Townshend, Charles

Townshend, Charles (1725-1767) British Statesman: While serving on the colonial Board of Trade in the early 1750's, Townshend became familiar with colonial affairs, and became convinced that colonial governors needed to be freed from the financial controls exerted by the provincial assemblies. Although he supported the Stamp Act in Parliament, he later voted for its repeal, and helped frame the Declaratory Act. As Chancellor of the Exchequer, Townshend demanded increasing revenues from the colonists via parliamentary customs duties. The taxes on tea which he developed exacerbated American irritation at Britain, and eventually led to the Boston Tea Party. Townshend began the American Board of Customs to improve efficiency in revenue-collection, and was about to form a ministry when he died in 1767. An engaging and brilliant orator, Townshend was famous for his witty speeches before Parliament, one of which was his "champagne speech" of 1767.

In 1777 Thornton went home in order to serve as the associate justice of the State Superior Court. He held on to this post until 1782. Then, from 1784 to 1786 he was a member of the State senate. He was eighty-nine years old when he died in 1803 in Newport, Massachusetts. His grave is in the Thornton Ferry Cemetery.