Page:Books Condemned to be Burnt - James Anson Farrer.djvu/55

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39
Sixteenth Century Book-Fires.

by the University of Oxford, in its famous and loyal book-fire of 1683 (see p. 194).

But if the history of the book was eventful, how much more so was that of its chief author, the famous Robert Parsons, first of Balliol College, and then of the Order of Jesus! Parsons was a very prince of intrigue. To say that he actually tried to persuade Philip II. to send a second Armada; that he tried to persuade the Earl of Derby to raise a rebellion, and then is suspected of having poisoned him for not consenting; that he instigated an English Jesuit to try to assassinate the Queen; and, among other plans, wished to get the Pope and the Kings of France and Spain to appoint a Catholic successor to Elizabeth, and to support their nominee by an armed confederacy, is to give but the meagre out line of his energetic career. The blacksmith's son certainly made no small use of his time and abilities. His life is the history in miniature of that of his order as a body; that same body whose enormous establishments in England at this day are in such bold defiance of the Catholic Emancipation Act, which makes even their residence in this kingdom illegal.

Doleman's Conference was answered in a little book by Peter Wentworth, entitled