Arrested Development

William prynne lived in troubled times. in 1637, when the Puritan preacher was convicted of seditious libel for his Taliban-like rantings, England was mired in political and social unrest; the Civil War was only five years away. With no police force, crime was so wildly out of control that the death penalty was routine - by the end of the 17th century it was prescribed for more than 150 offenses. Prynne got off lightly: he was fined 5,000, had both ears cut off, and was branded on his cheeks with the letters S and L. But for all its...

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