THE COMMONWEALTH AND
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
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
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
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
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