Page:Books Condemned to be Burnt - James Anson Farrer.djvu/187

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171
Our Last Book-Fires.

which complete the record of British works thus associated with the memory of the hangman.

After the beginning of the Long Parliament, the House of Commons constituted itself the chief book-burning authority; but the House of Lords also, of its own motion, occasionally ordered the burning of offensive literary productions. Thus, on March 29th, 1642, they sentenced John Bond, for forging a letter purporting to be addressed to Charles I. at York from the Queen in Holland, to stand in the pillory at Westminster Hall door and in Cheapside, with a paper on his head inscribed with " A contriver of false and scandalous libels," the said letter to be called in and burnt near him as he stood there.

On December 18th, 1667, they sentenced William Carr, for dispersing scandalous papers against Lord Gerrard, of Brandon, to a fine of £1000 to the King, and imprisonment in the Fleet, and ordered the said papers to be burnt. On March 17th, 1697, a sentence of burning was voted by them against a libel called Mr. Bertie's Case, with some Remarks on the Judgment Given Therein.

Sometimes they thought in this way to safeguard not merely truth in general, or the honour of their House, but also the