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both of his party and himself, and, whatever false signs of re-animation may afterwards have appeared, severed the last life-lock by which the “ struggling spirit”* of this friendship between Royalty and Whiggism still held :
66 dextra crinem secat, omnis et una Dilapsus calor, atque in ventos vita recessit."
With respect to the chief Personage connected with these transactions, it is a proof of the tendency of knowledge to produce a spirit of tolerance, that they who, judging merely from the surface of events, have been most forward in reprobating his separation from the Whigs, as a rupture of political ties and an abandonment of private friendships, must, on becoming more thoroughly acquainted with all the circumstances that led to this crisis, learn to soften down considerably their angry feelings; and to see, indeed, in the whole history of the connexion,- from its first formation, in the hey-day of youth and party, to its faint survival after the death of Mr. Fox,but a natural and destined gradation towards the result at which it at last arrived, after as much fluctuation of political principle on one side, as there was of indifference, perhaps, to all political principle on the other.
* Luctans anima,
Among the arrangements that had been made, in contemplation of a new Ministry, at this time, it was intended that Lord Moira should go, as Lord Lieutenant to Ireland, and that Mr. Sheriridan should accompany him as Chief Secretary. CHAPTER XXI.
AFFAIRS OF THE NEW THEATRE.—MR. WHITBREAD.
- NEGOTIATIONS WITH LORD GREY AND LORD
BYRON. —DISTRESSES OF SHERIDAN.
-DEATH AND FUNERAL. GENERAL REMARKS.
It was not till the close of this year that the Reports of the Committee, appointed under the Act for rebuilding the Theatre of Drury-Lane, were laid before the public. By these it appeared that Sheridan was to receive, for his moiety of the property, 24,000l., out of which sum the claims of the Linley family and others were to be satisfied ; --that a further sum of 4000l. was to be paid to him for the property of the Fruit Offices and Reversion of Boxes and Shares; - and that his son, Mr. Thomas Sheridan, was to receive, for his quarter of the Patent Property, 12,000l.
The gratitude that Sheridan felt to Mr. Whitbread at first, for the kindness with which he undertook this most arduous task, did not long
remain unembittered when they entered into practical details. It would be difficult indeed to find two persons less likely to agree in a transaction of this nature-the one, in affairs of business, approaching almost as near to the extreme of rigour as the other to that of laxity. While Sheridan, too,-like those painters who endeavour to disguise their ignorance of anatomy by an indistinct and furzy outline,-had an imposing method of generalising his accounts and statements, which, to most eyes, concealed the negligence and fallacy of the details, Mr. Whitbread, on the contrary, with an unrelenting accuracy, laid open the minutiæ of every transaction, and made evasion as impossible to others as it was alien and inconceivable to himself. He was, perhaps, the only person whom Sheridan had ever found proof against his powers of persuasion ;-and this rigidity naturally mortified his pride full as much as it thwarted and disconcerted his views.
Among the conditions to which he agreed, in order to facilitate the arrangements of the Committee, the most painful to him was that which stipulated that he himself should " have no concern or connexion, of any kind whatever, with the new undertaking." This concession, however, he, at first, regarded as a mere matter of form-feeling confident that, even without any effort of his own, the necessity under which the new Committee would find themselves of recur
ring to his advice and assistance, would ere long reinstate him in all his former influence. But in this hope he was disappointed—his exclusion from all concern in the new Theatre (which, it is said, was made a sine qua non by all who embarked in it,) was inexorably enforced by Whitbread; and the following letter addressed by him to the latter will show the state of their respective feelings on this point :
66 MY DEAR WUITBREAD, . " I am not going to write you a conlroversial or even an argumentative letter, but simply to put down the heads of a few matters which I wish shortly to converse with you upon, in the most amicable and temperate manner, deprecating the impatience which may sometimes have mixed in our discussions, and not contending who has been the aggressor,
“ The main point you seem to have had so much as heart you
have carried, so there is an end of that; and I shall as fairly and cordially endeavour to advise and assist Mr. Benjamin Wyatt in the improving and perfecting his plan as if it had been my own preferable selection, assuming, as I must do, that there cannot exist an individual in England so presumptuous, or
SO void of common sense, as not sincerely to solicit the aid of my practical experience on this occasion, even were I not, in justice to the Subscribers, bound spontaneously to offer it.
“ But it would be unmanly dissimulation in me to retain the sentiments I do with respect to your doctrine on this subject, and not express what I so strongly feel. That doctrine was, to my utter astonishment, to