By the act of the 39th Geo. 3. cap. 79., intituled “ An Act for the more effectual Suppression of Societies established for Seditious and Treasonable Purposes; and for better preventing Treasonable and Seditious Practices,” it is enacted —
s. 23. “And whereas many Societies, established of late Years for treasonable and seditious Purposes, and especially the said Societies of United Englishmen, United Scotsmen, United Irishmen, and United Britons, and the said Society called The London Corresponding Society, and other Corresponding Societies, have at various Times caused to be published, in great Quantities, divers printed Papers of an irreligious, treasonable, and seditious Nature, tending to revile our holy Religion, and to bring the Profession and Worship thereof into Contempt among the Ignorant, and also to excite Hatred and Contempt of his Majesty's Royal Person, Government, and Laws, and of the happy Constitution of these Realms, as by Law established, and utterly to eradicate all Principles of Religion and Morality.
And such Societies have dispersed such printed Papers among the lower Classes of the Community, either gratis, or at very low Prices, and with an Activity and Profusion beyond all former Example: And whereas all Persons printing or publishing any Papers or Writings are by Law answerable for the Contents thereof, but such Responsibility hath of late been in a great Degree eluded by the secret Printing and Publication of such seditious, immoral, and irreligious Papers or Writings as aforesaid, and it is therefore highly important to the Publick Peace that it should in future be known by whom any such Papers shall be printed.
Be it enacted. That, from and after the Expiration of forty Days from the Day of passing this Act, every Person having any Printing Press, or Types for Printing, shall cause a Notice thereof, signed in the Presence of, and attested by one Witness, to be delivered to the Clerk of the Peace acting for the County, Stewartry, Riding, Division, City, Borough, Town, or Place, where the same shall be intended to be used, or his Deputy, according to the Form prescribed in the Schedule hereunto annexed.
And such Clerk of the Peace, or Deputy respectively, shall, and he is hereby authorized and required to grant a Certificate in the Form prescribed in the Schedule hereunto annexed, for which such Clerk of the Peace, or Deputy, shall receive the Fee of one Shilling, and no more, and such Clerk of the Peace, or his Deputy, shall file such Notice, and transmit an attested Copy thereof to one of his Majesty's Principal Secretaries of State; and every Person who, not having delivered such Notice, and obtained such Certificate as aforesaid, shall, from and after the Expiration of forty Days next after the passing of this Act, keep or use any Printing Press or Types for Printing, or having delivered such Notice, and obtained such Certificate as aforesaid, shall use any Printing Press or Types for Printing in any other Place than the Place expressed in such Notice, shall forfeit and lose the Sum of twenty Pounds.
s. 24. “Provided also. That nothing herein contained shall extend to his Majesty's Printers for England and Scotland, or to the Publick Presses belonging to the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge respectively.”
s. S3. “And be it further enacted. That if any Justice of the Peace, acting for any County, Stewartry, Riding, Division, City, Borough, Town, or Place, shall, from Information upon Oath, have reason to suspect that any Printing Press or Types for Printing is or are used, or kept for Use without Notice given and Certificate obtained as required by this Act, or in any Place not included in such Notice and Certificate, it shall be lawful for such Justice, by Warrant under his Hand and Seal, to direct, authorize, and empower any Constable, Petty Constable, Borsholder, Headborough, or other Peace Officer, in the Day Time, with such Person or Persons as shall be called to his Assistance, to enter into any such House, Room, and Place, and search for any Press or Types for Printing.
And it shall be lawful for every such Peace Officer, with such Assistance as aforesaid, to enter into such House, Room, or Place, in the Day Time accordingly, and to seize, take, and carry away, every Printing Press found therein, together with all the Types and other Articles thereto belonging, and used in Printing, and all printed Papers found in such House, Room, or Place.”
” IV. FORM of Notice to the Clerk of the Peace, that any Person keeps any Printing Press or Types for Printing. “ To the Clerk of the Peace for ……. [here insert the County, Stewartry, Riding, Division, City, Borough, Town, or Place,”] or his Deputy.
“ I A. B. of ……. do hereby declare, That I have a Printing Press and Types for Printing, which I propose to use for Printing, within ……. [as the Case may require], and which I require to be entered for that Purpose, in pursuance of an Act, passed in the thirty-ninth Year of the Reign of His Majesty King George the Third, [set forth the Title of the Act.]
” Witness my Hand, this ……. Day of …….“
Signed in the Presence of …….
” V. FORM of Certificate that Notice has been given of a Printing Press, or Types for Printing.
“ I ……. Clerk [or Deputy Clerk] of the Peace for ……. do hereby certify. That A. B. of ……. hath delivered to me a Notice in Writing, appearing to be signed by him, and attested by C. D. as a Witness to his signing the same, that he the said A. B. hath a Printing Press and Types for Printing, which he proposes to use for Printing, within ……. and which he has required to be entered pursuant to an Act, passed in the thirty-ninth Year of His Majesty's Reign, [set forth the Title of the Act.]
” Witness my Hand, this ……. Day of …….“