« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
The Memoir prefixed to the present edition of Sheridan's Dramatic Works contains the most striking circumstances that marked the eventful life of the author. These are neces. sarily condensed, and such only recorded as are based upon unimpeachable testimony; the numerous apocryphal anecdotes which have found their way into circulation having been intentionally rejected. The object of the editor has been to place before the public, in a single volume, both the Memoirs and the Plays in as authentic a form as existing materials permit. The difficulties attendant upon such a task may gathered from the facts hereinafter narrated.
G. G. S.
BIOGRAPHICAL MEMOIR. Sheridan, his birth, 8.-Sent to Harrow, 9.-First attempts in literature, 10.
-Visits Bath, 12.-Elopes with Miss Linley, 19.—Duel with Captain Matthews, 32.—Domestic circumstances, 38.—Comedy of the “Rivals,” 39.— Its popularity, 41.- The “Duenna,” 44.—Correspondence between Linley and Garrick, 47.-Rauzzini's career, 48.—Garrick resigns Drury Lane, 49.- Purchase of the theatre, 51.—The “Trip to Scarborough,” 52. -Comedy of the “School for Scandal,” ib.-Its striking features, 53.Falsehoods respecting it, 62.-Jealousy of Cumberland, 64.-Remarks on the play, 65.— Retirement of Mr. King from the stage, 72.-Story of Sheridan and Palmer, 74.—Gentleman Smith, 78.-Dodd and Parsons, 79.- Mismanagement at Drury Lane, 81.— Further purchase of theatrical property, 82.-Monody on the death of Garrick, 83.-The “Critic,” ib. -Its impression on the public mind, 85.—Bannister, Waldron, Farren, and Miss Pope, 86.—Anecdote of Sheridan, 87.—Essay on absenteeism. 89.–State of the political world, 91.—Elected for Stafford, 92.-His first speeches in the House, 93.—Moves for a better regulation of the police, 95.—Bill for preventing Desertion, 96.—Opposes Fox on the Marriage Act, ib.—Attacks Rigby, Paymaster of the Forces, 97.—Declares against the American war, 98.-Unpopularity of Lord North, 99.-Rockingham Administration, 100.— Appointed one of the under Secretaries of State, wb.-Coalition, ib.-Collision with Pitt, 101.- Becomes Secretary of the Treasury, ib.–Struggles on the East India Bill, 102.—Bitterly opposes Pitt's measures, 103.-Reelected for Stafford, ib.— Distinguishes himself on the Westminster scrutiny, ib.—The “Rolliad,” 104.—Quarrel with Mr. Rolle, 106.–Vigorous speech on Irish Coinmercial Propositions, 107.-Charges against Warren Hastings, 108.-Sheridan's splendid speech on the occasion, 112.-Eulogium passed upon it by Burke, Pitt, and Fox, 113.-Impeachment of Warren Hastings, 120.—Account of the trial, 121.-Eagerness of the public to hear Sheridan, 123.-His eloquent address, 126.—Exultation of his family, 129.—Illness of the King, 130.Account of the malady from Miss Burney's Memoirs, 131.—The Regency Question, 134.–Views of Sheridan on the subject, 135.-Debates in the House, 136.-His Majesty's restoration to health, 141.-Death of Sheridan's father, ib.— The French Revolution, 143.—Assiduity of
THE RIGHT HONOURABLE
RICHARD BRINSLEY SHERIDAN.
SCARCELY anything remains at the present hour to attest the superiority of Richard Brinsley Sheridan over the great men of the times just passed away, but his contributions to the dramatic literature of the country, yet was he acknowledged to be at one period of his existence the most gifted genius of his age. Unfortunately for his memory, his last and least happy moments are those best remembered. He has been judged of when the decay of his intellect, the carelessness, nay, even the recklessness of his conduct, and the perplexities in which he was involved, had changed the character of the man.
He has been regarded as the dissipated thoughtless butterfly that passed through an ephemeral existence; as one who was merely a brilliant ornament of society, or the boon companion of an idle hour. Far superior, however, was he to almost all those great personages who figured with him on the stage of existence in those qualities which are most highly prized in the busy section of the world.
His life is a romance. Even those who are wont to receive with incredulity the narrative of the biographer, believing him either a panegyrist labouring to exalt the hero who has excited his fancy, or the promulgator of some visionary doctrine, must acknowledge that the incidents which marked the career of Sheridan are too singular not to be recorded, and that they are of sufficient importance to be narrated by different individuals according to the respective views they entertain of the many events in which, from his