Acts and Ordinances of the Interregnum, 1642-1660. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1911.
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[2 September, 1654.]
Elizabeth 5.; What Soldiers shall have benefit hereby.; How such Soldier being sued shall be relieved.
Whereas there are divers Soldiers who have served the Parliament and this Commonwealth in these late wars, some of which are men that used Trades, others that were Apprentices to Trades, who had not served out their times, and others who are apt and fit for Trades; many of which, the Wars being now ended, would willingly imploy themselves in those Trades they were formerly accustomed unto, or which they are apt and able to follow and make use of, for the getting of their Living by their labor and industry, but are hindered from exercising those Trades in certain Cities, Corporations, and other places within this Commonwealth, because of certain By-laws and Customs of those places; and of a Statute made in the fifth year of the late Queen Elizabeth, prohibiting the use of certain Trades by any person that hath not served as an Apprentice to such Trades by the space of seven years: For remedy whereof, and to the end that those persons that have adventured their lives for the safety and preservation of this Commonwealth, might not be deprived of a means of livelyhood in the places where they now do, or hereafter shall reside and inhabit; It is by His Highness the Lord Protector of the Commonwealth of England, Scotland and Ireland, by and with the advice and consent of His Council, Ordained, & be it hereby Ordained, That all such Soldiers which have been imployed in the service of the Parliament & Commonwealth either in England, Scotland or Ireland, or in any of the Dominions of the same, by the space of four years, at any time since the year of our Lord God, One thousand six hundred forty two, and before the third of September, One thousand six hundred and fifty one, and have not since revolted to the late Kings party, or deserted the Service of the Parliament, or that have served by the space of two years in the Wars in Scotland or Ireland, in the service of the Commonwealth of England, since the said third day of September, One thousand six hundred fifty one, and before the first day of this instant moneth of August, One thousand six hundred fifty four; and that have heretofore used or exercised any Trade before that time, or that were Apprentices to any Trade though they did not serve out the time of their Apprentiship; or any other person imployed as aforesaid in the Service of the Parliament and Commonwealth, that is apt and able to practice any Trade, may set up and exercise such several and respective Trades, Mysteries or Occupations, whereunto he or they have been bound Apprentice, and served any part of his or their Time, or any Handicraft or other Trade exercised about Manufactures, though he was never bound Apprentice to the same, in any City, or Town Corporate, or in any other place whatsoever within this Commonwealth, where they or any of them do or shall reside and inhabit, without any Suit, let or molestation of any person or persons whatsoever, for or by reason of the using of such Trade. And if any such Soldier or Soldiers shall be Sued, Impleaded or Indicted, in any Court whatsoever within this Commonwealth, for using or exercising any such Trades as aforesaid, then the said Soldier or Soldiers making it appear to the same Court where they are so Sued, Impleaded or Indicted, that they have served the Parliament and Commonwealth in the late Wars as aforesaid, shall upon the General Issue pleaded, be found not guilty, in any Plaint, Bill, Information or Indictment exhibited against them; and such persons, who notwithstanding this Ordinance, shall prosecute their said Suit by Bill, Plaint, Information or Indictment, and shall have a Verdict pass against them, or become non-suit therein, or discontinue their said Suit, such person or persons shall pay unto such Soldier or Soldiers double Costs of Suit, to be recovered as any other Costs at Common Law may be recovered: And all Judges and Jurors, before whom any such Suit, Information or Indictment shall be brought; and all other persons whatsoever, are to take notice of this present Ordinance, and shall conform themselves thereunto, Any Statute, Law, Ordinance, Custom, Usage or Provision to the contrary in any wise notwithstanding.
What Soldiers shall not take benefit hereby.
Provided, that this Ordinance, shall not extend to any such Soldier that hath been, or shall for any misdemeanor hereafter be cashiered out of the Army: And that no Soldier shall have the Benefit of this Ordinance, that shall not prove his service as aforesaid, either by a Certificate under the Hand and Seal of some Field-Officer, and two Commission Officers of the Regiment wherein he served, or some General Officer of the Army, certifying his knowledge of the service aforesaid; and the said Certificate to be proved by one witness at least to be a true Certificate; or for default of such Certificate, by the Oaths of Two credible persons at least.