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however, it appears, he did not actually receive. Shortly after the opening of parliament, he was elected for Newport, in Cornwall, and distinguished himself as the opponent of prelacy and arbitrary power. Here was a field for the most ample development of Prynne's powers and resources, and he entered warmly into the controversies arising out of the avowed determination of the king to reduce the three kingdoms to perfect conformity in religion. This was so far from being practicable, that the more the subject was discussed the farther did parties recede from each other, until, at length, the distinct systems contended for equalled the number of the kingdoms which were to be reduced to uniformity--the episcopalian, the presbyterian, and the independent.
Prynne was himself a staunch presbyterian, and, like many of his party at the time, was for establishing that form of church-government to the exclusion of all others. The independents, alone, professed the
, principle of toleration. With John Goodwin, an eminent minister of this persuasion, Prynne engaged in controversy,—first on the subject of Arminianism, which Goodwin favoured,—and next on that of toleration. Prynne undertook to demonstrate its mischievous tendency, and insists that the parliament, having subscribed to the covenant, cannot, without perjury, suffer such doctrines or publications as Goodwin's to be issued to the world. One of Prynne's pieces in this debate is entitled, • Truth triumphing over falsehood-antiquity over novelty; or a vindication of the undoubted jurisdiction and coercive power of Christian emperors, kings, and parliaments, in matters of religion. The publication of this piece brought the celebrated John Lilburne against Prynne, who was thought now to be inconsistent for wishing to abridge others of that liberty of speech which he had himself suffered for by the persecutions of the star-chamber. Lilburne answered Prynne's volume in a pamphlet of seven pages, and says—“Truly, had I not seen your name to your books, I should rather have judged them a papist's or a jesuit's than Mr Prynne's; and, without doubt, the pope, when he sees them, will canonize you for a saint, for throwing down his enemy, Christ.”
For this free language Prynne caused Lilburne, by a vote of the house of commons, to be summoned before the committee for examinations. Lilburne, however, on producing a paper containing his reasons for his letter to Prynne, was discharged. The following month, Lilburne was again taken into custody, at the instance of Prynne, and brought before the council on suspicion of being concerned in several publications hostile to the presbyterian system ; but, after one night's detention, he was discharged.
In 1647, Prynne was one of the parliamentary visitors of the university of Oxford ; and, during the long parliament, sided zealously with the presbyterians. When Cromwell and the political independents, however, acquired more influence, Prynne exerted himself to the ut. most against them, and even went so far as to promote the interest of the falling monarch. When Charles was in treaty with the parliament respecting the terms on which peace might be restored, and the army were violently opposed to the negotiation, Prynne made a powerful speech in favour of the royal proposals, which so influenced the house that, without a division, they resolved that, " the answers of the king
to the propositions of both houses are a ground for the house to proceed upon, for the settlement of the peace of the kingdom."
In the course of the speech he says :-“I have never yet received one farthing recompense from the king, or any other, though I have waited above eight years at your doors for justice and reparations, and neglecting my own private calling and affairs, employed most of my time and studies, and expended many hundred pounds out of my purse, since my enlargement, to maintain your cause against the king, his popish and prelatical party. For all which cost and labour I never yet demanded nor received one farthing from the houses, nor the least of fice or preferment whatsoever, though they have bestowed divers places of honour upon persons of less or no desert. Nor did I ever yet receive so much as your public thanks for any public service done you (which every preacher usually receives for every sermon preached before you, and most others have received for the meanest services), though I have brought you off with honour in the cases of Canterbury and Macguire, when you were at a loss in both, and cleared the justness of your cause, when it was at the lowest ebb, to most reformed churches abroad, who received such satisfaction from my books, that they translated them into several languages; and I have engaged many thousands for you at home by my writings, who were formerly dubious and unsatisfied.” After the death of the king, Prynne still opposed Cromwell, and
consequence, committed close prisoner to Dunster castle, Somersetshire. After a considerable time, he obtained his release by insisting strongly on magna charta, and the liberty of the subject, and again entered zealously into the religious controversies of the day.
Being considered one of the secluded members of the house of commons, he was, in 1659, restored to his seat ; and, on the movement for the restoration of Charles II., was particularly zealous for that mea
In 1660 he was chosen member for Bath, and expected to be made a judge. “When the king was asked what should be done with Prynne to keep him quiet, Why, said he, let him amuse himself with writing against the catholics, and in poring over the records in the Tower.” He was therefore appointed chief-keeper of the records, with a salary of £500 per annum. He died at his chambers in Lincoln's inn, October 24, 1669, and was interred under the chapel there.
Prynne's separate publications amount to about two hundred, of various bulk, from the pamphlet to the folio. He has therefore earned the title bestowed on him by Wood, of 'voluminous Prynne.' It is thought that, reckoning from the time of coming to manhood, he wrote a sheet for every day of his life. He read or wrote during the whole day; and, that he might not be interrupted, had no regular meals, but took as he had occasion the refreshment of bread, cheese, and ale, which was placed at his side. His works, in forty volumes folio and quarto, he presented to the library of Lincoln's inn.
His principal law works are, “Records, in three volumes folio; • Parliamentary writs,' in four parts 4to. ; ' Sir Robert Cotton's abridgement of the Tower Records, with amendments and additions, folio ; and Observations on the Fourth Part of Coke's Institutes,' folio.
Thomas, Lord Fairfar.
BORN A. D. 1611.-DIED A. D 1671.
THOMAS FAIRFAX was the eldest son of Ferdinando, Lord Fair. fax, and was born in January, 1611, at Darton in Otley, Yorkshire. He received his education at Saint John's college, Cambridge, and on leaving the university, proceeded to Holland, where he served as a volunteer, under the command of Horatio, Lord Vere. Soon after his return to England, he married the daughter of that nobleman, and became one of the most conspicuous champions of the popular party, which now began its formidable opposition to the proceedings of government. Both his wife's fainily and his own were zealously attached to the Presbyterian forms of religion, and the station which his father occupied in the country pointed him out as a fit leader in all the movements of the opposition. When the unfortunate Charles was preparing to form a guard at York, he headed the numerous multitude who petitioned the monarch on that occasion, and presented the document which contained their complaints from his saddle. On the breaking out of the war, he was appointed to a command under his father, and early displayed those talents which subsequently raised him to the highest post in the nation. The first occasion on which he distinguished himself was in an encounter at Bradford with a body of royalists, whom he compelled to retire from their station, and proceed to Leeds. At Tadcaster, where he and his father were opposed to the earls of Newcastle and Cumberland, his fortune was different, and he found it necessary to make his way to Bradford again, where he remained for a short time, and then led his troops to Leeds. Here victory declared in his favour, and this important town opened its gates to his forces on the 23d of January, 1642–3. Other successes followed this important action. He next joined his father, then retreating before the earl of Newcastle at Sherburne ; and soon after suffered two successive defeats, the one at Bramham-moor, the other upon Seacroft-moor, which he was accustomed to regard as the worst defeat he suffered throughout his career. He and his father were, however, almost equally unsuccessful in their battle with the earl of Newcastle on Adderton-moor, on the 30th of June; and soon after he was obliged, at imminent peril, to force his way through a strong force of royalists who had surrounded him in the town of Bradford. He had an equally narrow escape at Selby, where he received a shot in his left wrist while on horseback, and bleeding as he was, had to conduct his men a journey of several miles. At length, after several disasters, and a few brilliant successes, he sat down with the subsidiary troops under the earls of Leven and Manchester before York. The struggle which took place between the two parties on this occasion was long and fierce.
At Marston-moor, Fairfax commanded the right wing of the cavalry, but was driven off the field by Prince Rupert, who directed the chief of his strength against that part of the enemy. Victory, however, decided in favour of the parliamentarians, and on the 15th of July, the city of York opened its gates to the conquerors. The career of Sir Thomas was soon after this on the point of being terminated. In an attack on Helmesley castle, he received a dangerous wound in his shoulder, and had scarcely recovered from this, when. according to Whitelock, he was near being killed by a cannon-hall from Pomfret-castle, before which he was standing with Colonel Forbes. “ It came betwixt them,” says that writer, “ and the wind of it heat them both to the ground, and put out one of Colonel Forbes's ey es. and spoiled that side of his face, and yet no other hurt to Sir Thom as Fairfax.”
'Sprigge, p. 8.
The conduct he had displayed as a general, on many occasions of great difficulty, had, by this time, gained him the applause both of the army and the parliament. With the exception of himself and Cromweli
, no man of very eminent ability appeared to claim the entire confidence of the victorious party, and when it was deemed advisable to remove the earl of Essex from his post as commander-in-chief, he was appointed to that station, with Cromwell as lieutenant-general. His reception by the parliament on his arrival in London, was indicative of the estimation in which he was held by that body, and an ordinance being issued for raising a new body of forces, he was granted the privilege of choosing the officers who were to command under him. A few days after his appointment to this important station, he was nominated governor of Hull, and having been thus rewarded for his past services by the representatives of the nation, set out on his return to the scene of conflict. He reached the king's forces at Naseby, and obtained a victory, which rendered the rest of his progress comparatively easy. One town after another fell into his hands ; Leicester, Warwick, Bath, Bristol, and other places of inferior note surrendered to his army.
Exeter, after an obstinate siege, did the same, and all the western counties were thus reduced to acknowledge the authority of the parliament. Oxford was the next object of his attack, and on the 24th of June, 1646, it capitulated. After some minor triumphs, and having fully completed the expectations which the parliament had formed of his capacity, he returned to London, and was met on his approach to the city by a numerous concourse of the people, anxious to hail him as the great champion of their cause.?
It is generally believed that Cromwell, though occupying only the second station in command, exercised in reality by far the greater portion of authority ; that he was the author of the measures on which Sir Thomas Fairfax acted; and that to his influence and discretion may be ascribed much of the success which attended the progress of the army. Looking at the character of the two men, we are easily led to conclude that this is not a false statement of the case. The impetuosity of character which distinguished Sir Thomas as a commander, is rarely combined with cool judgment, and the power of careful deliberation. Had he possessed such a combination of excellencies he would have been the equal of any man of his age, and it would be next to impossible to account for the superiority which Cromwell, in a short time, openly exercised over him. Whatever share, however, Cromwell merited in the triumphs of Fairfax, it was to his own military capacity in the main, that the royalists owed their defeat. The two parties were frequently brought together in situations in which valour and conduct in the field were the chief engines by which the fate of the cause was to be determined.
As an actor, therefore, in these eventful times, Fairfax may well be regarded, if not the principal, as very little below him. The credit due to him is, however, it must be confessed, of an inferior kind. His share of the victory was won by knowing how to direct brute force; Cromwell gained his by a surpassing skill in the management of men's minds; and hence the reason not only why that subtle politician at length rose so superior to his associates, but why, independent of the consideration of his power, the character of Fairfax and the rest of the parliamentarians make se little figure in history when compared with that of the protector.
The victorious commander-in-chief remained in London till he was sent into the north to escort the unfortunate monarch to the capital. It was now that all the intelligence of the parliamentarians was needed to determine in what way their triumph should be used. The existence of a large military force was evidently inconsistent with the good order of a government, which had not strength to control its motions. There were, therefore, two parties in the nation adverse to its continuance; the one consisting of persons who earnestly desired the settlement of the nation in peace and freedom; the other of those who looked forward to the time, when the army being disbanded, they might pursue their designs in the management of the state without a check. Sir Thomas Fairfax, it is said, was far from approving the conduct of some of his associates, and had formed the intention of resigning his command; but the influence which Cromwell possessed over him prevented his taking this step, and we consequently find him engaged in the most remarkable measures taken by the military party against the parliament. In March 1647--8, he became, by the death of his father, Lord Fairfax, and was soon after actively engaged in putting down the remnants of the royalist party, which made a last desperate effort in favour of their master. The siege of Colchester cost him eleven weeks of hard fatigue, but he revenged the opposition of the garrison and citizens in a manner little creditable
to his character. Two men of rank and high honour, Sir Charles Lucas and Sir George Lisle, were ignominiously brought to a court-martial, and condemned, because they had manfully kept their posts to the last; the townspeople were oppressed with a fine of twelve thousand pounds, and no means were left unemployed to injure and insult them.
So satisfied, however, was Sir Thomas with his victory, that having made the circuit of the neighbouring counties, he returned to London in December, and took up his residence in the palace of Whitehall. The melancholy transactions which now occupied the nation, obtained a full share of his attention, and it seems that he was not far behind the most zealous of the parliamentarian leaders in their persecution of the de. throned Charles. That he stopped short of the last act which desecrated the otherwise noble triumph of liberty, appears to have been Jess owing to the moderation of his own principles, than to the good sense, the justice and humanity of his wife. It is well known, that when his name was called, as the first on the list of the king's judges, she exclaimed from a distant part of the court that he had too