Page:EB1911 - Volume 25.djvu/57

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42
SIDNEY, SIR HENRY

the death of Shaftesbury, however, in November 1682, he entered into the conferences held between Monmouth, Russell, Essex, Hampden and others. That treasonable talk went on seems certain, but it is probable that matters went no further. The watchfulness of the court was, however, aroused, and on the discovery of the Rye House Plot, Sidney, who had always been regarded in a vague way as dangerous, was arrested while at dinner on the 26th of June 1683. His papers were carried off, and he was sent at once to the Tower on a charge of high treason. For a considerable while no evidence could be found on which to establish a charge. Jeffreys, however, was made lord chief- justice in September; a jury was packed; and, after consulta- tions between the judge and the crown lawyers, Sidney was brought to listen to the indictment on the 7th of November. The trial began on the 21st of November: Sidney was refused a copy of the indictment, in direct violation of law, and he was refused the assistance of counsel. Hearsay evidence and the testimony of the perjured informer Lord Howard, whom Sidney had been instrumental in introducing to his friends, were first produced. This being insufficient, partial extracts from papers found in Sidney's study, and supposed only to be in his hand- writing, in which the lawfulness of resistance to oppression was upheld, were next relied on. He was indicted for " conspiring and compassing the death of the king. Sidney conducted his case throughout with great skill; he pointed especially to the fact that Lord Howard, whose character he easily tore to shreds, was the only witness against him as to treason, whereas the law required two, that the treason was not accurately defined, that no proof had been given that the papers produced were his, and that, even if that were proved, these papers were in no way connected with the charge. Against the determination to secure a conviction, however, his courage, eloquence, coolness and skill were of no avail, and the verdict of " guilty " was given. On the 25th of November Sidney presented a petition to the king, praying for an audience, which, however, under the influence of James and Jeffreys, Charles refused. On the 26th he was brought up for judgment, and again insisted on the illegality of his con- viction. Upon hearing his sentence he gave vent to his feelings in a few noble and beautiful words. Jeffreys having suggested that his mind was disordered, he held out his hand and bade the chief-justice feel how calm and steady his pulse was. By the advice of his friends he presented a second petition, offering, if released, to leave the kingdom at once and for ever. The supposed necessity, however, of checking the hopes of Mon- mouth's partisans caused the king to be inexorable. The last days of Sidney's life were spent in drawing up his Apology and in discourse with Independent ministers. He was beheaded on the morning of the 7th of December 1683. His remains were buried at Penshurst. (O. A.)


SIDNEY, SIR HENRY (1520-1586), lord deputy of Ireland, was the eldest son of Sir William Sidney, a prominent politician and courtier in the reigns of Henry VIII. and Edward VI., from both of whom he received extensive grants of land, in- cluding the manor of Penshurst in Kent, which became the principal residence of the family. Henry was brought up at court as the companion of Prince Edward, afterwards King Edward VI.; and he continued to enjoy the favour of the sovereign throughout the reigns of Edward and Mary. In 1556 he went to Ireland with the lord deputy, the earl of Sussex, who in the previous year had married his sister Frances Sidney; and from the first he had a large share in the administration of the country, especially in the military measures taken by his brother-in-law for bringing the native Irish chieftains into submission to the English Crown. In the course of the lord deputy's Ulster expedition in 1557 Sidney devastated the island of Rathlin; and during the absence of Sussex in England in the following year Sidney was charged with the sole responsibility for the govern- ment of Ireland, which he conducted with marked ability and success. A second absence of the lord deputy from Ireland, occasioned by the accession of Queen Elizabeth, threw the chief control into Sidney's hands at the outbreak of trouble with Shane O'Neill, and he displayed great skill in temporizing with that redoubtable chieftain till Sussex reluctantly returned to his duties in August 1559. About the same time Sidney resigned his office of vice-treasurer of Ireland on being appointed president of the Welsh Marches, and for the next few years he resided chiefly at Ludlow Castle, with frequent visits to the court in London. In 1565 Sidney was appointed lord deputy of Ireland in place of Sir Nicholas Arnold, who had succeeded the earl of Sussex in the previous year. He found the country in a more impoverished and more turbulent condition than when he left it, the chief disturbing factor being Shane O'Neill in Ulster. With difficulty he persuaded Elizabeth to sanction vigorous measures against O'Neill; and although the latter successfully avoided a decisive encounter, Sidney restored O'Neill's rival Calvagh O'Donnell to his rights, and established an English garrison at Derry which did something to maintain order. In 1567 Shane was murdered by the MacDonnells of Antrim (see O'Neill), and Sidney was then free to turn his attention to the south, where with vigour and determination he arranged the quarrel between the earls of Desmond and Ormonde, and laid his hand heavily on other dis- turbers of the peace; then, returning to Ulster, he compelled Turlough Luineach O'Neill, Shane's successor in the clan chief- tainship, to make submission, and placed garrisons at Belfast and Carrickfergus to overawe Tyrone and the Glynns. In the autumn of 1567 Sidney went to England, and was absent from Ireland for the next ten months. On his return he urged upon Cecil the necessity for measures to improve the economic con- dition of Ireland, to open up the country by the construction of roads and bridges, to replace the Ulster tribal institutions by a system of freehold land tenure, and to repress the ceaseless disorder prevalent in every part of the island. In pursuance of this policy Sidney dealt severely with the unruly Butlers in Munster. At Kilkenny large numbers of Sir Edmund Butler's followers were hanged, and three of Ormonde's brothers were attainted by an act of the Irish parliament in 1570. Enlightened steps were taken for the education of the people, and encourage- ment was given to Protestant refugees from the Netherlands to settle in Ireland.

Sidney left Ireland in 1 571, aggrieved by the slight appreciation of his statesmanship shown by the queen; but he returned thither in September 1575 with increased powers and renewed tokens of royal approval, to find matters in a worse state than before, especially in Antrim, where the MacQuillins of the Route and Sorley Boy MacDonnell (q.v.) were the chief fomenters of disorder. Having to some extent pacified this northern territory, Sidney repaired to the south, where he was equally successful in making his authority respected. He left his mark on the administrative areas of the island by making shire divisions on the English model. At an earlier period he had already in the north combined the districts of the Ardes and Clandeboye to form the county of Carrickfergus, and had converted the country of the O'Farrells into the county of Longford; he now carried out a similar policy in Connaught, where the ancient Irish district of Thomond became the county Clare, and the counties of Galway, Mayo, Sligo and Roscommon were also delimited. He suppressed a rebellion headed by the earl of Clanricarde and his sons in 1576, and hunted Rory O'More to his death two years later. Meantime Sidney's methods of taxation had caused discontent among the gentry of the Pale, who carried their grievances to Queen Elizabeth. Greatly to Sidney's chagrin the queen censured his extravagance, and notwithstanding his distinguished services to the crown he was recalled in September 1578, and was coldly received by Elizabeth. He lived chiefly at Ludlow Castle for the remainder of his life, performing his duties as president of the Welsh Marches, and died there on the 5th of May 1586.

Sir Henry Sidney was the ablest statesman charged with the government of Ireland in the 16th century; and the meagre recognition which his unrewarded services received was a conspicuous example of the ingratitude of Elizabeth. Sidney married in 1551 Mary, eldest daughter of John Dudley, duke of Northumberland, by whom he had three sons and four daughters. His eldest son was Sir Philip Sidney (q.v.), and his second was