Reformation itsielf; but as they were burnt indiscriminately, as heretical books, they have not the same interest that attaches to books specifically condemned as heretical or seditious. Such, of them, however, as a book-lover can light upon —and pay for—are, of course, treasures of the highest order.
Great numbers of books were burnt in the reigns of Edward VI. and Mary, but it is not till the reign of the latter that a particular book stands forward as maltreated in this way. And, indeed, so many men were burnt in the reign of Queen Mary, that the burning of particular books may well have passed unoticed, though pyramids of Protestant volumes, as Mr. Disraeli says, were burnt in those few years of intolerance rampant and triumphant. The Historie of Italie by William Thomas (1549), is sometimes said (on what authority I know not) to have been not merely burnt, but burnt by the common hangman, at this time. If so, it is the first that achieved a distinction which is generally claimed for Prynne's Histriomastix (1633). The fact of the mere burning is of itself likely enough, for Thomas wrote very freely of the clergy at Rome and of Pope Paul III.:
"By report, Rome is not without 40,