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tions were determined by crown law; and that the prisoner, notwithstanding all he could say, was found guilty of high treason. On this, his majesty was determined, notwithstanding his proinise, to avail himself of the verdict: as appears by the following copy of an original letter, written from “ Hamton Court, Saturday, two in the afternoone. :“ The relation that hath been made to me of Sir H. Vane’s carriage yesterday, in the Hall, is the occasion of this letter; which, if I am rightly informed, was so insolent as to justify all he had done, acknowledging no supreame power in England but a parl. and many things to that purpose. You have had a true account of all; and if he has given new occasion to be hanged, certaynly he is too dangerous a man to lett live, if we can honestly put him out of the way. Thinke of this, and give me some accounte of it tomorrow: till when I have no more to say to you ^.
“ To the chancellour.” This letter, it is apparent, was written June 7, 1662; and that day se'nnight Sir Henry Vane was beheaded on Tower-hill : where he behaved in a manner worthy of himself, and the cause of liberty in which he had embarked. The king's letter needs no comment. Lord Clarendon has not taken notice of any part of this affair.---Lambert, at the same time, was demned; but reprieved and afterwards banished for life. And, it is very probable, Hasilrig would have paid dearly for his past transactions, had not death. seized on him in the Tower : for, after his death, his transactions were reported to the house of commons; and it was resolved, nem. con. that Sir A. Hasilrig was guilty of high treason; and that all his estate, real and
a. In the possession of James West, of Covent Garden, Esq.
personal, be confiscate and forfeited for the said treason; though an address was, at the same time, resolved to be made to his majesty, by petition, to restore his estate, in pursuance of the duke of Albemarle's (Moncke’s] engagementa.”
The imprisonment of these three men, even before it was certainly known what their fate would be, made Algernon Sidney determine to tarry abroad, contrary to the first advice of his friends. “I have ever had in my inind,” says that upright and virtuous man, when God shall cast me in such a condition, as that I cannot save my life but by doing an indecent thing; he shews me the time is come wherein I should resign it. And when I cannot live in my own country, but by such means as are worse than dying in it: I think he shews me, I ought to keep myself out of it. Let them please themselves with making the king glorious, who think a whole people may justly be sacrificed, for the interest and pleasure of one man and a few of his followers : let thein rejoice in their subtilty, who, by betraying the former powers, have gain’d the favour of this, not only preserv’d, but advanc'd themselves in these dangerous changes. Nevertheless (perhaps) they may find the kings glory is their shame; his plenty, the people's misery: and that the gaining of an office, or a little money, is a poor reward for destroying a nation! (which if it were preserved in liberty and vir, tue, would truly be the most glorious in the world) and that others may find they have, with much pains, purchased their own shame and misery; a dear price paid for that which is not worth keeping, nor the life that is accompanied with it. The honour of English parliaments has ever been in making the nation glorious and
happy; not in selling and destroying the interest of it, to satisfy the lusts of one man. Miserable nation! that, from so great a height of glory, is fallen into the most despicable condition in the world, of having all its good depending upon the breath and will of the vilest persons in it! cheated and sold by them they trusted Infamous traffick! equal almost in guilt to that of Judas! In all preceding ages, parliaments have been the pillars of our liberty, the sure defenders of the oppressed. They, who formerly could bridle kings, and keep the ballance equal between them and the people, are now become the instruments of all our oppressions, and a sword in his hand to destroy us. They themselves led by a few interested persons, who are willing to buy offices by themselves, by the misery of the whole nation, and the blood of the most worthy and eminent persons in it. Detestable bribes! worse than the oaths now in fashion in this mercenary court! I mean to owe neither my life nor liberty to any
such means: when the innocence of
actions will not protect me, I will stay away till the storm be overpassed. In short, where Vane, Lambert, and Fasilrigg, cannot live in safety; I cannot live at all. If I had been in England, I should have expected a lodging with them : or, tho' they may be the first, as being inore eminent than I, I must expect to follow their example in suffering, as I have been their companion in acting. I am most in amaze at the mistaken informations that were sent me by my friends, full of expectations of favours, and employments. Who can think that they, who imprison them, would employ me; or suffer me to live, when they are put to death? If I might live, and be employed; can it be expected, that I should serve a government that seeks such detestable ways of establishing itself? Ah! no: I have not learnt to make.
his morals, he was one of the most perfect
my own peace, by persecuting and betraying my brethren, more innocent and worthy than myself. I must live by just means, and serve to just ends, or not at all, after such a manifestation of the ways by which it is intended the king shall govern. I should have renounced any place of favour, into which the kindness and industry of my friends might have advanced me, when I found those that were better than I were only fit to be destroyed. I had formerly some jealousies : the fraudulent proclamation for indemnity increased them; the imprisonment of those three men, and turning out all the officers of the army, contrary to promise, confirmed me in my resolutions not to return 2.1
What noble sentiments are here ! All antiquity cannot produce a finer than the letter in which they are contained: nor do the names of Brutus, or Timoleon, do more honour to ancient Greece and Rome, than Algernon Sidney's to England. We shall, hereafter, see him act with equal dignity in the last scene of life; when the injustice of the prince towards him, which is here feared, was made conspicuous to all b.
“ Hail those old patriots ; on whose tongue
* Brown's Letters, vol. I. p. 62. Svo. Lond. 1705.
See note 39
profligates to be met with in history; his
In shoals, unnotic'd and forgot,
• He was most profligate in point of morals.] Many princes have practised gallantry; many kings lived in adultery: but, for the most part, they have had some regard to decency; some reverence for their characters.But Charles kept no measures: he spoke, and did, those things which are hardly to be mentioned without blushing. Those who will see them revealed, need only read, Butler's Court Burlesqued, Rochester's and Marvel's Satires, and some other poets of the age. Writers of this kind are generally, indeed, supposed to heighten; but, I believe, if we attend to facts, we shall find them to have exceeded but little on the occasion.
“ He was apter to make broad allusions upon any thing that gave the least occasion, than was altogether suitable with the very good breeding,” says lord Halifax," he shewed in most other things. The
company he kept, whilst abroad, had so used him to that sort of dialect; that he was so far from thinking it a fault, or indecency, that he made it a matter of rallery upon those who could not prevail upon themselves to join in it. As a man who hath a good stomach loveth, generally, to talk of meat; so, in the vigour of his age, he began that style, which, by degrees, grew so natural to him, that, after he ceased to do it out of pleasure, he continued to do it out of custom. The hypocrisy of the former times inclined men to think they could not shew too great an aversion to it; and that helped to