The act bears the name of Charles Townshend, the British Chancellor of the Exchequer, who proposed it. The general purpose of the act was to establish a revenue flow from the colonies to Great Britain and to tighten Britain’s control over colonial governments. Colonists responded to the act by boycotting British goods and the Massachusetts legislature drafted a Circular Letter asking other colonial legislatures to join a resistance movement. Enforcement of the Revenue Act in Boston required the deployment of British troops which led to the Boston Massacre in 1770. Ironically, Parliament rescinded most the Revenue Act on March 5, 1770, the same day as the Boston Massacre. However, Britain did retain the importation duty imposed on tea as a symbol of Parliament’s right to tax Americans.
Townshend Revenue Act Summary
The Townshend Revenue Act of 1767 was one of a series of acts passed by the British Parliament, collectively known as the Townshend Acts.