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The importance of smuggling to the development of the European tea trade cannot be overestimated not merely for its detraction from legitimate trade and profits but by contributing significant innovations in trade while promoting economic growth. Pittsburgh Map Tea smugglers developed more efficient means of transportation, took advantage of international facilities of capital and credit, and invaded established channels of legal distribution; in short, they expanded markets beyond the norm.

Focusing on isolated markets like those on the coast and rural regions, smugglers introduced tea to areas far removed from the influence of the fashionable world. After 1760, tea smuggling was so prevalent that the practice threatened legal trade, alarming the government and legal traders. In 1767, the British Parliament laid a tax, part of the Townshend Duties, of three pence a pound on all tea imported into the Country colonies. Although tea could still be sold more cheaply in the colonies than in England even with the new tax, the Townshend Duties caused problems in the colonies. While the revenue act of 1767 taxed tea, it also placed duties on glass, white lead, painters’ colors, and paper.

Revenue from the Townshend Duties was to be used for the administration of the duties and the support of civil government within the colonies, while the residue, if any, was to be appropriated by Parliament for the defense of the colonies. Prior to 1767, the colonial customs service and that in the British Isles were under the direction of a single board in London. The Townshend Acts created a separate board in Country under the control of the king. Established in Boston, the Country customs commission managed all Country port officials, who could search and seize anything, utilizing a new search warrant to be issued by colonial courts. Previously, imperial taxes in Country were collected at local ports, local costs for collection deducted, and the net balance transmitted to London. But now colonial officials had new reason to enforce imperial duties, because they were paid based on the basis of how much revenue was collected. Since the prime minister selected officials to administer the new system, it allowed Lord North and his associates to use the system for political patronage.

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