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Navigation Act [April l0/20, 1696]


As ACT for preventing Frauds and regulating Abuses in the Plantation Trade.

[Recital that notwithstanding I2 Car. II., c. I8, I5 Car. II., c. 7, 22 & 23 Car. II., C. 26, and 25 Car. II., c. 7, great abuses are committed:] For Remedy thereof for the future bee itt enacted . . . That after . . . [March 25, I698,] . . . noe Goods or Merchandises whatsoever shall bee imported into or exported out of any Colony or Plantation to His Majesty in Asia Africa or America belonging or in his Possession or which may hereafter belong unto or bee in the Possession of His Majesty . . . or shall bee laden in or carried from any One Port or Place in the said Colonies or Plantations to any other Port or Place in the same, the Kingdome of England Dominion of Wales or Towne of Berwick upon Tweed in any Shipp or Bottome but what is or shall bee of the Built of England or of the Built of Ireland or the said Colonies or Plantations and wholly owned by the People thereof or any of them and navigated with the Masters and Three Fourths of the Mariners of the said Places onely (except such Shipps onely as are or shall bee taken Prize . . . And alsoe except for the space of Three Yeares such Foreigne built Shipps as shall bee employed by the Commissioners of His Majesties Navy for the tyme being or upon Contract with them in bringing onely Masts Timber and other Navall Stores for the Kings Service from His Majesties Colonies or Plantations to this Kingdome to bee navigated as aforesaid and whereof the Property doth belong to English Men) under paine of Forfeiture of Shipp and Goods....

V. AND for the more effectuall preventing of Frauds and regulating Abuses in the Plantation Trade in America Bee itt further enacted . . . That all Shipps comeing into or goeing out of any of the said Plantations and ladeing or unladeing any Goods or Commodities whether the same bee His Majesties Shipps of Warr or Merchants Shipps and the Masters and Commanders thereof and their Ladings shall bee subject and Iyable to the same Rules Visitations Searches Penalties and Forfeitures as to the entring lading or dischargeing theire respective Shipps and Ladings as Shipps and their Ladings and the Commanders and Masters of Shipps are subject and Iyable unto in this Kingdome . . . [by virtue of the act I4 Chas. II., ch. II].... And that the Officers for collecting and manageing His Majesties Revenue and inspecting the Plantation Trade in any of the said Plantations shall have the same Powers and Authorities for visiting and searching of Shipps and takeing their Entries and for seizing and securing or bringing on Shoare any of the Goods prohibited to bee imported or exported into or out of any the said Plantations or for which any Duties are payable or ought to have beene paid by any of the before mentioned Acts as are provided for the Officers of the Customes in England by the said last mentioned Act . . . [of I4 Chas. II., ch. II,] . . . and alsoe to enter Houses or Warehouses to search for and seize any such Goods....

XV. [(AND ) bee itt further enacted . . . That all Persons and theire Assignees claymeing any Right or (Property ) in any Islands or Tracts of Land upon the Continent of America by Charter or Letters Patents shall not att any tyme hereafter alien sell or dispose of any of the said Islands Tracts of Land or Proprieties other than to the Naturall Borne Subjects of England Ireland Dominion of Virales or Towne of Berwick upon Tweed without the License and Consent of His Majesty . . . signifyed by His or Their Order in Councill first had and obteyned. . . .]

XVI. [And for a more effectuall prevention of Frauds which may bee used to elude the Intention of this Act by colouring Foreigne Shipps under English Names Bee itt further enacted . . . That from and after . . . [March 25, I698,] . . . noe Shipp or Vessell whatsoever shall bee deemed or passe as a Shipp of the Built of England Ireland Wales Berwick Guernsey Jersey or of any of His Majesties Plantations in America soe as to bee qualifyed to trade to from or in any of the said Plantations untill the Person or Persons claymeing Property in such Shipp or Vessell shall register the same as followeth (that is to say) If the Shipp att the tyme of such Register doth belong to any Port in England Ireland Wales or to the Towne of Berwick upon Tweed then Proofe shall bee made upon Oath of One or more of the Owners of such Shipp or Vessell before the Collector and Comptroller of His Majesties Customes in such Port or if att the tyme of such Register the Shipp belong to any of His Majesties Plantations in America or to the Islands of Guernsey or Jersey then the like Proofe to bee made before the Governour together with the Principall Officer of His Majesties Revenue resideing on such Plantation or Island . . .] .