Sugar Act facts and numbers
- It was known as the Sugar Act in America and titled American Revenue Act by Britih Parliament.
- The Sugar Act was passed by Parliament on April 5, 1764.
- It was introduced by Prime Minister George Grenville as a permanent act.
- The Sugar Act replaced the Sugar and Molasses Act of 1733 that was about to expire.
- The Act consists of 47 clauses that stipulate rates and duties, restrictions on trade, requirements for shippers, penalties and provisions for prosecution. See original text.
- Its purpose was to undermine illegal trade and raise revenue to pay for debt incurred during the French Indian War and to pay for additional troops to defend the border.
- The 1764 Act lowered the duty of sugar and molasses from 6 to 3p per gallon. In 1766 the duty was lowered to 1p per gallon which virtually eliminated smuggling.
- Direct export of colonial lumber and iron to continental Europe or Ireland was prohibited.
- Taxes on wine imported directly from Madeira, the Azores and the Canary Islands increased to £7 per ton instead of 10s or 1/14 the rate if shipped from Britain. Local wine traders lost all their business to British merchants.
- Exports of wine from New York shrank from over 250 pipes in 1763 to 7 in 1769.
- Total wine imports from New York in 1769 were half of those in 1763.
- Revenue collected amounted to an average of £30,000 a year from 1765 to 1774.
- Sugar Act revenue reached its high in 1772 with £42,570. See table in 1764 Sugar Act page
- Half the revenue came from the duty on molasses, followed by sugar and Madeira wine.
- Duties on pimiento, coffee and indigo generated little revenue.
- Vessels were prohibited to transport cargo to the colonies unless they had been loaded in Britain.
- Vessels containing cargo from other places had to unload in Britain, pay duties, reload its cargo and then proceed to the colonies.
- The Act required shipmasters to take out a cocket or sealed certificates itemizing the goods on board.
- Every vessel carrying colonial products had to give bond to pay duty on any foreign molasses taken aboard during the course of its journey. The bond was £1,000 sterling for vessels under 100 tons and £2,000 if over 100 tons.
- Failure to follow the law would result in the seizure of vessel and cargo.
- The 1764 Sugar Act strengthened the jurisdiction and power of vice-admiralty courts in the colonies.
- The Act limited damages on customs officials and awarded half the goods seized if a violation of customs law was proved. Vice admiralty courts did not required trial by jury.
 Rabushka, Taxation in Colonial America, 737.
 Dickerson, Navigation Acts and the American Revolution, 176-177