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MEETINGS OF THE GRAND COUNCIL, AND CALL.
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.
It was thought, in establishing and governing new colonies or settlements, regulating Indian trade, Indian treaties, &c. there would be every year sufficient business arise to require at least one meeting, and at such meeting many things might be suggested for the benefit of all the colonies. This annual meeting may either be at a time or place certain, to be fixed by the president general and grand council at their first meeting; or left at liberty, to be at such time and place as they shall adjourn to, or be called to meet at by the president general.
In time of war it seems convenient, that the meeting should be in that colony, which is nearest the seat of action.
The power of calling them on any emergency seemed necessary to be vested in the president general; but that such power might not be wantonly used to harass the members, and oblige them to make frequent long journies to little purpose, the consent of seven at least to such call was supposed a convenient guard.
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.
The speaker should be presented for approbation; it being convenient, to prevent misunderstandings and disgusts, that the mouth of the council should be a person agreeable, if possible, both to the council and president general.
Governors have sometimes wantonly exercised the power of proroguing or continuing the sessions of assemblies, merely to harass the members and compel a compliance; and sometimes dissolve them on slight disgusts. This it was feared might be done by the president general, if not provided against: and the inconvenience and hardship would be greater in the general government than in particular colonies, in proportion to the distance the members must be from home, during sittings, and the long journies some of them must necessarily take.
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.
It was thought proper to allow some wages, lest the expense might deter some suitable persons from the service;—and not to allow too great wages, lest unsuitable persons should be tempted to cabal for the employment, for the sake of gain. Twenty miles was set down as a day's journey, to allow for accidental hindrances on the road, and the greater expenses of travelling than residing at the place of meeting.
ASSENT OF PRESIDENT GENERAL, AND HIS DUTY.
That the assent of the president general 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.
The assent of the president general to all acts of the grand council was made necessary, in order to give the crown its due share of influence in this government, and connect it with that of Great Britain. The president general, besides one half of the legislative power, hath in his hands the whole executive power.
POWER OF PRESIDENT GENERAL, AND GRAND COUNCIL. TREATIES OF PEACE AND WAR.
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.
The power of making peace or war with Indian nations is at present supposed to be in every colony, and is expressly granted to some by charter, so that no new power is hereby intended to be granted to the colonies. But as, in consequence of this power, one colony might make peace with a nation that another was justly engaged in war with; or make war on slight occasions without the concurrence or approbation of neighboring colonies, greatly endangered by it; or make particular treaties of neutrality in case of a general war, to their own private advantage in trade, by supplying the common enemy; of all which there have been instances—it was thought better, to have all treaties of a general nature under a general direction: that so the good of the whole may be consulted and provided for.
That they make such laws as they judge necessary for regulating all Indian trade.
Many quarrels and wars have arisen between the colonies and Indian nations, through the bad conduct of traders, who cheat the Indians after making them drunk, &c. to the great expense of the colonies both in blood and treasure. Particular colonies are so interested in the trade as not to be willing to admit such a regulation as might be best for the whole; and therefore it was thought best under a general direction.
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.
Purchases from the Indians, made by private persons, have been attended with many inconveniencies. They have frequently interfered, and occasioned uncertainty of titles, many disputes, and expensive law-suits, and hindered the settlement of the land so disputed. Then the Indians have been cheated by such private purchases, and discontent and wars have been the consequence. These would be prevented by public fair purchases.
Several of the colony charters in America extend their bounds to the South Sea, which may be perhaps three or four thousand miles in length to one or two hundred miles in breadth. It is supposed they must in time be reduced to dimensions