Charles Townshend, the man for whom the Townshend Acts of 1767 are named, was someone who liked to stir the proverbial pot. But don’t take my word for it.
“Townshend ingeniously sought to take money from Americans by means of parliamentary taxation and to employ it against their liberties by making colonial governors and judges independent of the assemblies.” — Historian John C. Miller
“If Townshend had set out purposely to goad the colonies into rebellion, he couldn’t have devised a better way than the Revenue Act and the customs commissioners.“ — Historian Alan Axelrod, PhD
“[Townshend’s] aims were political rather than financial.” — Historian Peter Thomas
Among the Townshend Acts we find:
- The Revenue Act – Imposed duties on glass, lead, glass, paint, paper, and tea—none of which were produced in the American colonies, and all of which were only legally imported from Great Britain. This law came just a year after the repeal of the Stamp Act.
- The Commissioners of Customs Act – Theoretically, established the American Board of Customs Commissioners to enforce trade regulations in the colonies just as the British Board of Customs did in Britain. In practice, however, it was more a system of what historian Oliver Dickerson has called “customs racketeering.”
- The New York Restraining Act – The New York had initially refused to comply with the Quartering Act, so this act was passed to prohibit the Assembly from assembling until they complied with the Quartering Act. Turns out, by the time this act would have gone into effect, the New York Provincial Assembly had already appropriated the funds necessary to comply with the Quartering Act and thus was never went into effect.