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ly just. This conduct, at one time, drew from Sheridan a letter full of the bitterest complaints and reproaches; but these had no effect upon Whitbread. At last, in the expectation of obliging some of his friends to come forward, one of his creditors went the length of seizing his person, and he had the inexpressible mortification to be confined for some time in a spunging-house. As soon as Mr Whitbread understood his situation, he took measures to relieve him ; but the affront had a deep effect upon Sheridan, and, on going home, his tortured feelings could not be commanded, and he burst out into a passionate fit of tears. His quick sense of disgrace, given by a large Self-esteem and Love of Approbation, would render his feelings upon this occasion bitter indeed.
It is painful to dwell on the sequel of his life, the circumstances of which are indeed too well known. Bankrupt in fame and in förtune, oppressed by disease, deserted in his age by those rich and great friends who had flattered him in his prosperity, this unfortunate man, who had once commanded the applauses of overflowing theatres and listening senates, and lived and revelled with the gayest of the gay, died in the utmost misery, a striking instance of the instability of human pursuits and enjoyments.
Before concluding, I will take notice of some points in his character, for which I have not found a fitting opportunity in the history either of his literary or political life. His social talents and powers of entertainment were of the highest description. Some account has been given of the mode in which he managed and husbanded his powers in producing those sallies of wit and humour for which he was so remarkable. Another of his peculiarities was a boyish propensity for practical jokes and dramatic tricks and disguises, so that his visitors were always in constant expectation of some new plan to surprise and entertain them. “ To give,” says Mr Moore,
some idea of the youthful tone of this society, I shall mention onc “out of many anecdotes related to me by persons who had them“selves been ornaments of it. The ladies having one evening re“ceived the gentlemen in masquerade dresses, which, with their ob“stinate silence, made it impossible to distinguish one from another, " the gentlemen in their turn invited the ladies, next evening, to a “similar trial of conjecture as themselves ; and notice being given “ that they were dressed, Mrs Sheridan and her companions were “ admitted into the dining-room, where they found a party of Turks “ sitting silent, and masked, round the table. After a long course “ of the usual guesses, exclamations, &c. &c., and each lady tak ing the arm of the person she was most sure of
, they heard a burst “ of laughter through the half-open door, and looking there, saw • the gentlemen themselves in their proper persons,—the masks up“ on whom they had been lavishing their sagacity being no other “ than the maid-servants of the house, who had been thus dressed “ up to deceive them.” This is another instance of the Secretiveness of Sheridan, and of the account to which he turned it; indeed there is little that he did, in any way whatever, in which we do not see the effects of this power: it was undoubtedly the source of much of his reputation. The advantage which it confers on those who are possessed of it, and who turn it to its legitimate uses, are great and manifold. Though we cannot say that it increases the value or force of any of the other powers, it more than doubles their effect; and of this many instances may be given from the life and history of Sheridan.
One point more remains to be touched, namely, the kindly and domestic feelings of Sheridan, and his attachment to his family and intimate connexions. “ There are few persons,” Mr Moore observes, “ to whose kind and affectionate con“ duct, in some of the most interesting relations of domestic “ life, so many strong and honourable testimonies remain.” For some years he lived in a state of estrangement from his father ;-but the fault of this is never imputed to him ;-on the contrary, notwithstanding that his father had treated him with caprice, and even with unjust harshness, Sheridan never ceased to seek every means of reconciliation. We are told, that, on one occasion, on hearing that his father had taken a box in the theatre to witness, with his family, the representation of one of his plays, I think the Rivals, Sheridan placed himself behind the opposite scenes, and remained gazing on them
VOL. III. -No IX.
during the whole time of the performance; and that, on going home, he was affected even to tears, to think that his father and sisters had sat so near him, and that he was the only person in the house who durst not speak to them. On the occasion of his father's last illness and death, his conduct shewed equal affection ; and while his brother, Charles Sheridan, who had been the favourite, made business or engagements an excuse for not attending him, Richard, forgetting all his ill usage, and throwing aside every thing else, hastened to attend his parent in his last moments, and to administer the last sad consolations to his dying parent. His sufferings at the death of his first wife are described to have been great. A lady, who had attended Mrs S. on her death-bed, writes thus to his sister :-" Your brother behaved most wonder“fully, though his heart was breaking, and at times his feelings
were so violent, that I feared he would have been quite ungovern" able at the last. Yet he summoned up courage to kneel by the “bed-side, till he felt the last pulse of expiring excellence, and then 6 withdrew." The only alleviation which his grief appears to have received, was the resource he found in the society of his children. The lady above mentioned says, in another letter, “ It is impossible for any man to be more devotedly attached “to his children than he is ; and I hope they will be a comfort and “ a blessing to him when the world loses its charms. Their society “ amused and consoled him; but, when left alone, his anguish re“ turned in all its force. Mr Moore mentions, that he had heard
noble friend of Sheridan's say, that, happening about this time “to sleep in the room next to him, he could plainly hear him sob“ bing throughout the greater part of the night."
As a proof, that these were not the mere transient bursts of feeling, but the genuine and unaffected results of his or. ganization, we may refer to that warmth of affection which appears in the letters of his sister, Mrs Lefanue, whose feel. ings towards him seem to have approached to those of adoration. It is only the kind and affectionate who can inspire such sentiments, as it is they only who can feel them. In the development, we find the strongest confirmation of the truth of these statements, as well as of the truth, in this instance, of phrenological observation. The organs of Adhe
siveness and Philoprogenitiveness are both large, if not very large. In reference to the latter, we may mention another anecdote as a manifestation of this last propensity in Sheridan—that his carriage had sometimes been known to stand for three or four hours together at the house of one of his friends who had a young family, while he was amusing bimself in playing with the children.
We shall here close this account, which, long as it is, might have been very far extended, had we stated every instance of correspondence of Sheridan's development with his character as unfolded to us in Mr Moore's work. Such a minute correspondence, through a train of circumstances so numerous and complicated, amount of themselves to a mass of proof, in favour of Phrenology, of no inconsiderable weight. One or two remarks only I may be permitted to add. The character before us is one of the most interesting and instructive that could have been chosen to illustrate Phrenology. We find in it what is by no means uncommon, a combination of many good feelings and talents, with others not nearly so favourably developed. It is a medley of strength and weakness-powerful as a giant in some points, in others feeble as unpractised infancy. While it shews us, on the one hand, effects produced of the most surprising kind, by means which, at first sight, might appear inadequate, it affords, under a variety of aspects, a salutary and a humbling confirmation of that great truth, that the race is not always to the swift nor the battle to the strong; and, at the same time, warns us not to pronounce a rash or confident judgment on any one, either of blame or of praise. While we cannot help lamenting, on too many occasions, opportunities wasted, and talents neglected or misapplied, instead of allowing ourselves to condemn harshly, or to shut the gates of mercy on any fellow-mortal, let us rather drop a tear over the infirmities of human nature.
PROCEEDINGS OF THE PHRENOLOGICAL SOCIETY.
November 17th, 1825.-The following gentlemen were elected office-bearers for the ensuing year, viz.—President, William Scott, Esq.- Vice-Presidents, Dr Andrew Combe, James Bridges, Dr Richard Poole, and the Rev. Robert Buchanan.—Council, Samuel Joseph, James Simpson, James Law, jun. Benjamin Bell, George Combe, and Matthew Norman M.Donald.-Secretary, George Lyon, W. S.-Clerk, Thomas Lees.— Figure-Caster, Luke O'Neill, jun.--Keeper of the Museum, Robert Ellis.
Mr William Scott read a Phrenological Review of Moore's Life of Sheridan.—The following donations were presented, viz. Cast of skull of M Kean, executed in Glasgow for murder, presented by Dr Kennedy of Glasgow. Chinese skull, by Dr Grant of London. Cast of the head of Dr Leighton, (corresponding member) presented by himself. Mask of Anne Ormerod, deficient in the sense of melody, by Dr G. D. Cameron, Liverpool. Works on Phrenology, presented by the respective authors" Phrenology," 3d edition, by Dr Spurzheim. “ An Apology for the Study of Phrenology." “ System of Phrenology," by Mr G. Combe.
November 25.-The Society dined in Barry's Hotel, Prince's-street, Mr G. Combe in the chair, supported by Sir G. S. Mackenzie and Mr William Scott. Mr Lyon, croupier, supported by Mr James Bridges and the Rev. Robert Buchanan. The attendance of members was large, the dinner excellent, and the evening passed with much hilarity and interest.
December 1.-Mr James Bridges read an Essay on the Faculty of Veneration. The secretary read a letter from Dr G. M. Paterson, published in this Number, giving an account of his lectures, and of the progress of the science in India. Mr William Slate, accountant, was admitted an ordinary