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much stretch and violence to her sin cerity.
Another way (for the ways they have to accomplish so desirable a purpose are infinite) is, with a kind of innocent simplícity, continually to mistake what it was which first made their husband fond of you. If an esteem for something excellent in your moral character was that which riveted the chain which she is to break, upon any imaginary discovery of a want of poignancy in your conversation, she will cry, "I thought, my dear, you described your friend Mr. as a great wit." If, on the other hand, it was for some supposed charm in your conversation that he first grew to like you, and was content for this to overlook some trifling irregularities in your moral deportment, upon the first notice of any of these she as readily exclaims, "This, my dear, is your good Mr.
houses. To enumerate them all
home, till the oysters which she had had opened out of compliment to me were all spoiled, rather than she would be guilty of the impoliteness of touching one in his absence. This was reversing the point of good manners: for ceremony is an invention to take off the uneasy feeling which we derive from knowing ourselves to be less the object of love and esteem with a fellow-creature than some One good lady whom I took the li- other person is. It endeavours to berty of expostulating with for not make up, by superior attentions in showing me quite so much respect as little points, for that invidious preI thought due to her husband's old ference which it is forced to deny in friend, had the candour to confess to the greater. Had Testacea kept the me that she had often heard Mr. oysters back for me, and withstood speak of me before marriage, her husband's importunities to go to and that she had conceived a great supper, she would have acted acdesire to be acquainted with me, but cording to the strict rules of propriety. that the sight of me had very much I know no ceremony that ladies are disappointed her expectations; for bound to observe to their husbands, from her husband's representations of beyond the point of a modest beme, she had formed a notion that she haviour and decorum: therefore I was to see a fine, tall, officer-like must protest against the vicarious looking man (I use her very words); gluttony of Cerasia, who at her own the very reverse of which proved to table sent away a dish of Morellas, be the truth. This was candid; and which I was applying to with great I had the civility not to ask her in good will, to her husband at the return, how she came to pitch upon other end of the table, and recoma standard of personal accomplish- mended a plate of less extraordinary ments for her husband's friends which gooseberries to my unwedded padiffered so much from his own: for late in their stead. Neither can I my friend's dimensions as near as excuse the wanton affront of possible approximated to mine; he standing five feet five in his shoes, in which I have the advantage of him by about half an inch; and he no more than myself exhibiting any indications of a martial character in his air or countenance.
These are some of the mortifications which I have encountered in the absurd attempt to visit at their
But I am weary of stringing up all my married acquaintance by Roman denominations. Let them amend and change their manners, promise to send you the full-length English of their names, to be recorded to the terror of all such desperate offenders in future, Your humble servant, ELIA.
MEMOIRS OF SIR CHARLES SEDLEY,
Born at Aylesford Priory, about the year 1639; Died at Hampstead, Angust 20, 1701.
THE real name of this once celebrated wit was Sidley, for so the family wrote it for many generations; and he himself so subscribed it to the dedication of "The Mulberry Garden," his first play, printed in 1668. Afterwards, however, he altered it, for the purpose, perhaps, of distinguishing himself from two other Sir Charles Sidleys, branches of his family, living at the same time; one of whom, Sir Charles Sidley, of Great Chart, and St. Cleres within Ightham, Kent, was like himself a Baronet; the poet, in formal instruments, being termed, as the representative of the elder branch of the family, Sir Charles Sidley senior. The other was Sir Charles Sidley, of St. Giles's in the Fields, knight, who succeeded to the greater part of the ancient property of the family on the death of the poet, and was soon afterwards raised to a baronetage, as Sir Charles Sidley, of Southfleet, in the county of Kent, which style and title had become extinct on the death of his eminent relative. But the vowel must have been changed without licence or authority from the college of arms, or officers of government entrusted with the arrangement of such weighty and important matters; as in the patent by which James the Second conferred upon his mistress, the witty daughter of the licentious wit, the title of Countess of Dorchester, she is called Catharine Sidley, and not Sedley, as her father for some years previously had been.
The Sidleys were an ancient family, seated at Romney Marsh, in Kent, a part of which goes by their name to the present day. Five members of it served the office of high sheriff of this county, in the reigns of Edward VI., Elizabeth, James I., and Charles I. Their relative, Richard Sidley, of Northaw and Dingswell, served the same office for Hertfordshire, in 1624, the last year of the reign of James the First.
Another and a somewhat uncommon proof of the consideration in which the family was formerly held, is the elevation of three of its branches
to the baronetage; in which, at two distinct periods of our history, two of its members were enrolled. Yet such are the vicissitudes of life, that these baronetcies have long since been extinct, and a male descendant in the male line of so ancient and honourable a house has for more than half a century been sought in vain. The lineal representative of the choice spirit of the court of Charles the Second, who gave to that house its chief celebrity, and whose talents and reputation may well excuse the researches of others than heralds and antiquaries into its history and genealogy, is his great grandson William Charles Colyear, third Earl of Portmore, grandson of Catharine, Countess of Dorchester, by her husband David, first Earl of Portmore, who, coming over with William the Third from Holland, (where his father, Sir Alexander Robertson, Bart. of the ancient clan of Strowan, had settled, acquired a considerable fortune by mercantile pursuits, and assumed the name of Colyear) served under him with great gallantry in Ireland and Flanders, for which he was elevated to the Scotch peerage: in the following reign he was commander in chief of the Queen's army in Portugal, and governor of Gibraltar. Through the intermarriage of their ancestors, with daughters of the eldest son of this union, Charles, second Earl of Portmore, Nathaniel Curzon, the present Lord Scarsdale, his brothers, sisters, and their children,-Henry and James Dawkins, Esquires, members of parliament for Aldborough and Hastings, and George Hay Dawkins Pennant, Esq. and their children, are descendants from the poet, in the third and fourth generation,- his only descendants, we have, indeed, every reason to believe, in a legitimate line.
Far be it from the present writer to give either a genealogy of the family, or, what is worse, an abstract of its title deeds. He is neither a herald, nor a conveyancer; nor does he presume to suppose that his lucubrations can afford either information
or amusement to such very learned persons; but he flatters himself, nevertheless, that not only the lovers of anecdotal literature (to borrow an expression of the reverend proge nitor of all our existing periodicals, Sylvanus Urban), who are happily increasing, will be pleased with a brief account of such parts of the family and its former possessions as have any thing curious connected with them, beyond names and dates, births, marriages, baptisms and burials, fines and recoveries, or
The thousand dext'rous ways, By which the subtle lawyer knows to bar That foe to spendthrift heirs a fee-in-tail.
The first member of the family, of whom I can find any record, is John Sidley, one of the auditors of the Exchequer to Henry VII., who died in 1500. He resided at Scadbury, now called Scotbury, the ancient seat of the Sidleys, at a small distance from the village of Southfleet, in Kent, the family having possessed it at least so far back as the 12th of Edward III. A. D. 1337, as appears, should any learned FAS. ask for proof of the assertion, from an ancient piece of wainscoting, ornamented with the family arms, very carefully preserved, in Philpot's time, in the mansion, long since converted into a plain farm-house; and where, for aught I know to the contrary, any Jonathan Oldbuck, who chooses to search for it, may find it still. Inheriting also the manor of Oxney, anciently called Oxene, which his family had possessed for some time, he enlarged the court-lodge considerably; but a more convincing proof that auditorships of the Exchequer have been exceeding good things "from time," to use the lawyer's phrase, "of which the memory of man runneth not to the contrary," is afforded, by the extensive purchases which this auditor of 300 years ago was enabled to make, by fingering the marks and nobles of his sovereign lord the king. Of these, the manor of Southfleet was once the property of Sir William Petre, ancestor of the highly respectable Roman Catholic family of the Lords Petre of Writtle, to whom it was granted by the crown on the suppression of the priory of St. Andrew's, at Rochester, in the reign of Henry VIII., as a reward for his zeal in
ferreting out, for Cromwell the vicar general, evidence to warrant, or to colour, the confiscation of monastic lands. He was a learned mån, a subtle statesman, and a shrewd courtier. Cunning as a fox, he contrived to hold the post of secretary of state, to which he was advanced by Henry VIII. during the reigns of Edward VI., Mary and Elizabeth, by whom, and by their father, he was seven times employed as ambassador to foreign courts. But not only had he wit enough to humour the whims of monarchs of such different views and tempers, but even to over-reach the monks, and cheat the Pope, after whom, if we may believe the vulgar adage, he had but one more to cheat. Fearing, on the restoration of popery with Mary, that he might be called upon to refund some portion of his large spoils of the patrimony of the church, he obtained a special grant from the Pope, enabling him to hold them, on his assurance that he would devote them to spiritual uses. With the exception, however, of some liberal bequests to Exeter College, Oxford, where he had been educated, the great bulk of his fortune went where it might be expected to go, to his family, who, zealous Catholics as they were, inherited his lands without asking any questions whence, or how they came. Southfleet he placed out of jeopardy with all convenient speed, selling it in the very year in which it was granted to him to Sir William Gerrard, or Garret, one of London's proud Lord Mayors. Of the auditor's other purchases of the manor of Great Okeley, and that of Mortimer's, now vulgarly called Blue-gates, nothing curious is related, save that the latter formed a part of the inheritance of the noble but unfortunate family, from which it derived its name. From Martin, the youngest of the Auditor's two sons, the Sidleys of Norfolk are descended, or were, I should rather say, as I believe they also are, and long have been extinct, though from their being only collateral relatives of the poet, I have not examined very minutely into their history.
William Sidley, the elder brother of Martin, inherited the Kentish possessions of the family, and added to them a moiety of the manor of Nutstead, now commonly called Nusted,
formerly part of the princely possessions of Odo, Bishop of Baieux, half brother to William the Conqueror, to whom also once belonged another of his purchases, the manor and advowson of the church of Ridley. The manor of Hartley, which he also bought, once the property of the De Veres, Earls of Pembroke, had at one time been sold to pay his ransom, by Reginald Lord Grey, of Ruthyn, when taken prisoner by Owen Glendower, into whose Welch principality he had obtruded himself, an unbidden guest, on a quixotic expedition to take vengeance for some grievous wrong, a risque to which, happily for them, neither the persons nor the lands, tenements, and hereditaments of our modern knights are exposed. These were considerable additions to the family estates, the hereditary portion of which he however in some measure diminished, by the sale of Mortimer's to an ancestor of the Lords Wentworth. Nicholas, the youngest of his three sons, was the progenitor of the Sidleys of Great Chart, the second baroneted branch of the family.
John Sidley, his eldest son, seems not to have made any larger additions to the family possessions, than a lease for ninety-nine years of the Okeley portion of the tythes of Higham; but his son, of the same name, was a huge gainer by the confiscation of church lands, Elizabeth having granted to him the house and lands belonging to the dissolved priory of White Friars, founded at Aylesford in 1240, by Richard, Lord Grey of Codnor, which had been forfeited to the crown, on the attainder of Sir Thomas Wyatt, for rebellion against Queen Mary; Henry VIII. having granted it, soon after the suppression of the monastery, to his father the able statesman, accomplished poet, and faithful friend of the still more accomplished Earl of Surrey. Having had so good a foundation laid for his fortune by the bounty of his sovereign, young Sidley (for the grant was made in the life-time of his father), with the thrift which seems to have characterized the four first generations of his family, with whose proceedings we have any means of acquainting ourselves, soon added acre to acre, purchasing the manor of Eccles, in the parish of Aylesford,
formerly part of the demesnes of the Bishop of Baieux, and Roes place, an estate in the eastern part of the same parish, the ancient seat of the family of the à Roes, or Rowes. Dying without issue, without indeed having been married, he left the whole of his estates to his brother William, whom as his executor he directed to build in Aylesford a hospital for six poor, aged, and impotent persons, for whose support he bequeathed lands and tenements of the yearly value of sixty pounds. His younger brother Richard was the founder of the Sidley family in Hertfordshire; which has, I believe, like its Kent and Norfolk branches, been long since extinct.
Of all the Sidleys, William of Aylesford friary (for there he, like his brother John, resided,) must have been the richest. He inherited not only the original estates of the family, and the additions which his four immediate predecessors had made to them, but the important acquisitions of his brother; and he largely added to them by his own purchases, amongst which were the manors of Hornchild and Little Okeley. He was, however, not only a thrifty, but a fortunate man, one of his relatives (George Franklyn) who died without issue, having bequeathed to him the manor of Modenden, once the property of the unfortunate Thomas Cromwell, Earl of Essex; whilst a grant from the crown, in the beginning of the reign of James I. put him in possession of that of Tenton, anciently called Tenterton, covering a considerable tract of land granted by William the Conqueror to Hugo de Montfort, one of his Norman chieftains, and passing from his family through that of the De Veres to the priory of Horton, and thence on its suppression to the crown. He added an endowment for another poor person, as warden to the hospital, founded by his brother's will, which he procured to be incorporated by the name of the Hospital of the Holy Trinity in Aylesford, and made other bequests to the poor of that parish, where he lived and died. He was a friend of learning, which was indebted to his liberality for the foundation of the Sedleian lecture on Natural History, in the University of Oxford. Dr. Holland describes him,
in his additions to Camden, as "a man painfully laborious for the common good of his country, as both his endowed house for the poor, and the bridge there, (at Aylesford) with common voice do testify."
Sir John Sidley, the only son of Sir William, seems not to have made any larger addition to the family possessions than the rectory of Northfleet, once part of the dower of Henrietta Maria, the injured Queen of King Charles I. How it passed from the family is not known, at least I have not been able to discover. On the other hand, he sold the manor of Nustead, with the appendant advowson of the rectory.
With him ended the accumulations of the Sidleys, continued at least through five generations, until the civil wars of the first Charles's reign, and the gaiety of the second's licentious court and age, dissipated, in a few years, fortunes of many a century's growth. His eldest son, Sir Henry, dying unmarried, was succeeded by his brother Sir William, who sold the family seat of Aylesford Friars to Sir Peter Ricaut, father of Sir Paul, the celebrated traveller, and author of the History of the Turks. It is now the property and one of the seats of the Earl of Aylesford, to whose ancestor, Heneage, the first Earl, it came by a co-heiress of the family of Bankes.
Sir Charles, the poet, was the youngest and a posthumous son of Sir John, the second baronet. He was born at Aylesford Friars, the seat of his grandfather, and the only part of the family property which seems not to have come to his hands. Still, however, he must have been a rich man, when he came to the title, or rather must have come to a good estate with it, though he did not die rich, having sold most of the unentailed property of his ancestors; but fortunately for his successors, it was not much that he could sell.
If he was not born a poet, he was at least descended from a literary stock, more than one of his ancestors having been related to Archbishop Chichele, to whom his wife Catharine, third daughter of John, first Earl Rivers, was likewise of kin. His mother was a daughter, and ultimately heiress, of Sir Henry Savile, the very learned provost of Eton,
and founder of the Savilian lectures at Oxford. This connexion with learning and learned men was continued also in his descendants, his grand daughter having married John Sheffield, Duke of Buckingham, a wit and poet of some reputation in his day, but much better known by his connexion with wits and poets in ours. By marriage he was uncle also to Richard, third Earl Rivers, father of the unfortunate Savage.
Among the mob of gentlemen who wrote with ease," during the reign of the second Charles, Sedley once held, perhaps, the most distinguished rank. So highly, indeed, did his contemporaries estimate his taste and judgment, that the king himself, a greater wit than most of the professed wits who surrounded him, protested that nature had given him a patent to be Apollo's viceroy, whilst Rochester placed him in the first rank of poetical critics, and Buckingham gave to the softness of his verse the flattering epithet of Sedley's witchcraft. He had not, however, been dead many years before his talents were more correctly appreciated; and Pope truly observed of him, that he was a very insipid writer, except in some few of his little love-verses," and they, we may add, are often more immodest than witty. So certain is mediocrity, notwithstanding the ephemeral glare which the adventitious circumstances of rank, fortune, or connexions may cast around it, in a few years to find its level.
Amongst his admirers or his flatterers,-from his having bowed down to many a golden calf, I know not in which class to rank him,-Dryden himself may be numbered. In the dedication of his unfortunate comedy of "Assignation, or Love in a Nunnery," to Sedley, he speaks with much apparent delight in the recollection of those Noctes Attica spent in his society, in which the cups were only such as would raise the conversation of the night without disturbing the business of the morning." This, however, is the colouring of a poet; and it is impossible to avoid contrasting his beautiful account of elegant dissipation with what the sober truth of history has recorded of the noted freaks of the dissolute wit to whom it was addressed, In