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America Act 1775 (Borgo)

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The America Act was an Act of the Parliament of Great Britain which became law on the 17th July 1775, designed to resolve the New England Crisis and reform Great Britain's relationship with its American colonies.

Discontent had been brewing for some time in the colonies, but matters came to a head in September 1774 when the First Continental Congress met in Philadelphia to coordinate a colonial response to British policies. Though some members of the radical party favoured a boycott or even independence from Britain, it was in the end decided simply to send a petition to King George III detailing their grievances and asking for changes to be made.

The petition was accepted by the King and by the Prime Minister, Lord Grafton, who subsequently presented it to Parliament. Grafton proposed a compromise to the American envoy, Benjamin Franklin, who upon his return to Philadelphia argued in favour of it. A majority of delegates to the Congress voted to accept the compromise, though those from the New England colonies of Massacusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut boycotted the final vote.

In June 1775, therefore, Lord Grafton brought a bill before Parliament, the text of which is given below. The bill was passed by a majority of 485 to 73 in the House of Commons, and by a similar majority in the House of Lords.

Not all of the colonist's demands were met by the Act, including the repeal of the Quebec Act and the Proclamation of 1763. This caused the armed uprising part of the New England Crisis, in which Massachusetts and other colonies attempted to break away altogether from Great Britain. However, by 1768 the uprising had been crushed and the Act was being enforced in those regions as well.

An Act to undo certain Injustices done to the King's Subjects in the Provinces, to permit the expansion of Colonies, to guarantee the Protection of certain Indian Nations, and to further the Responsibility of the Provinces for their own Administration and for the Protection of the Empire

WHEREAS it has been made known to we, the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland in Parliament assembled, of divers Grievances and injustices done towards His Majesty’s Subjects in certain of the American Provinces, and whereas several Delegates from said Provinces have seen fit to gather in Congress in September last that they may petition His Majesty for redress of said Grievances, be it therefore enacted by the King's most excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and with the authority of the same, as follows:

THAT the Statute known as the Massachusetts Government Act, enacted in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and seventy-four, be repealed with immediate effect.

THAT the Statute known as the Administration of Justice Act, enacted in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and seventy-four, be repealed with immediate effect.

THAT the Statute known as the Quartering Act, enacted in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and sixty-five, be repealed with immediate effect.

THAT the Statute known as the Boston Port Act, enacted in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and seventy-four, be repealed and cease to hold effect upon the arrest and delivery to Justice of certain rebellious and seditious Dissenters, who have this past year been complicit in the unlawful seizure and destruction of tea worth nine thousand Pounds in said Port of Boston.

AND be it further enacted that the Province of Quebec shall be divided into two Parts, that Part lying to the South and West of the River of Ottawa being known henceforth as the Province of Upper Canada, and that Part lying to the North and East of the River of Ottawa being known henceforth as the Province of Lower Canada, each having a Lieutenant-Governor and a Parliament of two Houses fashioned after the manner of these two Houses, such that members of the lower House be Burgesses and Knights of the Shire chosen by an electorate of His Majesty's Subjects residing thereof, at a frequency of not less than one election in seven years, and members of the upper House be Men of good Standing and Merit appointed by the Lieutenant-Governor on behalf of the Crown.

THAT those Indian Nations allied with His Majesty residing within the Province of Upper Canada shall have recognised their Right to collectively hold their Ancestral Land, but that those parts of said Province not currently held by such Indians do belong to no Man, and that permission shall, after the first day of January in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and seventy-six, be henceforth granted to His Majesty’s Subjects to settle and occupy such lands with the consent of the Lieutenant-Governor of Upper Canada.

THAT all the land lying Westward of the Heads of the Rivers which descend unto the Ocean from the West, and Eastward of the great River called Mississippi, and Southward of the River called Ohio, and Northward of the nothernmost bounds of Florida, shall, in accordance with His Majesty's late Proclamation issued in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and sixty-three, remain a Reservation for the exclusive use of those Indian Nations living under His Majesty's protection, and no Man shall enter into it, nor construct Dwellings nor places of Trade save with the written leave of the Chieftains of said Indians.

AND whereas His Majesty's subjects in certain overseas Provinces have long been desirous of confirmation of their absolute Rights as Englishmen, and do desire Representation in Parliament that they may better contribute to the maintenance of this Empire, be it enacted that the Provinces of Massachusetts Bay, of New York, of Pennsylvania and of Virginia shall henceforth be entitled to return three Members each to sit in the House of Commons of this Parliament.

THAT the Provinces of Lower Canada, of Nova Scotia, of New Hampshire, of Connecticut, of New Jersey, of Maryland, of North Carolina and of South Carolina shall henceforth be entitled to return two Members each to sit in the House of Commons of this Parliament.

THAT the Provinces of Upper Canada, of Newfoundland, of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, of Delaware and of Georgia shall henceforth be entitled to return one Member each to sit in the House of Commons of this Parliament.

THAT the Cities of Quebec, of Boston, of New York and of Philadelphia shall henceforth be entitled to return one Member each to sit in the House of Commons of this Parliament.

THAT Officers and Soldiers of His Majesty’s Army and Navy, and Agents of the Crown, when serving within the bounds of certain Provinces, viz. the Provinces of Upper Canada, Lower Canada, Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, Connecticut, Massachusetts Bay, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia, shall henceforth be under the authority of the Governor of the Province and shall be responsible to the Assembly or Legislature of said Provinces for their good conduct.

THAT the Provinces of Upper Canada, Lower Canada, Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, Connecticut, Massachusetts Bay, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia shall henceforth be subject to the Common Law as it exists in these Islands, which shall be superior to and take precedence over the Common Law as it has been amended in said Provinces. But whereas many of His Majesty's Subjects of Upper Canada and Lower Canada, who lately came under His Majesty's Protection by and according to the Provisions of the Treaty of Peace concluded at Paris in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and sixty-three between this Kingdom and the Kingdom of France, do continue to deem themselves of the French Nation and do desire to conduct their Affairs according to the Law of France, be it enacted that the Droit Privé shall continue to apply in said Provinces provided that all Parties to any Contract or Arrangement do agree to abide thus and do reject and abjure any Appeal to the Common Law.

THAT the Provinces of Upper Canada, Lower Canada, Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, Connecticut, Massachusetts Bay, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia shall each establish a Supreme Court for the trying of civil and criminal Suits, from which appeals may be made to no Court in these Islands save for the King in Parliament and the King in Council.

THAT these Houses shall henceforth no more impose Taxes or Duties upon His Majesty’s Subjects resident in the Provinces of Upper Canada, Lower Canada, Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, Connecticut, Massachusetts Bay, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia, save with the consent of the Assemblies and Legislatures of said Provinces, or save that said Taxes or Duties shall also apply to those Subjects resident in these Islands, or in His Majesty's other Realms.

THAT this Act may be known as the America Act, passed in the Fifteenth Year of the Reign of His Majesty George the Third, by the Grace of God King of Great Britain, France and Ireland, Duke of Brunswick and Lüneburg, Archtreasurer and Prince-Elector of the Holy Roman Empire, Defender of the Faith.

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