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.]
Forasmuch as many great Complaints have been made, by divers well-affected Subjects of this Kingdom of England, to the Lords and Commons now assembled in Parliament, That many ill-affected Persons of this Nation, in actual Rebellion, do shelter themselves, with their Ships and Vessels, in the Parts and Harbours of the Provinces under the Obedience of the King of Spaine, and there are permitted, by the Officers and Ministers of that King, not only to equip, furnish, victual, and man, in war-, like Manner, their Ships and Vessels which they carry thither, but also there, and from the Subjects of that Nation, to buy equip, furnish, victual, and with the Natives of that Country for the Most Part to man, many Frigates and other Vessels, and with the same, so warlikely appointed, to remain and continue in the said Parts and Harbours as long as they please, and, as often as Advantages are offered, to set Sail to Sea from thence, and to commit many Spoils and Depredations upon the Ships and Goods of the well-affected Subjects of this Kingdom, and of the Kingdoms of Scotland and Ireland, adhering to the Parliament; and with such their Purchase and Spoil, freely, and at their Pleasures, before any Adjudications had or obtained in any Court or Place in the Kingdom of England, where, and no where else (in case any Colour had been), the Adjudication must have been obtained, to return again into the said Ports and Harbours of the King of Spaine, and there to vend, sell, and dispose of, the Ships and Goods which they take as aforesaid, and there again to fit, re-victual, and man, and from hence to put out again upon the like unlawful Enterprizes; so that those Rebels, Pirates, and Sea Rovers, support and enrich themselves upon the Spoil of the well-affected Subjects of the aforesaid Kingdoms adhering to the Parliament, are encouraged and enabled to persist in such their Rebellion and unlawful Proceedings, by the Advantage, Succour, and Aid, which they receive by the Freedom of the said Ports and Harbours; and that from thence, by those Rebels, with their Ships and Companies, great Store of Arms, Ammunition, and other Necessaries for War, are conveyed into the Western Parts of this Kingdom, and also to the Kingdom of Ireland, to the great Support of the Rebels there, and the great Detriment and Damage of the said loyal and well-affected Subjects of the Three Kingdoms; which being contrary to the Treaties and Capitulations made and agreed upon between the Crowns of England and Spaine and their Subjects respectively, and inconsistent with Neutrality, much more with Amity and Alliance, and a very great Interruption to Commerce and Trade, which, by the said Treaties and Capitulations ought to be kept and maintained: The Lords and Commons aforesaid now assembled in Parliament do hereby Ordain, That Walter Walker Doctor in the Civil Laws, and Peter Thelwell, English Merchants resident in Flanders, shall be Agents for the English Nation, in the said Provinces, under the Obedience of the King of Spaine; and do hereby authorize them, the said Doctor Walker and Peter Thelwell, or either of them, for and in the Name of the Lords and Commons of the Parliament of England, to make his or their Addresses to the Governors, Council, Admiral, or other Officers and Ministers of the King of Spaine, in Flanders, and other Provinces under His Subjection, and from them, or any of them, to require Redress in the Premises, Restitution of the Ships and Goods that have been taken and brought into the said Ports and Harbours as aforesaid, and Punishment to be inflicted upon the Delinquents according to their Demerits; as also to assist and further the good and loyal Subjects of the said Three Kingdoms, adhering to the Parliament, in all their just Suits and Occasions, and to do whatsoever else shall be needful or requisite for the Good and Safety of the Three Kingdoms, and for the Maintenance of a good Understanding and Correspondence between the Crowns and Nations, and free Commerce and Trade between them, according to such Directions and Instructions as they shall from Time to Time receive from both Houses of Parliament, the Committees of Lords and Commons for the Kingdoms of England and Scotland, the Committee of Lords and Commons for Foreign Affairs, or the Committee of Lords and Commons for the Admiralty, or either of those Committees.