Statutes of the Realm: Volume 7, 1695-1701. Originally published by Great Britain Record Commission, s.l, 1820.
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No warlike or Naval Stores, except for the King's Use, to be made with the King's Marks, &c.
Whereas ( (fn. 1) ) divers good Laws made and enacted for the preventing of the stealing and imbezlement of His Majesties Stores of War and Naval Stores whose Frauds Thefts and Imbezlements are frequently practised and the convicting of such Offenders is rendred difficult and impracticable by reason it rarely happens that direct Proof can be made of such Offenders immediate taking imbezleing or carrying away any of His Majesties said Stores of War and Naval Stores out of or from His Majesties Store houses Docks Yards Shipps Ordnance or other Places for keeping and preserving the same but only that such Goods are marked with the Kings Mark and found in the Custody and Possession of the said Person accused for stealing or imbezleing the same to the great Incouragement of such wicked Offenders and to His Majesties and the Kingdoms great Damage For preventing such said Imbezlements for the future and for the more effectual Execution of the Laws and Statutes already in force against such Imbezlements and Thefts be it therefore enacted by the Kings most excellent Majesty by and with the Advice and Consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal and [the (fn. 2) ] Commons in Parliament assembled and by the Authority of the same That from and after the Four and twentieth Day of June One thousand six hundred ninety eight it shall not be lawful to or for any Person or Persons whatsoever other than Persons authorized by contracting with His Majesties principal Officers or Commissioners of the Navy Ordnance or Victualling Office for His Majesties use to make any Stores of War or Naval Stores whatever with the Marks usually used to and marked upon His Majesties said Warlike and Naval or Ordnance Stores (that is to say) any Cordage of Three Inches and upwards wrought with a White Thread laid the contrary way or any smaller Cordage (to wit) from Three Inches downwards with a Twine in lieu of a White Thread laid to the contrary way as aforesaid or any Canvis wrought or unwrought with a Blew Streak in the middle or any other Stores with the Broad Arrow by Stamp Brand or otherwise upon pain that every such Person or Persons who shall make such Goods so marked as aforesaid not being a Contractor with His Majesties principal Officers or Commissioners of the Navy Ordnance or Victuallers for His Majesties use or imployed by such Contractor for that Purpose as aforesaid shall for every such Offence forfeit such Goods and the Sum of Two hundred pounds together with Costs of Suit one Moiety whereof shall be to His Majesty and the other Moiety to the Informer to be recovered by Action of Debt Bill Plaint or Information in any of His Majesties Courts of Record at Westminster wherein no Essoign Priviledge Protection Wager of Law Injunction [or (fn. 3) ] Order of Restraint [nor (fn. 3) ] nor more than one Imparlance shall be allowed.
II. Having in Custody such marked Stores, &c.;
Penalty £200; unless Certificate, &c.
And be it further enacted by the Authority aforesaid That such Person or Persons in whose Custody Possession or keeping such Goods or Stores marked as aforesaid shall be found not being imployed as aforesaid and such Person or Persons who shall conceal such Goods or Stores marked as aforesaid being indicted and convicted of such Concealment or of the having such Goods found in his Custody Possession or keeping shall forfeit such Goods and the Sum of Two hundred pounds together with the Costs of Prosecution one Moiety to His Majesty and the other Moiety to the Informer to be recovered as aforesaid and shall also suffer Imprisonment until Payment and Performance of the said Forfeiture unless such Person shall upon his Trial produce a Certificate under the Hand of Three or more of His [Majesties (fn. 3) ] principal Officers [and (fn. 4) ] Commissioners of His Majesties Navy Ordnance or Victuallers expressing the Numbers Quantities or Weights of such Goods as he or she shall then be indicted for and the Occasion and Reason of such Goods coming to his or her her Hands or Possession.
III. Recital of Mischiefs arising from personating Seamen, or forging Letters of Attorney, Bills of Sale, &c.;
Penalty on such Offences.
And forasmuch as divers wicked Persons during the late War and since for Lucre and Gain have personated Seamen who have really served or are supposed to have served on board His Majesties Shipps and thereby have received divers Sums of His Majesties Money at the Pay Office or elsewhere of His Majesties Officers appointed for Payment of His Majesties Fleet and Ships in deceipt aswel of His Majestie as of the Persons who have really served on board any of His Majesties Ships and have also for such wicked Purposes forged and counterfeited divers Letters of Attorney or Bills of Sale Assignments or last Wills in the Name or Names of Persons who have really served or were supposed to have served on [on (fn. 5) ] board His Majesties said Shipps and have and do also procure dayly divers Men and Women to personate and divers wicked Persons do of their own accord personate the Wives Relations or Creditors of such Seamen who have or are supposed to have served on board [of (fn. 3) ] His Majesties Ships and thereby have falsly taken out Letters of Administration to such Seamen or Seamen having served or supposed to have served on board of His Majesties Ships or have forrged and counterfeited Letters of Attorney Bills of Sale or other Authorities in the Names of the Executors or Administrators of such Seamen for the Receipt of such Wages as were due or supposed to be due to such Seamen having served or supposed to have served as aforesaid For the prevention of which said wicked Practices for the future be it enacted That all and every such Person or Persons his her or their Aiders or Abetters that shall be convicted of the said Crimes and Offences committed from and after the said Four and twentieth Day of June shall for every such Offence over and and above the Penalties to be inflicted by any Laws now in force forfeit the Sum of Two hundred pounds together with the Costs of Prosecution one Moiety to His Majesty the other Moiety to the Informer to be recovered as aforesaid and shall also suffer Imprisonment until Payment of the said Forfeiture.
IV. Commissioners of the Navy, Ordnance, &c.; may sell and Buyer may hold any of the said Stores so marked, &c.;on producing Certificate of Commissioners.
Quantities to be expressed in Certificate.
Provided also and be it further enacted by the Authority aforesaid That the said principal Officers or Commissioners of the Navy Ordnance or Victualling Office for the time being may sell and dispose of any of the Stores aforesaid soe marked as aforesaid as they did or might have done before the making of this Act and that such Person or Persons as heretofore have or shall hereafter buy any such Stores or other Stores so marked as aforesaid of the said Principall Officers or Commissioners or by their order may keep and enjoy the same without incurring the Penalty of this Act or any Law to the contrary whatsoever upon produceing a Certificate or Certificates under the Hand and Seal of Three or more of the said Principal Officers or Commissioners of the Navy Ordinance or Victualling Office that they bought such Goods from them the said Principal Officers or Commissioners or [from (fn. 3) ] such Person or Persons as did buy the said Stores from the said Principal Officers or Commissioners at any time before such Stores were found in their Custody in which Certificate or Certificates the Quantities of such Stores shall be expressed and the time when and where bought of the said Commissioners or any Three or more of them for the time being are hereby impowred and directed from time to time to give such Person or Persons who shall desire the same and have bought and shall hereafter buy any of the aforesaid Stores within Thirty Days after the Sale and Delivery of the said Stores so sold or to be sold as aforesaid.
V. In Actions for executing Act,;
General Issue may be pleaded; Treble Costs.
And for the better Encouragement of such Persons who shall make Seizures or Discoveries of any such Stores imbezelled or stolen Be it enacted by the Authority aforesaid That in case any Person or Persons shall be sued or prosecuted for or by reason of their discovering or seizing any such Stores or Goods so marked as aforesaid that in every such Case such Person so sued or prosecuted may plead the General Issue and give this Act and the special Matter in Evidence and in case that upon the Tryal of such Issue the Defendants so sued shall make proof that such Goods or Stores so discovered or seized by them were so marked as aforesaid and that ( (fn. 6) ) Plaintiffs or Prosecutors in such Suit or Prosecution shall not at such Tryal make good proof that they were so imployed or had such Certificate as aforesaid before such Discovery and Seizure made and that they did shew the same unto such Defendants before such Suit or Prosecution commenced or brought such Defendant shall be acquitted and found not guilty thereupon unless such Defendants upon sight of such Certificate did not deliver back unto such-Plaintiffs or Prosecutors at their Request or otherwise all such Goods and Stores so seized in as good Plight and Condition as they were at the time of such Certificate shewn and in case any such Defendants shall be so or otherwise acquitted on such Tryal and that such Plaintiffs or Prosecutors shall discontinue such their Suit or Prosecution or be nonsuited therein such Defendants shall recover treble Costs.
Seaman's Will not to be written on the same Paper with a Letter of Attorney.
And whereas it is necessary that Seamen should appoint Attorneys who may receive their Pay in their absence but of late an evil Practice is introduced that in the Letters constituteing such Attorneys there is added a Clause purporting a Will made by such Seamen whereby they make their Attorneys their Executors and give their whole Estate or great part thereof the Seamen being ignorant of the Efficacy and Consequence of such a Clause whereby the Relations and Familys of such Seamen as are killed at Sea often suffer great loss For preventing such Inconveniency for the future be it enacted by the Authority aforesaid That from and after the said Four and twentieth Day of June no Will of any Seamen contained printed or written in the same Paper or Parchment with a Warrant or Letter of Attorney shall be good or available in Law to any intent or purpose whatsoever.
VII. Fee to Ecclesiastical Court, &c. for Letters of Administration of Seaman dying in the Navy.
Taking greater Fee,; Penalty.
Provided also and be it further enacted by the Authority aforesaid That no ecclesiastical Court or any Person or Persons whatsoever under any pretence do take or receive any more than the Sum of One shilling for the Seal writing or suing forth any Letters of Administration granted or hereafter to be granted to the Wife or Children of any Seaman whatsoever dying in the Pay of his Majesties Navy unless the Goods and Chattels of that Seaman do amount to the Sum of Twenty pounds and if any Officer or Officers shall presume to take any more than the Sum of One shilling the Person or Persons so offending shall forfeit to the Party grieved the Sum of Ten pounds to be recovered by Action of Debt Bill Plaint or Information in any of his Majesties Courts of Record or elsewhere.
VIII. King's Stores may be lent to any Ship in Distress; to be restored.
Borrower to have a Certificate.
Provided always and be it further enacted by the Authority aforesaid That nothing in this Act contained shall be construed to hinder any the Principal Officers and Commissioners of the Navy or any chief Commander of any of His Majesties Ships at Sea to lend any of His Majesties Stores to any Merchant Ship or Vessel in distress or otherwise as might lawfully be done before the making of this Act in case such Goods so lent be restored with all possible Conveniency and provided such Person or Persons so borrowing the said Stores from time to time have such Certificate as aforesaid which the said principal Officers and Commissioners of the Navy or Commander in Chief are hereby required to give to the Party or Parties that shall so borrow the same.