Finding Sedition

Roger L’Estrange
Considerations and Proposals
In Order to the Regulation of the Press


L’Estrange was a tireless defender of the monarchy, Charles II in particular. He would eventually be rewarded for his loyalty, and be tasked with searching for seditious and libelous printed material. He went on to be a strict censor of English writings.


After the Restoration of Charles II to the throne in May of 1660, his administration turned its attention to the regulation of the press. Charles II appointed Roger L’Estrange (1616-1704) as his official Censor, who was to have the ability to license all publications and to approve the hiring of everyone in every printer’s office. He also had the power to have all violators, an extensive list that included not only authors but printers and booksellers, even “hawkers” of books, arrested and punished. L’Estrange had a colorful life–the son of a Norfolk author and MP, he was a royalist during the English Civil War, but convicted as a spy and sentenced to execution. Granted reprieve after examination by the House of Lords, he was imprisoned in Newgate, escaped, and exiled in Holland until he returned under Cromwell’s accommodation policy in 1653. He was known to be a gifted writer, but he refrained from political publishing once back in England until Cromwell’s death in 1658, when he resumed publishing royalist tracts. His vigorous defense of royalism continued after the restoration of Charles II, which resulted in his appointment as the surveyor and licenser of the press.1Harold Love, “L’Estrange, Sir Roger (1616-1704), author and press censor,” Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, 23 Sep. 2004, Accessed 11 Nov. 2021,

 Under L’Estrange’s authority, the number of licensed presses was reduced from over 60 to just 20. Every publication needed an “imprimatur” or pre-approval from Roger L’Estrange or one of his staff in order to be published. Below, L’Estrange explains his justifications for regulating the press, provides examples of publications he deems threatening to the monarchy and state, and his proposals about how the government could suppress all publications that criticized the king or any of his policies or appointees. Note that this was a period in which habeus corpus was often denied, a dubious right that judges—under the king’s influence—did not have to grant.2Roger L’Estrange, Considerations and proposals in order to the regulation of the press together with diverse instances of treasonous, and seditious pamphlets, proving the necessity thereof (London, 1663), p 31.  On habeus corpus, see the Habeus Corpus Act of 1678.  One of the more famous cases of denying Habeus Corpus is Shaftesbury’s case of 1677, which helped to precipitate the Habeus Corpus act of 1678, an act that James II tried vigorously to repeal in 1685. And Yes, Roger L’estrange is somewhat of a villain to anyone who studies this period of British history and probably did inspire the family name L’Estrange in the Harry Potter books.  By this introduction is an example of the “imprimatur” from a 1662 edition of Virginia laws, together with the imprint of the King’s Arms that accompanied it.3(photo courtesy Holly Brewer, from an edition at the Library of Congress). Used with permission. 

As you read through this document, think about its purpose. Who was L’Estrange writing this pamphlet for? What sorts of punishments does he propose? How is enforcement done without a large police force?  Who could be prosecuted? What is his rationale for regulating the presses? What are his methods for regulating the press? How expansive or narrow is this regulation? Charles II’s judges did indeed follow these guidelines. How might these restrictions influence what publishers printed and what historians can now read?

Holly Brewer
Lauren Michalak

Further Reading
  • Dunan-Page, Anne, and Beth Lynch, eds. Roger L’Estrange and the Making of Restoration Culture. Hampshire, England: Ashgate Publishing Limited, 2008.
  • Hinds, Peter. “ ‘A Vast Ill Nature’: Roger L’Estrange, Reputation, and the Credibility of Political Discourse in the Late Seventeenth Century,” The Seventeenth Century 21:2 (2006): 335-363. DOI: 10.1080/0268117X.2006.10555581.
  • Siebert, Fred Seaton. Freedom of the Press in England, 1476-1776: The Rise and Decline of Government Controls. Urbana-Champaign: University of Illinois Press, 1952.
  • Weber, Harold. Paper Bullets: Print and Kingship Under Charles II. Lexington: University of Kentucky Press, 1996.
  • L’Estrange, Roger. Considerations and proposals in order to the regulation of the press together with diverse instances of treasonous, and seditious pamphlets, proving the necessity thereof. London: Printed by A.C., 1663.
  • Transcription credit: Hollly Brewer, Katie Labor, Lauren Michalak, Justin Posner.
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Above is an “imprimatur” from a 1662 edition of Virginia laws with the King’s Arms (below) that accompanied it.

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Considerations and Proposals

In Order to the





Diverse Instances of Treasonous, and

Seditious Pamphlets, Proving the 

Necessity thereof.4Transcription taken from scanned version of booklet, held by the Huntington Library and available via Early English Books Online (2019 Copyright Proquest LLC).






LONDON, Printed by A.C. June 3d.


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IT5Bold-faced and larger text in this transcription represents the different Old English style block lettering used in the original document. is not without some Force upon my self, that I have Resolv’d upon This Dedication; for I have no Ambition to appear Pragmatical, and to become the Marque of a Peevish Faction: But since my Duty will have it Thus, I shall accompt all Other Interests as Nothing in Competition with my Allegiance.

The Epistle Dedicatory.6This appears at the top of the page for the next twelve pages (save for blank pages). 

If Your Majesty shall vouchsafe to look so far, and so low, as into the Ensuing Treatise, You will find it, Sir, to be Partly, a Deliberative Discourse about the Means of Regulating the Press; (the matter being at This Instant under Publique Debate) and in Part, an Extract of certain Treasonious, and Seditious Passages, and Positions, which may serve to Evince the Necessity of That Regulation. The Latter of which, I do most Humbly Offer to Your Royal Consideration, not presuming in any Sort, to Concern Your Majesty in the Former.

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In This Extract, is presented to your Majesties view; First, That Spirit of Hypocrisie, Scandal, Malice, Errour, and Illusion, that Actuated the Late Rebellion.7Likely referring to the English Civil War (1641-1649). Secondly, A Manifestation of the same Spirit Reigning still, and working, not only by the same Means, but in very many of the same Persons, and to the same Ends; That is, There is a Combination8Conspiracy., and Design against Your Sacred Life, and Dignity, which is carryed on by the same Arguments, Pretences, Wayes, and Instruments, that Ruin’d Your Royal, and Blessed Father.

All which, I think my self Bound, not only in Generals, to Declare, but more Particularly, to Trace, and to Discover to Your Majesty, as a Duty which I owe both to God, and to my Sovereign.

The first part of the Conspirators Work, is to disaffect the People towards Your Majesties Person and Government; and their next Business is to Encourage, and Carry on those Seditious Inclinations into Action.

Touching the Former; Scarce any one Regicide or Traytor has been brought to Publique Justice, since Your Majesties Blessed Return, whom either the Pulpit hath not Canonized for a Saint, or the Press Recommended for a Patriot and Martyr. (beside the Arraignment of the Bench, for the very Formalityes of their Tryals) What is the Intent, or what may be the Effect of Suggesting to the People, that there is no Justice to be found, either in Your Cause, or in Your Courts; (Both which are Struck at in the same Blow) is submitted humby to Your Royal Wisdom. Nor is the Faction less Industrious to draw an Odium upon Your Majesties Person, and to Perplex, Seduce, and Exasperate the Multitude,

in Matters of Religion, and concerning the Government of the Church.

There have been Printed, and Reprinted, since Your Majesties Happy Restauration, not so few as a Hundred Schismatical Pamphlets, against Bishops, Ceremonies, and Common Prayer: in many of which, Your Majesty is Directly, and in All of them Implicitly, Charg’d with an Inclination to Popery. The instruments that Menage This Part of the Plot, are Ejected Ministers, Booksellers, and Printers: and it is believed, by men of Judgement, and Experience, in the Trade of the Press, that since the late Act for Uniformity, there have been Printed near Thirty Thousand Copies of Farewel Sermons (as they called them) in Defiance of the Law. All which, as they are now drawn together into one Binding, (to the Number of betwix Thirty and Forty) and represented with Figures, do certainly makeup one of the most audacious, and Dangerous Libels, that hath been made Publique under any Government, and they are now Printing it in Dutch too, for the greater Honour of the Scandal. By These Arts, and Practices, the Faction works upon

the Passions and Humours of the Common-People; and when they shall have put Mischief into their Hearts, their next Business is to put Swords in their Hands, and to Engage them in a direct Rebellion: which Intent of theirs together with the Means whereby they hope to Execute it, I shall humbly lay before Your Majesty in a few words. 

That they Propose, and Labour another Change, appears, First; From the Recourse they have in almost all their Schismatical Papers to the Obligation of the Covenant; which is no other than to Conjure the People under the Peyn of Perjury, to Treat Your Majesty, as the Covenanters did Your Father; and (in a flat Contradiction to the Blessed Apostle) to pronounce, that Hee that [OBEYES]9Brackets and included words are original to the text. shall receive to himself Damnation. A Second Proof of their Designe may be drawn from their still pleading the Continuance of the Long-Parliament; & the Sovereignty of the People, which is but in Plain Terms, to Disclayme Your Authority Royal, and to Declare to the World, that they want nothing but Another Opportunity for Another Rebellion. What may be the Event of These Li-

bertyes, belongs not to Mee to divine; but that such Libertyes are taken, I do, with great Reverence, presume to Enform Your Majesty: And further; that the Visible Boldness, and Malice of the Faction, seems not to be the only Danger; Diverse of the very Instruments, who are Entrusted with the Care of the Press, being both Privy, and Tacitly Consenting to the Corruptions of it; by virtue of which Connivence, many Hundred Thousands of Seditious Papers, since your Majestyes Return, have passed Unpublished. And yet in This Prodigious License, and Security of Libelling Your Sacred Majesty, and the Government, let but any Paper be Printed that Touches upon the Private Benefit of some Concerned Officer; The Author of That Paper is sure to be Retriv’d, and Handled with sufficient Severity.

Finally; To present Your Majesty with some Common Observations: It is noted, First, as a very Rare Thing, for any Presbyterian Pamphlet to be Seiz’d, and Suppressed, unless by Order from Above. Secondly, It is observed of Those Offenders that are Discovered, that Generally the Rich have the Fortune

to Come off, and the Poor to Suffer: and Thirdly; that scarce One of five, though under Custody, is ever brought to either of Your Majesties Principal Secretaryes of State.

I have no Discharg’d my Soul both to God, and to Your Majesty; in what I take to be an Honest, and a Necessary Office; and I have done it with This Choice before me, either to suffer the worst that Malice, or Calumity can cast upon me, or to Forfeit my Duty. I should not speak This but upon Experience, nor dare to mention it upon This Occasion, but that I think it highly Imports Your Majesty to know how Dangerous a Matter it is to Render you a Publique Service. To present Your Majesty with a Fresh Instance; I was lately Engaged as a Commissioner, in a Publique Debate on the behalf of the Loyal Officers; and for no other Crime, or Provocation, but for Asserting the Profess’d Desires of the Whole Party: A Certain Gentleman took such a Heat, and Confidence, as Openly to Charge me with Writing against Your Majesty; Affirming withal, that Your Majesty had Accused me for it to the Parlia-

ment, and that my Lord Chancellor would Justifie it: Since which time, it appears, not only that Hee Himself was the first Person that by a Private Tale had Endeavoured to Exasperate my Lord Chancellor against Me; but that being called to Account by my Lords Order, for so Great, and so Injurious a Boldness, both towards Your Majesty, and his Lordship, be desired God to Renounce him, if ever he spake the words, (Although Delivered in the Face of a Full Committee.) If I were Impudent enough to trouble Your Majesty with a Personal Character, His Familiar Discourses, both concerning your Sacred Majesty, and the Honourable House of Commons, would afford matter for it; but let God witness for me, that I have no Passion, but for your Majesties Service, and for the General Good of Your Loyal Subjects: Both which Interests, I do humbly conceive to be very much concern’d in some Provision, that men may not suffer in their Reputations, for doing their Duties; and that Those Persons who have Chearfully, and Honourably passed through the utmost ex-

extremities of a Long and Barbarous Warr, out of a sence of Loyalty to Your Royal Father, may not now at last, be stung to Death by the Tongues of Tale-Bearers, and Slanderers for being Faithful to Your Majesty. Which is the Case of Many, more Considerable then my Self, and among the Rest in Particular of

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                              Your Majesties

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                                             Most Loyall and Obedient Subject

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                                              Roger L’Estrange.

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To the Right Honourable the


And, To the Honourable the


Assembled in Parliament.

HAving been lately Employ’d, to Draw up some Proposals touching the Regulation of the Press, and to Search for certain Seditious Books, and Papers: I think it Agreable both to my Reason, and Duty, that I Dedicate to your Honours some Accompts of my Proceedings, especially in This Juncture, when both

the Danger, and the Remedy, are the Subject of your Present Care. The Draft, and Argument of This Little Treatise, is Express’d in the Title. One Particular only was forgotten in the Body of the Discourse, which I must now Crave Leave to Insert in my Dedication; (i.e.) An Additional Expedient for the Relief of Necessitous, and Supernumerary Printers; Many of which would be well enough Content to Quit the Trade, and Betake themselves to Other Employments, upon Condition to be Re-imburst for their Presses, Letter, and Printing-Materials: and it is Computed that 4000 l. or thereabouts, would Buy off their Stock; for the Raising of which Sum, and so to be Employ’d, there occurrs This [Expeateut].10Word is slightly obscured, our best guess is “expeateut.”

It is Credibly Reported, That there have been Printed at least Ten, or Twelve Impressions of a Collection Entitled, The First, Second, and Third Volume of Farewel-Sermons: (with the Figures of the Ejected Ministers) which is no Other, then an Arraignment of the Law, and a Charge of Persecution, against the King, and his Parliament.

Upon a Supposition of Twelve Impressions, (at a Thousand a piece, which is the Lowest) the clear Profit, beside the Charge of Paper and Printing, Comes to 3300 l. which Sum, being Impos’d as a Fine, upon their Heads for whom the Books were Printed, will defray a Considerable Part of the aforesaid Charge, and what is wanting, may be abundantly made up by the like Course upon the Publishers of Other Seditious Pamphlets, Keeping the Same Proportion betwixt the Profit, and the Punishment.

Of the Farewel-Sermons, I Seiz’d the other day in Quires, to the Quantity of betwixt Twenty and Thirty Ream of Paper; and I Discovered likewise the Supposed Author of Another Pamphlet, Entituled [A Short Survey of the Grand Case of the Ministry, &c.] Wherein is Maintain’d, in opposition to the Declarations Required by the Act of Uniformity; That in some Cases It may be lawful to take Arms against the King11Marginalia: P. 21.—To take Arms by the Kings Authority, against his Person, or Those Commissioned by Him12Marginalia: P. 22.And that the Obligation of the Covenant is a Knot cut by the Sword of Authority, whilst it cannot be Loosed by Religious Reason13Marginalia: P. 23.. Concerning which, and many other Desperate Libels, if your Honours shall think fit to Descend into any Particular Enquiry, it may be made appear, that whereas not One of Twenty is Now taken, scarce One of a Hundred could scape, if there were not Connivence (at least; if not Corruption) joyn’d to the [Craft] and Wariness of the Faction. How the World will understand This Freedome, and Confidence, in a Private Person, I do not much Concern my Self; (provided that I offend not Authority) but the Question to Me seems short, and easy, Whether it be Lawful, or not, for any Man that sees his [Countrey] in Danger, to Cry out TREASON? and Nothing Else hath Extorted This Singularity of Practice, and Address, from

Your Honours

Most Dutiful Servant

Roger L’Estrange.

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Considerations and Proposals

In Order to the




I Think no man denyes theNecessity of Suppressing Licentious and Unlawful Pamphlets, and of Regulating the Press; but in what manner, and by what meansThis may be Effected, That’s the Question. The Two Main-pointers are Printing and Publishing. The Instruments of setting the work afoot are These.14Marginalia: The Promoters, The Adviser, Author, Compiler, Writer, Correcter, and the Person for whom, and by whom; that is say, the Stationer (commonly), and the Printer. To which may be Added, the Letter-Founders, and the Smiths, and Joyners, that work upon Presses. The usual Agents for Publishing, are the Printers themselves,15Marginalia: and Publishers of Pamphlets. [this marginalia is related to the prior marginalia] Stitchers, Binder, Stationers, Hawkers, Mercury-women, Pedlers, Ballad-singers, Posts, Carryers, Hackney-Coachmen, Boat-men, and Mariners Other Instruments may be likewise employ’d, against whom a General Provision will be sufficient. Hiding, and Concealing of unlaw-

Proposals in Order to the

16Section header is split between this and opposite page (“Regulation of the Press.”) This pattern repeats for all subsequent pages until the end of this section of the book. ful Books, is but in order to Publishing, and may be brought under the same Rule. Touching the Adviser, Author, Compiler, Writer, and Correcter, their Practices are hard to be Retriv’d, unless the One Discover the Other.  This Discovery may be procur’d partly by a Penalty upon refusing to Discover, and partly by a Reward, to the Discoverer;17Marginalia: A General Expedient in Order to Discovery. but let both the Penalty, and the Reward be Considerable, and Certain: and let the Obligation of Discovery run quite Through, from the first Mover of the Mischief, to the Last Disperser of it. That is to say; If any unlawful Book shall be found in the Possession of any of the Agents, or Instruments aforesaid, let the Person in whose possession it is found, be Reputed, and Punish’d as the Author of the said Book, unless he Produce the Person, or Persons, from whom he Receiv’d it; or else acquit himself by Oath, that he knows neither Directly, nor Indirectly, how it came into his Possession. Concerning the Confederacy of Stationers, and Printers, we shall speak anon[;] but the thing we are now upon, is, singly Printing, and what necessarily relates to it. One great Evil is the Multiplicity of Private Presses, and Consequently of Printers, who for want of Publique, and warrantable employment, are forc’d either to play the Knaves in Corners, or to want Bread.18Marginalia: Multiplicity of Private Presses and Printers a great evil.  The Remedy is, to reduce all Printers, and Presses, that are now in Employment, to a Limited Number; and then to provide against Private Printing for the time to come, which may be done by the Means Following.19Marginalia: The Remedies are,  First; the number of Printers and Presses being resolv’d upon, let the Number of their Journy-men, and the Apprentices be likewise Limited:20Marginalia: To Reduce, and Limit the Number, [this marginalia is a continuation of the prior marginalia] and in like manner, the Number of Master-Founders, and of their Journy-men, and their Apprentices; all of which to be Allow’d of, and Approv’d by such Person or Persons, as shall be Authoris’d for that purpose; neither let any Joyner, Carpenter, or Smith, presume to work for, or upon an Printing Press, without such Allowance as aforesaid, according to the Direction of the late Act for Printing.

Regulation of the Press.

21Second half of header displaying the section title. The first half, “Proposals in Order to the,” is on the opposite page previous. As noted before, this pattern repeats on subsequent pages until the next section (Books, Libels, and Positions…). Secondly, Let all such Printers, Letter-Founders, Joyners, Carpenter, and Smiths, as shall hereafter be Allow’d, as aforesaid, be Respectively and severally Interrogated before their Admittance, in order to the Discovery of Supernumerary Printers and Presses.22Marginalia: And to discover the Supernumeraries; [continuation of prior marginalia] That is;
  1. Let the Printers be Question’d what Private Presses they have at any time wrought upon for so many years last past, and the time When, and For, and with Whom: and what other Printers and Presses they know of at Present, beside Those of the present Establishment.23Marginalia: With the means of doing it. [continuation of prior marginalia]
  2. Let the Founders be also Examin’d, what Letter they have Furnish’d since such a Time: When and for Whom, and what other Printers &c.—–Ut. Supra.
  3. Let the Joyners, Carpenters, and Smiths be Question’d likewise what Presses they have Erected, or Amended, &c. When, and for Whom? and what other Presses, Printers, &c.—-as before.
And if after such Examination it shall appear at any time within so many Months, that any Man has wilfully conceal’d, or Deny’d the Truth, let him forfeit his Employment as a Person not fit to be Trusted, and let the Enformer be taken into his Place if he be capable of it, and desire it; or Else, let him be Rewarded some other way. The same course may be taken also concerning English Printers and Presses beyond the Seas. This may serve as to the Discovery of Private Printers and Presses already in Employment: Now to prevent underhanded-dealing for the Future, and to Provide against certain other Abuses in [such?] as are Allow’d. [Blank line] First;24Marginalia: Let no Tradesmen but Printers use Printing-Presses. Let a special care be taken of Card-makers, Leather-Guilders, Flock-workers, and Quoyf-drawers; either by expresly inhibiting their use of such Presses, as may be apply’d to Printing of Books, or by tying them up to the Same Terms, and Conditions with Printers; and let no other Tradesman whatsoever presume to make use of a Printing-press, but upon the same conditions, and under the same Penalties with Printers.
2ly. Let no Press or Printing House be Erected or Lett, and let no Joyner, Carpenter, Smith, or Letter-Founder work for a Printing-House, without notice (according to the late Act) 3ly. Let no Materialls belonging to Printing, no Letters ready founded, or cast, be Imported or Bought without the like notice, and for whom (according to the late Act.) 4ly. Let every Master-Printer be Bound at least, if not Sworn, not to Print, cause or  suffer to be Printed in his House, or Press, any Book or Books without Lawful Licence (according to the late Act.) 5ly. Let no Master-Printer be Allow’d to keep a Press but in his own Dwelling-House, and let no Printing-House be permitted with a Back-dore to it. 6ly. Let every Master-Printer certifie what Warehouses he Keeps, and not Change them without giving Notice. 7ly. Let every Master-Printer set his Name to whatsoever he Prints, or causes to be Printed (according to the late Act.) 8ly. Let no  Printer presume to put upon any Book, the Title, Marque, or Vinnet, of any other person who has the priviledge of Sole Printing the same, without the Consent of the person so Priveledg’d (according to the late Act) and let no man presume to Print another mans Copy. 9ly. Let no Printer presume either to Re-Print, or Change the Title of any Book formerly Printed, without Licence; or to Counterfeit a Licence, or knowingly to put any mans Name to a Book as the Author of it, that was not so. 10ly. Let it be Penall to Antedate any Book; for by so doing, New Books will be shuffled among Old Ones to the Encrease of the Stock. 11ly. Let the Price of Books be Regulated. 12ly. Let no Journy-man be Employ’d, without a Certificate from the Master where he wrought last. 13ly. Let no Master discharge a Journy-man, nor Hee Leave his Master, under 14 dayes Notice, unlesse by Consent. 
14ly. Let the Persons employ’d, be of Known Integrity, so near as may be; Free of the sayd Mysteries, and Able in their Trades (according to the late Act. But if 60 presses must be reduc’d to 20, what shall all those people do for a Livelyhood that wrought at the other 4025Marginalia: Obj.? It is provided by the Late Act, that as many of them shall be employ’d as Printers can find Honest work for, and a sufferance of more, is but a Toleration of the Rest to Print Sedition, so that the Supernumeraryes are in as ill a Condition now, as they will be Then; and yet something may be thought upon for their Relief.26Marginalia: Ans. There have been divers Treasonous and Seditious Pamphlets printed since the Act of Indemnity; as The Speeches of the Late King’s Judges; Sir Henry Vane’s [Pretended] Tryal;27Marginalia: A Provision for Poor Printers. The Prodigies 1 Part and 2. and the Like. Let any of These Necessitous Persons, make known at whose Request, and for whose behoofe These, or the Like Seditious Libells have been Printed, and they shall not only be Pardon’d for having had a hand in it Themselves, but the first Enformers shall upon Proof or Confession be Recommended to the first Vacancy whereof he is Capable in the New-Regulation, and the Next to the Second, and so Successively: And moreover a Fine shall be set upon the Heads of the Delinquents, to be Employ’d toward the Maintenance of so many of the Indigent Printers as shall be Interpreted to Merit that Regard, by such Discovery. Next to Printing, follows Publishing or Dispersing, which, in and about the Town, is commonly the work of Printers, Stitchers, Binders, Stationers, Mercury-women, Hawkers, Pedlars, and Ballad Singers.28Marginalia: Publishers and Dispersers about the Town Concerning Printers, Stitchers, and Binders; The Penalty may be Double, where the Fault is so: That is; where the same Person (for Example) is found to be both Printer and Disperser of the same unlawful Books, he may be Punished in Both Capacities:29Marginalia: to be Punish’d. [continuation of prior marginalia] of the Rest (the Stationer excepted) little needs be said but that they may be Punishable, and the Penalty Suited to the Quality of the Offender.
The most Dangerous People of all are the Confederate Stationers, and the breaking of That Knot would to the work alone.30Marginalia: The Stationers have their Private Ware-Houses, and Receivers. For the Closer Carriage of their business they have here in the Town, Their Private Ware-Houses, and Receivers. Let every Stationer certifie, what Ware-Houses he keeps, and not change them without giving notice.  Let the Receivers and Concealers of Unlawful, or Unlicens’d Books be Punish’d as the Dispersers of them, unless within 12 houres after such Receipt they give notice to——- that they have such Quantityes of Books in their Custody, and to whom they belong.31Marginalia: Receivers and Concealers to be Punish’d as Dispersers. They hold Intelligence Abroad by the means of Posts, Carryers, Hackney-Coachmen, Boatmen, and Marriners:32Marginalia: The Stationers Agents for Dispersing their Books Abroad. and for fear of Interceptions they Correspond by False Names, and Private Tokens; so that if a Letter, or Pacquet miscarry, people may not know what to make on’t.33Marginalia: Their wayes of Privy Correspondence and As for the Purpose; so many Dozen of Gloves stands for so many Dozen of Books. Such a Marque for such a Price, &c.  They enter in their Day-books, only in General terms, such and such Parcells of Books, without naming Particulars.34Marginalia: Concealment. [continuation of prior marginalia]
  1. Let every Stationer, living in or about London, be oblig’d to keep a Day-Book of the Particulars of all the Unlicens’d Books, and Papers, which he sends, causes or allowes to be sent, by any of the Messengers above-mentioned, into any parts of his Majestyes Dominions;35Marginalia: The means of Prevention & Discovery. and let him Enter the Names likewise of the Persons to whom he sends them, under a Penalty, if either he be prov’d to have kept a False Book, or to have Corresponded under a False Name, and let every Stationer elsewhere (i.e. within the Kingdom of England, and Dominion of Wales) be oblig’d to keep a Day-Book likewise, of what Unlicens’d Books, and Papers, he Receives, and from whom, upon the like Penalty.
  2. Let no Stationer presume to send, cause or allow to be sent, either by Land, or Water, any Dry-Fatts, Bales, Packs, Maunds, or other Fardells, or Packquets of Printed Books, or Papers, without superscribing them in such sort, that they
may be known to be Books, together with the Names of the Persons from whom they are sent, and to whom they are Directed: Under peyn of Forfeiting all Parcels of Books that are not so superscrib’d, or otherwise that are advertis’d under False Names.
  1. Let every Hackny-Coach-man, Carrier, Botman, or Mariner, that knowingly Transgresses in the Private Conveighance of such Letters or Packquets as aforesaid, be subjected to a Particular Penalty.
[Blank line] Concerning Books Imported. They must be First Prepar’d beyond the S[obscured]. Secondly, conveyed hither; and Thirdly, Received and Distributed here. [Blank line] Let the English Printer, Vender, or Utterer of any Books written in the English Tongue, or by an English man, in any other Tongue and Printed beyond the Seas, to the dishonour of his Majestie or of the Establish’d Government,36Marginalia: An Expedient against Printing of English Books beyond the Seas; be required to appear from beyond the Seas, by a Certain Day, and under such a Penalty; which if he Refuse, or wilfully fayl to do, Let it be made Penall for any Person Living within his Majestys Dominions, (after sufficient Notice of his such Contempt) to hold any further Correspondence with him, Either by Message, Letter, or otherwise, till he hath given satisfaction for his offence.  Let a General Penalty be layd upon the Importers of any English Books, whatsoever, Printed beyond the Seas.37Marginalia: and Importing and Disposing of them. [continuation of prior marginalia] And so likewise upon the Contracters, for; the Receivers, Concealers, and Dispersers of, any Books whatsoever, Imported into This Realm, and Disposed of without due Authority. It rests now to be Consider’d. First What Books are to be Supprest, and Secondly, Into what hands the Care of the Press it to be Committed. The Books to be supprest are as follows.

The Books, Libels, and Positions


First, All Printed Papers pressing the Murther of the late King.38Marginalia: What Books, Libels, and Positions are to be suppressed, and Secondly, All Printed Justifications of that Execrable Act. Thirdly, All Treatises Denying His Majesties Title to the Crown of England. Fourthly, All Libels against the Person of His Sacred Majesty, His Blessed Father, or the Royal Family. Fifthly, All Discourses manifestly tending to stirr up the People against the Establish’d Governm[ent.] Sixthly, All Positions Terminating in This Treasonous Conclusion, that, His Majesty may be Arraign’d, Judg’d, and Executed by his People : such as are These Following. [Blank line] Coordination, The Sovereignty of the Two Houses, or of the House of Commons; or of the Diffusive Body of the People, in Case of Necessity. The Justification of the Warr Rais’d in 1642, in the name of King and Parliament. The Defense of the Legality and Obligation of the Covenant. The Separation of the Kings Person from his Authority. The Denyal of His Majesties Power in Ecclesiastical Affairs. The Mainteyning that the Long-Parliament is not yet Dissolv’d. [Blank line] If it be objected that This Looks too farr Back; It may be Answer’d that Persons are Pardon’d, but not Books. But to more Particular Reasons for the Suppressing of Old Pamphlets.  [Blank line] First;39Marginalia: Reasons for the Suppressing of old Pamphlets as well as new. [Continuation of prior marginalia] It is (with Reverence) a Duty both from his Sacred Majesty and his Parliament, to the Honour, and Memory of the Late King, to deliver the Reputation of That Blessed Martyr, from the Diabolical Calumnies, and Forgeries, which are yet Extant against his Person, and Government.

which are to be Supprest [Suppressed].

40Section header is split between this and the opposite page (“Books, Libels, and Positions”) This pattern repeats for all subsequent pages until the next section (Instances of Treasonous and Seditious Pamphlets). Secondly, It is as much a Duty toward our Present Sovereign, of whose Royal Family, and Person, as much Ill is Said, and Publish’d, as is possible for the Wit of Man to Utter, or for the Malice of Hell to Invent. Thirdly, In Relation to Political Ends, and to the security of the Publique, they ought to be supprest: for they do not only Revile, and Slander his Majesties Royal Person, but many of them Disclaim his very Title to the Crown; and Others Subject his Prerogative, and Consequently his Sacred Life to the Sovereign Power of the People; and this is done too, with all the Advantages of a Pestilent and Artificial Imposture. Now why a Pamphlet should be Allow’d to Proclaim This Treason to the World, which but whispered in a Corner would certainly bring a Man to the Gallows, is not easily Comprehended. Fourthly, It makes the English Nation cheap in the Eyes of the World, to find the Bloud and Virtues of the Late King, appear so little to be consider’d, beside the Hazardous Consequence of Blasting the Royal Cause, and of Discourageing Loyalty to Future Generations, by transmitting the whole Party of the Royallists, in so many Millions of virulent Libels, to Posterity, for a prostitute Rabble of Villeins41Feudal tenants entirely subject to a lord or manor to which he paid dues and services to in exchange for land. (OED), and Traytours.  Fifthly, Those Desperate Libells and Discourses do not only Defame the Government, Encourage and Enrich the Faction, and Poyson the People; but, while They are Permitted, Those Stationers and Printers, that would otherwise be Honest, are forced either to play the Knaves for Company, or to Break: for there’s scarce any other Trading for them, but in That Trash. Their Customers will be supply’d, and if they ask for any of these Treasonous Books, they must either Furnish them, or Lose their Custom.  Sixthly, The same Reason that prohibits New Pamphlets, requires also the Suppressing of Old ones, (of the same Quality) for ‘tis not the Dare, that does the Mischief,  but the Matter, and the Number. If they be Plausible,

Plausible, and Cunning enough to Deceive, and then Numerous enough to Spread, Buchanan, and Knox will do the business as sure as Baxter, and Calamy. Besides that in some Respects, the Old Ones have a great Advantage of the New: for being Written in times of Freedom, and Menag’d by the great Masters of the Popular Stile, they speak playner, and strike homer to the Capacity and Humour of the Multitude; whereas they that write in the fear of a Law, are forc’d to cover their Meaning under Ambiguities and Hints, to the greater Hazzard of the Libeller, than of the Publique.

Seventhly, They must be supprest, in Order to a Future Regulation: for otherwise ‘tis but Antedating New Books, and making them pass for Old ones (which may be done with very little Hazzard of Detection) or else, as any Saleable Book grows scarce; tis but Reprinting it with a false Date, and by these Additions, and Recruits, a Stock of Seditious Pamphlets shall be kept in Motion, to the end of the world. In Fine, if they are not fit to be Sold, they are not fit to be kept; for a verbal Prohibition without an Actual Seizure will be rather an Advantage to the Private Trade, than a Hindrance; and bring Profit to the Factions Book-sellers and Printers, that have Copies ly[ing] upon their hands, by Enhansing the Price.

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Having already set forth the Quality of those Pamphlets that ought to be suppress’d, together with the Necessity of Suppressing Old as well as New; It will now follow properly, that I give some Instances of both sorts upon the foregoing Subjects.

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Instances of Treasonous and Seditious Pamphlets.


I. Against the Life of the Late King.


The Armies Remonstrance from St. Albans, Nov. 16, 1648. [Blank Line] We Propound that That Capital and Grand Author of our Troubles, the Person of the King, may be speedily brought to Justice, for the Treason, Bloud, and Mischief He is Guilty of. [Blank Line] God’s Delight in the Progress of the Upright. 42Marginalia: Printed for Thomas Brewster, 1649. Delivered in a Sermon by Thomas Brooks before the Commons, Dec. 26, 1648.[/f][Blank Line] Have ye not sins enough of your own, but will ye wrap your selves up, in the Treachery, Murder, Bloud, Cruelty and Tyranny of others? P. 17 Set some of those Grand Malefactors a Mourning, (that have Caus’d the Kingdom to Mourn so many years in Garments Roll’d in Bloud) by the Execution of Justice, &c. P. 19.


II. In Justification of Putting His Late Majesty to Death.


The Speeches and Prayers of some of the Late King’s Judges.43Marginalia: Printed 1660 Divers Impressions.[/f] [Blank Line] That men may see what it is to have an Interest in Christ in a Dying hour, and to be Faithful to his Cause.44Marginalia: The Publisher to the Reader.[/f] I look upon it [the Murther of the King] as the most Noble and high Act of Justice that our Story can Parallel.45Marginalia: In a Personated Letter from Cook to a Friend.[/f] P. 41.

Mercurius Politicus.

[Blank Line] That Heroick and most Noble Act of Justice, in Judging and Executing the Late King—-An Act Agreeing with the Law of God, Consonant to the Laws of Men, and the Practices of all well order’d States and Kindomes.46Marginalia: Printed by a Person now in Office and eminent employment, 1651. P. 784. Charles the First was Executed a Tyrant, Traitor, Murtherer, and a Publique Enemy to the Nation. P. 1032.

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III. Against the Title of the Royal Family to the Crown of England.


Mercurius Politious.

[Blank Line] Playing the second Part of Perkins Warbeck, who once Invaded the North after the same manner, with a Crew of Scots at his Heels, and had every Jot as good a Title as Himself, or as his Predecessor Henry the 7th.47Marginalia: P. 982. We had sufficient Reason to lay aside this Bastard Race of Usurpers and Pretenders, if it were for no other Cause, but the Meer Injustice and vanity of their Title.48Marginalia: P. 832. We have cause to Cut off this Accursed Line of Tyranny, Bloud, and Usurpation.49Marginalia: P. 833. [Blank Line]

The False Brother.

50Marginalia: Printed by Mr. Baxters Printer for Fran. Tyton [illegible] one of his Majesties Servants, if he has not lately put off his place. [Blank Line] The Parliament having wisely Chang’d the Government to a Common-wealth, and Cut off that hereditary Usurpation of Monarchy, which was never either justly Begun or Continued. P. 34.

a The Rise, Reign, and Ruine of the House of Stuarts.

51Marginalia: a A Foul and Treasonous piece, printed for Giles Calvert, 1652.
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b The true Pourtraiture of the Kings of England.

52Marginalia: b Printed by Mr. Baxt. Printer for Francis Tyton, 1650.
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It is high time now to End that Line that was never either well Begun, or Directly Continued. P. 42.

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A Short Reply, &c. together with a Vindication of the Declaration of the Army of England.53Marginalia: Printed by one in Office and great Employment, for Fran. Tyton, Aug. 16, 1650.

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Touching the Right of This King’s Inheritance, We affirm it not only to be none Originally, without the Content of the Nation; but also, to be justly Forfeited, by his Own, and Father’s Destructive Engagements against the Common-wealth, and therefore we know not of any Duty, we Owe him, more than to any other engaged Enemy of the Land.54Marginalia: P. 24.


IV. Treasonous, Malicious, and Scandalous Libels against the Person of his most Sacred Majesty and the Royal Family.


Plain English.

55Marginalia: Printed for Livewell Chapman, 1660.
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What hope that the Reformed Religion will be protected and Maintained, by the Son, which was Irreligiously betray’d by the Father?56Marginalia: P. 2.

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A Door of Hope.

57Marginalia: 1660 Since his Majesties Return.

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C.S. the Son of The Murtherer, is Proclaimed King of England, Whose Throne of Iniquity is built on the Bloud of Precious Saints and Martyers.

58Marginalia: P. 1.

The Case of King 59Marginalia: Printed by Peter Cole, 1648.Charles.

[Blank Line] The Murtherers of our Saviour with less Guilty than that Prince.60Marginalia: The Author Cook the Regicide. [Blank Line]

An English Translation of the Scottish Declaration.

[Blank Line]61Marginalia: Printed by a person in Office and credit, for Fran. Tyton, 1650. Let Justice and REason blush, and Traytors and Murtherers, Parricides, and Patricides, put on white Garments, and Rejoyce as Innocent ones, if This Man [the late king] should escape the hands of Justice and Punishment.62Marginalia: P. 22. An Implacable and Gangren’d Person.63Marginalia: P. 13. A Butcher rather than a Prince of Bowels and Affection.64Marginalia: P. 19. [Charles the 2d] the Son of a Blondy Father, Heir to an Entayl’d Curse, more certain than to his Kingdom, Train’d up in Bloud, and one that never suck’d in any other Principles but Prerogative and Tyranny65Marginalia: P. 23. [Blank Line]

The None-such Charles.

[Blank Line] [Charles the First] rather chose to submit to the Justice of an Axe in a Hang-mans hand, than to sway a Scepter with Equity.66Marginalia: P. 167. This Age knows what such a Tyrant was, in not feeling his force any more upon their Throats.67Marginalia: P. 169. [Blank Line]

A True State of the Case of the Common-wealth.

68Marginalia: Printed 1654. by a person in Offices of great Truth and Benefit. [Blank Line] That Accursed Interest; ——–a Family that God has cast out before us; ——–that has worn the marques and badges of Gods high displeasure for almost these Hundred years, P. 47. The Person of the young Pretender, is a son of Bloud, &c. P. 48.

Mercurius Britanicus.

[Blank Line] If any man can bring any tale or tiding of a wilfull King, which hath gone astray these four years from his Parliament, with a Guilty Conscience, Bloudy Hands, a Heart full of broken Vowes and Protestations, &c. P. 825.69Marginalia: Printed by Mr. Baxters Printer. 1645. [Blank Line]


V. Pamphlets tending manifestly to stir up the People against his Sacred Majesty, and the Establish’d Government.


God’s Loud Call.

70Marginalia: Printed by Simon Dover, 1661. [Blank Line] Oh! Worm! Darest thou be so impudent to put thy self in Gods stead, to meddle with mens Consciences, and Lord it in Religious Concerns?71Marginalia: P. 17. [Blank Line]

Smectymnuus Redivivus.

72Marginalia: Printed for J. Rothwell, 1660. Publish’d by Mr. Thomas Manton, since his Majesties Return. [Blank Line] The Plastring or Palliating of these Rotten Members [Bishops] will be a greater Dishonour to the Nation and Church, than their Cutting off, and the Personal Acts of These Sons of Belial, being Conniv’d at, become National Sins.73Marginalia: P. 58. The Root of these Disorders, (viz.) Popery, Superstition, Arminianism, and Prophaneness) proceedeth from the Bishops, and their Adherents [whereof the King is One.]74Marginalia: P. 66. [Blank Line]

A Sermon Preached at Aldermanbury-Church, Dec. 28, 1662.

[Blank Line] The tongue of Man is not able to express the Misery of that Nation, where the Ark of God is Taken [P. 8.]: and

the Ark of God is in This Instant in Danger of being Lost, [P. 11.] We have lost our first Love to the Gospel, and to the Ordinances, [ibid.] Abundance of Priests and Jesuits are in the midst of us, and Popery preach’d amongst us. But where are our old Eli’s now? our Moses’s? our Elijahs? our Uriahs? 

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Animadversions upon the Bishop of Worcesters Letter.

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We may lawfully refuse to submit unto such Impositions as God hath no where commanded.

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The Yew of Prodigies.

Amongst the Hellish rout of Prophane and ungodly men, let especially the Oppressors and Persecutors of the True Church look to themselves, when the hand of the Lord, in strange Signs and Wonders is lifted up among them; for —— The finale overthrow of Pharaoh and the AEgyptians (those cruel Task-masters and Oppressors of the Israelites) did bear date not long after the Wonderfull and Prodigious Signs which the Lord had shewn in the midst of them.

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A Word of Comfort.

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The Church of God appears in his Cause, and loseth Bloud in his Quarrel. [P. 8.]

Is not God upon the Threshold of his Temple, ready to fly? Are not the shadows of the Evening stretched out? and may we not fear the Sun-setting of the Gospel? P. 30.

The Lord may let his Church be a while under Hatches, to punish her Security, and to awaken her out of her slumbering fits; yet surely the storm will not continue long.

A Dispute against the English-Popish Ceremonies.

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Be not deceiv’d to think that they who so eagerly press this Course of Conformity, have any such end as Gods Glory, or the Good of his Church, and Profit of Religion. P. 9.

Let not the Pretence of Peace, and Unity, cool your fervour, or make you spare to oppose your selves, unto those Idle and Idolized Ceremonies, against which we dispute. P. 11.

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Instances of Pamphlets containing Treasonous and Seditious POSITIONS.


VI. The Three Estates are Co-ordinate, and the King one of the Three Estates.


Baxters Holy Common-Wealth.

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The Soveraignty here among us is in King, Lords, and Commons. P. 72.

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Parliament-Physick for a Sin-sick Nation.

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The Government of England is a Mixt Monarchy, and Govern’d by the Major part of the Three Estates Assembled in Parliament.

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Ahabs Fall, with a Post-script to Dr. Fern.

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The Houses are not only Requisite to the Acting of the Power of making Lawes, but Co-ordinate with his Majestie in the very Power of Acting.


VII. The Soveraignty is in the Two Houses, in Case of Necessity.


The Peoples Cause Stated, in the [Pretended] Tryal of Sir Henry Vane.

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The Delegates of the People in the House of Commons, and the Commissioners on the Kings Behalf in the House of Peers, concurring; do very far bind the King, if not wholly,—And when These cannot Agree but break one from another, the Commons in Parliament Assembled, are, ex Officio, the Keepers of the Libertys of the Nation, and Righteous Possessors, and Defenders of it against all Usurpers and Usurpations whatsoever.

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Observations upon his Majesties Answers, &c.

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Parliaments may Judg of Publique Necessity without the King (if Deserted by the King) and are to be accompted, by Virtue of Representation, as the whole Body of the State.

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Right and Might well met.

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Whensoever a King or other Superior Authority creates an Inferioiur, they Invest it with a Legitimacy of Magistratical Power to punish Themselves also, in Case they prove Evill-Doers.


VIII. The Power of the King is but Fiduciary; and the Duty of the Subjects but Conditional.


Jus Populi.

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Princes Derive their Power and Prerogative from the People, and have their Investitures merely for the Peoples Benefit.

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Vindicie contra Tyrannos.

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If the Prince fail in his Promise, the People are Exempt from their Obedience, the Contract is made Voyd, and the Right of Obligation is of no Force—It is therefore permitted to the Officers of the Kingdome, either All or some good Number of them, to suppress a Tyrant.

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The Tenure of Kings and Magistrates—

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—Providing that it is Lawful for any who have the Power, to call to Account a Tyrant, or wicked King, and after due Conviction to depose, and put him to Death, if the ordinary Magistrate have Neglected, or Deny’d to doe it.

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IX. The King is Singulis Major, Universis Minor.


A Declaration of the Lords and Commons touching the Four Bills.

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It is the Kings Duty to pass all such Lawes, as Both

Houses shall Judg good for the Kingdom: Upon a supposition, that they are good, which by them are Judg’d such.

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De Monarchia Absoluta.

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Detrahere Indigno Magistratum etsi Privati non debant; Populus tamen Universus quin poffit, nemo, opinor, dubitabit. P. 9.

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Thorps Charge to the Grand-Jury at York, March 20. 1648.

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Kings are Accountable to the People, I do not mean to the Diffused humours and fancies of particular men in their single and natural Capacities; but to the People in their Politique Constitution, lawfully Assembled by their Representative. P. 3. 1649.


X. The Kings Person may be Resisted by not His Authority.


Lex Rex.

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He that Resisteth the King, commanding in the Lord, Resisteth the Ordinance of God. But who who Resisteth the King, Commanding that which against God, Resisteth no Ordinance of God; but an Ordinance of Sing and Sathan. P. 267.


XI. The King has no Power to Impose in Ecclesiastical Affairs.


The Great Question.

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I hold it utterly Unlawful for any Christian Magistrate to Impose the Use of Surplices in Preaching, Kneeling at the Sacrament, Set-Forms of Prayer, &c.

When once Humane Inventions become Impositions, and lay a Necessity upon that which God hath left Free; then may we lawfully Reject them, as Plants of Mans fetting, and not of Gods owning.

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XII. The Parliament of November 3d. 1640. is not yet Dissolv’d.


The Peoples Cause Stated in the [Pretended] Tryall of Sir Henry Vane.

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How and when the Dissolution of the Long-Parliament (according to Law) hath been made, is yet Unaseertain’d, and not particularly Declar’d: by reason whereof, (and by what hath been before shew’d_ the state of the Case on the Subjects part, is much altered, as to the Matter of Right, and the Usurpation is now on the other hand. 


XIII. The Warre Rais’d in 1642. in the Name of the King and Parliament was Lawful.


Baxter Holy Common-Wealth.

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I cannot see that I was mistaken in the main Cause, nor dare I repent of it, nor forbear the same, if it were to do again in the same State of things—–And my Judgment tells me, that if I should do otherwise, I should be Guilty of Treason or Disloyalty against the Soveraign Power of the Land, and of Persidiousness to the Common-Wealth.

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The Form and Order of the Coronation of Charles the Second.

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A King abusing his Power to the overthrow of Religion Lawes and Liberties—-may be Controll’d and Oppos’d. This may serve to Justifie the Proceedings of this Kingdome against the Lake King, who in an Hostile way set himself to overthrow Religion, Parliaments, Lawes, and Liberities.


XIV. The Covenant is Binding.


A Phoenix: or, the Solemn League and Covenant.

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The breaking of our National Covenant is a Sin in Folio, a Sin of a high Nature—a greater sin, then a sin against a Commandment, or against an Ordinance, a sin not only of Disobedience, but of Perjury, a sin of Inju-

stice, a spiritual Adultery, a sin of Sacriledge, a sin of great unkindness. P. 118.

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Two Papers of Proposals.

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The Covenant does undoubtedly Bind us to forbear our own Consent to those Luxuriances of the Church-Government which we there Renounced, and for which no Divine Institution can be pretended.

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A Short Survey of the Grand Case, &c.

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Some say, the Terms are Dubious, if not false, it being indefinitely asserted , it is not lawful to take Arms against the king on any Pretence whatsoever,—Although Our King is, and WE HOPE EVER WILL BE, so qualified, that in reference to Him, it MAY be true; yet it is not Impossible for a King Regis Personam exuere; in a Natural, or MORAL Madness, or Phrensie, to turn Tyrant, yea Beast, Waiving his Royal Place, violently, extrajudicially, extramagisterially to assault his Subject, as Saul did David. In this Case, men think Nature doth Dictate it, and Scripture doth justifie a Man so desenderido vim vi repellere, to take Arms, though by rallying the Men of Belial, not to Resist, yet to Restreyn, the King, and those who are Commissioned by him, until they make good their Retreat, and more safely run out of his reach.

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To some it soundeth harsh to declare it a Trayterous Position to take Arms by the kings Authority, against the kings person, or those Commissioned by him—-for if some Russians should (which God defend) seize the Person of a King, he is a Man, from whom Commissions may be by fear extorted, whereby true Loyalty must be on their side, and Treason on the part of the Kings Council, Kindred, and Ministers of State, if Arming against his Person, by his Authority though on such a Pretence.

The Convincing Demonstration that there lyes no Obligation on me, nor any other Person, from the Oath commonly called the Solemn League and Covenant, is a Knot cut by the Sword of Authority, whilst it cannot be loosed by Religious Reason.

We are Expectants of God’s avengement of the Covenant now it hath been taken, —–We do not, cannot, will not Declare, the Covenant doth not oblige me or any other person to endeavour our alteration of the Government in the Church.

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I could add More, and Worse to the Instances already given, but these shall suffice for a Taste. The Question is now, By whom, the Government and Oversight of the Press is to be undertaken, and the Contest lyes at present betwixt the Book sellers and Printers, which although Concorporate by the Ancient Grant, are in this point become Competitors; and since they have divided Themselves, they shall be here likewise distinctly considered.

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The Stationers are not to be entrusted with the care of the Press, for These following Reasons.

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First, They are both Parties and Judges; for diverse of them have brought up Servants to the Mystery of Printing which they still retein in Dependence: Others again are both Printers and Stationers, Themselves; so that they are Entrusted (effectually) to search for their own Copies; to Destroy their own Interests; to Prosecute their own Agents, and to Punish Themselves: for they are the Principal Authors of those Mischiefs which they pretend now to Redress, and the very Persons against whom the Penalties of this Intended Regulation are chiefly Levell’d.

2ly. It is not Adviseable to Rely upon the Honesty of People (if it may be Avoided) where That Honesty is to their Loss: Especially if they be such as have already given Proof that they prefer their Private Gayn before the

Considerations and Proposals, &c.

Well-fare of the Publique: Which has been the Stationer’s case throughout our Late Troubles, some few excepted, whose Integrity deserves Encouragement. 

3ly. In this Trust, they have not only the Temptation of Profit, to divert them from their duty (a fair part of their stock lying in Seditious Ware) but the Means of Transgressing with great Privacy, and Safety: for, make Them Overseers of the Press, and the Printers become totally at their Devotion; so that the whole Trade passes through the fingers of their own Creatures, which, upon the matter, concludes rather in a Combination, then a Remedy.

4ly. It seems a little too much to Reward the Abusers of the Press with the Credit of Superintending it: upon a Confidence that They that Destroy’d  the Last King for their Benefit, will now make it their businesse to Preserve This to their Loss.

5ly. It will cause a great Disappointment of Searches,  when the Persons most concern’d shall have it in their power to spoyl all, by Notices, Partiality, or Delay.

6ly. As the Effectual Regulation  of the Press  is not at all the Stationers Interest, so is it strongly to be suspected that it is as little their Aym: for not One Person has been Fin’d, and but one Prosecuted, (as is credibly Affirm’d) since the Late Act, notwithstanding so much Treason and Sedition Printed and disperst since That time. 

7ly. It is enjoyn’d by the Late Act that no Man shall be Admitted to be a Master-Printer, untill They who were at that time Actually Master-Printers, shall be by Death or otherwise reduc’d to the number of Twenty: which Provision notwithstanding, Several Persons have since that time been suffer’d to set up Masters; which gives to understand that the reducing of the Presses to a Limited Number is not altogether the Stationers Purposes.


The Printers are not to be Entrusted with the Government of the Press.

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First, All the Arguments already Objected against the Stationers hold good also against the Printers, but not fully so strong. That is,they are both Partyes, and Judges. Self-ended, (upon Experiment) under the Temptation of Profit. Offenders as well as the Stationers; and in all Abuses of the Presse, confederate with them. Beside, They will have the same Influence upon Searches; and they have probably as little Stomack to a Regulation, as the other. ‘Tis true; the Printers Interest is not so Great as the Stationers; for where Hee gets (it may be) 20 or 25 in the 100 for Printing  an Unlawful Book, the Other Doubles, nay many times, Trebles his Mony by selling it: Yet neverthelesse the Printer’s Benefit lyes at stake too.

2dly. It were a hard matter to Pick out Twenty Master-Printers, who are both Free of the Trade, of Ability to Menage it, and of Integrity  to be Entrusted with it: Most of the Honester sort being impoverished by the Late Times, & the great business of the Press being Engross’d by Oliver’s Creatures. 

But, They Propose to Undertake the Work upon Condition to be Incorporate. That is; to be Disengaged front he Company of Stationers, and to be made a Society by Themselves. It may be Answered that it would be with Them, as ‘tis with Other Incorporate Societies: They would be True to the Publique, so far as stands with the Particular Good of the Company. But Eveidently Their Gain lyes the other way: and for a State to Erect a Corporation that shall bring so great a Danger upon the Publique, and not one Peny into the Treasury, to Ballance the Hazzard, were a Proceeding not ordinary.

But they offer to give Security, and to be Lyable to Fines. Let That be done, Whether they be Incorporate, or no. In case of Failer, they’ll be content to lose their Priviledges. What signifies That, but only a Stronger Obligation to a

Closer Confederacy? ‘Tis True, The Printers in a Distinct and Regulated Society, [m]ay do some good as to the General Business of Printing, and within the Sphere of that Particular Profession: but the Question is Here, how to Prevent a Publique Mischief, not how to Promote a Private Trade. But are not Printers the fittest Instruments in Searches? They are, without Dispute, Necessary Assistants, either for Retriving Conceal’d Pamphlets, or for Examination of work in the Mettle, but whether it be either for the Honour, or Safety, of the Publique, to Place so great a Trust in the Hands of Persons of that Quality, and Interest, is submitted to better Judgments.

To Conclude; both Printers, and Stationers, under Colour of Offering a Service to the Publique, do Effectually but Design One upon another. The Printers would beat down the Book-selling Trade, by Menaging the Press as Themselves please, and by working upon their own Copies: The Stationers, on the other side, They would Subject the Printers to be absolutely Their Slaves; which they have Effected in a Large Measure already, by so encreasing the Number, that the One Half must either play to Knaves, or [Stirve?].

The Expedient for This, must be some way to Disengage the Printers from that Servile and Mercenary Dependence upon the Stationers, unto which they are at present subjected. The True State of the Business being as follows.

[Blank Line]

First, The Number of Master-Printers is computed to be about 60. whereas 20. or 24. would Dispatch all the Honest work of the Nation.

2dly. These Sixty Master-Printers have above 100 Apprentices (That is; at least 20 more then they ought to have by the Law.)

3dly. There are, bsides Aliens, and those that are Free of other trades, at least 150 Journy-Men, of which Number, at least 30. are superfluous; to which 30. there will be added about 36. more, belide above 50. Supernumerary Apprentices, upon the Reduction of the Master-Printers to 24. So that upon the whole Reckoning, there will be left a Master

of 60. Journey-men, and 50. Apprentices, to Provide for, a part of which Charge might very reasonably be laid upon those that either Bound or Took any of the said Number, as Apprentices, contrary to the Limitation set by Authority.

These Supernumerary Printers were at first Introduced by the Book-sellers, as a sure way to bring them both to their Prices, and Purposes; for the Number being greater than could honestly Live upon the Trade, the Printers were Enforc’d either to Print Treason, or Sedition, if the Stationer Offered it, or to want Lawful Work, by which Necessity on the one side, and Power on the other, the Combination became exceedingly Dangerous, and so it still Continues; but how to Dissolve it, whether by barely Disincorporating the Company of Stationers, and subjecting the Printers to Rules apart, and by Themselves, or by Making them Two Distinct Companies, I do not Meddle.

This only may be Offer’d, that in Case Those Privileges and Benefits should be Granted, to both Stationers, and Printers, which they themselves desire in point of Trade; yet in regard that several Interests are Concern’d, That of the Kingdom on the one side, and only That of the Companies on the other; It is but reason that there should be several Super-intending Powers, and that the smaller Interest should give place, and be Subordinate to the Greater: That is, The Master, and Wardens, to Menage the Business of their Respective Trade, but withall, to be Subjected to some Superior Officer, that should over-look them Both on behalf of the Publique.

[Blank Line]

As the Powers of Licencing Books, are by the Late Act vested in several Persons, with regard to the several Subjects Those Books treat of; so may there likewise be several Agents Authoris’d and Appointed for the Care of the Press, touching These several Particulars, under the Name, and Title of Surveyors of the Press: and every distinct Surveyor to keep himself strictly within the Limits of his own Provinces. As for Example.

First, 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 them, are specially Authoris’d to License, by Themselves, or by their Substitutes, all Books concerning the Common Laws of This Kingdom.

Let there be one Surveigher of the Press Constituted peculiarly for That Subject.

[Blank Line]

2dly. All Books of Divinity, Physique, Philosophy, or whatsoever other Science, or Art, are to be Licens’d 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 one of the Chancellours, or Vice-Chancellours of either of the Universities, for the time being.

Let Three Other Surveighers of the Press be likewise Authorized for These Particulars.

[Blank Line]

3dly. All Books concerning Heraldry, Titles of Honour, and Arms, or Concerning the Office of Earl-Marshall, are to be Licens’d by the Earl-Marshall for the time being; or in case there shall not then bean Earl. Marshal, by the Three Kings of Arms or any Two of them, whereof Garter to be One. 

This is to be the Subject of Another Surveigher’s Care.

[Blank Line]

4thly. Books of History, Politiques, State-Affairs, and all other Miscellanies, or Treatises, not comprehended under the Powers before-mentioned, fall under the Jurisdiction of the Principal Secretaries of State, to be Allow’d by Themselves, or one of them, or by their, or one of their Appointments.

The Care of the Press concerning These Particulars be another Surveighers Business. So that six Persons may do the whole work, with good Order, and Security.

Three Substitutes for the Bishops; and Chancellours, and One a piece for the Rest

A word now touching the Encouragements of these Officers; and Then concerning Penalties to be Inflicted upon Offenders, and Rewards to be Granted to Enformers.

[Blank line]

The Inward Motive to all Publique and Honourable Actions must be taken for granted, to be a Principle of Loyalty, and Justice: but the Question is here concerning Outward Encouragements to This Particular Charge. There must be Benefit, and Power. Benefit; that a man my Live Honestly upon the Employment: and Power; for the Credit, and Execution of the Trust.

The Benefit must arise partly from some Certain, and standing Fee; and in Part, from Accessary, and Contingent Advantages, which will be but Few, and Small, in Proportion to the Trouble and Charge of the Employment: for there must be, First; A Constant Attendance: and a Dayly Labour in hunting out, and over-looking Books, and Presses: and Secondly, A Continual Expense, in the Enterteynment of Instruments for Discovery, and Intelligence; which being deducted out of the Pittances of Licences, and Forfeitures, will leave the Suveigher a very small Proportion for his Peyns

The next thing is a Power to Execute; whithough which, the Law is Dead, and the Officer Ridiculous.

[Blank Line]

Now concerning Penalties and Rewards.

  1. The Gayn of Printing some Books, is Ten times Greater, if they Scape, then the Loss, if they be Taken: so that the Damage bearing such a disproportion to the Profit, is rather an Allurement to Offend, then a Discouragement.
  2. As the Punishment is too small, for the Offender; so is the Reward also, for the Enformer: for reckon the Time, Trouble, ande Money, which it shall cost the Prosecutour to Recover his Allotment, he shall sit down at last a Loser by the Bargain: and more then That, he loses his Credit, and Employment, over and Above, as a Betrayer of his Fel-

lows; so great is the Power and Confidence of the Delinquent Party.

The way to help This, is, to Augment both the Punishment, and the Reward; and to Provide that the Inflicting of the One, and the Obteyning of the Other, may be both Easie, and Certain: for to Impose a Penalty, and to leave the way of Raysing it, so Tedious, and Difficult, as in This Case hitherto it is; amounts to no more then This: If the Enformer will spend Ten Pounds ‘tis possible he may Recover Five: and so the Prosecuter must Impose a greater Penalty upon Himself, then the Law does upon the Offender; or Else all comes to Nothing.

An Expedient for this Inconvenience is highly Necessary: and Why May not the Oath of One Credible Witness or More, before a Master of the Chancery, or a Justice of the Peace, serve for a Conviction. Especially the Person Accused being LEft at Liberty before such Oath taken, either to Appeal to the Privy-Council, or to abide the Decision.

[Blank line]

Now to the several Sorts of Penalties, and to the Application of them.

The Ordinary Penalties I find to be These; Death, Mutilation, Imprisonment, Banishment, Corporal Peyns, Disgrace, Pecuniary Mulcts: which Penalties are to be Apply’d with regard to the Quality of the Offence, and to the Condition of the Delinquent.

The Offence is either Blasphemy, Heresie, Schism, Treason, Sedition, Scandal, or Contempt of Authority.

The Delinquents are the Advisers, Authors, Compilers, Writers, Printers, Correcters, Stitchers, and Binders of unlawful Books and Pamphlets: together with all Publishers, Dispersers and Concealers of them in General: and all Stationers, Posts, Hackny-Coachmen, Carryers, Boat-men, Mariners. Hawkers, Mercury-Women, Pedlers, and Ballad-Singers so offending, in Particular.

Penalties of Disgrace ordinarily in Practice are Many, and more may be Added.

Pillory, Stocks, Whipping, Carting, Stigmatizing, Disablement to bear Office, or Testimony. Publique Recantation, standing under the Gallows with a Rope about the Neck, at a Publique Execution. Disfranchisement (if Free-men) Cashiering (if Souldiers), Degrading (if Persons of Condition), Wearing some Badge of Infamy: Condemnation to Work either in Mines, Plantations, or Houses of Correction. 

Under the Head of Pecuniary Mulcts, are Comprehended, Forfeitures, Confiscations, Loss of any Beneficial Office, or Employment, Incapacity to hold or enjoy any: and Finally, all Damages accruing, and Impos’d as a Punishment for some Offence.

Touching the Other Penalties before-mention’d, it suffices only to have Nam’d them, and so to Proceed to the Application of them, with respect to the crime, and to the Offender.

The Penalty ought to bear ProportionstotheMalice, and Influence of the Offence, but with  respect to the Offender too: for the same Punishment (unless it be Death it self) is not the same Thing to several Persons; and it may be proper enough to Punish One Mqan in his Purse, Another in his Credit; a Third  in his Body, and All for the same Offence.

The Grand Delinquents are, the Authors or Compilers, (which I reckon as all One) the Printers, and Stationers.

For the Authors, nothing can be too Severe, that stands with Humanity, and Conscience. First, ‘tis the Way to cut off the Fountain of our Troubles. 2dly. There are not many of them in an Age, and so the less work to do.

The Printer, and Stationer, come next, who beside the Common Penalties  of Mony, Loss of Copies, or Printing-Materials, may be Subjected to These further Punishments.

Let them Forfeit the Best Copy they have, at the Choice of that Surveigher of the Press, under whose Cognisance the Offence lyes; the Profit whereof the said Officer shall

see Thus Distributed One Third to the King, a Second to the Enformer, reserving the Remainder to himself. 

In some Cases, they may be condemn’d to wear some visible Badge, or Marque of Ignominy, as a Halter instead of a Hat-band, one Stocking Blew, and another Red; a Blew Bonnet with a Red T or S. upon it, to Denote the Crime to be Either Treason, or Sedition; and if at any time, the Person so Condemn’d, shall be found without the said Badge, or Marque, During the time of his Obligation to wear it, let him Incurre some further Penalty, Provided only, that if within the said time, he shall discover and seize, or cause to be Seized any Author, Printer, or Stationer, Liable at the time of that Discovery and Seizure to be Proceeded against, for the Matter of Treasonous, or Seditious Pamphlets, the Offender aforesaid shall from the time of that Discovery be Discharg’d from wearing it any Longer.

This Proposal may seem Phantastique at first sight; but certainly there are Many Men who had rather suffer any other Punishment then be made Publiquely Ridiculous.

It is not Needful here to run through every Particular, and to Direct, in What Manner, and to What Degree,These, and Other Offenders in the like kind shall be Punish’d, so as to Limit, and Appropriate, the Punishment: but it shall suffice, having Specifi’d the several Sorts of Offenders, and Offences; to have laid down likewise the several Species of Penalties, Sortable to every Man;s Condition, and Crimes.

Concerning Rewards, something is said already, and I shall only Add for a Conclusion, that they are every jot as Necessary as Punishments; and ought to be various, according to the Several Needs, Tempers, and Qualities of the Persons upon whom they are to be Conferr’d. Mony is a Reward for One; Honour for Another; and Either of these Misplac’d, would appear rather a Mockery, than a Benefit. 


The End.


EARLY ACCESS:  Transcription is under editorial review and may contain errors.
Please do not cite or otherwise reproduce without permission.

  • 1
    Harold Love, “L’Estrange, Sir Roger (1616-1704), author and press censor,” Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, 23 Sep. 2004, Accessed 11 Nov. 2021,
  • 2
    Roger L’Estrange, Considerations and proposals in order to the regulation of the press together with diverse instances of treasonous, and seditious pamphlets, proving the necessity thereof (London, 1663), p 31.  On habeus corpus, see the Habeus Corpus Act of 1678.  One of the more famous cases of denying Habeus Corpus is Shaftesbury’s case of 1677, which helped to precipitate the Habeus Corpus act of 1678, an act that James II tried vigorously to repeal in 1685. And Yes, Roger L’estrange is somewhat of a villain to anyone who studies this period of British history and probably did inspire the family name L’Estrange in the Harry Potter books.
  • 3
    (photo courtesy Holly Brewer, from an edition at the Library of Congress). Used with permission.
  • 4
    Transcription taken from scanned version of booklet, held by the Huntington Library and available via Early English Books Online (2019 Copyright Proquest LLC).
  • 5
    Bold-faced and larger text in this transcription represents the different Old English style block lettering used in the original document.
  • 6
    This appears at the top of the page for the next twelve pages (save for blank pages).
  • 7
    Likely referring to the English Civil War (1641-1649).
  • 8
  • 9
    Brackets and included words are original to the text.
  • 10
    Word is slightly obscured, our best guess is “expeateut.”
  • 11
    Marginalia: P. 21.
  • 12
    Marginalia: P. 22.
  • 13
    Marginalia: P. 23.
  • 14
    Marginalia: The Promoters,
  • 15
    Marginalia: and Publishers of Pamphlets. [this marginalia is related to the prior marginalia]
  • 16
    Section header is split between this and opposite page (“Regulation of the Press.”) This pattern repeats for all subsequent pages until the end of this section of the book.
  • 17
    Marginalia: A General Expedient in Order to Discovery.
  • 18
    Marginalia: Multiplicity of Private Presses and Printers a great evil.
  • 19
    Marginalia: The Remedies are,
  • 20
    Marginalia: To Reduce, and Limit the Number, [this marginalia is a continuation of the prior marginalia]
  • 21
    Second half of header displaying the section title. The first half, “Proposals in Order to the,” is on the opposite page previous. As noted before, this pattern repeats on subsequent pages until the next section (Books, Libels, and Positions…).
  • 22
    Marginalia: And to discover the Supernumeraries; [continuation of prior marginalia]
  • 23
    Marginalia: With the means of doing it. [continuation of prior marginalia]
  • 24
    Marginalia: Let no Tradesmen but Printers use Printing-Presses.
  • 25
    Marginalia: Obj.
  • 26
    Marginalia: Ans.
  • 27
    Marginalia: A Provision for Poor Printers.
  • 28
    Marginalia: Publishers and Dispersers about the Town
  • 29
    Marginalia: to be Punish’d. [continuation of prior marginalia]
  • 30
    Marginalia: The Stationers have their Private Ware-Houses, and Receivers.
  • 31
    Marginalia: Receivers and Concealers to be Punish’d as Dispersers.
  • 32
    Marginalia: The Stationers Agents for Dispersing their Books Abroad.
  • 33
    Marginalia: Their wayes of Privy Correspondence and
  • 34
    Marginalia: Concealment. [continuation of prior marginalia]
  • 35
    Marginalia: The means of Prevention & Discovery.
  • 36
    Marginalia: An Expedient against Printing of English Books beyond the Seas;
  • 37
    Marginalia: and Importing and Disposing of them. [continuation of prior marginalia]
  • 38
    Marginalia: What Books, Libels, and Positions are to be suppressed, and
  • 39
    Marginalia: Reasons for the Suppressing of old Pamphlets as well as new. [Continuation of prior marginalia]
  • 40
    Section header is split between this and the opposite page (“Books, Libels, and Positions”) This pattern repeats for all subsequent pages until the next section (Instances of Treasonous and Seditious Pamphlets).
  • 41
    Feudal tenants entirely subject to a lord or manor to which he paid dues and services to in exchange for land. (OED)
  • 42
  • 43
  • 44
  • 45
  • 46
    Marginalia: Printed by a Person now in Office and eminent employment, 1651.
  • 47
    Marginalia: P. 982.
  • 48
    Marginalia: P. 832.
  • 49
    Marginalia: P. 833.
  • 50
    Marginalia: Printed by Mr. Baxters Printer for Fran. Tyton [illegible] one of his Majesties Servants, if he has not lately put off his place.
  • 51
    Marginalia: a A Foul and Treasonous piece, printed for Giles Calvert, 1652.
  • 52
    Marginalia: b Printed by Mr. Baxt. Printer for Francis Tyton, 1650.
  • 53
    Marginalia: Printed by one in Office and great Employment, for Fran. Tyton, Aug. 16, 1650.
  • 54
    Marginalia: P. 24.
  • 55
    Marginalia: Printed for Livewell Chapman, 1660.
  • 56
    Marginalia: P. 2.
  • 57
    Marginalia: 1660 Since his Majesties Return.
  • 58
    Marginalia: P. 1.
  • 59
    Marginalia: Printed by Peter Cole, 1648.
  • 60
    Marginalia: The Author Cook the Regicide.
  • 61
    Marginalia: Printed by a person in Office and credit, for Fran. Tyton, 1650.
  • 62
    Marginalia: P. 22.
  • 63
    Marginalia: P. 13.
  • 64
    Marginalia: P. 19.
  • 65
    Marginalia: P. 23.
  • 66
    Marginalia: P. 167.
  • 67
    Marginalia: P. 169.
  • 68
    Marginalia: Printed 1654. by a person in Offices of great Truth and Benefit.
  • 69
    Marginalia: Printed by Mr. Baxters Printer. 1645.
  • 70
    Marginalia: Printed by Simon Dover, 1661.
  • 71
    Marginalia: P. 17.
  • 72
    Marginalia: Printed for J. Rothwell, 1660. Publish’d by Mr. Thomas Manton, since his Majesties Return.
  • 73
    Marginalia: P. 58.
  • 74
    Marginalia: P. 66.