Acts and Ordinances of the Interregnum, 1642-1660. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1911.
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[15 January, 1645/6.]
Committee to examine into and punish desertions.; Power to administer Oaths to Witnesses.; To summon Delinquents and Witnesses, and punish the refractory.; Assistance; Indemnity; Ord. to continue 9 months only
Whereas divers men who have been lately leavied and imprested for Souldiers within the several Counties of Essex, Kent, Middlesex, Sussex, Surry, Suffolk, Norfolk, Hertford, Huntington, Isle of Ely, Cambridge, Bedford, and within the Cities of London, Westminster, Norwich and Canterbury, for the recruiting of the Army under the Command of Sir Thomas Fairfax, after such time as they have received Prest-money, daily run away and depart from their Colours to the great prejudice of the publike Service; and unlesse some timely course be taken therein, it may incourage others that are necessary to be imprested for the service of that Army to doe the like: For the due punishment of such as have, or shall hereafter run away being imprested for that Army, It is Ordained, and be it Ordained by the Lords and Commons in this present Parliament assembled, That the respective Committees and Deputy-Lieutenants of the Cities and Counties by whom and where any persons shall be Imprested for the said Army, or any four of them, calling to their assistance the Officers of the Militia or Trained Bands of the said respective Counties and Cities, whereof none to be under the degree of a Captain, or so many of such Officers as together with the said Committees and Deputy-Lieutenants or any four of them, shall make the number of twelve in all, or more, upon complaint made, or notice given unto them or any of them, of any person that having been imprested to serve the Parliament by vertue of, and according to the Ordinance of Parliament in that behalf made, shall after his being so imprested run away, the said Committees and Deputy Lieutenants and Officers aforesaid, or any twelve or more of them respectively, four whereof shall be either of the said Committees or Deputy-Lieutenants, shall have power and are hereby authorized to meet together in any Market-Town in some publike place thereof openly, and not in private, to examine, hear and determine the said Offences within the Cities and Counties respectively whereof they are Committees or Deputy-Lieutenants: And upon proofe of any such Offence by Confession, or two Witnesses upon Oath, to proceed to the Condemnation and Execution of all such person and persons as shall offend as aforesaid, and to inflict upon them such punishment, either by death or by other corporal punishment as the said respective Committees, Deputy-Lieutenants, and Officers aforesaid, or the major part of them there present, shall adjudge to appertain to Justice. And the said respective Committees, DeputyLieutenants, and Assistants aforesaid, or any twelve or more of them, four whereof shall be of the number of the DeputyLieutenants or Committees, are hereby likewise authorized to minister corporal Oathes to all Witnesses, and them to examine upon Oath either before or at the Trials as the cases may require; and the said Committees, and Deputy-Lieutenants respectively, or any two or more of them, are hereby enabled to send their Warrants for any Delinquents or Witnesses, the said Witnesses being not Peers of this Realm, nor assistants, nor Officers of the House of Peers, nor Members, nor Officers of the House of Commons, into any place whatsoever, and commit to Prison all such as shall be refractory, or misbehave themselves; and the said respective Committees, Deputy-Lieutenants and assistants are hereby injoyned to proceed with all diligence in putting this Ordinance in execution, and have hereby power to appoint a Provost-Marshal, and other Officers conducing to the ends and purposes aforesaid. And it is hereby further Ordained, That all Mayors, Bayliffes, Sheriffes, Justices of Peace and other inferiour Officers whatsoever, shall be aiding and assisting to the said Committees, Deputy-Lieutenants, and assistants in the execution of the premises, and that the said Commissioners, Officers, and assistants, and every of them, and all and every other person and persons that shall be ayding and assisting to them in the execution of the premises, shall be protected and for ever saved harmles by the authority and power of both Houses of Parliament. And it is lastly provided, that this present Ordinance, and the authority hereby given, shall indure & have continuance for nine moneths from the making hereof & no longer.