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for men strongly linked to the world, to recede. He was surrounded with expensive friends, was known for his elegant style of living, and had contracted habits of expense which he could not alter without changing his most customary pursuits. It was infinitely easier for him to put apprehensions of the future or nice considerations of justice in the back ground, than to commence this reformation; and it is melancholy to think, that he at last so closed his eyes to every consideration except present ease, that his wit seemed never more willingly employed, than when making sport of his embarrassments, or of those who had serious reason to complain of his indiscretion.
In the year 1790, or 91, a dissolution of parliament having previously taken place, he was again returned for Stamford; and in the troubles of the French Revolution, found another subject for active exertions in his political situation. But en event soon after occured which brought a shade for a time over all his prospects, and carried his thoughts back to lament over the felicily of past years, and the happy privacy of domestic peace. Mrs. Sheridan, the partner of all his anxieties, and the delighted witness of all his triumphs, was attacked with an illness which in a short time proved fatal, and she died at Bristol, at the age of thirty eight. Her disconsolate husband on this event occurring, removed from Isleworth, where he then resided, to Wanstead, and he was soon afterwards painfully engaged in examining the situation of his theatrical property. Not only were the pecuniary malters of the concern found fearfully perplexed, but the theatre itself was declared unsafe; and this addition to Sheridan's complicated difficulties was only overcome by a sum being raised, by shares, to rebuild the edifice.
The new theatre was opened, April 21, 1794, and a spirited little piece of scenic splendour was got up on the occasion, under the direction of Sheridan, called • The Glorious First of June.' In the following year he again married, the lady whom he chose for his second wife being Miss Ogle, a daughter of the Dean of Winchester; and he was again successful in finding the graces of youth and beauty united with a sincere and devoted heart.
However little Sheridan seemed formed by nature and education for a statesman, an event happened about this time in which he exercised a judgment highly honourable to his penetration, and of the most important service to the nation. When the whole ministry was in confusion on occasion of the muntliny at the Nore, and no one knew what counsel to give, Sheridan stepped forward and said, "My advice is, that you cut the buoys on the river, send Sir C. Grey down to the coast, and set a price on Parker's head. If the administration attend tothis advice instantly, they willsave the country; if not, they will lose it; and on their refusal, I will impeach them in the House of Commons this evening.'
In the year 1798, he again took up his pen in aid of the theatre, and employed himself in adapting "The Stranger to the English stage. This piece had considerable success, but is in no wise to be regarded as forming a part of his dramatic works; and it would not have been, perhaps, a loss to his reputation, had he had no stronger claims to Pizarro, which was brought out May 24, 1799.
Sheridan is generally considered to have wavered in no slight degree in his political principles. He was, however, in a difficult situation. He was strongly attached to the Prince-Regent as a personal friend, and the feelings which were the consequence of this sentiment necessarily brought his wishes into frequent collision with his principles; and it does great credit to him that the charges against him have been so comparatively trifling. In 1804, on the death of Lord Elliot, he was made, by the kindness of the Prince, Receiver of the Duchy of Cornwall, and in 1806, on a change of ministry, was appointed Treasurer of the Navy. The same year also he was elected member for Westminster, but parliament being almost immediately after dissolved, in pulling up again for the same representation he lost his election, and was brought in
for Ilchester. But the busy drama of his life was fast drawing towards its melancholy.conclusion. In Feb. 1809, while present in the house of Commons, he was alarmed with the other members by a blaze of light that burst through the windows, and tidings were almost immediately brought that Drury Lane Theatre was on fire. This completed the ruin of his fortune. The house was rebuilt by subscription, and he obtained some compensation for his immense losses, but it was not sufficient to repel the rapid advance of distress, or the destruction of every hope of support or comfort; on the dissolution of parliament in 1812, he lost his seat, and stood exposed without defence, to the merciless attacks of age, creditors, and poverty. Every evil to which such a situation is liable, now poured in upon him. Deserted by his friends and attacked by a mortal disease, he was obliged to make himself a prisoner in his own house, and, with no other prospect than the grave before him, saw wrilten on the last leaf of his history the vanity of earthly ambition and earthly hopes. Disease soon compleles its purpose when life is without comfort, and never had pecuniary distress produced a scene of greater destitution that the dying chamber of Sheridan. Besieged by his creditors, whom even the visible presence of death could not silence, he owed it to the benevolence of one or two unshaken friends, that he was not carried, dying as he was, lo a prison, and in the hour of repose They purchased for him, he expired.
Sheridan died on Sunday the 7th of July, 1816 , aged 65, and was buried with great pomp in Westminster, where a simple monument records the place of his interment.
The life of this extraordinary man needs no comment to point ils moral to the heart of the most thoughtless or the most ambilious. Ils b:ginning was spent in pleasure, and it closed in destilntion. The fame and praises of the world only had given it splendour, and it ended in disappointment, calumny, and regret. Of Sheridan's character as a man of genius, a few
words will suffice to give the description. He was brillant in his conceptions, but his invention was slow and methodical. He had much wil, but little imagination. His mind was not enriched with extensive learning, but he owed as much as any author that ever lived, to occasional and particular research. writer of Comedy he will ever hold the first rank, but he wanted thought, philosophy, and a richer vein of noble and serious sentiment, to make him equal with the men who have adorned our English literature in its higher departments.