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the growth and compleating of one vertuous person, more then the restraint of ten vitious. And albeit, what ever thing we hear or see, sitting, walking, travelling, or conversing may be fitly callid our Book", and is of the same effect that writings are; yet grant the thing to be prohibited were only Books, it appears that this Order hitherto is far insufficient to the end which it intends. Do we not see, not once or oftner, but weekly, that continu'd Court-libell against the Parlament and Citys, printed, as the wet sheets can witnes, and dispers't among us, for all that Licencing can doe? yet this is the prime service a man would think, wherein this Order should give proof of it self. If it were executed, you'l say. But certain, if execution be
“ ipsum quidem illud, etiam sine cognitione juris, quam sit bel. “ lum cavere malum, scire possumus.”—De Orat. Lib. I. 58.
* What coer thing we hear or sec-may be fitly called our Book.] One of Sidney's English Hexameters contains the same thought: * Thus both trees and cach thing els, bee the books of a fancie."
The Countess of Pembroke's Arcadia; p. 82. fol. 1655.
. Dowe not see, not once or oftner, but weekly, that continu'd Court-libell against the Parlament and City.) No doubt he in tended the “Mercurius Aulicus," written by Sir John Birkenhead, which was prii.ced weekly in one sheet, and sometimes
more, in quarto ; and was chiefly calculated to raise the repu" tation of the King's friends and commanders, and run down « and ridicule those who sided with the Parliament. They came * out regularly, from the beginning of 1642 to the latter end of * 1645, and afterwards occasionally," Art. BIRKENHEAD, in Biog. Brit. Note A. Kippis's Edit.
remisse or blindfold now, and in this particular, what will it be hereafter, and in other Books ? If then the Order shall not be vain and frustrat, behold a new labour, Lords and Commons ! ye must repeal and proscribe all scandalous and unlicenc't Books already printed and divulg'd; after ye have drawn them up into a list, that all may know which are condemn’d, and which not; and ordain that no forrein Books be deliver'd out of custody, till they have bin read over. This office will require the whole time of not a few overseers, and those no vulgar men. There be also Books which are partly usefull and excellent, partly culpable and pernicious; this work will ask as many more Officials, to make expurgations, and expunctions, that the Commonwealth of Learning be not damnify'do. In fine, when the multitude of Books encrease upon
6 This work will ask as many more Officials, to make expurgations and expunctions, that the Commonwealth of Learning be not damnify’d.] An Official was the name of the Officer in the Ecclesiastical Courts to whom the Bishops deputed the cognizance of spiritual offences. Laud bad let then loose over the country. But the function of a Bishop was not, our Authour contends, in his Tract Of Reformation, &c.“ To goe about circld with a “ band of rooking Officials, with cloke bagges full of Citations, " and Processes to be serv'd by a corporalty of griffon-like Promooters, and Apparitors.” p. 18. 4to. 1641.
He therefore could not have chosen a term more especially hateful to the public ear. Soon after the Long Parliament met, Sir Edward Deering presented a “ Bill for the utter eradication “ of Bishops, Deans, and Chapters; with all Chancellors, Of. ' ficials and all Officers, and other Persons belonging to either
their hands, ye must be fain to catalogue all those Printers who are found frequently offending, and forbidd the importation of their whole suspected typography. In a word, that this your Order may be exact, and not deficient, ye must reform it perfectly? according to the model of Trent and Sevil, which I know ye abhorre to doe. Yet though ye should condiscend to this, which God forbid, the
“ of them."-Clarendon ; Hist. of Rebellion; I. 368. 8vo. 1807. And in the Ordinary, a Comedy by W. Cartwright, (p. 79. 8vo. 1651.)
• He answers me
“ Examin'd by th' Oficiall,” &c. In the latter part of the sentence from the text, Milton paraphrases the formula of the Decree of the Roman Senate in times of urgent danger :-“ Darent operam Consules ne quid Res" publica detrimenti caperet.”
? Ye must reform it perfectly, &c.] See ILLUSTRATION, I.
* Though ye should condiscend to this-] “ Agree to this." In like manner Sir Walter Ralegh ; “ Hee easily allured them to "condiscend, that Rivers and Grey, the King's maternall Uncle “ and halfe brother, should bee severed from him.” Pref. to the Hist. of the World. And Lord Herbert of Cherbury ;-"con“ straining the People of those parts to condescend to a Treaty." - The Life and Reign of Henry VIII. p. 587. fol. 1682. But perhaps in the above examples this word retains somewhat of its etymological import, to climb, or mount, scando. As seems likewise to be the case in the following :-"This he not dreaming “ of their evil intention had condescended to.”-Mem. of Col. “ Hutchinson, p. 229. 4to. Again: “ They agreed to surrender " the City, upon this condition only, that their Governor and of his Officers should march to Bristol which was condescended " unto."-Whitelock's Mem. p. 164, fol. 1732.
Order still would be but fruitlesse and defective to that end whereto ye meant it. If to prevent sects and schisms, who is so unread or so uncatechis'd in story, that hath not heard of many sects refusing Books as a hindrance, and preserving their doctrine unmixt for many ages, only by unwritt'n traditions ? The Christian faith, (for that was once a schism) is not unknown to have spread all over Asia, ere any Gospel or Epistle was seen in writing. If the amendment of manners be aym'd at, look into Italy and Spain, whether those places be one scruple the better, the honester, the wiser, the chaster, since all the inquisitionall rigor that hath bin executed upon Books.
Another reason, whereby to make it plain that this order will misse the end it seeks, consider by the quality which ought to be in every Licencer. It cannot be deny'd but that he who is made judge to sit upon the birth, or death of Books, whether they may be wafted into this world, or not, had need to be a man above the common measure, both studious, learned, and judicious; there may be else no mean mistakes in the censure of what is passable or not; which is also no mean injury. If he be of such worth as behoovs him, there cannot be a more tedious and unpleasing journey-work, a greater losse of time levied upon his head, then to be made the perpetuall reader of unchosen Books and Pamphlets, oftimes huge volumes. There is no Book that is acceptable unlesse at certain seasons ;
but to be enjoyn'd the reading of that at all times, and in a hand scars legible, whereof three pages would not down at any time in the fairest Print, is an imposition which I cannot beleeve how he that values time, and his own studies, or is but of a sensible nostrill', should be able to endure. In this one thing I crave leave of the present Licencers to be pardon'd for so thinking: who doubtlesse took this office up, looking on it through their obedience to the Parlament, whose command perhaps made all things seem easie and unlaborious to them; but that this short triall hath wearied them out already, their own expressions and excuses to them who make so many journeys to sollicit their Licence, are testimony anough. Seeing therefore those who now possesse the imployment, by all evident signs wish
. An imposition.] “A task.” This term is still in use at Oxford for the literary exercise prescribed as a punishment for infringements on the discipline of the University.
Of a sensible nostrill—] In imitation of
“minus aptus acutis " Naribus.”
Hor. Sat. I. 3. 29.
Such Anglo-Latian adulterations of our Language were once much in vogue. Unquestionably these classical affectations were vitious attempts to latinize our Teutonic tongue. But the apologetical observations I had to offer in reply to the accusation of Latinism in his English Prose, as brought against our Authour by Dr. Johnson, I expanded, and have already laid before the Public in a detached form.