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6 Calumny,' she observed in her letter to Dr. Hallifax, March 24, 1772, never gained a disciple, never satisfied a doubting mind; invectives may harden, but can never enlighten the understanding; no difficulty was ever solved by abuse.'

“ Are you, Dr. Hallifax,” continued she, “ acquainted with the petitioners ? If you are, I think you must know them to be worthy of your esteem. If you know them not, why call .

, you them perfidious ? Why talk of their malignity? Their ignorance of antiquity ? Why think you that they have an overweening fondness for novelties; and say that they use undue arts to mislead the rising generation, and to bring in damnable heresies? Have they published their opinions ? If so, you should have directed us to their works. Or have you been intimately connected with them? Have you been indulged with their private thoughts, and under the mask of friendship dived into the secrets of their soul ? And do you thus requite their confidence? It cannot be; the honest heart shudders at the base idea ! The serpent who beguiled Eve would not be more dangerous than such a man. No, it is impossible; it is report alone that has raised the alarm of danger to religion; you suddenly started up to combat an imagined foc; and perceived not, till you had discharged your envenomed darts, that you wasted them in air.”

Dr. Hallifax, we are told, felt the keenness of “ Priscilla's” pen so poignantly, that he called on Wilkie, the publisher, to advise him “ to print no more of her letters, for it was only Jebb's wife ;” and in her reply to Dr. Randolph's charge, it was so completely answered by this distinguished female, that Dr. Paley, “both quaintly and happily observed on the occasion, the Lord hath sold Sisera into the hands of a woman.

Mr. Jebb, having declared in favour of annual examinations at Cambridge, his wife very ably supported him on this occasion: and when, in consequence of his belief in the divine unity, he grew uncasy under the discharge of his clerical duties she most heartily concurred in the resignation of his preferments in September, 1775. After this they removed to

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London, where Mr. Jebb, having obtained a diploma from St. Andrews, practised as a physician. They now frequented the chapel where the late Mr. Lindsey in Essex then preached, and cultivated an intimacy with the archdeacon Blackburne and Dr. Priestley,

Both alike reprobated the war of coercion, just undertaken against America; took a leading part in the measures then adopted for a reform in parliament; and in all the great constitutional questions which were agitated in the public prints. “ Amongst these the liberties of the Irish were preeminent, from the formidable attitude which that nation had of late assumed; and they were amongst the first to point out the propriety of admitting the Roman Catholics to the full enjoyment of the elective franchise, as a means of consolidating their recently acquired independence, and of interesting every portion of the inhabitants in pursuit of the much wished reform. For a time, they concurred in applauding the principles and conduct of Mr. Fox; and again in condemning the apparent desertion of those principles, on the ill fated coalition with Lord North, in 1783. And yet, when Dr. Jebb, in a desponding moment, was lamenting that great man as irretrievably lost to the cause of freedom, his wife encouraged him never to despair; “ for Mr. Fox, she was convinced, on some

66 happier occasion, would prove himself still worthy of his former fame.”

“ But they were far from being deluded by the specious pretences of Mr. Pitt, whose sincerity they doubted, and whose new connexions they deemed, on the whole, as objectionable as those in which his rival were involved. As a reformer, indeed, Dr. Jebb had approved Mr. Pitt's early exertions, and, on his first appearance as a candidate to represent the University of Cambridge, had given him a decided support; but afterwards, on his elevation to the premiership, he saw so much to disapprove in his proceedings, that he was actually hesitating to vote for him, when Mrs. Jebb observed, that as he proinised fairly, she thought a fair trial, at least, should be given him.” They were also sufficiently aware, that it was a contest for power, rather than for principle, in which the opposing parties were engaged, and saw much stronger grounds of alarm than of satisfaction in the conduct of either side. And they were consequently very desirous that the real friends of liberty should withhold their support from any administration which might be formed, until the members should decidedly declare their resolution to bring forward and carry into effect a subtantial reform in the constitution of the house of commons.”

The following passages, also extracted from Mr. Meadley's work, will still further elucidate the opinions of both, while they record the death of one of the parties.

'66 On their return from an excursion to Buxton, in the autumn of 1784, their attention was again directed to the great cause of parliamentary reform, while, from the alarming proceedings of the government in Ireland, they were induced to form no very favourable presage of the intentions of the ministry at home. They were led into a discussion of THE RIGHTS OF JURIES and the LAW OF LIBELS, from the themorable case of the Dean of St. Asaph, and the important questions which that case involved. They took, if possible, a still more lively interest in the benevolent design of improving the construction and management of prisons, and of mitigating the severities of the penal code. And, as the decided enemies of oppression and intolerance, they deprecated the continuance of the slave trade, and the imposition of any restraints or penalties, for a difference of religious faith. No disappointments, no illiberal aspersions, could narrow the philanthropy of their hearts ; looking forward in the firm persuasion, that under the care of a presiding Providence, all things would ultimately and infallibly terminate in good.

Mrs. Jebb's affection for her husband, thus identified with her love of freedom and of virtue, was unimpaired by the lapse of

years. But a union of this deep and intimate nature, was too soon unfortunately closed.' Dr. Jebb, whose professional and public exertions had brought on a premature decay in

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his constitution, was sinking fast in a decline, and his af flicted wife, after attending him in a fruitless excursion to Cheltenham for relief, watched over his pillow with most anxious solicitude, and received his last sigh on the evening of March 2, 1786."

After a long and painful interval of grief for the loss of so excellent a husband, this lady soon evinced, that her zeal in the cause of civil and religious liberty had experienced no abatement. During the combat about the regency, in 1789, she saw indeed, in the conduct of both parties, much more to censure than to approve, and she considered them as still engaged in a mere contest for place. She deprecated the doctrine of hereditary right, as advanced by Mr. Fox, though she considered it as expedient to invest the heir-apparent with the royal powers. She had no objection to the restrictions proposed by Mr. Pitt, which she thought strictly constitutional; but she was very far indeed from approving the whole of his proceedings.

“ Mrs. Jebb had already hailed the auspicious dawn of the French révolution, and sympathised in the emancipation of a great people from despotic power. Having deprecated the attempt of the allied sovereigns to restore the degrading yoke of the Bourbons, with every friend to freedom and humanity, she rejoiced in their defeat. She lamented still more the rash determination of her own country, to take a part in their iniquitous design, and saw no glory or advantage in the most successful warfare, which could in any respect compensate for the misery and desolation to which it must inevitably lead. And, therefore, during the alarm, which in 1792 was so artfully excited, to cover the apostacy of Mr. Pitt from the cause of reform, and to involve England in the intrigues of the continent, she endeavoured to dispel the public infatuation, and to induce a more calm and dispassionate consideration of the real dangers to be apprehended from the delusions of the day. In two spirited and judicious letters, addressed under popular titles, to John Bull, from one of his brethren," she opposed the absurd reasoning of the alarmists, with equal vivacity and shrewdness: and, vindicating the great cause of public freedom, she deprecated the idea of interfering in the concerns of the French republic, and pointed out the calamities which must result from a war as unnecessary as unjust.”

Meanwhile, it seems Mr. Fox was gradually regaining the place which he had originally held in this lady's esteem. At a latter period she lamented his rapidly declining health, and wished most heartily that he might live to make a peace; an event, on the completion of which, the wishes of that great statesman were most ardently bent. When he was no more, she turned her eyes towards Mr. Whitbread and Sir Samuel Romilly, whom she described as “ continuing honest.”

After a long and painful illness, accompanied by a confinement of many years, Mrs. Jebb died at her house in HalfMoon-Street, Piccadilly, January 20, 1812; and we have been the more particular concerning her life, and quoted more fully from her biography, as this work has never been regularly published, and is therefore in the hands of a few of her friends, one of whom has been kind enough to transmit a copy.

In 1813 Mr. Meadley published his “ Memoirs of Algernon Sydney," which he dedicated to the Rev. John Disney, D. D. F. S. A.“ on account of his steady attachment to the cause of civil and religious liberty, and the early sacrifice made to conscience and to principle.”

Our author laments, that while the name of Algernon Sydney has been held out as an example of pure and disinterested patriotism, so little should have been known of his personal history. The meagre detail of Collins has been chiefly followed by every subsequent writer, notwithstanding the numerous and important documents since presented to the public. An enlarged view of his life and character has, therefore, long been wanting to remove the prejudices of the ignorant, and to strengthen the attachment of more generous minds.

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