[Stationers.] The TEMPORAL GOVERNMENT.223


The which was the general Living of the whole Company of Stationers.

Tho. Vautroller, a Stranger, had the sole printing of other Latin Books, as the New Testament and others.


One Byrde, a Singingman, had a License for printing all Musick Books: and by that means claimed the printing of ruled Paper.


William Seres, had Privilege for the printing of all Psalters, all manner of Primers English or Latin, and all manner of Prayer Books: With the Reversion of the same to his Son.


Francis Flower, a Gentleman, being none of the Company, had Privilege of printing the Grammar, and other things: and had farmed it out to some of the Company for 100l. by the Year. Which 100l. was raised in the enhauncing of the Prices above the accustomed Order.


This as a Grievance many of the Company complained of, being now in number in the City 175. And of these 140 came to their Freedoms since Queen Elizabeth's Access to the Crown. So much did Printing and Learning come in requiest under the Reformation.

It was shewn before, that William Seres had a License from King Edward VI. to print all manner of Primers. This was taken away from him in Queen Mary's Days. But obtained again for him under Queen Elizabeth by Cecyl's means. And the Grant now was to him and to his Son William Seres, during the Life of the longest Liver of them, with an Addition to print all Books of private Prayers. For which they had a Patent. This gave Occasion to a great Case. For Seres the Father, in his latter Years, and being not so well able to attend and follow his Business, assigned the Privilege, with all his Presses, Letters, Stocks and Copies, (which in his whole Life he got) to one Henry Denham, for a yearly Rent. Denham took seven young Men of the Company of Stationers to join with him in the same. But certain inferior Persons of the Company, setting up Presses more than England might bear, did print other Mens Copies forbidden to them, and privileged to others by the Queen's Letters Patents. These endeavoured, for their own Gain, to have the said Privilege taken away; preferring a Petition to the Privy Council, wherein they pretended, that in Justice, it stood with the best Policy of this Realm, that the printing of all good and useful Books should be at liberty for every Man to do, without granting or allowing of any Privilege by the Prince to the contrary. And they said it was against the Law; and that the Queen ought not to grant any such. Seres upon this, in a Petition to the Lord Treasurer, urged against these Men, that Privilege for special Books was ever granted by the Prince. For that for the most part in all ancient Books we read these Words, Cum Privilegio ad imprimendum solum. And that many Records might be found of the same. Whereby it appeared, that the Prince or Magistrate had ever care to commit the printing of all good Books, specially of the best sort, to some special Men well known, and tried for their Fidelity, Skill and Ability. Examples whereof might be shewed as well in England, as in other Christian Countries. And that the Reason hereof was, that Printing of itself was most dangerous and pernicious, if it were not straited and restrained by politick Order of the Prince or Magistrate.

Seres Privilege of printing granted by the Queen, impugned.

This grew into a more general Contest between the Stationers, who had from the Queen Licenses of Privilege to print certain Books, and the other Stationers; who thought this a great Hindrance to them, that they might not print them: Pretending that by their Freedom they ought to print any lawful Books: Nay, even those Books, the Copies whereof had been bought of the Authors of their Money, or else given to those that had the Propriety in them, to make their Benefit of. They would not allow the Queen to have a Power of granting these Privileges. And would and did, take upon them to print what they pleased. The Matter was heard before the Lord Maior. And afterwards before the Privy Council. Who committed the hearing of this Cause to Dr. Hammond, a Civilian, and Thomas Norton, a Divine, and some others. These after Examination found the Complainants Intent to be derogatory to the Queen's Prerogative, not only as touching the granting of Privileges for Printing, but also for sundry other Licenses: And wished the Complainants no further to attempt that Course, shewing unto them the Inconvenience that would ensue. Whereupon these Stationers seemed to renounce their Suits: affirming that they meant not to overthrow Privileges, but craved, that there might be something appointed for them to Print. Wherein they were also satisfied by friendly agreement through the mediation of the said Committees.

A Controversy among the Stationers about Licenses.

The Expedient was this, that those That had Privileges were to grant some Allowances unto the Company for the Maintenance of their Charge and their Poor. Thus Seres for his Part, who had the Privilege of Printing Primers and Psalters and all Books of private Prayer, he and his Assigns yielded the best part of the said Privilege for Relief of the whole Company: And out of that Privilege only reserved to themselves the Little Primer and usual Psalter. And divers other eminent Stationers in like manner granted many of their Copies for the same Intent. This was about the Year 1583.

Copies voluntary granted to the Company.

But shortly after, one John Wolf, a Fishmonger using Printing, taking upon him as a Captain in this Cause, was content with no Agreement, but generally affirmed that he might and would print any Lawful Book, notwithstanding any Commandment of the Queen. And to that End had incensed the Popularity of London, as in a Common Cause, somewhat dangerously. And with him several of the rest, changing their Minds, were associated, and laboured to overthrow those Privileges the Queen had granted, or could grant. Whereupon the above said Committees finding them so disordered, would have bound them to appear before the Queen's Council: which they promised to do. But after Conference with their Abettors, refused: and still prosecuted their Complaints to her Majesty, garnishing the same with Pretences of the Liberties of London, and the Commonwealth of the said Company: and saying, the Queen was deceived by those that were Means for obtaining such Privileges.

Some Printers will Print other Men's Copies, notwithstanding the Queen's Privilege.

Seres after all this, prayed the Lord Treasurer, that since the said Complainants did still intrude upon his said Privilege, and did more obstinately print his Books than afore, some Redress might be had therein.

Redress required.

As Wolf was one of these unruly Printers, so one Roger Ward was another, who would Print any Book however forbidden by the Queen's Privilege, and made it his Practice to print all kind of Books at his Pleasure. The Master and Wardens of the Company going to Search his Printing House, according to the Power they had, were resisted by his Wife and Servants. Of which a Complaint was made by the said Master and Wardens to the Court. And again in the Year 1583, the Master and Wardens preferred a Petition against this Man to the Lord Treasurer: shewing his contemptuous Demeanour, doing contrary to all Order and Authority: and withal his Insufficiency to use the Art of Printing. The Commissioners appointed by the Council could bring him to nothing: but still continued to

Roger Ward resists the Master and Wardens.