Protests Spread • British officials sought a means of taxing the colonists in a way that would not anger them. • The Townshend Acts were a series of measures introduced into Parliament by Chancellor of the Exchequer Charles Townshend in 1767.
Townshend Acts of 1767 • Townshend hoped the acts would pay imperial (British) expenses in the coloniesand weaken the colonial assemblies. • Because Benjamin Franklin and other Americans in Britain had argued against Parliament's power to impose the Stamp Act on the ground that it was a direct tax, British leaders convinced themselves that the colonists would accept so-called indirect taxes such as import duties. • This was a wishful misunderstanding of colonial opinion.
Townshend Acts of 1767 • The acts imposed duties on glass, lead, paints, paper, and tea imported into the colonies. • The acts also created a Board of Customs Commissioners to enforce customs laws without the accused having recourse to a trial by jury.
Townshend Acts of 1767 • The Townshend Acts set up a system to enforce the new import duties. • To help customs officers find illegal (smuggled) goods, they were allowed to use writs of assistance. • Writs of Assistance – court orders that allowed officials to make searches without saying for what they were searching. • Many colonists saw these writs and the searches they allowed as yet another violation of their rights.
Townshend Acts of 1767 • When the New York assembly refused to supply money to house and feed soldiers under the Quartering Act, Parliament suspended the assembly. • The colonies reacted with a series of Non-Importation Agreements, or boycotting of British goods-which reduced colonial imports from Britain in 1768-1769 by half. • The boycott hurt British merchants and manufacturers, who put pressure on Parliament. • On March 5th, 1770, Parliament repealed all the Townshend duties-except the one on tea.
Townshend Acts of 1767 • That tax was left in force to demonstrate Parliament's right to tax the colonies. • In the years before the Revolution, resistance to the tea tax became a symbol of American patriotism.