Pym, John

Pym, John

(pĭm), 1583?–1643, English statesman. A Puritan opposed equally to Roman Catholicism and to Arminianism in the Anglican church, Pym early became prominent in the parliamentary opposition to Charles ICharles I,
1600–1649, king of England, Scotland, and Ireland (1625–49), second son of James I and Anne of Denmark. Early Life

He became heir to the throne on the death of his older brother Henry in 1612 and was made prince of Wales in 1616.
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. He organized the impeachment (1626) of George Villiers, 1st duke of Buckingham, and the passage (1628) of the Petition of Right. In the 11-year interval between Parliaments (1629–40), he supported the colonizing ventures of the Providence Island Company in the West Indies. Pym was the unquestioned leader of the House of Commons in the events leading up to the English civil warEnglish civil war,
1642–48, the conflict between King Charles I of England and a large body of his subjects, generally called the "parliamentarians," that culminated in the defeat and execution of the king and the establishment of a republican commonwealth.
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. His long speech in the Short Parliament (1640) listing popular grievances resulted in the dissolution of that Parliament. Resuming the attack in the Long Parliament (1640), he initiated the prosecution of Thomas Wentworth, earl of Strafford, and of Archbishop Laud; urged the abolition of the courts of high commission and the Star Chamber; proposed the abolition of episcopacy; and played a major role in drafting the Grand Remonstrance (1641). Pym was one of the five members of Commons whom Charles tried to remove (1642) by military arrest. After the outbreak (1642) of the civil war, Pym organized various taxation reforms for Parliament and imposed the first English excise duties. His last important act was the arrangement of an alliance with the Scots, based on English acceptance of the Solemn League and Covenant (1643; see CovenantersCovenanters
, in Scottish history, groups of Presbyterians bound by oath to sustain each other in the defense of their religion. The first formal Covenant was signed in 1557, signaling the beginning of the Protestant effort to seize power in Scotland.
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See biography by J. H. Hexter (1941); study by W. W. MacDonald (1981).

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Pym, John


Born circa 1584 in Brymore, Somersetshire; died Dec. 8, 1643, in London. English politician. One of the principal leaders of the Parliamentary opposition on the eve and during the first period of the English Civil War.

First elected to Parliament in 1614, Pym was one of the authors of the Petition of Right. He was the most brilliant representative of the allied bloc of the gentry and the bourgeoisie, and his role and influence increased significantly with the convocation of the Long Parliament in November 1640. Pym acted as the chief accuser at the trial of the Earl of Strafford, held in March and April 1641. Charles I’s attempt in January 1642 to arrest Pym, J. Hampden, and other leaders of the opposition met with failure. With the king’s departure for the north, Parliament appointed Pym chairman of a special parliamentary committee, formed in September 1641, which was a de facto provisional government. On Sept. 25, 1643, Pym concluded the Solemn League and Covenant, a treaty of alliance with the Scottish Presbyterians.


Wingfield-Stratford, E. D. S. King Charles and King Pym. London, 1949.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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Significantly, his best letters were written to people who were primarily fellow writers rather than friends: e.g., Douglas Dunn, Barbara Pym, John Betjeman.