Acts and Ordinances of the Interregnum, 1642-1660. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1911.
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Whereas by the several Ordinances for Sequestrations and others, there have been, within the Cities of London and Westminster, sequestred and taken by Distress (among other goods) divers Manuscripts or written Books Proceedings of Courts, Evidences of Lands, Rentals, Accompt Books, and other kinds of Writings and written Papers and Parchments, as also some whole Libraries, and choice Collections of Printed Books of several Arts and Faculties, the dispersing of which by sale or otherwise, may be much more disadvantagious and prejudicial to the Publique (both for the present and to posterity) and also to divers particular persons well-affected to the Parliament, then the benefit of their sale can any ways recompence;
The Lords and Commons in Parliament assembled, taking the Premisses into consideration, do hereby Ordain and Command, That no Committees or Committee for Sequestrations or Distresses, in or of either of the places aforesaid, or any Officers under them imployed, shall or may make sale of, or otherwise disperse or dispose of any such Manuscripts or written Books, Proceedings of Courts, Evidences of Lands, Rentals, Accompt Books, or other kind of Writings or written Papers or Parchments, heretofore Sequestred or taken by Distress, or hereafter to be Sequestred or taken by Distress by authority of any of the said Ordinances; but that they and every of them respectively shall from time to time deliver the same into the hands and care of Algernoun Earl of Northumberland, Theophilus Earl of Lincoln, and William Lord Viscount Say and Seal, John Selden Esquire, Francis Rous Esquire, Sir Simonds D'Ewes Knight and Baronet, Samuel Brown Esquire, Edmond Prideaux Esquire, Gilbert Millington Esquire, Roger Hill Esquire, Walter Young Esquire, Members of the House of Commons, or any Two of them who are to Inventory the same, and leave, or put and dispose them in some such safe place or places as they shall think fit and convenient for their custody, there to remain for such publique or other use, as to the Houses of Parliament shall seem most meet and reasonable. And that the said Committees and Officers respectively shall deliver all and every such whole Libraries and choice Collections of Printed Books (heretofore as aforesaid Sequestred or taken by Distress, or hereafter to be sequestred or taken by Distress) as the Persons aforenamed, or any Two of them shall signifie under their hands, and direct to be preserved from sale, and from being otherwise dispersed, and to be kept for publique use, into the hands and care of the said Persons, or any Two of them, who are likewise to Inventory the same, and Leave or put and dispose them in such safe place or places as they shall think fit and convenient, there to remain likewise for such publique or other use, as to the Houses of Parliament shall seem most meet and reasonable.
Provided nevertheless, and it is further hereby Ordained, That both the Printed Books, and Manuscripts, and all other Writings or written Papers or Parchments, Sequestred or taken by Distress, or which may hereafter be Sequestred or taken by Distress, or shall be subject to Sequestration or Distress in any of the four Innes of Court (viz,) The Inner and Middle Temple, Greys-Inne, and Lincolns-Inne, or any other society of Law, shall be Inventoried, and laid up in some convenient place or places in the said Innes of Court respectively, in such sort, and according as by the Fellows of the said several Innes of Court, or such other society as aforesaid respectively, being Members of the House of Commons, or by any two of the aforesaid Committee appointed by this Ordinance, shall be directed and ordered, there likewise to remain for such publique or other use as to the Houses of Parliament shall seem most meet and reasonable.
Provided also, That nothing in this Ordinance contained shall be any hinderance to the Assembly of Divines, or any of that Assembly, but that they or any of them (during the time that Assembly shall usually sit) may use, and be permitted to take with them, for their present use, any of the said Manuscript Books, or any Books of the said Libraries, or Collections, so that they respectively leave in the place where they take them, a Note subscribed by them of what they so take, and of the time of such their taking it, and of their promise sefely to return it.
And be it further also Ordained by the Authority aforesaid, That all and every the Committee and Committees of Sequestrations and Distresses, or either of them, in all and every other place whatsoever respectively, and all and every the Officers under them imployed respectively, shall preserve and keep safe from sale, dispersion, and destruction, all and every the Evidences of Lands, Rentals, Accompt Books, Proceedings of Courts, and all and every other kind of written Books, Papers, or Parchments by them respectively Sequestred or taken by Distress, or to be Sequestred or taken by Distress, and the same shall respectively leave or put, and dispose in some place or places of safe custody for such Publique or further use, as the Houses of Parliament shall direct or command. And that all and every the Officers of the Army, and of all and every the Forces raised by the Authority of the Houses of Parliament, and all and every the Souldiers under them shall respectively, upon all occasions, and in all places, take like care for the preservation of all kinds of Evidences of Lands, Rentals, Accompt Books, Proceedings of Courts, and all and every other written Papers or Parchments that shall or may fall into their hands or power, that they and every of them may be safely likewise kept as aforesaid, both from Sale, or other dispersion of them, as also from Spoil and Destruction.