Nehemiah Wallington.

Historical notices of events occurring chiefly in the reign of Charles I online

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Declaration for pastimes on the Lord's day (thrust
out by his and a great prelate's practice) so he
eagerly prosecuted Master Prynne, a well-deserving
gentleman of his own profession and society (to
whom he was forrflerly a friend in appearance, but
an inveterate enemy in truth), for his Histrio-


mastix,^ compiled only out of the words and sentences
of other- approved authors of all sorts against the
use and exercise of stage plays, interludes, Morris-
dances, May-games, May-poles, wakes, lascivious
mixed dancing, and other Ethnic* pastimes, con-
demned in all ages, without any thought or suspicion
of giving the least offence, either to the King's
most excellent Majesty, the Queen, or State, as he
averred in his answer upon oath. And, although
this book was written four years, licensed almost
three, printed fully of a quarter of a year, and pub-
lished six weeks before the Queen's Majesty's
pastoral, against which it was falsely voiced to have
been principally written, diligently perused and
licensed by Master Thomas Buckner, then Arch-
bishop of Canterbury his chaplain, both before and
after it came from the press, entered in the Sta-
tioners' Hall under the warden's hands, printed
publicly in three authorized printing houses, with-
out the least control, and published by the licenser's
direction, who would have nothing new printed in
it, as appeared upon oath at the hearing, and,
although Master Noy himself (to whom he pre-
sented one of the books) upon the first reading
of it commended it, thanked him for it, oft affirmed
that he saw no hurt in it, and, at the hearing con-
fessed that the worst and most dangerous phrase
and passage in it might have a good and fair con-
struction, and scholars would, also, take it in a good

* Histriomastix ; the Players Scourge, or the Actor's Tragedy ; in
two parts. See Appendix, Note T. ^ Heathenish.



sense, yet he handled the matter so (by suppressing
the gentleman's exhibits and defence, wresting his
■words and meaning, refusing to discover the par-
ticulars of the book on which he would insist,
though ordered so to do by the court, it being else
impossible to instruct counsel how to make a reply,
and by tampering under hand with some of his
counsel by no means to make any justification or
defence to clear his innocency, though the party
earnestly entreated, and gave them instructions to
the contrary) that the poor gentleman at last re-
ceived the heaviest censure that this latter age hath
known, all circumstances considered, being expelled
the University of Oxford and Lincoln's Inn, thrust
from his profession, in which he never offended,
fined five thousand pounds to the King, ordered to
stand on two several pillories, and there to lose both
his ears, his books to be there burnt before him,
and to suffer imprisonment during life, besides.

This sentence, thought by most that heard the
cause, to be meant only in terrorem, without any
intention at all of execution, being respited for
above three months' space, and, in a manner, remitted
by the Queen's most gracious mediation, was yet
by this attorney's, and a great prelate's, impor-
tunity, beyond all expectation, few of the lords so
much as knowing of it, the gentleman hereupon is
set on the pillory at Westminster, and there lost
an ear ; Master Noy, a joyful spectator, laughs at
his sufferings, and this his great exploit he had
brought to pass, which divers there present observed


and condemned in him. The gentleman, like a
harmless lamb, took all with such patience that he
not so much as once opened his month to let fall
one word of discontent; yet that just God and
Sovereign Lord of heaven and earth, who beholded
mischief and spite to requite with his own hand,
and avengeth the innocent blood of his servants,
took this his mirth and malice so heinously, that
the same day (as some about him and of his own
society reported) he who thus shed his brother's
and companion's blood, by the just hand of Grod,
at last grew ill with this divine stroke. . . .
He, much vexed in mind, instead of repenting of
what he had done, and seeking to right the part}^
wronged for his irreparable damage, like a hart or
beast once mortally wounded, proceeds on his former
fury, seeks to bring the poor distressed gentleman
into fresh troubles and a further censure, brings him
ore tenus into the Star Chamber, reviles him with
all manner of uncivil words, moves to have him close-
prisoner among the rogues in Newgate, sells his
chamber as forfeited to the House by his expulsion,
seizeth his books, and when as the Court would not
grant his unreasonable, malicious motion, above five
weeks after in the long vacation, when most of the
lords were gone, and his Majesty in his progress,
draws up an order of his own making in Star
Chamber for the gentleman's close imprisonment
(the last order he ever made), caused the registrar
to enter it, and sends it to the Tower to be executed,
the same day he went to Tunbridge waters, with-

F 2


out the Lord's, or Court's, privity. The day fol-
lowing, drinking of those waters he was in a miser-
able torture, insomuch that, most despairing of his

life, and some reported he was dead It so

fretted and gnawed his heart and conscience, that it
made his very heart to perish, and, in about a fort-
night after, brought him to his end.

His funeral, according to his desire, was so pri-
vate that there were hardly gentlemen enough to
carry him to his grave, but some that 'came in by
accident. His clients, the players, for whom he had
done knight's service, to requite his kindness the
next Term following made him the subject of a merry
comedy styled " A Projector Lately Dead," wherein
they bring him in his lawyer's robes upon the stage,
and openly dissecting him, find a hundred proclama-
tions in his head, and bundle of old moth-eaten
records in his maw.' And, as if this public disgrace
upon the stage were not sufficient to expiate the
wronged gentleman's blood and infamy, himself in
his last wiU lays a brand on his own son and heir,
bequeathing all his goods and lands, not therein
given to others, to Edward his eldest son, to be
scattered and spent, enough to make a dutiful child
unthrift, and a sign of despairing man ; which son
of his, upon his own challenge and rashness, hath
since been slain in a duel in France by Captain
Byron, who escaped scot free, and had his pardon.

Thus hath God punished blood with blood, thus
hath He dealt with one of the chief occasi oners of

' See Rushworth's Historical Collections, part ii. vol. i. p. 213.


this declaration, and burner of that book, which
learnedly manifested the unlawfulness of the several
sorts and pastimes countenanced in it, especially on
the Lord's own sacred day, out of old and new
writers of aU sorts, and specified divers judgements
of God upon the authors, actors, and spectators of
them, not unworthy consideration in these times
of plagues and judgements.

consider this, and all other the foregoing ex-
amples, ye impious prelates, that so far forget the
Lord as still to silence, excommunicate, and perse-
cute godly ministers for not reading this Declaration
(though there be no canon, statute, law or precept
extant that requires it) to the ruin, not so much of
them, as their poor, innocent people's souls ; ye that
in these doleful days of plague and pestilence suppress
and neglect aU public fasting, preaching, praying,
which now, if ever, shoidd be cried up and prac-
tised, and instead thereof, give yourselves over to
dancing, feasting, playing. Sabbath-breaking, te
draw down more wrath and plagues upon us ; you,
who oppress and maliciously persecute godly men
for crossing you in your delights of sin, lest you
now perish, as these have done, and so much the
rather, because you have all these precedents to
admonish you.

One of the actors whereof, and he who first
shewed Mr. Prynne's book to the King, within a few
months came to be his feUow-prisoner in the Tower
for a real commentary on his misapplied text.

The judge who, upon his reference, suppressed


these exhibits, contrary to law and promise to the
gentleman, was himself not long after unexpectedly
thrust out of his place, before he knew of it.

The great lord that began this censure lost his
lady in childbed some three days after, who much
grieved at this sentence, and blamed him for it ;
which lord, riding the last Christmas-tide into the
country to keep his Qliristmas on the Lord's day,
his coach and honor in the plain street at Srentford
were both overturned and laid in the dirt, himself
sore bruised, and thereupon forced to keep his
chamber a good space, there being some doubt of his
recovery for a time. — Psal. x. 14.

In the year 1638,' one Master Olden, dwelling
in the parish of EichmanswortJi, in Hertfordshire,
he meeting one Master Anderson, a godly minister,
he salutes him in a scoffing manner, and desires
him to go and see his brother (which was a
minister, and would be glad to see him) and tells
him withal he must observe these things : first,
he must lay aside his preciseness, for his brother
was no Puritan ; secondly, he must lay aside his
unconformity, for his brother is a conformable man ;
thirdly, he must lay aside the Scriptures, for his
brother was for the Fathers. This Mr. OMen was
a most bitter enemy to aU Grod's children, for he
did say when he did come to be churchwarden, he
would make the Puritans to come up the middle
alley on their knees unto the rails ; then, afterward,
when he came to be churchwarden, he caused the
rails to be set up, and then the people were forced


to come up to the rails. Some refusing, were
persecuted ; one George Eve, going out of the parish
because of the superstitious things, he, informing
against him at the Court, put him to much trouble,
and he said he would inform Dr. Lamb of him and
others, and that he would in a few days have a
crucifix in the chancel. At the time of the speaking
of some of these words, he and another (as I am
told) went to drink, and having drunk sixteen
quarts of wine, and thus going to London, before he
could come into the Court against them that he had
threatened, he died suddenly in a most fearful man-
ner, being very much swelled, like one that had been
poisoned, that the doctors and surgeons could not
teU what was the cause.

In the year 1637 those three worthy servants of
God, Doctor Bastwick, Mr. Burton, and Mr. Prynne,
suffered persecution as on the 14th of June in the
Star Chamber, having most heavy censure, and
afterwards executed upon them, being set on the
piUory, and their ears cut off close to their head,
to the shedding of much of their blood, and then
banished and sent out of the land from their wives
and children to three several places, as namely, the
castles of Carnarvon, Cornwall, and Lancaster.

In May 1639 there was a going to war against
the Scots, and at Newcastle there was a common
soldier that said he would not return till this hand
(of his) had plucked out the heart's blood of a Scot,
and presently his arm was struck lame, and he- was
in such grievous pain aU night that the next day


he went to a surgeon, and the surgeon asked him
how his arm came so. And he said he knew not,
except God was angry with him for saying he would
not return till this hand had plucked out the heart's
blood of a Scot, and so God did strike him lame.

Thus you have seen many heavy judgements of
God upon those that hate and persecute the children
of God, and many more you may see if you read in
the Book of Martyrs, and in other books of many
men of great reckoning, and worthy by their worldly
proceedings. But, having fallen to butchering, and
bathing their hands, or rather, their hearts, in the
blood of God's saints and servants, have not only
lost their former deserved praises and worldly repu-
tation, but, after their cruelty against Christians,
died most fearfully.



Ceetain Special and Most Material Passages and Speeches
IN" THE Star Chamber.

A Brief Belation of certain Special and Most Material
Passages and Speeches in the Star Chamber, occasioned
and delivered in June the 14ft, 1637, at the Censure of
those three worthy Gentlemen, Doctor Bastwick, Master
BuETON", and Master Petnne, as it hath heen truly and
faithfully gathered from their own mouths ly one present
at the said Censure}

Between eight and nine o'clock in the morning
(the 14th of June) the Lords being set in their
places in the said Court of Star Chamber, and cast-
ing their eyes upon the prisoners then at the bar,
Sir John Finch (Chief Justice of the Common Pleas)
began to speak after this manner — " I had thought
Mr. Prynne had no ears, but methinks he hath
ears," which caused many of the Lords to make
stricter view of him, and, for their better satisfaction,
the usher of the Court was commanded to turn np
his hair and shew his ears, upon the sight whereof
the Lords were displeased they had been formerly
no more cut off, and cast out some disgraceful words
of him.

' This is the copy of a 4to. pamphlet, pp. 28, bearing the same title,
printed in the year 1638, and reprinted iB \ii6 HarUian Miscellany,
Tol. iv. p. 12.


To which Mr. Prynne replied, " My Lords, there
is never a one of your Honours but would be sorry
to have your ears as mine are."

The Lord Keeper replied again, " In good faith he
is somewhat saucy."

" I hope," said Mr. Prynne, " your Honours will
not be offended ; I pray God give you ears to hear."

" The business of the day," said the Lord Keeper,
" is to proceed on the prisoners at the bar."

Mr. Prynne then humbly desired the Court to
give him leave to make a motion or two ; which,
being granted, he moves.

First, that their Honours would be pleased .to
accept of a cross Bill against the Prelates, signed
with their own hands, being that which stands with
the justice of the Court which he humbly craved,
and so tendered it.

Lord Keeper. — As for your cross Bill, it is not
the business of the day. Hereafter if the Court
shall see it just cause, and that it savours not of
libelling, we may accept of it : for my part I have
not seen it, but have heard somewhat of it.

Prynne. — I hope your Honours will not refuse
it, seeing it is on his Majesty's behalf; we are his
Majesty's subjects, and therefore require the justice
of the Court.

Lord Keeper. — But this is not the business of
the day.

Prynne. — Why then, my Lords, I have a second
motion, which I humbly pray your Honours to
grant, which is, that your Lordships will be pleased


to dismiss the prelates here now sitting, from having
any voice in the censure of this cause, being generally-
known to be adversaries, as being no ways agreeable
to equity or reason, that they who are our adversa-
ries should be our judges. Therefore we humbly
crave they may be expunged out of the Court.

Lord Keeper. — In good faith it's a sweet motion,
is it not ? Herein you are become libellous, and if
you should thus libel all the Lords and Eeverent
Judges, as you do the most Eeverent Prelates by
this your Plea, you would have none to pass
sentence upon you for your libelhng, because they
are parties.

Prynne. — Under correction, my Lord, this doth
not hold ; your Honour need not put for a certainty,
which is uncertainty ; we have nothing' to say to any
of your Honours, but only to the Prelates.

Lord Keeper. — " Well, proceed to the business of
the day, read the information ; " — which was read ;
being very large, and these Pive Books annexed there-
unto, a book of Doctor Bastvjick's written in Latin ; ^
the second, a little book entitled 'News from
Ipswich ;' the third entitled 'A Divine Tragedy,
recording God's fearful judgements on Sabbath-
breakers ; ' the fourth, Mr. Burtoris book entitled
' An Apology of an Appeal to the King's most Ex- ,
cellent Majesty, with two Sermons for God and the
King, preached on the first of November last ;' the
fifth and last, Dr. BastwicKs ' Litany.'

" ' Apologeticus ad prjesules Anglicanos criminum ecclesiasticorum in
curia celsse Commissionis Qiisesitores, authore Johanne Bastwick, M.D.'


The King's Counsel (being five) took each of them
a several book, and descanted there at the Bar upon
them according to their pleasure. Master Attorney
began first with Doctor BastwicTcs Latin Books,
picking out here and there particular conclusions
that best served for his own ends (as did the other
Counsel out of the four other books) to the great
abuse of the Authors, as themselves there immedi-
ately complained, entreating them to read the fore-
going grounds upon which the said conclusions
depended, without which they could not understand
the true meaning of them.

Next unto the Attorney, Serjeant Whitfield falls
upon Reverend Mr. Burtoris books, who vented much
bitterness against that unreproveable book (as all
that read it with an honest heart may clearly per-
ceive) swearing, " In good faith, my Lords, there is
never a page in this book but deserves a heavier and
a deeper censure than this Court can lay upon him."

Next followed A. B., who in like manner des-
canted upon the 'News from Ipswich,' charging
it to be fuU of pernicious lies, and especially vindi-
cating the honour of Matthew Wren, Bishop of
Norwich, as being a learned, pious, and Reverend
Father of the Church.^

In the fourth place follows Mr. Littleton, the
King's Solicitor, who acts his part upon the ' Divine
Tragedy.' To which part of it " Concerning God's
Judgements on Sabbath Breakers " he had httle to say,
but only put it off with a scoff, saying that they sat

* See Appendix, Note U.


in the seat of God, who judged those accidents which
fell out upon persons, suddenly stricken, to be the
judgement of God for Sabbath-breaking, or words to
the like effect ; but enlarged himself upon that pas-
sage which reflected upon that late learned Professor
of his law, and his Majesty's faithful servant, Mr.
William Noy, his Majesty's late Attorney, who, as
he said, was most shamefully abused by a slander
laid upon him, which was, that it should be reported
that God's judgement fell upon him for so eagerly
persecuting that innocent person, Mr. Prynne. . . ,

" But the truth of this, my Lord, you shall find to
be as probable as the rest, for we have here three or
four gentlemen to come in to testify upon oath that
he had that long before ; " and thereupon made a
shew as if he would call for them in before the Lords
to witness the truth hereof (with these words, " Make
room for the gentlemen to come in there "), but no
one witness was seen to appear, which was a pretty
delusion, and worth all your observations that read
it. And so concluded, (as the rest) that this book
also deserved a heavy and deep censure.

Lastly follows Mir. Robert, whose descant was
upon Dr. Bastwich's 'Litany,' picking out one or
two passages therein, and so drawing thence his
conclusion, that, jointly with the rest, it deserved
a heavy censure.

The King's Counsel having all spoken what they
could, the Lord Keeper said to the prisoners at the
Bar : — " You hear, gentlemen, wherewith you are
charged, and now, lest you should say you cannot


have liberty to speak for yourselves, the Court gives
you leave to speak what you can, with these condi-
tions, First, that you speak within the bounds of
modesty ; secondly, that your speeches be not libel-

They all three (prisoners) answered, they hoped
so to order their speech as to be free from any
immodest or libellous speaking.

Lord Keeper. — Then speak, in God's name, and
shew cause why the Court should not proceed in
censure (as taking the cause pro confesso) against you.

Prynne. — My honourable good Lord^ such a day
of the month there came a subpoena from your
Honours to enter my appearance in this Court,
which, being entered, I took forth a copy of the
information which, being taken, I was. to draw my
Answer, which I endeavoured to do, but being shut
up close prisoner, I was deserted of all means by
which I should have done it, for I was no sooner
served with the subpoena, but I was shortly after
shut up close prisoner, with a suspension of pen,
ink, and paper, which close imprisonment did eat
up such a deal of my time that I was hindered the
bringing in of my Answer ; you did assign me
Counsel, it is true, but they neglected to come to
me, and I could not come to them, being under lock
and key. Then upon motion in Court ye gave me
liberty to go to them, but then presently after that
motion (I know not for what cause nor upon whose
command) I was shut up again ; and then I could
not compel my Counsel to come to me, and my time


was short, and I had neither pen, nor ink, nor
servant to do anything for me, for my servant was
then also kept close prisoner, under a pursuivant's
hands ; this was to put impossibilities upon me.
Then upon a second motion for pen and ink (which
was granted me) I drew up some instructions, and
in a fortnight's time sent forty sheets to my Counsel.
Suddenly after I drew up forty sheets more, and
sent to them. My Lord, I did nothing but by the
advice of my Counsel, by whom I was ruled in the
drawing up of aU my Answers, and paid him twice
for drawing it, and some of my Counsel would have
set their hands to it. Here is my Answer, I
tender it upon my oath, which your Lordships can-
not deny with the justice of the Court.

Lord Keeper. — We can give you a precedent
that this Court hath proceeded and taken a cause
pro confesso for not putting in an Answer in six
days. You have had a great deal of favour shewed
in affording you longer time, and therefore the
Court is free from all calumny or aspersion for
rejecting your Answer not signed with the Counsel's

Prynne. — Rut one word or two, my Lords, I
desire your Honours to hear me ; I put a case in
law that is often pleaded before your Lordships,
one man is bound to bring in two witnesses, if
both or one of them fail, that he cannot bring them
in, doth the law, my Lords, make it the man's act ?
You assigned me two counsellors ; one of them
failed ; I cannot compel him, here he is now


before you ; let Mm speak if I have not used all my
endeavours to have had him sign it (which my
other Counsel would not have done, if this would
have set his hand to it with him) and to have put
it in long since.

Counsel. — My Lord, there was so long time
spent ere I could do anything after I was assigned
his Counsel, that it was impossible his Answer could
be drawn up in so short a time as was allotted, for,
after long expectation, seeing he came not to me, I
went to him, where I found him close prisoner, so
that I could not have access to him, whereupon I
motioned to the Lieutenant of the Tower to have
free liberty of speech with him concerning his
Answer, which being granted me. I found him very
willing and desirous to have it drawn up ; where-
upon I did move the Court for pen and ink and
paper, which was granted me, the which he no
sooner had gotten but he set himself to draw up
instructions, and in a short time sent me forty sheets,
and soon after I received forty sheets more, but I
found the Answer so long, and of such a nature, that
I durst not set my hand to it for fear of giving your
Honours distaste.

Mr. Prynne. — My Lord, I did nothing but ac-
cording to the direction of my Counsel, only I
speak mine own words, my Answer was drawn up
by his consent, it was his own act, and he did
approve of it, and if he will be so base a coward to
do that in private which he dares not acknowledge
in public, I wiU not let such a sin lie on my con-


science ; let it rest with Kim. Here is my Answer,
which though it be not signed with their hands, yet
here I tender, it upon my oath, which you cannot in
justice deny.

Lord Keeper. — But, Mr. Prynne, the Court de-
sires no such long Answer ; are you guilty or not

Prynne. — My good Lord, I am to answer in a
defensive way. Is here any one that can witness
against me? Let him come in. The law of Grod
standeth thus, That a man is not to be -condemned
but under the mouth of two or three witnesses.

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Online LibraryNehemiah WallingtonHistorical notices of events occurring chiefly in the reign of Charles I → online text (page 8 of 23)