SOME ANIMADVERSIONS ON THE PAPER Delivered to the SHERIFFS, On Friday December, the 7th 1683. BY Algernon Sidney, Esq; Before he was Executed.

THE old Sophisters of the Re­bellion, (since the discovery of the Plot,) have been won­derfully industrious in spreading many inconsistent rumors, that might, (if possible) have stifled, and discredit­ed its Authority. That stupendous piece of Villany contriv'd by Anti-mo­narchical, Atheistical Re-publicans, is represented (to the unthinking Mul­titude) as an airy fantom, and illu­sion, a trick of State, and I know not what besides. These tricks and shams, our projective Conspirators imagin, will undoubtedly have a great influence on the tempers of the People, create doubts and jealousys and sup­port the spirits of their Party, amidst so many wonderful disappointments. Their Design is yet deeper, they would fain amuse the World, and ha­rangue upon their Innocency, that they might more securely and more succesfully go on in their Resolv'd at­tempts against the Government.

Not only the language of the Li­ving, says, but the Dead speak, That the Plot is at an end, that the In­nocence of the late Sufferers is so very conspicuous, that the World is strangely infatuated, if they credit the least part of this Fanatik Conspi­racy. Egregious sophisms!

I am sorry to find that this furor Fanaticus, this impetuous, prepo­sterous Zeal, should hurry Men, into these Acts of Imprudence, and self-justification, even in that minute which launches them into Eternity, brings them before a Tribunal, where [Page 2]there is no Corruption of Jury's, on one hand; Nor no hypocritical pre­tences and evasions on the other, that can excuse or divert the deserved sen­tence.

I am concern'd likewise, that the Faction are Resolv'd, to defend them­selves in all those manifest Acts of Rebellion, as it has been apparent in my Lord Russel's Case, and of this late unhappy Gentleman Mr. Sidney, who directly follows his steps in point of Justification.

I have a great respect for Truth, and Plain-Dealing; I shall therefore modestly comport my self within the decent Rules of sobriety and calm­ness; since I consider how I'me to reflect on the behaviour of the Dead, who (I know) are in no capacity to make a Vindication of their actions.

I shall not put the words of the De­ceased Gentleman upon the Rack, to make them confess more than they would; But begin to Anatomize some particulars, which may be most pernicious in the consequence, if they are imbib'd for Truth, and receiv'd as Gospel, amongst the undigesting multitude. Passing by his Apostoli­cal Address [Men, Brethren, &c.] and his excuse for not speaking freely, because of the cold Weather and the Infirmity of Old Age, and a close confinement, I shall consider his opi­nion of the present Age, which he says makes [Truth pass for Treason.] He would have notably stigmatiz'd it, but he was afraid the people wou'd not relish such Popular pieces of scan­dal. [Their ears wou'd be too tender to hear it.] This is a wonderful fit of squeamishness indeed, since he must needs know, that the Defenders of the OLD CAUSE, would have made great improvement of it. Fortiter calumniari aliquid haerebit. [West, Rumsey, and Keyling, (he says) knew him not, and others made use of his, and of others Names to give Repu­tation to their designs; the Lord Ho­ward, is an infamous Perjur'd Man, who drudg'd, and forswore himself in expectation of the promis'd Pardon.] 'Tis no wonder to hear Witnesses branded with such opprobrious Cha­racters, since the persons concern'd, propose to themselves, that the dis-re­putation of the Evidence is an argu­ment of their Innocence, and that by making them Reprobates, they them­selves should become Saints. 'Tis po­litickly done I confess, but the cheat can't pass upon all people. None but ill persons would engage in Conspiracy 'tis true; but the thing once detected, how is it possible the Principal Actors should be punished, unless their Bro­ther Conspirators (tho dipt in it themselves as my Lord Russel has it) should give Evidence against them? All Treasons must of necessity be un­punishable, if such Witnesses are not allowed.

[The stress of the matter (he says) lyes in the Papers taken in his Closet by the Kings Officers, not prov'd to be his; but by the similitude of an hand which is to be easily counterfeited.] By his leave, the matters were not wholly reduc'd to the Papers, tho those are bad enough by his own confession. A small Bill, or a compendious Letter may be counterfeited probably, and a person hastily perusing it may be de­ceiv'd; But a constant entercourse of Letters, and diligent observing, and comparing the Characters, destroys such a Cheat.

Mr. Sidney on his Tryal, denies himself to be the Author of those dangerous wicked Principles (as he calls Filmers) contain'd in his Trea­tise, yet here he frankly confesses the whole, and tells the World (without any haetsiation, what his opinion and principles are; To refute which, it would take up a considerable time, which a short reflection upon this very Speech will not allow.

However I shall touch slightly upon it. He pretends his sheets were an Answer to Sir Robert Filmers Patri­archa, and challenges a Liberty to ex­press his thoughts in opposition to Kingly Government, which Sir Robert pleads for. His Anti-monarchical Principles are too too evident by all the actions of his Life; his opinion, or Article of his Creed, is this, [I Believe that God hath left Nations unto the Liberty of setting up such Govern­ment as best pleased themselves.] Without doubt Mr. Algernon was for the people's doing again what seem'd right in their own Eyes, and for having no King in Israel. Our Pseudo-Pro­testant and Jesuitical Casuist again tells ye, That the Laws give Power to the Magistrate. Woful experience n­forms us, what sacred Blood was spilt, upon Prosecuting this Rebelli­ous Topique. See the Tryal of King Charles the First, and you'l find Brad­shaw speak the very Language of our Colonel. The President tells his Ma­jesty, The Law is your Master, the Law is your Superiour, Debent ei ponere fraenum. Rex est dum bene Regit, and no longer, if the Plenipotentiary's the people please. I fancy that 'tis equally possible to draw a parallel 'twixt the avowed principles of our discontented Statesman, and those of the Sophi­stical canting President, as 'twixt the Covenant, and Association. Mr. Sidney allows that the people make Choice of their Governors; if so, 'tis certain they can depose them ad libitum. For that which creates a power must of necessity be Superiour to that power it creates. What a silly business then is a King? (which is or really should be Legibus solutus, otherwise He cann't be Supreme.) I say, What a triffle is a Crown, if it can be given and taken according to the giddy humor of a freakish Multitude? We may deny his suppositions likewise about his Election of Kings, which must be either by a unanimous Consent of a whole Nation; which is ridiculous: For never was a publick, General Meeting of a whole Kingdom known for Election of a Prince; If there had been, one Dissenter would have taken away the Unanimity. If he talk't of the Major Part or Chusing by Proxy, his Arguments will be found deficient likewise; But 'tis im­possible to unravel all the particu­lars. He may talk of the King of France's modesty, and his boasting of the happy want of Power; yet the whole World knows how little he confines himself to these thin Cob­webs, the Laws, which he breaks at pleasure. Take then every Para­graph distinctly by its self, and you'l find abominable Principles couch't under it; which once believ'd, would be destructive of any Government whatsoever. Take it altogether, 'tis a virulent Reflection and Libel a­gainst this. His Jury is pick't, who could not judg of the nature of such a Treasonable Pamphlet: There were Persons of Understanding and E­states Return'd, but his exceptions were against them; thinking by his flashes of Rhetorick to win the o­thers into an opinion of his Inno­cence.

Bur here comes the Epitome of scandal: [I was long since told I must Die, or the Plot must Die.] This is fine impeaching the Justice of the Nation; What! Does he make Abingdon Laws now in fashion? Hang a Man right or wrong. Sure no; He had all the favour in the World shown him, that a Person in his circumstances could expect, or de­sire.

But here observe Malice and Ran­cour mixt with Scandal: [Lest the means of destroying the best Prote­stants should fail, the Bench is fill'd with former blemishes of the Bar.] Old Dogs never bite, but when they bite sure. Lord! What horrible Days of Persecution are these! the [Page 4]the best Protestants, i. e. Rebellious Dissenters are condemn'd like Dogs, by a parcel of Men, who Sacrificed to the Idols of Mr. Williams's Chair. Alas! if he means so, their Memo­ries (notwithstanding his detracti­ons) will smell sweet, when the acti­ons of a rash Tyrannical Club of Re­publicans, will stink down to Poste­rity.

I shall not fall to the dissection of some other matters, but tell you, That (without Innuendo's) all these dangerous Justifications (which are essential to our True-Protestants) are purely Design'd to Poyson the People, to animate them to a vigo­rous Prosecution of their beloved Plot; which by our Colonels Death will not dwindle into Air, but live, and be a scandal for ever to the Par­ty, whom he espouses.

Now for the spirit of a Non.Con: [Forgive these Practis [...]s, and avert the Evils, &c.] [Suffer not Idolatry to be Establish'd in the Land.] This is much the same with my Lord Russel's: I do believe Popery is coming into the Land. This Bugbear is known by all of them, to be a successful business towards the Prosecution of their ir­religious ends.

Lastly, Be astonish't, Reader, at that sinful security wherein he prides himself. Tantum Religio potuit sua­dere malorum! Was ever a Villany so Patroniz'd as this OLD CAUSE in Capitals? See how he justifies the Rebellious actions of his Youth, and makes Heaven to Vindicate 'em: As if the permission of God Almighty were an approbation; which is a ve­ry sinful inference.

In short, I wish all People would consult their own Interest, and not follow the footsteps of our late Re­solute Rebels, who make Treason Meritorious. But if any have been withdrawn, and seduced, let them early Repent, that they may divert the like Fatal Sentence that is infalli­bly due to all Factious Conspirators.

LONDON: Printed by G. C. for John Cox, at the Blew-Ball in Thames-street, over-against Baynards-Castle. 1683.

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