The New International Encyclopædia/Boston Port Bill
BOSTON PORT BILL. A bill passed by the British Parliament, and signed by the King in March, 1774, to punish the people of Boston for their destruction of tea in Boston Harbor, December 16, 1773. (See Boston.) It was to go into effect on June 1 and provided for the virtual closure of Boston Harbor to commerce, for the removal of the seat of government to Salem, and for the supplanting of Boston by Marblehead as a port of entry, until the people of Boston should indemnify the owners of the property destroyed and fulfill other specified conditions. This, the greatest encroachment yet made by Parliament upon the liberties of the colonists, aroused an instant and widespread feeling of indignation and alarm. Assurances of sympathy and support were immediately sent to the people of Boston by the legislatures and committees of correspondence of other Colonies, and by many town meetings, and June 1 was widely observed as a day of fasting and prayer, bells being tolled, flags placed at half-mast, and houses draped in mourning. Material aid was also given from all quarters, food-supplies being sent from as far as South Carolina. Non-importation agreements were everywhere urged, pamphlets and broadsides were issued, and finally a general congress—the first Continental Congress—was called to discuss this and other obnoxious acts passed in the same year, and to devise measures for relief. Consult Frothingham, Rise of the Republic (Boston, 1872); and, for text of the bill, Pickering, Statutes at Large, Vol. XXX. (London, 1842).