The Board of Trade, on receiving the
minutes of the congress, were astonished at a plan of general government “complete in itself.”
Reflecting men in England
dreaded American union as the keystone of independence.
But in the mind of Franklin
the love for union assumed still more majestic proportions, and comprehended ‘the great country back of the Apalachian mountains
He directed attention to the extreme richness of its land; the healthy temperature of its air; the mildness of the climate; and the vast convenience of inland navigation by the Lakes
and great rivers.
‘In less than a century,’ said he with the gift of prophecy, ‘it must undoubtedly become a populous and powerful dominion.’
And through Thomas Pownall
, who had been present at Albany
during the deliberations of the congress, he advised the immediate organization of two new colonies in the west; with powers of self-direction and government like those of Connecticut
and Rhode Island
: the one on Lake Erie
; the other in the valley of the Ohio
, with its capital on the banks of the Scioto
Thus did the freedom of the American
colonies, their union, and their extension through the west, become the three great objects of the remaining years of Franklin
Heaven, in its mercy, gave the illustrious statesman length of days, so that he lived to witness the fulfilment of his hopes in all their grandeur.