This Act received renewed attention in 1769, following protests against the Townshend Acts in colonialBoston. After determining that the 1543 Treason Act was still in effect, Parliament instructed Governor Francis Bernard of Massachusetts to gather evidence against Bostonians who might have committed acts of treason, so that they could be transported to England for trial. Colonial assemblies in British America passed resolutions against such an action, arguing that it would violate their constitutional right to a trial by jury of their peers.
No one in Massachusetts was arrested under the terms of the Treason Act, but the matter came up again in Rhode Island after the Gaspée Affair in 1772. Once again, officials were unable to obtain reliable evidence of treason.
The Act should not be confused with two other Acts, 35 Hen. 8 c. 1 and 3, which were also about treason and were passed in the same year. The first made it treason to refuse to take an oath against the Pope. The second made it treason to attempt to deprive the King of his royal title or of his title as Defender of the Faith and as Supreme Head of the Church in England and Ireland. Both forms of treason were abolished in 1547, but the latter was revived in the first year of the reign of Elizabeth I.