[illustration] By the King, A PROCLAMATION.
To Restrain the Spreading of FALSE NEWS.
ALthough since Our Accession to the Crown, We have Graciously extended Our Royal Mercy and Cle∣mency to Our Subjects by several General Pardons, one whereof was lately Published; Yet We are sensible that divers evil disposed Persons, being not Reformed or wrought upon by such Our Grace and Favour, do, notwithstanding, make it their Business by Writing, Printing, or Speaking, to Defame Our Government with False and Seditious News and Reports, thereby intending to amuse Our loving Subjects, and, as far as they are able, to create in them an universal Iealousie and Discontent, especially in this time of Publick Danger, threatned by the intended Invasion upon this Our Kingdom, and consequently to alienate the Hearts of such of Our loving Subjects from Vs, who otherwise would readily yield unto Vs that Aid and Assistance, which by their Natural Alle∣giance they are bound to do: And whereas by the Ancient Laws and Statutes of this Realm, great and heavy Penalties are inflicted upon all such as shall be found to be Spreaders of false News, or Promoters of any malicious Slanders and Calumnies, in their ordinary and common Discourses, or otherwise, and more especially upon such who shall utter or publish any Words or Things to incite and stir up the People to Ha∣tred or Dislike of Our Person, or the Established Government▪ Notwithstanding which, there have been of late more bold and licentious Discourses than formerly, and Men have assumed to themselves a Liberty, not only in Coffee houses, but in other Places and Meetings▪ both publick and private, to Censure and Defaine the Proceedings of State, by speaking evil of Things they understand not: We therefore considering that Offences of this nature proceed from the restless Malice of evil Persons, or from the careless Demeanour of others, who presume too much upon Our accustomed Elemency and Goodness, have there∣fore thought fit by this Our Royal Proclamation, by and with the Advice of Our Privy Council, streightly to Forewarn and Command all Our Subjects▪ of what Estate or Condition they be, that they presume not henceforth, either by Writing, Print∣ing or Speaking, to utter or publish any false News or Reports whatsoever, or to intermeddle with the Affairs of State or Govern∣ment, or with the Persons of any of Our Counsellors or Ministers in their common and ordinary Discourses, as they will An∣swer the contrary at their utmost Perils.
And because all Bold and Irreverent Speeches touching matters of this high Nature, and all Malicious and False Reports tending to Sedition, or the Amusement of Our People, are punishable not only in the Speakers, but in the Hearers also, un∣less they do speedily reveal the same unto some of Our Privy Council, or some other of Our Iudges or Iustices of the Peace; Therefore that all Persons may be left without Excuse, who shall not hereafter contain themselves within that modest and du∣tiful regard which becomes them, We do further Declare, That We will proceed with all Severity and Rigour against all such Persons who shall be guilty of any such malicious and unlawful Practices by Writing, Printing, or other Publication of such false News and Reports, or who shall receive or hear the same, without revealing or giving Information thereof as afore∣said, in due time; We being resolved to suppress the said Enormities by a most strict and exemplary Punishment of all such Offen∣ders as shall hereafter be discovered▪ And We do hereby streightly Charge and Command all and singular Our Iudges, Iu∣stices of the Peace, Sheriffs, May••s, Bayliffs, and all other Our Officers and Ministers whatsoever, to take effectual Care for the speedy Apprehension, Prosecution, and severe Punishment of all such Persons who shall at any time hereafter be found Offen∣ders herein.
Given at Our Court at Whitehallthe 26th day of October, 1688. In the Fourth Year of Our Reign.