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work, a greater lofse 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 thať ať all times, and in a hand scars legible, whereof three pages would not down at any time in the faireft: Print, is an imposition which I cannot beleeve how he that values time, and his own studies, or is but of a sensible noftrill should be able to endure. In this one thing I cravę 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 pofseffe the imployment, by all evident figns wish themselves well ridd of it, and that no man of worth, none that is not a plain unthrift of his own hours is ever likely to succeed them, except he mean to put himself to the salary of a Presse-corrector, we may easily foresee what kind of licencers we are to expect hereafter, either ignorant, imperious, and remisse, or basely pecuniary. This is what I had to thew wherein this order cannot conduce
to that end, whereof it bears the intention.
I lastly proceed from the no good it can do, to the manifest hurt it causes, in běing first the greatest discouragement and affront, that can be offered to learning and to learned men. It was the complaint and lamentation of Prelats, upon every least breath of a motion to remove pluralities, and distribute more equally Church revenu's, that then all learning would be for ever dasht and discourag’d. But as for that opinion, I never found cause to think that the tenth part of learning stood or fell with the Clergy: nor could I ever but hold it for a sordid and unworthy speech of any Churchman who had a competency left
him. If therefore ye be loath to dishearten utterly and discontent, not the mercenary crew of false pretenders to learning, but the free and ingenuous sort of such as evidently were born to study, and love lerning for itself, not for lucre, or any other end, but the service of God and of truth, and perhaps that lasting fame and perpetuity of praise which God and good men have confented shall be the reward of those whose publisht labours advance the good of mankind, then know, that so far to diftrust the judgement & the honefty of one who hath but a common repute in learning, and never yet offended, as not to count him fit to print his mind without a tutor and examiner, left he should drop
vere no mo
a fcism, or something of corruption, is the greatest displeasure and indignity to a free and knowing fpirit that can be put upon him. What advantage is it to be a man over it is to be a boy at school, if we have only scapt the ferular, to come under the fescu of an Imprimatur ? if serious and elaborat writings, as if they were no more then the theam of a Grammar lad under his Pedagogue must not be utter'd without the cursory eyes of a teinporizing and extemporizing licencer. He who is not trusted with his own actions, his drift not being known to be evill, and standing to the hazard of law and penalty, has no great argument to think himself reputed in the Commonwealth wherein he was born,