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SHERBROOKE—SHERIDAN

halfpenny a box on lucifer matches in 1871 (for which he suggested the epigram ex lure lucellum, “out of light a little profit”) roused a storm of opposition, and had to be dropped. In 1873 he was transferred to the Home Office, but in 1874 the government resigned. When the Liberals returned to power in 1880 he was raised to the peerage as Viscount Sherbrooke, but from 1875 till his death at Warlingham, Surrey, on the 27th of July 1892, his health was constantly failing, and by degrees he figured less and less in public life.

Bobby Lowe, as he was popularly known, was one of the most remarkable personalities of his day, with his tall, striking figure, albino complexion and hair, and faculty for epigram and irony. During the ’seventies the following epitaph was suggested for him by one of the wits of his day:—

Here lies poor old Robert Lowe;
Where he’s gone to I don’t know;
If to the realms of peace and love,
Farewell to happiness above;
If, haply, to some lower level,
We can’t congratulate the devil.”

Lowe was delighted with this, and promptly translated it into Latin, as follows:—

Continentur hac in fossa
Humilis Roberti ossa;
Si ad coelum evolabit,
Pax in coelo non restabit;
Sin in inferis jacebit,
Diabolum ejus poenitebit.”

His literary talent, though mainly employed in journalism, was also shown in a little volume of verses, Poems of a Life (1884). He married a second time, in 1885, but left no children.

See Life and Letters by A. Patchett Martin (London, 1893) (H. Ch.) 

SHERBROOKE, a city and port of entry of Quebec, Canada, and capital of Sherbrooke county, 101 m. E. of Montreal, at the confidence of the rivers Magog and St Francis, and on the Grand Trunk, Canadian Pacific, Quebec Central and Boston & Maine railways. Pop. (1901) 11,765. It is the seat of a Roman Catholic bishopric and of the district courts, and contains manufactories of woollen and cotton goods and machinery, also saw and grist mills. It derives its name from Sir John Coape Sherbrooke (1764–1830), who from 1816 to 1818 was governor-general of Canada.

SHERE ALI KHAN (1825–1879), Amir of Afghanistan, was born in 1825, one of the younger sons of the amir Dost Mahommed, whom he succeeded in 1863. For some time after his succession Afghanistan was in a state of anarchy, and his rebellious half-brothers overran the country while he remained at Kandahar mourning the loss of a favourite son. At length, however, the capture of Kabul in 1866 roused him to action; but in spite of his own bravery he suffered general defeat until 1868, when he regained Kabul. Supported by the viceroys of India, Lord Lawrence and Lord Mayo, Shere Ali remained on good terms with the British government for some years; but after the rebellion of his son Yakub Khan, 1870–74, he leaned towards Russia, and welcomed a Russian agent at Kabul in 1878, and at the same time refused to receive a British mission. This led to long negotiations, and ultimately to war, when the British forced the Khyber Pass in November 1878, and defeated the amir’s forces on every occasion. Shere Ali fled from his capital and, taking refuge in Turkestan, died at Mazar-i-Sharif on the 21st of February 1879.

SHERIDAN, the name of an Anglo-Irish family, made illustrious by the dramatist Richard Brinsley (No. 4 below), but prominently connected with literature in more than one generation before and after his.

1. Thomas Sheridan (1687–1738), grandfather of the dramatist, was born at Cavan in 1687, and was educated at Trinity College, Dublin, taking his B.A. degree in 1711 and that of M.A. in 1714; he became B.D. in 1724 and D.D. in 1726. By a marriage with Elizabeth, heiress of Charles MacFadden, he restored to the Sheridan family Quilcagh House, which they had forfeited by their Jacobite sympathies. Thomas Sheridan is chiefly known as the favourite companion and confidant of Swift during his later residence in Ireland. His correspondence with Swift and his whimsical treatise on the “Art of Punning”[1] make perfectly clear from whom his grandson derived his high spirits and delight in practical joking. The “Art of Punning” might have been written by the author of The Critic. Swift had a high opinion of his scholarship, and that it was not contemptible is attested by a translation of the Satires of Persius, printed in Dublin in 1728. He also translated the Satires of Juvenal and the Philoctetes of Sophocles. When Swift came to Dublin as dean of St Patrick’s, Sheridan was established there as a schoolmaster of very high repute, and the two men were soon close friends. Sheridan was his confidant in the affair of Drapier’s Letters; and it was at Quilcagh House that Gulliver’s Travels was prepared for the press. Through Swift’s influence he obtained a living near Cork, but damaged his prospects of further preferment by a feat of unlucky absence of mind. Having to preach at Cork on the anniversary of Queen Anne’s death he hurriedly chose a sermon with the text, “Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof,” and was at once struck off the list of chaplains to the lord-lieutenant and forbidden the castle. In spite of this mishap, for which the archdeacon of Cork made amends by the present of a lease worth £250 per annum, he “still remained,” said the earl of Orrery (Remarks on the Life and Writings of Jonathan Swift, 1751), “a punster, a quibbler, a fiddler and a wit,” the only person in whose genial presence Swift relaxed his habitual gloom. His latter days were not prosperous, probably owing to his having “a better knowledge of books than of men or of the value of money.” He offended Swift by fulfilling an old promise to tell the dean if he ever saw signs of avarice in him, and the friends parted in anger. He died in poverty on the 10th of October 1738.

The original source of information about Dr Sheridan is his son’s Life of Swift (vol. i. pp. 369-395), where his scholarship is dwelt upon as much as his improvident conviviality and simple kindliness of nature.

2. Thomas Sheridan (1719–1788), son of the above, was born in Dublin in 1719. His father sent him to an English school (Westminster); but he was forced by stress of circumstances to return to Dublin and complete his education at Trinity College, where he took his B.A. degree in 1739. Then he went on the stage, and at once made a local reputation. He even wrote a play, Captain O’Blunder, or the Brave Irishman, which became a stock piece, though it was never printed. There is a tradition that on his first appearance in London he was set up as a rival to Garrick, and Moore countenances the idea that Garrick remained jealous of him to the end. For this tradition there is little foundation. Sheridan’s first appearance in London was at Covent Garden in March 1744, when, heralded in advance as the brilliant Irish comedian, he acted for three weeks in a succession of leading parts, Hamlet being the first. In October he appeared at Drury Lane, playing Horatio in Rowe’s Fair Penitent, and subsequently as Pierre in Otway’s Venice Preserved, and in Hamlet and other parts. On his return to Dublin he became manager of the Theatre Royal, and married Frances Chamberlaine. He was driven from Dublin as a result of his unpopular efforts to reform the theatre. A young man named Kelly had insulted the actresses, and when Sheridan interfered threatened him. A riot followed, in consequence of which Kelly was imprisoned, but he was released on Sheridan’s petition. This disturbance was followed in 1754 by another outbreak, when he refused to allow the actor, West Digges, to repeat a passage reflecting on the government in James Miller’s tragedy, Mahomet the Impostor. After two seasons in London he tried Dublin again, but two years more of unremunerative management induced him to leave for England in 1758. By this time he had conceived his scheme of British education, and it was to push this rather than his connexion with the stage that he crossed St George’s Channel. He lectured at Oxford and Cambridge, and was incorporated M.A. in both universities. But the scheme did not make way, and we find him in 1760 acting under Garrick at Drury Lane. His merits as an actor may be judged from

  1. Published in Nichols’s Supplement to the works of Swift (1779).