Privy Council: The central organ of the administrative system the executive arm of the British government at home and beyond the seas. Its members included:
Secretary of State for the Southern Department - most important for colonial affairs.
First Lord of the Treasury
First Lord of Admiralty
Secretary for War

[There was a conflict for supremacy over colonial affairs between the Privy Council and Parliament.]

Board of Trade: Set up in 1696 as an advisory council of experts to help the Privy Council. Eight of them were on the Board ex officio as members of the Privy Council responsible for colonial matters, such as First Admiralty Lord. Eight others were named as experts to do day to day business. After 1752 the Board exercised greater authority over colonial matters and became the key link between the colonies and Britain.

Imperial Legislation: Parliamentary acts regulating economic fife. The Navigation Act of 1696 was followed by others, all shaped by mercantilism In 1697 Parliament established the Vice Admiralty Courts. Parliament also passed various Acts of Trade, such as the Woolen Act of 1699 to project Britain's manufactures. Examples of other imperial legislation are: the Post Office Act, 1710, and the Naturalization Act, 1740.

Imperial Judicial System: The Law Lords of Privy Council acted as the supreme court of the Empire. Vice Admiralty Courts dealt with maritime cases such as smuggling to avoid the Navigation Acts. They were non-jury courts with judges appointed by the colonial governors.

Colonial Governors: Assisted by imperial agents like naval and army officers, tariff collectors, and surveyor of the king's revenues. The Privy Council appointed all royal colony governors. Proprietors appointed them for the proprietary colonies, Pennsylvania and Maryland. Charter colonies, Connecticut and Rhode Island, elected their governors.

Colonial Institutions: In each colony the Council was appointed by the Governor and served as his advisory board, as the legislative upper house, and had some judicial functions. The Assembly was elected by qualified voters. Assemblies often appointed Agents to present petitions and requests to authorities in London, to serve rather like lobbyists for the Assemblies.