The Age of George III

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The Stamp Act, 1765

The Stamp Act, passed by Grenville's government, ran to twenty five closely printed pages. What follows is the preamble to the Act and the section that specifies the use to which the revenues were to be put. A second document gives Jared Ingersoll's account of the parliamentary debate on the legislation.

Whereas by an Act made in the last session of parliament [the Sugar Act of 1764], several duties were granted, continued, and appropriated towards defraying the expenses of defending, protecting, and securing the British colonies and plantations in America; and whereas it is just and necessary that provision be made for raising a further revenue within your Majesty's dominions in America towards defraying the said expenses; ... be it enacted ... that from and after the first day of November [1765] that there shall be raised, levied, collected, and paid unto his Majesty, his heirs, and successors, throughout the colonies and plantations in America which now are, or hereafter may be, under the dominion of his Majesty, his heirs and successors ... [Stamp duties on newspapers, pamphlets, cards, dice, and on each sheet of an extensive, varied, and complicated list of legal papers such as court proceedings and associated papers, wills, certificates of academic degrees, licences, bill of lading clearances, appointments to public office, licences for selling spirits, letters of administration, survey, warrants, grants or conveyances of land, indentures, leases, conveyances, bills of sale, contracts, notarial acts, deeds and letters of attorney. The Act then goes on to describe the administration and enforcement of the Act and specifies penalties for violations]

LVI. And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, that all the moneys which shall arise by the several rates and duties hereby granted (except the necessary charges of raising, collecting, recovering, answering, paying, and accounting for the same, and the necessary charges from time to time incurred in relation to this Act, and the execution thereof) shall be paid into the receipt of his Majesty's Exchequer, and shall be entered separate and apart from all other moneys, and shall be there reserved to be from time to time disposed of by parliament, towards further defraying the necessary expenses of defending, protecting, and securing the said colonies and plantations.

See also Conciliation and further confrontation: America 1765-8

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Last modified 12 January, 2016

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