Page:Books Condemned to be Burnt - James Anson Farrer.djvu/64

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CHAPTER II.

Book-Fires under James I.

DESPITE Mr. D'lsraei's able defence of him, the fashion has survived of speaking disdainfully of James I. and all his works. The military men of his day, hating him for that wise love of peace which saved us at least from one war on the Continent, complained of a king who preferred to wage war with the pen than with the pike, and vented his anger on paper instead of with powder. But for all that, the patron and friend of Ben Jonson, and the constant promoter of arts and letters, was one of the best literary workmen of his time; nor will any one who dips into his works fail to put them aside without a considerably higher estimate than he had before of the ability of the most learned king that ever occupied the British throne—a monarch unapproached by any of his successors, save William III., in any sort of intellectual power.