"The Two-Front Battle Over Torture" by Scott Horton (Harper's Magazine)
Understandably, of course, Donne did not get the appointment at Whitehall. I don’t think he really wanted it. He wanted to send a message against torture. The sermon he preached electrified the nation and did much to help sharpen attitudes against torture, especially within the religious community. And only three years later, in a gathering at the Inns of Court in London, the assembled bar and judges of England declared “upon their honour and the honour of England,” that torture was against the common law. That marked the beginning of the sunset of legally sanctioned torture in the English-speaking world. . . until the arrival of George W. Bush.
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