The Quartering Act of 1774 was one of five laws enacted by the British Parliament in 1774 in response to the Boston Tea Party. Collectively, the acts are known as the Coercive Acts or the Intolerable Acts.
The Quartering Act of 1774, passed on June 2, 1774, was an extension of the Quartering Act of 1765, which required each American colony to provide housing and basic needs for British soldiers stationed within its borders.
The Quartering Act of 1774 expanded the powers of royal officials in the colonies to seize uninhabited buildings, for the purpose of housing troops, without the approval of local officials. Many colonists saw this as an infringement upon local authority.
Contrary to popular belief, the Quartering Act did not require colonists to house soldiers in inhabited homes. The Quartering Act of 1774 and the other Coercive Acts provided further ammunition for a growing radical element in the colonies and prompted the calling of the First Continental Congress on September 5, 1774.
Transcript of the Quartering Act of 1774
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, authorised be law, in any of the provinces within his Majesty’s dominions in North America, and they are hereby respectively authorised, impowered, 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 billetted in such manner as is now directed by law, where no barracks are provided by the colonies.
II. 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 twenty-four 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.
III. 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 the twenty-fourth day of March, one thousand seven hundred and seventy-six.
Source: Avalon Project.