Discreet Albany affairs

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Recent events had made clear to everyone attending the Albany Congress that a struggle with the French was impending for the mastery of the continent.

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The chief purpose of any plan of union which they might draw up was to strengthen the British colonies in that conflict, and in the minds of a majority, if not all, of the commissioners some form of concerted action was essential to successful defense. In order to make the matter fully clear to their assemblies at home and to the authorities in Great Britain, the commissioners decided that a general statement of the situation was needed as a supporting document for the plan of union which they were preparing. Doubtless other members of the committee, including Franklin, made suggestions, but what or how important they may have been cannot now be determined.

The committee presented its draft to the Congress on Saturday, July 6; it was read and ordered to lie on the table for the consideration of the commissioners. It was read again on Monday the 8th, and read once more, considered paragraph by paragraph, amended, and agreed to on the afternoon of July 9, at a session which Franklin missed because he was busy putting into final form the Plan of Union as worked out in debates.

That His Majesties Title to the Northern Continent of America, appears to be founded on the Discovery thereof first made, and the Possession thereof first taken in under a Commission from Henry the 7th. That the French have Possessed themselves of Several parts of this Continent which by Treaties have been ceded and Confirmed to them.

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Laurence, remains plain and Indisputable. That they have taken Possession of, and begun a Settlement at the head of the River 1 Kinnebeck, within the Bounds of the Province of Main, the most convenient Situation, for affording Support and Safe retreat to the eastern Indians in any of their attempts 2 upon the Governments 3 of New-England.

That, it appears by Information of the Natives the French have been making Preparations for another Settlement at a Place called Cohass on Coneticut River, near the head thereof, where it is but 4 about ten miles distant from a branch of Merrimack River, and from Whence there is a very near and easy Communication with the Abnekais Indians, who are Settled on the River St.

Laurence, and it is certain that the Inhabitants of New Hampshire, in which Province this Cohass is Supposed to Lye, have been interrupted, and impeded by the French Indians, from making any Settlements there. That they have been gradually increasing their Troops in America, transporting them in their Ships of War, which return to France, with a Bare Complement of Men, leaving the rest in their Colonies, and by this means they are less Observed by the Powers of Europe than they would be if Transports as usual heretofore, were provided for this purpose.

That they are Continually drawing off the Indians from the British Interest, and have lately persuaded one half of the Onondaga Tribe with many from the other Nations along with them, to remove to a Place called Osweegchie, on the River Cadaraqui, where they have built them a Church and Fort, and many of the Senecas, the most numerous Nation, appear to be wavering and rather inclined to the French, and it is a Melancholly Consideration, that not more than Men of all the Several Nations, have attended this Treaty, altho they had Notice that all the Governments would be here by their Commissioners, and that a large present would be given.

What they unjustly possessed themselves of after the Peace of Utrecht, they now pretend to have a right 9 to hold, by Virtue of the Treaty of Aix la Chapelle, until the true Boundary between the English and the French be Settled by Commissarys, but their Conquest 1 made during the War, they have been Obliged to restore. That the French Affairs relative to this Continent, are under one Direction, and Constantly regarded by the Crown, and Ministry, who are not insensible how great a Stride they would make, towards an Universal Monarchy if the British Colonies were added to their Dominions, and Consequently the Whole Trade of North America engrossed by them.

That the said Colonies being in a Divided Disunited State, there has never been any t Exertion of their Force, or Counsels to repel or defeat the measures of the French and particular Discreet Albany affairs are unable and unwilling to maintain the Cause of the Whole. That there has been a very great Neglect of the Affairs of the Iroquois, or, as they are Commonly called the Indians of the Six Nations, and their Friendship and Alliance has been Improved to private Purposes, for the Sake of the Trade with them, and the purchase or acquisition of their Lands more than to 2 the Public Service, That they are Supplyed with Rum by the Traders in vast and almost incredible Quantities, the Laws of the Colonies now in Force being insufficient to restrain the Supply, and the Indians of every Nation, are frequently Discreet Albany affairs, and abused in their Trade, and their Affections thereby alienated from the English, They often wound and murder one another in their Liquor, and to avoid Revenge Flee to the French, and perhaps more have been lost by these means than by the French Artifices.

That purchases of Lands from the Indians by Private persons for small Triffling Considerations, have been the Cause of Great Uneasiness and Discontents, and if the Indians are not in Fact imposed on and injured, yet they are apt to think that 3 they have been, and indeed they appear not fit to be intrusted at Large with the Sale of their own Lands, and the Laws of some of the Colonies which make such Sales void, unless the Allowance of the Government be first Obtained, seem to be well Founded.

That it seems absolutely necessary that Speedy and Effectual measures be taken to Secure the Colonies from the Slavery they are threatened with. That any Further Advances of the French should be prevented and the Encroachments already made removed, That the Indians in Alliance or Friendship with the English be Constantly regarded, under some wise Direction or Superintendency.

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That Endeavours be used for the Recovery of those Indians, who are lately gone over to the French, and for Securing those that remain. That some Discreet Person or Persons, be appointed to reside constantly with 4 each Nation of Indians, such Persons 5 to have no Concern in Trade, and duly to Communicate all advices to the Superintendents. That the Trade with the said Indians, be well regulated, and made Subservient to the Public Interest, more than to private gain.

That the Patentees, or Possessors of large unsettled Territories, be injoyned to Cause them to be Settled in a reasonable Time on pain of Forfeiture. That the Complaints of the Indians, relative to any Grants or Possessions, of their Lands fraudulently Obtained be enquired into and all Injuries redressed. All which is Submitted. All but the second copy in Mass. The second Mass.

Thomas Hutchinson —one of the ablest and most important political figures in pre-Revolutionary Massachusetts; born in Boston to a wealthy and politically prominent family; A. He became a Boston selectman,and a member of the House of Representatives the same year; speaker, —48; leader of the conservative faction in the Land Bank controversy of the s. Defeated for reelection to the House,he was a provincial councilor, —66; judge of probate and justice of the Common Pleas, ; lieutenant governor, ; chief justice, ; and was often criticized for the of offices he held simultaneously.

Hutchinson opposed the Sugar Act,and the Stamp Act,on grounds of expediency but supported their constitutionality.

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His house was pillaged, Aug. The Boston Tea Party and its aftermath destroyed the last vestige of his usefulness as governor and he was allowed to go to England inbeing replaced by General Thomas Gage. He never returned to Massachusetts, though retaining to his death his deep affection for the place of his birth. Hutchinson was probably the ablest historian the colonies produced; his three-volume History of the Colony and Province of Massachusetts Bay is a work of high quality.

The first two volumes were published in and respectively; the third was written during his English exile but was not published until Peter O. Hutchinson, ed. London,1, Hall of Recs. The charter of to the Council for New England extended the northern limit to the 48th parallel. All other copies except N. State Lib. Both Mass.

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See above, III83 n. In Mass. Skip. Benjamin Franklin Papers.

Discreet Albany affairs

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