beyond recommendations to the several gov-
Chap. XLIII.} 1775. July.
ernments of New England
and New York; and no leave was given for permanent enlistments.
Thus far Franklin
, who was constant in his attendance, had left his associates to sound their own way and shape their own policy; but he could maintain silent reserve no longer, and on the twenty first of July, the statesman who, twenty one years before, had at Albany
reported a plan of union of provinces, submitted an outline for confederating the colonies in one nation.
Each colony was to retain and amend its own laws and constitution according to its separate discretion, while the powers of the general government were to include all questions of war, peace, and alliance; commerce, currency, and the establishment of posts; the army, the navy, and Indian affairs; the management of all lands not yet ceded by the natives.
The common treasury was to be supplied and taxes to be laid and collected by the several colonies in proportion to their numbers.
Congress was to consist of one body only, whose members were to be apportioned triennially according to population, and annually chosen.
One of its committees was to wield the executive power.
Every colony of Great Britain
in North America
, and even Ireland
, which was still classed with the colonies, was invited to accede to the union.
The imperfections in the new constitution which time and experience would surely reveal, were to be amended by congress with the approbation of a majority of the colonial assemblies.
Unless Britain should consent to make acceptable retractions and indemnities, the confederation was to be perpetual.