Book trade regulations and incorporation of the Parisian book trade, Paris (1618)

Source: Bibliothèque nationale de France : Mss. Fr. 22061 n°69

Book trade regulations and incorporation of the Parisian book trade, Paris (1618), Primary Sources on Copyright (1450-1900), eds L. Bently & M. Kretschmer,

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of the Booksellers, Printers
& Bookbinders of this City
of Paris.

Verified in the Parlement, the nineteenth of July, one thousand
six hundred and eighteen.



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Booksellers & Printers of your
good town, City & University
of Paris.


Amongst the Estates of your Kingdom,
the Printing of Books has been found to be
one of the most useful and necessary, & for this reason the
supplicants have always been favoured with fine privileges
& immunities, so that they might be distinguished from the
mechanical arts. However, it has come to pass that the good
order which one could previously observe there has turned
into corruption, & that several abuses and confusions have
crept into [the book trade], regarding which your Royal
predecessors have issued ordinances & Regulations – including the late King
Charles [IX], the latter by the Edict of 1571 on the general
reformation of Printing, & by the Letters Patent of his
Declaration on the same, which over several years
were upheld quite well, to the satisfaction and benefit [utilité]
of your subjects. But the malice of several

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& the envy of some Printers, Booksellers,
& Bookbinders, not wanting to put up with the inspections [visites] by the Syndic
& his four Adjuncts that had been established by the said Edict,
[caused them] to separate themselves, so that thenceforth the Booksellers
have inspected the Books on their own, & the Printers have likewise inspected
the Presses by themselves, as a result of which separation, Printing & the Book Trade
have ended up in a state of great confusion, & several Books have been
printed in this said City of yours – examples of this have been provided –
against the honour of God & your State, on account of the fact
that the inspections have not been carried out in accordance with the Ordinances,
& because the Booksellers have allowed only those Books which
they receive from outside [Paris] to be inspected by the said
Syndic & Guards; furthermore, others, in violation of
the Rulings of your Parlement's Court of 27 June 1577, which
prohibit all persons from selling any books if they
have not served apprenticeships as Booksellers, Printers,
or Bookbinders, have had the impudence to sell, run
Printing-presses, & open Bookshops and Binderies,
without having served an apprenticeship in
your town of Paris, & without having the requisite
certificates, in accordance with the said Edict and Ruling. Some of these
Booksellers & Printers are ignorant to such an extent,
that not only do they not know how to read, but they also
lack the requisite cognizance of printing, of the sale &
the binding of books – something that is all too well-known
as a result of the acts of misconduct [malversations] & faults which are
happening from one day to the next. In order to remedy all of which, may it please your
Majesty, by confirming the ancient Ordinances
of your Royal predecessors with regard to Printing
& the Book Trade, to declare and command:

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FIRSTLY, That the said Booksellers, Printers,
& Bookbinders will always be considered & regarded as belonging to the body corporate
& staff [supposts] of our aforesaid much beloved eldest daughter, the University of
Paris, in all respects distinct to, and separated from, the mechanical arts, & that they
will be maintained and secured in the enjoyment of all the
rights, privileges, franchises & prerogatives accorded to them
by us or by the Kings who preceded us.


      All Booksellers, Printers, & Bookbinders will be forbidden
to run Presses, Bookshops, & Binderies in our aforesaid city of Paris,
unless they have served an apprenticeship in the latter: namely, for the time
& space of four years in the case of Printers, & with regard to the said
Booksellers & Bookbinders for the time and space of five whole &
consecutive years, except where they should happen to be the children or
widows of Booksellers, Printers, or Bookbinders, as will be explained below.


      Anyone who doesn't know how to read and write will not be admitted to
an apprenticeship in Printing, Bookselling & Bookbinding.


      All Booksellers, Printers & Bookbinders are also forbidden to take on
any apprentices who have not been pledged [to their apprenticeship] in front
of an official Notary, for the time & space & on the conditions stated above;
And the Bookseller, Printer, or Bookbinder who has taken on an apprentice
is obliged to have him matriculated immediately in the Syndic's register,
on pain of the certificate of apprenticeship, which has thus been drawn up,
becoming void, & [the Master is also obliged] to present this certificate [when
requested to do so], without the said Booksellers, Printers & Bookbinders
being allowed to make any reduction or addition, for whatever reason, to
the time specified in the said certificate of apprenticeship, nor may they
accept any money for redeeming or shortening the said time, if the said apprentice
should absent himself – on pain of a fine of one thousand livres for the
first such offence, & of a greater penalty if the offence is repeated.


      The apprentice who absents himself from his master's lodgings will, the first time
that this should happen, be obliged to serve an additional period of twice the duration
of his absence; and where it happens a second time, he will have to give up the said
profession; & so as to obviate

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any abuses which might be committed in this respect, the said Masters
will be obliged to notify the Syndic & Guards of the date on which the said
apprentice has absented himself, so that the latter can be recorded in the
said Syndic's book.


      After the time indicated by his certificate of apprenticeship the
said apprentice will be obliged to print an acquittance from his said Master at
the bottom of his certificate of apprenticeship, as to his performance during
the time specified there, & at the end of the latter he must serve a further number of
years as a Journeyman: namely, for a further three years in the case of those who had
been pledged for the time & space of five years, whereas those who had been pledged
for just four years will have to serve a further four years afterwards, & once he has
reached the requisite age he can apply to be admitted [by the guild] as a Bookseller,
Printer, or Bookbinder, provided that he is certified as competent by two sworn
Booksellers & two who are not sworn, by two Master Printers & two Bookbinders,
in the presence of the Syndic & the Guards, & provided that he promises to
conduct himself honestly & in this manner to exercise the Art of Bookseller, Printer
& Bookbinder, & to follow & observe the Edicts, Rulings & Regulations; and, in
addition to this, he must put into the hands of the said Syndic the sum of sixty livres,
to be used for the needs of the said Guild [Communauté], which the said Syndic must
be able to render account of.


      No Bookseller, Printer, or Bookbinder will be permitted to exercise the
Profession of Printing unless he has two presses installed, which must belong to
him alone and be equipped with good fonts; whereby several persons may not
associate themselves into a single Printing-press, & those who find that they
have just one press at their disposal will be obliged to furnish themselves with
another & with the fonts required for the latter, or otherwise they will have to go
and work for Masters and earn their wages there.


      The Printers who have two presses may not have more than two
apprentices, & others who have a greater number of
such presses may have three apprentices but not
more, whereas a Bookseller may have only one apprentice.


      The children of Booksellers, Printers & Bookbinders will not be
obliged to serve any apprenticeship: instead, they will be admitted by the
Syndic & his Adjuncts upon their first request, & without any fees:

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and likewise the journeymen [Compagnons] who have served and completed their
apprenticeships in this city of Paris, for the time specified by the above
[article], & provided that they take in marriage the daughter of one of
the said Booksellers, Printers, or Bookbinders, they will also be admitted
similarly by virtue of their said marriage, without any fees being
levied, & upon their first request.


      The widows of Booksellers, Printers, & Bookbinders, may
continue to run Bookshops, Printing-works & Binderies, & to employ
Journeymen, & even to have the apprentices of their deceased husbands
complete the time of their apprenticeship, without it, though, being
possible for them to engage any [new] apprentices or to enfranchise their
new husbands [with the right] to set themselves up as Booksellers,
Printers, or Binders, to the prejudice of what was said above about the
[required conditions of] apprenticeship.


      All Booksellers, Printers & Bookbinders are forbidden to
take on any new apprentices if the period of service of their first
apprentices has not yet expired, or [to offer new vacancies for apprentices]
more than six months before [this term is due to expire], & they
may not employ any apprentices who are married.


      All Booksellers & Printers are enjoined, each one separately
or in association [with his colleagues], to print Books using elegant types &
good-quality paper & with accurate proof-reading, bearing the name of
the Bookseller & his trade-mark, as well as including the Privilege & permission
which has been granted to him at the beginning or the end of each copy
if he has obtained such a Privilege, all this on pain of confiscation of the said
copies & other penalties if the offence is repeated.


      All Printers, Booksellers or Bookbinders who print
or cause to be printed defamatory books or pamphlets [libelles], will be
punished as disturbers of the public peace [repos], & in so doing they will
be stripped and divested of all their privileges & immunities, &
declared incapable of ever again exercising the art of Printing
or Bookselling.


      The Authors of books or Proof-readers may not have
any Printing-works or presses in their houses, nor anywhere else, for
the printing, or causing to be printed, of their books; nor may they
sell them or have

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them advertised [afficher] under their names or anyone else's; rather, they
are to be allowed to have them printed to be sold by Booksellers, Printers &
Bookbinders [of the Guild], but not by anyone else, on pain of confiscation &
fines being levied from those who infringe this article.


      All Printers and their Journeymen are forbidden
to retain more than four copies of all the books which
they print – namely, one copy for the Bookseller who
arranges for the said book to be printed, one for the
Master Printer, one for the Proof-reader, & the fourth & last
for the Journeymen: on the condition that they must
present it to the person who causes it to be printed, that
person being obliged to pay them for it, or, in case
such payment is refused, they are then allowed to dispose
of it as they see fit, & where more [than four copies]
are discovered, those [having them in their possession]
will be punished as offenders against the Ordinances;
And, furthermore, we wish, & it is our pleasure, that
all the Booksellers, Printers, or Bookbinders who
cause books with privileges to be printed should be
obliged to hand over and place in our Library two
copies of the said books in blank, for which they
will obtain a receipt; &, in addition to that, they shall
be obliged to also put into the hands of the said Syndic &
Adjuncts a copy of each book which they print,
eight days after the printing of the said books has been
completed, so that [the copy] may be used for the
needs of the said Guild [Communauté].


      And in order to avoid the abuses, disorders & confusions which
take place daily because of the printing of countless scandalous books,
defamatory pamphlets, without the names of the Authors or the
Printers or the place where they have been printed, as a result of the
great number of Booksellers, Printers & Bookbinders which we now
have in the Kingdom, & especially in your good city of Paris, where
such abuses are so frequent; the Syndic & Guards of your University
are explicitly forbidden to admit more than one Bookseller, one
Printer & one Bookbinder every year, the former being obliged to
present the prospective new members one year before their admission,
so that they can be matriculated in the register of the said
Guild [Communauté], & by this means the said Booksellers, Printers
& Bookbinders should be reduced to a certain number, not counting
the daughters of Masters;* & for admission they will be presented
in accordance with the order

*) who married qualified journeymen (see article IX).

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of their apprenticeships.


      All Booksellers, Printers or Bookbinders, in accordance
with this said Edict of yours, are enjoined to assemble each year
in the Hall of the Trinitarians [Mathurins] at the Bureau of the said
Guild [Communauté], in the presence of your Lieutenant Civil & of
the deputy of your Procureur-Général at the Châtelet,* on the
eighteenth of May, at two o'clock in the afternoon, & no later than
that, in order to proceed with the election of a Syndic & of four
Adjuncts, whereby each year two new Adjuncts – namely, a
Bookseller and a Printer – will be elected to replace the two
preceding ones, & the said Syndics & Adjuncts are obliged,
at the same time as they are admitted to their posts, to swear the
oath that they will conduct themselves well and honestly in the
fulfilment of their duties, in confirmation of which they will be
given a written document, & they will continue to hold the
said Assembly each year without any fees being charged.


      Likewise, the said Syndic & Adjuncts are enjoined to go round and carry
out inspections in accordance with the Edicts & Regulations issued
previously for this purpose, & they will submit a report on any acts of
misconduct that are committed to your aforesaid Lieutenant Civil.


      All Booksellers, Printers & Bookbinders, & foreign Stall-keepers
[marchands forains] who have caused any books from outside
the Kingdom, or from any other city under our sovereignty,
to come into your said city of Paris, are also obliged to transport
them into the store-house of the Chamber of the Guild
[Communauté] of Booksellers, be it in bales, barrels, boxes,
trunks or packets, in blank or bound, which books they may
not take out of the Customs-House without the permission
of the Syndic or his Adjuncts, nor may they open
them except in the presence of the said Syndic & Adjuncts, who
will inspect them, even if they are to be sent off to some private
persons, in the accustomed manner; & where it should be
discovered that they contain books or defamatory pamphlets
against the honour of God, the welfare and peace of the State,
printed without the Author's name and the name of the
Bookseller of the city where they had been printed or
counterfeited on top of such books as had been printed by
any of the Booksellers of this city of Paris, we enjoin
the said Syndic & Guards to seize & confiscate all the said
wares, & to summon to court the persons to whom these
books were going to be sent, so that they might be
sentenced to fines & see how

*) The Grand Châtelet was the residence of the royal provost of Paris
and the principal seat of common-law jurisdiction in France until the Revolution.

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the said books are confiscated by those appointed to do so,
whereby a third of all the said confiscations is reserved for
the said Syndic & Adjuncts, all this on pain of having to
accept responsibility for them in their own names & as private
individuals [en leurs propres & privez noms].


      Foreign Booksellers may not keep shops or warehouses,
or run Printing-works, or have their books advertised in the
said city of Paris by means of Agents, or other persons whom
they might commission. Likewise, all Booksellers, Printers &
Bookbinders of this city of Paris are prohibited from carrying
out any commission [facture] on behalf of other Booksellers,
both within and outside of the Kingdom; & the said foreign
Stall-keepers may not stay [in Paris] for more than three
weeks, including all delays, which are to be counted
from the day that their said books are opened & inspected,
in which to sell and distribute them, on pain of confiscation
of any wares that are found on them after expiry of this
period, & of fines against the infringers that are to be set
at discretion.


      All Traders [Marchands], both those from this city of Paris and
foreigners, who have caused books to be brought into this
said city of Paris, are forbidden to sell and put up for sale
any books that have not been inspected by the said Syndic
or Adjuncts, which Syndic, Guards & Adjuncts are likewise
obliged to draw lots amongst one another, so that their own wares
might be seen & inspected, just like those of the other
Booksellers, on pain of the same penalties as above.


      To these Syndic & Adjuncts we issue most explicit prohibitions
that they must not set apart any books in order to thereby ensure that
the said inspection of the bales with foreign wares does not find
anything suspicious;* no books may be set apart until after twenty-
four hours after the said inspection.


      The said Syndic & Guards are enjoined to visit the Paper-stainers
[Dominotiers], Picture-dealers [imagers] & Paper-hangers [tapissiers],
to make sure that these do not print or sell any dissolute placards or
paintings, &, if they have presses in their houses, to check that they are
well equipped with large tympans that are suitable for printing stories
& engravings [planches] but apart from that do not have any other
types in their houses than what they are allowed to have in accordance
with the Edict & Ruling of our said Court.

*) 'pour achepter en faisant ladite visite', where acheter is used in the
sense of 'corrupting, bribing'.

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      All persons, regardless of their rank and position, if they are not
Booksellers, are forbidden and prohibited from drawing up inventories
& appraisals of books which are to be put up for sale, regardless of the manner
& fashion in which this is done – on pain of the said inventories &
appraisals becoming void, & of fines being imposed on the
infringers; this notwithstanding, the Booksellers who have carried out
such appraisals may not buy any books from the said Inventory:
they must, instead, buy their books at auctions [à l'enquant], as the
highest bidders.


      The same shall be observed for presses & Printing
types which are to be appraised & inventoried by two Master
Printers, without any one Printer being allowed to carry out the
said appraisals on his own: rather, it is to be done by the
said Printers, in the usual way, such as is customary, either
with the advice of a colleague from their Guild or with advice from
someone else, in whatever fashion is necessary, so that
the said appraisals & inventory might be added to the
Inventories of other movables [meubles], without other
people being allowed to copy them.


      Hawkers [colporteurs] may not have any apprentices, warehouse,
shop, or Printing-press, nor may they have books printed in their
names; instead, they must carry around their neck a bale with the wares
they may sell: Almanacs, Edicts & small books, which may not exceed
eight pages in length, stitched together or bound with thread, & printed
by a Bookseller or Master Printer from this city of Paris, whose name,
trade-mark & permission are to be indicated, all this on pain of
confiscation & a fine of ten écus.


      On the death of one of the aforesaid hawkers, his place is, in
preference to anyone else, to be taken by an elderly Master or Journeyman
Printer, Bookseller, or Bookbinder, who is no longer fit for working
in his profession, & the latter is to be presented by the Syndic & Guards to
your Lieutenant Civil, the Deputy of your Procureur Général, so that
he may be registered in the book of the said Syndic, in the customary
way, whereby no one is allowed to hawk who has not served an
apprenticeship in the aforementioned Professions, & provided also that
he is of advanced age, as explained above.

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      All Journeymen [Compagnons] Printers, Booksellers or Bookbinders are
forbidden to go round the city hawking if they do not have an
attestation from the said Syndics & Adjuncts to the effect that
they are not working in their Professions – on pain of a fine to be
set at discretion & confiscation of their wares.


      Similar prohibitions are issued, according to the said Edicts &
Rulings, to all persons who are not Booksellers, Printers
or Bookbinders, & who have not been apprentices in your said city
of Paris, from keeping shops or store-houses of books & from buying
for the purpose of re-vending wholesale or by retail any books (bound or
in blank), Prayer-books, Breviaries, Alphabets, new and old Novels,
used or old papers, by the ream as it is called, or old parchments,
on pain of confiscation and fines.


      All Booksellers, Printers & Bookbinders are forbidden to
keep & have more than one shop & Printing-works, which latter
they must have in the University, beyond the Rue Saint Yves, or
inside the Palais [de Justice], but not anywhere else, except for those
who are willing to restrict themselves to selling only prayer-books [usages].


      All the said Booksellers, Printers & Bookbinders are
likewise forbidden to set up stalls and have a portable shop [boutique portative]
in any district for the sale of books, nor may they themselves erect stalls
in fairs, on pain of confiscation of whatever is found on them,
& a fine to be set at discretion.


      Prohibitions shall be issued to all Booksellers, Printers & Bookbinders
from having books printed in any form whatsoever
outside of your said Kingdom, country & lands under your sovereignty,
on pain of confiscation of all the copies which are discovered, & a fine
of three thousand livres the first time round; They are likewise also
forbidden to forge or conceal the name, trade-mark or the place in which
the said books have been printed, on pain of the same penalties as
described above, in accordance with your Edict of the year
one thousand five hundred and seventy-two.


      All Booksellers, Printers & Bookbinders are forbidden to

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counterfeit books for which there is a Privilege obtained from
your Majesty; to buy any such counterfeits from
foreign Stall-keepers, & to cause any to be imported in
whatever way & fashion, on pain of the penalties indicated
in the Privileges obtained for the books. Likewise, all
Booksellers, Printers & Bookbinders from your city of Paris
shall be forbidden to obtain, from the said Booksellers, any
Prolongation to their Privileges for the printing of books,
if there is no augmentation of the books whose Privileges
have expired.


      All Journeymen Printers, Booksellers, & Bookbinders
are also forbidden to hold any public meetings, both
generally and separately, & to carry any offensive or
defensive weapons, by day or by night, alone or in groups,
& for any reason whatsoever; nor may they give any
signal for everyone to cease working and go for a drink
[faire un tric], neither in the Printing-shops themselves,
nor anywhere else. Likewise, they may not take any
oaths amongst themselves & they are not allowed to
ask money from each other for joint expenses [bourse commune],
as they have previously been doing – on pain of the
penalties specified in the Edict of 1572, & of other,
greater penalties if the offence is repeated.


      All Journeymen who are employed by Masters
are enjoined to take care of & preserve the copies on
which they are working – both manuscript and
printed copies – so that once their work is complete
these might be returned and placed in the hands
of their Masters for any future need that might arise,
without this, however, entitling the Journeymen to
claim any reward on top of their wages; & they are
also obliged to complete any jobs which they have
started, on pain of having to pay a fine.


      The Syndic & Adjuncts are also enjoined to
take care to have the present Regulations properly
& duly upheld in all their points, & in accordance
with their form and tenor, on pain of being called to
account in their own names & as private individuals
[en leurs propres & privez noms], & of being
sentenced to a fine of one thousand livres for the
first offence.


      Those who exercise the Professions of Printing,
Bookselling or Bookbinding at the time of
publication of the present Regulations are obliged
to have their names registered in the Syndic's book,
free of charge; likewise,

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all Journeymen, both Booksellers, Printers, & Bookbinders,
who are at present in Paris & who served their apprenticeship
in this city, are also obliged to have themselves registered
immediately after the publication of the present Regulations,
in order to obviate any possible abuses.


      All Booksellers, Printers & Bookbinders are also enjoined,
after the publication of the present Regulations, to present themselves
to your Provost of Paris or his Lieutenant Civil, so as to take, in the
presence of your Procureur at the said place, the oath that they will
conduct themselves well & honestly & observe the Rulings,
Ordinances & the present Regulations. And in addition to this, to have
their names recorded, for no fee whatsoever, in the Registers of our
said Procureur, whereby the present Article shall not impair or prejudice
the Edicts, Rulings, Immunities, Franchises & Liberties granted both
by you and by your Royal predecessors to the said Estate of Printing,
Bookselling & Bookbinding.

      LOUIS, by the Grace of God King of France & of
Navarre, to the Provost of Paris or his Lieutenant
, Greetings – We send you the Request of
the enclosed Remonstrances & Articles, under the
counter-seal of our Chancery, presented to us & our
Council by our dear & much beloved [followers], the merchant
Booksellers & Printers of our good town, City & University
of Paris. And we command, entrust & enjoin you, by
this present document: That, our Procureur having been
summoned to the said Provostship, you are to give and
send us your advice as to the conveniences &
inconveniences which would arise for us & the public
community [la chose publique] if we were to grant
what is contained in the said request, remonstrances
& articles, so that the said supplicants might be helped
in the way that they deem to be appropriate. FOR such
is our pleasure. We hereby empower you to do this.
Given at Saint-Germain-en-Laye, the first day of
June in the year of our Lord 1618 & of our reign the
Ninth. By the King in his Council, signed by [the Bishop of] Vabres, & sealed
with the Grand Seal of yellow wax.

      SEEN by us, Henry de Mesmes, Lord of Irval, Counsellor
of the King in his Privy Council & his Council of State, Lieutenant
of the city, Provostship & Viscountship of Paris, & Claude of Paris,
also Counsellor & Procureur of His Majesty at the Châtelet of
Paris: The letters patent of His Majesty, dated the first day
of the present month & year, addressed to us,

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together with the above articles, in the form of Statutes & regulations
presented to us by the Syndic, Adjuncts & Guild [Communauté] of
Booksellers, Printers & Bookbinders of Paris: We are of the opinion that,
at the good discretion of the King & the Gentlemen of his Council, these
articles should be approved in their present form, since they are just &
reasonable, & that for this purpose all letters that are necessary for this
should be issued to them. Done on Wednesday, the thirteenth day
of June 1618. Thus signed H. de Mesmes & [Claude] de Paris, with a
flourish [paraphe]. And written below is what follows:
      REGISTERED: Yes [by] the Procureur Général of the King, that
the supplicants may enjoy the [measures of protection] contained in their
request, & that these shall be upheld & observed in accordance with
their form & tenor, on condition that instead of the sixty livres which are
mentioned in the 6th article, only thirty livres will be levied, & that all the
presses which are located in private houses of subjects of the King & other
houses belonging to foreigners shall, without any distinction or exception,
be dismantled & removed within fifteen days – otherwise, if this fails to be
done within the said time & there should be any press in the said houses,
these are, in keeping with the diligence of the deputy of the Procureur Général
of the King, to be confiscated & sold to the highest bidder, & the money thus
raised is to be used to provide for the poor & sick. And the Court makes
explicit prohibitions to all Master Printers & journeymen, that they must
not work, directly or indirectly, at the said presses belonging to private
individuals or foreigners. On pain of forfeiting all the privileges & of
corporal punishment. At Paris, in the Parlement, the nineteenth of July,
one thousand six hundred and eighteen, thus signed by Du Tiller
with a flourish & beneath is written the following:

      REGISTERED:yes on this matter by the Procureur, who
requests, on the thirteenth day of July 1618, that this be entered into the
Registers of the Chancery of the Civil Chamber of the Châtelet of Paris,
so that the supplicants might enjoy what is contained in these [measures],
in accordance with the judgement of Monsieur the Lieutenant Civil, on
this same day, thus signed by Musnier, with a flourish.

      LOUIS, by the Grace of God, King of France & of
Navarre. To all those who are present & yet to come, Greetings. It is
a thing of some notoriety that the recklessness [licence] which has crept
in amidst our subjects during the wars which have taken place
in this our Kingdom, both those from the reign of the late King
Henri the Great, our most honoured Lord & Father, as well as
those arising from the most recent disturbances, has led to

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such a disorder in all estates & offices, arts & professions, that of
all the regulations previously established amongst them with a
remarkable discretion & prudence, no more than a shadow remained,
as the result of the malice of those who, going with the times, had
little by little exempted themselves from the observation of these.
But in view of the fact that God has bestowed upon us the grace of
strengthening this State through a profound peace, which it has pleased
him to give to us, in order that we should not remain ungrateful towards
him for so many benefactions, our principal care has been to reform
everything for the better, to persecute the abuses & disorders which
have come together in each Profession, being all the more compelled to
the continuation of these reforms, given that the fruits of that which
had already been started well have been to the great benefit & relief
of our subjects. And all the more so, too, since amidst the clamour &
insolence of all this fighting, those who profess good literature [qui font
profession des bonnes lettres
] are the ones who have been most
oppressed & effectively reduced to nothing: thus, following the
ancient footsteps of our predecessors, we have devoted all the attention
of which we are capable to restoring the profession of letters to
its original splendour, mainly with regard to our eldest daughter,
the University of our good city of Paris, having found the
Rector & Staff of the latter to be minded entirely to contribute
to the curtailment of the abuses, disorders & contempt for its old
Statutes & Regulations which the barbarity of past wars had
introduced into it, & in a specific demonstration of their good
intentions, the Booksellers, Printers & Bookbinders of the said
University have most humbly remonstrated with us that, in view
of the honour and excellence of their profession, they had at all
times been not just distinguished from the mechanical arts, but
favoured with fine privileges & immunities granted to them
by our Royal predecessors, in the enjoyment of which they have
been confirmed from time to time. And though it is true that
the order established amongst them has occasionally been
perverted because of the malice of the times & of people,
remedies followed closely upon the first incidence [of such
abuses], as we can see from the remedy which King Charles IX
introduced by his Edict of 1577: Letters patent with a declaration
on this matter, & from the Ruling of our Court of Parlement of
27 June 1577, which contained several fine regulations amongst
the said Booksellers, Printers & Bookbinders, concerning the
sale of books, both those which are printed in this Kingdom, and
those which are imported from

Chapter 1 Page 20


foreign countries, the inspection of these books by the Syndic & Adjuncts
of the Guild of Booksellers & Printers, & other matters relating
to the said profession. These regulations have, however, as a result
of the passing of time, the faulty understanding of the said Booksellers,
Printers & Bookbinders, & the disobedience & rebelliousness of some
of them, been neglected, so that it is necessary to interpose our
authority, in order to induce them to live in a good order [en une bonne regle],
which should be stable & perdurable for the future. And for this purpose
the said Booksellers, Printers & Bookbinders have caused certain articles
in the form of Statutes to be presented to us, which articles, through
our letters patent of the first day of the present month, we forwarded to
the Provost of Paris or his Lieutenant, so that, in his capacity as our
Procureur, he might give and send us his advice on the convenience
or inconvenience which could arise for us & the public from the said
Statutes. In accordance with these aforesaid letters of ours, they
submitted their Statutes to our said Provost of Paris, or his Lieutenant,
who, acting as our Procureur, after having seen the said Statutes &
articles and found them to be just & reasonable, sent them back, so
as to obtain our letters of confirmation & homologation of these
articles, which the said Booksellers, Printers & Bookbinders have
most humbly supplicated and requested us to grant to them.
We hereby make known that after having had the said Statutes
Examined in our Council, our said letters concerning these having
been obtained on the first day of the present month, the advice
given to us, in accordance with the said letters, by the Lieutenant
& our Procureur, on the 13th of the present month, has been
placed at the bottom of the said Statutes & articles attached here
under the counter-seal of our Chancery. Upon the advice of our
aforesaid Council we have praised, approved, confirmed,
ratified & homologated these Statutes & articles, & we likewise
praise, approve, confirm, ratify & homologate them now by
the present document, which has been signed by us personally.
We wish & it is our pleasure that they should henceforth be
observed & kept & upheld in all places, without any infringements
being allowed, by all Booksellers, Printers & Bookbinders,
& by everyone else. Thus, we give as an order to our beloved &
loyal Counsellors, the People who make up our Court of Parlement
in Paris, the Provost of the latter place or his Lieutenant, & to all
other appointed authorities [justiciers] & Officials whom it is
fitting to inform, that the said present letters of approbation &
homologation, together with the said Statutes

Chapter 1 Page 21


& articles are to be registered by them, & that what is contained
in them is to be enjoyed & practised by the said Booksellers,
Printers & Bookbinders, undisturbed [paisiblement], so that they
put an end to all the faults and hindrances to the contrary,
notwithstanding any other letters which might stipulate the
opposite. For such is our pleasure: And so that this might be
something that is firm & stable for all times, we have arranged
for our seal to be applied to the present document, reserving
our right in other matters, & the right of anyone else in all
matters [sauf en autres choses notre droit, & l'autrui en toutes].
Given in Paris, in the month of June, the year of our Lord 1618,
And of our reign the ninth, Thus signed: LOUIS, And on the back
of the page folded by the King, signed: DE LOMENIE; Contentor:
de Vabres; & on the side Visa – Registered: yes [by] the Procureur
of the King, so that the content might be enjoyed [by the
Guild] in accordance with what is contained in the Register on the
articles mentioned there which was drawn up at the Parlement in
Paris, on 9 July 1618. Signed: DU TILLET. And further down,
Registered: yes on this matter [by] the Procureur of the King,
requesting that this be entered into the Registers of the Civil
Chamber at the Châtelet of Paris, so that the supplicants might
benefit from what is contained in them, in accordance with the
judgement of Monsieur the Lieutenant Civil on this day. Done
on 13 July 1618. Signed: MUSNIER, And sealed with the
grand seal of green wax attached with cords of green & red silk.


Translation by: Luis Sundkvist (pp.6-21)


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