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his actual persuasion is of whom he writes, can demonstrate that he flatters not; the former two of these I have heretofore endeavoured, rescuing the employment from him who went about to impair your merits with a trivial and malignant encomium; the latter, as belonging chiefly to wine own acquittal, “ that whom I fo extolled I did not flatter," hath been reserved opportunely to this occasion. For he who freely magnifies what hath been nobly done, and fears not to declare as freely what might be done better, gives ye the best covenant of his fidelity; and that his loyalest affection and his hope waits on your proceedings. His highest praifing is not Aattery, and his plainest advice is a kind of praising; for, though I should affirm and hold by argument, that it would fare better with truth, with learning, and the commonwealth, if one of your published orders, which I should name, were called-in; yet at the same time it could not but much redound to the luftre of your mild and equal government, whenas private perfons are hereby animated to think ye better pleased with publick advice, than other statists have been delighted heretofore with publick flattery. And men will then see what difference there is between the magnanimity of a triennial parliament, and that jealous haughtinels of prelates and cabin-counsellors* that ufurped of late, when as they shall observe ye, in the midst of your vi&tories and successes, more gently brooking written exceptions against a voted order, than other courts, which had produced nothing worth memory but the weak oftentation of wealth, would have endured the least signified dislike at any sudden proclamation. If I should thus far presume upon the meek demeanor of

. That is, chamber-counsellors, or counsellors who are assembled by the king in a private chamber, as it were in the cabin of a ship, to give him advice in matters of state.

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your civil and gentle greatness, Lords and Commons ! as what your published order hath dire&tly said, that to gainsay, I might defend myself with ease, if any should accuse me of being new or insolent, did they but know how much better I find ye esteem it to imitate the old and elegant humanity of Greece, than the barbaric pride of a Hunnish and Norwegian stateliness. And out of those ages, to whose polite wisdom and letters we owe that we are not yet Goths and Jutlanders, I could name him who from his private house wrote that discourse to the parliament of Athens, that persuades them to change the form of democraty which was then established. Such honour was done in thore days to men who professed the study of wisdom and eloquence, not only in their own country, but in other lands, that cities and figniories heard them gladly, and with great respect, if they had aught in publick to admonith the state. Thus did Dion Prusæus, a stranger and a private orator, counsel the Rhodians against a former Edict; and I abound with other like examples, which to set here would be superfluous: But, if from the industry of a life wholly dedicated to studious labours, and those natural endowments haply not the worst for two and fifty degrees of northern latitude, so much must be derogated, as to count me not equal to any of those who had this privilege, I would obtain to be thought not so inferior, as yourselves are superior to the most of them who received their counsel; and how far you excel them, be assured, Lords and Commons! there can no greater testimony appear, than when your prudent spirit acknowledges and obeys the voice of reason, from what quarter soever it be heard speaking; and renders ye as willing to repeal any act of your own setting-forth as any set. forth by your predecessors.

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If ye be thus resolved, (as it were injury to think ye were not,) I know not what should withhold me from presenting ye with a fit instance wherein to show both that love of truth which ye eminently profess, and that uprightness of your judgment which is not wont to be partial to yourselves; by judging over-again that order which ye have ordained“ to regulate printing; that no Thcordi book, pamphlet, or paper, shall be henceforth printed, Parliament unless the fame be first approved and licensed by fuch, printing or at least one of fuch, as shall be thereto appointed.” books.

» unlicensed For that part which preserves justly every man's copy to himself, or provides for the poor, I touch not; only with they be not made pretences to abuse and persecute honest and painful men, who offend not in either of these particulars. But that other clause of licenống. books, which we thought had died with his brother quadragesimal and matrimonial when the prelates expired, 1 Mall now attend with such a homily, as shall lay before ye, first the inventors of it, to be those whom ye will be loth to own; next, what is to be thought in The plan general of reading, whatever fort the books be; and and order of that this order avails nothing to the suppresfing of course. scandalous, feditious, and libellous books, which were mainly intended to be suppressed. Last, that it will be primely to the discouragement of all learning, and the stop of truth, not only by disexercising and blunting our abilities, in what we know already, but by hindering and cropping the discovery that might be yet further made, both in religious and civil wisdom.

I deny not but that it is of greatest con- The great cernment in the church and commonwealth, to have a vi- influence of gilant eye how books demean themselves as well as men; publick afand thereafter to confine, imprison, and do Tharpest jus-, tice on them as malefactors; for books are not absolutely

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sequences

dead things, but do contain a potency of life in them to be as active as that soul was whose progeny they are ; nay, they do preserve, as in a vial, the puresti efficacy and extraction of that living intelleet that bred them. I know they are as lively, and as vigorously

productive, as thofe fabulous dragon's teeth; and, being ' The ill.com. fown up and down, may chance to spring-up armed men. of suppres. And yet, on the other hand, unless-wariness be used, as sing goodones. good almoft kill a man as kill a good book: who kills

a man kills a reasonable creature, God's image; but he who destroys a good book, kills reason itself, kills the image of God, as it were, in the eye. Many a man lives a burden to the earth; but a good book is the precious life-blood of a master spirit, imbalmed and treasured-up on purpose to a life beyond life. It is true, no age can restore a life, where of perhaps there is no great loss; and revolutions of ages do not oft recover the lofs of a rejected truth, for the want of which whole nation's fare the worse. We should be wary therefore what persecution we raise against the living labours of publick men, how we spill that seasoned life of man, preserved and stored-up in books ; fence we see a kind of homicide may be thus committed, fometimes a martyrdom ; and, if it extend to the whole impreffion, a kind of maffacre, whereof the execution ends not in the Playing of an elemental life, but strikes at the æthereal and fifth effence, the breath

of reason itself; Nays an immortality rather than a life. A view of But, left I should be condemned of introducing licence, thods taken while I oppose licensing, I refuse not the pains to be so by anciene much historical, as will ferve to show what hath been wealths, to done by ancient and famous commonwealths, against publication this disorder, till the very time that this project of licensous books. ing crept-out of the Inquifition, was catched-up by our Prelates, and hath caught some of our Pressbyters,

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In Athens, where books and wits were in Athens.
ever busier than in any other part of Greece, I find but
only two sorts of writings which the magistrate cared to
take notice of; those either blasphemous and atheistical,
or libellous. Thus the books of Protagoras were by the
judges of Arcofagus commanded to be burnt, and him-
self banished the territory, for a discourse, begun with
his confeffing not to know, “ whether there were gods,
or whether not.” And against defaming, it was agreed
that none should be traduced by name, as was the
manner of Vetus Comædia, whereby we may guess
how they censured libelling; and this course was quick
enough, as Cicero writes, to quell both the desperate
wits of other atheists, and the open way of defaming,
as the event thewed. Of other feats and opinions,
though tending to voluptuousness, and the denying of
Divine providence, they took no heed. Therefore we
do not read that either Epicurus, or that libertine school
of Cyrene, or what the Cynic impudence uttered, was
ever questioned by the laws. Neither is it recorded,
that the writings of those old comedians were suppressed,
though the acting of them were forbid ; and that Plato
commended the reading of Aristophanes, the loosest of
them all, to his royal scholar Dionysius, is commonly
known, and may be excused, if holy Chryfoftom, as
is reported, nightly studied so much the same author, and
had the art to cleanse a fcurrilous vehemence into the
style of a roufing sermon.

That other leading city of Greece, Lacedæmon, con- In Lacedæ-
fidering that Lycurgus, their lawgiver, was so addicted to
elegant learning, as to have been the first that brought out
of Ionia the scattered works of Homer, and sent the poet
Thales from Crete to prepare and mollify the Spartan sur-
liness with his smooth songs and odes, the better to plant
among them law and civility ; it is to be wondered how

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