Page:Books Condemned to be Burnt - James Anson Farrer.djvu/116

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Books Condemned to be Burnt.

conduct as strongly as any man: He calls him "the great apostate to the Commonwealth, who must not expect to be pardoned it in this world till he be dispatched to the other." He refers very happily to his great abilities, "whereof God hath given him the use, but the devil the application." But does the critic's own memory stand much higher? Was he not the King's evil genius, who, together with the Queen, pushed him to that fatal step—the arrest of the five members? How soon Parliament acquired the evil habit of dealing by fire and the hangman with uncongenial publications is proved by the fact that in one year alone the following five leaflets or pamphlets suffered in this way:—

1. The Kentish Petition drawn up at the Maidstone Assizes by the gentry, ministry, and commonalty of Kent, praying for the preservation of episcopal government, and the settlement of religious differences by a synod of the clergy (April 17th, 1642). The petition was couched in very strong language; and Professor Gardiner is probably right in saying that it was the condemnation of this famous petition which rendered civil war inevitable.

2. A True Relation of the Proceedings of