Acts and Ordinances of the Interregnum, 1642-1660. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1911.
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[21 February, 1644/5]
Power to Lord High Admiral to press Mariners, Sailors and others, for service of Navy.; Conduct Money.; Wages and Entertainment.; Penalty for those that refuse or avoid service; Corrupt Practices forbidden.; Assistance; Masters, Mates, etc, and Ships in employment excepted. Sailors, and certain Watermen; And their Apprentices exempted from Land-Service, save in extreme necessity.
Whereas both Houses of Parliament, have appointed certaine Ships to be set forth this Spring for Guard of the Narrow Seas, preservation of Trade, and for the necessarie defence of this Kingdome, and other his Majesties Dominions, which at this time is of great necessity, considering not only the homebred distractions of this Kingdome, and of Ireland; but the great preparations which are making already in forraigne parts in aide and encouragement 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 Impresting 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 day of the date hereof, unto the first day of January, 1645. by himselfe, his Commissioner or Commissioners, Officer or officers, or any of them; raise, leavy, and impresse such and so many Marriners, Saylors, Water-men, Chirurgions, Gunners, Ship-Carpenters, Caukers, and Whoymen, as also Carmen for carriage of Victuals, etc. as shall be requisite and necessary for the service aforesaid, or for any such further defence of this Realme, or any other of his Majesties Dominions: which said Marriners, Saylors, and other such Persons so to be leavied and impressed as aforesaid, and every of them shall have payd 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 repayre, the summe of one penny to each man, and the like summe of one penny from every mile from the place of his discharge, unto the place of his aboad, and shall be allowed for this service the same wages and entertainment in all respects which hath been allowed by the Parliament this last yeare to any such person or persons employed in the said service. And if any Mariner, Saylor Waterman, Chirurgion, Gunner, Ship-Carpenter, Cauker, Whoyman, or Carman, shall wilfully refuse to be impressed in or for the said service, or shall voluntarily hide or absent himselfe at the time of such presse, to avoid the said service, or receiving his said conduct moneys, doe not appeare at such places and times as by his Ticket he is appointed; that then any such Person so offending, shall suffer imprisonment for the space of three moneths without Baile or Mainprize; Provided alwayes, and be it Ordained, that no money or other reward shall be taken, or any corrupt practice used by any the Persons Authorized by this Ordinance, 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 DeputyLievtenants, Mayors, Bayliffs, Constables, and all other inferiour Officers, are hereby required and enjoyned to be ayding 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 Boat-swaine of any Ship or Vessell, that is or shall be in imployment: And for the better encouragement, both of Sea-men and Water-men, to apply themselves the more willingly to this service, It is further Ordained by the Lords and Commons in Parliament, That all Marriners, Sailors, and likewise all Watermen, who have served an Apprentiship by the space of seven years in their said Professions, or that are servants and Apprentises by Indenture to any such Waterman, shall hereby be freed and exempt from being pressed to serve as Souldiers in any Land service, except in case of extreame necessity and that with the consent and privity of the Lord high Admirall of England, or by expresse Order of both Houses of Parliament.