Townshend Acts, 1767, originated by Charles Townshend and passed by the English Parliament shortly after the repeal of the Stamp Act. They were designed to collect revenue from the colonists in America by putting customs duties on imports of glass, lead, paints, paper, and tea. The colonials, spurred on by the writings of John Dickinson, Samuel Adams, and others, protested against the taxes. The Boston merchants again boycotted English goods, the Massachusetts Assembly was dissolved (1768) for sending a circular letter to other colonies explaining the common plight, and British troops sent to enforce these laws and keep peace were involved in unpleasant incidents, notably the Boston Massacre. The boycott decreased British trade, and in 1770 most of the Acts were repealed, but retention of the tea tax caused the Boston Tea Party.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.