Acts and Ordinances of the Interregnum, 1642-1660. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1911.
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[21 May, 1647.]
Persons who have acted by authority of Parliament, or for the service thereof, ought not to be sued.
The Lords and Commons taking notice, That divers well-affected persons have been sued, indicted, prosecuted, or molested, and others are likely to be sued, indicted, prosecuted, or molested for such acts and things which they have acted and done by authority of this present Parliament, or for the services and benefit thereof during these late Wars and Troubles, do hereby Ordain and Declare, and be it by authority of Parl. Ordained and Declared, that no person or persons whatsoever, who have since the beginning of this present Parl. acted or done, or commanded to be acted or done any act or thing whatsoever by authority of this present Parl. or for the service or benefit thereof, by Sea or by Land, ought to be sued, indicted, prosecuted or molested for the same; and that every such person or persons whatsoever, are and shall be hereby fully acquitted and discharged of all Actions Suits, Indictments, Informations, Prosecutions, Judgements, Executions, and Molestations whatsoever, for or concerning the same; And all Judges, Justices, Sheriffs, Mayors, Bayliffs, Jurors, Officers, and Ministers of Justice whatsoever, are hereby required to take notice thereof, and duly to observe the same.
General issue.; Treble costs.
And for the ease of all such persons who are or shall be sued indicted, prosecuted, or molested for any such Act or thing as is aforesaid, it is hereby Declared and Ordained, That in every Action, Suit, Indictment, Information, or Prosecution whatsoever, wherein or whereby they shall be so sued, indicted, prosecuted, or molested as is aforesaid, contrary to this Ordinance, It shall be lawfull to and for all persons aforesaid, their Heirs, Executors, Administrators and Assignes, to plead the general issue, that they are not guilty, or any other general issue, as the case shall require, and shall and may give in evidence to the Jury that shall try the same, that the matter in question was an act or thing acted or done, or commanded to be acted or done by authority of this present Parliament, or for the service and benefit thereof; which evidence being proved, shall be admitted and allowed by the respective Judges, Judge, or Justice, or Justices, and Jury before whom it shall be tried, as sufficient to maintain the said general issue: And if the verdict shall pass with the Defendant or Defendants in any Action, Bill, Plaint, or Suit, as is aforesaid, or the Plaintiff or Plaintiffs shall be non-suit therein, or suffer any discontinuance thereof, the respective Judges or Justices shall award unto the said Defendant or Defendants treble costs, for which the said Defendant or Defendants shall have the like remedy, as in the like cases they ought to have by the Lawes of this Realm: And what any Judges, Justices, Sheriffs, Mayors, Bayliffs, Jurors, Officers and Ministers of Justice shall do according to this Ordinance, or in pursuance thereof, they shall be justified and saved harmless by authority of Parliament for and concerning the same.
And because such persons who have acted or commanded to be acted or done any such act or thing, as is aforesaid, may be poor, and not able to defend a Suit at common Law, or may finde themselves aggrieved in the proceedings thereof: Now for a further and certain relief of all such persons, it is hereby Ordained and Declared by the authority aforesaid, That any such persons so sued, indicted, prosecuted, or molested, as is aforesaid, may at any time hereafter, when and as often as they shall be sued, indicted, prosecuted or molested for any such Act or thing, as is aforesaid, either before or after a tryal at the common Law, make their complaint to
Committee to receive complaints from persons sued.
Algernon Earl of Northumberland, Henry Earl of Kent, John Earl of Rutland, Philip Earl of Pembroke and Montgomery, Theophilus Earl of Lincoln, Charles Earl of Nottingham, James Earl of Suffolk, William Earl of Salisbury, Robert Earl of Warwick, Bazil Earl of Denbigh, James Earl of Middlesex, Edward Earl of Manchester, Edmund Earl of Mulgrave, Henry Earl of Stamford, Walter Lord Viscount Hereford, William Lord Viscount Say and Seal, Charls Lord de-la-War, George Lord Berkley, Philip Lord Wharton, Francis Lord Willoughby, Dudley Lord North, John Lord Hunsdon, William Lord Grey of Wark, John Lord Robartes, Edward Lord Howard of Escrig, Thomas Lord Bruce, Members of the House of Peers;
Mr. Holles, Colonel Birch, Mr. Swynfen, Mr. Maynard, Mr. Bois, Colonel Purefoy, Colonel Harvey, Mr. Recorder, Mr. Solicitor, Sir Philip Stapleton, Colonel Morley, Sir William Allenson, Colonel Massey, Mr. Whitlock, Sir Gilbert Gerrard, Sir William Waller. Mr. Edwards, Mr. Challener, Lieutenant General Cromwel, Mr. Tate, Sir William Massam, Sir Samuel Luke, Mr. Lisle, Field Marshal Skippon, Mr. Francis Allen, Colonel Walton, Mr. Rigby, Sir John Maynard, Mr. Selden, Mr. Got, Sir William Brereton, Mr. Grimston, Mr. Darley, Mr. Dove, Sir John Bampfield, Lord Monson, Sir Michael Livesey, Sir Thomas Widdrington, Sir Arthur Hasilrig, Mr. Bainton, Mr. Nicholas, Mr. Weaver, Mr. Nathaniel Fiennes, Colonel Rainsborough, Major Harrison, Mr. Walter Long, Mr. Hallowes, Mr. Miles Corbet, Colonel Tompson, Mr. Drake, Sir Thomas Middleton, Mr. William Peirpoint, Members of the House of Commons, or any five of them, who are hereby constituted a Committee of Parliament, for the relief of all such persons, in such cases as is aforesaid.
Powers.; Their Order shall be obeyed.
And the said Committee, or any five of them, are hereby authorized and required to receive, hear, and determine such aforesaid Complaints; and to that end to examine witnesses upon Oath; and to commit to safe custody, (if they shall see cause) all such person or persons, who shall so sue, indict, prosecute, or molest any person or persons whatsoever, for acting, or doing any such act or thing, as is aforesaid; And also to order and award to every such person or persons so sued, indicted, prosecuted, or molested, treble so much as they shall make appear to the said Committee, that they have been damnified by any such suit, indictment, prosecution, or molestation, as is aforesaid, if they have not before recovered the same by the proceedings at Common Law according to this Ordinance. And that when the said Committee, or any five of them, shall have made any order or award, in such aforesaid cases respectively, that the said person or persons ought not to be sued, indicted, prosecuted, or molested, for such act or thing respectively, then upon shewing the said order or award to the Solicitors, Atturnies, or Counsellors of the party or parties so suing, indicting, prosecuting, molesting, as is aforesaid, the said Solicitors, Atturnies, and Counsellors, shall presently forbear to prosecute, or assist, counsel, or advise the said party or parties to sue, indict, or prosecute any further, for such act or thing respectively: And that if thereupon, they shall not forbear, so to do, the said Committee, or any five of them, are hereby authorized and required to commit to safe custody any such Solicitors, Atturnies, or Counsellors, so offending, as is aforesaid, if they shall see cause.
This shall not discharge any person from making his accompts.
Provided alwaies that this Ordinance, nor any thing herein contained, shall not extend to discharge any such person or persons aforesaid, who have acted, or done, or commanded to be acted or done, any act or thing by authority of this present Parliament, or for the service or benefit thereof, from making their true and just Accompts to any Commissioners or Committee of Parliament, appointed or to be appointed for that purpose, of what they have taken, received, or had, for the service and benefit of the Parliament, as is aforesaid.