Acts and Ordinances of the Interregnum, 1642-1660. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1911.
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[26 November, 1642.]
Whereas the King seduced by wicked Councell hath raised an Army, and levyed War against the Parliament, and great number of Forces are dayly raysed under the commands of Papists and other ill-affected persons, by Commissions from His Majesty; And whereas divers Delinquents are protected from publique Justice by his Majesties Army, and sundry outrages and rapines are dayly committed by the Souldiers of the said Army, who have no respect to the Lawes of God or the Land: but burne and plunder the houses, and seize and distroy the persons and goods of divers His Majesties good Subjects; And whereas for the maintenance of the said Army divers assessements are made upon severall Counties and His Majesties Subjects are compelled by the Souldiers to pay the same; which said Army if it should continue would soone ruine and waste the whole Kingdom, and overthrow Religion, Law, and Liberty. For suppressing of which said Army and ill affected persons there is no probable way under God but by the Army raised by Authority of the Parliament; which said Army so raised cannot be maintained without great sums of Money, yet for raising such summes by reason of His Majesties withdrawing himselfe from the advice of the Parliament, there can be no Act of Parliament passed with His Majesty's assent, albeit there is great Justice that the said Monies should be raised. The Lords and Commons in Parliament having taken the same into their serious consideration, and knowing that the said Army so raised by them hath been, hitherto, for the most part maintained by the voluntary contributions of divers well-affected persons, who have freely contributed according to their abilities. But considering there are divers others within the Cities of London, and Westminster, and the suburbs of the same and also within the Borough of Southwark, that have not contributed at all towards the maintenance of the said Army, or if they have, yet not answerable to their Estates, who notwithstanding receive benefit and protection by the same Army as well as any others, and therefore it is most just that they should as well as others, be charged to contribute to the maintenance thereof:
Enquiry to be made in London of persons that have not contributed on the Proposition of Parliament, or not according to ability.; Such persons to be assessed according to their Estate, but not exceeding 1/20; On refusal, Assessment to be levied by distress of goods.; Burgesses of Westminster and Southwark to nominate Assessors for their City and Borough.
Be it therefore Ordained by the Lords and Commons, in Parliament assembled, and by authority thereof; That Isaac Pennington, Lord Maior of the City of London, Sir John Wollaston, Knight and Alderman, Alderman Towes, Alderman Warner, Alderman Andrewes, Alderman Chambers, Alderman Fowke, Sir Thomas Soams, Knt. and Alderman, Samuel Vassell, John Venn, Morris Thompson, and Richard Warring, Citizens; or any four of them shal hereby have power and authority to nominate, and appoint in every Ward within the City of London, six such persons as they, or any foure of them, shall think fit, which said six so nominated, or any foure of them, shall hereby have power to enquire of any that remaine, or be within the said severall Wards that have not contributed upon the Proposition of both Houses of Parliament, concerning the raising of Money, Plate, Horse, Horsemen, and Armes, for defence of the King and both Houses of Parliament, and also of such as are able men, that have contributed, yet not according to their Estates and Abilities. And the said six persons so nominated or any four of them within their several and respective Wards and limits, shall have power to assesse such person and persons, as are of ability and have not contributed, and also such as have contributed, yet not according to their ability, to pay such sum or sums of Money according to their Estate, as the said Assessors or any four of them shall think fit and reasonable, so as the same exceed not the twentieth part of their estates, and to nominate and appoint fit persons for the collection thereof. And if any person so assessed shall refuse to pay the money assessed upon him, It shall bee lawfull to, and for the said assessors and collectors, or any of them to levy the said sum so assessed by way of distresse and sale of the goods of the person so assessed and refusing; And if any person so distrained shall make resistance, It shall be lawfull to and for the respective Assessors and Collectors or any of them, to call to their assistance any of the Trained bands of the said City of London or any other his Majesties subjects, who are hereby required to be ayding and assisting to the said Assessors and Collectors in the premisses; And it is hereby farther ordained, that the respective Burgesses of Westminster and Southwark, together with the severall Committees appointed for the subscriptions of Money, Plate, Horse, Horse-men, and Armies within the said City and Borough shall respectively have power hereby to nominate assessors for the same City and Borough, in such manner as the Lord Maior, &c. hath for the City of London, and the said Assessors or any foure of them to name Collectors as aforesaid; Which said Assessors and Collectors shall have the same power respectively within their respective limits, as those to be nominated within the said Citie of London have hereby limitted to them. And for the suburbs of London and Westminster, the respective Knights of the Shire where the said Suburbs are, shall have hereby the like power to name assessors, and they so named, or any foure of them, and the collectors by them to be nominated, or any of them within their respective limits, shall have the like power respectively as the assessors and collectors for London have by vertue of this Ordinance. And be it ordained that the sums so assessed and levied as aforesaid, shall be paid in at Guild-Hall, London, to the hands of Sir John Wollaston, Knight, John Warner, John Towes, and Thomas Andrews, Alder. or any two of them. And the Assessors and Collectors to be nominated by vertue hereof shall weekely report to the Committee of the House of Commons, for the propositions aforesaid what summes of money have bin assessed, and what summes have bin levied weekely according to the purport hereof, And the said monies so levyed and paid in, shall be issued forth in such sort as the other monies raised upon the propositions aforesaid, and not otherwise.