Page:American Archives, Series 4, Volume 1.djvu/93
BOSTON PORT BILL.
To the King's most excellent Majesty, the humble Petition of several Natives of America, showeth:
That your Majesty's Petitioners are natives of your Dominions in America, and bear most true and cordial allegiance to your Majesty's Royal person and family.
That allegiance and protection being reciprocal, your Petitioners look up to your Majesty for protection under the common law of the land, which is their birth-right.
That, according to law, no man can be condemned to punishment without being called upon to answer, nor without an opportunity of hearing the evidence against him, and defending his innocence. That in violation of this law, and of every principle of natural justice, a Bill is now offered for the Royal assent, calculated to inflict pains and penalties, with unexampled severity, upon your Majesty's loyal town of Boston, in the Province of Massachusetts Bay; the said town being unapprized of the proceedings, and not heard in its defence; that such Bill, if it receive your Majesty's assent, will immediately take away from the inhabitants of the town of Boston the use of property to the amount of several hundred thousand pounds, vested in quays, wharfs, store-houses, &c.; will restrain many thousands of your Majesty's subjects from procuring subsistence for themselves and their families, by their ordinary occupations; may endanger the community, by violent commotions from so many men rendered desperate, by being deprived of their daily bread; and, what cannot but do the last violence to the Royal justice, will punish the innocent for the guilty.
Your Majesty's Petitioners most humbly represent, that this Bill is the more unjust, as the trespass it is meant to punish, has not been prosecuted in the Courts of common law in America, where only according to law and the constitution, it is cognizable. That the interposition of this Bill is as totally unnecessary as the mode of it is unjust; because, your Majesty's Courts in America, are open to the redress of any injury sustained there; and justice is so little liable to perversion, that under every impression of popular prejudice, Captain Preston and others had, in this your Majesty's Province of the Massachusettt Bay, a fair trial, and a favourable verdict.
Your Majesty's Petitioners do therefore humbly pray, that your Majesty will be most graciously pleased to suspend your Royal assent to a Bill, calculated to condemn and punish their countrymen unheard, and form a precedent, which will take away every security and protection, under the law, from all your Majesty's subjects in America.
And your Petitioners, as in duty bound, will ever pray.
Robert Izard, Jun.,
J. F. Grimke,
William Middleton, Jun.,
William H. Gibbs,
Anno Decimo Quarto Georgii III. Regis.
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 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; may it please you Majesty that it may be enacted, and be it enacted by the King's most excellent Majesty, by and with the advise 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, 1774, it shall not be lawful for any person or persons whatsoever, 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 eastern side of the entrance into the said bay, and a certain 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, 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 Bay, in New England, upon the pain of 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 said Province of the Massachusetts Bay, in New England, or be laden or taken into such barge, hoy, lighter, wherry, or out of any ship or vessel coming 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 aforesaid, 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 the aforesaid 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 whatsoever 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, at the time when the same shall be so committed, together with the vessel 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