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the people, it was thought necessary, to join the president general and grand council in all issues of money.
That the general accounts shall be yeurly settled und reported to the several assemblies.
By communicating the accounts yearly to each assembly, they will be satisfied of the prudent and honest conduct of their representatives in the grand council.
That a quorum of the grand council, impowered to act with the president general, do consist of twenty-five members ; among whom there shall be one or more from a majority of the colonies.
The quorum seems large, but it was thought it would not be satisfactory to the colonies in general, to have matters of importance to the whole transacted by a smaller number, or even by this number of twenty-five, unless there were among them one at least from a majority of the colonies ; because otherwise, the whole quorum being made up of members from three or four colonies at one end of the union, something might be done that would not be equal with respect to the rest, and thence dissatisfactions and discords might rise to the prejudice of the whole.
LAWS TO BE TRANSMITTED.
That the laws made by them for the purposes aforesaid shall not be repugnant, but, as near as may be, agreeable to the laws of England, and shall be transmitted to the king in council for approbation as soon as may be after their
passing; and if not disapproved within three years after presentation, to remain in force.
This was thought necessary for the satisfaction of the crown, to preserve the connection of the parts of the British empire with the whole, of the members with ihe head, and to induce greuter care and circumspection in making of the laws, that they be good in themselves and for the general benefit.
DEATH OF THE PRESIDENT GENERAL.
That in case of the death of the president general, the speaker of the grand council for the time being shall succeed, and be vested with the same powers and authorities, to continue till the king's pleasure be known.
It might be better, perhaps, as was said before, if the crown appointed a vice-president, to take place on the death or absence of the president general; for so we should be more sure of a snilable person at the head of the colonies. On the death or absence of both, the speaker to take place (or rather the eldest king's-governor) till his majesty's pleasure be known.
OFFICERS HOW APPOINTED.
That all military commission officers, whether for land or sea-service, to act under this general constitution, shalt be nominated by the president general ; but the approbation of the grand council is to be obtained, before they receire their commissions. And all civil officers are to be nominated by the grand council, and to receive the president general's approbation before they officiate.
It was thought it might be very prejudicial to the service, to have officers appointed unknown to the peo
ple, ple, or unacceptable, the generality of Americans serve ing willingly under officers they know: and not caring to engage in the service under strangers, or such as are often appointed by governors through favour or interest. The service here meant, is not the stated settled service in standing troops ; but any sudden and short service, either for defence of our own colonies, or invading the enemies country ; (such as, the expedition to Cape Breton in the last war; in which many substantial farmers and tradesmen engaged as common soldiers under officers of their own country, for whom they had an esteem and affection; who would not have engaged in a standing army, or under officers from England.)– It was therefore thought best, to give the council the power of approving the officers, which the people will look upon as a great security of their being good men. And without some such provision as this, it was thought the expence of engaging men in the service on any emergency would be much greater, and the number who could be induced to engage much less; and that therefore it would be most for the king's service and general benefit of the nation, that the prero- . gative should relax a little in this particular throughout all the colonies in America; as it had already done much more in the charters of some particular colonies, viz. Connecticut and Rhode Island,
The civil officers will be chiefly treasurers and collectors of taxes; and the suitable persons are most likely to be known by the council.
VACANCIES HOW SUPPLIED.
But in case of vacancy by death, or removal of any officer civil or military under this constitution, the governor of
the province in which such vacancy happens may appoint, till the pleasure of the president general and grand council can be known.
The vacancies were thought best supplied by the governors in each province, till a new appointment can be regularly made ; otherwise the service might suffer before the meeting of the president general and grand council.
EACH COLONY MAY DEFEND ITSELF ON EMERGENCY, &c.
That the particular military as well as civil establishments in each colony remain in their present state, the general constitution notwithstanding ; and that on sudden emergencies any colony may defend itself, and lay the accounts of erpence thence arising before the president general and general council, who muy allow and order payment of the same, «s far as they judge such accounts just and reasonable.
Otherwise the union of the whole would weaken the parts, contrary to the design of the union. The accounts are to be judged of by the president general and grand council, and allowed if found reasonable : this was thought necessary to encourage colonies to defend themselves, as the expence would be light when borne by the whole; and also to check imprudent and lavish expence in such defences*.
* This plan of union, it will appear from the next page, was rejected ; and another proposed to be substituted by the English minister, which had for its chief object, the taking power from the people in the colonies in order to give it to the crown, B. V.
ALBANY PAPERS CONTINUED. 1. Letter to Governor Shirley, concerning the Imposition of
direct Taxes upon the Colonies, without their Consent.*
Tuesday Morning I RETURN you the loose Sheets of the plan, with thanks to your excellency for communicating them.
* These letters to Governor Shirley first appeared in the London Chronicle for Feb. 6.-8, 1766, with an introduction signed A Lover of Britain. In the beginning of the year 1770, they were republished in Al. mon’s Remembrancer, with an additional prefatory piece, under the sig. nature of A Mourner over our Calamities.-I shall explain the subject of them in the words of one of these writers. “ The Albany Plan of Union was sent to the government here for approbation : had it been approved and established by authority from hence, English Anierica thought itself sufficiently able to cope with the French, without other assistance; several of the colonies having alone, in former wars, withstood the whole power of the enemy, unassisted not only by the mother country, but by any of the neighbouring provinces. The plan, however, was not approved here ; but a New one was formed instead of it; by which it was proposed, that the governors of all the colonies, attended by one or two members of their respective councils, should assemble, and concert measures for the defence of the whole, erect forts where they judged proper, and raise what troops they thought necessary, with power to draw on the treasury here for the sums that should be wanted, and the treasury to be reimbursed by a tux laid on the colonies by act of parliament.”—This New plon being communicated by Governor Shirley to a gentleman of Philadelphia (Dr. Franklin) then in Boston (who hath very eminently distinguished himself, before and since that time, in the literary world, and whose judgment, penetration, and candor, as well as his readiness and ability to suggest, forward, or carry into execution, every scheme of public utility, hath most deservedly endeared him, not only in our fellow-subjects throughout the continent of North America but to his numberless friends on this side the Atlantic) occasioned the following remarks from bim, which perhaps may contribute in some degree to its being laid aside. As they very particularly show the then sentiments of the Americans on the snbject of a parliamentary tax, before the French power in that country was subjected, and before the late