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New England Restraining Act [March 30, 1775]

 

An act to restrain the trade and commerce of the provinces of Massachusetts's Bay and New Hampshire, and colonies of Connecticut and Rhode Island, and Providence Plantation, in North America, to Great Britain, Ireland, and the British islands in the West Indies; and to prohibit such provinces and colonies from carrying on .any fishery on the banks of Newfoundland, or other places therein mentioned, under certain conditions and limitations.

[The section begins with a statement of the purport of certain of the acts of trade, and continues:] and whereas, during the continuance of the combinations and disorders, which at this time prevail within the'provinces of Massachusetts's Bay and New Hampshire, and the colonies of Connecticut and Rhode Island, to the obstruction of the commerce of these kingdoms, and other his Majesty's dominions, and in breach and violation of the laws of this realm, it is highly unfit that the inhabitants of the said provinces and colonies should enjoy the same privileges of trade, and the same benefits and advantages to which his Majesty's faithful and obedient subjects are intitled; be it therefore enacted .... That from and after . . . [July I, I775,] . . . and during the continuance of this act, no goods, wares, or merchandises, which are particularly enumerated in, and by the said act made in the twelfth year of king Charles the Second, or any other act, being the growth, product, or manufacture of the provinces of Massachusetts's Bay, or New Hampshire, or colonies of Connecticut, Rhode Island, or Providence Plantation, in North America, or any or either of them, are to be brought to some other British colony, or to Great Britain; or any such enumerated goods, wares. or merchandise, which shall at any time or times have been imported or brought into the said provinces or colonies, or any or either of them, shall be shipped, carried, conveyed, or transported, from any of the said provinces or colonies respectively, to any land, island, territory, dominion, port, or place whatsoever, other than to Great Britain, or some of the British islands in the West Indies, to be laid on shore there; and that no other goods, wares, or merchandises whatsoever, of the growth, product, or manufacture of the provinces or colonies herein-before mentioned, or which shall at any time or times have been imported or brought into the same, shall, from and after the said first day of July, and during the continuance of this act, be shipped, carried, conveyed, or transported, from any of the said provinces or colonies respectively. to any other land, island, territory, dominion, port, or place whatsoever, except to the kingdoms of Great Britain or Ireland, or to some of the British islands in the West Indies, to be laid on shore there; any law, custom, or usage, to the contrary notwithstanding.

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IV. And it is hereby further enacted . . ., That from and after . . . [September I, 1775] . . . and during the continuance of this act, no sort of wines, salt, or any goods or commodities whatsoever, (except horses, victual, and linen cloth, the produce and manufacture of Ireland, imported directly from thence), shall be imported into any of the said colonies or provinces hereinbefore respectively mentioned, upon any pretense whatsoever, unless such goods shall be bona fide and without fraud laden and shipped in Great Britain, and carried directly from thence, upon forfeiture thereof, and of the ship or vessel on board which such goods shall be laden . . .

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VI. [Goods from the British West Indies may continue to be imported. ]

VII. And it is hereby further enacted . . ., That if any ship or vessel, being the property of the subjects of Great Britain, not belonging to and fitted out from Great Britain or Ireland, or the islands of Guernsey, Jersey, Sark, Alderney, or Man, shall be found, after . . . [July 20, I775,] . . . carrying on any fishery, of what nature or kind soever, upon the banks of Newfoundland, the coast of Labrador, or within the river or gulf of Saint Lawrence, or upon the coast of Cape Breton, or Nova Scotia, or any other part of the coast of North America, or having on board materials for carrying on any such fishery, every such ship or vessel, with her guns, ammunition, tackle, apparel, and furniture, together with the fish, if any shall be found on board, shall be forfeited, unless the master, or other person, having the charge of such ship Or vessel, do produce to the commander of any of his Majesty's ships of war, stationed for the protection and superintendence of the British fisheries in America, a certificate, under the hand and seal of the governor or commander in chief, of any of the colonies or plantations of Quebec, Newfoundland, Saint John, Nova Scotia, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, East Florida, West Florida, Bahamas, and Bermudas, setting forth, that such ship or vessel, expressing her name, and the name of her master, and describing her built and burthen, hath fitted and cleared out, from someone of the said colonies or plantations, in order to proceed upon the said fishery, and that she actually and bona fide belongs to and is the whole and entire property of his Majesty's subjects, inhabitants of the said colony or plantation. . .

[Section VIII subjects vessels engaged in the fisheries to search. Sections IX., X., and XI. provide that this act shall not extend to ships clearing from the colonies before June I, for the whale fishery only; nor to ships belonging to the island of Nantucket, cleared for the whale fishery, and having a proper certificate; nor to fishing vessels fitted out by the towns of Marshfield and Scituate. By Sec. XII., the St. Croix river is declared to be, for the purposes of this act, the boundary between Massachusetts and Nova Scotia.]
XIII. And whereas it is the intent and meaning of the fact, that the several prohibitions and restraints herein imposed upon the trade and commerce, and fisheries, of the said provinces and colonies should be discontinued and cease, so soon as the trade and commerce of his Majesty's subjects may be carried on without interruption; be it therefore enacted . . ., That whenever it shall be made appear to the satisfaction of his Majesty's governor or commander in chief, and the majority of the council, in the provinces of New Hampshire and Massachusetts's Bay respectively, that peace and obedience to the laws shall be so far restored within the said provinces, or either of them, that the trade and commerce of his Majesty' subjects may be carried on without interruption within the same; and that goods, wares, and merchandise, have been freely imported into the said provinces, or either of them, from Great Britain, and exposed to sale, without any let, hindrance, or molestation, from or by reason of any unlawful combinations to prevent or obstruct the same; and that goods, wares, and merchandise, have in like manner been exported from the said provinces, or either of them respectively, to Great Britain, for and during the term of one calendar month preceeding; that then, and in such case, it shall and may be lawful for the governor or commander in chief, with the advice of the council of such provinces respectively, by proclamation, under the seal of such respective province, to notify the same to the several officers of the customs, and all others; and after such proclamation, this act with respect to such province, within which such proclamation or proclamations have been issued as aforesaid, shall be discontinued and cease, (except as herein-after provided) . .

[By Sections XIV. and XV., like proclamation may be made for Connecticut and Rhode Island, on proof that lawful trade has been resumed; but proceedings upon previous seizures are not to be thereby discharged.]