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Were part of the royal prerogative to deal with emergencies or to make enactments while Parliament was not in being. Under the Tudors they dealt with a large variety of matters—the sale of meat, courtesy to the French ambassador, exile for anabaptists, reduced access to Windsor castle, prohibition of the export of leather, and discouragement from playing dice, cards, or tennis. The statute of Proclamations of 1539 reminded subjects that proclamations had the force of statutes, ‘as though they were made by act of parliament’. James I's use of proclamations led to a protest in the petition of grievances of 1610 that they were encroaching upon statute and could ‘bring a new form of arbitrary government upon the realm’. Charles I made considerable use of them, but they were too necessary to government to be abolished, though their employment after the Restoration ceased to be controversial and they were often exhortatory in nature.

Subjects: Bibliography — British History.

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