Acts and Ordinances of the Interregnum, 1642-1660. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1911.
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[21 January, 1642/3.]
The Lords and Commons, having taken into their serious Consideration a Proclamation dated at Oxon, the 27th of December last, for the adjourning of the Court of Chancery, the Court of Wards and Liveries, the Dutchy of Lancaster, the Court of Requests, the Receipt of His Majesty's Exchequer, and of the First Fruits and Tenths, from the City of Westm'r, unto the City of Oxon, and for adjourning the Courts of King's Bench, Common Pleas, and Exchequer, unto the Return Crastino Purificationis, found it to tend much to the Prejudice of the Commonwealth. to remove the said Courts and Receipts to Oxon, where the Body of an Army, raised against the Parliament and the Authority thereof, now resides; and therefore, in Performance of their Duty, and Trust reposed in them by the Kingdom whom they represent, did exhibit their humble Advice and Petition to His Majesty, with the Reasons inducing them thereunto, to revoke the said Proclamation, and with all Humility desire that the said Courts and Receipts might be kept at their several usual Places and Times, and not at Oxon. But His Majesty, giving still more Credit to the Suggestions of those wicked and malignant Persons that yet encompass Him than to His Highest and most Faithful Counsel, returned His Negative Answer, and expressly denied to repeal His Proclamation: Now the Lords and Commons, clearly discovering the great Inconveniency and Mischiefs that necessarily must happen to His Majesty's most faithful and best-affected Subjects, in Case those Courts and Receipts be removed to Oxon, where such of them as have Occasion to attend, cannot with any Safety to their Persons or Estates repair, His Majesty having in Effect declared all Persons that have contributed any Thing in Aid or Defence of the Parliament and the Privileges thereof to be guilty of High Treason; and, in Pursuance thereof, by the Force and Power of the Army there remaining, have seized upon many of their Persons, where they are detained Prisoners, and some proceeded against as Traitors, having nothing laid to their Charge but their assisting the Parliament, and opposing that Army raised to destroy it and the Kingdom; and finding that divers, both Judges and others, whose Attendance upon the said Courts and Receipts will be necessary, consist of Persons that are Members and Assistants to both Houses of Parliament, whose Presence at this Time cannot be spared; and that, if the Records necessary to be used in the said Courts should be removed from the usual Places towards Oxon, in a Time when Two Armies are residing near thereabouts, it would endanger the Miscarriage of them, which might ruin many of His Majesty's Subjects, whose Estates depend thereupon; and that so long a Distance between the said Courts of Law and Equity, which have necessary Dependance one upon another, would prove exceeding prejudicial to many; thought it their Duty, in Discharge of the Trust reposed in them by the Commonwealth, as much as in them lieth, to prevent the said Inconveniencies; and therefore do hereby Declare and Order, That no Judge, Minister, or other Person belonging to any of the said Courts or Receipts, shall repair to the said City of Oxon, or do or execute any Thing belonging to their said Offices and Employments, but in the Places usual for the doing and executing thereof; and that no Member of, or Assistant to, any of the two Houses of Parliament, that have any Place, Office, or Employment, about any of the said Courts or Receipts, shall presume to depart from their Attendance upon the Parliament, without the special Leave of that House whereof they are Members or Assistants; and that no Person shall remove, or cause to be Removed, any Records or Writings of any the said Courts or receipts, to or towards the City of Oxon: And the Lords and Commons do Declare, That, if any Person shall disobey this Order, they will proceed against them as wilful Contemners of the Authority of Parliament, and Disturbers of the Peace of the Kingdom: And it is further Declared and Ordered, by the said Lords and Commons, That no Judgement, Decree, Order, and Proceedings whatsoever, that shall be given, made, or had, by or in any of the said Courts or Receipts, out of the usual Places where the said Courts and Receipts have been accustomed to be held and kept, shall bind any Person that shall or may be concerned therein, without his own voluntary Consent; and that the said Lords and Commons will, by the Authority of both Houses of Parliament, protect and keep indemnified all Judges, Officers, and other Persons, from any Danger or Inconvenience that may or can happen to them, for yielding Obedience to this Ordinance.