Page:Books Condemned to be Burnt - James Anson Farrer.djvu/68

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Books Condemned to be Burnt.

of theology in Holland, is its only known contemporary witness; but he may have assumed the suppression of the book to have been identical with its burning; a common assumption, but a no less common mistake. On the other hand, many books undoubtedly were burnt under James that are not mentioned by name; and the great rarity of the first edition of the book, and its absence from some of our principal libraries, support the possibility of its having been among them.[1] Nevertheless, to quote Mr. Disraeli: "On the King's arrival in England, having discovered the numerous impostures and illusions which he had often referred to as authorities, he grew suspicious of the whole system of Daemonologie, and at length recanted it entirely. With the same conscientious zeal James had written the book, the King condemned it; and the sovereign separated himself from the author, in the cause of truth; but the clergy and the Parliament persisted in making the imaginary crime felony by the statute." So that if James really burnt the book, he must have burnt it to please others, not himself; and though

  1. That is Dr. Brinsley Nicholson's conclusion in his preface to Scot; yet, if the book was burnt, it is highly improbable that the common hangman officiated.