Acts and Ordinances of the Interregnum, 1642-1660. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1911.
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Whereas at this time there is a very great abatement in the value of Land, and other the Merchandize, Wares and Commodities of this Commonwealth, both at home and also in forein parts whither they are transported; And whereas divers of this Commonwealth, both for their urgent and necessary occasions for the following their Trades, Maintenance of their Stocks and Imployments, have borrowed, and do borrow divers sums of Money, Wares, Merchandize and other Commodities; but by reason of the said general fall and abatement of the value of Land, and the prizes of the said Merchandize, Wares and Commodities, and Interest in Loan continuing at so high rate, as eight pounds in the hundred pounds for a year, doth not onely make men unable to pay their Debts, and continue the maintenance of Trade, but their Debts daily increasing, they are enforced to sell their Lands and Stocks at very low Rates, to forsake the use of Merchandize and Trade and to give over their Leases and Farms, and so become unprofitable Members of the Commonwealth; Be it therefore Enacted by this present Parliament, and by the Authority thereof, That no person or persons whatsoever, from and after the Nine and twentieth of September, which shall be in the year of our Lord, One thousand six hundred fifty one, upon any Contract to be made after the said nine and twentieth of September, shall take directly or indirectly for Loan of any Moneys, Wares, Merchandize or other commodities whatsoever, above the value of six pounds for the forbearance of One hundred pounds for a year, and so after that Rate for a greater or lesser sum, or for a longer or shorter time; and that all Bonds, Contracts and Assurances whatsoever, made after the time aforesaid, for payment of any Principal or Money to be lent, or covenanted to be performed, upon, or for any Usury, whereupon or whereby there shall be reserved or taken above the Rate of Six pounds in the Hundred as aforesaid, shall be utterly void.
And that all and every person and persons whatsoever, which shall after the time aforesaid, upon any Contract to be made after the said nine and twentieth of September, One thousand six hundred fifty one, take, accept and receive by way or means of any corrupt Bargain, Loan, Exchange, Chievesance, Shift or Interest of any Wares, Merchandize, or other thing or things whatsoever, or by any deceitful way or means, or by any Coven, Engine, or deceitful conveyance for the forbearing or giving day of payment for one whole year, of and for their money or other thing, above the sum of Six pounds for the forbearing of One hundred pounds for a year; and so after that Rate for a lesser or greater sum, or for a longer or shorter time, shall forfeit and lose for every such Offence, the treble value of the Moneys, Wares, Merchandize, and other things so Lent, Bargained, Sold, Exchanged or Shifted.
And be it further Enacted by the Authority aforesaid, That all and every Scrivener and Scriveners, Broker and Brokers, Solicitor and Solicitors, Driver and Drivers of Bargains for Contracts, who shall after the said Nine and Twentieth of September, One thousand six hundred fifty one, take or receive directly or indirectly any sum or sums of money, or other reward or thing for Brokage, Soliciting, Driving or Procuring the Loan, or forbearing of any sum or sums of Money over and above the rate or value of Five shillings for the Loan, or forbearing of One hundred pounds for a year, and so ratably; or above Twelve pence for making or renewing the Bond or Bill for the Loan, or forbearing thereof, or for any Counterbond or Bill concerning the same, shall forfeit for every such Offence Twenty pounds, and have imprisonment for half a year; the one moyety of all which Forfeitures to be for the use of this Commonwealth, and the other moyety to him or them that will sue for the same in the same County where the several Offences are committed, and not elsewhere, by Action of Debt, Bill, Plaint or Information, in which no Essoyn, Wager of Law, or Protection to be allowed.
And be it further Enacted, That the Lords Commissioners of the Great Seal of England, and Master of the Rolls for the time being, be authorized and enabled in their several Courts and places respectively, to moderate Interest incurred during the late Troubles, according to the Circumstances of the Case, and as Equity and good Conscience may require, accompting the time of the said late Troubles from the First day of September, One thousand six hundred forty two, until the first of February, One thousand six hundred forty eight.