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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 honour 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, hav ing 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 youngest 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.