1722: 9 George 1 c.9: An act for the better qualifying the manufacture or stuffs and yarn in the City of Norwich , and liberties thereof, to bear offices of magistracy in said city,and for regulating election of such officers.
Whereas anciently the chief manufactures in the city of Norwich and county of same, were ruffles, sattens, sattens revererses and fustians, and the makers thereof were, by an act made in the first and second years of the reign of King Phillip and Queen Mary, obliged to become freemen of the said city, upon pain of forfeiture of their manufactures, contrary to the said act; by means whereof there was a constant supply of able magistrates, and great good did accrue to the said city in many respects; but the said manufactures have been for several years past, disused, and others introduced in their stead, the good designs of the said act for the public utility of the said city, are wholly lost, and the offices of magistracy there often fall to persons who are not the chief manufacturers,or the most substantial inhabitants; and frequent disorders happen in their elections, occasioning great risks and tumults: for remedy of which mischiefs and inconveniencies, and preventing the like for the future; may it please your Majesty, that it may be enacted; and be it enacted by the King’s 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 authority of the same,
That all persons who now are or hereafter shall be manufacturers of any sort of stuffs made from wool, or wherein there is any mixture of wool, and all makers of wool into yarn, who are not journeymen or servants for hire, master weavers and master wool-combers, and persons dealing or trading as such, or employing servant or journeymen in any such manufactures, or having any interest stock, share or partnership in any such manufacture, inhabiting or living in the said city of Norwich or county of the same shall be made free of the said city and admitted freemen thereof, as is herein after mentioned, (that is to say) all persons inhabiting or living in the said city or county of the same as aforesaid, now owing such manufacturers or makers of stuffs, or makers of wool into yarn, master weavers, or master woolcombers, or dealers, or traders as such, or imploying servants or workmen in any such manufactures, or having any interest, stock, share or partnership therein as aforesaid, shall upon their request to be made at any court of mayoralty, or assembly of the mayor, sheriffs, citizens and commonalty to be holden for the said city, on or before the twenty fourth day of June, one thousand seven hundred and twenty three, be admitted and made free of the said city, paying only one and twenty shillings for such admission and freedom; and all persons, who hereafter shall be such manufacturers in manner as aforesaid,and living or inhabiting as aforesaid, being foreigners, shall, upon their request, to be made at any assembly of the said corporation to be holden for the said city, be admitted and made free of the city, paying a sum not exceeding five pounds for such admission and freedom, and all persons to be admitted or made free as aforesaid, shall, at the time of admission, take the usual oaths, or being Quakers, shall take the solemn affirmation to the effect thereof.
II. And be it enacted by the authority aforesaid, That if any person (servants and apprentices during their service excepted) who now is or hereafter shall be any such manufacturer, dealer or trader, or otherwise concerned or interested in any of the said manufactures as aforesaid, shall, after the twenty fourth day of June one thousand seven hundred and twenty three, presume to use or exercise any of the said manufactures, or be concerned or interested therein in manner aforesaid, not being admitted and made free as aforesaid, every person so offending being lawfully convicted upon a prosecution to be commences within six months after the fact committed, shall forfeit the sum of ten pounds for every kalender month, such person shall so unlawfully use or exercise any of the said manufactures, or be concerned or interested therein as aforesaid, contrary to this act, next after the third quarterly assembly of the said corporation, which shall be held for the said city ; the said sum of ten pounds to be recovered by action of debt, bill, plaint or information, to be brought by the chamberlain of the said city for the use of the mayor, sheriffs, citizens and commonalty of the said city, in any of his Majesty’s courts of record at Westminster where no essoin, privilege, protection or wager of law shall be allowed, nor more than one imparlance.
III. And for better qualifying persons to bear offices of magistracy in the said city, and for regulating such elections, and presenting false and fictitious polling therein, be it enacted by the authority aforesaid, That if any person, elected to be sheriff of the said city and county thereof, at any court of mayoralty to beholden in any year, between the twenty fourth day of June and the tenth day of August following, shall within fourteen days after notice in writing given to him of such election, make oath or being Quaker take his solemn affirmation, that he is not at that time worth two thousand pounds in the world, his debts being paid, which oath or affirmation the mayor of the said city for the time being, or any of his Majesty’s justices of the peace are hereby authorized to administer, such oath or affirmation being made at, or transmitted to some court of mayoralty of the said city, to be holden within fourteen days after such notice, every such person shall for that time or turn be executed the said office of sheriff gratis; and that fifty pounds, and no more, shall be paid as a fine, by any person so elected, for not serving the office of sheriff of the said city and county thereof, if such person shall make or transmit as aforesaid his oath or being Quaker, his solemn affirmation, that he is not at that time worth three thousand pounds in the world, his debts being paid; and that eighty pounds, and no more , shall be paid as a fine, by any person of greater estate so elected, for not serving the office of sheriff of the said city or county.
IV. Provided always, That no person, worth two thousand pounds and upwards, shall be discharged for bearing the said office of sheriff by the court of mayoralty, for any longer time than one year, without the consent of the mayor, sheriffs, citizens and commonalty, in common council assembled ; and that no person after the first day in May one thousand seven hundred and twenty three, shall in any year be executed or discharged from bearing the said office of sheriff, unless such person shall have been first elected to such office,and have notice thereof as usual, between the twenty fourth day of June and the tenth day of August ensuing.
V. And be it enacted by the authority aforesaid, That upon every election to be made in time to come, of any mayor, sheriff , aldermen or common council man, in or for the said city of Norwich, the mayor or other officer or officers presiding at such election, in case a poll be demanded by any of the candidates, or any three or more of the electors, shall cause a regular poll to be taken of the voters, and shall appoint a convenient number of clerks to take the same, which clerks shall take the said poll in the presence of such mayor, or other presiding officer or officers, or such as he or they, according to the charters and usages of the said city, shall depute; and before they being to take the said poll, every clerk so appointed, shall, by the said mayor or other presiding officer or officer, be sworn truly and indifferently to take the same poll,and to let down the name of each voter, with his addition and place of abode, and for whom be shall poll and to poll no elector who is not sworn according to the direction of this act; and every person before he is admitted to poll at the same election, shall first take the oath herein mentioned, or, being a Quaker, shall solemnly affirm the effect thereof viz.
YOU shall swear,or being a Quaker, you shall solemnly affirm, that you are a freemen of the city of Norwich ; or in case of an election for an aldermen of common council-man, That you are an inhabitant in the ward, for which such election is made, and have not been polled at this election.
Which oath, or affirmation the said mayor, or other presiding officer or officers, or his or thier deputy or deputies, or such sworn clerks by him or them appointed to take the said poll as aforesaid, is and hereby authorized to adminster; and at every such election upon closing the poll, the number of voters in each poll shall be publickly proclaimed; and if a scrutiny of any such poll shall, within four and twenty hours after closing the same, or proclamation made thereof aforesaid, be demanded by or on behalf of any candidate, or by any three or more of the electors voting at such election, such scrutiny shall be proceeded in with effect; and in order thereto the mayor, or other officer or officers presiding at such election, shall, within seven days after demand thereof, deliver to the person or person requiring such scrutiny, or some of them, a true copy of the poll taken at such election, paying only reasonably for writing the same, not exceeding the rate of six pence for the names and additions of twenty voters; and such scrutiny shall begin within twelve days, and not in less than ten days next after closing or finishing the poll, and shall publickly proceeded in at the at the place of election.
VI. And be it further enacted, That every mayor, or other officer or officers presiding at any such election, refusing to deliver copies of the polls, being demanded as aforesaid, or willfully offending in the premisses, shall for every willfull offence contrary to this act, forfeit the sum of five hundred pounds, to the party or parties aggrived, together with costs of suit, to be recovered by action of debt,bill, plaint or information, in any of his Majesty’s courts of record at Westminster, to be brought or commenced within six months after the offence committed; and in such action or suit, no ession, protection, wager of law, privilige or imparlance shall be admitted or allowed.
VII. And whereas it hath sometimes happened, that upon the death of an aldermen of the said city, the election of another in his place hath been deferred for a long time, to the greater prejudice of the inhabitants of the said city; be it further enacted That from and after the twenty fifth day of March one thousand seven hundred and twenty three, upon the death or removal of any aldermen of the said city; the mayor, or his deputy appointed by him, shall within the space of five days at the longest and not sooner than two days after such death or removal shall happen (and the said mayor or his deputy have notice thereof) proceed to the election of a new aldermen, giving first to the freemen of the ward, for which the election is to be made, twenty four hours notice at least, before such election shall begin : provided that nothing in this act shall extend, or be construed to extend, to the limits of the palace of the bishop or Norwich, or the precincts of the cathedral church or Norwich.
VIII. And be it enacted, That this act shall in all courts and placed be deemed and taken to be a publick act, and all judges, justices and others, are to take notice thereof as such without specially pleading the same.