Page:Books Condemned to be Burnt - James Anson Farrer.djvu/72

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Books Condemned to be Burnt.

very lowest pit of Hell and the confused action of the divells there, there is nothing now unsearched into by the curiositie of men's brains"; so that "it is no wonder that they do not spare to wade in all the deepest mysteries that belong to the persons or the state of Kinges and Princes, that are gods upon earth." King James's attitude to Free Thought reminds one of the legendary contention between Canute and the sea. No one has ever repeated the latter experiment, but how many thousands still disquiet themselves, as James did, about or against the progress of the human mind!

In the proclamation itself there is no actual mention of burning, all persons in possession of the book being required to deliver their copies to the Lord Mayor or County Sheriffs "for the further order of its utter suppression" (March 25th, 1610); neither is there any allusion to burning in the Parliamentary journals, nor in the letters relating to the subject in Winwood's Memorials, The contemporary evidence of the fact is, however, supplied by Sir H. Spelman, who says in his Glossarium (under the word "Tenure") that Cowell's book was publicly burnt. Otherwise, James's proclamations were not always attended to (by one, for instance,