Nonfiction > Henry Craik, ed. > English Prose > Vol. II. Sixteenth Century to the Restoration
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Henry Craik, ed.  English Prose.  1916.
Vol. II. Sixteenth Century to the Restoration
 
Strafford
By Thomas May (1594/5–1650)
 
From The History of the Long Parliament

BUT now a greater actor is brought upon the stage, Thomas Wentworth, Earl of Strafford, Lieutenant of Ireland, a man too great to be let escape; no sooner accused but surprised, and secured for a trial.
  1
  Which trial of his, if we consider all things—the high nature of the charge against him; the pompous circumstances and stately manner of the trial itself; the time that it lasted; the preciousness of that time so consumed; and, lastly, of what moment and consequence the success of it must prove—I may safely say, that no subject in England, and probably in Europe, ever had the like.  2
  So great it was, that we can hardly call it the trial of Strafford only; the king’s affections toward his people and parliament, the future success of this parliament, and the hopes of three kingdoms depending on it, were all tried when Strafford was arraigned.  3
  Many subjects in Europe have played louder parts upon the theatre of the world, but none left it with greater noise; nor was the matter of his accusation confined within one realm; three whole kingdoms were his accusers, and eagerly sought, in one death, a recompense of all their sufferings; that we may say of his case, as Claudian says of Ruffinus,
        Offensis Ruffinum divide terris. 1
  4
  Within ten days after the parliament began, the Earl of Strafford, newly returned from the north, was sitting in the House of Lords; when master Pymme, an ancient gentleman, of great experience in parliamentary affairs, and no less known fidelity to his country, came up to the Lords, and, in the name of all the Commons of England, accused Thomas Earl of Strafford, Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, of high treason; and desired their lordships that he might be sequestered from parliament and forthwith committed to prison; as also to let them know that the Commons, within very few days, would resort to their lordships with the particular articles and grounds of this accusation.  5
 
Note 1. Offensis Ruffinum divide terris = Divide Ruffinus amongst all the lands he has offended. [back]
 
 
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