Quartering Act


Quartering Act

Quartering Act is the name of at least two acts of the Parliament of Great Britain.

Quartering Act of 1765

Lieutenant General Thomas Gage, the commander in Chief of British North American forces, and other British officers who had fought in the French and Indian War, had found it hard to persuade colonial assemblies to pay for quartering and provisioning of troops on the march and he asked Parliament to do something. Most colonies had supplied provisions during the war, but the issue was disputed in peacetime. The Province of New York assembly passed an act to provide for the quartering of British regulars, which expired on January 1, 1764. [Kammen, pg. 355] The result was the Quartering Act of 1765, which went far beyond what Gage had requested. The colonies disputed the legality of this Act since it seemed to violate the Bill of Rights 1689 which forbid taxation without representation and the raising or keeping a standing army without the consent of Parliament. No standing army had been kept in the colonies before the French and Indian War, so the colonies asked why a standing army was needed after the French had been defeated.

This first Quartering Act (citation 5 Geo. III c. 33) occurred on May 15, 1765, and provided that Great Britain would house its soldiers in American barracks and public houses, as by the Mutiny Act of 1765, but if its soldiers outnumbered the housing available, would quarter them "in inns, livery stables, ale houses, victualing houses, and the houses of sellers of wine and houses of persons selling of rum, brandy, strong water, cider or metheglin", and if numbers required in "uninhabited houses, outhouses, barns, or other buildings"... "upon neglect or refusal of such governor and council in any province", required any inhabitants (or in their absence, public officials) to provide them with food and alcohol, and providing for "fire, candles, vinegar, salt, bedding, and utensils" for the soldiers "without paying any thing for the same".

When 1,500 British troops arrived at New York City in 1766 the New York Provincial Assembly refused to comply with the Quartering Act and failed to supply billeting for the troops. The troops had to remain on their ships. For failure to comply with the Quartering Act, Parliament suspended the Province of New York's Governor and legislature in 1767 and 1769. In 1771, the New York Assembly allocated funds for the quartering of the British troops.

The act was circumvented in all colonies other than Pennsylvania.

This act expired on March 24, 1767.

Quartering Act of 1774

A second Quartering Act was passed on June 2, 1774, as part of a group of laws that came to be known as the Intolerable Acts. The acts were designed to restore imperial control over the American colonies. While several of the acts dealt specifically with the Province of Massachusetts Bay, the new Quartering Act applied to all of the colonies.

In the previous act, the colonies had been required to provide housing for soldiers, but colonial legislatures had been uncooperative in doing so. The new Quartering Act similarly allowed a governor to house soldiers in other buildings if suitable quarters were not provided, but it did not have the provision in the previous act that soldiers be provided with provisions.

While many sources claim that the 1774 act allowed troops to be billeted in occupied private homes, this is a myth. The act only permitted troops to be quartered in unoccupied buildings. "It did not, as generations of American school children were taught, permit the housing of troops in private homes." [Ammerman, pg. 20.] The freedom from having soldiers quartered in private homes was a liberty guaranteed since 1628 by the Petition of Right. Although many colonists found the Quartering Act objectionable, it generated the least protest of the Intolerable Acts. [Ammerman, pg. 20]

This act expired on March 24, 1776.

Quartering in time of War

During the French and Indian War Britain had forcibly seized quarters in private dwellings. [Anderson, p. 649] In the American Revolutionary War, the New York Provincial Congress barracked Continental Army troops in private homes. [Schecter, pg. 90]

Modern relevance

* In the American's Declaration of Independence of 1776 there is a section stating how the colonies suffered under the King. It states, in part::He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:::For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us.
* The Third Amendment to the United States Constitution, expressly prohibited the military from peacetime quartering of troops without consent of the owner of the house. A product of their times, the relevance of the Acts and the Third Amendment has greatly declined since the era of the American Revolution, having been the subject of one case in 200+ years (Engblom v. Carey).

* The Quartering Act was one of the reasons for the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution, which authorized a militia. Standing armies were mistrusted and angry about this terrible situation and considered to have been tools for oppression.

ee also

* Dragonnade

Notes

References

* Ammerman, David, "The Tea Crisis and its Consequences, through 1775", in Jack P. Greene and J.R. Pole, eds., "The Blackwell Encyclopedia of the American Revolution" (Malden, Massachusetts: Blackwell, 1999)
* Kammen, Michael, "Colonial New York, A History", 1975, ISBN 0684143259
* Ketchum, Richard, "Divided Loyalties, How the American Revolution Came to New York", 2002, ISBN 0-8050-6120-7
* Schecter, Barnet, "The Battle of New York", 2002, ISBN 0802713742

External links

* [http://www.ushistory.org/declaration/related/quartering.htm Text of the Act of 1765]
* [http://www.ushistory.org/declaration/related/q74.htm Text of the Act of 1774]


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  • quartering — quar•ter•ing [[t]ˈkwɔr tər ɪŋ[/t]] n. 1) the act of a person or thing that quarters 2) the assignment of quarters or lodgings 3) lying at right angles • Etymology: 1585–95 …   From formal English to slang

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  • quartering — n. 1 (in pl.) the coats of arms marshalled on a shield to denote the alliances of a family with the heiresses of others. 2 the provision of quarters for soldiers. 3 the act or an instance of dividing, esp. into four equal parts. 4 timber sawn… …   Useful english dictionary


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