Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 50.djvu/61

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years, retiring at the dissolution in 1830. He was appointed second justice of the great sessions for the counties of Carmarthen, Cardigan, and Pembroke, in July 1804, and continued to act as a Welsh judge until 1807. He also took office under the Duke of Portland as a lord-commissioner of the treasury, 16 Sept. 1807. He was sworn in a member of the privy council, 25 Nov. 1807, and promoted to be judge-advocate-general, 4 Dec. following. In the ministry of Spencer Perceval [q. v.], from 1 Nov. 1809 to June 1812, he was secretary of state for the home department, and was ex officio a commissioner of the board of control for the affairs of India. He proved himself a useful speaker in defence of ministerial measures. He was elected a bencher of Lincoln's Inn in 1812, and served as treasurer in 1819. For many years he held, too, the lucrative appointment of registrar of the consistory court. He died at his seat, Westbrook Hay, Hertfordshire, 18 Sept. 1832. He married, 1 Aug. 1799, Frederica, daughter and heiress of Sir John Skynner, knt., lord chief baron of the exchequer; she died 8 Aug. 1821. By her Ryder left an only surviving daughter, Susan.

[Foster's Peerage; Parliamentary Returns; Gent. Mag.; Royal Kalendar; Haydn's Book of Dignities.]

W. R. W.

RYDER, THOMAS (1735–1790), actor, son of a printer named Darley, by some supposed to have been an Irishman, is believed to have been born in Nottingham in 1735, and brought up to his father's occupation, which he quitted for the stage. After some practice in the country, notably in York, he appeared on 7 Dec. 1757 at Smock Alley Theatre, Dublin, then under the management of Thomas Sheridan [q. v.], playing Captain Plume in Farquhar's ‘Recruiting Officer’ to the Captain Brazen of Foote. He sprang into immediate favour. Hitchcock, the historian of the Irish stage, says: ‘Mr. Ryder, whose merit, even at this early period, was universally acknowledged, proved of infinite service to the cause. As few ever deserved public favour more, so have none enjoyed it longer than this excellent comedian’ (Irish Stage, ii. 23). After the failure of Sheridan, Ryder remained under his successor, Brown, supporting Mrs. Abington as Sir Harry in ‘High Life below Stairs’ and in other parts. Under Henry Mossop [q. v.] he played at the same house in 1764 Tressel in ‘King Richard III,’ Scapin, Lord Aimworth in ‘Maid of the Mill,’ and Rimenes in the opera of ‘Artaxerxes.’ During five years Ryder then conducted a company through Kilkenny, Waterford, Sligo, Galway, Derry, and Belfast, reopening at Smock Alley Theatre as Sir John Restless in ‘All in the Wrong,’ and temporarily bringing back prosperity to the management. Lionel in the opera so named, Cymon in a dramatic romance so named, and attributed to Garrick, and the Copper Captain followed. During the slack season Ryder performed at Ranelagh Gardens (Dublin). He had married before the season of 1771–2, when Mrs. Ryder was seen as Clementina, Constance in ‘King John,’ Lady Macbeth, and other characters. She is said by Hitchcock to have been the original Grecian Daughter in Ireland.

In the autumn of 1772, Mossop having retired ruined, Ryder stepped into the management of Smock Alley Theatre, and opened in September with ‘She would and she would not,’ in which he played for the first time Trappanti. He was then declared to be the most general actor living for tragedy, comedy, opera, and farce.

Ryder remained in management in Dublin with varying success, though generally, like most Irish managers, with a downward tendency, until 1782. A prize in a lottery helped him at the outset. When a formidable opposition began at the Fishamble Street Theatre, he encountered it by causing to be taken down in shorthand the words of the ‘Duenna,’ which his opponents were mounting at great expense, producing it with the title of the ‘Governess,’ and himself playing Isaac, renamed Enoch. A prosecution ensued, but was unsuccessful. He now, spurred on by his wife, launched out into great expense, keeping horses, carriages, and a country house, as well as a town house, costing him 4,000l., and known as ‘Ryder's Folly.’ This he sold unfinished for 600l. He also started as printer, editing, after the fashion of Garrick, the plays in which he appeared, printing them and publishing a tri-weekly theatrical paper. After trying in vain to manage both houses, Crow Street and Smock Alley, and engaging at high terms actors such as the Barrys, Sheridan, Foote, Henderson, Dodd, Palmer, Reddish, and Mrs. Abington, he yielded up Crow Street to Daly, to whose better fortune he succumbed, resigning management in 1782, and becoming a member of Daly's company.

On 25 Oct. 1787, at Covent Garden as Sir John Brute in the ‘Provoked Wife,’ he made his first appearance in England. His début was not a conspicuous success. He had been overpuffed, and Edwin, a better actor than he, held possession of many of his best parts. During his first season he repeated, however, many favourite characters, and was seen as Sir John Restless, Scapin, Ben in ‘Love for Love,’ Falstaff in ‘First Part of Henry IV,’ and ‘Merry Wives of Windsor,’ Crispin in