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“ I have always loved my country," he adds,“ much more than my life; and never had any design of changing the government, which I value, and look upon as one of the best governments in the world; and would always have been ready to venture my life for the preserving it.” The still more flagrant violation of law in the trial of Sidney, committed by producing, as a substitute for the second witness necessary in a case of treason, some papers, written long before-never intended to be published—and containing mere speculative opinions, surpasses all the annals the bar can furnish, of what is most illegal and atrocious. Besides this, in his petition to the king, he shews, “ that he was brought to trial ; and the indictment being perplexed and confined, so as neither he, nor any of his friends that heard it, could fully comprehend the scope of it, he was wholly unprovided of the helps that the law allows to every man in his defence”-neither was he allowed a copy of it before his trial, according to the provisions of the statute of treasons. Moreover, when several important points of law were started, and Sidney desired counsel might be heard, bis motion was over-ruled by the violence of the Lord Chief Justice (Jefferies) and himself “ so frequently interrupted, that the whole method of his defence was broken, and he not suffered to say the tenth part of what he could have alleged in his defence : so the jury was hurried into a verdict they did not understand.” This plain statement his majesty, in Sir John Reresby's hearing, qualified with the epithets “ treasonable and evasive :” however, adds our author, " it was not thought proper to be printed.”
It was in the following style and language that the brutal Jefferies, on the trial of Barnardiston for having in a private letter expressed sentiments deemed improper, could insult the memory of these illustrious victims to court violence and judicial iniquity—“ Here,” said he,-speaking of that gentleman's letters, which were given in evidence," here is the sainting of two horrid conspirators. Here is the Lord Russell sainted, that blessed martyr; my Lord Russell, that good man, that excellent protestant, he is lamented. And what an extraordinary man he was ; who was fairly tried, and justly convicted and attainted for having a hand in this horrid conspiracy against the life of the king, and his dearest brother, his royal highness, and for the subversion of the government. And here is Mr. Sidney sainted-what an extraordinary man he was ! Yes, surely, he was a very good man: because you may some of you remember, who have read the history of those times, and know what share Mr. Sidney had in that black and horrid villany, &c. . . And it is a shame to think, that such bloody miscreants should be sainted and lamented, who, to their dying
minutes, when they were upon the brink of eternity, and just stepping into another world, could confidently bless God for their being engaged in the good cause,” &c.
But the greatest delinquent, in the present instance, without excepting even Jeffries, was Charles himself, to whose policy or vengeance they were sacrificed. We find him personally implicated in all the proceedings-himself taking their examination-displacing one judge to procure another better adapted for the service-active in the prosecution, and closeted with the judges,- for not by the very pandars of the court was the king's back stair-case more frequently trod than by the law officers of the crown. The last scene of this legal farce was a deeper tragedy than had ever before, or has ever since, been acted in our country. A series of impossible fictions—false charges constructed without ingenuity, and tyrannical oppressions under the form of law, ended in a scaffold, to which Sidney went as to a victory, and where Russel displayed the mild fortitude and equanimity of an English patriot. His mind was not like that of the other, filled with images of liberty drawn from the classical ages of Greece and Rome, but stamped with all the constitutional virtue and attachment, which are more peculiarly the growth of our own country.
Mr. Fox has said, that when the memory of Sidney and Russel “ shall cease to be an object of respect and veneration, it requires no spirit of prophecy to foretell that English liberty will be fast approaching to its final consummation.” We devoutly hope that there is more generous feeling than truth in this observation ; for it seems to us as if indifference had nearly already superseded that veneration which Mr. Fox has supposed would be coeval with our liberty. If, indeed, there really be in the present age a disposition to regard these two illustrious names as transmitted down to us with applause, rather, like those of Harmodius ‘and Aristogeiton, in consequence of the triumph of a party, than from the intrinsic merits of the persons to whom they belonged, we do wrong to their memory, and an injury to ourselves. We wrong them, by depriving them of the prerogative which they are entitled to enjoy in common with all who have deserved well of their country--that of living, for ever, in the memory and affections of their countrymen. We injure ourselves, inasmuch as the more we cultivate such affections and cherish the remembrance of the illustrious dead, the more likely are we to tread in their steps, and preserve inviolate the principles they have bequeathed us. The celebration of departed worth and patriotism has distinguished every age of generous freedom, or liberal sentiments. In the enjoyment of their rude liberty our remote ancestors sang the deeds of their heroes, and the triumphs of their race. In the purest ages of
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classical freedom, the citizens of Greece and Rome perpetuated the memory of their deliverers, and animated their own patriotism by reviving the recollection of their forefathers.
“ coronati, Thrasea Helvidiusque bibebant
END or vol. VIII, PART 11.
INDEX TO VOL. VIII. '
Addison, Mr. 303.
ney, reviewed, 328-335.
neous Works, reviewed, 285-304.
oso, reviewed, 145-170.
113. 114. 115. 119. 120. 123. 312. 339.
Brown, Charles Brockden, 279.
295. 296. 355. 362.
Cowley, Mr. 312.
Cumberland, Víargaret, Countess of, 240.
370. 371. 373. 376.
the Arts reviewed, 304-312.
Ingram, Mr. 201. 202. 204. 205. 218. 224.
James I. 25. 26. 113. 114. 346.
Farley, Mr. 87.
moirs, reviewed, 170-194.
Lamb, Charles, 129.