Farmer's Letters

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FARMER'S LETTERS. The so-called Farmer's Letters constitute the most effective expression of colonial resistance to the Townshend Acts of 1767. The author of the twelve letters, John Dickinson, was a conservatively inclined lawyer from Pennsylvania who had served in the Delaware and Pennsylvania assemblies. The letters were published in newspapers across the colonies in 1767–1768, and almost immediately reprinted together as a pamphlet. Most of the letters attacked the constitutionality of the Townshend Acts, based not on the earlier distinction between internal and external taxation, but on one between duties levied to regulate trade and taxes intended to raise revenue. The former, according to Dickinson, was acceptable; the latter violated the colonists' sacred rights as Englishmen.


Flower, Milton E. John Dickinson, Conservative Revolutionary. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1983.

Viola F.Barnes

Leslie J.Lindenauer

See alsoTaxation .