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OF THE FOURTH VOLUME,
POLITICAL PAPERS BEFORE THE REVOLUTION.
Letter of governor Pownall to Dr. F. concerning an equal communica-
tionofrights, - - . . . - . _ . - - . - _ _ _ _10,
Aii‘air of Governor Hutchinson’s letters and examination before the
Privy Council, 1773, - - - - - - ~ - - - - . . _ - 14g
Containing, I. Reasons and Motives on ‘which the PLAN OF UNION FOR THE COLONIES was jbrmed; II. Reasons against [zartz'al Unions; III. And the Plan of Union drawn by Benjamin Franklin, and unanimously agreed to by the Commissioners from New Hampshire, Massat/lusett’s Bay, Rhode Island, New Jersey, Maryland, and Penn'sylvanz'a,‘ met in Congress at .dlbany, in July 1754-, to consider of the best Jlleans of defending the Kz'ng’s Dominians in America, we. a War being then a/zfzrehended; ‘with the Reasons or fllotives jbr each .drticle of the Plan.
Benjamin Franklin, was one of the four commissioners from Pennsylvania.2
1 The reader must be informed here, that this plan was intended for all the colonies; but, commissioners from some of them not attending (from causes which are not specified) their consent to it was not, in this respect, universally expressed. Governor Pownall, however, says, “ That he had an opportunity of conversing with, and knowing the sentiments of the commissioners appointed by their ‘respective provinces, to‘ attend this congress, to which they were called by the crown; of learning from their experience and judgment, the actual state of the American business and interest; and of hearing amongst them, the grounds and reasons of that American union, which they then had under deliberation, and transmitted the plan of to England ;”v and he adds, in another place, “ that the sentiments of our colonies were collected in an authentic manner on this subject in the plan proposed by Dr. Franklin, and um“ nimously agreed to in congress.” See Governor Pownall's Administration of the British Colonies. Vol. I. p. 13, Edit. 4, 1774, and Vol. 11. p. 86.
_ 2“ Mr. [since Governor] Hutchinson was one of the commissioners forv Massachusett‘s Bay.” Governor Pownallas above, Vol.1. II. p. 144. “ Thomas Pownall, Esq. brother to John Pownall, Esq. one of the secretaries to the’ board of trade, and afterwards Governor of Massachusetts, was upon the spot.” History of the British Empire in North America, p. 25,
THE commissioners from a number of the northern colonies being met at Albany, and considering the difliculties 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 quar-V rels} 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 . v another will reap more immediate advantage; from'one or other of which causes, the assemblies of six, (outof seven) colonies applied to, 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 knowlege 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 ex.3 pence both of blood and treasure, ‘who would have remained
I ‘f '7 .in peace, if the enemy had had cause to fear the drawing on I K I I themselves the resentment and power of the whole ; the said at’: commissioners, considering also the present incroachments ‘waif? of the French, and the mischievous consequences that may : _» . - w
5 a’ he expected from them, if not opposed with our force, came W, to an unanimous resolution',-—T’zat an 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 an‘
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 an union, in which the expence and burthen of defending any of them should be divided among them all; and ifever 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, others might think it unjust and unequal thatthey, by continuing in the union, should be at the expence of defending a colony, which refused to bear its proportionable part, and would therefore one after another, withdraw, till the whole crumbled into its original parts. Therefore the commissioners came to another previous resolution, viz. That it was necessary the union should be estaUz's/zed by act 0f parliament.
They then proceeded to sketch out aplan ofunion, which they did in a plain and concise manner, just sufiicient to show their sentiments of the kind of union that would best suit the circumstances of the colonies, be most agreeable to the people, and most effectually promote his majesty’s service, and the general interest of the British empire. This was respectfully sent to the assemblies of the several colonies for their considerationfand to receive such alterations and improvements as they should think fit and necessary; after which it was proposed to be transmitted to England to be perfected, and the establishment of it there humbly soli
This was as much as the commissioners could do.3
3. Dr. Davenant was so well convinced of theexpediency of an union of the colonies, that he recites, at full length, a plan contrived, as he says, with good judgment for the purpose. Davenant, Vol. I. p. 40, 41, of Sir C. \Vhitwqnh’g Edition.