This was a direct attempt to rein in the often unruly colonial government and place it back into the service of the British. They were resisted everywhere with verbal agitation and physical violence, deliberate evasion of duties, renewed nonimportation agreements among merchants, and overt acts of hostility toward British enforcement agents, especially in Boston. But, as the king and Parliament would soon learn, the Townshend Acts probably did more harm than good in the colonies — most Americans despised their existence and used them to support claims that the British government was only looking to limit their individual freedoms, preventing the success of colonial enterprise. Charles Townshend, (born August 27, 1725—died September 4, 1767, London, England), British chancellor of the Exchequer whose measures for the taxation of the British American colonies intensified the hostilities that eventually led to the American Revolution.. The intent was similar to the Indemnity Act, but it was also meant to help the failing British East India Company — a powerful corporation that had the backing of the king, Parliament, and, most importantly, the British Army — stay afloat so as to continue playing an important role in British imperialism. Townshend Acts, (June 15–July 2, 1767), in colonial U.S. history, series of four acts passed by the British Parliament in an attempt to assert what it considered to be its historic right to exert authority over the colonies through suspension of a recalcitrant representative assembly and through strict provisions for the collection of revenue duties. Colonists not only objected to the new duties, but also to the way they were to be spent--and to the new bureaucracy that was to collect them. The fourth Townshend Act, known as the Indemnity Act, was aimed at enabling the East India Company to compete with the tea that was smuggled by the Dutch. Parliament decided to keep the tax on tea partially to continue its protection of the East India Company, but also to maintain the precedent that Parliament did, in fact, actually have the right to tax the colonists… you know, if it wanted. But even with this repeal, the damage was done, the fire already set, to the relationship between England and its colonies. March 5, 2020 The Townshend Acts (or the Townshend Act) refers to a set of taxes passed by Parliament in 1767 after the Stamp Act caused rebellion and riots on both sides of the Atlantic. Such colonial tumult, coupled with the instability of frequently changing British ministries, resulted in repeal—on March 5, 1770, the same day as the Boston Massacre—of all revenue duties except that on tea, lifting of the Quartering Act requirements, and removal of troops from Boston, which thus temporarily averted hostilities. In 1767, with the passage of the Townshend Acts, a tax on consumer goods in British North America, colonists believed their liberty as loyal British subjects had come under assault for a second time. Here then, let my countrymen rouse themselves, and behold the ruin hanging over their heads! The third act established strict and often arbitrary machinery of customs collection in the American colonies, including additional officers, searchers, spies, coast guard vessels, search warrants, writs of assistance, and a Board of Customs Commissioners at Boston, all to be financed out of customs revenues. However, what began as a tactical move to control his colonies quickly turned into a catalyst for protest and change, setting in motion a chain of events that ended in the American Revolution and the independence of the United States of America. The Townshend Revenue Act of 1767 placed import duties on items such as glass, lead, paint, and paper. The Townshend Acts imposed a new tax on wine, fruits, white and green glass (chinaware), red and white lead, painter’s colors, paper and pasteboard. Compensating for the loss of revenue brought about by the Indemnity Act was another reason for the imposition of the Townshend duties. Seeing as two of the five laws passed as part of the Townshend Acts dealt with taxes and duties on goods colonists commonly used, a natural protest was to boycott these goods. Unhappy with this situation, King George III did as all good British kings do: he ordered Parliament to fix it. Townshend believed himself a genius because he really thought the laws he proposed would not be met with the same resistance in the colonies that the Stamp Act was. 2. The Boston Massacre. Lord Rockingham’s tenure as prime minister was not long (1765–1766). In 1768, after such outspoken protest against the Townshend Acts, Parliament was a tad concerned about the colony of Massachusetts — specifically the city of Boston — and its loyalty to the Crown. THE TOWNSHEND ACTS. These acts were passed in the colonies after the Stamp Act was repealed. Yet, despite his passing, the laws still managed to have a profound impact on colonial relations and played an important role in motivating the events that led to the American Revolution. He opposed the Townshend acts and became a major proponent of American resistance to the British. The Townshend Acts or Townshend Duties, refers to a series of British acts of Parliament passed during 1767 and 1768 relating to the British colonies in America. The second act, often called the Townshend duties or the Revenue Act, imposed direct revenue duties—that is, duties aimed not merely at regulating trade but at putting money into the British treasury. The first act was aimed at the New York Assembly. King George III makes a public announcement to the American colonists about the Townshend Acts of 1767. It was the second time in the history of the colonies that a tax had been levied solely for the purpose of raising revenue. Building off these ideas, the Massachusetts legislature, under the direction of revolutionary leaders Sam Adams and James Otis Jr., wrote the “Massachusetts Circular,” which was circulated (duh) to the other colonial legislatures and urged the colonies to resist the Townshend Acts in the name of their natural rights as British citizens. The Indemnity Act of 1767 lowered the taxes that the British East India Company had to pay to import tea to England. By the same act,a drawback for five years applied to tea re-exported f… It was passed explicitly to assert authority in the colonies. The Parliament of Great Britain passed a series of acts called the Townshend Acts, beginning in 1767, in an effort to place more control over their colonies in North America, and to regain some of the money they had already spent on conflicts to defend their land in North America. The Townshend Acts were a series of laws passed by the British government on the American colonies in 1767. This allowed it to be sold in the colonies for cheaper, making it more competitive against smuggled Dutch tea that was much less expensive and quite detrimental to English trade. American colonies - American colonies - Repeal of the Stamp Act: In acting to remove the principal American grievance, the Rockinghamites made no constitutional concessions to the colonists. From the perspective of the British government, these laws perfectly addressed the issue of colonial inefficiency, both in terms of government and revenue generation. Quite simply, they were called the Townshend Acts because Charles Townshend, the then-Chancellor of the Exchequer (a fancy word for treasury), was the architect behind this series of laws passed in 1767 and 1768. To keep these agitators in line, it was decided that a large force of British soldiers would be sent to occupy the city and “keep the peace.”. ... Stay up-to-date on the Trust's battlefield preservation efforts, travel tips, upcoming events, history content and more. The Townshend Acts (1767) were met with resistance in the colonies, prompting the occupation of Boston by British troops in 1768, which eventually resulted in the Boston Massacre of 1770. It also gave local officials more power to deal with smugglers and those attempting to evade paying royal taxes — all designed to help improve the profitability of the colonies to the Crown, and also more firmly establish the rule of (British) law in America. They placed new taxes and took away some freedoms from the colonists including the following: New taxes on imports of paper, paint, lead, glass, and tea. The Act called for each colony to provide and pay for food, housing and supplies for any British troops staying within that particular colony. Townshend believed that the acts would kick-start a change in the colonial government by providing the money to pay the salaries for the royal governors and judges. The Townshend Acts were a series of laws passed in 1767 by British Parliament that restructured the administration of the American colonies and placed duties on certain goods being imported into them. Ann Rutledge: Abraham Lincoln’s First True Love? Knowing this perspective, it should not come as a surprise that the colonists responded harshly to the Townshend Acts. Townshend Acts. Charles Townshend (1725-1767), the second son of the Charles, 3rd Viscount Townshend, and his wife Ethelreda Harrison, is best known for the American Revenue Act of 1767 that bears his name as the "Townshend duties." Later on in the letters, Dickinson introduces the idea that force may be needed to respond to such injustices properly and stop the British government from gaining too much authority, demonstrating the state of the revolutionary spirit a full ten years before fighting began. These essays, written by John Dickinson — a lawyer and politician from Pennsylvania — under the pen name “A Farmer” were meant to explain why it was so important for the colonies as a whole to resist the Townshend Acts; explaining why Parliament’s actions were wrong and illegal, he argued that concededing even the smallest amount of freedom meant Parliament would never stop taking more. Throughout the early 1770s, colonists would continue to protest laws passed by Parliament in increasingly dramatic ways until they couldn’t take it anymore and declared independence, bringing about a revolution that would open a new era in world history. They said the Americans ought to have respected parliamentary law, and they wished the power of Parliament to be solemnly asserted in a formal resolution, as did the many foes of repeal of the Stamp Act. This article was most recently revised and updated by, https://www.britannica.com/event/Townshend-Acts, Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum - Townshend Acts, United States History - The Townshend Acts, Townshend Acts - Children's Encyclopedia (Ages 8-11), Townshend Acts - Student Encyclopedia (Ages 11 and up). These products were unimportant in the total amount of American trade and Britain maintained the monopoly, meaning that they could not buy from other countries other than Britain. In response, locals in Boston developed and frequently enjoyed the sport of taunting the Redcoats, hoping to show them the colonial displeasure at their presence. Charles Townshend seriously fell victim to wishful thinking with this one. And furthermore, it showed that the issue wasn’t just about the taxes. There are three different ways you can cite this article. Coincidentally, on the same day as that conflict — March 5, 1770 — Parliament voted to repeal all of the Townshend Acts except the tax on tea. Navigate parenthood with the help of the Raising Curious Learners podcast. Historians vary slightly as to which acts they include under the heading "Townshend Acts", but five are often listed: New York, though, had a disproportionat… The passage of the Townshend Acts and the colonial response to them demonstrated the depth of difference that existed between the Crown, Parliament, and their colonial subjects. Any troops on the western front were not included and were paid for out of the British treasury. [6] This act represented the Chatham ministry's new approach for generating tax revenue in the American colonies after the repeal of the Stamp Act in 1766. Most of the colonies had relatively few troops in them. So, no cause and effect here — just pure coincidence. Townshend Acts, (June 15–July 2, 1767), in colonial U.S. history, series of four acts passed by the British Parliament in an attempt to assert what it considered to be its historic right to exert authority over the colonies through suspension of a recalcitrant representative assembly and through strict provisions for the collection of revenue duties. The new revenues were to be used to pay the expenses of governors and judges. These acts taxed the colonies to pay for their war debts. The Commissioners of Customs Act of 1767 created a new customs board in Boston that was meant to improve the collection of taxes and import duties, and reduce smuggling and corruption. Sounds sweet, right? The colonists especially were infuriated and boycotted British goods. The ring leaders of the boycott were Samuel Adams and John Dickinson. Accessed December 2, 2020. Townshend had been in and out of British politics since the early 1750s, and in 1766, he was appointed this prestigious position, where he could fill out his life’s dream of maximizing the amount of revenue generated through taxes to the British government. The most famous and influential of these were the “Letters From a Farmer in Pennsylvania,” which were published in a series from December 1767 through January 1768. This law was meant to be a punishment for New York’s insolence, and it worked. Designed as a smarter way to raise revenue as opposite to the heavy-handed Stamp Actnullified a year earlier. In response to new taxes, the colonies again decided to discourage the purchase of British imports. November 1, 1765 – Date the Stamp Act was to take effect but with no one to distribute the stamps, the act could not take effect. The Grafton ministry adopted an energetic American policy, thanks in part to Townshend, who pushed through Parliament in the spring of 1767 his famous duties on tea, glass, lead, and papers. What protest in response to the Townshend Acts killed several people because British soldiers panicked? December 1767 – Massachusetts assembly met and a circular letter crafted by Samuel Adams was issued to the colonies urging the population to resist the acts. The second son of the 3rd Viscount Townshend, he was educated at Cambridge and Leyden. The Townshend Acts were passed in June of 1767. It also displayed how discontent and dissent were growing rapidly in the colonies — sentiments that would continue to fester until shots were finally fired in 1776, starting the American Revolution and a new era in American history. They were imposed for importing goods, which was not a direct tax on the consumption of those goods in the colonies. The king and Parliament ignoring the petition only sparked more animosity, but for action to be effective, those most interested in defying British law (the wealthy political elites) needed to find a way to make these issues relevant to the common man. 1. To cite this article in an academic-style article or paper, use: Matthew Jones, "Townshend Act of 1767: Definition, Date, and Duties", History Cooperative, November 23, 2019, https://historycooperative.org/townshend-act/. The New York Restraining Act The New York Restraining Act was the first of the Townshend Acts to be passed. Scuba Diving History: A Deep Dive into the Depths, The Wilmot Proviso: Definition, Date, and Purpose, iPhone History: A Timeline of Every Model in Order, The First Movie Ever Made: Why and when films were invented, The History of Hollywood: The Film Industry Exposed. All of this meant too much money, and power, was staying in the colonies, instead of making its way back where it “belonged,” across the pond in the Crown’s coffers. After considerable tumult, the Quartering Act was allowed to expire in 1770. These measures exacerbated American discontent, though Parliament was not made to realize how much until 1774.…. Townshend was super wrong to think his laws would not suffer the same fate as the Stamp Act, which was protested so strongly it was eventually repealed by Parliament. Parliament repealed the Townshend Acts in 1770. The revnue used from these duties would be used to pay for the colonial governers and judges. In total, there were five separate laws that made up the Townshend Acts: The New York Restraining Act of 1767 prevented New York’s colonial government from passing new laws until it complied with the Quartering Act of 1765, which said that colonists had to provide and pay for the lodging of British soldiers stationed in the colonies. The colonials, spurred on by the writings of John Dickinson, Samuel Adams, and others, protested against the taxes. After the Townshend Acts, the Crown and Parliament would continue to attempt to exert more control over the colonies, but this just led to more and more rebellion, creating the conditions needed for the colonists to declare independence and initiate the American Revolution. Encyclopaedia Britannica's editors oversee subject areas in which they have extensive knowledge, whether from years of experience gained by working on that content or via study for an advanced degree.... An American colonist reading with concern the royal proclamation of a tax on tea in the colonies, part of the Townshend Acts; political cartoon, Boston, 1767. In total, there were five separate laws that made up the Townshend Acts: The New York Restraining Act of 1767 If they ONCE [sic] admit, that Great-Britain may lay duties upon her exportations to us, for the purpose of levying money on us only, she then will have nothing to do, but to lay those duties on the articles which she prohibits us to manufacture — and the tragedy of American liberty is finished…If Great Britain can order us to come to her for necesaries we want, and can order us to pay what taxes she pleases before we take them away, or when we have them here, we are as abject slaves…. The Townshend Acts were a series of laws passed in 1767 by British Parliament that restructured the administration of the American colonies and placed duties on certain goods being imported into them. This relative peace disappeared in 1767 with the passage of the Townshend Acts. When were most of the Townshend Acts repealed? He died suddenly in September 1767, just months after the first four laws were enacted and several before the last one was. Or, at the very least, these laws got things moving in the right direction. Omissions? The Townshend Duties of 1767 New Taxes on Lead, Paint, Paper, Glass and Tea Enrage the Colonists O ne year after the repeal of the Stamp Act, King George III and Parliament attempted to tax the colonists again when they passed the Townshend Duties. With the Townshend Act, new duties were placed on imports of glass, lead, paper, tea to the Colonies from Great Britain. Townshend Acts By:Josh White. Townshend Acts, proposed by Charles Townshend, Chancellor of the Exchequer, that placed a tax on common import goods and which fomented resentment of the British in the Thirteen Colonies Science [ … A series of four acts, the Townshend Acts were passed by the British Parliament in an attempt to assert what it considered to be its historic right to exert authority over the colonies through suspension of a recalcitrant representative assembly and through strict provisions for the collection of revenue duties. The acts posed an immediate threat to established traditions of colonial self-government, especially the practice of taxation through representative provincial assemblies. This difference in opinion pulled the two sides apart, first in the form of protests that damaged private property (like during the Boston Tea Party, for example, where rebellious colonists threw a literal fortune’s worth of tea into the ocean) then through provoked violence, and later as an all-out war. In 1767, Parliament passed the Townshend Acts, which placed duties on such imported items as glass, tea, lead, paint, and paper. The Vice-Admiralty Court Act of 1768 changed the rules so that smugglers caught would be tried in royal naval courts, not colonial ones, and by judges who stood to collect five percent of whatever fine they imposed — all without a jury. In 1747 he was elected to Parliament. December 1767 – John Dickinson, a Philadelphia lawyer, issued 12 Letters from a Farmer in Pennsylvania. It’s easy to assume it was the violence that motivated this, but instant messaging didn’t exist back in the 18th century and that meant it was impossible for the news to reach England that quickly. It lowered commercial duties on tea imported to England by the East India Company and gave the company a refund of the duty for tea that was then exported to the colonies. iPhone History: A Timeline of Every Model in Order Mason-Dixon Line The History of Guns. These import taxes were forthrightly declared to be for the purpose of…, Townshend, claiming to take literally the colonial distinction between external and internal taxes, imposed external duties on a wide range of necessities, including lead, glass, paint, paper, and tea, the principal domestic beverage. Townshend introduced the four acts, and Parliament passed them in June and July 1767. The intention was to squash the growing spirit of rebellion under the king’s boot — the colonies weren’t contributing as much as they should have been, and a lot of that inefficiency was due to their unwillingness to submit. His logic was that these were “indirect,” not direct, taxes. The first of the Townshend Acts, sometimes simply known as the Townshend Act, was the Revenue Act of 1767. Let us know if you have suggestions to improve this article (requires login). This decision led to a series of new laws, known collectively as the Townshend Acts, designed to improve the administration of the colonies and improve their ability to generate revenue for the Crown. But, as expected, it did not sit well with the freedom-loving colonists of 1768. Stamp Act of 1765 and the Townshend Acts of 1767. Townshend Acts, 1767, originated by Charles Townshend and passed by the English Parliament shortly after the repeal of the Stamp Act. Repealing these acts was just them deciding to be nice. Articles from Britannica Encyclopedias for elementary and high school students. Initially passed on June 29, 1767, the Townshend Act constituted an attempt by the British government to consolidate fiscal and political power over the … In 1767, the king of England, George III, found himself with a situation on his hands. These were payable at colonial ports and fell on lead, glass, paper, paint, and tea. Clever. Updates? Resistance to the Townshend Acts grew slowly. With tying their salary into this act, Townshend believed their loyalty would be more to the British government and crown as a result. ... 1767 - Townshend Revenue Act 1770 - Boston Massacre 1773 - Tea Act 1773 - Boston Tea Party 1774 - Intolerable or Coercive Acts 1774 - First Continental Congress But Charles Townshend would not live to see the full extent of his signature program. The Townshend Duties, formally known as the Townshend Acts, was a tax passed by the British.It was named for Charles Townshend, who was the British Prime Minister at the time.He spearheaded the acts, but he died before the detrimental effects were clear. To link to this article in the text of an online publication, please use this URL: https://historycooperative.org/townshend-act/. It was about the status of the colonists in the eyes of the British, which saw them more as disposable hands working for a corporation rather than citizens of their empire. The act was particularly resented in New York, where the largest number of reserves were quartered, and outward defiance led directly to the Suspending Act as part of the Townshend Acts of 1767. 3. By signing up for this email, you are agreeing to news, offers, and information from Encyclopaedia Britannica. Established an American Customs Board in Boston to collect taxes. The Grafton ministry adopted an energetic American policy, thanks in part to Townshend, who pushed through Parliament in the spring of 1767... A notice from New York merchant Simeon Coley on July 22, 1769, publicly acknowledging his violation of the nonimportation agreement that had been established by colonists in response to the duties imposed under the Townshend Acts. The Townshend Acts consisted of the Suspending Act, the Revenue Act, the Indemnity Act, and the Commissioners of Customs Act. It turns out the colonies rejected all taxes — direct, indirect, internal, external, sales, income, any and all — that were levied without proper representation in Parliament. Nonimportation. Be on the lookout for your Britannica newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox. To help pay the expenses involved in governing the American colonies, Parliament passed the Townshend Acts, which initiated taxes on glass, lead, paint, paper, and tea. The assembly had refused to pay for the food, drink, housing, and transportation of British soldiers in New York. To do this, Patriots took to the press, writing about the issues of the day in newspapers and other publications. They were designed to collect revenue from the colonists in America by putting customs duties on imports of glass, lead, paints, paper, and tea. November 20th, 1767 – Date the Townshend Acts came into effectiveness. [7] The Townshend Acts are an agglomeration of five laws: the Indemnity Act, the Revenue Act of 1767, the Vice-Admiralty Court Act, the New York Restraining Act, and the Commissioners of Customs Act. Corrections? They are named after Charles Townshend, the Chancellor of the Exchequer who proposed the program. Trade had been severely deregulated for many years, taxes were not collected with consistency, and local colonial governments had been left largely alone to tend to the affairs of individual settlements. If your web page requires an HTML link, please insert this code: Townshend Act of 1767: Definition, Date, and Duties, Gods of Death How old is the United States of America? 1770, except for the tax on tea, which continued with the Tea Act of 1773. The colony chose to comply and got its right to self-rule back, but it also stirred up people’s anger towards the Crown more than ever. Our editors will review what you’ve submitted and determine whether to revise the article. This led to some heated confrontations between the two sides, which turned fatal in 1770 — British troops fired upon American colonists, killing several and irreparably changing the tone in Boston forever in an event that later became known as the Boston Massacre. As a result of widespread protest in the American colonies, Parliament began to partially repeal the Townshend duties. Ancient Civilizations Timeline: 16 Oldest Known Cultures From Around The World. As a result, those with dissent as their goal began to more aggressively distribute their perspective, hoping to recruit more sympathy for the movement. Why Did Parliament Pass the Townshend Acts? After the French and Indian War the British government went into debt, so they passed the Townshend Acts for the colonies. The Townshend Acts were four laws enacted by the British Parliament in 1767 that imposed and enforced the collection of taxes on the American colonies. 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