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mies, and give peace in all our borders, is the sincere prayer of

A TRADESMAN OF PHILADELPHIA.*

* At the end of the second edition is added the following communication, purporting to be an extract from the Pennsylvania Gazette, for November 19th, 1747.

"MR. FRANKLIN,

For the entertainment of your readers unskilled in the Latin tongue, I send you a translation of the sentences prefixed to the pamphlet called PLAIN TRUTH, lately published. I cannot say the translation is strictly verbal, nor do I pretend to have reached the masterly force and beauty of the original. To transfuse the spirit of the noble Roman patriot into our language, requires a much abler pen. If I have given you his general sense and meaning, it will fully answer my design and expectation. Be pleased to let it have a place in your next, and you will much oblige Yours, &c.

"X.

"TRANSLATION.

"Should the city be taken, all will be lost to the conquered. Therefore, if you desire to preserve your buildings, houses, and country-seats, your statues, paintings, and all your other possessions, which you so highly esteem; if you wish to continue in the enjoyment of them, or to have leisure for any future pleasures, I beseech you by the immortal Gods, rouse at last, awake from your lethargy, and save the commonwealth. It is not the trifling concern of injuries from your allies that demands your attention; your liberties, lives, and fortunes, with every thing that is interesting and dear to you, are in the most imminent danger. Can you doubt of or delay what you ought to do, now, when the enemy's swords are unsheathed, and descending on your heads? The affair is shocking and horrid! Yet, perhaps, you are not afraid. Yes, you are terrified to the highest degree. But through indolence and supineness of soul, gazing at each other, to see who shall first rise to your succour; and a presumptuous dependence on the immortal Gods, who indeed have preserved this republic in many dangerous seasons; you delay and neglect every thing necessary for your preservation. Be not deceived; Divine assistance and protection are not to be obtained by timorous prayers, and womanish supplications. To succeed, you must join salutary counsels, vigilance, and courageous actions. If you sink into effeminacy and cowardice; if you desert the tender and helpless, by Providence committed to your charge, never presume to implore the Gods; it will provoke them, and raise their indignation against you."

PAPERS

RELATING TO A PLAN OF UNION OF THE COLONIES,

ADOPTED BY COMMISSIONERS ASSEMBLED AT ALBANY
IN JULY, 1754.

The prospect of a French war, and the hostile attitude already assumed by tribes of Indians on the frontiers, induced the British government to seek for the means of providing for a timely and efficient resistance in the colonies. With a view to this end, an order was sent over by the Lords of Trade, directing that commissioners should be appointed in several of the provinces to assemble at Albany. The immediate object was to conciliate the Six Nations, by giving them presents, and renewing a treaty, by which they should be prevented from going over to the French, or being drawn away by the Indians under their influence.

The day appointed for the assembling of the commissioners was the 14th of June, 1754, at Albany, but they did not meet till the 19th; when it was found that the following colonies were represented, namely, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, Pennsylvania, and Maryland. The whole number appointed was twenty-five, who all attended. Franklin was one of the delegates from Pennsylvania. Several days were spent in holding interviews with the Indians, hearing and making speeches, and distributing the presents, which had been provided at the expense of the different colonies, to such amounts as were authorized by a previous vote of their respective Assemblies. The chief speaker for the Indians was the Mohawk Sachem, Hendrick, renowned for the boldness and force of his eloquence. In one of his speeches to the convention, in reply to a hint that the Six Nations did not increase their power at the expense of their enemies, he said; "It is your fault, Brethren, that we are not strengthened by conquest. We would have gone and taken Crown

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 open without any fortifications."- 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 Iwas 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.

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. The article was undoubtedly 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 to 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

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