Statutes of the Realm: Volume 5, 1628-80. Originally published by Great Britain Record Commission, s.l, 1819.
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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.