Acts and Ordinances of the Interregnum, 1642-1660. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1911.
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[31 December, 1642.]
A Declaration of the Lords and Commons assembled in Parliament
The Lords and Commons now in Parliament assembled, being certainly informed, that Papists and other wicked and illaffected Persons have traiterously combined together, and entered into Association, and have raised, and daily do raise, great Forces both of Horse and Foot, in several Counties of this Kingdom, and have plundered, spoiled, and destroyed, Multitudes of His Majesty's good Subjects, and, if not timely prevented, will utterly subvert and destroy the true Protestant Religion (which is their chief Design), the Laws of the Land, the Privileges of Parliament, and the Liberty of the Subjects: The said Lords and Commons do Declare, That they hold it a Thing most fit and necessary for the present State of this Kingdom, and for the better Securing of the County of Warwick and City and County of Coventry, and of the County of Stafford, and City and County of Lichfeild, and the Parts adjacent to the said Counties; and do accordingly Order and Ordain, That the Lords Lieutenants and the Committees of Parliament hereafter named; (that is to say) for the County of Warwick and City and County of Coventry, Sir Peter Wentworth Knight of the Bath, William Purefoy Esquire, Godfrey Bossevile Esquire, John Barker Esquire, William Jesson Esquire, the present Mayor of the City of Coventry, John Hales Esquire, Anthony Stoughton Esquire, Thomas Boughton Esquire, William Colemore Esquire, George Abbott Esquire, and Thomas Barsnett, Alderman: and for the County of Stafford, and City and County of Lichfeild.
And all Colonels, Lieutenant Colonels, Serjeant Majors, and other Captains and Officers, and all other well-affected Persons, inhabiting within the said several Counties and Cities, and Parts adjacent, shall and may associate themselves, and mutually aid, succour, and assist one another, in the mutual Preservation and Defence of themselves, and the Peace of the said Cities and Counties, from all Rapines, Plunderings, and Spoilings of the said Papists and ill-affected Persons: And it is further Ordered, Ordained, and Declared, That the said Lords Lieutenants, Committees of Parliament, Colonels, Lieutenant Colonels, Serjeant Majors, Captains, and other officers, have Power and Authority to raise Forces of Horse and Foot, and to lead them into any Place which shall be fitting and convenient, and to give Battle and to fight with all such as are or shall be raised, to levy War against the Parliament, and all other Forces raised without Authority and Consent of both Houses of Parliament, that make any Insurrection, and plunder or destroy His Majesty's good subjects; and them to invade, resist, suppress, subdue, and pursue, kill, and slay, and put to Execution of Death, and by all Means to destroy, as Enemies to the Kingdom, and to perform all Things else needful for the Preservation of the Safety and Peace of the said Cities and Counties and Parts adjacent; observing from Time to Time such other Directions and Commands as they shall receive from both Houses of Parliament, or from the Earl of Essex Lord General; and that the said Persons and other the Inhabitants, for so doing, shall be saved and kept harmless, by the Power and Authority of Parliament: And the said Lords and Commons, taking into their serious consideration the Necessity of appointing a Commander-in-Chief over the Forces which are or shall be raised in the Cities and Counties aforesaid, or any of them, for the Service aforesaid, in regard that, by particular Commissions already granted to Persons in the said several Counties, there was no Power given to lead Forces out of their own Counties, it is Ordered and Ordained, That the Lord General the Earl of Essex shall be desired to grant a Commission to Robert Lord Brooke, to command in Chief, as General of all the Forces raised, or to be raised, in the said Cities and Counties, and Parts adjacent; and to have Power to lead, command, and carry the same, to such Places within the said Cities and Counties and Parts adjacent, as he shall think fit for the Defence thereof; and likewise Power to give the same Order and Instructions, in his said Excellency's Absence, for regulating the Soldiers, which are or shall be under his Command, as his said Excellency hath given to his Army, and to use Martial Law, to compel Obedience thereunto, as Occasion shall require; and also Power and Authority to make and appoint all Officers, for levying and conducting and leading the said Forces, as he shall think fit.