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to his old habits of unpunctuality, at which the shade of Richardson might have smiled, he arrived too late at Bagshot for the funeral of his friend, but succeeded in persuading the good-natured clergyman to perform the ceremony over again. Mr. John Taylor, a gentleman, whose love of good-fellowship and wit has made him the welcome associate of some of the brightest men of his day, was one of the assistants at this singular scene, and also joined in the party at the ion at Bedfont afterwards, where Sheridan, it is said, drained the “Cup of Memory” to his friend, till he found oblivion at the bottom.

At the close of the session of 1803, that strange diversity of opinions, into which the two leading parties were decomposed by the resignation of Mr. Pitt, had given way to new varieties, both of cohesion and separation, quite as little to be expected from the natural affinities of the ingredients concerned in them. Mr. Pitt, upon perceiving, in those to whom he had delegated his power, an inclination to surround themselves with such strength from the adverse ranks as would enable them to contest his resumption of the trust, had gradually withdrawn the sanction which he at first afforded them, and taken his station by the side of the other two parties in opposition, without, however, encumbering himself, in his views upon office, with either. By a similar movement, though upon different principles, Mr. Fox and the Whigs, who had begun by supporting the Ministry against the strong War-party of which Lord Grenville and Mr. Windham were the leaders, now entered into close co-operation with this new Opposition, and seemed inclined to forget both recent and ancient differences in a combined assault upon the tottering Administration of Mr. Addington.

The only parties, perhaps, that acted with consistency through these transactions, were Mr. Sheridan and the few who followed him on one side, and Lord Grenville and his friends on the other. The support which the former had given to the Ministry,—from a conviction that such was the true policy of his party,-he persevered in, notwithstanding the suspicions it drew down upon him, to the last; and, to the last , deprecated the connexion with the Grenvilles, as entangling his friends in the same sort of hollow partnership, out of which they had come bankrupts in character and confidence before. In like manner, it must be owned, the Opposition, of which

' In a letter written this y ear by Mr. Thomas Sheridan to his father, there is the following passage:

“I am glad you intend writing to Lord—-; he is quite right about politics ,reprobates the idea most strongly of any union with the Grenvilles, etc., which, he says, he sees is Fox's leaning. 'I agreed with your father perfectly on the subject, when I left him in town; but when I saw Charles at St. Ann's Hill, I perecived he was wrong and obstinate.'”

Lord Grenville was the head, held a course direct and undeviating from beginning to end. Unfettered by those reservations in favour of Addington, which so long embarrassed the movements of their former leader, they at once started in opposition to the Peace and the Ministry, and, with not only Mr. Pitt and Mr. Fox, but the whole people of England, against them , persevered till they had ranged all these several parties on their side :-nor was it altogether without reason that this party afterwards boasted that, if any abandonment of principle had occurred in the connexion between them and the Whigs, the surrender was assuredly not from their side.

Early in the year 1804 , on the death of Lord Elliot, the office of Receiver of the Duchy of Cornwall, which had been held by that nobleman, was bestowed by the Prince of Wales upon Mr. Sheridan, “as a trifling proof of that sincere friendship His Royal Highness had always professed and felt for him through a long series of years." His Royal Highness also added, in the same communication, the very cordial words, “I wish to God it was better worth your acceptance.”

The following letter from Sheridan to Mr. Addington, communicating the intelligence of this appointment, shows pretty plainly the terms on which he not only now stood, but was well inclined to continue, with that Minister :

George-Street, Tuesday evening.


“ Convinced as I am of the sincerity of your good will towards me, I do not regard it as an impertinent intrusion to inform you that the Prince has, in the most gracious manner, and wholly unsolicited, been pleased to appoint me to the late Lord Elliot's situation in the Duchy of Cornwall. I feel a desire to communicate this to you myself, because I feel a confidence that you will be glad of it. It has been my pride and pleasure to have exerted my humble efforts to serve the Prince without ever accepting the slightest obligation from him; but, in the present case, and under the present circumstances, I think it would have been really false pride and apparently mischievous affectation to have declined this mark of His Royal Highness's confidence and favour. I will not disguise that, at this peculiar crisis, I am greatly gratified at this event. Had it been the result of a mean and subservient devotion to the Prince's every wish and object, I could neither have respected the gift, the giver, or myself; but when I consider how recently it was my misfortune to find myself compelled by a sense of duty, stronger than my attachment to him, wholly to risk the situation I held in his confidence and favour, and that upon a subject' on which his feelings were so eager and irritable , " The offer made by the Prince of his personal services in 1803,

-on which occasion Sheridan coincided with the views of Mr. Addington somewhat more ihan was agreeable to His Royal Highness.


I cannot but regard the increased attention, with which he has since honoured me, as a most gratifying demonstration that he has clearness of judgment and firmness of spirit to distinguish the real friends to his true glory and interests, from the mean and mercenary sycophants, who fear and abhor that such friends should be near him. It is satisfactory to me, also, that this appointment gives me the title and opportunity of seeing the Prince, on trying occasions, openly and in the face of day , and puts aside the mask of mystery and concealment. I trust I need not add, that whatever small portion of fair influence I may at any time possess with the Prince, it shall be uniformly exerted to promote those feelings of duty and affection towards their Majesties, which, though seemingly interrupted by adverse circumstances, I am sure are in his heart warm and unalterable—and, as far as I may presume,

that concord throughout his illustrious family, which must be looked to by every honest subject as an essential part of the public strength at this momentous period. I have the honour to be, with great respect and esteem,

“ Your obedient Servant,

“R. B. SHERIDAN.” Right Hon. Henry Addington."

The same views that influenced Mr. Sheridan, Lord Moira, and others, in supporting an Administration which, with all ils defects, they considered preferable to a relapse into the hands of Mr. Pitt, had led Mr. Tierney, at the close of the last Session, lo confer upon it a still more efficient sanction, by enrolling himself in ils ranks as Treasurer of the Navy. In the early part of the present year, another ornament of the Whig party, Mr. Erskine, was on the point of following in the same footsteps, by accepting, from Mr. Addington, the office of Attorney-General. He had, indeed, proceeded so far in his intention as to submit the overtures of the Minister to the consideration of the Prince, in a letter which was transmitted to His Royal Highness by Sheridan. The answer of the Prince, conveyed also through Sheridan, while it expressed the most friendly feelings towards Erskine, declined, at the same time, giving any opinion as to either his acceptance or refusal of the office of Attorney-General, if offered to him under the present circumstances. His Royal Highness also added the expression of his sincere regret, that a proposal of this nature should have been submitted to his consideration by one, of whose attachment and fidelity to himself he was well convinced , but who ought to have felt, from the line of conduct adopted and persevered in by His Royal Highness, that he was the very last person that should have been applied to for either his opinion or countenance respecting the political conduct or connexions of any public character,-especially of one so intimately connected with him, and belonging to his family.

If, at any time, Sheridan had entertained the idea of associating himself, by office, with the Ministry of Mr. Addington (and proposals to this effect were, it is certain, made to him), his knowledge of the existence of such feelings as prompted this answer to Mr. Erskine would, of course, have been sufficient to divert him from the intention.

The following document, which I have found, in his own handwriting, and which was intended, apparently, for publication in the newspapers, contains some particulars with respect to the proceedings of his party at this time, which, coming from such a source, may be considered as authentic :

“ STATE OF PARTIES. Among the various rumours of Coalitions, or attempted Coalitions, we have already expressed our disbelief in that reported to have taken place between the Grenville-Windhamites and Mr. Fox. At least, if it was ever in negotiation, we have reason to think it received an early check, arising from a strong party of the Old Opposition protesting against it. The account of this transaction, as whispered in the political circles, is as follows :

“ In consequence of some of the most respectable members of the Old Opposition being sounded on the subject, a meeting was held at Norfolk-House; when it was determined, with very few dissentient voices, to present a friendly remonstrance on the subject to Mr. Fox, stating the manifold reasons which obviously presented themselves against such a procedure, both as affecting Character and Party. It was urged that the present Ministers had, on the score of innovation on the Constitution, given the Whigs no pretence for complaint whatever; and, as to their alleged incapacity, it remained to be proved that they were capable of committing errors and producing miscarriages, equal to those which had marked the councils of their predecessors, whom the measure in question was expressly calculated to replace in power. At such a momentous crisis, therefore, waving all considerations of past political provocation, to attempt, by the strength and combination of party, to expel the Ministers of His Majesty's choice, and to force into his closet those whom the Whigs ought to be the first to rejoice that he had excluded from it, was stated to be a proceeding which would assuredly revolt the public feeling, degrade the character of Parliament, and produce possibly incalculable mischief to the country.

“We understand that Mr. Fox's reply was, that he would never take any Political step against the wishes and advice of the majority of his old friends.

“The paper is said to have been drawn up by Mr. Erskine, and to have been presented to Mr. Fox by His Grace of Norfolk, on the day His Majesty was pronounced to be recovered from his first illness. Rumour places among the supporters of this measure the written authority of the Duke of Northumberland and the Earl of Moira, with the signatures. of Messrs. Erskine, Sheridan, Shum, Curwen, Western, Brogden , and a long et cætera. It is said also that the Prince's sanction had been previously given to the Duke,–His Royal Highness deprecating all Partystruggle, at a moment when the defence of all that is dear to Britons ought to be the single sentiment that should fill the public mind.

“We do not vouch for the above being strictly accurate; but we are confident that it is not far from the truth."

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The illness of the King, referred to in this paper, had been first publicly announced in the month of February, and was for some time considered of so serious a nature, that arrangements were actually in progress for the establishment of a Regency. Mr. Sheridan, who now formed a sort of connecting link between Carlton-House and the Minister, took, of course, a leading part in the negociations preparatory to such a measure. It appears, from a letter of Mr. Fox on the subject, that the Prince and another person, whom it is unnecessary to name, were at one moment not a litlle alarmed by a rumour of an intention to associate the Duke of York and the Queen in the Regency. Mr. Fox, however, begs of Sheridan to tranquillize their minds on this point :—the intentions (he adds) of “the Doctor though bad enough in all reason, do not go to such lengths; and a proposal of this nature, from any other quarter, could be easily defeated.

Within about two months from the date of the Remonstrance , which, according to a statement already given, was presented to Mr. Fox by his brother Whigs , one of the consequences which it prognosticated from the connexion of their party with the Grenvilles took place, in the resignation of Mr. Addington and the return of Mr. Pitt to power.

The confidence of Mr. Pitt, in thus taking upon himself, almost single-handed, the government of the country at such an awful crisis, was, he soon perceived, not shared by the public. A general expectation had prevailed that the three great Parties, which had lately been encamped together on the field of Opposition, would have each sent its Chiefs into the public councils, and thus formed such a Congress of power and talent as the difficulties of the empire, in that trying moment, demanded. This hope had been frustrated by the repugnance of the King to Mr. Fox, and the loo ready facility with which Mr. Pitt had given way to it. Not only, indeed, in his undignified eagerness for office, did he sacrifice without stipu

"To the infliction of this nickname on his friend, Mr. Addington, Sheridan was, in no snall degree , accessory, by applying to those who disapproved of his administration, and yet gave no reasons for their disapprobation, the wellknown lines,

" I do not love thee, Doctor Fell,

And why, I cannot tell;
But this I know full well,
I do not love thee, Doctor Fell."

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