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As Ken was entered at Winchester according to the date 1650-1, and as dates of the same kind will occur, I add a general explanation:
“ Previous to September 1752, the Year, in this country, commenced on the day of the Annunciation, the 25th of March.
“That part of each year is usually written agreeably to both calculations, by placing two figures at the end, as,
February 3, 164, or, 1650-1.
Without this explanation, be it remembered, many dates in Clarendon's history cannot be understood. For instance, Charles was beheaded January 30, 1648, but the previous December was not in the year 1647; the year 1648 began in the March before.
SEVENTEENTH CENTURY, FROM THE OPENING OF THE LONG PARLIAMENT 1640, TO THE DEATH OF CROM. WELL 1658 - PRESBYTERIAN DOMINATION-EPISCOPAL
CLERGY OPPRESSED PRAYER-BOOK PROSCRIBEL PRAYER-BOOK OF ISAAK WALTON, KEN'S BROTHER-INLAW-INDEPENDANTS-MILTON~CROMWELL'S DEATH.
As if religion was intended
As Ken was elected a scholar on the ancient foundation of the College of Winchester, and afterwards succeeded to a Fellowship in the kindred munificent establishment, New college, in Oxford, at a period most inauspicious to the Episcopal Church of England, before we proceed with his eventful but blameless life, we shall have a clearer understanding of many circumstances connected, if we take a view of some of the principal causes which led to the subversion, for a time, of that Church, of which Ken became afterwards so distinguished a Prelate.
The Parliament of 1640 opened with a most stern and ominous aspect on the constitution of this Church ; for the majority of the members, being rigid Presbyterians, cogently and most convincingly
argued in this manner: “There is no sin, in the sight of the Almighty, less pardonable than toleration,” for there can only be one true religion ; and that being the Presbyterian, Episcopacy, with all its ungodly geer, of square caps and surplices, with men and boys “singing anthems like hogs,"* ought to be abolished, “root and branch!”
Many circumstances had led to this feeling, which now became general, not only in Parliament, but, in some degree, through the nation.
That the Church was not sufficiently reformed from the dregs of popery, had been a topic of grievous complaint, it is well known, among a certain class, called, on that account, PURITANS, from the time of Queen Elizabeth, when the famed “ Martin Mar-Prelate," moving from place to place, set up his press of periodical invective against “Lord” Bishops !
The same feeling was now embodied more irresistibly in a Puritan Parliament, the leading members being embued with the spirit of Prynne, who, in a celebrated work called HISTRIO-MASTIX (Scourge of Players), published anno 1633, inveighed against all the abominations of the age, more especially iniquitous“ stage-plays,” “ flounced and frizzled madames,"
" "silk and satin divines;" cathedral services, which he piously designated“ not the noise of men, but rather the bleating of brute-beasts ; where choristers bellow the tenor as it were oxen!
bark a counter-point, as a kennel of dogs! roar out a treble, like a sort of Bulls !” What sort of bulls roar out a treble must be left to the reader's imagination; but, according to this unmusical
presbyter, they “ grunt out a bass, like, as it were, a NUMBER OF HOGS !”
Prynne lost his obdurate ears, by the judgment of that inquisitorial divan, the “ Star Chamber;" but, notwithstanding the loss of his ears, he “roared out” the more lustily against organs and surplices, and “ frizzled niadames !” He was banished to an island where there were no such ungodly sounds to torment him ; but the severity of the judgment, far more than his book, or Leighton's “ Sion's Plea,” operated against the Establishment. In the inquisitorial Star-Chamber, the only person who spoke a word of kindness and concern was Laud.* I mention this, because, most singular to say, the speech of Laud, on the condemnation of Prynne, has never been recorded by any historian of the times, except Rushworth, a most unexceptionable testimony.
At the second hearing of Prynne, Roy; the Attorney-general, spoke as follows:
“ I shall desire your Lordships that he (Prynne) may be in gaol, and kept close prisoner, and,” what was terrible to a writer like Prynne, “ to have —
* And yet “ Laud's taking off his cap, and giving God thanks," which has no authority, has been echoed from Neal, probably the inventor, to Godwin, and, I fear, the amiable Agar Ellis!
neither PEN or INK, nor PAPER! or to go to church!”
Archbishop of Canterbury. — “He hath undergone a heavy punishment. I confess I do not know what it is to be a close prisoner ! * I shall therefore be an humble suitor to your Lordships, that he may have the privilege to go to church !” Said Mr. Prynne, with a low voice, “ I humbly thank your Grace !”
When the Parliament met, the fullest participation in the spirit of Prynne was manifested. It was in vain that the gentlemen of the Inns of Court, as if in contempt of their lean and saturnine brother, got up a most splendid masque, and exhibited it at an enormous expense, before the Royal Lady whom it was supposed the acrid and unchivalrous castigator had in view, when he declaimed so sternly against “flounced and frizzled madames !”
But one circumstance is well worth our attention. In this masque so sumptuously got up by the gentlemen of the Inns of Court, two of the chief actors · afterwards supported far different characters in the real and sadder masque of human life. I allude to Clarendon and Whitelock, both at that time of the Inns of Court, both acting their parts in this magnificent, generous, but evanescent show. Both were afterwards most conspicuously arrayed, one on the side of Cromwell, and the other
* He “ knew" not long afterwards.—History of Bremhill. f Rushworth.