Benjamin Franklin biography: First plan of Colonial union



As it was becoming apparent that war with France was inevitable, and as the continued advances of the French upon what was claimed by the English colonists as their territory demonstrated the necessity of co-operation in the colonies, the English government recommended that a convention should be held at Albany, for the double purpose of forming a league with the Iroquois and of devising a plan of general defense against the common enemy.

The delegates from the colonies met in June, 1754, made a treaty of peace with the Six Nations, and considered the subject of colonial union. Among the delegates was Benjamin Franklin, of Philadelphia, who, starting in life as a printer's boy, was now postmaster-general of America, and was looked upon by many as the ablest of American thinkers. He proposed a plan of union, which the convention adopted on July 4. There was to be a general government of the colonies, presided over by a governor-general appointed by the crown, and conducted by a council chosen by the colonial legislatures. The council was to have the power to raise troops, declare war, make peace, collect money, and pass all measures necessary for the public safety. The governor-general was to have the power to veto its ordinances, while all laws were required to be ratified by the king.

This plan was favored by all the delegates except those of Connecticut, who objected to the veto power of the governor-general and to the authority to lay general taxes. But when submitted to the colonial Assemblies and to the British government it was rejected by both, the colonies considering that it gave too much power to the king, and the king that it gave too much power to the people. As this plan had failed, the British ministry determined to take the control of the war into their own hands, and to send out an army strong enough to force the French to keep within their own territory.





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