Acts and Ordinances of the Interregnum, 1642-1660. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1911.
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[9 May, 1645.]
Whereas the Houses of Parliament are informed, that divers lewd Persons do go up and down the City of London, and elsewhere and in a most barbarous and wicked Manner steal away many little Children: It is Ordered, by the Lords and Commons in Parliament assembled, That all Officers and Ministers of Justice be hereby streightly charged and required, to be very diligent in apprehending all such Persons as are faulty in this Kind, either in stealing, selling, buying, inveigling, purloining, conveying, or receiving Children so stolen, and to keep them in safe Imprisonment until they may be brought to severe and exemplary Punishment.
It is further Ordered, That the Marshals of the Admiralty and the Cinque Ports do immediately make strict and diligent Search, in all Ships and Vessels upon the River, and at The Downes, for all such children; according to such Directions as they have or shall receive from the Committee of the Admiralty and Cinque Ports.
It is further Ordered, That this Ordinance be forthwith published in Print, and proclaimed, in the usual Manner as other Proclamations, in all Parts of the City of London within the Lines of Communication, and in all Parishes within the Bills of Mortality presently; and in all Churches and Chapels, by the Ministers, within the Lines of Communication and Bills of Mortality, on the next Lords-day; and in all other Churches and Chapels elsewhere respectively, the next Lords-day after the Receipt hereof; that it may appear to the World how careful the Parliament is to prevent such Mischiefs, and how far they do detest a Crime of so much Villany: Mr. Spurstoe, Mr. Vassall, and Colonel Venne, Members of the House of Commons, are desired to go to My Lord Mayor, and to acquaint him with this Order, and to take Care that it may be proclaimed presently, and published, according to the Directions, on the next Lordsday.