Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 46.djvu/444

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Prynne
Prynne
432

tical economy to the university of Cambridge for the use of the professor.

Pryme published the following:

  1. 'Poematia numismatibus annuis dignata a.d. 1801-1802.'
  2. 'Syllabus of a Course of Lectures on Political Economy,' 8vo, Cambridge, 1816 (with new editions in subsequent years).
  3. 'Counter-protest of a Layman, in reply to the Protest of Archdeacon Thomas against the formation of an Association at Bath in aid of the Church Missionary Society,' 8vo, Cambridge, 1818.
  4. 'Ode to Trinity College,' 8vo, London, 1822.
  5. 'Letter to the Freemen and Inhabitants of the Town of Cambridge on the state of the Borough,' 8vo, Cambridge, 1823.
  6. 'Memoir of the Life of D. Sykes,' 8vo, Wakefield, 1834.
  7. 'Jephthah and other Poems,' 12mo, London, 1838.
  8. 'Autobiographic Recollections of George Pryme,' 8vo, Cambridge, 1870, edited by his daughter, Mrs. Alicia Bayne.

[Pryme's Recollections, 1870; Cooper's Annals of Cambridge, vol. iv.; University Graduati; private information.]

J. W. C-k.


PRYNNE, WILLIAM (1600–1669), puritan pamphleteer, born at Swanswick or Swainswick in Somerset in 1600, was the son of Thomas Prynne by his second wife, Marie Sherston. His family is said to have been originally derived from Shropshire; his great grandfather was sheriff of Bristol in 1549; his father farmed the lands of Oriel College at Swanswick. Prynne was educated at Bath grammar school, and matriculated from Oriel College, Oxford, on 24 April 1618. He graduated B.A. on 22 Jan. 1621, was admitted a student of Lincoln's Inn in the same year, and was called to the bar in 1628 (Foster, Alumni Oxon. 1500-1714, iii. 1217; Peach, History of Swanswick, 1890, pp. 36, 48). With law Prynne combined from the first the study of theology and ecclesiastical antiquities. His training had been puritanical, and, according to Wood, he was confirmed in his militant puritanism by the in- fluence of Dr. John Preston (1587-1628) [q. v.], who was then lecturer at Lincoln's Inn (Athenæ, iii. 845). In 1627 he published his first book, a theological treatise entitled ' The Perpetuity of a Regenerate Man's Estate,' followed in the next three years by three others attacking Arminianism and its teachers. In the preface to one of them he appealed to parliament to suppress anything written against calvinistic doctrine and to force the clergy to subscribe the conclusion of the synod of Dort (A Brief Survey of Mr. Cozens his cozening Devotions; Gardiner, Great Civil War, ii. 14). At the same time Prynne took in hand the task of reforming the manners of the age, and attacked its fashions and its follies as if they were vices. After proving that the custom of drinking healths was sinful, he demonstrated that for men to wear their hair long was 'unseemly and unlawful unto Christians,' while it was 'mannish, unnatural, impudent, and unchristian ' for women to cut it short (Health's Sickness. The Unloveliness of Lovelocks, 1628).

About 1624 Prynne had commenced a book against stage-plays, on 31 May 1630 he obtained a license to print it, and about November 1632 it was published. The 'Histriomastix ' is a volume of over a thousand pages, showing that plays were unlawful, incentives to immorality, and condemned by the scriptures, the fathers, modern Christian writers, and the wisest of the heathen philosophers (for an analysis see Ward, English Dramatic Literature, ii. 413). Unluckily for the author, the queen and her ladies, in January 1633, took part in the performance of Walter Montagu's 'Shepherd's Paradise.' A passage in the index reflecting on the character of female actors in general was construed as an aspersion on the queen. Similarly, passages which attacked the spectators of plays and magistrates who failed to suppress them, pointed by references to Nero and other tyrants, were taken as attacks upon the king. The attorney-general, Noy, instituted proceedings against Prynne in the Star-chamber. After a year's imprisonment in the Tower (1 Feb. 1633), he was sentenced (17 Feb. 1634) to be imprisoned during life, to be fined 5,000l., to be expelled from Lincoln's Inn, to be deprived of his degree by the university of Oxford, and to lose both his ears in the pillory. Prynne was pilloried on 7 May and 10 May, and degraded from his degree on 29 April (Rushworth, ii. 220, 247; State Trials, iii. 586; Laud, Works, vi. i. 234). On 11 June he addressed to Archbishop Laud, whom he regarded as his chief persecutor, a letter charging him with illegality and injustice. Laud handed the letter to the attorney-general as material for a new prosecution, but when Prynne was required to own his handwriting, he contrived to get hold of the letter and tore it to pieces (Documents relating to William Prynne, pp. 32-57; Laud, Works, iii. 221; Gardiner, History of England, vii. 327-34). Even in the Tower Prynne contrived to write, and poured forth anonymous tracts against episcopacy and against the 'Book of Sports.' In one, 'A Divine Tragedy lately acted, or a Collection of sundry memorable Examples of God's Judgment upon Sabbath-breakers,' he introduced Noy's recent death as a warning.