he made a long disclosure about Godfrey's death before the Earl of Shaftesbury and three other members of the secrecy committee. Next day, before the king and the privy council, he accused three men employed at Somerset House and two priests of murdering Godfrey at Somerset House, and declared that he had kept watch while the crime was being perpetrated. On 29 Dec. he was privately interrogated by the king at the house of Mr. Chiffinch; on the same afternoon he informed the council that the whole of his story was false, and he persisted in his recantation next day. He was thereupon sent back to his dungeon at Newgate and treated with great cruelty. On 12 Jan. 1679 he renewed his allegiance to his original statement.
Following the example of Oates, he now dictated to his keeper, Boyce, ‘A True Narrative and Discovery’ of Godfrey's murder, which appeared early in 1679. The discrepancies between this narrative and Bedloe's deposition are glaring; nevertheless, the combined evidence of the two informers sufficed to obtain the conviction of the three men employed at Somerset House—Green, Hill, and Berry (5 Feb. 1679). On 13 June 1679 Prance gave minor evidence in support of Bedloe and Dugdale against the two jesuits Harcourt and Fenwick, and on 10 Jan. 1680 he obtained 50l. from the exchequer ‘in respect of his services about the plott’ (Ackerman, Secret-service Money under Charles II, p. 28). During the rest of that year he proved himself a most assiduous supporter of Oates; and, by publishing his sworn depositions to prove that Sir Roger L'Estrange [q. v.] was a papist, helped Oates to temporarily discredit a most formidable opponent. On 15 June 1686 he pleaded guilty to perjury at the king's bench, and declared his repentance, upon which he was sentenced to pay a fine of 100l., to be pilloried and whipped. The last part of his sentence was remitted. He afterwards made a confession in writing, attributing his perjuries to ‘fear and cowardice,’ and in December 1688 he thought it best to seek refuge abroad. He was, however, captured off Gravesend, along with some other papists, on the hoy Asia, bound for Dunkirk, and was sent up by the mayor of Gravesend for examination by the House of Lords. No proceedings were taken, and it is probable that he ultimately found employment among his co-religionists on the continent.
[The evidence as to Prance's career is very contradictory, as may be seen by comparing Eachard's Hist. of England, ii. 504–9, 513–14, 564, 807, and Ralph's Hist. of England with Burnet's Own Time and Oldmixon's History. Cf. also Luttrell's Brief Hist. Narration, i. passim; Cobbett's State Trials, vol. vii.; House of Lords MSS. (Hist. MSS. Comm. 12th Rep. App. vi. 61–2); Sir W. Fitzherbert's MSS. (Hist. MSS. Comm. 13th Rep. App. vi. 14–16, 154–8); Rapin's Hist. 1703, ii. 702–3; Lingard's Hist. of England, ix. 192; Pictorial Hist. of England, iii. 724; Twelve Bad Men, ed. Seccombe, p. 120; Bagford Ballads, ed. Ebsworth, ii. 679 sq.; Willis Bund's Selections from the State Trials, ii. 615; Stevens's Cat. of Satirical Prints. See articles Godfrey, Sir Edmund Berry; L'Estrange, Sir Roger; and Oates, Titus.]
PRATT, ANNE, afterwards Mrs. Pearless (1806–1893), botanist, born on 5 Dec. 1806 in Strood, Kent, was the second of three daughters of Robert Pratt (1777–1819), a wholesale grocer of that town, by his wife, Sarah Bundock (1780–1845), of Huguenot descent. Her childhood and youth were passed at Chatham, whither her father had removed, and she was educated by Mrs. Roffey at the Eastgate House school, Rochester. Her delicate health rendering her unfit for active pursuits, she devoted herself to literary study. A Scottish friend, Dr. Dods, undertook to teach her botany, and she soon became an ardent student. Aided by her elder sister, who collected for her, she formed an extensive herbarium, and supplemented her collection by making sketches of the specimens. The drawings afterwards formed illustrations for her books.
She left Chatham in 1846, and went to reside with friends at Brixton and other places, but subsequently settled at Dover in 1849. There she wrote her principal work, ‘The Flowering Plants and Ferns of Great Britain.’ Other changes of residence followed.
On 4 Dec. 1866 she was married to John Pearless of East Grinstead, Sussex. She resided there for two and a half years. They settled for some years at Redhill, Surrey. She died on 27 July 1893 at Rylett Road, Shepherd's Bush, London.
Although her works were written in popular style, they were fairly accurate, and were instrumental in spreading a knowledge and love of botany, and were at one time acknowledged by a grant from the civil list. They were:
- ‘The Field, the Garden, and the Woodland. … By a Lady,’ 16mo, London, 1838; 3rd edit. 12mo, London (Knight's monthly volume), 1847.
- ‘Flowers and their Associations,’ 8vo, London, 1840; 2nd edit. (Knight's weekly volume), 1846.
- ‘Dawnings of Genius, or the Early Lives of some Eminent Persons of the Last Century,’ 8vo, London, 1841.
- ‘The Pictorial Catechism of Botany,’ 16mo, London, 1842.
- ‘The Excellent Woman, as described in