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violence; and could never be prevailed upon to accept any employment, civil or military, under either of the Protectors.
By some writers it is conjectured, that he absented himself from the trial of Charles at the request of his father, whose political principles led him to disapprove that transaction; though by the son it was subsequently vindicated in a conversation at Copenhagen, as "the justest action that ever was done in England, or any where else.” It ought to be observed, that when the University of Copenhagen laid before him their album,* he wrote in it the following lines, and subscribed them with his name:
Manus hæc inimica tyrannis
From these sentiments compared with his labours in the cause of civil liberty, for which he died, we
* A book with blank leaves, in which strangers are desired to inscribe whatever they think proper.
+ Under the etching of Sidney's Head in Hollis' Memoirs, which is accompanied by the flag he bore during the civil wars, with the simple inscription
DAT ANIMUM, is subjoined the following anecdote:
“At the time when Mr. Algernon Sidney was Embassador at the court of Denmark, Monsieur Terlon the French Embassador had the confidence to tear out of the book of Mottoes in the King's Library this verse, which Mr. Sidney (according to the liberty allowed to all noble strangers) had written in it, Manus hæc, &c.
Though Monsieur Terlon understood not one word of Latin, he was told by others the meaning of that sentence, which he considered as a libel upon the French government, and upon
may reasonably conclude, that if any well concerted plan had been formed for deposing or even destroying Cromwell as an usurper, he would have cordially joined in carrying it into execution.
After Richard Cromwell had resigned the Protectorship, Sidney willingly engaged in the administration of public affairs ; in May, 1659, was nominated by the parliament one of the Council of State; and, the following month, accepted the appointment, in conjunction with two other Commissioners, of mediating a peace between the Kings of Denmark and Sweden.
Upon the Restoration, he was advised by his friends, through his father's interest with the King, to get his name inserted in the Act of Oblivion ; but he chose rather to continue an exile in different parts of Europe. His longest residence was at Rome and in it's environs, where he received numerous civilities from persons of the first consideration, and was highly esteemed for his courage, wit, and learning. But the Argus eyes of the English government were upon him; and a plan, it is said, was laid to assassinate him at Augsburg, which he escaped only by being at the time in Holland. Tired of paying and receiving visits, and wishing to withdraw himself more from the world, he passed into Switserland, where he spent a short time with General Ludlow and his companions in banishment. He, afterward, visited France; and it is recorded, that as he was hunting one day with Louis XIV., that Monarch took great notice of the horse upon which he was mounted,
such as was then setting up in Denmark by French assistance or example.” (Lord Molesworth's Preface to his “ Account of Denmark.')
and sent to request him to fix whatever value he pleased upon it.' Sidney answered, he did not choose to part with it at any price. The King, unused to such denials, ordered a proper sum of money to be tendered to him, and in the event of his refusing it, the horse to be seized. Upon which, Sidney instantly with his pistol shot the animal, saying, "It was born a free creature, had served a free man, and should never be mastered by a King of slaves.'
In 1677, the Earl of Leicester, desirous to see his son once more before he died, obtained from the King a special pardon for all past offences; in consequence of which, he returned home* at the critical juncture when the parliament were urging his Majesty to a war against France. As he came last from that country, and took considerable pains to dissuade his countrymen from the measure in question, shallow politicians conceived him to be in the French interest: but he had other motives for giving this advice. He had, in fact, been a spy upon the secret negotiations of the English and French courts, and had authentic intelligence that a good understanding subsisted between the two crowns, and that the pretended avidity of war was only counterfeited for the purpose of raising large supplies to be lavished in corrupting the parliament.f If any one indeed at
* His friend the Hon. Henry Savile also, then Embassador at the French court, interested himself very
+ Or, as Burnet in his History of his Own Times' affirms, • of raising an army, and keeping it beyond sea till it was trained: and modelled.” This suggestion Burnet, most probably, made on the authority of the Russell family, and that of Lord Essex :
this time was in treaty for a pension from France, it was Charles himself, who cared little how he procured money, provided he procured enough to maintain his mistresses and to keep his favourites in good humour.
Sidney's father dying soon after he arrived in England, he was under no farther restraint with respect to his public conduct. In this state of emancipation, unable to suppress his indignation at the duplicity of the court, he was quickly noticed by the emissaries of government, and a resolution was taken to compass his ruin. The scheme was heartily supported by the Duke of York and his party, who detested his very name, as ominous to their cause. Effectual interest was made to keep him out of parliament in 1678, when he stood candidate for Guildford; and though he carried his election on a second contest, a double return was made through court-influence, and he was rejected by the decision of the House.
Not content with this success, his enemies resolved to sacrifice both him and Lord William Russell to their safety. These two distinguished men were known to be intimate friends; and it was no secret, that they associated with the Earl of Shaftesbury and other malcontents, who frequently assembled to consult upon the measures proper to guard the Church and State from the hazards connected with a Popish suc
At these meetings, some persons had even
and as he had previously said, “ some took Sidney for a pensioner of France," it may perhaps sufficiently protect the memories both of him and of Russell from the malevolent insinua. tions of Dalrymple, founded upon their transactions with Barillon--if any
such there were.
gone so far, 'as to propose the exciting of insurrections; and upon this last circumstance was grounded the indictment for high-treason.
Lord William Russell was the third, and at the period of his indictment the only surviving, son of the Earl of Bedford; and, in order to strike the greater terror into their opposers, the court began with him. He had taken an active part in the House of Commons against the Duke of York and the Papists; had carried up a vote against his Royal Highness for the concurrence of the Lords; had presented the Exclusion-Bill* to that House, and upon it's rejection had in a speech at their bar eloquently lamented their conduct, and justified the assembly, of which he was a member, for having given it their approbation : and had joined with other friends to the Protestant cause, in presenting reasons to the Grand Jury of Middlesex for indicting the Duke as
* Upon this subject, Colonel Titus in his speech observed, " That to accept of expedients for securing the Protestant religion, after such a King mounted the throne, was as strange as if there were a lion in the lobby, and they should vote that they would rather secure themselves by letting him in and chaining him, than by keeping him out!'” This is versified by Bramston in his witty "Art of Politics,' in imitation of Horace's Quanto rectiùs hic, &c.
• I hear a lion in the lobby roar:
Say, Mr. Speaker, shall we shut the door,
The poet had previously, in his directions as to preserving consistency and propriety of character, Aut famam sequere, &c., said,
• To both the Pelhams give the Scipios' mind.' VOL. IV.