(1648/9, February 13, 14. Cobbett's Parliamentary History, iii. 1288. Gardiner 381-383.)
BE it ordained and enacted by this present Parliament that Basil, Earl of Denbigh, Edmund, Earl of Mulgrave [* * * 41 names in all], or any nine of them, shall be a Council of State, and have hereby power, and are authorised to put in execution the following instructions.
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(1648/9, March 17. Scobell, ii. 7. Gardiner 384-387.)
WHEREAS Charles Stuart, late King of England, Ireland, and the territories and dominions thereunto belonging, hath by authority derived from Parliament been and is hereby declared to be justly condemned, adjudged to die, and put to death, for many treasons, murders, and other heinous offences committed by him, by which judgment he stood, and is hereby declared to be, attainted of high treason, whereby his issue and posterity, and all others pretending title under him, are become incapable of the said Crown, or of being King or Queen of the said kingdom or dominions, or either or any of them; be it therefore enacted and ordained, and it is enacted, ordained, and declared by this present Parliament, and by authority thereof, that all the people of England and Ireland, and the dominions and territories thereunto belonging, of what degree or condition soever, are discharged of all fealty, homage, and allegiance which is or shall be pretended to be due unto any of the issue and posterity of the said late King, or any claiming under him; and that Charles Stuart, eldest son, and James, called Duke of York, second son, and all other the issue and posterity of him the said late King, and all and every person and persons pretending title from, by, or under him, are and be disabled to hold or enjoy the said Crown of England and Ireland, and other the dominions thereunto belonging, or any of them; or to have the name, title, style, or dignity of King or Queen of England and Ireland, Prince of Wales, or any of them; or to have and enjoy the power and dominion of the said kingdom and dominions, or any of them, or the honours, manors, lands, tenements, possessions, and hereditaments belonging or appertaining to the said Crown of England and Ireland, and other the dominions aforesaid, or to any of them; or to the Principality of Wales, Duchy of Lancaster or Cornwall, or any or either of them, any law, statute, ordinance, usage, or custom to the contrary hereof in any wise notwithstanding.
II. And whereas it is and hath been found by experience, that the office of a King in this nation and Ireland, and to have the power thereof in any single person, is unnecessary, burdensome, and dangerous to the liberty, safety, and public interest of the people, and that for the most part, use hath been made of the regal power and prerogative to oppress and impoverish and enslave the subject; and that usually and naturally any one person in such power makes it his interest to encroach upon the just freedom and liberty of the people, and to promote the setting up of their own will and power above the laws, that so they might enslave these kingdoms to their own lust; be it therefore enacted and ordained by this present Parliament, and by authority of the same, that the office of a King in this nation shall not henceforth reside in or be exercised by any one single person; and that no one person whatsoever shall or may have, or hold the office, style, dignity, power, or authority of King of the said kingdoms and dominions, or any of them, or of the Prince of Wales, any law, statute, usage, or custom to the contrary thereof in any wise notwithstanding.
III. And it is hereby enacted, that if any person or persons shall endeavour to attempt by force of arms or otherwise, or be aiding, assisting, comforting, or abetting unto any person or persons that shall by any ways or means whatsoever endeavour or attempt the reviving or setting up again of any pretended right of the said Charles, eldest son to the said late King, James called Duke of York, or of any other the issue and posterity of the said late King, or of any person or persons claiming under him or them, to the said regal office, style, dignity, or authority, or to be Prince of Wales; or the promoting of any one person whatsoever to the name, style, dignity, power, prerogative, or authority of King of England and Ireland, and dominions aforesaid, or any of them; that then every such offence shall be deemed and adjudged high treason, and the offenders therein, their counsellors, procurers, aiders and abettors, being convicted of the said offence, or any of them, shall be deemed and adjudged traitors against the Parliament and people of England, and shall suffer, lose, and forfeit, and have such like and the same pains, forfeitures, judgments, and execution as is used in case of high treason.
IV. And whereas by the abolition of the kingly office provided for in this Act, a most happy way is made for this nation (if God see it good) to return to its just and ancient right, of being governed by its own Representatives or national meetings in council, from time to time chosen and entrusted for that purpose by the people, it is therefore resolved and declared by the Commons assembled in Parliament, that they will put a period to the sitting of this present Parliament, and dissolve the same so soon, as may possibly stand with the safety of the people that hath betrusted them, and with what is absolutely necessary for the preserving and upholding the Government now settled in the way of a Commonwealth; and that they will carefully provide for the certain choosing, meeting, and sitting of the next and future Representatives, with such other circumstances of freedom in choice and equality in distribution of members to be elected thereunto, as shall most conduce to the lasting freedom and good of this Commonwealth.
V. And it is hereby further enacted and declared, notwithstanding anything contained in this Act, no person or persons of what condition and quality soever, within the commonwealth of England and Ireland, dominion of Wales, the islands of Guernsey and Jersey, and town of Berwick-upon-Tweed, shall be discharged from the obedience and subjection which he and they owe to the Government of this nation, as it is now declared, but all and every of them shall in all things render and perform the same, as of right is due unto the supreme authority hereby declared to reside in this and the successive Representatives of the people of this nation, and in them only.
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(1648/9, March 19. Scobell ii. 8. Gardiner 387, 388)
THE Commons of England assembled in Parliament, finding by too long experience that the House of Lords is useless and dangerous to the people of England to be continued, have thought fit to ordain and enact, and be it ordained and enacted by this present Parliament, and by the authority of the same, that from henceforth the House of Lords in Parliament shall be and is hereby wholly abolished and taken away; and that the Lords shall not from henceforth meet or sit in the said House called the Lords’ House, or in any other house or place whatsoever, as a House of Lords; nor shall sit, vote, advise, adjudge, or determine of any matter or thing whatsoever, as a House of Lords in Parliament: nevertheless it is hereby declared, that neither such Lords as have demeaned themselves with honour, courage, and fidelity to the Commonwealth, nor their posterities who shall continue so, shall be excluded from the public councils of the nation, but shall be admitted thereunto, and have their free vote in Parliament, if they shall be thereunto elected, as other persons of interest elected and qualified thereunto ought to have.
II. And be it further ordained and enacted by the authority aforesaid, that no Peer of this land, not being elected, qualified and sitting in Parliament as aforesaid, shall claim, have, or make use of any privilege of Parliament, either in relation to his person, quality, or estate, any law, usage, or custom to the contrary notwithstanding.
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(1649, May 19. Scobell ii. 30. Gardiner 388)
BE it declared and enacted by this present Parliament, and by the authority of the same, that the people of England, and of all the dominions and territories thereunto belonging, are and shall be, and are hereby constituted, made, established, and confirmed, to be a Commonwealth and Free State, and shall from henceforth be governed as a Commonwealth and Free State by the supreme authority of this nation, the representatives of the people in Parliament, and by such as they shall appoint and constitute as officers and ministers under them for the good of the people, and that without any King or House of Lords.
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(1650, July 17. Scobell ii. 65. Gardiner 388-391.)
[The ‘Keepers of the liberties of England’, mentioned in this Act, seem never to have been constituted.]
WHEREAS the Parliament hath abolished the kingly office in England and Ireland, and in the dominions and territories thereunto belonging; and having resolved and declared, that the people shall for the future be governed by its own Representatives or national meetings in Council, chosen and entrusted by them for that purpose, hath settled the Government in the way of a Commonwealth and Free State, without King or House of Lords; be it enacted by this present Parliament, and by the authority of the same, that if any person shall maliciously or advisedly publish, by writing, printing, or openly declaring, that the said Government is tyrannical, usurped, or unlawful; or that the Commons in Parliament assembled are not the supreme authority of this nation; or shall plot, contrive, or endeavour to stir up, or raise force against the present Government, or for the subversion or alteration of the same, and shall declare the same by any open deed, that then every such offence shall be taken, deemed, and adjudged by authority of this Parliament to be high treason.
II. And whereas the Keepers of the liberty of England, and the Council of State, constituted, and to be from time to time constituted, by authority of Parliament, are to be under the said representatives in Parliament entrusted for the maintenance of the said Government with several powers and authorities limited, given, and appointed unto them by the Parliament: be it likewise enacted by the authority aforesaid, that if any person shall maliciously and advisedly plot or endeavour the subversion of the said Keepers of the liberty of England, or the Council of State, and the same shall declare by any open deed, or shall move any person or persons for the doing thereof, or stir up the people to rise against them, or either of them, their or either of their authorities, that then every such offence and offences shall be taken, deemed, and declared to be high treason.
III. And whereas the Parliament, for their just and lawful defence, hath raised and levied the army and forces now under the command of Thomas, Lord Fairfax, and are at present necessitated, by reason of the manifold distractions within this Commonwealth, and invasions threatened from abroad, to continue the same, which under God must be the instrumental means of preserving the well-affected people of this nation in peace and safety; be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, that if any person, not being an officer, soldier, or member of the army, shall plot, contrive, or endeavour to stir up any mutiny in the said army, or withdraw any soldiers or officers from their obedience to their superior officers, or from the present Government as aforesaid; or shall procure, invite, aid, or assist any foreigners or strangers to invade England or Ireland; or shall adhere to any forces raised by the enemies of the Parliament or Commonwealth, or Keepers of the liberty of England; or if any person shall counterfeit the Great Seal of England, for the time being, used and appointed by authority of Parliament; that then every such offence and offences shall be taken, deemed, and declared by authority of this Parliament to be high treason, and every such persons shall suffer pains of death; and also forfeit unto the Keepers of the liberty of England, to and for the use of the Commonwealth, all and singular his and their lands, tenements and hereditaments, goods and chattels, as in case of high treason hath been used by the laws and statutes of this land to be forfeit and lost.
IV. Provided always, that no persons shall be indicted and arraigned for any of the offences mentioned in this Act, unless such offenders shall be indicted and prosecuted for the same within one year after the offence committed.
V. And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, that if any person shall counterfeit the money of this Commonwealth, or shall bring any false money into this land, counterfeit or other, like to the money of this Commonwealth, knowing the money be false, to merchandise or make payment, in deceit of the people of this nation; or if any person shall hereafter falsely forge and counterfeit any such kind of coin of gold or silver, as is not the proper coin of this Commonwealth, and is or shall be current within this nation, by consent of the Parliament, or such as shall be by them authorised thereunto; or shall bring from the parts beyond the seas into this Commonwealth, or into any the dominions of the same, any such false and counterfeit coin of money, being current within the same, as is above said, knowing the same money to be false and counterfeit, to the intent to utter or make payment with the same within this Commonwealth, by merchandise or otherwise, or if any person shall impair, diminish, falsify, clip, wash, round or file, scale or lighten, for wicked lucre or gain's sake, any the proper monies or coins of this Commonwealth, or the dominions thereof, or of the monies or coins of any other realm, allowed and suffered to be current within this Commonwealth, or the dominions thereof, that then all and every such offences above-mentioned. shall be and are hereby deemed and adjudged high treason, and the offenders therein, their counsellors, procurers, aiders and abettors, being convicted according to the laws of this nation of any of the said offences, shall be deemed and adjudged traitors against this Commonwealth, and shall suffer and have such pains of death and forfeitures, as in case of high treason is used and ordained.
VI. Provided always, and be it enacted by the authority aforesaid, that this Act touching the monies and coins aforesaid, or anything contained, nor any attainder of any person for the same, shall in any wise extend or be judged to make any corruption of blood to any the heir or heirs of any such offender, or to make the wife of any such offender to lose or forfeit her dower of or in any lands, tenements, or hereditaments, or her title, action, or interest in the same.
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(1653, April 22. Cobbett’s Parliamentary History, iii. 1386. Gardiner, 400-404.)
OUR intention is not to give an account, at this time, of the grounds which first moved us to take up arms, and engage our lives and all that was dear unto us in this cause; nor to mind, in this declaration, the various dispensations through which Divine Providence hath led us, or the witness the Lord hath borne, and the many signal testimonies of acceptance which He hath given, to the sincere endeavours of His unworthy servants, whilst they were contesting with the many and great difficulties, as well in the wars, as other transactions in the three nations; being necessitated, for the defence of the same cause they first asserted, to have recourse unto extraordinary actions, the same being evident by former declarations published on that behalf.
After it had pleased God not only to reduce Ireland and give in Scotland, but so marvellously to appear for His people at Worcester, that these nations were reduced to a great degree of peace, and England to perfect quiet, and thereby the Parliament had opportunity to give the people the harvest of all their labour, blood, and treasure, and to settle a due liberty both in reference to civil and spiritual things, whereunto they were obliged by their duty, their engagements, as also the great and wonderful things which God hath wrought for them; it was matter of much grief to the good and well-affected of the land to observe the little progress which was made therein, who thereupon applied to the army, expecting redress by their means; notwithstanding which, the army being unwilling to meddle with the civil authority in matters so properly appertaining to it, it was agreed, that his Excellency and officers of the army which were members of Parliament, should be desired to move the Parliament to proceed vigorously in reforming what was amiss in government, and to the settling of the Commonwealth upon a foundation of justice and righteousness; which having done, we hoped that the Parliament would seasonably have answered our expectation: but finding, to our grief, delays therein, we renewed our desires in an humble petition to them, which was presented in August last; and although they at that time, signifying their good acceptance thereof returned us thanks and referred the particulars thereof to a Committee of the House, yet no considerable effect was produced, nor any such progress made, as might imply their real intentions to accomplish what was petitioned for: but, on the contrary, there more and more appeared amongst them an aversion to the things themselves, with much bitterness and opposition to the people of God, and His spirit acting in them; which grew so prevalent, that those persons of honour and integrity amongst them, who had eminently appeared for God and the public good, both before and throughout this war, were rendered of no further use in Parliament, than by meeting with a corrupt party to give them countenance to carry on their ends, and for effecting the desire they had of perpetuating themselves in the supreme government, for which purpose the said party long opposed, and frequently declared themselves against having a new Representative: and when they saw themselves necessitated to take that Bill into consideration, they resolved to make use of it to recruit the House with persons of the same spirit and temper, thereby to perpetuate their own sitting; which intention divers of the activest amongst them did manifest, labouring to persuade others to a consent therein: and the better to effect this, divers petitions, preparing from several counties for the continuance of this Parliament, were encouraged, if not set on foot, by many of them.
For obviating of these evils, the officers of the Army obtained several meetings with some of the Parliament, to consider what fitting means and remedy might be applied to prevent the same: but such endeavours proving altogether ineffectual, it became most evident to the Army, as they doubt not it also is to all considering persons, that this Parliament, through the corruption of some, the jealousy of others, the non-attendance and negligence of many, would never answer those ends which God, His people, and the whole nation expected from them; but that this cause, which the Lord hath so greatly blessed and borne witness to, must needs languish under their hands, and, by degrees, be wholly lost; and the lives, liberties, and comforts of His people delivered into their enemies’ hands.
All which being sadly and seriously considered by the honest people of this nation, as well as by the Army, and wisdom and direction being sought from the Lord, it seemed to be a duty incumbent upon us, who had seen so much of the power and presence of God going along with us, to consider of some more effectual means to secure the cause which the good people of this Commonwealth had been so long engaged in, and to establish righteousness and peace in these nations.
And after much debate it was judged necessary, and agreed upon, that the supreme authority should be, by the Parliament, devolved upon known persons, men fearing God, and of approved integrity; and the government of the Commonwealth committed unto them for a time, as the most hopeful way to encourage and countenance all God’s people, reform the law, and administer justice impartially; hoping thereby the people might forget Monarchy, and, understanding their true interest in the election of successive Parliaments, may have the government settled upon a true basis, without hazard to this glorious cause, or necessitating to keep up armies for the defence of the same. And being still resolved to use all means possible to avoid extraordinary courses, we prevailed with about twenty members of Parliament to give us a conference, with whom we freely and plainly debated the necessity and justness of our proposals on that behalf. and did evidence that those, and not the Act under their consideration, would most probably bring forth something answerable to that work, the foundation whereof God Himself hath laid, and is now carrying on in the world.
The which, notwithstanding, found no acceptance; but, instead thereof, it was offered, that the way was to continue still this present Parliament, as being that from which we might reasonably expect all good things: and this being vehemently insisted upon, did much confirm us in our apprehensions, that not any love to a Representative, but the making use thereof to recruit, and so perpetuate themselves, was their aim.
They being plainly dealt with about this, and told that neither the nation, the honest interest, nor we ourselves would be deluded by such dealings, they did agree to meet again the next day in the afternoon for mutual satisfaction; it being consented unto by the members present that endeavours should be used that nothing in the mean time should be done in Parliament that might exclude or frustrate the proposals before mentioned.
Notwithstanding this, the next morning the Parliament did make more haste than usual in carrying on their said Act, being helped on therein by some of the persons engaged to us the night before; none of them which were then present endeavouring to oppose the same; and being ready to put the main question for consummating the said Act, whereby our aforesaid proposals would have been rendered void, and the way of bringing them into a fair and full debate in Parliament obstructed; for preventing thereof, and all the sad and evil Consequences which must, upon the grounds aforesaid, have ensued; and whereby, at one blow, the interest of all honest men and of this glorious Cause had been in danger to be laid in the dust, and these nations embroiled in new troubles, at a time when our enemies abroad are watching all advantages against us, and some of them actually engaged in war with us, we have been necessitated, though with much reluctancy, to put an end to this Parliament; which yet we have done, we hope, out of an honest heart, preferring this cause above our names, lives, families, or interests, how dear soever; with clear intentions and real purposes of heart, to call to the government persons of approved fidelity and honesty; believing that as no wise men will expect to gather grapes of thorns, so good men will hope, that if persons so qualified be chosen, the fruits of a just and righteous reformation, so long prayed and wished for, will, by the blessing of God, be in due time obtained, to the refreshing of all those good hearts who have been panting after those things.
Much more might have been said, if it had been our desire to justify ourselves by aspersing others, and raking into the misgovernment of affairs; but we shall conclude with this, that as we have been led by necessity and Providence to act as we have done, even beyond and above our own thoughts and desires, so we shall and do, in that part of this great work which is behind, put ourselves wholly upon the Lord for a blessing; professing, we look not to stand one day without His support, much less to bring to pass any of the things mentioned and desired, without His assistance; and therefore do solemnly desire and expect that all men, as they would not provoke the Lord to their own destruction, should wait for such issue as He should bring forth, and to follow their business with peaceable spirits, wherein we promise them protection by His assistance.
And for those who profess their fear and love to the name of God, that seeing in a great measure for their sakes, and for righteousness’ sake, we have taken our lives in our hands to do these things, they would be instant with the Lord day and night on our behalfs, that we may obtain grace from Him; and seeing we have made so often mention of His name, that we may not do the least dishonour thereunto: which indeed would be our confusion, and a stain to the whole profession of Godliness.
We beseech them also to live in all humility, meekness, righteousness, and love one toward another, and towards all men, that so they may put to silence the ignorance of the foolish, who falsely accuse them, and to know that the late great and glorious dispensations, wherein the Lord hath so wonderfully appeared in bringing forth these things by the travail and blood of His children, ought to oblige them so to walk in the wisdom and love of Christ, as may cause others to honour their holy profession, because they see Christ to be in them of a truth.
We do further purpose, before it be long, more particularly to show the grounds of our proceedings, and the reasons of this late great action and change, which in this we have but hinted at.
And we do lastly declare, that all Judges, Sheriffs, Justices of the Peace, Mayors, Bailiffs, Committees, and Commissioners, and all other civil officers and public ministers whatsoever, within this Commonwealth, or any parts thereof, do proceed in their respective places and offices; and all persons whatsoever are to give obedience to them as fully as when Parliament was sitting.
Signed in the name, and by the appointment, of his Excellency the Lord General and his Council of Officers.
WILL. MALYN, Secretary.
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(1653, December 16. Cobbett’s Parliamentary History, iii. 1417. The whole reprinted in Gardiner, 405-417.)
THE government of the Commonwealth of England, Scotland, and Ireland, and the dominions thereunto belonging:
I. That the supreme legislative authority of the Commonwealth of England, Scotland, and Ireland, and the dominions thereunto belonging, shall be and reside in one person, and the people assembled in Parliament; the style of which person shall be the Lord Protector of the Commonwealth of England, Scotland, and Ireland.
II. That the exercise of the chief magistracy and the administration of the government over the said countries and the dominions, and the people thereof, shall he in the Lord Protector, assisted with a council, the number whereof shall not exceed twenty-one, nor be less than thirteen.
III. That all writs, processes, commissions, patents, grants, and other things, which now run in the name and style of the Keepers of the liberty of England by authority of Parliament, shall run in the name and style of the Lord Protector, from whom, for the future, shall be derived all magistracy and honours in these three nations; and have the power of pardons (except in case of murders and treason) and benefit of all forfeitures for the public use; and shall govern the said countries and dominions in all things by the advice of the council, and according to these presents and the laws.
IV. That the Lord Protector, the Parliament sitting, shall dispose and order the militia and forces, both by sea and land, for the peace and good of the three nations, by consent of Parliament; and that the Lord protector, with the advice and consent of the major part of the council, shall dispose and order the militia for the ends aforesaid in the intervals of Parliament.
V. That the Lord Protector, by the advice aforesaid, shall direct in all things concerning the keeping and holding of a good correspondency with foreign kings, princes, and states; and also, with the consent of the major part of the council, have the power of war and peace.
VI. That the laws shall not be altered, suspended, abrogated, or repealed, nor any new law made, nor any tax, charge, or imposition laid upon the people, but by common consent in Parliament, save only as is expressed in the thirtieth article.
VII. That there shall be a Parliament summoned to meet at Westminster upon the third day of September, 1654, and that successively a Parliament shall be summoned once in every third year, to be accounted from the dissolution of the present Parliament.
VIII. That neither the Parliament to be next summoned, nor any successive Parliaments, shall, during the time of five months, to be accounted from the day of their first meeting, be adjourned, prorogued, or dissolved, without their own consent.
IX. That as well the next as all other successive Parliaments, shall be summoned and elected in manner hereafter expressed; that is to say, the persons to be chosen within England, Wales, the isles of Jersey and Guernsey, and the town of Berwick-upon-Tweed, to sit and serve in Parliament, shall be, and not exceed, the number of four hundred. The persons to be chosen within Scotland, to sit and serve in Parliament, shall be, and not exceed, the number of thirty; and the persons to be chosen to sit in Parliament for Ireland shall be, and not exceed, the number of thirty.
X. That the persons to be elected to sit in Parliament from time to time, for the several counties of England, Wales, the isles of Jersey and Guernsey, and the town of Berwick-upon-Tweed, and all places within the same respectively, shall lie according to the proportions and numbers hereafter expressed: that is to say,
[Schedule of constituencies.]
The distribution of the persons to be chosen for Scotland and Ireland, and the several counties, cities, and places therein, shall be according to such proportions and number as shall be agreed upon and declared by the Lord Protector and the major part of the council, before the sending forth writs of summons for the next Parliament.
XI. That the summons to Parliament shall be by writ under the Great Seal of England, directed to the sheriffs of the several and respective counties, with such alteration as may suit with the present government, to be made by the Lord Protector and his council, which the Chancellor, Keeper, or Commissioners of the Great Seal shall seal, issue, and send abroad by warrant from the Lord Protector. If the Lord Protector shall not give warrant for issuing of writs of summons for the next Parliament, before the first of June, 1654, or for the Triennial Parliaments, before the first day of August in every third year, to be accounted as aforesaid; that then the Chancellor, Keeper, or Commissioners of the Great Seal for the time being, shall, without any warrant or direction, within seven days after the said first day of June, 1654, seal, issue, and send abroad writs of summons (changing therein what is to be changed as aforesaid) to the several and respective Sheriffs of England, Scotland, and Ireland, for summoning the Parliament to meet at Westminster, the third day of September next; and shall likewise, within seven days after the said first day of August, in every third year, to be accounted from the dissolution of the precedent Parliament, seal, issue, and send forth abroad several writs of summons (changing therein what is to be changed) as aforesaid, for summoning the Parliament to meet at Westminster the sixth of November in that third year. That the said several and respective Sheriffs shall, within ten days after the receipt of such writ as aforesaid, cause the same to be proclaimed and published in every market town within his county upon the market-days thereof between twelve and three of the clock; and shall then also publish and declare the certain day of the week and month, for choosing members to serve in Parliament for the body of the said county, according to the tenor of the said writ, which shall be upon Wednesday five weeks after the date of the writ; and shall likewise declare the place where the election shall be made: for which purpose he shall appoint the most convenient place for the whole county to meet in; and shall send precepts for elections to be made in all and every city, town, borough, or place within his county, where elections are to be made by virtue of these presents, to the Mayor, Sheriff, or other head officer of such city, town, borough, or place, within three days after the receipt of such writ and writs; which the said Mayors, Sheriffs, and officers respectively are to make publication of, and of the certain day for such elections to be made in the said city, town, or place aforesaid, and to cause elections to be made accordingly.
XII. That at the day and place of elections, the Sheriff of each county, and the said Mayors, Sheriffs, Bailiffs, and other head officers within their cities, towns, boroughs, and places respectively, shall take view of the said elections, and shall make return into the chancery within twenty days after the said elections, of the persons elected by the greater number of electors, under their hands and seals, between him on the one part, and the electors on the other part; wherein shall be contained, that the persons elected shall not have power to alter the government as it is hereby settled in one single person and a Parliament.
XIII. That the Sheriff who shall witting1y and willingly make any false return, or neglect his duty, shall incur the penalty of 2000 marks of lawful English money; the one moiety to the Lord Protector, and the other moiety to such person as will sue for the same.
XIV. That all and every person and persons, who have aided, advised, assisted, or abetted in any war against the Parliament, since the first day of January, 1641 (unless they have been since in the service of the Parliament, and given signal testimony of their good affection thereunto) shall be disabled and incapable to be elected, or to give any vote in the election of any members to serve in the next Parliament, or in the three succeeding Triennial Parliaments.
XV. That all such, who have advised, assisted, or abetted the rebellion of Ireland, shall be disabled and incapable for ever to be elected, or give any vote in the election of any member to serve in Parliament; as also all such who do or shall profess the Roman Catholic religion.
XVI. That all votes and elections given or made contrary, or not according to these qualifications, shall be null and void; and if any person, who is hereby made incapable, shall give his vote for election of members to serve in Parliament, such person shall lose and forfeit one full year&’s value of his real estate, and one full third part of his persona1 estate; one moiety thereof to the Lord Protector, and the other moiety to him or them who shall sue for the same.
XVII. That the persons who shall be elected to serve in Parliament, shall be such (and no other than such) as are persons of known integrity, fearing God, and of good conversation, and being of the age of twenty-one years.
XVIII. That all and every person and persons seised or possessed to his own use, of any estate, real or personal, to the value of £200, and not within the aforesaid exceptions, shall be capable to elect members to serve in Parliament for counties.
XIX. That the Chancellor, Keeper, or Commissioners of the Great Seal, shall be sworn before they enter into their offices, truly and faithfully to issue forth, and send abroad, writs of summons to Parliament, at the times and in the manner before expressed: and in case of neglect or failure to issue and send abroad writs accordingly, he or they shall for every such offence be guilty of high treason, and suffer the pains and penalties thereof.
XX. That in case writs be not issued out, as is before expressed, but that there be a neglect therein, fifteen days after the time wherein the same ought to be issued out by the Chancellor, Keeper, or Commissioners of the Great Seal; that then the Parliament shall, as often as such failure shall happen, assemble and be held at Westminster, in the usual place, at the times prefixed, in manner and by the means hereafter expressed; that is to say, that the sheriffs of the several and respective counties, sheriffdoms, cities, boroughs, and places aforesaid, within England, Wales, Scotland, and Ireland, the Chancellor, Masters, and Scholars of the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge, and the Mayor and Bailiffs of the borough of Berwick-upon-Tweed, and other places aforesaid respectively, shall at the several courts and places to be appointed as aforesaid, within thirty days after the said fifteen days, cause such members to be chosen for their said several and respective counties, sheriffdoms, universities, cities, boroughs, and places aforesaid, by such persons, and in such manner, as if several and respective writs of summons to Parliament under the Great Seal had issued and been awarded according to the tenor aforesaid:
that if the sheriff or other persons authorised, shall neglect his or their duty herein, that all and every such sheriff and person authorised as aforesaid, so neglecting his or their duty, shall, for every such offence, be guilty of high treason, and shall suffer the pains and penalties thereof.
XXI. That the clerk, called the clerk of the Commonwealth in Chancery for the time being, and all others, who shall afterwards execute that office, to whom the returns shall be made, shall for the next Parliament, and the two succeeding triennial Parliaments, the next day after such return, certify the names of the several persons so returned, and of the places for which he and they were chosen respectively, unto the Council; who shall peruse the said returns, and examine whether the persons so elected and returned be such as is agreeable to the qualifications, and not disabled to be elected: and that every person and persons being so duly elected, and being approved of by the major part of the Council to be persons not disabled, but qualified as aforesaid, shall be esteemed a member of Parliament, and be admitted to sit in Parliament, and not otherwise.
XXII. That the persons so chosen and assembled in manner aforesaid, or any sixty of them, shall be, and be deemed the Parliament of England, Scotland, and Ireland; and the supreme legislative power to be and reside in the Lord Protector and such Parliament, in manner herein expressed.
XXIII. That the Lord Protector, with the advice of the major part of the Council, shall at any other time than is before expressed, when the necessities of the State shall require it, summon Parliaments in manner before expressed, which shall not be adjourned, prorogued, or dissolved without their own consent, during the first three months of their sitting. And in case of future war with any foreign State, a Parliament shall be forthwith summoned for their advice concerning the same.
XXIV. That all Bills agreed unto by the Parliament, shall be presented to the Lord Protector for his consent; and in case he shall not give his consent thereto within twenty days after they shall be presented to him, or give satisfaction to the Parliament within the time limited, that then, upon declaration of the Parliament that the Lord Protector hath not consented nor given satisfaction, such Bills shall pass into and become laws, although he shall not give his consent thereunto; provided such Bills contain nothing in them contrary to the matters contained in these presents.
XXV That Henry Lawrence, [ * * * 15 names in all] or any seven of them, shall be a Council for the purposes expressed in this writing; and upon the death or other removal of any of them, the Parliament shall nominate six persons of ability, integrity, and fearing God, for every one that is dead or removed; out of which the major part of the Council shall elect two, and present them to the Lord Protector, of which he shall elect one; and in case the Parliament shall not nominate within twenty days after notice given unto them thereof, the major part of the Council shall nominate three as aforesaid to the Lord Protector, who out of them shall supply the vacancy; and until this choice be made, the remaining part of the Council shall execute as fully in all things, as if their number were full. And in case of corruption, or other miscarriage in any of the Council in their trust, the Parliament shall appoint seven of their number, and the Council six, who, together with the Lord Chancellor, Lord Keeper, or Commissioners of the Great Seal for the time being, shall have power to hear and determine such corruption and miscarriage, and to award and inflict punishment, as the nature of the offence shall deserve, which punishment shall not be pardoned or remitted by the Lord Protector; and, in the interval of Parliament the major part of the Council, with the consent of the Lord Protector may, for corruption or other miscarriage as aforesaid, suspend any of their number from the exercise of their trust, if they shall find it just, until the matter shall be heard and examined as aforesaid.
XXVI. That the Lord Protector and the major part of the Council aforesaid may, at any time before the meeting of the next Parliament, add to the Council such persons as they shall think fit, provided the number of the Council be not made thereby to exceed twenty-one, and the quorum to be proportioned accordingly by the Lord Protector and the major part of the Council.
XXVII. That a constant yearly revenue shall be raised, settled, and established for maintaining of 10,000 horse and dragoons, and 20,000 foot, in England, Scotland and Ireland, for the defence and security thereof, and also for a convenient number of ships for guarding of the seas; besides £200,000 per annum for defraying the other necessary charges of administration of justice, and other expenses of the Government, which revenue shall be raised by the customs, and such other ways and means as shall be agreed upon by the Lord Protector and the Council, and shall not be taken away or diminished, nor the way agreed upon for raising the same altered, but by the consent of the Lord Protector and the Parliament.
XXVIII. That the said yearly revenue shall be paid into the public treasury, and shall be issued out for the uses aforesaid.
XXIX. That in case there shall not be cause hereafter to keep up so great a defence both at land or sea, but that there be an abatement made thereof, the money which will be saved thereby shall remain in bank for the public service, and not be employed to any other use but by consent of Parliament, or, in the intervals of Parliament, by the Lord Protector and major part of the Council.
XXX. That the raising of money for defraying the charge of the present extraordinary forces, both at sea and land, in respect of the present wars, shall be by consent of Parliament, and not otherwise: save only that the Lord Protector, with the consent of the major part of the Council, for preventing the disorders and dangers which might otherwise fall out both by sea and land, shall have power, until the meeting of the first Parliament, to raise money for the purposes aforesaid; and also to make laws and ordinances for the peace and welfare of these nations where it shall be necessary, which shall be binding and in force, until order shall be taken in Parliament concerning the same.
XXXI. That the lands, tenements, rents, royalties, jurisdictions and hereditaments which remain yet unsold or undisposed of, by Act or Ordinance of Parliament, belonging to the Commonwealth (except the forests and chases, and the honours and manors belonging to the same; the lands of the rebels in Ireland, lying in the four counties of Dublin, Cork, Kildare, and Carlow; the lands forfeited by the people of Scotland in the late wars, and also the lands of Papists and delinquents in England who have not yet compounded), shall be vested in the Lord Protector, to hold, to him and his successors, Lords Protectors of these nations, and shall not be alienated but by consent in Parliament. And all debts, fines, issues, amercements, penalties and profits, certain and casual, due to the Keepers of the liberties of England by authority of Parliament, shall be due to the Lord Protector, and be payable into his public receipt, and shall be recovered and prosecuted in his name.
XXXII. That the office of Lord Protector over these nations shall be elective and not hereditary; and upon the death of the Lord Protector another fit person shall be forthwith elected to succeed him in the Government; which election shall be by the Council, who, immediately upon the death of the Lord Protector, shall assemble in the Chamber where they usually sit in Council; and, having given notice to all their members of the cause of their assembling, shall, being thirteen at least present, proceed to the election; and, before they depart the said Chamber, shall elect a fit person to succeed in the Government, and forthwith cause proclamation thereof to be made in all the three nations as shall be requisite; and the person that they, or the major part of them, shall elect as aforesaid, shall be, and shall be taken to be, Lord Protector over these nations of England, Scotland and Ireland, and the dominions thereto belonging. Provided that none of the children of the late King, nor any of his line or family, be elected to be Lord Protector or other Chief Magistrate over these nations, or any the dominions thereto belonging. And until the aforesaid election be past, the Council shall take care of the Government, and administer in all things as fully as the Lord Protector, or the Lord Protector and Council are enabled to do.
XXXIII. That Oliver Cromwell, Captain-General of the forces of England, Scotland and Ireland, shall be, and is hereby declared to be, Lord Protector of the Commonwealth of England, Scotland and Ireland, and the dominions thereto belonging, for his life.
XXXIV. That the Chancellor, Keeper or Commissioners of the Great Seal, the Treasurer, Admiral, Chief Governors of Ireland and Scotland, and the Chief Justices of both the Benches, shall be chosen by the approbation of Parliament; and, in the intervals of Parliament, by the approbation of the major part of the Council, to be afterwards approved by the Parliament.
XXXV That the Christian religion, as contained in the Scriptures, be held forth and recommended as the public profession of these nations; and that, as soon as may be, a provision, less subject to scruple and contention, and more certain than the present, be made for the encouragement and maintenance of able and painful teachers, for the instructing the people, and for discovery and confutation of error, heresy, and whatever is contrary to sound doctrine; and until such provision be made, the present maintenance shall not be taken away or impeached.
XXXVI. That to the public profession held forth none shall be compelled by penalties or otherwise; but that endeavours be used to win them by sound doctrine and the example of a good conversation.
XXXVII. That such as profess faith in God by Jesus Christ (though differing in judgment from the doctrine, worship or discipline publicly held forth) shall not be restrained from, but shall be protected in, the profession of the faith and exercise of their religion; so as they abuse not this liberty to the civil injury of others and to the actual disturbance of the public peace on their parts: provided this liberty be not extended to Popery or Prelacy, nor to such as, under the profession of Christ, hold forth and practise licentiousness.
XXXVIII. That all laws, statutes and ordinances, and clauses in any law, statute or ordinance to the contrary of the aforesaid liberty shall be esteemed as null and void.
XXXIX. That the Acts and Ordinances of Parliament made for the sale or other disposition of the lands, rents and hereditaments of the late King, Queen, and Prince, of Archbishops and Bishops, &c., Deans and Chapters, the lands of delinquents and forest-lands, or any of them, or of any other lands, tenements, rents and hereditaments belonging to the Commonwealth, shall nowise be impeached or made invalid, but shall remain good and firm; and that the securities given by Act and Ordinance of Parliament for any sum or sums of money, by any of the said lands, the excise, or any other public revenue; and also the securities given by the public faith of the nation, and the engagement of the public faith for satisfaction of debts and damages, shall remain firm and good, and not be made void and invalid upon any pretence whatsoever.
XL. That the Articles given to or made with the enemy and afterwards confirmed by Parliament, shall be performed and made good to the persons concerned therein; and that such appeals as were depending in the last Parliament for relief concerning bills of sale of delinquents’ estates, may be heard and determined the next Parliament, anything in this writing or otherwise to the contrary notwithstanding.
XLI. That every successive Lord Protector over these nations shall take and subscribe a solemn oath, in the presence of the Council, and such others as they shall call to them, that he will seek the peace, quiet and welfare of these nations, cause law and justice to be equally administered; and that he will not violate or infringe the matters and things contained in this writing, and in all other things will, to his power and to the best of his understanding, govern these nations according to the laws, statutes and customs thereof.
XLII. That each person of the Council shall, before they enter upon their trust, take and subscribe an oath, that they will be true and faithful in their trust, according to the best of their knowledge; and that in the election of every successive Lord Protector they shall proceed therein impartially, and do nothing therein for any promise, fear, favour or reward.
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(1654, April 12. Scobell, ii. 293. Gardiner, 418-422.)
HIS Highness the Lord Protector of the Commonwealth of England, Scotland and Ireland, &c., taking into consideration how much it might conduce to the glory of God and the peace and welfare of the people in this whole island, that after all those late unhappy wars and differences, the people of Scotland should be united with the people of England into one Commonwealth and under one Government, and finding that in December, 1651, the Parliament then sitting did send Commissioners into Scotland to invite the people of that nation unto such a happy Union, who proceeded so far therein that the shires and boroughs of Scotland, by their Deputies convened at Dalkeith, and again at Edinburgh, did accept of the said Union, and assent thereunto; for the completing and perfecting of which Union, be it ordained, and it is ordained, by his Highness the Lord Protector of the Commonwealth of England, Scotland and Ireland, and the dominions thereto belonging, by and with the advice and consent of his Council, that all the people of Scotland, and of the isles of Orkney and Shetland, and of all the dominions and territories belonging unto Scotland, are and shall be, and are hereby, incorporated into, constituted, established, declared and confirmed one Commonwealth with England; and in every Parliament to be held successively for the said Commonwealth, thirty persons shall be called from and serve for Scotland.
And for the more effectual preservation of this Union, and the freedom and safety of the people of this Commonwealth so united, be it ordained, and it is ordained by the authority aforesaid, that all the people of Scotland and of the isles of Orkney and Shetland, and of all the dominions and territories belonging unto Scotland, of what degree or condition soever, be discharged of all fealty homage, service and allegiance, which is or shall be pretended due unto any of the issue and posterity of Charles Stuart, late King of England and Scotland, or any claiming under him; and that Charles Stuart, eldest son, and James, called Duke of York, second son, and all other the issue and posterity of the said late King, and all and every person and persons pretending title from, by or under him, are and be disabled to hold or enjoy the Crown of Scotland and other the dominions thereunto belonging, or any of them; or to have the name, title, style or dignity of King or Queen of Scotland; or to have and enjoy the power and dominion of the said kingdom and dominions, or any of them, or the honours, manors, lands, tenements, possessions and hereditaments belonging or appertaining to the said Crown of Scotland, or other the dominions aforesaid, or to any of them, any law, statute, usage, ordinance or custom in Scotland to the contrary hereof in any wise notwithstanding.
And it is further ordained by the authority aforesaid, that the said office, style, dignity, power and authority of King of Scotland, and all right of the three Estates of Scotland to convocate or assemble in any general Convocation or Parliament, and all conventional and parliamentary authority in Scotland, as formerly established, and all laws, usages and customs, ordaining, constituting or confirming the same, shall be and are hereby and from henceforth abolished and utterly taken away and made null and void.
And that this Union may take its more full effect and intent, be it further ordained by the authority aforesaid, that the arms of Scotland, viz. a cross, commonly called St. Andrew’s Cross, be received into and borne from henceforth in the Arms of this Commonwealth, as a badge of this Union; and that all the public seals, seals of office, and seals of bodies civil or corporate, in Scotland, which heretofore carried the Arms of the Kings of Scotland, shall from henceforth instead thereof carry the Arms of this Commonwealth.
And be it further ordained by the authority aforesaid, that all customs, excise and other imposts for goods transported from England to Scotland, and from Scotland to England, by sea or land, are and shall be so far taken off and discharged, as that all goods for the future shall pass as free, and with like privileges and with the like charges and burdens from England to Scotland, and from Scotland to England, as goods passing from port to port, or place to place in England; and that all goods shall and may pass between Scotland and any other part of this Commonwealth or dominions thereof with the like privileges, freedom, charges and burdens as such goods do or shall pass between England and the said parts and dominions thereof any law, statute, usage or custom to the contrary thereof in any wise notwithstanding, and that all goods prohibited by any law now in force in England to be transported out of England to any foreign parts, or imported, shall be and hereby are prohibited to be transported or imported by the same law, and upon the same penalties, out of Scotland to any foreign parts aforesaid, or from any foreign parts into Scotland.
And be it further ordained by the authority aforesaid, that all cesses, public impositions and taxations whatsoever, be imposed, taxed and levied from henceforth proportionably from the whole people of this Commonwealth so united.
And further, to the end that all dominion of tenures and superiorities importing servitude and vassalage may likewise be abolished in Scotland, be it further declared and ordained by the authority aforesaid, that all heritors, proprietors and possessors of lands in Scotland, or the dominions thereunto belonging, and their heirs, shall from and after the 12th day of April, in the year of our Lord 1654, hold their respective lands of the respective lord and lords by deed, charter, patent or enfeoffment, to be renewed upon the death of every heritor, proprietor or possessor (as now they do) to his heir or heirs, by and under such yearly rents, boons and annual services as are mentioned or due by any deeds, patents, charters or enfeoffments now in being, of the respective lands therein expressed, or by virtue thereof enjoyed without rendering, doing or performing any other duty, service, vassalage or demand whatsoever, by reason or occasion of the said lands, or any the clauses or covenants in the said deeds, charters, patents or enfeoffments contained, saving what is hereafter, herein and hereby particularly expressed and declared; that is to say, heriots, where the same are due, fines (certain where the same is already certain, and where the fine is uncertain, reasonable fines) upon the death of the lord, and upon the death or alienation of the tenant, or any of them, where the same have usually been paid, which said fine (not being already certain) shall not at any time exceed one year’s value of the lands, and also doing suit and service to such Court and Courts Baron, as shall be constituted in Scotland, in such manner as is ordained by one other Ordinance, entitled, an Ordinance for erecting Courts Baron in Scotland.
And be it ordained by the authority aforesaid, that all and every the heritors, proprietors and possessors aforesaid, and their heirs, are and shall be from henceforth for ever discharged of all fealty, homage, vassalage and servitude, which is or shall be pretended due from them, or any of them, unto any their lords or superiors whatsoever, claiming dominion or jurisdiction over them, by virtue of the said patents, charters, deeds or enfeoffments, and other rights thereof, or of any clauses or conditions therein contained, other than is before declared and ordained. And that all the said superiorities, lordships and jurisdictions (other than as aforesaid) shall be, and are hereby abolished, taken off and discharged; and that all and every the said deeds, patents, charters and enfeoffments in that behalf be, and are hereby declared, and made so far void and null; and particularly, that all and every the heritors, and others the persons aforesaid, and their heirs, are and shall be for ever hereafter freed and discharged of, and from, all suits, and appearing at or in any their lords, or superiors courts of justiciary, regality, stewartry, barony, bailiary, heritable sheriffship, heritable admiralty, all which, together with all other offices heritable, or for life, are hereby abolished and taken away; and that all and every the heritors and persons aforesaid, and their heirs, are and shall be for ever hereafter freed and discharged of and from all military service, and personal attendance upon any their lords or superiors in expeditions or travels, and of all casualties of wards’ lands formerly held of the King, or other superiors, and of the marriage, single and double avail thereof, non-entries, compositions for entries, and of all rights and casualties payable, if they be demanded, only or upon the committing of any clauses irritant. And that the said heritors and persons aforesaid be now, and from henceforth, construed, reputed, adjudged and declared free and acquitted thereof and of and from all and all manner of holding suits, duties, services, personal or real, and demands whatsoever (other than is before declared and ordained), notwithstanding the present tenor of any their deeds, patents, enfeoffments, or any clauses, articles or covenants therein contained or mentioned to the contrary in any wise; and that in time to come all and every clause, covenant, article, condition, or thing to the contrary hereof, shall be omitted out of all such deeds, patents, charters and enfeoffments.
And be it further ordained, that all forfeitures, escheats, simple or of life, rent bastardy, and last heir, which heretofore escheated, forfeited and fell to the King, lords of regality, or other superiors, shall from henceforth fall, escheat, and forfeit to the Lord Protector of the Commonwealth for the time being.
Passed 12th April, 1654. Confirmed Anno 1656, Cap. 10.
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