Townshend Tax Project

Townshend Tax Project:

Soon the Rockingham government collapsed and William Pitt formed his temporary government in which Townshend became Finance Minister. He observed that the Americans opposed the imposition of internal taxes but not external taxes. Therefore, he levied customs duties on those five goods (tea, lead, paper, coin-metal, and paints) that were imported by America from England. America refused to pay the customs duties because the Americans had resolved not to pay any taxes imposed by the British Parliament. In order to oppose the Regulations in Pennsylvania, John Dickinson published a series of articles entitled “Letters of a Farmer of Pennsylvania”. These articles were candid and lucid and contained irrefutable arguments. The public of colonies read these articles with great interest. Dickinson stressed upon the fact that Townshend’s regulations were contrary to the British conventions and laws. Therefore, the immigrants should not accept them. With great intrepidity, he expressed that the colonists depended on England to the same extent as any independent group of people could depend on the other independent group.

Riots against the British Laws broke out at several places in America and British officers had to take severe measures. The condition in Boston City was very deplorable. The Governor of Boston had to call two battalions of army for security. There was a great clash between the crowd and the soldiers on March 5 1770 and five persons were killed. Undoubtedly, the soldiers had fired in self-defence but the Americans dubbed it the “Boston Massacre”. The new taxes could not be collected. The British traders were overwhelmed with fear. Therefore, Townshend’s Taxes were annulled in 1770, due to the insistence of British traders and severe opposition put up by the colonists. Merely to defend the principle, a tax of three pence per pound on tea was continued.