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 now assembled in Parliament doe find by continuall experience, That very great quantities of Ordnance, Armes, and other Warlike Ammunition, And many Commanders and Souldiers have been brought into Newcastle, and other parts of this Kingdom from foraigne parts, and especially from the low countries (notwithstanding the prohibition given by the States of the united Provinces to that effect) to be imployed against the Parliament, and their adherents, the wel-affected persons of this Realm.
Power to all persons, with approval of Commissioners of Admiralty to fit out Privateers; Such Person to enjoy to their own use all Ships, Goods, etc. taken by them.; Tenths reserved to Admiral.; Prize Court.; Owners, Captains, etc., of Privateers to give security for good behaviour towards the King's friends
And whereas divers of His Majesties well-affected Subjects out of their loyall respect to His Majesty, their pious disposition to the peace and happinesse of this Kingdom, and as much as in them lieth to prevent and hinder all such supplies as shall be sent from any forraigne parts, to the prejudice of this Nation, Have lately made known to the said Lords and Commons their voluntary disposition and readinesse to set forth some ships and pinnaces, warlikely appointed, equipped, named and victualled, at their own proper costs and charges, so that in recompense of their charge and adventure therein, they may have and enjoy to their own uses all such Ships, Munition Goods, Moneys, and Merchandizes which they shall take and surprize by Sea or Land, intended or designed against the Parliament and their adherents the well-affected persons of this Kingdome, as aforesaid, or that have carried, or they shall take carrying, any the said supplies to the intents aforesaid. Which being well approved by the Lords and Commons in Parliament as a good and acceptable service, they 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 successfull issue, as tending very much to the honour of the King and the welfare of this nation; And therefore, for the better enabling the performance of this so free and commendable undertaking and enterprize, 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 thereto 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 Marriners and Gunners, with necessary Armes and Provisions for that service, and to appoint over them such Commanders, Captaines and Officers as they shall think fit; and the same ships and Vessels so manned, equipped, arm'd and provided to set forth to the Sea, and with the same to seize, surprise, and take all and all manner of Ships and Vessels, with the Ordnance, Ammunition Goods, Commanders and Souldiers therein that they shall finde or understand are sent or are come to any parts of this Kingdome to the prejudice thereof, as aforesaid; and further to surprize and take all and all manner of Pirates and Sea-rovers of what Nation soever, and their ships and goods whatsoever; And for the better incouragement of all such Adventurers in the said interprize, It is by the Lords and Commons likewise ordered and Ordained, That the said Adventurers shall have and injoy as their proper goods, all Ships, Goods, Monies, Plate, Armes, Ammunition, Victualls, 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 definitive sentence to be given in His Majesties High Court of his Admiralty shall be pronounced at the time of the taking or seizing thereof, to have beene sent, designed or intended to come into this Kingdome against the Parliament, and all well-affected persons their adherents in this Nation, or to have belonged to any Pirates or Sea-Rovers whatsoever: and the same to have and enjoy to their owne use, without any account whatsoever thereof to be made; Onely reserving the tenths accustomed in such cases to be paid to the Admirall. And it is further Ordered and Ordained, That there shall be true and faithful inventories taken of the Ships, Ammunition, Monies, Goods, Plate, Pillage and Spoyle which shall be taken by vertue and authority of this present Ordinance, and a true appraisement made of the same, and the same, together with all papers and writeings found in any ship, or other vessel 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 safe port of England, and the said examinations with the said papers, inventories, and appraisements, shall be sent into the Registry of the High Court of Admiralty aforesaid, to the end that the taking of the said ships may thereby be justified or restitution by the said Adventures (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 Seas, as aforesaid, and to every of them power, authority, and warrant. That if they shall happen upon the Seas or in any port, harbour, or creeke, to meete 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 meanes possible, and with all force compell them to yield, and submit themselves to reason and Justice, although it doe fall out that by fighting with them one or more of them be mained, hurt, or slaine in the resistance. And it is further ordered and ordained, That the Owners, 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 interprize, shall before their going to Sea, enter into a Bond in the High Court of the Admiralty, in the summe of two thousand pounds to the use of the King's Majesty, that the said ships or Pinnaces respectively, nor their Captaines, Masters, nor any of their Company, under colour or pretence of this Ordinance shall rob, spoyle, or indammage any of the King's Subjects, Friends, or Allies as shall be found to have carried or shall be found carrying Ordnance, Armes, Ammunition, &c. As aforesaid, or shall have committed Piracy. And that true inventories and appraisements 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 examination of the chiefe Officers of the same ships as is before declared, returned into the Registry of the High Court of the Admiralty 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 enterprize aforesaid, where bonds shall not be given as is before expressed, and a certificate under the Admiralty Seale obtained of the putting in of such caution.