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quire many ages to settle it fully; and till it is fully settled, labour will never be cheap here, where no man continues long a labourer for others, but gets a plantation of his own; no man continues long a journeyman to a trade, but goes among those new settlers, and sets up for himself, &c. Hence labour is no cheaper now, in Pensilvania, than it was thirty years ago, tho' so many thousand labouring people have been imported from Germany and Ireland.
The danger therefore of these colonies interfering with their mother country in trades that depend on labour, manufactures, &c., is too remote to require the attention of Great Britain.
But in proportion to the increase of the colonies, a vast demand is growing for British manufactures; a glorious market wholly in the power of Britain, in which foreigners cannot interfere, which will increase in a short time even beyond her power of supplying, tho' her whole trade should be to her colonies.
'Tis an ill-grounded opinion that by the labour of slaves, America may possibly vie in cheapness of manufactures with Britain. The labour of slaves can never be so cheap here as the labour of working men is in Britain.
B. Franklin, The Interest of Great Britain, etc. (London, 1760), 53.
3. The Albany Plan of Union
Governor of Rhode Island and later member of the Continental Congress.
Thus having seen Abstracts of the Authorities given the Commissioners who were at Albany, and of those Letters from the Crown, which occasioned such Authorities to be given; together with the State of the British and French Colonies in America, and the proposed Plan of Union, formed in Consequence of the whole: From an impartial View thereof, let every Man judge, Whether it was not the Intent of all the Colonies who sent Commissioners, that they should form some General Scheme or Plan, for the Safety and Defence of the English Colonies, and the Indians in their Alliance? Look into the Commission from Governor Greene; and after full Powers are given to do every Thing relative to the Indians in Alliance with us, What mean these following Words? “And also, what else may be necessary to prohibit the French, and their Allies the Indians, from encroaching on the Lands within the Dominions of His Majesty. And in general, as far as the Abilities of this Government will permit, to act in Conjunction with the
said Commissioners, in every Thing necessary for the Good of His Majesty's Subjects in these Parts. And to answer as far as we can, the Designs of His Majesty's Instructions to this Colony, communicated to us by the Earl of Holdernesse.” Surely such Words as these, have some Meaning; and if the Commissioners were so unhappy as quite to mistake their Meaning, let those penetrating Wits who think so, shew to the World, how they are to be understood. But if those Authorities were too extensive, let them be blamed who gave such Authorities, and not those who executed them in the most sparing Manner possible. And will any Man believe, such exact Likeness in Substance, should be in the Authorities given by every Government to their Commissioners, without having any Conference together about it, if the Directions from the Crown had not pointed it out to them in so plain a Manner, that they all understood them alike? And is it not as plain, from the Letters since received from the Secretaries of State, that they all understood them in the Sense the King intended them?
Altho' all this were allowed, yet some may say,
you had Powers given you to enter into some such General Scheme, you ought not to have consented to one so hurtful and destructive of our Liberties as this is! Whether the Plan formed at Albany, be a good one, or a bad one, I shall not
undertake to determin; yet let it be considered, that the Rhode Island Commissioners were but two of the whole Number, and therefore were far from being able to govern or form Things as they might think best; neither did they ever pretend they could not be mistaken; and Errors of Judgment will always be forgiven by Men of Candor.
And now let us examin what the Commissioners did relating to this Plan, and we shall find, they did no more than form it, and agree to lay it before the General Assemblies of the Colonies from whence they came, for their Consideration. They did not, as is falsly asserted, order it to be sent home. They did not establish it as an Act or Ordinance of the Board of Commissioners, as they all might have done, by the Authorities given them. They did not leave it in the Power of any one to obtain a Copy of it, and sent it Home; but strictly forbid their Secretary to give any Copy, except to the Colonies. Nor did they ever agree to any Thing more, than to carry it to their respective Governments, and lay it before their Constituents. And agreeable to the Resolve of the Board of Commissioners, those from RhodeIsland, did lay this Plan, with all other their Proceedings at Albany, before the General Assembly, at their Session in August last, for their Consideration. Was this criminal! Was this betraying their Trust! Or was there any Thing
more in this, than their Duty! Even Envy and Ignorance joined together, cannot say there was! And those who have been bold enough to assert, That any Thing more relating to this Plan of Union, was done, suffered to be done, or connived at, by the Commissioners, are hereby publicly called upon, to prove their Assertions, or confess their Falshood.
Once more, let us hold up this so much talked of Plan of Union, and view it in another Light: And here, to do my Adversaries all the Justice they can possibly desire, I will, for Argumentsake, confess it to be as bad as they represent it to be. Viewing it in this Light, it must be found contrary to, and subversive of our happy Constitution, and all those valuable Privileges we enjoy under it. This destructive Plan was laid before the General Assembly, for their consideration, in the Month of August last: This gave an Opportunity to those Patriots belonging to the Council, who now say so much against this Plan, to have exerted themselves in Defence of our Liberties, so much in Danger, and prevented the Dismal Effects so much feared. Well! What have these Champions for Liberty, done in this Matter? Have they not let it lie before the Assembly between six and seven Months, without taking it once under Consideration? Or, Have they ever rejected it? or so much as once in all this Time, moved to have one Word wrote Home, to prevent