views updated May 17 2018


INSTRUCTIONS, issued to every royal governor on his departure for the colonies, delineated the specific powers established in the governor's commission. They were most often prepared in the king's name by special committees of the Privy Council or, subsequent to its organization in 1696, the Board of Trade, in consultation with English merchants, other royal officials, and colonial agents. Royal governors received instructions on every facet of colonial administration, including colonial councils and assemblies, finances, the courts, military matters, trade, navigation, commerce, and religious establishment.

A newly appointed governor sometimes had the opportunity to make suggestions about his own instructions. The Board of Trade also consulted royal commissioners, including those of the Admiralty, the Treasury, and the Customs. English merchants wielded considerable influence in the drafting of instructions. Merchants who objected to colonial legislation had only to petition the Board of Trade, which, in keeping with mercantilist interests, disallowed laws "prejudicial to the trading interests of Great Britain." Colonists objected to those trade-based instructions that seemed frequently to represent British interests at the expense of the colonists. Such instructions, however, were issued to nearly all of the royal governors until the American Revolution.


Labaree, Leonard Woods. Royal Government in America. 2d ed. New York: Frederick Ungar, 1964.

———, ed. Royal Instructions to British Colonial Governors, 1670–1776. New York: D. Appleton-Century, 1935.Reprint, New York: Octagon Books, 1967.

Leslie J.Lindenauer

See alsoBoard of Trade and Plantations ; Colonial Policy, British ; Privy Council ; Royal Disallowance .


views updated May 29 2018

in·struc·tion / inˈstrəkshən/ • n. 1. (often instructions) a direction or order: he issued instructions to the sheriff | he was acting on my instructions. ∎  (instructions) Law directions to a lawyer or to a jury. ∎  Comput. a code or sequence in a computer program that defines an operation and puts it into effect.2. (instructions) detailed information telling how something should be done, operated, or assembled: always study the instructions supplied.3. teaching; education: the school offers personalized instruction in a variety of skills.DERIVATIVES: in·struc·tion·al / -shənl/ adj.


views updated May 21 2018

instruction The description of an operation that is to be performed by a computer. It consists of a statement of an operation to be performed and some method of specifying the operands (or their locations) and the disposition of the result of the operation. Instructions are often divided into classes such as arithmetic instructions, program control instructions, logic instructions, and I/O instructions. They may or may not be of fixed length. The operation code or order code of an instruction specifies one of the set of operations available in a particular computer. See also instruction format.


views updated Jun 27 2018


Directives given by a judge to a jury during a trial prescribing the manner in which the jurors should proceed in deciding the case at bar. Jury instructions ordinarily include a statement of thequestions of factfor determination by the jury, as well as a statement of the laws applicable to the facts of the case.