17th century England was a nation beset by recurrent periods of political and legal turmoil. Disputes between Parliament, the Common Lawyers, and the Crown, which had begun to hinder the functions of government in the 1620s, developed into civil war by the mid-1640s and reverberated through the end of the century well into the next. Lawyers and printers often found themselves caught up in both sides of the struggle. A number of pamphlets and treatises were written to defend and promote the rightness of both causes. Authors and publishers risked being charged with disparaging the prerogative rights and powers of the Crown or Parliament. This often led to the production of multiple variant imprints of a single work, many of them unauthorized by either the government or the author.
Georgetown Law Library Special Collections holds several such controversial variant imprints. Images from two such works produced to support the opposing sides in the English Civil War are currently on display in the Special Collections Exhibit Case located outside the Special Collections Reading Room (Williams 210) off the west end of the main reading room in the Williams Library.