Author: John Milton  | Date: 1644

Analysis of the Order of Parliament (June 14, 1643),

Against which the Areopagitica was Directed

1. The Preamble recounts that "many false... scandalous, seditious, and libellous" works have lately been published, "to the great defamation of Religion and government"; that many private printing-presses have been set up; and that "divers of the Stationers’ Company" have infringed on the rights of the Company.

2. "It is therefore ordered by the Lords and Commons in Parliament," (1) that no Order "of both or either House shall be printed" except by command; (2) that no Book, etc., "shall from henceforth be printed or put to sale, unless the same be first approved of and licensed by such person or persons as both or either of the said Houses shall appoint for the licensing of the same"; (3) that no book, of which the copyright has been granted to the Company, "for their relief and the maintenance of their poor," be printed by any person or persons "without the license and consent of the Master, Warden, and assistants of the said Company"; (4) that no book, "formerly printed here," be imported from beyond seas, "upon pain of forfeiting the same to the Owner" of the Copyright, "and such further punishment as shall be thought fit."

3. The Stationers’ Company and the officers of the two Houses are authorised to search for unlicensed Presses, and to break them up; to search for unlicensed Books, etc., and confiscate them; and to "apprehend all authors, printers and others" concerned in publishing unlicensed books and to bring them before the Houses "or the Committee of Examination" for "further punishments," such persons not to be released till they have given satisfaction and also "sufficient caution not to offend in like sort for the future."

4. "All justices of the Peace, Captains, Constables and other officers" are ordered to give aid in the execution of the above.


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Chicago: John Milton, "Analysis of the Order of Parliament (June 14, 1643),," Areopagitica Original Sources, accessed June 15, 2024,

MLA: Milton, John. "Analysis of the Order of Parliament (June 14, 1643),." Areopagitica, Original Sources. 15 Jun. 2024.

Harvard: Milton, J, 'Analysis of the Order of Parliament (June 14, 1643),' in Areopagitica. Original Sources, retrieved 15 June 2024, from