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Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 46.djvu/445

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Prynne
Prynne
433

In an appendix to John Bastwick's 'Flagellum Pontificis,' and, in 'A Breviate of the Bishops' intolerable Usurpations,' he attacked prelates in general (1635). An anonymous attack on Wren, bishop of Norwich, entitled 'News from Ipswich' (1636), brought him again before the Star-chamber. On 14 June 1637 Prynne was sentenced once more to a fine of 5,000l, to imprisonment for life, and to lose the rest of his ears. At the proposal of Chief-justice Finch he was also to be branded on the cheeks with the letters S. L., signifying 'seditious libeller' (Rushworth, iii. 380; A New Discovery of the Prelates' Tyranny, 1641; Laud, Works, vi. i. 35). Prynne was pilloried on 30 June in company with Henry Burton and John Bastwick. All bore their punishment with defiant courage. Prynne, who was handled with great barbarity by the executioner, made, as he returned to his prison, a couple of Latin verses explaining the 'S. L.' with which he was branded to mean 'Stigmata Laudis' (ib. p. 65; 'A Brief Relation of certain Passages at the Censure of Dr. Bastwick, Mr. Burton, and Mr. Prynne,' Harleian Miscellany, iv. 12). His imprisonment was henceforth much closer. He was deprived of pens and ink, and allowed no books except the Bible, the prayer-book, and some orthodox theology. To isolate him from his friends he was removed first to Carnarvon Castle (July 1637), and then to Mount Orgueil Castle in Jersey. The governor, Sir Philip Carteret, and his family treated Prynne with much kindness, which he repaid by defending Carteret's character in 1645 when the latter was accused as a malignant and a tyrant (The Liar Confounded, 1645, pp. 33- 45). He occupied his imprisonment, since he was debarred from theological controversy, by writing a verse description of his prison, meditations on rocks, seas, and gardens, a complaint of the soul against the body, and polemical epigrams against popery. Rhyme is the only poetical characteristic they possess (Mount Orgueil, or Divine and Profitable Meditations, 1641; A Pleasant Purge for a Roman Catholic, 1642).

As soon as the Long parliament assembled, Prynne's petition for redress was presented to it by his servant, John Brown. An order was immediately made for his transmission to London, and on 28 Nov. he and Burton made a triumphant entry into the city (cf. Baillie, Letters, i. 277; Clarendon, Rebellion, iii. 57). The House of Commons declared the two sentences against him illegal, restored him to his degree and to his membership of Lincoln's Inn, and voted him pecuniary reparation (April 20, 1641) (Commons' Journal, ii. 24, 123, 366; Rushworth, iv. 74). A bill for reversing the proceedings against him was introduced, but as late as October 1648 the question of his compensation was still unsettled (Commons' Journal ii. 366; vi. 65).

When the civil war broke out, Prynne became one of the leading defenders of the parliamentary cause in the press. At first he had used his freedom to prosecute his attack on episcopacy (The Antipathy of the English Lordly Prelacy both to Regal Monarchy and Civil Unity; A New Discovery of the Prelates Tyranny, 1641). He now showed that the bishops and the king's ministers had been fellow-workers in the design of introducing popery (The Popish Royal Favourite; Rome's Masterpiece, 1643 ; cf. Laud's Works, iv. 463). He proved by historical precedents that the parliament's cause was legal, that the parliament had the supreme control of the armed forces and of the great seal of the realm, and that the text 'Touch not Mine anointed' did not prohibit Christian subjects from defending themselves against their kings, but kings from oppressing their Christian subjects (A Sovereign Antidote ; Vindication of Psalm 105, ver. 15, 1642; The Sovereign Power of Parliaments and Kingdoms; The Opening of the Great Seal of England, 1643).

In 1643 Prynne became involved in the controversy which followed the surrender of Bristol by Nathaniel Fiennes [q. v.] Together with his friend Clement Walker, he presented articles of accusation against Fiennes to the House of Commons (15 Nov. 1643), managed the case for the prosecution at the court-martial, which took place in the following December, and secured the condemnation of the offending officer ( True and Full Relation of the Trial of Nathaniel Fiennes, 1644). Prynne was also one of the counsel for the parliament at the trial of Lord Maguire in February 1645 (Gilbert, Contemporary History of Affairs in Ireland, 1641-52, i. 618-639; The Subjection of all Traitors, &c. 1658).

But Prynne prosecuted Laud with even more animosity than he had pursued Fiennes. He collected and arranged evidence to prove the charges against him, bore testimony him- self in support of many of them, hunted up witnesses against the archbishop, and assisted the counsel for the prosecution in every way. A barrister remarked, 'The Archbishop is a stranger to me, but Mr. Prynne's tampering about the witnesses is so palpable and foul that I cannot but pity him and cry shame of it' (Laud, Works, iv. 51). By a refinement of malice, Prynne was specially charged with the duty of searching Laud's room in the