Cecil Price (ed.), The Letters of Richard Brinsley Sheridan, Vol. 1
42. To Thomas Linley the Elder
Robert H. Taylor MS.
Pub.: Moore, i. 188—90.
Jan. 31st. 76
I am glad you have found a Person who will let you have pg 100the money at 4 per Cent.1 The Security will be very clear, but as there is some degree of Risk, as in case of Fire, I think 4 per Cent uncommonly reasonable, as it will scarcely be any advantage to pay it off—for your Houses and Chapel I suppose bring in much more.2 Therefore while you can raise money at 4 per Cent on the security of your theatrical share only, you will be right to alter as little as you can the present Disposition of your Property. As to your quitting Bath I cannot see why you should doubt a moment about it. Surely the undertaking in which you embark such a sum as £10,000 ought to be the chief object of your Attention: and supposing you did not chuse to give up all your Time to the Theatre you may certainly employ yourself more profitably in London than in Bath. But if you are willing (as I suppose you will be) to make the Theatre the great object of your Attention, rely on it you may lay aside every Doubt of not finding your account in it.3 For the Fact is we shall have nothing but our own Equity to consult in making and obtaining any Demand for exclusive Trouble.—Leasy is utterly unequal to any Department in the Theatre. He has an opinion of me, and is very willing to let the whole Burthen and ostensibility be taken off his Shoulders—but I certainly should not give up my Time and Labour (for his superior advantage having so much greater a share) without some pg 101exclusive advantage. Yet I should by no means make the Demand 'till I had shewn myself equal to the Task. My Father purposes to be with us but one year—and that only to give me what advantage He can from his experience.1 He certainly must be paid for his trouble: and so certainly must you. You have experience and character equal to the line you would undertake, and it never can enter into anybody's Head that you were to give your time or any Part of your Attention gratis because you had a share in the Theatre.2 I have spoke on this subject both to Garrick and Leasy, and you will find no demurr on any side to your gaining a certain Income from the Theatre, greater I think than you could make out of it—and in this the Theatre I am sure will be acting only for its own advantage. At the same time you may always make Leisure for a few select Scholars—whose interest may also serve the greater cause of your Patentee-ship.
I have had a young man with me who wants to appear as a Singer in Plays or Oratorios—.1 think you'll find him likely to be serviceable in either. He is not one and twenty, and has no conceit. He has a good Tenor Voice—very good ear and a great deal of execution, and of the right kind. He reads Notes very quick, and can accompany himself.—This is Betsey's Verdict, who sat in Judgement on him on Sunday last.—I have given him no answer—but engaged him to wait 'till you come to Town.—You mustn't regard the Reports in the Paper about a third Theatre3—that's all Nonsense.
Mr. Collins has been disappointed in two Houses which he expected would have been Empty by this time—but they will not be so this month. He will look out, as I will— and you need not doubt being suited for the time and at the Price you want. There is a small House in a malbro'-Street that we are to see tomorrow.4—
Betsey's and my Love to all. Your Grandson astonishes everybody by his vivacity his talents for musick and Poetry and the most perfect integrity of mind.5 | Yours most sincerely I
R B Sheridan