Page:Books Condemned to be Burnt - James Anson Farrer.djvu/71

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55
Book-Fires under James I.

For Cowell had taken too strongly the high monarchical line, and the episode of his book is really the first engagement in that great war between Prerogative and People which raged through the seventeenth century. "I hold it uncontrollable," he wrote, "that the King of England is an absolute king." "Though it be a merciful policy, and also a politic policy (not alterable without great peril) to make laws by the consent of the whole realm ... yet simply to bind the prince to or by these laws were repugnant to the nature and custom of an absolute monarchy." "For those regalities which are of the higher nature there is not one that belonged to the most absolute prince in the world which doth not also belong to our King." But the book was condemned, not only for its sins against the Subject, but also for passages that were said to pinch on the authority of the King. Yet, considered merely as a Law Dictionary, it is still one of the best in our language.

In the King's proclamation against the Interpreter are some passages that curiously illustrate the mind of its author. He thus complains of the growing freedom of thought: "From the very highest mysteries of the Godhead and the most inscrutable counsels in the Trinitie to the