Page:Books Condemned to be Burnt - James Anson Farrer.djvu/170

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154
Books Condemned to be Burnt.


And they who for no crime shall on thy brows appear,
Bear less reproach than they who placed them there."

The State-trap of the Law, however, long survived Defoe's hymn to it, and was unworthily employed against many another great Englishman before its abolition. That event was delayed till the first year of Queen Victoria's reign; the House of Lords defending it, as it defended all other abuses of our old penal code, when the Commons in 1815 passed a Bill for its abolition.

About the same time, Parliament ordered to be burnt by the hangman a pamphlet against the Test, which one John Humphrey, an aged Nonconformist minister, had written and circulated among the members of Parliament.[1] There seems to be no record of the pamphlet's name; and I only guess it may be a work entitled, A Draught for a National Church accommodation, whereby the subjects of North and South Britain, however different in their judgments concerning Episcopacy and Presbytery, may yet be united (1709). For, to suggest union or compromise or reconciliation between parties is generally to court persecution from both.

  1. Wilson's Defoe, iii. 52.