||John Bastwick was born at Writtle, in Essex, 1593. After an education at Cambridge, he travelled, and commenced M.D. at Padua. On his return, he became a physician at Colchester.
In 1633, he printed, in Holland, for dispersion at home, a Latin treatise
entitled Elenchus Religionis Papisticæ, with an Appendix called, Flagellum Pontificis et Episcoporum Latialium. For these books, which
were ordered to be burned, he was sentenced in the Star Chamber to
pay a fine of 1000l., to be excommunicated, debarred his practice of
physic, and imprisoned till he made a recantation.
During this imprisonment, he published Apologeticus ad Prœsules Anglicanos, and 'The New Litany.' For these he became, in 1637, a fellowsufferer with Prynne and Burton, under a cruel sentence of the Star
Chamber, which appears to have been cruelly executed; for, besides the
bloody mutilations which succeeded, the pillory was so placed, as we
learn from a spectator, that "all their faces looked southward, the bright
sun, all the while, for the space of two hours, shining upon them."
"The Lord Cottington's censure" was in these words:
"I condemn these three men to loose their eares in the Pallace-yard
at Westminster, to be fined 5,000l. a man to his Majestie: and to perpetual imprisonment in three remote places of the kingdom, namely, the castles of Carnavan, Cornwall, and Lancaster."
At "the execution of the Lords' censure," June 30, these victims
of the Court had "their way strawed," by the sympathising people
"with sweet hearbes from the house out of which they came, to the pillory, with all the honour which could be done unto them."
I here quote a scarce 4to. pamphlet, "printed in the yeere 1637," entitled "A Briefe Relation of certain speciall and most materiall Passages and Speeches in the Starre-Chamber, occasioned and delivered
June 14, 1637, at the censure of those three worthy gentlemen, Dr.
Bastwicke, Mr. Burton, and Mr. Prynne, as it hathbeen truely and faithfully gathered from their own mouthes by one present at the sayd censure.
According to this Briefe Relation, Dr. Bastwick thus addressed the
Lord Keeper (Cottington).
"My lord, here is my answer, which, if my Counsel be so base and
cowardly that they dare not signe it" (according to the forms of the
Court,) "for fear of the prelates, yet I tender it upon my oath. But if
all this will not prevail upon your Honours to peruse my bookes and heare
my answer read, which here I tender upon the word and oath of a soldier, a gentleman, a scholer, and a physician, I will cloath them in Roman Buffe" (the latin language) "and disperse them throughout the
Christian world, that future generations may see the innocency of this
cause, and your Honours' unjust proceedings in it; all which 1 will do,
though it cost me my life."
November, 1640, on the meeting of the Long Parliament, when Laud's
day of reckoning was come, and that of his royal master was rapidly advancing, Dr. Bastwick was immediately released from St. Mary's Castle
in Scilly, whither he had been removed from Cornwall, and where "his wife was not permited to have any access to him, nor even suffered to set
foot in the island."
He landed at Dover, Dec. 4," was loaded with presents, and received
every where with acclamations of joy," being "met by great crowds of
Londoners, with boughs and flowers in their hands." Feb. 21, the proceedings against him were voted illegal, and the sentence was reversed.
It was proposed, for reparation of his losses, that he should receive 5000l.
out of the estates of Laud and the other Commissioners. This was never
paid; and in 1644 and 1648, his case appears to have come before the
House. Dr. Bastwick is supposed to have died at Colchester, but the
year is uncertain. See Brit. Biog. iv. 274. Biog. Brit. (1778) i. 680–
Dr. Bastwick, according to Lord Clarendon, was, in 1642, engaged in
military service, and in that capacity taken prisoner at Leicester, by
King Charles. History, i. 697. According to Whitlock (p. 107), in 1644,
"Dr. Bastwick was exchanged for Colonel Huddlestone."