Page:Books Condemned to be Burnt - James Anson Farrer.djvu/69

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53
Book-Fires under James I.


he may have done so, the presumption is rather that he did not.

The wonder is that Scot himself escaped the real or supposed fate of his book. Pleasing indeed is it to know that he lived out his days undisturbed to the end (1599) with his family and among his hops and flowers in Kent; not, however, before he had lived to see his book make a perceptible impression on the magistracy and even on the clergy of his time, till a perceptible check was given to his ideas by the Demonologie. But at all events he had given superstition a reeling blow, from which it never wholly recovered, and to which it ultimately succumbed. More than this can few men hope to do, and to have done so much is ample cause for contentment.

Fundamental questions of all sorts were growing critical in the reign of James, who had not only the clearest ideas of their answer, but the firmest determination to have them, if possible, answered in his own way. The principal ones were: The relationship of the King to his subjects; of the Pope to kings; of the Established Church to Puritanism and Catholicism. And on the leading political and religious questions of his day James caused certain books to be burnt which advocated opinions contrary to his own—a mode of