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Whether this may not be in some measure remedied by a council of state, of a few persons to be chosen by the grand council at their stated meetings, which council of state to be always attending the governorgeneral, and with him to digest beforehand all matters to be laid before the next grand council, and only the general, but not the particular, plans of operation.

That the governor-general and that council of state issue orders for the payment of moneys, so far as the grand council have beforehand agreed may be issued for any general plan to be executed. That the governor-general and council of state, at every meeting of the grand council, lay before them their accounts and transactions since the last meeting, at least so much of their transactions as is safe to be made public. This council of state to be something like that of the United Provinces, and the grand council to resemble the States-General.

That the capacity and ability of the persons to be chosen of the council of state and grand council be their only qualifications, whether members of the respective bodies that choose them or not. That the grand council, with the governor-general, have power to increase, but not to decrease, the duties laid by act of Parliament, and have power to issue bills of credit on emergencies, to be sunk by the increased funds, bearing a small interest, but not to be tenders. I am, dear Sir,

Your most obedient,

and most humble servant,



It seems agreed on all hands that something is necessary to be done for uniting the colonies in their mutual defence, and it seems to be likewise agreed that it can only be done effectually by act of Parliament. For this reason I suppose that the necessary funds for carrying it into execution, in pursuance of the ends proposed by it, cannot be otherwise obtained. If it were thought, that the Assemblies of the several colonies may agree to lay the same duties, and apply them to the general defence and security of all the colonies, no need of an act of Parliament.

Quare; Which best for the colonies; by Parliament, or by the several Assemblies?

The King's ministers, so long since as the year 1723, or 1724, had thoughts of sending over a governorgeneral of all the colonies, and the Earl of Stair was proposed as a fit person. It is probable, the want of a suitable support of the dignity of that office prevented that scheme's being carried into execution, and that the ministry and people of England think that this charge ought to be borne by the colonies.


Quære; Is the grand council, with the governorgeneral, to have a legislative authority? If only an executive power, objections may be made to their being elective. It would be in a great measure a change of the constitution, to which I suspect the crown will not consent. We see the inconveniences attending the present constitution, and remedies may be found

without changing it, but we cannot foresee what may be the consequences of a change in it. If the grand council be elected for a short time, steady measures cannot be pursued. If elected for a long time, and not removable by the crown, they may become dangerous. Are they to have a negative on the acts of the governor-general? It is to be considered that England will keep their colonies, as far as they can, dependent on them; and this view is to be preserved in all schemes to which the King's consent is necessary.


It may be thought dangerous to have fixed meetings of the grand council, and in all the colonies at certain times and places. It is a privilege which the Parliament has not, nor the Privy Council, and may be thought destructive of the constitution.


Some estimate ought to be made of the produce which may be reasonably expected from the funds proposed to be raised by duties on liquors, &c., to see whether it will be sufficient for the ends proposed. This I think may be done from the customhouses in the most considerable places for trade in the colonies.


No doubt any private person may, in a proper manner, make any proposals which he thinks for the public benefit; but, if they are to be made by the commissioners of the several colonies, who now meet at Albany, it may be presumed that they speak the sense of their constituents. What authority have they to do this? I know of none from either the Council or Assembly of New York.

However, these things may be properly talked of in

conversation among the commissioners for further information, and in order to induce the several Assemblies to give proper powers to commissioners to meet afterwards for this purpose.*



THE Commissioners from a number of the northern colonies, being met at Albany, and considering the difficulties that have always attended the most necessary general measures for the common defence, or for the annoyance of the enemy, when they were to be carried through the several particular Assemblies of all the colonies; some Assemblies being before at variance with their governors or councils, and the several-branches of the government not on terms of doing business with each other; others taking the opportunity, when their concurrence is wanted, to push for favorite laws, powers, or points, that they think could not at other times be obtained, and so creating disputes and quarrels; one Assembly waiting to see what another will do, being afraid of doing more than its share, or desirous of doing less, or refusing to do any thing, because its country is not at present so much exposed as others, or because another will reap more immediate advantage; from one or other of which causes, the Assemblies of six out of seven colonies applied to,

* The preceding papers were first printed in the Appendix to SEDGWICK's Life of William Livingston. The manuscripts, from which they were copied, are contained in the archives of the NEW YORK HISTORICAL SOCIETY. The paper, containing Colden's Remarks, is in his own handwriting. - EDITOR.

had granted no assistance to Virginia, when lately invaded by the French, though purposely convened, and the importance of the occasion 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 expense 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 encroachments 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 a 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 a 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 a union, in which the expense 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, 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,

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