The Stamp Act, signed March 22, 1765, sought to collect money from colonists for this standing army. Then, under the Quartering Act of March 24 1765, barracks were to be constructed at colonists' expense, and communities were to provide ale, cider, bedding, fire, vinegar, salt, candles and other specific items to the soldiers. If the barracks proved insufficient, the soldiers were to be biletted at inns, taverns, barns, and even private residences of those selling wine or alcohol, and at livery stables, plus uninhabited residences and outbuildings.
Several forces were at play: transfers away from the frontier drew British fort soldiers to New York, Philadelphia, and other eastern cities and towns. Also, the crown's reticence to pay out retirements to the soldiers from the French and Indian War led to creating new work in the colonies for an army. If an influx of veterans returned to England it would create a great tax burden upon the loyal citizens there. Let them stay in the colonies and be compensated for the protection they provided.
From the Colonists' point of view, this boded trouble. They felt they didn't need the so-called protection of a standing army, but that it only existed to enforce compliance to the crown. More accustomed to militias who could be assembled for crisis and then disbanded, the colonists resented these soldiers. Militiamen were self-sufficient and could raise their own food and livelihood. These soldiers were akin to parasites, feeding off their harvests, lodging in their beds. It created no small burden on colonial communities.Local NY City government officials refused to quarter arriving British troops at first, resulting in a minor skirmish.
|Thomas Gage by John Copley|
In January 1766, the New York assembly voted to short fund the amount required to house Thomas Gage's expanding army. New Yorkers bore the brunt of the burden, since the greatest population of British soldiers resided there. By autumn the assembly decided not to fund them at all. Both sides became entrenched and embittered.
“every Act of Oppression will sour their Tempers . . . and hasten their final Revolt” Benjamin Franklin
The Stamp Act was repealed in March of '66, but Parliament then passed the Declaratory Act giving itself the power to make whatever laws suited them, whether the colonists liked it or not. Its actual wording: “make laws . . . of sufficient force and validity to bind the colonies and people of America . . . in all cases whatsoever.”
In March 1767, Britain responded by putting a moratorium on assembly meetings until their troops were fully funded. They gave New York until August. The NY assembly acquiesced in June.
A. F.,” The New York Journal; or the General Advertiser, 10 September 1767; reprint of letter printed in The Boston Gazette after news arrived of the threatened suspension of the New York assembly.
4 Star Chamber: secret English court in the 1600's that prosecuted crimes without regard to the constitutional rights of Englishmen.
A second Quartering Act came in 1774. It was less burdensome than the first in that it didn't require colonists to provide provision to the troops.
These were examples of the Intolerable Acts that led to the uniting of the colonies against British tyranny.
The suffering and indignity of the Quartering Acts was so great that the third amendment to the constitution expressly forbids the forcible quartering of troops in private residences without consent.