« AnteriorContinuar »
treaty of Newport, and honoured hiin with a small token of his regard the day before his execution.
At the Restoration, Lindsey's services were rather overlooked. He had been exceedingly active in promoting Charles's return; and had even suffered a brief imprisonment in 1655, on suspicion of treasonable practices against the government. For these services he now obtained an empty decoration and a seat at the privy-council, and that only at the earnest solicitation of Clarendon. He died in 1666. Lloyd tells us that “his converse have the world a singular pattern of harmless and inoffensive mirth ; of a nobleness not made up of fine clothes and courtship; a sweetness and familiarity that at once gained him love, and preserved respect; a grandeur and nobility, safe in its own worth, not needing to maintain itself by a jealous and morose distance; the confirmed goodness of his youth not only guarding his mind from the temptation of vice, but securing his fame too from the very suspicion of it, so outstripping, in wisdom, temperance, and fortitude, not only what others did, but even what they wrote, being as good in reality as in pretence; to which he added this unusual glory— that, since there was but a small partition between the kings of Judah's beds and the altar, through which they said David had a secret passage, (arguing the nearness there should be between religion and honour,) and that the cross was an ornament to the crown, and much more to the coronet, he satisfied not himself with the bare exercise of virtue, but he sublimated it, and made it grace.” Lloyd adds, that he was educated with great care; that he prosecuted his tour of the continent with a contempt of the inconveniences then incident to it, and a spirit of observation and inquiry uncommon in young men of his rank; and that “ the result of these and other advantages, was a competent skill in arts, especially philosophy, mathematics, physic, and the two parts belonging to it, chirurgery and botanism."
BORN A. D. 1600.—DIED A. D. 1669.
This most voluminous writer and busy man, was born in 1600, at Swanswick in Somersetshire, and educated at a grammar school in Bath. At the age of sixteen he entered as a commoner of Oriel college, Oxford. After remaining there four years, he took his bachelor's degree and removed to Lincoln's inn for the study of the law. Here he spent his time diligently in that faculty, and also paid considerable attention to polemical theology and the subject of church-government. To these subjects he was the more drawn by his attendance on the preaching of the celebrated Dr Preston, who was then lecturer of Lincoln's inn, and who was considered as the head of the puritan cause. Of this excellent preacher, Prynne became a great admirer, and entered much into his views of the church of Christ, adopting ultimately the Genevan discipline.
With these sentiments, and with his zealous temperament, he could not behold the increasing luxury and profligacy of the court and the nation unco
concerned, he therefore set himself in opposition to that prime source of the corruption of public morals, the stage:
and her pas
and, in 1632, brought out his work against plays and actors under the pungent title of Histriomastix. The work was licensed by Archbishop Abbot's chaplain, but this did not protect its author from severe penalties on account of certain passages supposed to reflect on the Queen, Henrietta Maria. The narrative of this malicious prosecution is thus given by Wood. “ There being a reference in the table of this book to this effect, “women-actors notorious whores,' relating to some womenactors mentioned in his book, as he affirmeth, it happened, that, about six weeks after this the queen acted a part in a pastoral at Somersethouse; and then Archbishop Laud and other prelates, whom Prynne had angered by some books of his against Arminianism, and against the jurisdiction of bishops, and by some prohibitions which he had moved and got to the high-commission court,—these prelates and their instruments, the next day after the queen had acted her pastoral, showed Prynne's book against plays to the king, and that place in it—'womenactors notorious whores ;' and they informed the king and queen, that Prynne had purposely written this book against the
queen toral; whereas it was published six weeks before that pastoral was acted."
The king coinmissioned Laud to put the affair into the hands of his attorney-general, Noy, who entered heartily into the business, and prosecuted it with so much eagerness that Prynne was committed prisoner to the Tower; and, after some months, was “sentenced by the starchamber to be fined £5000 to the king, expelled the university of Oxford, and Lincoln's inn, degraded and disenabled from his profession in the laws, to stand in the pillory, first in the palace-yard in Westminster, and three days after in Cheapside; in each place to lose an ear; to have his book called Histriomastix, publicly burnt before his face by the hand of the hangman, and remain prisoner during life.” This unjust and cruel sentence being executed in May 1634, Prynne was remanded to prison; and, in the following month, wrote a severe letter to Laud respecting his sentence and the allegations of the archbishop before the high-commission. Laud complained to the king of this letter, and his majesty commanded the archbishop to commit the matter to attorney-general Noy, who immediately sent for Prynne, demanding to know whether the letter was his hand-writing. Prynne artfully plied, that unless he saw the letter it was impossible that he should answer that question. Having received the letter for perusal, while Noy's back was turned, he tore the letter in pieces and threw it out of the window. Noy and the archbishop were enraged and brought the matter before the court, but Prynne had taken care to destroy all proof of the fact of writing, and the prosecution was dropped. While Prynne was thus opposed to the bishops and the corruptions of the age, he was, notwithstanding, the object of commiseration by the virtuous and religious part of the nation. Sir Simonds D'Ewes mentions the occurrence with much regret, and says, “I went to visit him a while after in the Fleet and to comfort him; and found in him the rare effects of an upright heart and a good conscience, by his serenity of spirit and cheerful patience." While confined in prison he continued his writings on the great topics of the day. The following extract from one published in 1636, a small 4to. entitled, “The unbishoping of Timothy and Titus, or a briefe elaborate discourse, proov.
ing Timothy to be no bishop (much lesse any sole or Diocæsau bishop) of Ephesus, nor Titus of Crete; and that the power of orui. nation, or imposition of hands belongs Jure divino to presbyters as well as to bishops, and not to bishops onely,” will afford a specimen of Prynne's manner and character. Speaking of the censure of the bishops on Dr Bastwick for his book against the pope and the Italiana bishops, he says: “ Now, because in that late censure of theirs, they all founded the divine right of their episcopal superintendency and dominion over their fellow-presbyters, only on the examples of Timothy and Titus,—whom they then new consecrated diocesan bishops over Ephesus and Crete, almost 1600 years after their decea e, though Christ and Paul himself had never done it in their life times,—and, on a supposed divine monopoly of conferring orders and imposing hands, appropriated by God himself to diocesan bishops, distinct in jurisdiction, power, and degree from ministers and presbyters :- I have therefore here, for the future quieting of this much-agitated controversy, confined my discourse within the lists of such questions, not formerly fully debated by any in the English tongue, that I have niet with ; by the discussion whereof I have, I suppose, so shaken these rotten pillars and undermined these sandy foundations of their high-towering, overswelling hierarchy, as that I have left them no divine prop or groundwork to support it longer, so as it must now certainly (for any stay is left it in scripture) come tumbling down headlong to the very ground; --and methinks Í hear the fall of it already sounding in my ears ;unless with speed they wholly quit these false foundations, and bottom their prelacy and jurisdiction only on his majesty's princely favour, (not God's or Christ's divine institution,) which they have so lately judicially disclaimed in open court, and, even at this present, execute all acts of episcopal jurisdiction by their own inherent power, without any special commission from his majesty under his great seal, keeping their courts, visitations, and making out all their citations, process, excommunications, probate of wills, letters of administration, &c. in their own names and under their own seals, as if they were absolute popes and monarchs contrary to the statutes of 25th, 26th, 37th, Henry VIII. Ist of Edward VI., Ist and 8th of Elizabeth, their oath of supremacy and their high commission itself. Thus because they now of late are grown so, not being content with the office of a bishop, but they must also be kings, temporal lords, and chief state officers, against Christ's express command and God's own law, to sway both church and state at pleasure, that so they may engross into their sacred hands the sole rule and government of the world, having great possessions, and being great lords also as they are prelates, and yet doing nothing therefore at all in point of preaching, feeding, and instructing the people committed to their spiritual charge ;—which swelling greatness and ambition of theirs, as it will make their downfall the greater, so the speedier, being a sure prognostic of their approaching ruin, as the greatness of any unnatural swelling in the body is of its presently ensuing rupture. Towards which their desired speedy downfall, if these my unworthy labours shall through God's blessing on them, and thy prayers, Christian reader, for them contribute any assistance, for the ease, relief, or comfort of God's poor people, who are every where most wrongfully, without, yea against all law and reason, oppressed and cast out of their benefices, freeholds,
possessions; imprisoned, fined, excommunicated, silenced, suspended, vilified, crushed and trodden under feet by their intolerable tyranny, might and unbounded extravagant power, I shall neither repent me of the penning, nor thou thyself of the reading of it.” This spoken in the third person must have been sufficiently galling to their lordships; what must they have felt then, on reading such language as the follow.. ing addressed to them personally in a brief exhortation to the archbishops and bishops of England in respect of the present pestilence,' prefixed to the above work on episcopacy ? “ It may be that in regard of your sacred episcopal order, you conceit yourselves altogether plague-free, and as wholly exempt from divine as you now strive to be from temporal jurisdiction, which makes you neither to dread the plague, which has seized upon sundry kings and laid them in the dust, nor as yet any way to endeavour by fasting and prayer, to prevent either it, or that famine likely to accompany it. But to instruct you how you are still but men, and so exposed to all those mortal sicknesses which continually assault the crazy fortresses of our earthly tabernacles,—non obstante your rochets, mitres, crosiers and all other your episcopal harness,-give me leave in a word or two to acquaint you that Pelagius the Second, though a pope and bishop of Rome, notwithstanding his pontifical robes, exorcisms, pomp and charms, was both seized upon and devoured of this impartial disease, anno domini 591 ; which plague, as Petrus Blesensis, archideacon of Bath records, was sent by God as a just judgment upon the Romans and Italians, for giving themselves to drinking, feasting, dancing, sports and pastimes, even on Easter day, and other following holydays, after their participation of the blessed sacrament of Christ's body and blood,-many of them being consumed and dying of the plague in the very midst of their sports, mirth, ales and pastiines,—and on this pope himself for not restraining them from this prophaneness :-a precedent which should make your lordships fear and tremble, this present plague beginning here on Easter-week last, as that plague then did; no doubt for the selfsame profanation of God's own day and sacraments, with those abuses, sports, sins, pastimes for which they then were plagued, which your lordships have not only not restrained but countenanced, patronized, and propagated all you could, this pope going not so far.”
“ This gross profanation of the Lord's day, both in doctrine and practice, hath, no doubt, so far provoked our most gracious God, that now he can hold off his hands no longer from smiting us with his dreadful judgments, which some of us have already felt, and most of us now fear; who, questionless, will never take off his pests and judgments fruin us till your lordships shall take off your most unjust suspensions and neysu res from those who have thus suffered in his quarrel, and all of us
rented of this our crying sin of profaning God's own sacred day both in point of doctrine and practice,-an abomination never more rife in any than this our present age, by reason of your lordships patronising, propagating, and defending of it, in such a public, shameless, violent manner, as no former age can ever parallel, to God's dishonour, your own eternal infamy, and the fitting of yourselves and this whole kingdom for those public judgments, not only of a late extraordinary cold winter, and two successive dry summers, which threaten a famine of bread to recompense that famine of God's word that you have lately
caused, to omit all other miseries which we suffer, but likewise of that plague which is now dispersed. in the pulling down thereof, as your lordships have had, no doubt, a deeper hand than others, so you have great cause to fear you shall feel the irresistible mortiferous stroke thereof as much, or more than others. The plague, you well know, is God's own arrow, who ordaineth his arrows against the persecutors, And are not some at least of your lordships such ? It is God's own hand. Now, God's hand shall find out all his enemies ; his right hand shall find out those that hate him. And are not many of your lordships in that number? It is God's own brandished sword. And whom doth God wound and slay therewith but the head of his enemies, and the hairy scalp of those who go on still in their trespasses
s? not too many of your lordships such, who, even now, in the very midst of God's judgments, proceed on still in your malicious, violent, iinplacable hatred, enmities and persecutions against God's faithful ministers, saints, and the very power of holiness ; in your lordly pomp, ambition, avarice, pride, envy, arrogance, cruelty, oppression, injustice, luxury, secularity, suppression of preaching, prayer, fasting, communion of saints, and whatever savours of piety; and in profaning of God's own sacred day both in your doctrine and practice, which is seldom worse solemnized or more profaned, as Master Bucer long since observed,
Quam in ipsis episcoporum aulis,' than in bishops' own palaces, where neither lord, nor chaplain, nor servant make any great conscience of profaning it sundry ways, to give the better example of piety and hciiness unto others. How then, being heavy laden with these many sins, and having the prayers, the cries, the clamours, the tears, the sighs and groans of all God's people against you, if not of the whole kingdom too, the daily imprecations of many distressed ministers and people whom you have most injuriously and inhumanly handled without any lawful cause, can you but fear God's vengeance, and expect his plaglies to sweep such clods of sin and mischief, such pests and prodigies as you are, clean away ?” In this strain, after the manner of the Jewish prophets, he proceeds with his exhortation to their lordships, who, on ascertaining him to be the author of this and similar works during 1635, 1636, and 1637, brought him again into the star-chamber in June, 1637, and he was there sentenced to be fined £5,000 to the king, to lose the remainder of his ears in the pillory, to be branded on both cheeks with the letters “ S. L.” for Schismatical libeller, and to be imprisoned for life in Caernarvon castle. This rigorous sentence was carried into effect in July following, in Palace-yard, Westminster. In January, 1638, he was removed to Mount Orgueil castle, in the isle of Jersey, where he still continued his incessant labours in writing for
On the meeting of the long parliament in November, 1640, one of its first acts was to release Mr Prynne from his long and unjust imprisonment, and in the same month he entered London, in company with his fellow-sufferer Burton, amidst the triumphant acciamations of the people, to the number of ten thousand persons, with boughs and flowers in their hands. On his arrival in town, Prynne presented a petition to the house of commons, complaining of the persecutions which he had suffered from Archbishop Laud, and the house voted him the sum of four thousand rounds by way of reparation, which sum,