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Copy of a Minute of the Treasury Board


Enclosed in the Earl of Dartmouth' s Letter to Governor Gage, of April 9th, 1774.


Whitehall Treasury Chambers, 31st March, 1774.

Present Lord North, Mr˙ Townshend, Lord Beauchamp, Mr˙ Cornwall.

My Lords take into consideration an Act to discontinue, in such manner and for such time as are therein mentioned, the landing and discharging, lading and shipping, of goods, wares and merchandise, at the town and within the harbour of Boston, in the Province of Massachusetts Bay, in North America: and being desirous that the provisions of the said Act should be carried into execution with all possible vigilance, despatch and circumspection, as far as the same relate to the officers of his Majesty' s Customs, established in the same town and Province, transmit a copy of the said Act to the Commissioners of the Customs in America, and


direct them forthwith to take such steps as they shall find necessary for the removal of their Board from the said town of Boston to the town, of Salem, in the said Province of Massachusetts Bay, and that as soon as proper offices can be prepared for their reception and accommodation.

Direct them, together with all the officers belonging to their Board, to repair to the said town of Salem, and there to execute the duties and functions of their commissions, until they shall receive further orders respecting the future residence and establishment of their Board.

Direct them, at the same time, to give orders for the removal of the Collector, Comptroller, Surveyor, and such other officers of the port of Boston as they shall judge necessary, to the town of Plymouth, or to the island of Nantucket, or to such other town or place within the limits of the said port, as shall appear to them most proper and most convenient for the trade of his Majesty' s subjects; and let the said Collector, and other officers, be ordered to establish themselves in the said town of Plymouth, or such other town or place as the Commissioners shall appoint, within the limits of the said port of Boston; and there to proceed and carry on, in the usual manner, the business of their several departments in the collection and management of his Majesty' s Customs, and in the execution of the Laws of Trade.

And inasmuch as it may be reasonably expected, that the trade within the port of Salem and Marblehead, will be considerably increased during the continuance of the said Act of Parliament, and may require an additional number of officers to be stationed at those places to transact the business of the Customs, —

Direct the Commissioners to take with them to Salem, such of the Tidesmen and incidental officers, now employed at Boston, as they shall think the service at Salem and Marblehead may demand: and recommend to their particular care and attention, that clause of the said Act which relates to vessels carrying coastwise, under the restrictions therein mentioned, fuel and victual for the necessary use and sustenance of the people of the town of Boston; and direct them to give express orders to the proper officers to be vigilant and alert in visiting and searching all such vessels laden with fuel and provisions, as aforesaid, which shall enter the harbour of Marblehead, for the purpose of obtaining a transire, or let pass, pursuant to the said Act of Parliament. And in case it shall appear to the officers employed on that service, by information, or by any probable cause of suspicion, that there are concealed on board any such vessels, any goods, wares or merchandise, other than such fuel or victual, that then, and in every such case, such officers should be directed to oblige the master or commander of such vessel so informed against or suspected, to unlade his cargo: before he obtains such transire, or let pass, in order to proceed to the town of Boston.

Let the Commissioners take care that, after the first day of June, 1774, and during the continuance of the said Act, no officers of the Customs whatsoever be suffered to reside within the town or harbour of Boston.

In consideration of the losses which the Collector, Comptroller, and other officers upon the establishment, within the said port of Boston, must inevitably suffer by the diminution of the fees and perquisites of the respective offices, during the continuance of the said Act, —

My Lords direct the Commissioners to report to their Lordships, as soon as they can form any opinion of the matter, how much it may be reasonable to allow to such officers respectively, as a compensation for such their losses. Direct them, from time to time, by every opportunity, to inform my Lords of the several steps they shall have taken in the execution of the said Act, and of their Lordships orders.

Acquaint them that they, and all the officers under their authority, may depend on being supported and protected in the execution of the duties of their respective offices.

Inform them that the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty have despatched orders to the Admiral, commanders and commissioned officers of his Majesty' s ships of war on that station, to use the utmost vigilance and activity in the execution of the several provisions of the said Act of Parliament; and in case any of the officers in any of his Majesty' s ships, or sloops of war, shall see occasion to require any officer or officers of the Customs, to be put on


board any of the vessels under their command, direct the Commissioners to take care that all such requisitions be duly complied with.

Transmit a copy of this Minute to Mr˙ Stephens, for the information of the Lords of the Admiralty, and to Mr˙ Pownall, for the information of the Earl of Dartmouth.