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they could without them ;-and when the papers were called for, his friend must only put the best countenance he could upon it. As for himself, “ he would abuse Ned Lawé-ridicule Plumer's long orations-make the court laugh-please the women, and, in short, with Taylor's aid, would get triumphantly through his task.” His opening of the case was listened to with the profoundest attention; but when he came to contrast the evidence of the Commons with that adduced by Hastings, it was not long before the chancellor interrupted him, with a request that the printed minutes to which he referred should be read. Sheridan answered that his friend Mr. Taylor would read them; and Mr. Taylor affected to send for the bag, while the orator begged leave, in the meantime, to proceed. Again, however, his statements rendered a reference to the minutes necessary, and again he was interrupted by the chancellor, while an outcry after Mr. Sheridan's bag was raised in all directions. At first the blame was laid on the solicitor's clerk ;then a messenger was dispatched to Mr. Sheridan's house. In the meantime the orator was proceeding brilliantly and successfully in his argument, and, on some further interruption and expostulation from the chancellor, raised his voice, and said, in a dignified tone, “On the part of the Commons, and as manager of this impeachment, I shall conduct my case as I think proper. I mean to be correct; and your lordships, having the printed minutes before you, will afterwards see whether I am right or wrong."
During the bustle produced by the inquiries after the bag, Mr. Fox, alarmed at the inconvenience which he feared the want of it might occasion to Sheridan, ran up from the manager's room, and demanded eagerly the cause of this mistake from Mr. Taylor ; who, hiding his mouth with his hand, whispered him in a tone full of humour), “The man has no bag !"
The whole of this characteristic contrivance was evidently intended by Sheridan to raise that sort of surprise at the readiness of his resources, which it was the favourite triumph of his
vanity to create. Mr. Moore says, “I have it on the authority of Mr. William Smythe, that, previously to the delivery of this speech, he passed two or three days alone at Wanstead, so occupied from morning till night in writing and reading of papers, as to complain in the evenings that he had motes before his eyes.' This mixture of real labour with apparent carelessness was, indeed, one of the most curious features of his life and character.”
HIS LETTER ON BEING APPOINTED RECEIVER
OF THE DUCHY OF CORNWALL. Early in the year 1804, on the death of Lord Elliot, the office of Receiver of the Duchy of Cornwall, which had been held by that nobleman, was bestowed by the Prince of Wales upon Mr. Sheridan, "as a trifling proof of that sincere friendship his Royal Highness had always professed and felt for him through a long series of years." His Royal Highness also added, in the same communication, the very cordial words, “I wish to God it was better worth your acceptance.”
The following letter from Sheridan to Mr. Addington, communicating the intelligence of this appointment, shows pretty plainly the terms on which he not only now stood, but was well inclined to continue, with that minister :
George Street, Tuesday evening. DEAR SIR,--Convinced as I am of the sincerity of your good will towards me, I do not regard it as an impertinent intrusion to inform you that the Prince has, in the most gracious manner, and wholly unsolicited, been pleased to appoint me to the late Lord Elliot's situation in the Duchy of Cornwall. I feel a desire to communicate this to you myself, because I feel a confidence that you will be glad of it. It has been my pride and pleasure to have exerted my humble efforts to serve the Prince without ever accepting the slightest obligation from him; but, in the present case, and under the present circumstances, I think it would have been really false pride and apparently mischievous affectation to have declined this mark of his Royal Highness's confidence and favour. I will not disguise that, at this peculiar crisis, I am greatly gratified at this event. Had it been the result of a mean and subservient devotion to the
Prince's every wish and object, I could neither have respected the gift, the giver, or myself; but when I consider how recently it was my misfortune to find myself compelled by a sense of duty, stronger than my attachment to him, wholly to risk the situation I held in his confidence and favour, and that upon a subject * on which his feelings were so eager and irritable, I cannot but regard the increased attention, with which he has since honoured me, as a most gratifying demonstration that he has clearness of judgment and firmness of spirit to distinguish the real friends to his true glory and interests from the mean and mercenary sycophants, who fear and abhor that such friends should be near him. It is satisfactory to me, also, that this appointment also gives me the title and opportunity of seeing the Prince, on trying occasions, openly and in the face of day, and puts aside the mask of mystery and concealment. I trust I need not add, that whatever small portion of fair influence I may at any time possess with the prince, it shall be uniformly exerted to promote those feelings of duty and affection towards their Majesties, which, though seemingly interrupted by adverse circumstances,
I am sure are in his heart warm and unalterable -and, as far as I may presume, that general concord throughout his illustrious family, which must be looked to by every honest subject, as an essential part of the public strength at this momentous period. I have the honour to be, with great respect and esteem,
Your obedient servant,
R. B. SHERIDAN. Right Hon. Henry Addington.
SHERIDAN'S PERSONAL APPEARANCE. WHEN young, he was generally accounted handsome; but in later years his eyes were the only testimonials of beauty that remained to him. It was, indeed, in the upper part of his face
, that the spirit of the man chiefly reigned, the dominion of the world and the senses being rather strongly marked out in the lower. In his person he was about the middle size, and his general make was robust and well proportioned. It is remarkable that his arms, though of powerful strength, were thin, and appeared by no means muscular. His hands were small and
The offer made by the Prince of his personal services in 1803,which occasion Sheridan coincided with the views of Mr. Addington somewhat more than was agreeable to his Royal Highness.
delicate ; and the following couplet, written on a cast from
Good at a Fight, but better at a Play,
THE PRINCE ON MOORE'S “LIFE OF SHERIDAN." FROM a work called “Sheridan and his Times" the following is extracted :
“Watson, the Prince Regent's purse-bearer, having approached his royal master when the latter was busily engaged in scanning the pages of Moore's Life of Sheridan,' the Prince, rising from his seat, said, — Let
your business wait a little until you have answered my question. Have you seen Moore lately, or does he keep himself hidden from public observation ?'
“I have not seen Mr. Moore lately, your Royal Highness, but I understand he is staying at Lansdowne House, was Watson's reply.
“On which the Prince rejoined, 'Look him out, sir, if you have any charity for the man. Bid him abscond, if he would avoid the penalty of the law, and escape indictment under Lord Ellenborough's Act rendering cutting and maiming a capital felony.'
“With a look of astonishment, Watson exclaimed, 'Impossible, your Royal Highness !'
“Impossible, sir! Why, I have before me,' retorted the Prince, the most conclusive evidence of his having barbarously attempted the life of Sheridan.'”
LORD BYRON AND SHERIDAN.
MONODY ON THE DEATH OF THE RIGHT HONOURABLE
R. B. SHERIDAN.
By Lord Byron. Spoken by Mr. Rae, at Drury Lane, on the 7th September,
With a pure feeling which absorbs and awes,