In 1765, Parliament passed a quartering act that stated that British troops
in America would be housed in barracks and in public houses unless and until the
number of troops overwhelmed the facilities, at which time, the troops could
be housed in private commercial property, such as inns and stables, and in
uninhabited homes and barns. The quartering would be without compensation and,
in fact, owners would be required to provide soldiers with certain necessities
such as food, liquor, salt, and bedding, also without compensation.
As tensions rose in late 1773 and early 1774, the old quartering act was
supplemented with the Quartering Act of 1774. This act, passed on June 2, 1774,
required colonists to house troops not only as previously required, but also in
The Quartering Act is one of the Intolerable Acts that lead to dissent in
the American colonies and to the creation of the Declaration of Rights and Grievances in 1774. While the
other Intolerable Acts targeted Massachusetts specifically, the Quartering Act
applied throughout the colonies, prompting wider protest and interest in revolt
than may have been present if it had been restricted to Massachusetts.
The source for this text is the Avalon
Project. The text has been modified slightly to expand abbreviations,
modernize spelling, and enhance readability.
An act for the better providing suitable quarters for officers and soldiers
in his Majesty's service in North America.
WHEREAS doubts have been entertained, whether troops can be quartered
otherwise than in barracks, in case barracks have been provided sufficient for
the quartering of all officers and soldiers within any town, township, city,
district, or place, within his Majesty's dominions in North America: And
whereas it may frequently happen, from the situation of such barracks, that, if
troops should be quartered therein, they would not be stationed where their
presence may be necessary and required: be it therefore enacted by the King's
most excellent majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the lords
spiritual and temporal, and commons, in this present parliament assembled, and
by the authority of the same, That, in such cases, it shall and may be lawful
for the persons who now are, or may be hereafter, authorized be law, in any of
the provinces within his Majesty's dominions in North America, and they are
hereby respectively authorized, empowered, and directed, on the requisition of
the officer who, for the time being, has the command of his Majesty's forces in
North America, to cause any officers or soldiers in his Majesty's service to be
quartered and billeted in such manner as is now directed by law, where no
barracks are provided by the colonies.
And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That if it shall
happen at any time that any officers or soldiers in his Majesty's service shall
remain within any of the said colonies without quarters, for the space of 24
hours after such quarters shall have been demanded, it shall and may be lawful
for the governor of the province to order and direct such and so many
uninhabited houses, out-houses, barns, or other buildings, as he shall think
necessary to be taken, (making a reasonable allowance for the same), and make
fit for the reception of such officers and soldiers, and to put and quarter
such officers and soldiers therein, for such time as he shall think proper.
And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That this act, and
every thing herein contained, shall continue and be in force, in all his
Majesty's dominions in North America, until March 24, 1776.