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PYM, John "King" [1584-1643] -- English statesman and Parliamentary leader

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King Pym
Revolutionist, The

Called "King Pym" and "The Revolutionist", depending on which side you asked. He entered Broadgates Hall (now Pembroke College), Oxford, in 1599, and became a member of Parliament for Calne in 1614. He was one of the managers of Buckingham's impeachment in 1626, and advocated the Petition of Right in 1628. His authority began in the Short Parliament. In the Long Parliament he assisted in impeaching Strafford and Laud. He was one of the "five members" whose arrest was attempted by Charles I on 4 January, 1642. NCCN

Backed by a force of several hundred swordsmen, Charles went down to the House of Commons and entered, seeking the arrest of Pym and four others. This was the very first time that any monarch had set foot in the Chamber, and the members were amazed -- and sore afraid. Looking out over the quaking assembly, he observed "I see that the birds are flown." The "birds" had received warning in time to make good their escape.

Churchill calls Pym the "heart and soul of the Roundhead war", and says of him:

[Pym] remains the most famous of the old Parliamentarians, and the man who more than any other saved England from absolute monarchy and set her upon the path she has since pursued.

[Leopold von] Ranke [the German historian and founder of the modern school of history] pays a high tribute to Pym. "He possessed," he says, "talents created for times of revolution, capable at once of shaking and destroying existing institutions and of establishing new ones, as resolute in passing great measures as in devising small means: audacious in his projects, but practical in executing them, at once active an unyielding, bold and prudent, systematic and pliant, full of thought for his friends, devoid of all considerations for those against whose rights he was battling. In Pym there is something of Siyè and of Mirabeau: He is one of the greatest revolutionary leaders known to history." [WSC, A History of the English Speaking Peoples, II:246, emphasis mine]

Pym's death from cancer in December 1643 was a serious setback for the Parliamentarians. Had he lived, he would almost certainly have been named Lord Protector in Cromwell's place.  -30-
 

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