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ALGERNON SIDNEY, or SYDNEY, famed as one of the stanchest of modern republicans, came partly of the same stock as the very loyal and poetical Sir Philip Sidney, that ornament of the Elizabethan age. Algernon was the second surviving son of Robert, second Earl of Leicester of that creation, and of his wife Dorothy, eldest daughter of Henry Earl of Northumberland. Neither the place nor the date of his birth is mentioned; but he is supposed to have been born in the year 1621 or 1622, towards the close of the reign of James I., and

VOL. IX.

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it is most probable that Penshurst, in Kent, was his birthplace.

When his father, the Earl of Leicester, in 1632, went as ambassador from Charles I. to the court of Denmark, he took his young son Algernon with him; and four years after he likewise accompanied his father on his embassy to France. By this early residence in foreign countries he must have acquired that facility of learning languages for which he was somewhat distinguished among his contemporaries. But of his education very little is known. It is probable that, during his residence in Paris, he frequented the French schools and colleges, or was placed by his father under French masters. Although constitutional liberty had almost entirely disappeared in France, and the government of that country had been converted into a most absolute monarchy, there was a latent, abstract love of republican institutions #among many of the French professors (albeit ecclesiastics) and men of letters, and the great commonwealths and republican heroes of antiquity were, almost exclusively, proposed as the studies and models of youths. This continued to obtain down to the outbreak of the great French Revolution in 1789; and many of the lamentable errors, blunders, and crimes of that Revolution, are to be clearly and directly traced to a blind and passionate imitation of the sternest Republicans of Greece and Rome, whose deeds were, in part, repugnant to the religious faith and feelings of modern society, and in good part misunderstood by their professed imitators. No doubt, this admiration for the ancient forms of republican government was, among the French-as also in the greater part of Italy,-all the stronger from the despotically monarchic character of their own institutions, and all the blinder, more passionate, and unreasoning from their long and total exclusion from practical self-government, and from their consequent want of acquaintance with the real workings of an actually free or representative government. The languages of Greece and Rome absorbed the attention of the youths of England perhaps even more than that of the young students of France, and

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