There is something magical about pamphlets and political ephemera from the era of the English Civil War. This is a really wonderful six-page tract from the run-up to the breach between King and Parliament which led to war and eventually the execution of Charles I in 1649.
John Pym was a champion of the Parliamentary cause and an opponent or arbitrary rule. He was one of the five MPs whose attempted arrest in Parliament in 1642 led directly to civil war. As you can see, this pamphlet is from the previous year - June 1641 to be precise.
Pym here addresses his demands to Charles, calling for the King to disband his army, give his assent to disputed bills and to remove Catholics from the queen's retinue. It also calls for the king to guarantee the safety of Pym and his family.
John Pym died in 1643, probably from cancer, and didn't see the full depths of the turmoil into which the nation plunged.
This has just become, by a short head, the oldest item in my pamphlet collection. John Pym was a Parliamentarian and an intense irritant to both James I and his son Charles I. He was first elected to Parliament in 1614 and was returned to what became known as the 'Long' Parliament in November 1640. He became known as the principal Parliamentary opponent of the King, not least by his public accusations against one of the King's favourites, the Earl of Strafford.
In this speech delivered on 26 November 1640, Pym declared of the Earl, who was facing charges of treason:
If this Treason had taken effect, our soules had been inthralled to the spirituall Tyranny of Satan; our Consciences to the Ecclesiastical Tyranny of the Pope; our Lives, our Persons and Estates, to the Civill Tyranny of an arbitrary, unlimited, confused Government.
And Pym went on:
The Law of this Kingdome makes the King to bee the fountaine of Justice, of peace, of protection, therefore we say, the Kings Courts, the Kings Judges, the Kings Lawes: the Royall Power and Majestie shines upon us in every publique blessing and benefit we enjoy: but the Author of this Treason would make him the fountaine of Injustice, of confusion, or publique misery and Calamatie.
Charles eventually broke his pledge to his friend and agreed to sign Strafford's death warrant. He was executed on Tower Hill on 12 May 1641.
The following year, Pym was one of five Parliamentarians who the King sought to arrest inside Parliament - the event which sparked the civil war and eventually the King's beheading.
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