October 1649: An Act for taking and receiving the Accompts of the Commonwealth, with Instructions concerning the same.

Pages 277-281

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

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October, 1649.

[11 October, 1649.]

Names of the Committee.

The Parliament of England now assembled, taking into their consideration, that divers sums of Money, Plate and Goods have been raised and received of the people of the Nation, for which no Accompts have been yet rendred for publique satisfaction; and thinking it very necessary, that all and every the Collectors and Receivers of such Money, Plate and Goods, should make a perfect Accompt of all the said particulars, Do Enact and Ordain, and be it therefore Enacted and Ordained by the Authority of the same Parliament, That the persons hereafter named, that is to say, Richard Wilcox, Thomas Richardson, Nicholas Bond, Henry Broad, Matthias Valentine, John Greensmith, Edward Fielder, John Ufflet, Henry Robinson, William Madison and Pierce Robinson, or any five or more of them, shall be a Committee for taking and receiving the Publique Accompts of the Commonwealth.

Ord. 22 Febr.1642; And 11 July 1644. discharged.

And because several Orders and Ordinances of Parliament have been formerly made and published, for taking Accompts; particularly an Ordinance, Entituled, An Ordinance of the Lords and Commons assembled in Parliament, for taking and receiving the Accompts of the whole Kingdom, dated the Two and twentieth of February, One thousand six hundred forty three; and one other Explanatory Ordinance of the Eleventh of July, One thousand six hundred forty four; and also another additional Ordinance of the six and twentieth of June, One thousand six hundred forty five; Be it, and it is hereby further Declared and Enacted, That all Committees named in any such Order or Ordinance, and all Sub-committees by them named and appointed, shall be, and hereby are discharged from their service therein; And are hereby required, upon demand of the Committee herein named, to deliver up all their Books of Accompts, Writings, Vouchers, Inventories, Appraisements, Rentals, and all other Evidences and Papers whatsoever, which are in their or any of their custodies, or in the hands of any other person or persons by their order or appointment, and do any way relate to the Publique Accompts of the Commonwealth.

Clause added to the Oath.

And it is further Ordained and Enacted, That the Committee herein named shall be, and hereby are enabled and authorized to put the said Orders, Ordinances, and all and every Clause and Clauses therein contained, or so much of them as they shall think fit in execution, with as full and ample power and authority, to all intents and purposes, as the Committees therein named, or any of them are enabled to do: Provided, That this following Clause be added to the Oath which is to be taken by every person which shall enter upon this service:

Nor wittingly, willingly or causlesly molest or trouble any person to his prejudice, and for his vexation, under the pretence or colour of the Authority committed unto me by the Parliament.

Times limited for bringing in Accompts.; proviso.

And for the better taking and expediting the said Accompts, Be it, and it is hereby further Declared and Enacted by the Authority aforesaid, That such person or persons within the Cities of London and Westminster, and the Liberties thereof, as shall finde themselves any way chargeable or accomptable to the Commonwealth, shall within two and forty days after the Printing and Publishing of this Act, deliver unto the Committee herein named, a true and perfect Accompt, fairly written, and subscribed with their Names, of all Moneys and other things whatsoever, with which they now are, or heretofore have been chargeable or accomptable, to the use of the Commonwealth; and all other persons within this Nation, and the Dominion of Wales, who are yet accomptable as aforesaid, shall deliver in their Accompts fairly written and subscribed as aforesaid, to the said Committee, within Six moneths next ensuing the Printing and publishing of this Act, unless this Committee shall in the mean time appoint other persons to receive the same: All which Accompts shall be brought and delivered in at the Office for Accompts, scituate and being in Worcester-house. Provided, That if any person shall come and make it appear to the Committee, upon just and lawful reasons, that his Accompts cannot be brought in within such time as aforesaid, then such persons shall be allowed some convenient time, with respect to the length of his Accompt, as to the Committee shall seem meet.

Those that have accompted to bring in discharges onely.

Provided also, That if any person hath duly and truly past his Accompts with, and received his Discharge from Parliament, or other persons authorized thereunto, then such person is hereby required to bring in his Acquittances and Discharges onely, to the Committee, within the time before limited, to the end they may be there taken notice of and Registred.

Provided also, That if any person or persons have delivered in a just and perfect Accompt to the former Committee of Accompts, or to any other person or persons authorized by Parliament to receive the same, and have not received a Discharge therein, then and in such case the Committee herein named, or any five or more of them, shall consider of the same Accompts so delivered in formerly, and if they finde them to be just and true, then to give a full Discharge and Acquittance to such person or persons for the same, by authority of this present Act of Parliament.

Treasurers Acquittance a good discharge.

And it is further Enacted, That if any person or persons at the time of Publication of this present Act, shall have any sum or sums of money remaining in his or their hands, upon any Accompts hereafter to be examined and determined, and shall forthwith make payment of the same unto the Treasurers hereafternamed it shall be allowed unto him or them upon the determination of his or their Accompts; and in the mean time the Acquittances of the said Treasurers shall be to them and every of them, a plenary and sufficient Discharge.

Discovery.; Forfeiture for Concealment.; Fifth part to the Discoverer,; so it be done within two years.

And it is further Declared and Enacted, That whosoever shall after the time aforesaid given for making and bringing in Accompts, Discover by the Oathes of Two credible Witnesses, that any person or persons, who according to this Act ought to be accomptable, hath not within the time before mentioned given in his Accompt, nor appeared before the said Committee to desire time soto do, or having given in his Accompts, that the said person or persons had any sum or sums of money remaining thereupon, and not paid in according to this Act, or that he or they had received more money or other things then is acknowledged upon his or their Accompts, then every such person, who upon due proof and examination before the said Committee, shall be found faulty in the premises, shall forfeit to the use and benefit of the Commonwealth one full fifth part of the money and other things so concealed, over and above the sum due from the said person; which fifth part the Committee herein named are authorized to Levy upon the Estate Real and Personal of such persons: And every such Discoverer, if he be a person to whom the Parliament is engaged for Arrears of Pay as a Soldier, or for money or other things upon the Publique Faith, shall receive his Arrears or Debt due from the Commonwealth, out of the sum so discovered; Provided it exceed not one Third part of the value brought in; and if such Discoverer shall not have any money due as aforesaid, then he or they shall have and receive for his charges and pains, one fifth part of the moneys or other things so discovered as aforesaid: Provided, That such discovery or surcharge be made within Two years from the making and publishing of this present Act.

Persons who have received moneys by the authority of the late King, comprehended in this Act.

Be it further Enacted, That all persons who under the pretence of authority from the late King, or any acting under him, have levyed or received moneys upon any persons of England or Wales, by way of Assess or otherwise, be and are comprehended in this Act, to the end they may be brought to accompt by the persons named in this Act, and in the same maner as is therein expressed; and that all such persons shall make a just accompt how these moneys have been disposed of, to the end that what moneys do appear to remain in their hands, may be disposed of to the relief of the persons from whom they have been taken, or otherwise as the Parliament shall think fit.

Treasurers appointed.; One peny in the pound for their pains.

And it is also Enacted by the authority aforesaid, That the several sum and sums of money brought in and raised by force and vertue of this present Act, shall be paid by Order of the said Committee, and not otherwise, unto Nathaniel Stirrop and Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Crompton of Westminster, who are hereby nominated and appointed Treasurers for the same; All which moneys (such Salaries being first allowed and paid unto the several Officers imployed by the said Committee, and such other incident charges, as the said Committee shall finde necessary in the execution of this Service, whose Warrant shall be a sufficient Discharge to the Treasurers for payment of the same) shall be issued out, and disposed of for the service of the Commonwealth, and not otherwise, by Order of Parliament. Provided, That it shall and may be lawful for the said Treasurers, to deduct One peny in every Twenty shillings value of such money as shall be paid unto them, for and towards their charge and pains in the execution of this service.

Instructions for the Grand Committee for taking and receiving the Accompts of the Commonwealth, according to an Act of this present Parliament.

Instructions for the Committee.

First, You are to examine the Accompts of all persons whatsoever, who are any way accomptable, according to this Act, since the Third day of November, One thousand six hundred and forty, unto this time, and so forward, until it shall be otherwise Ordered and Enacted by Parliament.

Secondly, You are upon the examination of any Accompt, to keep the Vouchers and Proofs relating thereunto; and in case you finde a real Discharge, such as you shall approve, you are then to pass such Accompts, without any further trouble or exami nation of the Accomptants, and to certifie the same, if you shall be thereunto desired: And in case upon the examination of any Accompts, you shall finde them perfectly and faithfully cleared, you are then to give the Accomptants a full and absolute Discharge under your Hands, which shall hereafter be good and valid, to all intents and purposes whatsoever.

Thirdly, You are to cause the Accompts of each City, County or other place, to be Printed severally, or so much thereof as you shall think fit, for the satisfaction of the Commonwealth: And you are to give liberty to any person, to receive a Transcript or Extract of any Accompt, if he shall desire the same, for which the Officer that takes pains therein, shall and may take such allowance as is given by any former Ordinances of Parliament made in that behalf.

Fourthly, In case any person or persons accomptable according unto this Act, be already deceased, or shall decease before the determination of his or their Accompts, then you are to cause such Accompts to be prosecuted to a determination by the Heirs, Executors or Administrators of such person or persons so accomptable.

Lastly, In case you shall finde out any person or persons that have notoriously defrauded the Commonwealth, you are to return the names of such person or persons to the Parliament, or such as they shall appoint to receive the same, that such exemplary punishment may be inflicted upon them, proportionable to their offences, as the Parliament in their wisdoms shall think meet.

Not to extend to Exchequer Accompts.

Provided always, That this Act or any thing therein contained, shall not extend to the taking of any Accompts, which by the Law are to be taken and passed in the Court of the Publique Exchequer.