September 1649: An Act for Relief of Feltmakers and Hat-band-makers against Aliens and Strangers importing such Wares to the hinderance of their Manufactures.

Pages 242-244

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

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September, 1649

[5 September, 1649.]

No persons to import or sell foreign hats or hatbands.; Penalty.; Forfeits, how to be disposed.

Whereas on the behalf of the Feltmakers and Hatband makers, Citizens and Inhabitants within and near the City of London and Borough of Southwark, It hath been complained and shewed, That by sole using the Arts, Trades and Manufactures of making Hats and Hat-bands, two ancient Trades and Mysteries, they have maintained themselves and Families, born Offices of good repute in the Parishes where they lived and been enabled to serve the Commonwealth in their several callings; and that many of their several companies have adventured and lost their lives in the Service of the Parliament, whose widows and families are to be supported by the said Trades: And that nevertheless many Aliens and Strangers have for many years last past, Imported and sold within England and Wales, great quantities of hats and hat-bands, to the interruption and great impairment of the said Manufactures Insomuch that the said Artificers are for want of Imployment and vend of their Commodities, reduced to much want and misery, whereby many Inconveniences have grown, and are likely to ensue, if due Remedy be not in this behalf provided: The Commons of England in Parliament assembled, considering the premises, and the necessity of applying Remedy in this case, as hath been by former Parliaments in like cases, and upon like occasions (in behalf of English Manufactures, and for these in part) provided, Do think fit to Order and Ordain, and be it by Authority of Parliament Enacted, Established and Ordained, That no Merchant born of this Commonwealth, Denizen, Stranger, nor other person or persons whatsoever, shall hereafter Import, bring, send nor convey, nor cause to be Imported, brought, sent or conveyed from any Forraign parts into England or Wales, or any part of the same, any hats wrought, or part wrought, or hat-bands, or parts of hat-bands, ready made or wrought; or shall sell, or cause the same to be sold by way of Merchandize, Upon pain to forfeit the same Merchandize, or the value of them, at every time, and as often as they may be found in the hands of any person or persons; The one half of the Forfeiture to be to the use of the Poor of the Parish where the seizure shall be made, and the other half to him or them that will seize the same, or sue therefore in the Sessions of the Peace for the County, City, Borough, Town or Liberty, or in the Court of Record of the City, Borough, Town or Liberty where such seizure shall be made, or Offence committed, by Action of Debt, Information, Indictment or Presentment, wherein no Essoin, Protection or Wager of Law, shall be allowed to the Defendant or Defendants. And to the End that the one half of the said Forfeitures limited to the use of the Poor, may be truly imployed and bestowed upon them, according to the true meaning of this Act, Be it further Enacted and Ordained, That the Sheriff, Bayliff, or other officer or person that shall levy or receive any Forfeiture, or sum or sums of Money forfeited and recovered, according to the true meaning hereof, shall and may without further warrant, deliver the one half of the Forfeiture by him levyed, to some one or more of the Churchwardens or Overseers of the Poor of the Parish hereby intituled to the same, to be distributed and bestowed amongst the said Poor, upon pain of Forfeiture (by any of the said Officers neglecting his duty therein) of double the value of what should have been distributed.

Masters and assistants of hat-makers may search for prohibited wares.; Assistance.

And be it further Enacted and Ordained, That the said several Masters, Wardens, and Assistants of the said several Trades and Mysteries of the Hat-makers, or Felt-makers, and Hat-band-makers of the said City of London, or any three of them respectively, or their lawful Deputy or Deputies for the time being, for whom they will answer, shall have Power and Authority within the said City and Liberties; and any three of the said Trades or Mysteries, with the assistance of some officer without the City and Liberties, to be appointed by one or more Justice or Justices of the Peace, or by the Chief Officer or Officers of the County, City, Borough, Town, Liberty or Village respectively, to make search for such prohibited Wares as aforesaid, suspected to be Imported from Forraign parts the same search to be made at all times, in the day time, at Fairs and Markets, Shops open, and Warehouses, wherein as occasion shall be, they are to be assisted by all Constables, Head boroughs, and other such Officers of the Peace respectively, for the better preservation of the Peace, and execution of this present Act, who are by the Authority aforesaid hereby required to be assistant accordingly, to the end that such seizure and prosecution may be had and made of and for the same, as is before limited, and agreeable to this present Act; which is to be of force and continuance for the space of one whole year, from the First day of October, One thousand six hundred forty nine, Any former Law, Provision, Statute, or other matter or thing to the contrary notwithstanding.

General issue may be pleaded.

And it is lastly provided and Ordained, That all Officers, Searchers and others, who shall Act anything in pursuance of this Act, shall and may in any Suit or Action to be brought against them for acting hereupon, plead the General Issue, and give the special matter in Evidence, which shall be of equal benefit and avail unto them, as if the same had been particularly pleaded, Any Law or Usage to the contrary notwithstanding.