- Britain's Chancellor of the Exchequer was Charles Townshend. This
extract comes from a series of Acts, which were passed in the 1760s.
- From 1756-63 Britain fought the Seven Years War against France in
Europe, India and America. Although Britain won, the cost of the war
- Townshend's main concern was how to reduce Britain's national debt.
He believed that the American colonists should contribute towards the
costs of their defence. The Acts were intended to raise £40,000 by imposing
duties on such items as glass, tea and lead.
- The Acts were deeply unpopular in America. They were repealed (abolished)
- The first paragraph of this source explains that these Acts of Parliament
would enable certain duties to be collected in the American colonies.
These duties would be imposed on glass, red and white lead, painters'
colours, paper and tea. The money collected would go straight to the
- The last part of this paragraph explains that the Acts were also intended
to prevent smuggling. Each year the Treasury received £500,000
less in duties than it should have due to smuggling. The goods that
were smuggled into America most frequently were tea, spices, chintzes,
gunpowder, linen, hemp and yarn.
- The second paragraph makes it clear that the British government
believed that the Americans should contribute not only towards the cost
of government and justice in the colonies, but also to the cost of their