(p.650) Appendix V Transcriptions and Translations
(p.650) Appendix V Transcriptions and Translations
Bibliothèque nationale de France, MS Clairambault 327, fos. 122r–3v. It is endorsed ‘A supplication to the right honorable the Erle of Leicester for erecting of a printe[r] at Oxford’.
The precise date of the Supplicatio is unknown but it presumably pre-dates January 1585 as Joseph Barnes had begun printing by then. In this volume, it has been dated as c.1584.
The text was transcribed in Strickland Gibson and David Rogers, ‘The Earl of Leicester and Printing at Oxford’, Bodleian Library Record, 2 (1949), 243–5; this is reproduced below. A translation appears in Carter, 19–20. An alternative translation, below, has been provided by Simon Neal and revised by Andrew Hegarty, with advice from Robin Darwall-Smith and Leofranc Holford-Strevens.
Cum nulla Germaniae et Galliae Academiola suam non habeat typographiam, miraculi instar videtur exteris per vniversum hoc Angliae regnum in vna tantum vrbe typographos reperiri, in eâque quod non sit academia, nulla fere praeter Anglicana imprimi. Quocirca optime de literis merebitur, qui impetraverit a Regia maiestate, vt suâ solita munificentiâ typographum in academia Oxoniensi (quae collegiorum magnificentia et annuorum redituum amplitudine omnes Europae vniversitates superat, typographiae defectu singulis cedit) fovere et confirmare dignetur. Rationes huc spectantes istae vel istarum similes esse possunt.
Supplicatio ad illustrissimum comitem Leicestriae summum Oxoniensis academiae cancellarium pro Typographia Oxoniae erigendâ, eademque vrbe privilegijs aliquot librorum, qui nondum privilegijs muniuntur dotanda, ad sumptus Typographiae facilius tolerandos.
In primis in illius academiae bibliothecis multi manuscripti libri optimi delitescunt, nunc pulvere et squallore turpiter obsiti, qui beneficio typographiae in eadem vrbe constituendae a tenebris perpetuis possent vindicari, et cum totius gentis honore in alias Europae regiones distrahi.
Praeterea cum viri sint ibidem omnium linguarum et artium liberalium peritissimi, quorum tenuitas interdum non fert, vt suis sumptibus Londini viuant, dum opera sua typis mandent, vnde hactenus obscuri et ignoti exteris, vix suis conterraneis innotuerint, praesente hac (p.651) typographiae opportunitate, ignauiae notam, quam illis quotidie exteri obijciunt, brevi facillime delerent et excuterent.
Cum semper exteris rationi consentaneum visum fuerit, vt vbi est sedes doctorum virorum, ibi sit typographorum locus, quò opera emendatius imprimantur et exemplaria diligentius conferantur: non sine summâ literarum iacturâ academiae typographis deprivantur.
Vixit Oxoniae annis abhinc plus minus quinquaginta quidam qui ibidem libros imprimebat, qui adhuc in manibus quorundam visuntur. Quodsi tum rudiori seculo academia suum haberet typographum, quanto magis erit necessarius in hac doctorum ingeniorum abundantiâ.
Est etiam nunc opulentus quidam bibliopola Oxoniensis vocatus vulgò Joseph Barnes, qui ibidem libenter libros excuderet, modo privilegium quatuor aut quinque librorum nondum privilegijs comprehensorum, quos ipse nominaret, et reliquorum nondum impressorum quos illi viri docti ex bibliothecis Oxoniensibus commendarent, obtinere posset, et ij qui a nundinis Frankfortensibus exterorum libros omnis generis quantitate maxima in hoc regnum important, latinos et graecos authores quos noster imprimet mediocri quantitate exportare, vt par est, teneantur.
Porro typographo Oxoniae stabilito occidentales Angliae et Walliae regiones, et barbarum adhuc Hyberniae regnum decursu temporis lympidissimis rivis melioris literaturae fœlicius et abundantius irrigarentur.
Postremo cum omne fere regnum iam scateat frivolis opusculis anglicè compositis, quae magis ad morum corruptelam spectant quâm ad vllam sanam aut solidam doctrinam, hac ratione ad saniora et magis erudita iuniores excitarentur.
Since there is no university, however small, in Germany and France that does not have a printing press, foreigners are astonished that in the whole of this realm of England printers can be found in only one city, and that, because there is no university in it, virtually nothing is printed except in English. Therefore, he will deserve well of the world of letters who obtains from the Queen’s Majesty that she, in accord with her accustomed generosity, deign to favour and secure a printing house in the University of Oxford (which surpasses all the universities of Europe in the grandeur of its colleges and the extent of their yearly revenues, and yet lags behind each and every one of them by its lack of a press). The following, and others like them, are considerations that may bear on the matter.
A petition to the most illustrious Earl of Leicester, High Chancellor of the University of Oxford, for the setting up of a printing press there and for granting in the same city a number of privileges for books not yet covered by privileges, as a help towards defraying the expenses of a printing house.
First consideration. First of all, there lie hidden away in the libraries of that University many excellent manuscripts, now shamefully covered in dust and dirt, which, by the boon of establishing a press in the same city, could be rescued from perpetual obscurity and distributed in other parts of Europe to the great credit of the whole nation.
(p.652) Second. Moreover, whereas there are men on the spot, extremely learned in all manner of languages and liberal arts, the slenderness of whose means does not at times permit them to live in London at their own expense while putting their works into print, these men have hitherto in consequence been overlooked and unknown to foreigners, and scarcely recognized by their own countrymen. But given now the opportunity of a press, they might swiftly and easily remove and shake off the imputation of idleness which foreigners daily lay against them.
Third. Since foreigners have always thought it reasonable that where there is a settlement of learned men there should be printers, so that books may be printed more correctly and texts more diligently collated, universities may not be deprived of printers without the greatest loss to literature.
Fourth. There was living in Oxford more or less fifty years ago a certain man who used to print there books which are still to be seen in the hands of some people. If, then, the University had its own printer in that less cultivated age, how much more needful must it be in the present abundance of learned talents.
Fifth. There is also at present a certain prosperous bookseller of Oxford, commonly called Joseph Barnes, who would willingly print books there if he could obtain a privilege for four or five books of his own choice not now covered by privileges, and for others not yet in print which learned men could recommend out of the libraries of Oxford, and if those who import foreigners’ books of every kind into this realm in exceedingly large numbers from the Frankfurt fairs were obliged, in like manner, to export in smaller quantity the Latin and Greek authors our man could print.
Sixth. Furthermore, if a printer were established in Oxford, the western parts of England, Wales, and the as yet barbarous realm of Ireland would in the course of time be watered more happily and abundantly with the purest streams of better literature.
Last. Finally, whereas nearly the whole kingdom now abounds with frivolous small works written in English which look more to corruption of morals than to any healthy and solid instruction, by this means youth might be incited to matters healthier and more learned.
May God prosper this request!
Patent to the University of Oxford (12 November 1632)
Transcribed in Madan, 1.281–3. The transcription given below results from a checking of Madan’s text with the original by Andrew Hegarty (with advice from Robin Darwall-Smith) and a few minor corrections have been made. A translation has been provided by Simon Neal and revised by Andrew Hegarty, with advice from Robin Darwall-Smith.
Carolus Dei gratia Anglie Scotie Francie et Hibernie Rex fidei defensor &c. Omnibus ad quos presentes litere pervenerint salutem Sciatis quod nos de gratia nostra speciali ac ex certa scientia et mero motu nostris dedimus et concessimus Ac per presentes pro nobis heredibus et (p.653) Successoribus nostris damus et concedimus dilectis nobis in Christo Cancellario Magistris et Scholaribus Vniversitatis nostre Oxon licenciam quod ipsi et Successores sui per scripta comuni eorum Sigillo munita de tempore in tempus tres Typographos librorum Impressores et Bibliopolas tam de alienigenis et extra obedientiam nostram heredum et Successorum nostrorum ortis vel oriundis quam de Indigenis infra eandem obedientiam natis vel nascendis infra Septum vel Ambitum eiusdem Vniversitatis residentes et inhabitantes tam conductivas quam proprias Domos habentes vel tenentes designare poterint et constituere quorum singuli omnimodos libros seu Codices publice non prohibitos editos vel edendos et librorum exemplaria Cancellarii eiusdem Vniversitatis vel eius vices gerentis ac trium Doctorum quorum vnus ad minus Sacre Theologie existat Professor quibus per eosdem Cancellarium magistros et Scholares facultas facta fuerit libros examinandi Judicio approbanda ibidem imprimere excudere ac Typis mandare ac tam libros et Codices illos quam alios vbicunque sive infra Dominia nostra heredum vel successorum nostrorum seu extra eadem impressos vel excusos ac vt prefertur approbatos tam in eadem vniversitate quam alibi vendicioni exponere vendere et distrahere quocies voluerint valeant et possint Quibus quidem Typographis librorum Impressoribus ac Bibliopolis et singulis eorum tam presentibus quam futuris ad omnia premissa licite et impune agendi licentiam similiter damus et concedimus per presentes. Ac pro nobis heredibus et Successoribus nostris vlterius volumus et concedimus quod huiusmodi Typographi librorum Impressores et Bibliopole eciam extra obedienciam nostram heredum vel Successorum nostrorum orti vel oriundi et eorum singuli quamdiu infra ambitum vniversitatis predicte moram traxerint et negocio antedicto sint intendentes in omnibus et per omnia tanquam fideles Subditi et ligei nostri infra Regnum Anglie oriundi reputentur habeantur et tractentur et singulis libertatibus liberis consuetudinibus legibus et privilegiis vti et gaudere valeant libere et quiete provt aliquis fidelis Subditus et ligeus noster heredum vel Successorum nostrorum infra Regnum Anglie ortus vel oriundus vti et gaudere debeat et ad quotas onera Consuetudines vel Imposiciones quascunque aliter aut alio modo quam ceteri fideles Subditi et ligei nostri heredum vel Successorum nostrorum infra Regnum Anglie orti vel oriundi Solvenda vel contribuenda nullus eorum arctetur vel compellatur Statutis de Alienigenis antehac editis seu Statutis vel Provisionibus quibusvis aliis in contrarium non obstantibus Proviso tamen quod iidem Typographi librorum Impressores et Bibliopole et singuli eorum extra obedienciam nostram heredum vel Successorum nostrorum oriundi omnia et omnimoda Custumas et Subsidia et alia debita et onera pro rebus et merchandizis suis extra Regnum Anglie traducendis vel in idem Regnum inducendis vt alienigene solvere teneantur et legibus Regni nostri Anglie sint obedientes Eo quod expressa mencio de vero valore annuo vel de certitudine premissorum sive eorum alicuius aut de aliis Donis sive Concessionibus per nos seu per aliquem Progenitorum sive Predecessorum nostrorum prefatis Cancellario Magistris et Scholaribus ante hec tempora factis in presentibus minime facta existit aut aliquo Statuto Actu Ordinacione Provisione Proclamacione sive Restriccione in contrarium inde antehac habitis factis editis ordinatis sive provisis aut aliqua alia re causa vel materia quacunque in aliquo non obstante In Cuius rei testimonium has literas nostras fieri fecimus Patentes Teste me ipso apud Westmonasterium Duodecimo die Novembris Anno regni nostri octavo.
per breve de privato Sigillo. Wolseley.
Charles, by the grace of God King of England, Scotland, France, and Ireland, Defender of the Faith, etc. To all whom these present letters reach, greeting. Know you that we, of our special favour, certain knowledge, and free will, have given and granted, and by these presents do (p.654) give and grant for us, our heirs and successors, to the Chancellor, Masters, and Scholars of our University of Oxford, beloved to us in Christ, licence that they and their successors may from time to time designate and establish by deeds fortified with their Common Seal three typographers, printers of books and booksellers, whether from among aliens and those born or yet to be born outside our obedience and that of our heirs and successors or from among denizens born or yet to be born within the same obedience, resident and dwelling within the confines or curtilage of the same University, having or holding either rented premises or their own houses, each and every one of whom is to have power and capacity to print, compose, and commit to type all manner of books or codices such as, whether already brought forth or still to be issued, are not publicly prohibited, and original scripts of books which are to be approved by the judgement of the Chancellor of the same University or his deputy and three Doctors, of whom one at least is to be a Doctor of Sacred Theology, to whom by the same Chancellor, Masters, and Scholars there shall be granted the power to examine books, and once both those and other books and codices, wheresoever within our dominions and those of our heirs or successors or outside the same, have been printed or composed and approved as aforesaid, they are to have power and capacity to place on sale and to sell and distribute them both in the same University and elsewhere as often as they desire. To which typographers, printers of books, and booksellers, moreover, and each and every one of them, now and in the future, we likewise give and grant licence by these presents to perform all the aforesaid lawfully and without punishment.
And for us, our heirs, and successors we further desire and grant that these typographers, printers of books, and booksellers, even those originating or later to come from outside our obedience and that of our heirs and successors, and each and every one of them, for as long as they reside within the curtilage of the aforesaid University and are attending to the aforesaid business, should be in all respects and to all effects reputed, held, and treated as though our faithful subjects and lieges originating within the realm of England, and that they should be empowered freely and quietly to use and enjoy each and every liberty, free custom, law, and privilege, such as any faithful subject or liege of us, our heirs, or successors, born or to be born within the realm of England, ought to use and enjoy; and that none of them is to be forced or compelled to pay or contribute to quotas, charges, customs, or impositions of any kind otherwise or in any manner other than the other faithful subjects and lieges of us, our heirs, or successors, born or to be born within the realm of England, notwithstanding statutes concerning aliens hitherto issued or any other statutes or provisions whatsoever to the contrary.
Provided, however, that the same typographers, printers of books, and booksellers and each and every one of them, who may originate outside the obedience of us, our heirs, or successors, be obliged to pay as aliens all customs, subsidies, other dues, and charges for exporting their moveable goods and merchandise outside the realm of England, or for importing them into the same realm, and that they be obedient to the laws of our realm of England.
On the understanding that express mention of the true yearly value or of the certainty of the aforesaid matters or of any one of them or of other grants or concessions made before this time by us or by any of our Progenitors or Predecessors to the aforesaid Chancellor, Masters, and Scholars, is not at all made in these presents, and any statute, act, ordinance, provision, proclamation, or restriction formerly had, made, issued, ordained, or provided to the contrary thereof, or any other thing, cause, or matter whatsoever in anything, notwithstanding.
(p.655) In testimony of which matter we have caused these our letters patent to be made. Witnessed by myself, at Westminster on the twelfth day of November in the eighth year of our reign.
By writ of Privy Seal. Wolseley.
Revised patent to the University of Oxford (13 March 1633)
Transcribed in Madan, 1.283–5. The transcription given below results from a checking of Madan’s text with the original by Andrew Hegarty (with advice from Robin Darwall-Smith), and a few minor corrections have been made. A translation has been provided by Simon Neal and revised by Andrew Hegarty, with advice from Robin Darwall-Smith.
Carolus Dei gratia Anglie Scocie Francie et hibernie Rex fidei Defensor &c. Omnibus ad quos presentes litere pervenerint salutem Inspeximus quasdam literas nostras Patentes magno Sigillo nostro Anglie Sigillatas Quarum tenor sequitur in hec verba Carolus dei gracia … [&c., as above, dated 12 Nov. 1632, ending] … Anno regni nostri Octavo Sciatis quod nos de gracia nostra speciali ac ex certa scientia et mero motu nostris predictas literas Patentes et singula in eisdem contenta tam predictis Cancellario Magistris et Scholaribus quam Typographis librorum Impressoribus et Bibliopolis sub forma in eisdem literis Patentibus specificata designandis et constituendis tam presentibus quam futuris concedimus et confirmamus Volentes quod eorum singuli libertatibus et privilegiis in eisdem contentis plenarie gaudeant et vtantur Volumus eciam et pro nobis heredibus et Successoribus nostris concedimus eisdem Cancellario Magistris et Scholaribus et Successoribus suis et Bibliopolis librorum Impressoribus et Typographis in vniversitate predicta designandis et constituendis vt predictum est dum moram trahunt et residentes sunt infra septum vel ambitum eiusdem vniversitatis quod liceat eorum cuilibet duo Prela seu Impressoria infra precincta predicta habere et occupare eisque vti in omnibus suis necessariis Decreto in Curia Camere Stellate Anno regni Domine Elizabethe nuper Regine Anglie vicesimo octavo [17 Nov. 1585—16 Nov. 1586] seu decreto quovis alio in contrarium in aliquo non obstante Et quod quilibet dictorum Typographorum librorum Impressorum et Bibliopolarum duos Apprenticios ad sibi deserviendum in arte et misterio predicto capere et conducere valeat Statutis in huiusmodi casu editis et provisis in aliquo non obstantibus Ac vt Magistri et Scholares eiusdem vniversitatis librorum exemplaria idiomatis diversi tam vernaculi quam peregrini in Bibliothecis in eadem Vniversitate hactenus latencia divulgare ac libros Concionum exemplaria et tractatus de novo componere et edere in religionis Christiane ac bonarum literarum et Artium incrementum incitentur Dictique Typographi et librorum Impressores labores et sumptus huiusmodi exemplaria ac libros typis mandandi et imprimendi subeant libencius Sciatis vlterius quod nos de vberiori gracia nostra speciali et ex certa scientia et mero motu nostris concessimus dictis Cancellario Magistris et Scholaribus et Successoribus suis ac Typographis et librorum Impressoribus infra septum vel ambitum Vniversitatis predicte pro tempore existentibus residentibus tam presentibus quam futuris in forma predicta designandis et constituendis (p.656) Et tenore presencium pro nobis heredibus et Successoribus nostris volumus et concedimus quod quocies predictorum Typographorum seu librorum Impressorum quispiam exemplaria librorum Idiomatis cuiuscunque vernaculi vel peregrini ex Bibliotheca quavis infra Vniversitatem predictam desumpta preantea non excusa vel impressa Dummodo huiusmodi Exemplaria sub forma in predictis literis Patentibus specificata divulgari approbentur Typis mandare vel imprimere quod non liceat alicui cuiuscunque status vel condicionis infra Terminum viginti et vnius Annorum proximorum post huiusmodi exemplarium primam impressionem absque speciali licencia Cancellarii Magistrorum et Scholarium predictorum in scriptis prehabita imprimere seu reimprimere aut ab aliis imprimi seu reimprimi facere aut impressa aut reimpressa vendere venalia habere edere vel evulgare seu clam vel palam distrahere infra Diciones nobis vbicunque subiectas Ac de vberiori gracia nostra speciali ac ex certa scientia et mero motu nostris pro nobis heredibus et Successoribus nostris concessimus dictis Cancellario Magistris et Scholaribus et Successoribus suis ac Typographis et librorum Impressoribus infra septum vel ambitum vniversitatis predicte pro tempore existentibus residentibus tam presentibus quam futuris in forma predicta designandis et constituendis Etvolumus tenore presencium quod quociescunque predictorum Typographorum vel librorum Impressorum quispiam Conciones tractatus vel libros per Magistrorum seu Scholarium predictorum quempiam de novo componendos et edendos Dummodo huiusmodi Conciones tractatus et libri vt prefertur approbentur Typis mandare vel imprimere quod non liceat alicui cuiuscunque status vel Condicionis infra decem Annos proximos post huiusmodi Concionum tractatuum vel librorum primam impressionem absque speciali licencia Cancellarii Magistrorum et Scholarium predictorum in scriptis prehabita imprimere seu reimprimere aut ab aliis imprimi seu reimprimi facere aut impressos vel reimpressos vendere venales habere edere vel evulgare seu clam vel palam distrahere infra Diciones nostras Typographis Bibliopolis librorum Impressoribus aliisque vniversis cuiuscunque Status vel Condicionis existant infra Diciones nostras vbicunque constitutis strictius inhibentes ne quis eorum infra separatos Terminos decem Annorum et viginti et vnius Annorum proximorum post huiusmodi exemplarium Concionum tractatuum seu librorum primam Impressionem preter Typographos vel librorum Impressores in Vniversitate predicta vt predictum designandos et constituendos infra Diciones nostras imprimere seu reimprimere aut ab aliis imprimi seu reimprimi facere aut impressos vel reimpressos vendere venales habere edere vel evulgare seu clam vel palam infra Dominia nostra distrahere inducere vel importare sine licentia dictorum Cancellarii Magistrorum et Scholarium in Scriptis prius habita presumat sub pena Confiscacionis librorum huiusmodi preter Arbitrar, in mandata nostra contemnentes infligenda Ac eisdem Cancellario Magistris et Scholaribus damus et concedimus potestatem in locis quibusvis infra Dominia nostra in quibus iusta fuerit suspicionis causa libros excusos vel distractos contra tenorem Mandati nostri abscondi vel custodiri per seipsos vel Deputatos suos pacis Custode Constabulario vel Decennario eis asociato scrutari et disquirere ac libros huiusmodi repertos capere ad loca publica ad vsum nostrum deferre ibidem remansuros quovsque vlterius in ea parte ordinatum fuerit Mandantes insuper vniversis et singulis vicecomitibus Custodibus pacis Maioribus Balliuis Constabulariis Decennariis Prepositis et Ministris quocies ex parte predictorum Cancellarii Magistrorum et Scholarium fuerint requisiti quod eis auxiliantes sint consulentes et presidio assistentes. Eo quod expressa mencio de vero valore annuo vel de certitudine premissorum sive eorum alicuius aut de aliis Donis sive Concessionibus per nos seu per aliquem Progenitorum sive Predecessorum nostrorum prefatis Cancellario Magistris et Scholaribus ante hec tempora factis in presentibus minime (p.657) facta existit aut aliquo Statuto Actu Ordinacione Provisione Proclamacione sive Restriccione in contrarium inde antehac habito facto edito ordinato sive proviso aut aliqua alia re causa vel materia quacunque in aliquo non obstante In Cuius rei testimonium has literas nostras fieri fecimus Patentes Teste me ipso apud Westmonasterium Terciodecimo die Marcii Anno regni nostri Octavo
Per Breve de privato Sigillo. Wolseley.
Charles, by the grace of God King of England, Scotland, France, and Ireland, Defender of the Faith, etc. To all, to whom these present letters reach, greeting. We have inspected certain of our letters patent, sealed with our great seal of England, the tenor of which follows in these words: Charles, by the grace of God … [etc., as above, dated 12 Nov. 1632, ending] … in the eighth year of our reign.
Know you that we, of our special favour, certain knowledge, and free will, grant and confirm the aforesaid letters patent and every single thing contained in the same, both to the aforesaid Chancellor, Masters, and Scholars and to the typographers, printers of books, and booksellers to be designated and appointed both now and in future in the manner specified in the same letters patent, wishing that each and every one of them may fully enjoy and use the liberties and privileges contained in the same.
We wish also and for us, our heirs, and successors, grant to the same Chancellor, Masters, and Scholars and their successors and to the booksellers, printers of books, and typographers to be designated and appointed in the aforesaid University, as aforesaid, for as long as they dwell and are resident within the confines or curtilage of the said University, that it may be lawful for each of them to have and to occupy two presses or printing machines within the aforesaid precincts, and to use them for all their needs, notwithstanding a decree in the Court of Star Chamber in the twenty-eighth year of the reign of Lady Elizabeth, late Queen of England, or any other decree to the contrary thereof in any matter.
And that each of the said typographers, printers, and booksellers may have power to take and employ two apprentices to serve him in the aforesaid art and mystery, the statutes issued and provided in this regard in any matter notwithstanding.
And so that the Masters and Scholars of the same University may be encouraged to publish original scripts of books in divers languages, both vernacular and foreign, that have hitherto lain hidden in libraries in the same University, and to compose afresh and issue books, copies of sermons, and treatises to the increase of the Christian religion, good letters, and arts, and so that the said printers may the more willingly undergo the labours and cost of committing to type and printing original scripts and books of this kind,
Know you further that we, of our more abundant special favour, certain knowledge, and free will, have further granted to the said Chancellor, Masters, and Scholars and their successors and to the typographers and printers of books residing, both now and in future, within the confines or curtilage of the aforesaid University, designated and appointed in the aforesaid manner, and by the tenor of these presents for us, our heirs, and successors, do will and grant that, whenever any of the aforesaid typographers or printers of books commits to type or prints original scripts of books in whatever language, vernacular or foreign, taken from any library within the aforesaid University and not hitherto set in type or printed, provided that original scripts of this kind are approved for publication in the manner specified in the aforesaid letters patent, it may not then be lawful for anyone of whatever status or condition to print or reprint them (p.658) within the period of the next twenty-one years after the first printing of such original scripts without a prior special licence in writing from the aforesaid Chancellor, Masters, and Scholars, or to cause them to be printed or reprinted by others, or to sell, place on sale, issue, or publish them whether printed or reprinted, or to distribute them secretly or openly, within jurisdictions anywhere subject to us.
And of our more abundant special favour, certain knowledge, and free will we have granted for us, our heirs, and successors, to the said Chancellor, Masters, and Scholars and their successors and to the typographers and printers of books residing, both now and in future, within the confines or curtilage of the aforesaid University, designated and appointed in the aforesaid manner, and it is our will by the tenor of these presents, that, whenever any of the aforesaid typographers or printers of books commits to type or prints any sermons, treatises, or books composed afresh or issued by any of the aforesaid masters or scholars, provided that sermons, treatises, and books of this sort are approved as aforesaid, it may not be lawful for anyone of whatsoever status or condition to print or reprint them within ten years next after the first printing of such sermons, treatises, or books without having in advance special licence in writing from the aforesaid Chancellor, Masters, and Scholars, or to cause them to be printed or reprinted by others, or to sell, place on sale, issue, or publish them whether printed or reprinted, or to distribute them secretly or openly, within our jurisdictions, more strictly prohibiting typographers, booksellers, printers of books, and all others of whatever status or condition, established anywhere within our jurisdictions, or any of them, from presuming to print or reprint them in our jurisdictions within the distinct terms of ten and twenty-one years next after first printing of such texts, sermons, treatises, or books, except for typographers or printers of books to be designated and established in the said University as aforesaid, or to cause them to be printed or reprinted by others, or to sell, place on sale, issue, or publish them whether printed or reprinted, or to distribute them secretly or openly, within our dominions without having first licence in writing of the said Chancellor, Masters, and Scholars, under pain of confiscation of such books to be inflicted on those refusing to comply with our mandates.
And we give and grant power to the same Chancellor, Masters, and Scholars in whatever places within our dominions where there shall be just cause of suspicion, to confiscate and keep in their possession or that of their deputies books printed or distributed contrary to the tenor of our mandate, and to examine and diligently inspect them in the company of a justice of the peace, constable, or tithingman, and to take and carry away books of this sort which they have found, to public places to our use, to remain there until something further be ordained in this regard.
We command, furthermore, all and singular sheriffs, justices of the peace, mayors, bailiffs, constables, tithingmen, reeves, and ministers, whenever they shall be requested on behalf of the aforesaid Chancellor, Masters, and Scholars, that they should help, advise, and provide assistance to them.
On the understanding that express mention of the true yearly value or of the certainty of the aforesaid matters or of any one of them or of other grants or concessions made before this time by us or by any of our Progenitors or Predecessors to the aforesaid Chancellor, Masters, and Scholars, is not at all made in these presents, and any statute, act, ordinance, provision, proclamation, or restriction formerly had, made, issued, ordained, or provided to the contrary thereof, or any other thing, cause, or matter whatsoever in anything, notwithstanding.
(p.659) In testimony of which matter we have caused these our letters patent to be made. Witnessed by me, myself, at Westminster on the 13th day of March in the eighth year of our reign.
By writ of privy seal. Wolseley.
University statutes (1634–6), Title 18, Section 5
Transcribed in John Griffiths (ed.), Statutes of the University of Oxford Codified in the year 1636 under the Authority of Archbishop Laud, Chancellor of the University (1888), 187–8; translated in G. R. M. Ward (ed.), Oxford University Statutes, vol. 1 (London: William Pickering, 1845), 205–6. The Vice-Chancellor’s Book, a copy of the 1634 printed statutes (OUA/WPγ/25c/2), includes only the first paragraph; the second, which appeared for the first time in the manuscript Codex authenticus of 1636, had to be added by hand to the short printed text in the Vice-Chancellor’s book.
The transcription given here has been made by Andrew Hegarty directly from the Codex authenticus: contractions have been expanded and the use of u/v modernized. A translation has been provided by Simon Neal and revised by Andrew Hegarty.
De Typographis Universitatis
Cum Sereniss. REX CAROLUS eius Nominis Primus, pro eo affectu, quo Literas ac Literatos fovet, Privilegia Universitatis, quoad rem Typographicam nimis antehàc arctata, mirum in modum amplificaverit; ne Clementiss. Regis indulgentiâ, sordidi ac illiberales Artifices ad privatum suum quaestum abutantur: Statutum est, quòd nullus Typographus in posterum his Privilegijs, aut Titulo Typographi Universitatis nostrae gaudebit, nisi qui in Admissione suâ singulis Statutis et Ordinationibus circa Regimen Typographorum, per Domum Convocationis factis, vel in posterum edendis se submiserit.
Quoniam verò, in re Typographica, usu compertum est, Mechanicos hosce Artifices (lucri sui compendium, cum dispendio Operis, plerumque sectantes) Calligraphiae seu Operis decori et elegantiae minimè studere, sed opera quaeque rudia et inemendata in publicam lucem extrudere; Idcircò praesenti Statuto cautum esto, quòd publicae Universitatis Typographiae, instruendae in Domo aliquâ huic usui specialiter deputata, praeficiatur Architypographus unus, Vir Graecis Latinisque literis probe instructus, et in studiis Philologicis versatissimus; Cuius munus erit, Operis Typographicis ibidem praeesse; materiam sive supellectilem typographicam (Chartam scilicet, Praela, Typos, et alia huius Opificij instrumenta) ut sint in suo quaeque genere lectissima providere. In Operibus è publicâ Universitatis Typographia prodeuntibus, Typorum modulum, Chartae qualitatem, Marginum mensuram praescribere; Correctorum errata emendare, et alia quaecunque ad operis ornatum et perfectionem spectantia sedulò curare Cui muneri quò alacrius et liberius vacet (praeter certam portionem lucri è libris impressis provenientis, ipsi posthaec pro ratione symbolae, quam ad publicae Typographiae peculium, seu sortem (p.660) communem contulerit, assignandam ab ijs, qui a Domo Convocationis ad ordinanda Statuta Typographica delegandi erunt) officium superioris Bedelli in Jure Civili, (utpote reliquis minus negotiosum) quandocunque primùm quoquo modo vacaverit, perpetuò in posterum annectendum fore, praesenti Statuto cautum esto.
Concerning the Printers of the University.
Since the most indulgent King Charles, the first of that name, out of the affection with which he encourages learning and men of letters, has wonderfully enlarged the University’s privileges in regard of printing which were formerly too limited, it is enacted, so that base and grasping artificers may not abuse the kindness of our most indulgent King to their own private profit, that no printer shall henceforth enjoy these privileges or the title of Printer of our University, if he do not at his admission submit himself to each and every statute and ordinance, whether hitherto made by the House of Convocation or enacted hereafter, regarding regulation of printers.
Since experience has indeed shown in regard of printing that these mechanical artificers (concerned for the most part with their own profit to the detriment of quality in their work) pay the least possible attention to fine lettering or beauty and elegance in production, but thrust into publication any old work, however rough and uncorrected, therefore it is provided by the present statute that a Head Printer be placed over the University’s public press which is to be established in some building specifically appointed for this use. He is to be a man well instructed in Greek and Latin literature and expert in matters philological. It will be his task to supervise printing operations therein, and to take care that printing materials or equipment (namely the paper, presses, types, and other instruments of this craft) are each most choice in their kind. For works issuing from the University’s public Press he is to prescribe size of type, quality of paper, and breadth of margins, as well as to perfect the errata of the correctors and diligently to take care of all else pertaining to the embellishment and perfection of the work. With a view to his greater keenness and unhindered occupation in it, it is provided by the present statute, that (in addition to a specified emolument out of the printing of books, which is henceforth, on account of the contribution he shall make to the common stock or capital of the public Press, to be assigned him by those delegated by the House of Convocation to draw up statutes for the Press), the office of Superior Bedel in Civil Law (being less busy than the other bedelships) is to be evermore annexed to this post whenever it shall be in any manner first vacated.
The Great Charter of the University of Oxford (3 March 1636), excerpt
Transcribed in Strickland Gibson, The Great Charter of Charles I to the University of Oxford (1932); an unpublished translation is available in the OUP archives.
(p.661) The Gibson transcription has been given below. A translation has been provided by Simon Neal and revised by Andrew Hegarty, with advice from Robin Darwall-Smith and William Poole.
Et cum pene a tempore quo primum Ars Typographica sive Impressoria in hoc Regnum nostrum Anglie applicuit Typographi sive librorum Impressores, tam de Alienigenis quam de Indigenis, in Vniversitate nostra Oxon. extiterint, qui cuiuscunque generis libros authoritate privilegiorum eiusdem Vniversitatis per Progenitores nostros concessorum ante quamcunque Chartam, Inhibicionem, restriccionem aut limitacionem super libris imprimendis inde in contrarium factam, liberam imprimendi ac impressos libros distrahendi ac publice per totum Regnum nostrum vendicioni exponendi potestatem habuerunt, ipso Cancellario sive eius Commissario (ex eo quod omnis et omnimoda cognicio sive Iurisdiccio de quarumcunque rerum mobilium contractibus intra eandem Vniversitatem eiusve precinctum, vbi altera pars est Scholaris aut persona privilegiata, ad eundem Cancellarium eiusve locumtenentem pertinere dignoscitur) licencias et privilegia ad huiusmodi libros imprimendos conferente, variosque inde libros, opuscula et tractatus ibidem sub Prelo Typographico in lucem emiserunt, sicut ex ipsis impressis monumentis, que eciamnum hodie extant, manifeste constat; que quidem Privilegia postea per Actum Parliamenti de Anno regni Domine Elizabethe, nuper Anglie Regine, Predecessoris nostri, decimo tercio predictis Cancellario, Magistris et Scholaribus et Successoribus suis sub nomine Cancellarii, Magistrorum et Scholarium Vniversitatis Oxoniensis confirmata, et ad omnem iuris intencionem, construccionem et effectum valida et in lege sufficiencia declarata et iudicata fuere, sicut per eundem Actum plenius liquet; a quo tempore (licet in decreto Camere Stellate die Mensis Iunii vicesimo tercio de Anno regni eiusdem Domine Elizabethe vicesimo octavo, vbi de vno prelo Typographico in Vniversitate Oxon. allocando et approbando ad libros ibidem imprimendos agitur, nulla eorundem librorum restriccio aut limitacio occurrat, nisi generalis tantum Provisio pro observacione quarundam literarum Patencium et Commissionum sub magno Anglie Sigillo necnon quarundam ordinacionum pro meliore gubernacione et regimine Stacionariorum in Civitate London. sub certis penis et penalitatibus annexis) exortis quibusdam super exercitio eiusdem Artis impressorie inter Magistrum, Custodes sive Guardianos et Communitatem Artis sive Misterii Stacionariorum Civitatis nostre London. et alios questionibus et Controversiis, nonnulli codices publice approbati ac recepti, tam per literas Patentes Domine Elizabethe, nuper Anglie Regine, Predecessoris nostri quam eciam Domini Iacobi, nuper Regis Anglie beate memorie, patris nostri precharissimi, et nostras, Typographorum sive Magistri, Custodum sive Guardianorum et Communitatis Artis sive Misterii Stacionariorum Civitatis nostre London. et Successorum suorum necnon cuiuscunque alterius persone vel quarumcunque aliarum personarum ac nominatim Roberti Barker et filii sui Christoferi, Iohannis Bill et Bonhami Norton ac diversorum aliorum et Assignatorum suorum impressionibus peculiariter reservati fuerint, et sub certis Forisfacturis et penalitatibus aliisque quibuscunque aliis huius regni nostri Anglie Typographis, librorum Impressoribus et Stacionariis huiusmodi librorum Impressionibus ac vendicionibus omnino interdictum fuerit, sicut ex ipsis literis Patentibus aliisque Decretis et edictis inde latis et rogatis plenius constat; Cumque eciam nos per literas nostras Patentes gerentes datam apud Westmonasterium duodecimo die Novembris Anno regni nostri octavo Ac postmodum per alias literas nostras Patentes gerentes datam apud Westmonasterium decimo tercio die Marcii eodem Anno regni nostri cum (p.662) adiectione novorum super libris imprimendis privilegiorum confirmatorum, pro nobis, heredibus et Successoribus nostris, Cancellario, Magistris, et Scholaribus eiusdem Vniversitatis Oxon. et Successoribus suis concessum sit, quod ipsi imperpetuum tres Typographos, librorum Impressores et Bibliopolas, tam alienigenas quam indigenas, in dicta Vniversitate commorantes haberent, vel habere poterint, quorum singuli, sub forma in dictis literis nostris Patentibus descripta, omnimodos libros sive Codices publice non prohibitos imprimerent, excuderent, typis demandarent, seu imprimere, excudere, typis demandare, eosdemque publice vendere ac distrahere poterint licite et impune, Aliquo Statuto, Actu, Ordinacione, Provisione, Proclamacione sive Restriccione in contrarium inde antehac habitis, factis, editis, ordinatis sive provisis aut aliqua alia re, causa vel materia quacunque in aliquo non obstante, provt in eisdem literis nostris Patentibus inde confectis plenius liquet; Iamque ex parte dilectorum nobis Cancellarii, Magistrorum et Scholarium dicte Vniversitatis nobis innotuerit, quod, ex eo scilicet quod Stacionarii Civitatis nostre London., pretendentes omnes et quoscunque libros per predictorum Predecessorum et Progenitorum nostrorum Chartas ac nostras suis impressionibus (vt prefertur) sic reservatos, libros publice prohibitos esse ac sub penalitatibus et forisfacturis illis que in illorum Chartis continentur, comprehendendos esse contendant, Typographi sive Impressores Vniversitatis nostre predicte earundem penalitatum metu deterrentur quominus ipsi, iuxta Chartae nostrae exigenciam Cancellario, Magistris et Scholaribus eiusdem Vniversitatis et Successoribus suis nuper inde confecte, omnimodos libros publice non prohibitos, in eadem Vniversitate eiusque precinctu edere aut imprimere aut impressos vendicioni publice exponere aut eosdem distrahere licite possint et impune; Nos, pro ea qua sumus in bonas literas et literatos propensione plane Regia ac volentes predicte Vniversitatis privilegia tam vetera quam nova (quantum in nobis est) ampliare, omnesque huiusmodi ambiguitates que inde exoriri poterint, amovere penitus ac delere, predictas literas nostras Patentes tam de Concessione quam de Confirmacione premissorum sic per nos (vt premittitur) factas, omniaque et singula in eisdem contenta predictis Cancellario, Magistris et Scholaribus Vniversitatis predicte Oxon. et Successoribus suis sic concessa, ratas habentes et gratas, De gracia nostra speciali ac ex certa sciencia et mero motu nostris, eas pro nobis, heredibus et Successoribus nostris, eisdem Cancellario, Magistris et Scholaribus et Successoribus suis ratificamus, stabilimus et confirmamus imperpetuum per presentes Eisdemque Cancellario, Magistris et Scholaribus et Successoribus suis plenam potestatem atque authoritatem Ordinaciones, leges et Statuta de tempore in tempus, cum penis eisdem annexis, pro bono et sano regimine eorundem Impressorum sive Bibliopolarum, Necnon Serviencium ac Ministrorum suorum, faciendi ac decernendi per presentes pro nobis, heredibus et Successoribus nostris damus et concedimus imperpetuum. Et vlterius de eadem gracia nostra speciali ac ex certa sciencia et mero motu nostris pro nobis, heredibus et Successoribus nostris interpretamur, exponimus, et declaramus per presentes, illos scilicet libros, cuiuscunque generis aut speciei fuerint, Typographorum sive Stacionariorum Civitatis nostre London. et Successorum suorum aut aliorum quorumcunque respective impressionibus per literas predictas (vt premittitur) et in eisdem sic peculiariter reservatos, libros publice aut publica vel nostri vel Regni nostri authoritate prohibitos non esse, nec pro libris publice prohibitis habendos esse, cum huiusmodi sint qui potius ad publicum omnium Subditorum nostrorum vsum communiter approbentur et quos ne ipsi quidem Civitatis nostre London. Stacionarii vel quicunque alii (si publice prohibiti essent) omnino imprimere et vendicioni exponere de iure poterint; Ac proinde Typographis, sive Impressoribus, Stacionariis aut Bibliopolis Vniversitatis nostre Oxon. antedicte, qui nunc sunt et qui pro tempore erunt, sub forma (p.663) predicta in predictis literis nostris Patentibus assignatis vel assignandis, bene licere eosdem ipsos et singulos cuiuscunque generis libros qui in Stacionariorum Civitatis nostre London. et Successorum suorum aut quorumcunque aliorum Typographorum Chartis et Assignatorum suorum respective quovismodo continentur, illorumque et Successorum suorum vel Assignatorum impressionibus sic peculiariter reservantur, necnon alios quoscunque libros publice (vt predictum est) non prohibitos, de tempore in tempus intra eandem Vniversitatem eiusque precinctum secundum formam in dictis literis nostris Patentibus inde descriptam, tam idiomatis vernaculi quam peregrini sive eciam ex vtroque mixti, ac tam in voluminibus magnis quam parvis, licite et impune imprimere seu imprimi facere, eosdemque sic impressos, per quaterniones vel alias Consutos, Contextos et ligatos, tam infra eandem Vniversitatem eiusque precinctum quam alibi, per totum Regnum et Dominium nostrum publice vendicioni exponere possint [sic] per se vel per suos imperpetuum, Ita quod nulle litere Patentes sive ipsius Domine Elizabethe, nuper Anglie Regine, Predecessoris nostri sive Domini Iacobi, Regis Anglie, Patris nostri precharissimi sive eciam nostre cuicunque persone vel personis, Corpori politico aut corporato sive Corporibus politicis seu corporatis quibuscunque respective, antehac concesse aut imposterum concedende, deinceps construantur aut impedimentum aliquod esse censeantur quominus Typographi sive Bibliopole Vniversitatis nostre Oxon. qui iam sunt et qui pro tempore erunt, sub forma in dictis nostris literis Patentibus assignati vel assignandi, predicto privilegio atque Immunitate omnimodos
huiusmodi libros publice non prohibitos in forma predicta imprimendi, consuendi, contexendi et ligandi, ac eosdem in forma predicta vendicioni publice exponendi ac distrahendi, libere gaudeant et vtantur imperpetuum; Idque absque vllis penis, damnis, penalitatibus aut forisfacturis quibuscunque erga nos, heredes et Successores nostros aut erga quoscunque alios quocunque nomine aut quibuscunque nominibus inde incurrendis, Quibuscunque literis Patentibus, explanacione, interpretacione aut earundum Confirmacione, vel eciam quacunque Prohibicione, Restriccione, constitucione, Ordinacione, clausula vel Articulo, in quibuscunque literis Patentibus, Commissionibus, Decretis, Sentenciis, Proclamacionibus, Actibus Parliamenti contentis aut quacunque alia re antehac concessis vel confectis, concedendis vel conficiendis in contrarium inde in aliquo non obstante. Quineciam, omnibus et singulis Officiariis, Ministris ac Subditis nostris quibuscunque tam infra libertates quam extra (quorum intererit) et quatenus Regio favori nostro deferre et gravem nostram indignacionem evitare voluerint, firmiter precipimus et mandamus per presentes, quod ab huiusmodi libro vel libris quibuscunque per aliquem Typographum sive Bibliopolam Vniversitatis nostre Oxon., Deputatos sive assignatos suos, sic (vt prefertur) impressis vel imprimendis ac vendicioni in forma predicta expositis vel exponendis, capiendis, seiziendis aut attachiandis omnino et totaliter supersedeant. Et, si aliquem librum vel libros pretextu aut colore cuiuscunque licencie, libertatis, potestatis aut authoritatis sibi in ea parte preconcesse seiziverint aut attachiaverint, quod tunc ipsi et eorum quilibet ad requisicionem et demandam ex parte ipsius Typographi sive Typographorum, Bibliopole vel Bibliopolarum Vniversitatis nostre Oxon. pro tempore existencium aut ex parte eorundem Deputati aut Deputatorum inde factas vel faciendas, eundem librum sive eosdem libros sic seisitos aut attachiatos sub quorumcunque Custodia fuerint, eidem Typographo sive Typographis, Bibliopole vel Bibliopolis Vniversitatis nostre Oxon. vel eius vel eorundem Deputato vel Deputatis restituant statim ac redeliberent ac satisfaccionem debite inde faciant, quacunque licencia, libertate, potestate aut authoritate per quascunque literas Patentes, Commissiones, Decretum, Sentenciam, Constitucionem, Proclamacionem, Provisionem, Actum Parliamenti preconcessa, aut quacunque alia re in contrarium non obstante. Ac (p.664) postremo volumus et concedimus quod he litere nostre Patentes et quilibet earundem Articulus, res vel Clausula in eisdem contenta, quoad omnia proposita atque Intenciones predicta, perquam ample, liberaliter, favorabiliter, et benefice ex parte eorundem Bibliopolarum Vniversitatis nostre Oxon., Ministrorum, Deputatorum et Assignatorum suorum intelligantur semper, construantur et adiudicentur, quacunque mala recitacione vel non recitacione quarumcunque aliarum literarum nostrarum Patencium aut Donacionum per nos aut aliquem Progenitorum aut Predecessorum nostrorum omnium vel aliquarum aliarum potestatum, privilegiorum et authoritatum vel quorumcunque aliorum premissorum inde concessorum vel earundem aliqua antehac facta ac remanente de Recordo vel non remanente non obstante, ac quibuscunque aliis defectibus aut imperfeccionibus in presentibus literis Patentibus non obstantibus.
And whereas almost from the time when the art of typography or printing first produced typographers or printers of books, aliens and denizens alike, in this our Kingdom of England, there were those in our University of Oxford who had free power to print books of whatever kind and to distribute them on their being printed as well as to place them on sale throughout our realm by authority of the privileges of the same University granted by our progenitors prior to any charter, inhibition, restriction, or limitation concerning the printing of books thereafter made to the contrary, with (given that each and every mode of cognizance or jurisdiction in regard of contracts made concerning moveable goods of whatever kind within the same University or its precinct, where either party is a scholar or privileged person, is known to pertain to the same Chancellor or his deputy) the Chancellor himself or his Commissary granting licences and privileges to print such books, whereupon they produced various books, little works, and treatises in the same place by the printing press, as is manifestly established by the very printed monuments extant even today; which same privileges afterwards by Act of Parliament of the thirteenth year of the reign of the Lady Elizabeth, late Queen of England, our Predecessor, were confirmed to the aforesaid Chancellor, Masters, and Scholars and their successors under the title of the Chancellor, Masters, and Scholars of the University of Oxford, and were declared and adjudged valid and sufficient in law to every intent, construction, and effect, as is made more fully apparent by the same Act; after which time (notwithstanding that in a decree of Star Chamber of the twenty-third day of the month of June in the twenty-eighth year of the reign of the same Lady Elizabeth, when in treating of permission and approval for the placing of one printing press in the University of Oxford, for the printing of books there, no restriction or limitation on the same books occurred except only a general provision for observation of certain letters patent and commissions under the Great Seal of England and also of certain ordinances for the better government and regulation of the Stationers in the City of London, under determined pains and penalties) when some questions and controversies arose concerning the practice of the same printing art between the Master, Wardens or Guardians, and Commonalty of the art or mystery of Stationers of our City of London and others, some books were publicly approved and received, and specifically reserved by letters patent both of the Lady Elizabeth, late Queen of England, our Predecessor, and also of the Lord James, late King of England of blessed memory, our most dear father, and of our own, specifically for printing by the printers or the Master, Wardens or Guardians, and Commonalty of the art or mystery of Stationers of our City of London and their successors, and whatever other person or persons and namely Robert Barker and Christopher his son, John Bill and Bonham Norton, and divers others and their assigns, and under specific forfeitures and other penalties it was utterly forbidden to other typographers, printers of books, and stationers of this our (p.665) Kingdom of England to print and sell books of this kind, as is more fully set out by the same letters patent and other decrees and edicts thereafter issued and requested; and whereas also by our letters patent, bearing date at Westminster on the twelfth day of November in the eighth year of our reign, and afterwards by our other letters patent, bearing date at Westminster on the thirteenth day of March in the same year of our reign with the addition of new privileges confirmed for the printing of books, it was granted on behalf of us, our heirs, and successors to the Chancellor, Masters, and Scholars of the same University of Oxford, and their successors, that they might have or be able to have forever three typographers, printers of books, and booksellers, whether aliens or denizens, living in the said University, every one of whom, in the manner described in our said letters patent, might print, compose, and put in type all manner of books or codices not publicly prohibited, or have power lawfully and without punishment to print, compose, and put them in type, as well as to be able publicly to sell and dispose of the same, notwithstanding any statute, act, ordinance, provision, proclamation, or restriction to the contrary hitherto existing, made, issued, ordained, provided, or any other thing, cause, or matter whatever in any respect, as is more fully set out in our same letters patent then made; and now it has been made known to us on behalf of our beloved Chancellor, Masters, and Scholars of the said University that, because the Stationers of our City of London contend that all books whatsoever thus reserved to their printing (as aforesaid) by the charters of our aforesaid Predecessors and Progenitors and by our own are books publicly prohibited under the penalties and forfeitures contained in their charters, the typographers and printers of our aforesaid University are held back by fear of the same penalties from being able to issue or print in the same University or its precinct, according to the requirement of our Charter lately made to the Chancellor, Masters, and Scholars of the same University and their successors, all kinds of books not publicly prohibited, or from being able publicly to place their printings on sale or to dispose of the same licitly and with impunity; We, on account of the royal leaning We have to good letters and to learned men, and wishing to increase the aforesaid University’s privileges both old and new (as far as is in our power), and utterly to remove and delete all such ambiguities as may thereupon arise, having approved our aforesaid letters patent in regard both of the grant and the confirmation of the aforesaid things so made by us (as aforesaid), and all and singular things contained in the same so granted to the aforesaid Chancellor, Masters, and Scholars of the aforesaid University of Oxford and their successors, of our special favour and certain knowledge and free will, ratify, establish, and confirm forever by these presents on behalf of Us, our heirs, and successors, to the same Chancellor, Masters, and Scholars and their successors, full power and authority to make and decree ordinances, laws, and statutes from time to time, with penalties annexed to the same, for the good and healthy regulation of the same printers or booksellers, and also of their servants and ministers. And further, out of our same special favour and certain knowledge and free will, on behalf of us, our heirs and successors, we interpret, expound, and declare by these presents that those books, namely those, of whatsoever kind or form they might be, which have been thus especially reserved by the aforesaid letters (as aforesaid) to the printing of the printers or Stationers of our City of London and their successors or to any others whatsoever respectively, are not books that are prohibited publicly or by the public authority of us or our realm, nor are they to be regarded as books publicly prohibited and such that neither the same Stationers of our City of London nor anyone else (if they are publicly prohibited) are able to print in any way or lawfully place on sale, since they are of such a kind as are commonly approved rather for public use of all of our subjects.
Wherefore it will be quite lawful for the typographers, printers, stationers, or booksellers of our aforesaid University of Oxford, those now assigned or hereafter to be assigned for the (p.666) time being under the aforesaid form in our aforesaid letters patent, lawfully and without punishment to print or cause to be printed from time to time these same books and all books of whatever kind such as are contained in any way whatever in the charters of the Stationers of our City of London and their successors and those of any other printers whatsoever and their assigns, such as are reserved specifically for printing by them, their successors, and assigns, and also all other books whatever such as are not publicly prohibited (as aforesaid), within the same University and its precincts in the manner set out in our said letters patent, whether in the vernacular or in foreign tongues or even a mixture of the two, in both large and small volumes, and for them publicly to place on sale the same as sewn, gathered, and bound in quires or otherwise, both within the same University and its precincts and elsewhere, throughout the whole of our kingdom and dominion, whether directly by themselves or by their agents for ever.
And this in such a way that no letters patent either of the same Lady Elizabeth, late Queen of England, our Predecessor, or of the Lord James, King of England, our most beloved Father, or of Ourself, hitherto granted or henceforward to be granted to any person or persons whatever, or respectively to any body or bodies politic or corporate whatever, be hereafter construed or regarded as any impediment to such typographers or booksellers of our University of Oxford as are now or may hereafter be for the time being assigned in the form established in our said letters patent enjoying freely and using forever the aforesaid privilege and immunity of printing, sewing, gathering, and binding all manner of books not publicly prohibited in this way, and placing them publicly on sale and distributing them in the aforesaid manner; and this without any punishments, fines, penalties, or forfeitures whatsoever to be incurred under any name or names in respect of Us, our heirs and successors, or any others whatever; all letters patent, and every explanation, interpretation, or confirmation of the same, every prohibition, restriction, constitution, ordinance, clause, or article contained in any letters patent, commissions, decrees, judgments, proclamations, or Acts of Parliament, in whatever manner hitherto granted or executed or henceforward to be granted or executed to the contrary notwithstanding.
Wherefore, indeed, by these presents we firmly order and command all and singular whatsoever our officers, ministers, and subjects (whom it may concern) within and without liberties, as they wish to obtain our royal favour and to escape our grave displeasure, utterly and wholly to refrain from taking, seizing, or attaching any book or books of this kind whatever printed or to be printed (as aforesaid), placed on sale or to be placed on sale in the aforesaid manner, by any typographer or bookseller of our University of Oxford, their deputies, or assigns. And should they seize or attach any book or books under the pretext of colour of any licence, liberty, power, or authority whatever formerly granted them in this matter, they and each of them are then, following request and demand made or to be made on the part of the same typographer or typographers, bookseller, or booksellers, for the time being of our University of Oxford, or on that of their deputy or deputies, immediately to restore and deliver up the same book or books, in whosoever’s keeping it or they may be, to the same typographer or typographers, bookseller, or booksellers of our University of Oxford, or his or their deputy or deputies, and to make due satisfaction for the same, any licence, liberty, power, or authority hitherto granted or in any other way to the contrary by any letters patent, commissions, decree, judgment, constitution, proclamation, provision, or Act of Parliament, notwithstanding.
And finally we wish and grant that these our letters patent and every article, matter, and clause contained in the same, in regard of all the aforesaid purposes and intentions, are always to be understood, construed, and adjudicated in the most ample, generous, favourable, and advantageous sense on behalf of the same booksellers of our University of Oxford, their (p.667) ministers, deputies, and assigns, any bad recital or non-recital whatever of any of our other letters patent or grants whatever conceded by Us or any of our Progenitors or Predecessors or by any other powers, privileges, and authorities or other premisses whatsoever, or anything else previously done and remaining as of record or not remaining notwithstanding, and any other defects or imperfections whatsoever in these present letters patent notwithstanding.
University statutes, Title 10, Section 2, Chapter 7 (12 December 1757)
Transcribed in Griffiths (ed.), Statutes, 309–10; translated in Ward, Oxford University Statutes, 318–19. The statute was printed and inserted in the Vice-Chancellor’s Book, a copy of the 1634 printed statutes (OUA, WPγ/25c/2).
The last paragraph of the text, here placed in italics, and the signatures, are not part of the statute proper. When it was printed on paper and inserted in the Vice-Chancellor’s Book (and other working copies of the statutes), these words were omitted, as were the signatures. In the copy to be found in the Vice-Chancellor’s Book, they were added in manuscript at the foot of the printed statute, without any indication of the signatures appended. A copy was pasted into the inside cover of the Orders of Delegates, 1758–94, where the oath each Delegate was to swear on his appointment was carefully underlined.
The transcription given here has been made afresh by Andrew Hegarty from the original manuscript text in the Register of Convocation: contractions have been expanded and the use of u/v has been modernized. A translation has been provided by Simon Neal and revised by Andrew Hegarty.
De Delegatorum Preli nominatione et munere.
Insuper cum Res Typographica, quam in omne aevum hîc loci feliciter administrandam fore speramus, melius per statos et perpetuos Delegatos expediatur, neque de hujusmodi Delegatorum nominatione et munere in hisce Statutis satis provisum esse videatur:
Placuit Academiae statuere et decernere, ut Vice-Cancellarius et Procuratores pro tempore existentes, Dominus Doctor Niblett Collegii Omnium Animarum Custos, Dominus Doctor Leigh Collegii Baliolensis Magister, Dominus Doctor Purnell Collegii Novi Custos, Dominus Doctor Jenner Collegii Divae Magdalenae Praeses, Dominus Doctor Blackstone è Collegio Omnium Animarum, simul cum Magistro Owen è Collegio Jesu, Magistro J. Bridle è Collegio Novo, Dominus Doctor Wyndham Collegii Wadham Custode in posterum Preli curam suscipiant; qui, ut stati Preli Delegati, de negotiis ad Rem Typographicam spectantibus cum relatione ad Domum Convocationis deliberent et determinent, pecunias in eos usus solvendas recipiant et erogent, et rationem quotannis reddant de hujusmodi receptis et expensis, quo (p.668) tempore Vice-Cancellarius computum suum fecerit. Et ad hoc munus suscipiendum singuli ritè nominati se fide datâ Universitati firmiter teneri noverint, et in ipsâ Convocatione, si praesentes fuerint, alioqui coram Vice-Cancellario, exigente seniore Procuratore, Juramentum praestabunt in haec verba—Tu dabis fidem ad ea omnia quae ad Preli Delegatum pertinent sedulò et fideliter exequenda.
Quod si quos è statis hisce delegatis, aut eorum Successoribus, fatis concedere, vel aliàs Universitate excedere, vel se cum consensu Domûs Convocationis Officio abdicare, contingat, alii continuò in ipsorum locum subrogentur, è Doctoribus cujuscunque Facultatis, vel Magistris Regentibus, aut non Regentibus, per Vice-Cancellarium et Procuratores, aut per majorem partem eorundem nominandi, et deinceps a Domo Convocationis approbandi. Et ut omnia in hoc negotio cautiùs fiant et integriùs, hujusmodi nominatio in frequenti Convocatione Domui significetur, deinde in proximâ Convocatione a Domo approbanda seu improbanda proponatur.
Hi autem Delegati ad minimum quatèr in anno, nempè in secundâ cujuslibet pleni Termini Hebdomadâ, aut saepiùs, si ita negotia Typographica postulent, die et horâ a Vice-Cancellario pridiè constituendis, in Typographaeo Clarendoniano, aut (si de justâ causâ ita expedire videbitur) in alio loco idoneo conveniant, de negotiis ad rem Typographicam spectantibus consulturi. Quicquid verò ipsis placuerit à Registrario Universitatis Registro peculiari inseratur.
Denique, haec super Prelo Delegatio in posterum a Delegatione super Computis ita discriminetur, ut non plures quàm tres Delegati Computorum sint eodem tempore Delegati Preli.
De Statuto hoc rogando consenserunt Collegiorum et Aularum Praefecti vicesimo octavo Die Novembris, et in terminos convenêrunt Die secundo Decembris in Conventu habito, publicatum est in Congregatione nono Die Decembris, juxta Statuti in eâ parte exigentiam triduo ante Convocationem habendam, tandem in Convocatione publicatum et confirmatum Die Lunae viz duodecimo Die Decembris, Anno Domini 1757.
[signed by the Vice-Chancellor and the two Proctors]
Concerning the nomination and task of Delegates of the Press.
Moreover, whereas the business of printing, which we hope will be happily conducted forever in this place, is better arranged by standing and perpetual Delegates, and it does not appear that sufficient provision has been made in these statutes as to the nomination and duties of these Delegates:
It has pleased the University to enact and decree that the Vice-Chancellor and Proctors for the time being, Mr Dr Niblett, Warden of All Souls College, Mr Dr Leigh, Master of Balliol College, Mr Dr Purnell, Warden of New College, Mr Dr Jenner, President of St Magdalen College, Mr Dr Blackstone of All Souls College, together with Mr Owen of Jesus College, Mr J. Bridle of New College, and Mr Dr Wyndham, Warden of Wadham College, shall henceforth undertake the charge of the press. These persons, as standing Delegates of the Press, are to deliberate upon and determine all matters relating to the business of the printing press, reporting back to the House of Convocation. They shall receive and demand the moneys due to these purposes, and give each year an account of these receipts and expenses at the same time as the Vice-Chancellor renders his account. And every single person who has been duly nominated to undertake this office, must understand that he is firmly bound, on his oath made to the University, and is to swear in this very Convocation, if in attendance, or otherwise before the Vice-Chancellor, at the instance of the Senior Proctor, in the following words: ‘You will promise to perform diligently and faithfully all that pertains to a Delegate of the Press’.
(p.669) But if it should happen that any of these standing Delegates or of their successors die, or otherwise leave the University, or abdicate office with the consent of the House of Convocation, others are to be forthwith substituted in their places from among the doctors of whatever faculty or the masters regent or non-regent, upon nomination by the Vice-Chancellor and Proctors, or the majority of them, and with the subsequent approval of the House of Convocation. And in order that all the particulars of this business may be performed with greater care and integrity, this nomination is to be announced to the House in full Convocation, and then to be proposed for approval or disapproval at the next Convocation.
These Delegates are to meet at least four times a year, namely in the second week of every full term, or more often if the business of the printing press so requires, on a day and at an hour to be appointed on the previous day by the Vice-Chancellor, in the Clarendon Printing House, or in some other suitable place (if it seems expedient for good reason), in order to consult on matters regarding the business of printing. The result of their deliberations is to be entered in a special register by the Registrar of the University.
Lastly, the above Delegacy of the Press is henceforth to be distinguished from the Delegacy of Accounts, so that no more than three Delegates of Accounts are at the same time to be Delegates of the Press.
The heads of colleges and halls consented to bring in this statute on the twenty-eighth day of November, and agreed its terms at the meeting held on the second day of December. It was published in Congregation on the ninth day of December, according to the requirement of the statute in that behalf, three days before the holding of Convocation; and, finally, it was published and confirmed in Convocation on Monday, the twelfth of December, in the year of Our Lord 1757.
[signed by the Vice-Chancellor and the two Proctors]