Act discharging the printing and selling of any books not revised by the secretary

The king's majesty and his estates presently convened, considering that in all well governed commonwealths it is expressly prohibited that any subject take upon hand to write, print or publish any books in whatsoever discipline or science, but specially invectives or libellous defamatories, chronicles, histories or annals to the prejudice either of the present state, ignominy or disgrace of the ages past without his majesty's licence had and obtained thereto; and that the said books be first revised by such as his majesty appoints to that effect, and the allowance thereof testified by their attestation in the beginning of the book purporting his majesty's consent, the small regard whereof has bred no little prejudice to all degrees within this realm. For remedy whereof, it is statute and ordained that no person of whatsoever rank, degree or calling presume or take upon hand to write, publish, print or set out any manner of book, defamatory libel, invective, chronicle, annal or history without his majesty's licence had and obtained thereto; and that no sort of book be printed, published nor set out within this realm, nor no new book which may in any way concern the present estate, history or chronicle of times past or present age, being printed without the realm, be brought within the same or sold until they be first seen and revised by his majesty's secretary and his attestation promised thereto according to the lovable custom received in all other civil nations. Certifying those who do in the contrary, they shall be punished to the death, their whole goods confiscated to his majesty's benefit and, if their books contain any matter of treason, the crime thereof shall be with all rigour prosecuted against them.

  1. NAS, PA8/1, f.32v-33r.