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A Chinese Bookseller

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In so arbitrary a government as that of China, it would scarcely be supposed that the press should be free; that is to say, that every one who chooses it may follow the profession of a printer or a bookseller without any previous licence, or without submitting the works he may print or expose for sale to any censor appointed by government; but then he must take his chance to suffer in his person all the consequences that may result from the impression that may be made on the minds of the civil officers as to the tendency of the work. A libel against the government, an immoral or indecent book, would subject both printer and publisher to certain punishment both in his person and purse.

The Project Gutenberg EBook of Picturesque Representations of the Dress and Manners of the Chinese, by William Alexander Published 1814