William Penn: Plan for Union
A brief and plain scheme how the English colonies in
the North parts of America,--viz., Boston, Connecticut, Rhode
Island, New York, New Jerseys, Pennsylvania, Maryland,
Virginia, and Carolina,--may be made more useful to the crown
and one another's peace and safety with an universal
- That the several colonies before mentioned do meet
once a year, and oftener if need be during the war, and at
least once in two years in times of peace, by their stated and
appointed deputies, to debate and resolve of such measures as
are most advisable for their better understanding and the
public tranquility and safety.
- That, in order to it, two persons, well qualified for
sense, sobriety, and substance, be appointed by each province
as their representatives or deputies, which in the whole make
the congress to consist of twenty persons.
- That the king's commissioner, for that purpose
specially appointed, shall have the chair and preside in the
- That they shall meet as near as conveniently may be
to the most central colony for ease of the deputies.
- Since that may in all probability be New York, both
because it is near the center of the colonies and for that it
is a frontier and in the king's nomination, the governor of
that colony may therefore also be the king's high commissioner
during the session, after the manner of Scotland.
- That their business shall be to hear and adjust all
matters of complaint or difference between province and
province. As, 1st, where persons quit their own province and
go to another, that they may avoid their just debts, though
they be able to pay them; 2nd, where offenders fly justice, or
justice cannot well be had upon such offenders in the
provinces that entertain them; 3rd, to prevent or cure
injuries in point of commerce; 4th, to consider the ways and
means to support the union and safety of these provinces
against the public enemies. In which congress the quotas of
men and charges will be much easier and more equally set than
it is possible for any establishment made here to do; for the
provinces, knowing their own condition and one another's, can
debate that matter with more freedom and satisfaction, and
better adjust and balance their affairs in all respects for
their common safety.
- That, in times of war, the king's high commissioner
shall be general or chief commander of the several quotas upon
service against the common enemy, as he shall be advised, for
the good and benefit of the whole.