Richard Brinsley Sheridan (1751-1816) is remembered as both a great dramatist and politican. He was born in Dublin though never returned to the city after the family moved to Lonmdon in the early 1760's. Sheridan started to write with a friend he had made at Harrow, Nathaniel Brassey Halhead. Sheridan entered the Middle Temple in 1773 however his attention soon turned more to the theatre. On 17th November 1774 'The Rivals' was performed at the Covent Garden Theatre. This was followed with 'The Duenna' in November 1775 which was an out and out success. In 1776 he followed Garrick as manager of the Drury Lane Theatre. It was at the Dury Lane Theatre that 'School for Scandel' in 1777, 'The Critic' in 1779 and 'Pizarro' in 1799, were all first performed.
By the 1780's Sheridan had firmly established himself in London society. He was a member of the Literary Society from 1777, having been proposed by Dr. Johnson, and of Brooks's Club from 1780. He had also started what was to be an interesting political career. He was returned on 12th December 1780 as Member of Parliament for Stafford. The 2nd Marquess of Rockingham made him under-secretarty for foreign affairs in 1782. When Lord Shelburne became Prime Minister on Rockingham's death, later the same year, Sheridan refused to serve in the government though returned as secretary to the treasury under the coalition headed by the Duke of Portland. Sheridan became a friend of the Prince of Wales. He played a prominent part in the Warren Hastings affair and made a number of speeches which were recieved with unparalleled admiration. He opposed war with America though wholeheartedly supportes the action taken against Napolean and France, and indeed became Lieutenant-colonel of the St. James's Volunteer Corps when there was the threat of an invasion in 1803. He lost his seat in 1807 though was later elected for Ilchester. He lost the seat in 1812 and attempted to become once again member for Stafford, however he was defeated. He made his last parlimentary speech on 21st June 1812. It is most probable that he was prestented with this cup by his supporters after the 1812 attept. The inscription on the cup describes him as being a guardian of the liberty of the press. This must refer to one of his best received speeches which he made on 4th April 1798. In the speech he described the freedom of the press as being as vital to a country as the freedom of the people themselves. The depth to which Sheridan must have held this view must have been very great for he was, on many occasions, a victim of misrepresentation and libel in the press.
Sheridan's eldest son married Henrietta Callander in 1805. Their daughter, Helen Selina, married Commander Price Blackwood, third son of Lord Dufferin. Their son, Frederick Temple, born in 1826 was created 1st Marquess of Dufferin and Ava in 1888