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next day, in a letter to the Prince, such an answer and acknowledgment as might be expected from him; and, accordingly, directions were given to make out his patent. On the ensuing His RoyalHighness was greatly surprised at receiving the following letter from Mr. Warwick Lake. (No. II.)

“ His Royal Highness immediately directed Mr. Sheridan to see Mr. W. Lake, and to state his situation, and how the office was circumstanced ; and for further distinctness to make a minute in writing.”

Such were the circumstances that had, at first, embarrassed his enjoyment of this office; but, on the death of Lord Lake, all difficulties were removed, and the appointment was confirmed to Sheridan for his life.

In order to afford some insight into the nature of that friendship which existed so long between the Heir Apparent and Sheridan,-though unable, of course, to produce any of the numerous letters, on the Royal side of the correspondence, that have been found among the papers in my possession, - I shall here give, from a rough copy in Sheridan's hand-writing, a letter which he addressed about this time to the Prince :

" It is matter of surprise to myself, as well as of deep regret, that I should have incurred the appearance of ungrateful neglect and disrespect towards the person to whom I am most obliged on earth, to whom I feel the most ardent, dutiful, and affectionate attachinent, and in whose service I would readily sacrifice

my

life. Yet

so it is, and to nothing but a perverse combination of circumstances, which would form no excuse were I to recapitulate them, can I attribute a conduct so strange on my part; and from nothing but Your Royal Highness's kindness and benignity alone can I expect an indulgent allowance and oblivion of that conduct : nor could I even hope for this were I not conscious of the unabated and unalterable devotion towards Your Royal Highness which lives in my heart, and will ever continue to be its pride and boast.

6. But I should ill deserve the indulgence I request did I not frankly state what has passed in my mind, which, though it cannot justify, may, in some degree, extenuate what must have appeared so strange to Your Royal Highness, previous to Your Royal Highness having actually restored me to the office I had resigned.

66 I was mortified and hurt in the keenest manner by having repeated to me from an authority which I then trusted, some expressions of Your Royal Highness respecting .me, which it was impossible I could have deserved. Though I was most solemnly pledged never to reveal the source from which the communication came, I for some time intended to unburthen my mind to my sincere friend and Your Royal Highness's most attached and excellent servant, M Mahon—but I suddenly discovered, beyond a doubt, that I had been grossly deceived, and that there had not existed the slightest foundation for the tale that had been imposed on me; and I do humbly ask You r Royal Highness's pardon for having for a moment credited a fiction suggested by mischief and malice. Yet, extraordinary as it must seem, I had so long, under this false impression, neglected the course which duty and gratitude required from me, that I felt an unaccountable shyness and reserve in repairing my error, and to this procrastination other unlucky circumstances contributed. One day when I had the honour of meeting Your Royal Highness on horseback in Oxford-Street, though your manner was as usual gracious and kind to me, you said that I had deserted you privately and politically. I had long before that been assured, though falsely I am convinced, that Your Royal Highness had promised to make a point that I should neither speak nor yote on Lord Wellesley's business. My view of this topic, and my knowledge of the delicate situation in which Your Royal Highness stood in respect to the Catholic question, though weak and inadequate motives I confess, yet encouraged the continuance of that reserve which my original error had commenced. These subjects being passed by,and sure I am Your Royal Highness would vever deliberately ask me to adopt a course of debasing inconsistency,—it was my hope fully and frankly to have explained myself and repaired my fault, when I was informed that a circumstance that happened at Burlington-House, and which must have been heinously misrepresented, had greatly offended you; and soon after it was stated to me, by an authority which I have no objection to disclose, that Your Royal Highness had quoted, with marked disapprobation, words supposed to have been spoken by me on the Spanish question, and of which words, as there is a God in heaven, I never uttered one syllable.

“ Most justly may Your Royal Highness answer to all this, why have I not sooner stated these circumstances, and confided in that uniform friendship and protection which I have so long experienced at your hands.

hands. I can only plead a nervous, procrastinating nature, abetted, perhaps, by sensations of, I trust, no false pride, which, however I may blame myself, impel me involuntarily to fly from the risk of even a cold look from the quarter to which I owe so much, and by whom to be esteemed is the glory and consolation of my private and public life.

“ One point only remains for me to intrude upon Your Royal Highness's consideration, but it is of a nature fit only for personal communication. I therefore conclude, with again entreating Your Royal Highness to continue and extend the indulgence which the imperfections in my character have so often received from you, and yet to be assured that there never did exist to Monarch, Prince, or man, a firmer or purer attachment than I feel, and to my death shall feel, to you, my gracious Prince and Master."

CHAPTER XX.

DESTRUCTION OF THE THEATRE OF DRURY-LANE BY

FIRE. MR. WHITBREAD.

-PLAN FOR A THIRD

THEATRE.-ILLNESS OF THE KING.–REGENCY.

-LORD GREY AND LORD GRENVILLE. —CONDUCT

OF MR.SHERIDAN.—HIS VINDICATION OF HIMSELF.

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With the details of the embarrassments of Drury-
Lane Theatre, I have endeavoured, as little as
possible, to encumber the attention of the reader.
This part of my subject would, indeed, require a
volume to itself. The successive partnerships
entered into with Mr. Grubb and Mr. Richardson,
- the different Trust-deeds for the general and
individual property, - the various creations of
Shares,-the controversies between the Trustees
and Proprietors as to the obligations of the Deed
of 1793, which ended in a Chancery-suit in i 1799,
-the perpetual entanglements of the property,
which Sheridan's private debts occasioned, and
which even the friendship and skill of Mr. Adam
were wearied out in endeavouring to rectify,
all this would lead to such a mass of details and
correspondence as, though I have waded through
it myself, it is by no means necessary to inflict

upon others.

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