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Memoirs of the Life of the Rt. Hon. Richard Brinsley Sheridan — Volume 01   By: (1779-1852)

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MEMOIRS

OF THE

LIFE OF THE RT. HON.

RICHARD BRINSLEY SHERIDAN

BY THOMAS MOORE

IN TWO VOLUMES

VOL. I.

TO

GEORGE BRYAN, ESQ.,

THIS WORK IS INSCRIBED,

BY

HIS SINCERE AND AFFECTIONATE FRIEND,

THOMAS MOORE.

PREFACE.

The first four Chapters of this work were written nearly seven years ago. My task was then suspended during a long absence from England; and it was only in the course of the last year that I applied myself seriously to the completion of it.

To my friend, Mr. Charles Sheridan, whose talents and character reflect honor upon a name, already so distinguished, I am indebted for the chief part of the materials upon which the following Memoirs of his father are founded. I have to thank him, not only for this mark of confidence, but for the delicacy with which, though so deeply interested in the subject of my task, he has refrained from all interference with the execution of it: neither he, nor any other person, beyond the Printing office, having ever read a single sentence of the work.

I mention this, in order that the responsibility of any erroneous views or indiscreet disclosures, with which I shall be thought chargeable in the course of these pages, may not be extended to others, but rest solely with myself.

The details of Mr. Sheridan's early life were obligingly communicated to me by his younger sister, Mrs. Lefanu, to whom, and to her highly gifted daughter, I offer my best thanks for the assistance which they have afforded me.

The obligations, of a similar nature, which I owe to the kindness of Mr. William Linley, Doctor Bain, Mr. Burgess, and others, are acknowledged, with due gratitude, in my remarks on their respective communications.

CONTENTS TO VOL. I.

CHAPTER I.

Birth and Education of Mr. Sheridan. His First Attempts in Literature.

CHAPTER II.

Duels with Mr. Mathews. Marriage with Miss Linley

CHAPTER III.

Domestic Circumstances. Fragments of Essays found among his Papers. Comedy of "The Rivals." Answer to "Taxation no Tyranny." Farce of "St. Patrick's Day."

CHAPTER IV.

The Duenna. Purchase of Drury Lane Theatre. The Trip to Scarborough. Poetical Correspondence with Mrs. Sheridan

CHAPTER V.

The School for Scandal

CHAPTER VI.

Further Purchase of Theatrical Property. Monody to the Memory of Garrick. Essay on Metre. The Critic. Essay on Absentees. Political Connections. "The Englishman." Elected for Stafford

CHAPTER VII.

Unfinished Plays and Poems

CHAPTER VIII.

His First Speeches in Parliament. Rockingham Administration. Coalition. India Bill. Re election for Stafford

CHAPTER IX.

The Prince of Wales. Financial Measures. Mr. Pitt's East India Bill. Irish Commercial Propositions. Plan of the Duke of Richmond. Sinking Fund.

CHAPTER X.

Charges against Mr. Hastings. Commercial Treaty with France. Debts of the Prince of Wales.

CHAPTER I.

BIRTH AND EDUCATION OF MR. SHERIDAN. HIS FIRST ATTEMPTS IN LITERATURE.

Richard Brinsley [Footnote: He was christened also by the name of Butler, after the Earl of Lanesborough.] Sheridan was born in the month of September, 1751, at No. 12, Dorset Street, Dublin, and baptized in St. Mary's Church, as appears by the register of the parish, on the fourth of the following month. His grandfather, Dr. Sheridan, and his father, Mr. Thomas Sheridan, have attained a celebrity, independent of that which he has conferred on them, by the friendship and correspondence with which the former was honored by Swift, and the competition and even rivalry which the latter so long maintained with Garrick. His mother, too, was a woman of considerable talents, and affords one of the few instances that have occurred, of a female indebted for a husband to her literature; as it was a pamphlet she wrote concerning the Dublin theatre that first attracted to her the notice of Mr. Thomas Sheridan. Her affecting novel, Sidney Biddulph, could boast among its warm panegyrists Mr. Fox and Lord North; and in the Tale of Nourjahad she has employed the graces of Eastern fiction to inculcate a grave and important moral, putting on a fairy disguise, like her own Mandane, to deceive her readers into a taste for happiness and virtue... Continue reading book >>


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