Page:Books Condemned to be Burnt - James Anson Farrer.djvu/92

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
Books Condemned to be Burnt.

be branded on his cheeks with "S. S."

(Sower of Sedition), and to be imprisoned for life! Probably with all this, the burning of his book went without saying; though I have found no specific mention of its incurring that fate.

The sentence was executed in November 1630, in frost and snow, making its victim, as he says himself, "a theatre of misery to men and angels." It was all done in the name of law and order, like all the other great atrocities of history. After ten years' imprisonment Leighton was released by the Long Parliament, and a few years later he wrote an account of his sufferings, and a report of his trial in the Star Chamber. Therein we learn that Laud, the Bishop of London, was the moving spirit of the whole thing. At the end of his speech he apologised for his presence at the trial, admitting that by the Canon law no ecclesiastic might be present at a judicature where loss of life or limb was incurred, but contending that there was no such loss in ear-cutting, nose-slitting, branding, and whipping. Leighton, of course, may have been misinformed of what occurred at his trial (for he himself was not allowed to be present!); and so some doubt must also attach to the story that when the censure was delivered "the Prelate off