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No. 38.

Townshend Revenue Act

June 29, 1767

An act for granting certain duties in the British colonies and plantations in America; for allowing a drawback of the duties of customs upon the exportation, from this kingdom, of coffee and cocoa nuts of the produce of the said colonies or plantations; for discontinuing the drawbacks payable on china earthen wareexported to America; and for more effectually preventing the clandestine running of goods in the said colonies and plantations.

WHEREAS it is expedient that a revenue should be raised, in your Majesty’s dominions in America, for making a more certain and adequate provision for defraying the charge of the administration of justice, and the support of civil government, in such provinces where it shall be found necessary; and towards further defraying the expences of defending, protecting, and securing the said dominions; . . . be it enacted . . . , That from and after . . . [November 20, 1767,] . . . there shall be raised, levied, collected, and paid, unto his Majesty, his heirs, and successors, for and upon the respective Goods herein after mentioned, which shall be imported from Great Britain into any colony or plantation in America which now is, or hereafter may be, under the dominion of his Majesty . . . , the several Rates and Duties following; that is to say,

For every hundred weight avoirdupois of crown, plate, flint, and white glass, four shillings and eight pence.

For every hundred weight avoirdupois of green glass, one shilling and two pence.

For every hundred weight avoirdupois of red lead, two shillings.

For every hundred weight avoirdupois of white lead, two shillings.

For every hundred weight avoirdupois of painters colours, two shillings.

For every pound weight avoirdupois of tea, three pence.

For every ream of paper, usually called or known by the name of Atlas fine, twelve shillings.

[Then follow specifications of duties on sixty-six grades or classes of paper.]

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IV. . . . and that all the monies that shall arise by the said duties (except the necessary charges of raising, collecting, levying, recovering, answering, paying, and accounting for the same) shall be applied, in the first place, in such manner as is herein after mentioned, in making a more certain and adequate provision for the charge of the administration of justice, and the support of civil government, in such of the said colonies and plantations where it shall be found necessary; and that the residue of such duties shall be paid into the receipt of his Majesty’s exchequer, and shall be entered separate and apart from all other monies paid or payable to his Majesty . . . ; and shall be there reserved, to be from time to time disposed of by parliament towards defraying the necessary expences of defending, protecting, and securing, the British colonies and plantations in America.

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VI. And whereas the allowing a drawback of all the duties of customs upon the exportation, from this kingdom, of coffee and cocoa nuts, the growth of the British dominions in America, may be a means of encouraging the growth of coffee and cocoa in the said dominions; be it therefore enacted . . . , That from and after . . . [November 20, 1767] . . . , upon the exportation of any coffee or cocoa nuts, of the growth or produce of any British colony or plantation in America, from this kingdom as merchandize, the whole duties of customs, payable upon the importation of such coffee or cocoa nuts, shall be drawn back and repaid; in such manner, and under such rules, regulations, penalties, and forfeitures, as any drawback or allowance, payable out of the duties of customs upon the exportation of such coffee or cocoa nuts, was, could, or might be paid, before the passing of this act. . . .

VII. And it is hereby further enacted . . . , That no drawback shall be allowed for any china earthen ware sold, after the passing of this act, at the sale of the united company of merchants of England trading to the East Indies, which shall be entered for exportation from Great Britain to any part of America. . . .

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X. And whereas by . . . [the explanatory Navigation Act of 1662] . . . and several other acts now in force, it is lawful for any officer of his Majesty’s customs, authorized by writ of assistance under the seal of his Majesty’s court of exchequer, to take a constable, headborough, or other publick officer inhabiting near unto the place, and in the day-time to enter and go into any house, shop, cellar, warehouse, or roam or other place, and, incase of resistance, to break open doors, chests, trunks, and other package there, to seize, and from thence to bring, any kind of goods or merchandize whatsoeverprohibited or uncustomed, and to put and secure the same in his Majesty’s store-house next to the place where such seizure shall be made: and whereas by . . . . [the Navigation Act of 1969] . . . it is, amongst other things, enacted, that the officers for collecting and managing his Majesty’s revenue, and inspecting the plantation trade, in America, shall have the same powers and authorities to enter houses or warehouses, to search for and seize goods prohibited to be imported or exported into or out of any of the said plantations, or for which any duties are payable, or ought to have been paid; and that the like assistance shall be given to the said officers in the execution of their office, as, by the said recited act of the fourteenth year of King Charles the Second, is provided for the officers in England: but, no authority being expressly given by the said act . . . of King William the third, to any particular court to grant such writs of assistance for the officers of the customs in the said plantations, it is doubted whether such officers can legally enter houses and other places on land, to search for and seize goods, in the manner directed by the said recited acts: To obviate which doubts for the future, and in order to carry the intention of the said recited acts into effectual execution, be it enacted . . . , That from and after . . . [November 20, 1767,] . . . such writs of assistance, to authorize and impower the officers of his Majesty’s customs to enter and go into any house . . . or other place, in the British colonies or plantations in America, to search for and seize prohibited or uncustomed goods . . . , shall and may be granted by the said superior or supreme court of justice having jurisdiction within such colony or plantation respectively.

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Chicago: Pickering, ed., "Townshend Revenue Act," Statutes at Large in Documentary Source Book of American History, 1606-1913, ed. William MacDonald (1863-1938) (New York: The Macmillan Company, 1916), 144–146. Original Sources, accessed December 6, 2022, http://originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=SJ27RQBZLT7VCJM.

MLA: . "Townshend Revenue Act." Statutes at Large, edited by Pickering, Vol. XXVlI, in Documentary Source Book of American History, 1606-1913, edited by William MacDonald (1863-1938), New York, The Macmillan Company, 1916, pp. 144–146. Original Sources. 6 Dec. 2022. http://originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=SJ27RQBZLT7VCJM.

Harvard: (ed.), 'Townshend Revenue Act' in Statutes at Large. cited in 1916, Documentary Source Book of American History, 1606-1913, ed. , The Macmillan Company, New York, pp.144–146. Original Sources, retrieved 6 December 2022, from http://originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=SJ27RQBZLT7VCJM.