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The Star Chamber Rules of King Charles I (as relating to Newfoundland).

(Note: the etymology of 'Star Chamber' is debated. Although the old council chamber of the palace of
Westminister was both full of windows and had a ceiling of gilded stars, no stars remained as late as the reign of Elizabeth I. However, before the banishment of the Jews under Edward I, Jewish contracts and obligations were denominated 'starrs' or 'starra,' from a corruption of the Hebrew 'sbetar,' or covenant. The room where the chests containing the starrs or starra were kept was probably called the starr or starra-chamber, by then 'la chaumbre des esteilles' in French law and 'camera stellata' in Latin law. Further see Lamb. Arch. 154.)
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24th January 1633
"Whereas our late Royall Father of blessed Memorie by his Lettres Patent under his Greate Seale of Englande bearing date at Westminstre the tenth day of Ffebruary in the nynth yeare of his regine hereby reciteing that the region or Countrey called Newfoundland had been acquired to the Dominion of his Progenitors, which he held &c &c"
His people many years had resorted to those parts -- employed themselves in ffishing whereby great number of his people had been 'sett on Worke' & the navigation and mariners of the realm much increased and his subjects resorting thither 'one by the other and the natives of these parts were orderly and gently intreated' till of late some of his subjects of realm of England planting themselves in that Countrey 'upon conceipt that for wrongs or injuries done these either on the shoares or in the sea adjoining they could not be here impeached' & the rather that he and his progenitors had not given laws to inhabitants -- subjects resorting thither injured one another & used 'all manner of excesse' to hinderance of voyage and common damage of realme -- for preventing of such inconveniences for future he did declare in what manner people of Newfoundland and seas adjoining and Bays and Creeks and fresh rivers and sh'd be guided and governed & did make and order 'We doe by these presents renew and ratify and confirme the laws following in the things after specified' --
1st. If any man kill another or steale to value of forty shillings to be brought to prison to England & the crime made known to Earl Marshall of Eng'd & proved by two wtinesses -- delinquent to suffer death.
2. No ballast to be thrown out to prejudice harbor.
3. That no person deface or spoyle any stage, Cookroome &c.
4. That such ship as first enterth a harbour shall be admiral – wherein for time being he shall reserve only so much beach & flakes as is needful for number of boates as he shall use, with overplus only for one boat, as privilege for his first coming, after content themselves with what he shall have use for with keeping more to prejudice of others next coming – any that possess several places in several harbours with intent to keep all before they can resolve which to choose shall be bound to resolve and send advice to such aftercomers & within 48 howres if the weather so serve, said aftercomers may likewise choose – so none receive prejudice by others delayes.
5. That no person deface or alter the marks of any boats to defraud the owners of them.
6. That no person steale any fish, trayne, or salt or any other provision belonging to fishing ships.
7. That no person set fire to the woodes or rinde the trees except for Cookeroomes.
8. That no man case anchor or ought else hurtful which may breed annoyance or hinder the ‘haleing of seanes’ for baytes in places accustomed thereto.
9. That no person robb the nets of others out of any drift boate.
10. That no person set up any taverne for selling wine, beere, strong waters, cider or tobacco. – by such means fishermen neglect their labours, and spend wages upon which their wives and children depend they are likewise hurtful in many other ways – men make themselves hurtful by purloyning and stealing from owners.
11. On Sunday Divine service to be said by some of the Masters of ships, such prayers as are in the Book of Common prayer.
12. And moreover and further then was ordained by the laws of our said late ffather and for the encouragement of our subjects in said Newfoundland All owners of ships trading to Newfoundland forbidden to carry any persons not of ships Company or such as are to plant or do intend to settle there, & that speedy punishment may be inflicted on offenders – ordeyned as formerly that “Every of the Maiors cf Southton Weymouth and Melcome Regis Lynne Plymouth Dartmouth Eastlowe ffoy and Barnstaple” for time being take cogni’ce of all complaints [on land] and by oath of witness examine, award, amend to parties specified and punish delinquent by fine and imprisionment &c. and Vice-Admls in Counties of Southton Dorsett Devon and Cornwall proceed against offenders upon the sea-“Also wee will and ordeyne that these laws and ordinances shall stand in forse and be put in due execution until wee shall otherwise provide and ordeine And we doe require the admiral in every harbour in this next season ensuing calling together such as shall be in the harbour publickly to proclayme these presents and they alsoe proclayme the same on the shoare in Witness &c. Witness ourselfe at Westminister the six and twentieth day of January.”


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