Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 08.djvu/10

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Burton
Burton
6

Peter Heylyn wrote a 'Briefe Answer' to Burton's sermons. In prison Burton was soon joined by William Prynne and John Bastwick, a parishioner [q. v.], who had also written 'libellous books against the hierarchy,' and the three were proceeded against in the Star-chamber (11 March) and included in a common indictment. An attempt was indeed made on 6 June to get the judges to treat the publications of Bastwick and Burton (he had added to his offence by publishing, from his prison, 'An Apology for an Appeale,' 1636, 4to, consisting of epistles to the king, the judges, and 'the true-hearted nobility') as presenting a primâ facie case of treason, but this fell to the ground. The defendants prepared answers to the indictment, but it was necessary that these should be signed by two counsel. No counsel could be found who would risk the odium of this office, and the defendants applied in vain to have their own signatures accepted, according to ancient precedents. Burton was the only one who got at length the signature of a counsel, one Holt, an aged bencher of Gray's Inn, and Holt, finding he was to be alone, drew back, until the court agreed to accept his single signature. Burton's answer, thus made regular, lay in court about three weeks, when on 19 May the attorney-general, denouncing it as scandalous, referred it to the chief justices, Sir John Bramston and Sir John Finch. They made short work of it, striking out sixty-four sheets, and leaving no more than six lines at the beginning and twenty-four at the end. Thus mutilated, Burton, would not own it; he was not allowed to frame a new answer, and on 2 June it was ordered that he, like the rest, should be proceeded against pro confesso. Sentence was passed on 14 June, the defendants crying out for justice, and vainly demanding that they should not be condemned without examination of their answers. Burton, when interrogated as to his plea by the lord keeper (Baron Coventry), briefly and with dignity defended his position, maintaining that 'a minister hath a larger liberty than always to go in a mild strain,' but his defence was stopped. He was condemned to be deprived of his benefice, to be degraded from the ministry and from his academical degrees, to be fined 5,000l., to be set in the pillory at Westminster and his ears to be cut off, and to be perpetually imprisoned in Lancaster Castle, without access of his wife or any friends, or use of pen, ink, and paper. For this sentence Laud gave the court his 'hearty thanks.' Burton's parishioners signed a petition to the king for his pardon; the two who presented it were instantly committed to prison. Burton took his punishment with enthusiastic fortitude. 'All the while I stood in the pillory,' he says, 'I thought myself to be in heaven and in a state of glory and triumph.' His address to the mob ran: 'I never was in such a pulpit before. Little do you know what fruit God is able to produce from this dry tree. Through these holes God can bring light to his church.' His ears were pared so close, says Fuller, that the temporal artery was cut. When his wounds were healed, and he was conveyed northward on 28 July, fully 100,000 people lined the road at Highgate to take leave of him. His wife followed in a coach, and 500 'loving friends' on horseback accompanied him as far as St. Albans. The whole journey to Lancaster, reached on 3 Aug., resembled a triumphal progress rather than the convoy of a criminal. Laud (see his letter to Wentworth on 28 Aug.) was very angry about it. At Lancaster, Burton was confined in 'a vast desolate room,' without furniture; if a fire was lighted, the place was filled with smoke; the spaces between the planks of the floor made it dangerous to walk, and underneath was a dark chamber in which were immured five witches, who kept up 'a hellish noise' night and day. The allowance for diet was not paid. Dr. Augustine Wildbore, vicar of Lancaster, kept a watchful eye over Burton's reading, to see that the order confining him to the bible, prayer-book, and 'such other canonical books' as were of sound church principles, was strictly obeyed. Many sympathisers came about the place, and, notwithstanding all precautions, Clarendon says that papers emanating from Burton were circulated in London. A pamphlet giving an account of his censure in the Star-chamber was published in 1637. Accordingly on 1 Nov. he was sent, by way of Preston and Liverpool, to Guernsey, where he arrived on 15 Dec., and was shut up in a stifling cell at Castle-Cornet. Here he had no books but his bibles in Hebrew, Greek, Latin, and French, and an ecclesiastical history in Greek, but he contrived to get pen, ink, and paper, and wrote two treatises, which however were not printed. His wife was not allowed to see him, though his only daughter died during his imprisonment. On 7 Nov. 1640 his wife presented a petition to the House of Commons for his release, and on 10 Nov. the house ordered him to be forthwith sent for to London. The order arrived at Guernsey on Sunday, 15 Nov.; Burton embarked on the 21st. At Dartmouth, on the 22nd, he met Prynne, and their journey to London was again a triumphal progress. Ten thousand people escorted them from Charing Cross to the