Imagens das páginas
PDF
ePub

benefit of Ireland, the Union has been left stand before we meet at dinner, lest any incomplete in the one essential point,with- conversation there should appear to come oat which there is no hope of peace or upon him by surprise. prosperity for that country. As long as “Yours ever, “C. J. F.religious disqualification is left to “ lie like " Arlington Street, Sunday." lees at the bottom of men's hearts,” in vain 'It would be rash, without some further doth the voice of Parliament pronounce insight into the circumstances of this sinthe word “ Union” to the two islands,- gular interference, to enter into any spea feeling, deep as the sea that breaks be- culations with respect to its nature or tween them, answers back, sullenly, motives, or to pronounce how far Mr. “ Separation,''-P. 585.

Sheridan was justified in being the instruIn 1804 the office of Receiver of the ment of this communication. But on the Duchy of Cornwall, worth about share of Mr. Fox in the transaction, such 15001. a year, was conferred on him suspension of opinion is unnecessary. We by the Prince of Wales, who at the have here his simple and honest words same time regretted that he had before us, and they breathe a spirit of nothing better to give.

sincerity from which even princes might Next year he acted a part which

take a lesson with advantage.. requires explanation. The following The 'Morning Chronicle' has inextract deserves to be read with at

ferred from this, that his present Matention :

jesty is averse to the Catholic claims. "On the 10th of May, the claims of the We do not think so. Sheridan, in one Roman Catholics of Ireland were, for the of his letters to the prince, alludes to first time, brought under the notice of the his royal highness's delicate situaImperial Parliament, by Lord Grenville tion respecting Emancipation; and in the House of Lords, and by Mr. Fox in Mr. Moore, at page 428, speaking of the House of Commons. A few days be- the regency, has the following refore the debate, as appears by the following

ars by the following markable words :- The ready and remarkable letter, Mr. Sheridan was made

letter, Mr. Sheridan was made ardent burst of devotion with which the medium of a communication from Carlton House, the object of which was to

Ireland, at this moment, like the prevent Mr. Fox from presenting the

Pythagoreans at their morning wor

ship, turned to welcome with her petition. Dear Sheridan,

harp the rising sun, was long remem“ I did not receive your letter till last bered by the object of her homage night.

with pride and gratitude,-and, let us I did, on Thursday, consent to be the trust, is not even yet entirely for. presenter of the Catholic petition, at the gotten.'* This subject, however, rerequest of the delegates, and had further quires elucidation. conversation on the subject with them at In the year 1806, Sheridan enLord Grenville's yesterday morning. Lord tered office as treasurer of the navy Grenville also consented to present the much against his inclination-but petition to the House of Lords. Now, h; iherefore, any discussion on this part of

i his embarrassed circumstances left the subject would be too late; but I will a 40 choice. In the same year ne fairly own, that, if it were not, I could not was chosen representative for Westbe dissuaded from doing the public act, minster ; but, at the next election, which, of all others, it will give me the he was defeated by Sir Francis Burgreatest satisfaction and pride to perform. dett. He came in, however, for No past event in my political life ever did, Ilchester. and no future one ever can, give me such Previous to. 1811 the Whigs had pleasure.

been split into parties ; and when the "I am sure you know how painful it king's illness gave them hopes of would be to me to disobey any, command power under the regency. We find of his royal highness's, or even to act in any manner that might be in the slightest

them, with the help of Sheridan, im. degree contrary to his wishes, and, there.

prudently putting it almost out of

Por fore. I am not sorry that your intimation the power of the prince to honour came too late. I shall endeavour to see them with his confidence. The dothe prince to-day; but, if I should fail, cuments relative to this affair, given pray take care that he knows how things by Mr. Moore, are curious and im

** This vain hope was expressed before the late decision on the Catholic question had proved to the Irish that, where their rights are concerned, neither public nor private pledges are regarded.'

minis

portant. His royal highness, it ap. destined gradation towards the result at pears, sent for Lords Grenville and which it at last arrived, after as much Grey, to draw up his ařswer to the fluctuation of political principle, on one address of Parliament. They did so side, as there was of indifference, perhaps, -but in a manner injurious to his to all political principle on the other. feelings, but complimentary to their he

Among the arrangements that had own consistency. Sheridan, who

been made, in contemplation of a new disliked the coalition, drew up an

ministry, at this time, it was intended that

Lord Moira should go, as lord lientenant, answer to the address, more agreeable to Ireland, and that Mr. Sheridan should to the prince; and the coalesced lords accompany him, as chief secretary.'afterwards sent in a kind of remon- P. 662, 3. strance; which afforded Sheridan Tlie political career of Sheridan wa's what he thought a good opportunity now drawing fast to a close. He spoke of making them feel his power. but upon two or three other occasions : Though privately alienated from thein, during the session; and among the last on personal as well as political grounds sentences uttered by him in the House he knew that, publicly, he was too much

were the following ;- which, as calculated identified with their ranks, ever to serve. to leave a sweeter flavour on the memory, with credit or consistency, in any other. at parting, than those questionable transHe had, therefore, in the ardour of under. actions that have just been related, I mining, carried the ground from beneath have great pleasure in citing : his own feet. In helping to disband his

“My objection to the present ministry party, he had cashiered himself; and

is, that they are avowedly arrayed and there remained to him now, for the residue embodied against a principle,--that of of his days, but that frailest of all sublu concession to the Catholics of Ireland, nary treasures, a prince's friendship.

which I think, and must always think, With this conviction. (which, in spite essential to the safety of this empire. I of all the sanguineness of his disposition, will never give my vote to any adminis could hardly have failed to force itself on

tration that opposes the question of Cathohis mind,) it was not, we should think, lic Emancipation. I will not consent to with very self-gratulatory feelings that he receive a furlough upon th

receive a furlough upon that particular undertouk the task, a few weeks after, of question, even though a ministry were inditing, for the Regent, that memorable carrying every other that I wished. In letter to Mr. Perceval, which sealed the fine, I think the situation of Ireland a fate at once both of his party and himself. paramount consideration. If they were to and, whatever false signs of re-animation

be the last words I should ever utter in

be the last words should may afterwards have appeared, severed this House, I should say, 'Be just to the last life-lock by which the “ struggling

Ireland, as you value your own honour; spirit*" of this friendship between royalty

- be just to Ireland, as you value your and whiggism still held ;

own peace." 'P. 677. " dextra crinem secat, omnis

On the dissolution of Parliament,

in 1812, he tried his old friends at et una Dilapsus calor, atque in ventos vita Stafford ; but, as his purse was not recessit.”

quite so heavy as that of his oppoWith respect to the chief personage nent, he lost his election. The connected with these transactions, it is a prince regent offered to bring him proof of the tendency of knowledge to in, but he declined entering Parliaproduce a spirit of tolerance, that they ment with the royal mark upon him. who, judging merely from the surface of The calamities of his life may be said events, have been most forward in repro- now to have commenced. Drurybating his separation from the Whigs, as a Lane Theatre, which was burnt in rupture of political ties and abandonment 1809, had been re-built ; but Sheria of private friendships, must, on beconing dan was excluded by the committee more thoroughly acquainted with all the from ho

e from having any thing further to do circunstances ihat led to this crisis,

S with it. Even the sum for which he learn to soften down considerably their angry feelings ; and to see, indeed, in the disposed of his title was paid him whole history of the connection, from its grudgingly; and at one time he suffirst formation, in the hey-day of youth fered the profanation of having been and party, to its faint survival after the carried to a spunging-house. death of Mr. Fox, but a natural and The disorder of Mr. Sheridan, a

• Lucians anima.

Inima

diseased stomach, now grew rapidly behalf of poor Sheridan, whose door on him, while the embarrassment of was soon thronged with such visitors his affairs helped to accelerate the as the Duke of York, the Duke of approach of death. In the beginning Argyll, &c.: but it was now too late. of 1816 his powers began to fail him; Sheridan died on the 7th of July, 1816, but still the wretched spot where he aged sixty-five, and was buried in Westlay down to die was not secured minster Abbey. Seldom has there against the incursion of clamorous been such an array of rank as graced creditors; and bailiffs at length gain- his funeral; and it was well remarked ed possession of his house." During at the time by a French journal, that all this time it does not appear that, : France is the place for a man of letwith the exception of Lord Holland, * ters to live in, and England the place any of his noble or royal friends call- for him to die in.' ed at his door, or even sent to in- Mr. Sheridan lost his first wife-to quire after him.

whosc amiable character Mr. Moore About this period Mr. Vaughan has done justice-in 1792, and was intimated to Dr. Bain that he was married to his second wife, the daughcommissioned to appropriate two ter of the Dean of Winchester, in hundred pounds for Sheridan's use 1795. This lady did not long survive to be paid at the rate of fifty pounds her husband. She had no child. at a time. Mrs. Sheridan refused re- Sheridan's only son died when ceiving this petty sum, as the imme. young. diate wants of her high-minded hus- Copious as have been our extracts band had been supplied from the from this interesting work,we cannot purse of Mr. Rogers, by the hands of conclude without giving Mr. Moore's' Mr. Moore. • Mr. Vaughan,' says character of Sheridan. the biographer, always said that the donation, thus meant to be doled

His political character stands out so

fully in these pages, that it is needless, by out, came from a royal hand; but

any comments, to attempt to raise it into this is hardly credible. It would be stronger relief. If to watch over the rights safer, perhaps, to let the suspicion of the subject, and guard them against the rest upon that gentleman's memory encroachments of power, be, even in safe -of having indulged his own bene- and ordinary times, a task full of useful. volent disposition in this disguise- ness and honour, how much more glorious than to suppose it possible that so to have stood sentinel over the same sacred scanty and reluctant a benefaction trust, through a period so trying as that was the sole mark of attention ac with which Sheridan had to struggle

when corded by a “ gracious prince and master” to the last death-bed wants

and unpopular-when authority had sncof one of the inost accomplished and

ceeded in identifying patriotism with

treason, and when the few remaining and faithful servants that royalty ever yet

deserted friends of freedom were reduced raised or ruined by its smiles. When

to take their stand on a narrowing isthmus, the philosopher, Anaxagoras,, lay between anarchy on one side and the angry dying for want of sustenance, his incursions of power on the other. How great pupil, Pericles, sent him a sum manfully he maintained his ground in a of money, “ Take it back," said position so critical, the annals of England Anaxagoras ; “ if he wished to keep and of the champions of her constitution the lamp alive, he ought to have ad- will long testify. The truly national spirit ministered the oil before.”

100, with which, when that struggle was In the mean time a sheriff's officer past, and the dangers to. liberty from had arrested the dying man in his

without seemed greater than any from

· within, he forgot all past differences in the bed, but was deterred from removing

ng one common cause of Englishmen, and, him, in consequence of the physician while

while others“ gave but the left hand to representing the responsibility he the country," proffered her both of his, should incur in case of death. At stamped a seal of sincerity on his public length an article in the Morning conduct,which, in the eyes of all England, Post' arrested public sympathy in authenticated it as genuine patriotism.

ed

* Among the few who did not forsake him in his misfortune, the names of Rogers' Moore, and Dr. Bain, stand conspicuous.

To his own party, it is true, his conduct The poet Cowley, in speaking of the un. presented a very different phasis; and if productiveness of those pursuits connected implicit partisanship were ihe sole merit with wit and fancy, says beautifully , of a public man, his movements, at this

" Where such fairies once have danced, no and other junctures, were far too independent and unbarnessed to lay claim to it.

grass will ever grow.” But however useful may be the bond of But, unfortunately, thorns will grow there; party, there are occasions that supersede . and he, who walks unsteadily among such it; and, in all such deviations from the thorns as now beset the once cnchanted fidelity which it enjoins, the two ques. path of Sheridan, ought not, after all, to be tions to be asked are—were they, as re- very severely criticised. garded the public, right? Were they, Having taken a cursory view of his as regarded the individual himself, un. literary, political, and_social qualities, it purchased ? To the former question, in remains for me to say a few words upon the instance of Sheridan, the whole coun- that most important point of all, his moral try responded in the affirmative; and to character. the latter, his account with the Treasury, There are few persons, as we have seen, from first to last, is a sufficient an- to whose kind and affectionate conduct, in swer.

some of the most interesting relations of • Even, however, on the score of fidelity domestic life, so many strong and honour. to party, when we recollect that he more able testimonies remain. The pains he than once submitted to some of the worst took to win back the estranged feelings of martyrdoms which it imposes--that of his father, and the filial tenderness with sharing in the responsibility of opinions which he repaid long years of parental from which he dissented, and suffering by caprice, show a heart that had, at least, set the ill consequences of measures against out by the right road, however, in many which he had protested ;-when we call years, it may have missed the way. The to mind, too, that during the administra- enthusiastic love wbich his sister bore him, tion of Mr. Addington, though agreeing and retained, unblighted by distance or wholly with the ministry,and differing with neglect, is another proof of the influence of the Whigs, he even then refused to profit his amiable feelings, at that period of life by a position so favourable to his interests, when he was as yet unspoiled by the world. and submitted, like certain religionists, We have seen the romantic fundness which from a point of honour, to suffer for a faith he preserved towards the first Mrs. Shein which he did not believe it seems im. ridan, even while doing his utnost, and in possible not to concede that even to the vain, to extinguish the same feeling in her. obligations of party he was as faithful as With the second wife, a course, nearly could be expected from a spirit that so far similar, was run; the same 6 scatterings outgrew its limits; and, in paying the tax and eclipses” of affection, from the irreguof fidelity wbile le asserted the freedom of larities and vanities in which he continued dissent,showed that he could sacrifice every to indulge, but the same hold kept of each tbing to it, except his opinion. Through other's hearts to the last. Her early letters all these occasional variations, too, he re- to him breathe a passion little short of mained a genuine Whig to the last ; and, idolatry, and her devoted attentions beside as I have heard one of his own party hap. his death-bed showed that the essential pily express it, was “ like pure gold, that part of the feeling still remained. changes colour in the fire, but comes out To claim an exemption for frailties and unaltered.”

irregularities on the score of genius, while • The transaction in 1812, relative to the there are such names as Milton and Newhousehold, was, as I have already said, ton on record, were to be blind to the exthe least defensible part of his public life. ample which these and other great men But it should be recollected bow broken he have left, of the grandest intellectual was, both in mind and body,at that period powers combined with the most virtuous his resources from the theatre at an end- lives. But, for the bias given early to the the shelter of Parliament about to be taken mind by education, and circumstances, from over his head also-and old age and even the least charitable may be inclined sickness coming on, as every hope and to make large allowances. We have seen comfort vanished. In that wreck of all how idly the young days of Sheridan were around him, the friendship of Carlton wasted-how soon he was left (in the House was the last asylum left to his pride words of the prophet) " to dwell careand his hope; and that even character lessly,” and with what an undisciplined itself should, in a too zealous moment, temperament he was thrown upon the have been one of the sacrifices offered up world, to meet at every step that neverat the shrine that protected him, is a sub. failing spring of temptation, which, like ject more of deep regret than of' wonder. the fatal fountain in the garden of Armida, sparkles up for ever in the pathway of died a rich apostaté, instead of closing a such a man :

life of patriotism in beggary. He might « Un Ponte sorge in lei, che vaghe e monde de hid

(to use a fine expression of his own) bave

le bid his head in a coronet," instead of Ha l'acque si, che i riguardanti asseta. Ma dentro ai freddi suoi cristalli asconde

earning for it but the harren wreath of

public gratitude. While, therefore, we Di tosco estran malvagita secreta."

admire the great sacrifice that he made, let · Let it nevér, too, be forgotten, in esti- us be tolerant to the errors and imprumating this part of his character, that bad dences which it entailed upon bim : and, he been less consistent and disinterested in recollecting how vain it is to look for any his public conduct, he might have com- thing unalloyed in this world, rest satisfied manded the means of being independent with the Martyr without requiring also the and respectable in private. He might have Saint.'

TALES OF LOW Life.
By Thomas Furlong, Author of Plagues of Ireland,' c.

No. S1.

THE DRUNKARD.
ALONG Drumcondra road I strolled,

The smoky town was just in sight-
I met a woman, stooped and old,

And she was in a ragged plight.
Oh! master dear, for sake of Heaven,
· In pity look on me;
You'll never miss a penny given

Away in charity!
That I'm in want the world may see-

That I ain old I'm sure appears;
At Christmas next my age will be

Just eight-and-sixty years.'
• And how did all those years go o'er?

What have you through that time been at?'
Oh! it would take an hour and more

For me to tell all that.
When I was small, ay, very small,

To service I was sent ;
And, by my mother, I was told
Not to be sulky, stiff, or bold;

But, to whatever place I went,
Still to be jumping at a call,
And act obligingly to all.
« Years past, I grew, I worked my way,

My sweet young mistress on me doted;
She in the kitchen stood one day,
And there she to the cook did say

That I must be promoted.
• She thought it wrong to have me thrust

In a dark kitchen under ground,
Exposed to damp, and dirt, and dust,

When other business could be found.
Heaven be her bed! Soon after this

My kitchen clothes aside were laid :
Out through the Park, around the town,
And in the squares, all up and down,
I walked, with master and with miss,

A dressy children's maid.
Oh, then what easy times I had !
My look was gay, my heart was glad.

« AnteriorContinuar »