93. ACTS OF THE ROYAL GOVERNMENT (1630-35)

(A) Proclamation for Distraint of Knighthood (1630)[1]

Whereas we have heretofore granted our commission under the great seal of England to sundry of the lords and others of our privy council to treat and compound with such of our loving subjects as by law ought to make their fines with us for not making their appearance at the time and place by our writs appointed for receiving the order of knighthood — wherein our commissioners have so far proceeded that many have compounded with them and paid their fines agreed upon accordingly — and we are resolved constantly to hold the like course with all others who are liable by law to pay the like fines: nevertheless, because many parts of this our kingdom are so remote from our city of London as the travel from thence thither would be very chargeable and troublesome and at this time dangerous ... , in favour of our good and loving subjects whom it concerneth, we have resolved to send our commissions to the several counties of this our realm, to whom they may with more ease and safety repair for their dispatch; whereof we have thought fit by these presents to give notice to all whom it may concern, hereby letting them know that, if they shall neglect this our grace and not attend our commissioners in their several counties where they dwell and with them make agreement on our behalf ... , we shall leave them to the just proceedings of our laws, and to that end to attend our commissioners at Whitehall or our court of exchequer. And if it shall so fall out to be more charge or trouble unto them, they shall have just cause to lay the blame upon themselves, and to acknowledge our grace and favour if in time it had been accepted. Given at our court at Westminster, the 13th day of July.

Rymer, Foedera, XIX, 175 f.

(B) Writ for the Collection of Ship Money (1634)[2]

Carolus rex, etc., to the mayor, commonalty, and citizens of our city of London, and to the sheriffs of the same city and good men in the said city and in the liberties and members of the same, greeting. Because we are given to understand that certain thieves, pirates, and robbers of the sea, as well Turks, enemies of the Christian name, as others ... [are] wickedly taking by force and spoiling the ships and goods and merchandises, not only of our subjects, but also of the subjects of our friends in the sea, which hath been accustomed anciently to be defended by the English nation; ... also, the dangers considered which on every side do hang over our heads, that it behooveth us and our subjects to hasten the defence of the sea and kingdom with all expedition or speed that we can; ... and, although that charge of defence which concerneth all men ought to be supported by all ... , you, constituted in the sea-coasts ... , are chiefly bound to set your helping hand: we command firmly, enjoining you ... that you cause to be prepared and brought to the port of Portsmouth before the first day of March now next ensuing one ship of war of the burden of 900 tons, with 350 men at the least, as well expert masters as very able and skilful mariners; one other ship of war of the burden of 800 tons, with 260 men at the least ...; four other ships of war, every of them of the burden of 500 tons and every of them with 200 men at the least ...; and one other ship of war of the burden of 300 tons, with 150 men.... And also every of the said ships [is to be equipped] with ordnance, as well greater as lesser, gunpowder and spears and weapons and other necessary arms sufficient for war, and with double tackling and with victuals until the said first of March competent for so many men; and from that time for twenty-six weeks at your charges as well in victuals as men's wages and other things necessary for war.... Also we have assigned you, the aforesaid mayor and aldermen of the city aforesaid ... , to assess all men in the said city and in the liberties and members of the same ... to contribute to the expenses about the necessary provision of the premises.... Witness myself at Westminster, the 20th day of October in the tenth year of our reign.

Rushworth, Historical Collections, II, 257 f.

(C) Commission for Levying Fines under Forest Law (1635)[3]

Charles, by the grace of God king ... , to our right trusty and right well-beloved cousin and councillor, Henry, earl of Holland; lord chief justice and justice in eyre of all our forests, chases, parks, and warrens on this side Trent, [and to the chancellor of the exchequer, the chief justices of king's bench and common pleas, the attorney general, the solicitor general, and a serjeant-at-law,] greeting. Whereas we are pleased for the ease and benefit of our subjects, upon reasonable fines and compositions to be paid into our exchequer to our use, to pardon and discharge them of all encroachments, purprestures, damage's, detriments, trespasses, and offences whatsoever by them committed or done as well in our forest of Dean in our county of Gloucester as also in our forest of Essex in our county of Essex, and the perambulations, meets, bounds, and purlieus thereof ... , and for the time to come to free them and exempt them, their lands, tenements, possessions, leases, and hereditaments of and from all common or depasturing of our deer, laws, liberties officers, and jurisdictions of forest, and to disafforest the same ...: know ye therefore that we ... by these presents do assign, make, and constitute you to be our commissioners, and we do hereby give full power and authority unto you, or any three or more of you ... , in our name and behalf to compound, contract, and agree with all such persons as shall desire the same for pardons, releases and discharges ... concerning all and all manner of encroachments, purprestures, damages, detriments, trespasses, and offences whatsoever by them in any wise committed or done in our said several forests ...; and also for grants and charters ... for the fully, clearly, and absolutely disafforesting, discharging, releasing, freeing, and exempting of them, their heirs ... , and their ... hereditaments whatsoever of and from our deer and their commoning ... or depasturing there, and of and from all laws, liberties, privileges, jurisdictions, assize, and ordinances of forest whatsoever, and of and from the view, cognizance, or jurisdiction of all swanimote courts, justice seats, courts or pleas to be holden before justices itinerant, and of and from the view or jurisdictions of justices itinerant, verderers, foresters, regardors, and other officers or ministers of forest....

Rymer, Foedera, XIX, 688 f.


[1] Cf. no. 50A.

[2] In this year writs like the one given here were sent only to seaports; but in 1635 and 1636 the system was extended throughout all the counties of England and Wales. The modified writs dispatched for this purpose demanded quotas of ships from all communities, both urban and rural, and ordered the sheriffs to raise the necessary money by assessing lands within their bailiwicks. For the judicial problems involved, see no. 94B, C; and for historical precedent, Cf. nos. 41D, 46F, I.

[3] Cf. nos. 35, 45.




Popular Pages

More Info