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Townshend

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TOWNSHEND, Charles, English states man: b. 29 Aug. 1725; d. London, 4 Sept. 1767. He was grandson of the 2d viscount Town shend, was educated at Leyden (probably also at Oxford) and entered Parliament in 1747. The next year he received a minor office and in 1754 became Lord of the Admiralty. From this post he rapidly advanced and became a member of the Privy Council in 1757, Secretary at War in 1761, and in 1766 Chancellor of the Exchequer. Pitt's entrance into the House of Lords and eventual incapacity through ill health left Townshend virtually at the head of the govern ment, and he defied his nominal chief in declar ing the right of the East India Company to territorial revenue and made use of his official position to secure for himself a large share in a public loan. In 1767 he was defeated on his proposition for a land tax. On 13 May he in troduced measures dealing with the American colonies, virtually reviving the principles of the Stamp Act, which had lately been repealed.

The American Revolution was caused by the imposition of taxes which he proposed. His reputation as an orator was scarcely second to that of Pitt himself. Of his qualities Lecky has written: ((Exuberant animal spirits, a bril liant and ever ready wit, boundless facility of repartee, a clear, rapid and spontaneous elo quence, a gift of mimicry which is said to have been not inferior to that of Garrick and Foote, great charm of manner, and an unrivaled skill in adapting himself to the moods and tempers of those who were about him, had made him the delight of every circle in which he moved, the spoilt child of the House of Commons.* Consult Cobbett, (Parliamentary History of England to 1803' (1806-20); Fitzgerald, Charles Townshend, Wit and Statesman' (1866).