Графични страници
PDF файл

lived before the violation of their liberty, has been so generally valued by men of all ranks in that nation, that it is hard to find a book on any important subject, which has had so many Editions. And the just esteem, that the emperor Charles the Fifth, made of the memoirs of Philip de Commines, though that Author has given fo may instances of his detestation of tyranny, may be enough to put this matter out of dispute. But if all other proof were wanting, this implacable hatred and unwearied industry of the worst of men to suppress such writings, would abundantly testify their excellency.

That nations should be well informed of their rights, is of the most absolute necessity ; because the happiness or infelicity of any people entirely depends upon the enjoyment or deprivation of liberty; which is so invincibly proved in the following discourses, that to endeavour to make it more clear, would be an unpardonable presumption.

If any man think the publication of this work to be unseasonable at this time, he is desired to consider, that as men expect good laws only from good government, so the reign of a prince, whose title is founded upon the principle of liberty which is here defended, cannot but be the most proper, if not the only time to inform the people of their juft rights; that from a due sense of their ineftimable value, they may be encouraged to assert them against the attempts of ill men in time to come.

It is not necessary to say any thing concerning the person of the author. He was so well known in the world, so universally esteemed by those who know how to


fet a just value upon truc merit, and will appear so admirable in the following discourses, as not to stand in need of a flattering panegyrick. But it may not be amiss to say fomething of the discourses now published.

The paper delivered to the sheriffs immediately before his death informs us, that he had left a large and a lefser treatise, written against the principles contained in Filmer's book; and that a small part of the lesser treatise had been produced for evidence against him at his Trial. It is there also said, that the lefser treatise neither was, nor probably ever should have been finished. This therefore is the large work mentioned in that paper, and not the lefser, upon part of which the wicked sentence pronounced and executed against him was grounded.

It remains only to add a few words for satisfaction of the public, that these discourses are genuine. And here I hall not need to say, that they were put into the hands of a person of eminent quality and integrity, by the author himself; and that the original is, in the judgment of those who knew him best, all written by his own hand : his inimitable manner of treating this noble subject is instead of a thousand demonstrations, that the work can belong to no other than the great man whose name it






THOUGH there is nothing more useful and entertaining than the lives of great and excellent men, yet it often happens, that through the neglect of their friends and contemporaries, proper materials are wanting; and thus it is in the present case. One cannot but wonder, that the life of our author, who was a man of such excellent abilities, such a lover of liberty, and who died for the glorious cause, was never attempted by any of his intimate friends, and such as were acquainted with the most remarkable passages concerning him. To retrieve this error as much as we can, we shall lay together in one view what can now be gathered from various authors, who occasionally mention the name and actions of Colonel Sidney: and it is to be hoped, that this short account, through very imperfect, may do some justice to the memory of that noble person, and give some instruction to the reader.

Algenon Sydney, descended from a very ancient and honourable family, and was * second fon of Robert earl

* Collins's Peerage of England, and Memoirs of the lives and actions of th: Sydacys.


of Leicester, by Dorothy, eklest daughter of Henry
Piercy earl of Northumberland; to whom his lord hip
was married in the year 1618. The exact year when
our author was born is not certain, but it was probably
about the year 1622. His noble father was careful to give
him a good education; and in the year 1632, when he
went ambassador to Denmark, took his fon with bim;
as also, when he was ambassador to the king of France
in 1636; and the countess, his mother, * in a letter to
the Earl then at Paris, acquaints his lordship, that the
hears her son much commended by all that came from
thence; and that one who spake very well of few, said
" he had a huge deal of wit, and t much sweetness of

Upon the breaking out of the rebellion in
Ireland, the latter end of the year 1641, he had a com-
mission for a troop of horse in the regiment of his father,
who was then lord-lieutenant of that kingdom ; and be
went over thither with his eldest brother Philip lord vif-
count Lille, distinguishing himself upon all occasions
with great gallantry against the rebels. In the year 1643.
he had the king's permission to return to England; for
which purpose the earl his father gave him likewise a
licence, dated at Oxford June 22, that ycar; but land-
ing in Lancashire August following, he was, by order of
Parliament, brought up in custody to London, where he
was prevailed on to take a command under thçm: and



[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

Collins's Letters and Memorials of State, vol. ii. p. 445.
+ This sweetness of nature (with a huge deal of wit) appears remarkably
in the portrait of him, which was painied at Brussels in the year 1663, yet
at Penlhurst; and made, whaiever come bave thought, an effential pari
his noble disposition.

on the 10th of May 1644, the Earl of Manchester, major-general of several counties, constituted him captain of a troop of horse in his own regiment. His brother the Lord Viscount Lifle, being soon after appointed lieutenant-general of Ireland, and general of the forces there, gave him the command of a regiment of horse to serve in the expedition thither: and it appears by the * MS. journal of the earl his father, that he was likewise lieutenantgeneral of the horse in Ireland, and governor of Dublin; and that before he went into that kingdom, he had the government of Chichester, and t was in the battle at York, and several other engagements. In the same journal the earl writes as follows_" On the 8th of April

1647, early in the morning, the House of Commons “ being then thin, and few of my son's friends present, « it was moved by Mr. Glyn the recorder, that Colonci “ Jones should be made governor of Dublin in chief, and « not deputy-govern. r to Algernon Sydney; pretending « that Jones would not go, unless he might be governor, « which was not true, Jones having accepted of the place • of deputy-governor from the committee at Derby'« house, who had also appointed the Lord Lisle to com« mission his brother Algernon to be governor of Dublin, << which he had done before he went into Munster. This « motion of the recorder was seconded by old Sir Henry “ Vane, who pretended that his conscience moved him

* Collins's Memoirs, p. 150.

+ Colonel Sydney also, fon to the Earl of Leicester, charged with much gallantry in the head of my Lord of Manchester's regiment of horse, and came off with much honour, though with many wounds, the true badges of his honour; and was sent away afterward to London for cure of his wounds. Thc Parliainentary Chronicle, part 3. p. 973.


« ПредишнаНапред »