Acts and Ordinances of the Interregnum, 1642-1660. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1911.
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[27 November, 1656.]
Severall Offences adjudged Treason.; In such cases Commissions shall be issued for tryall of Offenders.; Commissioners for England & Wales.
Forasmuch as the Prosperity and Safety of this Nation, and the Dominions thereunto belonging, very much dependeth (under God) upon the Security and Preservation of the person of His Highness; and for that it hath manifestly appeared, that divers wicked Plots and means have been of late devised and laid, as well in Foreign parts beyond the Seas, as also within this Nation, to the great endangering His Highness Person, and the embroyling this Commonwealth in new and intestine Wars and Seditions, to the utter Ruine and Subversion thereof, if the same had taken effect; Therefore, and for the preventing of such great Perils and Mischiefs as may hereafter ensue, by the like detestable Conspiracies and Practises, The Parliament, out of a deep Sense and Consideration thereof, do desire that it may be Enacted and Ordained, And be it Enacted and Ordained by His Highness the Lord Protector and the Parliament, and the Authority thereof, That if any person or persons shall from and after the Tenth day of October, in the year of our Lord, One thousand six hundred fifty and six, Attempt, Compass or Imagine the death of the Lord Protector; and such Attempted Compassing, or Imagining shall declare by open deed; Or shall levy War, or Plot, Contrive, or endeavour to stir up, or raise Force against the Lord Protector, or the Government, to subvert or alter the same, and shall by open deed declare such Endeavour, Plotting or Contriving; Or shall advisedly and maliciously Proclaim, Declare, Publish or Promote Charls Stuart, eldest Son to the late King, or any other Issue or Posterity of the said late King, or any other person, claiming by from or under him, any, or either of them, to be King, Queen, or Chief Magistrate of Great Britain, or of England, Scotland, or Ireland, or of any the Dominions thereto, or to any of them belonging; Or shall be Aiding, Assisting, Comforting, or Abetting unto any person or persons, that shall by any ways or means whatsoever, endeavour or attempt the reviving or setting up of any pretended Right, Title, or Claim of the said Charls Stuart, or of any other the Issue or Posterity of the said late King, or of any person or persons claiming under him or them, to any of the Offices, Stile, Title, Dignity or Authority aforesaid, or any of them; Or shall hold any Intelligence or Correspondence with the said Charls Stuart, or with James Stuart, or Henry Stuart, or with the late Queen their Mother, or any or either of them; Or shall give or contribute any sum or sums of Money, or other Aid or Assistance to the said Charls Stuart, or unto James and Henry, sons of the said late King, or to the late Queen their Mother, or to any or either of them, Or shall Plot, Contrive, or Endeavour the Betraying, Surrendring, or yielding up any City, Town, Castle, Fort, Magazine, Ship, Vessel, or Forces by Land or by Sea, belonging to this Commonwealth, unto the Enemies thereof; Or shall advisedly and maliciously Plot, Contrive, or Endeavour by any open Act, to stir up Mutiny in the Army or Fleet, or amongst any of the Forces, thereof by Sea or Land, to withdraw any Officer or Souldier, Mariner or Sea-man, from his or their obedience to the Lord Protector; Or shall Invite, Procure, Aid or Assist any Foreigner or Stranger, to invade these Nations of England, Scotland, or Ireland, or any the Dominions thereto belonging; Or shall adhere to any Forces raised, or that shall be hereafter raised against the Lord Protector of this Commonwealth; Then all & every the Offences above mentioned shall be, and are hereby Deemed, Ordained and Adjudged to be High Treason: And that in all such Cases, & upon all such Occasions, the Lord Chancellor, Lord Keeper, or Lords Commissioners of the Great Seal of England for the time being, are hereby authorized and required from time to time, by Warrant from His Highness the Lord Protector, to issue out one or more Commission or Commissions under the Great Seal of England, to the respective persons hereafter named; That is to say, for England and Wales, the Town of Berwick upon Tweed and the Isles of Guernsey and Jersey, The Lord Chancellor, Lord Keeper, or Lords Commissioners of the Great Seal of England for the time being, The Lords Commissioners of the Treasury for the time being, The Chief Justice of the Upper-Bench, The Master of the Rolls, The Chief Justice of the Common-Pleas, The Chief Baron of the Exchequer, The Justices of the Upper-Bench, The Justices of the Common-Pleas, The Barons of the Exchequer, and every of them for the time being, Lislebone Long Esq: Recorder of the City of London, Roger Hill Serjeant at Law, Unton Crook serjeant at Law, Erasmus Earl serjeant at Law, George Lord Eure, Sir William Strickland, William Earl of Salisbury, Sir Walter St. John Baronet; Sir Christopher Pack, Sir Thomas Viner, Sir John Dethick, Robert Titchburn, Thomas Foot, John Ireton, Aldermen of the City of London, Sir John Hobart Baronet, Sir William Roberts. Sir John Thorowgood of Kensington, Sir John Coppleston, Sir Thomas Pride, Sir John Barkstead Lieutenant of the Tower of London, Luke Robinson, Anthony Rous, John Hildesley, Alexander Blake, Owen Row, Henry Hatsel, Edward Cresset, Richard Lucy, John Fothergil, Thomas Whitegrave, Esqs: Charls George Cock, one of the Judges of the Admiralty, John Godolphin Doctor of the Laws, one of the Judges of the Admiralty, Captain John Brown of Orpington, Dennis Bond Esq: Sir Richard Combes, John Marsh Esq: Adam Washington, Francis Clinton, Alias Fiennes, John Ward, Richard Dunton, James Chadwick, Bussey Mansel, Esqs: Sir George Fleetwood of the County of Bucks Knight, Nicholas Green, Thomas Bendish, Esqs: Sir John Trever, William Underwood Alderman of the City of London, Arthur Stanhope, Esq: Sir Francis Russel Baronet, John Bingham, Thomas Croxton, Dudley Templer, Richard Lilburn, Esqs: John James of Trippleton in the County of Hereford Esq: Thomas Dickenson, Esq: Alderman of the City of York, Samuel Moody, Esq.: Richard Boughton, William Freeman, George Downing, John Hagget, Bennet Hoskins, John Corbet, William Foxwist, Edward Bulstrode, Evan Seys, Esqs: Robert Wood, of Breadonash, in the County of Norfolk Esq: Anthony Nicol, Azariah Husbands, John Pitman, Christopher Lister, John Carter, Robert Jermy, Peter Legay, Henry Cannon, Esqs: John Geldart Alderman of York, John Palmer Doctor of Physick, Francis Lassels, John Stone, Alban Cox, John Grew of Bedford, Esqs: Cornelius Holland, Peter Ceeley, James Dewey, Henry Barrington, Esqs: John Crofts, Wroth Rogers, William Cullen, Abraham Babington, William Puckle, Charls Doyley, Edward Herbert, Henry King, Thomas Brooks, Nicholas Saltar, Esqs: Robert Weaver of Amstrey in the County of Hereford, Esq: John Gorges Esq: Thomas Basnet Alderman of Coventry, Robert Aldworth, Joseph Hawksworth, John Fiennes, George Byard, Edward Clud, Richard Fincher, John Carey of Ditchley, Edmund Waring, Esqs: Thomas Allen Alderman of the City of London, Robert Castle, Thomas Gorges, Robert Shapcot, Thomas Pury junior, John Price, James Philips, William Put, John Spadman, William Shield, Esqs: Sir John Read Baronet, John Upton, Ralph Rimere, Esqs: Walter Biggs Alderman of London, William Goff, Francis Hacker, Hezekiah Hains, John Biscoe Esqs: William Boteler of Oundle Esq: Francis Underwood, George Gwyn, Henry Williams, Esqs: Sir Thomas Honywood, William Purefoy, Esq: James Hely of Salisbury Esq: or any seventeen or more of them.
Commissioners for Scotland.
And for Scotland, Roger Lord Broghil, General George Monk, Charls Howard of Naworth Esq: Sir Edward Rhodes, John Swinton, Adrian Scroop, Samuel Disbrow, Nathaniel Whetham, Esqs: George Smith, William Lawrence, Edward Mosely, Henry Goodier, Esqs: Sir James Lermount of Bacomy, Alexander Pierson, Andrew Ker, Esqs: John Earl of Tweddale, Sir John Wemys of Bog, Sir Andrew Ker of Greenhead, Sir James Mackdowel, Sir Alexander Wedderburn, John Lockart Esq: Alexander Dowglass Doctor of Physick, David Barckley, Andrew Ramsey, Alexander Jeffery, Esqs: Lord Strenever, Richard Ashfield, Thomas Talbot, Timothy Wilks, Leonard Lidcot, Edmund Syler, William Gough, Stephen Winthrop, Joseph Strange, Esqs: Charles Fairfax of Menston, John Mason, Davis, Roger Sawry, Peter Crisp, Ralph Knight, Thomas Read, Esqs: Henry Whalley, William Daniel, Ralph Cobbet, Richard Mayor, Abraham Holmes, John Peirson, Noel Butler, Miles Man, William Packer, Thomas Morgan, William Michel, Thomas Fitch, Jeremy Tolhurst, Robert Fenwick of Bedlington, Esqs: Sir Wilfrid Lawson, William Fenwick of Wallington, Esq: Luke Killingworth, Captain John Ogle of Kirtley, Henry Horsley of Milburn-Grange, Esqs: Thomas Bonner, George Dawson, William Johnson, Aldermen of Newcastle upon Tine, John Toppin, Edward Fenwick of Stanton, William Briscoe, Esqs: or any thirteen or more of them.
Commissioners for Ireland.
And for Ireland, The Lord Chancellor, Chief Justices of either Bench, Chief Baron, the Justices of either Bench, the Barons of the Exchequer, and every of them for the time being; Robert Goodwin, Matthew Thomlinson, William Bury, Esqs.: Sir James Barry, Arthur Hill, Vincent Gookin, William Jephson, Henry Markam, John Hewson, Richard Lawrence, Thomas Cooper, Thomas Sadler, Jeremy Zankey, Henry Pritty, Esqs: Sir John Reynolds Knight, Robert Phair, John Fowk, Esqs: Sir Theophilus Jones, Sir Robert Meredith, Sir John Temple, Sir Robert King, Sir Hardress Waller, Solomon Richards the younger, Sir William Fenton, Henry Ingoldsby, George Ingoldsby, John King, Esqs: Richard Tigh, Alderman of Dublin, John Bret, Henry Owen, Francis Bolton, Tristram Berrisford, Morris Fenton, Robert Southwel, Sir Charls Coot, Childley Coot, Robert Ormsby, John Percival, Thomas Southwel, William Warden, Daniel Redman, Nicholas Purdon, Francis Fowlks, Walter Waller, Tho. Herbert, John Bice Recorder of Dublin, Anthony Morgan, Richard Blany, William Aston, Edward Roberts, James Standish, John Vernon, Wil. Duckenfield, Peter Wallis, Daniel Abbot, Robert Saunders, Peter Stubber, William Halsey, Ralph King, William Arnop, John Nelson, John Bridges, Henry Jones, John Cook, James Trail, or any thirteen or more of them.
The Commissioners powers and proceedings.
Which said Commissioners respectively shall by vertue of this Act have authority to examine, hear and determine all the matters, crimes and offences aforesaid, and all circumstances thereof; and also to hear and determine all Misprisions of the Treasons in this Act mentioned, and to take Order for charging the Offender or Offenders, with all or any the crimes, matters, or things aforesaid, and for the receiving of their personal answer thereunto; and for examination of Witnesses upon Oath, (which the said respective Commissioners are hereby authorized to administer) and thereupon, or upon confession of the party, or in default of such answer, to proceed to Conviction and final Sentence, as in cases of High Treason, and Misprision of Treason, according to Justice and the merits of the Cause; and such final Sentence to execute, or cause to be executed speedily and impartially: And that every person and persons so sentenced and adjudged, shall forfeit as in cases of High Treason and Misprision of Treason.
And it is hereby further Enacted, That the said Commissioners respectively are hereby authorized to meet and sit at such convenient time and place from time to time, as by the said respec tive Commissioners, or the major part of them, under their hands and seals shall be appointed, and to adjourn from time to time, and place to place, as the said respective Commissioners, or the major part of them then meeting shall hold fit: And the said respective Commissioners shall have power and authority to appoint all Officers needfull for the putting in execution the matters and things in this Act contained.
And it is hereby further Enacted, That all Mayors, Sheriffs, Justices of the Peace, Constables, Bayliffs, and all other Officers, both Civil and Military, and all other the good people of this Common wealth, shall be aiding and assisting to the said respective Commissioners in the premisses.
Commissioners shall take an oath.
And be it further Enacted by the Authority aforesaid, That every of the Commissioners aforenamed, before he shall do or execute the Office of a Commissioner by vertue of this present Act, shall take the Oath ensuing;
I A. B. do swear, That I will well and truly, according to the best of my skil and knowledge, execute the several powers given unto me and others, by a Commission under the Great Seal of England, issued out in pursuance of an Act, Entituled, an Act for the security of His Highness the Lord Protector His Person, and Continuance of the Nation in Peace and Safety.
Who shall administer the Oath.
And the Lord Chancellor, Lord Keeper, or Lords Commissioners of the Great Seal of England, for the time being, or any one of them, are hereby authorized to administer the said Oath accordingly to the said Commissioners for England and Wales, Town of Berwick upon Tweed, and Isles of Guernsey and Jersey; And the Lord Deputy. Chancellor, President of the Council of Ireland, or any one of them, are hereby authorized to administer the said Oath accordingly to the said Commissioners for Ireland: And the President, or any one or more of the Council of Scotland, are hereby authorized to administer the said Oath accordingly, to the said Commissioners for Scotland.
No person to be proceeded against but such as shall be named by the Lord Protector with the advice of the Council. To continue till the end of the last Session of the next Parliament.
Provided, That the said respective Commissioners, or any of them, shall not by vertue or force of this present Act, or any power thereby given unto them, examine, try, or proceed against any person or persons, other than such who shall be first by name appointed by the Lord Protector, with the advice and consent of his Council, to be by them the said Commissioners so examined, tryed, or proceeded against.
Provided alwaies, and it is hereby further Enacted, That this Act, and the powers and authorities hereby given, shall continue and remain in force from henceforth, until the end of the last Session of the next Parliament, and no longer.