In a letter addressed to your Lordship, bearing the date the sixth of January, I informed your Lordship that a System of policy for an independent government in America, was written ready to be published and put in execution the first opportunity; unless the matters in dispute are settled to the satisfaction of the Colonists. Since writing that letter, I have obtained a copy of the system above mentioned, and thought it would be agreeable to your Lordship to see it I have inclosed the outlines of it, and also some of the observations which they have annexed to it. As no person is privy to my writing this letter I must desire to have my name concealed, for if known here it might prejudice my countrymen against me; altho’ I sincerely do it for the interest of the whole Empire.
The independence of the Colonies, and their right to set up a government of their own is almost universally asserted. It is said “The first settlers here purchased both the soil and sovereignty of the Natives; that the King has broke the compact by sending fleets and armies to America to subject them to arbitrary power, &c” Such dangerous principles are propogating fast in America; and in those colonies where the people are most quiet they embrace the principle above mentioned, and say they “only wait for this country to grow a little stronger before they throw off the yoke.” For the better security of the Americans to the British Crown, I will submit to your Lordship’s consideration the following proposal, That to his Majesty’s Titles, there be added, The Dominions of North America. This would keep alive in the Minds of the Americans that the King of Great Britain is their King, and naturally attach them more to their Sovereign; for titles and names have always a great influence on the people of every Country. These thoughts are offered to your Lordship with profound submission.
My Lord, permit me to repeat my request for to your Lordship, for the Secretary’s Office in New Hampshire, or some other office in civil government in New England. There is one vacancy which I would be leave to mention to your Lordship, that of Lieutenant Governor of his Majesty’s Province of new-Hampshire. John Temple Esqr: late a commissioner in Boston, now an officer in the customs in England, was Lieut. Gov. of New Hampshire. If his Majesty should annex a salary to the office of Lieut. Governor, it would be a more desirable office than that of Secretary——But I humbly submit the matter to the Wisdom and Grace of his Majesty, & your Lordship. Civil government has been my study, and as in such an office I thought could be most useful to mankind, and therefore have declined any other department.
Such are my connexions in these Colonies I am well assured that if I held an important office in government, I could contribute much to his Majesty’s service and the interest of the people, by exerting my influence to restore peace and harmony and re-unite the affactions of the Americans to the King, and people of Great Britain: To do which, in whatever station divine Providence may place me, I shall exert all my abilities; and make it my unwearied endeavour and esteem it my highest temporal felicity to promote the prosperity of the Nation.
May your Lordship be enabled to perform that important Work for which all good men ardently pray for, Establish a Union between Great Britain and America that may continue to the End of Time.
May your Lordship’s Life be a bright copy of His who came into the world for the happiness of Mankind—and when your Lordship hath accomplished the great things God hath appointed, may You enter into His Eternal Rest.
I am, My Lord,
Boston Feb. 18: 1773
An Extract from “A System of Government, & Civil Policy for the United Provinces in North America.”
“In such Provinces there must be a distinct and perfect legislative and executive authority, to transact all business relating to the Province; excepting those matters wherein the other Provinces are concerned; all such must be settled by the Grand Council of State, chosen by all the Provinces.
The parliament in each province consist of those branches, Governor, Council, and house of Representatives, and be chosen as they now are in the Colony of Connecticut. After the first parliament is chosen, ever after they must be annually chosen, and three months before the time for which they were last elected expires, that there may be a living legislature.
The parliament choose all officers civil and military except such as they shall empower towns and corporations to choose; and be supreme in all matters wherein the sister Provinces are not concerned.
No person be allowed to intail his estate, as accumulating great estates and confining them in families is destructive to virtue and all the rights of mankind, and lays a foundation for the ruin of the Commonwealth.
The legislative and executive powers be kept as distinct as possible.
Every officer in the Commonwealth must be a professor of the Protestant religion, and be sworn to maintain to the utmost of his power the Protestant religion, the union of the Provinces, the laws of the Commonwealth, and the independency and prosperity of the Grand Republic of America.
All the laws of the Commonwealth be as short and plain as possible that all the people may fully understand them.
No foreigner be allowed to own any house or land in the United Provinces, until he has taken the oath of allegiance above mentioned.
The Governor be captain general and admiral in the Province. Every military officer be obliged to train his men four days in every year; and every man upwards of sixteen years old be obliged to keep arms and amunition in constant readiness to march against an enemy.
The parliament annually choose a person to deliver a lecture on government in the capital town of each Province.
Every day the parliament sits, be attended in the morning by a chaplain and join with him in prayer to Almighty God for his direction and blessing in all public concerns.
To compleat the union of the American Provinces and form them into one Body Politic, there must be a Grand Council of State, chosen by all the Provinces. Each Province choose not less than four nor more than eight members to sit in the Grand Council; and the members of each Province have one vote; that every Province may have equal power in the Grand Council, and no precedency of Provinces. The house of Representatives in each Province choose the persons who sit in the Grand Council. The first Grand Council meet at Philadelphia, and in after time the Council determine where to sit. The Council choose a high President, to preside as moderator. Every member of this August Body be annually chosen, and three months before the time expires for which they were last chosen. Every member to take the oath mentioned
This States-General and Grand Council of the United Provinces in America, is to preside over the Commonwealth, to regulate and guide as the Head of the great political Body; and have power to make peace, and war, treat with foreign nations, and ambassadors from other states and kingdoms, to determine all matters wherein the United Provinces are concerned; and determine and settle all disputes between the Provinces; but have nothing to do with th internal police of any Province, only act as Head of the Union.
To secure the seaports from the invasion of Great Britain, or any other power; offer a free trade to all nations.
The Grand Council appoint the admirals and generals to command the fleets and armies, and govern all the operations in war.
The Grand Council have no additions to its authority, nor any alteration in the constitution of the Republic, without the consent of all the parliaments in the several Provinces; and every possible thing be done to preserve the Union of the Provinces intire and to make it perpetual; for this is the basis of all their power and glory.
The Grand Council proportion the sums of money, number of men, ships, and whatever is to be raised for the benefit of the Republic; between the Provinces, and determine what each one shall raise. & &
Every day the Grand Council of State sits be attended by their chaplain, and join with him in prayer to the Omniscient Governor of the Universe for his direction and blessing in all the affairs of government.”
“Observations upon the foregoing System.”
“In this System of civil policy, liberty and the rights of mankind, which are the foundation of good government and human happiness, are so well secured that every blessing which results from the most perfect freedom in civil society will be enjoyed in this grand Republic. Such a government founded in freedom and constituted agreeable to the laws of reason and nature, wherein every one enjoys that liberty and security which he is intitled to, will stimulate all men to preserve it who have any virtue or understanding: And therefore it may last to the latest ages. Each province being an independent state, except what relates to the union of the general safety, they will be checks upon each other to keep out corruption and tyranny. A noble emulation will animate them to excel in husbandry manufactures, learning and every thing that inriches and adorns human society. Like a well regulated machine, every wheel will move in its proper place, while all are affected by each other and tend to the great end of government, the public Good.
As all the members of the legislature are elected before the time expires for which they were last chosen, this grand Spring of the State will always be alive and move on in an uninterrupted circle.
The paths to honour and preferment will be open to all, and merit ever find a reward. This will ever be a most powerful stimulus to exertions for the public good. Here the sordid arts of flattery dissimulation and bribery, which ruin monarchical governments, will find no encouragement.
A noble ambition will prevail, and interest, the great bond of society, love of liberty and their country will forever unite the Americans and form an indissoluble union between the Provinces.
By opening all our ports and giving a free trade to all nations, we shall be securely guarded against a foreign enemy without the least expence; for the rival nations will ever be jealous of each other and will not suffer any one to invade America lest it should become formidable to the rest.
This maxim of policy preserves many states in Europe, and this will ever secure America from invasions by sea. A well disciplined militia will be a sufficient guard to defend the Americans. Therefore they may set up an independent government with the utmost security.
The history of mankind bleeds with the destruction which tyranny has made in all countries and nations, and speaks like a voice of thunder in the ears of Americans–and warns them to improve the superior advantages which they now enjoy to secure their freedom—&”