Acts and Ordinances of the Interregnum, 1642-1660. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1911.
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The Lords and Commons now assembled in Parliament, taking into Consideration the great Perils and Dangers that may ensue. not only to this Kingdom, but likewise unto that of Ireland, especially in these Times of apparent Danger, far exceeding all former Times either of His Majesty or of His Royal Father King James; and taking into further consideration the great Debt now due unto the Navy, as well before the Beginning of this Parliament as since, amounted to the sum of Two Hundred Thousand Pounds, or thereabouts; and that Two and Fifty Ships of War are now in the actual Service of this Kingdom, as well for the defence thereof as of Ireland; and not knowing what other Supply of Ships and of Store will be further requisite in these Times of Danger, and well knowing that they cannot be maintained without great Sums of Money, nor the said great Arrears be satisfied by any Monies already collected, or owing by Merchants for the Time past: And, foreseeing the Danger and the Necessity of the Supply, did long before this Time prepare a new Book of Rates, which passed both Houses, now Ordered to be published, wherein they had as well an equal Respect to the Ease of Merchants, as to the raising of such Sums of Money as might be proportionable to those Supplies; and did likewise prepare and pass a Bill of Tonnage and Poundage, whereby the Book of Rats is confirmed, which Bill they have likewise Ordered to be printed and published; which, after they were passed both Houses, were, upon the 29th Day of June last past, sent of His Majesty to Yorke, for the Royal Assent; which His Majesty not having passed, the Lords and Commons did, upon the Fourteenth Day of this Instant July, command the Earl of Holland, Sir John Holland, and Sir Phillip Stapleton (by whom they did send the late Petition to His Majesty), in the Name of both Houses, to move His Majesty, to give a speedy Passage to that Bill, whereunto His Majesty hath given no Answer at all: And whereas the former Bill of Tonnage and Poundage did determine the First Day of this Instant July, since which Time no Monies intended to be raised by this last Bill have been collected: Now the said Lords and Commons, having taking the Premises into due and serious Consideration, for preventing the inevitable Dangers that must necessarily ensue, without timely Prevention in that Behalf, have thought good to make this their Declaration to all His Majesty's loving Subjects:
First, Whereas by an Act, made this present Parliament, intituled, "An Act for the Relief of the Captives taken by the Turkish, Moorish, and other Pirates, and to prevent the taking of others in Time to come," all Merchants, as well Denizens as Aliens, for any Goods exported or imported from the 10th Day of December, 1641, during the Term of Three Years then next ensuing, are to make due Entries of such their Goods in the Port of London, and all other His Majesty's Ports within the Realm of England and Dominion of Wales upon the Penalty of the Forfeiture of the said Goods.
Now the said Lords and Commons do enjoin all Merchants, as well Denizens as Aliens, to make due Entry of all such Goods and Merchandizes as they shall, during the Continuance of the said Act, export or import; and, to the Intent that the Entries may be accordingly made, they do expect that the Customers, Comptrollers, Searchers and other the Officers of the said City of London, and other the Ports respectively, do carefully attend their several charges, and make due Seizure, as forfeited, of all such Goods and Merchandize as shall not be entered according to the Intent of the said Statute.
2. That, although the said last Bill of Tonnage and Poundage hath not yet had the Royal Assent, and therefore the Subject by the Law is not compellable to pay the Duty therein limited to be paid; yet, the Premises and pressing Necessities considered, the Lords and Commons do Declare, That it shall be taken as an acceptable Service to the Commonwealth, by a Manifestation of their good Affections to the Public, of all those that shall, upon Entry of their Goods, advance and pay, by Way of Loan unto the Collectors or Commissioners which now are or hereafter shall be named, or to their Deputy or Deputies, all such Sum or Sums of Money as are payable by the last Book of Rates, as should have been due in case the said Bill had passed for a Law.
3. That every Merchant, so advancing Money as abovesaid. shall have allowance, by Way of Defalcation, of Fifteen Pounds per centum, out of every Hundred Pounds he or they shall so advance and pay, over and above all other Allowances made in the said Bill, or Book of Rates, or either of them, and so out of every greater or less Sum after that Rate.
4. Whereas the Bill of Tonnage and Poundage, now remaining with His Majesty, cannot have the Force of the Law, without the further Concurrence of the Lords and Commons in respect the Speaker of the House of Commons, by and with the Consent of the said Commons, is to carry the said Bill up into the Lords House, for the Royal Assent; as also in Respect that, in His Majesty's Absence from Parliament, His Majesty hath no Power to pass His Royal Assent unto a Bill but by his Letters Patents under the Great Seal, and signed with His Hand, declared and notified to the Lords and Commons assembled together in the Higher House, as by a Statute made in 23d Year of King Henry the Eighth, Cap. 21. appeareth: Now the Lords and Commons, for the further Assurance of Merchants advancing Monies as aforesaid, do promise, and Declare, That, before they consent to the perfecting of the said Bill of Tonnage and Poundage now remaining with His Majesty; or any other Bill of Tonnage and Poundage whatsoever Provision shall be made, that the said Allowance of Fifteen per Centum shall be confirmed unto the said Merchants accordingly; and that they, their Heirs, Executors, Administrators, and Assigns, shall be for ever acquitted and discharged of and from the Payment thereof.
5. To the Intent that no Merchant doth forbear to advance the said Monies by Way of Loan, according as hereby is desired, in Hope that the Duties in the said Bill shall not hereafter become payable from the First Day of July, 1642; the Lords and Commons do Declare, That no Bill of Tonnage and Poundage shall hereafter pass in Parliament, but such as shall relate and be in Force to compel all Merchants to pay for all Goods and Merchandizes exported or imported from the said First Day of July, 1642, on which Day the former Bill of Tonnage and Poundage expired; in which Bill there shall be that Clause of Forfeiture of the Value of all such Goods as shall not be duly entered in the Custom House, from and after that Day, in such Manner as in the said Bill is expressed.
6. That all Merchants, who shall not advance Money by Way of Loan as aforesaid, in regard of the present and pressing Dangers and Necessities; the Lords and Commons do Declare, That, at what Time soever they shall consent to the passing of any Bill of Tonnage and Poundage, all such Persons who shall not advance Monies as aforesaid shall be charged to pay the Duties of Tonnage and Poundage, from the said First Day of July, 1642, during the Term of the said Bill, in such Manner as by the said Bill shall be provided.
7. That, to the Intent that no Officer belonging to any Custom House within this Kingdom or the Dominion of Wales, or other Persons appointed to be Commissioners for receiving such Monies as shall be advanced by Merchants as aforesaid, be discouraged, by reason of any Penalties mentioned in any former Acts of Tonnage and Poundage passed this Parliament, for receiving of any Duties upon Merchandize, not being granted by Parliament; although the Lords and Commons do conceive, and hereby Declare, That the receiving of the said Sums of Money beforementioned is not within the true Intention of the said Penalties, the same being advanced voluntarily, by Way of Loan; as also in respect those Acts, and the true Intent of them, were principally to restrain the Crown from imposing upon the People without their Consent: Yet, for the further Encouragement of such Person or Persons who shall receive any such Sums, they do Declare, and promise That whenever the said Bill of Tonnage and Poundage, now remaining with His Majesty, or any other, do pass for a Law, there shall be Provision made in such Bill for the Indemnity and Security of all such Person and Persons in that Behalf.
8. That whereas, by a former Order of the Commons House of Parliament, the Officers appointed for the Purpose have Order to take Bonus of all Merchants, for the Payment of One per Centum, to be raised by virtue of the aforesaid Bill, for the Relief of the Captives taken by Turkish or other Pirates, or so much thereof as shall be agreed on by the Lords and Commons in Parliament: It is now Ordered, That all such Merchants as shall not advance Money by Way of Loan, as aforesaid, shall at all Times hereafter, upon Entry of their Goods, make Payment of ready Money for their said Goods, according to the Tenor of the said Bill; and likewise all such other Sums of Money as, by virtue of the said Bill, are due from said Merchants, upon Bill or otherwise, for goods by them formerly entered since the 10th Day of December, 1641; by the true Intent of which Act, the One per Centum, to be paid and received, is to be taken and received according to such Rates as were due and payable by the Bill of Tonnage and Poundage which did last determine.
9. The Lords and Commons do Ordain, That the same Collectors, or Commissioners, who have formerly received the several Duties upon Merchandize, upon the several Bills of Tonnage and Poundage passed this Parliament, shall be and are deputed to be Commissioners, who are enabled, by this Ordinance, to receive all such Sum or Sums of Money, which shall, at any Time hereafter, be voluntarily advanced, by Way of Loan, in such Manner as they have formerly received the former Duties of Tonnage and Poundage; which said Commissioners, their Deputy or Deputies, or any One of them, shall have full Power and Authority to give Allowance, by Way of Defalcation, after the Rate of Fifteen per Centum, out of all such Monies as shall be advanced, according to the true Intent of the Ordinance; all which Monies the said Commissioners, their Deputy or Deputies, shall receive upon Accompt, and shall from Time to Time issue out the same, as they the said Commissioners shall be authorized by Order of the Lords and Commons in Parliament, or of such other Person or Persons as they shall nominate and appoint, to be employed for the Uses herein before expressed.
10. For the more due Execution of the Premises, and that Account be justly kept, and the Commissioners duly charged; the Customers and Comptrollers, as well of the City of London as the Out Ports, are required, once in every Eight and Twenty Days, to make a true Accompt of all such Entries as have been made in the several Ports respectively, and of the Monies payable by the said Entries, and are to certify the said Accompts Monthly unto William Toams, Esquire, Surveyor General in the Custom House of London, who is likewise required to make up a perfect Accompt upon all the several certificates, and to return in the same unto the Commons House of Parliament, or to such Commiteee as shall be thereunto authorized by them.
11. That, for the better Directions as well of the Merchants, what is to be performed on their Parts, as of the several Officers of the Custom House in the several Ports respectively; it is Ordained, by the Lords and Commons now assembled in Parliament, That a true Copy of the said Bill of Tonnage and Poundage, which hath passed both Houses, and now remaining with His Majesty, shall be printed; and both it and the said Book of Rates published, and sent as well to the Officers of the Custom House in the City of London, as unto the Officers of the Out Ports respectively.
Lastly, for the Encouragement of Merchants Strangers trading in the Port of Dover, to continue their intercourse of Trade, and the Importation of Bullion and Foreign Coin; it is Ordered, by the said Lords and Commons, That the several Officers in the Port respectively shall and may, from Time to Time, give unto all Merchants Strangers the like Respect and Allowance, in their Customs, as they have formerly done.