June 1645: An Ordinance enabling Commissioners to execute Martial Law upon all such persons as run away from their Colours.

Pages 715-716

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

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June, 1645.

[27 June, 1645.]

Whereas divers men who have been lately Levied and Imprested for Souldiers within the several Counties of Essex, Kent, Middlesex, Sussex, Surry, Suffolk, Norfolk, Hertford, Huntington, Isle of Ely, Cambridge, Bedford, and within the Cities of London, Westminster, Norwich and Canterbury for the Recruiting of the Army under the Command of Sir Thomas Fairfax, after such time as they have received prest money, daily run away and depart from their Colours, to the great prejudice of the publique service; And unless some timely course be taken therein, it may incourage others that are necessary to be imprested for the service of that Army to do the like; for the due punishment of such as have, or shall hereafter run away, being Imprested for that Army, and that Execution may be done within the several Counties and Cities before mentioned to the terror of all others.

Power to Committees to execute Martial Law on all deserters.; To administer Oaths.; To send Warrants or Witnesses or Delinquents.; Members of both Houses excepted.

It is Ordained, and be it Ordained by the Lords and Commons in this present Parliament assembled, that the respective Committees of the said Cities and Counties, or any twelve or more of them respectively, upon complaint made or notice given by any of their own Company, or by any others, of any persons that having been imprested to serve the Parliament, by vertue of and according to the Ordinance of Parliament in that behalf made, shall after his being so Imprested run away, the said Committees or any twelve or more of them respectively, shall have power, and are hereby authorized to examine, hear and determine the said Offences within the said Counties and Cities by two Witnesses upon Oath, to proceed to the condemnation and execution of all such person and persons as shall offend as aforesaid, and to inflict upon them such punishment, either by death or otherwise corporally, according to the Laws, Articles, and Ordinances of War now in force, by approbation of both Houses of Parliament, and according to such further Instructions as they shall receive from both Houses of Parliament, as the said respective Committees, or the Major part of them there present shall adjudge to appertain to Justice. And the said respective Committees, or any twelve or more of them, are hereby likewise authorized to minister corporal Oaths to all Witnesses, and them to examine upon Oath, either before, or at the Tryals, as the cases may require; And the said Commissioners, or any two or more of them, are hereby inabled to send their Warrants for any Delinquents, or Witnesses, the said Witnesses not being Peers of this Realm, nor Assistants nor Officers of the House of Peers, nor Members nor Officers of the House of Commons, into any place whatsoever, and commit to prison all such as shall be refractory or misbehave themselves: And the said respective Committees are hereby injoyned to proceed with all diligence in putting this Ordinance in execution.

Assistance.; Indemnity.

And it is hereby further Ordained, That all Mayors, Bayliffs, Sheriffs, Justices of Peace, and other inferior Officers whatsoever, shall be ayding and assisting to the said Committees in the execution of the premises; and that the said Commissioners and every of them, and all and every other person and persons that shall be ayding and assisting to them in the execution of the premises, shall be protected and for ever saved harmless by the authority and power of both Houses of Parliament.

Ord. to continue for 6 months.

And it is lastly provided, that this present Ordinance, and the authority hereby given, shall indure and have continuance for six moneths from the making hereof and no longer.