The Townshend Acts were a series of acts passed beginning in 1767 by the Parliament of Great Britain relating to the British colonies in North America. The acts are named after Charles Townshend, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, who proposed the program. Historians vary slightly in which acts they include under the heading "Townshend Acts", but five laws are often mentioned: the Revenue Act of 1767, the Indemnity Act, the Commissioners of Customs Act, the Vice Admiralty Court Act, and the New York Restraining Act. The purpose of the Townshend Acts was to raise revenue in the colonies to pay the salaries of governors and judges so that they would be independent of colonial rule, to create a more effective means of enforcing compliance with trade regulations, to punish the province of New York for failing to comply with the 1765 Quartering Act, and to establish the precedent that the British Parliament had the right to tax the colonies. The Townshend Acts 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.
As a result of the massacre in Boston, Parliament began to consider a motion to partially repeal the Townshend duties. Most of the new taxes were repealed, but the tax on tea was retained. The British government continued in its attempt to tax the colonists without their consent and the Boston Tea Party and the American Revolution followed.
Famous quotes containing the words townshend and/or acts:
“Because Time cannot alter but obey Fates laws.
[Chorus:] Then happy those whom Fate, that is the stronger,
Together twists their threads, and yet draws hers the longer.”
—Aurelian Townshend (c. 1583c.1651)
“The demagogue is usually sly, a detractor of others, a professor of humility and disinterestedness, a great stickler for equality as respects all above him, a man who acts in corners, and avoids open and manly expositions of his course, calls blackguards gentlemen, and gentlemen folks, appeals to passions and prejudices rather than to reason, and is in all respects, a man of intrigue and deception, of sly cunning and management.”
—James Fenimore Cooper (17891851)