House of Commons Journal Volume 7: 25 October 1654

Page 378

Journal of the House of Commons: Volume 7, 1651-1660. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1802.

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Page 378

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Wednesday, 25th of October, 1654.


Salters-Hall Judges.

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.

Mr. Cromwell, Tellers for the Yeas: 115.
Colonel Jepson, With the Yeas,
Sir Charles Wolsley, Tellers for the Noes: 80.
Colonel Clerk, 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.