1733: 6 George 2 c.31: An act for the Relief of Parishes and other Places from such Charges as may arise from Bastard Children born within the same.
[Former Provisions concerning Bastards 18 Eliz. 3. 7 Jac. 1. c. 4. 3 Car. 1. c. 4.]
Whereas the Laws now in Being are not sufficient to provide for the securing and indemnifying Parishes and other Places from the great Charges frequently arising from Children begotten and born out of lawful Matrimony: For Remedy thereof, 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 the Authority of the same,
[After 24 June 1733, the Person charged on Oath of being the Father of a Bastard Child,]
That from and after the twenty fourth Day of June in the Year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and thirty-three, if any single Woman shall he delivered of a Bastard Child, which shall be chargeable or likely to become chargeable to any Parish or extraparochial Place, or shall declare herself to be with Child, and that such Child is likely to be born a Bastard and to be chargeable to any Parish or extraparochial Place, and shall in either of such Cases, in an Examination to be taken in Writing, upon Oath, before any one or more Justice or Justices of the Peace of any County, Riding, Division, City, Liberty or Town Corporate, wherein such Parish or Place shall lie, charge any Person with having gotten her with Child,
[may be immediately apprehended,]
it shall and may be lawful to and for such Justice or Justices, upon Application made to him or them by the Overseers of the Poor of such Parish, or by any one of them, or by any substantial Householder of such extraparochial Place, to issue out his or their Warrant or Warrants for the immediate apprehending such Person so charged as aforesaid, and for bringing him before such Justice or Justices, or before any other of his Majesty’s Justices of the Peace of such County, Riding, Division, City, Liberty or Town Corporate,
[and committed to Prison, unless he give Security.]
and the Justice or Justices before whom such Person shall be brought, is and are hereby authorized and required to commit the Person so charged as aforesaid to the common Gaol or House of Correction of such County, Riding, Division, City, Liberty or Town Corporate, unless he shall give Security to indemnify such Parish or Place, or shall enter into a Recognizance with sufficient Surety, upon Condition to appear at the next General Quarter-Sessions or General Sessions of the Peace to be holden for such County, Riding, Division, City, Liberty or Town Corporate, and to abide and perform such Order or Orders as shall he made in pursuance of
[18 Eliz. c. 3.]
an Act passed in the eighteenth Year of the Reign of her late Majesty Queen Elizabeth, concerning Bastards begotten and born out of lawful Matrimony.
[Such Person on the Woman’s Miscarriage, &c. shall be discharged.]
II. Provided nevertheless, and be it enacted by the Authority aforesaid, That if the Woman so charging any Person as aforesaid shall happen to die, or be married before she shall be delivered, or if she shall miscarry of such Child, or shall appear not to have been with Child at the Time of her Examination, then and in any of the said Cases such Person shall be discharged from his Recognizance at the next General Quarter-Sessions or General Sessions of the Peace to be holden for such County, Riding, Division, City, Liberty, or Town Corporate, or immediately released out of Custody, by Warrant under the Hand and Seal or Hands and Seal of any one or more Justices or Justices of the Peace residing in or near the Limits where such Parish or Place shall lie.
[The Justices, on Prisoner’s Request, may summon the Overseers, &c.]
III. Provided also and be it enacted by the Authority aforesaid, That upon Application made by any Person who shall be committed to any Gaol or House of Correction by virtue of this Act, or by any Person on his Behalf, to any Justice or Justices residing in or near the Limits where such Parish or Place shall lie, such Justice or Justices is and are hereby authorized and required to summon the Overseer or Overseers of the Poor of such Parish, or one or more of the substantial Householders of such extraparochial Place, to appear before him or them at a Time and Place to be mentioned in such Summons, to shew Cause why such Person should not be discharged;
[and if no Order be made within six Weeks after the Woman’s Delivery, Prisoner to be set at Liberty.]
and if no Order shall appear to have been made in pursuance of the said Act of the eighteenth Year of the Reign of her late Majesty Queen Elizabeth, within six Weeks after such Woman shall have been delivered, such Justice or Justices shall and may discharge him from his Imprisonment in such Gaol or House of Correction to which be shall have been committed.
[The Woman not to be examined relating to her Pregnancy, till one Month after her Delivery.]
IV. Provided always, and be it further enacted by the Authority aforesaid, That it shall not be lawful for any Justice or Justices of the Peace to send for any Woman whatsoever before she shall be delivered, and one Month after, in order to her being examined concerning her Pregnancy, or supposed Pregnancy, or to compel any Woman before she shall be delivered to answer to any Questions relating to her Pregnancy; any Law, Usage or Custom to the contrary notwithstanding.
Source: Ruffhead, Statutes at Large, vol. 6.