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writes, "The Sieur Algernoon Sydney is a man of great views and very high designs, which tend to the establishment of a republic. He is in the party of the Independents and other sectaries; and this party were masters during the last troubles. They are not at present very powerful in parliament, but they are strong in London; and it is through the intrigues of the Sieur Algernoon Sidney that one of the two sheriffs, named Bethal, has been elected. The Duke of Buckingham is of the same party, and believes himself at the head, &c. . . . The service which I may draw from Mr. Sidney does not appear, for his connections are with obscure and concealed

persons; but he is intimate with the Sieur Jones [Sir William Jones, lately attorney-general], who is a man of the greatest knowledge in the laws of England, and will be chancellor, if the party opposed to the court shall gain the superiority, and the Earl of Shaftesbury be contented with any other employment." And in the account of his disbursements among the patriots, from the 22nd December, 1678, to the 14th December, 1679, Barillon twice sets down the name of the Sieur Algernon Sidney, and for 500 guineas each time.*

In a despatch dated the 30th of September, 1680, Barillon describes the arguments Sidney was accustomed to use with him to show that it was for the interest of France that England should be revolutionized and converted into a republic.†

The sheriff, named Bethal by the French minister, was the Whig sheriff Bethell, who, with his Whig colleague Cornish, so long succeeded in returning popular juries, and in thus thwarting the Court and the Tories. [See Memoir of William Lord Russell.] When determined Tories had been despotically thrust by the king into the places of Bethell and Cornish, and when Tory juries had been made sure of, the Rye House Plot was announced. In consequence of revelations made *Correspondence and Accounts as published by Sir John Dalrymple in Memoirs of Great Britain and Ireland,' 4to. Lond. 1773.

+ Id. Id.

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by the infamous Lord Howard of Escrick, Sidney was thrown into the Tower a few days after Russell. But for the republican enthusiasm and credulity of Sidney this traitor would never have been admitted (as he indisputably was) to the secret conferences of the patriots. Among other matter Howard of Escrick deposed that Sidney had undertaken to manage a treasonable correspondence with the fugitive Earl of Argyle and the disaffected Whigs and Cameronians in Scotland, and had sent one Aaron Smith into Scotland, after having given him 60 guineas. Another traitor to the patriotsa lawyer, named West, who increased the number and swelled the size of his depositions just as the Court party wished-swore that Colonel Algernon Sidney had held a close correspondence with the rebellious Scots, and had been present in secret conclaves in London, wherein it was resolved to shoot the king, &c.

Both in the council-chamber, into which he was brought to be examined, and in his dungeon in the Tower, Sidney displayed a sort of Roman fortitude and taciturnity. He told the king and his ministers that he would not answer their ensnaring questions; that they must seek evidence against him from some other man.

Russell was tried on the 13th and executed on the 21st of July [1683]. Sidney was not put upon his trial until four months later. He was brought up to the bar of the King's Bench to plead, on the 7th of November, and his trial took place on the 21st, before Sir George Jeffreys, lately promoted to the place of Lord Chief Justice. Jeffreys exhibited little of his wonted coarseness and passion on this occasion; but his demeanour was very determined and inflexible, and he bore down every objection of the prisoner with an authority that nothing could shake or impress. The only evidence produced in court in support of the principal facts charged was Lord Howard of Escrick, who had, according to his own account, been a party to the plot, and now came to swear away the lives of his associates in order to save his own; and as the law of high treason required two witnesses to prove the crime, the other was

supplied by bringing forward a manuscript found among Sidney's papers, and asserted, no doubt with truth, to be his hand-writing, which, it was pretended, contained an avowal and defence of principles the same, or of the same nature, with those involved in the alleged plot. There was a fearlessness, a noble pride in the demeanour of the prisoner. When asked whether he would put any questions to the witness, Lord Howard, he replied with withering scorn, "No! I have no questions to ask such as he!" At a subsequent part of the trial, he asked the jury whether any credit was due to such a man as my Lord Howard, who had betrayed and cozened his friends, who deposed differently now from what he had deposed on the trial of Lord Russell; who had denied the plot before his arrest, and who had said since that he could not get his pardon from the king till he had "done some other jobs' "until the drudgery of swearing was over. "Besides," added Sidney, this Howard is my debtor for a considerable sum; his mortgage was forfeit to me; and when I should have taken the advantage the law gave me, he found a way to have me laid up in the Tower! His lordship is a very subtile man; for as, at Lord Russell's trial, he said he was to carry his knife between the paring and the apple, so for this he has so managed as to get his pardon and save his estate." Nor was he unprovided with witnesses of name and station to assist him in making good his charges against the miscreant. These witnesses were, two of Howard of Escrick's own relatives, Mr. Philip and Mr. Edward Howard, the Earl of Anglesey, Lord Clare, Lord Paget, Monsieur du Cas, a Frenchman, and Doctor Gilbert Burnet, the historian. Sidney, however, as was to be expected under all the circumstances, was found guilty; and being again brought up on the 26th, was sentenced to be put to death after the revolting manner of execution then enjoined by law in cases of high treason. Upon hearing this sentence, he said with a loud firm voice,-" Then, O God! O God! I beseech thee to sanctify my sufferings, and impute not my blood to the country or the city. Let no inquisition


be made for it; but if at any day the shedding of blood that is innocent must be revenged, let the weight of it fall only on those that maliciously persecute me for righteousness sake." The chief justice thought himself obliged to put up his prayer also, which he did in these words:- 66 I pray God to work in you a temper fit to go unto the other world, for I see you are not fit for this." My Lord," replied Sidney, stretching out his arm, "feel my pulse, and see if I am disordered. I bless God I never was in better temper than I am now." He twice petitioned the king for pardon; but all that could be obtained for him was the remission of the degrading and brutal parts of his sentence; and on Friday, the 7th of December, he was beheaded on Tower Hill. No one ever suffered with more firmness or with less parade. He did not even address the people; but when asked to speak, replied that he had made his peace with God, and had nothing to say to man. A paper which he delivered to the sheriff, and which was afterwards printed, concluded as follows:-"The Lord sanctify these my sufferings unto me; and though I fall as a sacrifice unto idols, suffer not idolatry to be established in this land. Grant that I may die glorifying thee for all thy mercies, and that at the last thou hast permitted me to be singled out as a witness of thy truth, and, even by the confession of my very opposers, for that old cause, in which I was from my youth engaged, and for which thou hast often and wonderfully declared thyself." Thus perished one who has generally been considered as the last of the Commonwealth men.

The trial and condemnation of Algernon Sidney seem to have shocked the public feeling of the time in no ordinary degree. Even the cautious Evelyn, after stating that he was executed "on the single witness of that monster of a man, Lord Howard of Escrick, and some sheets of paper taken in Mr. Sidney's study, pretended to be written by him, but not fully proved, nor the time when, but appearing to have been written before his majesty's restoration, and then pardoned by the Act of Oblivion," adds, that “though Mr. Sidney was known

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to be a person obstinately averse to government by a monarch (the subject of the paper was in answer to one of Sir E. [R.?] Filmer), yet it was thought he had very hard measure. He describes Sidney as "a man of great courage, great sense, great parts, which he showed both at his trial and death;" and he appears to have been looked upon universally in the same light-by his friends as one of the ablest, by his enemies as one of the most dangerous, of his party. While he was yet in exile, Charles himself, in 1670, described him to Colbert, the French minister, as one who could not be too far from England, where his pernicious sentiments, supported with so great parts and courage, might do much hurt. Indeed, with the exception of Shaftesbury, he was the only person of eminent ability in the particular knot of patriots to which he belonged. Yet he must not be confounded in intellectual, any more than in moral character, with that brilliant and versatile politician. A man of talent and accomplishments he was, but narrowminded, opinionative, and egotistical, to the point of utter impracticability. Burnet describes him "as a man of most extraordinary courage, a steady man, even to obstinacy, sincere, but of a rough and boisterous temper, that could not bear contradiction, but would give foul language upon it." "He seemed to be a Christian," adds the bishop, "but in a particular form of his own; he thought it was to be like a divine philosophy in the mind; but he was against all public worship and everything that looked like a church. He was stiff to all republican principles, and such an enemy to everything that looked like monarchy, that he set himself in a high opposition against Cromwell when he was made protector. He had studied the history of government in all its branches beyond any man I ever knew."

In an anecdote, which has many times been quoted in his praise, we can see nothing to commend or admire. The story is, that during his residence in France he shot a beautiful horse rather than give or sell it to the king, who greatly admired it; saying that the steed which had been ridden by a free man like himself should never be

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