist who mourned over the extinction of his intellect so eloquently as to prove that it was still in full vigour, shows love to be still warmly alive in the very act of lamenting its death.

I have already presented the reader with some letters of Mrs. Sheridan, in which the feminine character of her mind very interestingly displays itself. Their chief charm is unaffectedness, and the total absence of that literary style which, in the present day, infects even the most familiar correspondence. I shall here give a few more of her letters, written at different periods to the elder sister of Sheridan,-it being one of her many merits to have kept alive between her husband and his family, though so far separated, a constant and cordial intercourse, which , unluckily, after her death, from his own indolence and the new connections into which he entered, was suffered to die away, almost entirely. The first letter, from its allusion to the Westminster Scrutiny, must have been written in the year 1784, Mr. Fox having gained his great victory over Sir Cecil Wray on the 17th of May, and the Scrutiny having been granted on the same day.

“ MY DEAR Lisse,

London, June 6. “I am happy to find by your last that our apprehensions on Charles's account were useless. The many reports that were circulated here of his accident gave us a good deal of uneasiness ; but it is no longer wonderful that he should be buried here, when Mr. Jackman has so barbarously murdered him with you. I fancy he would risk another broken head, rather than give up his title to it as an officer of the Crown. We go on here wrangling as usual, but I am afraid all to no purpose. Those who are in possession of power are determined to use it without the least pretence to justice or consistency. They have ordered a Scrutiny for Westminster, in defiance of all law or precedent, and without any other hope or expectation but that of harassing and tormenting Mr. Fox and his friends, and obliging them to waste their time and money, which perhaps they think might otherwise be employed to a better purpose in another cause. We have nothing for it but patience and perseverance, which I hope will at last be crowned with success, though I fear it will be a much longer trial than we at first expected. I hear from every body

are vastly disliked, --but are you not all kept in awe by such beauty? I know she flattered herself to subdue all your Volunteers by the fire of her eyes only :-how astonished she must be to find they have not yet laid down their arms! There is nothing would tempt me to trust my sweet person upon the water sooner than the thoughts of seeing you; but I fear my friendship will hardly ever be put to so hard a trial. Though Sheridan is not in office, I think he is more engaged by politics than ever.

“I suppose we shall not leave town till September. We have promised to pay many visits, but I fear we shall be obliged to give up many of our schemes, for I take it for granted Parliament will meet again as soon as

that your

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