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An Act to Block up Boston Harbour

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An Act to block up Boston Harbour.

Anno Regni GEORGII III. Regis Magn(special symbol) Britanni(special symbol), Franci(special symbol), & Hiberni(special symbol),
An Act to discontinue, in such Manner, 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 Massachusetts-Bay, in North-America

WHEREAS dangerous commotions
and insurrections have been fo-
mented and raised in the town of
Boston, in the Province of Massa-
chusetts-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 cer-
tain valuable cargoes of Teas, being the property of
the East-India Company, and on board certain Ves-
sels 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 com-
merce of his Majesty's subjects cannot be safely car-
ried on there, nor the customs payable to his Majes-
ty duly collected; and it is therefore expedient that
the officers of his Majesty's Customs should be forth-
with 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 Parlia-
ment 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 what-
soever to lade or 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 Eas-
tern side of the entrance into the said bay, and a
certain other headland or point called ALDER-
TON POINT, on the western side of the en-
trance 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 mer-
chandise whatsoever, to be transported or carried
into any other country, province or place whatso-
ever, or into any other part of the said province of
Massachusetts-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 afore-
said out of any boat, lighter, ship, vessel, or bot-
tom, 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, 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, am-
munition, tackle, furniture, and stores, in or belong-
ing 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-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-Bay, in New-England,
such barge, hoy, lighter, wherry, or boat, shall be
forfeited and lost.

And be it further enacted by the authority afore-
said, That if any wharfinger, or keeper of any
wharf, crane, or quay, or 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, and such goods wares, or mer-
chandise; in every such case, all and every such
wharfinger, and keeper of such wharf; crane, or
quay, and every person whatever who shall be as-
sisting, 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 of-
fence shall be committed, at the time when the same
shall be so 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 afore-
said, 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 ves-
sel shall not depart accordingly, within six hours af-
ter 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 con-
tained 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 immedi-
ate 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 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 custom's at Marble-
head, in the port of Salem, in the said province of
Massachusetts-Bay; and that some Officer of his
Majesty's customs be also there put on board the
said vessel, who is hereby authorised 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 afore-
said,That all seizures, penalties and forfeitures;
inflicted by this act, shall be made and prosecuted
by any Admiral, Chief Commander, or commis-
sioned 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 autho-
rised, 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 lad-
ing or unlading, or shall make or commence any
collusive seizure, information, or agreement for that
purpose, or shall do any other act whatsoever, where-
by 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 of-
fender shall forfeit the sum of FIVE HUNDRED
POUNDS for every such offence, and shall become
incapable of any office or employment, civil or mi-
litary; 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 afore-
said, to commit any such offence, shall forfeit the
sum of FIFTY POUNDS.

And be it further enacted by the authority afore-
said, That the forfeitures and penalties inflicted by
this act shall and may be prosecued, 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 planta-
tions in America, are directed to be prosecuted,
sued for, or recovered, divided, paid and applied
by two special acts of Parliament, the one passed in
the fourth year of his present Majesty (intitled an
act for granting certain duties in the British colo-
nies 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, intitled An act for the better
securing and encouraging the trade of his Majesty's
sugar colonies in America; for applying the pro-
duce of such duties, and of the duties to arise by
virtue of the said act, towards defraying the ex-
pences 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, intitled An act for the encou-
ragement 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 planatations, 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 (intitled An act
for the more easy and effectual recovery of the pe-
nalties and forfeitures inflicted by the acts of Par-
liament relating to the trade or revenues of the Brit
-ish colonies and plantations in America.)

And be it further enacted by the authority afore-
said, That every charter party bill of lading, and
other contract for consigning, shipping, or carrying
any goods, wares, and merchandise 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 afore-
said, 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 pro-
clamation, or order of Council, to assign and ap-
point 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 pre-
cinct thereof; and also to assign and appoint such
and so many open places, quays and wharfs, with-
in 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
merchandise, shall be laden or put off from, or dis-
charged 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 ves-
sels employed therein, and the horses, or other cat-
tle 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 enact-
ed, 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 un-
til 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 of one thousand seven hundred and se-
venty-four.

And be it further enacted by the authority afore-
said, 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 defen-
dants, in such action or suit, may plead the general
issue, and give the said act, and the general 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 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 de-
fendants 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.

FINIS.

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