Acts and Ordinances of the Interregnum, 1642-1660. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1911.
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[7 October, 1653.]
For the due stating and clearing of Publique Debts, in order to their payment by the Commonwealth, and for discovering of Fraud for the time past, and preventing it for time to come; Be it Enacted by this present Parliament, and it is Enacted, That all persons whatsoever, that since the Five and twentieth of March, One thousand six hundred thirty and eight, have taken or received for the use of the Commonwealth, Money, Plate, Horses, Arms, or anything else, upon any Receipt or Bill Given for the Publique Faith, thereby to charge the Commonwealth as Debter on the Publique Faith, or by vertue or pretence of any Order, Ordinance or Act of Parliament, or otherwise (except onely Monethly Assessments for the Army or Navy) or have given Certificates of any Money or other things advanced, received or paid for the use of the Commonwealth, do and shall, before the Five and twentieth day of December, next after the date of this present Act; deliver in to the Commissioners in this Act hereafter named, a plain Alphabetical List or Register of all the persons, and their place of aboad, from whom, and Sums of Money, or other things which they have so taken, received or certified, with the times thereof, and date of any Order, Ordinance or Act of Parliament, impowring them to do the same.
And it is further Enacted, That all Committees, Commissioners, Auditors or other persons, who have been intrusted by the late Parliament to audite, state or alow, any Soldiers or other Accompts; or to give Debentures, thereby making the Commonwealth Debtor on the Publique Faith, or otherwise, do likewise before the said Five and twentieth day of December next, deliver in to the said Commissioners, such a List or Register of all the persons, and sums so by them stated, audited or alowed, with the times thereof, and by what Power and Authority they did the same.
And it is further Enacted, That all Commissioners, or other persons that have been entrusted by the late Parliament to pay or satisfie any Bill of publique Faith, Debenture, or publique Debt by ready money, or by doubling on any Purchase, or any other way, do and shal, before the said Five and twentieth day of December next, deliver in to the said Commissioners, such a List or Register of all such Bills, Debentures, sum or sums of Money, paid, doubled or satisfied in whole or in part, with the persons to whom, and the times when, and the Powers by which they were satisfied, paid or doubled.
And it is further Enacted, That all persons claiming any publique Debts from the Commonwealth upon the publique Faith, or upon such Debentures or Bills of Arrears for wages, or any service or other accompts as Soldiers; or any Officer belonging or relating to the Militia of this Commonwealth, do and shall, before the Five and twentieth of March next following, bring or send to the said Commissioners, All and every such claim in writing, with his Name, Sur-name, and place of aboad, affixed to the sum or sums so claimed, and the times thereof, and maner how the same came due: And that all and every claim and pretence to any such publique Debt or Debts that shall not be so delivered in, within the time, and in the maner aforesaid, shall at all times after the same Five and twentieth day of March, be held and judged void and counterfeit, and never be alowed as a Debt from the Commonwealth, or from any person or persons in the same. And that all and every person, That by Fraud doth or shall claim any such Debt, which shall not be found and adjudged good or sufficiently proved to be lent, or appear a true Debt charging the Commonwealth; or conceal any Lands, Debt, Money, Plate, Jewels, or anything else of right due or belonging to the Commonwealth; or at any time since One thousand six hundred and forty, belonging to the late King, Queen or Prince, or by any of their Warrants raised; or since the year One thousand six hundred forty and six, belonging to any Bishop, Dean or Chapter, in right of such Office or place; or to any Delinquent, not being yet discovered to the respective Trustees appointed by Parliament, or by them not Surveyed or Inventoried, and shall not discover the same before the Five and twentieth of December next, shall forfeit treble to the value claimed or concealed, and be Sequestred till the said Forfeiture be fully paid to the Commonwealth.
And it is further Enacted, That all and every person neglecting or offending in any of the premises by this Act required, shall be liable to any Action at Law to be brought by, and to full satisfaction of any person damnified by such neglect or offence; besides all other Fines or penalties, that may and shall be adjudged upon Indictment, Presentment, Information, or other lawful complaint on behalf of the Commonwealth.
And it is further Enacted, That if any person shall discover any Lands, Tenements, Money, Plate, Jewels, Debt, or any thing else, which of right is or shall be due, belonging or pertaining to the Commonwealth, concealed, or not discovered or accompted for by any person whatsoever that concealeth the same, such person so discovering any such concealment, shall be alowed as the Commissioners shall judge meet, not exceeding a fifth part of all that shall be duly recovered to the Commonwealth by their discovery; or shall be satisfied for their own just Debts due to them from the Commonwealth, out of the said discoveries, if there shall be enough duly recovered to satisfie the same: But if any persons shall unjustly molest any other, on pretence of any such Concealment, Fraud, or breach of any publique Trust, They shall fully satisfie and pay to the person by them accused, all damages sustained by such unjust molestation; which said damages shall be adjudged by the said Commissioners, or by such others as the Parliament shall appoint; for which purpose, before any person shall be molested or summoned upon any such Information, the person Informing shall give security, in such sum, and with such Sureties as the said Commissioners shall alow of, to make good his Information, in such sort as the said Commissioners shall approve; or to satisfie such damages to the party grieved, as shall be awarded to him as aforesaid.
And it is further Enacted, That if any Delinquent, his Heirs, Executors or Administrators, Legatees or Assigns, shall first discover any of his own Estate or Debts, not yet Sequestred, or the Estate or Debts of such Delinquent not yet Sequestred; such Discoverer shall be admitted to Composition for the same, and be freed from all Sequestrations for any Delinquency past, for a fourth part of any such Estate; Provided such discovery be made within Three Moneths from the time of the passing this Act.
And it is further Enacted, That Major William Bridges, John Greensmith, Simon Cressy, Mark Coe, Robert Perwich, Philip Tandy and William Maddison, or any four of them, be Commissioners to receive, order and direct, all the several Lists, Claims and Discoveries in this Act required, and to keep them all distinct: And from time to time they are to certifie to the Committee for publique Debts what they finde claimed, acknowledged, or stated on publique Faith, Arrears or otherwise, by vertue of any Order, Ordinance or Act of Parliament, and what is not yet stated or cleared to be due from the Commonwealth; and what undue Demands or Receipts they finde; and what Concealments discovered, or Frauds, by which the Commonwealth is or shall be damnified; with all the sums of money, or other things they shall discover to be due to the Commonwealth, or by Fraud Gotten or detained from it: And to these ends, they are Impowred to send for Persons, Records, Accompts, Books, or any Writings of publique Interest, and to enquire and examine upon Oath; and in case of contempt, to commit to safe Custody.
And it is further Enacted, That all persons, that for the space of thirty days shall detain any sum of Money, or other things, adjudged and certified by the said Commissioners to the said Committee, and by them to the Commissioners for Composition, shall be Sequestred from all their Estates real and personal, till such Moneys, or other things so adjudged and certified, shall be paid in to the Treasury, by the Parliament appointed or to be appointed: And the said Committee are from time to time to acquaint the House with all cases of difficulty, that there may be particular directions for the paying of what shall be duly stated: And for due stating and clearing of all such Claims as shall appear to be just, and not already settled or directed by the Act for Ireland, or other Acts or Orders of Parliament.