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pointing members of the grand council, (who, in this constitution, are to be the representatives of the people.)
"If the governors and councils therefore were to have a share in the choice of any that are to conduct this general government, it should seem more proper that they chose the president general. But this being an office of great trust and importance to the nation, it was thought better to be filled by the immediate appointment of the crown.
"The power proposed to be given by the plan to the grand council is only a concentration of the powers of the several assemblies in certain points for the general welfare; as the power of the president general is of the powers of the several governors in the same points.
"And as the choice therefore of the grand council by the representatives of the people, neither gives the people any new powers, nor diminishes the power of the crown, it was thought and hoped the crown would not disapprove of it."
Upon the whole, the commissioners were of opinion, that the choice was most properly placed in the representatives of the people.
ELECTION OF MEMBERS.
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,
It was thought, that if the least colony was allowed two, and the others in proportion, the number would be very great and the expense heavy; and that less than two would not be convenient, as a single person, being by any accident prevented from appearing at the meeting, the colony he ought to appear for would not be represented. That as the choice was not immediately popular, they would be generally men of good abilities for business, and men of reputation for integrity; and that fortyeight such men might be a number sufficient. But though it was thought reasonable, that each colony should have a share in the representative body in some degree, according to the proportion it contributed to the general treasury: yet the proportion of wealth or power of the colonies is not to be judged by the proportion here fixed; because it was at first agreed, that the greatest colony should not have more than seven members, nor the least less than two: and the settling these proportions between these two extremes was not nicely attended to, as it would find itself, after the first election from the sums brought into the treasury, as by a subsequent article.
PLACE OF FIRST MEETING.
—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.
Philadelphia was named as being the nearer the centre of the colonies, where the commissioners would be well and cheaply accommodated. The high-roads, through the whole extent, are for the most part very good, in which forty or fifty miles a day may very well be and frequently are travelled. Great part of the way may likewise be gone by water. In summer time, the passages are frequently performed in a week from Charles Town to Philadelphia and New York; and from Rhode Island to New York through the sound, in two or three days; and from New York to Philadelphia, by water and land, in two days, by stage boats and wheel-carriages that set out every other day. The journey from Charles Town to Philadelphia may likewise be facilitated by boats running up Chesapeak Bay three hundred miles. But if the whole journey be performed on horseback, the most distant members (viz. the two from New Hampshire and from South Carolina) may probably render themselves at Philadelphia in fifteen or twenty days; the majority may be there in much less time.
That there shall be a new election of the members of 'he 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.
Some colonies have annual assemblies, some continue during a governor's pleasure; three years was thought a reasonable medium, as affording a new member time to improve himself in the business, and to act after such improvement; and yet giving opportunities, frequent enough, to change him, if he has misbehaved.
PROPORTION OF MEMBERS AFTER THE FIRST THREE YEARS.
That after the first three years, 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 number to be chosen by any one province be not more than seven, nor less than two.)
By a subsequent article it is proposed, that the general council shall lay and levy such general duties, as to them may appear most equal and least burthensome, &c. Suppose, for instance, they lay a small duty or excise on some commodity imported into or made in the colonies, and pretty generally and equally used in all of them; as rum perhaps or wine: the yearly produce of this duty or excise, if fairly collected, would be in some colonies greater, in others less, as the colonies are greater or smaller. When the collector's accounts are brought in, the proportions will appear; and from them it is proposed to regulate the proportion of representatives to be chosen at the next general election, within the limits however of seven and two. These numbers may therefore vary in course of years, as the colonies may in the growth and increase of people. And thus the quota of tax from each colony would naturally vary with its circumstances; thereby preventing all disputes and dissatisfactions, about the just proportions due from each; which might otherwise produce pernicious consequences, and destroy the harmony and good agreement that ought to subsist between the several parts of the union.