Townshend, Charles, 1725-1767

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Paymaster General and ex officio member of the Privy Council.

From the description of Memoranda book of the Privy Council, 1765 July 19 to December 17. (University of Virginia). WorldCat record id: 50061546

British statesman and public official.

From the description of Papers of Charles Townshend, 1740-1767. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 71068002

Charles Townshend was born at Raynham Hall in Norfolk, England, on August 27, 1725, the second of five children of Charles Townshend, 3rd Viscount Townshend (1700-1764), and his wife, Etheldreda Audrey Harrison (ca. 1708-1788). In 1741, his parents formally separated, and Townshend took the side of his father. The next year, he entered Clare College, Cambridge, where he studied for three years, followed by a year at Leiden University, and an additional year devoted to the study of law at Lincoln's Inn.

Townshend's political career began in 1747, when he entered Parliament for Great Yarmouth, a seat he held until 1756. He subsequently represented Saltash (1756-1761), and Harwich (1761-1767), and gained a reputation as an excellent speechmaker. He also held an appointment on the Board of Trade and Plantations (1748-1754) and served as Lord of the Admiralty (1754). In 1755, he married Caroline (Campbell) Scott, the wealthy widow of Francis Scott, Earl of Dalkeith, and thereby became stepfather to Henry Scott, 3rd Duke of Buccleuch (1746-1812). With Caroline, he had a daughter, Anne (b. 1756).

On March 18, 1761, Townshend succeeded William Barrington as Secretary-at-War, and in December 1762, he voted against the Earl of Bute's preliminary overtures to end the Seven Years' War and resigned in protest over the administration's stance. He was brought back in the following year by George Grenville as president of the Board of Trade, 1763-1765, but soon became a vocal critic of Grenville, contributing to the downfall of the ministry. After the accession of the Rockingham Whigs, Townshend was retained as paymaster general. On August 2, 1766, when the Earl of Chatham formed his second administration, Townshend was appointed Chancellor of the Exchequer. Soon after, Chatham suffered health problems and was forced to withdraw from active oversight. Townshend took this opportunity to maximize his influence over the ministry, creating his wife baroness of Greenwich and securing for his brother the lord-lieutenancy of Ireland. He also turned his attention to increasing the revenue from the North American colonies. Declaring himself in favor of the recently repealed Stamp Act, he introduced a series of measures, known as the Townshend Acts, designed to deal with the unrest in America, including the suspension of the New York Colonial Assembly, the establishment of resident commissioners of customs in the colonies, and the introduction of duties on glass, lead, paint, paper, and tea. This engendered the widespread opposition of the colonists, but Townshend did not live to see its consequences; he died suddenly of a fever at the age of 41 on September 4, 1767.

From the guide to the Charles Townshend papers, Townshend, Charles papers, 1660-1804, 1748-1767, (William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn Thomas Gage papers 1754-1807 1759-1775 Gage, Thomas, papers William L. Clements Library
creatorOf Paxton, Charles, d. 1788. Letters, 1759-1766. Massachusetts Historical Society
referencedIn Garrick, David, 1717-1779. To the right honourable Charles Townshend in behalf of Captain Schomberg [manuscript], [1766]. Folger Shakespeare Library
creatorOf Sackville, George Germain, Viscount, 1716-1785. George Sackville Germain papers, 1683-1785. William L. Clements Library
creatorOf Townshend, Charles, 1725-1767. Observations on the treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle, [ca. 1750]. Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
referencedIn Autograph File, T, 1580-1975. Houghton Library
referencedIn English Miscellaneous Manuscripts Collection, 1362-1945 Yale University. Department of Manuscripts and Archives
referencedIn Shipman, Thomas. Thomas Shipman correspondence, 1769. Library of Congress
referencedIn English miscellaneous manuscripts collection, 1362-1945 (inclusive). Yale University Library
creatorOf Pitt, William, Earl of Chatham, 1708-1778. Autograph letter signed : [London], to Charles Townshend, 1761 Sept. 29. Pierpont Morgan Library.
creatorOf Townshend, Charles, 1725-1767. Memoranda book of the Privy Council, 1765 July 19 to December 17. University of Virginia. Library
referencedIn Palgrave family papers 1782-1838 Palgrave family papers William L. Clements Library
referencedIn Boswell's Life of Johnson : including Boswell's Journal of a tour to the Hebrides and Johnson's Diary of a journey into North Wales, edited by George Birkbeck Hill, extra-illustrated, 1464-1897 (inclusive), 1724-1874 (bulk). Houghton Library
creatorOf Townshend, Charles, 1725-1767. Papers of Charles Townshend, 1740-1767. Library of Congress
referencedIn Smith, Sydney, 1771-1845,. Additional maps, prints, clippings [manuscript] 1761-1940. University of Virginia. Library
referencedIn George Sackville Germain papers 1683-1785 Germain, George Sackville papers William L. Clements Library
referencedIn Macartney, George Macartney, Earl, 1737-1806,. Autograph letter signed from Earl George Macartney, London, to the Honorable Edmond Malone, London [manuscript], 1799 June 2. Folger Shakespeare Library
creatorOf Townshend, Charles, 1725-1767. Charles Townshend papers 1660-1804, bulk 1676-1748. William L. Clements Library
creatorOf Dowdeswell, William, 1721-1775. William Dowdeswell papers, 1765-1774. William L. Clements Library
referencedIn Houghton Library printed book provenance file, R-Z and unidentified Houghton Library
creatorOf Charles Townshend papers 1660-1804 1748-1767 Townshend, Charles papers William L. Clements Library
referencedIn Thomas Townshend, 1st Viscount Sydney papers 1665-1828 1780-1788 Sydney, Thomas Townshend, 1st Viscount papers William L. Clements Library
creatorOf Thomas Townshend, 1st Viscount Sydney papers, 1665-1828. William L. Clements Library
referencedIn William Dowdeswell papers 1765-1774 Dowdeswell, William papers William L. Clements Library
creatorOf Townshend, Charles, 1725-1767. The charge of the garrison of Minorca accounts, circa 1763. UC Berkeley Libraries
referencedIn Papers of Wyndham Damer Clark (1884-1961), 1757-1919, 1757-1919 Bodleian Library, Oxford
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Barrington, William Wildman Barrington, Viscount, 1717-1793 person
correspondedWith Boswell, James, 1740-1795 person
associatedWith Buccleuch, Henry Scott, Duke of, 1746-1812 person
associatedWith Burke, Edmund, 1729-1797 person
associatedWith Bute, John Stuart, Earl of, 1713-1792 person
associatedWith Carlyle, Alexander, 1722-1805 person
associatedWith Conway, Henry Seymour, 1721-1795 person
associatedWith Cooper, Grey, Sir, ca. 1726-1801 person
associatedWith Dowdeswell, William, 1721-1775. person
associatedWith East India Company. corporateBody
associatedWith Fox, Charles James, 1749-1806 person
associatedWith Gage, Thomas, 1721-1787 person
associatedWith Garrick, David, 1717-1779. person
associatedWith Grafton, Augustus Henry Fitzroy, Duke of, 1735-1811 person
associatedWith Great Britain. corporateBody
associatedWith Great Britain. Army. corporateBody
associatedWith Great Britain. Board of Trade. person
associatedWith Great Britain. Customs Establishment. person
associatedWith Great Britain. Parliament. corporateBody
associatedWith Great Britain. Parliament. House of Lords. person
associatedWith Great Britain. Privy Council. corporateBody
associatedWith Great Britain. Royal Navy. corporateBody
associatedWith Great Britain. Treasury. corporateBody
associatedWith Great Britain. War Office. person
associatedWith Hamilton, Charles, 1704-1786 person
associatedWith Houghton Library. person
associatedWith Keppel, Augustus Keppel, Viscount, 1725-1786 person
associatedWith Lansdowne, William Petty, Marquis of, 1737-1805 person
associatedWith Lyttelton, William Henry Lyttelton, Baron, 1724-1808 person
associatedWith Macartney, George Macartney, Earl, 1737-1806, person
associatedWith Macaulay, George, 1716-1766 person
associatedWith Melville, Henry Dundas, Viscount, 1742-1811 person
associatedWith Moore, Henry, Sir, 1713-1769 person
associatedWith Morton, John, 1714 or 15-1780. person
associatedWith Newcastle, Thomas Pelham-Holles, Duke of, 1693-1768 person
associatedWith New York (Colony) General Assembly. person
associatedWith Palgrave family family
associatedWith Paxton, Charles, d. 1788. person
associatedWith Pitt, William, Earl of Chatham, 1708-1778. person
associatedWith Sackville, George Germain, Viscount, 1716-1785. person
associatedWith Shipman, Thomas. person
associatedWith Shirley, William, 1694-1771 person
associatedWith Spencer, John Spencer, Earl, 1734-1783 person
associatedWith Touchet, Samuel, ca. 1705-1773 person
associatedWith Townshend, George Townshend, 1st Marquis, 1724-1807 person
associatedWith Walpole, Edward, Sir, 1706-1784 person
associatedWith Walpole, Horace, 1717-1797 person
associatedWith William L. Clements Library. corporateBody
associatedWith Wolfe, James, 1727-1759 person
associatedWith Yonge, George, Sir, 1731-1812 person
associatedWith Yorke, Charles, 1722-1770 person
Place Name Admin Code Country
Newfoundland and Labrador
Great Britain
Great Britain--Colonies
Great Britain
Newfoundland and Labrador
United States
United States
West Indies
United States
Great Britain
Nova Scotia
Nova Scotia
New York (State)
Great Britain
New York (State)
North America
West Indies
Alcoholic beverages
Austrian Succession, War of, 1740-1748
Customs administration
Debts, Public
Debts, Public
Estates, (Law)
Excise tax
Finance, Public
Finance, Public
Grain trade
Iron industry and trade
Stamp duties
Public officials


Birth 1725-08-29

Death 1767-09-04



Ark ID: w60p1jms

SNAC ID: 38071655