Page:Books Condemned to be Burnt - James Anson Farrer.djvu/143

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127
Book-Fires of the Restoration.

any law, usage, or custom to the contrary notwithstanding."[1]

How true a presentiment our ancestors had of the incompatibility between an hereditary chamber and popular liberty is conspicuously shown by the next book we read of as burnt; and indeed there are few more instructive historical tracts than Locke's Letter from a Person of Quality to his Friend in the Country, which was ordered to be burnt by the Privy Council; and wherein he gave an account of the debates in the Lords on a Bill "to prevent the dangers which may arise from persons disaffected to the Government," in April and May 1675. It was actually proposed by this Bill to make compulsory on all officers of Church or State, and on all members qf both Houses, an oath, not only declaring it unlawful upon any pretence to take arms against the King, but swearing to endeavour at no time the alteration of the government in Church and State. To that logical position had the Royalist spirit come within fifteen years of the Restoration; Charles II., according to Burnet, being much set on this scheme, which, says Locke, was "first hatched (as almost all the mischiefs of the world have been)

  1. Scobell's Collection of Acts, II. 8.