Act to Make it High Treason to Hold Correspondence with the Sons of the Pretender, May 12, 1744
On April 6, 1744, the de facto House of Commons ordered that leave be given to bring in a bill to make it high treason to hold correspondence with "the Sons of the Pretender to His Majesty's Crown" [i.e. the Prince Regent, later King Charles III, and the Duke of York, later King Henry IX and I]. The Commons assigned the task of preparing this bill to six of its members, one of whom was William Pitt the Elder.
On April 9, 1744, the Commons gave first reading to the bill (which included only the first and fourth paragraphs of the act as printed below). On April 12 the Commons gave second reading to the bill and resolved that it be committed to a Committee of the Whole House. The Committee of the Whole House met April 13 and made several minor amendments. On April 16 the Committee of the Whole House made its report to the Commons; the Commons gave second reading to the amendments and ordered that the bill with its amendments be ingrossed. The next day the Commons gave third reading to the bill and sent it up to the de facto House of Lords for their concurrence.
That same day (April 17, 1744), the House of Lords gave first reading to the bill. On April 20 the Lords gave second reading to the bill and resolved that it be committed to a Committee of the Whole House on April 24. On April 23 the Lords decided to put off the Committee of the Whole House until April 27. On April 27 the Lords ordered that it be an instruction to the said Committee "that they do receive a clause for attainting any of the Pretender's sons of high treason in case they shall land, or attempt to land, in Great Britain or any of the Dominions belonging to the Crown of Great Britain, or be found on board any ship or vessel with intent to land there."
It was also moved "that it be an instruction to the said Committee, that they do receive a clause or clauses to suspend and postpone the operation and effect of the said 10th section of the said Act [for Improving the Union of the Two Kingdoms, made in the 7th year of the reign of Her late Majesty Queen Anne], till after the death of the sons of the Pretender". The motion was objected to, and there was a long debate thereupon. When the question was put, it was resolved in the affirmative. Nineteen lords published a protest against the motion.
The Committee of the Whole House met the same day (April 27, 1744) and made extensive amendments to the bill, adding the second and third paragraphs of the act as printed below. On April 30 the Committee of the Whole House reported to the Lords who gave second reading to the amendments. On May 1 the Lords gave third reading to the bill with amendments and sent a message to the House of Commons asking for their concurrence with the amendments.
On May 3, 1744, the House of Commons gave second and third reading to the amendments made by the House of Lords. The bill received the assent of the Elector Georg II of Hanover, May 12, 1744.
A printed version of the act can be found on pages 274 through 276 of volume 18 of The Statutes at Large, edited by Danby Pickering (Cambridge: Printed for Joseph Bentham, 1765).
An Act to make it high treason to hold correspondence with the sons of the Pretender to His Majesty's Crown, and for attainting them of high treason in case they shall land or attempt to land in Great Britain or any of the dominions thereunto belonging; and for suspending the operation and effect of a clause in the act of the seventh year of the late Queen Anne, for improving the union of the two kingdoms, relating to forfeitures for high treason, until after the decease of the sons of the said Pretender.
Whereas by an act of parliament made in England, in the thirteenth year of the reign of his late Majesty King William the Third of glorious memory, intituled, An act for the attainder of the pretended prince of Wales of high treason, the person who pretended to be prince of Wales, and since the decease of the late King James, assumed the name and title of James the Third, King of England, Scotland, and Ireland, is, and stands attained of high treason; and whereas by the said in part recited act, it was enacted, That any subjects of the crown of England, who correspond with the said pretender, or with any person or persons employed by him, knowing such person to be so employed, or do remit or pay any sum or sums of money to be for the use or service of the said pretender, knowing such money to be for such use and service, being lawfully convicted, shall be taken, deemed, and adjudged to be guilty of high treason, and shall suffer and forfeit as in cases of high treason; and whereas by an act made in the seventh year of the reign of her late Majesty Queen Anne, intituled, An act for improving the union of the two kingdoms, it is enacted, That from and after the first day of July, which was in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and nine, such crimes and offences which are high treason or misprision of high treason within England, shall be construed, adjudged, and taken to be high treason, and misprision of high treason within Scotland; and whereas the eldest son of the said pretender is lately arrived in the French dominions, and hath been received and encouraged by the French King; to the end therefore that your Majesty's faithful people of Great Britain, assembled in parliament, may in the most solemn manner, express their unshaken loyalty, duty, and affection to your Majesty's sacred person and government; and at the same time avow and manifest to the whole world, That it is the fixed resolution and purpose of all your Majesty's subjects, to support and defend your Majesty, and your undoubted right and title to the crown of this realm, and the protestant succession established in your royal house, in defiance of the said pretender, his offspring, and their adherents; and that they may disappoint, defeat, and extinguish the injurious, groundless, and detestable hopes and expectation of your Majesty's enemies; may it please your Majesty that it may be enacted, and be it enacted by the 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, That if any of the subjects of the crown of Great Britain, shall, from and after the first day of May, in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and forty four, within this realm or without, hold, entertain, or keep any intelligence or correspondence in person, or by letters, messages, or otherwise, with the eldest or any other son or sons of the said pretender, or by either or any of them, knowing such persons to be employed, or shall by bill of exchange, or otherwise, remit or pay any sum or sums of money for the use or service of the said eldest, or other son or sons of the said pretender, or of either or any of them, knowing such money to be for such use or service, such person so offending, being lawfully convicted, shall be taken, deemed, and adjudged to be guilty of high treason, and shall suffer and forfeit as in cases of high treason.
II. And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That if the eldest or any other son or sons of the said pretender, shall, after the said first day of May, land, or attempt to land, or shall be found in Great Britain, or amy of the dominions or territories belonging to the crown of Great Britain, or shall be found on board any ship, vessel, or boat, being so on board with intent to land in Great Britain or Ireland, or any of the dominions or territories aforesaid, he and they respectively, shall, by virtue of this act, stand, and be adjudged attainted of high treason, to all intents and purposes whatsoever, and shall suffer and forfeit as person attainted of high treason by the laws of the land ought to suffer and forfeit.
III. And whereas in and by the said recited act of the seventh year of the reign of her said late majesty Queen Anne, it is provided and enacted, That after the decease of the person who pretended to be prince of Wales, during the life of the late King James, and since pretends to be King of Great Britain, and at the end of the term of three years after the immediate succession to the crown, upon the demise of her said late Majesty should take effect, no attainder for treason should extend to the disheriting of any heir, nor to the prejudice of the right or title of any person or persons, other than the right or title of the offender or offenders, duing his, her, or their natural lives only; and that it should and might be lawful to every person or persons to whom the right or interest of any lands, tenements, or hereditaments, after the death of any such offender or offenders, should or might have appertained, if no such attainder had been, to enter into the same; be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That the said provision so made by the said last recited clause, shall not take place, nor have any operation, force, or effect whatsoever, until after the deceases, not only of the said pretender, but also of his eldest, and all and every other son and sons.
IV. And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That where any of the offences against this act shall be committed out of this realm, the same may be alleged and laid, enquired of and tried in any county in that part of Great Britain called England, or in any shire or stewartry in that part of Great Britain called Scotland.
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