Saturday, April 17, 2010

Algernon Sidney. Benoist, Artist. [n.p. &n.d.]

Although William Penn, as a Quaker could not sit in Parliament (Quakers would not take oaths, and members of Parliament were required to swear allegiance to King and Country), he saw the importance of electing men who believed that the rights of Englishmen to life, liberty and property, are controlled by Law. Laws are made by elected officials. Therefore, it is imperative to elect those who will not restrict individual rights. To accomplish this, Penn campaigned for Algernon Sidney in the elections of 1679.

Algernon Sidney was a republican and political theorist, who at first supported Oliver Cromwell and the new Parliament, but quickly became disillusioned with this new tyranny. He left the country. Upon his return to England in 1677, he immediately became involved in Whig politics. Penn’s support for him revolved around Sidney’s liberal beliefs in individual conscience, for the two men disagreed on many issues. Penn believed the monarchy should be balanced by the powers of the people, for example. Sidney believed that it should not exist at all. Sidney believed in waging war. Penn was a pacifist. Sometime later (1683) Algernon Sidney was put to death for his alleged involvement in the Rye House Plot. At his trial, only one witness could be produced. Sidney pled the law and demanded the second witness. The Government produced his writings as the second witness. However, in the elections of 1679, Sidney looked like a liberal who could be counted as a friend of Friends.

LC27 1

No comments:

Post a Comment