1662: The Licensing of the Press Act

Satire from ‘Grub Street Journal’, London, 1732


The English Parliament issues “the Licensing of the Press Act” in 1662, two years after the restoration of Charles II. It bans the printing, selling and importation of “heretical seditious schismatical or offensive Bookes or Pamphlets” anywhere in the British Empire:


“… no person or persons whatsoever shall presume to print or cause to be printed either within this Realm of England or any other His Majesties Dominions or in the parts beyond the Seas any heretical seditious schismatical or offensive Bookes or Pamphlets wherein any Doctrine or Opinion shall be asserted or maintained which is contrary to Christian Faith or the Doctrine or Discipline of the Church of England or which shall or may tend or be to the scandall of Religion or the Church or the Government or Governors of the Church State or Common wealth or of any Corporation or particular person or persons whatsoever nor shall import publish sell or dispose any such Booke or Books or Pamphlets nor shall cause or procure any such to be published or put to sale or to be bound stitched or sowed togeather.”
The Licensing of the Press Act (1662)