THE COMMONWEALTH AND PROTECTORATE
86. Act appointing a Council of State.
[February 13, 1648/9. Parliamentary Order Book, State Papers, Domestic Interregnum, 87. I. Ses Commonwealth and Protectorate, i. 3-5.]
An Act of this present Parliament for constituting a Council of State for the Commonwealth of England.
Be it ordained and enacted by this present Parliament that Basil Earl of Denbigh, Edmund Earl of Mulgrave, &c., &c., 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.
1. You are hereby authorised and required to oppose and suppress whomsoever shall endeavour or go about to set up or maintain the pretended title of Charles Stuart, eldest son to the late King, or any other of the said late King's issue or claiming under him or them, or the pretended title or claim of any other single person whomsoever to the Crown of England or Ireland, dominion of Wales, or to any of the dominions or territories to them or either of them belonging.
2. You are hereby authorised and empowered to order and direct all the militias and forces both by sea and land of England and Ireland and the dominions to them or either of them belonging, preserving the peace or safety thereof, and for preventing, resisting, and suppressing all tumults and insurrections that shall happen to rise in them or either of them, or any invasions of them from abroad: and also upon any emergencies to raise and arm such forces as you shall judge necessary for the ends above expressed, and to give commissions under the seal of the Council to such officers as you shall judge necessary for the leading, conducting and commanding of the said forces, and for the prosecution and pursuance of these instructions, or of any other instructions you shall receive from the Parliament.
3. You are hereby authorised and required to use all good ways and means for the reducing of Ireland, the Isles of Jersey, Guernsey, Scilly, and the Isle of Man, and all other parts and places belonging to the Commonwealth of England not yet reduced.
4. You shall take care that the stores and magazines of all military provisions both for the land service and for the sea be from time to time well and sufficiently furnished, and that the same be issued as you shall by warrant direct: and you are also from time to time to take care of the repair of the shipping belonging to the Commonwealth of England, and to build such others as you shall judge necessary for the defence and safety thereof.
5. You are to use all good ways and means for the securing, advancement, and encouragement of the trade of England and Ireland and the dominions to them belonging, and to promote the good of all foreign plantations and factories belonging to this Commonwealth or any of the natives thereof.
6. You shall advise, order, and direct concerning the entertaining, keeping, renewing, or settling of amity and a good correspondency with foreign kingdoms and states, and for preserving the rights of the people of this nation in foreign parts, and composing of their differences there: and you are hereby authorised to send ambassadors, agents, or messengers to any foreign kingdom or state, and to receive ambassadors, agents, or messengers from them for the ends aforesaid.
7. You are to advise and consult of anything concerning the good of the Commonwealth, and report your opinion concerning the cause as yon find occasion to the Parliament.
8. You are hereby authorised to send for any person or persons whatsoever to advise with them in pursuance of these or any other instructions that shall be given unto you.
9. You have hereby power and are authorised in case of danger to the Commonwealth to administer an oath to any person or persons for the discovery of the truth.
10. You are hereby authorised and empowered to send for and imprison or otherwise to secure by taking bond in recognizancy any such person or persons as shall be offenders against these or any other instructions which you shall receive from the Parliament; and all such as shall contemn or be refractory to any of your commands, directions, or orders in pursuance of the said instructions.
11. You have hereby power and are authorised to charge the public revenue by warrant under the seal of the Council with such sum or sums of money from time to time as you shall find necessary for defraying all charges of foreign negotiations, intelligence, and other incidencies, and for the salary of such subordinate officers and attendants as you shall judge fit to employ, and for the effectual carrying on of the service by those instructions committed to you, or by any other instructions hereafter to be given you from the Parliament.
12. Yon are also to observe and put in execution such further orders as you shall receive from time to time from the Parliament.
13. The power hereby committed to the Council of State shall continue for the space of one whole year from the day of passing hereof, unless it be otherwise ordered by the Parliament.
14. You have also hereby power to appoint committees or any person or persons for examinations, receiving of informations, and preparing of business for your debates or resolutions.
15. You are to meet at Derby House at four of the clock this afternoon, and from time to time and from place to place as you shall see cause, and in such manner as you shall think fit for the execution of your instructions.
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