Albany Plan of Union, Short Hints

June 28, 1754

This draft of the Albany Plan of Union was called "Short Hints towards a Scheme for a General Union of the British Colonies on the Continent" and was produced by the Albany Congress Committee on the date of June 28, 1754. This is the original text.

Benjamin Franklin, Portrait

The “Short Hints” produced by the Albany Congress were based on a similar document that Benjamin Franklin took to the Albany Congress in 1754 and presented to the other delegates.

Short hints towards a Scheme for a General Union of the Brittish Colonies on the Continent.

In Such a Scheme the Just Prerogative of the Crown must be preserved or it will not be Approved and Confirmed in England. The Just liberties of the People must be Secured or the Several Colonies will Disapprove of it and Oppose it. Yet Some Prerogative may be abated to Extend Dominion and Increase Subjects and Some Liberty to Obtain Safety.

The Power of all the Colonies should be Ready to Defend any one of them with the Greatest Possible Dispatch.

Therefore Particuler Considerations in the Several Assemblies of the Expediency of any General Measure must be avoided as attended with much delay many difficulties and Great Uncertainty.

Suppose then that One General Government be formd Including all the Brittish Dominions on the Continent Within and Under which Government the Several Colonies may Each Enjoy its own Constitution Laws Liberties and Priviledges as so many Seperate Corporations in one Common Wealth. To this End Suppose there be a Grand Councill to Consist of two members at least Chosen by the Representatives of each Colony in Assembly. The larger Colonies to Choose more in Some Proportion to the Sums they Yearly Contribute to the General Treasury. The Elections may be every three years and the members of each Colony to Continue till a new Choice.

Assemblies to be Called for that purpose in each Colony once in three years in the month of May.

A President General to be appointed by the Crown to Receive his Salary from Home. His assent to Render valid all Acts of the Grand Councill.7 His Duty to Carry them into Execution.

Meetings of the Grand Councill once in every year And at Such other times As the President General shall think proper to Call them having first been Applied to or obtained the Consent in writing of Seven of the Members for that purpose. At any annual Meeting the Councill to Determine where the next meeting is to be, to Sit by their own adjournments not Subject to Prorogations or Dissolutions by the President General without their own Consent. No Sessions to Continue longer than Six weeks without the Consent of the Councill.

Members Pay ten shillings Sterling per Diem.

During their Siting and Journey twenty miles to be Reckond a Days Journey.

Funds to Supply the General Treasury

It is a difficult Matter to fix Quotas to be paid by each Colony that would be Equal to the ability of Each, or if Really Equal to Perswade the Colonys to think so or if Equal now that would long Continue so Some Colonies Growing faster than Others. Therefore Let the Money arise from somewhat that may be nearly proportionable to Each Colony and Grow with it, Such as from Excise upon Liquors Retailed or Stamps on all Legal Writings Writs &c. or both to be Collected in Each Province and Paid to a Treasurer to be Appointed in each Colony by the Grand Councill to be Ready on Orders from the President General and Grand Councill.

Power of the President General and Grand Councill

To hold or order all Indian Treaties, Regulate all Indian Trade, make Peace and Declare war with the Indian Nations, Make all Indian Purchases of Lands not within the Bounds of Perticuler Colonies, Make new Settlements on Such Purchases by Granting Lands Reserving a Rent for the General Treasury Raise and Pay Soldiers and build forts to Defend the frontiers of Any of the Colonies, Equip Guardships to Scour and Protect the Coasts from Privateers and Pyrates, Appoint all Military officers that are to Act Under the General Command, the President General to Nominate and the Councill to approve. But all Collectors or farmers of the Duties Excise &c. for the General Treasury and other Civil officers necessary, are to be Chosen by the Grand Councill And Approved by the President General.

They shall not Impress men in any Colony without the Consent of its Legislature.

Acts or Laws made by them to Regulate Indian Trade or new Settlements of Lands to be Sent home to the King and Councill for approbation within  months. They may Draw on the General Fund in any Colony for Defraying all General Expences. Their Accompt to be Yearly Settled and Reported to the Several Assemblies of Each Colony, Each Colony may Defend it Self on any Emergency. The Accompts of Expence to be laid before the Grand Councill and Paid as far as Reasonable.

Manner of forming this Union

When the Scheme is well Considerd Corrected and Improved a Temporary Act of Parliament to be Obtained for Establishing of it.

Perticuler Colonies not to Declare Warr.

Quere Whether the Duties Excise &c. are best Established by the Grand Councill or by the Act of Parliament that forms the Constitution.

Quorum of the Councill how many.

Citation Information

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  • Article Title Albany Plan of Union, Short Hints
  • Date June 28, 1754
  • Author
  • Keywords Albany Congress, Albany Plan of Union, Benjamin Franklin
  • Website Name American History Central
  • Access Date April 16, 2024
  • Publisher R.Squared Communications, LLC
  • Original Published Date
  • Date of Last Update January 12, 2024