The New International Encyclopædia/Albany Convention of 1754

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search

ALBANY CONVENTION OF 1754. In 1754, when hostilities were about to begin between the French and English in America, the lords of trade recommended that an intercolonial convention be called to “confirm and establish the ancient friendship of the Five Nations” and consider plans for a permanent union among the colonies. On June 19, commissioners from Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and New York assembled at Albany, and, after arranging for the participation of the Indians in the war, adopted, with some modifications (July 11), a plan of intercolonial union proposed by Franklin. This plan provided for the appointment by the crown of a president-general, who was to nominate military officers, commission all officers, and have veto power over the acts of the Grand Council; and for a Grand Council, to be made up of representatives chosen by each colony every three years, no colony to have more than seven members nor less than two. This council was not to be prorogued, dissolved, or kept in session longer than six weeks against its consent, and, with the approval of the president-general, was to manage Indian affairs, authorize new settlements, nominate all civil officers, impose taxes, enlist and pay troops, and construct forts, all of its acts to be valid unless vetoed by the crown within three years. The plan was everywhere rejected—by the court and the royal governors, because it gave too much power to the colonies; by the colonies, because it gave too much power to the king. It is notable as being the first comprehensive scheme of union formally proposed to the various colonial governments in America. Consult: New York Colonial Documents, Volume VI.; and R. Frothingham, Rise of the Republic (Boston, 1872).