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proems, preambles, introductions, tables, dedications, and other matters and things thereunto annexed, be first entered in the book of the register of the Company of Stationers in London, except acts of parliament, proclamations, and such other books and papers as shall be appointed to be printed by virtue of any warrant under the King's Majesty's sign-manual, or under the hand of one or both of his Majesty's principal Secretaries of State; and unless the same book and pamphlet, and also all and every said titles, epistles, prefaces, proems, preambles, introductions, tables, dedications, and other matters and things whatsoever thereunto annexed, or there with to be imprinted, shall be first lawfully licensed and authorized to be printed by such person and persons only as shall be constituted and appointed to license the same, according to the direction and true meaning of this act herein after expressed, and by no other; (that is to say) That all books concerning the common laws of this realm, shall be printed by the special allowance of the Lord-Chancellor, or Lord Keeper of the Great Seal of England for the time being, the Lords Chief-Justices, and Lord Chief-Baron for the time being, or one or more of their appointments; And that all books of history concerning the state of this realm, or other books concerning any affairs of state, shall be licensed by the principal Secretaries of State for the time being, or one of them, . . . And that all books to be imprinted concerning heraldry, titles of honour, and arms, or otherwise concerning the office of Earl-Marshal, shall be licensed by the Earl-Marshal for the time being or by his appointment, or in case there shall not then be an Earl-Marshal, shall be licensed by the three kings of arms, Garter, Clarencieux and Norroy, or any two of them, whereof Garter principal king of arms to be one; And that all other books to be imprinted or reprinted, whether of divinity, physick, philosophy, or whatsover other science or art, shall be first licensed and allowed by the Lord Archbishop of Canterbury, and Lord Bishop of London for the time being, or one of them, or by their or one of their appointments, or by either of the Chancellors, or Vice-Chancellors of either of the universities of this realm for the time being; provided always, that the said Chancellors, or Vice-Chancellors of either of the universities shall only license such books as are to be imprinted or reprinted within the limits of the said universities respectively, but not in London or elsewhere, not meddling either with books of common laws, or matters of state or government, nor any book or books, the right of printing whereof doth solely and properly belong to any particular person or persons, without his or their consent first obtained in that behalf.

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IV. And be it enacted . . . That every person and persons who . . . are, . . . authorized to license the imprinting of books, or reprinting thereof with any additions or amendments, as aforesaid, shall have one written copy of the same book or books which shall be so licensed... with the titles, epistles, prefaces, tables, dedications, and all other things whatsoever thereunto annexed; which said copy shall be delivered by such licencer or licencers to the printer or owner for the imprinting thereof, and shall be solely and entirely returned by such priests or owner, after the imprinting thereof, unto such licencer or licencers, to be kept in the public registries of the said Lord Archbishop, or Lord Bishop of London respectively, or in the office of the Chancellor or Vice-Chancellor of either of the said universities, or with the said Lord Chancellor or Lord-Keeper of the Great-Seal for the time being, or Lord-ChiefJustices, or Chief-Baron, or one of them, of all such books as shall be licensed by them respectively; And if such book so to be licensed shall be an English book, or of the English tongue, there shall be two written copies thereof delivered to the licencer or licencers (if he or they shall so require) one copy whereof so licenced shall be delivered back to the said printer or owner, and the other copy shall be reserved and kept as is aforesaid, to the end such licencer or licencers may be secured, that the copy so licenced shall not be altered without his or their privity; and upon the said copy licenced to be imprinted, he or they who shall so licence the same, shall testify under his or their hand or hands, that there is not anything in the same contained that is contrary to the Christian faith, or the doctrine or discipline of the Church of England, or against the state or government of this realm, or contrary to good life, or good manners, or otherwise as the nature and subject of the work shall require; which licence on approbation shall be printed in the beginning of the same book, with the name or names of him or them that shall authorize or licence the same, for a testimony of the allowance thereof.

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(§§ V.-IX. provide that books are to be imported to London only, and not to be opened without permission of the Archbishop of Canterbury or his deputy, and attaches penalties to violation of this; printers of books, under penalty, are to put their names on their books; the persons who may sell books are limited and placed under regulation; and no English books printed abroad are, in the interests of the printing trade, to be imported without special license.)

X. And be it further enacted . . . That no person or persons within the city of London, or the liberties thereof, or elsewhere, shall erect or cause to be erected any press or printing-house, nor shall knowingly

demise or let, or willingly suffer to be held or used any house, vault, cellar, or other room whatsoever, to or by any person or persons for a printing-house, . . . unless he or they who erect such press, or shall so knowingly demise or let such house, cellar, vault, or room, .. shall first give notice to the master or wardens of the said Company of Stationers for the time being, of the erecting of such press.

(§§ XI.-XIV. furnish detailed regulations as to the printing trade.)

XV. And for the better discovering of printing in corners without licence Be it further enacted . . . That one or more messengers of his Majesty's Chamber, by warrant under his Majesty's sign manual, or under the hand of one or more of his Majesty's principal Secretaries of State, or the Master and Wardens of the said Company of Stationers, or any one of them, shall have power and authority with a constable, to take unto them such assistance as they shall think needful, . . to search all houses and shops where they shall know, or upon some probable reason suspect any books or papers to be printed, bound or stitched, especially printing-houses, booksellers' shops and warehouses, and bookbinders' houses and shops, and to view there what is imprinting, binding or stitching, and to examine whether the same be licensed, and to demand a sight of the said licence; and if the said book. shall not be licensed then to seize upon so much thereof, as shall be found imprinted, together with the several offenders, and to bring them before one or more justices of the peace, who are hereby required to commit such offenders to prison, there to remain until they shall be tried and acquitted, or convicted and punished for the said offences: and in case the said searchers shall . . . find any book or books, . . . which they shall suspect to contain matters therein contrary to the doctrine or discipline of the Church of England, or against the state and government, then upon such suspicion to seize upon such book or books, and to bring the same unto the said Lord Archbishop of Canterbury, and Lord Bishop of London . . . or to the Secretaries of State, who shall take up such further course for the suppressing thereof, as to them or any of them shall seem fit.



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(§ XVI. lays down the procedure of prosecution.)

XVII. And be it further enacted. . . That every printer shall reserve three printed copies of the best and largest paper of every book new printed, or reprinted by him with additions, and shall before any public vending of the said book bring them to the Master of the Company of Stationers, and deliver them to him, one whereof shall

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be delivered to the Keeper of his Majesty's Library, and the other two to be sent to the Vice-Chancellors of the two universities respectively, for the use of the public libraries of the said universities.

XVIII. Provided always, That nothing in this act contained shall ... extend to the prejudice or infringing of any of the just rights and privileges of either of the two universities of this realm, touching and concerning the licensing or printing of books in either of the said universities.

XIX. Provided always, That no search shall at any time be made in the house or houses of any the peers of this realm, or of any other person or persons not being free of, or using any of the trades in this act before mentioned, but by special warrant from the King's Majesty, under his sign-manual, or under the hand of one or both of his Majesty's principal Secretaries of State, or for any other books than such as are in printing, or shall be printed after the tenth of June, 1662; anything in this act to the contrary thereof in any wise notwithstanding.

(§§ XX.-XXI. are special provisos for booksellers in London and in Westminster Hall.)

XXII. Provided also, That neither this act . . . shall extend to prejudice the just rights and privileges granted by his Majesty, or any of his royal predecessors, to any person or persons, under his Majesty's Great Seal, or otherwise, but that such person or persons may exercise and use such rights and privileges, as aforesaid, according to their respective grants; anything in this act to the contrary notwithstanding.

XXIII. Provided also, That neither this act, ... shall extend to prohibit John Streater Stationer, from printing books and papers, but that he may still follow the art and mystery of printing, as if this act had never been made; anything therein to the contrary notwithstanding.

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(§ XXIV. is a special proviso for York city, reserving the licensing right of the Archbishop of York.)

XXV. Provided, That this act shall continue and be in force for two years to commence from the tenth of June, one thousand six hundred and sixty and two, and no longer.

(The Act was continued by 16 Cha. II. c. 8, and for seven years from 1685 by 1 Ja. II. c. 17.)

(For the History of the Licensing Acts see Macaulay, H.E. ii. 409–417, 503-504; Odgers, L. and S. ch. 1 and 2; Stephen, H.C.L. ii. 298–396; Dicey, L.C. ch. vi.; Ranke, H.E.; Hallam, iii. 166 et seq.; May, C.H.E. ii. 239-382; F. K. Hunt, The Fourth Estate, passim. And see the cases cited, pp. 241, 242.)


16 Charles II. Cap. I., 1664.

An act for the assembling and holding of parliaments once in three years at the least; and for the repeal of an act, intituled, An act for the preventing of inconveniences happening by the long intermission of parliaments.

Whereas the act1 made in the parliament begun at Westminster the third day of November, in the sixteenth year of the reign of our late sovereign lord King Charles, of blessed memory, intituled, An act for the preventing of inconveniences happening by the long intermission of parliaments, is in derogation of his Majesty's just rights and prerogative inherent to the imperial crown of this realm, for the calling and assembling of parliaments, and may be an occasion of manifold mischiefs and inconveniences, and much endanger the peace and safety of his Majesty, and all his liege people of the realm:


II. Be it therefore enacted . . . That the said act2 . . . and all and every the articles, clauses, and things therein contained, . . . are hereby. . . declared to be null and void to all intents and purposes whatsoever, as if the said act had never been had or made; anything in the said act contained to the contrary in any wise notwithstanding.


III. And because by the ancient laws and statutes of this realm, made in the reign of King Edward the third, parliaments are to be held very often; . . . be it declared and enacted . . . That hereafter the sitting and holding of parliaments shall not be intermitted or discontinued above three years at the most; but that within three years from and after the determination of this present parliament, and so from time to time within three years after the determination of any other parliament or parliaments, or if there be occasion more often, your Majesty, your heirs and successors, do issue out your writs for calling, assembling, and holding of another parliament, to the end there may be a frequent calling, assembling, and holding of parliaments once in three years at the least.

(Hallam, C.H. ii. 330; Ranke, H.E. iii. 417-464; and cp. The Triennial Act (16 Cha. I. c. i.) in Gardiner, C.D. p. 74.)

1 16 Cha. I. c. i. See Gardiner, C.D. p. 74.
34 Edw. III. c. 14; 36 Edw. III. St. i. c. 10.

2 16 Cha. I. c. i.

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