September 1652: An Act for calling home Seamen and Mariners and Inhibiting such to serve abroad without License.

Pages 612-614

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

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September, 1652

[9 September, 1652.]

Act 13 April 1650 recited.;Pardon and remission to Mariners for past defaults.; All Shipwrights and Mariners to return home, viz.; from France and Holland within ten weeks,; from the East Indies within two years, from the West Indies within twelve moneths;; upon pain of death.

Whereas by an Act of this present Parliament, passed in April One thousand six hundred and fifty, Entituled, An Act for preventing Injuries and Wrongs done to Merchants at Sea, in their persons, Ships or Goods, and prohibiting Mariners from serving under Forein Princes or States without License, It was (for the reasons therein set forth) Enacted, That all English Mariners and Sea-men that were then serving abroad in the Service of any Forein Prince or State, should within the space of four Moneths then next ensuing (and now past) withdraw themselves from such Forein service, and repair home to serve the Commonwealth of England according to their duty, under pain to be severely punished: And that if any English Mariners and Seamen should from and after the passing of the said recited Act, depart out of England, and enter into any Forein service (without special License first obtained) That every such offence should be punished with death, as by that Act more at large appeareth; which notwithstanding, divers English Mariners and Seamen do still continue abroad in such service, without repairing home to serve this Commonwealth as that Act requireth; and others have withdrawn without License, contrary to the Tenor of the same Act, whereby they have given just cause for a Criminal proceeding to be had against them. Nevertheless, the Parliament being unwilling to look severely upon such past defaults, inclining rather to extend Grace and Mercy to all such as shall yet come in and return to their duties, within the time hereafter limited and appointed by this Act, do hold forth favor and pardon, and do hereby grant full and absolute Pardon and Remission to all such English Mariners and Seamen, as having served in any such Forein service, shall within the time herein afterwards limited, come home and give up their names as is after mentioned. And be it Enacted and Ordained by this present Parliament, and by the authority of the same, That all Ship-wrights, Ship-carpenters, Mariners and Seamen belonging to this Commonwealth, serving abroad in any ship or ships, vessel or vessels belonging to any Forein Prince, State or Person, or which shall be imployed in building or repairing of any ship or vessel for any Forein Prince, State or person whatsoever, shall within the several spaces of time hereafter limited, withdraw from such service and make their personal repairs home; To wit, such as are in service of the French, or of the States General of the United Provinces, or any of the people thereof now within any of the same Provinces, or in the service of them, or any other Forein Prince, State or person, in any of the Ships or Fleets in the Narrow Seas, or in the Northern Seas, within Ten weeks next ensuing the Publication of this Act: And for such others as are serving in the East-Indies, that they and every of them shall repair home within Two years after such Publication; and for such as are serving in the West-Indies, or any other far distant and remote places, that they and every of them shall repair home within Twelve moneths after such Publication as aforesaid, and give notice of such their returning into their native Countrey, to the Governor or Chief Magistrate of the Port or place where they arrive; who is to Record the same in a Book, and to certifie the Tenor thereof to the Council of State, or Committee or Commissioners of the Navy or Admiralty for the time being, to the end care may be taken for their present Imployment when they shall make their addresses for the same; upon pain of all and every the Ship-wrights, Ship-carpenters, Mariners and Seamen offending in the premises, to be proceeded against, and adjudged to suffer the pains of death, and likewise to forfeit as in case of Felony.

Before whom the said offences shall be heard.

And it is Ordained and Enacted by the authority aforesaid, That the said offences and every of them shall be enquired on, and heard and determined by and before such discreet persons, as shall be appointed by the Lords Commissioners of the Great Seal of England for the time being, to be Commissioners by Commission of Oyer and Terminer, for the Tryal of such offenders: And the said Commissioners so to be appointed as aforesaid, shall have full power and authority by vertue of this Act, and are hereby enabled to enquire, hear and determine of the offences aforesaid, according to the Tenor and true meaning of this Act, and to put their Judgements in execution, and cause the same to be duly executed.

Impeachment for any offence against this Statute to be prosecuted within a year.; The offenders Oath to be admitted.

Provided always, and be it Enacted by the authority aforesaid, That none shall be Impeached for any offence against this Statute, unless the same Impeachment be prosecuted or begun within the year next after the return of such Offender into England; And that such person and persons as shall be Prosecuted or Tryed upon this Law, shall not onely be received and admitted to make any lawful proof he or they can by Witness or otherwise, for his or their discharge and defence in that behalf; but that also it shall be in the power of the said Commissioners, where they upon the hearing of the matter shall finde it just or meet in their discretion so to do, to admit the Oath of such person and persons so brought to trial for his or their excuse, by reason of remoteness of place, or invincible ignorance, or want of opportunity to come home, or what other matter shall be just.

Shipwrights or Seamen taken in service against this Commonwealth, liable to the severest penalties.

Provided also, and be it Declared and Enacted by the authority aforesaid, That nothing in this Act contained shall be interpreted to the excuse or extenuation of the Crimes and Offences of any Ship-wright, Ship-carpenter, Seaman, Mariner or other person belonging to this Commonwealth, who shall be taken in the service of any other State or person against this Commonwealth; but that they shall be lyable to the severest penalties of the Law in that behalf, as soon as they may be apprehended and brought forth to answer for such their demerits, Any thing herein specified to the contrary notwithstanding.

This Act to be published upon the Exchange.

And to the end due notice may be taken of this Act, for the better observance of the same by all persons therein concerned, It is lastly Enacted and Ordained by the authority aforesaid, That this Act be duly published upon the Exchange London, three several days at the time of the concourse of Merchants there, by the Serjeant at Arms attending the Parliament; which is and shall be construed to be the Publication intended and formerly expressed in this Act: And nevertheless, it is left to the Council of State to cause such further Publication to be thereof made in Maritine Towns or otherwise, as they shall judge fit and expedient.