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John Pym



This portrait of Pym (1584-1643) by or after Edward Bower shows Pym at a crucial point in his political career, around 1640, when he was taking the stage as a leader of the anti-Royalist faction in the House of Commons. A staunch enemy of Catholicism, he had entered Parliament in 1614, the year of his marriage to Anne Hooke. He was a key mover behind the Great Remonstrance of 1641 which listed Parliament’s grievances against the King, and the next year was among the five Members that Charles tried to have arrested after bursting in person into the Commons – a historic breach of parliamentary privilege mentioned in The Best of Men. Pym headed the Committee of Safety from July 1642 and was the architect of Parliament’s Solemn League and Covenant with Scotland. He died probably of bowel cancer in 1643 and was buried with great honours in Westminster Abbey, having built the financial and military foundations for Parliament’s eventual triumph over the Royalists. At the Restoration of Charles II in 1660, his body was exhumed, despoiled, and reburied in a common pit.


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