The TEMPORAL GOVERNMENT. [Stationers.]224


print what he pleased without Allowance, by his own Authority; and such Books as were warranted by her Highness Letters Patents to other Men: And sold and uttered the same in City and Country, to Men of other Arts. Whereby the Company sustained great Loss, in taking the Sale of them; and particularly to the Decay of Seven poor young Men, who executed a Privilege granted to William Seres for a yearly Rent. This Man notwithstanding had given two several Bonds to the Queen; the one, not to print any more disorderly; the other, to bring in such Books as he had so printed. But none performed. All this was laid open in the said Petition. The Signers of it were, John Harrison, Master; and Richard Watkins and Rafe Neubery, Wardens. And besides them, Christopher Barker, John Day, William Norton, George Bishop, John Judson, Francis Caldock; All Booksellers in these Times of the chiefest Reputation.

This Practice of some Printers, printing of Books, which others had Grants from the Queen only to do, was not yet laid aside: which caused the Queen's Patentees Anno 1586, to petition the Lords of her Majestys Council in behalf of themselves, who seemed now to be in some danger of having their Patents revoked. And withal presented a Paper for the maintaining of Privileges for Printing: To this Import, "That all Princes in Christendom, where Printing was used, granted Privilege, sometimes for Years, sometimes for Life, and sometimes in Fee. That in this Realm the Queen's noble Progenitors had from time to time granted Privileges ever since the said Mystery was first used in the Land: which were always held good. And that her Majesties Prerogative being no less than the Prerogative of her Predecessors, it seemed great Boldness in those who now impugned Her herein. And that without Petition to her Highness, with Declaration of the Inconveniences, if any were. Seeing also that heretofore her Majesties Patents for Printing had not only been allowed of, but fortifyed also by a Decree made in the Star-Chamber in the sixth Year of her Majesties Reign, by inflicting Punishments to the Infringers of them. But that for the Conveniency of Privileges, it were very necessary for the Common-wealth, that none should Print at all, but such as were authorized form her Majesty, being known Men. For, that if every man might Print that were so disposed, it might be a means, that Heresies, Treasons, and seditious Libels should often be dispersed. Also, that Privileges were occasion that many Books were printed which were more beneficial to the Common-wealth, than profitable to the Printer. For the Patentee being benefited otherwise by Books of profitable Sale, was content to bestow part of his Gains in other Books, which were within the Compass of his Patent, very beneficial for the Common-wealth; and yet such whereby the Printer should scarce reap the tenth Part of his Charge. Which Books would never be printed, if Privilege were revoked. That further, if Privilege were revoked, no Books at all should be printed within short time. For commonly the first Printer was at Charge for the Author's Pains, and some other such like extraordinary Cost; whereas any other that would print it after him, came to the Copy gratis; and so might he sell better cheap than the first Printer. And the first Printer should never utter his Books. Besides, the second Printer might better the first Impression by Notes, Tables, Difference in Paper or Volume (as it is easier to amend than first to invent) which would also hinder the Sale of the first Printer's Books to his utter undoing. These Inconveniences seen, every Man would strain Courtesie who should begin; so far, that in the End all Printing would decay within the Realm, to the undoing of the whole Company of Stationers. Then for the Price, if the Patentee should exact out of reason, because no Man might print the Book but himself, that would be remedied by the Statute of 25 Hen. VIII. If the Workmanship of the Patentee were worse than it ought to be, it seemed to be a Condition in Law annexed to the Office, whereby he should forfeit the same. And as well for these Reasons as many others, which their Honours could best conceive of, they hoped their Honours were perswaded that these Privileges were to be upholden."

The Stationers that had Privileges Petition the Council.

Their Reasons for them.

About these Times the Company of Stationers put up a Petition to the Lord Treasurer (who was their great Patron) that, toward the maintaining of their poor Company, he would be a Means to the Queen to grant them, for their Relief, the Privilege of printing those two little Books of Introduction into the Latin Tongue, used in Schools by Her Authority, viz. the Accidence and Grammar. For which they offered to yield somewhat yearly into the Receit of her Majesty's Exchequer. They set forth in this Petition, what a very poor Company they were, and not able to bear the Charge that lay on them: That they paid excessive yearly Rents, for farming of such Books, pertaining to their Art, as had been obtained from them by means of Privileges: Their good Deserts from the Commonwealth, in searching for, and suppressing of Popish and Seditious Books, and executing several Warrants directed to them for such purpose by the Queen's Commissioners in Causes Ecclesiastical. And finally, that they should be driven to dissolve their Company, unless the Treasurer stood their good Lord, as on former Occasions he had done, as the special Patron of their Company, and Favourer of the Art of Printing.

A Privilege craved of the Queen for printing the Accidence and Grammar.

The Printing-Presses now a-days took too much Liberty; and the Printers being many, made bold to print sundry Books that created great Disturbances as well to the Church as the Civil Government. Whereof Complaint was made to the Queen. At length certain Decerees were made in the Star-Chamber concerning Printers, Stationers, &c. in the 28th Year of the Queen, and in the Year of our Lord 1585.

Decrees of Starchamber concerning Printers.

In the Act against Merchant Strangers, in the Reign of King Richard III. Cap. 19. there was a Proviso for the Encouragement of bringing Books into the Realm by Strangers, and for the encouraging of such as should print. It was provided, "That that Act, or any Parcel thereof, should not extend to the Prejudice, Disturbance, Damage or Impediment to any Artificer, or Merchant Stranger, of what Nation or Country he be, for bringing into this Realm, or selling by Retail or otherwise, any Book written or printed, or for inhabiting within this Realm for the same Intent: Or any Scrivener, Alluminer, Reader or Printer of such Book: which he hath or shall have, to sell by way of Merchandize: or for their dwelling within this Realm, for the Exercise of the said Occupation."

Encouragement of printing in King Richard III. his Days

Yet this Proviso was repealed Anno 25 Henry VIII. It appears by the said Act of Henry VIII. that upon the Act made of Richard III. for bringing in Books and Printers, there came into the Realm since the making of the same, a mervaillous Number of Printed Books, and daily did. And that the Cause of making the same Proviso under King Richard was, for that there were but few Books, and few Printers within the Realm at that time, which could not well exercise and oc-

Repealed 25 Hen VIII.

Few Books and few Printers under King Richard III.