The Albany Plan of Union
Copy: Public Record Office, London; also copies: Rhode Island Archives, John Carter Brown Library, New York State Library, Maryland Hall of Records, Library of Congress, New-York Historical Society, Boston University Library, American Philosophical Society (fragment)8
After the Committee on a Plan of Union had presented its “Short Hints” to the Albany Congress, June 28, that body discussed the proposals on eight occasions. At the last of these sittings, the morning of July 9, “The plan of the Union was debated and agreed upon, and Mr. Franklin was desired to make a draught of it as now concluded upon.”9 Franklin was absent from the afternoon meeting that day “by his appointment of this morning,” but at the morning session of the 10th he “reported the draught in a new form of a plan of a Union agreeable to the determination of yesterday.” The paper was read paragraph by paragraph and debated both morning and afternoon. Finally it was “Resolved. That the Commissioners from the several Governments be desired to lay the same before their respective constituents for their consideration, and that the Secretary to this Board transmit a copy thereof with their vote thereon to the Governor of each of the Colonies which have not sent their Commissioners to this Congress.”
Unfortunately, the minutes do not record the details of the vote on this resolution, and Atkinson’s “Memo Book” is no help, for, curiously enough, it omits all mention of this debate and vote. The other evidence is sharply contradictory. Writing to Colden from New York, July 21, on his way home, Franklin admitted that there had been “a great deal of Disputation about the Plan” during the Congress, “but at length we agreed on it pretty unanimously.”1 Thomas Pownall, who observed the proceedings, wrote in a letter to England, July 23, that “What appears in the Minutes was the Unanimous Opinion of all mett except N York and in some points Mr. Norris of Philadelphia and he only so far differ’d as the Principles of the Party he is at the head of lead him to appear.”2 A committee of the Connecticut Assembly appointed to study the Albany Plan reported in October that “The gentlemen, who went commissioners from the colony of Connecticut, objected to the proposed plan; and thought they were never answered or obviated, and therefore never came into, or gave any consent to the same.”3 Writing in the 1780s, Thomas Hutchinson declared flatly that the plan was “unanimously voted,”4 and Franklin stated twice in the same decade that it was “unanimously agreed to.”5 At about the same time or a little later, William Smith, the New York historian, whose father had been a member of the Committee on the Plan of Union at Albany, wrote that “Except Mr. Delancey, every member consented to this plan, and qualified as he was rather for short altercation than copious debate, he made no great opposition.”6 While these statements cannot be reconciled, probably Hutchinson’s and Franklin’s later memories were at fault, and there was opposition to the final vote at least from the Connecticut commissioners and from some of the New York representatives. A somewhat oblique passage in Franklin’s autobiography also suggests that Pownall may have been correct in indicating that Isaac Norris disliked the plan.7
Detailed comparison of the text of the Albany Plan of Union as entered on the official record with the committee’s “Short Hints” presented June 28 shows clearly that the discussions which had taken place on the floor of the Congress produced many alterations and additions in details but few major changes in substance. The headings of both documents agreed in calling for “one General Government,” but the committee’s “Short Hints” proposed to include “all the British dominions on the continent,” while the final plan specifically named the individual colonies from New England south to the Carolinas omitting Delaware and ignoring Nova Scotia and Georgia.8 Again, the final plan was more specific in the matter of the representation to be allowed each colony in the Grand Council, at least at the start. The numbers ranged from two each for New Hampshire and Rhode Island to seven each for Massachusetts and Virginia, but the plan provided that after the first three years the quotas were to be based, as they were in the committee’s scheme, on the relative amounts of money raised in each colony for the common treasury. The final plan provided for the election of a speaker by the Grand Council and stipulated that upon the death of the president general the speaker was to succeed temporarily to his powers, while neither Franklin’s original scheme nor the committee’s proposals mentioned a speaker or indicated who was to take over the chief executive’s responsibilities in case of that official’s death. The final plan also arranged for the temporary filling of vacancies in minor offices when necessary, as the committee’s proposals had not done.
In contrast, the plan approved by the Congress was less specific than either Franklin or the committee had been on the sources of revenues for the new central government. They had suggested particular duties and excises which seemed most equitable, but the final plan simply authorized the levying of “such General Duties, Imposts, or Taxes” as appeared most equal and just and least inconvenient.9 The committee had proposed the appointment of a treasurer in each colony and the local retention of funds until paid out on orders of the president general and Grand Council; the final plan contained a similar provision but also called for a general treasurer and common treasury to which funds might be transferred by the “particular” treasurers if so required.
One striking change concerns the buying of land from the Indians. The committee’s scheme had authorized the president general and Grand Council to make such purchases only “of Lands not within the bounds of perticuler Colonies”; the Congress plan contains the same limitations but adds: “or that shall not be within their Bounds when some of them are reduced to more Convenient Dimensions.” As Franklin later indicated in his commentary on the plan,1 this addition was aimed at the colonies with sea-to-sea charters; they would include Virginia and the two Carolinas, none of which was represented at Albany, and Massachusetts and Connecticut, both of which were. It is not surprising that this provision should cause disquiet among the Connecticut commissioners, all of whom were members of the Susquehannah Company, at that very time attempting to buy Indian lands within Pennsylvania’s boundaries on the strength of their colony’s prior charter. The last significant addition to be mentioned here which grew out of the discussions of the Congress was one authorizing the president general and Grand Council to make laws for the settlements established on such land purchases “till the Crown shall think fit to form them into Particular Governments.” Here is a pale foreshadowing of the scheme adopted in the Northwest Ordinance of 1787 for the creation of “territorial” governments as a transitional step in the evolution of new states. Other, less important changes incorporated in the final plan will be indicated in footnotes at the appropriate places in the text.
It is necessary to discuss here the questions of primary authorship of the Albany Plan and of the source or sources for its ideas and phraseology, because of a controversy on these points over the past several years. Professor Lawrence H. Gipson has contended that Thomas Hutchinson played a much larger part in the framing of the plan than he has usually been given credit for; that, like Franklin, he had drafted a plan before the Congress met; that this paper was considered by the commissioners; and that many of its provisions and even more of its phraseology appeared in the final text that Franklin presented to the Congress on the morning of July 10, in obedience to the instructions given him the day before. This view has been sharply challenged, especially by Professor Verner W. Crane.2
With one important exception the later statements by Franklin and Hutchinson on the responsibility for the plan support the traditional view of Franklin’s primary authorship. Those statements closest in time to the meeting of the Congress come from Franklin. On July 14, three days after the adjournment he wrote to Colden, “The Commissioners agreed on a Plan of Union, viz. from N Hampshire to So. Carolina inclusive: the same with that of which I sent you the Hints, some few Particulars excepted.”3 Five and a half months later, writing to Peter Collinson, December 29, he referred to the influence of “the commissioners from the 2 popular Governments” (Connecticut and Rhode Island), and added: “For tho’ I projected the Plan and drew it, I was oblig’d to alter some Things contrary to my Judgment, or should never have been able to carry it through.”4 From this claim to primary authorship Franklin never deviated; writing in 1788 he remembered that at Albany “A Committee was then appointed one Member from each Colony, to consider the several Plans and report. Mine happen’d to be prefer’d, and with a few Amendments was accordingly reported.”5
Hutchinson’s earliest known statement is in a letter dated Oct. 27, 1769, to Sir Francis Bernard, governor of Massachusetts, discussing the nonimportation movement and efforts for concerted action against parliamentary taxation. He referred to the earlier attempt at colonial union: “At the congress at Albany in 1754 I was in favour of an Union of the governments for certain Purposes and I drew the Plan which was then accepted [but] if I had imagined such absurd notions of government could ever have entred unto the heads of the Americans as are now Publickly avowed I should then have been against any sort of union as I was for it.”6 Thus fifteen years after the event Hutchinson emphatically claimed authorship of the Albany Plan, but some years later he ascribed it to Franklin equally emphatically three times. In the third volume of his History of Massachusetts Bay, written in England during the 1780s, he declared: “The plan for a general union was projected by Benjamin Franklin, Esq., one of the commissioners from the province of Pennsylvania, the heads whereof he brought with him.” And again, “Mr. Franklin defended his own plan” against Shirley’s counter-proposals later in 1754.7 In the autobiographical sketch he wrote during the same decade Hutchinson was even more specific: “The same famous Dr. Franklin was one of the Commissioners from Pensilvania. He, with Mr. Hutchinson, were the Committee who drew up the plan of Union, and the representation of the state of the Colonies. The former was the projection of Dr. F., and prepared in part before he had any consultation with Mr. H., probably brought with him from Philadelphia; the latter was the draught of Mr. H.”8
Reconciliation of Hutchinson’s one statement of his own authorship with his three statements of Franklin’s authorship and Franklin’s own three, is virtually impossible. If Hutchinson was correct in 1769, he was wrong three times in the 1780s, and Franklin was wrong twice in 1754 and once in 1788. Gipson’s explanation of Hutchinson’s several repudiations of his own authorship is that “his one aim in these writings seems to have been—with the American union then a fact—to place the chief responsibility for promoting earlier unions on the shoulders of his one-time friend, Franklin, who was now his enemy and that of all American loyalists.”9 This argument is plausible but hardly convincing, and it does not explain why Franklin should have misstated his part three times, two of them while the events of the Congress were fresh in his memory.1 On balance, the six statements in support of Franklin’s primary authorship seem the more weighty.
Professor Gipson believes that the text of a plan of union prepared by Hutchinson before the Albany meeting is to be found in one of two draft plans located among the Trumbull Papers in the Connecticut State Library,2 and that Franklin used it extensively in preparing the “draught in a new form” he laid before the Congress on July 10, which became the text of the final Albany Plan. Both these drafts are in the handwriting of Jonathan Trumbull, not an Albany commissioner but a member of the Connecticut Council who apparently served as secretary of the committee appointed by the Assembly to report on the Albany Plan after it was brought back by the commissioners. Both manuscripts contain cancellations and interlinear additions in Trumbull’s hand. Internal evidence establishes that the shorter of the two plans is the earlier in composition, though they are bound in reverse order among the Trumbull Papers. Merely for convenience, they will be called here the Trumbull Short Plan and the Trumbull Long Plan, without any intention of ascribing authorship by these names.
No contemporary document has been found that mentions a written plan prepared by Hutchinson or any other person in Massachusetts before the Albany meeting. Franklin states in his autobiography that “several of the Commissioners had form’d Plans of the same kind” as his own, but he does not identify the authors nor say whether their plans had been written out—any more than his had been before he set it down in outline form for James Alexander in New York on his way to Albany.3 The official minutes record, June 24, that a committee was appointed “to prepare and receive Plans or Schemes” and “to digest them into one general plan,” but these minutes do not say what documents the committee was expected to receive. It is therefore an assumption only, though not an unreasonable one, that there were other written plans similar in general purport to Franklin’s “Short Hints.” An equally reasonable contrary assumption is that Hutchinson and others presented their ideas orally rather than in writing. No proof of either assumption has been found.4
It is well known that Governor Shirley, Hutchinson, and other Massachusetts leaders were strong advocates of a colonial union before the Albany meeting, and the commission Shirley gave his delegates was the only one which mentioned the adoption of “articles of Union and Confederation” as one of the objects of the Congress. Certainly the Massachusetts commissioners arrived with some plan in mind, whatever its content and form. After careful study of all the available evidence, the present editors believe that neither the Trumbull Short Plan nor the Trumbull Long Plan, with or without the emendations appearing on the manuscripts, represents the text of a paper written before the Albany meeting and presented to the Congress or its committee for consideration.
A complete exposition of the reasons for this conclusion would require far more space than is appropriate for this headnote. It may be said in general, however, that the argument in favor of identifying one of the documents in Trumbull’s hand with a pre-Albany plan by Hutchinson rests for the most part on a series of assumptions which cannot be proved (or positively disproved) because the necessary external evidence does not exist. A major reason for rejecting the Gipson identification is found in a detailed textual analysis of the five central documents concerned. They are: 1. Franklin’s “Short Hints,” which we know was laid before the Congress committee (above, p. 337); 2. The committee’s “Short Hints,” presented to the Congress on June 28 (above, p. 361); 3. The Albany Plan of Union, agreed to in principle, July 9, reduced to a “new form” by Franklin and presented to the Congress on the morning of July 10 and referred to the various assemblies the same afternoon; 4. The Trumbull Short Plan; 5. The Trumbull Long Plan.
For this purpose an arrangement of the five documents in parallel columns is necessary, with those phrases or sentences relating to the same topics placed together, without regard to their order in the different documents.5 Such an arrangement reveals clearly the close relationship between Franklin’s “Short Hints” and the committee’s “Short Hints,” and between the final Albany Plan and the two Trumbull plans.6 An obvious reason for the considerable differences in wording between the two groups is that the first two papers are merely outlines of proposals for consideration, while those in the second group are fully worked out plans. The Albany Plan is known to be the “new form” that Franklin prepared for final action after the Congress had debated the committee’s “Short Hints” at length; their differences in wording are quite in keeping with the different purposes they were designed to serve.
Gipson has used the similarities within each of the two groups and the differences between the two as a major basis for his hypothesis. He believes that Franklin borrowed the phraseology of Hutchinson’s pre-Albany plan (exemplified in one of the Trumbull documents) for use in the “new form” into which he recast the committee’s “Short Hints” after the latter had been debated and amended in the Congress. In this way Gipson both explains the similarity in wording of the final Albany Plan and the Trumbull plans and supports his hypothesis that the Trumbull plans were written before the Congress met. Just why Franklin should have made such a borrowing is not clear. By 1754 he had been writing for the public—and writing fluently and well—for more than thirty years; moreover, as an active member of the Pennsylvania Assembly he had repeatedly taken part in the drafting of committee reports, messages to the governor, and bills, which embodied the results of discussions of a deliberative body. In short, he was an old hand at just the sort of writing the Congress asked him to undertake. With all this background, he certainly would have felt no need to resort to the phraseology of a document written by another man which had not served as the basis for the Congress debates. Such a suggestion must be rejected unless positive evidence in its favor can be produced.
Closer examination of the wording of the five documents, arranged in parallel columns by topics, suggests strongly that both Trumbull plans were written after the Albany Plan, not before it. They are almost certainly two stages of an attempt to revise it into something more acceptable to many New Englanders. It is true that in many passages there is nothing to indicate an order of composition. In others, however, the priority of the Albany Plan seems probable, and in a few almost conclusive. The latter is especially the case if the emendations in the Trumbull documents are taken into account.
For example, the Albany Plan declares “That the said General Government be administered by a President General.” The Trumbull Short Plan reads the same except that “one” replaces “a” before “President General.” Unamended, the Trumbull Long Plan repeats the words of the Trumbull Short Plan, but the changes in the manuscript are significant: “That [inserted above: in] the said General Government [Government is struck through and inserted above is: Union, The Ordering and Directing of the Affairs thereof] be administered by one President General.” These emendations were certainly made after the action of the Congress.
The probable chronological relationship of the five documents is best shown in the opening lines of the sections dealing with the powers of the president general (called “governor general” in Franklin’s “Short Hints”) and the Grand Council:
Franklin’s “Short Hints”: To order all Indian Treaties
Committee’s “Short Hints”: To hold or order all Indian Treaties, regulate all Indian Trade, make Peace and Declare War with the Indian Nations
Albany Plan: That the president General, with the Advice of the Grand Council, hold or Direct all Indian Treaties in which the General Interest or Welfare of the Colony’s may be Concerned; and make Peace or Declare War with Indian Nations.
Trumbull Short Plan: That the President General with the Advice and Consent of the Grand Council hold and Direct all Indian Treaties in which the General Interest or Welfare of These Colonies may be concerned; and make peace or declare Warr with Indian Nations
Trumbull Long Plan: That the President General with the Grand Council Summoned and Assembled for that Purpose, or a Quorum of Them as aforesaid shall hold and direct all Indian Treaties in which the General Interest or Welfare of these Colonies may be Concerned; and make Peace or Declare Warr with Indian Nations.
Each of the documents after the first adds words not found in that next above it. The nature of these additions suggest strongly that the documents were composed in the order here indicated. Comparison of passages closely following the one above quoted, supports the same conclusion, especially when it is recognized that the two Trumbull plans originated in New England, where neither Massachusetts nor Connecticut people were anxious to have their asserted bounds “reduced to more convenient dimensions,” as the Albany Plan proposed. Their altered phraseology appears to be a conscious effort to soften the implications of wording adopted by a more widely representative group:
Franklin “Short Hints”: make all Indian purchases not within proprietary Grants.
Committee’s “Short Hints”: Make all Indian Purchases of Lands not within the Bounds of Perticuler Colonies.
Albany Plan: That they Make all Purchases from the Indians for the Crown, of Lands now not within the Bounds of Particular Colonies or that shall not be within their Bounds when some of them are reduced to more Convenient Dimensions.
Trumbull Short Plan: That They make all purchases from Indians for the Crown of Lands not now within the Bounds of particular Colonies, or That shall not be within Their Bounds when the Dimention [written directly upon the first five letters of this last word is: Exten, making it read Extention] of Some of Them are rendered more Certain.
Trumbull Long Plan: That they make all purchases from Indians for the Crown of Lands not now within the Bounds of particular Colonies, or That shall not be within their bounds when the Extention of Some of them are rendered more Certain.
Such differences as these appear to the present editors as almost conclusive evidence that the two documents in Trumbull’s hand, whatever their authorship, were composed and revised after the Albany Plan was approved by the Congress.7 Both in content and in phraseology they appear to be later modifications, not sources, of the Albany Plan. And since they are in many details so contrary to what Franklin advocated, it is certain that he could have had nothing to do with their composition; hence their texts are not included in this edition of his papers.8 On the other hand, the sequence from Franklin’s “Short Hints” through the committee’s “Short Hints” to the final plan as written out by Franklin and approved by the Congress is clearly established by the complete textual analysis. The plan was based initially on Franklin’s “Short Hints”; it was modified and altered in some particulars by the views of other delegates (doubtless including Hutchinson) in order to gain the support of a majority; and it was cast in final form once again by Franklin.
[July 10, 1754]
Plan of a Proposed Union of the Several Colonies of Masachusets-bay, New Hampshire, Coneticut, Rhode Island, New York, New Jerseys, Pensilvania, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina,9 For their Mutual Defence and Security, and for Extending the British Settlements in North America.
That humble Application be made for an Act of the Parliament of Great Britain, by Virtue of which, one General Government may be formed in America, including all the said Colonies, within and under which Government, each Colony may retain its present Constitution, except in the Particulars wherein a Change may be directed by the said Act, as hereafter follows.1
|President General||That the said General Government be administred by a President General, To be appointed and Supported by the Crown, and a Grand Council to be Chosen by the Representatives of the People of the Several Colonies, met in their respective Assemblies.|
|That within Months after the passing of2 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,3 may and Shall Choose Members for the Grand Council in the following Proportions, that is to say.|
|Place of first meeting.||Who shall meet for the first time at the City of Philadelphia, in Pensilvania,5 being called by the President General as soon as conveniently may be, after his Appointment.|
|New Election.||That there shall be a New Election of Members for the Grand Council every three years; And on the Death or Resignation of any Member his Place shall be Supplyed by a New Choice at the next Sitting of the Assembly of the Colony he represented.6|
|Proportion of Members after first 3 years.||That after the first three years, when the Proportion of Money arising out of each Colony to the General Treasury can be known, The Number of Members to be Chosen, for each Colony shall from time to time in all ensuing Elections be regulated by that proportion (yet so as that the Number to be Chosen by any one Province be not more than Seven nor less than Two).|
|Meetings of Grand Council.||That the Grand Council shall meet once in every Year, and oftner if Occasion require,7 at such Time and place as they shall adjourn to at the last preceeding meeting, or as they shall be called to meet at by the President General, on any Emergency, he having first obtained in Writing the Consent of seven of the Members to such call, and sent due and timely Notice to the whole.|
|Speaker.||That the Grand Council have Power to Chuse their Speaker, and shall neither be Dissolved, prorogued nor Continue Sitting longer than Six Weeks at one Time without their own Consent, or the Special Command of the Crown.8|
|Member’s Allowance||That the Members of the Grand Council shall be Allowed for their Service ten shillings Sterling per Diem, during their Sessions or Journey9 to and from the Place of Meeting; Twenty miles to be reckoned a days Journey.|
|Assent of President General. His Duty.||That the Assent of the President General be requisite,1 to all Acts of the Grand Council, and that it be His Office, and Duty to cause them to be carried into Execution.|
|Power of President and Grand Council. Peace and War.||That the President General with the Advice of the Grand Council, hold or Direct all Indian Treaties in which the General Interest or Welfare of the Colony’s may be Concerned;2 And make Peace or Declare War with the Indian Nations. That they make such Laws as they Judge Necessary for regulating all Indian Trade. That they make all Purchases from Indians for the Crown, of Lands3 not within the Bounds of Particular Colonies,4 or that shall not be within their Bounds when some of them are reduced to more Convenient Dimensions. That they make New Settlements on such Purchases, by Granting Lands in the Kings Name, reserving a Quit Rent to the Crown, for the use of the General Treasury. That they make Laws for regulating and Governing such new Settlements, till the Crown shall think fit to form them into Particular Governments.|
|Laws to Govern them.|
|Raise Soldiers &c. Lakes.||That they5 raise and pay Soldiers, and build Forts for the Defence of any of the Colonies, and equip Vessels of Force to Guard the Coasts and Protect the Trade on the Ocean, Lakes, or Great Rivers;6 But they shall not Impress Men in any Colonies,7 without the Consent of its Legislature. That for these purposes they have Power to make Laws And lay and Levy such General Duties, Imposts, or Taxes, as to them shall appear8 most equal and Just, Considering the Ability and other Circumstances of the Inhabitants in the Several Colonies, and such as may be Collected with the least Inconvenience to the People, rather discouraging Luxury, than Loading Industry with unnecessary Burthens. That they may a General Treasurer and a Particular Treasurer in each Government, when Necessary, And from Time to Time may Order the Sums in the Treasuries of each Government, into the General Treasury, or draw on them for Special payments as they find most Convenient; Yet no money to Issue, but by joint Orders of the President General and Grand Council Except where Sums have been Appropriated to particular Purposes, And the President General is previously impowered By an Act to draw for such Sums.9|
|Not to Impress|
|Power to make Laws Duties &c.|
|Money how to Issue.|
|Accounts.||That the General Accounts shall be yearly Settled and Reported to the Several Assembly’s.|
|Quorum.||That a Quorum of the Grand Council impower’d 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.1 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,2 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.3|
|Laws to be Transmitted.|
|Death of 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 Authority,4 to Continue5 until the King’s Pleasure be known.|
|Officers how Appointed.||That all Military Commission Officers Whether for Land or Sea Service, to Act under this General Constitution, shall be Nominated by the President General But the Approbation of the Grand Council, is to be Obtained before they receive 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; 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 Council6 can be known. That the Particular Military as well as Civil Establishments in each Colony remain in their present State, this General Constitution Notwithstanding. And that on Sudden Emergencies any Colony may Defend itself, and lay the Accounts of Expence thence Arisen, 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.7|
|Vacancies how Supplied.|
|Each Colony may defend itself on Emergency.|
8. The first five copies listed are contained in sets of minutes of the Albany Congress; the last four are separate texts of the Plan of Union only. The Lib. Cong. copy is endorsed in BF’s hand: “Plan of a proposed Union of Massachusetts &c for their Mutual Defence &c.” The N.-Y. Hist. Soc. copy is the one BF sent to Colden with his letter of July 21, 1754. It is in a copyist’s hand, but at the end BF has written the text of the resolution for transmitting the plan to the assemblies and added: “Copy from the Minutes.” Significant textual variations of the other copies (except the Boston Univ. Lib. copy and the APS fragment) from that in the Public Record Office are indicated in footnotes; minor textual differences and variations in the postils or side heads will not be noted. The Lib. Cong. copy has no postils.
9. According to Theodore Atkinson’s “Memo Book” the Congress “went thro the report of the Committee on the affair of the Union Paragraph by Paragraph and Voted them. Desired Mr. Franklin to reduce them to regularity.” Beverly McAnear, “Personal Accounts of the Albany Congress of 1754,” Miss. Valley Hist. Rev., XXXIX (1952–53), 739. The only one of the earlier debates on which the “Memo Book” sheds light (other than the vote on the previous question, July 2; see above, p. 348 n) is an entry for July 4: “Attended at the Town Hall where the Commissioners again Debated on Sundry Paragraphes of the Comittees report in relation to a Union of the Collonies. Agreed to Several, I think every Commissioner Except the Connecticut Gentlemen who thot there was too great a Power Lodged in the President Genll but were Still ready to assist in the main Designe.” Ibid., p. 738.
1. See below, p. 394.
2. The letter was probably addressed to Lord Halifax. The full text is printed in Beverly McAnear, “Personal Accounts of the Albany Congress of 1753,” Miss. Valley Hist. Rev., XXXIX (1952–53), 740–6; the quotation appears on p. 744.
3. 1 Mass. Hist. Soc. Colls., VII, 213.
4. Thomas Hutchinson, The History of the Province of Massachusetts Bay, III (London, 1828), 23.
5. Par. Text edit., p. 326; see also, below, p. 417.
6. William Smith (1728–1793), in The History of the Late Province of New-York (N.Y., 1829), II, 183. The author was thoroughly antagonistic to DeLancey and devoted nearly a page following the above quotation to somewhat discreditable reasons for the lieutenant governor’s opposition. Smith states that Joseph Murray, one of the New York councilors, was the only man present whom DeLancey could “proselyte.” It should be noted that DeLancey was absent from the morning session of July 9, when the Plan of Union was “debated and agreed upon,” but that he presided at the afternoon session of the 10th when the final resolution on BF’s finished draft was adopted. In his letter of July 22, 1754, to the Board of Trade transmitting a copy of the Albany proceedings, DeLancey mentioned that it included a plan of union, but made no comment on it. N.Y. Col. Docs., VI, 850–2.
7. Par. Text edit., pp. 328, 330; see also below, p. 427 n.
8. Delaware’s status was ambiguous: with the same governor and council as Pennsylvania, though with its own unicameral legislature, it was often omitted from lists of the separate colonial governments. The exclusion of Nova Scotia and Georgia can be explained not only because of their sparse English-speaking populations in 1754 but more importantly because their civil administrations and military garrisons were supported by annual parliamentary appropriations.
9. An interesting reflection of BF’s views, not found in the committee’s “Short Hints,” appears in the final plan. He had suggested a possible “excise on superfluities as tea &c.”; the Albany Plan recommended that the taxes levied should be aimed at “rather discouraging Luxury, than loading Industry with unnecessary Burthens.”
1. See below, p. 410.
2. Published writings on this controversy include Gipson, British Empire, V, 126–38; Gipson, “Thomas Hutchinson and the Framing of the Albany Plan of Union, 1754,” PMHB, LXXIV (1950), 5–35; Verner W. Crane and Lawrence H. Gipson, “Letters to the Editor On the Albany Congress Plan of Union, 1754,” ibid., LXXV (1951), 350–62; Gipson, “The Drafting of the Albany Plan of Union: A Problem in Semantics,” Pa. Hist., XXVI (1959), 290–316; Crane and Gipson, “Letters to the Editor On the Drafting of the Albany Plan of Union,” ibid., XXVII (1960), 126–136; Gipson, “Massachusetts Bay and American Colonial Union, 1754,” Amer. Antiq. Soc. Proc., LXXI (1961), pt. 1, 63–92. Professor Gipson generously allowed the editors to read the last of these papers while still in typescript. Additional comment, generally adverse to the Gipson thesis, is in Robert C. Newbold, The Albany Congress and Plan of Union of 1754 (N.Y., 1955), pp. 96–105; Malcolm Freiberg, “Thomas Hutchinson: The First Fifty Years (1711–1761),” 3 Wm. and Mary Quar., XV (1958), 51–2; Roger R. Trask, “Pennsylvania and the Albany Congress, 1754,” Pa. Hist., XXVII (1960), 273–90.
3. See below, p. 393.
4. See below, p. 454.
5. Par. Text edit., p. 326.
6. Quoted by Gipson, with a facsimile of the manuscript, in “The Drafting of the Albany Plan of Union: A Problem in Semantics,” Pa. Hist., XXVI (1959), 290, 295.
7. History of the Province of Massachusetts Bay, III, 21, 23. It may be noted in passing that Hutchinson does not even suggest here that he too brought a plan with him to Albany.
8. Peter O. Hutchinson, The Diary and Letters of … Thomas Hutchinson, Esq. (London, 1883), I, 55.
9. Pa. Hist., XXVI (1959), 297.
1. According to Gipson, Hutchinson’s statement of 1769 that he “drew the Plan which was then accepted” at Albany “can only be reconciled with other known facts, and with Hutchinson’s rationality at the time of this disclosure, if one takes it to mean that the structure and language of the final Albany Plan were of his original drafting.” Pa. Hist., XXVI (1959), 315. The same can be said about BF’s similar use of the verb “drew” when he told Collinson, Dec. 29, 1754, that he, Franklin, “projected the Plan and drew it,” a statement which has the added advantage as historical evidence of having been made less than six months after the event rather than fifteen years later.
2. These two manuscripts are in Trumbull Papers, I, 93a–f (the Long Plan) and 94a–d (the Short Plan). They are printed in Conn. Hist. Soc. Colls., XVII (1918), 20–9.
3. Par. Text edit., p. 326. BF had, of course, described his idea of a colonial union in his letter to James Parker, March 20, 1751, which had been printed in Archibald Kennedy’s pamphlet on Indian relations (see above, IV, 117–19). Though the proposals in that letter may well have influenced the thinking of readers of the Kennedy pamphlet—including possibly Hutchinson—and though they conform in most respects to the scheme BF outlined in his “Short Hints” of June 8, 1754, they had not been cast in a form suitable for presentation to a deliberative body such as the Albany Congress. BF’s “Short Hints” is his earliest paper we know of which could be so described.
4. Part of Gipson’s hypothetical reconstruction of events is an informal meeting of some of the commissioners to discuss intercolonial union on June 14, the day on which the Congress was supposed to meet but five days before it actually began. His evidence for this is a date in the heading of the Trumbull Long Plan not found in the surviving manuscript version but included in the document as printed in 1 Mass. Hist. Soc. Colls., VII (1801), 203. As indicated above (p. 344), however, there is no contemporary evidence that any of the commissioners reached Albany before June 15, some did not arrive until the 17th, and Hutchinson himself appeared only on the 21st, two days after the formal sessions had begun. Atkinson’s “Memo Book” indicates that DeLancey entertained the New Hampshire and Connecticut delegates at dinner June 17 and that on the 18th and 19th the New Hampshire delegates exchanged courtesy calls with those from Connecticut and Pennsylvania, but it contains no hint of informal discussions of a plan of union on any of those days. Miss Valley Hist. Rev., XXXIX (1952–53), 730–1. Professor Crane has solid grounds for his contention that the 1801 editors of the Collections, who, he has shown, knew little about the Congress, must have interpolated the date into the heading simply because the Congress had been summoned for June 14, and that no such preliminary meeting among the commissioners was held as Gipson believes. Any plans brought forward were almost certainly first presented, orally or in writing, to the Congress itself after it met on June 19 or to the committee after its appointment on June 24.
5. The editors have made such an arrangement for their own use, but its great length and cumbersomeness make it unsuitable for printing in full here. The parallel text version of four of these five documents (omitting the committee’s “Short Hints”) which Gipson printed in PMHB, LXXIV (1950), 29–35, fails to place in juxtaposition all the passages in each which deal with the same subjects and to show as such all the emendations in the two Trumbull plans.
6. This similarity is found only in those parts of the last three documents where the framework of the proposed union is the same. The two Trumbull plans describe a union of the northern colonies only, provide for a substantially weaker organization and for the raising of funds by each assembly on a quota system instead of by uniform taxation, and in various other ways differ from the scheme proposed in the Albany Plan and the two sets of “Short Hints.” Phraseology necessarily differs greatly wherever such variations are found.
7. Two other differences between the Trumbull plans and the Albany Plan may be significant for the order of composition: 1. The section of the Albany Plan dealing with the appointment of treasurers and the ordering of payments is repeated, with unimportant changes, only in part in the Trumbull Short Plan and then is followed by “&c. &c.”: “That the President General and Grand Council may Appoint a General Treasurer, and a particular Treasurer in Each Government when necessary—&c. &c.” suggesting a previous document from which this passage is repeated. The Trumbull Long Plan (a more finished paper) gives the passage in full with the same unimportant changes. 2. The Trumbull Short Plan entirely omits the passage at the very end of the Albany Plan dealing with the emergency defense of individual colonies; in the Trumbull Long Plan the passage is written out in full but then struck through, suggesting that it had been copied from the Albany Plan but that the author or authors of the Trumbull Long Plan had later decided to eliminate it.
8. The editors wish it were possible for them to solve the knotty problem of the origin of the two Trumbull plans, but do not consider it essentially their responsibility. As Gipson has forcefully and justly pointed out, the two plans contain several features which would be objectionable to the political leaders of Connecticut and for that reason Connecticut authorship seems questionable. The fact that both provide, either in their original form or through emendation, that the governor of Massachusetts was to be ex officio president general of the union and that the first meeting of the Grand Council was to be held in Boston, suggests a Massachusetts origin. On the other hand, if the Connecticut people had to indicate a preference among possible appointees to the office, they would probably have favored the popular and experienced William Shirley of Massachusetts to James DeLancey of New York or any other royal official then in America, or to some unknown Englishman who might be sent over. Almost certainly they would have preferred Massachusetts leadership in general to that of New York. No satisfactory explanation appears as to why, if either or both plans were composed in Massachusetts, they are found only in the handwriting of a Connecticut councilor, who was serving as a member of a Connecticut Assembly committee when he wrote them down. A further difficulty lies in the fact that the Short Plan specifies in one of its final paragraphs that in case of the death of the president general the “D Govr” of Massachusetts was to succeed him. The title “deputy governor” was officially used at this time for the governor’s potential successor only in Connecticut and Rhode Island; every public figure in Massachusetts knew that the corresponding official in their province held the title of “lieutenant governor.” The Trumbull Long Plan confers the succession on the “Lt. Gov.” of Massachusetts.
9. Lib. Cong. copy reads: “Plan of a Proposed Union of Massachusetts &c” and omits the names of the other colonies. N.-Y. Hist. Soc. copy omits “and South Carolina,” but inserts “and South” above the line between “North” and “Carolina.”
1. The clause safeguarding the colonial constitutions and a similar one in the final paragraph concerning the civil and military establishments are not found in the committee’s “Short Hints.”
2. N.-Y. Hist. Soc. copy omits: “of.”
3. Lib. Cong. copy omits: “that Happen … convened.”
4. N.-Y. Hist. Soc. copy omits: “Bay.”
5. Lib. Cong. copy omits: “in Pensilvania.”
6. The committee’s “Short Hints” makes no provision for filling vacancies on the Grand Council.
7. Lib. Cong. copy: “if necessary.”
8. Lib. Cong. copy: “or special Orders From the Crown.”
9. In all other copies but N.-Y. Hist. Soc.: “their Sessions and Journey”; N.-Y. Hist. Soc. copy: “their Sessions and Journeys.”
1. Lib. Cong. copy: “required.”
2. The committee’s “Short Hints” authorized the President General and Grand Council “to hold or order all Indian Treaties,” without qualification.
3. All other copies add: “now.”
4. Lib. Cong. copy: “provinces.”
5. R.I. Arch. copy adds: “may.”
6. BF and the committee both omitted mention of the lakes and rivers.
7. All other copies: “colony.”
8. R.I. Arch. copy: “as to themselves appear.”
9. The committee’s “Short Hints” do not mention the exception included here.
1. The committee “Short Hints” raised the question of a quorum in a query at the end, but did not answer it.
2. This provision does not occur in the committee’s “Short Hints” but is found, with somewhat varying phraseology, in the charters of all the colonies that sent delegates to Albany and in the commissions of most royal governors including those of New York.
3. The committee’s “Short Hints” suggested that there be a time limit for the transmission and approval of laws but indicated only that it be “within months.” The provision here incorporated repeats, in much shortened phraseology, that in the Massachusetts charter of 1691. The Pennsylvania charter required all laws to be transmitted to the Privy Council within five years of enactment but allowed only six months after delivery for any disallowance. The Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Maryland charters contain no requirement for the transmission of laws to England, and both the Trumbull Short and Long Plans omit this entire sentence. These facts indicate Massachusetts influence on the Albany Plan but may further support the hypothesis that the two Trumbull plans originated in Connecticut.
4. All other copies: “Authorities.”
5. R.I. Arch., John Carter Brown, and Lib. Cong. copies: “and continue.”
6. Lib. Cong. copy omits: “and Grand Council.”
7. The committee “Short Hints” includes at the end a prohibition of the declaration of war by “Perticular Colonies,” omitted in the Albany Plan.