The Militia Ordinance
[March 5, 1641/2. Journals of the House of Lords, iv. 587. See Hist. of Engl. x. 167, 171.]
An Ordinance of the Lords and Commons in Parliament, for the safety and defence of the kingdom of England and dominion of Wales.
Whereas there hath been of late a most dangerous and desperate design upon the House of Commons, which we have just cause to believe to be an effect of the bloody counsels of Papists and other ill-affected persons, who have already raised a rebellion in the kingdom of Ireland; and by reason of many discoveries we cannot but fear they will proceed not only to stir up the like rebellion and insurrections in this kingdom of England, but also to back them with forces from abroad.
For the safety therefore of His Majesty's person, the Parliament and kingdom in this time of imminent danger:
It is ordained by the Lords and Commons now in Parliament assembled, that Henry Earl of Holland shall be Lieutenant of the County of Berks, Oliver Earl of Bolingbroke shall be Lieutenant of the County of Bedford, &c.
And shall severally and respectively have power to assemble and call together all and singular His Majesty's subjects, within the said several and respective counties and places, as well within liberties as without, that are meet and fit for the wars, and them to train and exercise and put in readiness, and them after their abilities and faculties well and sufficiently from time to time to cause to be arrayed and weaponed, and to take the muster of them in places most fit for that purpose; and the aforesaid Henry Earl of Holland, Oliver Earl of Bolingbroke, &c., shall severally and respectively have power within the several and respective counties and places aforesaid, to nominate and appoint such persons of quality as to them shall seem meet to be their Deputy Lieutenants, to be approved of by both Houses of Parliament:
And that any one or more of the said deputies so assigned and approved of in the absence or by the command of the said Henry Earl of Holland, Oliver Earl of Bolingbroke, &c., shall have power and authority to do and execute within the said several and respective counties and places to them assigned as aforesaid, all such powers and authorities before in this present Ordinance contained; and the aforesaid Henry Earl of Holland, Oliver Earl of Bolingbroke, &c., shall have power to make colonels, captains and other officers, and to remove out of their places, and make others from time to time, as they shall think fit for that purpose; and the said Henry Earl of Holland, Oliver Earl of Bolingbroke, &c., their deputy or deputies in their absence or by their command, shall have power to lead, conduct and employ the persons aforesaid arrayed and weaponed, for the suppression of all rebellions, insurrections and invasions that may happen within the several and respective counties and places; and shall have power and authority to lead, conduct and employ the persons aforesaid arrayed and weaponed, as well within their said several and respective counties and places, as within any other part of this realm of England or dominion of Wales, for the suppression of all rebellions, insurrections and invasions that may happen, according as they from time to time shall receive directions from the Lords and Commons assembled in Parliament.
And be it further ordained, that Sir John Gayre, Sir Jacob Garret, Knights, &c., citizens of London, or any six or more of them, shall have such power and authority within the City of London as any of the Lieutenants before named are authorised to have by this Ordinance, within the said several and respective counties (the nomination and appointment of Deputy Lieutenants only excepted). And it is further ordained, that such persons as shall not obey in any of the premises, shall answer their neglect and contempt to the Lords and Commons in a Parliamentary way, and not otherwise nor elsewhere, and that every the powers granted as aforesaid shall continue until it shall be otherwise ordered or declared by both Houses of Parliament and no longer.
- A very similar Ordinance was sent up to the Lords on Feb. 15 and accepted by them on the 16th (Journals of the House of Lords, iv. 587). It was sent to the King, and his answer having been voted to be a denial, the Lords returned the Ordinance to the Commons in a slightly altered form. It was finally adopted by both Houses on March 5.
- 'by the King's Most Excellent Majesty,' is here inserted in the Ordinance of February 16.
- 'most ' is omitted in the Ordinance of February 16.
- 'by His Majesty's authority, signified unto them by ' stands in the Ordinance of February 16 in the place of ' from.'