« ForrigeFortsett »
false-hearted Englishmen, made so familiar to strangers, as not only our mysteries are laid open, but our materials are made theirs, and that trade of cloathing, which, in one valuable kind or other, maintained eleven or twelve parts of our kingdoms, is almost toa tally lost to England, which, for many 'hundreds of years, hath made them be both loved and feared of all other nations.
As for our fleets, which were formidable, and our navigation, which was honourable throughout the world, our ships are now daily brought into captivity, insomuch as, throngh our short and improvident war, made with Spain, above two-thousand English vessels have been carried into their ports, and all the goods in them are made prizes; many, who have been very able merchants, who have not only kept hospitality at home to the great relief of the needy, but have built and maintained tall ships abroad, to the ho. nour and strength of our kingdom, and to the increase of mari. Ders and trade, have in these times been and still are brought to compound their debts, not with more disrepute to their credit than grief to their hearts, and ruin to their families.
We could launch forth into an ocean of our calamities, did we not hold it to be more material and timely to prescribe remedies, which, being like to prove a long work by precept, we will shut it up into example: Look we, therefore, upon our neighbour na. tions, among whom, though there have been long divisions by claims, each thinking himself to be in the right, and each having the unanimous affection and assistance of their own subjects, have yet thought fit, if not been forced, to compound their differences, which they embraced with no small joy; our case is more formi. dable, the members of the same body continue fighting against their natural head, for maintenance of which quarrel they have too long destroyed each other; therefore, in obedience to the divine doc. trine, and in compassion to yourselves and posterity, dear coun. try, return in duty to your lawful native sovereign, fall to your honest vocations; ' fear God and the king, and meddle not with them that are given to change'; you have dearly paid for the knowledge of this truth, and let not now your obstinacy longer destroy you. Let him, who hath illegally gotten any thing by the late unnatural wars, make haste and restore it, and learn of that holy and inspired king David, “ that a small estate, rightly gotten, is more and more prosperous than innumerable riches of unrighteous purchase or plunder.” Though the Israelites, by God's command, divested the Egyptians of their wealth and jewels, yet it turned but to their own confusion ; for even their most holy priests and instructors epsnared them with the works of their own hands, and though he called the molten images which he made out of their plundered ear-rings, and other ensigns of pride and luxury, thuir, Gods which brought them out of Egypt, yet, doubtless, the devil had set such idols in higher esteem and honour with them than was the God of their deliverances. Their sufferings thereby are re. corded for our example.
In a word, let no man be ashamed to return to his honest roca. tion; if God have hitherto used them as his rod, let them not be high-minded, but fear, that the angry Father may, by the tears, and prayers, and humiliations, and returnings of children to duty in expression of his reciprocal love to his children, return also in affection, and, in sign of the same, cast his rod into the fire, " where shall be weeping, and wailing, and gnashing of teeth,” because you had not compassion on your brethren, truly penitent for their and your sins.
Repent, dear countrymen, and take a heathen poet's, Propertius, advice, as most properly becoming each man.
THE PRESS OPPRESSED, OR OVERPRESSED.
September, , 1660. Quarto, containing eight pages.
In this sheet of paper is contained, first, a short account of Printing in general,
as its usefulness, where and by whom invented; and then a declaration of its esteem and promotion in England, by the several kings and queens, since its first arrival in this nation; together with the methods taken by the Crown for its better regulation and government, till the year 1610; when, says the Author, this trade, art, and mystery, was prostituted to every vile purpose, both in church and state; where he bitterly inveighs against Christopher Barker, John Bill, Thomas Newcomb, John Field, and Henry Hills, as interlopers, and, under the king's patent, were the only instruments of infiaming the people against the king and his friends, &c. As more fully appeareth in the fol lowing paper.
TOW venerable and worthily honoured, in all kingdoms and
commonwealths, the wonderful and mysterious invention, utility, and dignity of printing have always been, cannot be rationally contradicted; comparing it especially with the miserable condition and barbarousness of the ancients, as well in the eastern as the western parts of the world (as Strabo de Situ Orbis writeth) who, as he saith, for the better conveying to posterity the memorable acts and monuments of their present times, conceived and contrived at first no better medium, than the impression thereof with their fingers, or little stieks, in ashes or sand, thinly dispersed and spread abroad in vaults and cells: But, experience being the
mistress of art, some better wits at length invented knives, and other instruments, for the incision of letters in barks of trees; others, for the graving or carving of them in stone ; others, with pincers in leaves of laurel, fig-trees, and other crassy leaves (as in China, and other parts of the Indies and castern countries) im. pressed their memorials in ur characters : Since that, the use of lead was brought in estimation, for the insculption of words in a more convenient method. But (as the adage is true, facile est inventis addere, and use tends every day more and more to per. fection) the happy experiment first of parchment, and then of pa. per, was ingeniously found out, with the use of canes, pencils, quills, and ink of several sorts: Yet, all this while, the benefit, areruing by that invention, tended no further, than to the com. posing of one single manuscript at one time, by the labour and in. scription of one single person : The rarity and paucity whereof hath cansed such honour, reverence, and anthority to be put apon the antiquities of our ancestors, as they worthily' merit.
But, at length, this vast expence of time and pains forced men's wits, by a cogent necessity, to enquire into, and scarch out the more occult and secret mysteries of art, for the better convenience and communication of their writings: And thereupon, by the bles. sing of Almighty God, upon the study and industry of John Got. tenburg, the rare and incomparable mystery and science of printing of books was invented and practised at Mentz in Germany, above two-hundred years ago; and, soon after, that art was brought over into England by one William Caxton, a worshipful mércer of the famous city of London, and there put in use, with merito. rious approbation of the religious and virtuous king Henry the Sixth, and all the estates of this kingdom. Since which time, bc. ing about two-hundred and twenty years elapsed, that ingenious mystery, splendor of art, and propagatrix of knowledge hath been duly countepánced and encouraged, with so much farour and respect of all our English princes, that it is, by laudable succession of time, arrived at that exquisite perfection, as we now see it in itself. For true is the character of a printer, to wit:
Imprimit ille die, quantum non scribitur anno.
In English thus:
To prefermit the honour and esteem placed upon it, in parti, colar, by Henry the Eighth, and Edward the Sixth, and the in. corporation of the Stationers Company by Queen Mary, merely and only for her favour and respect to the printers, and not to the book sellers (albeit they were both in their several faculties then constituted in one body and society, under one generical and individual term of Stationers*): Let us come to the reign of the
As may more particularly be seen in the Charter of this Company, lately published by Then mas Osborne of Gray's-lon.
glorious queen Elisabeth, of ever blessed memory; and then we shall plainly and perspicuously discover her majesty's great love and royal affection to printing and printers; who, for the sake of them and it, so far descended from her royal throne, as that her "highness not only made several gracious grants unto them, for better maintaining their poor, but also graciously recommended (for the special encouragement, and better subsistence of the mas. ter printers), the regulation of that mystery, and the professors. thereof, to the right honourable and judicious, the Lords of her Majesty's most honourable Privy Council; who, 23 Jonii, 28 Elis. made a memorable and noble decree in the Star-Chamber, cunfining the number of master printers in England to the number of twenty, to have the use and exercise of printing-houses for the time being (besides her majesty's printers, and the printers allowed for the Universities) limiting and coofining them within such an excellent method and strict regulation, as tended very much to the peace and security of the church and state, But, as the world waxeth old as doth a garment, and the corruptions and evil mannors of times and men grow daily, to a greater maturity and ripeness in sin and wickedness; and that all human kind are boldly inclined to rush through any forbidden mischief (like the old race of the giants, and the builders of Babel) so in tract and process of time, and especially in these later days (notwithstanding the severity and authority of that good decree of the queen's time) printing and printers, about the year 1637, were grown to such a monstrous excess and exorbitant disorder, that the prudent limits and rules of that laudable decrec were as much transgressed and infringed at that time, as the King's. Bench rules in Southwark have been extended and eloined in later days, for want of due ex. ecution of justice.
Wherefore, by the special command of our late royal and most illustrious king Charles, of blessed memory, the right honourable Thomas Lord. Coventry, lord keeper of the great seal of England; the Lord Archbishop of Canterbury, his Grace the Lord Bishop of London, lord high treasurer of England, the Lords Chief Jus. tices, and the Lord Chief Baron, being sat together in council in the Star-Chamber, 11 July, 13 Car. and reviewing and maturely considering the said decree and ordinances of the queen's time; in very great wisdom, prudence, and policy of state, thought fit and adjudged not only to confirm the same, but also to make and sib. join thereto several useful and convenient additions and supple. ments, as the reason of state and the necessity of the times did then require. Which last decree (with due renown to the memory of the makers thereof) was the best and most exquisite form and con. stitution for the good government and regulation of the press, that ever was pronounced, or can reasonably be contrived, to keep it in due order and regular exercise.
But now may we well with sorrow cry out at this day, with ihe comerliani, O tempora! O mores! or, in another sense, with the spouse in the Carticles, ch. ii. v. 15. “ Take us the foxes, the
little foxes, that spoil the vines, for our viñes hare tender grapes." Never was there such an honourable, ingenious, and profitable mystery and science in the world so basely intruded upon, and disesteemed, so carelesly regarded, so unworthily subjected to infamy and disgrace, by being made so common, as printing hath been since 1640, ia the days of our miserable confusions and calamities : Neither can it be repaired, or restored to its native worth and regular constitution, so long as such horrid monstrosities and gib. bous excrescences are suffered to remain and tumour in that disor. derly and confused body, as now it existeth in itself.
The excessive number of printing-houses and master-printers, or such at least as use and exercise the faculty of printing (though some be bouksellers only by trade and education, and others are of other trad.s, not relative to printing) is at present multiplied. and increased to above triple the number of twenty, constituted by that decree of the Star-Chamber; so that, by means of that exorbitant and excessive number of above sixty printing-houses in and about London, and the necessitous conditions of many of the prin . ters themselves, and the imposition of others upon them (who, if they will not adventure to print for them what is unlawful and of. fensive to the state and goveràment, being treasonable and sediti. ous, and most profitable for sale, shall not be employed upon things lawful and expedient) all the irregularities, inconveniences, and mischiefs, that can be imagined to be committed and done by: the too much liberty and licentiousness of the press, have been and are occasioned at this day, and daily will (without some speedy remedy and restriction, for the better encouragement of the honest and ingenious artists) be continued amongst us. How can it, in reason, be conceived to stand with the royalty and dignity of bis. most excellent majesty (whom God Almighty prosper and preserve) or with the safety and security of his kingdoms, to permit and suffer either the fore-mentioned inconveniences for the future, or such notorious impieties and abominable indignities and inso. lences, done and offered to his majesty's most sacred person and estate, to go unpanished in the actors thereof; who are nevertheless in truth and reality his majesty's printers ; against whom there is just cause of complaint at this present. As for example, Mr. Christopher Barker and Mr. John Bill, by their education and quality, have little or no skill or experience in the faculty and art. of printing, as to the manual operation thereof, being never brought up in that mystery: And the old proverb is and will be true, towit, Sener Psittacus non cupit ferulam. And albeit they are said and intitle themselves (by a very questionable and doubtful autho. rity both in law and equity) to be his majesty's printers; yet in. dced are they but nominal and titular; for that the manual work and impression itself, as well of the late acts of parliament, as also of his majesty's proclamations, and other royal acts of state, hath been actually performed by Thomas Newcomb, John Field, and Henry Hills, printers : Which thrée persons, to give them their proper characters, have been the oily insruments and incendiaries