Page:Books Condemned to be Burnt - James Anson Farrer.djvu/9

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PREFACE.

WHEN did books first come to be burnt in England by the common hangman, and what was the last book to be so treated? This is the sort of question that occurs to a rational curiosity, but it is just this sort of question to which it is often most difficult to find an answer. Historians are generally too engrossed with the details of battles, all as drearily similar to one another as scenes of murder and rapine must of necessity by to spare a glance for the far brighter and more instructive field of the mutations or of the progress of manners. The following work is an attempt to supply the deficiency on this particular subject