Recital of 31 Eliz. c. 4. § 1.
Persons stealing Cloth from the Rack in the Night-time offending against 31 Eliz. c. 4. or embezling His Majesty's Stores to the Value of 20s. excluded from the Benefit of Clergy.
Whereas many evill disposed Persons have of late more frequently then in former Times used and practised
the cutting of Cloth and other Woollen Manufactures in the Night time off from the Rackes or Tenters
where the said Cloth is putt for the drying thereof, and felloniously steale and carry away the same to the utter
undoeing and impoverishing of many Clothiers and the great Hindrance of the Trade of Clothing. And whereas
by an Act made in the one and thirtyeth Yeare of the Raigne of the late Queene Elizabeth it is among other
Things enacted That if any Person haveing the Charge or Custodie of any Armour, Ordnance, Munition, Shott,
Powder or Habiliments of Warr of the said Queenes her Heires or Successors, or of any Victualls provided for the
victualing of any Soldiers, Gunners, Marriners or Pioneers shall for any Lucre or Gaine or willingly, advisedly and
of purpose to hinder or impeach her Majesties Service imbezill, purloyne or convey away any the same Armour,
Ordnance, Munition, Shott or Powder, Habiliments of Warr or Victualls to the Value of twenty Shillings at one
or severall Times That then every such Offence shall be judged Felony, and the Offender therin to be proceeded
on and suffer as in Case of Fellony, unto the committing of which severall Offences many Persons are the more
emboldened in respect that in those Cases the Benefit of Clergy is allowed by Law. Bee it therefore enacted by
the Kings most excellent Majestie by and with the Advice and Consent of the Lords Spirituall and Temporall
and the Commons in this present Parlyament assembled and the Authoritie thereof That noe Person or Persons
who shall from and after the five and twentyeth Day of May In the Yeare of our Lord one thousand six hundred
and seaventy be indicted for fellonious cutting and takeing stealeing and carrying away of any Cloth or other
Woollen Manufactures from the Racke or Tenter in the Night time, or for any Offence committed against the
said recited Act made in the said one and thirtyeth Yeare of Queene Elizabeth, or shall felloniously steale or
imbezill any of his [Majestyes (fn. 2) ] Sailes, Cordage, or any other his Majestyes Navall Stores to the Value of twenty
Shillings and thereupon found guilty by Verdict of twelve Men. or shall confesse the same upon his or their
Arraignement; or will not answere directly to the same according to the Lawes of this Realme, or shall stand
wilfully, or of Mallice and obstinately mute, or challenge peremptorily above the Number of twenty, or shall be
upon such Indictment outlawed shall from and after the said five and twentyeth Day of May be admitted to have
the Benefitt of his or their Clergy, but utterly be excluded thereof and shall suffer Death in such Manner and
Forme as they should if they were noe Clerks.
II. Judges may transport Offenders.
Refusing to be transported, or afterwards unduly returning.; Punishment.
Provided alwayes and bee it further enacted by the Authoritie aforesaid That it shall and may be lawfull for
the Judges or Justices of the Court before whome such Offender shall be arraigned and condemned at their
Discretion to grant a Reprieve for the Staying of Execution of such Offender and to cause such Offender to be
transported to any of his Majestyes Plantations beyond the Seas there to remaine for the Space of seaven Yeares
to be accompted from the Time of such Transportation and dureing all that Time there to be kepte to labour,
And if such Offender shall refuse to be soe transported, or after such Transportation shall returne, or come againe
into this Kingdome of England or the Dominion of Wales or Towne of Berwicke upon Tweede within the time
aforesaid That then and in every such Case the Person soe returning shall be putt to Execution upon the
Judgement soe given and pronounced against him.
||interlined on the Roll.