Page:Books Condemned to be Burnt - James Anson Farrer.djvu/106

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Books Condemned to be Burnt.

passed a decree, with a view to prevent English books from being printed abroad, that in addition to the compulsory licensing of all English books by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Bishop of London, or the University Chancellors, no books should be imported from abroad for sale without a catalogue of them being first sent to the Archbishop of Canterbury or Bishop of London, who, by their chaplains or others, were to superintend the unlading of such packages of books. The only merit of this decree is that it led Milton to write his Areopagitica, The Puritan belief that Laud aimed at the restoration of Popery has long since been proved erroneous. One of his bad dreams recorded in his Diary is that of his reconciliation with the Church of Rome; but there is abundant proof that he and his faction aimed at a spiritual and intellectual tyranny which would in no wise have been preferable to that of Rome. And of all Laud's dreams, surely that of the Archbishop of Canterbury exercising a perpetual dictatorship over English literature is not the least absurd and grotesque.

Moreover, in August of this very same year Laud made another move in the direction of ecclesiastical tyranny. Bastwick and his party had contended, not