Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Walker, Clement

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WALKER, CLEMENT (d. 1651), author of the 'History of Independency,' was born at Cliffe in Dorset, and is said to have been educated at Christ Church, Oxford, but his name does not appear in the matriculation register (Wood, Athenae Oxonienses, iii. 291). In 1611 he became a student of the Middle Temple, being described as son and heir of Thomas Walker, esq., of Westminster (Foster, Alumni Oxonienses, iii. 1556). Before the civil war began Walker was made usher of the exchequer, an office which he held till February 1650 (The Case between C. Walker, Esq., and Humphrey Edwards, 1650, fol.; The Case of Mrs. Mary Walker, 1650, fol.) Walker had an estate at Charterhouse, near Wells, and was reputed to be an enemy to puritans; but on the outbreak of the war he espoused the parliamentary cause, and on 1 April 1643 became a member of the parliamentary committee for Somerset (Husband, Ordinances, 1646, p. 20). He was advocate to the court-martial which condemned Yeomans and Bourchier for seeking to betray Bristol to Prince Rupert, and was at first a strong supporter of Colonel Nathaniel Fiennes as governor of that city (Wood, iii. 292; The two State Martyrs, 1643, p. 11; Seyer, Memoirs of Bristol, ii. 330, 348, 374-9). After the surrender of Bristol by Fiennes to Prince Rupert, Walker became his most bitter enemy, co-operated with Prynne in publishing pamphlets against him, and finally secured his condemnation by a court-martial. One of these pamphlets ('An Answer to Colonel N. Fiennes's Relation concerning his Surrender of Bristol') was complained of by Lord Say to the House of Lords on the around that it impugned his reputation. Walker was consequently arrested, brought before the house, fined 100l., and ordered to pay 500l. damages to Lord Say. He refused to make the submission that was also demanded, alleging that it was against the liberty of the subject, and that, as he was a commoner and a member of a committee appointed by the House of Commons, he ought not to be judged by the lords without being heard also by the lower house. For this contumacy he was sent to the Tower (7 Oct. 1643), but released on bail (3 Nov.) after he had petitioned the commons and caused his articles against Fiennes to be presented to them (Lord's Journals, vi. 232, 240, 247, 260, 282, 362; Common's Journals, iii. 274, 311; The true Causes of the Commitment of Mr. C. Walker to the Tower, 1643, fol.)

Walker was elected member for Wells about the close of 1645, and speedily made himself notorious by his hostility to the independents (Returns of Names of Members of Parliament, i. 493). After the triumph of the army over the presbyterians he was accused of being one of the instigators of the London riots of 20 July 1647. It was deposed to the committee of examination 'that an elderly gentleman of low stature, in a grey suit, with a little stick in his hand, came forth of the house into the lobby when the tumult was at the parliament door, and whispered some of the apprentices in the ear, and encouraged them.' Walker denied he was the man, asserting that he had lost his health and spent 7,000l. in the parliament's cause, and ought not to be suspected on so little evidence. He describes himself in his history as opposed to all factions, both presbyterians and independents, and never a member of any 'juntos' or secret meetings (History of Independency, ed. 1661, i, 63-6). In his 'Mystery of the Two Juntos,' published in 1647, he attacked with great vigour and acrimony the corruption of parliamentary government which the Long parliament's assumption of all power had produced.

In December 1648 Walker was one of the members who voted the king's concessions sufficient ground for an agreement with him, and was consequently expelled from the house by 'Pride's Purge" (6 Dec. 1648). He remained under arrest for about a month, which did not prevent him from publishing a protest against the king's trial (Old Parliamentary History, xviii. 468, 477). On the publication of the second part of his 'History of Independency' parliament ordered Walker's arrest and the seizure of his papers (24 Oct. 1649). A few days later (13 Nov.) he was committed to the Tower to be tried for high treason (Commons' Journals, vi. 312, 322; Masson, Life of Milton, iv. 121, 147; Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1649-50, p. 550). Walker was never brought to trial, but remained a prisoner in the Tower until his death in October 1651. He was buried in the church of All Hallows, Barking (Wood, iii, 292; cf. Aubrey, Lives, ed. Clark, ii. 273).

By his first wife, Frances, Walker had three sons—Thomas (b.. 1626), Anthony (b. 1629), Peter (b. 1631), born at Cliffe, Dorset (Wood, iii. 295). Another son, John, who matriculated at Lincoln College, Oxford, 8 Dec. 1658, gave Wood some particulars about his father (Foster, Alumni Oxonienses, i. 1557).

Walker was the author of: 1. 'The several Examinations and Confessions of the Treacherous Conspirators against the City of Bristol.' 1643, 4to (see Seyer, Memoirs of Bristol, ii. 397, 384, 388). 2. 'The true Causes of the Commitment of Mr. C. Walker to the Tower.' 3. 'The Petition of Clement Walker and William Prynne.' These two are folio broadsides printed in 1643. 4. 'An answer to Colonel N. Fiennes's Relation concerning the Surrender of Bristol,' 1643, 4to. 5. 'Articles of Impeachment exhibited to Parliament against Colonel N. Fiennes by C. Walker and W. Prynne,' 1643, 4to. 6. 'A true and full Relation of the Prosecution, Trial, and Condemnation of Colonel N. Fiennes,' 1644, 4to (by Prynne and Walker together). 7. 'The Mystery of the two Juntos, Presbyterian and Independent,' 1647, 4to (reprinted as a preface to the 'History of Independency'). 8. 'The History of Independency, with the Rise, Growth, and Practices of that powerful and restless Faction,' 1648, 4to (part i.) 9. 'A List of the Names of the Members of the House of Commons, observing which are Officers of the Army contrary to the Self-denying Ordinance,' 1648, 4to; subsequently incorporated in part i. of the 'History of Independency.' 10. 'A Declaration and Protestation of W. Prynne and C. Walker against the Proceedings of the General and General Council of the Army,' 1649, fol. 11. 'Six serious Queries concerning the King's Trial' (this and the preceding are both reprinted in the second part of the 'History of Independency'). 12, 'Anarchia Anglicana, or the History of Independency, the second part,' 1649, 4to. Like the first, this was published under the pseudonym of Theodorus Verax. It was answered by George Wither in 'Respuhiica Anglicana,' who alleges that the author is Verax on the title-page but not in the others. 13. 'The Case between C. Walker, Esq., and Humphrey Edwards,' 1650, fol. 14, 'The Case of Mrs. M. Walker, the wife of Clement Walker, Esq.' 15. 'The High Court of Justice, or Cromwell's New Slaughter House in England, being the third part of the "History of Independency," written by the same Author', 1651, 4to. According to Aubrey, who derived his information from one of Walker's fellow prisoners, Walker wrote a continuation of his 'History' giving an account of the king's coming to Worcester, which was unfortunately lost (Lives, ii. 273). A fourth part of the 'History' was added by a certain T. M., who published it with the preceding three parts in one volume quarto m 1661. An abridgment in Latin of part of the 'History of Independency,' entitled 'Historia Independentiæ,' is included in 'Sylloge Variorum Tractatuum,' 1649, 4to, (No. 5), and in 'Metamorphosis Anglorum,' 1653, 12mo, p. 427.

[Wood's Athenæ Oxonienses, ed. Bliss. iii. 291-4; Aubrey's Lives, ed. Clark. 1898: Hutchins's History of Dorset, ed. 1863, vol. ii. History of Independency, ed. 1891.]

C. H. F.