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I dare say, Prynne submitted to the stitching, but it must have been additionally painful. In his prison he wrote another book denouncing his judges, telling them of their sins, and warning them in "a Divine tragedy of God's judgment against Sabbath breakers,”—and shewing they were unprincipled men, who had violated the liberties of Englishmen, and were not worthy to bear the office and dignity of judges in this fair land. He was brought out again, and subjected to the same process of trial. Too proud to deny what he had written, he repeated what he had declared ; but his answer was refused, and he was condemned as admitting the truth of the charge. His writings were denounced as seditious, schismatical, and libellous, against the hierarchy of the church, and to the scandal of the government. His doom was not this time that his ears should be cropped, but that the stumps should be sawed out, and they were sawed out; both his cheeks were branded S. L. ; he was placed on the pillory and fined five thousand pounds more. He was first sent to a dungeon in a distant castle, and thence to one of the Channel Islands.
I mentioned this eircumstance at Southampton: when on a visit I lectured there on this subject; and one of my auditors responded; “ Yes; and Prynne landed on this pier, when the Long Parliament had opened the prison doors to him and hundreds more, and the people of this town strewed the streets with flowers, and spread their garments in the way." Ten thousand pounds then for him, and ten thousand for Leighton, were as much as a million in our days to some honest men; that is, they were impossible things. When Leighton was finally brought out of his dungeon, his hair was white as the driven snow;
his eyes were dimmed with the darkness and sorrows of the dungeon added to old age; his limbs were weakened and enfeebled by cramp and rheumatism occasioned by its malaria and dampness; he was unable to stand, and so
USELESS AND CRUEL PENALTIES.
unable to see, as to require being led and upheld; he was a monument of royal cruelty and archiepiscopal malice and revenge.
In consequence of these things there was a feeling of disgust and alienation prevalent among the people, as you may easily believe. I have mentioned two instances; I suppose there are twenty on record, of men losing their ears and being otherwise maimed; the profession of law, physic, the church, or the army, was no protection against the brutal sentences of this proud prelate. I give you these merely as incidental illustrations : it would harrow your feelings too much to narrate further details of Bastwick, Burton, Lilburn, and Osbaldeston, who were tortured, degraded, and imprisoned. Perhaps I have already trenched too far on the sympathies and natural feelings of my audience.
The puritans, seeing these things, thought it was hazardous to tell all their mind on such subjects; and the consequence was,
of them were mute, though not convinced. They allowed themselves to slumber, but would not suffer their principles and hopes to expire. There were others entitled by their talents and acquirements to hold positions of eminence as instructors in the church. But, because of their opinions and principles, they were either reduced to silence or left in dungeons. Some, however, there were who, having escaped punishment, fought the battle of liberty in an obscure way. They wrote, privately printed, and put into gratuitous circulation satirical and controversial pamphlets, which were designated Libels : and were, under the sense of wrong, given forth as their omens of revenge. Oh, let this be remembered ! Under a sense of wrong, they were discharging their sharpest weapons : was it wonderful if they should sometimes wound as with a poisoned arrow, and shoot their missiles under the cloud of night, or in the hour of confidence; and reach and reduce the power of their adversaries when they had convenient opportunity ; if they could not enlighten their judgment and awaken their consciences ?
It would have been a wise thing to allow these men to occupy the most prominent position in the church ; for if that had not silenced them and it was likely to do 80—it would, at all events, have given them a legitimate opportunity of expressing their opinions, and affording an index to their thoughts. Persecution is an insidious and subtle element in the minds of the community. They worked quietly; they proceeded successfully; they leavened the minds of their people. Even Archbishop Laud gives proof of his own folly, and the exasperation of the sufferers. There were wealthy and titled gentlemen in the country, who entertained, under pretence of teaching their children, the keenest wits and the most learned scholars; who were waging this literary warfare. Even beneficed clergymen found shelter in the houses of the rich laity as refugees from oppression, and occupied their retirement as in a workshop, furbishing their armour and fitting their instruments for the pending conflict. These were mansion-houses of liberty, surrounded with invisible protection. The shop of war had not more anvils and hammers working to fashion out the plates and panoplies of armed justice, than there were pens and heads, in defence of beleaguered truth occupied by their studious lamps, musing, searching, revolving new notions and ideas, by which they might do homage and fealty to the approaching reformation; or eagerly reading, comparing, and trying all things, and assenting to the force of reason and conscience. “Martin mar-prelate,” “Diotrephes," and other puritanic productions preceded “Smectymnus," “Histrio-mastix,” and their company. But the populace, who were not capable of writing, were willing to be employed; and expressed their sympathy with the sufferers,
PROGRESS OF DISCONTENT.
and their hostility to the prelatic persecutor, by dispersing about town the “libels” which more able men printed and supplied. The archbishop himself has recorded in his diary some of these admonitory effusions; significant as they were of public feeling. “My lord mayor sent me a libel found by the watch at the south gate of St. Pauls, that the devil had left that house to me.
Two days after, he writes, “ Another libel was brought me by an officer of the high commission, fastened to the north gate of St. Pauls, that the government of the church of Eng. land is a candle in a snuff, going out in a stench.' “The same night the lord mayor sent me another libel, hanged upon the standard in Cheapside, which was my speech in the Star Chamber set in the pillory.” “ A few days after, another short libel was sent me in verse.”
The prelate tried to brave a nation's wrath, and to quench the light and liberty of a generous people in vain. His associates, as well as himself, saw the coming storm, and were made to quail before its terrors, as they were afterwards swept away in its whirlwind and tempest.
Charles I. found it necessary to convene parliament. He saw that Hampden's principles were acceptable to the nation; that he was making himself odious by the maintenance of his arbitrary measures of prerogative; and he summoned a parliament. That parliament remembered what took place in former parliaments, and therefore passed a resolution that it would not submit to any ordinance from the king for its dissolution, until it had selected, discussed, removed, redressed all the grievances of the people. That resolution gave origin to the name of the Long Parliament, which had first assembled in the year 1640. In the House of Commons were such men
as Colonel Hutchinson, Oliver Cromwell, Sir Harry Vane, Sir Harry Vane, jun., Sir John Hotham, Sir B. Rudyard, Sir E. Deering, Bulstrode Whitlock, Oliver St. John, John Hampden, John
Selden, John Pym, and Mr. F. Rous.
These were the men that had been taught by the puritan tutors of whom I have spoken; and when they came to parliament, they entered with a knowledge most extensive and minute of the feelings of the people. Some tell you, in the reproaches cast upon one of these men, that he was brewer's son. If he were, he well knew what brewer's children thought. They stigmatise these men, and say they were conventicle men, and could not speak but through their noses, and had such odd names in their families. They have used terms concerning these men, as if their names smacked of the conventicle; whereas, in fact, many of them never entered a con
onventicie; it was from the scriptures they borrowed this phraseology; and because they loved that book more than any other book, their language came naturally from it. Revilers talk of the Barebones Parliament: they might as well talk of the Sheepskanks Community. The puritans received their names without any option of their own. The Barebones family was a very pious family, and the good father thought he should distinguish his children by religious titles. It was customary, in the Hebrew commonwealth, to give names, such as Ebenezer, significant of God's interposition. So there was Praise-god Barebones. This might, doubtless, be carried to extravagance or to an excess incongenial to the idiom of the English language; as it was in the case of a brother of “ Praise-god;" who was named by a sentence; which was, “If Jesus Christ had not come, all the world would have been damned Barebones." We laugh or shudder at this; but it was from the piety of the people ; and though the latter man's name was contracted, and he was sometimes called “damned barebones," it was not his fault. It was the practice, and, perhaps, perverse or fanatical custom of the nation; but do not let us cast the reflection or the sarcasm upon the puritans or the dissenters.