Page:Books Condemned to be Burnt - James Anson Farrer.djvu/162

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Books Condemned to be Burnt.

was elected member for Enniscorthy, for which place however he only sat four days, being expelled for his pamphlet on October 10th, 1703. Shortly afterwards Asgill became member for Bramber, in Sussex, but this seat, too, he lost in 1707 for the same reason, the English House, like the Irish, though not by a unanimous vote, condemning his book to the flames. AsgilFs debts caused him apparently to spend the rest of his days in the comparative peace of the Fleet prison.

Coleridge says there is no genuine Saxon English better than Asgill's, and that his irony is often finer than Swift's. At all events, his burnt work—the labour of seven years—is very dreary reading, relieved however by such occasional good sayings as "It is much easier to make a creed than to believe it after it is made," or "Custom itself, without a reason for it, is an argument only for fools." Asgill's defence before the House of Commons shows that a very strained interpretation was placed upon the passages that gave offence. Let it suffice, to quote one: "Stare at me as long as you will, I am sure that neither my physiognomy, sins, nor misfortune can make me so unlikely to be translated as my Redeemer was to