A speech for the Liberty of Unlicensed Printing to the Parliament of England
Published as an appeal to the English Parliament to rescind their Licensing Order of 1643, which was designed to bring publishing under government control by creating a number of official censors to whom authors would submit their work for approval prior to publication.
and prohibiting to be read what they fancied not; yet sparing in their censures, and the books not many which they so dealt with: till Martin V., by his bull, not only prohibited, but was the first that excommunicated the reading of heretical books; for about that time Wickliffe and Huss, growing terrible, were they who first drove the Papal Court to a stricter policy of prohibiting. Which course Leo X. and his successors followed, until the Council of Trent and the Spanish Inquisition engendering together brought forth, or perfected, those Catalogues and expurging Indexes, that rake through the entrails of many an old good author, with a violation worse than any could be offered to his tomb. Nor did they stay in matters heretical, but any subject that was not to their palate, they either condemned in a Prohibition, or had it straight into the new purgatory of an index.
To fill up the measure of encroachment, their last invention was to ordain that no book, pamphlet, or paper should be printed (as if St. P