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“Ecrivés au Cte. Worenzof qu'il me fasse avoir en marbre blanc le Buste resemblant de Charle Fox. Je veut le mettre sur ma Colonade entre eux de Demosthene et Ciceron.
“Il a delivré par son eloquence sa Patrie et la Russie d'une guerre a la quelle il n'y avoit ni justice ni raisons."
Another subject that engaged much of the attention of Mr. Sheridan this year was his own motion relative to the constitution of the 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 present 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, honour able, 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 citi. zens.
“ John Ewex, Secretary."
band-writing, annexed :-"N. B. Fox would have lost it, if I had not made him look for it, and taken a copy."
From a private letter written this year by one of the Scottish Delegates 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 antirevolutionary 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 Representation 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 neamy as possible, a parallel to the system of representation now existing in Scotland ;-a system, which it is the understood duty 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, and even the imagery in some places is scarcely less splendid. I think Mackintosh a better phi. losopher, 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 irradia. tions of genius, but none of the glowing and generous warmth which virtue inspires; that warmth which is often kindled in the bosom of Mack. intosh, and which pervades almost every page of Mr. Burke's bookthough 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.
DEATH OF MRS. SHERIDAN.
IN the year 1792, after a long illness, which terminated in consumption, Mrs. Sheridan died at Bristol, in the thirtyeighth 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 him 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," begi ns 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 dramatist 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 w ith all her heart and soul into the details of elections,
* 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."