Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Bastwick, John

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422059Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 03 — Bastwick, John1885Alexander Balloch Grosart

BASTWICK, JOHN, M.D. (1593–1654), physician and ecclesiastical controversialist, was born at Writtle, in Essex, in 1593 (his portrait before his 'Flagellum Pontificis et Episcoporum' describing him as aged 47 in 1640). He was entered of Emmanuel College, Cambridge, on 19 May 1614, but remained there only a very short time. Leaving the university without a degree, he went 'on his travels,' and served for a time as a soldier, probably in the Dutch army. He afterwards studied medicine abroad, and took the degree of M.D. at Padua. Upon his return to England in 1623 he settled at Colchester, where he practised physic with success. But his strong puritan feeling soon led him into ecclesiastical controversy.

He was master of a fluent and classical Latin style, and in 1633-4 he published in Holland two Latin treatises the one called 'Elenchus Religionis Papisticae,' an answer to one Short, a Roman catholic, who maintained the pope's supremacy and the mass; the other called 'Flagellum Pontificis,' an argument in favour of presbyterianism. The latter came under the notice of Laud, and at his instance Bastwick was brought before the high court of commission; was convicted of a 'scandalous libel ;' was condemned to pay a fine of 1,000l. and costs, and to be imprisoned in the Gatehouse until he should 'recant his errors.' But Bastwick was not silenced. In 1636 appeared his 'Πράξεις τῶν επισκόπων, sive Apologeticus ad Praesules Anglicanos,' written in the Gatehouse against the high commission court. In 1637, abandoning Latin, he produced in vigorous English the four parts of his 'Letanie of Dr. John Bastwicke,' in which bishops were denounced as the enemies of God and the tail of the beast. For this publication he was summoned before the Star Chamber. At the same time similar proceedings were taken against Prynne for his 'Histrio-Mastix,' and Henry Burton for 'seditious sermons.' Bastwick's voluminous defence, which was published, aggravated his case. He was 'brought in' guilty, and along with his compeers sentenced to lose his ears in the pillory, to pay a fine of 5,000l., and to be imprisoned for fife. An account of the trial appears in Prynne's 'Canterburies Doome,' 1646, pp. 110-12. After the trial, Hollar published a famous portrait of Bastwick, and numberless broadsides kept his sufferings in popular memory. He bore his punishment in London with admirable fortitude, and was afterwards removed to St. Mary's Castle in Scilly. In November 1640 Bast wick was released by order of the Long parliament, and in December entered London in triumph. Reparation to the amount of the fines imposed was ordered to be made him (2 March 1640-1). In 1642 Bastwick was a captain of the Leicester trained bauds, and on 22 July was taken prisoner by the king at Leicester, and sent prisoner to York. He appears to have been soon at liberty again, and published in 1643 a 'Declaration demonstrating . . . that all malignants, whether they be prelates, &c., are enemies to God and the church.' Hollar's portrait, which was reissued with the tract, is there subscribed 'A lively portrareture of M. John Bastwick, Dr. of Physick, late captayne of a foote company.' In 1648 Bastwick published two bitter tractates against the 'Independents,' and in defence of himself against Lilburn, with whom he had formerly been intimate. He died in 1654; Richard Smith, in his 'Obituary,' gives 6 Oct. 1654 as the date of his burial. 'The Remonstrance and Humble Petition of Susanna Bastwick (the distressed widow of John Bastwick, Doctor in Physick) and her children' was published late in October 1654. It was addressed to the high court of parliament, and stated that the lords had ordered Bastwick to receive 9,000l. in all out of the royalists' estates.

[Biogr. Britannica. i. 680-3 and authorities; Fuller's Church History (bk. xi.); Clarendon's History; Whitelocke's Memorials; Collier's Ecclesiastical History, ii. 771; Rushworth's Historical Collections, i. part ii. 380 (1680); State Trials; New Discovery of the Prelates Tyranny, 1611 ; Nalson's Collections, i. 409-501 et seq. ; Gardiner's Hist. (1884), viii. ix. x.; Cat. of Prints in Brit. Mus., div. i. vol. i.]

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