agony and mutilation, as an ordinary punishment; and
the friends of Laud
jested on the sufferings which were to cure the obduracy of fanatics.
‘The very genius of that nation of people,’ said Wentworth
, ‘leads them always to oppose, both civilly and ecclesiastically, all that ever authority ordains for them.’
They were provoked to the indiscretion of a complaint, and then involved in a persecution.
They were imprisoned and scourged; their noses were slit, their ears were cut off; their cheeks were marked with a red-hot brand.
But the lash, and the shears, and the glowing iron, could not destroy principles which were rooted in the soul, and which danger made it glorious to profess.
The injured party even learned to despise the mercy of their oppressors.
Four years after Prynne
had been punished for a publication, he was a second time arraigned for a like offence.
‘I thought,’ said Lord Finch, ‘that Prynne
had lost his ears already; but,’ added he, looking at the prisoner, ‘there is something left yet;’ and an officer of the court, removing the hair, displayed the mutilated organs.
‘I pray to God,’ replied Prynne
, ‘you may have ears to hear me.’
A crowd gathered round the scaffold,
where he, and Bastwick, and Burton
, were to suffer mutilation.
‘Christians,’ said Prynne
, as he presented the stumps of his ears to be grubbed out by the hangman's knife, ‘stand fast; be faithful to God and your country; or you bring on yourselves and your children perpetual slavery.’
The dungeon, the pillory.
and the scaffold, were but stages in the progress of civil liberty towards its triumph.
Yet there was a period when the ministry of Charles hoped for success.
No considerable resistance was threatened within the limits of England
; and not even