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merchant or an eminent lawyer at this very moment. Nor was it only on my first setting out in life that I availed myself of a connection with you, though perhaps I never reaped such signal advantages from it as at that critical period. I have frequently since stood in need of your admonitions, and have always found you ready to assist me-though you were frequently brought by your zeal for me into new and awkward situations, and such as you were at first, naturally enough, unwilling to appear in. Amongst innumerable other instances, I cannot omit two, where you afforded me considerable and unexpected relief, and in fact converted employments, usually attended by dry and disgusting business, into scenes of perpetual merriment and recreation. I allude, as you will easily imagine, to those cheerful hours which I spent in the Secretary of State's office and the Treasury, during all which time you were my inseparable companion, and showed me such a preference over the rest of my colleagues, as excited at once their envy and admiration. Indeed, it was very natural for them to repine at your having taught me a way of doing business, which it was impossible for them to follow-it was both original and inimitable.
"If I were to say here all that I think of your excellencies, I might be suspected of flattery; but I beg leave to refer you for the test of my sincerity to the constant tenor of my life and actions; and shall conclude with a sentiment of which no one can dispute the truth, nor mistake the application, that those persons usually deserve most of their friends who expect least of them.
“I am, &c. &c. &c.
“R.B. SHERIDAN." The celebrity which Sheridan had acquired, as the chivalrous lover of Miss Linley, was of course considerably increased by the success of The Rivals; and, gifted as he and his beautiful wife were with all that forms the magnetism of society,—the power to attract, and the disposition to be attracted, their life, as may easily be supposed, was one of gaiety both at home and abroad. Though little able to cope with the entertainments of their wealthy acquaintance, her
music and the good company which his talents drew around him, were an ample repayment for the more solid hospitalities which they received. Among the families visited by them was that of Mr. Coote (Purden), at whose musical parties Mrs. Sheridan frequently sung, accompanied occasionally by the two little daughters* of Mr. Coote, who were the originals of the children introduced into Sir Joshua Reynolds's portrait of Mrs. Sheridan as St. Cecilia. It was here that the Duchess of Devonshire first met Sheridan; and, as I have been told, long hesitated as to the propriety of inviting to her house two persons of such equivocal rank in society, as he and his wife were at that time considered. Her Grace was reminded of these scruples some years after, when“ the player's son” had become the admiration of the proudest and fairest; and when a house, provided for the Duchess herself at Bath, was left two months unoccupied, in consequence of the social attractions of Sheridan, which prevented a party then assembled at Chatsworth from separating. These are triumphs which, for the sake of all humbly born heirs of genius, deserve to be commemorated.
In gratitude, it is said, to Clinch, the actor, for the sea. sonable reinforcement which he had brought to The Rivals, Mr. Sheridan produced this year a farce called “ St. Patrick's Day, or the Scheming Lieutenant,” which was acted on the 2d of May, and had considerable success.
Though we must not look for the usual point of Sheridan in this piece, where the hits of pleasantry are performed with the broad end or mace of his wit, there is yet a quick circu. lation of humour through the dialogue,—and laughter, the great end of farce, is abundantly achieved by it. The morali
The charm of her singing, as well as her fondness for children, are in terestingly described in a letter to my friend Mr. Rogers, from one of the most tasteful writers of the present day :-"Hers was truly a voice as of the cherub choir,' and she was always ready to sing without any pressing. She sung here a great deal, and to my infinite delight; but what had a particular charm was, that she used to take my daughter, then a child, on her lap, and sing a number of childish songs with such a playfulness of manner, and such a sweetness of look and voice, as was quite enchanting."
zing of Doctor Rosy, and the dispute between the justice's wife and her daughter, as to the respective merits of militiamen and regulars, are highly comic:
“Psha, you know, Mamma, I hate militia officers ; a set of dunghill cocks with spurs on-beroes scratch'd off a church door. No, give me the bold upright youth, who makes love to-day, and has his head shot off to-morrow. Dear! to think how the sweet fellows sleep on the ground, and fight in silk stockings and lace ruffles.
“ Mother. Oh barbarous! to want a husband that may wed you to-day and be sent the Lord knows where before night; then in a twelve-month, perhaps, to have him come like a Colossus, with one leg at New-York and the other at Chelsea Hospital.”
Sometimes, too, there occurs a phrase or sentence, which might be sworn to, as from the pen of Sheridan, any where. Thus, in the very opening :-
" 1st Soldier. I say you are wrong; we should all speak together, each for himself, and all at once, that we may be heard the better.
“20 Soldier. Right, Jack, we'll argue in platoons."
Notwithstanding the great success of his first attempts in the drama, we find politics this year renewing its claims upon his attention, and tempting him to enter into the lists with no less an antagonist than Dr. Johnson. That eminent man had just published his pamphlet on the American question, entitled “ Taxation no Tyranny ;"-a work whose pompous sarcasms on the Congress of Philadelphia, when compared with what has happened since, dwindle into puerilities, and show what straws upon the great tide of events are even the mightiest intellects of this world. Some notes and fragments, found among the papers of Mr. Sheridan, prove that he had it in contemplation to answer this pamphlet; and, however inferior he might have been in style to his practised adversary, he would at least have had the advantage of a good cause, and of those durable materials of truth and justice, which outlive the mere workmanship, however splendid, of talent. Such arguments as the following, which Johnson did not scruple to use, are, by the haughtiness of their tone and thought, only fit for the lips of autocrats :
“When they apply to our compassion, by telling us that they are to be carried from their own country to be tried for certain offences, we are not so ready to pity them, as to advise them not to offend. While they are innocent, they are safe.
“ If they are condemned unheard, it is because there is no need of a trial. The crime is manifest and notorious," &c. &c.
It appears from the fragments of the projected answer, that Johnson's pension was one of the points, upon which Mr. Sheridan intended to assail him. The prospect of being able to neutralize the effects of his zeal, by exposing the nature of the chief incentive from which it sprung, was so tempting, perhaps, as to over-rule any feelings of delicacy, that might otherwise have suggested the illiberality of such an attack. The following are a few of the stray hints for this part of his subject :
“ It is hard when a learned man thinks himself obliged to commence politician.-Such pamphlets will be as trifling and insincere as the venal quit-rent of a birth-day ode. *
“ Dr. J.'s other works, his learning and infirmities, fully entitled him to such a mark of distinction. There was no call on him to become politician.--The easy quit-rent of refined panegyric*, and a few grateful rhymes or flowery dedications to the intermediate benefactor
* * “ The man of letters is rarely drawn from obscurity by the inquisitive eye of a sovereign :-it is enough for Royalty to gild the laurelled brow, not explore the garret or the cellar. - In this case, the return will generally be ungrateful—the patron is most possibly disgraced or in opposition-if he (the author) follows the dictates of gratitude, he must speak his
On another scrap of paper I find “the miserable quit-rent of an annual pamphlet.” It was his custom in composition (as will be seen by many other instances) thus to try the same thought in a variety of forms and combinations, in order to see in which it would yield the greatest produce of wit.
patron's language, but he may lose his pension-but to be a standing supporter of ministry, is probably to take advantage of that competence against his benefactor.—When it happens that there is great experience and political knowledge, this is more excusable ; but it is truly unfortunate where the fame of far different abilities adds weight to the attempts of rashness * * * *»
He then adds this very striking remark: “Men seldom think deeply on subjects on which they have no choice of opinion :-they are fearful of encountering obstacles to their faith (as in religion), and so are content with the surface."
Dr. Johnson says, in one part of his pamphlet,-“ As all are born the subjects of some state or other, we may be said to have been all born consenting to some system of government.” On this Sheridan remarks :-" This is the most slavish doctrine that ever was inculcated. If by our birth we gave a tacit bond for our acquiescence in that form of government under which we were born, there never would have been an alteration of the first modes of government-no Revolution in England.”
Upon the argument derived from the right of conquest he observes—" This is the worst doctrine that can be with respect to America. If America is ours by conquest, it is the conquerors who settled there that are to claim these powers."
He expresses strong indignation at the “ arrogance," with which such a man as Montesquieu is described as “the fanciful Montesquieu,” by “an eleemosynary politician, who writes on the subject merely because he thobe been rewarded for writing otherwise all his lifetime.”
In answer to the argument against the claims of the Americans, founded on the small proportion of the population that is really represented even in England, he has the following desultory memorandums :-" In fact, every man in England is represented—every man can influence people, so as to get a vote, and even if in an election votes are divided, each candidate is supposed equally worthy-as in lots-fight Ajax or