January 1649: An Act touching the Regulating of the Officers of the Navy and Customs.

Pages 1257-1260

Acts and Ordinances of the Interregnum, 1642-1660. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1911.

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January, 1649

[16 January, 1648/9.]

All Officers of the Custom-house.; Victuallers.; Ship-captains or other Officer,; Masters and Officers of Trinity-house that have aided the King, &c.; promoted Petitions for his coming to London, abetted any tumult against the Parliament, Or the revolt of any Ships, Or imbezled any Arms, &c.; made incapable of any such Office.; Commissioners to appoint others in their place.; Any un useful office to be made void.; 200 l. penalty and 10 l. per diem for disobedience.; Sequestration till the Fine be paid. The one moyety to the discoverer, the other to the Treasurer of the Navy.

The Commons assembled in Parliament, taking into their serious consideration the manifold Distempers of the Navy, and the great Decay of Customs, occasioned by evil, malignant, unfaithful and supernumerary Officers, employed both by Sea and Land, to the great prejudice of the Commonwealth, Do Enact and Ordain, and be it Enacted and Ordained by the Authority of Parliament, That all Customers, Comptrollers, Searchers, Surveyors, Wayters, Collectors, or any other person or persons, that at the time of making this Act and Ordinance, or that hereafter shall hold any Office or other place of Trust in the Custom-house of London, or in the Custom-house in any other Port, Creek or Place within the Kingdom of England, Dominion of Wales, or Town of Berwick; All Officers of the Ordnance and Stores, or Provisions belonging to the Stores, Ordnance, Arms and Ammunition belonging to the Commonwealth; All Commissioners and Victuallers of the Navy, and other Officers in or belonging to the Victualling-Office of or for the Navy of this Kingdom; All Captains, Masters, Boatswains, Gunners, Pursers, Ship-carpenters, or any other Officer or Commander, belonging to any Ship or Vessel belonging to the Commonwealth; All Officers or other persons that have any Office or place of Trust in any publique Vard, Dock or Wharf, or other place belonging to, or concerning the Navy of this Kingdom; All persons that do or shall hold any Command, either by Sea or Land, in any Ship, Store-house or Dock belonging to the Commonwealth, or the Navy of this Kingdom; All Masters and Officers of the Trinity-house, that have voluntarily aided or assisted the King with Moneys, Arms, Plate, Victual or otherwise, either by Sea or Land, since the year of our Lord 1641. in the former or latter Wars against the Parliament; or that since the First of March, in the year of our Lord 1647. have contrived, promoted or abetted any of the Petitions or Engagements for the Kings coming to London; or that raised or abetted any Tumult against the Parliament since the Twentyfourth of July 1647. within the Cities of London or Westminster, or Liberties thereof, or within the Counties of Surrey, Kent, Essex, Middlesex, Hertford, Cambridge or Sussex; or that were counselling, aiding, assisting, abetting to the Revolt of any the Ships imployed in the service of the Commonwealth, since the First of June 1648. or that have or shall embezle, or secretly convey, or steal away any Arms, Powder, Cables, Victual, Timber, or other Stores belonging to the Navy of this Kingdom; or that have taken any Reward or Gift of any Merchant, or other person or persons, of, for or concerning the Customs, other then the Fees due and accustomed, That then all and every the Officers and persons abovenamed, from and after the First day of February next ensuing, shall be, and are hereby declared, and made incapable and disinabled to hold any Office or place as abovesaid, and his former Office or place of Trust as abovesaid, to be void and forfeit to all intents and purposes. And the Commissioners hereafter named, or any five or more of them, shall and may nominate and appoint other fit and able persons in the room and place of such Officers and persons so disinabled as abovesaid; and the persons so named and appointed by them, to certifie to the Committee of the Navy: But in case the said Offices, or any of them be not necessary and useful to be continued, but shall be found superfluous and unuseful, that then the said Commissioners, or any five of them, shall have power to make void and discontinue the said place, for the saving of unnecessary Charge to the State, and trouble unto Merchants, and carrying on the Service to the best advantage: And if any person or persons whatsoever, being made incapable as abovesaid, shall yet continue and occupy such place, and not avoid the same, That then the said person so offending, shall forfeit the sum of Two hundred pounds for the first day, and Ten pounds per diem for every day after that he or they shall continue in the said place or places. And if any person or persons shall refuse or neglect to pay the said Sum within Fourteen days after due proof made of their incapacity as abovesaid, That then the Estate of every such person shall be sequestred until the Fine be paid; the one moyety within one moneth after conviction as abovesaid, to the Discoverer, the other moyety shall within the like space of time be paid in to the Treasurer for the Navy for the time being, to be disposed of for the use and service of the Navy.

Commissioners' names.; With those of the Navy, or any five of them,; Authorized to send for the said Officers, or any other person, and administer an Oath.; Persons refusing to appear.; To be sent for in safe custody.; All Sheriffs, Majors &c. to be aiding.

And to the intent that this Ordinance may speedily and impartially be put in execution, The said Commons in Parliament assembled do Ordain and Appoint, and be it by Authority of Parliament Ordained and Appointed, That Alderman Tho. Andrews, Mr. William Barkley, Mr. Maurice Thomson, Mr. Richard Shute, Colonel William Willoughby, Mr. William Pennoyer, Mr. Samuel Pennoyer, Mr. Stephen Estwick, Mr. John Holland, Mr. John Langley, Mr. Richard Hill, Major Robert Thomson, Mr. James Russel, Mr. Samuel Moyer, Mr. Jonathan Andrews, and Mr. Richard Hutchinson, who, together with the Commissioners of the Navy for the time being, sitting in Mincing-Lane London, or any five or more of them, except such of them as are disinabled by this Act as abovesaid, shall be, and are hereby Declared Commissioners; and have full power, and are hereby required and authorized to put this present Act and Ordinance in execution; and have power to send for the Officers and persons abovenamed, or any other person or persons as they shall judge necessary, as Witnesses or otherwise and to minister and give an Oath to all such the persons, other then the persons offending in such cases respectively, wherein hey are or shall be accused before them. And in case any person or persons summoned to appear before them, or any five of them as abovesaid, shall neglect or refuse to appear before them, the said Commissioners, or any five or more of them, shall have power to send for such the persons in safe custody, and all Sheriffs, Majors, Justices and other Officers, are hereby required to be aiding and assisting to them, and such persons as are by them imployed as abovesaid.

And it is further Declared, Enacted and Ordained by Authority aforesaid, That all persons so to be named by the said Commissioners to the Committee abovesaid, shall and may forthwith execute such places to them appointed, until the same be otherwise ordered and directed by the said Commons assembled in Parliament or otherwise by the Committee of the Navy, for some disability or offence in the party so placed as abovesaid, that shall be proved or made known to the said Committee of the Navy.

To require a true Inventory of the Navy-Provisions.; To examine their Accompts.; The like for Customs.

And to the intent that the stock of the Navy may be improved to the utmost benefit for the Guard of the Seas, It is further Ordered, That the persons abovenamed, or any five of them, shal have power from time to time, to require of any person imployed in any of the Offices aforesaid, an exact and true Inventory of all the Provisions belonging to the Navy in their hands, and to send for and examine their Books of Accompt, that they may be inabled by these or any other the like good ways to inform themselves of the behavior, fidelity and usefulness of the Officers imployed in this Service. And for the better Regulating of the Customs and Officers thereof throughout the Kingdom of England, Dominion of Wales, and Town of Berwick, the said Committee, or any five of them, shall and may have the like full power to call before them, and to take the like accompt and examination of all and every Officer and Officers belonging to the several Custom-houses aforesaid.

To examine what places are unuseful.; Increase of Salary for Officers that shall be continued.

And it is further Enacted and Ordained, That the said Commissioners, or any five of them, shall have power to examine what Places, Officer or Officers are unuseful, unnecessary in the Navy or Customs, or in the Office of Victualling and Ordnance, and make void the said Offices and Places; and no Officer or person shall thenceforth use or occupy the said Office or Place, for the easing of the Charge of the State: But for such Officers as shall be thought fit to be continued, the said Commissioners, or any five of them, are to settle and establish such a competent increase of Salaries, as may be answerable unto the pains to be taken, for their maintenance, and whereby they may not be necessitated, nor receive any Bribe or Fee of the Merchant, or use any other indirect ways to the prejudice of the State; and their whole Salaries to be presented unto the House of Commons, or the Committee of the Navy for their alowance and approbation.

No Fee to be taken for any Bill, Cocket, &c. upon penalty of losing their places, &c.

And it is further Enacted and Ordained, That from and after the same day of February next, no Officer or Officers shall take or receive from the Merchant, or any other person, any moneys by way of Fee or Gratuity' for any Certificate, Bill or Cocket, or other thing whatsoever; And in case they or any of them thall receive any Fee or Gratuity contrary to this Act, upon proof as aforesaid they shall forfeit their places, and incur other penalties afore-mentioned.

All Disbursements to be received from the Treasurer of the Navy.

And be it Enacted and Ordained by the Authority aforesaid, That the said Committee herein nominated, and all persons acting for or under them by their direction, shall from time to time receive at the hands of the Treasurer for the Navy, all such Expences and Disbursements as shall be by them issued forth in this Service; And that the Committee for the Navy appointed, Members of this House, shall issue forth their Orders and Warrants for the payment of the same accordingly.

Ships for Convoy.

And lastly be it Enacted and Ordained. That the said Committee of Merchants shall from time to time have power to present to the Lord Admiral or Committee for the Navy, such Ships as they shall finde necessary to be imployed for Convoy of Merchant Ships out and home, for Advancement of Trade, and Benefit of the Commonwealth.