« AnteriorContinuar »
That the Grand Council have power to choose their speaker; and shall neither be dissolved, prorogued, nor continued sitting longer than six weeks at one time, without their own consent or the special command of the crown.
The speaker should be presented for approbation ; it being convenient, to prevent misunderstandings and disgusts, that the mouth of the Council should be a person agreeable, if possible, to the Council and President-General.
Governors have sometimes wantonly exercised the power of proroguing or continuing the sessions of assemblies, merely to harass the members and compel a compliance ; and sometimes dissolve them on slight disgusts. This it was feared might be done by the President-General, if not provided against; and the inconvenience and hardship would be greater in the general government than in particular Colonies, in proportion to the distance the members must be from home during sittings, and the long journeys some of them must necessarily take.
That the members of the Grand Council shall be allowed for their service ten shillings per diem, during their session and journey to and from the place of meeting; twenty miles to be reckoned a day's journey.
It was thought proper to allow some wages, lest the expense might deter some suitable persons from the service ; and not to allow too great wages, lest unsuitable persons should be tempted to cabal for the employment, for the sake of gain. Twenty miles were set down as a day's journey, to allow for accidental hindrances on the road, and the greater expenses of travelling than residing at the place of meeting
ASSENT OF PRESIDENT-GENERAL AND HIS DUTY.
That the assent of the President-General be requisite to all acts of the Grand Council, and that it be his office and duty to cause them to be carried into execution.
The assent of the President-General to all acts of the Grand Council was made necessary in order to give the crown its due share of influence in this government, and connect it with that of Great Britain. The President-General, besides one half of the legislative power, hath in his hands the whole executive power.
POWER OF PRESIDENT-GENERAL AND GRAND COUNCIL,
TREATIES OF 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 of the Colonies may be concerned, and make peace or declare war with Indian nations.
The power of making peace or war with Indian nations is at present supposed to be in every Colony, and is expressly granted to some by charter, so that no new power is hereby intended to be granted to the Colonies. But as, in consequence of this power, one Colony might make peace with a nation that another was justly engaged in war with ; or make war on slight occasion without the concurrence or approbation of neighboring Colonies, greatly endangered by it ; or make particular treaties of neutrality in case of a general war, to their own private advantage in trade, by supplying the common enemy, of all which there have been instances, it was thought better to have all treaties of a general nature under a general direction, that so the good of the whole may be consulted and provided for.
INDIAN TRADE. That they make such laws as they judge necessary for regulating all Indian trade.
Many quarrels and wars have arisen between the colonies and Indian nations, through the bad conduct of traders, who cheat the Indians after making them drunk, etc., to the great expense of the colonies, both in blood and treasure. Particular colonies are so interested in the trade, as not to be willing to admit such a regulation as might be best for the whole ; and therefore it was thought best under a general direction.
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 some of them are reduced to more convenient dimensions.
Purchases from the Indians, made by private persons, have been attended with many inconveniences. They have frequently interfered and occasioned uncertainty of titles, many disputes and expensive lawsuits, and hindered the settlement of the land so disputed. Then the Indians have been cheated by such private purchases, and discontent and wars have been the consequence. These would be prevented by public fair purchases.
Several of the Colony charters in America extend their bounds to the South Sea, which may perhaps be three or four thousand miles in length to one or two hundred miles in breadth. It is supposed they must in time be reduced to dimensions more convenient for the common purposes of government.
Very little of the land in these grants is yet purchased of the Indians.
It is much cheaper to purchase of them, than to take and maintain the possession by force ; for they are generally very reasonable in their demands for land, and the expense of guarding a large frontier against their incursions is vastly great; because all must be guarded, and always guarded, as we know not where or when to expect them.
NEW SETTLEMENTS. That they make new settlements on such purchases by granting lands in the King's name, reserving a quit-rent to the crown for the use of the general treasury.
It is supposed better that there should be one purchaser than many; and that the crown should be that purchaser, or the Union in the name of the crown. By this means the bargains may be more easily made, the price not enhanced by numerous bidders, future disputes about private Indian purchases, and monopolies of vast tracts to particular persons (which are prejudicial to the settlement and peopling of the country), prevented; and, the land being again granted in small tracts to the settlers, the quit-rents reserved may in time become a fund for support of government, for defence of the country, ease of taxes, etc.
Strong forts on the Lakes, the Ohio, etc., may, at the same time they secure our present frontiers, serve to defend new colonies settled under their protection, and such colonies would also mutually defend and support such forts, and better secure the friendship of the far Indians.
A particular colony has scarce strength enough to exert itself by new settlements, at so great a distance from the old; but the joint force of the Union might suddenly establish a new colony or two in those parts, or extend an old colony to particular passes, greatly to the security of our present frontiers, increase of trade and people, breaking off the French communication between Canada and Louisiana, and speedy settlement of the intermediate lands.
The power of settling new colonies is therefore thought a valuable part of the plan, and what cannot so well be executed by two unions as by one.
LAWS TO GOVERN THEM.
That they make laws for regulating and governing such new settlements, till the crown shall think fit to form them into particular governments.
The making of laws suitable for the new colonies, it was thought, would be properly vested in the presidentgeneral and grand council; under whose protection they must at first necessarily be, and who would be well acquainted with their circumstances, as having settled them. When they are become sufficiently populous, they may by the crown be formed into complete and distinct governments.
The appointment of a sub-president by the crown, to take place in case of the death or absence of the president-general, would perhaps be an improvement of the plan; and if all the governors of particular provinces were to be formed into a standing council of state, for the advice and assistance of the president-general, it might be another considerable improvement.
RAISE SOLDIERS, AND EQUIP VESSELS, ETC. That they 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; but they shall not impress men in any colony, without the consent of the legislature.
It was thought, that quotas of men, to be raised and paid by the several colonies, and joined for any public service, could not always be got together with the necessary expedition. For instance, suppose one thousand men should be wanted in New Hampshire on any emergency.
Το fetch them by fifties and hundreds out of every colony, as far as South Carolina, would be inconvenient, the transportation chargeable, and the occasion perhaps passed before they could be assembled; and therefore it would be best to raise them (by offering bounty money and pay) near the place where they would be wanted, to be discharged again when the service should be over.
Particular colonies are at present backward to build forts at their own expense, which they say will be equally useful to their neighboring colonies, who refuse to join, on