Trade, the Board of

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Trade, the Board of

TRADE, THE BOARD OF. 1696–1782. In 1696 William III created "A Board of Commissioners for Trade and Plantations" (the Board of Trade) as the principal manager of colonial affairs. Headed by a president who was also the first lord of trade, the Board had eight paid members and seven senior political officials who reviewed and reported to the Privy Council on colonial legislation, and recommended appointments of colonial officials. The activity of the Board varied according to the energy and interest of the first lord, reaching a high point when George Montagu Dunk, the earl of Halifax, became president in 1748 and going into a decline during the final French and Indian war (1756–1763). After Wills Hill, the earl of Hillsborough, became secretary of state for the American colonies and president of the Board of Trade in 1768, a single person continued to hold both positions until the board was abolished in 1782.

The Treasury Board also played a prominent part in colonial affairs because the Navigation Acts, particularly that of 1673, gave it authority over the Customs Commissioners, who had jurisdiction over collectors, searchers, and surveyors of customs in the colonies.

SEE ALSO Background and Origins of the Revolution; Customs Commissioners; Disallowance; Germain, George Sackville; Royal Government in America; Vice-Admiralty Courts.

                         revised by Harold E. Selesky