Page:Books Condemned to be Burnt - James Anson Farrer.djvu/202

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Books Condemned to be Burnt.

with antecedent probability; but, inasmuch as there is no such record in the Commons' Journals, the probability must remain that Captain Valentine Blake, M.P. for Galway, who, in a letter to the Times of February 14th, 1846, appears to have been the first to assert the fact, erroneously identified the fate of Hutchinson's anonymous work with the then received version of the fate of the work of Molyneux. The rarity of the first edition of the Commercial Restraints may well enough accord with other methods of suppression than burning.

The Present Crisis, therefore, of 1775, must retain the distinction of having been the last book to be condemned to the public fire; and with it a practice which can appeal for its descent to classical Greece and Rome passed at last out of fashion and favour, without any actual legislative abolition. When, in 1795, the great stir was made by Reeve's Thoughts on English Government, Sheridan's proposal to have it burnt met with little approval, and it escaped with only a censure. Reeve, president of an association against Republicans and Levellers, like Cowell and Brecknock before him, gave offence by the extreme claims he made for the English monarch. The relation between