1719: 6 Geo 1 c.22: Relief of Insolvent Debtors

1719: 6 Geo 1 c.22: An Act for the Relief of Insolvent Debtors, and for the more easie Discharge of Bankrupts out of Execution, after their Certificates allowed.

Whereas the several Acts which have been heretofore made for the Relief and Discharge of Poor, Distressed, and Insolvent Prisoners for Debt, have been liable to such great and notorious Abuses, as have, in great measure, obstructed the good End and Purpose of the said Acts; and many Idle and Extravagant Persons have been thereby encouraged wilfully to contract many Debts beyond their Capacity of every paying, and others to submit themselves to a Prison, and there spend what would have made their Creditors reasonable Satisfaction, in Hopes of being discharged in their Extremity by Acts only intended for Relief of such whose Misfortunes have rendred them fit Objects of Compassion; yet forasmuch as very many Persons, who now are, and for a long time past have been actually confined in Prison, are miserably impoverished and totally disabled to satisfie and pay all their several Debts to their respective Creditors, but must inevitably Perish, without speedy Relief: To set at Liberty therefore only such Persons whose long and strict Imprisonment have rendred them fit Objects of Compassion, and to prevent, as much as possible, the many Frauds practised under former Acts of the like Nature, Be it Enacted by the Kings most Excellent Majesty, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons in this present Parliament Assembled, and by the Authority of the same, That all and every Sheriff, Goaler, or Keeper of any Prison or Prisons, in any County, Riding, Division, City, Town, and Liberty, within this Kingdom, shall and is or are hereby Impowered and Required to take and make out a true, exact, and perfect List (Alphabetically) of the Name or Names of all and every Person or Persons, who, upon the Twenty fourth Day of June, One thousand seven hundred and nineteen, were actually Prisoner or Prisoners in the Custody of every such Sheriff or Sheriffs, Goaler or Goalers, or Keeper of any Prison respectively, upon any Process or other Matter herein after expressed, and of the time when such Prisoner or Prisoners were charged in Custody, together with the Name or Names of the Person or Persons at whose Suit such Prisoner or Prisoners is or are detained; and shall deliver the same to the Justices at the first General or Quarter Sessions of the Peace to be held after the First Day of May, One thousand seven hundred and twenty, for such County, Riding, Division, City, Town, or Liberty respectively, and shall in open Court take an Oath to the Effect following, (Videl cet)

I A.B. do, upon my Corporal Oath, in the Presence of Almighty God, solemnly profess and declare, That all and every the Person and Persons, whose Name or Names are incerted and contained in the foregoing Lists by me delivered and subscribed, were, to the best of my Knowledge and Belief, upon the Twenty fourth Day of June, One thousand seven hundred and nineteen, really and truly Prisoners, in my Custody in the Prison or Goal of
or the Limits thereof, at the Suit or Suits of the several Persons therein respectively mentioned, and so have continued, to the best of my Knowledge and Belief, unto this Day, unless out of Prison by due Course of Law; and that the said List is a true, exact, perfect, and just List of all such Persons as were really and truly Prisoners in the said Goal or Prison of          unless out of Prison by due Course of Law, on the said Twenty fourth Day of June, One thousand seven hundred and nineteen, and have from that Time to this Day so continued, without any Fraud or Deceit by me or any other Person or Persons to my Knowledge or Belief.
So help me God.

(Which Oath the Justices at the next General or Quarter Sessions in open Court are hereby Impowered to Administer) the Words of which Oath shall be Entred or Written at the End or Bottom of every such List so delivered and subscribed in open Court, by every such Sheriff, Goaler or Keeper respectively; which List so subscribed and sworn unto, shall be kept by the Clerk of the Peace of every such County, Riding, Division, City, Town, or Liberty respectively, for the better Satisfaction of the said Justices, and Information of all Creditors, and to be seen without fee or Reward; and the said Justices, at the said Quarter Sessions, may (if they think fit) order Copies of the said List or Lists to be printed by the Clerk of the Peace, for each of which printed Copies he may take, according to the Quantity of the Names therein contained, what shall be ordered by the said Justices, not exceeding One Shilling for each List.

And to the end that no such Poor Prisoner may be defeated of his or her Discharge, according to the true intent and meaning of this Act, by having his, her or their Name or Names left out of the said Lists so to be delivered; Be it further Enacted by the Authority aforesaid, That all and every such Sheriff or Sheriffs, Goaler or Goalers, or Keeper of any Prison, is and are hereby required to fix up in the most conspicuous Place or Places in every such Prison, Three or more true Copies of the List or Lists to be delivered at the said Quarter Sessions, Ten Days before the said Sessions; and if any such Sheriff or Sheriffs, Goaler or Goalers, Keeper or Keepers of any such Prison, shall, in any such List to be delivered in, as aforesaid, neglect or refuse to insert the Name of any Poor Prisoner or Prisoners, who was or were in Prison on the said Twenty Fourth Day of June, One thousand seven hundred and nineteen, and had continued so confined, the Person or Persons, so neglecting or refusing to insert the same, shall, for every such Name or Names so omitted, incur and be subject to such Penalty or Penalties as are herein after imposed or laid on every such Sheriff or Sheriffs, Goaler or Goalers, Keeper or Keepers, who shall neglect or refuse to make out or deliver such List, as aforesaid, to be recovered of the Penalty or Forfeiture, in case of Neglect or Refusal to make out such Lists, as aforesaid.

And be it further Enacted by the Authority aforesaid, That all Person and Persons, whose Name shall be inserted in such Lists to be delivered in, as aforesaid, who upon the Twenty fourth Day of June, One thousand seven hundred and nineteen, were actually Prisoners in the Custody of any Sheriff or Sheriffs, Goaler or Goalers, or Keeper of any Prison respectively of this Kingdom, and from thence to the time of their being discharged in manner as herein after directed, shall continue actually Prisoners, other than such as are committed by any Judges Warrant upon an Escape, who shall take the Oath herein after mentioned, shall and may be for ever released and discharged from their Imprisonment, in such manner as hereafter is provided; (That is to say) it shall and may be Lawful for any Justice or Justices of any County, Riding, Division, City, Town or Liberty within this Kingdom (upon the Petition of such Prisoner or Prisoners) by Warrant under his or their hands and Seals, to require the Sheriff or Sheriffs, Gaoler or Gaolers, or Keeper of any such Prison within his or their respective Jurisdictions, to bring before the Justices at the next General Quarter Sessions of the Peace, to be held next after the Expiration of Thirty Days from the Date of the said Warrant, for such respective County, Riding, Division, City, Town or Liberty, the Body of any Person being in the said Prison, as aforesaid, with the Warrant of his or her Detainer, together with the Copy or Copies of the Cause or Causes which he, she, or they is or are charged with in the several Goals and Prisons, as aforesaid, at the time aforesaid; which Warrant every such Sheriff, Goaler, or Keeper, is hereby commanded to obey; and such Prisoner coming before such Justices at the said Quarter Sessions, shall in Open Court subscribe and deliver in a Schedule of his or her whole Estate, and the Names of his or her several Debtors, and the several Sums of Money from them respectively secured, and owing upon any Speciality, Contract, or other Account whatsoever, and the Names and Places of abode of the several Persons from whom such Debts are due and owing, and of the Witnesses which can prove such Debts or Contracts (if there be any such) and make Oath and Swear to the Effect following, (that is to say)

I A.B. do, upon my Corporal Oath, in the Presence of Almighty God, solemnly Swear, Protest and Declare, That on the Twenty fourth Day of June, which was in the Year of our Lord, One thousand seven hundred and nineteen, I was a Prisoner within the Limits of the Prison of in the Custody of the Goaler or Keeper of the said Prison of at the Suit of without my Conesnt or Procurement, and without any Fraud or Collusion whatsoever; and from that time have been in Custody, and confined at the Suit or Suits of the Person or Persons before named, unless at such time when I was out of Prison by due Course of Law; and that the Schedule now delivered, and by me subscribed, doth contain, to the best of my Knowledge, Remembrance and Belief, a full, just, true and perfect Account and Discovery of all the Estate, Goods and Effects unto me in any wise belonging, and such Debts as are to me owing, or to any Person or Persons in Trust for me, and of all the Securities and Contract; whereby any Money will or may hereafter become payable, or any Benefit or Advantage accrue to me, or to my Use, or to any Person or Persons in Trust for me, and the Names and Places of abode of the several Persons from whom such Debts are due and owing, and of the Witnesses that can prove such Debts or Contracts; and that neither I, nor any other Person or Persons in Trust for me, have Land, Money, Stock, or any estate Real or Personal, in Possession, Reversion, or Remainder, other than what are in the said Schedule contained (excepting Wearing Apparel, Bedding for my self and Family, Working Tools and necessary Implements for my Occupation and Calling, and these in the whole not exceeding the Value of Ten Pounds;) and that I have not directly or indirectly sold, lessened or otherwise conveyed, disposed of in Trust, or concealed all or any part of my Land, Money, Goods, Chattels, Stocks, Debts, Securities, Contracts or Estates Real or Personal, whereby to secure the same, to receive or expect any Profit or Advantage thereof, or to defraud or deceive any Creditor or Creditors to whom I am indebted in any wise howsoever.
So help me God.

And which said Schedule being so subscribed in the Presence of the Justices in Open Court and Sessions, as aforesaid, is to remain with the Clerk of the Peace, for the better Information of all the Creditors of such Prisoners; and such Estate, Debts and Effects contained in such Schedule, as aforesaid, shall, immediately after the Discharge of such Prisoner, be, and is hereby vested in the Clerk of the Peace of and for the County, Riding, City, or Town Corporate, who is hereby directed and authorized, by order of the Justices at their General Quarter Sessions of the Peace, to make an Assignment of the said Estate and Effects to such of the Creditors of the said Prisoner as the major part of the Creditors of the Prisoner, who shall apply for the same, by any Writing under their hands, shall direct or appoint, for which Assignment, the said Clerk of the Peace shall take a fee of Two Shillings, and no more, in Trust for themselves and the rest of the Creditors; which said Assignee or Assignees is and are hereby impowered to sue in his, her, or their own Name or Names for, and to recover and receive the same, and to give sufficient Discharge and Discharges to each respective Debtor or Debtors, and fully to divide the same among the Creditors, who, within One Month after Notice of such Dividend be published in the London Gazette, shall produce to such Assignee of Assignees, an Affidavit made before one or more Justice or Justices of the Peace, who is and are hereby impowered to administer the same, proving his or her Debt due from the said Prisoner so discharged, in equal Proportions, according to their respective Debts; for which Assignment the clerk of the Peace shall be paid One Shilling over and above the Stamp, and no more; and after the same is recovered and received, to render the Overplus (if any shall be, their own Debts and Charges first deducted) to the Prisoner or his Executors or Administrators.

And be it further Enacted by the Authority aforesaid, That the Justice or Justices, who shall grant such Warrant or Warrants for bringing such Prisoner or Prisoners before the Justices at the General or Quarter Sessions, shall give a Writing importing Notice to all the Creditors of such Prisoner or Prisoners petitioning, as aforesaid, under his or their hands and Seals, that he hath granted such Warrant, and that the said Prisoner or Prisoners have or hath petitioned to be discharged; and the said Notice shall be left for, or served upon the Person or Persons, or their Executors, Administrators, Attorney or Agents lawfully authorized, or the same, of a true Copy thereof, shall be left at the Dwelling house or usual Place of Abode of the Person or Persons, or with the Attorney, Solicitor, or Agent last imployed in the Cause or Causes by the said Plaintiff or Plaintiffs, at whose Suit the Prisoner or Prisoners shall be imprisoned; and every Prisoner confined in Prison within the City of London, or Weekly Bills of Mortality, shall cause the like Notice to be given to every other Creditor, inhabiting or otherwise residing within the said City of Weekly Bills; and also that the like Notice shall be given to every other Creditor, inhabiting or otherwise residing within Ten Miles of the Prison where such Prisoner was in Custody; which said Notice shall be left with, or served in the Person or Persons, as before directed, Thirty Days before such General or Quarter Sessions appointed by the said Warrant; and Publick Notice shall also be inserted in the London Gazette, containing the Name, Trade, or Occupations and last Place of Abode for every Prisoner, for which there shall be paid One Shilling for each Name, and no more, Thirty Days before such General or Quarter Sessions appointed, as aforesaid, by the said Warrant; so that as well all the said Creditors as have not charged the said Prisoner or Prisoners in Custody, as those Creditors which have or shall have sufficient Notice, as aforesaid, and the said Prisoner or Prisoners, may appear before the Justices at the General or Quarter Sessions to be held for the same County, Riding, Division, City, Town, or Liberty, as aforesaid; and in case it shall be proved upon Oath before the said Justices, that the said Notice was so served or left, as aforesaid, and Publick Notice inserted in the London Gazette Thirty Days before the said General or Quarter Sessions, and that the said Person so petitioning, was actually a Prisoner, as aforesaid, upon the Twenty fourth Day of June, One thousand seven hundred and nineteen, and shall have so continued to the Time of such Prisoner or Prisoners Discharge, and the said Oath taken by the said Prisoner be not disproved by good Testimony of any Credible Person or Persons on Oath, to be administered by the said Justices, then the said Justices in their said General or Quarter Sessions, or the major part of them, being satisfied therewith, shall thereupon, by Order of the said Sessions, command the Sheriff or Sheriffs, Goaler or Goalers, or Keeper of any such Prison or Prisons, forthwith to set at Liberty such Prisoner, without having or taking any Fee or reward other than Two Shillings for his or their Attendance with such Prisoner at such General Quarter Sessions in order for his or her Discharge; which Sum of Two Shillings such Sheriff or Sheriffs, Goaler or Goalers, or Keeper of such Prison, are hereby authorized and impowered to receive and take for the Purposes aforesaid, and no more; which Order shall be a sufficient Discharge to the Sheriff or Sheriffs, Goaler or Goalers, or Keeper of any such Prison or Prisons, and shall Indemnifie him or them against any Escape or Escapes, or Action or Actions whatsoever, which shall or may be brought, commenced, or prosecuted against him or them by Reason thereof.

And be it further Enacted by the Authority aforesaid, That any Court of General or Quarter Sessions which, pursuant to the true Intent and Meaning of this Act, shall make any Order for the Discharge or such Prisoner or Prisoners, as aforesaid, shall (if required by any Creditor or Creditors who shall oppose such Prisoners Discharge) administer and give such Sheriff and Sheriffs, Goaler or Goalers, or Keepers of such Prison or Prisons (wherein the said Prisoner or Prisoners is or are) an Oath to the Effect following, (that is to say)

I A.B. do swear, That was really and truly my Prisoner in my Custody in the Prison of or the Limits thereof, to the best of my Knowledge and Belief, at or upon the Twenty fourth Day of June, in the Year of our Lord, One thousand seven hundred and nineteen, and from that time, to the best of my Knowledge and Belief, hath so continued, unless out of Prison by due Course of Law; and the Warrant of his or her Detainer, and the Copy or Copies of the Cause or Causes now by me brought, with the Body of the said is the Warrant of his or her Detainer, and is or are a true Copy or Copies, without any Fraud or Deceit by me or by any other, to the best of my Knowledge or Belief.
So help me God.

Provided always, and be it Enacted by the Authority aforesaid, That if such Person or Persons was the Sheriff or Sheriffs, Goaler or Goalers, or Keeper of such Goal or Prison, on the said Twenty fourth Day of June, One thousand seven hundred and nineteen, shall not happen to be the Sheriff or Sheriffs, Goaler or Goalers, or Keeper of such Goal or Prison at the time of making such Order, That the said General or Quarter Sessions (if required, as aforesaid) shall administer and give to such Person as shall be Sheriff, Goaler, or Keeper of such Prison or Prisons, at the time of making such Order, an Oath to the Effect following, (that is to say)

I A.B. do swear, That I have examined the Commitments or Books kept or concerning the Commitment of Prisoners to the Prison of in the County of and by them it doth appear (and I verily believe, that the Books above mentioned are really the Books of Commitments, and not Fictitions ones, calculated for this Purpose) that was, upon the Twenty fourth Day of June, which was in the Year of our Lord, One thousand seven hundred and nineteen, really and truly a Prisoner in the Custody of the then Sheriff, Goaler, or Keeper of the said Prison, and from that time hath so continued without Fraud or Deceit by me or the said or any other Person or Persons, to my Knowledge or Belief.
So help me God.

And be it further Enacted by the Authority aforesaid, That if any Sheriff or Sheriffs, Goaler or Goalers, or Keeper of any Prison, shall, without any just Cause, refuse or delay to bring any such Prisoner or Prisoners (although in Execution) to the said General or Quarter Sessions in order to his or her Discharge, or shall neglect of refuse to make out and deliver such Lists, as aforesaid, or take anu of the said Oaths before mentioned, or shall, upon any Account or Pretence whatsoever, take or receive more than the said Sum of Two Shillings herein before allowed for his or her Attendance, in order to be discharged of such Prisoner or Prisoners, as aforesaid, or shall detain the Prisoner adter he or she shall be discharged, as aforesaid, every such Sheriff or Sheriffs shall forefit and pay to each Prisoner the Sum of Twenty Pounds; and every such Goaler or Goalers, or Keeper of any such Prison or Prisons, shall forfeit his Office, or pay to the Prisoner fifty Pounds, to be recovered with Treble Costs of Suit, by Action of Debt, Bill, Plaint, or Information, in any of the Courts at Westminster, wherein no Essoign, Protection, or Wager of Law, or more than one Imparlance shall be allowed.

And be it further Enacted by the Authority aforesaid, That if any such Sheriff or Sheriffs, Goaler or Goalers, or Keeper of any Prison, shall, in taking any of the aforementioned Oaths, forswear or perjure himself, and shall be thereof lawfully convicted, such Sheriff, Goaler or Keeper of such Prison or Prisons (over and above such Penalties as are now in force, and may be inflicted on Persons convicted of Perjury) shall, upon every such Conviction, forfeit and pay the Sum of Fifty Pounds, to be recovered, with full Costs, by Bill, Plaint, or Information, or Action of Debt, in any of his Majesties Courts at Westminster, wherein no Essoign, Protection, Wager of Law, or other Delay, to be allowed, by and in the Name of such Persons, their Executors and Administrators, as shall, in pursuance of this Act, be appointed Assignees of the Estate and Effects of the Prisoner or Prisoners, for Discharging of whom such Perjury shall be committed; and for want of such Assignees int he Name or Names of any other Creditor or Creditors, who will sue for the said Penalties, to be applied, one Moiety to the Informer or Informers, and the other Moiety towards Satisfaction of the Debts of such his Creditor and Creditors.

And be it further Enacted by the Authority aforesaid, That if any Sheriff, Goaler, or Keeper of any Prison, shall insert in any List or Lists delivered in, as aforesaid, the Name or Names of any Person or Persons who was or were not Prisoner or Prisoners actually in Custody on the said Twenty fourth Day of June, One thousand seven hundred and nineteen, or being Prisoner or Prisoners on the said Twenty fourth Day of June, One thousand seven hundred and nineteen, and did not from that time actually continue such to the time of making out and delivering such Lists, according to the Tenor of the said Oath taken at the time of delivering in such Lists, every such Sheriff, Goaler or Keeper, shall, for every Name so inserted, as aforesaid, forfeit and pay the Sum of Ten Pounds, to be recovered in the same Manner, and be applied to the same Use or Uses, as is herein before directed for Recovery of the Penalty or Forfeiture in case of Conviction of Perjury.

And be it further Enacted by the Authority aforesaid, That if any Clerk of the Peace, shall delay or refuse to give every or any such Prisoner so discharged, as aforesaid, within Sixty Days after his or her Discharge, a Duplicate of his or her Discharge, on the Payment of Two Shillings and Six Pence, or shall take more than the said Sum of Two Shillings and Six Pence for such Duplicate, shall forfeit and pay to every such Prisoner the Sum of Five Pounds, to be recovered with Costs of Suit, by Action of Debt, Bill, Plaint, or Information in any of the Courts at Westminster, wherein no Essoign, Protection, or Wager at Law, or more than one Imparlance shall be allowed, or by Order of the Justices of the Peace, at their General Quarter Sessions of the Peace, who are hereby impowered to levy the same, by Distress and Sale of the Goods of the Person so offending.

And be it further Enacted by the Authority aforesaid, That if any Prisoner shall forswear or perfure himself in any of the Matters aforesaid, and shall be thereof lawfully convicted of wilful Perjury, he or she shall, over and above the Penalties now in Force against Persons convicted of wilful Perjury, be rendered incapable of receiving any Benefit of his or her Discharge, and liable to pay his or her Debts as if this Act had not been made.

And be it further Enacted by the Authority aforesaid, That no Prisoner discharged by this Act shall at any time hereafter be imprisoned by reason of any Judgement obtained, or any Debt, Damages, Contempts, Costs, Sum or Sums of Money, contracted, incured, owing or growing dur before the said Twenty fourth day of June, One thousand seven hundred and nineteen; but that upon every Arrest upon every such Judgment, or for such Debts, Damages, Contempts, Costs, Sum and Sums of Money, It shall and may be lawful for any Judge of the Court, where the Process issued, upon shewing the Duplicate of such Prisoners Discharge or Discharges, to release and discharge out of Custody such Prisoner or Prisoners as aforesaid; and the Judge is hereby impowered so to do, so as every such Prisoner or Prisoners arrested or detained upon Execution of mean Process, do give a Warrant of Attorneyt to appear to every such Action, and to plead thereunto.

And be it further Enacted by the Authority aforesaid, That if any Action of Escape, or any Suit or Action be brought against any Justice or Justices of the Peace, Sheriff, Goaler or Keeper of any Prison, for performing their Office in pursuance of this Act, they may plead the General Issue, and give this Act in Evidence; and if the Plaintiff be nonsuited or discontinue his Action, or Verdict pass against him, or Judgment upon Demurrer, the Defendant shall have Treble Costs.

Provided, That the Discharge of any Person by Virtue of this Act, shall not acquit any other from any Debt, Sum or Sums of Money, or any part thereof, but that all others shall be answerable for the same in such manner as they were before.

Provided always, and be it Enacted by the Authority aforesaid, That notwithstanding the Discharge of the Person of such Prisoner, as aforesaid, all and every Judgment or Judgments had and taken against him or her, shall stand and be good and effectual in the Law to all Intents and Purposes, against the Lands and Tenements, and Hereditaments, Goods and Chattels only of the said Prisoners so discharged, as aforesaid; and it shall and may be lawful to and for such Creditor or Creditors of such Prisoner or Prisoners so discharged, as aforesaid, his or their Executors or Administrators, to take out a new Execution against the Lands, Tenements, Hereditaments, Goods and Chattels of such Prisoner or Prisoners (his, her, or their Wearing Apparel, Bedding for his, her, or their Families, and Working Tools, and Implements necessary for his, her, or their Occupations, and not exceeding the Value of Ten Pounds, only excepted) for the Satisfaction of his, her, or their Debts, in such sort, manner and form as he, she, or they might have done if the Person or Persons of any such Prisoner or Prisoners had never been taken in Execution; Any Act, Statute, Law, or Custom, to the contrary, in any wise notwithstanding.

Provided also, That it shall and may be lawful for any Person discharged by this Act, in case any Scire facias or Action of Debt shall be brought against him or her, upon any Judgment obtained against him or her, or Statute, or Recognizance ackowledged by him or her, before the said Twenty fourth Day of June, One thousand seven hundred and nineteen, to plead generally in Discharge of his or her Person or Persons from Execution, that he or she was actually a Prisoner in such a Prison at such a Persons Suit, on the said Twenty fourth Day of June, One thousand seven hundred and nineteen, and duly discharged according to this Act at the General or Quarter Sessions held at such Time and Place for such Country, Riding, Division, Liberty, City, Town or Place (as his or her Case is) without pleading any other Matter specially; and in Case any other Action or Suit shall be commenced against him or her, for any other Debt, Sum or Sums of Money due before the said Twenty fourth Day of June, One thousand seven hundred and nineteen, to plead in Discharge of his or her Person from Execution, that such Debt or Sum of Money (as the Case shall happen) was contracted or due before the said Twenty fourth Day of June, One thousand seven hundred and nineteen; and further generally, that he or she, was actually a Prisoner and duly discharged in the manner above directed, without pleading any other Matter specially; where the Plaintiff shall or may reply that such the Defendant was not actually a Prisoner upon the said Twenty fourth Day of June, One thousand seven hundred and nineteen, or any other Matter or Thing, which may shew the said Defendant not to be entitled to the Benefit of this Act, or not duly discharged] according to it, in the same manner as the Plaintiff might have replied in case the Defendant had pleaded this Act, and his Discharge by virtue of this Act specially; and if the Plaintiff be nonsuited or discontinue his Action, or Verdict pass against him, or Judgment on Demurrer, the Defendant to have Treble Costs.

Provided also, That no Person or Persons whatsoever, who shall not obtain his, her, or their Discharge pursuant to this Act, on or before the Twenty fifth Day of March, which shall be in the Year of our Lord One thousand seven hundred and twenty one, shall have any Benefit or Advantage by this Act, or any thing herein contained, but such Person or Persons shall be continued in Prison as if this Act had never been made.

Provided always, That this Act shall not extend to that Part of Great Britain called Scotland.

And be it further Enacted by the Authority aforesaid, That every Sheriff, Goaler, or Keeper of Prison, shall and is hereby recquired to suffer in the Daytime any Person or Persons desiring the same, to see and speak with in the Lodge or some convenient Room of the said Prison, any Prisoner or Prisoners whose Names are inserted in the aforementioned List or Lists, or London Gazette, or either of them; and also to see in the true and genuine Books of the said Prison the Entries made of the Name or Names of such Prisoner or Prisoners, together with the Name or Names of the Person or Persons at whose Suit or Suits he, she, or they are detained; and if any such Sheriff, Goaler, or Keeper, shall neglect or refuse to comply with what is here above required, such Sheriff, Goaler, or Keeper shall forfeit and pay to the Person so refused and aggreived the Sum of Ten Pounds, to be recovered with full Costs of Suit, by Action of Debt, Bill, Plaint or Information, in any of the Courts at Westminster, wherein no Essoign, Protection, Wager of Law, or more than one Imparlance shall be allowed.

And be it further Enacted by the Authority aforesaid, That if any Prisoner being thereunto required by any Creitor, shall refuse to discover and decalre the Trade or Occupation, and Habitation or last Place of Abode of the Person or Persons at whose Suit ge or she are detained, or being called for shall refuse to come to the Lodge of the Prison where he or she is detained, shall, upon Proof thereof before the Justices at the General or Quarter Sessions, be uncapable of receiving any Benefit by this Act, Any Thing herein contained to the contrary thereof in any wise notwithstanding.

And be it further Enacted by the Authority aforesaid, That if any Sheriff, Goaler, or Keeper of any Prison or Prisons, shall make or cause to be made any False Entries in any Book or Books belonging to the said Prison, or shall prepare or keep, or cause to be prepared and kept any False Books in Order for such False Entries, such Sheriff, Goaler, or Keeper, shall, over and above the Penalties which are now in Force, and may be inflicted for such Fraud, Forgery, or Corruption, forfeit and pay the Sum of One hundred Pounds, to be recovered with Treble Costs of Suit by and in the Name on any Person or Persons who will sue for the same by Action of Debt, Bill, Plaint, or Information, in any of the Courts at Westminster, wherein no Essoign, Protection, or Wager of Law, or more than one Imparlance shall be allowed.

Provided always, and be it Enacted by the Authority aforesaid, That no Person, against whom a Statute of Bankrupt hath been awarded, shall have or receive any Benefit or Advantage by this Act.

Provided always, and be it Enacted by the Authority aforesaid, That notwithstanding the Discharge of any Prisoner or Prisoners by Virtue of this Act, if it shall hereafter appear the same was obtained Fraudulently, the same to be Void and of none Effect.

Provided also, and be it Enacted by the Authority aforesaid, That all and every Prisoner and Prisoners petitioning to be discharged by this Act, shall, at the time of such petitioning, leave with the Justice or Justices petitioned a true Copy of the Schedule, containing his intended Discovery to be sworn unto at the General or Quarter Sessions, as aforesaid; which Copies shall be transmitted to the respective Clerks of the Peace, and there be seen without Fee or Reward by any Creditor desiring the same.

And whereas there is but One Common or County Goal for each of the respective Counties of York and Lincoln, which Counties are each of them divided into Three several Ridings or Divisions, all which have several Commissions of the Peace; and if the Goalers of those Hoals be obliged to carry the Debtors Prisoners therein to the Quarter Sessions of each Riding or Division, the same will be a very great Charge, not only to such Goalers, but also to the Prisoners in those large Counties: Be it therefore Enacted by the Authority aforesaid, That it shall and may be Lawful for Two or more Justices of the Peace for each of the said Ridings and Divisions in their respective Counties, at the Common or County Goals thereof respectively to assemble and meet, and to hold Sessions there by Adjournment from their respective Quarter Sessions from time to time, fo the Discharge of the respective Prisoners therein, according to the Powers, Limitations and Directions of this present Act.

And be it Enacted by the Authority aforesaid, That all Debtors and others who were in Prison on or before the Twenty fourth day of June, One thousand seven hundred and nineteen, in the several Goals of this Kingdom, for want of Paying their Fees or Charges due to the Keeper or Goaler of any Prison respectively, or to any other Officer, (and upon no other Account) such Fees or Charges, not exceeding the Sum of Forty Shillings, shall be discharged, he, she, or they taking the Oath required by this Act.

Provided always, That no Person shall be discharged out of Prison, or have any Benefit or Advantage by Force or Virtue of this Act, who shall really and bona fide stand charged and be indebted in more than the Sum of Fifty Pounds for Debt, besides Interest, Damages, and Costs of Suit, to any one Person.

And whereas it was, for encouraging Bankrupts to make a Discovery of, and to deliver up their Estates and Effects for the Benefit of their Creditors, by an Act Passed the last Session of this present Parliament, Intituled, An Act for the better Preventing Frauds committed by Bankrupts, Enacted, amongst other Things, That every Person against whom a Commission of Bankrupt had, since the Twenty first Day of May, One thousand seven hundred and sixteen, issued, or should issue during the Continuance of the said Act, whereupon such Person had been, or should be declared a Bankrupt, who should discover and deliver up all his Estate and Effects to the Commissioners by the said Commission authorized for the Benefit of his Creditors, and in all things conform as in and by the said Act is directed, should be discharged from all Debts by him, her, or them due or owing at the time that he, she, or they did become Bankrupt; and that in case any such Bankrupt should afterwards be arrested, prosecuted or impleaded for any Debt due before such time as he, she, or they did become Bankrupt, such Bankrupt should be discharged upon COmmon Bail, and should and might plead in general that the Cause of such Action or Suit did accrue before such time as he, she, or they did become Bankrupt, and might give the said Act and the Special Matter in Evidence: And whereas it was by the said Act Provided and further Enacted, That no such Discovery, as aforesaid, should entitle such bankrupt or Bankrupts to the Benefits allowed by the said Act, unless the said Commissioners should, in Writing under their Hands and Seals, certifie to the Lord Chancelloer or Lord Keeper, or Commissioners for the Custody of the Great Seal of Great Britain, that such Bankrupt or Bankrupts had made a full Discovery of his, her, or their Estates and Effects, and in all Things conformed himself, herself, or themselves, according to the Directions of the said Act, and unless Four Parts in Five in Number and Value of such Bankrupts Creditors, who should have duly proved their Debts under such Commission, should sign such Certificate, and testifie their Content to the said Certificate, and to such Bankrupts Discharge in pursuance of the said Act; and unless such Bankrupt should make Oath that such Certificate and the Content of the Creditors thereunto were obtained fairly and without Fraud; and unless such Certificate should after such Oath be allowed and confirmed by the Lord Chanceller, Lord Keeper, or Commissioners for the Custody of the Great Seal of Great Britain, or by such Two of the Judges of the Courts of Kings Bench, Common Please, or Court of Exchequer at Westminster, to whom the Consideration of such Certificate should be referred: And whereas Bankrupts, notwithstanding they have made such Discovery, and delivered up all their Estates and Effects, and obtained such Certificate from the said Commissioners, and such Certificate hath been allowed and confirmed, as aforesaid, have yet been some times taken in Execution, and detained in Prison, to the utter Ruin of their Families, on Account of Debts owing by them before they became Bankrupts, by reason that Judgment was obtained against them before their Certificates were allowed and confirmed, as aforesaid; and a Doubt having arisen whether such Bankrupts in Executiuon upon such Judgments can, by Virtue of the said Act, be discharged out of Custody, as by the said Act was intended, without such Bankrupts bringing a Writ of Audita Querela, the Charge of which they are in no ways able to bear after delivering up all their Estates and Effects: Be it therefore further Enacted by the Authority aforesaid, That it shall and may be Lawful for any one or more of the Judges of the Court wherein Judgment has been so obtained against such Bankrupt, on such Bankrupts producing such Certificate, as aforesaid, allowed and confirmed, as aforesaid, and entred of Record, according to the Directions of the said Act, to order any Sheriff or Sheriffs, Bailiff or Officer, Goaler and Keeper of any Prison, who hath or shall have any Bankrupt in his Custody by Virtue of such Execution, to discharge such Bankrupt out of Custody on such Execution without Payment of any Fee or Reward; and such Sheriff or Sheriffs, Bailiff and Officer, Goaler and Keeper, are hereby required to discharge such Bankrupt out of Custody accordingly, and are hereby Indemnified from any Action for an Escape for his or their so doing.

Source:

Further information:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *