When I withdrew myself from the opposition, Sheridan certainly became less forward in that party, but not solely out of any deference to me; he had been on bad terms with them from the very formation of their government, and had increased their ill-humour towards him by those sentiments, which he afterwards condensed into the celebrated joke that he had known men knock their heads against walls by accident, but that these Ministers were the first persons he ever had heard of who built the wall to knock their heads against. Moreover, Lord [Charles] Grey and Mr [Samuel] Whitbread were become the leaders of the party, and he did not like either; of Mr Whitbread he had an actual hatred; even before Drury Lane affairs had brought them into almost personal conflicts. He therefore naturally, and for every reason, disapproved of Mr Whitbread’s taking up the cause of the Princess, and they had warm words about it; and Sheridan always thought that Whitbread wished afterwards to keep him down, and above all out of Parliament, lest he should interfere with the scheme of ambition which he had begun to build on the Princess. I remember Sheridan’s telling me with great satisfaction that Whitbread having alluded to Sir John Douglas in some injurious way, Sir John had required an explanation which Whitbread thought fit to make to this officer, who was supposed to be a very determined man, and whose conduct in the breach of Acre under Sir Sydney Smith has gained him a reputation for courage which Whitbread knew was not to be trifled with.
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