Acts and Ordinances of the Interregnum, 1642-1660. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1911.
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Whereas the Necessity, Number, and Increase of the Poore is very great within the City of London and Liberties thereof, for want of the due execution of such wholesome Lawes and Statutes as have beene formerly made. For remedy thereof, and for other the purposes herein after specified; Be it and it is Ordained by the Lords and Commons in this present Parliament assembled. That from henceforth there be, and shall be a Corporation within the said City of London and Liberties thereof. Consisting of a President, Deputy to the President, a Treasurer, and forty Assistants, whereof the Lord Maior of the City for the time being to be President, eight of the said Assistants to be of the Aldermen of the said City for the time being; and the other thirty and two to be Freemen of, and Inhabitants in the said City, chosen out of the severall Wards of the said City equally, and that John Warner, Sir George Clarke, John Foulke, William Gibbs, Samuel Avery, John Bide, George Witham, Thomas Viner, Aldermen of the said City, shall be the first eight Aldermen of the present Assistants; and that Francis Waterhouse shall be the present Deputy to the said President: And that Maurice Gething shall be the Present Treasurer; And that John Offeild, Richard Morrall, James Russell, Walter Pell, Ralph Hough, Robert Mainwaring, Anthony Webster, William Adams, Richard Glide, William Jesson. Tempest Milner, Thomas Arnold, William Kendall, Toby Lisle, Nathaniel Hall, Humphry Hawley, William Antrobus, John Green, Edmund Whitwell, John Cooke, Robert Meade, Robert Dallison, William Bromwich, John Everet, Thomas Clowes, John Jones, John Bellamy, Abraham Chamberlaine, John Babbington, Richard Gasforth, John Perryn, and Stafford Clare, shall bee the other thirty-two Assistants: And that the Deputy and Treasurer from henceforth shall be eligible by the CommonCouncell of the said City yearely on the 25th of June or at the next Common Councell following, or within twenty-eight dayes next after the said 25th of June; And that such two of the eight Aldermen, being Assistants, and eight of the other thirtytwo Assistants as the Common-Councell shall thinke fit, shall fall off, or be amoved yearely at the said day and time of Election; And that two other Aldermen and eight other Commoners, Citizens of and Inhabitants in the said City shall be yearely Elected by the said Common-Councell on the day and time aforesaid to be Assistant in the place of such as shall fall off, or be amoved.
And it is further Ordained, that the said President, Deputy, Treasurer, and Assistants for the time being, shall for ever hereafter in name and fact be one Body Politique and Corporate in Law to all intents and purposes, and shall have a perpetual Succession, and shall be called by the name of the President and Governours for the Poore of the City of London and Liberties thereof: And by that name shall and may without License in Mertmeine purchase, or receive any Lands, Tenements, or Hereditaments, not exceeding the yearely value of two thousand pounds of the Gift, Alienation, or Devise of any person or Persons, who are hereby without further License enabled to give the same, and any Goods, Chattels, or Summes of Money whatsoever, to the use, intent, and purpose hereafter limited and appointed: And sue, or plead, and be sued or impleaded by the name aforesaid in all Courts and places of Judicature within this Realme
And the said Corporation, or any nine of them, whereof the said President, or any of the said Aldermen, or the Deputy to the President, or the said Treasurer to bee one, shall have hereby power and authoritie from time to time to meet and keep Court for the ends and purposes herein expressed, at such time and place as the said President or his Deputy shall appoint: And shall have hereby authoritie from time to time to make and appoint a common Seale, for the use of the said Corporation, and to chuse such officers, and them, or any of them from time to time to remove, as they shall see cause; and upon the removall or death of them, or any of them, to chuse others in their places for the carrying on of this worke; and to make and give such reasonable allowance to them, or any of them, out of the Stock and Revenue belonging to the said Corporation, as they shall thinke fit, and shall have hereby full power and authority to doe and execute all such other Acts and things as are hereby ordained and appointed for the effecting the worke hereby intended to be done and executed.
And be it ordained by the authority aforesaid, for the further reliefe and employing of the said poore within the said City and Liberties thereof, that the said Corporation or any nine of them, whereof the said President, or any of the said Aldermen or the Deputy to the President, or the said Treasurer to be one, shall have power to Erect one or more worke-houses for receiving, relieving, and setting the poore on worke, and one or more Houses of Correction for punishing of Rogues, Vagabonds, and Beggers, as they shall think fit.
And be it further ordained by the Authority aforesaid, that in regard of the great inequality in the ordering and relieving of the poore through the different abilities of the severall and respective Wards in the City of London and Liberties thereof, the said Corporation or any nine of them, shall hereby be authorized with the consent of the Common-Councell of the said City, to divide the severall Wards with the poore and stock to them belonging into foure equall parts or proportions for the more effectuall and indifferent reliefe of the Poore, and the avoiding future differences and dissentions between the rich and the poore Parishes; Provided this division of the said City and Liberties thereof shall not be any prejudice to the reliefe of those parts of Parishes which lye without the Liberties of the City, which Parishes lye part within the Liberties, and part without, but that those parts which lye without the Liberties of the City shall and may have such reliefe from Parishes within the City as formerly they have had.
And be it ordained by the Authority aforesaid, That for the further reliefe, and imploying of the said Poore within the said City and Liberties, if the said Corporation shall find that the Annuall Rates and Leavies, or other Stock, come to their hands shall not be sufficient for the effecting the purposes aforesaid, that then from time to time, it shall, and may be, lawfull for the said President and Governours to certifie such want of Stock, and what Summe or Summes of Money they thinke will supply the same under their Common Seale to the CommonCouncell of the said City, and the same to be leavied by them equally and indifferently upon the severall Wards respectively; And that the said President and Governours, or any Nine of them, whereof the said President, or any of the said Aldermen, or the Deputy to the President, or the said Treasurer to be one shall have power from time to time to make and Constitute Orders, and By-Lawes for the better relieving, regulating, and setting the Poore on worke, and the apprehending and punishing of Rogues, Vagabonds, and Beggers within the said City and Liberties, that have not wherewith honestly to maintaine themselves; And for other matters aforesaid, which said Orders and By-Laws shall be presented to the Lords and Commons for confirmation before the end of this Session of Parliament, And shall have hereby power to put forth, and bind such Children Apprentices as shall be under their Charge.
And it is further Ordained by the said Lords and Commons, That the said Treasurer to the said Corporation for the time being, shall once in every year between the 24th of June, and the 29 of September, or oftener is need require, give a true and perfect account in writing of all the Receits, Charges, and Disbursements in and about the Premises, unto the Auditors for the time being, appointed for taking the Accompts of the Chamberlaine and Bridgemaster of the said City, and the said Accompts to remaine in the Custody of the Chamberlaine of the said City.
And be it further Ordained by the Authority aforesaid, for the better effecting the Premises: That the President, the Eight Alderman, the Deputy President, and Treasurer for the time being, shall be Justices of the Peace, and the foure Eldest Aldermen shall be of the Quorum.
And it is further Ordained by the Authority aforesaid, That if any Action, Suite, or Plaint shall be commenced, or prosecuted by any Person or Persons in any Court whatsoever against the said President and Governours or any of them, or against any person or persons for doing or executing anything by their or any of their Order, Command, or Direction, or comming into their or any of their aide and assistance in, or about concerning the Premises. It shall and may be lawful to and for the said President, and Governours, and Officers, or any of them, and every Person against whom any such Action, Suit, or Plaint shall be so commenced, or prosecuted, to pleade thereunto the general issue that he or they be not guilty, and to give such speciall matter in evidence to the Jury that shall try the same, which matter being pleaded had been sufficient matter in Law to have discharged every such Person so prosecuted as aforesaid.
And be it further Ordained by the Authority aforesaid, That it shall and may be lawfull to and for any County, Corporation, or Boroughes in any County of this Kingdome or Dominion of Wales, to make choise of a fit number of able and sufficient Persons for the like effectuall relieving, and regulating of the Poore in their respective places; And in like manner to draw up and present Orders and By-Laws best suiting to those Counties and places, for confirmation as aforesaid, and for the ends and purposes herein above expressed.