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the scheme for tarring and feathering Mr. Jenkinson, the Lord Lieutenant, and forcing him in that condition to sign the capitulation of the Castle. The persons who were to execute this strange enterprize had actually got into the Lord Lieutenant's apartment at midnight, and would probably have succeeded in their project, if Sheridan, who was intoxicated with whiskey, a strong liquor much in vogue with the Volunteers, had not attempted to force open the door of Mrs. -'s bed-chamber, and so given the alarm to the garrison, who instantly flew to arms, seized Sheridan and every one of his party, and confined them in the castle-dungeon. Sheridan was ordered for execution the next day, but had no sooner got his legs and arms at liberty, than he began capering, jumping, dancing, and making all sorts of antics, to the utter amazement of the spectators. When the chaplain endeavoured, by serious advice and admonition, to bring him to a proper sense of his dreadful situation, he grinned, made faces at him, tried to tickle him, and played a thousand other pranks with such astonishing drollery, that the gravest countenances became cheerful, and the saddest hearts glad. The soldiers who attended at the gallows were so delighted with his merriment, which they deemed magnanimity, that the sheriffs began to apprehend a rescue, and ordered the hangman instantly to do his duty. He went off in a loud horse-laugh, and cast a look towards the Castle, accompanied with a gesture expressive of no great respect.
“Thus ended the life of this singular and unhappy man-a melancholy instance of the calamities that attend the misapplication of great and splendid ability. He was married to a very beautiful and amiable woman, for whom he is said to have entertained an unalterable affection. He had one son, a boy of the most promising hopes, whom he would never suffer to be instructed in the first rudiments of literature. He amused himself, however, with teaching the boy to draw portraits with his toes, in which he soon became so astonishing a proficient that he seldom failed to take a most exact likeness of every person who sat to him.
“ There are a few more plays by the same author, all of them excellent.
“For further information concerning this strange man, vide · Macpherson's Moral History,' Art. • Drunkenness." "
SPEECH IN ANSWER TO LORD MORNINGTON.-COALITION OF THE WHIG SECE
DERS WITH MR, PITT.--MR. CARNING.-EVIDENCE ON THE TRIAL OF HORNY TOOKE.-THE 66 GLORIOUS FIRST OF JUNE.”-MARRIAGE OF MR. SHERIDAN.PAMPHLET OF MR. REEVES.-DEBTS OF THE PRINCE OF WALES.-SHAKSPEARE MANUSCRIPTS. -TRIAL OF STONE-MUTIXY AT THE NORE.-SECESSION OF MR. FOX FROM PARLIAMENT.
IN the year 1794, the natural consequences of the policy pursued by Mr. Pitt began rapidly to unfold themselves both at home and abroad.* The confederated Princes of the Continent, among whom the gold of England was now the sole bond of union, had succeeded as might be expected from so noble an incentive, and, powerful only in provoking France, had by every step they took but ministered to her aggrandizement. In the mean time, the measures of the English Minister at home were directed to the two great objects of his legislation—the raising of supplies and the suppressing of sedition; or, in other words, to the double and anomalous task of making the people pay for the failures of their Royal allies, and suffer for their sympathy with the success of their republican enemies. It is the opinion of a learned Jesuit that it was by aqua regia the Golden Calf of the Israelites was dissolved—and the cause of Kings was the Royal solvent, in which the wealth of Great Britain now melted irrecoverably away. While the successes, too, of the French had already lowered the tone of the Minister from projects of aggression to precautions of defence, the
• See, for a masterly exposure of the errors of the War, the Speech of Lord Lansdowne this year on bringing forward his Motion for Peace.
I cannot let the name of this Nobleman pass, without briefly expressing the deep gratitude which I feel to him, not only for his own kindness to me, when introduced, as a boy, to his notice, but for the friendship of his truly Noble descendant, which I, in a great degree, owe him, and which has long been the pride and happiness of my life.
wounds which, in the wantonness of alarm, he had inflicted on the liberties of the country, were spreading an inflammation around them that threatened real danger. The severity of the sentences upon Muir and Palmer in Scotland, and the daring confidence with which charges of High Treason were exhibited against persons who were, at the worst, but indiscreet reformers, excited the apprehensions of even the least sensitive friends of freedom. It is, indeed, difficult to say how far the excited temper of the Government, seconded by the ever ready subservience of state-lawyers and bishops, might have proceeded at this moment, had not the acquittal of Tooke and his associates, and the triumph it diffused through the country, given a lesson to Power such as England is alone capable of giving, and which will long be remembered, to the honour of that great political safeguard,--that Life-preserver in stormy times, the Trial by Jury.
At the opening of the Session, Mr. Sheridan delivered his admirable answer to Lord Mornington, the report of which, as I have already said, was corrected for publication by himself. In this fine speech, of which the greater part must have been unprepared, there is a natural earnestness of feeling and argument that is well contrasted with the able but artificial harangue that preceded it. In referring to the details which Lord Mornington had entered into of the various atrocities committed in France, he says:
“But what was the sum of all that he had told the House? that great and dreadful enormities had been committed, at which the heart shudder<d, and which not merely wounded every feeling of humanity, but disgusted and sickened the soul. All this was most true; but what did all this prove? What, but that eternal and unalterable truth which had always presented itself to his mind, in whatever way he had viewed the subject, namely, that a long established despotism so far degraded and debased human nature, as to render its subjects, on the first recovery of their rights unfit for the exercise of them. But never had he, or would he meet but with reprobation that mode of argument which went, in fact, to establish, as an inference from this truth, that those who had been long slaves, ought therefore to remain so for ever! No; the lesson ought to be, he wouki again repeat, a tenfold horror of that despotic form of government, which had so profaned and changed the nature of civilised man, and a still more jealous apprehension of any system tending to withhold the rights and liberties of our fellow-creatures. Such a form of government might be considered as twice cursed; while it existed, it was solely responsible for the miseries and calamities of its subjects; and should a day of retribution come, and the tyranny be destroyed, it was equally to be charged with all the enormities which the folly or frenzy of those who overturned it should commit.
“But the madness of the French people was not confined to their proceedings within their own country; we, and all the Powers of Europe, had to dread it. True; but was not this also to be accounted forWild and unsettled as their state of mind was, necessarily, upon the events which had thrown such power so suddenly into their hands, the surrounding States had goaded them into a still more savage state of madness, fury, and desperation. We had unsettled their reason, and then reviled their insanity; we drove them to the extremities that produced the evils we arraigned; we baited them like wild beasts, until at length we made them so. The conspiracy of Pilnitz, and the brutal threats of the Royal abettors of that plot against the rights of nations and of men, had, in truth, to answer for all the additional misery, horrors, and iniquity, which had since disgraced and incensed humanity. Such has been your conduct towards France, that you have created the passions which you persecute; you mark a nation to be cut off from the world; you covenant for their extermination; you swear to hunt them in their inmost recesses; you load them with every species of execration; and you now come forth with whining declamations on the horror of their turning upon you with the fury which you inspired.”
Having alluded to an assertion of Condorcet, quoted by Lord Mornington, that “Revolutions are always the work of the minority,” he adds livelily :
“If this be true, it certainly is a most ominous thing for the enemies of Reform in England; for, if it holds true, of necessity, that the minority still prevails, in national contests, it must be a consequence that the smaller the minority the more certain must be the success. In what a dreadful situation then must the Noble Lord be and all the Alarmists!—for, never surely was a minority so small, so thin in number as the present. Conscious, however, that M. Condorcet was mistaken in our object, I am glad to find that we are terrible in proportion as we are few; I rejoice that the liberality of secession which has thinned our ranks has only served to make us more formidable. The Alarmists will hear this with new apprehensions; they will no doubt return to us with a view to diminish our force, and encumber us with their alliance in order to reduce us to insignificance.”
We have here another instance, in addition to the many
that have been given, of the beauties that sprung up under Sheridan's correcting hand. This last pointed sentence was originally thus: “And we shall swell our numbers in order to come nearer in a balance of insignificance to the numerous host of the majority.”
It was at this time evident that the great Whig Seceders would soon yield to the invitations of Mr. Pitt and the vehement persuasions of Burke, and commit themselves still further with the Administration by accepting of office. Though the final arrangements to this effect were not completed till the summer, on account of the lingering reluctance of the Duke of Portland and Mr. Wind ham, Lord Loughborough and others of the former Opposition had already put on the official livery of the Minister. It is to be regretted that, in almost all cases of conversion to the side of power, the coincidence of some worldly advantage with the change should make it difficult to decide upon the sincerity or disinterestedness of the convert. That these Noble Whigs were sincere in their alarm there is no reason to doubt; but the lesson of loyalty they have transmitted would have been far more edifying, had the usual corollary of honours and emoluments not followed, and had they left at least one instance of political conversion on record, where the truth was its own sole reward, and the proselyte did not subside into the placeman. Mr. Sheridan was naturally indignant af these desertions, and his bitterness overflows in many passages of the speech before us. Lord Mornington having contrasted the privations and sacrifices demancied of the French by their Minister of Finance with those required of the English nation, he says, in answer;
“ The Noble Lord need not remind us, that there is no great danger of our Chancellor of the Exchequer making any such experiment. I can more easily fancy another sort of speech for our prudent Minister. I can more easily conceive him modestly comparing himself and his own measures with the character and conduct of his rival, and saying,— Do I demand of you, wealthy citizens, to lend your hoards to Government without interest? On the contrary, when I shall come to propose a loan, there is not a man of you to whom I shall not hold out at least a job in every part of the subscription,