Acts and Ordinances of the Interregnum, 1642-1660. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1911.
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Whereas both Houses of Parliament have appointed a competent number of Ships to continue out this Winter, and intend to set forth a great Fleet this ensuing Spring, for guard of the narrow Seas, preservation of Trade, and for the necessary Defence of this Kingdome and other His Majesties Dominions, which at this time is of as great necessity as ever; considering not only the home-bred distractions of this Kingdome and of Ireland; but the great preparations which are making already in Forreigne parts in aid and incouragement of the Papists and ill-affected party amongst our selves now up in armes against the Parliament: And whereas there is occasion as well at present, as hereafter will be, for Pressing of Marriners for the said Service.
Be it therefore Ordained by the Lords and Commons in this present Parliament assembled, That the Lord High Admirall of England appointed by both Houses of Parliament, shall, and may at any time or times, from the first day of January 1643, to the first day of January 1644. by himselfe his Commissioner or Commissioners, Officer or Officers or any of them, Raise, Leavy, and Impresse, such and so many Marriners, Saylers, Watermen, Chirurgeons, Gunners, Ship-Carpenters, Caulkers, and Whoymen as also Carre-men for carriage of victuals &c. as shall be requisite and necessary for the service aforesaid, or for any such further defence of this Realm, or any other of His Majesties Dominions: Which said Marriners, Saylers, and other such Persons so to be leavyed and impressed as aforesaid, and every of them shall have paid and delivered unto him upon such his Impressing, by the person that shall so Impresse him, for Conduct money, for every Mile from the place where he shall be so Imprest, to the ship or place where he shall be appointed to make his repair, the summe of One Penny to each man, and the like sum of one penny for every mile, from the place of his discharge unto the place of his abode, and shall be allowed for this service the same wages and entertainment, in all respects which hath been allowed by the Parliament this last year to any such person or persons imployed in the aforesaid service.
And if any Marriner, Sayler, Waterman, Chirurgion, Gunner, Ship-Carpenter, Caulker, Whoyman or Carman shall wilfully refuse to be Imprested in, or for the said service, or shall voluntarily hide or absent himselfe at the time of such Presse to avoyd the said service, or receiving his said Conduit Moneys, doe not appeare at said places and times, as by his Ticket he is appointed; That then any such person so offending shall suffer inprisonment for the space of three months without Bayle or Main-prize; provided alwayes and be it Ordained, that no money or any other reward shall be taken or any corrupt practice used by any the persons authorized by this Ordnance, in, or for the Pressing, changing, sparing, or discharging of any person or persons to be Imprest as aforesaid as they will answer such offence in Parliament: And all Deputy-Lievtenants, Majors, Bayliffs, Constables, and all other inferiour Officers, are hereby required and enjoyned to be aiding and assisting from time to time, to the persons authorized by this Ordinance, according to the true intent and meaning thereof; Provided alwayes, That this Ordinance shall not extend to the Pressing of any Master or Masters-mate, Gunner, Carpenter, or Boatswain of any Ship or Vessell that is, or shall be in imployment.
And for the better incouragement both of Seamen and Watermen, to apply themselves the more willingly to this service; It is further Ordained by the Lords and Commons in Parliament, That all Marriners, Saylers and likewise all Watermen, who have served an Apprentiship by the space of seven years in their said professions, or that are Servants and Apprentices by Indenture to any such Watermen, shall hereby be freed and exempt from being Pressed to serve as Souldiers in any Land service, Except in case of extreme necessity, and that with the consent and privity of the Lord high Admirall of England, or by expresse Order of both Houses of Parliament.