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direction of Afghanistan. Undoubtedly the difficulty exists, but here is a matter of policy which a little statesmanship may be reasonably expected to grapple with. To the military mind it will at once suggest itself that a temporary diminution in the immense subsidy which is yearly paid to the Amir by the British Government might reasonably be used as a persuasive agency, should his Highness find himself at first unable to cope with the difficulty. As a matter of fact, it is clearly understood on the frontier that, if the Amir were to set his face against the export of arms from his kingdom, there is no monarch more entirely capable of insuring that his orders are obeyed.
It may be objected that the present finances of India cannot stand the strain of extensive road-making projects, and it may further be urged that roads, though excellent mediums for introducing civilisation, are at the same time apt to destroy the defensive value of a mountain frontier—in other words, that roads made now with one object would in some future generation facilitate the movement of some great invading force which might come from the west.
As regards the cost of such a project it may reasonably be maintained that it should be practically nothing, and that the tribesmen themselves should be compelled to furnish free labour for a project which will eventually add to their own wealth and prosperity. With regard to the general direction of the roads made it would be necessary to study carefully the geography of each district, and so to construct them that, while strengthening internally our own general line of defence, they would not afford a possible enemy any greater facilities than at present exist for breaking through the barrier of mountains.
The mercantile communities and the taxpayers generally in India have through the press given free vent to their disapproval of a policy which entails apparently an immense annual expenditure on military expeditions. It is, on the other hand, claimed for a policy of total disarmament that though the initial cost might be great, yet that the money spent would be given in exchange for permanent value received, and that in the long run an immense saving to the State would be effected.
Without appearing over-sanguine and relying confidently on the lessons to be learnt from the past history of the world, it is perhaps not taking too hopeful a view of the situation to claim that a system of complete disarmament would not only strengthen our borders but would remove a source of never-ceasing anxiety, a cause of perennial expenditure.
G. J. YOUNGHUSBAND.
MORE ABOUT SHERIDAN
MR. GLADSTONE's most suggestive and graceful comments upon Sheridan as a patriot and statesman made in this Review for June, 1896, refer in part to Sheridan's exclusion from the Cabinet in the Administration of All the Talents. Since the publication of the work which formed the subject of Mr. Gladstone's Article,' I have received fresh and curious information concerning Sheridan as a member for Stafford, and as an active and a leading member of the Whig Party.
Mr. William Horton, a banker and promoter of the shoe-making industry, was one of Sheridan's first and heartiest supporters at Stafford, and, in return, Sheridan introduced him to foreign merchants who gave orders which ended in large exports of boots and shoes, and the enrichment of the townspeople. Horton's purse was always open to Sheridan, who once arrived at Stafford with money wherewith to pay his debts and meet future expenses. He presented a cheque to Horton for 2,0001., Horton twisted the paper and used it to light his pipe, throwing the unburnt fragment into the fire, whereupon Sheridan exclaimed, “By God, Will, you're the King of the Cobblers !' Horton added : 'It shall never be said that Will Horton took one shilling from Richard Brinsley Sheridan.' Giving the cheque was not a practical joke, because Mr. Peake, treasurer to Drury Lane Theatre, affirmed that it was as good as the Bank of England.'
When official duties hindered Sheridan from visiting Stafford for re-election, after accepting office in 1806, Horton acted as his representative, and underwent the honour and ordeal of being chaired' through the town. In 1809, the principal burgesses dined together to celebrate the King's Jubilee, and they enthusiastically drank these two toasts, ‘R. B. Sheridan, and may the sun of his genius illumine the world of politics and literature; ' 'Mr. T. Sheridan, and better health to him.' The greatest disappointment of his life befell Sheridan when, three years later, he was rejected by Stafford, owing to some of his older friends being dead, and the younger burgesses insisting upon being paid what they accounted their dues. Though 12,0001. was owing to Sheridan by the Committee of Drury Lane Theatre, he could not find 2,0001. for election expenses. If Whitbread had handed over the money in his possession, Sheridan would have represented Stafford till his death, and would never have been arrested for debt. Yet he bore no malice to an unkind friend. Having heard of Whitbread's suicide, he sent this note to Charles, his second son, on the 6th of July 1815 :
| Sheridan: a Biography, by W. Fraser Rae, with an Introduction by the Mar. quess of Dufferin and Ava.
2 vols. Bentley & Son.
I have to apprise you of the deplorable event of Whitbread's sudden death at ten this morning in Dover Street. It is a sad task for me to break it to your mother in her most weak and nervous state. She is herself something better. I will write again to-morrow.
This note was penned on Thursday. He wrote again on the following Monday:
I have sent you yesterday's Sunday paper, which will give you the clearest account of the deplorable end of our late friend. I only add a line to mention a circumstance in which his family and friends find a melancholy consolation. On the head being opened by Cline parts of the skull and brain were found in such a state that it was impossible he could have kept his senses or indeed have retained a painful existence but for a short time. I know, my dear boy, you will regret this feelingly. He was always very partial and kind to you.
I have found among Sheridan's papers the rough draft of his reply, in 1812, to an address from several of the Stafford burgesses :
GENTLEMEN,—The kind and partial terms in which my friends at Stafford have been pleased to express themselves respecting my character and conduct in the Address I have now the honour of receiving are truly gratifying to my mind, and more than compensate for the unexpected disappointment I experienced there at the last election. . . . All I wish to be forgotten is the conduct of those who were bastily misled to withdraw their promised support from me. I could not have complied with their wishes without a breach of faith towards those most respected friends to whom I have pledged myself in my canvass to stand singly and not to propose a second candidate.
It is, however, a consoling circumstance to us all that the great majority of these persons were either young burgesses who scarcely knew me, or newcomers who had never known me at all. It is with heartfelt pride I have to boast that of my old and early friends who really had known me not a man deserted or failed to make exertions in my behalf, which, to the end of life, will be remembered by me with the deepest gratitude.
With regard to the general regret the addressers are pleased to express at my absence from the nation's councils at this momentous (crisis ?], I can only thank them for their confidence in me, feeling it no presumption to say that during the thirty-two years I possessed a seat in the House I am not conscious of having given a vote against my conviction, or of having failed in any instance, according to the best of my talents, to support the liberty and constitution of my countrya simple duty, for they are one; but not to stain my past course of conduct, if I am in the House of Commons at all, I must sit there free, unfettered, and independent, or I hold [it] no exile to be excluded.
I have only to return you, Gentlemen, who have brought me this Address, my sincere thanks for the flattering preface with which you have introduced it, and to entreat you to convey to our friends the sentiments of ardent gratitude with which I bave received it.?
2 Stafford bas been represented in Parliament by many notable men, yet neither Mr. Ralph Benson por Mr. Thomas Wilson, who was preferred to Sheridan in 1812, is numbered among them.
Mr. Gladstone cannot understand why Sheridan was “always relegated to a secondary position. It is true that his claims were inferior to those of Fox alone to Cabinet office in the Administration of 'All the Talents.' He would have brought to its deliberations a measure of common sense which was sadly required. He had many grievances, most of them being well-founded; but he never alleged exclusion from the Cabinet to be one of them. The office of Treasurer of the Navy was his own choice in 1789; it was accepted without reluctance in 1806. It was honourable. It was lucrative. The holder became a Privy Councillor. His salary was 5,0001. From the establishment of the office in 1660 to its abolition in 1835, the Treasurer of the Navy was generally a man of mark, and very often a statesman of great capacity. Among the Treasurers are numbered Sir Robert Walpole and George Grenville, Sir Gilbert Elliot and Colonel Barré, Henry Dundas and Tierney. The predecessor of Sheridan was George Canning; his successor was George Rose, the first being conspicuous among statesmen, the second among successful courtiers.
Cabinet rank was as seldom the reward of mere merit in olden days as it is at present. Formerly, Cabinet Ministers had little share in directing the policy of the Government, though their number was small; now, few have any share, other than nominal, because there are too many of them. Moreover, during the last century the policy of every Administration was very clear and simple, the Tories thinking it their duty to humour the Sovereign, the Whigs being resolved upon checking his undue interference, and, whether Whigs or Tories were in office, peers and peers' sons constituted the majority in all Cabinets.
There were nine Cabinet Ministers in the Administration of the Duke of Grafton and that of Lord North, and two only had seats in the House of Commons. Of the eleven Cabinet Ministers in Lord Rockingham's second Administration, all but four were peers. Two commoners only were admitted to the Cabinet in Lord Shelburne's Administration. There were seven Cabinet Ministers in the Coalition Administration, and three had seats in the House of Commons. In the first Administration of William Pitt, the Cabinet numbered seven, and the Prime Minister was the only commoner. Even Dundas, his friend and right-hand man, was not admitted to the Cabinet till 1791. Pitt and Lord Castlereagh were the only members of the Cabinet sitting in the House of Commons during Pitt's second and last Administration. Four out of the nine members of the Cabinet in the Administration of * All the Talents' sat in the House of Commons, and two of them, Lord Henry Petty and Lord Howick, might have had to pass, at any moment, from the elective to the hereditary House of Parliament. The following members of the Government, besides Sheridan, were not in the Cabinet formed in 1806: the Duke of Bedford, Lord Lieutenant of Ireland; Lord Minto, President of the Board of Control; the Earl of Derby, Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster ; Lord Auckland, President of the Board of Trade ; Earl Temple, the Earl of Buckinghamshire, and the Earl of Carysfort.
Sheridan was satisfied with his office; but he had grievances which he stated in letters to the Duke of Bedford and Fox. The following correspondence is printed for the first time. The Duke wrote to him :
MY DEAR SHERIDAN,-Your letter was put into my hands yesterday just as I was getting into my carriage to go out to dinner, and I did not return home till late at night, or I would not have lost a moment in replying to it. To
say that the contents of your letter gave me very severe pain would be superfiuous. I trust you know the feelings of friendship I have towards you, and the anxiety I have to serve your son. If you had appeared to doubt the one or the other, the mortification I now experience would have been bitter. If the surprize and regret occasioned in your mind' have arisen from expectations too easily raised, followed by something bordering on disappointed hope, I freely and entirely take the whole blame to myself. No one else can have any share in it.
I was not aware that the hurried note I wrote to you on the morning I left town had given you reason to believe that everything was finally concluded. If it did, I certainly led you into an error. It could not be so until the meeting for definitely settling the Irish arrangements had taken place, and as such should have been announced by me, and received by you, only as a matter in contemplation, which we hoped to see accomplished. I meant to say that as far as Fox and I were concerned, it was agreed that Tom Sheridan should have the half of Lord Lecale's place. I had been with Fox upon this business, and had a most satisfactory conversation with him; and, not foreseeing any subsequent difficulty that could arise, in the fulness of my heart I communicated to you what I thought would give you pleasure, in a hasty note, just setting out for Woburn, and if I was not sufficiently guarded in this communication, I must repeat it, I, and I alone, am to blame.
It must be needless for me to tell you that 'political considerations essential to be attended to,' and indeed necessary towards securing a safe and efficient administration of affairs in Ireland, may stand in the way of our best wishes. I did most strenuously urge the wishes of the Prince of Wales upon this subject. I stated my own wishes to be as strong, and you do Fox but justice in supposing that he has advocated the interests of your son with zeal and sincerity. Political reasons are at this moment, I hope and believe, the only bar to the attainment of our object. If these reasons should prove to be insuperable, I am sure you will do me the justice to acknowledge that no one will more truly regret it than myself. Still, I will never for a moment lose sight of the solemn assurance I have given you to serve your son to the utmost of my power.
I readily admit the truth and fairness of all you say in respect to your claims and pretensions. No one can more cheerfully subscribe to the justice of them, or more distinctly acknowledge the high ground upon which they stand, than I do. It is therefore unnecessary for me to say one word upon this part of your letter.
I have to lament that what you on a former occasion stated to me as to the impossibility of your son residing in Ireland should have escaped my memory, and I ask pardon for this apparent inattention to his interests. Trust me, I feel every wish and every motive of regard to urge me to promote and further them, and as one deeply interested in the prosperity of D. L. Theatre, I applaud and rejoice at the resolution you have formed to allow Tom to take an efficient and leading share
· The present Duke of Bedford has been so kind as to make a careful search among the papers at Woburn; but Sheridan's letter has not been found among them.