Almost every historical account of the background of the American Revolution necessarily brings in the career of Charles Townshend.1 He introduced and guided through Parliament in 1767 the Townshend program of taxation for America. In so doing, Townshend reopened the dispute between the colonies and the mother country that had been moderated in the previous year by the repeal of the Stamp Act. For some years Townshend had been deeply concerned about colonial matters and was regarded as the expert on American affairs. 2 As a member of the Board of Trade, he had studied colonial problems. At the request of the Duke of Newcastle, first lord of the Treasury, he had prepared an evaluation in 1754 of the Halifax Plan of Union for America.3 Both of his brothers saw military service in North America during the French and Indian War.4 During the negotiations to end that war, Townshend was consulted by the king on the question of compensation for the return of Havana. Lord Bute, first lord of the Treasury, and the king believed that the cession of Florida by Spain would be adequate for the return of Cuba by England. Townshend thought otherwise, and he argued that Florida was not sufficient compensation and that Puerto Rico should be demanded from Spain as part of the peace settlement.5 Although Townshend expressed negative views about Florida, he did acknowledge that it had potential for development.6 As a result of the cession of Florida to Great Britain in the treaty of 1763, Townshend became deeply involved in plans for the settlement of this new province.
McCaffrey, Donna T.
"Charles Townshend and Plans for British East Florida,"
Florida Historical Quarterly: Vol. 68:
3, Article 6.
Available at: https://stars.library.ucf.edu/fhq/vol68/iss3/6