Page:Books Condemned to be Burnt - James Anson Farrer.djvu/197

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181
Our Last Book-Fires.

follows: "The infamous fellacy of this whole sentence is apparent to all mankind; for it is known that the King of Prussia did not barely approve, but absolutely dictated as conqueror, every article of the terms of peace. No advantage of any kind has accrued to that magnanimous prince from our negotiation; but he was basely deserted by the Scottish Prime Minister of England" (Lord Bute). And, after all, that truth was on the side of Wilkes rather than of the King is the verdict of history.

The House of Lords, soon after its un-constitutional attack upon popular liberties in the case of Wilkes, showed itself as suddenly enamoured of them a few months later, when Timothy Brecknock, a hack writer, published his Droit le Roy, or a Digest of the Rights and Prerogatives of the Imperial Crown of Great Britain (February 1764). Timothy, like Cowell in James I.'s time, favoured extreme monarchical pretensions, so much to the offence of the defenders of the people's rights, that they voted it "a false, malicious, and traitorous libel, inconsistent with the principles of the Revolution to which we owe the present happy establishment, and an audacious insult upon His Majesty, whose paternal care has been