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Besides, the giving a share in the choice of the Grand Council would not be equal with respect to all the Colonies, as their constitutions differ. In some, both governor and council are appointed by the crown. In others, they are both appointed by the proprietors. In some, the people have a share in the choice of the council; in others, both government and council are wholly chosen by the people. But the House of Representatives is everywhere chosen by the people ; and, therefore, placing the right of choosing the Grand Council in the representatives is equal with respect to all.
“ That the Grand Council is intended to represent all the several Houses of Representatives of the Colonies, as a House of Representatives doth the several towns or counties of a Colony. Could all the people of a Colony be consulted and unite in public measures, a House of Representatives would be needless, and could all the Assemblies consult and unite in general measures, the Grand Council would be unnecessary.
“That a House of Commons or the House of Representatives, and the Grand Council are alike in their nature and intention. And, as it would seem improper that the King or House of Lords should have a power of disallowing or appointing Members of the House of Commons; so, likewise, that a governor and council appointed by the crown should have a power of disallowing or appointing members of the Grand Council, who, in this constitution, are to be the representatives of the people.
“If the governor and councils therefore were to have a share in the choice of any that are to conduct this general government, it should seem more proper that they should choose the President-General. But this being an office of great trust and importance to the nation, it was thought better to be filled by the immediate appointment of the
The power proposed to be given by the plan to the Grand Council is only a concentration of the powers of the several assemblies in certain points for the general welfare ; as the
power of the President-General is of the several governors in the same point.
“And as the choice therefore of the Grand Council, by the representatives of the people, neither gives the people any new powers, nor diminishes the power of the crown, it was thought and hoped the crown would not disapprove of it.”
Upon the whole, the commissioners were of opinion, that the choice was most properly placed in the representatives of the people.
ELECTION OF MEMBERS.
That within months after the passing such act, the House of Representatives that happens to be sitting within that time, or that shall be especially for that purpose convened, may and shall choose members for the Grand Council, in the following proportion, that is to say, Massachusetts Bay...
2 New York....
4. New Jersey
7 North Carolina.....
• 4 South Carolina...
It was thought, that if the least Colony was allowed two, and the others in proportion, the number would be very great, and the expense heavy; and that less than two would not be convenient, as, a single person being by any accident prevented appearing at the meeting, the Colony he ought appear for would not be represented. That, as the choice was not immediately popular, they would be generally men of good
abilities for business, and men of reputation for integrity, and that forty-eight such men might be a number sufficient. But, though it was thought reasonable that each Colony should have a share in the representative body in some degree according to the proportion it contributed to the general treasury, yet the proportion of wealth or power of the Colonies is not to be judged by the proportion here fixed : because it was at first agreed, that the greatest Colony should not have more than seven members, nor the least less than two; and the setting these proportions between these two extremes was not nicely attended to, as it would find itself, after the first election, from the sum brought into the treasury by a subsequent article.
PLACE OF FIRST MEETING.
-Who shall meet for the first time at the city of Philadelphia in Pennsylvania, being called by the PresidentGeneral as soon as conveniently may be after his appointment.
Philadelphia was named as being nearer the centre of the Colonies, where the commissioners would be well and cheaply accommodated. The high roads, through the whole extent, are for the most part very good, in which forty or fifty miles a day may very well be, and frequently are, travelled. Great part of the way may likewise be gone by water. In summer time, the passages are frequently performed in a week from Charleston to Philadelphia and New York, and from Rhode Island to New York through the Sound, in two or three days, and from New York to Philadelphia, by water and land, in two days, by stage boats, and street carriages that set out every other day. The journey from Charleston to Philadelphia may likewise be facilitated by boats running up Chesapeake Bay three hundred miles. But if the whole journey be performed on horseback, the most distant members, vis., the two from New Hampshire and from South Carolina, may probably
render themselves at Philadelphia in fifteen or twenty days; the majority may be there in much less time.
That there shall be a new election of the members of the Grand Council every three years; and, on the death or resignation of any member, his place should be supplied by a new choice at the next sitting of the Assembly of the Colony he represented.
Some Colonies have annual assemblies, some continue during a governor's pleasure ; three years was thought a reasonable medium as affording a new member time to improve himself in the business, and to act after such improvement, and yet giving opportunities, frequently enough, to change him if he has misbehaved.
PROPORTION OF MEMBERS AFTER THE FIRST THREE
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.
By a subsequent article, it is proposed that the General Council shall lay and levy such general duties as to them may appear most equal and least burdensome, etc. Suppose, for instance, they lay a small duty or excise on some commodity imported into or made in the Colonies, and pretty generally and equally used in all of them, as rum, perhaps, or wine ; the yearly produce of this duty or excise, if fairly collected, would be in some Colonies greater, in others less, as the Colonies are greater or smaller. When the collector's accounts are brought in, the proportions will appear; and from them it is proposed to regulate the proportion of the representatives to be chosen at the next general election, within the
limits, however, of seven and two. These numbers may therefore vary in the course of years, as the Colonies may in the growth and increase of people. And thus the quota of tax from each Colony would naturally vary with its circumstances, thereby preventing all disputes and dissatisfaction about the just proportions due from each, which might otherwise produce penicious consequences, and destroy the harmony and good agreement that ought to subsist between the several parts of the Union.
MEETINGS OF THE GRAND COUNCIL AND CALL.
That the Grand Council shall meet once in every year, and oftener if occasion require, at such time and place as they shall adjourn to at the last preceding meeting, or as they shall be called to meet at by the PresidentGeneral 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.
It was thought, in establishing and governing new Colonies or settlements, or regulating Indian trade, Indian treaties, etc., there would, every year, sufficient business arise to require at least one meeting, and at such meeting many things might be suggested for the benefit of all the Colonies. This annual meeting may either be at a time and place cer. tain, to be fixed by the President-General and Grand Council at their first meeting; or left at liberty, to be at such time and place as they shall adjourn to, or be called to meet at, by the President-General.
In time of war, it seems convenient that the meeting should be in that colony which is nearest the seat of action.
The power of calling them on any emergency seemed necessary to be vested in the President-General; but, that such power might not be wantonly used to harass the members, and oblige them to make frequent long journeys to little pur. pose, the consent of seven at least to such call was supposed a convenient guard.