Page:Books Condemned to be Burnt - James Anson Farrer.djvu/110

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Book-Fires of the Rebellion.

WITH the beneficent Revolution that practically began with the Long Parliament in November 1640, and put an end to the Star Chamber and High Commission, it might have been hoped that a better time was about to dawn for books. But the control of thought really only passed from the Monarchical to the Presbyterian party; and if authors no longer incurred the atrocious cruelties of the Star Chamber, their works were more freely burnt at the order of Parliament than they appear to have been when the sentence to such a fate rested with the King or the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Parliament, in fact, assumed the dictatorship of literature, and exercised supreme jurisdiction over author, printer, publisher, and licenser. Either House separately, or both concurrently, assumed the exercise of this power; and, if a book were sentenced to be burnt, the hangman seems always