Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Sheridan, RICHARD BRINSLEY BUTLER (1751-1816), dramatist, orator, and politician, was born at Dublin on the 30th September, 1751, son of Thomas Sheridan, actor and lexicographer, and grandson of Dr. Sheridan, the friend of Swift. He was educated in a school at Dublin and afterwards at Harrow. His first notable dramatic achievement was The Rivals, which appeared with great eclat in 1775, and was followed by the farce St. Patrick's Day, and this by the opera The Duenna, a brilliant success. In 1776 he acquired a share in Drury Lane Theatre. Here,in 1777, he produced the Trip to SScarborough, adapted from Vanbrugh's Relapse, and his finest comedy, The School for Scandal. Here, too, was recited, in 1779, his Monody to the Memory of Garrick. In the same year he wrote his last original play, The Critic. By the influence of Fox he was elected for Stafford in 1780, and two years later entered the Rockingham Ministry as Under-Secretary of State, retiring with his friend Fox, and in 1783 becoming Secretary to the Treasury in the short-lived Coalition Ministry. Many years later - in 1806 - he became Treasurer of the Navy; but he had little capacity for office, and his parliamentary gifts found more appropriate exercise during the long spell of opposition between the Coalition Ministry and the Fox and Grenville Administration. His "Begum" speech, delivered in 1787 in the impeachment of Warren Hastings, was declared by so unsympathetic an auditor as Pitt to have surpassed all the eloquence of ancient and modern times. In the rupture between Fox and Burke, Sheridan remained faithful to the former. A strong advocate of the Prince of Wales's cause in the Regency debates in 1789, he became the Prince's boon companion, and his indefensible action in connection with Prince George in 1810 deprived him of the confidence of the other Whig leaders, and virtually marks the close of his political career. Always reckless and extravagant. he was often in pecuniary difficulties; and at last, by the burning down of Drury Lane Theatre in 1809, followed by expensive elections, he was reduced to poverty, the last four years of his life, when, having lost his seat, he was no longer safe from the bailiffs, being spent in attempts to evade his creditors. He died on the 17th of July, 1816, and was buried with great pomp in Westminster Abbey. He was twice married - first to Eliza Linley, a vocalist, with whom he ran away; afterwards (in 1795) to Miss Ogle, daughter of a Dean of Winchester.