p. 1744 C
STAR CHAMBER RULES OF CHARLES I. AND ADDITIONS BY CHARLES II.¹
Charles the Second by the grace of God, King of England, Scotland, France and Ireland Defender of Faith &c. and to all to whom these presents shall come, Greeting:
Whereas our late Royal father of blessed memory by his Letters Patent under his Great Seal of England bearing date at Westminster the tenth day of February in the ninth year of his reign hereby reciting that the region or country called Newfoundland had been acquired to the Dominion of his progenitors which he held and his people had many years resorted to those parts where and in the coasts adjoining they employed themselves in fishing, whereby a great number of his people had been set on work and the navigation and mariners of his Realm had been much increased and his subjects resorting thither one by the other and the natives of those parts were orderly and gently intreated until then of late some of his subjects of the Realm of England planting themselves in that country and there residing and inhabiting upon conceipt that for wrongs or injuries done there either on the shore or in the sea adjoining they could not be here impeached and the rather for that he or his progenitors had not thentofore given laws to the inhabitants there and by that example his subjects resorting thither injured one another and used all manner of excess to the great hindrance of the voyage and common damage of this Realm, for preventing of such inconveniences for the future he did thereby declare in what manner his people in Newfoundland and upon the sea adjoining and the bays, creeks or fresh rivers there should be guided and governed and did make and ordain and we do by these presents renew, ratify and confirm the laws following in the things after specified commanding that the same be obeyed and put in execution. First if any man on the land there shall kill another or if any shall secretly or forceably steal the goods of any other to the value of forty shillings, he shall be forthwith apprehended and arrested, detained and brought prisoner to England, and the crime committed by him shall be made known to the Earl Marshall of England for the time being to whom the delinquent shall be delivered as prisoner. And the said Earl Marshall shall take cognizance of the cause and if he shall find by the testimony of two witnesses or more that the party had there killed
¹ Reprinted from App. to the British Case, North Atlantic Coast Fisheries Arbitration at the Hague, pp. 512-514, inclusive.
a man not being at that time first assaulted by the party slain, or that the killing were by misadventure or had stolen such goods, the delinquent shall suffer pain of death and all the company shall endeavour to apprehend such malefactor. Secondly that no ballast prestones, or anything else hurtful to the harbours be thrown out to the prejudice of the said harbours, but that it be carried ashore and laid where it may not do annoyance. Thirdly that no person whatsoever either fishermen or inhabitant do destroy deface or any way work any spoil or detriment to any stage, cookroom, flakes, spikes, nails or anything else that belongeth to any the stages whatsoever either at the end of the voyage when he hath done and is to depart the country, or to any such stages as he shall fall withal at his coming into the country, but that lie or they content themselves with such stage or stages only as shall be needful for them and that for the repairing of such stages as he or they take they shall fetch timber out of the woods and not to do it with the ruining or tearing down of other stages. Fourthly that according to the ancient custom every ship or fisher that first entereth a harbour in behalf of a ship be Admiral of the said harbour wherein for the time being he shall reserve only so much beach and flakes or both as is needful for the number of boats as he shall use with an overplus only for one boat more than he needeth as privilege for his first coming and that every ship coming after content themselves with what he shall have necessary use for without keeping or detaining any more to the prejudice of others next coming, and that any that are possessed of several places in several harbours with intent to keep them all before they can resolve upon which of them to choose shall be bound to resolve and send advice to such after comers in those places as expect his resolution and that within forty eight hours if the weather do serve that the said after comers may likewise choose their places and so none receive prejudice by others delays. Fifthly that no person cut out deface or any way alter or change the marks of any boats or train vats whereby to defraud the right owners, and that no person convert to his own use the said boats or train vats so belonging to others without their consents nor remove nor take them from the places where they be left by the owners, except in case of necessity, and then to give notice thereof to the Admiral and others whereby the right owners may know what is become of them. Sixthly that no person do diminish take away purloin or steal any of the fish or train or salt which is put in casks train vats or cookrooms or other house in any of the harbours or fishing places of the country or any other provision belonging to the fishing trade or to the ships. Seventhly that no person set fire on any of the woods of the country or work any detriment or destruction to the same by rinding of the trees either for the sealing of ships holds or for rooms on shore or for any other uses except for the covering of the roofs for cookrooms to dress their meat in and those rooms not to extend above sixteen feet in length at the most. Eighthly that no man cast anchor or ought else hurtful which may breed annoyance or hinder the haling of seins for bait in places accustomed thereunto. Ninthly that no person rob the nets of others out of any drift boat or drover for bait by night nor take away any bait out of their fishing boats by their ships sides nor rob or steal
any of their nets or any part thereof. Tenthly that no person do set up any tavern for selling of wine beer strong waters cider or tobacco to entertain the fishermen because it is found that by such means they are debauched neglecting their labours and poor ill governed men not only spent most part of their shares before they come home upon which the life and maintenance of their wives and children depend but are likewise hurtful in divers other ways as by neglecting and making themselves unfit for their labour by purloining and stealing from their owners, and by making unlawful shift to supply their disorders which disorders they frequently follow since those occasions have presented themselves. Eleventhly that upon the Sundays the Company assemble in meet places and have divine service to be said by some of the masters of the ships or some others which prayers shall be such as are in the Book of Common Prayer. And moreover and further then was ordained by the laws of our said late father and for the encouragement of our subjects in the said Newfoundland and in the seas adjoining, and for the benefit of the said trade there we do hereby straightly charge probihit and forbid all and every the owners of ships trading in the said Newfoundland fishery that they nor any of them do carry or transport or permit or suffer any person or persons to be carried or transported in their or any of their ships to the said Newfoundland other than such as are of his or their own or other ships Company or belonging thereunto and are upon the said ships hire and employment or such as are to plant and do intend to settle there. And because that speedy punishment may be inflicted upon the offenders against the laws and constitutions aforesaid We do ordain as was formerly ordained by our said late father that every of the mayors of Southton, Weymouth and Melcombe Regis Lyme Plymouth Dartmouth Eastlowe Foy and Barnstaple for the time being may take cognizance of all complaints made by any offenders against any of the laws or ordinances aforesaid upon the land and by oath of witnesses examine the truth thereof and award amends to the parties grieved and punish the delinquents by fine and imprisonment or either of them and of their goods found in the parts of Newfoundland or in the sea cause satisfaction thereof to be made by Warrants under their hands and seals, And the Vice-Admirals in our Counties of Southton Dorset Devon and Cornwall upon complaint made of any of the premises committed upon the sea shall speedily and effectuall proceed against the offenders Also we will and ordain that these laws and ordinances shall stand in force and be put in due execution until we shall otherwise provide and ordain And we do require the Admiral in every harbour in this next season ensuing calling together such, as shall be in that harbour publicly to proclain these presents and that they also proclaim the same on the shore In Witness &c Witness our self at Westminster the six and twentieth day of January.
per ipsum Regem