Place Published: London
Publisher: Charles Eyre and William Strahan
Date Published: 1774
Edition: 1st Edition
Binding: Hard Cover
5 RARE CORNERSTONE AMERICAN REVOLUTION 1774 LEGAL ACTS
A rare collection of laws that continued to inflame and finally triggered the American Revolution.
“…these Acts demonstrated a parliamentary power more dangerous to colonial liberty than mere taxing.” Morison introduction, xxxiv
Set of Five “Intolerable Acts” or Coercive Acts, contained in two bound volumes for the year 1774. First editions, first printings preceding all American printings.
Two volumes, Folio (11.5 inches). 14 George III (1774), Only 1,100 copies of each printed in 1774, all folio printings.
Volume 1 (44 Acts total): 1043 pages + 1 blank page (being the text of Acts 1-44);
Volume 2 (52 Acts total): pages 1045-2155 (being the text of Acts 45-96) + 30 pages (Table of the Statutes).
A list of all the 96 total Acts included in both volumes will be provided upon request.
The 5 Intolerable Acts, as issued under the direction of Frederick North (Prime Minister, First Lord of the Treasury, and Chancellor of the Exchequer). Between March 31 and June 22, 1774 five Acts were passed and consisted of:
• BOSTON PORT ACT, 1774 [FIRST INTOLERABLE ACT] (14 Geo III, Cap 9), [GREAT BRITAIN] AN ACT T0 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 MASSACHUSHET’S BAY IN NORTH AMERICA. 14 GEORGE III, CHAPTER 19. London: Charles Eyre and William Strahan, 1774. General title leaf + pages 515-522. The Act which closed the Port of Boston to shipping, landing and discharging of goods until the East India Company was compensated for tea destroyed during the Boston Tea Party;
• ADMINISTRATION OF JUSTICE ACT, 1774 [SECOND INTOLERABLE ACT]. [GREAT BRITAIN] AN ACT FOR THE IMPARTIAL ADMINISTRATION OF JUSTICE IN THE CASES OF PERSONS QUESTIONED FOR ANY ACTS DONE BY THEM IN THE EXECUTION OF THE LAW, OR FOR THE SUPPRESSION OF RIOTS AND TUMULTS, IN THE PROVINCE OF MASSACHUSHET’S BAY, IN NEW ENGLAND. 14 GEORGE III, CHAPTER 39. London: Charles Eyre and William Strahan, 1774. General title leaf + pages 991-998. The Act wherein the Royal governor of Massachusetts could order trials of accused officials to take place in Britain if a fair trial could not be guaranteed within the colony;
• MASSACHUSETTS GOVERNMENT ACT, 1774 [THIRD INTOLERABLE ACT] [GREAT BRITAIN] AN ACT FOR THE BETTER REGULATING THE GOVERNMENT OF THE PROVINCE OF THE MASSACHUSHET’S BAY, IN NEW ENGLAND. 14 GEORGE III, CHAPTER 45. London: Charles Eyre and William Strahan, 1774. General title leaf + pages 1047-1062. The Act which removed the colony's ability to elect members of its executive council and awarded control to the King and his governors. The Act severely restricted the authority of colonial assemblies and banned committees of correspondence.;
• QUARTERING ACT, 1774 [FOURTH INTOLERABLE ACT] [GREAT BRITAIN] AN ACT FOR THE BETTER PROVIDING SUITABLE QUARTERS FOR OFFICERS AND SOLDIERS IN HIS MAJESTY’S SERVICE IN NORTH AMERICA. 14 GEORGE III, CHAPTER 54. London: Charles Eyre and William Strahan, 1774. General title leaf+ pages 1251-1252. The Act which mandated colonies to house British soldiers in unoccupied houses, barns, outhouses or buildings that the governor thought necessary for the purpose of sheltering soldiers;
• QUEBEC ACT, 1774 [FIFTH INTOLERABLE ACT]. [GREAT BRITAIN] AN ACT FOR MAKING MORE EFFECTUAL PROVISION FOR THE GOVERNMENT OF THE PROVINCE OF QUEBEC IN NORTH AMERICA. 14 GEORGE III, CHAPTER 83. London: Charles Eyre and William Strahan, 1774. General title leaf + pages 1827-1835. The first four Acts were issued in direct response to the Boston Tea Party of December 1773. The Quebec Act, considered to be one of the Intolerable Acts as it was passed in the same legislative session, which greatly enlarged the boundaries of the Province of Quebec into the Ohio Valley (this was a huge blow to land speculators like George Washington) and established French civil law, British criminal law, freedom of worship for Roman Catholics French majority, and government by appointed council to the to boost their loyalty to Britain in the face of growing resistance in the New England colonies.
Complete with all conjugate blank leaves. Printed in Black Letter font on laid watermarked paper. Each Act is prefaced by a General Title leaf with woodcut Royal coats of arms. Woodcut ornamental initials. Handsome contemporary polished calf binding, blind ruled boards, raised bands on spines with red calf lettering pieces. Bindings are robust, well preserved and entirely functional. Edges and corners a bit bumped, boards and spine lightly to moderately scarred. Internally very clean, otherwise, near fine condition.
Previously offered for sale were 5 Intolerable Acts offers which both sold, however, much less “complete” than our current offer. Our set offers two volumes which includes the 5 Intolerable Acts and is extraordinarily different in several ways, including:
• Having all the ninety-six 1774 Acts for 14 George III (which includes several other important Acts) with complete original British Acts proving a complete legal perspective of this time period
• Aside from the 5 Intolerable Acts (Chapters 19, 39, 45, 54, and 83), Chapters 6, 34, 67, and 88 there are many other important 1774 Acts as well (see full list below) which stand out as relevant laws for the American Revolution period, Quebec Revenue Act, and Chapter 66 for Longitude at Sea Act. A grand total of 96 Acts in both volumes; Vol. 1 with 44 Acts total and Vol. 2 with 52 Acts.
• With all the general title pages and conjugate blanks in our 2 volumes.
• All in a lovely contemporary period full-calf binding in near-fine condition.
This is the best set of Intolerable Acts (plus much more) one could hope to own, a superb item!
By the terms of the 1773 Tea Act, the troubled East India Company was allowed to sell tea directly to the American colonies without having to land it first in England. The savings were considerable, and helped the Company to move their large accumulations of unsold tea. Boston had been the largest and most important importer of legal tea in the colonies, whereas smugglers had dominated the markets of New York and Philadelphia. American patriots in Boston strongly opposed the British maneuver to preferentially assist the East India Company, and believed that the colonies were being unfairly taxed on tea without proper representation in British parliament. Angry and frustrated, protests by colonists culminated in the dumping of 342 chests of East India Company tea (worth 9,659 Pounds Sterling, or approximately US $1.7 million in todays money) into Boston Harbour on 16 December 1773. When news of the Boston Tea Party reached London in January 1774, the British government responded by closing the Port of Boston until the East India Company was compensated for its losses.
The Intolerable Acts were viewed as direct violations of American colonial constitutional rights, and in September of 1774 the First Continental Congress was organized.
“On July 4, 1774, George Washington asked his friend Bryan Fairfax, “have we not addressed the Lords, and remonstrated to the Commons?" Thus, the First Continental Congress met on September 5, 1774, to coordinate a colonial response to Parliament’s actions. While attending the Congress, Washington advocated for what he called “the non-importation scheme,” or the boycott of British imports, which was similar to the Fairfax Resolves that he had earlier co-authored with George Mason. The Coercive Acts caused a clear shift in American public opinion. Where Washington had once questioned the radical Boston Tea Party, conceding “that we [do not] approve their conduct in destroying the Tea,” he now fully rallied behind the Bostonians, as he understood that the Coercive Acts threatened American liberty. Parliament did not anticipate the colonies coming to Boston’s defense, and with good reason, as this was the first instance of mass colonial unification. Unlike previous controversial legislation, such as the Stamp Act of 1765 and the Townshend Acts of 1767, Parliament did not repeal the Coercive Acts. Hence, Parliament’s intolerable policies sowed the seeds of American rebellion and led to the outbreak of the American Revolutionary War in April 1775.” Quoted from Caroline Eisenhuth The George Washington University.
On October 26, 1774, the First Continental Congress ended its initial session in Philadelphia with a list of rights belonging to Colonists and threats of an economic boycott. In all, 56 delegates from 12 colonies (excluding Georgia) came to the meeting to address the Coercive or Intolerable Acts. Within six months, however, armed conflict broke out on American soil.
In 1775, the Second Continental Congress convened after the American Revolutionary War (1775-83) had already begun. In 1776, it took the momentous step of declaring America’s independence from Britain. Five years later, the Congress ratified the first national constitution, the Articles of Confederation, under which the country would be governed until 1789, when it was replaced by the current U.S. Constitution.
Near Fine. Item #8421