For England they gave greater control over the colonies; for the colonists they caused distress and anger.
Initially the Townshend acts were meant to replace the Stamp Act to raise revenues for the crown. British officials were dispatched to every colony to insure taxes, i.e. the tea tax, were properly and fully collected.
If you look at a deck of cards in the box or at a bottle of liquor you will notice an odd looking piece of paper over the top. This is a direct descendant of that tax and is exactly what a tax stamp looked like.