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the Lords and Commons for this service ;'whereupon you shall receive such farther direction, in that behalf, as shall be fit.”
The foregoing analysis will be sufficient to show, that whatever may have been the acts of oppression and injustice, which occasionally attended the carrying into execution these ordinances of the parliament; and however comprehensive and sweeping the clauses, containing the description of those whom the prevailing party in church and state thought fit to render subject to their operation, under the dreadful names of papists and delinquents, yet (except the unauthorised ravages of actual warfare) there could have been no opportunity, as there certainly was no pretext, for those wanton and indiscriminate acts of spoliation and violence with which the memory of the “Round-heads” is vulgarly associated ; but that all was proceeded in regularly, with the forms of justice, and under the sanction of the venerable name of law. The first and most respectable among the nobility and gentry of every county were named in the commissions. Their subordinate officers, agents, and collectors, who were chosen from among the less eminent classes of society,-attornies, for instance, and often tradesmen, were yet personally and immediately responsible to the com. missioners, as the last were to parliament. The right of appeal was given to all who found themselves aggrieved; a right perpetually exercised, and therefore (we may be well assured) not nugatory or fruitless. And, though the necessary consequence of so universal and protracted a struggle was, to many an ancient and worshipful family, the dispossession of its estates, and a consequent reduction of rank, from the highest to the middling, or lowest classes of society; yet it may be questioned if, in any instance, this alteration of circumstances was produced by any sudden act of oppression, or otherwise than in the gradual operation of events, unpropitious to the losing parties—whether in any instance we can discover the name of the greedy agent, collector, or sequestrator, substituted, as proprietor, in the room of the supposed victim of his rapacity; or whether, finally, the change in the state of the entire landed property of the kingdom, which was effected between the years 1642 (the commencement of the civil war) and 1660, (the Restoration) is at all more extensive than that which has taken place during any other remarkable crisis of our economical or commercial history, in proportion to its duration, or at all even to be compared with that which has been operated by the transition from high to low prices, within the short space, since the termination of the late war, or by the force of contrary circumstances during the long state of hostility immediately preceding it. The close investigation of this very curious subject would prove a field well worthy of culture, and we shall shortly point
VOL. IX. PART I.
out a yet unexplored region of observation, in which it appears to us that discoveries remain to be made, of no small importance to our accurate acquaintance, both with the local and particular, and also with the general history of this most interesting period.
Having stated the substance of the most material of these ordinances, and those which formed the foundation of all the succeeding, we shall not tire the patience of our readers by detailing the particular provisions, to which subsequent events, from time to time, gave occasion; although some notice of their general complexion and spirit seems essential to that comprehensive view which we wish to present of the subject.
The following is the preamble to the ordinance, (21st Sept. 1643) “ for the due and orderly receiving and collecting of the king's, queen’s, and prince's revenue, and the arreerages thereof."
“ The Lords and Commons assembled in Parliament, taking into their serious consideration the many heavy pressures and most grievous calamities which now lie upon this kingdom, by this bloody and unnatural war, raised against the parliament; and that, notwithstanding all their faithful and constant endeavours, for the preserving of his Majesty, and the whole kingdom, from the most cruel and endless designs of papists, delinquents, and ill-affected persons; yet their counsels and practices are still so prevalent with his Majesty, and the hearts of many people so misled and beguiled by their false pretences and spurious insinuations, that nothing can be expected but the extirpation and final subversion of our religion, laws, and liberties, unless God, of his infinite mercy, prevent, and incline his Majesty's heart to the faithful advice of his great council of parliament, which hath ever been, and is (under God) the chief support of his royal crown and dignity, and the security of all that we have or can enjoy; and for that it is found, by woeful experience, that divers ill-affected persons, by pretence of his Majesty's authority, have, and do still, daily seize upon divers and sundry great sums of money, raised and collected in divers parts of this kingdom, by acts and ordinances of parliament, for the relief of the poor distressed protestants of Ireland, the suppressing and subduing of those most barbarous and bloody rebels, and for the defence of this kingdom and parliament; and do divert and employ the same, and likewise his Majesty's revenue, and all other monies they can lay hands on, to the fomenting, nourishing, and maintaining of these miserable distractions, and unnatural war: and the Lords and Commons omitting no opportunity, nor neglecting any fitting means, which they conceived might divert the said war here, so violently pressed forward by papists, delinquents, ill-affected persons, and the rebels in Ireland, did formerly ordain that the officers of the Receipt, Court of Wards and Liveries, receivers, and others, should not repair unto Oxford, but attend the service here in the usual places : yet, in contempt of the same, and other ordinances, some officers are gone to Oxford; divers convey sundry sums of money thither, and others neglect their service, to the great prejudice and dis-service of the commonwealth : and to the intent his Majesty's revenue might no more be misapplied, and that the same may be employed for the good of his Majesty and the commonwealth, the Lords and Commons do thereby ordain," &c.
Another ordinance (Oct. 22, 1643) entitled “ A Declaration and Ordinance for the better preventing of Spies and Intelligencers,” &c. after reciting that, “ by the frequent intercourse of spies and intelligencers, (contrary to the use and custom of war) between the cities of London, Westminster, and other parts of the kingdom, and the persons of the king and queen, and forces raised by the king against the parliament and kingdom, opportunity hath been given for the plotting and contriving the late treacherous and horrid design,” (referring, of course, to the celebrated plot in which Waller (the poet) was concerned, together with Challoner and Tomkins, and for which the two latter suffered execution); " and in case the said intercourse and intelligence should continue, the same will still be open
other of the like nature in time to come; as also for the frequent conveying of monies, and other provisions, for the supporting of this unnatural war;" goes on to declare and ordain, " that no person or persons whatsoever, shall, from henceforth, repair or go from the said cities of London and Westminster, or from any other part of the kingdom, unto the person
of the king or queen, or lords of council abiding with him, or other, or to any person or persons within any of the king's quarters, leaguers, or garrisons, or that are within any of the armies raised by the king, nor shall give or hold any intelligence by letters, messengers, or otherwise, with the persons of the king or queen, or other persons aforesaid, without consent of both houses of parliament, or warrant from the Lord General of the forces, raised by the two houses, or from the respective officers that shall command in chief any of the forces,”. under penalty of being proceeded against as those within the ordinance for sequestration, under the denomination of “persons that do adhere unto those that have levied war against the parliament and kingdom.” (This ordinance also is not printed in Scobell's Collection.)
The ordinance, 27th May, 1644, containing “Rules for the better execution of the Ordinances for Sequestration of Delinquents' and Papists' Estates,” after reciting, “ that the former ordinances had not been put in full execution in divers places, as was expected, to the great disservice of the commonwealth," imposes the following form of oath on sequestrators, committees, solicitors, &c.
“ I, A. B. do swear, that I shall and will truly, according to the trust reposed in me, execute, for the best advantage of the commonwealth, all and every of the ordinances made by the Lords and Commons in Parliament assembled, for sequestration of delinquents' and papists' estates : and that I shall not, for fear, favour, reward, or affection, spare, connive at, or discharge any of the said delinquents or papists."
Divers other provisions were made, all which tend to shew how much the ordinances had been evaded, and how ill-disposed many, perhaps the majority, of those entrusted to carry them into effect, proved themselves for the service. All goods taken under sequestration, and with-held, are ordered to be brought in by a short limited period.--- All suspensions of sequestration made by the committees of counties, without the authority of parliament, are taken off.—Debts for goods sold, to be paid in.- All houses and lands sequestred, and not yet let, to be let forthwith.—" Active, able, trusty men, who will diligently attend the service, to be added to all committees.”—The committees to sit at least two days in every
week-exact accounts. to be kept by the solicitors and collectors, &c. Many of these regulations, though implying increased vigour and severity, must have had an effect also in checking abuses, and preventing imposition and extortion and probably they were little to the disadvantage of the delinquents themselves, the sequestrations of whose estates and property are designed to be more strictly enforced by them.
Under the date of Sept. 8, 1645, we find an enactment of much more apparent injustice. It is “ An ordinance for taking away the fifth part of delinquents' estates, formerly granted by an ordinance of parliament, for maintaining of the wives and children of delinquents.” But the words of the ordinance itself are sufficiently restrictive of its purport. For, after reciting the provision made by the former ordinance, empowering the committees of counties to assign maintenance, and that by occasion thereof “ divers wives and children of delinquents may resort hither, only to obtain the said fifth part, and may be ready to do ill offices to the parliament,” it ordains, “ that no wife or child of
any delinquent, who shall come from their own habitation into the parliament quarters, with or without their fathers and husbands, from the king's quarters, shall have, hold, and enjoy any fifth part by the said ordinance.” And it goes on to enact, “That no children of any delinquents shall have any fifth part, but such as shall be educated and brought up in the protestant religion.” It is evident, therefore, that this measure was not dictated by a rapacious design, to deprive the unprotected and destitute of the little pittance reserved for their support by a former more merciful dispensation, but to prevent communications and intercourse between the king's and parliament's quarters, from which danger was apprehended, and (in
the case of papists) to add a new measure of cruelty to the many which the spirit of religious persecution had already inflicted.
On the 10th of November, and 8th of December, 1646, the House of Commons passed several resolutions concerning delinquents—the substance of which is as follows:
“ Ist. The committees of the several counties to return to the committee (of Lords and Commons), at Goldsmiths' Hall, the names of all papists and delinquents sequestred within the respective counties, with a list of their estates, to whom let during sequestration, and the values thereof before the war.”
“ 2nd. The estates of papists and delinquents within the ordinances not yet sequestred, and not compounded for at Goldsmiths' Hall, to be speedily sequestred, &c.”
“ 3rd. The lands and estates of persons excepted in the first three qualifications of the propositions, not to be let to the owners, their bailiffs or servants, or any persons to their use."
“ 4th. The estates of other delinquents capable to be admitted to composition, not to be let to the owners, &c., unless such delinquents shall, by certificate from the committee at Goldsmiths' Hall, make it appear that they are in actual prosecution of their compositions, and proceed without delay on their parts.”
“ 5th. That no committee-man, &c., or other officer, employed in sequestrations, shall by himself, or other in trust for him, &c., take to farm or rent any estates sequestred in the several counties where he is a committee-man, &c.”
“ 6th. All lands sequestred, or to be sequestred, to be let out at the utmost improved yearly rents; and all leases or grants made to the owners at less than their value, avoided.”
“7th. All who have been in arms, or left their habitations, and resided in the enemies' garrisons, and are liable to sequestration, and have not tendered themselves to make composition, and presented it with effect at Goldsmiths' Hall, and who are at liberty, and not comprised within any articles whereby they are protected, to be forthwith committed in the several counties, and their names certified at Goldsmiths' Hall. Provided, that those whose estates, real and personal, are not worth 2001., be hereby pardoned and discharged from sequestration, coming in according to the time limited in the propositions, and taking the negative oath and covenant.”
We shall take no particular notice of the acts and restrictions which are subsequently passed from time to time with reference to special cases, as for rendering subject to sequestration the estates of such as should act in contravention of the resolution against making further addresses to the King, or receiving messages from him (15 Jan. 1657); as should adhere to the Duke of Buckingham, Earls of Holland and Peterborough, or others, levying war against the parliament (7 July, 1648); as were engaged in the Kentish insurrection (17 July, 1648), &c. but proceed to an ordinance of the 9th of August,