Thomas Sheridan (1719-88)


Life
b. Capel St., Dublin, or Quilca House, Co. Cavan [CAB Quilca]; third son of Thomas Sheridan; Swift’s godson and father of R. B. Sheridan; ed. at his father’s school in Capel St., Westminster College [aetat. 13]; entered TCD at 16, May 1735, BA 1739, MA 1743; appeared as Richard III (Smock Alley, 29 Jan. 1743); presented his farce, Captain O’Blunder, retitled The Brave Irishman, a week later; his quarrel over a robe with Theophilus Cibber known as the Cato affair, 1743; Francis Chamberlaine writes verses in his defence; Drury Lane and Covent Garden appearances, 1744; mgr. Smock Alley, with brilliant Garrick season, 1745-6;
 
m. Chamberlaine, 1747; Kelly riots, 1747 (‘I am as good a gentleman as you are’); issued A Full Vindication [ ... &c] (Dublin 1747); Mahomet riot, involving his refusal to let actor West Digges repeat the catch-lines phrase of the anti-government party in Miller’s tragedy, 1754; his The Brave Irishman or Captain O’Blunder (Dublin 1754), farce, adapted from Molière’s Monsieur de Pourceaugnac; removed to England with his family after Barry opened Crow St., in 1758; A Course of Lectures on Elocution (London: 1762); returned to Dublin to act, 1763, last appearing 14 March 1777;
 
Lectures on the Art of Reading (2 pts, London 1775); sold off Quilca in 1768; unwittingly produced Ireland’s Shakespearean forgery Vorgtigern and Rowena at Drury Lane (March 1796); assisted his son with management of Drury Lane Theatre; A General Dictionary of the English Language (2 vols., 1780) [see also under Charles O’Conor respecting an Irish edn. from Pat Wogan of Dublin, in 1784], and The Life of the Rev. Dr. Jonathan Swift (1784); for a time friendly with Johnson; edited Swift’s works in 18 vols. (1784), including the Journal to Stella; compiled A Complete Dictionary of the English Language (2nd ed. London 1789); d. 14 Aug., Margate, and bur. there; there is portrait by R. Stewart. RR PI DIB DIL FDA OCIL

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Works
Drama
Contemp. & older editions,

The Brave Irishman; or, Captain O’Blunder [revised by another hand] (Dublin [1754]); and Do. [reps. edns.] in Bell’s British Theatre (1784) and The British Stage (1786).

Anthologised

See extracts in Cabinet of Irish Literature, ed. Charles Read, rev. T. P. O’Connor (London 1880); an extract from The Brave Irishman is given in Alan J. Bliss, ed., Spoken English in Ireland 1600-1740 (Monkstown: Cadenus Press 1976), pp.166-71 [Captain O’Blunder, Sergeant, Sconce, Cheat, et al.].

Modern edition

Christopher Wheatley & Kevin Donovan, eds., Irish Drama of the Seventeeth and Eighteenth Centuries, 2 vols. (UK: Ganesha Publishing UK 2003) [incls. The Brave Irishman, or The Irishman in London (1755)].

Prose (pamphlets, &c.),
  • The Buskin and the Sock, Being Controversial Letters between Mr T. Sheridan, Tragedian, and Mr T. Cibber, Comedian (London 1743);
  • A Full Vindication of the Conduct of the Manager of the Theatre Royal. Written by Himself (Dublin 1747);
  • The Case of T. Sheridan, Leasee and Manager of the United Theatres of Aungier St. and Smock Alley [?Dublin ?1750];
  • Lectures on the Art of Reading (London 1755) [this work lists FDA1 2 parts 1775];
  • British Education, or the Source of Disorders (London 1756);
  • An Humble Appeal to the Public, together with some Considerations on the Present Critical and Dangerous State of the Stage in Ireland (Dublin 1758);
  • A Course of Lectures on Elocution together with Two Dissertations on Language and some Other Tracts Relative to those Subjects (London 1762), 4o; and Do. [another edn.] (1798), 8o;
  • A Plan of Education for the Young Nobility and Gentry of Great Britain (London 1769);
  • A Short Address to the Public upon A Subject of the utmost Importance to the future Safety and Welfare of the British Dominions. By Thomas Sheridan, A.M. (London, Printed for J. Dodsley, C. Dilly, and T. Evans. MDCLXXXIII [1783]);
  • The Life of the Rev. Jonathan Swift, [17 vols.] (London: Bathurst, W. Strahan, B. Collins, [etc.] 1784) [var. another Dublin edn.];
  • A Complete Dictionary of the English Language (1780; 2nd edn. 1789).
Political writings
  • Legislative Independence of Ireland Vindicated, in a speech of Thomas Sheridan on the Irish Propositions in the British House of Commons ... (Dublin: P. Cooney, Hibernian Printing Office Essex St MDCCLXXXX [1790]), 26pp [incl. 23 committee resolutions passed 30 May [1790], pp.18-26].
Pamphlets concerning Sheridan
  • An Answer In Behalf of Spranger Barry, the Proprietor of the New Theatre in Crow-Street, to the Case and Petition of Thomas Sheridan ... and also to the Petition of two of the Proprietors of the said united theatres ... 4 pp. [1758; copy in BL];
  • An Apology for Mr. Sheridan. By a Sch-r (Dublin 1746/7);
  • An Appeal to the Public Against Mr. Sheridan’s Intended Scheme for a Monopoly of the Stage (Dublin 1772), 27pp. [copies in RIA and Folger.
  • The Buskin and Sock, Being Controversial Letters Between Mr. Thomas Sheridan, Tragedian and Mr. Theophilus Cibber, Comedian, just published in Dublin (Dublin 1743).
  • By Peter Shee, Painter ... By Thomas Sheridan, Orator. 1p. [1758; British Lib.
  • The Case &c.; containing the Reasons for and against a Bill limiting the Number of theatres in the City of Dublin; wherein Qualifications, Duty, and Importance of a Manager are carefully considered and explained, and the Conduct and Abilities of Mr. Sheridan, the present Manager of the Theatre in Smock-Ally, are particularly reviewed and examined. The Whole occasionally interspersed with critical Observations on Mr. Sheridan’s Oration ... (Dublin [Dec. 1757 or early in 1758; copy in Columbia UL]
  • Case for the Stage in Ireland, containing reasons for and against the Bill for limiting the number of theatres in the City of Dublin, wherein the conduct and abilities of Mr. Sheridan, the present manager of the Theatre at Smock Alley, are ... examined (Dublin 1758; London 1758).
  • The Case of Thomas Sheridan, Lessee and manager of the united Theatres of Aungier-Street and Smock-Ally. 2pp (Dublin 1758) [copy in BL.
  • Cibber and Sheridan, or, the Dublin Miscellany. Containing All the Advertisements, Letters, Addresses, Replys, Apologys, Verses &c., &c., &c., lately publish’d on Account of the Theatric Squabble (Dublin 1743) [copy in Columbia UL]; and Do., ... to which are added, several prologues and epilogues, spoke at the theatre in Smock-Alley, this summer, by Mr. Cibber, some of which were never before printed. Also, two songs by Mr. Worsdale [etc.] (Dublin 1743) [copy in BL.
  • Clippings relating to Sheridan’s Performances, Attic Evenings, readings, Rhetorical Prelections, etc. [copy in BL MSS Coll.
  • A Critical Examination of the Sense, Style, and Grammar, of Mr. Sheridan’s Printed oration. Humbly submitted to all Noblemen, Gentlemen, and Others, who sincerely wish to see a Well-Planned Publick School and Academy Established in this Kingdom, under the Conduct of able Instructors; and whose Attachment is not to the Man, but to the Thing. (Dublin 1758). [copy in BL].
  • An Enquiry into the Plan and Pretensions of Mr. Sheridan. (Dublin 1758) [copy in Columbia UL].
  • An Epistle from Mr. Theophilus Cibber, comedian, to Mr. Thomas Sheridan, Tragedian (Dublin 1743).
  • An Epistle to Henry Mossop, Esq.; on the institution and end of the drama, and the present state of the Irish stage. With some observations on Mr. Sheridan’s plan of education for the young nobility and gentry. (2nd ed., Dublin c.1770) [copy in Folger Lib.]
  • A Full Vindication of Thomas Sheridan, Esq.; being an Answer to a Scurrilous Pamphlet, by P. Shea (Dublin 1758) [copy in Halliday Collection of Pamphlets, RIA, Dublin].
  • An Humble Appeal to the Publick Together with some Considerations of the Present Critical and Dangerous State of the Stage in Ireland. By Thomas Sheridan Deputy Master of the Revels, and Manager of the Theatre Royal, Dublin [...] (Dublin 1758); Do. [another edn.] (Printed by and for George Faulkner, in Parliament-Street. (MDCCLXXII [1772]) [copy in Columbia UL].
  • A Letter from Mr. Lee to Mr. Sheridan (Dublin 1757) [copy in BL].
  • The Man of Honour but Not of his Word. Inscribed to Mr. Sheridan. 16pp. (Dublin MDCCL) [copy in BL].
  • Mrs. [D. J.] Beauclerk’s Letters to Mr. Sheridan and Mr. Victor with their Answers. To which is prefixed, An occasional prologue, spoken by Mr. King on the first night of her appearing on the stage. (Dublin 1758) [ copy in BL].
  • Mr. Sheridan’s Address to the Town (In Cibber and Sheridan, supra).
  • Mr. Sheridan’s Answer top Mr. Cibber, the Comedian’s, epistle (Dublin 1743).
  • Mr. Sheridan’s Speech Addressed to a Number of Gentlemen assembled with a View of considering the best Means to establish one good Theatre in this City (Dublin MDCCLXXII) [copy in Columbia UL].
  • Mr. Sheridan’s Argument in the case of Daly against Magee, on a motion to discharge the defendant on Common Bail. (London and Dublin).
  • An Oration Pronounced before a Numerous Body of the Nobility and Gentry, Assembled at the Musick-Hall in Fishamble-Street, on Tuesday the 6th of December, 1757. Published at their Unanimous Desire. By Thomas Sheridan, A.M., Author of the British Education (Dublin MDCCLVIII [1758]).
  • A Poem on Mr. Sheridan and Mr. Barry (Dublin 1746) [copy in RIA].
  • A Proper Reply to the late scurrilous libel [against Thomas Sheridan] (1743).
  • Remarks on Mr. Lee’s letter to Mr. Sheridan (1757) [copy in RIA]
  • State of the Case in Regards to the Point in Dispute Between Mr. Mosse and Mr. Sheridan. 2nd edn. (Dublin 1750) [copy in BL], and Do. [2nd edn.] [copy in BL].
  • To the Honourable the Knights, Citizens, and Burgesses, in Parliament assembled, the humble Petition of Thomas Sheridan. 1p (Dublin 1758).

Note: The foregoing list of pamphlets is taken from Michael Arnott, English Theatrical Literature, 1972, passim.]

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Criticism
  • F. W. Bateson, ‘Notes on the Text of Two Thomas Sheridan Plays’, Review of English Studies 16 (1940), 315-17;
  • Wallace A. Bacon, The Elocutionary Career of Thomas Sheridan (1719-1788), Speech Monographs, XXXI, No. 1 (March 1964);
  • Esther K. Sheldon, Thomas Sheridan of Smock-Alley (NJ: Princeton UP 1967);
  • Mary Rose Callaghan, ‘Thomas Sheridan’, in Robert Hogan, ed., Dictionary of Irish Literature (Greenwood/Macmillan 1979).
 

See also Alicia Lefanu, Memoirs of the Life and Writings of Mrs. Frances Sheridan (London 1824); Christopher Wheatley, Beneath Ierne’s Banners: Irish Protestant Drama of the Restoration and Eighteenth century (Notre Dame UP 1999) [q.pp.]; Helen M. Burke, Riotous Performances: The Struggle for Hegemony in Irish Theater, 1912-1784 (Notre Dame UP 2003), 368pp.

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Commentary
Faulkner’s Dublin Journal (8-11 Feb. 1777): ‘Deserter: Skirmish - Mr. Ryder, Henry - Mr. Webster, [R]uffet - Mr W / [sic] der, Simkin - Mr. O’Keeffe, Flint - Mr. Remington, Joan - Mrs Thompson, Louisa - Miss Potter. Between the Play and the Farce, Mr. Sheridan will recite (for that night only) Dryden’s celebrated Ode on the Power of Music - Tickets to be had at Mr. Faulkner’s in Parliament-street, and Places for the Boxes to be taken of Mr. Cullen at the Theatre, between the Hours of Eleven and One. - N.B. The house will be illminated by Wax.’ (From [front-page] photo-copy supplied by Robert West.)

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Robert Hitchcock gives an account of Garrick’s reception in Dublin by Sheridan, in 1745, ‘On his landing at Dublin, he was met by Mr Sheridan, who offered to fulfil his promise, of sharing the profits and losses. Though nothing could be fairer than this proposal, yet Mr. Garrick insisted on a stipulated sum for performing during the winter. The other objected to the demand, and persisted in his first offer, which, as he justly observed, was the most reasonable, for then Mr Garrick would receive as much money as he brought [into the playhouse], and others would not be losers. In the other case he might perhaps be the only gainer. After some little dispute, which Mr Sheridan decided, by taking out his watch, and insisting upon an answer in five minutes, Mr. Garrick submitted, and the affair terminated in the most amicable manner. (Historical View of the Irish Stage, quoted in Janet Dunbar, Peg Woffington, 1968, p.131.)

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Richard Ryan, Biographia Hibernica: Irish Worthies (1821), Vol. II, pp.506-21. Ryan tells a story of Sheridan obtaining an act of Irish Parliament protecting him from arrest for debts of £1,600 earlier incurred before his removal from Ireland; having saved £800 he offers ten shillings in the pound to creditors; Faulkner the printer tells him he will not present his demand until Sheridan dines with him, whereupon he sends him away from the table with a sealed envelope containing his original bond for £3200 and a receipt in full for a book debt of £100.

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Jonah Barrington’s Personal Sketches (1827-32) include memoirs of Sheridan, viz.: ‘I remember [...] seeing old Mr Sheridan perform the part of Cato at one of the Dublin theatres; I do not recollect which, but I well recollect his dress, which consisted of bright armour under a fine laced scarlet cloak, and surmounted by a huge, white, bushy, well-powdered wig (like Dr Johnson’s) over which was stuck his helmet. I wondered much how he could kill himself without stripping off the armour before he performed the operation! I also recollect him particularly (even as before my eyes now) playing Alexander the Great, and throwing the javelin at Clytus, whom happening to miss, he hit the cupbearer, then played by one of the hack performers, Mr Jemmy Fotterel [...] ‘immediately [...] on being struck, he reeled, staggered, and fell very naturally, considering that it was his first death.’ (Extract in Frank O’Connor, ed., Book of Ireland, 1979 ed., pp.278-79.)

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G. C. Duggan, The Stage Irishman (1937) gives an account of Thomas Sheridan, Captain O’Blunder or the Brave Irishman (1738); ‘frequently reprinted and a favourite in Dublin, it also became the legend on inn-signs. It is a one-act play, the plot ultimately from Molière’s Monsieur de Porceaugnac, but reflected also in Charles Shadwell’s The Plotting Lovers. Lucy, daughter of Tradewell, is being wooed by Cheatwell, but also by Capt. O’Blunder, arriving from Dublin with his manservant Sergeant Terence; the Capt. is lured into a madhouse, thinking it a private residence, by Cheatwell, and examined by two doctors, on whom he turns the tables; when Tradewell tests Cheatwell and a Frenchman, Monsieur Ragout, with the pretence that he is bankrupt, the Capt. carries off Lucy.’ (p.197.) Capt. O’Blunder is a good-natured giant, full of patriotism for his native place, Ballymacushlane, near Ballyshans Duff [viz., Ballyjames-duff Co. Monaghan], and malapropisms [of his sergeant], ‘He’s the best recruiting officer in all Ireland; he understands riding as well as no man alive and he was manured to it from his cradle [...] he has long lain under the computation [sic] of being a Papist.’ Also Lucy’s epilogue [as infra]. Qry: incls. erroneous remark, Cheatwell admits to having faked the rumour of shipwreck.

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Esther Sheldon, Thomas Sheridan of Smock Alley (Princeton UP 1967), which includes ‘Smock Alley Calendar’ for his years of management at the Theatre. The Introduction cites major documentary sources for Irish theatre such Benjamen Victor, Hitchcock, Bellamy [her putative autobiography], and La Tourette Stockwell [Stages & Customs, 2nd edn. 1968]; notice no reference to Clarke’s contemporary work. Note also Thomas Sheridan at the Bar of the House of Commons (1780), cited by Frederick Blackwood in prefatory account of the Sheridan’s in his edition of the Songs of Helen Blackwood, Lady Dufferin (1895).

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W. B. Stanford, Ireland and the Classical Tradition (Dublin IAP 1976; 1984), notes that Thomas Sheridan recorded [seeing] this notice in an egg-heckler’s window in Co. Waterford, ‘Si sumas ovum/Mol sit atque novum’ (see [C. H. Wilson,] Brookiana, 1, 5; Stanford, op. cit., p.27.) Stanford goes on to quote Sheridan’s View of the State of Education in Ireland (1769): ‘thus after the drudgery of so many years, goaded on by the dread of punishment, in a constant course of disagreeable labour without any degree of pleasure to soften it, or hope of seeing an end to it, all that the young scholars have attained is, a poor smattering in two dead languages.’ (q.p.)

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Joseph Leerssen, Mere Irish & Fíor Ghael (Amsterdam 1986), The stage Irishman had become so stratified [i.e. petrified] that anti-stage Irishmen could be thought of. Captain O’Blunder is the first example. The Brave Irishman was performed in 1746 and first printed in 1754, largely from actors memories; an early version was acted in Dublin in 1737, with the title The Honest Irishman. O’Blunder is equipt with stage Irish signifiers, but prevails through courage and humour. He forces a stage-Frenchman to eat a potato, much as Fluellen forces Pistol to eat a leek; he is made out to be fond of Gaelic and eager to meet other Gaelic speakers. [131] Sheridan is concerned with the fortunes of his Irishman in England, who becomes involved in a rivalry with Cheatwell for the hand of his fiancée Lucy. A mixture of naive honesty and irascible courage, he is handed over by Cheatwell as a madman to two doctors whom he believes to be inn-keepers. Leerssen comments, ‘the question of imputed insanity sums up Sheridan’s treatment of the confrontation of Irish and English nationality, the madness that the Englishman imputes to the Irishman and that he sees confirmed in each national and personal peculiarity deviating from English pre-expectations, is in the end shown to lie in the misunderstanding between the parties rather than within either of the parties concerned.’ (p.132.)

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Alan Bliss, ed., Dialogue in Hybernian Stile Between A & B & Irish Eloquence by Jonathan Swift [Irish Writings from the Age of Swift, No. 6] (Dublin: Cadenus Press 1977): ‘For information about pronunciation we have to turn to Thomas Sheridan, the son of Swift's friend, who some fifty years later prefixed to his Dictionary a set of “Rules to be observed by the Natives of Ireland in order to attain a just Pronunciation of English.” These rules are directed explicitly to the “well-educated natives”, who must presumably correspond in some degree to Swift's planters. According to Sheridan, the Irish err mainly in the pronunciation of the vowels a and e. They pronounce patron and matron with the vowel of father, and balm, psalm, qualm, calm as if they were written bawm, psawm, quawm, cawm. They pronounce [58] the words tea, sea, please as if they were spelt tay, say, plays, and deceit, receive as if they were written desate, resave; in trying to avoid this latter error they sometimes pronounce prey, convey as if they were pree, convee. As well as these general rules, Sheridan also gives a list of individual words liable to mispronunciation; some of these, too, could be reduced to rule, as for instance cold, bold pronounced cowld, bowld. It so happens that none of the words specifically adduced by Sheridan appears in DHS [Dialogue in Hybernian Style] or IE [Irish Eloquence], and very few of the words covered by the general rules, so that Swift had little opportunity of indicating such pronunciations; but he could, of course, have introduced appropriate words if he had wished to bring pronunciation within his scope.’ (pp.58-59.) See Thomas Sheridan, A General Dictionary of the English Language ... to which is prefixed a Rhetorical Grammar, 1780, lxv-lxvi.

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Robert Crawford, Devolving English Literature (Oxford: Clarendon 1992), notes that James Boswell first heard of Samuel Johnson from Thomas Sheridan, when the latter was lecturing in Scotland on the English language and public speaking. (Times Literary Supplement, 1 Jan 1993.)

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Quotations
The Brave Irishman (1738): Lucy’s epilogue: ‘For now I find they made me but a child / To tell me that the Irish were all wild. / My captain is as gentle as a dove / As innocent and quite as full of love. / Ye British Fair if ye would wed the TRUTH / You’ll only find it in the Irish YOUTH: / The Irish to our hearts have found a way / I ne’er believed it till I saw - the Key.’ (Quoted in G. C. Duggan, The Stage-Irishman, 1937.)

Note variant ending in FDA1 version: ‘The Irish to our Hearts have found the [sic] Way. / I ne’er believ’d it till I saw the - Key. / Our dearest Secret best such Youth Rewards, / Who finds the Keyhole quick, and hit so true the Wards.’

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The Brave Irishman (Captain O’Blunder:) ‘Well, you scoundrels, you sons of whores, did you never see an Irish shentleman before?’ (Duggan, The Stage Irishman, p.291; quoted in Declan Kiberd, Irish Classics, Granta 2000, p.144.)

Defending Ireland: ‘If it passed that day, a deep wound would instantly be given to the confidence of Ireland in Great Britain; if adapted rashly by the Irish Parliament, a decisive blow would be struck, and affection and good faith between the two countries be banished forever.’ (Legislative Independence of Ireland Vindicated, 1790, p.17).

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References
Charles A. Read, The Cabinet of Irish Literature (London, Glasgow, Dublin, Belfast & Edinburgh: Blackie & Son [1876-78]), gives circumstantial account in which the Mahomet riots involved a trial where the council for defendant said he had never seen a gentleman actor, to which Sheridan said, ‘Sir, I hope you see one now’; Sheridan procured the release of the main culprit; plans of 1757 to establish academy for youth launched with lectures on subject, rejected, followed by like orations before University of Oxford and Cambridge; granted pension on accession of George III to disgust of Johnson, who remarked, ‘What, give him a pension! Then I must give up mine!’; also compared Sheridan’s influence on language as ‘burning a farting candle at Dover to show light at Calais’’ left stage in 1776; manager Drury Lane, that 1776-79; cites Captain O’Blunder, farce, 1754; Coriolanus, 1755; Royal Subject, alteration of Beaumont and Fletcher; alteration of Romeo and Juliet; Lectures on Art of Reading; British Education; Address on the Stage; Difficulties of English; A General Dictionary, to which prefixed a ‘rhetorical grammar’; The Life of the Rev. Dr. Jonathan Swift (London 1784), prefixed to his edn. of The Works of Swift [with Life], 18 vols. (1784); misc. articles. Read selects ‘The Perfection of Modern Works only Settled by Comparison’, from British Education’; ‘What of Efficiency in Our Education’ [‘Want of knowledge, and a quantity of false knowledge, far worse than none, are the necessary consequences in a country not studying and understanding the language which is most generally read’ ... ‘If our legislators have at any time acted wrong [sic], how could it be otherwise expected, when there is no care taken in their education to qualify them for the discharge of so important an office.’]

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D. J. O’Donoghue, The Poets of Ireland: A Biographical Dictionary (Dublin: Hodges Figgis & Co 1912); gives extended account of Sheridan’s management at the Theatre Royal, and the riots that enduced him to quit.

Peter Kavanagh, Irish Theatre (Tralee 1946), ... wrote The Brave Irishman, or Captain O’Blunder (Dublin 1738), printed 1748 [?ERR, cf. 1754 elsewhere passim], which shows the Irishman in a favourable light as carrying on through all his blunders; scenes based on Molière’s Monsieur de Pourceaugnac; according to Baker, Dram. Biog., it was a farce written while at college and rebuilt from the memories of the actors - with additions of their own; Sheridan also altered plays of Shakespeare.

Encyclopaedia Britannica (1949 Edn.), under William Henry Ireland, the forger, concerning his play Vortigern, Sheridan purchased it for Drury Lane theatre, and an overflowing house assembled on April 2, 1796, to sit in judgement on it. But its one representation was greeted with shouts of laughter. Samuel Ireland had it published in 1795 [EB, 1949, 12, 591]

Esther Sheldon, Thomas Sheridan of Smock Alley, Princeton UP 1967 , contains a full list of Sheridan’s works appears as a bibliographical appendix.

Seamus Deane, gen. ed., The Field Day Anthology of Irish Writing (Derry: Field Day 1991), Vol. 1, selects The Brave Irishman, or Captain O’Blunder [1 act of 7 scenes] (Dublin n.d.) [532-41]; REMS at 505 [Chris Murray, ed., refers to Captain O’Blunder, as the second type of stage-Irishman, more socially elevated, a landowner, man of means, with military experience; the captain was ignorant of English standards and uses the language inefficiently and at times ridiculously, with Gaelicisms sprinkled through his speech; physically a big man; carried not only long sword but big cudgel or shillelagh; costume tended to be equally distinctive, an old red coat, a pinched hat, and a great pair of jackboots; this play told of the Irishman’s love adventures in London, where he was regarded as generous and loveable, &c. Murray goes on to deal with Sir Callaghan O’Brallaghan (Macklin); The Trueborn Irishman (Macklin, 1762); and Cumberland’s Major O’Flaherty in The West Indian (1771)]; introductory remarks, 532; one act romp, Irishman in London ultimately winning all the stakes; records exaggerated form some social and cultural attitudes obtaining between Ireland and England in the eighteenth century; demands to be seen as theatrical rather than literary; Capt. O’Blunder star part; from first production 1743, popular farce in London as well as Dublin [654, bibl. BI, Dublin n.d.]; 655, BIOG. WORKS, A Full Vindication ... &c (Dublin 1747); The Brave Irishman [revised by another hand] (Dublin n.d.) [a portion in Alan Bliss, ed. Spoken English in Ireland 1600-1740 (Cadenus, Monkstown, 1976); A Course of Lectures on Elocution (London: 1762); Lectures on the Art of Reading (2 pts. London 1775); The Life of the Rev. Dr. Jonathan Swift (London 1784); A Complete Dictionary of the English Language (2nd edn. London 1789). Bibl., Esther Sheldon, Thomas Sheridan [of Smock Alley] (NJ: Princeton 1967).

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A. N. Jeffares & Peter Van de Kamp, eds., Irish Literature: The Eighteenth Century - An Annotated Anthology (Dublin/Oregon: Irish Academic Press 2006), select extracts from from Lectures on the Art of Reading [208]; Sheridan’s & Henderson’s Practical Method of Reading and Reciting English Poetry [211].

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Hyland Books (Cat. 219; 1995) lists A Course of Lectures on Elocution together with Two Dissertations on Language and some Other Tracts Relative to those Subjects (London 1762), 4o, Do., another edn. (1798), 8o.

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Notes
Dr. Johnson reputedly said, ‘Sherry [Thomas Sheridan] is dull, naturally dull; but it must have taken great pains to become what we now see him. Such an excess of stupidity is not in nature.’

Edmund Burke attended Smock Alley where the indignant manager and victim was Sheridan’s father - ‘a pitiful fellow’, Burke reckoned. (Corr., I, p.102; see Stanley Ayling, Edmund Burke, 1988, p.8.)

Portraits: Caricatures of Sheridan include W. Holland, The Rival Managers (June 1799), showing Pitt and Sheridan contesting the claims of their theatricals. Sheridan declares: ‘I will maintain it, Sir, - mind is the best conducted Theatre of the two. As to our Finances - ask Mr Reynard, my Property man! - and as to Loyalty, where you have touch’d with a pencil, I have made use of the Trowel, Sir!!’ Pitt urges that his play Union for Ever ‘would make your best Tragedies and Comedies appear mere Farce.’ (Pl. 8; inter. pp.44-45.) Sheridan is also a figure, with Lord Moira, in the oft-reprinted plate the Union Club by James Gillray, in which the whigs who had strongly opposed the Union, drown their sorrows. (See Nicholas Robinson, ‘Marriage against inclination: the union and caricature’, in Dáire Keogh & Kevin Whelan, eds., Acts of Union: The Causes, Contexts and Consequences of the Act of Union, Dublin: Four Courts Press 2001, plate 22 [p.144ff.]).

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