Townshend, Charles, 1725–67, English statesman; grandson of the 2d Viscount Townshend. Distrusted for his marked instability, he held relatively minor offices until the 1st earl of Chatham made him chancellor of the exchequer in 1766. Because of Chatham's illness Townshend became the leading figure in the ministry. He effectively sabotaged Chatham's plan to bring India under the sovereignty of the crown and undertook the ill-fated American import levies known as the Townshend Acts. He died shortly after the passage of the measures.
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