The EFM Feature

Upon reading that Benjamin Franklin initially supported the Stamp Act, reader Luke was, he says, “struck by the relevance to Gov. Romney’s conversion” and penned the below. It’s quite good:

January 5, 1775
Dear Benjamin Franklin,
Sir, I write to you today with a heavy heart to inform you that after conferring with my fellow “true patriots,” you are an unacceptable convert to our most noble cause. Please do not leave England and come to America. Our cause will prosper well enough without your assistance. We see your recent pro-American positions for what they truly are; political opportunism.
How can you, with any credibility, position yourself as a patriot when your past beliefs and positions are so clear? In 1764 you left America to seek a royal charter for Pennsylvania, eventually becoming colonial agent for Pennsylvania, Georgia, New Jersey, and Massachusetts. You lent your support to the Stamp Act of 1765, affirming your belief that a tyrant has the right to choose what taxes to levy on his subjects, while denying them right to representation, making you effectively “pro-choice.” Some even insinuate that you were complicit in that act’s creation. Then in 1771 you actively sought a position in the English government promising to be “more effective for English rights than your opponent Thomas ‘Teddy Kennedy’ Hutchinson.” This is unacceptable. It is clear by your statement that “English rights” equates to the right of English troops to quarter in any house during times of peace.
You say that during 1771 as you studied the effects of English trade regulations and laws on Ireland, you were “astounded and moved by the level of poverty,” and that you feared that English precedent and Roe vs. King George III had “cheapened the value of representation.” In 1773 you shifted steadily to a pro-American position. In the following years your actions have been decidedly pro-American, including your lucid writings, An Edict by the King of Prussia, and Rules by Which a Great Empire May Be Reduced to a Small One. This is too little too late though.
It is unfortunate that your conversion to the cause comes so close to the election revolution. Our position is desperate and converts to our cause are greatly needed. However, using our conservative prudence, we have decided that only life-long “true patriots” may represent us (aside from George “Reagan” Washington, former Lieutenant Colonel siding with the British in the French-Indian War, and a few others). We therefore endow you with the inescapable pejorative of “flip-flopper.”
This decision is made easier by a quick Google search, which reveals that many “true patriot” organizations oppose you. Oh yeah and what religion do you belong to?
Yours Truly,
Thomas Jefferson

About Charles Mitchell

EFM's resident Yankee, Charles Mitchell, works in the non-profit arena in his native Pennsylvania. He and his wife, Charissa, live near the state capital of Harrisburg with their daughter, Adeline, and are members of a congregation of the Presbyterian Church in America.

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