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New York Restraining Act

The New York Restraining Act was one of the five Townshend Acts passed by Parliament in 1767 and 1768 to lay more taxes with strict enforcement upon Britain's American colonies.

The New York Restraining Act was the first of the five Acts and was passed on June 15, 1767. It forbade the New York Assembly and the governor of New York from passing any new bills whatsoever until they agreed to comply with the Quartering Act of 1765, which required them to pay for and provide housing, food and supplies for British troops in the colony.

New York resisted the Quartering Act because it amounted to taxation without representation since they had no representatives in Parliament. New York and the other colonies also did not believe British soldiers were any longer necessary in the colonies since the French and Indian War had come to an end.

Charles Townshend, Chancellor of the Exchequer

Click to enlarge

Charles Townshend

In the end, New York reluctantly agreed to pay for at least some of the soldiers' needs because they knew they were going to be punished by Parliament unless they acted. The New York Restraining Act was never implemented because the New York Assembly acted in time.

After the Townshend Acts were passed, including the New York Restraining Act, there was outrage in the colonies because the Acts passed new taxes, created a new regulatory enforcement regime, created new courts for prosecution of violators without the use of trial by jury and shut down the government of New York. The colonists viewed all these things as violations of their rights as British citizens to have their own elected legislatures, their right to taxation with representation and their right to trial by jury.

Protests and riots erupted around the colonies and eventually the taxes were repealed except for the tea tax. The other parts of the Townshend Acts remained in place. Violence due to the Acts and protests against Parliament eventually led to the dissolving of most of the colonies' elected assemblies by Britain and to the occupation of Boston by British troops.

The presence of troops in Boston eventually led to the Boston Massacre and the tea tax led to the Boston Tea Party, which in turn led to the blockade of Boston, the takeover of the government of Massachusetts by Great Britain and, eventually, the Revolutionary War.

You can read the text of the New York Restraining Act below and learn more about the Townshend Acts here.

New York Restraining Act -
June 15, 1767

An Act for Restraining and Prohibiting the Governor, Council, and House of Representatives of the Province of New York, until Provision Shall Have Been Made for Furnishing the King's Troops with All the Necessaries Required by Law, from Passing or Assenting to Any Act of Assembly, Vote, or Resolution for Any Other Purpose

Whereas an act of Parliament was made in the fifth year of his present Majesty's reign, entitled, An act to amend and render more effectual, in his Majesty's dominions in America, an act passed in this present session of Parliament, entitled, An act for punishing mutiny and desertion and for the better payment of the army and their quarters; wherein several directions were given, and rules and regulations established and appointed for the supplying his Majesty's troops in the British dominions in America with such necessaries as are in the said act mentioned during the continuance thereof, from the twenty-fourth day of March, one thousand seven hundred and sixty-five, until the twenty-fourth day of March, one thousand seven hundred and sixty-seven; and whereas the House of Representatives of his Majesty's province of New York in America have, in direct disobedience of the authority of the British legislature, refused to make provision for supplying the necessaries and in the manner required by the said act; and an act of assembly hath been passed within the said province for furnishing the barracks in the cities of New York and Albany with firewood and candles, and the other necessaries therein mentioned, for his Majesty's forces inconsistent with the provisions and in opposition to the directions of the said act of Parliament; and whereas by an act made in the last session, entitled, An act to amend and render more effectual, in his Majesty's dominions in America, an act passed in this present session of Parliament entitled, An act for punishing mutiny and desertion, and for the better payment of the army and their quarters, the like directions, rules, and regulations were given and established for supplying with necessaries his Majesty's troops within the said dominions during the continuance of such act, from the twenty-fourth day of March, one thousand seven hundred and sixty-six, until the twenty-fourth day of March, one thousand seven hundred and sixty-eight; which act was, by an act made in this present session of Parliament, entitled, An act for further continuing an act of the last session of Parliament entitled, An act to amend and render more effectual, in his Majesty's dominions in America, an act passed in this present session of Parliament entitled, An act for punishing mutiny and desertion, and for the better payment of the army and their quarters, further continued until the twenty-fourth day of March, one thousand seven hundred and sixty-nine. In order therefore to enforce within the said province of New York the supplying of his Majesty's troops with the necessaries and in the manner required by the said acts of Parliament, may it please your Majesty that it may be enacted; and be it 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 by the authority of the same that from and after the first day of October, one thousand seven hundred and sixty-seven, until provision shall have been made by the said assembly of New York for furnishing his Majesty's troops within the said province with all such necessaries as are required by the said acts of Parliament, or any of them, to be furnished for such troops, it shall not be lawful for the governor, lieutenant governor, or person presiding or acting as governor or commander in chief, or for the council for the time being, within the colony, plantation, or province of New York in America, to pass, or give his or their assent to, or concurrence in, the making or passing of any act of assembly; or his or their assent to any order, resolution, or vote in concurrence with the House of Representatives for the time being within the said colony, plantation, or province; or for the said House of Representatives to pass or make any bill, order, resolution, or vote (orders, resolutions, or votes for adjourning such house only, excepted) of any kind, for any other purpose whatsoever; and that all acts of assembly, orders, resolutions, and votes whatsoever, which shall or may be passed, assented to, or made contrary to the tenor and meaning of this act after the said first day of October, one thousand seven hundred and sixty-seven, within the said colony, plantation, or province before and until provision shall have been made for supplying his Majesty's troops with necessaries as aforesaid, shall be and are hereby declared to be null and void, and of no force or effect whatsoever.

II. Provided nevertheless, and it is hereby declared to be the true intent and meaning of this act that nothing herein before contained shall extend, or be construed to extend, to hinder, prevent, or invalidate the choice, election, or approbation of a speaker of the House of Representatives for the time being within the said colony, plantation, or province.

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You can also read the text of each of the other Townshend Acts here:


Published 10/10/12

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