It having appeared that the Public Revenue has been greatly diminished, and the fair Trader much prejudiced by the fraudulent Methods used to introduce into His Majesty's Dominions, (contrary to the Act of 12. Charles 2d for encouraging and encreasing Shipping & Navigation, and that of 15 Charles 2d for the Encouragement of Trade, and the Act of 7th and 8th of William 3d for preventing Frauds and regulating Abuses in the Plantation Trade,) commodities of foreign Growth, in National, as well as foreign Bottoms, by means of small Vessels hovering on the Coasts, & that this iniquitous Practice has been carried on to a great heighth in America, an Act was passed the last session of Parliament intituled, An Act for the further Improvement of His Majestys Revenue of Customs, and for the Encouragement of officers making Seizures, and for the Prevention of the clandestine Running of Goods into any part of His Majestys Dominions, by which the former Laws, relative to this matter, are inforced & extended to the British Dominions in all parts of the World; and the King having it extreamly at heart to put an End to all iniquitous Practices of this Nature, by a due, punctual and vigorous Exertion of the Laws made for this salutary purpose, and His Majesty having been pleased to order that the most effectual Steps should be taken for obtaining that End, the Commanders of His Majestys Ships stationed in America, will, in consequence thereof, be vested for the future with the necessary & legal Powers, from the Commissioners of the Customs for carrying into Execution the several Acts of Parliament relative to the seizing and condemning any Ships that shall be found transgressing against the said Acts; I am to signify to you the King's express pleasure, that you do, as far as shall depend upon you, not only cooperate with and assist the said Commanders, in the due & legal Execution of the Powers & Instructions given them by the Commissioners of the Customs, but that you do also use your utmost Endeavours by the most assiduous & impartial Execution of the Laws enacted for this purpose, to put an effectual Stop to the clandestine Running of Goods into any Place within your Jurisdiction; And that you may be fully informed of every particular, in an Affair of this Importance, you will find enclosed herewith a Copy of the Act passed last Session of Parliament, referred to above, together with His Majesty's Order in Council, made agreeable thereto, for the
The Precautions, which, upon perusing the two last mentioned Papers, you will observe to have been taken here, & the strict Orders given on this Occasion to the Commanders of all the Ships of War in America, will sufficiently point out to you, how earnestly the King wishes that all possible means should be used to root out so iniquitous a Practice; A Practice carried on in Contravention of many express & repeated Laws, tending not only to the Diminution and Impoverishment of the Public Revenue, at a time when this Nation is labouring under a heavy Debt, incurred by the last War, for the Protection of America, but also to expose every fair Trader, to certain Detriment, & even Danger of Ruin, by his not being able to carry his Commodities to Market, on an equal Footing with those, who fraudulently evade the payment of the just Dues & Customs for the same.
It is the King's Pleasure that you do, by the first Opportunity, acknowledge the Receipt of this Letter, and that you do, from time to time, transmit to me, for His Majesty's Information, exact accounts of whatever shall happen, within your Government, in an Affair which the King considers to be of the highest Importance to the Commercial Interest of His Subjects, and the Improvement of the public Revenue: You will likewise impart to me, for the King's Approbation, such further Hints as may occur to you as proper for the Subject.
I must also inform you, that His Majesty's Resolution, to have the most implicit Obedience paid to these His Commands, is so fixed, that as, on the one hand, your particular Diligence & attention in the Performance of your Duty herein, will not fail to recommend you to His Majesty's Royal Favors, so, on the other, it is incumbent on me to acquaint you, that the King will not pass over unnoticed any Negligence or Relaxation on the Part of any Persons employed in His Service, in a matter on which His Majesty lays so much stress, & in which the fair Trade of all His Truthful Subjects, is so essentially interested.