236 | Circular from the Board of Trade

    Whitehall October 11th. 1763.


    The Lords Commissioners of His Majesty’s Treasury having represented to His Majesty, that they find upon a consideration of the present state of the Duties of Customs imposed on His Majesty’s Subjects in America, that the Revenue arising therefrom is very small & inconsiderable, having in no degree increased with the Commerce of those Countries, and is not yet sufficient to defray a fourth part of the expence necessary for collecting it, and that through neglect connivance & fraud, not only the Revenue is impaired, but the Commerce of the Colonies is diverted from it’s natural course, & the salutary provisions of many wise Laws are in great measure defeated, His Majesty has commanded us to require & enjoin you in the strictest manner to make the Suppresion of the clandestine & prohibited Trade with foreign Nations, & the improvement of the Revenue the constant & immediate Objects of your care; & by a vigorous discharge of the Duty required of you by several Acts of Parliament, and a due execution of your legal Authority, to give the Officers of the Revenue all possible protection & Support; & that you do, from time to time transmit such Observations as occur to you on the state of the illicit & contraband Trade, & on the conduct of all persons, whose duty it is to prevent the same, in order that the necessary Directions may be given for punishing such persons as shall appear to be guilty of any Misbehaviour, and for correcting all Abuses for the future.

    We do therefore recommend these His Majesty’s Commands to your most serious Attention, not doubting but you will acquit yourself in the execution of them, as becomes a faithfull & vigilant servant of the Crown.

    We are, Sir, Your most obedient humble Servants


    Soame Jenyns

    Ed. Bacon

    John Yorke

    Honble Francis Bernard Esqr. Govr.of Massachusett’s Bay

    LS, RC BP, 10: 131-134.

    This circular to the colonial governors and Indian agents may have enclosed a copy of the Lords Commissioners of the Treasury, Memorial to His Majesty in Council, Whitehall, 4 Oct. 1763, APC, 4: 569-572. The Treasury memorial was approved by His Majesty in Council on 5 Oct. and instructions were issued to the secretary of state, the Admiralty, and the Board of Trade to give directions to address what the Board termed the “defective state of the laws for regulating the Plantation trade.” The letter printed here constitutes the substance of the Board’s directions to colonial governors. JBT, 11: 390; APC, 4: 569-572.