Page:Books Condemned to be Burnt - James Anson Farrer.djvu/30

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Books Condemned to be Burnt.

The number of books of a similar strong anti-Catholic tendency that were burnt in these years before the outbreak of the Revolution should be noticed as helping to explain that event. Their titles in most cases may suffice to indicate their nature. De la Mettrie's L'homme Machine (1748) was written and burnt in Holland, its author being a doctor, of whom Voltaire said that he was a madman who only wrote when he was drunk. Of a similar kind was the Testament of Jean Meslier, published posthumously in the Evangile de la Raison, and condemned to the flames about 1765. On June nth, 1763, the Parlement of Paris ordered to be burnt an anonymous poem, called La Religion à Passemblee du Clergé de France, in which the writer depicted in dark colours the morals of the French bishops of the time (1762). On January 29th, 1768, was treated in the same way the Histoire Impartiale des Jésuites of Linguet, whose Annales Politiques in 1779 conducted him to the Bastille, and who ultimately died at the hands of the Revolutionary Tribunal (1794). But the 1 8th of August, 1770, is memorable for having seen all the seven following books sentenced to burning by the Parlement of Paris:—