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Prynne
Prynne
435

it imposed (A Legal Vindication of the Liberties of England against all Illegal Taxes and Pretended Acts of Parliament, 1649). According to Wood, he had judiciously conveyed his property to a relative first. The government retaliated by imprisoning him for nearly three years without a trial. On 30 June 1650 he was arrested and confined, first in Dunster Castle and afterwards in Taunton (12 June 1651) and Pendennis Castles (27 June 1651). He was finally offered his liberty on giving security to the amount of 1,000l. that he would henceforward do nothing against the government; but, refusing with his usual indomitable courage to make any promise, was released unconditionally on 18 Feb. 1653 (Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1652- 1653, p. 172; A New Discovery of Free State Tyranny, 1655). On his release Prynne returned to pamphleteering with fresh vigour, but assailed the government less directly than before. He exposed the machinations of the papists, showed the danger of quakerism, vindicated the rights of patrons against the triers, and discussed the right limits of the Sabbath (A Brief polemical Dissertation concerning the Lords Day Sabbath, 1655; The Quakers Unmasked, 1655; A New Discovery of some Romish Emissaries, 1656). The proposal to readmit the Jews inspired him with a pamphlet against the scheme, which contains materials of value for the history of that race in England (A Short Demurrer to the Jews long-discontinued Remitters into England, 1656). The offer of the crown to Cromwell by the ' petition and advice' suggested a parallel between Cromwell and Richard III, who had also been petitioned to accept the English crown (King Richard the Third Revived, 1657). Similarly, when the Protector set up a House of Lords, Prynne expanded the tract in defence of their rights which he had published in 1648 into an historical treatise of five hundred pages (A Plea for the Lords, 1658).

All these writings, however, attracted little attention, and it was not till after the fall of Richard Cromwell that he regained the popular ear. As soon as the Long parliament was re-established, Prynne got together a few of the members excluded by 'Pride's purge' and endeavoured to take his place in the house. On 7 May he was kept back by the guards, but on 9 May he managed to get in, and kept his seat there for a whole sitting. Haslerig and Vane threatened him, but Prynne told them he had as good right there as either, and had suffered more for the rights of parliament than any of them. They could only get rid of him by adjourning the house, and forcibly keeping him out when it reassembled (A True and Perfect Narrative of what was done by Mr. Prynne, &c. , 1659; Old Parliamentary History, xxi. 384). On 27 Dec., when the parliament was again restored after its interruption by Lambert, Prynne and his friends made a fresh attempt to enter, but were once more excluded (ib. xxii. 29; Brief Narrative how divers Members of the House of Commons were again shut out, 1660). From May 1659 to February 1660 he never ceased publishing tracts on the case of the 'secluded members' and attacks on the Rump and the army. Marchamont Nedham, Henry Stubbe, John Rogers, and others printed serious answers to his arguments, while obscure libellers ridiculed him as 'an indefatigable and impertinent scribbler' (The Character or Earmark of Mr. W. Prynne, 1659 ; A Petition of the Peaceable and well-affected People of the three Nations, &c.; Wood, Athenæ, iii. 853). Still his pamphlets roused popular opinion in favour of the 'secluded members,' and on 21 Feb. 1660 Monck ordered the guards of the house to readmit them. Prynne, girt with an old basket-hilted sword, marched in at their head amid the cheers of the spectators in Westminster Hall, but as he entered the house his 'long sword got between Sir William Waller's short legs and threw him down, which caused laughter' (Pepys, Diary, 21 Feb.; Aubrey, Letters from the Bodleian Library, ii. 509). The house appointed him to the pleasant task of expunging the votes against the secluded members, and charged him to bring in a bill for the dissolution of the Long parliament (Commons' Journals, vii. 847, 848, 852). In the debate on the bill Prynne asserted the rights of Charles II with the greatest boldness, and claimed that the writs should be issued in his name. 'I think he may be styled the Cato of this age,' wrote an admiring royalist (Carte, Original Letters, ii. 312; Clarendon State Papers, iii. 696). He also helped to forward the Restoration by accelerating the passing of the Militia Bill, which placed the control of the forces in the hands of the king's friends (Ludlow, Memoirs, ed. 1894, ii. 248). A letter which he addressed to Charles II shows that he was personally thanked by the king for his services (Notes and Queries, 8th ser. viii. 361).

When the Convention parliament was summoned, Prynne was returned both for Ludgershall and Bath, but sat for the latter place, and presented an address from it to Charles II on 16 June 1660 (Bathonia Rediviva). No member of the Convention was more bitter against the regicides and the supporters of