Licensing Act

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A feature of the Commonwealth period was the unprecedented proliferation of pamphlets and broadsheets. In 1662 Charles II's government moved to curb them, 13 & 14 Car. II c. 33 condemning ‘the general licentiousness of the late times’. Henceforth, publications were to carry the name of printer and author and were to be submitted for approval to a licenser. After 1688 the matter became even more contentious. A Whig licenser, Fraser, was forced to resign: a Tory licenser, Bohun, was dismissed. In 1693 the Act was continued for two years only and in 1695 it was not renewed at all. Within a decade of the Act lapsing, the London and provincial newspaper press had established itself.

Subjects: British History.

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