Letters from a Farmer in Pennsylvania (1767 – 1768)

Written in response to British policies including the Stamp Act, this series of essays urged resistance to England but also called on the colonists to use moderation and work towards reconciliation. The Letters, generally believed to be written by John Dickinson, first appeared separately in newspapers and were then published as a single pamphlet.

Dickinson argued that British economic policies towards the colonies were reducing Americans to slavery. He warned his readers: “My dear country men, rouse yourselves and behold the ruin hanging over your heads.” Dickinson also urged prudence: “We cannot act with too much caution in our disputes.” He hoped that a settlement with Britain could be achieved if Americans united in petitioning the Crown and Parliament for redress. The Letters were reprinted and read throughout the colonies. They were also read abroad when Benjamin Franklin, serving as a colonial agent in Britain, had them reprinted.