, proposed a parliamentary tax to be
collected in America
on tea, glass, paper, and painters' colors, and introduced the tax by a preamble, asserting that ‘it is expedient that a revenue should be raised in his majesty's dominions in America
for defraying the charge of the administration of justice and support of civil government, and towards further defraying the expenses of defending the said dominions.’
had proposed taxes for the defence of the colonies; Townshend
's preamble promised an ever increasing American civil list, independent of American assemblies, to be disposed of by ministers at their discretion for salaries, gifts, or pensions.
Here lay the seeds of a grievance indefinite in its extent, taking from the colonies all control over public officers, and menacing an absolute government to be administered for the benefit of office holders, without regard to the rights, and liberties, and welfare of the people.
Just as Townshend
had intrenched the system in the statute book, he died, and left behind him no great English statesman for its steadfast upholder; while the colonies were unanimous in resisting the innovation, and at once avoided the taxes by agreements to stop imports from Britain.
The government gave way, and repealed all Townshend
's taxes except on tea. Of that duty Lord North
maintained that it was no innovation, but a reduction of the ancient duty of a shilling a pound to one of threepence only; and that the change of the place where the duty was to be collected, was no more than a regulation of trade to prevent smuggling tea from Holland