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Dear Editor:
Landagoshen. I just finished reading that new book about Ben Franklin. You could have knocked me over with a feather. Seems this most loveable of the country's Founding Fathers had no kind words for early German immigrants on the Pennsylvania frontier. In fairness to Old Ben, though, he disliked them because they were at odds with the very first American immigrants, those of the red-faced persuasion. That would make Ben the first immigrant advocate. Read what the "Paxton Gang" did to some of Ben's "clients." It'll make your blood curl. Made Ben's curl as well. Besides, Ben had other reasons for shunning those early Teutonic émigrés. To win them as political allies, the Penn family agreed to pay them a bounty for Indian scalps. No, that didn't set well with Ben. Violated two or three of his seven Virtues. You remember of course that the Penns controlled the colony as a Proprietorship - not like Virginia, the Carolinas, or other Crown colonies. After William, those Penns went straight downhill. Ran the whole colony like their personal hogpen. Ben sided with the Colonial Assembly. Every time it tried to get the Penns to pay their fair share of taxes, they nixed the deal. Yes, Ben had this peculiar notion about fairness, including taxation without representation. Did you know that he personally argued - and won - repeal of the first Stamp Act at the House of Commons? If those Brits had just listened to Ben later on - but enough of taxation. One thing about Ben. He didn't hold much with religious folks in high places. As a young printer's apprentice, Ben received a letter from one Silence Dogood. The question she posed was "Whether a Commonwealth suffers more by hypocritical pretenders to religion or by the openly profane?" It won't surprise you to learn which side Ben came down on. "The most dangerous hypocrite in a Commonwealth is one who leaves the gospel for the sake of the law. A man compounded of law and gospel is able to cheat a whole country with his religion and then destroy them under color of law." Not that this has anything to do with nowadays. Those Puritans, they were the last religious nuts. Ben had seen plenty of them in Boston. That's one reason he skedaddled to Philly. Ben knew that once royalists like the Penns were gone, no leader would be foolish enough to appoint a Puritan to high public office even if he could find one. Well, got to run. Missed my first Special Registration appointment. I'm sure there's no harm. Back in a jiffy.
(A note about the author: Elie Immigrant, "Ms. Elie" to her close friends, is a former Muslim male who underwent a sex-change operation and converted to Judaism. She's wanted in the whole Mideast, missed her second Special Registration appointment, and is looking for a good immigration lawyer.)

Elie Immigrant

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