Austrian Statutes on Censorship and Printing, Vienna (1785)

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Austrian Statutes on Censorship and Printing, Vienna (1785), Primary Sources on Copyright (1450-1900), eds L. Bently & M. Kretschmer,

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of all the directives and laws
enacted for the Imperial and Royal
hereditary Austrian lands
during the reign of
Emperor Joseph II

in a
Systematic Arrangement


the directives and laws
from the year
1780 up to 1784.


First Volume.
With a most gracious [Imperial] privilege.



Published by the bookseller
Joh. Georg. Moesle,
who has received
Imperial and Royal privileges.

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Fourth Section.

Laws concerning the realms of censorship and printing.


Censorship N. I.

            His Majesty has deemed it worthy of His most exalted attention and service to
introduce an amendment to the way in which the censorship of books has been carried out
so far, in order to make the latter easier and more straightforward in future. With this
intention, His Majesty has arranged that henceforth there shall be only one Central
Commission for Book Censorship covering all the Austrian hereditary lands, which is to
be based in Vienna and whose resolutions are to serve forthwith as a uniform guiding-
principle, both in Vienna and in the hereditary provinces, with regard to which books
are permitted and which are forbidden. On the other hand, the separate censorship
commissions which were previously in place in the various territories are to be dissolved:
just a book revision board will be maintained in each territory, and responsibility for
the measures to be taken in the provinces in matters of book censorship will henceforth
be transferred and entrusted to each such territorial authority.

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His Majesty's views in these matters are as follows:

            1. One should deal harshly with anything that contains displays of
immorality and incoherent drivel, from which no learning or enlightenment
can ever ensue. All other works, however, in which one finds learning, factual
knowledge and orderly propositions, are to be treated with all the more
leniency as in contrast to the former, which are read only by the rabble and
the weak-minded, the latter books are such as to come into the hands of those
with suitably prepared minds and of steadfast character.

            2. Works which systematically attack the Catholic creed or, as is
more frequently the case, Christian religion as such are to be tolerated just
as little as those people who, in order to facilitate the incursion [into
Austrian lands] of the tenets of infidelity which are gaining ground [elsewhere],
publicly deride and ridicule religion, or those who give a false and contemptible
picture of religion by means of a superstitious misrepresentation of the
attributes of God.

            3. Critical works, as long as they aren't of a libellous nature, are
not to be forbidden, irrespective of whom they may be directed against - from
the sovereign right down to the humblest subject - especially if the author
has his name printed on the title-page too and thereby shows his willingness to

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personally vouch for the truth of what has been written. The reason for this
is that every truth-loving person will be only too glad if the truth reaches
him even in such a way.

            4. Whole works and periodicals are not to be forbidden on account
of individual offensive passages that may be found in them, as long as the
work as such contains useful things, and all the more so given that large
works of this kind rarely fall into the hands of such people whose minds
might be affected harmfully by such offensive passages. However, if a
separate issue or section of a periodical publication of this kind - which
could reasonably be regarded as a simple brochure - were subsequently indeed
to be classed as a forbidden book, it should, in this respect, be delivered
only to those persons who had subscribed for the whole work or who had
pledged themselves by name to buy it in its entirety, although one or
several of its sections may be withheld from the latter too if they contain
passages that treat religion, morals, or the State and the sovereign in
a manner that is obviously offensive.

            5. Just as those books which were previously permitted erga
schedam [by special licence] to learned, non-Catholic readers are to be
allowed completely from now on, in view of their simply being works of
scholarship, so there is no longer to be any possibility of modifying
[i.e. toning down] the restrictions which distinguish between authorised

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and forbidden books (a new full catalogue of the latter is to follow), as was
previously the case, except for those few non-Catholic books which are suitable
for the education of the common people and as reading for them: just those
[Catholic] fellow-believers to whom this applies will be allowed to have these
books upon presentation of special licences.
            However, since the new, rectified catalogue of forbidden books cannot
be drawn up so quickly because of the many considerations that have to be taken
into account in this matter, everything that is included in the existent
catalogue - even those works which have been selected for a relaxation [of the
censorship laws in the present statute] - is to be regarded as forbidden for
the time being, until the sections of the new catalogue that is to be compiled
can start to be published with some regularity.

            7. As far as the publication of texts submitted for printing in each
of the hereditary territories is concerned, all works of a certain significance
- that is, which will clearly have a substantial influence on scholarship,
academic studies, and religion - must be brought to the Book Censorship
[Commission] in Vienna for approval. This is, however, to be done in such a way
that every such work must be accompanied by a certificate from its territory
of provenance, confirming that nothing contrary to

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religion, morals, and the given province's laws is contained in the work and
that it is, moreover, in accordance with common sense. This certificate is
to be written and signed by a scholar, professor, or figure of ecclesiastic
or lay authority, who is qualified to judge the contents of the given book.
Less important texts, however, which do not constitute whole works as such,
are simply to be either authorised or rejected by the respective territorial
authority depending on whether a similar certificate can be produced or not.
Nevertheless, anyone who thinks he has reason to complain about the rejection
of a particular work is entitled to lodge an appeal with the Censorship
Commission in Vienna, whereby the expenses for the review of the case are to
be borne by the losing party. As for placards, newspapers, prayers and
suchlike, these only have to be examined briefly by the councillor responsible
for censorship matters in the territorial authority concerned, who, having
checked, in particular, that the latter are in accordance with the true spirit
of the Church, will then grant the imprimatur [printing

            8. Since the reprinting of books which come into the hereditary
provinces from abroad and are passed for reading in these lands is allowed
and, moreover, is treated as a mere branch of trade, the granting of the
reimprimatur [reprinting authorisation], which must still be
applied for every time, is wholly entrusted to each territorial authority.
Nevertheless, given that many a book which is passed might well contain some
more or less harsh remarks against the Austrian or indeed a foreign

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State, against religion and ecclesiastical rites, or against the clergy, which,
it might be argued, one could simply pass over when reading the book, but
which would nevertheless acquire the semblance of a vindication and official
sanction if they were to be reprinted in the hereditary lands and could thus
provoke unpleasant sentiments amongst a certain class of people, henceforth
everything that is read in Vienna and approved [by the Censorship Commission]
is to be graded according to one of the following three designations:
admittitur ['is (freely) admitted'], permittitur ['is permitted'],
or toleratur ['is tolerated'], so as to obviate any complications
later, when deciding whether the work may be reprinted or not. This distinction
will be carried out as follows: those works which would not raise any misgivings
whatsoever if they were to be reprinted are to be marked with the first
designation; those works, on the other hand, which contain various bold remarks
that one wouldn't quite want to speak in favour of - in public, at least -
because of considerations of morality, politics, and the external aspects of
religion, are to receive the second designation. However, the only consequence
of this is that in the case of works belonging to this second category, the
original place of printing of the edition which is to be reprinted must be
indicated [on the title-page], whereby if this is a foreign place, the
following phrase must be added: "Can also be obtained in Vienna, Prague,
Linz etc." Lastly, the third designation covers

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those works in which stronger remarks are made against religion or the State
that can by no means be vindicated, and which have been passed [by the
Censorship Commission] only because such passages perhaps do not occur so
frequently and the rest of the text is instructive. The reprinting of these
works in the hereditary lands should not be allowed, at least without a
previous moderation of the offensive passages.

            9. With regard to books that were already passed before this present
censorship arrangement, the severity applied in the past to the examination
of all books may serve as a guarantee that the reprinting of approved works
from any place should be allowed. The only uncertainty that might arise
concerns those books which were previously restricted [in respect of circulation]
but have now been released from any such restrictions: in these cases, the
publisher seeking to carry out a reprint must always apply for permission
to the Censorship Commission in Vienna and submit to it a copy of the book
that is to be reprinted.

            10. Finally, with regard to official texts [State papers] as such,
if someone wishes to reprint these in one of the hereditary lands or to
otherwise publish them there - say, in translation - the directive issued
on 20 November 1779, on the occasion of a translation of the Peace Treaty
of Teschen,

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is still to apply, which means that in each case permission must be requested
from the Censorship Commission in Vienna.

            Directive. Vienna, 11 June 1781.

            All existing book censorship commissions are dissolved, and
henceforth only one Central Commission for Book Censorship, based in Vienna
and responsible for all the hereditary lands, is to be retained. In each of
the territories all that will remain in place is just a book revision board,
and the management of censorship matters in the provinces is entrusted to
the respective territorial authority.

            Imperial decree of 11 July 1781.

            The measures and regulations that have been established for the
censorship and revision of books are as follows:

            1. Books arriving [into a province] for the shops of booksellers
or for private individuals must be examined immediately by the book revision

            2. Those books which are allowed according to the present set of
regulations must be handed over to their owners without any more ado.

            3. Forbidden books, however, are to remain in the custody of the
revision board.

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            4. Any new book whose content is just of a scientific or artistic nature and
whose title alone clearly indicates that it contains nothing that could be contrary
to religion, the State, or good morals, is to be handed over without delay to its
owner after provisional notice of this has been given to the territorial authority.
Where, however,

            5. the title and the subject treated in a book give immediate cause for
suspecting that the opposite is in fact true, it is to be kept by the revision board
for the time being until the catalogues of forbidden and approved books, which are
to be issued and sent out every fortnight by the Imperial Book Censorship Commission,
have reached the territorial authority.

            6. Only in the case that a particular book hasn't appeared in Vienna at
all, should the revision board forward it to the Imperial Book Censorship Commission
for scrutiny.

            7. In order to provide further facilitation and assistance to booksellers,
the latter are also allowed to submit to the revision board the full titles of those
books which their business correspondents may have notified them of in advance and
which are expected in the next delivery, so that the board may make its decisions
even before the books themselves have arrived.

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            8. Any forbidden works found to have been concealed, say, at the bottom of
a package of books are to be retained in the custody of the revision board. The
bookseller is to be charged the expenses for returning these forbidden books to
their publisher(s), but by no means is the whole package to be confiscated from him.

            9. The deliberate intercalation of a forbidden book inside a package
otherwise made up entirely of approved books is all the more punishable given that
in future only obscene and most unseemly, or in other ways dangerous, books will
be forbidden. For this reason, booksellers who are caught trying to smuggle in
forbidden books by evading the revision board are to be punished with confiscation
of the book and a fine of 150 florins for each forbidden copy of it, the first
time round, whereby if they should commit this offence again, the fine is to be
increased at the discretion of the territorial authority; and in case that this
criminal offence is repeated a number of times, the bookseller in question is to
be punished with expulsion from his profession.

            10. People travelling on their own private business are only to be
detained if they are found to be carrying, or arranging for the transport of,
several copies of forbidden books - which naturally leads one to suspect that
they were intending to circulate these - or if the character of a person or
secret reports on the latter render him suspicious in this respect. In such a case,

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the measures to be taken are: a search [of the traveller's temporary lodgings
and of his luggage], confiscation and safekeeping of the forbidden books.
However, with the exception of such a case,

            11. private individuals and travellers are to be allowed to pass
freely through a province with the books they are carrying for their own use.
All the same, though, this is understood to apply only to those books which
a traveller is actually carrying on his person during his journeys. Otherwise,
in the case of books ordered from abroad by a private person or those which
he arranges to be transported in packing-cases, these are to be treated just
like booksellers' merchandise.

            11. With regard to texts that are submitted for printing, all
manuscripts of a certain significance - that is, those which are expected
to have a substantial influence on scholarship, academic studies, and religion
- are to be submitted in two copies to the Imperial Book Censorship Commission
in Vienna, together with a certificate issued by someone competent to judge
the manuscript in question and confirming that it contains nothing contrary
to religion, good morals, and the provincial laws, and that it is thus in
accordance with common sense. Less important pieces are simply to be
authorised or rejected by the territorial authority depending on whether
such a certificate can be produced or not.

            Re-published on 5 March 1783.

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            13. If the content of the work that is to be published or what is known of
its author's moral character are such as to preclude any possibility of a criminal
interpolation being attempted after the imprimatur [printing authorisation] has
been granted, there is no need for a duplicate copy to be submitted. Furthermore,

            14. printers and booksellers alike are reminded that it is their responsibility
to submit, on pain of an appropriate punishment, all texts they have received for
printing to the book revision board; and that with regard to the reprinting of a
foreign book, permission must be requested from the territorial authority. Finally,
it remains to be pointed out that those trading in copper engravings and dealers
in silver are also to submit their goods to this revision board.

Additional statutes suggested in Bohemia, 13 July 1781.

            In order to facilitate the import of books and do away with all hated
and inconvenient compulsion and sending back and forth, the revision of books is
to some extent to be entrusted to the Imperial and Royal district authorities, and
for this purpose the following regulations are prescribed:

            1. In accordance with the regulation stated above, travellers are to be
exempted from any inspection.

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            2. If a private person orders books from abroad, or arranges for carters to
bring these [into the hereditary lands] in cases or packages, they are to be subjected
to revision just like the merchandise of booksellers. Therefore, after payment of the
import tariff at the border, the custom-house is obliged to send such books in a sealed
package to the district authority responsible for the district or city quarter in which
the owner of the books is resident.

            3. When the district authority receives such a case or package of books, it
is to arrange for a competent official in its service to separate those books which
have already been approved from the forbidden ones, as well as any new books and those
that appear questionable to the Imperial and Royal district authority. The approved
books are to be handed over immediately to their owner. Those that are forbidden, new,
and questionable are to be entered into a special list by the official concerned, who
is to sign his name, and this list is to be sent to the territorial authority. These
books are to be held in safekeeping until a decision has arrived from the latter.

            4. If private persons or booksellers submit provisional lists of the books
they are expecting from abroad, the district authority is to forward these lists to
the territorial administration so that

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these lists and the decision taken with regard to the books included on them
are already at hand when they actually arrive, thereby speeding up the whole
process as much as possible.

            5. Where a discreet or learned private person wishes to order just
the one or two forbidden books whose content isn't altogether immoral, the
district authority is entitled to grant permission without referring the case
to the territorial administration. Finally, in order that

            6. the district authority might always be informed of which books
are forbidden, and so that its information is always up to date, it is to be
sent the relevant lists in this matter which have already been issued, as well
as all subsequent lists that come out from time to time, detailing any books
that are forbidden in future, and it is obliged to record the titles of these
books in alphabetical order in a register that has been specially drawn up
for this purpose.

            Imperial decree of 21 September 1782.

            Father Leopold Tirsch has been appointed Imperial and Royal Inspector
and Translator of Hebrew and Jewish works and books, and his services are to
be engaged both in the Book Revision Board and in the legal

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and banking administration departments.

            Imperial decree of 30 June 1781.

            The priors of monasteries are to have all texts sent by the provincial book
revision board read through without delay by their lectors, preachers, or other
proficient regulars, and provided with certificates confirming whether or not these
works contain anything that is contrary to good morals, religion, or the State.

            Imperial decree of 31 July 1781.

Without imprimatur. N. II.

            In future, neither newspapers nor calendars, nor anything else, may be
printed unless they have imprimatur [printing authorised] written
on them. Moreover, in order to preclude any confusion, the book publishers are
obliged to always leave behind at the revision board a receipt of the approved books
which the latter has handed out to them. In the opposite case, when a book is not
approved for printing, the censor who examined it is himself to issue the publisher
concerned with a signed receipt.

            Imperial decree of 11 June 1781.

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      Invitation notes, indulgence letters, announcements of church and fraternity
feasts etc., even if they are only being reprinted, may also not be put to print
without the imprimatur of the Imperial and Royal censorship.

            Imperial decree of 16 October and 21 February 1783.

            Those printers who henceforth print the slightest thing - even if it were
only to consist of a few lines - without the censor's imprimatur are
to be strictly fined a penalty of 6-12, or depending on the circumstances, even 24
ducats, to be paid into the relief fund for almshouses.

            Directive in Bohemia, issued on 28 February 1782.

            In future, a copy on writing-paper of all newly printed works is to be
delivered to the university library [in Prague?] for the use of all who wish to
consult it, irrespective of whether a work has been put to print at the expense
of the author or of the publisher.

            Directive in Bohemia, issued on 21 December 1781.

            Whenever a brochure or work is printed, the true author's name must
always be included (it must not be a fictitious name): otherwise, the imprimatur
will not be granted. This is also to apply to anonymous works approved previously

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which are now to be republished in a new edition. And since in each case the
plausibility of the author's name which is indicated on a work can be judged
quite easily, without having to request testimonies from anyone, the printers
of a book must in future take the utmost care to ascertain the true name and
social standing of its author, so that the censors cannot be misled. In this
respect too, it is the conclusions of the censors which in the main are to
be followed.
            Furthermore, given that for the purposes of attracting buyers,
brochures and books which appear in print are often furnished with satirical
vignettes, woodcuts etc., which weren't actually submitted for censorship
together with the manuscripts and in which very conspicuous and offensive
allusions occur - and given also that no less is it the case that amongst the
copper engravings which are offered for sale, sometimes very improper texts
have been inscribed into the engraving - the Supreme authority orders that
henceforth all wood and copper engravers, art dealers and publishers are
to always submit the first print to the book revision board, on pain of a
considerable punishment, and may not continue printing unless they have
received permission to do so.

            Imperial decree of 18 April 1782.

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            In order to preclude the grave consequences which often arise from
songs that are intended to be sung openly on the streets of Vienna, these
are to be sent by the Book Censorship Commission, before it has granted its
imprimatur, to the Lower Austrian Government which is to add an
annotation indicating whether such songs can be sung out in public or not.

            Imperial resolution of 3 February 1783.

            Henceforth, all public reading-rooms are to send in advance their
catalogues, listing all books which are available in these as well as any whose
acquisition is being considered, to the local book revision board which will
then forward these to the Censorship Commission for further scrutiny and

            Imperial resolution of 29 March 1783.

Protestant books. N. III.

            The territorial authority is to be entrusted with determining which
books are not to be allowed to come into the hands of common people because
they might lead such readers astray. Consequently, their titles need not be
sent any longer to the Imperial and Royal Censorship Commission. Moreover,
since all book inspections are herewith to be stopped, it will henceforth
be the duty of the clergy to seek, by means of gentle persuasion and without
any semblance of compulsion, to obtain the surrender of any such misleading
books discovered amongst the population,

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or to report the presence of such books to the political authorities so that the
latter can proceed to confiscate them. The bishops are also to make arrangements
in the various hereditary provinces so that in future it is possible to exchange
misleading books for good books from the Church funds - that is, so that the
ministers in the local parishes are provided with suitable books that they can
hand out to people once these have surrendered any forbidden works in their

            Directive issued in Bohemia, 17 July 1781.

            It was later decreed that the common people are to be allowed access
to any Catholic Bible, and that in general no book is to be confiscated from
them or anyone as such to be punished for possession of a book without the
latter having first being submitted to the Imperial and Royal Book Censorship

            Imperial decree of 10 August 1781.

            Clergymen are on no account to intervene in the inspections carried
out to ascertain the books that are in people's possession, nor may they
confiscate any books.

            Directive issued in Bohemia, 15 April 1782.

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            On the contrary, the bishops are obliged to return all confiscated
Protestant Bibles, postills [sermon notes], prayer- and song-books to their
owners, and to leave in their possession any such works that had escaped
confiscation in the past.

            Imperial decree of 12 October 1782.

            Those who bring Protestant religious books into the Austrian lands
without resorting to secrecy - that is, who declare them at the frontier-stations
- are on no account to be treated as criminals.

            Imperial decree of 28 January 1782.

            In order to obviate any possible disturbances [of the public order],
those Austrian subjects who go around hawking Protestant books are to be
questioned as to whether they have declared at the frontier-stations all the
books they are carrying and paid all liable import duties. If they are able
to give proof of this by producing the toll certificates they have received
at the border, these books are not to be confiscated from them - rather,
their titles are to be recorded and reported to the territorial authority.

            Directive issued in Bohemia, 27 March 1782.

            Even when such books have to be confiscated, the toll certificates
must always be asked for too, whereby the hawkers and agents concerned are
to be told that these books are being confiscated not because of religious
issues, but

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because they hadn't been declared properly at the frontier-stations and the
import dues hadn't been discharged, and also in view of the fact that hawking
as such, like any unauthorised book trading, cannot be permitted.

            Directive issued in Bohemia, 9 April 1782.

            All arrangements made so far with regard to the censorship of books
are to continue in place, which means that all books must still be forwarded
by the frontier-stations to the revision board, and that in regard of private
persons the prescribed regulations are to be observed. On the other hand,
those books which are necessary for the three tolerated religions and which
contain no terms of abuse against the dominant religion, are not harmful to
the State, and are not subject to censorial prohibition for any other reason,
may be carried in stock by all booksellers, since as long as the required
editions of Lutheran and Reformed [Calvinist] books are not actually produced
in the Austrian lands, one can hardly prohibit their importation. Consequently,
such importers of books are referred to the provincial revision board, and
only those books smuggled in without notifying the officials at the frontier-
station are to be confiscated. Therefore, neither the authorities nor the
clergy are to undertake any book inquisitions amongst the population.

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Moreover, no passports are to be issued to subjects of the Austrian hereditary
lands who might wish to cross the border in order to collect certain books -
rather, they are to notify their local magistrate of which books they require,
and he in his turn will notify the district authority which will then forward
this information to the territorial administration, whereupon these subjects
should soon be able to obtain from the booksellers, at a much cheaper price,
those very works that they wanted to get hold of. Incidentally, hawkers are
by no means to be tolerated, and where any of them are detained for carrying
books without toll certificates, the books are to be confiscated but they
themselves shall be set at liberty. An official record of the action taken
is to be sent to the territorial authority.

            Imperial decree of 17 April 1782.

            Those Protestant books of instruction and devotion which merely
contain Protestant phrases and notions may be put to print in the Imperial
and Royal lands.

            Imperial decree of 14 September 1782.

            It is, however, forbidden to import songbooks from the Saxon
district of Sorau, partly because of their silly nature, partly because of
the waste of money that their purchase would entail, and partly also on
account of the many offensive passages that are contrary to the dominant

            Imperial decree of 4 December 1783.

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            His Majesty has decided and commanded that the songbooks and hymns of
the Reformed and Evangelical Churches are to be retained just as they are, and
that the ban on importing foreign Lutheran and Reformed religious and song-books
is not to be applied as long as it can be demonstrated that one would be able
to obtain authorisation for such books within the Austrian lands themselves.
            Accordingly, the public and regular importation of Lutheran and
Reformed Bibles, song- and prayer-books must henceforth by all means continue
to be allowed - without thereby binding Protestants to this or that edition of
a book - which means that their confiscation is out of the question unless, say,
something else happens to be decided in this respect later on. Both Trattner
and other printers are certainly entitled to publish such non-Catholic books
of song and devotion translated into the various vernacular tongues spoken in
the Austrian hereditary lands, albeit, only those which are included in the
attached register or the printing of which is subsequently authorised by the
censors, pending the preliminary approval of the [Protestant] Consistory at

            Directive of 22 June 1782.

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            Of those Evangelical and Reformed hymn-, prayer-, and devotional
books whose publication by native printers in the various vernacular languages
that are in use in the Austrian lands is to be permitted.

            1. A faithful edition of the Bible in accordance with the standard
editions from Halle or Lemgo.
            2. The so-called Small Catechism.
            3. The Large Catechism.
            4. The Heidelberg Catechism.
            5. Liturgical agenda for the Augsburg Confession.
            6. Liturgical agenda for the Helvetian [Calvinist] co-confessionalists.
            7. The prayer books by [Johann] Arndt.
            8. A good songbook which ought to be based on the hymns collected by
Weise and Zolikofer and [whose hymns] could be adapted depending on the time
available [for the service] and the circumstances.
            9. "Cythara Sanctorum" aneb Zabmi a Pisin Duchowin, Lipska [?] 1737
["Zither of Holies", a collection of spiritual songs in Hungarian and/or Slovak]
            10. The new amended editions of hymnbooks which for some years now have
been in use in the territories of Hanover, Württemberg, Braunschweig, and Hessen-
Darmstadt, as well as in Holstein, Bremen, and Dortmund; and, finally,

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            11. The Songbook for Religious Use in the Royal Prussian
Lands, published in 1780.

            Since the non-Catholic hymnbooks which are published in
Regensburg and Ortenburg contain passages which are both improper
and offensive to the dominant religion and are also deficient in
terms of grammatical correctness and the selection and clarity of
the hymns, and at the same time given that the hymnbook which was
approved by the Consistory of the Augsburg Confession at Teschen,
and which in every respect surpasses all others, is being published
in a sufficiently numerous edition by native printers, His Majesty
has decided that henceforth the importation of the aforesaid foreign
non-Catholic songbooks is to be forbidden.
            This is herewith brought to the knowledge of the territorial
authorities, with the instruction that they are to urge all [Protestant]
pastors in their respective provinces to make it clear in their sermons
to their congregations, and by any other means too, that these foreign
hymnbooks have been prohibited only because of their defective and
much poorer content, and so that all non-Catholics, for the purposes
of their religious services and prayer exercises - which as always
are not to be constrained in any way -

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may be provided with the better devotional or hymn-books that have been
approved by the Teschen Consistory of the Augsburg Confession, as well
as to avoid unnecessary expenditure of money outside of the Austrian lands.

      Directive issued on 24 July 1783.

Reprinting. N. IV.

            With regard to the extent to which native printers may or may
not reprint books, the following is herewith decreed: namely, that the
Supreme directive issued on 17 February 1775 - whereby the reprinting
of editions of works rightfully belonging to native publishers, which
is so harmful to scholarship, to book printers, and to trade as such, is
forbidden on pain of a severe penalty - is to remain in full force. This
means that in accordance with this directive, every native author of a
book, or the native publisher with whom he has entered into a contract
for the printing of the work written by him, is to be protected most
emphatically against reprinting; whereas, on the other hand, the
reprinting of approved foreign-published books is to be granted freely
to every book printer as a commercial operation, even if

Chapter 1 Page 28

exactly the same work happens to have already been (re-)published by one
or several native book printers.

            Imperial decree of 13 January 1781.

            The directive of 17 February 1775 cited above contains all that
is expressed in the present decree, but, in addition to that, it also
specifies that this reprinting [of Austrian-published books] is forbidden
except if His Majesty should decide to grant His supreme authorisation
for such a procedure because, say, all copies of the original edition of
a work have run out, or because excessive prices are being charged for
this edition.
            The reprinting of such [foreign] books must not be concealed,
even if only by stating a different place of publication, because otherwise,
forbidden books could easily sneak into the Austrian lands under the
guise of native printed goods. Book printers must therefore always include
the true place of [the original] publication on the title page of those
works which they have obtained for reprinting, instead of simply putting
"Prague" on the title page, as has often been the case so far.

            Directive issued in Bohemia, 5 April 1781.

            The decree concerning reprinting is also to be extended to
copper engravings.

            Imperial decree of 2 May 1782.

Chapter 1 Page 29

Printing-Office for 'Normal School' textbooks . N. V.

            The Prague printing-office for textbooks used in 'normal schools' [4-year
model schools set up in every Austrian provincial capital from 1774 onwards] is to
be allowed to keep its printing privilege on the same terms as before. Therefore,
all other printers are forbidden to print any textbooks whatsoever for 'normal

            Directive issued on 5 April 1782.

Calendars. N. VI.

            Calendars containing useful information which have been ordered from
abroad by book traders or private persons - as long as in this information there
is nothing offensive whereby they ought to be subjected to prohibition (that is,
insofar as they have been submitted to the revision board and have passed censorship)
- are, before they are handed out to their owners, to be taken by a customs official
to the seal authority where the requisite stamp is to be impressed on them, so
that any reduction of this revenue [stamp duty ?] can be avoided.

            Imperial decree of 6 March 1782.

            The privilege for the French newspaper, as well as all privileges for
the Cracow

Chapter 1 Page 30

calendar are to cease, so that these publications will henceforth no longer
bear the designation of privileged calendars.

            Imperial decree of 12 March 1782.

Directories, Breviaries etc. N. VII.

            All booksellers are forbidden to import from abroad other publishers'
breviaries, missals, antiphonaries, hymn-books, and any other works required
by the rules of a monastic order, on pain of confiscation of the imported
texts and other penalties, since every order has the opportunity to request
these from printers in Vienna or other hereditary territories.

            Imperial decree of 8 October 1781.

            The Indices librorum prohibitorum & corrigendorum [Indices
of Books to be Prohibited or Corrected
issued by the Vatican] which
the Archbishop of Prague and the Bishop of Königgraz have made known to the
clergy, have no validity as a result of the prohibition edict [forbidding
Austrian bishops to communicate directly with the Curia]. Rather, only those
books listed there are to be treated as forbidden which are declared to be
such by the sovereign Austrian book censorship.

            Imperial decree of 20 October 1781.

Chapter 1 Page 31

            Similarly, all arch-episcopal decrees, monitories, and rulings which are
placed before the Index librorum prohibitorum and invoke the
papal bull In Coena Domini [At the Lord's Supper] are to be quashed.

            Imperial decree of 18 April 1782.

            Although henceforth the Austrian archbishops can arrange to have the
directories drawn up outside of the Imperial and Royal hereditary lands, the
manuscript of each year's directory must be submitted in due course of time to the
respective provincial governor and to the Censorship [Commission in Vienna], so
that it can be checked for anything that might run counter to the Austrian sovereign
laws and decrees. After that, they may be published in the given province under
the direction of a clergyman resident there who has been appointed for this purpose
by the archbishop, and they may then be sold to the clergy at the cheapest price,
without the slightest additional duty being levied.

            Imperial resolution of 15 November, eventually Imperial decree of 3 December 1781.

            The heads of monasteries may not use any directories or church calendars
that have not previously passed censorship and been approved by the territorial
authority: compliance with this is to be checked strictly.

            Imperial resolution of 10 April 1782.

Chapter 1 Page 32

The Bookselling-trade. N. VIII.

            Picture-dealers are prohibited from trading in books, on penalty of
confiscation. As far as copper engravings are concerned, the book revision board
is responsible for authorising them or not - this order has also been communicated
to the customs-houses at frontier-stations.

            Imperial decree of 11 July 1781.

            The titles of all works appearing in book fairs are to be recorded in
alphabetical order and forwarded to the territorial authority.

      Directive issued in Bohemia, 23 November 1781.

            Booksellers, binders, and printers must also be inspected to check what
prayer books, prayers and songs they have in stock and intend to sell to the public.
It must be ensured that carriers and other itinerant traders and sellers do not
carry about any books whatsoever -especially prayer books or hymns - for sale in
the provinces they are passing through. Similarly, it must be ensured that the

Chapter 1 Page 33

and monasteries do not carry on any trade with books, especially at the sites
of churches and places of pilgrimage.

            Directive issued in Bohemia, 21 December 1781.

            These books are to be seized from them immediately and confiscated.
However, they themselves are not to be punished with arrest or any other penalty.

            Directive issued in Bohemia, 1 February 1782.

            All printers are allowed to carry on free trade with native and
foreign books, since the reading public will benefit greatly from this in terms
of the available choice and cheapness of works; literature will stand to gain
because of the improvement and increase in the number of editions brought about
by this; commerce will also benefit from the acquisition of new business
partners abroad for exchange-trade; and, finally, immense advantages will also
ccrue to the natural drive for sustenance.

            Imperial decree of 31 May 1782.

Chapter 1 Page 34

Book Auctions. N. IX.

            In the case of book auctions [after someone has deceased], the books
must be inventoried, as has always been the practice, and a list thereof sent
to the territorial authority, whereby it should also be considered whether it
really is to the benefit of the deceased's heirs to have his books put up for
sale in such a way.

            Directive issued in Bohemia, 6 August 1781, and 29 January 1782.

            However, if book lists are sent to the territorial authority after
the death of a dean, priest, administrator, chaplain, auxiliary priest, or in
fact any private person as such, these must include the complete title of each
work, as well as the year and place of publication.

            Directive issued on 14 May 1783.

            Apart from these cases, however, in which the books that form part
of an inheritance are put up for public sale, no lists whatsoever are required
of the books making up a bequeathed private library, and still less are any
books to be taken away from the heirs.

            Imperial decree of 6 June 1783.

Chapter 1 Page 35

Type-foundry. N. X.

            Anyone is entitled to set up type-foundries - just like any other
manufactures - within the hereditary lands, how and wherever he may choose
to do so.

            Imperial decree of 12 March 1782.

End of the First Volume.


Translation by: Luis Sundkvist


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