The Coercive Acts

The Coercive Acts

The Coercive Acts 1774 (the "Intolerable Acts")

In 1773, Lord North's ministry passed the Tea Act allowing the East India Company to send tea directly to the American colonies. On 16 December 1773 the Boston Tea Party occurred, following a confrontation between the Patriots, the consignees of the tea and customs men. 340 chests of tea worth £9,000 were dumped into Boston harbour, although all the damage to the ships was repaired. Elsewhere - Philadelphia, New York, Charlestown - the consignees were "persuaded" not to accept or to sell the tea. The trouble was still over taxation.

News of the Boston Tea Party reached England by January 1774: very quickly for this point in time. The press had published the story before Lord North even knew about it. The reaction in Britain was one of anger and a feeling that Massachusetts must be punished, as an example to the other colonies. The government rushed a series of pieces of legislation through parliament: In Britain they were known as the Coercive Acts but the American colonists labelled them "the Intolerable Acts".
The Boston Port Act, 31 March 1774.

Boston harbour was closed to all shipping except for coasters carrying necessary fuel and supplies, until

* the East India Company had been compensated for its losses
* the injured customs officers had been compensated for their injuries
* George III deemed that peace was sufficiently restored that trade could be resumed

The customs service was moved to Salem and Marblehead.
The Massachusetts Bay Regulating Act 20 May 1774.

* the elected Assembly was to be replaced by a Mandamus council nominated by the Governor (General Gage), to sit at Salem
* the Governor was given the power to appoint/dismiss all law officers
* there were to be no Town Meetings without royal assent
* there was to be no election of juries by the freeholders

The Administration of Justice Act 20 May 1774

This empowered the Governor of...

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