White, John

, a nonconformist lawyer, and commonly called, from his principal publication, Century White, was the son of Henry White of Heylan in Pembrokeshire, where he was born June 29, 1590. He was educated in grammar learning at home, and about 1607 entered of Jesus college, Oxford, and after studying there between three and four years, went to the Middle Temple, and in due time was admitted to the bar, was summer reader 17 Car. I. and at length a bencher of that society. While a barrister he was much employed by the puritans in the purchase of impropriations, which were to be given to those of their own party; for which he received such a censure in the starchamber, as served to confirm the aversion he had already conceived against the hierarchy. In 1640, he was chosen member of parliament for the borough of Southwark, joined in all the proceedings which led to the overthrow of the church, was appointed chairman of the committee for | religion, and a member of the assembly of divines. He did not however live to see the consequences of all those measures, but, as Wood says, “very unwillingly submitted to the stroke of death,” Jan. 29, 1644-5, and was buried in the Temple church. A marble stone was afterwards placed over his grave, with these lines,

Here lyeth a John, a burning shining light, His name, life, actions, were all White

Wood, who has accumulated all the party scandal of the day against White, some of which, for aught we know, may be true, informs us that two of his speeches only were published, and a pamphlet called “The Looking-glass:” but his most curious publication was that entitled “The First Century of scandalous, malignant Priests, made and admitted into benefices by the Prelates, in whose hands the ordination of ministers and government of the church hath been; or a narration of the causes for which the Parliament hath ordered the sequestration of the benefices of several ministers complained of before them, for vitiousnesse of life, errors in doctrine, contrary to the articles of our religion, and for practising and pressing superstitious innovations againt law, and for malignancy against the parliament,1643, 4to. Neal says this was published in order to “silence the clamours of the royalists, and justify the severe proceedings of the (parliamentary) committees;” but it will not be thought any very convincing justification of these committees, that, out of eight thousand clergymen whom they ejected from their livings, about an hundred might be found who deserved the punishment. And even this is a great proportion, for out of this hundred, it is evident that a considerable number suffered for what was called malig-. nancy, another name for loyalty. White promised a second century, but either was not able to find sufficient materials, or was dissuaded by his party, who did not approve of such a collection of scandal. 1

1 Ath. Ox. vol. II. Neal’s Hist, of the Puritans, and Grey’s Examination of vol. III. of that work, Walker’s Sufferings of the Clergy.