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Boston Port Act [1774] - History

Boston Port Act [1774] - History


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An act to discontinue, in such manner, and for such time as are therein mentioned, the landing and discharging, lading or shipping, of goods, wares, and merchandise, at the town, and within the harbor, of Boston, in the province of Massachusetts's Bay, in North America.

WHEREAS dangerous commotions and insurrections have been fomented and raised in the town of Boston, in the province of Massachusetts's Bay, in New England, by divers ill-affected persons, to the subversion of his Majesty's government, and to the utter destruction of the publics peace, and good order of the said town; in which commotions and insurrections certain valuable cargoes of teas, being the property of the East India Company, and on board certain vessels lying within the bay or harbour of Boston, were seized and destroyed: And whereas, in the present condition of the said town and harbor, the commerce of his Majesty's subjects cannot be safely carried on there, nor the customs payable to his Majesty duly collected; and it is therefore expedient that the officers of his Majesty's customs should be forthwith removed front the said town: . be it enacted . ., That from and after . [June I, I774,] . it shall not be lawful for any person or persons whatsoever to lade, put, or cause or procure to be laden or put, off or from any quay, wharf, or other place, within the said town of Boston, or in or upon any part of the shore of the bay, commonly called The Harbour of Boston, between a certain headland or point called Nahant Point, on the eastern side of the entrance into the said bay, and a certain other headland or point called Alderton Point, on the western side of the entrance into the said bay, or in or upon any island, creek, landing-place, bank, or other place, within the said bay or headlands, into any ship, vessel, lighter, boat, or bottom, any goods, wares, or merchandise whatsoever, to be transported or carried into any other country, province, or place whatsoever, or into any other part of the said province of the Massachusetts's Bay, in New England; or to take up, discharge, or lay on land, or cause or procure to be taken up, discharged, or laid on land, within the said town, or in or upon any of the places aforesaid, out of any boat, lighter, ship, vessel, or bottom, any goods, wares, or merchandise whatsoever, to be brought from any other country, province or place, or any other part of the said province of the Massachusetts's Bay in New England, upon pain of the forfeiture of the said goods, wares, and merchandise, and of the said boat, lighter, ship, vessel, or other bottom into which the same shall be put, or out of which the same shall be taken, and of the guns, ammunition, tackle, furniture, and stores, in or belonging to the same: And if any such goods, wares, or merchandise, shall, within the said town, or in any the places aforesaid, be laden or taken in from the shore into any barge, hoy, lighter, wherry, or boat, to be carried on board any ship or vessel outward-bound to any other country or province, or other part of the said province of the Massachusetts's Bay in New England, or be laden or taken into such barge, hoy, lighter, wherry or boat, from or out of any ship or vessel coming in and arriving from any other country or province, or other part of the said province of the Massachusetts's Bay in New England, such barge, hoy, lighter, wherry, or boat, shall be forfeited and lost.

III. And be it further enacted . ., That lf any ship or vessel shall be moored or lie at anchor, or be seen hovering within the said bay, described and bounded as aforesaid or within one league from the said bay so described, or the said headlands, or any of the islands lying between or within the same, it shall and may be lawful for any admiral, chief commander, or commissioned officer, of his Majesty's fleet or ships of war, or for any officer of his Majesty's customs, to compel such ship or vessel to depart to some other port or harbor, or to such station as the said officer shall appoint, and to use such force for that purpose as shall be found necessary: And if such ship or vessel shall not depart accordingly, within six hours after notice for that purpose given by such person as aforesaid, such ship or vessel, together with all the goods laden on board thereon, and all the guns, ammunition, tackle, and furniture, shall be forfeited and lost, whether bulk shall have been broken or not.

IV. Provided always, That nothing in this act contained shall extend, or be construed to extend, to any military or other stores for his Majesty's use, or to the ships or vessels whereon the same shall be laden . .; nor to any fuel or victual brought coastwise from any part of the continent of America, for the necessary use and sustenance of the inhabitants of the said town of Boston, provided the vessel wherein the same are to be carried shall be duly furnished with a cocket and let pass, after having been duly searched by the proper officers of his Majesty's customs at Marblehead, in the port of Salem, in the said province of Massachusetts's Bay . .; nor to any ships or vessels which may happen to tie within the said harbor of Boston on or before . and may have either laden or taken on board, or be there with intent to load or take on board, or to land or discharge any goods, wares, and merchandise, provided the said ships and vessels do depart the said harbour within fourteen days after the said . [June I,1774]
VIII. ., That whenever it shall be made to appear to his Majesty, in his privy council, that peace and obedience to the laws shall be so far restored in the said town of Boston, that the trade of Great Britain may safely be carried on there, and his Majesty's customs duly collected, and his Majesty, in his privy council, shall adjudge the same to be true, it shall and may be lawful for his Majesty, by proclamation, or order of council, to assign and appoint the extent, bounds, and limits, of the port or harbor of Boston, and of every creek or haven within the same, or in the islands within the precincts thereof; and also to assign and appoint such and so many open places, quays, and wharfs, within the said harbor, creeks, havens, and islands, for the landing, discharging, lading, and shipping of goods, as his Majesty . shall judge necessary and expedient; and also to appoint such and so many officers of the customs therein as his Majesty shall think fit; after which it shall be lawful for any person or persons to lade or put off from, or to discharge and land upon, such wharfs, quays, and places, so appointed within the said harbor, and none other. any goods, wares, and merchandise whatever.

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X. Provided also, and it is hereby declared and enacted, That nothing herein contained shall extend, or be construed, to enable his Majesty to appoint such port, harbor, creeks, quays, wharfs, places, or officers, in the said town of Boston, or in the said bay or islands, until it shall sufficiently appear to his Majesty that full satisfaction hath been made by or on behalf of the inhabitants of the said town of Boston to the united company of merchants of England trading to the East Indies, for the damage sustained by the said company by the destruction of their goods sent to the said town of Boston, on board certain ships or vessels as aforesaid; and until it shall be certified to his Majesty, in council, by the governor, or lieutenant governor, of the said province, that reasonable satisfaction hath been made to the officers of his Majesty's revenue, and others, who suffered by the riots and insurrections above mentioned, in the months of November and December, in the year one thousand seven hundred and seventy-three, and in the month of January, in the year one thousand seven hundred and seventy-four.


On This Day in History -June 1, 1774

On this day in history, June 1, 1774, the Boston Port Act takes effect, closing down Boston Harbor from all shipping and trade in punishment for the Boston Tea Party. Boston citizens had thrown 42 tons of tea into the harbor in December of the previous year, as an act of protest against unjust taxation. The colonists had no representatives in Parliament and they believed it was unlawful to be taxed by a body in which they had no representation. The Boston Tea Party was the culmination of many years of protests and strife regarding taxation and representation.

Parliament was outraged at this act of defiance and set about bringing the rebellious Massachusetts back to order. A series of acts, known as the Coercive Acts in Britain, were passed in 1774, which shut down all self-government in Massachusetts, limited town meetings and moved the trials of government officials out of the colony. Other measures required all the colonies to provide housing for government troops, extended the boundaries of British Quebec and granted Catholic Quebec residents the right to practice their own religion, which was seen by the colonists as strengthening the heavily pro-British Quebec right next door.

The piece of the Coercive Acts, or, as they were called by the colonists, the Intolerable Acts, that caused more outrage in the colonies than any other, however, was the Boston Port Act. This act closed down the harbor to all trade permanently until the ruined tea was paid for, the lost customs revenues paid and order restored in Massachusetts. It placed armed warships in the harbor to enforce a blockade and filled Boston with troops to help patrol the wharfs.

The Boston Port Act placed heavy fines on violators. If anyone was caught trying to sneak through the blockade, the ships, cargo and any other property, such as horses or wagons used to transport the goods, were to be forfeited to the government and a fine of three times the value of the cargo was levied. Also, anyone caught trying to bribe officials into letting goods through and any officials involved in taking such bribes, were heavily fined.

The Boston Port Act, and the other parts of the Coercive Acts, were really the spark that lighted the American Revolution. Colonists across America were outraged. They realized that if Parliament was willing to do this to Boston, they could do it anywhere in the colonies. All of the colonies joined in a boycott of British goods and a plan was made to convene the First Continental Congress in Philadelphia in September. The Congress was to plan a joint colonial response to the Coercive Acts and was the first joint action of the colonies against Great Britain.

The Boston Port Act did everything but bring Massachusetts back into submission. Instead, it united  the colonies in their resolve to protect their freedoms. The Continental Congress remonstrated with Great Britain to correct its grievances, but also recommended to all the colonies that they begin stockpiling weapons and ammunition in the event of war. This stockpiling led directly to British General Thomas Gage receiving instructions to capture the rebel supplies at Concord, Massachusetts, leading to the outbreak of the Revolutionary War in April of 1775.


Boston Port Act [1774] - History

This is the original text of the Boston Port Act as enacted by the British Parliament on March 31, 1774.

An act to discontinue, in such manner, and for such time as are therein mentioned, the landing and discharging, lading or shipping, of goods, wares, and merchandise, at the town, and within the harbour, of Boston, in the province of Massachuset’s Bay, in North America.

WHEREAS dangerous commotions and insurrections have been fomented and raised in the town of Boston, in the province of Massachuset’s Bay, in New England, by divers ill-affected persons, to the subversion of his Majesty’s government, and to the utter destruction of the publick peace, and good order of the said town in which commotions and insurrections certain valuable cargoes of teas, being the property of the East India Company, and on board certain vessels lying within the bay or harbour of Boston, were seized and destroyed: And whereas, in the present condition of the said town and harbour, the commerce of his Majesty’s subjects cannot be safely carried on there, nor the customs payable to his Majesty duly collected and it is therefore expedient that the officers of his Majesty’s customs should be forthwith removed from the said town: May it please your 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 first day of June, one thousand seven hundred and seventy-four, it shall not be lawful for any person or persons whatsoever to lade put, or cause or procure to be laden or put, off or from any quay, wharf, or other place, within the said town of Boston, or in or upon any part of the shore of the bay, commonly called The Harbour of Boston, between a certain headland or point called Nahant Point, on the eastern side of the entrance into the said bay, and a certain other headland or point called Alderton Point, on the western side of the entrance into the said bay, or in or upon any island, creek, landing place, bank, or other place, within the said bay or headlands, into any ship, vessel, lighter, boat, or bottom, any goods, wares, or merchandise whatsoever, to be transported or carried into any other country, province or place whatsoever, or into any other part of the said province of the Massachuset’s Bay, in New England or to take up, discharge, or lay on land, or cause or procure to be taken up, discharged, or laid on land, within the said town, or in or upon any of the places aforesaid, out of any boat, lighter, ship, vessel, or bottom, any goods, wares, or merchandise whatsoever, to be brought from any other country, province, or place, or any other part of the said province of the Massachuset’s Bay in New England, upon pain of the forfeiture of the said goods, wares, and merchandise, and of the said boat, lighter, ship, or vessel or other bottom into which the same shall be taken, and of the guns, ammunition, tackle, furniture, and stores, in or belonging to the same: And if any such goods, wares, or merchandise, shall, within the said town, or in any the places aforesaid, be laden or taken in from the shore into any barge, hoy, lighter, wherry, or boat, to be carried on board any ship or vessel coming in and arriving from any other country or province, or other part of the said province of the Massachuset’s Bay in New England, such barge, hoy, lighter, wherry, or boat, shall be forfeited and lost.

II. And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That if any warfinger, or keeper of any wharf, crane, or quay, of their servants, or any of them, shall take up or land, or knowingly suffer to be taken up or landed, or shall ship off, or suffer to be waterborne, at or from any of their said wharfs, cranes, or quays, any such goods, wares, or merchandise in every such case, all and every such wharfinger, and keeper of such wharf, crane, or quay, and every person whatever who shall be assisting, or otherwise concerned in the shipping or in the loading or putting on board any boat, or other vessel for that purpose, or in the unshipping such goods, wares, and merchandise, or to whose hands the same shall knowingly come after the loading, shipping, or unshipping thereof, shall forfeit and lose treble the value thereof, to be computed at the highest price which such sort of goods, wares, and merchandise, shall bear at the place where such offence shall be committed, together with the vessels and boats, and all the horses, cattle, and carriages, whatsoever made use of in the shipping, unshipping, landing, removing, carriage, or conveyance of any of the aforesaid goods, wares, and merchandise.

III. And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That if any ship or vessel shall be moored or lie at anchor, or be seen hovering within the said bay, described and bounded as aforesaid, or within one league from the said bay so described, or the said headlands, or any of the islands lying between or within the same, it shall and may be lawful for any admiral, chief commander, or commissioned officer, of his Majesty’s fleet or ships of war, or for any officer of his Majesty’s customs, to compel such ship or vessel to depart to some other port or harbour, or to such station as the said officer shall appoint, and to use such force for that purpose as shall be found necessary: And if such ship or vessel shall not depart accordingly, within six hours after notice for that purpose given by such person as aforesaid, such ship or vessel, together with all the goods laden on board thereon, and all the guns, ammunition, tackle, and furniture, shall be forfeited and lost, whether bulk shall have been broken or not.

IV. Provided always, That nothing in this act contained shall extend, or be construed to extend, to any military or other stores for his Majesty’s use, or to the ships or vessels whereon the same shall be laden, which shall be commissioned by, and in the immediate pay of, his Majesty, his heirs or successors nor to any fuel or victual brought coastwise from any part of the continent of America, for the necessary use and sustenance of the inhabitants of the said town of Boston, provided the vessels wherein the same are to be carried shall be duly furnished with a cocket and let-pass, after having been duly searched by the proper officers of his Majesty’s customs at Marblehead, in the port of Salem, in the said province of Massachuset’s Bay and that some officer of his Majesty’s customs be also there put on board the said vessel, who is hereby authorized to go on board, and proceed with the said vessel, together with a sufficient number of persons, properly armed, for his defence, to the said town or harbour of Boston nor to any ships or vessels which may happen to be within the said harbour of Boston on or before the first day of June, one thousand seven hundred and seventy four, and may have either laden or taken on board, or be there with intent to load or take on board, or to land or discharge any goods, wares, and merchandise, provided the said ships and vessels do depart the said harbour within fourteen days after the said first day of June, one thousand seven hundred and seventy-four.

V. And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That all seizures, penalties, and forfeitures, inflicted by this act, shall be made and prosecuted by any admiral, chief commander, or commissioned officer, of his Majesty’s fleet, or ships of war, or by the officers of his Majesty’s customs, or some of them, or by some other person deputed or authorised, by warrant from the lord high treasurer, or the commissioners of his Majesty’s treasury for the time being, and by no other person whatsoever: And if any such officer, or other person authorised as aforesaid, shall, directly or indirectly, take or receive any bribe or reward, to connive at such lading or unlading, or shall make or commence any collusive seizure, information, or agreement for that purpose, or shall do any other act whatsoever, whereby the goods, wares, or merchandise, prohibited as aforesaid, shall be suffered to pass, either inwards or outwards, or whereby the forfeitures and penalties inflicted by this act may be evaded, every such offender shall forfeit the sum of five hundred pounds for every such offence, and shall become incapable of any office or employment, civil or military and every person who shall give, offer, or promise, any such bribe or reward, or shall contract, agree, or treat with any person, so authorised as aforesaid, to commit any such offfence, shall forfeit the sum of fifty pounds.

VI. And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That the forfeitures and penalties inflicted by this act shall and may be prosecuted, sued for, and recovered, and be divided, paid, and applied, in like manner as other penalties and forfeitures inflicted by any act or acts of parliament, relating to the trade or revenues of the British colonies or plantations in America, are directed to be prosecuted, sued for, or recovered, divided, paid, and applied, by two several acts of parliament, the one passed in the fourth year of his present Majesty, (intituled, An act for granting certain duties in the British colonies and plantations in America for continuing, amending, and making perpetual, an act passed in the sixth year of the reign of his late majesty King George the Second, intituled, An act for the better securing and encouraging the trade of his Majesty’s sugar colonies in America: for applying the produce of such duties, and of the duties to arise by virtue of the said act, towards defraying the expences of defending, protecting, and securing, the said colonies and plantations for explaining an act made in the twenty-fifth year of the reign of King Charles the Second, intituled, An act for the encouragement of the Greenland and Eastland trades, and for the better securing the plantation trade and for altering and disallowing several drawbacks on exports from this kingdom, and more effectually preventing the clandestine conveyance of goods to and from the said colonies and plantations, and improving and securing the trade between the same and Great Britain) the other passed in the eighth year of his present Majesty’s reign, (intituled, An act for the more easy and effectual recovery of the penalties and forfeitures inflicted by the acts of parliament relating to the trade or revenues of the British colonies and plantations in America.)

VII. And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That every charter party bill of loading, and other contract for consigning shipping, or carrying any goods, wares, and merchandize whatsoever, to or from the said town of Boston, or any part of the bay or harbour thereof, described as aforesaid, which have been made or entered into, or which shall be made or entered into, so long as this act shall remain in full force, relating to any ship which shall arrive at the said town or harbour, after the first day of June, one thousand seven hundred and seventy-four, shall be, and the same are hereby declared to be utterly void, to all intents and purposes whatsoever.

VIII. And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That whenever it shall be made to appear to his Majesty, in his privy council, that peace and obedience to the laws shall be so far restored in the said town of Boston, that the trade of Great Britain may safely be carried on there, and his Majesty’s customs duly collected, and his Majesty, in his privy council, shall adjudge the same to be true, it shall and may be lawful for his Majesty, by proclamation, or order of council, to assign and appoint the extent, bounds, and limits, of the port or harbour of Boston, and of every creek or haven within the same, or in the islands within the precincts thereof and also to assign and appoint such and so many open places, quays, and wharfs, within the said harbour, creeks, havens, and islands, for the landing, discharging, lading, and shipping of goods, as his Majesty, his heirs or successors, shall judge necessary and expedient and also to appoint such and so many officers of the customs therein as his Majesty shall think fit, after which it shall be lawful for any person or persons to lade or put off from, or to discharge and land upon, such wharfs, quays, and places, so appointed within the said harbour, and none other, any goods, wares, and merchandise whatever.

IX. Provided always, That if any goods, wares, or merchandize, shall be laden or put off from, or discharged or landed upon, any other place than the quays, wharfs, or places, so to be appointed, the same, together with the ships, boats, and other vessels employed therein, and the horses, or other cattle and carriages used to convey the same, and the person or persons concerned or assisting therein, or to whose hands the same shall knowingly come, shall suffer all the forfeitures and penalties imposed by this or any other act on the illegal shipping or landing of goods.

X. Provided also, and it is hereby declared and enacted, That nothing herein contained shall extend, or be construed, to enable his Majesty to appoint such port, harbour, creeks, quays, wharfs, places, or officers in the said town of Boston, or in the said bay or islands, until it shall sufficiently appear to his Majesty that full satisfaction hath been made by or on behalf of the inhabitants of the said town of Boston to the united company of merchants of England trading to the East Indies, for the damage sustained by the said company by the destruction of their goods sent to the said town of Boston, on board certain ships or vessels as aforesaid and until it shall be certified to his Majesty, in council, by the governor, or lieutenant governor, of the said province, that reasonable satisfaction hath been made to the officers of his Majesty’s revenue, and others, who suffered by the riots and insurrections above mentioned, in the months of November and December, in the year one thousand seven hundred and seventy-three, and in the month of January, in the year one thousand seven hundred and seventy-four.

XI. And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That if any action or suit shall be commenced, either in Great Britain or America, against any person or persons, for any thing done in pursuance of this act of parliament, the defendant or defendants, in such action or suit, may plead the general issue, and give the said act, and the special matter, in evidence, at any trial to be had thereupon, and that the same was done in pursuance and by the authority of this act: and if it shall appear so to have been done, the jury shall find for the defendant or defendants and if the plaintiff shall be nonsuited, or discontinue his action, after the defendant or defendants shall have appeared: or if judgment shall be given upon any verdict or demurrer, against the plaintiff, the defendant or defendants shall recover treble costs, and have the like remedy for the same, as defendants have in other cases by law.


What Actually The Boston Port Act Tried To Do?

In the year 1774 on March 31st, for punishing colonists for their rebellious activity (mainly Boston Tea Party), the British authority decided to completely close the Boston Harbor through the new law.

British authority demanded the city residence worth 1 million dollars for their loss.

Authority insisted, until the people of Boston were to compensate the government for their losses, they would not let the port be opened.

Even, going one step further, to humiliate Bostonians for their doing, the parliament also demanded them to say sorry to British King George.

Parliament believed that the act’s imposition would make colonists oblige to leave the way of rebellion.

No, nothing happened as they wished contrary, the wind started flowing against their expectation.

What Was The Result And Response To The Act?

Along with this one, the other 4 Coercive Acts (or Intolerable Acts) became a nightmare to the people of the 13 colonies.

Those started threatening their life and security.

Therefore, as a response to those all laws of 1774, the delegates of the colonies (except Georgia) united in a meeting in Philadelphia.

The meeting is popularly known as the First Continental Congress (organized from 1774’s September 5th to October 26th).

Here most importantly, they decided to boycott British goods’ import to the colonies.

And they did it successfully.

This time, in return, it became a nightmare to Britain.

Because colonists’ boycott reduced British goods’ import to the colonies by 97 percent especially in Boston, Massachusetts province.

Along with this, Continental Congress also suggested the colonies’ delegates set up their own militias for upcoming inevitable major armed conflicts against the British red coats (army).


Description – What Was The Boston Port Act?

The Boston Tea Party was the incident, where on December 16th in 1773, some patriots from ‘Sons of Liberty’ destroyed 342 chests of British East India Company’s tea throwing at the Boston Harbor, in the Atlantic Ocean.

The event was led by Samuel Adams and participated 116 patriots caused heavy economic losses to the British company.

Present-day, the value is estimated at around 1 million USD.

Therefore to punish them for the guilt, the British Parliament passed a series of 5 laws in the year 1774.

One of them was this ‘Boston Port Act’, which was passed in the year’s 31st March.

But do you know which were the main rules added in that act?

Ok, I will explain it to you.

As per this new law, the British Parliament decided that all the trades through Boston Harbor would remain close until the colonists pay compensation for the tea party.

Even using the advantage of the new law, they demanded colonists to apologize to the British king George the third.

After bringing the law into effect, the British authority hoped that the colonists would be obligated to do what they wanted.

But as they hoped, nothing happened like that.

Contrary their action turned colonists more become rebellious, which later provoked them for the Revolutionary War.

Colonists objected not all people from Boston were involved in that incident (Tea Party) so imposing the law on everyone’s head was unconstitutional.

They said, the British Parliament was hampering their rights of being English citizens either violating the Bill of Rights.

Source

How The English Authority Prevent Trade Through Boston Port?

To punish Bostonians so hard the English authority restricted all the trading ships’ movement in that Harbor, no matter what business they were involved with.

On March 7th, 1774, King George III declared in his speech that the colonists were trying to harm British businesses and violating their constitution.

From June 1st, when the law came into full enforcement, the Royal Navy was given the duty to petrol regularly that no one can abrogate the rules.


Boston Port Bill

AN ACT to discontinue, in such manner, and for or such time as are therein mentioned, the landing and discharging, lading or shipping, of goods, wares, and merchandise, at the town, and within the harbour, of Boston, in the province of Massachusetts’ Bay, in North America.

WHEREAS dangerous commotions and insurrections have been fomented and raised in the town of Boston, in the province of Massachusetts’ Bay, in New England, by divers ill affected persons, to the subversion of his Majesty’s government, and to the utter destruction of the public peace, and good order of the said town in which commotions and insurrections certain valuable cargoes of teas, being the property of the East India Company, and on board certain’ vessels lying within the bay or harbour of Boston, were seized and destroyed: And whereas, in the present condition of the said town and harbour, the commerce of his Majesty’s subjects cannot be safely carried on there, nor the customs payable to his Majesty duly collected and it is therefore expedient that the officers of his Majesty’s customs should be forthwith removed from the said town: … be it enacted …,

That from and after June 1, 1774, it shall not be lawful for any person or persons whatsoever to lade, put, or cause to procure to be laden or put, off or from any quay, wharf, or other place, within the said town of Boston, or in or upon any part of the shore of the bay, commonly called The Harbour of Boston, between a certain headland or point called Nahant Point, on the eastern side of the entrance into the said bay, and a certain other headland or point called Alderton Point, on the western side of the entrance into the said bay, or in or upon any island, creek, landing place, bank, or other place, within the said bay or headlands, into any ship, vessel, lighter, boat, or bottom, any goods, wares, or merchandise whatsoever, to be transported or carried into any other country, province, or place whatsoever, or into any other part of the said province of the Massachusetts’ Bay, in New England or to take up, discharge, or lay on land, … within the said town, or in or upon any of the places aforesaid, out of any boat, … any goods, wares, or merchandise whatsoever, to be brought from any other country, province, or place, or any other part of the said province of the Massachusetts’ Bay in New England, upon pain of the forfeiture of the said goods, … merchandise, and of the said boat, … and of the guns, ammunition, tackle, furniture, and stores, in or belonging to the same: And if any such goods, … shall, within the said town, or in any the places aforesaid, be laden or taken in from the shore into any barge, … to be carried on board any ship or vessel outward bound to any other country or province, … or to be laden into such barge, … from or out of any ship or vessel coming in … from any other country, such barge, … shall be forfeited and lost….

Provided also, and it is hereby declared and enacted, That nothing herein contained shall extend, or be construed, to enable his Majesty to appoint such port, harbour, creeks, quays, wharfs, places, or officers, in the said town of Boston, or in the said bay or islands, until it shall sufficiently appear to his Majesty that full satisfaction hath been made by or on behalf of the inhabitants of the said town of Boston to the united company of merchants of England trading to the East Indies, for the damage sustained by the said company by the destruction of their goods sent to the said town of Boston, on board certain ships or vessels as aforesaid and until it shall be certified to his Majesty, in council, by the governor, or lieutenant governor, of the said province, that reasonable satisfaction hath been made to the officers of his Majesty’s revenue, and others, who suffered by the riots and insurrections above mentioned, in the months of November and December, in the year one thousand seven hundred and seventy three, and in the month of January, in the year one thousand seven hundred and seventy four.


The First of the Intolerable Acts, the Boston Port Act, is Passed by Congress

The Boston Port Act was passed by the Parliament of Great Britain March 31, 1774. The Boston Port Act was designed to punish the inhabitants of Boston, Massachusetts for the incident that would become known as the Boston Tea Party. The Port Act was one of a series of British Laws referred to as the Intolerable Acts passed by the Parliament of Great Britain 1774.

The Boston Port Act was to close the port until the tea that had been destroyed at the Boston Tea Party and that payments were made to the East India Company paid for the lost tea and that payments were made to the king for the lost taxes. Only food and firewood were permitted into the port.

The events that led to the passing of the Intolerable Acts, including the Boston Port Act, were primarily the:

The Sons of Liberty, a secret, underground organization formed following the 1765 Stamp Act , were Patriots who agitated and protested against British rule in the colonies. The Boston Port Act was one of the series of reprisals for the actions taken by the patriots. Read the 1774 Boston Port Act text and words .

&ldquoAn act to discontinue, in such manner, and for or such time as are therein mentioned, the landing and discharging, lading or shipping, of goods, wares, and merchandise, at the town, and within the harbour, of Boston, in the province of Massachusetts Bay, in North America.&rdquo

The Boston Port Act closed the port of Boston so tightly that the colonists could not bring hay from Charlestown to give to their starving horses .

The Massachusetts Government Act gave the royal appointed governor of Massachusetts control of the colony, rather than the people. As part of the British attempt to intimidate the residents of Boston, King George III appointed General Thomas Gage , who commanded the British army in North America, as the new military governor of Massachusetts in May 1774. After the events of the Boston Massacre General Gage had said that &ldquoAmerica is a mere bully, from one end to the other, and the Bostonians by far the greatest bullies.&rdquo The appointment of General Thomas Gage made it clear to Bostonians that the crown intended to impose martial law, in which a military government suspends civil law.

The Boston Port Act intentionally passed to punish all the residents of Massachusetts rather than those responsible for the destruction and economic loss during the Tea Party Protest. Read the original text of Boston Port Act for full details of the tone and the provisions of the act. The British King George and parliament believed that the people of Massachusetts could be punished without the other colonies objecting. They believed that the harsh punishment of the whole Massachusetts colony would panic the other American colonies into conceding the authority of Parliament over their elected assemblies. The British were completely wrong.

The other colonies sympathized with the people of Massachusetts and many deplored all of the Intolerable Acts including the Boston Port Act. The British had revoked the colony&rsquos 1691 charter, had appointed a Military Governor (General Thomas Gage) and had effectively imposed martial law, in which a military government suspended civil law. They saw the Intolerable Acts, including the Boston Port Act, as:

  • A violation of their constitutional rights, natural rights and and their colonial charters
  • Abolishing Colonial Laws
  • Fundamentally altering the forms of Governments and suspending Legislatures
  • Suspending trade

The Boston Port Act of 1774 is one of the five Coercive, or Intolerable Acts, that lead to dissent in the American colonies and to the creation of the Declaration of Rights and Grievances in 1774. The British measures that were classed as the Intolerable Acts were:

  • March 31, 1774: The Boston Port Act
  • May 20, 1774: The Massachusetts Government Act
  • May 20, 1774: The Administration of Justice Act
  • June 2, 1774: The Quartering Act of 1774
  • June 22, 1774: The Quebec Act of 1774

If the British could do this to Massachusetts then it could do this to the other colonies. In addition the Quebec Act had limited opportunities for the American colonies to expand on their western frontiers. The Committees of Correspondence sprang into action gaining support from the other colonies and this led to the First Continental Congress which was convened in Philadelphia on September 5, 1774, to coordinate a colonial response to the Intolerable Acts.

Upon hearing of the Boston Port Act, Thomas Jefferson drafted a Day of Fasting & Prayer resolution, to be observed the same day the blockade was to commence.

It was introduced in the Virginia House of Burgesses by Robert Carter Nicholas, May 24, 1774.

Supported by Patrick Henry, Richard Henry Lee and George Mason, it passed unanimously:

&ldquoThis House, being deeply impressed with apprehension&hellipfrom the hostile invasion of the city of Boston in our Sister Colony of Massachusetts Bay, whose commerce and harbor are, on the first day of June next, to be stopped by an armed force, deem it highly necessary that the said first day of June be set apart, by the members of this House, as a Day of Fasting, Humiliation and Prayer, devoutly to implore the Divine interposition, for averting the heavy calamity which threatens destruction to our civil rights&hellip

Ordered, therefore that the Members of this House do attend&hellipwith the Speaker, and the mace, to the Church in this City, for the purposes aforesaid and that the Reverend Mr. Price be appointed to read prayers, and the Reverend Mr. Gwatkin, to preach a sermon.&rdquo

On the appointed Day of Fasting, June 1, 1774, George Washington wrote in his diary:

&ldquoWent to church, fasted all day.&rdquo

The King&rsquos appointed Royal Governor, Lord Dunmore, was so upset by this Day of Fasting & Prayer resolution that two days later he dissolved Virginia&rsquos House of Burgesses.

Virginia&rsquos colonial leaders went down the street and gathered in Raleigh Tavern, where they decided to form a Continental Congress which met in Philadelphia a little over three months later.

Less than a year following the &ldquoIntolerable Acts&rdquo including the Boston Port Act of 1774 the American Revolution erupted. The next Spring, the Battle of Lexington and Concord took place on April 19, 1775.

Recommended Books:

Reinterpreting the first century of American history, Brendan McConville argues that colonial society developed a political culture marked by strong attachment to Great Britain&rsquos monarchs. This intense allegiance continued almost until the moment of independence, an event defined by an emotional break with the king. By reading American history forward from the seventeenth century rather than backward from the Revolution, McConville shows that political conflicts long assumed to foreshadow the events of 1776 were in fact fought out by factions who invoked competing visions of the king and appropriated royal rites rather than used abstract republican rights or pro-democratic proclamations. The American Revolution, McConville contends, emerged out of the fissure caused by the unstable mix of affective attachments to the king and a weak imperial government. Sure to provoke debate, The King&rsquos Three Faces offers a powerful counterthesis to dominant American historiography.

At the dawn of the Revolutionary War, America was already a nation of diverse faiths&mdashthe First Great Awakening and Enlightenment concepts such as deism and atheism had endowed the colonists with varying and often opposed religious beliefs. Despite their differences, however, Americans found common ground against British tyranny and formed an alliance that would power the American Revolution. In God of Liberty , historian Thomas S. Kidd offers the first comprehensive account of religion&rsquos role during this transformative period. A compelling testament to evangelical Christians&rsquo crucial contribution to American independence, God of Liberty is also a timely appeal for the same spiritual vitality that gave form to our nation and sustained it through its tumultuous birth.

The American colonists were fed up with British law. They refused to buy English goods. They formed a militia of tradesmen and farmers ready to fight at a moment&rsquos notice. Most importantly, they joined together. All 13 colonies sent representatives to decide whether they should form a new country. That group wrote the Declaration of Independence, the document that summed up a revolution.


Boston Port Act

The Boston Port Act was one of the Coercive Acts that Parliament passed in an effort to regain control of unruly Massachusetts on March 31, 1774. The measure closed the port facilities in Boston effective June 1, 1774, until the city saw fit to reimburse the East India Company for the cost of the tea destroyed in the Boston Tea Party, and paid for the damage caused to the customs offices during the unrest. Bostonians were also required to prove to the crown's satisfaction that they were peaceable subjects. Further, the Crown insisted on recognition from Massachusetts that duties such as the tea tax were properly within the purview of Parliament. Lord North reasoned that the colonies would not "take fire" as a result of the Boston Port Act, since Boston was the only place punished. He was sorely mistaken. The American colonies recognized that the Port Act was just a prelude to the "Massacre of American Liberty. The colonies rallied to Boston's aid and the First Continental Congress was convened to direct opposition to the mother country.


Boston Port Act

An act to discontinue, in such manner, and for such time as are therein mentioned, the landing and discharging, lading or shipping, of goods, wares, and merchandise, at the town, and within the harbour, of Boston, in the province of Massachuset’s Bay, in North America.

WHEREAS dangerous commotions and insurrections have been fomented and raised in the town of Boston, in the province of Massachuset’s Bay, in New England, by divers ill-affected persons, to the subversion of his Majesty’s government, and to the utter destruction of the publick peace, and good order of the said town in which commotions and insurrections certain valuable cargoes of teas, being the property of the East India Company, and on board certain vessels lying within the bay or harbour of Boston, were seized and destroyed: And whereas, in the present condition of the said town and harbour, the commerce of his Majesty’s subjects cannot be safely carried on there, nor the customs payable to his Majesty duly collected and it is therefore expedient that the officers of his Majesty’s customs should be forthwith removed from the said town: May it please your 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 first day of June, one thousand seven hundred and seventy-four, it shall not be lawful for any person or persons whatsoever to lade put, or cause or procure to be laden or put, off or from any quay, wharf, or other place, within the said town of Boston, or in or upon any part of the shore of the bay, commonly called The Harbour of Boston, between a certain headland or point called Nahant Point, on the eastern side of the entrance into the said bay, and a certain other headland or point called Alderton Point, on the western side of the entrance into the said bay, or in or upon any island, creek, landing place, bank, or other place, within the said bay or headlands, into any ship, vessel, lighter, boat, or bottom, any goods, wares, or merchandise whatsoever, to be transported or carried into any other country, province or place whatsoever, or into any other part of the said province of the Massachuset’s Bay, in New England or to take up, discharge, or lay on land, or cause or procure to be taken up, discharged, or laid on land, within the said town, or in or upon any of the places aforesaid, out of any boat, lighter, ship, vessel, or bottom, any goods, wares, or merchandise whatsoever, to be brought from any other country, province, or place, or any other part of the said province of the Massachuset’s Bay in New England, upon pain of the forfeiture of the said goods, wares, and merchandise, and of the said boat, lighter, ship, or vessel or other bottom into which the same shall be taken, and of the guns, ammunition, tackle, furniture, and stores, in or belonging to the same: And if any such goods, wares, or merchandise, shall, within the said town, or in any the places aforesaid, be laden or taken in from the shore into any barge, hoy, lighter, wherry, or boat, to be carried on board any ship or vessel coming in and arriving from any other country or province, or other part of the said province of the Massachuset’s Bay in New England, such barge, hoy, lighter, wherry, or boat, shall be forfeited and lost.

And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That if any warfinger, or keeper of any wharf, crane, or quay, of their servants, or any of them, shall take up or land, or knowingly suffer to be taken up or landed, or shall ship off, or suffer to be waterborne, at or from any of their said wharfs, cranes, or quays, any such goods, wares, or merchandise in every such case, all and every such wharfinger, and keeper of such wharf, crane, or quay, and every person whatever who shall be assisting, or otherwise concerned in the shipping or in the loading or putting on board any boat, or other vessel for that purpose, or in the unshipping such goods, wares, and merchandise, or to whose hands the same shall knowingly come after the loading, shipping, or unshipping thereof, shall forfeit and lose treble the value thereof, to be computed at the highest price which such sort of goods, wares, and merchandise, shall bear at the place where such offence shall be committed, together with the vessels and boats, and all the horses, cattle, and carriages, whatsoever made use of in the shipping, unshipping, landing, removing, carriage, or conveyance of any of the aforesaid goods, wares, and merchandise.

And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That if any ship or vessel shall be moored or lie at anchor, or be seen hovering within the said bay, described and bounded as aforesaid, or within one league from the said bay so described, or the said headlands, or any of the islands lying between or within the same, it shall and may be lawful for any admiral, chief commander, or commissioned officer, of his Majesty’s fleet or ships of war, or for any officer of his Majesty’s customs, to compel such ship or vessel to depart to some other port or harbour, or to such station as the said officer shall appoint, and to use such force for that purpose as shall be found necessary: And if such ship or vessel shall not depart accordingly, within six hours after notice for that purpose given by such person as aforesaid, such ship or vessel, together with all the goods laden on board thereon, and all the guns, ammunition, tackle, and furniture, shall be forfeited and lost, whether bulk shall have been broken or not.

Provided always, That nothing in this act contained shall extend, or be construed to extend, to any military or other stores for his Majesty’s use, or to the ships or vessels whereon the same shall be laden, which shall be commissioned by, and in the immediate pay of, his Majesty, his heirs or successors nor to any fuel or victual brought coastwise from any part of the continent of America, for the necessary use and sustenance of the inhabitants of the said town of Boston, provided the vessels wherein the same are to be carried shall be duly furnished with a cocket and let-pass, after having been duly searched by the proper officers of his Majesty’s customs at Marblehead, in the port of Salem, in the said province of Massachuset’s Bay and that some officer of his Majesty’s customs be also there put on board the said vessel, who is hereby authorized to go on board, and proceed with the said vessel, together with a sufficient number of persons, properly armed, for his defence, to the said town or harbour of Boston nor to any ships or vessels which may happen to be within the said harbour of Boston on or before the first day of June, one thousand seven hundred and seventy four, and may have either laden or taken on board, or be there with intent to load or take on board, or to land or discharge any goods, wares, and merchandise, provided the said ships and vessels do depart the said harbour within fourteen days after the said first day of June, one thousand seven hundred and seventy-four.

And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That all seizures, penalties, and forfeitures, inflicted by this act, shall be made and prosecuted by any admiral, chief commander, or commissioned officer, of his Majesty’s fleet, or ships of war, or by the officers of his Majesty’s customs, or some of them, or by some other person deputed or authorised, by warrant from the lord high treasurer, or the commissioners of his Majesty’s treasury for the time being, and by no other person whatsoever: And if any such officer, or other person authorised as aforesaid, shall, directly or indirectly, take or receive any bribe or reward, to connive at such lading or unlading, or shall make or commence any collusive seizure, information, or agreement for that purpose, or shall do any other act whatsoever, whereby the goods, wares, or merchandise, prohibited as aforesaid, shall be suffered to pass, either inwards or outwards, or whereby the forfeitures and penalties inflicted by this act may be evaded, every such offender shall forfeit the sum of five hundred pounds for every such offence, and shall become incapable of any office or employment, civil or military and every person who shall give, offer, or promise, any such bribe or reward, or shall contract, agree, or treat with any person, so authorised as aforesaid, to commit any such offence, shall forfeit the sum of fifty pounds.

And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That the forfeitures and penalties inflicted by this act shall and may be prosecuted, sued for, and recovered, and be divided, paid, and applied, in like manner as other penalties and forfeitures inflicted by any act or acts of parliament, relating to the trade or revenues of the British colonies or plantations in America, are directed to be prosecuted, sued for, or recovered, divided, paid, and applied, by two several acts of parliament, the one passed in the fourth year of his present Majesty, (intituled, An act for granting certain duties in the British colonies and plantations in America for continuing, amending, and making perpetual, an act passed in the sixth year of the reign of his late majesty King George the Second, intituled, An act for the better securing and encouraging the trade of his Majesty’s sugar colonies in America: for applying the produce of such duties, and of the duties to arise by virtue of the said act, towards defraying the expences of defending, protecting, and securing, the said colonies and plantations for explaining an act made in the twenty-fifth year of the reign of King Charles the Second, intituled, An act for the encouragement of the Greenland and Eastland trades, and for the better securing the plantation trade and for altering and disallowing several drawbacks on exports from this kingdom, and more effectually preventing the clandestine conveyance of goods to and from the said colonies and plantations, and improving and securing the trade between the same and Great Britain) the other passed in the eighth year of his present Majesty’s reign, (intituled, An act for the more easy and effectual recovery of the penalties and forfeitures inflicted by the acts of parliament relating to the trade or revenues of the British colonies and plantations in America.)

And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That every charter party bill of loading, and other contract for consigning shipping, or carrying any goods, wares, and merchandize whatsoever, to or from the said town of Boston, or any part of the bay or harbour thereof, described as aforesaid, which have been made or entered into, or which shall be made or entered into, so long as this act shall remain in full force, relating to any ship which shall arrive at the said town or harbour, after the first day of June, one thousand seven hundred and seventy-four, shall be, and the same are hereby declared to be utterly void, to all intents and purposes whatsoever.

And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That whenever it shall be made to appear to his Majesty, in his privy council, that peace and obedience to the laws shall be so far restored in the said town of Boston, that the trade of Great Britain may safely be carried on there, and his Majesty’s customs duly collected, and his Majesty, in his privy council, shall adjudge the same to be true, it shall and may be lawful for his Majesty, by proclamation, or order of council, to assign and appoint the extent, bounds, and limits, of the port or harbour of Boston, and of every creek or haven within the same, or in the islands within the precincts thereof and also to assign and appoint such and so many open places, quays, and wharfs, within the said harbour, creeks, havens, and islands, for the landing, discharging, lading, and shipping of goods, as his Majesty, his heirs or successors, shall judge necessary and expedient and also to appoint such and so many officers of the customs therein as his Majesty shall think fit, after which it shall be lawful for any person or persons to lade or put off from, or to discharge and land upon, such wharfs, quays, and places, so appointed within the said harbour, and none other, any goods, wares, and merchandise whatever.

Provided always, That if any goods, wares, or merchandize, shall be laden or put off from, or discharged or landed upon, any other place than the quays, wharfs, or places, so to be appointed, the same, together with the ships, boats, and other vessels employed therein, and the horses, or other cattle and carriages used to convey the same, and the person or persons concerned or assisting therein, or to whose hands the same shall knowingly come, shall suffer all the forfeitures and penalties imposed by this or any other act on the illegal shipping or landing of goods.

Provided also, and it is hereby declared and enacted, That nothing herein contained shall extend, or be construed, to enable his Majesty to appoint such port, harbour, creeks, quays, wharfs, places, or officers in the said town of Boston, or in the said bay or islands, until it shall sufficiently appear to his Majesty that full satisfaction hath been made by or on behalf of the inhabitants of the said town of Boston to the united company of merchants of England trading to the East Indies, for the damage sustained by the said company by the destruction of their goods sent to the said town of Boston, on board certain ships or vessels as aforesaid and until it shall be certified to his Majesty, in council, by the governor, or lieutenant governor, of the said province, that reasonable satisfaction hath been made to the officers of his Majesty’s revenue, and others, who suffered by the riots and insurrections above mentioned, in the months of November and December, in the year one thousand seven hundred and seventy-three, and in the month of January, in the year one thousand seven hundred and seventy-four.

And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That if any action or suit shall be commenced, either in Great Britain or America, against any person or persons, for any thing done in pursuance of this act of parliament, the defendant or defendants, in such action or suit, may plead the general issue, and give the said act, and the special matter, in evidence, at any trial to be had thereupon, and that the same was done in pursuance and by the authority of this act: and if it shall appear so to have been done, the jury shall find for the defendant or defendants and if the plaintiff shall be nonsuited, or discontinue his action, after the defendant or defendants shall have appeared: or if judgment shall be given upon any verdict or demurrer, against the plaintiff, the defendant or defendants shall recover treble costs, and have the like remedy for the same, as defendants have in other cases by law.


Watch the video: Today in History: Port of Boston Act becomes law 1774 (June 2022).


Comments:

  1. Modred

    There is no logic in this post

  2. Grendel

    The site is good, but I feel like something is missing.



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