Page:Books Condemned to be Burnt - James Anson Farrer.djvu/70

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Books Condemned to be Burnt.

reasoning that reflects less credit on his philosophy than does his conduct in most other respects.

But the first book that was burnt for its sentiments on Prerogative was one of which the King was believed personally to approve. This was probably the gist of its offence, for it appeared about the time that the King made his very supercilious speech to the Commons in answer to their complaints about the High Commission and other grievances.

I allude to the famous Interpreter (1607) by Cowell, Doctor of Civil Law at Cambridge, which, written at the instigation of Archbishop Bancroft, was dedicated to him, and caused a storm little dreamt of by its author. Sir E. Coke disliked Cowell, whom he nicknamed Cow-heel, and naturally disliked him still more for writing slightingly of Littleton and the Common Law. He therefore caused Parliament to take the matter up, with the result that Cowell was imprisoned and came near to hanging; [1] James only saving his life by suppressing his book by proclamation, for which the Commons returned him thanks with great exultation over their victory.

  1. Winwood's Memorials, I. 125.