Spinning wheel

 

Introduction

Shortly after the Stamp Act was repealed, Charles Townshend (a British Government official) came up with a new way of taxing the colonies. The Townshend Acts were indirect taxes that placed new duties on imported goods at the custom house, before they entered colonial markets; this was different from the Stamp Act, which was a direct tax that colonists had to pay on legal documents, commercial documents, and all printed matter.  The Townshend Acts imposed taxes on imported materials such as glass, lead, paint, paper, and tea. The tax on tea was only three pennies, but tea was the most popular drink in the colonies and many colonists still resented the idea of taxation without representation. Many Bostonians openly protested the Townshend Acts; prominent colonists spoke out against the acts and craftsmen, laborers, and farmers enforced a boycott of British goods. Colonial women organized and stopped buying British luxury goods and boycotted British-made cloth and British tea. Protesting British policies helped to unite the colonists.

The Townshend Acts set up new ways to collect taxes while giving the British more powers to enforce the payment of these indirect taxes and more powers to prevent smuggling. Writs of assistance were reintroduced, giving British officials the right to search colonists’ homes for smuggled goods without needing a search warrant. In a protest against the writs of assistance, James Otis resigned as Advocate General for the British and read a five-hour speech against the writs at the Supreme Court of Massachusetts, 1761.

"A man's house is his castle; and whilst he is quiet, he is as well guarded as a prince in his castle. This writ, if it should be declared legal, would totally annihilate this privilege. Custom-house officers may enter our houses when they please; we are commanded to permit their entry. Their menial servants may enter, may break locks, bars, and everything in their way; and whether they break through malice or revenge, no man, no court can inquire"