The Diary of Thomas Burton: 9 February 1656-7

Pages 372-374

Diary of Thomas Burton Esq: Volume 1, July 1653 - April 1657. Originally published by H Colburn, London, 1828.

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Monday, February 9, 1656–7. (fn. 1)

The remonstrance and humble petition of Susannah Bastwick, a distressed widow, the relict of John Bastwick, doctor of physic, (fn. 2) in the behalf of herself and her four children, was this day read.

Ordered, that this Petition be referred to a Committee, to examine the matters contained in the Petition, and to consider of sonic effectual way for relief and satisfaction of the Petitioners, and to report their opinion to the House. (fn. 3)


  • 1. On the preceding sitting, Feb. 7, there had been introduced a great number of private, and especially naturalization Bills. "That day," says Whitlock, was "appointed for the reading of private Bills in favour of me, the present Speaker." Memorials (1732) p. 654.
  • 2. 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– 683. 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."
  • 3. This day the trial of Miles Sindercom, alias Fish, came on before a jury at the Upper Bench, when he was convicted and sentenced to be "hanged on the gallows till he be half dead, and then to be cut down, and his intrailes and bowells taken out, and burnt in his own sight." On Feb. 3, the Attorney-general had been directed to prosecute; and, on the 5th, the Grand Jury found the bill, nem. con.