Page images

wherenpon (Aug. 19) it was ordered, “ That such members of the house of commons), as shall wilfully neglect their service in the house, by departing the cities of London and Westminster, or otherwise, without particular leave first obtained from the house, shall be reputed and taken in the same condition as those that ought to have their estates sequestered, and shall have their estates sequestered accordingly, for deserting the service of the commonwealth in the time of imminent danger.” And to this (bearing date the same day) succeeds, “An ordinance of the lords and commons, for explanation and further enlargement” of the first ordinance, whereby it is declared, " That, in the number of such delinquents and papists who shall come within the former ordinance, and to all intents and purposes to be proceeded against as notorious delinquents and papists, expressly described therein, shall be reckoned," (first) "all such as voluntarily, absent themselves from their usual places of abode, &c. and have gone, or shall go, to any of the king's armies, and there continue, and shall not, within ten days after seizure or sequestration, &c. shew cause, (to be allowed by the committee of the county, &c.) of such their absence, &c." (2d.) All such as shall fraudulently embezzle, conceal, or convey away, without valuable consideration, any part of their goods, money or estate, thereby evading payment of any taxes, &c. imposed by parliament; or, (3dly.) that, after any such tax, &c. laid upon them, convey themselves away, or refuse to be spoken with, whereby the same cannot be executed; or, (4th.) “ That wittingly or willingly conceal or harbour any goods or persons of delinquents, within this or the said former ordinance;"-(this last clause is in Scobell, but omitted in the quarto collection). Or, (5th.) “ That have had any hand in the late horrid and desperate .conspiracy and treason of Waller, Tomkins, and Challoner, and their confederates, whether they be already, or hereafter shall be, convicted to be privy and consenting thereto, (except such as, being not yet convicted, shall discover and confess all that they know thereof within the time limited by parliament, to such person or persons as are or shall be appointed to take such discoveries and confessions);" or (6th) that shall sue or molest any who have yielded obedience to the ordinances of parliament, &c.; or (7th) “ that have willingly harboured any popish priests or jesuits in their houses or dwellings since the 29th of November, 1642, or shall hereafter so harbour any:” and (8th) All persons at any time heretofore convicted of popish recusancy, or indicted, and their indictments removed by certiorari, &c.; or (9th) “ that have been at mass, at any time within one whole year before the 26th of March, 1643, or shall hereafter be at mass; or (10th) whose children or grandchildren being in the house with them, or under their tuition, &c., shall be brought up in the popish religion.”

The ordinance then goes on to declare, that “all such persons, being of the age of twenty-one and upwards, as shall refuse to take the oath hereafter expressed;" (which oath any two or more of the committees of sequestration are empowered to administer) “shall forfeit as papists within this and the said former ordinances, and seizure and sequestration of two third parts of all their goods and estates, real and personal, and sale of such proportion of their goods so seized and sequestered, shall be made, and their rents and estates disposed of, in such manner and proportion, and by such persons as by the said ordinance of sequestrations is appointed by papists.

The oath so required to be taken, besides an abjuration of the pope's supremacy, contains a profession of belief against transubstantiation, purgatory, and the worship of images, and " that salvation cannot be merited by works.”-It thus concludes—“And all doctrines in affirmation of the said points, I do abjure and renounce, without any equivocation, mental reservation, or secret evasion whatsoever, taking the words by me spoken, according to the common and usual meaning of them.”

By the further provisions of this ordinance, the committees are empowered to examine, upon oath or otherwise, all persons (other than the parties themselves) who may probubly be able to discover delinquents and papists, or are privy to the concealments of goods, &c., or are in debt to such delinquents and papists. Such persons as, being called upon, refuse to be examined, to be committed, &c., until they shall conform ; while such as shall first discover to parliament, or to any of the committees, any such concealed goods, &c., shall be held therein to do an acceptable service, and receive for their pains 12d. in the pound after seizure, &c., together with such further reward for extraordinary service, as by the lords and commons shall be appointed. Powers are also given for breaking locks, making inventories, distresses, &c.-And, for the better enabling the committees, &c.; to make sale of goods seized and sequestered, it is declared, That, after the apportioning and setting out of some necessary - maintenance, (if it be desired) for the wives and children of such delinquents,” (which allowance the committees are thereby authorized to make, to the extent of one fifth of the seizure,) " they shall authorize and require their collectors and agents to make sale of the residue, by the candle, for ready money, to be paid on delivery,”? &c., due appraisement being first made by two skilful appraisors, being men of some quality and known integrity, from time to time to be chosen, with the advice of the solicitor för sequestrations,” &c. It is further ordained,“ That the committee of lords and commons for sequestrations, shall receive no information against the particular committee of any county, &c., till the matter hath been first certified under the hands of two or more of the respective committees, by whose agents and ministers the goods or estates of the delinquents were seized,” &c. The remainder of the act relates” to the appointment of treasurers, collectors, agents, &c. for the carrying into effect its provisions.

The next ordinance which we shall notice, is that of the 9th of October, 1643, thus entitled, Members of Parliament in arms or absent, to be assessed for their 20th or 5th. Such persons as shall not pay, their estates to be let.” By which, after reciting that “divers members, to the great disservice of the state, have been in actual war against the parliament, or absented themselves from parliament, and yet have enjoyed their lands, seats, and estates, and employed the same in fomenting this unnatural war,” it is ordained, that the assessors nominated by the committee of lords and commons for advance of money, by virtue of former ordinances sitting at Haberdashers' Hall, shall have power to assess all such members (whose estates have not yet been sequestred) the twentieth and fifth of their estates in like manner, as they had power to assess other persons by virtue of former ordinances. It directs the committee for advance of money to return a certificate to the commissioners for sequestrations to enable them to proceed, and empowers the same committee to nominate certain persons who are thereby authorized (for better securing the repayment, with interest at eight per cent., of such sums as shall be advanced by any person for supply of the army,) to let and set the estates of persons so assessed until satisfaction thereof.

This ordinance is shortly followed by one which honourably marks the spirit of the age and nation. It is for the preservation of “ books, evidences, ' records, and writings sequestred, or taken by distress," &c., and, after reciting the fact, that by virtue of the several former ordinances there had been sequestred, &c., divers MSS. &c. &c. “and also some whole libraries and choice collections of printed books,” &c.,“ the dispersing of which by sale may be much more disadvantageous and prejudicial to the public than the benefit of the sale can recompense,” it ordains that such books and collections, &c. shall not be sold, but be delivered into the hands of certain members of both houses, (therein particularly named) or any two of them, who are to make inventory thereof, and deposit the same in some safe place, there to remain for such public or other use as to parliament shall appear reasonable. There is a curious proviso attached to this ordinance, " that nothing therein contained shall be any hinderance to the assembly of divines, or any members of that assembly, to make use of such books or libra


ries.” It would be a very interesting, though, doubtless, a very difficult task, to trace the subsequent history of the literary treasures, so collected and deposited by virtue of this ordi

The directions from time to time given to the several committees and others, for the exercise of the large powers with which they were invested, are still more curious and important than the acts of parliament which create them--and, not being contained in Scobell, are of less easy reference. We therefore make no apology for transcribing at full length the first paper of these instructions.

“ Instructions for the committees for Sequestrations and Delinquents' Estates.

“ First, you are to use your best care and diligence for the speedy execution of the ordinance herewith sent you for the sequestration of delinquents' estates, as being a matter of necessity and importance, for the subsistence of the army raised by the parliament, and great affairs of the commonwealth.

2. You are to cause the same ordinance, and the other orders for restraining the tenants and others from paying their rents and other dues to the said delinquents, to be forthwith published in all markets, and other convenient places within your several counties and divisions.

3. You are to meet and divide yourselves into several limits, and to appoint some times and places of further meeting as shall be most convenient, and to call before you, or any two or more of you at such meetings, all such officers and other persons as you shall think fit, and give them in charge the effect of the said ordinance: and thereby, and by all good ways and means, to enquire and inform yourselves of the particulars therein contained : and where you find any doubt concerning any persons, whether he be comprehended in the said ordinance, you are to certify the same to the committee of lords and commons for this service; and in the mean time to secure the estates of such persons, until you shall receive further directions.

" 4. Where (after these words in the ordinance,) “ Such as have voluntarily contributed, or shall voluntarily contribute," these words following, viz. “Not being under the power of the king's army at the time of such contributing :' you are not to understand those latter words, as such as have willingly drawn, or consented to the drawing in of any

such power, or have willingly submitted themselves thereunto.

66 5. You are to call before you the several tenants and other persons, by whom any rents, sums of money, debts, or other duties are owing to the said delinquents or any of them, or set them a day for payment thereof: and to such tenants as shall willingly yield conformity to the said ordinance, you shall abate so much to their rackrents, where the lands are set at an improved value, and not otherwise, as you shall think fit, according to their several conditions and necessities, not exceeding a fourth part of such improved rents.

56. You are to seize two parts of the estates, real and personal, of all papists, (as they are papists) and the whole estates of all other sorts of delinquents mentioned in the said ordinance, whether they be papists or others : and you are to understand by two parts of papists' estates, two of their whole lands, and two of their goods and personal estates in three to be divided.

7. Upon the seizure of goods, chattels, or personal estates of any of the said delinquents, you are to cause an appraisement thereof to be made by indifferent persons, and a true inventory thereof to be taken, and to convey the same goods into some safe place or places within the county or elsewhere, there to be kept until they may conveniently be sold, and you are to sell the same, and cause them to be sold at as great rates as you can, with all convenient expedition, and in the market, where conveniently it may be.

68. You have power to let all or any the lands, tenements, or hereditaments, of any of the said delinquents from year to year, to such tenants as you shall think fit, and for such reasonable rents as you can get, unless you can otherwise employ the same to better advantages.

9. You are to appoint collectors for the receiving of all rents, profits, sums of money, debts, and other duties due or owing to the said delinquents, or to any of them; allotting the estate of any one or more of the said delinquents to the charge of any one or more collector or collectors, as shall be most convenient: and the said collectors are to send up the sums by them collected, together with a schedule of the receipts and payments (keeping a duplicate thereof) to the treasurers which shall be appointed by both houses for that service; wherein the said collectors, or such as they shall send up by, are first to attend the said committee of Lords and Commons, for their directions herein, and to be very careful in the safe conveying of

“ 10. Every collector is to have such allowance for his pains and charges as you shall think fit, not exceeding three-pence in the pound: and every one that shall be appointed a solicitor by the said Lords and Commons, to see this ordinance put in execution, is to have for his charge and pains therein, sixpence in every pound; and every other person which shall be necessarily employed in or about the said ser. vice, is to have such allowance as you, or any two of you, or more, shall think fit: and you yourselves are to be allowed such recompense for your charge and pains in this service, as shall be approved of by the committee of Lords and Commons.

“ 11. You are to keep books and registers of all such monies, receipts, profits, and other parts of the said delinquents' estates, as shall come to your hands; and of all your receipts and payments, and to be accountable for the same to both houses of parliament, or such as they shall appoint.

12. You are to take care for the safe keeping of the deeds, evidences, and writings of the said delinquents, and for preserving of their houses, timber trees, and fruit trees, from waste and destruction.

“ 13. In all other particulars concerning this business, you are to be guided and directed by the said ordinance:. Wherein you shall conceive any doubt, you are to certify the same to the committee of

the money

the said money.

« PreviousContinue »