April 1645: An Ordinance giving power to the Commissioners of the Customs to search for prohibited goods.

Pages 667-669

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

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April, 1645

[14 April, 1645.]

Power to Customs Commissioners and others to search for prohibited goods.;And seize them.; All such seizures made by Commissioners' servants, etc., to be certified to them.; Fraudulent Composition forbidden.; Customs Commissioners may appoint Messengers.; Security, how to be taken.; Assistance.;Indemnity.; This Ord. to be printed and sent to Ports of Kingdom.

Whereas there are many and great abuses committed daily by the Importing into, and Exporting out of this Kingdom divers prohibited Goods and Merchandize, contrary to the Laws; And also for that there are divers Practices of late used by Merchants and others, to deceive His Majesty and the Parliament of such Customs and Duties as are due and payable for such Goods as are Imported and Exported as aforesaid: For prevention whereof for the future, It is Ordered by the Lords and Commons in Parliament, That Samuel Avery, Richard Bateman, Charls Lloyd, Christopher Pack and Walter Boothby, Merchants, who are by an Ordinance of both Houses of Parliament of the 21. of February last, appointed and constituted Commissioners and Collectors to receive all such sums of Money, which should at any time hereafter from the 25. day of February then present inclusive, be paid for Customs, or advanced by way of Loan or otherwise, for or in respect of Goods and Merchandizes Exported out of, or Imported into the Port of London, and all other Ports in the Realm of England, Dominion of Wales, and the Town of Berwick, in such maner as the duties of Tonnage and Poundage have been formerly received by the late Commissioners of the Customs; As also all deputy Collectors, Surveyors, Searchers, Waytors, and all other Officers, which are or shall be deputed and appointed by the said Commissioners under their Hands and Seals, as their Deputies, Factors or Servants, for the managing of the Affairs of the Customs, and receipt of the said Moneys paid and advanced as aforesaid, in the several Ports aforesaid, and their Members shall have full power and Authority to goe on Board, and enter into any Ship, Hoy, Barque, Bottom, Boat, or other Vessel whatsoever, as well by night as by day, riding, lying, or being within any the several Ports, Havens, Creeks, or other Places; As also in the day-time to go and enter into all or any Cellars, Vaults, Shops, Ware-houses, or other places within the said Kingdom of England, Dominion of Wales, and Town of Berwick, to see, survey, and make search for any such prohibited Goods or Merchandizes as aforesaid; And likewise any Goods or Merchandize either put on Board any Ship or Vessel, or taken out, or carried away, or intended to be carried away (the customs and other duties for the same having not been fully satisfied and paid) And the said Goods to seize, attach, carry away and put into safe Custody; And it is further Ordained by the Lords and Commons aforesaid, That upon all such Seizures made by any of the Collectors, Surveyors, Searchers, Waitors or other Officers, Deputies, Factors or Servants of the Commissioners aforesaid, or by the Kings Officers, or any other person or persons, Certificate shall be by them respectively forthwith thereof made unto the said Commissioners, And that no fraudulent composition shall be made by the said Officers, to the prejudice of the Kingdom, and the loss of the Customs, and other duties due and payable upon the said Goods and Merchandizes as aforesaid. And it is further Ordained by the Lords and Commons aforesaid, That the said Commissioners of the Customs shall have power from time to time to choose and depute a Messenger to attend their service, and him again at their pleasure to displace, and others to substitute, which Messengers by them so chosen, shall have power to Summon or Attach all or any such person or persons as shall be refractory or disobedient to the Laws or Ordinances made for the Parliament of Customs, or advance of Moneys, or that shall affront or abuse the said Commissioners, their Deputies, Factors or Servants in the execution of their several duties or services, And the person so offending to bring before the House of Commons or Committee of the Navy, to answer such their misdemeanors and miscarriages. And it is further Ordained, That such security as the Committee of the Navy, or the Commissioners of the Customs shall think fit to require of any person or persons for the better managing of the business aforesaid, shall be taken in the name of the Serjeant at Arms for the time being attending the House of Commons, to the use of the Common-wealth: And for better enabling them, the foresaid Commissioners, as also of their Deputies, Factors and Servants by them as aforesaid Authorized and appointed to transact and perform what is required of them in the Premises: It is further Ordained by the Lords and Commons aforesaid, and it is hereby required. That all Customs, Comptrollers, Searchers and all other His Majesties Officers, of or belonging to the Customs, in all the Ports and Places aforesaid, as also all and every the Officers of or belonging to the Admiralty, all Vice-Admirals, Captains of Ships and Forts, and all Justices of Peace, Mayors, Sheriffs, Bayliffs, Constables; and all other His Majesties Officers, Ministers and Subjects what soever, shall from time to time be Ayding and Assisting to the said Commissioners, and to all and every their Deputies, Factors and Servants by them as aforesaid deputed and appointed in the Execution of the said Service; And that all & every the said Commissioners, their Deputies, Factors & Servants, and all those who shall be Ayding and Assisting unto them, shall be defended and saved harmless by the Authority of both Houses of Parliament. And that this Ordinance shall be forthwith Printed and Published, and sent to several Ports of this Kingdom.