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or other of which causes, the assemblies of six (out of. seven) colonies applied to, had granted no assistance to. Virginia, when lately invaded by the French, though purposely convened, and the importance of the occa-, sion earnestly urged upon them; considering moreover, that one principal encouragement to the French, in invading and insulting the British American dominions, was their knowledge of our disunited state, and of our weakness arising from such want of union; and that from hence different colonies were, at different times, extremely harassed, and put to great expence both of blood and treasure, who would have remained in peace, if the enemy had had cause to fear the drawing on themselves the resentment and power of the whole; the said commissioners, considering also the present incroachments of the French, and the mischievous consequences that may be expected from them, if not opposed with our force, came to an unanimous resolution,-That an union of the colonies is absolutely necessary for their preservation.
The manner of forming and establishing this union was the next point. When it was considered, that the colonies were seldom all in equal danger at the same time, or equally near the danger, or equally sensible of it; that some of them had particular interests to manage, with which an union might interfere; and that they were extremely jealous of each other; it was thought impracticable to obtain a joint agreement of all the colonies to an union, in which the expence and burthen of defending any of them should be divided among them all; and if ever acts of assembly in all the colonies could be obtained for that purpose, yet as any colony, on the least dissatisfaction, might repeal its own act
act and thereby withdraw itself from the union, it would not be a stable one, or such as could be depended on: for if only one colony should, on any disgust withdraw itself, others might think it unjust and unequal that they, by continuing in the union, should be at the expence of defending a colony, which refused to bear its proportionable part, and would therefore one after another, withdraw, till the whole crumbled into its original parts. Therefore the commissioners came to another previous resolution, viz. That it was necessary the union should be established by act of parliament.
They then proceeded to sketch out a plan of union, which they did in a plain and concise manner, just sufficient to show their sentiments of the kind of union that would best suit the circumstances of the colonies, be most agreeable to the people, and most effectually promote his majesty's service and the general interest of the British empire. This was respectfully sent to the assemblies of the several colonies for their consideration, and to receive such alterations and improvements as they should think fit and necessary; after which it was proposed to be transmitted to England to be perfected, and the establishment of it there humbly solicited.
This was as much as the commissioners could do*.
II. Reasons against partial Unions.
It was proposed by some of the commissioners, to form the colonies into two or three distinct unions; but
• Dr. Davenant was so well convinced of the expediency of an union of the colonies, that he recites, at full length, a plan contrived, as he says, with good judgment for the purpose. Davenant, Vol. I. p. 40, 41, of Sir C. Whitworth's Edition. B. V.
for these reasons that proposal was dropped even by those that made it: [viz.]
1. In all cases where the strength of the whole was necessary to be used against the enemy, there would be the same difficulty in degree, to bring the several unions to unite together, as now the several colonies; and consequently the same delays on our part and advantage to the enemy.
2. Each union would separately be weaker than when joined by the whole, obliged to exert more force, be oppressed by the expence, and the enemy less deterred from attacking it.
3. Where particular colonies have selfish views, as New York with regard to Indian trade and lands; or are less exposed, being covered by others, as New Jersey, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Maryland; or have particular whims and prejudices against warlike measures in general, as Pensylvania, where the Quakers predominate; such colonies would have more weight in a partial union, and be better able to oppose and obstruct the measures necessary for the general good, than where they are swallowed up in the general union.
4. The Indian trade would be better regulated by the union of the whole than by partial unions. And as Canada is chiefly supported by that trade, if it could be drawn into the hands of the English (as it might be if the Indians were supplied on moderate terms, and by honest traders appointed by and acting for the public) that alone would contribute greatly to the weakening of our enemies.
5. The establishing of new colonies westward on the Ohio and the lakes (a matter of considerable importance to the increase of British trade and power, to the B 4 breaking
breaking that of the French, and to the protection and security of our present colonies,) would best be carried on by a joint union.
6. It was also thought, that by the frequent meetings-together of commissioners or representatives from all the colonies, the circumstances of the whole would be better known, and the good of the whole better provided for; and that the colonies would by this connection learn to consider themselves, not as so many independent states, but as members of the same. body; and thence be more ready to afford assistance and support to each other, and to make diversions in favour even of the most distant, and to join cordially in any expedition for the benefit of all against the common enemy.
These were the principal reasons and motives for forming the plan of union as it stands. To which may be added this, that as the union of the **
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III. Plan of a proposed Union of the several Colonies of Massachusett's Bay, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey, Pensylvania, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina, for their mutual Defence and Security, and for extending the British Settlements in North America, with the Reasons and Motives for each Article of the Plan [as far as could be remembered.]
It is proposed-That humble application be made for an act of parliament of 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,
constitution, except in the particulars wherein a change may be directed by the said act, as hereafter follows*.
PRESIDENT GENERAL, AND GRAND COUNCIL.
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.
It was thought that it would be best the president general should be supported as well as appointed by the crown; that so all disputes between him and the grand council concerning his salary might be prevented; as such disputes have been frequently of mischievous consequence in particular colonies, especially in time of public danger. The quit-rents of crown-lands in America might in a short time be sufficient for this purpose.---The choice of members for the grand council is placed in the house of representatives of each government, in order to give the people a share in this new general go vernment, as the crown has its share by the appointment of the president-general.
But it being proposed by the gentlemen of the council of New York, and some other counsellors among the commissioners, to alter the plan in this particular, and to give the governors and council of the several provinces a share in the choice of the grand council, or at least a power of approving and confirming or of dis
* The reader may perceive, by the difference of the type, which is the text of the plan, and which the reasons and motives mentioned in the title. They are thus consolidated for his convenience. The editor has taken one, or two farther liberties in transposing these Albany papers; but the sense remains as before. B. V.