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said Court of the Massacusetts, and the comissioners for the other two confœderates, that, if Plymouth consent, then the whole treaty, as it stands in these present articles, is and shall continue firme and stable, without alteration; Butt, if Plymouth come nott in, yett the other three confœderates doe, by these presents, conclude the whole confœderation and all the articles theof, onely in September next, when the second meeting of the comissioners is to be att Boston, new considerations may be taken of the Sixt article, which concerns number of comissioners for meeting and concluding the affayres of this confœderation, to the satisfaction of the court of the Massacusetts, and the comissioners for the other two confoederates, butt the rest to stand unquestioned. In testimony whereof the Generall Court of the Massacusetts by their Secretary and the Commissioners for Conectecutt and Newhaven have subscribed these present articles this 19th day of the third moneth, comonly called May, 1643.1

1 The General Court of Plymouth duly ratified the action of their Commissioners on August 29, 1643, and these Articles were signed by them on September 7. See New Plymouth Records, ed. by N. B. Shurtleff and D. Pulsifer, vol. ix, p. 8. Boston, 1859.



[The text is as given in O'Callaghan's Documents Relating to the Colonial History of New York, vol. iv, pp. 296-7. The plan is summarized in Fortescue's Calendar of State Papers, Colonial Series, America and West Indies, 1696-7, No. 694. It was read by Board of Trade Feb. 8, 1696–7.]

A BRIEFE and plaine scheam how the English Colonies in the North parts of America, viz. Boston, Connecticut, Road Island, New York, New Jerseys, Pensilvania, Maryland, Virginia and Carolina may be made more usefull to the Crowne, and one anothers peace and safty with an universall concurrence.

1. That the severall colonies before mentioned do meet once a year, and oftener if need be during the war, and at least once in two years in times of peace by their stated and appointed deputies, to debate and resolve of such measures as are most adviseable for their better understanding and the public tranquility and safety.

2. That in order to it two persons well qualified for sence, sobriety, and substance be appointed by each Province as their Representatives or Deputies, which in the whole make the Congress to consist of twenty persons.

3. That the King's Commissioner for that purpose specially appointed shall have the chaire and preside in the said Congresse.

4. That they shall meet as near as conveniently may be to the most centrall Colony for ease of the Deputies.

5. Since that may in all probability be New York, because it is now the center of the Colonies, and for that it is a frontier and in the King's nomination, the Governor of that Colony may also be the King's High Commissioner during the session after the manner of Scotland.

6. That their business shall be to hear and adjust all matters of complaint or difference between Province and Province. As (1st) where persones quit their own Province

and goe to another, that they may avoid their just debts1 though they be able to pay them. (2.) Where offenders fly Justice, or Justice cannot well be had upon such offenders in the Provinces that entertaine them. (3.) To prevent or cure injuries in point of commerce. (4.) To consider of ways and means to support the union and safety of these Provinces against the publick enemies. In which Congresse the quotas of men and charges will be much easier and more easily sett, then it is possible for any establishment made here to do; for the Provinces knowing their own condition and one anothers can debate that matter with more freedom and satisfaction and better adjust and ballance their affairs in all respects for their common safty.

7. That in times of war the King's High Commissioner shall be Generall or Chief Commander of the several Quotas upon service against the common enemy as he shall be advised, for the good and benefit of the whole.

1 In some further heads of things proper for the Plantations, drawn up by Penn in 1700, when he perhaps despaired of his more ambitious scheme being adopted, he proposed: For prevention of runaways and rovers and fraudulent debtors, coming from one Province to another for shelter, it shall be recommended to all the Governments to make a law with the same restrictions and penalties as if the whole were but one Government.' (Headlam's Calendar of State Papers, Colonial Series, America and West Indies, 1700, No. 845, xxxii.)

2 An extreme case of the mischief against which Penn's proposal was directed, may be found in the North Carolina Statute of 1677, which enacted that none should be sued for five years for any cause of action arising out of the country, and that none should receive a power of attorney to receive debts contracted abroad. (Political Annals of the Present United Colonies, by G. Chalmers, p. 525.) We find Lord Bellomont, the Governor of New York, writing in 1699 that he had prevailed on the Governor of Connecticut to seize and send to New York Thomas Clarke of that city, a companion of Kidd the pirate. Clarke, thinking himself safe from Bellomont's power, wrote a very saucy letter bidding him defiance. (Documents relating to the Colonial History of New York, vol. iv, p. 595.)

3 This was no doubt thrown in to placate the Board of Trade. The English Customs Officer, Quarry, had complained greatly of the breaches of the Navigation Act in Pennsylvania.

The various quotas might be more fairly assessed by a Federal Congress than by the Board of Trade at home; but Penn's plan nowhere explains how its decisions could be more effectively enforced.


[The text is as given in Documents relating to the Colonial History of New York, vol. vi, pp. 889-91.]



[Only the four New England Colonies, New York, and Pennsylvania were represented at the Albany Congress.]


THAT humble application be made for an Act of the Parliament of Great Brittain, by virtue of which one General Government may be formed in America, including the said Colonies, within and under which Governments each Colony may retain each present Constitution, except in the particulars wherein a change 2 may be directed by the said Act, as hereafter follows.

That the said General Government be administered by a President-General, to be appointed and supported by the Crown, and a Grand Council, to be chosen by the


By recognizing the necessity of an Act of Parliament, Franklin acknowledged the sovereignty of the British Parliament over the several Assemblies; a sovereignty which was at a later date questioned by him as well as by other writers.

2 'charge' in text.

3 There had been constant friction and dispute in New York and Massachusetts over the question of securing to the Governor a permanent salary, and the Board of Trade had on more than one occasion proposed that the salaries should be paid by the Crown. Hence the wisdom of Franklin's proposal. (See Documents relating to the Colonial History of New York, vol. v, p. 285; Egerton, Short History of British Colonial Policy, p. 132; and Greene, The Provincial Governor, Harv. Historical Studies, vii, pp. 167-76.)

The Grand Council, according to Franklin, was intended to represent all the several Houses of Representatives of the Colonies as a House of Representatives did the several towns or counties of a Colony. Could all the people of a Colony be consulted and unite in public measures a House of Representatives would be needless; and could all the Assemblies

representatives of the people of the several Colonies, met 1

in their respective Assemblies.

That within

months after the passing of such Act the House of Representatives in the several Assemblies that happen to be sitting within that time or that shall be specially for that purpose convened may and shall chose Members for the Grand Council in the following proportions; that is to say :

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who shall meet for the present time at the City of Philadelphia in Pennsylvania, being called by the President General as soon as conveniently may be after his appointment.

That there shall be a new election of Members for the conveniently consult and unite in general measures, the Grand Council would be unnecessary. Franklin therefore stoutly opposed the proposal of the members of the Council of New York to give the Governors and Councils of the several Provinces a share in the choice of the Grand Council as opposed to the theory and practice of the British Constitution. 1 'meet' in text.

2 With regard to provincial representation in Grand Council, see remarks in Introduction.


3 Philadelphia was named as being nearer the centre of the Colonies, where the Commissioners could be well and cheaply accommodated.' One realizes the physical difficulties in the way of a Federal Assembly when one finds Franklin justifying the choice on the ground that the most distant members (those from New Hampshire and South Carolina) need not take more than fifteen or twenty days over the journey thither.

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