Page:Books Condemned to be Burnt - James Anson Farrer.djvu/25

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9
Introduction.

the death of Servetus, Christianity itself is responsible for the death of Willis^m Tyndale, who, deeming it desirable that his countrymen should possess in their own language the book on which their religion was founded, took the infinite trouble of translating the Scriptures into English. His New Testament was forthwith burnt in London, and himself after some years strangled and burnt at Antwerp (1536).

The same literary persecution continued in the next century, the seventeenth. Bissendorf perished at the hands of the executioner at the same time that his books, Nodi gordii resolutio (on the priestly calling), 1624, and The Jesuits, were burnt by the same, agent. In the case of the De Republicâ Ecclesiasticâ (1617) by De Dominis, Christian savagery surpassed itself, for not only was it burnt by sentence of the Inquisition, but also the dead body of its author was exhumed for the purpose. Dominis had been a Jesuit for twenty years, then a bishop, and finally Archbishop of Spalatro. This office he gave up, and retired to England, where he might write with greater freedom than in Italy. There he wrote this work and a history of the Council of Trent. His chief offence was his advocacy of the