Page:Books Condemned to be Burnt - James Anson Farrer.djvu/15

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xi
Preface.

in a woman to be drawn and burned; the idea of which latter punishment seems to have been handed down to us by the ancient Druids, which condemned a woman to be burnt for murdering her husband, and it is now the usual punishment for all sorts of treasons committed by those of the female sex." Not a suspicion seems to have crossed the great jurists mind that the supposed barbarity of the Druids was not altogether a conclusive justification for the barbarity of his own contemporaries. So let us take warning from his example, and let the history of our practice of book burning serve to help us to keep our minds open with regard to anomalies which may still exist amongst us, descended from as suspicious an origin, and as little supported by reason.