Queen ELIZABETH I
Elizabethan Statute of Artificers Marginalia
The Elizabethan Statute of Artificers (1563) creates a system of state-enforced labor relations that are coercive and stringent, demonstrating the origins of state involvement in forcing people to work, with imprisonment for those refusing or avoiding. Later forms of indentured servitude and hereditary slavery will build off the model and justifications inherent in this statute. Consider the development of forced labor and the role the state played in its enforcement.
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Elizabethan Statute of Artificers Marginalia (1603)
“An Acte towching dyvers Orders for Artificers Laborers Servantes of Husbandrye and Apprentises.”
I. Insufficiency of existing Laws as to Hiring and Wages of Servants, Artificers, Apprentices, &c. Such Laws repealed so far as relates to such Hiring, Wages, &c.
II. Servants in certain Employments, Trades, &c. shall be hired by the Year.
III. Persons unmarried, &c. not having 40s. per Annum, &c. nor being otherwise employed, shall be compellable to serve as yearly Servants in the several Arts in which they were brought up.
IV. Such yearly Servants shall not be dismissed, nor depart during the Year, unless on Cause allowed by Two Justices; nor at the End of the Year, without a Quarter’s Warning.
V. All Persons between the Ages of 12 and 60, not being otherwise employed, &c. declared compellable to be yearly Servants in Husbandry.
VI. Penalty on Masters unduly dismissing Servants within the Year, &c. 40s. Servants unduly departing from Service, or refusing to sever, shall be imprisoned until they undertake to complete their Service.
VII. Servants shall not leave the City, Parish, &c. of their Service, without testimonial of License so to do: Form thereof.
VIII. Penalty on Servant not producing such Testimonial, Imprisonment, &c. on Master retaining him, £5. Counterfeit Testimonials.
IX. Hours of working of Artificers and Laborers, hired by Day or Week.
X. Penalty on Artificers and Labourers leaving their Work unfinished, One Month’s Imprisonment and £5 Fine.
XI. Rates of Wages of Artificers, Husbandmen, Labourers and Workmen, shall be ascertained yearly by Justices &c. in Session, and certified into Chancery, and approved by the Privy Council, and be proclaimed by the Sheriffs, &c. Such Rates may be continued or altered as requisite.
XII. Penalty on Justices, &c. absent from Sessions for rating Wages, £10.
XIII. Penalty on giving or receiving higher Wages than so rated; On the Giver, Ten Days’ Imprisonment and £5; on the Receiver, Twenty-one Days’ Imprisonment. All such Contracts declared void.
XIV. Penalty on Servants or Workmen assaulting their Master, &c. One Year’s Imprisonment, &c.
XV. Artificers, &c. compellable to work in Harvest, or to be put in the Stocks.
XVI. Proviso for Persons going to Harvesting into other Counties.
XVII. Women unmarried between 12 and 40, compellable to serve by the Year, Week, or Day.
XVIII. Apprentices in Husbandry.
XIX. Householders in Cities may take Apprentices in Trade, &c. for Seven Years.
XX. Merchants, &c. may not take any Apprentices, except their Sons, unless their Parents have 40s. of Freehold per Ann.
XXI. Persons in Market Towns may take Two Apprentices, Children of Artificers, &c.
XXII. Merchants, &c. in Market Towns shall not take any Apprentices, other than Children of Persons having £3 per Annum Freehold.
XXIII. Certain Tradesmen may take Apprentices, Children whose Parents have no Lands.
XXIV. None shall use any Art, Mistery, or Manual Occupation now in Use, unless he hath been Apprentice hereunto for Seven Years: Penalty 40s. per Month.
XXV. Woollen Cloth Weavers, except in Cities, &c. shall not take any Apprentices, other than Children of Persons having Freehold of £3 per Annum.
XXVI. One Journeyman shall be kept for Three Apprentices, &c. in certain Trades.
XXVII. Proviso for Worsted Makers, &c. in Norwich.
XXVIII. Persons refusing to become Apprentices may be imprisoned until they comply. Justices of Peace, &c. may settle Disputes between Masters and Apprentices, as to Mis-usage or Neglect of Duty, and may discharg. Apprentices from their Apprenticeship, or punish them for Misbehaviour.
XXIX. Minors only compellable to be Apprentices.
XXX. Justices shall make Periodical Inquiries as to Execution of this Act.
XXXI. Allowance to the Justices for such their Trouble.
XXXII. Application and Recovery of Penalties.
XXXIII. Proviso for London and Norwich, as to Apprentices.
XXXIV. All Contracts of Apprenticeship against this Act, void: Penalty £10.
XXXV. Apprentices under this Act compellable to serve, although bound under 21 Years of Age.
XXXVI. Proviso for Town of Godalming.
XXXVII. Application of Penalties in Cities and Towns Corporate.
XXXVIII. Proviso for Contracts already made.
XXXIX. For Apprehension of Servants, &c. departing from their Masters into other Shires.
XL. High Constables in Hundreds may keep Statute Sessions.
EARLY ACCESS: Transcription is under editorial review and may contain errors.
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