Acts and Ordinances of the Interregnum, 1642-1660. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1911.
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The Lords and Commons in Parliament Assembled by their late taking off the Excise wholly from Flesh, and discharging all Salt made in this Kingdome from payment of Excise, were confident they had given so full a testimony to the whole Kingdom of their readinesse to ease all people, so far as might stand with the support of the Publick, that they expected, That all persons would have with patience attended the time of the Parliament for the removall of the rest, and in the interim have duly paid the severall duties of Excise upon all other Commodities, and submitted unto all Ordinances of Parliament in that behalf; But being daily informed of the generall opposition which is made against the Collections of those Duties of the Excise which they have thought fit for some time to continue, and the many violences, injuries and abuses that are offered to the Commissioners, Sub-Commissioners, and other Officers and Receivers thereof, in many Cities, Towns, Counties, and Places of the Kingdome; The said Lords and Commons doe therefore hereby Declare, That as they have not taken off any part of the Excise, but only from Flesh and Salt made in the Kingdome as aforesaid, so they cannot yet, in respect of the great Debt, and many Payments for which these continued Receipts of the Excise are engaged and designed, neither in Justice or Honour, nor with the safety of the Kingdome encrease the rest, but must expect and if they be put to it, must require obedience and conformity from all persons whatsoever, unto the due payment of all and every of them, according to the Ordinances of Parliament in that behalf made; What causes did enforce the Parliament at first to resolve upon this Imposition, and for what reasons they are necessitated to continue the same, are fully set down in the Declaration of both Houses of Parliament of the 22 February 1646, upon occasion of the Tumults and great Riots which then lately before had happened, and were privily fomented in severall parts of the Kingdome against the Receipts of the Excise; and the same necessity for continuance thereof lying still upon the Parliament, and the Tumults and Riots in opposition thereunto rather being increased than suppressed; The said Lords and Commons cannot but deeply resent the great neglect of the Authority of Parliament amongst the People, and if they shall continue in this obstinacy, they shall be enforced upon such Remedies, as shall speedily bring the Contemners thereof unto condign and exemplary punishment: But they doe hope all welaffected persons will after publication of this present Declaration, and upon review of the said Declaration of the 22 February, 1646, before-mentioned, which therefore they have ordered to be reprinted and published herewith, be so sensible of their own past miscarriages, and so fully satisfied of the Parliament's intentions in the continuance of these Receipts, that they will presently conform unto the payment of all Duties of Excise, due or payable by all and every of them, according to the Ordinances of Parliament, and not divert the Parliament from those great affairs for the settlement of the Peace of the whole Kingdom, upon which they are at present engaged, by enforcing them to such courses for vindicating the Authority of their Ordinances, as must needs hinder the Parliament in this great Work, but will also be severely accounted for, with the causers thereof. For as this Duty is by experience found to be the most easie and equall way, both in relation to the People and to the Publick; so the Lords and Commons are resolved, through all opposition whatsoever, to insist upon the due collection thereof: But when it shall please God to enable them to settle the Peace of the Kingdom, and to overcome the Engagements and occasions thereof in some good measure, They doe hereby again Declare, That they will then make it appear to the whole World, how much more ready they are to ease the People of this Charge, than they ever could be to impose the same.
And for the speedy re-establishing of this Receipt according to the Ordinances of Parliament, or the more vigorous carrying on thereof, The said Lords and Commons doe hereby require and enjoyn the Commissioners of Excise, their Sub-Commissioners, Collectors, and Officers forthwith to apply themselves in all parts throughout the Kingdome to the due Collection of the Excise by severall Ordinances continued: wherein as they are hereby required to provide, as farre as conveniently may be, for the ease of the people in their repair and Travell unto such places as they shall through every Hundred or Wapentake appoint, for the bringing in of this Duty; so in case of neglect of appearance, all persons are to take notice, That if any farther Charge or trouble befall them, it ariseth from their own default, and so must expect no other relief, but to be proceeded against according to the Ordinances of Parliament: In the due and vigorous execution whereof, if any Tumults, Ryots, or other opposition shall be hereafter attempted or acted against the said Commissioners of Excise, their Sub-Commissioners, Collectors, Officers, or others in their aide and assistance; It is hereby farther Ordained, That all Sheriffs, Justices of the Peace, Deputy Lieutenants, Majors, Bailiffs, Constables, Head boroughs, and all others His Majesties Officers in their severall Counties, Liberties, and Jurisdictions, are also hereby strictly enjoyned to be ayding and assisting in the Collections of the Excise, and suppressing of all Tumults and Riots raised in opposition thereunto, according to the severall Ordinances of Parliament in that behalf made, as they and every of them will answer the contrary at their utmost perill.
Sir T. Fairfax to order all officers and soldiers to assist in suppressing tumults, &c.; Declaration that cost of collecting excise was only two shillings in twenty.; £1,334,532 10s. 11½d. received there-from for public uses only.; Indemnity.; General issue may be pleaded.
And Sir Thomas Fairfax, Generall of the whole Forces of the Kingdom, is hereby desired to order and enjoin all Colonells, Captains, Officers and Souldiers under his Command, upon application made to them or any of them, speedily to suppresse all such Tumults, Ryots, or unlawfull Assemblies, and to apprehend all such Ryoters, and Tumultuous persons, that they may be proceeded against according to Law. And forasmuch as such as are disaffected to the Service of the Publick, have, and doe give out, as if the charge of the Collection of the Excise were so great, as that half the Receipt and Income were consumed upon Officers; The said Lords and Commons do hereby Declare, That upon an Exact Examination it doth clearly appear unto the Parliament and they are well satisfied (whereof they assure the Kingdome) that untill these late Obstructions and Oppostions, the Charge in collecting the Excise, hath never amounted upon the whole Receipt, to full Two shillings upon every Twenty shillings received. And that the whole Kingdome may be fully possessed of what great service the Receipts of the Excise have been to the Commonwealth, the said Lords and Commons doe hereby Declare, That towards the Relief of Ireland, satisfaction of their Brethren of Scotland, maintenance of their Navie, and severall Armies and Garrisons which they were necessitated to raise and keep up in divers parts of the Kingdom, for the preservation thereof; and in disbanding and discharging of severall Armies, Forces, and Garrisons, and for the relief of wounded and maimed Soudiers, and the Widows and Children of such as have lost their lives in the Service of the Commonwealth; and for other necessary occasions for the defence of the Parliament and Kingdom, there hath been clearly received and converted to these Publick services onely, and to no private use whatsoever, The Summe of One million Three hundred thirty four thousand Five hundred thirty two pounds Ten shillings and Eleven pence halfpenny: And by the Credit of this Receipt, there hath been taken up, and stands assigned, divers very great Sums of Money; all which must be discharged before this Receipt can in Justice and Honourble laid down, and if the Kingdom doe duly submit unto the payment of the Excise, will in short time be very well overcome and paid off: And from hence it will be clearly apparent, of what great benefit the same hath been to the Kingdom, and ease also to the people, of whom these great Summes must otherwise necessarily have been raised, although with much difficulty and inconvenience, and in a farre more burthensome manner. And lastly, the said Lords and Commons do hereby Ordain and Declare, That as well the said Commissioners of Excise, their Sub-Commissioners and Under Officers, as all other persons whatsoever, who shall be aiding and assisting to them or any of them in the Executing of the Ordinances of Parliament for Collection of the Excise, shall be defended and saved harmlesse and indempnified by Authority of both Houses of Parliament. And in case any person or persons whatsoever shall be sued, indicted, prosecuted, or molested, for any act or acts, thing or things done in pursuance of this Declaration, or any other Declaration or Ordinance of Parliament touching Excise; It is hereby Declared and Ordained, That in every Action, Suit, Indictment, Information, or Prosecution whatsoever, wherein or whereby they are or shall be so sued, indicted, prosecuted, or molested as aforesaid, It shall be lawfull to and for all persons, their Heirs, Executors and Administrators, to plead the General Issue, and to give this or any other Ordinance of Parliament for Excise in evidence in any of His Majesties Courts of Justice or other Courts; and the Judges of all the said Courts are hereby strictly required and enjoyned to allow and admit of the same accordingly.