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[The papers under the present head, of American Poli. tics before the Troubles, in the volume of Dr. Franklin's works, printed for Johnson in 1799, from which they are neurly all taken, were divided into two parts, as if distinct from each other, viz: Papers on American Subjects before the Troubles ; and Papers on Subjects of Provincial Politics. As we can see no grounds for this distinction we have brought them together, and have placed them in the order of their dates, conceiving such to be the natural order of papers
furnishing materials for history.]
Containing, I. Reasons and Motives on which the Plan of UNION for the COLONIES was formed ;-II. Reasons against partial Unions ;-III. And the Plan of Union drawn by B. F. and unanimously agreed to by the Commissioners from New Hampshire, Massachusett's Bay, Rhode Island, New Jersey, Maryland, and Pensylvania*, met in Congress at Albany, in July 1754,
* 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 I cannot specify) 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 the respective provinces, to attend this congress. to wbich 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;" 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 Ds. Franklin, and unaniinously agreed to in congress.” See Governor Pownall's Administration of the British Colonies. Vol. I. ' p. 13. Edit. 4, 1774, and Vol. II. p. 86. B. V.
to consider of the best Means of defending the King's Dominions in America, &c. a War being then apprehended; with the Reasons or Motives for each Article of the Plan.
B. F. was one of the four commissioners from Pen
I. Reasons and Motives on which the Plan of Union was
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 fayourite 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 whal 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
*" Mr. (since Governor) Hutchinson was one of the commissioners for Massachusett's Bay.” Govenor Pownall, as above, Vol. II. p. 144. " Thonias, Pownall, Esq. : brother to John Pownall, Esq.; one of the segretaries to the board of trade, and afterwards Governor of the Massachu. sett's, was upon the spot.” History of the British Empire in North Ame. rica, p. 25. B. V.
or other of which causes, the assemblies of six (out of 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 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 expence 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 incroach. ments 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 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 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 B 3