Historical Documents

of the United States of America

Galloway's Plan Of Union ~ 1774

Denied 28 September 1774


     On 06 September 1774, the delegates meeting in the First Continental Congress in Carpenter's Hall at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania took up the business of establishing a union between the British coloinies. During that meeting, among other resolutions concerning the rules of conduct and the statement of goals, the following resolution was passed unanimously: "Resolved, unan: That a Committee be appointed to State the rights of the Colonies in general, the several instances in which these rights are violated or infringed, and the means most proper to be pursued for the obtaining a restoration of them."
      Two delegates from each colony were appointed to the Committee. They included:
         John Sullivan and Nathaniel Folsom, of New Hampshire;
         Samuel Adams and John Adams, of Massachusetts-Bay;
         Stephen Hopkins and Samuel Ward, of Rhode Island;
         Eliphalet Dyer and Roger Sherman, of Connecticut;
         James Duane and John Jay, of New York;
         William Livingston and John Dehart, of New Jersey;
         Joseph Galloway and Edward Biddle, of Pennsylvania;
         Caesar Rodney and Thomas McKean, of 3 Counties (Delaware);
         Thomas Johnson and Robert Goldsborough, of Maryland;
         Richard Henry Lee and Edmund Pendleton, of Virginia;
         and Thomas Lynch and John Rutledge, of South Carolina.
     According to the footnotes included in the Journals of the Continental Congress, John Adams wrote (in his Works, Volume II) that the Committee sat all day, "and a most ingenious and entertaining debate we had." Adams noted that the Committee "Agreed to found our rights upon the laws of Nature, the principles of the English Constitution, and charters and compacts..." Galloway and Duane objected to including laws of nature, but Adams argued for its inclusion. A sub-Committee was appointed to compose a Statement of Rights. Multiple meetings were held by the Committee and the sub-Committee The Committee's report was presented to the Congress on 22 September. The report was read, but a discussion of it was postponed until the session of the 24th. During that session, it was resolved that the COngress would concentrate only on the rights that had already been infringed by acts of the British parliament since the year 1763. The result of these discussions was that the Congress "Resolved unanimously, That from and after the first day of December next, there be no importation into British America from Great Britain or Ireland, of any goods, wares or merchandizes whatsoever, or from any other place, of any such goods, wares or merchandizes, as shall have been exported from Great-Britain or Ireland; and that no such goods, wares or merchandizes imported after the said first day of December next, be used or purchased."
     On Wednesday, 28 September, Joseph Galloway, a delegate from Pennsylvania, presented a Plan of a proposed Union between Great Britain and the Colonies. In his book, Historical And Political Reflections On The Rise And Progress Of The American Rebellion, published in 1780, Galloway noted that "With a view to promote the measure I have so earnestly recommended, I have prepared the draught of a plan for uniting America more intimately, in constitutional policy, with Great Britain." "I am certain when dispassionately considered, it will be found to be the most perfect union in power and liberty with the Parent State, next to a representation in Parliament, and I trust it will be approved of by both countries." In the end, the Plan was not approved by the Congress.


     Resolved, That the Congress will apply to his Majesty for a redress of grievances under which his faithful subjects in America labour; and assure him, that the Colonies hold in abhorrence the idea of being considered independent communities on the British government, and most ardently desire the establishment of a Political Union, not only among themselves, but with the Mother State, upon those principles of safety and freedom which are essential in the constitution of all free governments, and particularly that of the British Legislature; and as the Colonies from their local circumstances, cannot be represented in the Parliament of Great-Britain, they will humbly propose to his Majesty and his two Houses of Parliament, the following plan, under which the strength of the whole Empire may be drawn together on any emergency, the interest of both countries advanced, and the rights and liberties of America secured.
     A Plan of a proposed Union between Great Britain and the Colonies.
     That a British and American legislature, for regulating the administration of the general affairs of America, be proposed and established in America, including all the said colonies; within, and under which government, each colony shall retain its present constitution, and powers of regulating and governing its own internal police, in all cases what[so]ever.
     That the said government be administered by a President General, to be appointed by the King, and a grand Council, to be chosen by the Representatives of the people of the several colonies, in their respective assemblies, once in every three years.
     That the several assemblies shall choose members for the grand council in the following proportions, viz.
New Hampshire.
Rhode Island.
Delaware Counties.
North Carolina.
     Who shall meet at the city of [          ] for the first time, being called by the President-General, as soon as conveniently may be after his appointment.
     That there shall be a new election of members for the Grand Council every three years; and on the death, removal or resignation of any member, his place shall be supplied by a new choice, at the next sitting of Assembly of the Colony he represented.
     That the Grand Council shall meet once in every year, if they shall think it necessary, and oftener, if occasions shall 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.
     That the grand Council shall have power to choose their Speaker, and shall hold and exercise all the like rights, liberties and privileges, as are held and exercised by and in the House of Commons of Great-Britain.
     That the President-General shall hold his office during the pleasure of the King, and his assent shall be requisite to all acts of the Grand Council, and it shall be his office and duty to cause them to be carried into execution.
     That the President-General, by and with the advice and consent of the Grand-Council, hold and exercise all the legislative rights, powers, and authorities, necessary for regulating and administering all the general police and affairs of the colonies, in which Great-Britain and the colonies, or any of them, the colonies in general, or more than one colony, are in any manner concerned, as well civil and criminal as commercial.
     That the said President-General and the Grand Council, be an inferior and distinct branch of the British legislature, united and incorporated with it, for the aforesaid general purposes; and that any of the said general regulations may originate and be formed and digested, either in the Parliament of Great Britain, or in the said Grand Council, and being prepared, transmitted to the other for their approbation or dissent; and that the assent of both shall be requisite to the validity of all such general acts or statutes.
     That in time of war, all bills for granting aid to the crown, prepared by the Grand Council, and approved by the President General, shall be valid and passed into a law, without the assent of the British Parliament.
From Journals Of The Continental Congress 1774-1789, Volume I, 1904, Government Printing Office, Pages 26, 48-51.