Wednesday, 25th of October, 1654.
MR. Yorke reports from the Committee to whom
the Proceedings and Powers of the Judges at Salters-Hall was referred, Several Inconveniences that they
find in the Act and Ordinances for Relief of Creditors,
and poor Prisoners: Viz.
1. THE Judges have the Disposing of Mens Estates
and Persons, they being no sworn Officers, nor accountable to any but a Parliament.
2. They are Judges of Matter of Fact in all Cases but
Fraud, mentioned in the said Act and Ordinances: And,
if they judge never so much against Truth, yet both Creditors and Prisoners are concluded; having no Appeal
but to the Parliament.
3. They can of themselves judge of Perjury, and inflict Punishments thereupon; which is contrary to the
usual Course of Law, and destroys the principal Part of
Man's Birth-right, viz. The Liberty of his Person.
4. They are Judges in their own Cases: For the more
of the Prisoner's Estate they judge to be sold, the more
comes to themselves: Which is a Temptation, and makes
them Parties, as well as Judges.
5. There is no limited Oath prescribed them to administer to Prisoners; and their Practice is a general Oath
to the Prisoner, to be examined against himself.
6. If a Judgment be acknowledged merely for Security, as now it is the common Assurance: yet, if the Connusee take out Execution, and thereupon imprison the
Conusor before the Time agreed on between them, the
Judges can dispose of the Conusor's Estate for the whole
Judgment, without any Consideration of the just Debt:
And the Chancery cannot intermeddle in it, though there
be never so much Equity in the Cause.
That, by the Words of the Act, they are to judge and
determine in a summary Way; which is conceived to be
an arbitrary Way.
Creditors and Prisoners.
Resolved, That it be referred back to the same Committee, to bring in a Bill, with fit Powers, for Relief of
Creditors and poor Prisoners.
The Question being put, That the Proceedings of the
Judges upon the Act and Ordinance for Relief of Creditors and poor Prisoners be suspended;
The House was divided.
The Yeas went forth.
||Tellers for the Yeas:
||With the Yeas,
|Sir Charles Wolsley,
||Tellers for the Noes:
||With the Noes:
So it was Resolved, That the Proceedings of the Judges
upon the Act and Ordinance for Relief of Creditors and
poor Prisoners, be suspended: And that Mr. Mildmay,
Mr. Solicitor, Mr. Hobart, Mr. Turner, Colonel John
Bridges, Major Beake, Sir Richard Onslow, Mr. Francis
Bacon, Mr. Nath. Bacon, Alderman Gibbes, Mr. Goddard, Colonel Chadwick, Lieutenant-Colonel Worsley,
Major-General Skippon, Commissary-General Whalley,
Lieutenant-Colonel Baines, Mr. Brisco, Mr. Aldworth,
Mr. Lister, Mr. Smyth, Colonel John Birch, Mr. Lilburne, Mr. Bulkeley, Mr. Long, Mr. Grove, Mr. Downing, Mr. Flackett, Mr. Hoskins, Mr. Parker, Lieutenant-Colonel Kelsey, Mr. Nicholl, Mr. Gerland, Mr. Read,
Mr. Lechmere, Mr. Whetham, Mr. Barnard, Mr. Ask,
Mr. Pecham, are added to that Committee: And all
that come to have Voices: And this Committee are to
meet at the same Pace To-morrow, in the Afternoon, at
Two of the Clock.
Resolved, That the same Committee do prepare and
bring in the said Bill on Thursday Sevennight next.