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torily those whom he knew to have been chosen for his destruction, and thereby when his challenges were exhausted to admit of others of the same cast. After a speech from sir Robert Sawyer, the attorney-general, detailing the heads of the accusation, West, who having confessed many treasons was still unpardoned, Rumsey and Keiling were examined as to the design of a general insurrection, and although totally unconnected with the prisoner, were allowed to depose against him whatever they had heard from others. The king's counsel had not the effrontery to pretend that this was competent evidence, but it was artfully introduced to influence the minds of the jury, and to prepare them for the testimony of lord Howard. His evidence did not materially vary from what he had deposed at the trial of lord Russell. He gave a detail of two conversations which had passed between that nobleman, the duke of Monmouth, lord Essex, Young Hampden, the prisoner and himself, on the most effectual means of defending the public interest from invasion, without involving themselves in the obloquy of entertaining any selfish designs. Nothing, however, of moment appeared to be agreed upon at these meetings, excepting the necessity of settling an understanding with the earl of Argyle, and also of communicating with sir John Cochrane and some other leading whigs in Scotland, when Sydney recommended Aaron Smith as a person whom they might safely trust, and afterwards provided him with money for his journey. Of this last circumstance, however, the witness only spoke from hearsay. The crown lawyers being obliged to rest their case on the unsupported assertions of lord Howard, who had testified nothing of a treasonable nature, ventured to supply the defect of a second witness, by producing some papers found in Sydney's study, and supposed to be in his handwriting, in which the paramount authority of the people, and the lawfulness of resisting an oppressive government, were ably and eloquently maintained. A few passages best suited to their purpose being read at the request of the attorney-general, Sydney complained of this partial proceeding; when the chief justice, intending to entrap him, slily asked to what heads he would refer. Perceiving ihe drift, however, he calmly answered, ' let him give an account of it that did it. He afterwards requested, that as parts of the writing had been quoted the whole might be read, but this was refused. The earl of Anglesey, lord
Clare, lord Paget, bishop Burnet, and two gentlemen of the Howard family, were called on the part of the prisoner to impeach the credibility of lord Howard, who all deposed either to his solemn asseverations of the prisoner's innocence, or to his repeated disavowal of all knowledge or belief of the supposed plot. Blake, a draper, testified to his lordship's saying,
that he must not have his pardon till the drudgery of swearing was over.'
Ducasse and two female servants gave evidence to his denying all communication with their master on this subject, and applying to them for the custody of his plate and goods. Lord Howard admitted a debt to Sydney with which he had been charged; and some other witnesses did not appear. Sydney, though unassisted by coupsel, defended himself with great calmness and ability, in which he was aided by notes handed him by several gentlemen of the bar, who, though not allowed to speak in his behalf, had the spirit and courage to stand by him.
He commented with great ingenuity on the evidence, exposed the incredibility and inadequacy of lord Howard's testimony, and the absurdity and illegality of introducing papers containing theoretical remarks on politics, written for aught appeared twenty years before, as evidence of a conspiracy against the life of the king. The court, aware of his hasty temper, endeavored by frequent interruptions, to provoke and embarrass him. Sydney, however, bore it all with an admirable coolness, never suffering himself to be driven from his point. Finch, the solicitor-general, closed the prosecution, when Sydney attempted to add a few words, but was interrupted by Jefferies, who, in his charge to the jury, sanctioned all the principles of law advanced by the king's counsel, and artfully endeavored to blend the consultations in which Sydney had been implicated, with the other supposed conspiracies for an insurrection, and attempt upon the life of the king. The charge of Withens, one of the judges, is so extraordinary, that we shall give it at large from the state trials. Gentlemen, it is fit you should have our opinion ; in all points of law we agree with the lord chief justice. Says colonel Sydney, Here's a mighty conspiracy, but nothing comes of it. must we thank for that? None but the Almighty Providence. One of themselves was troubled in conscience and comes and discovers it. If Keiling had not discovered it, God knows whether we might have been alive at this day.' Jefferies fol
lowed the jury out of court, under pretence of taking some refreshment, and when they were consulting about their verdict, gave them more particular instructions. In about half an hour they returned with a verdict of guilty. Sydney desired, before the verdict was recorded, to examine them by turns, whether every one of them had found him guilty, and more especially, whether they had found him guilty of compassing the king's death, of levying war against the king, or of any treason within the statute 25 Edward III, or of any proved against him by two witnesses, but the chief justice would not allow him to proceed.
Three days after the trial, (24 Nov.) the duke of Monmouth surrendered himself to the secretary of state, and received a full pardon for his share in the supposed plot. This circumstance revived the hopes of Sydney's friends, and he was persuaded to deliver through Lord Halifax a petition to the king, stating the irregularity of the proceedings against him, and praying an audience with his majesty. This, through the influence of the duke of York, was denied, and Jefferies declared in his furious way, that either Sydney or himself must die. On the 26th, when he was brought up for sentence and asked what he had to say in bar of judgment, Sydney again urged the extreme injustice with which be had been treated. While insisting on the rejection of bis special plea, judge Withens who seemed to be drunk, gave him the lie; on which he calmly observed, that having lived above three score years, he had never received or deserved such language, having never asserted any thing that was false.' Finding all that he stated in arrest of judgment thus violently overborne by his judges, he said aloud, I must appeal to God and the world, I am not heard.' The chief justice, after declaiming on the prisoner's guilt, his obligations to the king, and the treasonable nature of his writings, proceeded to pronounce sentence of death in the usual form. Then, O God, O God,' said Sydney, with an unaltared mien, 'I beseech thee sanctify these sufferings unto me, and impute not my blood to the country nor the city through which I am to be drawn. Let no inquisition be made for it, but if any, and the shedding of blood that is innocent must be avenged, let the weight of it fall upon those that maliciously persecute me for righteousness’ sake.' Lord chief justice — I pray God work in you a temper fit for the other world, for I see you are not fit for this.
Colonel Sydney, (stretching forth his hand,) my lord, feel my pulse, and see if I am disordered.
I bless God I never was in better temper than I am now.' The friends of Sydney still made great efforts to save him, and persuaded him, although he entertained no hopes of success, to present a second petition to the king, that his punishment might be changed into perpetual banishment. This had no greater success than the first, and Sydney, resigning himself to his lot, employed the interval allowed him after sentence, in exercises of religion, and in drawing up an appeal to posterity on the injustice of bis fate. When he saw the warrant for his execution, he expressed no concern, and amazed all around, by his calm demeanor.
On the morning of the 7th of December the sheriffs again proceeded to the tower, and about ten o'clock receiving Sydney from the hands of the lieutenant, conducted him on foot to the place of execution on Tower Hill. He was attended only by two of his brother's servants. He ascended the scaffold with a firm, undaunted mein, worthy, says bishop Burnet, of the man who set up Marcus Brutus as his model. He
gave a paper, containing a manly vindication of his innocence, to the sheriffs, observing, that he had made his peace with God, and had nothing more to say to men;' but he declined either reading it or having it read to the multitude, and offered to tear it if it was not received. He then pulled off bis coat, hat, and doublet, saying, that he was ready to die, and would give them no farther trouble.' He gave three guineas to the executioner, and perceiving the fellow grumble as if the sum were inadequate, desired a servant to give him a guinea or two more. He then kneeled down, and after a solemn pause of a few minutes, calmly laid his head upon the block. Being asked by the executioner if he should rise again, he replied, not till the general resurrection--strike on. The executioner obeyed, and severed his head from his body at a blow. His remains, being placed in a coffin, were immediately restored to his friends, and on the following day interred with his aneestors at Penshurst. Powerful as the interest of the court was at this time, it could not stifle the voice of the nation, which cried out against the violence and infamy of these proceedings. The time was not far distant when the
of Sydney was to receive from his countrymen the only reparation in their power to make for his cruel fate. By a bill brought into parliament April 24, 1689, which passed both
houses, his conviction and attainder are declared wrongful and unjust, and all records and proceedings regarding them are ordered to be cancelled, that they might not be visible to future times. The memory of such iniquity was not to be so easily effaced, and the characters of Rụssell and Sydney, and their prosecutors, have been handed down together to posterity, who have awarded the retribution they respectively merit. It was the fate of Sydney, as it has been of many great men, to be superior to the age in which he lived. He was equally above the cant and bigotry of one party in the state, and the profligacy and corruption of the other. He was enlightened in an age of prejudice, disinterested in an age of venality. He is one of the few men, who have followed steadily in practice the principles they supported in their writings. His discourses on government, which appeared soon after his death, were generally read and admired, but as mankind has advanced in the science of government and civil liberty, this treatise has been gradually neglected. What was considered by Sydney's contemporaries as a fanciful theory, has long been matter of experience. From this circumstance, some persons in later times have been led to treat his political writings with a degree of contempt they by no means deserve, not reflecting that he had to contend against doctrines, which, at the present day, can hardly be mentioned with gravity. Sydney has the merit of having been one of the first to discover and defend the maxim, that the true and only basis of a free government is the will of the people. These principles have since been recognised in England, and are adopted and acted upon in their fullest extent, in our own admirable constitutions. Mr Meadley deserves the highest praise for his manly and able vindication of the character and opinions of Sydney, at a time when such sentiments are by no means the surest passport to favor in his own country. Such examples cannot be too often held up or too strongly recommended. To us, as republicans, they are invaluable. The integrity, the virtue, the constancy of Sydney should animate us to hope and to struggle, even in the darkest times; while the arbitrary and detestable measures resorted to for his destruction, teach a lesson which should never be forgotten by the citizens of a free state ; that the only support of an equal government is the virtue of the governed, for when that fails, the very institutions that are established for the protection of life and property, may be converted into the most dreadful engines of oppression and injustice.