Journal of the House of Commons: Volume 7, 1651-1660. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1802.
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Wednesday, the 17th of August, 1653.
Resolved, That, in the 21th Line of the 4th Folio, after the Word "aforesaid," these Words be added, "to be recovered by any Action, Bill, Plaint, or Suit, in any Court of Record, by the Party wronged, or any other Person on his or her Behalf."
Resolved, That Colonel West, Major-General Desborough, Mr. Sadler, Colonel Titchborne, or any Two of them, do peruse this Bill, and the Amendments; and see the Congruity thereof; and amend any Words to make the Sense perfect, without altering the Substance.
A Proviso was tendered to the Bill in these Words; "Provided always, and be it Enacted, That all and every Offence and Offences, at any time or times hereafter committed or done, upon or beyond the Sea, contrary to the Tenor and true Intent and Meaning of this Act, shall and may be tried in any City, Town Corporate, or County, where the Person or Persons, so offending, shall be apprehended or attached for the Offences aforesaid:" Which was twice read; and these Words, "provided always," were, upon the Question, omitted, and the Word "further" inserted.
IT appears to the Committee, upon Conference with the Trustees for Sale of the Lands and Estates of Delinquents, That, for speedy bringing in of Monies for the Use of the Commonwealth, to be necessary, That the Parliament do, by a further Additional Act, enable the said Trustees to perfect the Sale of Woods growing upon such of the said Lands as are within the Regard of Forests, to indemnify the Buyers against the Forest Laws; And that the Powers reserved to such of the said Delinquents as are Tenants for Life, to make Leases, may be also sold by the said Trustees.
And that the Reversions or Remainders expectant upon any Estate Tail, or for Life, upon any Conveyance made by such Delinquent, not actually vested in Possession of such Tenant in Tail, or for Life, by Death of such Delinquent, before the 25th of March 1652; which, by Fine, Recovery, or otherwise, might be docked, revoked, or altered, by any of the said Delinquents solely, shall be barred, as if the said Delinquents had actually levied a Fine, or suffered a Recovery, or done any other Act for barring the same.
And that the Lords of Manors may be compelled, by Law, to admit such Persons to whom the said Trustees shall sell any Copyhold Tenements within such Manors, upon such Fine as hath been usually paid for the same Tenement.
A Clause was tendered to this Act, in these Words; viz. "And be it further Enacted, by the Authority aforesaid, That there be allowed, and there is hereby allowed, unto the Persons nominated in an Act, intituled, An Act for Transferring the Powers of the Committee for Obstructions, that is to say, Josias Berners Esquire, Sir Wm. Roberts Knight, Francis Mussenden Esquire, John Parker Esquire, Henry Pitt Esquire, and Robert Aldworth Esquire, for and in respect of their several Pains and Care in discharging the Trust thereby committed to them, the Sum of by the Year to each of them, from the First of April 1652, being the Time of the Commencement of their said Employment by the said Act; the same proportionably to be continued and paid, for such and so long Time as they, and either of them, shall be continued in the Employment put upon them by the said Act. And be it Enacted, by the Authority aforesaid, That it shall and may be lawful to and for the respective Treasurer and Treasurers of the Monies paid in, and to be paid in, to the Use of the Commonwealth, upon the Sale of Delinquents Estates, by virtue of this or other Acts of Parliament, and the said Treasurer and Treasurers are hereby required to pay the several and respective Salaries and Sums aforesaid, to the Persons afore-named, and to either of them, as aforesaid: And the several and respective Acquittance of the Persons aforesaid, under their Hands, shall be a sufficient Discharge to the said Treasurer and Treasurers in that Behalf:" Which was now read.
|Colonel West,||Tellers for the Yeas:||36.|
|Sir Gilbert Pickering,||With the Yeas,|
|Colonel Clerk,||Tellers for the Noes:||43.|
|Mr. Anlaby,||With the Noes,|
Charge against Lenthall.
Mr. Anlaby reports from the Committee for Prisons and Prisoners, A Charge against Sir John Lenthall Knight, Marshal or Keeper of the Upper Bench Prison, brought in by the Committee of Parliament for Prison and Prisoners: Which was read in these Words:
1. THAT, by Law, the Marshal ought to keep all Prisoners committed to him in safe and streight Custody; but, contrary to his Duty therein, he suffers most of the Prisoners committed to his Custody, to lodge in Houses, without any enforced Restraint upon them, whence they may go and come at their Pleasures; and many of those so committed, as well in Execution as otherwise, go at Large, before their Debts be satisfied, or any lawful Discharge; and the Marshal permits them so to do: And, when the said Marshal is sued for Escapes of Prisoners, he doth, by undue Means, obstruct the ordinary Proceedings of Justice; so that the Creditors were much better lose their Debts, than be at Charge and Trouble of Prosecution against him.
2. That the said Marshal doth exact from his Prisoners Rent for their Chambers, although they be enforced to pay Rent for the same Chambers to the Owners of the Houses where they lie: And this is the Case of all the Prisoners who lie in Charge within Houses called the Rules.
3. That the poor Prisoners committed to the Custody of the said Marshal, are, by him and his Servants, Thomas Allen a Tipstaff, and John Atkinson a Turnkey, defrauded of the Charity sent to them; and, out of the Money which the poor Prisoners beg at the Gate, the said Atkinson exacts Three Shillings weekly; and, though the said Marshal know these Exactions of the said Servants, yet he connives at them for their so doing.
4. That the Marshal demands of Prisoners committed to his Custody, Three pence for every Pound charged by Execution, and Three-halfpence in the Pound for every Pound charged by Action: Which are exacted Fees, and contrary to Law.
6. That one George Smyth, a Prisoner, under the Custody of the said Marshal, through the merciless Cruelty of the said Marshal and his Servants, by beating, starving, and other cruel Usage, is conceived to be murthered: And that one Charles Leigh, an Officer belonging to the said Prison, who had Papers in his Custody touching the Discovery of the said Smithson's Murther, was prisoned, and, by strong Presumption, with an Intent to suppress the said Papers, whereby the said Murther might be concealed: And that one Mr. James Frese was not only cruelly dealt withal, but also was attempted to be murthered by Poison, and otherwise, while he was in the said Prison, by one of Sir John Lenthall's Servants, and others, conceived to be hereby encouraged to do that wicked Act: And further, that one Mr. Stonehorse, a Prisoner in the said Prison, was and is conceived to be starved to Death there: And that also one Captain Wm. Cob, who was a Prisoner in the Upper Bench Prison, and an active Man in the Discovery of Sir John Lenthall's Treachery to the State (hereafter-mentioned) was confidently believed to be poisoned by the Servants of the said Sir John Lenthall.
7. That the said Marshal hath some lewd Person or Persons belonging to the said Prison, whom he maketh use of to swear for him, when he is charged with Crimes or Escapes; who are ready, for Favour or Reward, to swear as the said Marshal directs, whether true or false.
8. That the said Sir John Lenthall, in the Time of War between the late King and the Parliament, held frequent Intelligence, by his Servants, with the Enemy at Oxford; conveyed away, and suffered to escape, several Prisoners, whereof some were Papists and Jesuits, committed to his Custody by the Parliament; in which one Ralph Whisler, his Servant, was an Agent: And further, the said Sir John Lenthall hath conveyed away Money out of the late Lines of Communication, in the Night, to relieve the Enemy at Oxford; and, when the late King was in Arms against the Parliament in the North, he, the said Sir John, sent him Men, Horses, and Arms.
UPON Perusal of a Report lately made to the Council of State, from the Committee by them appointed for Prisons and Prisoners, and by the Examination of divers Witnesses before us, we . . . . there hath been several Escapes of Prisoners committed to the Custody of the Marshal of the Upper Bench Prison, to the Prejudice of their Creditors, and Scandal of Justice: For Redress wherein, it is humbly offered, as the Opinion of this Committee, That some Persons should be appointed by Act of Parliament, and impowered to examine, upon Oath, hear and determine, all Escapes of Prisoners, and give Relief to Creditors in a summary way; and, in the first Place, to relieve each Creditor, out of his Debtor's Estate; if he hath not wherewith to satisfy, then out of the Marshal or Gaoler's; and if they both have not wherewith to satisfy, then out of such Person or Persons Estates as have given the Gaoler Security for such Persons true Imprisonment: And that Provision may be made for Discovery and Punishment of Fraud, and wilful Concealment of any such Estates: And some effectual Provision to be made to get the Securities for Prisoners true Imprisonment out of the Hands of the Marshal of the Upper Bench, in regard we find, and himself acknowledgeth, that there is nothing to keep Prisoners in the Rules but their Bonds or Securities; and that the said Securities may be made use of for the Creditors Satisfaction, if there be Cause. We find some Prisoners who are able to pay their Debts, and will not: And, to those, our humble Opinion is, That if they shall not pay their just Debts within that they may be restrained in safe and streight Custody, according to the Law; and some Persons authorized to examine the Truth of such Debts; and to seize, sell, and dispose of all their Estates for the Satisfaction of their Creditors, as fully as if such Prisoners had been Tradesmen, and become Bankrupts; and the aforesaid Persons to examine, do, and act, in order thereunto, as fully as any Commissioners might formerly have done by Commission of Bankrupts.
We find some Prisoners who are very willing to pay their Debts, but disabled, in regard their Estates are settled upon themselves for Life, with Remainder to their Children under Age; and are desirous to * enabled by Act of Parliament to sell some reasonable Part of their Estates, to pay their Debts. The Prisoners thus desiring are, the Earl of Huntington, Algernon Peyton, and Roger Peyton, and others: Wherein the Committee humbly desires the Direction of the honourable House, when the particular Cases shall be presented to them.
We find some Prisoners very poor, and live idly, upon Charity, in the Prisons; and might discharge themselves by the late Act for Relief of poor Prisoners not worth Five Pounds; but choose rather to continue in Prison, though able of Body: Our humble Opinion as to these, . . . that they may be set to hard Labour, in a Work-house; and not partake of the Charity intended for such Prisoners as cannot go at Liberty.
We find some Prisoners very poor, and not able to pay; and yet not within the Acts for Relief of Poor Prisoners, not worth Five Pounds: Our humble Opinion as to these, is, That some godly and understanding Persons may be impowered to give Relief in these Cases, in a conscientious way, according to the particular Circumstances of each particular Case.
We find some, who were formerly Prisoners for just Debts, who had Estates, and are got out of Prison upon the Acts for Relief of Prisoners not worth Five Pounds, by Fraud and Abuse of those charitable Laws: As to those, our humble Opinion is, That the Persons for Relief of the poor Prisoners not able to pay, may examine the said Frauds and Abuses, and be enabled to give Relief to the Creditors of their Estates, as Bankrupts, in such sort as to the Creditors of Prisoners able to pay their Debts, and leave them liable to the Punishment of such as take a false Oath by the said Acts.
We find that several Charities, intended for the Relief of poor Prisoners, are misemployed, and the poor Prisoner deceived thereof: Our humble Opinion is, that some able, godly, honest Persons may be enabled to examine the same, upon Oath; and where they find such Deceit, to enforce the Parties guilty thereof, to pay double the Value; and to adjudge them also to the Pillory, if they find Cause, or some other exemplary Punishment.
We find that there have been several Exactions from Prisoners, under the Name of Fees, by one Allen, a Tipstaff, and Atkinson, a Turnkey, belonging to the Upper Bench Prison: For Remedy wherein we humbly offer as our Opinion, That they may be enforced to restore Twofold of what shall appear to have been so exacted since the last General Pardon; and stand upon the Pillory, or receive some other publick Punishment.
We find some Prisoners unjustly and unmercifully detained by their Adversaries: Our humble Opinion, as to these, is, That the Persons to be appointed for Relief of Creditors may likewise be impowered to examine, upon Oath, hear, finally determine, and give Relief herein, according to Justice and Equity: And that such as shall by them be set at Liberty, may not be reputed Escapes in Law.
We find some Prisoners charged with great Actions by Bills of Middlesex, wherein no Costs is recoverable, though the Actions be never so unjust, and by other Process, and no Declarations or Proceedings thereon; by which means they are kept a long time in Prison, without Bail: Our humble Opinion, as to these, is, That they may be forthwith enlarged; and may have Relief, by Action, against such as have charged them with such Actions, for their Damages suffered by their Imprisonment.
We conceive, that there are some Abuses of the same Nature with those we find in the Upper Bench, in all Prisons; and by many or most of the Prison-Keepers in the Commonwealth; and the like Grievances of many Creditors: And therefore we do humbly offer it, as the Opinion of this Committee, That the same Remedies may be generally applied with all convenient Speed: That Persons may be appointed to remove Prison-Keepers, and settle others in their Places, where there is Cause: And that such Persons who shall be intrusted in the Execution of the Matters herein contained, may not be molested or responsible to any Court, but the Parliament only; and their Power limited to such a certain time as the Parliament shall think convenient.