July 1642: The Parliaments' Commission to the Earl of Essex to be Captain-General of their Army.

Pages 14-16

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

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July 1642

[15 July 1642.]

Whereas, upon serious Consideration of the present and imminent Dangers of Force and Violence, which, at this time, threaten the Parliament and the whole Kingdom, through the cunning practice of Papists, and malicious Counsels of divers ill-affected Persons, inciting his Majesty to raise men, make great Provisions for War, and place Garrisons in Towns and other Places of Importance within this Kingdom; and by Terror of Arms, to compel his Subjects to submit to a Commission of Array, contrary to Law; whereby god's true Religion and the Liberty of the Kingdom are like to be suppressed, and the whole Frame of the antient and well-tempered Government of this Realm to be dissolved and destroyed, and the English Nation inthralled, in their Persons and Estates, to an arbitrary Power; The Lords and Commons in this present Parliament assembled, according to the Duty and Trust which lies upon them, for Prevention of these great Mischiefs and Preservation of the Safety of his Majesty's Person, the Peace of the Kingdom, and the Defence of the Parliament, resolved and ordained, That an Army be forthwith raised; and that the Trained Bands, and other Forces of the Kingdom, be put into a Posture and Condition fit to oppose any Force and Insurrection by Papists, or ill-affected Persons, against the Public Peace and Laws of the Kingdom, however countenanced by any pretended Commission or Authority from his Majesty, and finding it most most necessary that some Persons of Honour, Wisdom, and Fidelity, should be appointed to command the said Army and Forces; and having had long Experience and certain Knowledge that Robert Earl of Essex is, every Way, qualified for a Trust of so high a Nature and Concernment, in regard of the Nobility of his Birth, his great Judgment in Martial Affairs, approved Integrity and Sufficiency in divers Honourable Employments and Commands in the said Public Service of this State; and in whom his Majesty reposed such Confidence, that, when he went into Scotland the last Summer, he left him General of all the South Parts of the Kingdom; and especially in regard of his Faithfulness and good Affections to the Liberty, Peace, and Prosperity of the Kingdom, in this present Parliament abundantly manifested; and of the great Honour and Confidence among the well-affected People of the Kingdom, which he hath hereby gained: The said Lords and Commons do constitute and ordain him, the said Robert Earl of Essex, to be the Captain-General and Chief Commander of the Army appointed to be raised, and of all other Forces of the Kingdom, for the Ends and Purposes aforementioned; and that he the said Earl shall have and enjoy all Power, Titles, Preheminence, Authority, Jurisdiction, and Liberties, incident and belonging to the said Office of CaptainGeneral, throughout the whole Kingdom of England and Dominion of Wales, in as large and ample a Manner as any other General of an Army in this Kingdom hath lawfully used exercised, and enjoyed; to have, hold, and execute the Office of Captain-General, in such Manner, and according to such Instructions, as he shall, from Time to Time, receive from both Houses of Parliament.

And do further grant and ordain, That the said Earl shall have Power to raise and levy Forces, as well Men at Arms, as other Horsemen and Footmen of all kinds, and meet for the Wars, in all Counties, Cities, Boroughs, Towns Corporate, and other Places, of this Kingdom and Dominion of Wales, as well within Liberties as without; and them to conduct and lead against all and singular Enemies, Rebels, Traitors, and other like offenders, and every of their Adherents; and with them to fight, and them to invade, resist, repress, subdue, pursue, slay, and kill; to put in Execution all and singular other Things for the levying and governing of the said Forces, preserving the Safety of his Majesty's Person, Defence of the Parliament, and the Conservation of this Realm and the Subjects thereof in Peace, howsoever countenanced by any pretended Commission or Authority from his Majesty, or otherwise; and shall have Power to assign and appoint a Lieutenant-General under him, the said Earl, in his Stead to do and execute all and every the Powers and Authority granted to him, the said Earl, also to appoint a Lieutenant-General of the Troops of Horse and all such Commanders and Officers as shall be necessary and requisite for the Government and Command of the said Army; and likewise one Provost-Martial for the Execution of his Commands, according to this Ordinance.

And for the better Execution of the Premises, it is ordered and ordained, that the said Earl shall have Power to command all Forts and Castles, already fortified or to be fortified; and to remove, displace, or continue, the Captains, Lieutenants, and Soldiers: As likewise all Ships, Barks and Vessels, which he, the said Earl, shall think meet, from Time to Time, for the Use and Service of the said Army and Forces, under his Government and Command; likewise to give Rules, Instructions, and Directions, for the Governing, Leading, and Conducting the said Army, and for the Punishing of all Mutinies, Tumults, Rapines and other Crimes, and Misdemeanors of any Person whatsoever in the same, according to the Course and Custome of the Wars, and Law of the Land; and the said Rules and Instructions to cause to be proclaimed, performed and executed; safety charging and requiring both the said Lieutenant-Generals, Provost-Martial, and all other Officers and Soldiers, of the said Army; as likewise all Lieutenants of Counties, Sheriffs, Deputy Lieutenants, Officers of the Ordnance, Commanders of Forts, Justices of Peace, Mayors, Bailiffs, and other his Majesty's Officers and Subjects whatsoever, to be aiding and assisting, and obedient to him, the said Earl, in the Execution of the said Office of Captain-General, for the Ends and Purposes, and in the Manner aforesaid.

And do likewise ordain and declare, That the said Earl, the Commanders and Officers of the said Army, and all his Majesty's Officers and Subjects whatsoever, in the Execution of the Premises, shall be saved harmless, and defended by the Power and Authority of both Houses of Parliament.