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missioners, that such an union should be established; and a committee was appointed, consisting of one member from each colony, to consider and report upon plans for the same. That of Franklin, after much discussion, was adopted with few amendments; and as it throws great light upon the political state of Anglo-America previous to the separation, and exhibits very clearly a step in the progress to that inevitable result, we give the substance of it.
Having premised, that an union of the colonies was absolutely essential for their preservation, that it was necessary it should be established by act of parliament, and that partial unions would be difficult to effect, practically weaker, and more liable to be interfered with by selfish views, it was therefore proposed—That humble application be made for an act of parliament from Great Britain, by virtue of which one general government may be formed in America, including all the said colonies, within and under which government each colony may retain its present constitution, except in the particulars wherein a change may be directed by the said act, as hereafter follows :-That the said general government be administered by a president-general, to be appointed and supported by the crown; and a grand council, to be chosen by the representatives of the people of the several colonies met in their respective assemblies. That within months after the passing such act, the house of representatives, that happen to be sitting within that time, or that shall be especially for that purpose convened, may and shall choose members for the grand council, in the following proportion;
that is to say
Brought forward 20
4 South Carolina
48 who shall meet, for the first time, at the city of Philadelphia in Pennsylvania, being called by the president-general, as soon as conveniently may be after his appointment. That there shall be a new election of the members of the grand council every three years; and on the death or resignation of any member, his place shall be supplied by a new choice at the next sitting of the assembly of the colony he represented. --That after the first three year, when the proportion of money, arising out of each colony to the general treasury, can be known, the number of members to be chosen for each colony shall, from time to time, in all ensuing elections, be regulated by that proportion (yet so as that the members to be chosen by any one province be not more than seven, nor less than two.)—That the grand council shall meet once in every year, and oftener if occasion require, at such time and place as they shall adjourn to at the last preceding meeting, or as they shall be called to meet at by the president-general on any emergency; he having first obtained, in writing, the consent of seven of the members to such call, and sent due and timely notice to the whole.—That the grand council have power to choose their speaker, and shall neither be dissolved, prorogued, nor continued sitting longer than six weeks at one time, without their own consent, or the special command of the crown.—That the members of the grand council shall be allowed, for their service, ten shillings sterling per diem, during their session, and journey to and from the place of meeting ; twenty miles to be reckoned a day's journey.-That the assent of the president-gene
ral be requisite to all acts of the grand council; and that it be his office and duty to cause them to be carried into execution. That the president-general, with the advice of the grand council, hold or direct all Indian treaties in which the general interest of the colonies may be concerned; and make peace, or declare war, with Indian nations.--That they make such laws as they judge necessary for regulating all Indian trade.--That they make all purchases from Indians for the crown, of lands not now within the bounds of particular colonies, or that shall not be within their bounds, when some of them are reduced to more convenient dimensions.-That they make new settlements on such purchases, by granting lands in the king's name, reserving a quit-rent to the crown, for the use of the general treasury.—That they make laws for regulating and governing such new settlements, till the crown shall think fit to form them into particular governments.—That they raise and pay soldiers, and build forts, for the defence of any of the colonies, and equip vessels of force to guard the coasts, and protect the trade on the ocean, lakes, or great rivers, but they shall not impress men in any colony, without the consent of the legislature.—That, for these purposes, they have power to make laws, and lay and levy such general duties, imposts, or taxes, as to them shall appear most equal and just (considering the ability and other circumstances of the inhabitants in the several colonies) and such as may be collected with the least inconvenience to the people; and rather discouraging luxury, than loading industry with unnecessary burthens.—That they may appoint a general treasurer, and a particular treasurer in each government, when necessary; and, from time to time, may order the sums in the treasuries of each government into the general treasury; or draw on them for special payments, as they find most convenient; yet no money to issue, but by joint orders of the president-general and grand council, except where sums have been appropriated to particular purposes, ,
and the president-general is previously empowered by an act to draw for such sums. -That the general account shall be yearly settled, and reported to the several assemblies.—That a quorum of the grand council, empowered to act with the president-general, do con sist of twenty-five members, among whom there shall be one or more from a majority of the colonies. That the laws made by them, for the purposes aforesaid, shall not be repugnant, but, as near as may be, agreeable to the laws of England, and shall be transmitted to the king in council, for approbation, as soon as may be after their passing ; and if not disapproved within three years after presentation, to remain in force.—That in case of the death of the presidentgeneral, the speaker of the grand council for the time being shall succeed, and be vested with the same powers and authorities, to continue till the king's pleasure shall be known.—That all military commission-officers, whether for land or sea-service, to act under this general constitution, shall be nominated by the president-general; but the approbation of the grand council is to be obtained, before they receive their commissions : and all civil officers are to be nominated by the grand council, and to receive the president-general's approbation before they officiate; but, in case of vacancy by death, or removal of any officer, civil or military, under this constitution, the governor of the province in which such vacancy happens, may appoint, till the pleasure of the presidentgeneral and grand council can be known. That the particular military, as well as civil establishments, in each colony, remain in their present state, the general constitution notwithstanding; and that, on sudden emergencies, any colony may defend itself, and lay the accounts of expence thence arising before the president-general and general council, who may allow and order payment of the same, as far as they judge such accounts just and reasonable*.'
* FRANKLIN'S Albany Paper.)
Another plan proposed at this time was, that the governors of the respective provinces, together with members of each provincial council, should meet to confer upon measures of general defence, and draw on the treasury of the home government, to defray expenses, which were subsequently to be refunded by taxes on America, levied by the British parliament.
Neither the Assemblies, however, nor the Bri. tish government, approved of these plans. The crown was evidently jealous of the appearances of union and independent strength which had already been exhibited. Franklin's plan, in particular, was considered in England as far too democratic ; while, curiously enough, it was rejected by the colonial Assemblies, as giving too large an increase to the royal prerogative. Franklin had frequent conferences upon the subject with sir J. Shirley and other governors. We insert the first two letters from Franklin to governor Shirley, as expressing, at this time, those sentiments of our philosopher, on the subject of taxation by the British parliament, which became afterwards the great topic of hostile discussion between the colonies and the mother-country. They bear in fact
upon both the plans above alluded to.
LETTER I.—To governor Shirley, concerning the im
position of direct Taxes upon the Colonies without their consent.
“ Tuesday Morning. “SIR,-I return you the loose sheets of the plan, with thanks to your Excellency for communicating them. I apprehend, that excluding the people of the colonies from all share in the choice of the grand council will give extreme dissatisfaction, as well as the taxing them by act of parliament where they have no representation. It is very possible, that this general government might be as well and faithfully administered without the people as with them ; but