Page:Books Condemned to be Burnt - James Anson Farrer.djvu/108

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Books Condemned to be Burnt.

judges, the bishops, and the King conspire to subject Englishmen to the tyranny of the Church!

The consequences belong to general history. Never was scheme of ecclesiastical ambition more completely shattered than Laud's; never was historical retribution more condign. Among the first acts of the Long Parliament (November 1640) was the release of Prynne and Bastwick and Burton; who were brought into the City, says Clarendon, by a crowd of some ten thousand persons, with boughs and flowers in their hands. Compensation was subsequently voted to them for the iniquitous fines imposed on them by the Star Chamber, and Prynne before long was one of the chief instruments in bringing Laud to trial and the block. But this was not before that ambitious prelate had seen the bishops deprived of their seats in the House of Lords, and the Root and Branch Bill for their abolition introduced, as well as the Star Chamber and High Commission Courts abolished This should have been enough; and it is to be regretted that his punishment went beyond this total failure of the schemes of his life.

Of the heroes of the books whose condemnation contributed so much to bring about the Revolution, only Prynne con-