Acts and Ordinances of the Interregnum, 1642-1660. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1911.
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[3 June, 1644.]
Penalties to Captains, and others for fraudulent appropriation of Prize Goods, etc.; Provisions for encouragement of faithful Captains, etc.
Whereas both Houses of Parliament, for the better incouragement of Marriners employed in the service of the King and Parliament, over and above their ordinary wages, have by an Ordinance given unto the said Marriners, one third part of all such Ships and goods, as should be by them respectively taken and adjudged prize. And whereas the Parliament hath received divers complaints of the abuses of severall Captaines and their Compartners employed, not onely of their imbezilling of Moneys and other goods of value, under pretence of pillage, so soone as they take any Ship, but when they bring in the said prizes find excuses to neglect the service of the State, and remaine in Harbours, requiring their thirds before such time the said ships and their lading can be legally adjudged in the Court of Admiralty, and afterward sold by the Commissioners and Collectors appointed for that purpose to the great prejudice of the State. It is Ordered by the Lords and Commons assembled in Parliament, That if any Captaine, Officer or Marriner, hath, or shall at any time hereafter take or imbzeill, or purloyne any Moneys, goods or lading whatsoever, taken in any ship as prize or shall presume to breake open any Trunkes or Chests, or open any packs, unlesse it be to visite and search them, and to carefully locke or make them up againe, or shall refuse to deliver up such ships with their intire lading as they shall take as prize unto the Collectors of prize goods, appointed by Ordinance of Parliament, or their Deputies, when they shall be required thereunto, and themselves returne to their charge, and speedily attend the service of the State to which they are appointed according to Instructions given them by the Lord high Admirall of England, That such Captaine and Company shall not onely lose their shares of such Prizes but suffer such other punishment as their offences shall demerit; And for the incouragement of all Owners of shipping, Captaines and Marriners, who shall with faithfulnesse discharge the trust reposed in them, and that they may have no just cause of Complaint. It is further Ordered, That the Collectors for Prize-goods, shall within fifty dayes next after the adjudication of any prize, make due payment unto such Owners Captaines and Companies to whom the same shall appertaine of such Moneys as shall be justly due unto them for their thirds, No other Customes, charges, or duties or for adjudication, Collection or otherwise being charged on their respective thirds, then what the State it selfe doth rateably allow.