February, 1659/60: AN ACT for the Constituting a Councell of State.

Pages 1418-1422

Acts and Ordinances of the Interregnum, 1642-1660. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1911.

This free content was digitised by double rekeying. All rights reserved.


February, 1660

[25th February, 1659/60]

Bee it Enacted by this present Parliament and the Authority thereof That Generall George Moncke, William Perrepoint Esq. John Crew Esq., Coll. Edward Rosseter, Richard Knightly Esq. Coll., Alexander Popham, Coll. Herbert Morley, Tho: Lord Fairefax, Sir Anthony Ashley Cooper, Sir Gilbert Gerrard, Oliver St. John, Lord Cheife Justice of the Courte of Common Pleas, Sir Thomas Widdrington, one of the Lordes Commissioners of the great Seale, Sir John Evelin of Wilts, Sir William Waller, Sir Richard Onslow, Sir William Lewis, Coll. Edward Montague,, Coll. Edward Harley, Coll. Richard Norton, Arthur Anesley Esq. Denzill Hollis, Esq. Sir John Temple, Coll. George Thompson, John Trever Esq., Sir John Holland, Sir John Potts, Coll. John Birch, Sir Harbottle Grimston, John Swinfin Esq., John Weever Esq., and John Maynard Esq. Sarjeant at law shalbee and hereby are Constituted and Appoynted a Councell of State untill the Parliament shall give further order, And that the Members of the said Councell before they Act in the said Councell shall take this ensueing oath before the said Councell or any three or more of them, Viz. I A. B. will bee faithfull in the performance of the trust committed to mee as one of the Councell of State, and not reveale or disclose any thing in whole or in part directly or indirectly that shall bee debated or resolved vpon in the said Councell and ordered to bee kept secrett by the said Councell, without the Comand, direction or allowance of the Parliament or Councell, soe helpe mee God, And the said Councell or any Nine or more of them haue hereby power and are authorized to put in execution the following Instructions.

You are hereby authorized and required to oppose and suppresse all and every the Enemyes of this Commonwealth that are or shalbee in Armes or leavy warr practice or complot against the Publique peace and safety or raise disturbance against the Parliament or Commonwealth, whether it bee by pretence or color of Authority from Charles Stewart son of the late King or from any other single person or persons whatsoever or otherwise.

You are hereby authorized and impoured to order and direct all the Militias and Forces both by Sea and land raised or to bee raised by authority of Parliament for the service of this Commonwealth in England Scotland and Ireland or any of them and the Dominions to them or any of them belonging or elsewhere for preserving the peace and safety thereof And for preventing resisting and suppressing all tumults and Insurrections that shall or may happen to rise in them or any of them, or any Invasion of them from abroad for the ends above expressed, And in such cases to give Commissions vnder the seale of the Councell to such officers as you shall judge necessary for the leading conducting and commanding of the said Forces And for the prosecution and pursuance of these Instructions or any other Instructions you shall receiue from the Parliament.

You shall take care that the Stores and Magazines of all Military provisions both for the land service and for the sea bee from tyme to tyme well and sufficiently furnished And that the same bee issued forth for the good and service of the Commonwealth.

You are alsoe from tyme to tyme to take care of the repaire of the shipping belonging to the Commonwealth and to build such others as you shall judge necessary for the defence and safety thereof.

You are to take care of the secureing advancement and incouragement of the trade of England, Scotland and Ireland and every of them or any of them belonging, and to promote the good of all Forreigne Plantations and Factoryes belonging to this Commonwealth or any of the Natiues thereof, and alsoe to take care of the interest of this Commonwealth in Forreigne partes.

You shall advice order and direct concerning the entertaineing keeping reviving or setling of amity and a good correspondence with Forreigne States and Kingdomes and preserving the rights of the people of this Commonwealth in Forreigne partes and in composeing of their differences there, And you have power to send Agents and Messengers for the ends aforesaid.

You are to advise and consult of any thing concerneing the good of the Commonwealth and report your opinions concerneing the same (as you shall find occasion) to the Parliament.

You are hereby authorized to send for any person or persons whatsoever to advise with them in pursuance of these or any other Instructions that shalbee given unto you.

You have hereby power and are hereby authorized to send for any Records writeings accompts bookes or papers concerning the Publique that you shall thinke fitt for your Information in any matter or thing in Agitation before you in persuance of these or any other Instructions that shalbee given unto you by the Parliament.

You have hereby power and are Authorized in case of danger to the Commonwealth to administer an oath to any person or persons that shall informe for the discovery of the truth.

You are hereby Authorized and impoured to send for and examine any person or persons justly suspected to bee dangerous to the Publique peace and safety of these Nations, and to imprison or secure him or them by bond or otherwise if you find just cause.

You are hereby Anthorized and have power to charge the Publique Revenues by warrants under the Seale of the Councell with such summe and summes of money from tyme to tyme not exceeding five thousand pounds, unlesse by a Quorum of Eighteene, as you shall find necessary for defraying all charges of all Forraigne Negotiations Intelligence and other necessary incidents, and for the sallary of such subordinate officers and Attendants as you shall judge fitt to employ, And for the effectuall carrying on of the service by these Instructions committed to you or by any other Instructions hereafter to bee given you from the Parliament.

You are alsoe to observe and put in execution such further orders as you shall receive from tyme to tyme from ye Parliament.

You have alsoe hereby power to appoynt Committees of your owne number for examination receiving of Informations and prepareing of busines for your debates or resolutions.

You are to meete at Whitehall on the 25th day of February 1659, and soe from tyme to tyme and from place to place as you shall see cause and in such manner as you shall see fitt for the execution of your Instructions.

You are authorized and required to give order for the fall of timber at due seasons and in convenient proportions for the building and repaireing of the shipps belonging to the Commonwealth.

You are hereby authorized and required to take care to prevent such unlawfull meetings as may bee dangerous to the Commonwealth or prejudiciall to the safety of it.

You are to take care of the Publique Liberary at St. James and of the Statues Meddalls and Pictures there for preserveing thereof, And all other statues and Pictures in any other of the houses belonging to the Commonwealth

You are to take care that free quarter and other mischeiefes and abuses to the people by short Marches of the Souldiers or otherwise bee prevented, and to take speedye and effectuall course therein.

You are to cause all warrants whereby you charge the Treasury of this commonwealth upon the respective Treasurers thereof in pursuance of the Instructions already given you or to bee given you by the Parliament to bee fairely ingrossed in a booke, together with an abstract of the heads of the disbursements made by vertue of such warrants.

You are to deliver into the Parliament upon the 2d. day of March, 1660, and as to that head of disbursements which concerne incidents for the manageing of Intelligence you are to cause the same to bee stated in the grosse summe to bee allowed by yourselues for the full discharge thereof unto all persons concerned in the issueing or receiueing of the same, And all warrents granted by you for the issueing of moneyes or Imprisonments of any person in persuance of your Instructions shall bee signed by the hands of Nine or more of you.

You have alsoe power and are hereby authorized to give all incouragement to the exercise of the Fishing trade by the people of the Commonwealth vpon the Coastes of England Scotland and Ireland new found lands and other partes belonging to this Commonwealth, and to promote the same to the best advantage of this Commonwealth by all such wayes and meanes as you shall thinke fitt, And you are hereby impowred to have use and exercise all powers and authorityes heretofore used or exercised by any Lord Wardens or Commissioners of the Cinque ports, ancient townes and their Members, or by the Constable of Dover Castle or any of them, to all intents and purposes in as full and ample manner as any of the said Lord Wardens Commissioners of the Cinque ports or Constable of Dover Castle lawfully did or might heretofore use or exercise, And to appoynt officers in the said severall places respectively for the executeing and returning of all writts and legall processe as the said Lord Wardens Commissioners, Constable or any of them might have done.

21 Feb.—You are alsoe authorized and impoured to disband any Militia Volunteir Forces raised by the authority of the former Councell of State or that have been raised since the twelueth of October 1659 by any order or pretended authority whatsoever.

You are hereby authorized and required to settle the Civill Government and publique Judicatoryes in Scotland and in Ireland, and to nominate and appoynt Commissioners and other officers for the Civill Governement and Judges and other officers for the Administration of Justice there under the great seales of England Scotland or Ireland respectively in legall forme, to cause great seales and other seales to bee made as shalbee necessary, And to doe any other Act or acts thing or things which you shall judge needfull for those ends from tyme to tyme the powers that shall bee granted by you to continue till the Parliament take further order.

You are hereby authorized and impoured to take care that the Lawes against Popish Recusants Seminary Preists and Jesuitts Moncks and Fryers bee put in execution.

You are to take care that Publique Revenue bee managed to the best advantage to the Commonwealth and to ease the people of all vnnecessary charges and burdens, And that all Accomptants and other persons who have any of the Publique treasure in their hands may bee brought to a due and speedy accompt, and that all fraudes and abuses touching the Publique treasure may bee duly examined and reformed.

And it is lastly Enacted and declared that the act with Instructions for the Councell of State passed the Second of January one thousand six hundred Fifty Nine with all the powers Clauses Articles and Instructions therein conteyned bee and are hereby repealed made null and voyd.

An Additionall Direction for the Councell of State

Munday 27th of February 1659.

Mr. Annesly Reports from the Councell of State, an oath to bee taken by the officers, attending the Councell of State in these words, (Viz. I A. B. doe promise in the sight of God that I will bee true and Faithfull in the trust comitted to mee in my Imployment vnder the Councell of State, And that I will not reveale or disclose any thing in whole or in part directly or indirectly that shalbee debated or resolved vpon in the Councell and ordered to bee kept secrett by the said Councell, without the Command direction or allowance of the Parliament or Councell) which was read.


That the Parliament doth approve of the said oath, and that the Councell of State or any three of them bee and are hereby Impowred and authorized to Administer the said oath, to the respective officers and Ministers appoynted to attend the Councell of State accordingly, And that this Instruction bee added to the Instructions given to the Councell of State.

Munday 27th of February 1659.

Resolved by the Parliament.

That this house doth agree with the Councell of State, That liberty bee given to the Councell of State in case of Speciall Exigencyes for the Publique safety to seize and secure any person or persons that they shall have just ground to suspect to carry on any designe of Publique danger Though such person or persons bee for the present Members of Parliament.

Thursday March the 1st 1659.


That this bee a further Instruction to the Councell of State, That the Councell of State have the trust of ordering the houses Forrests Chases and Parkes belonging to the Commonwealth, and of disposeing the care and Custody thereof, and of the places and services relateing thereunto, and of the timber and wood growing and being in any of the Forrests Chaces and Parkes, as shal bee from tyme to tyme necessary for the best advantage of the Common-wealth.

Tuesday March 6th 1659.

Resolved by the Parliament.

That the Councell of State bee Injoyned to take Speciall care of the safety and peace of the Nation and to proceed vigorously in secureing such persons as they shall thinke dangerous to the peace and safety of the Nation.