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Since the conclusion of the war with still higher in the estimation of the Mexico, General Pierce has taken no citizens. A describer of the scene says: part in the general politics of the Union, “The sentiments, the tone of the address, but has confined his action to, and been the earnest manner in which it was content to exercise his influence only spoken, his beautiful action, his manly, in, bis own neighbourhood. He has erect appearance, his pale cast of countaken part only in the political affairs tenance, in which inteīlect and courage of his own state of New Hampshire, but were the predominating features, and these local affairs have closely touched his clear, loud voice, distinctly heard by upon the one or two great questions the remotest of his audience, all comwhich, par excellence, interest the whole bined to make a deep impression in Union. Thus he has sustained with favour of General Pierce, and many asenergy, in opposition to the Free-soilers, serted that this was the best inaugural who are so numerous in New Hamp- address ever delivered from that spot. shire, Henry Clay's measures of com- He is, undoubtedly, a very effective promise; and on the occasion did not speaker. He remained with his hat off hesitate to pronounce himself against until the close of the proceedings. The a personal friend, Mr. Atwood, who, ladies were in ecstacies, and so anxious being put in nomination by the demo- were some who happened to be in the cratic party for the governorship of New rear to see and hear him, that they Hampshire, had made engagements climbed upon the pediments of the with the Abolitionists and Free-soilers. columns of the capitol, to their no small In 1850, a democratic convention as- danger. Altogether it was a glorious sembled at Concord, for the purpose of spectacle of sublime majesty, casting revising the constitution of New Hamp- into the shade the idle pomp and unshire, and General Pierce was named its meaning pageantry of the coronation of president. In that character he es- kings and emperors.” sayed, but it was without success, to Such has been till now the life of obtain the abolition of a certain clause General Franklin Pierce; such is the in the constitution, which provided that man who is now the first magistrate of no public office in the state should the United States. In the incidents of be filled by any but Protestants. The his former life, as we have seen, there old Puritàn spirit which is still so has been nothing extraordinary. In all strong in some of the States of New epochs of the world's history there have England, twice caused the proposition been men, who have been more remarkto be rejected, and still maintains the able than their positions, and superior clause as an arm of oppression and to the affairs of which they have been insult, in spite of the general spread employed in the direction. In this in. of tolerant ideas, and the almost uni- stance, whatever may be the undoubted versal acknowledgment of the prin merits of General Pierce, the contrary ciple of liberty of conscience.
is the case.
The situation is more imThis was the last political action of portant than the man, the circumstances General Pierce before he was put in by which he is surrounded of greater nomination for the presidency. In moment than himself. We shall seek, January, 1852, certain democrats of New uselessly, in General Pierce for any thing Hampshire began to speak of him in besides modesty, patriotism, liberality; connection with the forthcoming elec- indefatigable perseverance, and an imtion, but he wrote to inform them that mense capacity for work. In these few the use he made of his name was one words we have a resume of his whole entirely contrary to his wishes and incli- character. What effect that character nations. His name was not placed will have upon the destinies of the upon the democratic list of candidates Union, it would be hard to say; and the at first. It was only when the demo- future only can reveal. But that future crats had begun to despair of their cause is not a distant one; it is comprised that it was really brought forward. It within the narrow limits of four years. answered the triumph of his party—a It can only be said that should the new triumph which was welcomed, as we President cause evil to the Union by all know, with the utmost enthusiasm giving way to the violence of the exto the whole Union.
treme section of his party, he will give He has subsequently given his inau- the lie to the whole tenour of his past gural address, and thereby raised himself life,
RICHARD BRINSLEY SHERIDAN. One morning, in the year fifty-seven, opportunities of judging ;-what the or thereabouts, of the last century, a affirmation may be worth the present lady waited upon a respectable school writer will not undertake to say. Kindly master, just commencing practice in reader, bethink thee, how learned blockDublin, for the purpose of placing un- headism is apt to draw its inferences der his charge two of her sons, who were respecting genius, of which it has in rapidly growing out of nursery control. itself no forecast or apprehension, and Entering graciously into conversation doubt not that the grave authorities with the inexperienced Dominie, she were in this case mistaken. One can ventured to impress upon him how admit Dr. Parr's competency to report needful a thing was patience, in the of Sheridan's deficiency in regard to profession which he had perhaps incon- those " studies which were the pride of siderately undertaken. “These boys,” Harrow seminary;" but of his ability to said she, “will require a good deal of it. understand the character of his pupil's Hitherto I have been their only in- capabilities one can hardly entertain so structor, and they have sufficiently ex- confident an opinion. The Doctor, howercised mine; for two such impenetrable ever, observes that “ He was a favourite dunces I declare I never met with.” among his schoolfellows, mischievous,
One of the youngsters, thus con- and his pranks were accompanied by a temptuously introduced, was RICHARD sort of vivacity and cheerfulness; he BRINSLEY SHERIDAN; afterwards the bril- was a great reader of English poetry, liant and witty dramatist and politician but was careless about literary fame.? whom we all know, and whose memory In after life, indeed, when Sheridan had not a few of us delight to honour. He given proof of superior talents, the was scarcely at this period seven years Doctor could remember that he had of age; a boisterous, impetuous fellow, at one time been addicted to classical whose aversion to useful knowledge was reading, and was “well acquainted with probably the counterpart of a lively dis- the orations of Cicero and Demosposition. Utterly stupid we cannot thenes," and had even impressed him conceive him to have been; but only with the notion that “his classical atindifferent to the popular hornbooks of tainments were considerable." the day, whose select narratives of good During his residence at Harrow, and naughty boys might seem to incul- Sheridan learnt his first lesson in the. cate a too severe morality. What pro- “ significance of sorrow.” He had to gress he made under Dominie Whyte's lament the loss of his mother, who died, training, neither authentic chronicle at Blois, in 1766. The wild reckless nor tradition has been careful to inform nature of the boy was for a while subus. The perplexities he encountered dued and softened by the mournful and overcame, the difficulties that were thoughts which this sad event awakened. too hard for him, the birchings he un- With bowed dejected head he shunned derwent, the practical jests and whimsi- converse with his gay companions, and calities he perpetrated the whole min- sounded the awful depths which till now gled tragedy and comedy and farce, lay unrevealed within him. Time, howwhich made up the drama of his school- ever, brought back the olden cheerfuldays, went out of recollection for ever ness. Bright sanative season of blessed with the extinguished memories of the youth, how it soon dries up with its boys that were at school with him. joyful sunshine the dreary fountain
About the year 1762, father Sheridan, springs of grief, and repaireth the ruins for reasons of his own, packed up his of its habitation with the flowers that household and settled' his family in grow spontaneously in its path! We England. Harrow was then selected as shortly find Sheridan assisting a fellow the school considered most suitable for pupil in the composition of a farce; advancing Brinsley's education. The from which they expected to realize a reputation of dulness still clings to him; sum of not less than £200. Fortune, he exhibited as yet none of those supe- however, seldom grants her bounties rior qualifications for which he was to that extent, to striplings; and this afterwards illustrious. So at least it golden expectation was destined to be has been affirmed by those who had suddenly cut off. Other schemes were
projected; a miscellany in the manner trarch ; Mr. Pliny Melmoth, “ thinking of the British Essayists, which did not nobody half so considerable as himself, proceed beyond the first number; a and therefore playing primary violin translation of Aristænatus, an obscure without further ceremony;" CumberGreek author, into English verse, which land, “the querulous, the dissatisfied, was published but did not sell; occa- determined to like nobody and nothing sional poems, tales of love and wonder, except Cumberland;" Dr. Harrington, and other general medley of authorship,“ dry, comic, and agreeable ;” and a enthusiastically undertaken but never whole host besides of magnificent obfinished. Of the translation of Aris- scure mortals, who had the luck to be tænatus a certain reviewer of the period celebrated in their day, but whose mecandidly remarks, “We have been idly mory has now gone to that bourne whence employed in reading it;" and adds, un no memory returns. All these, in their graciously, “Our readers will in pro- several degree, fluttered and danced atportion lose their time in perusing this tendance at the court of a certain allearticle.” It is clear, nevertheless, from gorical-fantastic-fashionable Queen of these several crude performances, that Bath-one Lady Miller, admirably deSheridan is beginning to care a little about scribed by Horace Walpole and Madame " literary fame;" from the bleak Pisgah D’Arblay, and living in barbaric splenof popular indifference he is looking dour at Bath Eas ton, where she held down over the confused valley of Litera- every Thursday a wonderful and brilture; and though the scouts which he liant entertainment, poetically styled a has sent forth bring him but unfavourable fair of Parnassus. In London it tidings, he does not abaté one tittle of seems Bath Easton was much reviled his faith that it is a land flowing with and laughed at; but Madame D'Arblay milk and honey.
asserts that nothing was here“ more After leaving Harrow, Sheridan spent tonnish than to visit Lady Miller, who for some time rather a gay life at Bath, is extremely curious in her company, where his father, a distinguished actor admitting few people who are not of and teacher of elocution, had fixed his rank or fame, and excluding all who family while he pursued his engage are not people of very unblemished ments elsewhere. In the idleness and character.” Horace Walpole says, it dissipation of the place the young man was the practice of “all the flux of readily participated. Of a lively social quality" to contend for prizes gained sensitiveness, he rapidly makes acquain- for rhymes and themes. “A Roman tance with many men and women of vase, dressed with pink ribbons and consideration, of rank, of even ques- myrtle, received the poetry contributed, tionable reputation; sees into the splen- which was drawn out at every festival. dour and insipidity of fashionable cir- Six judges of these Olympic games recles; captivates young maidens by his tired and selected the brightest comlively brilliant talk; and makes a laugh- position, which was rewarded by pering-stock of elder ones by his witty and mission for the author to kneel and kiss ingenious sarcasm. Any day in the year the hands of Lady Miller, who crowned he might be seen lounging about the the victor with myrtle.” Flimsy foolish Crescent, the Circus, or the Parades; mortals! heard ye never how poor men in the Pump-room, at concerts, at pri- toil and spin in this weary workshop of vate parties, at the theatre; living a a world, that ye could find no worthier very butterfly's existence, and draining pastime than even this? Pitiful truly, the cup of pleasure to the very dregs and empty beyond conception, must of weariness. Among the illustrious have been all that paltry worship and people whom Bath society included, apotheosis of vanity. was the respectable Hannah More, Nevertheless, one can well enough pious, and clever, and insipid; Mrs. understand that to any one in the midst Thrale, the lively and the rain, who of it, it might seem not altogether decould relate personal anecdotes of Dr. ficient in elegance and grace. For Johnson; Fanny and Harriet Bowdler, though Dame Miller turns out on near blue-stockings both, of very deep com- inspection to have been only a coarse plexion; Anstey, the author of the plump-looking vulgar personage, "aim* Bath Guide,” “with an air, look, and ing to appear a woman of fashion, and manner, mighty heavy and unfavoura- succeeding only in having the appearble;" Mrs. Dobson, who translated Penance of an ordinary person in common
life with fine clothes on,”-still she was named Halhed, Sheridan's former partan undoubted and acknowledged Queen ner in translation; also Sheridan's of Fashion, and could dispense favours brother Charles; Norris, a singer, “who and distinctions not elsewhere attain. was supposed to have sung himself into able in Bath. Her bustling manners the lady's secret affections ;” Mr. Watts, and mock important air, her wondrous a gentleman commoner of Oxford ; Mr. condescension and good humour, were Long, a man of fortune; Sir Thomas things of great attraction for the time; Clarges, and “ several others known to and gave her the power of making fame;" Captain Matthews, a married fashionable whomsoever she was pleased man, a person of large property in to honour. Sheridan, scarcely in his Wales, and gentleman by courtesy; twentieth year, earned among the rest besides “every student at Oxford,” who an occasional wreath of myrtle. Many were severally and simultaneously“enof his compositions, written chiefly to chanted when she sang at the orathis end, or celebrating some local event torios !" or topic, remain unto this day. They Every other day there was a rumour are for the most part good for nothing; that Miss Linley had “
gone off" with unless it be to show us how a clever this or the other suitor; which report man could cleverly waste his time. was as regularly contradicted by the Take, for example, a few lines from a assurances of those who knew that she satirical poem, written on the opening had done nothing of the kind. One of the Upper Assembly Rooms, Sep- morning, however, the rumour proved tember 30, 1771. It is entitled, “ An to be a fact. She had actually eloped. Epistle from Timothy Screw to his Not, indeed, with any of the gentry brother Henry, waiter at Almack's.” known most prominently as her admi
rers, but with Richard Brinsley SheTwo rooms were first opened—the long and the ridan, who had silently and unsuspi(These hogstyegon names only serve to confound ciously succeeded in winning her to one.)
himself, while some of his friends Both splendidly lit with the new chandeliers, With drops hanging down like the bobs at Peg's thought him only using his influence
to forward their own pretensions! In While jewels of paste reflected the rays, And Bristol-stone diamonds gave strength to the
Bath there was no little rage and con
sternation; public curiosity was suffiSo that it was doubtfulto view the bright clusters, ciently busy and entertained ; public Which sent the most light out, the ear-rings or
and private scandal did not fail; jilted
lovers felt themselves jockied beyond There are a few sentimental pieces, but redemption. One jilted lover in partithey are scarcely more poetical than the cular, namely, the aforesaid Captain above; as how, indeed, could they be Matthews-married man, a person of -produced under such absurd circum- large property in Wales, and therefore stances ?
gentleman by courtesy—even made a Bath was at this period highly dis- public demonstration by advertisement tinguished for its music. The public in the Bath Chronicle; wherein he states concerts held there are said to have been that Mr. Richard Sheridan had left the best in England; though the private behind him a letter “to account for his ones were thought detestable, notwith- scandalous method of running away standing the “ first-rate talent, and the from the place, by insinuations 'deromany amateurs of high consideration” gatory to his (Matthews's) character, that were engaged in them. Among and that of a young lady innocent as the most memorable of all the singers far as relates to him or to his knowof the day, and not to be forgotten for ledge;" which statement, owing to many, a year to come, was Miss Linley, grammatical peculiarities has rather the daughter of an eminent musical bewildered the present writer, and will composer. She, singing according to likely enough leave most readers in her vocation, in the “ancient city of King doubt as to what might be the adverBludud,” turned the heads of nearly all tiser's meaning. From other docuthe gentlemen of the place, and inno-ments since published, however, it cently drove many a married lady to appears that Miss Linley had been inthe verge of jealousy. The catalogue duced to elope with Sheridan, princiof her lovers is almost as long as the pally to avoid certain scandalous adpension list.
There was a gentleman vances which Matthews had been for
some time making towards her; and in Hyde Park, described as a "most that in revenge for the repulses he had ridiculous rencontre, ending in nothing." received, he was prepared to sacrifice Retiring for fear of observation to a the young lady's reputation. Sheridan coffee-house, a scuffle there took place had adroitly insinuated himself into by which Sheridan, “ at the point of the his rival's confidence; seen what tem- sword,” obtained from Matthews the per
and disposition he was of; watched demanded apology. The gentleman by the progress of affairs to a crisis, and courtesy retracted what he had said, and then struck in at the right moment with begged pardon for the advertisement in frank and honourable proposals. All the Chronicle. Retiring afterwards to accounts acquit Miss Linley of any Wales, he, according to Moore's relation serious indiscretion ; but as uniformly of the story, found himself received with agree in representing her as a coquette great coolness by the gentry of his disof the first magnitude. It was the trict; whereupon another duel was de fault of her position, perhaps, more than termined on, at the instigation of a Mr. anything besides; as a public singer Barnett, whose propensities for particishe was liable to dishonourable propo- pating in such affairs are understood to sitions, which however much she might have been rather more violent than disdain, she could not readily avoid wise. Another meeting took place, as being made to her. A long letter, of ridiculous as the first; and was sucsomewhat doubtful authenticity, very ceeded by representations on both sides much in the style of the Clarissa Har- so utterly contradictory and inconlowe correspondence, was written pro- gruous, as to render it impossible for fessedly by Miss Linley after the elope- any one to form a just conclusion about ment, and still exists: whereby it is the facts. Statement and counter-stateapparent that her intercourse with Mat- ment, equivocation, exaggeration, of thews had been extremely foolish and every possible shade and degree, not imprudent; but it affords no warranty unattended even with downright lying, for further allegations. Sheridan him- have involved the matter in such "conself seems to have been always satisfied fusion worse confounded,” as to cut off of her substantial innocence; and her all chance of ascertaining where truth entire affection for him has seldom been ends and falsehood begins; accordingly, called in question.
in this inexplicable state it remains to At any rate the two had agreed to this day, and for ought the present wed; and they were accordingly mar- writer is concerned, may now remain ried at a village in the neighbourhood for evermore. of Calais. For some time, however, the Immediately after the public anmarriage was kept secret, and the lady nouncement of their marriage, Sheridan meantime retired into a convent, until and his wife lived for a short time in Sheridan should be able to claim her retirement at East Burnham, and it was publicly as his wife. Father Linley, soon generally understood that the lady scarcely knowing what to understand had retired from her profession. She by the affair, went speedily after the had property, it appears, to the amount fugitives to Francc; where, after an ex- of £3000, obtained under somewhat planation with Sheridan, it was resolved singular circumstances. One of her that the engagement should be fulfilled, former suitors, the before-mentioned and the parties very shortly returned Mr. Long, “a man of large fortune," to England.
who had honourably solicited her hand After their arrival, a series of pro- in wedlock, and apparently received ceedings ensued, of the most ludicrous, some encouragement, but being ultiromantic and absurd description. Young mately informed by her that she could Sheridan, incensed by the accusations never give him her affe tions, had thereand abusive threats which Matthews, upon, with wondrous magnanimity, not the gentleman by courtesy, had been only resigned himself to his disappointmaking in his absence, declared he ment, but even undertaken the responwould not sleep until he had obtained sibility of breaking off the match, and an ample and just apology, or otherwise actually paid the sum mentioned as an received such satisfaction as by law of indemnity for the breach of covenant. honour gentlemen, in such circum- Poor insapient Mr. Long! who would stances, are bound to render to each have thought it possible for mortal man other. There was accordingly a duel to suffer himself to be so preposterously