Acts and Ordinances of the Interregnum, 1642-1660. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1911.
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Ordinance 30 November 1643, recited.; Another 30 Jan. 1645.; Another 6 April, 1644.; Act 22 Feb. 1648.; What shall be lawful prize.; Revolted ships,; all others that joyn with them,; all that take Letters of Marque from Charls Stuart or Prince Rupert,; and all others carrying Contrabanda goods.
Whereas the Parliament of England hath heretofore, by several Ordinances and Acts made and promulged, for the necessary Defence of the Dominions and Commonwealth of England and Ireland, according to the Laws of Reason and Nations, forbidden Commerce and Trade to any Port or places within those Nations, being in rebellion and hostility against the Parliament of England; and more particularly by an Ordinance dated the Thirtieth of November 1643, power was given to seize and surprize all and all maner of Ships and Vessels, with the Ordnance, Ammunition, Victuals, Goods, Commanders and Soldiers therein, that should be met withal in or outwards, bound from any Port or place within the Dominions of these Nations, being in Hostility against the Parliament, or coming from, or returning to any such Port or place; or that should be found to have Traded with the Inhabitants of any such Port or place since their defection from the Parliament, and also to seize, surprise and take all Ships, Vessels, Ordnance, Ammunition, Victuals and Goods belonging to any Rebel or Rebels in Ireland, and all maner of Pirats and Sea-Rovers, of what Nation soever, and their Ships and Goods, and the same to procure to be adjudged in the High Court of Admiralty for lawful prize. And by another Ordinance of the Twentyninth of January 1645, power was given for the setting forth Ships to Sea, equipped, furnished and armed, in Warlike maner, and the same to employ for the seizing, taking, and surprizing of all ships and vessels belonging to any of the subjects of these Dominions, which should be met withal in or outwards, bound from any Port or place, being in Hostility against the Parliament; together with all the Ordnance, Ammunition, Victuals, Goods, Commanders and Soldiers therein; as also for the seizing, surprizing and taking of all Ships and Vessels whatsoever, with the Ordnance, Ammunition, Victuals and Goods therein, belonging to any Rebel or Rebels in Ireland; and also the Ships and Goods of any other person whatsoever, Foreiner or other, which shall be going to, or coming from any Port or place in Ireland, in Hostility against the Parliament; as also for the seizing, surprizing and taking of all and all maner of ships and vessels belonging to any Foreiner, or of any Forein Nation going to any Port or place in Hostility against the Parliament, with Arms, Ammunition, or other Contrabanda goods, for supply of the Forces raised against the Parliament, and adjudging and condemning the same, together with the goods themselves, and all such other goods as belong to the Masters or Laders of such Contrabanda goods; and likewise for the seizing, surprizing, and taking all Pirats and Sea-Rovers, of what Nation soever, and their ships and goods whatsoever, according to the authority, meaning and true intent of the said Ordinance of the said Thirtieth of November 1643. And by another Ordinance printed April the Sixth 1644, power was given for the equipping, arming and setting forth Ships to Sea, to seize, surprize and take all Ships and Vessels, with the Ordnance, Ammunition, Goods, Commanders and Soldiers therein, that they should finde were sent, or to come to any parts of this Nation, to the prejudice thereof: And further likewise Ordained. That there should be true and faithful Inventories taken of the Ships, Ammunition, Moneys, Goods, Plate, Pillage and Spoil which should be taken, and a true appraisment made of the same; and the same, together with all papers and writings found in any ships or other vessels so taken, to be carefully preserved, and two or three of the Officers of every ships or vessel so taken, either to be brought up and examined in the Court of Admiralty, concerning the property of the said ships and goods, and such other Questions and Interrogatories as should be thought fit to be administred unto them; or otherwise, that the said Officers of the said ships or vessels so taken, should be examined before the chief Officer of the next Port of England; and the said Examinations, with the said Papers, Inventories and Apprizements, to be sent unto the Register of the High Court of Admiralty aforesaid, to the end that thereby, and by such other proofs and evidences as should be produced in the said Court, the taking and surprizing of the said ships, vessels, and goods might be justified, and sentence of condemnation be promulged; or otherwise, if there should be found just cause for restitution to the first owners or former proprietors, that Justice should be duly administred, and Restitution awarded. And by an Act of this present Parliament, made in February One thousand six hundred forty eight, Ordered the Two and twentieth of February aforesaid to be printed and published, Entituled, An Act for encouragement of Officers and Mariners, and Impresting Seamen, It is Enacted and Ordained amongst other things, That if the ship or ships employed in the service of the Parliament, mentioned in that Act should take or surprize any of the Revolted ships, that then they should be rewarded as in that Act is contained: And also in case they should surprize or take any Merchants ships, English or Stranger, declaring himself against the Parliament, or carrying any Ordnance, Ammunition, Corn or any other provisions, to assist against the Parliament, that the ship and goods so taken before they break bulk, shall first be adjudged in the Admiralty Court, with divers other clauses and provisions, as well in the said last mentioned Act, as in the said former Ordinances, and other Ordinances contained: The Parliament of England conceiving it requisite, as well for the encouragement of the Mariners and Seamen, and well-affected, the better to perform their duties, as for the taking away of all excuse from such as shall hereafter offend, and be found culpable after the making and publishing of this Act, That therefore, and for divers other weighty reasons, there should out of all the said former Ordinances and Acts, and such other supplements as should be necessary for the guard of the Narrow Seas, protection and preservation of Trade, and necessary defence and safeguard of these Nations and Commonwealth, be one entire Law and Act of Parliament, framed, made and duly published according to the Law of Nations, manifesting and reciting therein entirely together, that they may be readily discerned at one view, the several and particular cases, which they for their necessary preservation, and other the weighty reasons aforesaid, do Declare and Ordain to be just causes of seizure and adjudication for lawful prize, together also with the other clauses and regulations hereafter in this Act set forth: It is therefore Established, Ordained and Enacted, and be it Enacted by this present Parliament, and by the Authority of the same, That it shall and may be lawful, as well for any of the Parliament ships, or other ships or vessels whatsoever, set out or to be set out or employed by them in their service, as also for any other ships, vessels or private Men of War, approved or to be approved thereto, by the immediate authority of the Parliament, or by the Council of State established by Parliament, to seize, surprize and take, not onely all and every the Revolted Ships that have treacherously betrayed their Trust, and made defection from the Parliament; but also all such other Ships or Vessels whatsoever, and all the Ordnance, Ammunition, Provisions, Victuals, Wares, Merchandizes and Goods whatsoever in the same ships or vessels, belonging to any Foreiner or other person whatsoever, that have or shall associate or joyn with the revolted ships, or any of them, or carry them any Arms, Ammunition, Victuals or Provisions, or shall yield them any assistance against the Parliament; and also all other ships and vessels whatsoever, of this or any Forein Nation whatsoever (with all the Ordnance, Ammunition, Provisions and Goods whatsoever, therein to be found) which shall accept, receive or take any Commission or Commissions, or Letters of Marque, or other authority from or under Charls Stuart, son to the late deceased King, of England, or any other son of the said late deceased King, or from or under Prince Rupert, calling himself Prince Palatine; and also all the Ships, Vessels and Goods, Commanders and Soldiers of the said Charls Stuart, Son to the said late deceased King, and of the said Prince Rupert, and both and either of them: And also all other Ships and Vessels, with the Ordnance, Ammunition, Victuals, Provisions, Goods, Wares and Merchandizes whatsoever (of any of the people of these Nations, or any Forein Nation whatsoever) therein carrying any manner of Contrabanda goods, that shall be met withal in any Port or place or inwards or outwards bound, from any Port or place within the Dominions of England and Ireland, or Wales, being, or that then shall be in Hostility against the Parliament, or that shall be found Trading or within the space of Six Moneths before the seizure, to have Traded in the time of their defection within any such Port or place aforesaid, being as aforesaid in defection or Hostility against the Parliament: And also all the Ships, Vessels Arms, Ammunition and Goods whatsoever, of any persons Foreiners, of what Forein Nation soever, or other persons whatsoever, which shall be going to any Port or place, then being in Hostility against the Parliament, with Soldiers or Arms, Ammunition or other Contrabanda goods, for supply or assistance of any forces raised or to be raised against the Parliament, or which shall be designed, sent or ordered to carry, transport or bring any Commanders, Soldiers, Forces, Arms or Ammunition into England, to the disturbance of the Peace or prejudice thereof; and also all the Ships, Vessels, Provisions and Goods of what kinde soever, belonging to any Rebel or Rebels in Ireland: All which, and every of the particulars aforesaid, shall be, and shall in the High Court of Admiralty of England, upon due proof, and according to legal course in that case, be adjudged and condemned for lawful prize.
And for that Ireland, hath of long time been, and still is, dependant of England, and subject to such Laws, Orders, Regulements and Constitutions as are or shall be made by the Parliament of England; and for that not onely divers Provinces, Ports and places in Ireland, but in the Province of Munster it self, with all the Ports and places under the command of the Lord Inchequin, have lately treacherously betrayed the trust reposed in them by the Parliament of England, and made defection, and Rebelled, and are in rei veritate, and so by the Laws of Nations ought to be accompted to be notorious Rebels, that ought not to hold any manner of correspondency abroad, nor to enjoy the liberty of Commerce or Traffique: And for that the Parliament doth speedily intend, by the assistance of God, to use all lawful and just means for their suppression, and punishment of their said rebellion, and reduction of all those Ports, Provinces and places. in Ireland, to fidelity and due obedience; and for the reasons aforesaid doth declare and manifest, That they prohibit and forbid all maner of Commerce, Traffique and correspondency whatsoever, to be used or held with any of the said Rebels in Ireland, or within any of the Provinces, Ports, Harbors, Rivers or places of Ireland, in the possession, or under the power of the Rebels to the Parliament of England; Be it therefore further Enacted by this present Parliament, and by the authority of the same, That it shall and may be lawful, to any of the Fleet or Ships set forth or to be set forth or imployed by or under the Parliament, or any private Men of War, or Ships to be alowed or approved by the immediate power of Parliament, or the Council of State established by Parliament, to seize, surprize and take all and all maner of Ships, Vessels and Goods, of what nature or kinde soever, belonging to all persons whatsoever, whether Forein or other, which shall be found or met withal in any Port, Harbor, Creek, River or place in Ireland, being in the possession of the said Rebels of Ireland, or any of them, or under their power and command, or being in hostility against the Parliament of England; and also all ships, vessels and goods, of what Nation soever, that shall be going to, or coming from any such Port, Harbor or place in Ireland, in the hands or possession of the said Rebels, or any of them, or in hostility against the Parliament of England as aforesaid.
And be it likewise Enacted by the Authority aforesaid, That whatsoever prize or prizes shall be so seized, surprized or taken in all or any of the cases aforesaid, by vertue of this Act, shall be safely preserved and kept, without pillaging, spoyling, imbezling, or in any sort breaking of bulk, until after judgment shall be given concerning the same in the High Court of Admiralty of England. And that no Captain, or any other Officers or Mariners that shall so take such prize or prizes, shall break bulk, nor imbezle, nor suffer to be imbezled, purloined, taken or stoln away, any of the Tackles, Apparel, Furniture or Goods, of or in any of the said ships or vessels so taken as prize, but shall cause the same entire to be brought into some English Port, where the same shall be secured by the chief Magistrate of that Port, or such as he shall imploy for that purpose, with some two or more such persons to look thereunto, as the Officers and Mariners interessed shall intrust, until the same shall be viewed, inventoried, apprized and further secured by such person or persons as shall be appointed thereunto by the Council of State on the one part, and the persons trusted as aforesaid, in behalf of the Officers, Mariners and Seamen interessed on the other part; and until Judgement shall be given in the said Court of Admiralty, upon and concerning the said respective ships and goods so taken as aforesaid in due course of Law.
And to the end that there may be a fair, legal and just proceeding in the said Court of Admiralty, upon and concerning all and singular the said premises, in all and every the cases aforesaid, Be it Enacted by the Authority aforesaid, That all and every the Charter-parties, Cockets, Bills of Lading, Commissions, Letters of Mart, private Letters, Instruments, Contracts and all other documents and writings whatsoever, that shall be taken or found in every and any of the said ships or vessels so to be taken or surprized by vertue of this Act, or found upon any of the persons in the same, shall be duly and safely preserved, and sent up or transmitted into the said Court of Admiralty. And that also two or three of the Officers or principal persons of, or found in every such ship or vessel so taken as aforesaid, shall either be brought up or sent to be examined upon Oath in the said Court of Admiralty, as well touching the said writings found in the said ship or vessel, and the Proprietors, Owners and Masters of the same ships, and the goods therein, and the places from whence they came, and whither they were bound and such other questions and interrogatories as in each particular case shall be found meet to be administred unto them; or otherwise in case they cannot be conveniently sent up to the said Court, That then the said Officers, and two, three, or more of the principal men so taken or found in the said ships or vessels, shall be duly examined upon Oath, before the chief Officer of some Port in England, or some Justice of the Peace, of and concerning the matters, particulars and premises before recited: And as well all and every their such Examinations, as also all and singular the said writings found aboard the said ships, shall be duly transmitted and sent in to the said Court of Admiralty.
And it is further Enacted, that the Judges of the said Court of Admiralty, upon perusal of the said examinations, and of the said writings so transmitted unto them, and such other evidences and proofs as shall in due course of Law be made or exhibited before them, as well on the one side, for proving and justifying the same to be prize, as for and on the behalf of all other persons that shall in the proceeding of the said causes appear, and put in any claims, or undertake the defence for the said ships or goods so taken, or any of them, shall duly proceed to judgement; and upon due and deliberate consideration of the said proofs on both sides, and the allegations and pleas on either side, shall in all and every the particulars and cases declared to be prize by this Act, by definite sentence to be promulged in the said Court, adjudge and condemn the said ships and goods so taken, to be duly taken, and to be good and lawful prize. And where it shall upon proof fall out of the particulars and cases declared by this Act as aforesaid to be prize, there the said Judges shall, according to the merits of the cases, award restitution to the Owners, Masters or Proprietors, and in all cases duly administer true justice to either party, according to the true intent and meaning of this Act.
Provided always, that if any prize or prizes so taken, or any part thereof, shall appear and be proved in the said Court of Admiralty, to be any ship or goods belonging to any of the well-affected and good people of England or of Ireland, remaining and continuing under the protection of the Parliament, and before taken or surprized from them by any Enemy or Rebel, or disaffected person, and afterwards again surprized and retaken by any of the Fleet or Ships imployed or to be imployed in the service of the Parliament, or any private Man of War, or other ship or vessel under the protection or obedience of the Parliament, That then such ships and goods, and every such part or parts thereof as aforesaid, belonging to the said good people aforesaid, shall be adjudged to be restored, and shall be by Decree of the said Court of Admiralty, accordingly restored to such former owner and owners, or proprietors; paying for and in lieu of salvage, onely one eighth part of the true value of the ships and goods respectively so to be restored, unless such ships so retaken, shall appear to have been after their taking by the Enemies, Rebels or disaffected, set forth by them as Men of War on their behalf: In which case the said true and first owners and proprietors to whom the same shall be restored, shall be adjudged to pay, and shall pay for salvage the full moyety of the true value of the said ships so retaken and restored.
And the said Parliament of England doth Declare, That as they do make, promulge and set forth this Act for the seizing and taking of prizes in the particular cases, and upon the just and weighty reason aforesaid, for their necessary defence and preservation, according to that Liberty which the Laws of Nature, Reason and Nations alows them in these cases, without infringing or intrenching upon any the Leagues, Treaties, or Articles of Peace heretofore made between any Forein Kings, Princes, States or Nations, and the said Dominions of England and Ireland; so they do intend to uphold, maintain and keep, and are ready to renew the Leagues and Amities between these and Forein Nations, Kingdoms and States, and freely to permit, suffer and give encouragement to all Foreiners and Strangers; and all the Subjects of Forein Nations and Countreys in amity with these Nations, to use, exercise, have and enjoy the full liberty of all maner of Trade and commerce, as well to and with the City of London, as also to and with all and every the Ports and places within England and Ireland, standing right, and keeping their fidelity to the Parliament, they paying the Customs, and discharging such duties as are rightfully due and accustomed.
And for the encouragement of Seamen and Mariners to apply themselves the more willingly to the service of the Commonwealth; Be it also Enacted by the Authority aforesaid, That whatsoever ship or ships of the Parliament, imployed immediately under them in this Service, shall take, surprize, or reduce any of the said Revolted ships, or any private Man of War, or other Man of War belonging to the said Charls Stuart, Son to the said late deceased King, or the said Prince Rupert, or that hath or shall take or receive any Commission from or under them, or either of them, or any other person, to fight against the Parliament, or disturb the peace of this Commonwealth, or infest the Seas, and hinder the free Trade and Traffique of Merchants, and other good people by Sea or otherwise, shall have for reward, over and above their wages, one moyety of the full value of all and every such Ship or Ships surprized or taken as aforesaid, and of the goods therein taken, to be distributed amongst the Captains, and other Officers and Mariners of the said ship or ships, according to the Custom of the Sea, Tun for Tun, and Man for Man; and the other moyety shall be put into a common Treasury, for the relief of the Officers and Mariners which shall be sick or wounded, and the Widows, Children and Impotent parents of such as shall be slain in the service of the Commonwealth at Sea: The settling of which Treasury in trusty hands, and the ordering thereof for the use aforesaid, is referred to the Council of State.
Further Encouragement; 20. for each gun in an Admiral destroyed, 161. in a Vice-Admiral, 121. in a Rere-Admiral, 101. in any other ship.; Merchant ships how to be disposed.; Merchant ships taking Merchant ships.; What ships to have share in prizes.
And for their further Encouragement, in case they shall sink, fire, or by any other ways or means destroy the Admiral of the Revolted Ships, or of any other Fleet that shall fight, or declare their intentions to fight or maintain Hostility against this Commonwealth, they shall receive of the State Twenty pounds Sterling for each piece of Ordnance in such Admiral so destroyed; and if the Vice-Admiral, Sixteen pounds for each Gun; and if the Rere-Admiral, Twelve pounds Stirling for each Gun; and if any other Ship of War of the said Revolted Ships, or such Fleet aforesaid, Ten pounds for each Gun, to be distributed to the Captain, Officers and Mariners of the respective ships that shall be acting in the said service, and to be paid them together with their wages: And also in case any of the States ships imployed in the service of the Commonwealth, shall surprize or take any Merchants ships, either English or Strangers, offending in any of the cases or particulars, declared by this Act to be prize, and that the same shall be in the said High Court of Admiralty adjudged prize, according to the true meaning of this Act, That then after such Adjudication so given, the said ships and goods so adjudged shall be sold by the Candle, and the proceed thereof divided into three equal parts; that is to say, One third part to be paid to the Captain or Captains, and other Officers and Mariners surprising or taking the same; and one other third part thereof to be disposed of for the use of the Commonwealth, as the Parliament shall appoint; and the other third part thereof to be delivered into the Treasury before appointed, for the Relief of sick and maimed Seamen, and the Widows, Children and Impotent Parents of the slain as aforesaid. And further, in case any Merchant ship or ships, imployed in the service of the State, shall take or surprize any Merchant ship as aforesaid, Then the ship or ships so taken, being adjudged in the said Court of Admiralty to be prize as aforesaid, shall be sold as aforesaid, and the proceed thereof divided into three equal parts; that is to say, One third part thereof to the Captain or Captains, and other Officers and Mariners surprising or taking the same; and one other third part thereof to be paid into the Treasury beforementioned, to be disposed of to the use aforesaid; and the other third part thereof, to be equally divided into two parts; viz. One part thereof to the Owners of the said ships, and the other part thereof to the State. And it is hereby Declared and Enacted, That such ship or ships of the Fleet, that shall be in sight and pursuit of the aforesaid prize or prizes, when they shall happen to be so taken, and such onely shall have a proportionate share in the said prize or prizes, according to the custom of the Sea, Tun for Tun, and Man for Man.
Provided always, That the Tenths of all prizes that shall be taken, customarily due to the Lord High Admiral, shall be paid in to the hands of such Treasurers as the Council of State shall appoint for the profits of the Admiralty; the said Tenths to be disposed by order of the said Council of State, for medals or other rewards, to such Officers and Seamen of the Fleet, as by certificate under the hand and seal of the Commissioners commanding the Fleet at Sea, or any two of them, shall be found to have done any singular, eminent and extraordinary service therein; And the said Council of State is hereby required to take special care for the observing of this Act, in all points concerning the encouragement of Officers, Mariners and Seamen to ingage in this service, that none may be defrauded of any benefit or advantage growing due unto them by vertue of this Act, or any thing therein contained, according to the tenor and true meaning thereof.
And be it further Enacted, That if in any of the cases aforesaid, after sentence definitive given in the said Court of Admiralty, any appeal shall be made from any such sentence, That then the parties appealing, shall within fifteen days after their appeal so made or interposed, sue out their Commission of delegacy under the Great Seal, and within two days after the obtaining thereof, present the same before two or more of the Judges Delegates therein to be named, and procure from them not onely an inhibition, but also a monition to the Register of the Admiralty, to transmit the process with all speed, and shall also within six days after the presentation of the said Commission, exhibit and give in their Libel appellatory, and Instrument of appeal, that the same were interposed before any publique Notary, and proceed in the said causes of appeal with effect, under the pain that the said appeals be pronounced to be deserted, and remitted back to the Court of Admiralty. And for the more speedy and effectual proceeding in the said causes of appeal, and that right and justice may be duly therein administered, and yet no procrastinations used, nor frivolous delays allowed, Be it Enacted, That if no new matter shall within six days after the transmission of the said process be pleaded, That then the Judges of appeal shall proceed to conclude the cause, and assign the same for sentence: And if any new matter shall be alledged, such as shall be concludent and admissible by Law, That then the Judges of appeal shall assign both parties some certain short term, ad proponendum omnia, quœ consistunt in facto; and such a competent time to make their proofs thereupon as shall be requisite, and so proceed to publication and conclusion of the cause, that the same may be finally sentenced and adjudged according to the rights and merits of the case, without any other or farther stop or removal whatsoever. And as well the Judges of the said Court of Admiralty, as also the Judges of appeal, are required and commanded to administer Justice truly and indifferently, in all and every the cases aforesaid that shall respectively come before them according to the true intent and meaning of this Act, and according to the Civil Law, and Law of Nations, that no person may have just cause to complain either for delay or lack of justice.
And be it further Enacted and Ordained, That the Council of State shall be, and are hereby enabled by Warrant by them directed to the said Court of Admiralty, to give licence to all such well-affected persons as they shall approve of, to sue out Commissions or Letters of Reprizal out of the said Court, to enable them to set forth to Sea such particular ships, and private Men of War, under such Captains and Officers as the Council of State shall approve of, in Warlike maner, armed, equipped and furnished, for guard of the freedom of Trade, and safeguard of the Seas, and taking and surprizing of prizes in all and every the cases particularly before recited in this Act, and bringing the same to judgement in the High Court of Admiralty; and having and converting the same to their own uses, and the use of their Captains, Officers and Mariners surprising the same, the tenth of all such prizes, or the full and true value thereof first being duly paid to the State, together with the Customs and Excize likewise due and accustomed. Provided always, That there be first for every such ship or private Men of War suing for such Commission, good security given in to the said Court of Admiralty, not to prejudice nor harm the Friends or Allies of this Commonwealth, nor any other person in any other cases, then in the cases declared in this Act to be prize nor to pillage, spoil nor break bulk, before adjudication first passed in the said Court of Admiralty; and to transmit and send up thither, all the Papers, Writings and Demands that shall be found aboard the ships surprized, and to bring or procure two or three, or more of every ship taken, to be duly examined, and to observe such other instructions and conditions as the Council of State shall further direct.
And to the end that due intimation and publication of this Act may be made, and publique notice thereof be taken, Be it Ordered and Enacted, That this present Act shall be published by a Sergeant at Arms, three several days upon the Exchange, London, at the time of the concourse of Merchants thither; and also copies thereof, subscribed by the Clerk of the Parliament, to be sent by the Speaker of the Parliament, to the Ambassadors and Ministers of Forein Nations here resident, to be by them made known to the Subjects of those Princes or States which they represent, or from whom they are employed.