Acts and Ordinances of the Interregnum, 1642-1660. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1911.
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[18 April, 1643.]
The Lords and Commons in Parliament, taking into their serious Consideration a Proclamation dated at Oxford the First of this Instant April, for the holding and continuing of the Court of Chancery, and all Proceedings therein, the Receipt of His Majesty's Exchequer, and of the First Fruits and Tenths, the Court of the Dutchy of Lancaster, Court of Wards and Liveries, and Court of Requests, at the City of Oxford, for the whole Term of Easter then next ensuing, upon and from the 19th Day of this Instant April, until and upon the 15th Day of May next following; and for adjourning the Courts of King's Bench, Common Pleas, and Exchequer, from Quindena Paschœ until the Return of Quinque Septimanas Paschœ next, do find that it will much tend to the Prejudice of the Commonwealth, to have the said Courts and Receipts held and continued at Oxford, where great Part of an Army raised against the Parliament and the Authority thereof now resides: And the said Lords and Commons, apprehending and foreseeing the great Inconveniencies and Mischiefs that necessarily must happen to many of His Majesty's most faithful and best Subjects, in Case those Courts and Receipts be held at Oxford, where such of them as have Occasion to attend cannot with any Safety of their Persons or Estates repair to, His Majesty having in Effect declared all Persons that have contributed any Thing in Aid or Defence of the Parliament, and the Privilege thereof, to be guilty of High Treason, and, in Pursuance thereof, by the Force and Power of the Army there remaining, seized upon many of their Persons, where they are detained Prisoners, and some proceeded against as Traitors, having nothing laid to their Charge but their assisting the Parliament, and opposing that Army raised to destroy it and the Kingdom; and finding that divers, both Judges and others, whose Attendance upon the said Courts and Receipts will be necessary, are Members or Assistants to One or both Houses of Parliament, whose Presence at this Time cannot be spared; and that, if the Records necessary to be used in the said Courts should be removed from the usual Places to Oxon, in a Time when Two Armies are residing near thereabouts, it would endanger the Miscarriage of them, which might ruin many of His Majesty's Subjects, whose Estates depend thereupon; and that so far a Distance between the said Courts of Law and Equity, which have necessary Dependance one upon another, would prove exceeding prejudicial to many; and finding greater Cause to take Care for preventing the said Mischiefs and Inconveniencies than was in Hillary Term last, in that the said Army is still continuing, although the said Lords and Commons have used the best Means they possibly could, by Proposition and Treaty to and with His Majesty, for the Disbanding thereof; and as yet all their Endeavours are fruitless.
The said Lords and Commons do therefore Declare and Order, That no Judge, Minister, or other Person belonging to any of the said Courts or Receipts, shall repair to the said City of Oxon, or do or execute any thing belonging to the said Offices and Employments but in the Places usual for the doing and executing thereof; and the said Lords and Commons do enjoin the said several Judges, Officers, and Ministers, to attend the Execution of the said Offices. at the usual Times and Places for the Execution thereof, and not elsewhere; and that no Member of, or Assistant to, either of the Two Houses of Parliament, that have any Place, Office, or Employment, about any of the said Courts or Receipts, shall presume to depart from their Attendance upon the Parliament, without the special Leave of that House whereof they are Members or Assistants, and that those departed do return forthwith; and do further Order, That no Person shall remove, or cause to be removed, any Records or Writings, of any the said Courts or Receipts, to or towards the City of Oxon: And the Lords and Commons do Declare, That, if any Persons shall disobey this Order, they will proceed against them as wilful Contemners of the Authority of Parliament, and Disturbers of the Peace of the Kingdom: And it is further Declared and Ordered, by the said Lords and Commons, That no Judgement, Decree, Order, or Proceedings whatsover, that shall be given, made, or had, by or in any of the said Courts or Receipts, out of the usual Places where the said Courts and Receipts have been accustomed to be held and kept, shall bind any Person that may be concerned therein without his own voluntary Consent; and that all Judges, Officers, and other Persons, shall be protected and kept and indemnified from any Damage or Inconvenience that may or can happen to them, for yielding Obedience to this Ordinance, or by the Not-prosecution of any just Suit or Action in the said Courts at Oxford, or any of them.