Acts and Ordinances of the Interregnum, 1642-1660. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1911.
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[6 May, 1645.]
Prejudice to Merchants by Strangers.; By whom and in what Ships Whale-Oyle, Fins and Gils may be imported.; Confiscation.
The Lords and Commons assembled in the high Court of Parliament of England, taking into consideration, that nothing more inricheth this Kingdome then commerce, whereby the navigation thereof is much increased, especially in Fishing Voyages, and therefore ought to be incouraged. Upon the humble Petition presented from the fellowship of Merchants of England, for discovery of new Trades Adventurers to Greenland: showing, That they were the first discoverers of that Countrey, and for many years successively have maintained the Fishing there, which hath been a great increase of many Sea-men, & many Ships yearly imployed, to the great benefit of this Kingdome. But of late years have been much prejudiced, for that great quantities of Whale-Oyl of Strangers Fishing, are permitted to be imported into this Kingdome more than it can spend. By means whereof the said Petitioners, and others his Majesties Subjects trading thither, have not vent for theirs: Which without some speedy prevention will disable them from continuing their Fishings into those parts, to the hazard of the loss of that Countrey unto Strangers (so long desired by them) being Subject to the Crown of England. And likewise taking into consideration, That in other Kingdomes and States the importation of Whale-Oyl and Fins are not permitted to any, but the Subjects of those Kingdomes and States of their own Fishing, do therefore Order and Ordain, That no Whale-Oyl, nor Fins, nor Gils, commonly called Whale-bone, either wrought or unwrought, shall hereafter be imported into any Port, Haven, or Creek of this Kingdome from any Foreign parts whatsoever, other then what are immediately fished in Greenland by the Subjects of this Kingdome, and in Ships set out from hence, under penalty of confiscation. And all Customers, Comptrollers, Searchers, Waiters, and all other Officers in their several and respective Places, are hereby required to attend the due execution thereof, and not to permit or suffer any Whale-Oyl, nor Fins, nor Gils, as aforesaid, to be imported into this Kingdome, or colourably customed for any other Goods or Merchandize, but that they do forthwith seize and take the same into their custody, one Moyety for the use and benefit of the State and the other Moyety for the said Fellowship towards their charges. And all Justices of the Peace, Mayors, Bayliffs, Sheriffs, Constables, Headboroughs, and all other his Majesties Officers in their several and respective Places, are hereby commanded and required to be aiding and assisting therein, as they will answer the contrary at their perils.