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At the Court at WHITEHALL,This 26th day of March 1686. Preſent, The Kings moſt Excellent Majeſty.His Royal Highneſs Prince George of Denmark , • Lord Chancellor , • Lord Treaſurer , • Lord Preſident , • Lord Chamberlain , • Earl of Huntingdon , • Earl of Bridgwater , • Earl of Peterborough , • Earl of Craven , • Earl of Berkeley , • Earl of Plymouth , • Earl of Morray , • Earl of Middleton , • Lord Viſcount Fauconberg , • Lord Viſcount Preſton , • Lord Viſcount Melfort , • Lord Biſhop of Durham , • Lord Dartmouth , • Lord Godolphin , • Mr. Chancellor of the Ex­chequer , and • Mr. Chancellor of the Dutchy. 

WHereas it has been Repreſented to His Majeſty, That by reaſon of the frequent Abuſes of a lewd ſort of People, called Spirits, in Seducing many of His Majeſties Subjects to go on Shipboard, where they have been ſeized, and carried by force to His Majeſties Plantations in America; and that many idle Perſons who have Liſted themſelves Voluntarily to be Tranſported thither, and have received Money upon their Entring into Service for that purpoſe, have afterwards pretended they were betrayed, and carried away againſt their Wills, and procured their Friends to Proſecute the Merchants who Tranſported them, or in whoſe Service they are, by Indict­ments, or Informations in the Crown Office in His Majeſties Name, which is a great Diſcou­ragement to them, and an Hindrance to the Management of the Trade of the ſaid Plantations, and Navigation of this Kingdom; And ſeveral Merchants and Planters having made humble Applications to His Majeſty, That he would be Graciouſly pleaſed to Direct ſuch Methods for their Retaining of Servants to Serve in His Majeſties Plantations, as in His Royal Wiſdom he ſhould think meet, whereby His Majeſty may be ſo ſatisfied of their Fair Dealing, as to take off all Proſecutions againſt them at His Majeſties Suit; And alſo that the Scandal that now lies upon them in general, by reaſon of ſuch Evil-diſpoſed perſons, may not remain upon ſuch as ſhall for the future follow ſuch Methods as His Majeſty ſhall think fit to be purſued.

His Majeſty taking into His Royal Conſideration the ſaid Requeſt, is Graciouſly pleaſed to Declare, That ſuch•••hants, Factors, Maſters of Ships, or other Perſons that ſhall uſe the Method hereafter following, in the Hirinof Servants for His Majeſties Plantations, ſhall not be Diſquieted by any Suit on His Majeſties behalf, but upon Certificate thereof, that He will cauſe all ſuch Suits to be ſtopped, to the end they may receive no further Moleſtation thereby.

I. Such Servants as are to be taken by Indenture, to be Executed by the Servant, in the preſence of the Magi­ſtrate, or Magiſtrates hereafter appointed; One part thereof Signed by ſuch Servant, and alſo Vnderwritten, or Endorſed with the Name and Hand-writing of ſuch Magiſtrate, which is to remain with the Clerk of the Peace, to be Returned to the next Seſſions, there to be Filed upon a diſtinct File, and Numbred, and kept with the Records.

II. The Clerk of the Peace is to keep a Fair Book, wherein the Name of the Perſon ſo Bound, and the Magi­ſtrates Name before whom the ſame was done, and the time and place of doing thereof, and the Number of the File ſhall be Entred: And for the more eaſie finding the ſame, the Entries are to be made Alphabetically, according to the firſt Letter of the Sirname.

III. All Perſons above the Age of One and twenty years, or who ſhall, upon View and Examination, appear to be ſo in the Iudgment of the Magiſtrate, may be Bound in the preſence of One Iuſtice of the Peace, or of the Mayor, or Chief Magiſtrate of the Place where they ſhall go on Shipboard; who is to be fully ſatisfied from him, of his free and voluntary Agreement, to enter into the ſaid Service.

IV. If any Perſon be under the Age of One and Twenty years, or ſhall appear ſo to be, he ſhall be Bound in the preſence of the Lord Mayor of London, or One of the Iudges, or an Alderman of London, being a Iuſtice of Peace, or the Recorder, or Two Iuſtices of the Peace of any other County, or Place, who ſhall carefully Examine whether the Perſon ſo to be Bound, have any Parents, or Maſters; And if he be not Free, they are not to take ſuch Inden­ture, unleſs the Parents, or Maſters give their Conſents, and ſome Perſon that knows the ſaid Servant to be of the Name, and Addition mentioned in the Indenture, is to Atteſt his ſaid knowledge upon the ſaid Indenture.

V. If the Perſon be under the Age of Fourteen years, unleſs his Parents ſhall be preſent, and Conſent, he is not to be carried on Shipboard, till a Fortnight at leaſt, after he becomes Bound, to the intent that if there be any Abuſe, it may be diſcovered before he be Tranſported. And where his Parents do not appear before the Magiſtrate, Notice is to be ſent to them; or where they cannot be found, to the Church-Wardens, or Overſeers of the Pariſh where he was laſt Settled, in ſuch manner as the ſaid Magiſtrates ſhall think fit, and Direct.

And becauſe Clerks of the Peace may conceive this not to be any part of the Duty of their Office, and may there­fore exact unreaſonable Rewards for their trouble and pains therein, His Majeſty doth Declare, That if any Mer­chants, or other Perſons ſhall be aggrieved thereby, and upon Complaint to the Iuſtices cannot obtain Relief, His Majeſty will take ſuch further care for their eaſe herein, as in His Royal Wiſdom He ſhall think méet.

And His Majeſties further Pleaſure is, That this Order be Printed and Publiſhed, to the end all Perſons whom it may concern, may take Notice thereof, and govern themſelves accordingly.


LONDON, Printed by Charles Bill, Henry Hills, and Thomas Newcomb, Printers to the Kings moſt Excellent Majeſty, 1686.

About this transcription

TextAt the court at Whitehall, this 26th day of March 1686. Present, the Kings Most Excellent Majesty ... : Whereas it has been represented to His Majesty, that by reason of the frequent abuses of a lewd sort of people, called spirits, in seducing many of His Majesties subjects to go on shipboard, where they have been seized, and carried by force to His Majesties plantations in America ...
AuthorEngland and Wales..
Extent Approx. 7 KB of XML-encoded text transcribed from 2 1-bit group-IV TIFF page images.
SeriesEarly English books online text creation partnership.
Additional notes

(EEBO-TCP ; phase 2, no. A84511)

Transcribed from: (Early English Books Online ; image set 172273)

Images scanned from microfilm: (Early English books, 1641-1700 ; 2623:6)

About the source text

Bibliographic informationAt the court at Whitehall, this 26th day of March 1686. Present, the Kings Most Excellent Majesty ... : Whereas it has been represented to His Majesty, that by reason of the frequent abuses of a lewd sort of people, called spirits, in seducing many of His Majesties subjects to go on shipboard, where they have been seized, and carried by force to His Majesties plantations in America ... Laws, etc. England and Wales., Bridgeman, William, Esq., England and Wales. Sovereign (1685-1688 : James II), England and Wales. Privy Council.. 1 sheet ([1] p.). Printed by Charles Bill, Henry Hills, and Thomas Newcomb ...,London, :1686.. (Signed: W. Bridgeman.) (Reproduction of original in the Henry E. Huntington Library and Art Gallery.)
  • Indentured servants.
  • Great Britain -- Colonies -- America.
  • Broadsides -- England -- 17th century.

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  • Text Creation Partnership,
ImprintAnn Arbor, MI ; Oxford (UK) : 2014-11 (EEBO-TCP Phase 2).
  • DLPS A84511
  • STC Wing E851
  • STC ESTC R223035
  • EEBO-CITATION 45578345
  • OCLC ocm 45578345
  • VID 172273

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