An Act for collecting at the Port of Leghorn certain small Sums of Money, to which the Merchants trading there have usually contributed, for the Relief of Shipwrecked Mariners, Captives, and other distressed Persons, his Majesty’s Subjects, and for other charitable and publick Uses (10 Geo. II – Feb. 1st, 1736)
WHEREAS it was usual for the Consul appointed for his Majesty’s Subjects trading to Leghorn, with the Majority of the British Merchants and Factors residing there, to receive certain small Sums not exceeding one Livre per Ton on all Tonnage Goods, and one Third of a Livre per Bale or Parcel on all Bale Goods, imported in British Ships or Vessels; which Sums were received by Persons annually chose as Treasurers for that Purpose, and applied for the Relief of Mariners Shipwrecked and taken in War, and other distressed Persons his Majesty’s Subjects, and to such other charitable and publick Uses, as were directed by the said Consul, with the Majority of the said Merchants and Factors: And whereas notwithstanding the Benefit and Usefulness of this Design had been experienced, yet the Payment of the said customary Sums hath of late Years not been complied with, there being no Authority to inforce such Compliance; by reason whereof several of his Majesty’s Subjects in Distress have been reduced to great Extremities for want of the Assistance which they otherwise would have received, had such Contribution been continued: Therefore to promote such good Intentions, and to continue the said Contributions for the same; may it please your most Excellent 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 the Authority of the same, That from and after the twenty-ninth Day of September, which shall be in the Year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and thirty-seven, it shall be lawful to and for such Person or Persons as shall be appointed by the Consul named for his Majesty’s Subjects trading to the said Port of Leghorn, for the Time being, together with the Majority of the British Merchants and Factors there, to receive and recover from all Masters or other Chief Officers and Commanders of all British or Irish Ships or Vessels trading from Great Britain or’ Ireland, or any other Part of his Majesty’s Dominions, to the said Port, any Sum or Sums of Money, not exceeding one Livre per Ton on all Tonnage Goods imported into the said Port in such Ships and Vessels; and on all Bale Goods any Sum or Sums of Money, not exceeding one Third of a Livre per Bale or Parcel; and all Bills of Lading of such Ships end Vessels, shall specify to pay the said Monies accordingly, under the Denomination of Contribution, as by Act of Parliament, or to that Effect; and the Persons paying the Came shall be reimbursed by their respective Freighters, or by the Persons to whom the said Goods and Merchandizes shall be consigned, or who shall receive the same; and in case the Master or Commander of such Ship or Vessel shall neglect to specify the Payment of the said Monies lathe Bill or Bills of Lading as aforesaid, he shall be answerable for the same; and in case no Bill of Lading shall appear, or no Tonnage be settled between the Owner or Owners of the Goods, and the Master or Commander of any British or Irish Ship or Vessel trading as aforesaid, then the Tonnage of such Goods, or Merchandize shall be valued by Two indifferent British Merchants on the Place; one to be appointed by the Consul, and the other by the Master or Commander of such Ships or Vessels, within ten Days next after the unlading of the said Goods; and in cafe the two Persons so chosen shall not agree and award the same in three Days next after such Appointment, such two Persons shall then choose a third Person, being a British Merchant on the Place, as an Empire, who shall decide and determine the Said Valuation of Tonnage in three Days; and such Sums shall be paid in such Case for the Purposes aforesaid, as- shall be agreeable to this Act.
II. And be it enacted by the Authority aforesaid, That all Masters, Commanders, or other Chief Officers of all British or Irish Ships or Vessels trading from Great Britain or Ireland, or any other Part of his Majesty’s Dominions, to the Port of Leghorn, and unloading and delivering the Ship or Vessel, or any Part of the Cargo there, shall, within ten Days after the Arrival of such Ship or Vessel, deliver to the Consul residing there, or to such other Person or Persons as shall be appointed for that Purpose by him, a true Manifest in Writing upon Oath, specifying the Particulars of the whole Cargo of such Ships or Vessels so unloaded or delivered, or such Part thereof as shall be unloaded or delivered there, and to whom consigned; which Oath such Consul, or other Person or Persons to be appointed by him, is and are hereby respectively impowered and required to administer gratis.
III. And for the better collecting the said Money herein before directed to be paid for the charitable and. other publick Uses aforesaid, Be it enacted. That the said Consul or other Person or Persons appointed by him, in the said Port of Leghorn, shall, and they are hereby respectively authorized and required to detain the Clearances Outward of all British or Irish Ships and Vessels, and not give or deliver any Dispatch or Bill of Health for any such Ship or Vessel, until Payment be made as aforesaid; and in case the Master or Commander of such Ship or Vessel, in order to avoid the Payment of the said Monies, shall at any Time think proper to depart without his said Clearances Outward, then and in such Case the Consul shall, upon die Return of the said Master or Commander to any Port of his Majesty’s Dominions, have a just Action at Law against him for all the Money which by virtue of this Act ought to have been paid.
IV. And be it further enacted, That all Monies to be raised or received as aforesaid, shall be applied in the Manner hereafter mentioned; that is to say, To the Succour and Relief of Mariners Shipwrecked and taken in War, and other distressed Persons his Majesty’s Subjects, and to such other charitable and publick Uses as shall from Time to Time be appointed by the Consul for the Time being, with the Majority of the British Merchants and Factors residing at the said Port of Leghorn.
V. And be it enacted by the Authority aforesaid, That the Consul for the Time being, appointed for his. Majesty’s Subjects trading to the Port of Leghorn, shall from Time to Time, as he shall fee Occasion for effecting the Purposes of this Act, call and summon a general Meeting of the British Merchants and Factors residing at the said Port; and he is hereby obliged and required from Time to Time to call and summon . general Meetings or Assemblies as often as he shall be desired, by Writing under the Hands of any five or more.of the British Merchants or Factors aforesaid; and the Majority at such Meetings or Assemblies shall from Time to Time order and determine all Matters and Things relating to the Premisses.
VI. And be it enacted by the Authority aforesaid, That this Act shall be esteemed and taken In all Courts, of Justice and elsewhere to be a Publick Act, and shall be taken Notice of as such, without specially pleading, the same; and if any Action shall be brought, or Suit commenced, against any Person or Persons for any Thing done in pursuance of this Act, or in relation to the Premisses, the Defendant or Defendants in such Action may plead the General Issue, and give this Act and the Special Matter in Evidence at any Trial to be had thereupon, and that the fame was done in pursuance and by the Authority of the said Act; and if the. same shall appear to have been so done, then the Jury shall find for the Defendant or Defendants; or if the. Plaintiff or Plaintiffs shall become nonsuited, or suffer a Discontinuance of his, her, or their Action or Actions, or if a Verdict shall pass against the Plaintiff or Plaintiffs, or if upon Demurrer Judgment shall be. given against the Plaintiff or Plaintiffs, the Defendant or Defendants shall have full Costs, and shall have such Remedy tor the same as any Defendant or Defendants hath or have for Costs in other Cases by Law.
[Source: The Statutes at Large…, vol. VI, London, 1786, pp. 35-36]