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Galloway's Plan for the Union of Great Britain and the Colonies

1774

Offered by Joseph Galloway of Pennsylvania; this was the first order of business for the First Continental Congress. New York, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey were especially concerned that the Colonies should reconcile with Great Britain. This was their plan for compromise. The plan was considered very attractive to most of the members, as it proposed a popularly elected Grand Council which would represent the interests of the colonies as a whole, and would be a continental equivalent to the English Parliament. After a sincere debate, it was rejected by a six to five vote on October 22, 1774. It may have been the arrival of the Suffolk County (Boston) resolutions that killed it.


Resolved, that this Congress will apply to His Majesty for a redress of grievances under which his faithful subjects in America labor; and assure him that the colonies hold in abhorrence the idea of being considered independent communities on the British government, and most ardently desire the establishment of a political union, not only among themselves but with the mother state, upon chose principles of safety and freedom which are essential in the constitution of all free governments, and particularly that of the British legislature. And as the colonies from their local circumstances cannot be represented in the Parliament of Great Britain, they will humbly propose to His Majesty and his two houses of Parliament the following plan, under which the strength of the whole empire may be drawn together on any emergency, the interest of both countries advanced, and the rights and liberties of America secured A Plan for a Proposed Union between Great Britain and the Colonies of New Hampshire, the Massachusetts Bay, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, the Three Lower Counties on the Delaware, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia.

That a British and American legislature, for regulating the administration of the general affairs of America, be proposed and established in America, including all the said colonies; within and under which government each colony shall retain its present constitution and powers of regulating and governing its own internal police, in all cases whatever.

That the said government be administered by a president general, to be appointed by the King, and a Grand Council, to be chosen by the representatives of the people of the several colonies, in their respective assemblies, once in every three years.

That the several assemblies shall choose members for the Grand Council in the following proportions, viz.:

New Hampshire—, Massachusetts Bay—, Rhode island—, Connecticut —, New York —, New Jersey —, Pennsylvania —, Delaware Counties —, Maryland —, Virginia —, North Carolina—, South Carolina—, Georgia—, who shall meet at the city of —— for the first time, being called by the president general as soon as conveniently may be after his appointment.

That there shall be a new election of members for the Grand Council every three years; and on the death, removal, or resignation of any member, his place shall be supplied by a new choice at the next sitting of assembly of the colony he represented.

That the Grand Council shall meet once in every year if they shall think it necessary, and oftener if occasions shall 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 president general on any emergency.

That the Grand Council shall have power to choose their speaker, and shall hold and exercise all the like rights, liberties, and privileges as are held and exercised by and in the House of Commons of Great Britain.

That the president general shall hold his office during the pleasure of the King and his assent shall be requisite to all acts of the Grand Council, and it shall be his office and duty to cause them to be carried into execution.

That the president general, by and with the advice and consent of the Grand Council, hold and exercise all the legislative rights, powers, and authorities necessary for regulating and administering all the general police and affairs of the colonies in which Great Britain and the colonies, or any of them, the colonies in general, or more than one colony, are in any manner concerned, as well civil and criminal as commercial.

That the said president general and the Grand Council be an inferior and distinct branch of the British legislature, united and incorporated with it for the aforesaid general purposes; and that any of the said general regulations may originate and be formed and digested, either in the Parliament of Great Britain or in the said Grand Council, and being prepared, transmitted to the other for their approbation or dissent; and that the assent of both shall be requisite to the validity of all such general acts and statutes.

That in time of war, all bills for granting aid to the Crown, prepared by the Grand Council and approved by the president general, shall be valid and passed into a law, without the assent of the British Parliament.

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