The Albany Plan
The great plan for military union combined with a scheme to cooperate on Amerindian policy was drawn up largely by Benjamin Franklin and considered at the conference held at Albany, New York, between 19 June and 10 July 1754. The home government had advised the colonists that it preferred to have a new treaty concluded between the Iroquois Federation and the colonies in New England, New York, Maryland and Pennsylvania. Franklin's plan had been completed before 17 March and was formally laid before the delegates of the several states on 24 June. It is likely that Thomas Hutchinson, representing Massachusetts, had corresponded extensively with Franklin and had suggested some changes in Franklin's original draft. As presented, only Nova Scotia and Georgia were excluded from the union. The full text of Franklin's Plan of Union appears below.
It is proposed that humble application be made for an act of Parliament of Great Britain, by virtue of which one general government may be formed in America, including all the said colonies, within and under which government each colony may retain its present constitution, except in the particulars wherein a change may be directed by the said act, as hereafter follows.
That the said general government be administered by a President General, to be appointed and supported by the crown; and a Grand Council, to be chosen by the representatives of the people of the several Colonies met in their respective assemblies.
That within [ -] months after the passing such act, the House of Representatives that happen to be sitting within that time, or that shall be especially for that purpose convened, may and shall choose members for the Grand Council, in the following proportion, that is to say,
Massachusetts Bay 7
New Hampshire 2
Rhode Island 2
New York 4
New Jersey 3
North Carolina 4
South Carolina 4
[3.] who shall meet for the first time at the city of Philadelphia, being called by the President General as soon as conveniently may be after his appointment.
[4.] That there shall be a new election of the members of the Grand Council every three years; and, on the death or
resignation of any member, his place should be supplied by a new choice at the next sitting of the Assembly of the Colony he represented.
[5.] That after the first three years, when the proportion of money arising out of each Colony to the general treasury can
be known, the number of members to be chosen for each Colony shall, from time to time, in all ensuing elections, be regulated by that proportion, yet so as that the number to be chosen by any one Province be not more than seven, nor less than two.
[6.] That the Grand Council shall meet once in every year, and oftener if occasion 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; he having first obtained in writing the consent of seven of the members to such call, and sent duly and timely notice to the whole.
[7.] That the Grand Council have power to choose their speaker; and shall neither be dissolved, prorogued, nor continued sitting longer than six weeks at one time, without their own consent or the special command of the crown.
[8.] That the members of the Grand Council shall be allowed for their service 10 shillings per diem, during their session and journey to and from the place of meeting; 20 miles to be reckoned a day's journey.
[9.] That the assent of the President General be requisite to all acts of the Grand Council, and that it be his office and duty to cause them to be carried into execution.
[10.] That the President General, with the advice of the Grand Council, hold or direct all Indian treaties, in which the general interest of the Colonies may be concerned; and make peace or declare war with Indian nations.
[11.] That they make such laws as they judge necessary for regulating all Indian trade.
[12.] That they make all purchases from Indians, for the crown, of lands not now within the bounds of particular Colonies, or that shall not be within their bounds when some of them are reduced to more convenient dimensions.
[13.] That they make new settlements on such purchases, by granting lands in the King's name, reserving a quitrent to the crown for the use of the general treasury.
[14.] That they make laws for regulating and governing such new settlements, till the crown shall think fit to form them into particular governments.
[15.] That they raise and pay soldiers and build forts for the defence of any of the Colonies, and equip vessels of force to guard the coasts and protect the trade on the ocean, lakes, or great rivers; but they shall not impress men in any Colony, without the consent of the Legislature.
[16.] That for these purposes they have power to make laws, and lay and levy such general duties, imposts, or taxes as to them shall appear most equal and just (considering the ability and other circumstances of the inhabitants in the several Colonies), and such as may be collected with the least inconvenience to the people; rather discouraging luxury, than loading industry with unnecessary burdens.
[17.] That they may appoint a General Treasurer and Particular Treasurer in each government when necessary; and, from time to time, may order the sums in the treasuries of each government into the general treasury; or draw on them for special payments, as they find most convenient.
[18.] Yet no money to issue but by joint orders of the President General and Grand Council; except where sums have been appropriated to particular purposes, and the President General is previously empowered by an act to draw such sums. [19.] That the general accounts shall be yearly settled and reported to the several Assemblies.
[20.] That a quorum of the Grand Council, empowered to act with the President General, do consist of twenty five members; among whom there shall be one or more from a majority of the Colonies.
[21.] That the laws made by them for the purposes aforesaid shall not be repugnant, but, as near as may be, agreeable to the laws of England, and shall be transmitted to the King in Council for approbation, as soon as may be after their passing; and if not disapproved within three years after presentation, to remain in force.
[22.] That, in the case of the death of the President General, the Speaker of the Grand Council for the time being shall succeed, and be vested with the same powers and authorities, to continue till the King's pleasure be known.
[23.] That all military commission officers, whether for land or sea service, to act under this general constitution, shall be nominated by the President General; but the approbation of the Grand Council is to be obtained, before they receive their commissions. And all civil officers to be nominated by the Grand Council, and to receive the President General's approbation before they officiate.
[24.] But, in case of vacancy by death or removal of any officer, civil or military, under this constitution, the Governor of the Province in which such vacancy happens may appoint, till the pleasure of the President General and Grand Council can be known.
[25.] That the particular military as well as civil establishments in each Colony remain in their present state, the general constitution notwithstanding; and that on sudden emergencies any Colony may defend itself, and lay the accounts of
The proposals by certain of the Commissioners in favor of partial unions could have been made late in the proceedings of the Congress. At least one delegation came to Albany very definitely committed to the idea of two unions rather than one. The delegation of Massachusetts Bay, reporting to the Governor's Council on October 25, 1754, after their return to the Province, noted that,
Your Commissioners were in doubt, whether it might not be convenient that the colonies should be divided into at least two Districts, as the great distance of the two Extream parts of his Majesty's Governments from each other, must render it always very burthensome to some or other of the members to give their attendance, be the place of meeting where it will and in a Government of so large an extent there will be danger of some parts being neglected or unequally considered; but as the designs of the French may probably require the united strength & Councils of the whole British Continent and as it seems to be of the last importance that all affairs Which relate to the Indians should be under but one direction, and considered without any special regard to any particular Government we were induced to prefer the present plan [that is, the Albany Plan of Union].cxxiv
The scheme of union designed to include only New Jersey, New York, and New England carried with it a proposal for another union to include all the southern colonies with the exception of Georgia.cxxv It carried a second proposal, "That in the said General Union, The Ordering & Direction of the Affairs Yr of [thereof be administered by one President General, who shall be The Governour of The Province of the Massachusetts Bay for The Time being, and a Grand Council to be chosen by the Representatives of the People of the Said Colonies met in their respective Assemblies."cxxvi It would appear that the Commissioners from Massachusetts Bay were particularly interested in establishing a connection between the chief executive of the partial union and that of the Province. New York, Attorney General William Smith, a member of the Governor's Council, who attended the Albany Congress, reported to Governor DeLancey, "that Massachusetts acted with an aim to procure the President's chair for their Governor, and predicted, as he well might, that it would not be much encouraged by New York."cxxvii
The only colony that was definitely clearly to the formation of a colonial union was Massachusetts Bay. The Assembly of the Province specifically called upon its Commissioners to work for "a general, firm & perpetual union & confederacy, for mutual assistance by men or money or both, in peace & in War."cxxviii And the provincial legislature dispatched the delegation from Massachusetts Bay to Albany with a definite, inflexible agenda.cxxix In reviving a form of the old New England Confederation in the project of military union, Massachusetts so designed it as to include not only all of the New England colonies but the two rather weak colonies of New York and New Jersey. This act had the effect of redrawing the geographical limits of the old Dominion of New England. There were advantages to be gained by all the colonies by inclusion. In particular, New York would acquire the more than ample resources of men and money of the populous and highly prosperous colonies to its north and east. This would enable New York to defend its exposed frontiers. By showing such mutual advantage, Massachusetts hoped to overcome any natural reluctance of any one of them toward union.
Although the Massachusetts Bay delegation came with a carefully formulated plan, any plan that it brought was doubtless modified, at least in details, after the author of it had obtained access to the Franklin "Short Hints," particularly with respect to the name of the Council. The union of the northern colonies was to be especially designed to add to the prestige of that Province. The other delegations thwarted those designs by voicing strong opposition to it. This would seem to identify the commissioners of the Massachusetts Bay with the "Plan of a proposed Union of the several Colonies of Massachusetts Bay, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York & New Jersey, for their mutual Defence, & Security, & for extending the British Settlements Northward & Westward of said Colonies in North America," which set forth the very ideas that the Massachusetts Bay delegation stood for.
This plan of union has been traditionally connected to Massachusetts Commissioner Thomas Hutchinson.cxxx On the last page of the manuscript copy of this plan among the Trumbull Papers in the Connecticut State Library is penned on the margin the notation in a hasty scrawl: "plan of Union opposed N. I."cxxxi The governor of Massachusetts Bay attempted to create a project of union that Connecticut might be counted on to support. If and when that goal was attained, he may well have presented this revision of the revised New England plan for the consideration of the Committee of the Congress.cxxxii
The other scheme, the "Plan of a proposed Union of The Several Colonies of Massachusetts Bay, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Rhode Island, & New York, for their Mutual Defence & Security & for extending the British Settlements Northward & Westward of Said Colonys in North America" would seem to represent a revision of the former unamended "Plan" by some delegate or delegates from one of the colonies other than Massachusetts Bay. It was probably also prepared after the Commissioners of the latter had arrived in Albany and had perhaps distributed their proposal.cxxxiii In any event, the Province of Massachusetts Bay was the only colony in the spring of 1754 definitely committed by its Assembly to the idea of a colonial union, and the only colony that instructed the delegates to work for a permanent union or confederation.
The second more limited plan of union, embracing but New England and New York, shows hostility to the idea of combining automatically the office of Governor of Massachusetts Bay with that of President General of the Union. Instead, it provided, "That The Said General Government be administered by one President General to be Chosen & Appointed by a Grand Council to be Chosen by the Representatives of The people of The Said Several Colonies met in their Respective Assemblies. . . " The Grand Council shall first meet, at such a time as shall be indicated by "The Governor of Boston," who would preside and "Lead The Members of The Grand Council To the Choice of a President General." The similarities include proportional representation on the Council, the payment of its members, its powers to make western settlements, as well as those that it would possess for raising and paying soldiers. The name of the legislature employed in all three of the plans is the "Grand Council." This plan made no reference whatsoever to any plan of union for the southern colonies.cxxxiv The connection between the two plans is obvious; as is the connection of the two plans with the final draft of the Albany Plan; or, if not, that Franklin had prior access to the former plan before he completed his "Short Hints." As Professor Gipson pointed out, the surviving copy of the New England plan in the handwriting of Jonathan Trumbull (or Trumble) appears to show the influence of Franklin's "Short Hints." So also does the second New England plan, which was also in Trumbull's handwriting, and it was rather clearly based upon the first document. The plan for a northern union was worked out independently before the Congress convened was modified, probably after it was brought to Albany and before the second New England plan took shape. However, the surviving amended copy of what was the original shows that, in the drafting of the latter, the authors lavished much care on the details of the proposals. That would fit in within the Gipson's theory that the person responsible for the original draft and other members of the Massachusetts Bay delegation took their assignment from the Assembly seriously.cxxxv
On July 2 the committee again considered and, after some debate, "the question was then put, whether the Board should proceed to form a plan of union of the Colonies to be established by Act of Parliament which passed in the affirmative."cxxxvi Again on 4 July, the "Plan for a Union" was the subject of deliberations," but no resolves were made thereupon." On the following day debate continued without resolution. Other matters then diverted the attention of the Congress away from the plan for union. The matter was not again debated until the eighth. On the ninth the delegates agreed upon the plan in principle," and Mr. Franklin was desired to make a draught of it as now concluded upon."cxxxvii On the day following the Congress approved the particulars by accepted the committee draft without significant debate or change. To what extent the project was modified at any stage after Franklin had redrafted is unknown. At some point the "Short Hints towards a Scheme for Uniting the Northern Colonies" disappeared in favor of the short title, "Plan of Union." However, a formal and much longer title emerged at some point. It was correctly called "A Plan of a proposed Union of the several Colonies of Massachusetts Bay, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina, for their mutual defence and security, and for extending the British Settlements in North America."
The final Albany Plan of Union may be accurately described as a composite plan, perhaps even a bundle on compromises. In the "Short Hints" Franklin favored a single union for all the colonies on the continent not under the special protection from the King. This union, to be perfectly legal, should rest on nothing less than an act of Parliament. It should also be made clear and put in legal language that this was an essentially permanent league, unlike the earlier New England associations. In his opinion the colonies ought not to be allowed to join or leave at will. A conservative and a loyalist during this period, Franklin believed in the concept of empire. Moreover, he conceived of the union being strengthened if by the Crown approved the appointment of its executive head. He also believed he was showing his loyalty by the giving of this executive, as the king's agent, the right of veto. Once the congress adjourned, the commissioners were left with the task of presenting the proposed plan to their respective assemblies. The delegates at the Albany Congress could not agree unanimously on the content of the program.
Franklin did not neglect the powers of the council. He created a powerful union legislative council that would possess the authority to tax and control an independent treasury. This was a most important point since it would give the union the resources to wage war without having to beg funds from the often reluctant and notoriously niggardly provincial legislatures. The appointment of a union treasurer for each colony in addition to a general union treasurer therefore providing for a complete fiscal union system provided fiscal responsibility. The plan also provided for an annual settlement of the accounts of the Union government with the provincial assemblies. He gave the council great powers to levy directly upon the property of citizens of the colonies, and to possess its own armed forces, forts, and a navy. His union would also promote western settlement. He considered all of these features to be so fundamental and vital in nature that they were indispensable. Franklin had good reason to show pride for all his major original proposals had survived debate and had become the foundation of the Albany Plan of Union.
The most eloquent statement which sums up the work of the Albany Congress and its two principals was provided by Professor Frothingham. In reference to the Albany Congress, he wrote that, "two political schools were about equally represented in the committee . . . . In Hutchinson it was the vision of a clear intellect distrusting the capacity and intelligence of the people. In Franklin, it was the insight of a philosopher . . . determined to labor for the liberties of his Country."cxxxviii
The Albany Plan was rejected or simply not acted upon by the colonies. This plan for colonial union failed because of opposition from both the king and the colonies. Each party thought it granted the other too much power. The home government disapproved this plan because it was felt that it encroached on the royal prerogative. The colonies disapproved of it because it did not allow them sufficient independence. It was, nonetheless, a farsighted document which contained solutions that the colonies would draw upon in forming a union after independence was declared in 1776. It paved the way for the Stamp Act Congress of 1765 and for the Continental Congress of 1774. And when, during the troubled days which followed, the need of a closer union was felt, there was a definite plan to serve as a guide in the deliberations of the representatives of the colonies.
The New Jersey Assembly and Connecticut showed antipathy toward the Albany Plan. Ultimately, the plan received unanimous rejection in the assemblies of Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts Bay.cxxxix Finally, Connecticut emphatically rejected the proposed plan. The Connecticut commissioners "objected to the proposed plan; and thought they were never answered or obviated. Therefore [they] never came into or gave consent to same."cxl
Connecticut set up a committee to review the plan. Some of the colony's objections had a royalist slant, that "his Majesty's interest is in great danger." The report continued, "His Majesty's subjects . . . are a very great body . . . . This power and strength being brought into one point . . . may in time be of dangerous consequence to his Majesty's interest." The committee also objected to granting the power to the council to appoint officers, noting that traditionally "our officers generally are chosen out of the best yeomen" of each colony. Because there were such officers "thus chosen and commissioned, freeholders' sons, the youth of the colony, have on all occasions, with great cheerfulness and alacrity, generally enlisted." Their motives had been altruistic. "Their country's good, not necessity, has led them to arms." They viewed the plan as a scheme to allow Americans to be sent abroad and under that condition "such youths would not enlist." Upon review, the committee rejected the plan, claiming it would "weaken and injure his Majesty's interests," and they found it "subversive of the just rights and privileges of his good and faithful subjects." The committee charged that the plan encompassed too great an area, an argument that would appear later among anti federalists in opposition to the federal Constitution of 1787. "We think it impracticable that his Majesty's interest, and the good of his people, inhabiting so great a country, can, in any advantageous or tolerable manner, be considered." The committee also disliked the idea of granting the power to tax to the council.cxli The Assembly accepted the report, adding nothing substantial to the reasoning offered by the committees.cxlii
Despite a speech by Governor Belcher to New Jersey's Assembly urging the need for a plan of Union,cxliii the Assembly rejected the Plan claiming "if carried into Practice, would affect our Constitution in its very vitals. . . ."cxliv If nothing else, all the Assemblies did seem to agree on one matter, that being the rejection of the Plan.
Many colonists also had grave reservations about adopting the plan of unity as proposed. One such colonist was Dr. William Clarke of Boston who was so outraged by what was produced by the Albany Congress that he had to write to Benjamin Franklin, " . . . you and the rest of the commissioners at Albany have shown yourselves, by the projected plan for an union, to be arrogant blockheads . . . ."cxlv
The position of New Jersey was one of disinterest, as stated by the Speaker of the Assembly. "This Colony bath not ever had anything to do with Indian Affairs out of its own limits, neither been partakers of the Benefit of their Trade." However, he promised, with or without any formal military alliance, if any Amerindian tribes "should make war upon any of our Neighbouring Colonies, this House will, as they have hitherto done, exert themselves to the utmost of their Abilities to assist His Majesty and his Subjects against their enemies."cxlvi
The Lords Commissioners for Trade and Plantations rejected it claiming it was too democratic, thus withholding it from the king. The Lords may have been moved by another motivation. In a letter written by William Bollan, an agent from Massachusetts Bay Colony,cxlvii to the Secretary of Massachusetts, Bollan wrote that it was intended, "by some persons of consequence, that the colonies should be governed like Ireland, keeping up a body of standing forces, with a military chest there . . . so as to put them on the same foot that Ireland stands by Poyning's act . . ., No act in Ireland can pass in their parliament there till it first be assented to by the king and privy council of England . . . ."cxlviii
Among its supporters there was some initial optimism that the plan would be superimposed by Great Britain. Charles Thomson of Pennsylvania wrote concerning news of deliberation on the plan in England, "tis thought will soon be brought to bear, an event much to be desired, since it effectually will secure us from the insults of our haughty aspiring neighbors, the French, and make our security independent of the fickle humor of our Indian allies.cxlix
Franklin had several observations or the reasons for the failure of the plan and the consequences of that failure.
On Reflection it now seems probable, that if the foregoing Plan or something like it had been adopted and carried into Execution, the subsequent Seperation of the Colonies from the Mother Country might not so soon have happened, nor the Mischiefs suffered on both sides have occured perhaps during another Century. For the Colonies, if so united, would have really been, as they then thought themselves, sufficient to their own Defence, and being trusted with it, as by the Plan, an Army from Britain, for that purpose would have been unnecessary; The Pretences for framing the Stamp Act would then not have existed, nor the other Projects for drawing a Revenue from America to Britain by Act of Parliament, which were the Cause of the Breach & attended with such terrible Expense of Blood and Treasure; so that the different Parts of the Empire might still have remained in Peace and Union. But the Fate of this Plan was singular. For then after many Days thorough Discussion of all its Parts in Congress it was unanimously agreed to, and Copies ordered to be sent to the Assembly of each Province for Concurrence, and one to the Ministry in England for the Approbation of the Crown. The Crown disapproved it, as having placed too much Weight in the Democratic Part of the Constitution; and every Assembly as having allowed too much to Prerogative. So it was totally rejected.clI thank you for the Opportunity you propose to give me of making Alterations in those old Pieces of mine which you intend to republish in your Museum. I have no Inclination to make any Changes in them; but should like to see the Proof Sheet, supposing your Copies may possibly be incorrect. And if you have no Objection, you may follow the Albany Plan with the enclosed Remark but not as from. me. I am, Sir, Your humble Servant, B. Franklin
During the early years of the French and Indian War, attempts at establishing colonial unity were frustrated by the existence of a series of overlapping commands. The British government named Governor Clinton of New York Captain General and Commander in Chief of the militia, and all the forces by sea and land, within the Colony of Connecticut, and of all the forts and places of strength within the same."cli The government in the spring of 1754 appointed Robert Dinwiddie, Lieutenant Governor of Virginia to command the colonial operations against the French in the Ohio Valley. The other northern colonies ignored his requests for contributions in mere, money and material, to serve under "my Gen'l Officer." The Earl of Holderness ordered two independent companies from New York to serve in Dinwiddie's command. The two New York companies and a contingent of North Carolina militia arrived too late to be of help in Washington's initial encounter with the French. A militia company from South Carolina appeared, but its commander, a Captain Mackay, who held a royal commission, refused to take orders from a provincial colonel. Washington had little choice but to assigned the South Carolina troops to guard the stores in the rear.clii
With war with France still a matter of skirmishes and intrigues, but not as yet formally declared, the English government had to decide whether to send material and men to the colonists. The French might easily construe such support as an act of war. In the latter part of September 1754, the British cabinet decided to risk the displeasure of the French and move boldly. It resolved to bolster their American defenses. Major General Edward Braddock, a friend of the Duke of Cumberland, brought two Irish regiments to America. In addition, Shirley and Pepperrell were each to raise and command a regiment, with the crown bearing the expense.
In 1754 the crown had appointed Maryland Governor Horatio Sharpe to serve as commander in chief of the combined militia forces, with the assignment to renew the attack against the French. Sharpe apparently owed his appointment to certain members of the British cabinet, namely, the Duke of Newcastle, Lord Chancellor Hardwicke, and the Earl of Holderness. Governor Sharpe's appointment as commander in chief was a matter of paper command, with no real powers accruing to him, and even those paper powers were short lived. The home government ordered the other colonial governors to correspond directly with Shirley and Pepperrell "upon every thing, relative to the Present Service."cliii On January 12, 1755, Braddock superseded Governor Sharp.cliv Braddock commanded that all colonial troops in service be placed under the revised Mutiny Bill, making them liable to the same martial law and discipline, as the British Forces were. Although Braddock was commander in chief, in a sense there were two chief commanders, for William Shirley continued to organize the military force for the northern colonies. As nominal northern commander, Shirley had made advance plans for a concerted attack on the various French outposts. He exercised his authority by promoting William Johnson to the rank of major general and giving him the supreme command of the force he was then raising. Johnson had command of the militias of Massachusetts, New York, New Hampshire, Connecticut, and Rhode Island "For an Expedition against the French Incroachments at crown point and upon the Lake Champlain."clv For his part, Braddock confirmed Shirley's orders without disputing his authority.
Braddock's appointment had established the precedent of appointing a regular army officer of general rank to the overall command of all the military forces in the colonies. General officers as commanders in-chief would continue until the Revolution. The powers of the commander in chief steadily encroached upon the governors' military powers within their own provinces. The British commanders in chief usually regarded the governors as a liaison officers between himself and the various provincial assemblies.clvi The commander-in chief answered only to the home government. Hereafter, the colonial governors did not have military powers separate from the provincial councils.
The Newcastle ministry, undermined and disheartened by the unexpected defeat of Braddock at the Battle of the Wilderness, decided in January 1756 to try once again to create a more unified military command. The Duke of Cumberland, with the full support of other powerful Lords, recommended John Campbell, the fourth Earl of Loudoun to be commander in chief for the military forces in America. As commander in chief of all forces employed, or to be employed, in North America, Loudoun could command the assistance of all colonial governors and militia.
William Shirley, upon the death of Braddock, was de facto commander in chief of the royal and colonial forces. But Shirley had long had to contend with the opposition organized by Lieutenant governor James De Lancey, the latter's brother Oliver DeLancey and Thomas Pownall. These men, and perhaps others, made a maximum effort to have the Massachusetts Governor recalled. A sudden and wholly unexpected turn of events seemed to justify their criticism. Royal intelligence intercepted some letters written by someone in Pennsylvania under the pen name of Pierre Fidele to the Duc de Mirepoix in France. These letters revealed Shirley's supposedly secret instructions dealing with military and Indian affairs. Some questioned Shirley's judgment, even his loyalty. Besides, he had a French wife. The Newcastle ministry had no choice but to replace Shirley as commander in chief without delay. Since Loudoun was delayed in his departure for America, the ministry sent General Daniel Webb and General James Abercromby to assume immediate command. For a few weeks Webb was acting commander in chief. Abercromby soon arrived and, as Webb's superior, assumed command. Loudoun did not reach New York until July 1756, at which time he assumed command as initially planned. In less than two months Americans had three commanders in chief.clvii
The whole system of provincial military command seemed to be on the verge of collapse. Shirley continued briefly in the governorship and used his efforts to raise troops from the New England colonies for an expedition against Crown Point, making these available for General Abercromby. Shirley also offered the opinion that troops raised in the Jersies and North Carolina could be deployed anywhere in America at the discretion of the commander-in-chief.clviii The Royal Americans replaced Shirley's and Pepperrell's regiments.
Loudoun soon experienced difficulties in dealing with the colonial authorities. The cabinet issued special orders that no provincial officer should rank higher than a senior captain in the regular army. This meant that the various well known and popular colonial officers, such as William Johnson, John Bradstreet, George Washington, would be out ranked by mere captains.clix Virginia protested that her troops were considered as "Irregulars" and that provincial troops should be "regularly enlisted."clx Massachusetts refused to cooperate with Loudoun on grounds that military powers of the colony derived from the governor's prerogative bestowed by the crown. Loudoun complained that a Massachusetts council of war took it upon itself to direct "the Motions of his Majesty's Troops."clxi
Loudoun soon incurred the enmity of both colonial governors and populace. He threatened to force the colonial legislatures to keep up pay for the troops. His policies of quartering his troops in Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New York, and Massachusetts created popular resentment.clxii Worst of all, he was a losing general. The French captured Fort William Henry on 9 August 1757, with the loss of 1400 men. He delayed the attack on the important French position at Louisbourg, giving as an excuse that his preparations were incomplete. Loudoun, censured and recalled, left America in disgrace.
The Pitt ministry decided to create a more unified system of military command for the colonies. All provincial officers were elevated in rank so that their ranks corresponded to officers in the regular army. England would provide the colonies with sufficient munitions of war. Pitt promised that his ministry would recommend that Parliament reimburse the colonies for their supplies of men, clothes, and material. In short, the home government pledged to pay for a renewed war effort.clxiii The ministry appointed Major General James Abercromby, over the preference of Pitt, to succeed Loudoun as commander in chief. At the same time Brigadier general John Forbes was named commander of the Southern District, which included Pennsylvania, Virginia, Maryland and the Carolinas. Forbes was to cooperate with Abercromby and coordinate his campaign against the French in the west with the commander in chief.clxiv The colonists seemed to be reluctant to recognize him as the supreme commander of the militias. In July 1758, Abercromby led an attack on Fort Ticonderoga. His frontal attack failed and Abercromby suffered over 1500 casualties, including 464 killed. As a result of the catastrophe, the cabinet recalled Abercromby to England, and appointed Sir Jeffrey Amherst to succeed him. Simultaneously, Pitt directed the colonial governors to work closely with the new commander-in chief. Because of the Indian crises in the south, Amherst dispatched Brigadier General Monckton with 1300 troops to South Carolina. Pitt himself took command over the general direction and strategy of the colonial military campaign. Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania refused to place their militia under Amherst's command. Ignoring the upstart colonials, Pitt decided to win the war with British troops alone.clxv At the end of the war, the home government promoted Amherst and chose Major general Thomas Gage to succeed Amherst.
The home government decided to retain the new military organization indefinitely along with the office of supreme commander. In peacetime the principal concern was regulation of the Indian trade. The general in command was to have practically unlimited powers in Indian affairs. For decades the Amerindians had urged the British authorities to regulate the trade and license the traders. The commander in chief was authorized to supervise the Indian agents and commissaries and control and audit all expenditures. The military establishment which the cabinet created in 1763 removed to a significant degree the competition among rival and competing centers of power in the field of military affairs.
Beginning in October 1768, a series of reports on real and alleged British outrages committed in Boston began to appear in the New York Journal and the Pennsylvania Chronicle, and eventually, in Boston Evening Post, and finally, in pamphlet form under the title of The Journal of the Times. The authorship is unknown, but among those believed to have been collaborators were Benjamin Edes, publisher of the Boston Evening Post; Henry Knox, later a general in continental service, then proprietor of a bookstore; Sam Adams, a radical patriot; William Cooper, town clerk of Boston; William Greenleaf, an employee of Edes; and Isaiah Thomas, later publisher of the Massachusetts Spy.clxvi The unknown authors advocated a union of the colonies as a way to avoid what many already thought was an inevitable war for independence. The first reason for a union was "the safety of the colonies." They admitted that "the right of taxation is the cause of the present controversy among them" with the colonies refusing to concede that power to Parliament. The anonymous authors charged that the Parliament demanded the power to tax specifically to "avoid" this "point of union." The British had decided to station, then quarter, troops in Boston to "change the sentiments of the people” with special reference to those "sentiments" which "were considered as strongly leading to such a union."clxvii