Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Parker, Henry (1604-1652)

PARKER, HENRY (1604–1652), political writer, the fourth son of Sir Nicholas Parker of Ratton in the parish of Willington, Sussex, by his third wife, Catharine, daughter of Sir John Temple of Stow, Buckinghamshire, was born in Sussex, probably at Ratton, in 1604. Matriculating from St. Edmund Hall, Oxford, on 3 Feb. 1622, he graduated B.A. on 9 Feb. 1625, M.A. on 25 June 1628, and was called to the bar at Lincoln's Inn in 1637. On the outbreak of the civil war he sided with the presbyterians, but he afterwards became an independent (Wood). In 1642 he was appointed secretary to the army under Robert Devereux, third earl of Essex [q. v.] In November 1643 he petitioned the House of Commons for the sequestered registrarship of the prerogative office, but he failed to obtain the office until 1649, when it was conferred upon him jointly with Michael Oldisworth [q. v.] On 26 June 1645 Parker and John Sadler were appointed secretaries to the House of Commons, to prepare a declaration ‘upon the breach of the late treaty at Uxbridge,’ and such other declarations as should be entrusted to their care by the house (Journals of the House of Commons, iv. 187). Transcripts of the letters and papers taken at Naseby were sent to them on 30 June (ib. p. 190). On 7 July they were joined by Thomas May [q. v.] (ib. p. 200). They published shortly afterwards ‘The King's Cabinet opened.’ On 23 Jan. 1645–6 Parker was voted the sum of 100l. for the pains he had taken ‘in the service and by the command of the parliament,’ and on 7 Feb. following 50l. for bringing the news of the surrender of Chester (Journals of the House of Lords, viii. 121, 147). Parker now became secretary to the Merchant Adventurers' Company at Hamburg, where he mainly resided during the next three years. Returning to England about May 1649, he obtained the registrarship of the prerogative office, shortly afterwards became secretary to the army in Ireland, and, on Cromwell's departure, secretary to the commissioners of parliament appointed to assist Ireton. He died in Ireland at the end of 1652. After his death, his wife, Jane Parker, by whom he had two children, Henry and Anne, petitioned the council of state for payment of the arrears due to him for his services in Ireland, and in October 1653 the registrarship of the prerogative office was settled on her and Oldisworth.

Parker was a very prolific writer. He published, among other pamphlets: 1. ‘The Case of Ship Mony briefly discoursed, according to the grounds of law, policy, and conscience,’ &c., 1640, 8vo. 2. ‘A Discourse concerning Puritans,’ &c., 1641, 4to; attributed also to John Ley [q. v.] 3. ‘The Question concerning the Divine Right of Episcopacie truly stated,’ 1641, 4to. 4. ‘The Altar Dispute: or a Discourse concerning the severall Innovations of the Altar,’ &c., London, 1641, 8vo. 5. ‘The Danger to England, observed upon its deserting the … Parliament,’ &c., 1642, 4to. 6. ‘The Manifold Miseries of Civill Warre and Discord,’ &c., 1642, 4to. 7. ‘Observations upon some of His Majesties late Answers and Expresses’ [1642], 4to; answered by Sir Dudley Digges, John Jones, and others. 8. ‘A Petition or Declaration humbly desired to be presented to the view of his … Majestie … shewing the great danger … if either his Majestie or his people desert … the … Parliament,’ 1642, 4to. 9. ‘Some few Observations upon his Majesties late Answer to the Declaration or Remonstrance of the Lords and Commons of the 19. of May, 1642’ [1642], 4to. 10. ‘The Generall Junto or the Councell of Union, chosen equally out of England, Scotland, and Ireland, for the better compacting of three nations into one monarchy,’ &c., London, 1642, fol. 11. ‘An Abstract of part of the Declaration issued by Charles I, 30 July 1643; with additions and comments,’ 1643, 4to. 12. ‘A Political Catechism, or certain questions concerning the Government of this Land, answered in his Majesties own words,’ &c., London, 1643, 4to. 13. ‘Jus Populi: or a discourse wherein clear satisfaction is given as well concerning the right of subjects as the right of princes,’ &c., 1644, 4to. 14. ‘Jus Regum: or a vindication of the Regall Power … occasioned by … some passages in the Archbishop of Canterburies last speech,’ 1645, 4to. 15. ‘The Irish Massacre: or a true narrative of the unparallel'd cruelties exercised in Ireland,’ &c. [1646], 4to. 16. ‘The Trojan Horse of the Presbyteriall Government unbowelled,’ 1646, 4to. 17. ‘The True Grounds of Ecclesiasticall Regiment: set forth in a briefe dissertation,’ 1646, 4to. 18. ‘Severall Poysonous and Sedicious Papers of Mr. David Jenkins answered,’ London, 1647, 8vo. 19. ‘The Cordiall of Mr. David Jenkins: or his Reply to H. P., Barrister of Lincolnes-Inne, answered,’ London, 1647, 8vo. 20. ‘Of a Free Trade: a discourse seriously recommending to our Nation the wonderfull benefits of trade, especially of a rightly governed and ordered trade,’ &c., London, 1648, 4to. 21. ‘The True Portraiture of the Kings of England; drawn from their Titles, Successions, Raigns, and Ends,’ &c., London, 1650, 4to. Republished in ‘Somers Tracts,’ vol. vi. 1809, &c., 4to. In the epistle dedicatory Parker states that the author of this pamphlet, when it came ‘casually’ into his hands, was unknown to him, but he was induced to publish it because it ‘invites the reader not to precepts but precedents, not to disputable but to visible politicks.’ 22. ‘Scotland's Holy War … Also an answer to a paper, entituled Some Considerations in relation to the Act of 2 Jan. 1649 [O.S.] for subscribing the engagement,’ London, 1651, 4to. 23. ‘The Chief Affairs of Ireland truly communicated,’ &c., 1651, 4to.

[Cal. of Dom. State Papers (Charles I), diii. 62, dx. 79, (1649) i. 16, 94, ii. 45, iii. 36, (1653) xxxii. 46, xli. 74, xlii. 4, (1654), lxxi. 50; Cal. of the Committee for Advance of Money (1642–56), pp. 215, 216, 687, 688, 689; Hist. MSS. Comm. 5th Rep. p. 298, 6th Rep. pp. 95, 97, 7th Rep. p. 449; Walker's Hist. of Independency, pt. ii. p. 199; Wood's Athenæ Oxon. (Bliss); Horsfield's Sussex, i. 289; Halkett and Laing's Dict. of Anonymous Lit. passim; Foster's Alumni Oxon. (1500–1714), p. 1114; Lady Verney's Memoirs of the Verney Family, ii. 211.]

W. A. S. H.