Acts and Ordinances of the Interregnum, 1642-1660. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1911.
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[3 February, 1642/3.]
Whereas it hath beene thought fit by both Houses of Parliament to appoint great Fleets this yeare, to be prepared for service with all possible expedition for the guarding the narrow Seas, and preservation of Trade, and for the necessary defence of this Kingdome, and other His Majesties Dominions, which at this time is of more necessity than ever, considering not only the home-bred distractions of this Kingdome and of Ireland, but the great preparations which are marching already in forraigne parts in aide and incouragement of the Papists, and ill-affected party amongst ourselves, now up in Armes against the Parliament: And whereas the said Fleets now in preparation to be set forth cannot timely enough be expedited unlesse the same be furnished with fit, and sufficient men for that service.
Committees of the Admiralty empowered to press Sailors, Watermen and others.; Conduct Money.; Wages and Board.; Additional Wages to those that have served at Sea.; All refusing or avoiding this Service to be imprisoned.; Corrupt Practices forbidden.; Masters, Gunners, etc., of Ships in employment not to be pressed.
Be it therefore Ordained by the Lords and Commons in this present Parliament Assembled, that the Committees of the Admiralty appointed by both Houses, or any three of them shall, and may, at any time or times, between the first of February 1642 to the last of December next comming by themselves, their Commissioner, or Commissioners, or their Officer, or Officers, or any of them shall rayse, leavy and impresse such, and so many Mariners, Saylors, Watermen, Chirurgions, Gunners, Cawkers, Ship-Carpinters and Whoymen, as also Carmen for the said carriage of Victualls as shall be requisite, and necessary for this present expedition, or for any such further defence of this Realme, or any other of His Majesties Dominions, which said Mariners, Saylors, and other such persons so to be levied, and impressed as aforesaid, and every of them shall have payed and delivered unto him upon such his impressing by the person that shall so impresse him, for conduct-money for every mile from the place where he shall be so impressed, to the Ship or place where he shall be appointed to make his repaire, the sum of one penny, and the like sum of one penny for every mile from the place of his discharge unto the place of his aboade, and shall be allowed for this service, the best wages and intertainment which have, or hath beene allowed by his Majesty to any such person or persons respectively at any time within three yeares last past; And to the end that the common sea-men may be the better encouraged with alacrity and cheerfullnesse to undertake this service; Be it further ordained that an addition of wages be allowed, from 15s. per Mensem unto 19s. per mensem to every common Seaman, as also unto such Water-men as have beene already at Sea, in His Majesties Ships or others, and can doe their labors as Sea-men, and not otherwise; And if any Marinor, Saylor, Water-man, Chirurgeon, Gunner, Ship-carpenter, Cauker, Wheyman, or Carman, shall wilfully refuse to be impressed in or for the said service or shall voluntarily, hide and absent himselfe at the time of such presse to avoid the said service, or receaving his said conduct-monies doe not appeare at such places and times as by his Ticket he is appointed, That then any such person so offending shall suffer imprisonment by the space of three moneths without bayle or main-prise; Provided alleayes, and be it Ordained that no Money, or other reward shall be taken, or any corrupt practice used by any the persons authorized by this Ordinance, in or for the pressing, changing, spairing or discharging of any person or persons to be impressed as aforesaid, as they will answer such offence in Parliament; And all deputy Lieutenants, Maiors, Bayliffs, Constables and all other inferior Officers, are hereby required and injoyned to be Aiding and Assisting, from time to time, the persons Authorized by this Ordinance, according to the true intent and meaning thereof. Provided, allwayes that this Ordinance shall not extend, to the pressing of any Master or Master's-mate, Gunner, Carpenter, or Boateswaine of any Ship or Vessell that is or shall be in imployment.