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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 expense thence arising before the president general and grand council, who may allow and order payment of the same, as 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 expense would be light when borne by the whole; and also to check imprudent and lavish expense in such defences.1

* This plan of union, it will appear from the next page, vra» 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.


{Written by Dr. Franklin, February 9, 1789.)

On reflection it seems probable, that if the foregoing plan had been adopted and carried into execution, the present separation of the colonies from the mother country might not so soon have happened, nor the mischiefs which on both sides have occurred, perhaps during another century. For the colonies, if so united, would have really been, as they then thought themselves, sufficient to their own defence, and being trusted with it as by the plan, an army from Britain for that purpose would have been unnecessary. The pretences for framing the Stamp Act would then not have existed, nor the other projects for drawing a revenue from America to Britain by acts of parliament, which were the cause of the breach, and attended with such terrible expense of blood and treasure: so that the different parts of the empire might still have remained in peace and union. But the fate of this plan was singular. After many days' thorough discussion of all its parts in congress, it was unanimously agreed to; and copies ordered to be sent to the assemblies of each province for concurrence, and one to the ministry in England for the approbation of the crown. The crown disapproved it, as having placed too much weight in the democratic part of the constitution; and every assembly, as having allowed too much to prerogative. So it was totally rejected.

B. F.


I. Letter to Governor Shirley, concerning the Imposition of direct Taxes upon the Colonies, without their-consent.1

Sir, Tuesday Morning.

I Return you the loose sheets of the Plan, with thanks to your excellency for communicating them.

I apprehend, that excluding the people of the colonies from all share in the choice of the grand

1 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 Almon's Remembrancer, with an additional prefatory piece, under the signature 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 America 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 neighboring 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

council, will give extreme dissatisfaction; as well as the taxing them by act of parliament, where they have no representation. It is very possible, that this general government might be as well and faithfully administered without the people, as with them; but where heavy burdens are to be laid upon them, it has been found useful, to make it as much as possible their own act; for they bear better when they have, or think they have, some share in the direction; and when any public measures are generally grievous, or even distasteful, to the people, the wheels of government move more heavily.

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 tax laid on the colonies by act of parliament."— This new plan 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, iu 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 to our fellow-subjects throughout the continent of North America, but to his numberless friends on this side the Atlantic), occasioned the following remarks from him, 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 subject of a parliamentary tax, before the French power in that country was subjected, and before the late restraints on their commerce; they satisfy me, and I hope they will convince your readers (contrary to what has been advanced by some of your correspondents) that those particulars have had no share in producing the present opposition to such a tax, nor in disturbances occasioned by it, which these papers indeed do almost prophetically foretel. For this purpose, having accidentally fallen into my hands, they are communicated to you by one who is, partially, but in the most enlarged seme,

"A Lover Of Britain." B. V.

II. Letter to the same; concerning direct Taxes in the Colonies imposed without consent, indirect Taxes, and the Albany Plan of Union.

Sir, Wednesday Morning.

I Mentioned it yesterday to your excellency as my opinion, that excluding the people of the colonies from all share in the choice of the grand council, would probably give extreme dissatisfaction, as well as the taxing them by act of parliament, where they have no representation. In matters of general concern to the people, and especially where burdens are to be laid upon them, it is of use to consider, as well what they will be apt to think and say, as what they ought to think. I shall therefore, as your excellency requires it of me, briefly mention what of either kind occurs to me on this occasion.

First, they will say, and perhaps with justice, that the body of the people in the colonies are as loyal, and as firmly attached to the present con

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