Page:Books Condemned to be Burnt - James Anson Farrer.djvu/24

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Books Condemned to be Burnt.

famous martyrs of free thought, Dolet, Servetus, and Tyndale. All the works, which Dolet wrote or printed, were burnt as heretical by the Parlement of Paris (February 14th, 1543), and himself hanged and burnt three years later (August 3rd, 1546), at the age of thirty-seven. The reason seems chiefly to have been Dolet's unsparing exposure of the immoralities of monks and priests, and of the plan of the Sorbonne to put down the art of printing in France. In Peignot is preserved a long list of the names of the works to the publication of which he lent his aid.

The burning of Servetus, the Parisian doctor, at Geneva (October 27th, 1553), because his opinions on the Trinity did not agree with Calvin's, is of course the greatest blot on the memory of Calvin. All his books or manuscripts were burnt with him or elsewhere, so that his works are among the rarest of bibliographical treasures, and his Christanismi Restitutio (1553) is said to be the rarest book in the world. But apart from their rarity, I should hardly imagine that the works of Servetus possessed the slightest interest, or that their loss was the smallest loss to the literature of the world.

But if Calvin must bear the burden of