Page:Books Condemned to be Burnt - James Anson Farrer.djvu/95

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79
Charles the Firsts Book-Fires.

legal societies "presented their Majesties with a pompous and magnificent masque, to let them see that Prynne's leaven had not soured them all, and that they were not poisoned with the same infection."[1]

This surely might have been enough; but by the time the matter had come before the Star Chamber, Laud had succeeded Abbot (with whom Prynne was on friendly terms) as Archbishop of Canterbury (August 1633); and Laud was in favour of rigorous measures. So was Lord Dorset, and Lord Cottington, Chancellor of the Exchequer, whose judgment is of importance as showing that this was really the first occasion when the hangman's services were called in aid for the suppression of books:—

"I do in the first place begin censure with his book. I condemn it to be burnt in the most public manner that can be. The manner in other countries is (where such books are) to be burnt by the hangman, though not used in England (yet I wish it may, in respect of the strangeness and heinousness of the matter contained in it) to have a strange manner of burning; therefore I shall desire it may be so burnt by the hand of the hangman. If

  1. Life of Laud, 294.