87 | From the Board of Trade

    Whitehall Feby. 4th. 1762.


    We have had under our Consideration Nine Acts passed by you in December 1760, and January 1761, The Titles of which are set down in the inclosed note, and as no material Objection has occurr’d to any of them they will of Course be confirmed.390

    It is necessary however We should observe to you, that, as the Act for the better observation of the Lord’s day,391 does repeal other Acts passed for the same purpose in 1692, 1716 and 1727,392 all of which appear’d to have been confirm’d by the Crown, it was your Duty, in obedience to His Majesty’s Instructions,393 not to have assented to an Act for rescinding the former Laws, without having first transmitted a Draught of it for His Majesty’s Approbation, or without a Clause being inserted therein suspending it’s execution until His Majesty’s pleasure could have been known.

    We are not without Apprehension, that the very few Instances there are in the Administration of your Predecessors of a due observance of that Instruction, to which this Case referrs, may have produced the like inattention in you: But as it appears to us that this Instruction is founded upon just constitutional principles of Government, it ought never to be departed from, but in cases of real exigency, not admitting of the loss of so much time as would necessarily intervene between the passing of the Act and the notification of the Crown’s Assent to it.

    This Act however does not come within that description, and therefore you ought not to have assented to it, under the Circumstances We have stated, before the Crown’s Assent could have been known.

    Upon consideration of the Act for granting to His Majesty certain duties of Impost and Tonnage,394 it appears to us, that it would be more correct if in that part of it, where it states the duties payable upon Importation of goods in general, There were some words which should restrain the Importation of such Goods to those Ships only which by Law may trade thither.

    If an Amendment of this nature can be obtained, it will, in Our Opinion render the Act more consonant to the Acts of Parliament for regulating the Plantation Trade, and therefore it is Our Duty to recommend it to your consideration when another Act shall be offered for your Assent.

    The examination of this Act naturally led us to enquire what was the annual Amount of the Duties imposed by it; which We found charged in general in the Treasurer’s Accounts; but as it does not appear, from those Accounts, what has been the Amount of the Duties upon each Article, We should be glad you would transmit to us an Account thereof for seven Years last past, distinguishing particularly the Amount of the Duties upon Rum, Sugar and Melasses and what part thereof has been paid upon these Articles imported from foreign Colonies.

    We are Sir Your most obedient humble Servants


    E. Bacon

    Edmond Thomas

    John Roberts

    Francis Bernard Esqr. Govr: of Massachusets Bay

    LS, RC BP, 9: 249-253.

    The Board had considered nine acts passed in Massachusetts in Dec. 1760 and Jan. 1761, along with the report of Sir Matthew Lamb, and ordered the acts to “lye by probationary until the further effect and operation of them should be known.” JBT, 11: 246-248. FB replied to a duplicate of the Board’s letter a month before receiving the letter printed here, in No. 203.