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Point, but you hindered us. We had concluded to go and take it, but we were told it was too late, and that the ice would not bear us. Instead of this, you burnt your own Fort at Saratoga, and ran away from it, which was a shame and a scandal. Look around your country and see; you have no fortifications about you: no, not even to this city. It is but one step from Canada hither, and the French may easily come and turn you out of your doors. You were desirous that we should open our minds and our hearts to you. Look at the French. They are men; they are fortifying everywhere. But, we are ashamed to say it, you are all like women; bare and without open fortifications." any MS. Journal of the Convention.
Although a plan of union seems to have been a topic of conversation in some circles, yet none of the delegates was instructed on this point, except those from Massachusetts. The instructions of all the others were restricted to a general concert of measures for securing the friendship of the Six Nations, and resisting the encroachments of hostile tribes and the French. In addition to these objects, the Massachusetts commissioners were authorized to "enter into articles of union and confederation for the general defence of his Majesty's subjects and interests in North America, as well in time of peace as of war." While the Indian business was in progress, this subject was brought before the convention. Under the date of June 24th, the following record is found in the Journal.
"A motion was made, that the commissioners deliver their opinion whether a union of all the colonies is not at present absolutely necessary for their security and defence. The question was accordingly put, and passed in the affirmative unanimously.
"On a motion made, that a Committee be appointed to prepare and receive plans or schemes for the union of the colonies, and to digest them into one general plan for the inspection of this Board; Resolved, that each government choose one of their own number to be of that Committee. Accordingly were appointed Thomas Hutchinson for Massachusetts, Theodore Atkinson for New Hampshire, William Pitkin for Connecticut, Stephen Hopkins for Rhode Island, William Smith for New York, Benjamin Franklin for Pennsylvania, and Benjamin Tasker for Maryland."
Before Franklin arrived in Albany, he had sketched the outline of a plan, which he had shown to some of his friends in New York, particularly to James Alexander and Mr. Kennedy, who he says were "gentlemen of great knowledge in public affairs."
He obtained their remarks on his project, as well as those of Cadwallader Colden, afterwards Lieutenant-Governor of New York, and celebrated for his talents and learning. When the members of the Committee met, several plans were presented, but after consultation the preference was given to Franklin's, which was reported to the convention on the 28th of June. The debates on the various topics embraced in the plan continued for twelve days. It was considered a question of moment, whether an act of Parliament was not necessary to establish such a union. This question was decided in the affirmative. The convention dissolved on the 11th of July, and the Plan of Union was adopted on that day or the day preceding.
It is a singular fact, that Franklin and Hutchinson, who were members of the convention, and Pownall, who was in Albany at the time, all say that the Plan was unanimously agreed to. Hutchinson's History of Massachusetts, Vol. III. p. 23. Whereas it is affirmed by Dr. Trumbull, that "the commissioners from Connecticut were wholly opposed to the plan; they imagined that it was dangerous to the liberties of the colonies, and that such a government would not act with that despatch and energy, which might be reasonably expected by his Majesty." History of Connecticut, Vol. II. p. 355. The same assertion is contained in a paper published by the Assembly of Connecticut, assigning reasons for not acceding to the Albany Plan of Union. It is not easy to explain this discrepancy. As the Connecticut delegates voted at first with the others, that some plan of union was necessary, perhaps they did not openly oppose the one that was adopted, but acquiesced, and hence it was inferred that they approved it.
But whatever unanimity there was in the convention, the Plan of Union met with very little favor abroad. It was rejected by all the colonial Assemblies before which it was brought. In England it was so unacceptable to the Board of Trade, that they did not even recommend it to the notice of the King. Franklin says, "The Assemblies all thought there was too much prerogative in it, and in England it was thought to have too much of the democratic." Considering this rejection by the two parties for opposite reasons, it was his opinion thirty years afterwards, that his plan was near the true medium. The British government had another scheme, by which the governors of the provinces, and certain members of the councils, were to assemble at stated times and transact affairs relating to war and to general defence. This was carried into partial effect in the case of General Braddock, and on one or two other occasions.
The governor of Virginia did not send delegates to the Albany convention. He was so much occupied with the French on the frontiers of that province, and with projects for Indian alliances, that he had no leisure for other undertakings. In a letter to Lieutenant-Governor Delancey, dated March 21st, he says; "As to the concerting of measures with the other governments, the time will not admit of it, as what is to be done must be done immediately. I hope to see at least two of the chiefs of the Six Nations at Winchester in May, as the design of that meeting is to make a peace between the Northern and Southern Indians; after which to make a strict alliance between them and all the British subjects on this continent." Dinwiddie's MS. Letter-Books. The governor failed, however, in this vast project. The meeting at Winchester was attended by a few Indians only, of subordinate rank, who came chiefly to receive his presents, and nothing was done. In truth he had a scheme of his own, which stood in the way of his joining in a general union. The year before he had recommended to the Board of Trade, that the colonies should be divided into two parts, constituting a northern and southern district, in each of which some kind of supervising power was to be established. Similar views were entertained by other persons, and were discussed in the Albany convention.
The article was undoubt
There are evidences that Franklin's thoughts had been for some time turned to a union of the colonies. He had thrown out hints to this effect in his newspaper. The Pennsylvania Gazette for May 9th, 1754, contains an account of the capture by the French of Captain Trent's party, who were erecting a fort (afterwards Fort Duquesne) at the Fork of the Ohio. edly written by the editor. After narrating the particulars, and urging union to resist aggression, he adds; "The confidence of the French in this undertaking seems well grounded in the present disunited state of the British colonies, and the extreme difficulty of bringing so many different governments, and assemblies
agree in any speedy and effectual measures for our common defence and security; while our enemies have the very great advantage of being under one direction, with one council, and one purse." At the end of the article is a wood-cut, in which is the figure of a snake, separated into parts, to each of which is affixed the initial of one of the colonies, and at the bottom in large capital letters the motto, JOIN OR DIE. It is well known, that this device was adopted with considerable effect at the beginning of the Revolution. In some of the newspapers of that
day the mutilated snake makes a conspicuous head-piece, running across the page, and accompanied with the same significant motto.- EDITOR.
TOWARDS A SCHEME FOR UNITING THE NORTHERN
To be appointed by the king.
To be a military man.
To have a salary from the crown.
To have a negation on all acts of the Grand Council, and carry into execution whatever is agreed on by him and that Council.
One member to be chosen by the Assembly of each of the smaller colonies, and two or more by each of the larger, in proportion to the sums they pay yearly into the general treasury.
shillings sterling per diem, during their sitting, and milage for travelling expenses.
PLACE AND TIME OF MEETING.
To meet times in every year, at the capital of each colony, in course, unless particular circumstances and emergencies require more frequent meetings, and alteration in the course of places. The governor-general to judge of those circumstances, &c., and call by his writs.
Its fund, an excise on strong liquors, pretty equally drunk in the colonies, or duty on liquor imported, or
- shillings on each license of a public house, or excise on superfluities, as tea, &c. &c. All which would pay in some proportion to the present wealth of each colony, and increase as that wealth increases, and prevent disputes about the inequality of quotas. To be collected in each colony and lodged in their treasury, to be ready for the payment of orders issuing from the governor-general and grand council jointly.
DUTY AND POWER OF THE GOVERNOR-GENERAL
To order all Indian treaties. Make all Indian purchases not within proprietary grants. Make and support new settlements, by building forts, raising and paying soldiers to garrison the forts, defend the frontiers, and annoy the enemy. Equip guard-vessels to scour the coasts from privateers in time of war, and protect the trade, and every thing that shall be found necessary for the defence and support of the colonies in general, and increasing and extending their settlements, &c.
For the expense, they may draw on the fund in the treasury of any colony.
MANNER OF FORMING THIS UNION.
The scheme, being first well considered, corrected, and improved by the commissioners at Albany, to be sent home, and an act of Parliament obtained for establishing it.*
This paper was communicated to James Alexander, with the following note.
"New York, June 8th, 1754. "Mr. Alexander is requested to peruse these Hints, and make remarks in correcting or improving the scheme, and send the paper with such remarks to Dr. Colden for his sentiments, who is desired to forward the whole Albany, to their very humble servant,