J. L. BELL is a Massachusetts writer who specializes in (among other things) the start of the American Revolution in and around Boston. He is particularly interested in the experiences of children in 1765-75. He has published scholarly papers and popular articles for both children and adults. He was consultant for an episode of History Detectives, and contributed to a display at Minute Man National Historic Park.

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Sunday, March 08, 2015

Stamp Act Approved by Lords

On 27 Feb 1765 the House of Commons gave final approval to the new Stamp Act for North America. The bill then moved on to the House of Lords.

The North American colonies had some friends in the British peerage, or at least men willing to argue against chief minister George Grenville. However, the Duke of Newcastle (1693-1768), a former chief minister, seems to have been mostly retired. The Marquess of Rockingham (1730-1782, shown here) was the rising leader of the Whig opposition, but on this point he was silent.

In another year, Rockingham’s legal ally Charles Pratt (1714-1794) would be Baron Camden, and wartime minister William Pitt (1708-1778) would be the Earl of Chatham. They would advocate for North America in the upper house during the following years, but not yet.

The Lords approved the law on 8 Mar 1765. There was no debate and no vote against.

The Stamp Act went to King George III for final approval. And then it ran into unexpected trouble.

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