« ПредишнаНапред »
established character. Whilst at one moment he represents him as a man of high views, of lofty republican principles, of such strict honour that he could not be supposed to be under the influence of his brother-in-law, Lord Sunderland; he gravely tells us, at another time, that he has nearly gained him with 500 guineas, and that a little more money will make him entirely his! Yet some persons may, perhaps, be inclined to give credit to the charge against Sydney of having received money, because, fifteen years before, he had offered to the French Court, for 100,000 crowns, to make an insurrection in England. It is extremely improbable, however, that two sums of 500 guineas, which is all that he appears, by Barillon's dispatches, to have received, shoidd have been thought sufficient by Sydney for the purpose of making an insurrection. He may have asked for more, but he would hardly have accepted so little.
No one of common sense, I imagine, can believe that he took the money for himself. His character is one of heroic pride and generosity. His declining to sit in judgment on the King; his extolling the sentence when Charles the Second was restored; his shooting a horse, for which Lewis the Fourteenth offered him a large sum, that he might not submit to the will of a despot, are all traits of a spirit as noble as it is uncommon. With a soul above meanness, a station above poverty, and a temper of philosophy above covetousness, what man will be envious enough to think that he was a pensioner of France?
In this place I shall take the liberty of inserting a few words relative to another accusation against Sydney. . Mr. Hume says, that "the ingratitude and breach of faith of Sydney, in applying for the King's pardon, and immediately on his return entering into cabals for rebellion, form a conduct much more criminal than] the taking of French gold." Dalrymple, in his florid manner, compares him to Brutus, who disregarded private obligations in a public cause. It is difficult to estimate the amount of the obligation conferred by Charles on Sydney. As he had not sate on the trial of Charles the First, he was not excepted out of the Act of Indemnity. Had he come over immediately afterwards, he could not have been prosecuted or imprisoned, without a breach of law and justice. His father, Lord Leicester, however, wrote to him, that, " though the Bill of Indemnity be lately passed, yet if there be any particular and great displeasure against you, as I fear there is, you may feel the effects thereof from the higher powers, and receive affronts from the * lower." In fact, the law was then so little a protection, that he could not rely upon it without the additional favour of the Court.' For this reasont he applied for a passport, which was refused. At length, however, when his father was dying, a passport was granted, and an end thus put to an unjust and illegal persecution. Such is the amount of Sydney's obligation to Charles the Second.
With respect to the other members of the Opposition, I do not by any means intend to deny that some amongst them may have received the money of France. Corrupt men were no doubt to be found in that age, in all parties, and some may have reconciled so-mean an act to their conscience by the reflection that they still pursued the true interest of their country. But it is remarkable, that of the twenty persons mentioned in Barillon's last and longest list, not above half were in Parliament, and almost all of those were leaders. Now if any one or two obtained money from Barillon for persons to whom they did not distribute it, or if Barillon himself embezzled the money, the names which would naturally appear in his
* Meadley's Life of Sydney, p. 326. Appendix.
lists would be those of the speakers who had the greatest reputation. But if the transactions were real, it is much more probable that he should have been able to buy the lower and more obscure members^ of parliament, than those whose fame stood highest for ability and integrity.
I here subjoin the two lists of Barillon. Courtin's, which is dated in one part of Sir J. Dalrymple, 15th May *, and in another place 15th Julyt, 1677, concerns only Lord Berkshire, here called Lord Barker, and six others not members of Opposition.
Barillon from 22d December, 1678, to 14th December, 1679.
December 5th, 1680.
William Harbord - - 500 Guineas. . Mr. Hamden - - - 500 Col. Titus - - - - 500 Hermsbrand (Armstrong) - 500 Bennet (once Secretary to Prince Rupert, afterwards to Shaftesbury) - 300 Hotham .... 300 Hicdal .... 300 Garoway .... SOO
Fran eland .... goo
Compton .... 300
Harley - - - - SOO
Sacheverel .... goo
Bide .... soo
Algernon Sydney - - 500
Herbert ... - 500
Baber - .- . „- 500
Boscawen ... 500
Du Cross, (Envoy from the Duke
Le Pin, (one of Lord Sunder-