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them, they were supported by those Whigs with whom they had before most vehemently differed. Among this latter class of their friends was, as I have already remarked, Mr. Sheridan,—who, convinced that the only chance of excluding Mr. Pitt from power lay in strengthening the hands of those who were in possession, not only gave them the aid of his own name and eloquence, but en-deavoured to impress the same views upon Mr. Fox, and exerted his influence also to procure the sanction of Carlton-House in their favour.

It cannot, indeed, be doubted that Sheridan, at this time, though still the friend of Mr. Fox, had ceased, in a great degree, to be his follower. Their views with respect to the renewal of the war were wholly different. While Sheridan join ed in the popular feeling against France, and showed his knowledge of that great instrument, the Public Mind, by approaching it only with such themes as suited the martial mood to which it was tuned, the too confiding spirit of Fox breathed nothing but forbearance and peace ;--and he who, in 1786, had proclaimed the “ natural enmity" of England and France, as an argument against their commercial intercourse, now asked, with the softened tone which time and retirement had taught him, “ whether France was for ever to be considered our rival ?*

* Speech on the Address of Thanks, in 1803.

The following characteristic note, written by him previously to the debate on the Army Estimates, (December 8, 1802,) shows a consciousness that the hold which he had once had

upon

his friend was loosened :

66 DEAR SHERIDAN,

I mean to be in town for Monday,—that is, for the Army. As for to-morrow, it is no matter ;-I anı for a largish fleet, though perhaps not quite so large as they mean. Pray, do not be absent Monday, and let me have a quarter of an hour's conversation before the business begins. Remember, I do not wish you to be inconsistent, at any rate. Pitt's opinion by Proxy is ridiculous beyond conception, and I hope you will show it in that light. I am very much against your abusing Bonaparte, because I am sure it is impolitic both for the country and ourselves. But, as you please ;-only, for God's sake, Peace. *

66 Yours ever, * Tuesday night.

66 C. J. Fox."

It was about this period that the writer of these pages had, for the first time, the gratification of meeting Mr. Sheridan, at Donington-Park, the seat of the present Marquis of Hastings ;-a circumstance which he recalls, not only with those lively impressions that our first admiration of genius leaves behind, but with many other dreams

* These last words are an interesting illustration of the line in Mr. Rogers's Verses on this statesman :

" •Pcace,' when he spoke, was ever on his tongưe."

of youth and hope, that still endear to him the mansion where that meeting took place, and among which gratitude to its noble owner is the only one, perhaps, that has not faded. Mr. Sheridan, I remember, was just then furnishing a new house, and talked of a plan he had of levying contributions on his friends for a library. A set of books from each would, he calculated, amply accomplish it, and already the intimation of his design had begun to “ breathe a soul into the silent walls.”* The splendid and well-chosen library of Donington was, of course, not slow in furnishing its contingent; and little was it foreseen into what badges of penury these gifts of friendship would be converted at last.

As some acknowledgment of the services which Sheridan had rendered to the Ministry, (thouglı professedly as a tribute to his public character in general,) Lord St. Vincent, about this time, made an offer to his son, Mr. Thomas Sheridan, of the place of Registrar of the Vice-Admiralty Court of Malta,-an office whiclı, during a period of war, is supposed to be of considerable emolument. The first impulse of Sheridan, when consulted on the proposal, was, as I have heard, not unfavourable to his son's acceptance of it. But, on considering the new position which he had, himself, lately taken in politics, and the inference that

Rogers.

a lien

might be drawn against the independence of his motives, if he submitted to an obligation which was but too liable to be interpreted, as less a return for past services than

upon

him for future ones, he thought it safest for his character to sacrifice the advantage, and, desirable as was the provision for his son, obliged him to decline it.

The following passages of a letter to him from Mrs. Sheridan on this subject do the highest honour to her generosity, spirit, and good sense. They also confirm what has generally been understood, that the King, about this time, sent a most gracious message to Sheridan, expressive of the approbation with which he regarded his public conduct, and of the pleasure he should feel in conferring upon him some mark of his Royal fa

vour:

6. I am more anxious than I can express about Tom's welfare. It is, indeed, unfortunate that you have been obliged to refuse these things for him, but surely there could not be two opinions ; yet why will you neglect to observe those altentions that honour does not compel you to refuse? Don't you know that when once the King takes offence, he was never known to forgive? I suppose it would be impossible to have your motives explained to him, because it would touch his weak side, yet any thing is better than his attributing your refusal to contempt and indifference. Would to God I could bear these necessary losses instead of Tom, particularly as I so entirely approve

of
your

conduct.” I trust you will be able to do something positive

sa

for Tom about money. I ain willing to make any crifice in the world for that purpose, and to live in any way whatever. Whatever he has now ought to be certain, or how will he know how to regulate his expenses ?”

The fate, indeed, of young Sheridan was peculiarly tantalizing. Born and brought up in the midst of those bright hopes, which so long encircled his father's path, he saw them all die away as he became old enough to profit by them, leaving difficulty and disappointment, his only inheritance, behind. Unprovided with any profession by which he could secure his own independence, and shut out, as in this instance, from those means of advancement, which, it was feared, might compromise the independence of his father, he was made the victiin even of the distinction of his situation, and paid dearly for the glory of being the son of Sheridan. In the expression of his face, he resembled much his beautiful mother, and derived from her also the fatal complaint of which he died. His popularity in society was unexampled,-but he knew how to attach as well as amuse; and, though living chiefly with that class of

pass the surface of life, like Camilla over the corn, without leaving any impression of themselves behind, he had manly and intelligent qualities, that deserved a far better destiny. There are, indeed, few individuals, whose lives have been so gay and thoughtless, whom so many remember

persons, who

over

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