Page:Books Condemned to be Burnt - James Anson Farrer.djvu/141

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125
Book-Fires of the Restoration.

petition to the King, condemned to be burnt as "treasonable parchment writings":

1. "The Act for erecting a High Court of Justice for the trial of Charles I."

2. "The Act declaring and constituting the people of England a Commonwealth."

3. "The Act for subscribing the Engagement."

4. "The Act for renouncing and dis-annulling the title of Charles Stuart" (September 1656).

5. "The Act for the security of the Lord Protector's person and continuance of the Nation in peace and safety" (September 1656).

Three of these were burnt at Westminster and two at the Exchange. Pepys, beholding the latter sight from a balcony, was led to moralise on the mutability of human opinion. The strange thing is that, when these Acts were burnt, the Act for the abolition of the House of Lords (1649) appears to have escaped condemnation. For its intrinsic interest, I here insert the words of the old parchment:—

"The Commons of England assembled in Parliament, finding by too long experience that the House of Lords is useless and dangerous to the people of