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against his benefactor.-When it happens that there is great experience and political knowledge, this is more excusable ; but it is truly unfortu.. nate where the fame of far different abilities adds weight to the attempts of rashness.
He then adds this very striking remark : “ Men seldom think deeply on subjects on which they have no choice of opinion :-they are fearful of encountering obstacles to their faith (as in religion), and so are content with the surface.”
Dr. Johnson says, in one part of his pamphlet, —“As all are born the subjects of some state or other, we may be said to have been all born consenting to some system of government.” On this Sheridan remarks : “ This is the most slavish doctrine that ever was inculcated. If by our birth we gave a tacit bond for our acquiescence in that form of government under which we were born, there never would have been an alteration of the first modes of governmenino Revolution in England."
Upon the argument derived from the right of conquest he observes : “ This is the worst doctrine that can be with respect to America.
If America is ours by conquest, it is the conquerors who settled there that are to claim these powers."
He expresses strong indignation at the “ arrogance," with which such a man as Montesquieu is described as “the fanciful Montesquieu," by“ an eleemosynary politician, who writes on the subject merely because he has heen rewarded for writing otherwise all hiş, lifetime.”
In answer to the argument against the claims of the Americans, founded on the small proportion of the population that is really represented even in England , he has the following desultory memorandums :-“In fact every man in England is represented-every man can influence people, so as to get a vote, and even in an election votes are divided, each candidate is supposed equally worthyas in lots—fight Ajax or Agamemnon'.--This an American cannot do in any way whatever.
“ The votes in England are perpetually shifting :-were it an object, few could be excluded.—Wherever there is any one ambitious of assisting the empire, he need not put himself to much inconvenience. If the Doctor indulged his studies in Cricklade or Old Sarum, he might vote :the dressing meat, the simplest proof of existence, begets a title. His pamphlet shows that he thinks he can influence some one; not an anonymous writer in the paper but contributes his mite to the general tenor of opinion.–At the eve of an election, his Patriot' was meant to influence more
? He means to compare an election of this sort to the casting of lots between the Grecian chiefs in the 7th book of ihe Iliad.
2 The name of a short pamphlet, published by Dr. Johnson, ou the dissolution of parliament in 1774.
than the single voice of a rustic.-Even the mob, in shouting, give voles where there is not corruption."
It is not to be regretted that this pamphlet was left unfinished. Men of a high order of genius, such as Johnson and Sheridan, should never enter into warfare with each other, but, like the gods in Homer, leave the strife to inferior spirits. The publication of this pamphlet would most probably have precluded its author from the distinction and pleasure which he afterwards enjoyed in the society and conversation of the eloquent' moralist who, in the following year, proposed him as a member of the Literary Club, and always spoke of his character and genius with praise. Nor was Sheridan wanting on his part with corresponding tributes; for, in a prologue which he wrote about this time to the play of Sir Thomas Overbury, he thus alludes to Johnson's Life of its unfortunate au
“ So pleads the tale, that gives to future times,
The son's misfortunes, and the parent's crimes ;
The Duenna.-Purchase of Drury Lane theatre.—The Trip to Scarbor
ough.- Poetical Correspondence with Mrs. Sheridan. MR. SHERIDAN had now got into a current of dramatic fancy, of whose prosperous flow he continued to avail himself actively. The summer recess was employed in writing the Duenna; and his father-in-law, Mr. Linley, assisted in selecting and composing the music for it. As every thing connected with the progress of a work, which is destined to be long the delight of English ears, must naturally have a charm for English readers, I feel happy in being enabled to give, from letters written at the time by Mr. Sheridan himself to Mr. Linley, some details relating to their joint adaptation of the music, which, judging from my own feelings, I cannot doubt will be interesting to others.
Mr. Linley was at this time at Bath, and the following letter to him is dated in October, 1775, about a month or five weeks before the opera was brought out :
“We received your songs to-day, with which we are exceedingly pleased. I shall profit by our proposed alterations ; but I'd have you to know that we are much too chaste in London to admit such strains as your Bath spring inspires: We dare not propose a peep beyond the ancle on any account : for the critics in the pit at a new play are much greater prudes, than the ladies in the boxes. Betsey intended to have troubled you with some music for correction and I with some stanzas, but an interview with Harris to-day has put me from the thoughts of it, and bent me upon a much more important petition. You may easily suppose it is nothing else than what I said I would not ask in my last. But, in short, unless you can give us three days in town, I fear our opera will stand a chance to be ruined. Harris is extravagantly sanguine of its success as to plot and dialogue, which is to be rehearsed next Wednesday at the theatre. They will exert themselves to the utmost in the scenery, etc., but I never saw any one so disconcerted as he was at the idea of there being no one to put them in the right way as to music. They have no one there whom he has any opinion of—as to Fisher ( one of the managers) he don't choose he should meddle with it. He entreated me in the most pressing terms to write instantly to you, and wanted, if he thought it could be of any weight, to write himself. Is it impossible to contrive this? could'nt you leave Tom' to superintend the concert for a few days ? If you can manage it, you will really do me the greatest service in the world. As to the state of the music, I want but three more airs, but there are some glees and quintets in the last act, that will be inevitably ruined, if we have no one to set the performers at least in the right way. Harris has set his heart so much on my succeeding in this application, that he still flatters himself we may have a rehearsal of the music in Orchard Street to-morrow se’nnight. Every hour's delay is a material injury both to the opera and the theatre, so that if you can come and relieve us from this perplexity, the return of the post inust only forerun your arrival ; or ( what will make us much happier) might it not bring you ? I shall say nothing at present about the lady
with the soft look and manner,' because I am full of more than hopes of seeing you. For the same reason I shall delay to speak about G-; only this much I will say, that I am more than ever positive I could make good my part of the matter ; but that I still remain an infidel as to G.’s retiring, or parting with his share, though I confess he seems to come closer to the point in naming his price.
“ Your ever sincere and affectionate,
“ R. B. SHERIDAN. On the opposite leaf of this letter is written, in Mrs. S.'s hand-writing, .“ Dearest Father, I shall have no spirits or hopes of the opera,
unless we see you.
“ ELIZA Ann SHERIDAN " In answer to these pressing demands, Mr. Linley, as appears by the following letter, signified his intention of being in town as soon as the music should be put in rehearsal. In the instructions here given by the poet to the musician , we may perceive that he somewhat apprehended, even in the tasteful hands of Mr. Linley, that predominance of harmony over melody, and of noise over both , which is so fatal to poetry and song, in their perilous alliance with an
Mrs. Sheridan's eldest brother. 2 Garrick.
orchestra. Indeed, those elephants of old , that used to tread down the ranks they were brought to assist , were but a type of the havoc that is sometimes made both of melody and meaning by the overlaying aid of accompaniments.
“Mr. Harris wishes so much for us to get you to town, that I could not at first convince him that your proposal of not coming till the music was in rehearsal , was certainly the best as you could stay but so short a time. The truth is that what you mention of my getting a master to teach the performers is the very point where the matter sticks, there being no such person as a master among them. Harris is sensible there ought to be such a person; however, at present, every body sings there according to their own ideas, or what chance instruction they can come at. We are, however, to follow your plan in the matter ; but can at no rate relinquish the hopes of seeing you in eight or ten days from the date of this; when the music (by the specimen of expedition you have given me) will be advanced as far as you mention. The parts are all writout and doubled, etc. as we go on, as I have assistance from the theatre with me.
My intention was to have closed the first act with a song, but I find it is not thought so well. Hence I trust you with one of the inclosed papers; and, at the same time, you must excuse my impertinence in adding an idea of the cast I would wish the music to have, as I think I have heard you say you never heard Leoni', and I cannot briefly explain to you the character and situation of the persons on the stage with him. The first (a dialogue between Quick and Mrs. Mattocks,) I would wish to be a pert, sprightly air; for, though some of the words mayn't seem suited to it, I should mention that they are neither of them in earnest in what they say. Leoni takes it up seriously, and I want him to show himself advantageously in the six lines, beginning 'Gentle maid.' I should tell you,
that he sings nothing well but in a plaintive or pastoral style; and his voice is such as appears to me always to be hurt by much accompaniment. I have observed, too, that he never gets so much applause as when he makes a cadence. Therefore my idea is, that he should make a flourish at ‘Shall I grieve thee ?' and return to ‘Gentle maid,' and so sing that part of the tune again. After that, the two last lines, sung by the three, with the persons only varied, may get them off with as much spirit as possible. The second act ends with a slow glee, therefore I should think the two last lines in question had better be brisk, especially as Quick and Mrs. Mattocks are concerned in it.
“ The other is a song of Wilson's in the third act. I have written it to your tune, which you put some words to, beginning • Prithee, prithee, pretty man!' I think it will do vastly well for the words : Don Jerome sings them when he is in particular spirits ; therefore the tune is not too light, though it might seem so by the last stanza--but he does not mean
Leoni played Don Carlos.
Isaac and Donna Louisa. 3 It will be perceived, by a reference to the music of the opera , that Mr. Linley followed these instructions implicitly and successfully.
to be grave there, and I like particularly the returning to “O‘the days when I was young!' We have mislaid the notes, but Tom remembers it. If you don't like it for words, will you give us one? but it must go back to O the days,' and be funny. I have not done troubling you yet, but must wait till Monday.”
A subsequent letter contains further particulars of their progress.
66 Dear Sir,
“ Sunday evening next is fixed for our first musical rehearsal, and I was in great hopes we might have completed the score. The songs you have sent up of ‘ Banna's Banks,' and `Deil take the wars,' I had made words for before they arrived, which answer excessively well; and this was my reason for wishing for the next in the same manner, as it saves so much time. They are to sing 'Wind, gentle evergreen ,' just as you sing it (only with other words), and I wanted only such support from the instruments, or such joining in, as you should think would help to set off and assist the effort. I inclose the words I had made for Wind, gentle evergreen,' which will be sung, as a catch, by Mrs. Mattocks, Dubellamy", and Leoni. I don't mind the words not fitting the notes so well as the original ones. “How merrily we live ,' and 'Let's drink and let's sing,' are to be sung by a company of friars over their wine. - The words will be parodied, and the chief effect I expect from them must arise from their being known ; for the joke will be much less for these jolly fathers to sing any thing new, than to give what the audience are used to annex the idea of jollity to. For the other things Betsey mentioned, I only wish to have them with such accompaniment as you would their present words, and I shall have got words to my liking for them by the time they reach me.
“ My immediate wish at present is to give the performers their parts in the music ( which they expect on Sunday night), and for any assistance the orchestra can give to help the effect of the glees, etc., that
be judged of and added at a rehearsal, or, as you say, on inquiring how they have been done; though I don't think it follows that what Dr. Arne's method is must be the best. If it were possible for Saturday and Sunday's post to bring us what we asked for in our last letters, and what I now enclose, we should still go through it on Sunday, and the performers should have their parts complete by Monday night. We have had our rehearsal of the speaking part, and are to have another on Saturday. I want Dr. Harrington's catch, but, as the sense must be the same, I am at a loss how to put other words. Can't the under part( 'A smoky house, etc.') be sung by one person and the other two change? The situation isQuick and Dubellamy, two lovers, carrying away Father Paul (Reinold) in great raptures, to marry them :-the Friar has before warned them of the ills of a married life, and they break out into this. The catch is particularly calculated for a stage effect; but I don't like to take another per· Don Antonio.
For these was afterwards substituted Mr. Linley's lively glee, “ This bottle's the son of our table.”