Massachusetts was greatly affected by the British policy of salutary neglect in the 18th century.
The British government did not enforce their trade laws in the American colonies.
The phrase salutary neglect comes from a speech given by Edmund Burke at the House of Commons on March 22, 1775.
I know that the colonies in general owe little to any care of ours, and that they are not squeezed into this happy form by the constraints of watchful and suspicious government, but that, through a wise and salutary neglect, a generous nature has been suffered to.
The period of salutary neglect in the mid-1700s was when the British government loosened its hold over the colonies.
The British government had no official policies regarding the colonies for most of the 17th century.The companies, merchants and independent corporations in the colonies were not supervised by the British.
The navigation act changed this.In the American colonies, it was one of the first laws on trade regulation.
English ships were required to carry all goods shipped to and from the American colonies.
According to the book Wars of the Age of Louis XIV, this was an attempt to prevent colonists from engaging in trade with other countries.
To stop the Dutch from carrying fish and other colonial products to England and to force Italian merchants to ship their silk on English ships were the immediate object of the navigation act.Other products targeted by the Act were Turkish weaves, Spanish wool, colonial wines, and Neapolitan olive oil.
The Dutch had colonized what is now New York state and had a monopoly on the North American trade industry.
The acts that made up this act were the Navigation Act of 1651, the navigation act of 1660, and the navigator act 1696.
The 1651 act added sugar, tobacco, cotton-wool, indigo, ginger, fustic and etc to the list of items that could only be shipped on English ships.
The British government rarely enforced the navigation act in the colonies.
It would have required the government to send over a large number of customs officials to regulate the ports in the colonies.
American colonists continued to smuggle goods and trade with both the Dutch and the French West Indies despite the law.
The First Anglo-Dutch war of 1652-1654 was a naval war between the English and the Dutch over North American trade routes and colonial land.
The New England colonies formed an alliance to help bolster colonial defenses after the war started because of the navigation act.
The Massachusetts Bay Colony’s charter was revoked by the British government in the 1680s in order to strengthen their control over the colonies.
The goal was to strengthen colonial defenses, appoint government officials in the colonies and enforce the navigation act.
The mega colony was too large to run effectively and it came to an end in 1689 after news of the Glorious Revolution in England caused the rebels to overthrow the officials.
The Massachusetts Bay Colony was made a royal colony in 1691 by the new King and Queen of England, Mary and William of Orange.
Historians believe that the changes caused a lot of unrest and anxiety in the Massachusetts Bay Colony and that was one of the reasons for the Salem Witch Trials of 1692.
After Robert Walpole took over as the Lord of the Treasury in 1721, the government began to avoid enforcing trade laws.
The salutary neglect policy is thought to have been created by the Duke of Newcastle and the former Secretary of State for the southern department, Walpole.
During the wars against Spain and France, the goal of the office was to increase taxable wealth in England to help pay off debts.The British colonies in North America and the Caribbean had commercial relations with England.
According to the book An Economic History of the United States, there were three main interests in colonial governance.
1.Increasing exports of manufactured products to the colonies in order to increase employment in Britain is a source of patronage.
In order to accomplish these goals, Walpole discouraged enforcing trade laws and regulations in the colonies and encouraged the policy of salutary neglect.
The conscious undoing of Britain’s grand mercantilist design for controlling and restricting American commerce and industry for the benefit of British merchants and manufacturers was the result ofalutary neglect.The representative colonial assembly was able to wrest power from the royally appointed governors by wielding the power of the purse over colonial taxes and appropriations.The American colonies were almost completely independent of British imperial control from 1720 through the 1750s, thanks to a libertarian spirit and ideology instilled by the radical libertarian English writers and journalists of the period.
According to another book, Events That Changed America in the Eighteenth Century, the neglect may have been caused by the fact that British officials were too busy and incompetent to effectively regulate the American colonies.
Historians have pointed to a variety of institutional and personal factors to explain the relatively hands-off policies of the Walpole years.The Board of Trade, which was principally responsible for enforcement of mercantilist legislation, was weak at the end of the 17th century and weakened after 1714, when it was reorganized.While he learned the duties of his office after 1724), the Secretary of State (Southern Department) came to the post without preparation on the details of the system.After that, enforcement was very easy, and the preferred approach to problems was to delay action.Thealutary neglect of the era was attributed to a combination of accidental factors, such as financial stringency and political incompetence, as well as to some element of deliberate policy.
The Seven Year’s War ended in February of 1763.The new Prime Minister came into office in April of 1763.The events contributed to the end of salutary neglect.
The British government incurred a large amount of debt fighting France for control of North America and needed a way to pay it off.
The number of British troops in North America was increased to help defend against any threat from France.
British ships of war landing their troops in Boston.An illustration by Paul Revere.
The colonists benefited from the defense of the British army, so they should help pay for it.
In order to raise revenue, the British government was mandated to shift some of the war’s cost to the American colonies.
The Stamp Act of 1765 was one of the new taxes that came to be known as the Grenville Acts.
At a town meeting on May 24, 1764, Colonists proposed to sign a Non-importation Agreement, in which they would boycott most British goods.
The Stamp Act of 1765 imposed a tax on all paper used for printed materials in the colonies.
The Quartering Act of 1765 forced colonists to house and feed the British soldiers sent to the colonies.
The American Revolution was caused by the British policy of neglect towards the American colonies.
The British government didn’t enforce its laws in the colonies during the period of salutary neglect, so the colonists became accustomed to governing themselves.
The years of salutary neglect and self-governing helped American colonists develop their sense of independence.
The colonists were left to their own devices and got along as he knew they could.With a minimum of interference from London they had been exercising the mechanics of self-government, learning as they went, discovering through trial and error what worked and what did not, while growing ever so slowly into entities capable for the most part of running their own affairs.
The colonists were used to governing themselves due to salutary neglect, but they didn’t feel like Parliament had the authority to govern them anymore.
The slogan “no taxation without representation” became popular during the American Revolution because the colonists felt they could only be represented in Parliament by politicians they voted for.
Although the colonists did not personally choose the politicians in Parliament, they still served as their virtual representation.
The government’s use of this argument was resented by the colonists, who realized they were powerful enough to fight back.