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  Letters and Memoirs of Sir Richard Bulstrode Diary of Lady Warwick  

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The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21).
Volume VIII. The Age of Dryden.

X. Memoir and Letter Writers.

§ 22. Diary of Henry Sidney (Earl of Romney).


The Diary of Henry Sidney (afterwards earl of Romney and lord-lieutenant of Ireland), which extends from June, 1679, to January, 1682, during which period the writer held the post of ambassador at the Hague and had in his hand the threads of much important negotiation, public and private, with William III of Orange, possesses no literary qualities; but interspersed with it 21  are a number of letters to and from Sidney which add considerably to its general interest. Foremost among these are the sprightly communications, partly in a very necessary cipher, of the countess of Sunderland, with whom, though her husband’s doings and prospects are among her most frequent themes, he was on the very friendliest of terms. They also include letters from the dowager countess, a charming old lady whom, in her younger days, Waller had celebrated as Sacharissa, and from Sir William Temple and others. 22  The author of Gramont’s Memoirs is severe on the difference between Henry Sidney’s gifts of intellect and of “figure”; but, both he and his favourite correspondent played an important part in drawing closer the relations which resulted in seating William of Orange on the English throne; and she deserves a place among the letter-writers of her age, if only for her graphic vignettes of Whitehall and the doings of “that jade” (in cipher), the double-faced duchess of Portsmouth.   59

Note 21. See the edition by Blencowe, R. W., 2 vols., The Sydney Papers: Letters and Memorials of State (from the reign of queen Mary to that of Charles II), ed. Collins, A., 2 vols., 1746, consist only to a small extent of letters so late as those of lord Lisle and Algernon Sidney. Those written by the latter from abroad (under the commonwealth, he was ambassador to Denmark and Sweden) are full of interest, especially his letters from Rome in 1660/1, in one of which he gives, in the style of the time, a series of characters of cardinals, identified by numerals corresponding to those in a previous letter. [ back ]
Note 22. As to Sir William Temple, see post, Chap. XVI. Concerning Dorothy Sidney, see Cartwright, Julia, Sacharissa: some Account of Dorothy Sidney, Countess, of Sunderland, her Family and Friends, 1693. Other correspondents of her brother Henry were her son the celebrated Robert earl of Sunderland (minister in succession under three kings), Halifax and Lawrence Hyde (earl of Rochester), and there is a letter, in the grand style, from William Penn. [ back ]

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  Letters and Memoirs of Sir Richard Bulstrode Diary of Lady Warwick  
 
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