Decree upon Printing and Bookselling.
February 5, 1810.
Duvergier, Lois, XVII, 19-23.
This law is a sort of organic act upon the press. It coordinates and consolidates a number of earlier measures in restraint of freedom of printing. The system delineated in the document had existed, substantially as here shown, from about 1804.
Title I. Of The Directorship Of Printing And Bookselling.
- There shall be a director general charged, under the orders of our minister of the interior, with everything that is related to printing and bookselling.
. . . . . .
Title II. Of The Occupation Of The Printer.
- Dating from January 1, 1811, the number of printers in each department shall be fixed, and that of the printers at Paris shall be reduced by a sixth.
. . . . . .
- The printers shall be commissioned and sworn.
- At Paris they shall be required to have four presses, in the departments two.
. . . . . .
- The commission of printer shall be given by our director general of printing, and shall be subject to the approval of our minister of the interior; it shall be registered at the civil tribunal of the place of residence of the grantee, who shall there take oath not to print anything which is contrary to the duties towards the sovereign and the interest of the State.
Title III. Of The Police For Printing.
Section I. Of the guarantee for the administration.
- Printing or causing to be printed anything which can involve injury to the duties of subjects towards the sovereign or the interests of the State is forbidden. . . .
- Each printer shall be required to have a book numbered and lettered by the prefect of the department, in which he shall register, by order of dates, the title of each work which he shall wish to print, and the name of the author, if it is known. This book shall be presented at every requisition, and examined and endorsed, if it is thought desirable, by any officer of police.
- The printer shall immediately deliver or address to the director general of printing and bookselling, and in addition to the prefects, a copy of the transcript made upon his book; and the declaration that he has an intention of printing the work: he shall be given a receipt therefor.
The prefects shall give information of each of these declarations to our minister of the general police.
- The director general can order, if it seems good to him, the communication and examination of the work, and can suspend the printing.
- When the director general shall have suspended the printing of a work, he shall send it to a censor chosen from among those whom we, upon the advice of the director general and the proposal of our minister of the interior, shall have appointed to discharge that function.
- Our minister of the general police, and the prefects in their departments, shall cause to be suspended the printing of all works which shall appear to them to be in contravention to article 10: in that case, the manuscript shall be sent within twenty-four hours to the director general, as is said above.
- Upon the report of the censor, the director general shall indicate to the author the changes or suppressions deemed appropriate, and, upon his refusal to make them, shall forbid the sale of the work, shall cause the forms to be broken, and shall seize the sheets or copies already printed.
Title IV. Of Booksellers.
- Dating from January I, 1811, booksellers shall be commissioned and sworn.
- The commissions for booksellers shall be given by our director general of printing, and shall be subject to the approval of our minister of the interior: they shall be registered at the civil tribunal of the place of residence of the grantee, who shall there take oath not to sell, circulate or distribute any work contrary to the duties towards the sovereign and the interest of the State.
. . . . . .
- For the future, warrants shall not be granted to booksellers who shall wish to establish themselves, except after they shall have furnished proof of their good life and morals and of their attachment to the fatherland and the sovereign.
Title V. Of Books Printed Abroad.
- No book in the French or Latin languages printed abroad can enter France without paying an import duty.
- This duty shall not be less than fifty per cent of the value of the work.
- Independently of the provisions of article 34, no book printed or reprinted outside of France can be introduced into France without a permit from the director general of bookselling designating the custom house at which it shall enter.
Dickinson, Revolution and Reaction in Modern France, 46-48; Lanfrey, Napoleon, IV, 316-326.
Placed on the Napoleon Series 7/00
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