Page:Books Condemned to be Burnt - James Anson Farrer.djvu/137

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Book-Fires of the Restoration.

"God has graciously delivered you, the first of nations, from the two greatest miseries of this life, and most pernicious to virtue, tyranny, and superstition; He has endued you with greatness of mind to be the first of mankind, who, after having conquered their own king, and having had him delivered into their hands, have not scrupled to condemn him judicially, and pursuant to that sentence of condemnation to put him to death. After the performing so glorious an action as this, you ought to do nothing that is mean and little, not so much as to think of, much less to do, anything but what is great and sublime."

An exhortation to virtue founded on an act of regicide! To such an issue had come the dispute concerning the Divine Right of kings; and with such diversity of opinion do different men form their judgments concerning the leading events of their time!

The House of Commons, reverting for a time to the ancient procedure in these matters, petitioned the King on June 16th, 1660, to call in these books of Goodwin and Milton, and to order them to be burnt by the common hangman: and the King so far assented as to issue a proclamation ordering all persons in possession of such books to deliver them up to their county