Acts and Ordinances of the Interregnum, 1642-1660. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1911.
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[26 June, 1657.]
Persons living at high Rates.; Warrant for such to put in Sureties.; For want of Sureties to be sent to the common Goal.
Whereas divers lewd and dissolute Persons in this Commonwealth, live at very high Rates and great Expences, having no visible Estate, Profession, or Calling (answerable thereunto) to maintain themselves in their licentious, loose, and ungodly practises, do make it their Trade and Livelyhood to Cheat, Deboyst, Cozen, and Deceive the young Gentry, and other the good People of this Commonwealth; Be it Enacted by his Highness the Lord Protector and this present Parliament, and the authority thereof, That all and every Justice of Peace, in any County, and all and every Justice of Peace, Mayor, or other head Officer, in any City, Borough, or Town Corporate, shall, within their respective Limits, have power and authority by Warrant under his or their Hands and Seals, to send for every such person or persons, and to require of him or them sufficient Sureties, as well for his as their appearance at the next General Sessions for the Peace, to be held in such County, City, Borough or Town Corporate, as for his or their good abearing; And in case such person or persons shall refuse or neglect to finde such sufficient Sureties, then to send such person or persons to the common Goal, there to remain until he or they shall finde Sureties as aforesaid.
Such persons shall be indicted.; Punishment if convicted.; Second Offence.
And be it further Enacted by the authority aforesaid, That at such general Sessions for the Peace, to be held within such County, City, Borough, or Town Corporate as aforesaid, such person or persons shall be Indicted for so living at high Rates and great Expences, having no visible Estate, Profession, or Calling answerable thereunto, upon which Indictment if he or they shall be legally convicted of the said offence or offences, then every such person or persons shall be sent to the house of Correction, there to be punished and set on work according to the Law, and there to continue for the space of three moneths; and if such person or persons shall be convicted as aforesaid a second time for the like offence, then such person or persons shall be committed to the House of Correction, there to be punished and set on work, and there to continue until he or they shal be discharged by the Justices in open Sessions.
Every person winning money &c. shall forfeit double.
And be it further Enacted by the authority aforesaid, That if any person or persons, at any time after the first day of August, which shall be in the year of our Lord, One thousand six hundred fifty seven, shall, (by playing at Cards, Dice, Tables, Tennis, Bowles or Shovel-board, Cock-fighting, or by Horse-races, or any Game or Games, or by bearing any part in the Adventure, or by betting on the sides or hands of such as do or shall play as aforesaid) directly or indirectly, win or gain unto him or themselves, any sum or sums of money, or other thing valuable whatsoever, that then every person and persons, so winning or gaining as aforesaid, shall forfeit double the sum or value so won or gained; one Moyety thereof to the Protector, the other Moyety unto the person or persons who shall lose the same, so as such loser do or shall prosecute or sue for the same within three moneths next after such Forfeiture; and in default of such prosecution, the said other moyety to such other person or persons who shall or will prosecute or sue for the same at any time within six months next after the said three moneths expired.
How the forfeitures may be recovered.
And be it further Enacted by the Authority aforesaid, That the several Forfeitures in this Act before mentioned, shall or may be recovered by Action of Debt, Bill, Plaint or Information, in any of the four Courts of Record at Westminster, wherein no Essoign or Wager of Law shall be allowed; and that all and every such Plaintiff or Plaintiffs, Informer or Informers, shall in every such Suit, recover his or their double Costs; any Law or Statute to the contrary notwithstanding.
Judgements and Securities since the 24. June 1647. for monies &c. lost at play shall be void, and the like for the future.
And be it further Enacted by the Authority aforesaid, that all Judgements, Statutes, Recognizances, Mortgages, Bonds, Bills, Promises, Covenants, Decrees and other Assurances and Engagements whatsoever, that any time, since the four and twentieth day of June, in the year One thousand six hundred fourty seven, have been, or shall hereafter knowingly be obtained by, or otherwise, made, given, acknowledged or entered into, to any Scrivener or Scriveners, or to any other person or persons, for security, or in satisfaction of money, or other things, since the time aforesaid, plaid for, or hereafter to be plaid for, or lost at Cards, Dice, Tables, Tennis, Bowles, Shovel-board, or by Cock-fighting, or by Horseraces, or by any Game or Games, or by bearing any part in the Adventure, or by betting on the sides or hands of such as do or shall play as aforesaid, shall be utterly void and of none effect.