Acts and Ordinances of the Interregnum, 1642-1660. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1911.
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Whereas the Lords and Commons in Parliament now Assembled, have received Information, that divers Ships and other Vessels, Warlikely appointed, equipped, and furnished, belonging to the Rebels in Ireland, have been of late set out from the Port of Wexford, and other Ports and places in that Kingdom, and have committed, and done many depredations, spoyles and pyraticall Acts upon the Ships and goods of his Majesties good Subjects, Friends, and Allies, and doe thereby very much disturbe, infest, and annoy the publike commerce, intercourse and trade betweene this and other Nations; And whereas the Lords and Commons aforesaid, have further bin informed, that not only many supplies of Victuals and Armes have beene and daily are carried to the said Rebels by French Dunkerkers, and others, but also many ships and goods belonging to his Majesties loyall subjects, have beene taken and spoyled by them under colour of Commissions from the said Rebels, contrary to the law of Nations and practice of Princes in Amity, in the like cases.
And whereas divers of his Majesties well affected subjects out of their pious and charitable disposition towards their distressed Brethren, his Majesties Protestant subjects in the Realme of Ireland; As also out of their Loyall respect to his Majesty, and detestation to that Rebellion, and to reduce the Rebels in the said Realme of Ireland to their due obedience and as much as in them lyeth to prevent and hinder all such supplyes as shall be sent unto those Rebels; have lately made knowne to the said Lords and Commons their voluntary disposition and readinesse, to set forth some ships and Pinnaces warlikely appoynted, equipped, manned, and victualled; so that in recompense of their charge and adventure therein, they may have and enjoy to their owne uses, all such Ships, Goods, Monies, and Merchandizes, which they shall take and surprise by sea or land belonging to any of the said Rebels, or to any other that have carryed, or they shall take carrying any supplies to the Rebels. Which, being well approved by the Lords and Commons, in Parliament, as a good meanes to weaken the said Rebels, and so to reduce them to their due obedience, doe commend the same for a pious and laudable undertaking, and are willing to give it all the encouragement and advancement that may be, to bring it to a good and successful issue, as tending very much to the honour of the King, and the speedy and effectuall suppressing of the Rebellion aforesaid.
And therefore, for the better enabling the performance of this so free and commendable undertaking and enterprise, it is ordered, established and ordained by the Lords and Commons assembled in this present Parliament, and by the authority of the same, that it shall, and may, be lawfull for any of his Majesties good and Loyall Subjects of this Kingdome of England, to be approved and thereunto appointed by the Commissioners of the Admiralty, established by the Parliament, in warlike manner to equippe and furnish for the said intended imployment, such and so many Ships, and other Vessels as they shall thinke fitting, and to place in them competent numbers of Souldiers, Mariners and Gunners, with necessary Armes and Provisions for that service, and to appoynt over them such Commanders, Captaines and Officers, as they shall thinke fit; And the same ships, and other Vessels so manned, equipped, armed, and provided, to set forth to the Sea and with the same to seize, surprize, and take all and all manner of Ships, Vessels, Goods, and Merchandize, belonging to the said Rebels, or any of them, or unto any person or persons that they shall find or understand to have ayded the said Rebells, or any of them, with Armes, Ammunition, or Victualls, by Sea or by Land: And also to seize and surprize all manner of Ships and other Vessels, having on board them Armes, Ammunition, or Victualls, bound therewith to the Kingdome of Ireland, or any the Dominions of the same, not having on board them a Passport or Licence from the Commissioners of the Admiralty appoynted by the Parliament, as aforesaid, or from the chiefe Governour or Governours of Ireland for the time being, appoynted by his Majesty, with the consent of both Houses of Parliament, being to carry the same thither; And to invade the said Rebells in any Ports, Harbours, Creekes, Havens, Islands, Castles, Forts, Townes, or any other places, in the possession of the said Rebels, within the said Realme of Ireland, and the Rebels therein to take, surprize, vanquish, destroy, or kill, and to sacke and pillage any such place or places: And further to surprize and take all and all manner of Pyrats and Sea-rovers, of what Nation soever, and their Ships and Goods whatsoever.
And for the better encouragement of all such Adventurers in the said Enterprise, it is by the Lords and Commons likewise ordered and ordained, That the said Adventurers shall have and enjoy, as their proper Goods, all Ships, Goods, Moneyes, Plate, Armes, Munition, Victuals, Pillage and Spoyle, which shall be seized or taken by any persons, by them to be imployed by force and vertue of this Ordinance, which by proofe of Witnesse, upon Oath made in the High Court of Admiraltie, and the Definitive Sentence to be given in that Court, shall be pronounced at the time of the taking or seizure thereof, to have belonged to any Irish Rebell or Rebels, or any person or persons whatsoever, that hath supplyed those Rebels, or any of them, with Victuals Armes, Munitions, or shall be taken, having on board them Armes, Munition or Victuals, bound therewith to the Kingdome of Ireland, or any of the Dominions of the same, not having on board them such a Passport or Licence aforesaid, or to belong to any Pyrat or Sea-Rover whatsoever: and the same to have and enjoy to theire owne use, without any accompt whatsoever thereof to be made; Reserving the Tenths accustomed in such cases to be payed to the Admirall, to be disposed of by Order of both Houses of Parliament.
And it is further Ordered and ordained, That there shall be true and faithfull Inventories taken of the Ships, Moneyes, Goods, Plate, Pillage, and Spoyle, which shall be taken by vertue and authoritie of this present Ordinance, and a true appraysement made of the same; and the same together with all Papers and Writings, found in any Ship or other Vessell, by them to be taken, shall be carefully preserved: and two or three of the Officers of every Ship or other vessell so taken, shall be examined before the chiefe Officer of the next Port, within any of the Kings Dominions; and the said Examinations, with the Papers, Inventories, and Appraysements, shall be sent into the Registry of the High Court of the Admiraltie aforesaid, to the end that the taking of the said Ships may thereby be justified, or restitution by the said Adventurers (if there shall be just cause) there made, And more particularly it is hereby ordered and ordained by the Lords and Commons aforesaid, and they doe by vertue of this Ordinance give unto the persons to be set forth to the service as aforesaid, and to every of them, power, authoritie and warrant. That if they shall happen upon the Seas, or in any Port, Harbour, or Creeke, to meet with any Ship or Ships that shall not willingly yield themselves to be visited and proved by Law and Justice, but will defend themselves by Force and Violence, then they shall by all means possible, and with all force, compell them to yield and submit themselves to Reason and Justice, and although it doe fall out, that by fighting with them, one or more of them be maymed, hurt, or slaine in the resistance.
And it is further ordered and ordained, That the Captaine, Master, and two or three other of the principall Officers of every of the Ships and Pinnaces, so to be set forth upon the said Enterprise, shall, before their going to sea, enter into a Bond in the High Court of Admiraltie, in the summe of two thousand pounds, unto the Speaker of the Commons House of Parliament for the time being, to the use of the Commonwealth, and to be disposed of as both Houses of Parliament shall appoint, to the use of the Kings Majestie; That the said Ships or Pinnaces respectively, nor their Captaines, Masters, or any of their Companie, under colour or pretence of this Ordinance, shall rob, spoyle, or endammage any of the King's Subjects, Friends, or Allyes, other than such particular persons of his Majestie's Subjects, Friends, or Allyes, or shall be found to have aided and relieved the said Rebels, or shall be taken carrying Armes, Victuals, or Munition for Ireland, without Licence or authoritie as aforesaid, or shall have committed Pyracie; and that true Inventories and appraysements shall be taken of the ships and goods, before the same shall be vended or disposed; and the same, together with the Papers found aboard any such Ship, and the Examinations of the chiefe Officers of the same ships, as is before declared, returned into the Registry of the High Court of the Admiraltie aforesaid.
And lastly, it is hereby further ordered and ordained, That this Ordinance, nor any benefit thereby shall extend to the setters forth of any Ship, or other Vessell, upon the Enterprise aforesaid, where Bonds shall not be given, as is before expressed, and a Certificate under the Admiraltie Seale obtained, of the putting in of such Caution.