Earlier, Franklin had written to friends and colleagues proposing a plan of voluntary union for the colonies.
The Albany Congress began on June 19, , and the commissioners voted unanimously to discuss the possibility of union on June The union committee submitted a draft of the plan on June 28, and commissioners debated aspects of it until they adopted a final version on July Although only seven colonies sent commissioners, the plan proposed the union of all the British colonies except for Georgia and Delaware.
The colonial governments were to select members of a "Grand Council," while the British Government would appoint a "president General.
Acknowledging the tendency of royal colonial governors to override colonial legislatures and pursue unpopular policies, the Albany Plan gave the Grand Council greater relative authority. The plan also allowed the new government to levy taxes for its own support.
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- Reasons and Motives for the Albany Plan of Union, [July ];
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Despite the support of many colonial leaders, the plan, as formulated at Albany, did not become a reality. Colonial governments, sensing that it would curb their own authority and territorial rights, either rejected the plan or chose not to act on it at all. The British Government had already dispatched General Edward Braddock as military commander in chief along with two commissioners to handle Indian relations, and believed that directives from London would suffice in the management of colonial affairs.
The Albany Plan was not conceived out of a desire to secure independence from Great Britain. Many colonial commissioners actually wished to increase imperial authority in the colonies.
Its framers saw it instead as a means to reform colonial-imperial relationsand to recognize that the colonies collectively shared certain common interests. Despite the failure of the Albany Plan, it served as a model for future attempts at union: it attempted to establish the division between the executive and legislative branches of government, while establishing a common governmental authority to deal with external relations.
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 empowered by an act to draw such sums.
That a quorum of the Grand Council, empowered 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. 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.
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. 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 Council can be known.
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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 General Council, who may allow and order payment of the same, as far as they judge such accounts just and reasonable. The Growth of the American Republic : Volume 1.
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Seventh Edition. New York : Oxford University Press; Note added by the Avalon Project.
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