Sheridan, Caroline Henrietta (DNB00)

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SHERIDAN, Mrs. CAROLINE HENRIETTA (1779–1851), novelist, wife of Tom Sheridan, and daughter-in-law of Richard Brinsley Sheridan [q. v.], was second daughter of Colonel James Callander (afterwards Sir James Campbell, 1745–1832 [q. v.]), by his third wife, Lady Elizabeth Helena (d. 1851), youngest daughter of Alexander Macdonnell, fifth earl of Antrim. Miss Callander, one of the beauties of her day, was married in 1805 to Tom Sheridan, the younger son of R. B. Sheridan, and by him she was mother of ‘the three beauties,’ the Hon. Mrs. Norton, Lady Dufferin, and the Duchess of Somerset. The only extant account of Mrs. Tom Sheridan's character is contained in a letter written from Inverary Castle by Matthew Gregory Lewis [q. v.] to his mother: ‘Mrs. T. Sheridan is very pretty, very sensible, amiable, and gentle; indeed so gentle that Tom insists upon it, that her extreme quietness and tranquillity is a defect in her character. Above all, he accuses her of such an extreme apprehension of giving trouble (he says) it amounts to absolute affectation’ (Life of M. G. Lewis, ii. 5–6). She accompanied her husband in 1813 to the Cape of Good Hope, where, while serving the office of colonial treasurer, he died of consumption on 12 Sept. 1817. She received a small pension, and rooms at Hampton Court Palace were given to her by the prince regent. There she reared and educated her four sons and three daughters. After her children were grown up, Frances Kemble wrote in ‘Records of a Girlhood:’ ‘Mrs. Sheridan, the mother of the Graces, [is] more beautiful than anybody but her daughters.’ She published three novels which pleased the public. The first was ‘Carwell, or Crime and Sorrow’ (London, 1830, 12mo), which was designed to expose the inequitable sentences pronounced upon those who had been guilty of forgery. The second was ‘Aims and Ends,’ 1833; and the third, ‘Oonagh Lynch,’ 1833. Soon after publication ‘Carwell’ was turned into French and published in Paris. She died on 9 June 1851, at 39 Grosvenor Place, in the house of her daughter, Lady Dufferin.

[Gent. Mag, 1851, xxxvi. 207; Memoir of Lady Dufferin; Memoirs of Sir James Campbell, written by himself.]

F. R.