Townshend Duties 1767

The Townshend Duties of 1767 were a series of acts created by British parliament in order to raise revenue from the colonies, assert the power of the British Parliament and punish the colony of New York for not adhering to the rules of the Quartering Act. The Townshend Duties were also known as the ‘Intolerable Acts’ and consisted of a range of legislation such as:

  • Revenue Act of 1767
  • The Indemnity Act 1767
  • The Commissioners of Customs Act 1768
  • The Vice Admiralty Court Act 1768
  • New York Restraining Act

The tax was opposed by the American colonists due to the precedent set by the Stamp Act of 1765 which caused so much anti-British fervour. Resistance in the colonies existed in a variety of forms such as boycotts of British goods conducted by groups such as the Daughters of Liberty and non-importation groups which revolved around the epicentre of the revolution, Boston. Samuel Adams’ published the ‘Massachussets Circular Letter’ in 1768 which declared the Townshend Duties unconstitutional as the British parliament was not directly represented in the colonies. Adams suggested that only the colonial assemblies themselves could tax colonialists. The letter passed by Massachusetts Assembly and due to this the assembly was dissolved leading to riots. For this reason, additional soldiers were sent to Boston to keep order due to the unrest which existed in Boston leading to the heightened distaste towards the British standing armies and the ‘Journal Of Events’ was published by Sam Adams in 1768 as a largely falsified account of the actions of British soldiers on the colonies. Thus, the added taxation in the British colonies and increased numbers of British soldier led to heightened tensions in the American colonies.