Governor in the Emerging Trilateral Center
of the New World Order
At the end of the first governorship of Jonathan Belcher (1682-1757), a transformation in Colonial American government occurred that eventually led to the emergence of the United States of America as the Trilateral Center of the New World Order. This transformation involved a shift in perspective in the American colony of Massachusetts, which in turn led and influenced the other American colonies to move in a direction both toward greater American intercolonial unity and, paradoxically for a proposed union based on political stability, toward a greater push for American independence from Great Britain. Whereas Governor Belcher's administration focused on civil and religious liberty for the local American colonials, the change from his administration during the period between 1739-1741 to the installation of (mostly) British governors favoring greater pro-British imperialist government (controlled strictly by Great Britain), with less emphasis on individual American initiative, during the period from 1741 to the 1770's, initially caused the colonies to move toward closer cultural ties with Britain for the military purpose of fighting the French and Indian War--but then the colonials' increased identification with Britain--the "Anglicization" of American society--backlashed against the British as the colonials revolted under the heavy British hand. It was a key, crucial period (1739-1741) that was the formative period determining the emergence of the future United States as the Trilateral Center of the New World Order.
I. Turning Point in the Nature of Colonial American Government
Imperialists viewed the Revolutionary period as a time of unreasonable revolt from England's benevolence; whereas supporters of liberty and individual rights thought the colonials were completing the rise toward greater individual liberty begun by King William III and Queen Mary II's Glorious Revolution in Great Britain nearly one hundred years before. To meet the rise of new challenges--specifically, the increasing commercialization and sophistication of colonial society--the colonials imported British ideas and practices, and in an era of increasing diversification, the colonies' English heritage was the common glue that kept them bound together. This British ideological importation led to an increasing pattern of "Anglicization" in the American colonies--a trend toward becoming more English in outlook and perspective--of which Massachusetts was a representative model. But the historical trend had a turning point--and this analysis proposes that the turning point occurred during 1739-1741, concomitant with the development of the preliminary blueprint for the formation of a united America which later emerged as the Trilateral Center of the future New World Order. The imperialist trend reached its height around 1765, when the increasingly heavy hand of British colonial government spurred the American colonials to resist the British more and more, and finally, to fight for American independence from the British overlords. Succeeding administrations of imperialist colonial governors--the most famous of whom was Thomas Hutchinson (1711-1780) (acting governor of Massachusetts, 1769-1771; last non-military governor of Massachusetts, 1771-1774)--were stepping stones on that revolutionary path. (Hutchinson was a political ally of the Massachusetts gubernatorial administration that succeeded in 1741, and generally continued its imperialist policies.)
One event in 1739-1741 that triggered a change in administrations was when, through shrewd manipulation of electoral dynamics, a political faction--a small circle of Boston politicians--managed to secure for themselves positions of wealth and power by wooing the super-imperialist group of British officials to exercise their gift of patronage in favor of them. The result was a shift in power base and a change in colonial administration in favor of those who wished to "Anglicize" the American colonies. Ultimately, it was these imperialist colonial officials who came up with ideas that, when fully implemented in the American colonies twenty years later, impelled the colonials to revolt. Whether this was the British officials' intention is highly doubtful, but the end result was the same. Ironically, the British plan to create an American Union, controlled by British rule, backfired in a highly unpredictable manner to produce an American Union under independent American rule--but one that, in its future history, traded with, ideologically inspired, and in later centuries, became the military ally of Great Britain. It was like Great Britain lost the colonies politically, only to still have them interact with Britain commercially and ideologically. And when France became America's ally during the American Revolution, the young United States picked up yet another commercial trading partner--another country it could influence ideologically--a country whose soldiers it could train to return home and in turn become revolutionaries in their own country. (See The Trilateral Center: Benjamin Franklin and the New World Order.) In this way, the United States began its career as the Trilateral Center of the world by first becoming the center of the triangle between Great Britain and France.
The colonial Massachusetts administration of the 1740's-1750's shifted the focus of colonial society, ironically orienting it more toward Great Britain. Concomitant with this shift of focus in America was the reinvigoration of the British Board of Trade under its new president, Lord Halifax--a hard-line imperialist. Together, the colonial administration in Massachusetts and the President of the Board of Trade favored clamping down on the colonies--not allowing them as much freedom as before--being more strict in the enforcement of government rules and regulations. Concomitantly, this new imperialism marked the beginning of the end of the long reign of "salutary neglect" on the part of the British central government, when British officials tended to wink at minor colonial variations from British legal practice. All of this approach was fundamentally different from the liberty-oriented approach taken formerly by Governor Jonathan Belcher, who had ruled Massachusetts and New Hampshire from 1730-1741. From 1746 to 1757, Belcher was governor of the colony of New Jersey, where the colonials in general (and Quakers in particular) were a liberty-loving lot (much to Governor Belcher's liking). Under his administration, New Jersey colonials were spared as much as possible from heavy-handed British tactics. However, it was a different story in Massachusetts: the new colonial administration encouraged the British government to pursue a strong administrative policy toward the American colonies. For example, one measure that was taken was to hinder the growth of democracy in Massachusetts by discouraging growth of the franchise (the vote)--a move promoting the appearance of imperialism. Eventually, the colonials had had enough: For example, a political dependent of the imperialist faction was promised a high judicial office but the faction never delivered. The political dependent's son James Otis, Jr. (1725-1783), became a prominent American revolutionary who opposed the writs of assistance and other British imperial acts; his bitterness extended to Hutchinson's administration and other defenders and supporters of the British prerogative.
The decline of government resulting from the actions of the super-imperialists caused the Massachusetts colonials to fear the existence of some sort of top-secret plan, devised by British officials, to impose a totalitarian regime on the American colonies. This rhetoric fueled a lot of the ideology behind the American Revolution; no less a person than future United States President John Adams believed in the existence of domineering "schemes" formulated by the imperialist "junto" during the 1740's-1750's period.
However, the outcome of this chain of historical events led to American independence and
the formation of the United States of America as the emerging Trilateral Center
of the future New World Order. Through this series of events, the United States
became, in the twentieth century, one of the two world superpowers; now, in the
twenty-first century, the United States is the only superpower. It is uniquely
suited and situated to take the leadership role in the New World Order--both by
history and by geography. History made the United States the world leader in
ideology, commercial trading power, and democratic political example. The trend
that began in 1739 has now reached its full culmination in the century of world
II. The Trilateral Factory: Bladen's Board of Trade
The first components of the emerging Trilateral Center of the New World Order actually were manufactured as early as 1721, at the beginning of Sir Robert Walpole's ministry. The "factory" was the British department comprising the Lords Commissioners of Trades and Plantations--commonly called the Board of Trade. Created in 1696 as the successor to the Council for the Plantations--the administrative body formerly responsible for handling colonial affairs--the Board of Trade was the link between the central British government and its American plantations. The Board's main function was the regulation of commerce between the center (Britain) and her outlying commercial peripheries, which were not yet unified into one political entity. Rather than calling themselves citizens of "the American colonies", colonials referred to themselves both as Englishmen and as residents of their home colony; in effect they were men with two countries--their colony and Great Britain. Primitive provinces progressing to civilized colonies served as spokes supporting Britain's great trading wheel of empire. Their unifying link was the central hub in London, where the King acting with the concurrence of his Privy Council (the King in Council) issued instructions (one of the instruments of royal authority in the unwritten British constitutional system) as well as Orders in Council, to the royal governors, commanding them to take certain measures for upholding the king's prerogative--a governor's first duty--and to carry out British policy. Orders in Council might be accompanied by an additional letter from the Board of Trade, signed by all members then in attendance, which reproved, advised, and encouraged governors to perform their duties in colonial affairs. Alternatively, the Privy Council could direct the Secretary of State--the secretariat being the most authoritative British department next to the King in Council--or the Board of Trade itself, to send orders to colonial officials. However, traditionally the Board was not a policymaker; it was powerless to act on its own authority absent the approval of the Privy Council, whose Lords of the Committee of Council for Plantation Affairs frequently sought the Board's advice. Indeed, the Lords Commissioners for Trade and Plantations was a committee, whose meetings were attended by at least one secretary of state, a chief justice, and occasionally the chancellor of the Exchequer. At least two Board members attended Privy Council meetings, and the entire Board served as an intermediary between the King in Council, his secretaries of state, and his royal representatives in the British colonies. Those representatives corresponded with the king through the Board of Trade, which studied colonial requests and recommendations and then referred them to the Privy Council, together with cover letters setting forth the Board's own opinion about the issue.
Occasionally meeting as separate sub-committees during the reigns of William and Mary--from the Board's beginning in 1696 until the end of the reign in 1702--and later Queen Anne (1702-1714), the Board frequently received letters from governors, merchants, colonial agents, and private correspondents seeking to influence government policy or requesting redress of grievances. During the reigns of George I (1714-1727) and George II (1727-1760), Board of Trade opinions covered the entire scope of colonial relations and polity--such as intercolonial disputes, assembly legislation, disputes between assemblies and their governors, the adequacy of colonial laws and judiciary, and the expediency of issuing or calling in colonial paper currency--in addition to trade. If a colonial official wished to perform an official act, he wrote directly to the Secretary of State for the Southern Plantations, who bore responsibility for representing colonial affairs before the King in Council upon referral from the Board of Trade. For instance, the Board communicated notices of license of absence granted by the Privy Council to colonial secretaries, provost marshals, military and naval officers, and court clerks. The Board also was responsible for investigating inter-colony disputes and the condition of the colonial militia, as well as recommending imposition of import and export duties, instructing governors to enforce the long-neglected Navigation Acts that theoretically had regulated colonial trade since 1661, recommending personages for appointments to colonial office, and examining methods for the prevention of illegal trading between colonials and the French, especially during the French and Indian War. However, prior to Lord Halifax's Board presidency (1748-1761), the initiative for raising many of those issues rested with the Secretary of State and the Privy Council, who referred colonial matters for the Board's consideration.
That this unexciting Board of Trade environment should serve as a factory for the Trilateral Center project at first appears unlikely. Board members were administrators, not policymakers. But the ascendancy of Sir Robert Walpole as Britain's first "prime minister" fundamentally changed the destiny of the Board of Trade. That unassuming institution provided the ideal training ground for a new type of Board leadership--one whose alliance with a strong "prime minister" like Walpole remedied the Board's weak advisory position and unleashed the Board's potential for wielding an unobtrusive power behind the political scenes. And the person who employed that potential extensively was an ambitious leader named Martin Bladen (c. 1680-1746), one of Sir Robert Walpole's strongest supporters, whose domination of the Board of Trade from 1720-1746--the period of his second membership--coincided with the period of Walpole's ministry (1721-1742). (For the attendance of Sir Robert Walpole at the celebration of Governor Jonathan Belcher's appointment as governor of Massachusetts and New Hampshire in March 1730, see Celebration of Governor Jonathan Belcher's Appointment. Also present were the Duke of Newcastle, a key British Secretary of State for Southern Affairs, and Lord Townshend, who had initially recommended Jonathan Belcher for the governorship.)
Whereas the Board's correspondence remained steady, with Bladen at the helm the Board of Trade assumed a more assertive personality, requesting, for instance, that for the first time, the royal printer should publish colonial laws for the Board's perusal. A master politician, Bladen was no ordinary Board commissioner: Horace Walpole, Sir Robert Walpole's youngest son, once humorously quipped "that Bladen was Trade, and the other commissioners the Board"--such keen interest did Bladen take in colonial affairs. And the long length of his tenure (a Board record) insured that Bladen's presence left an imprint on the policies of the Board of Trade. Bladen's term of office as Comptroller of the Mint (1714-1715), which just preceded his first Board membership (1715-1717), inculcated an additional interest in monetary affairs. When joined with his activities as a Member of Parliament from 1715-1746--a long term--Bladen's three passions interacted to produce a powerful, long-lasting agenda, which he and his colleagues attempted to bring before Parliament.
Normally, the key link in that chain was the Secretary of State for Southern Affairs--who from 1724-1754 was Thomas Pelham-Holles, Duke of Newcastle (1693-1768). Acting with the advice and assistance of the Board of Trade, Newcastle bore the responsibility of directing colonial affairs. Politically, Newcastle was the brawn and the Board of Trade was the brain. The duke possessed enough political power to build a patronage network through which he influenced American colonial officials, and the Board possessed the institutional structure through which colonial ideas could flow, lodge, and germinate. Under Bladen's leadership, the Board began to compile increasingly detailed reports on the state of the American colonies and to discuss proposals for increasing their economic and military efficiency--proposals that would not be fully implemented until the 1760's, the period that sparked the American Revolution.
Newcastle referred important proposals to Prime Minister Sir Robert Walpole, who then presented them to the King in Council, which usually accepted the Board's conclusions without dissent--a practice that made the Board a real, albeit unpretentious, power behind the throne. However, the Georgian government system, in which important state affairs were managed by a patronage-supported Whig supremacy created by Walpole and Newcastle, ushered in forty years of political stability at the price of accelerating the development of potentially troublesome British and American political factions. Although in the eighteenth century, factionalism was seen as being detrimental to British constitutional government, a Whig Opposition group, composed of out-of-office politicians like William Pulteney, a Walpole rival, combined with Lord Bolingbroke's Tories to thwart the Whig oligarchy and incidentally, to inculcate the American opposition faction with anti-Court rhetoric. After disputing with the Duke of Newcastle over control of patronage, Bladen's Board of Trade allied with the Opposition during the 1730's in support of Opposition-inspired London merchants and their American associates, who both wanted to raise colonial affairs before Parliament--the merchants because they were tired of the Board's cumbersome administrative machinery, which prevented quick Board responses to merchant requests, and the Board, because it wanted Parliament, not the Duke of Newcastle, to strengthen the Board's position in the ministry by passing legislative support for Board recommendations--i.e., Martin Bladen's agenda.
Bladen directed his special zeal for American affairs toward increasing the scope and power of the British system of imperialism, which he thought was in need of reform. In his view, Great Britain had underestimated the value of her American colonies. Colonial trade brought great revenue to the British empire, whereas Britain funded colonial defense only in times of war. Such "salutary neglect" allowed the colonies to advance their own interests at Britain's expense through circumvention of the Navigation Acts, the enforcement of which Bladen wished to increase. Drawing upon his previous military experience (he had served in the army from 1697-1710, prior to entering Parliament and the Board of Trade), Bladen designed several related proposals in 1721, 1726, and 1739 for a union of the American colonies for the dual purpose of facilitating and supporting American military defense and of establishing a permanent civil list to pay the salaries of colonial governors, thus freeing them from colonial assembly control over the "power of the purse".
Bladen formulated his 1721 proposal in view of England's imminent war with Spain; the 1739 proposal was to meet America's military needs during the War of Jenkins' Ear. Since Bladen was a former military man, the military figured prominently in his proposals, and an interesting feature of his proposal for colonial union involved the notion that America should become a sort of "training ground" for soldiers who would fight battles on European soil. (Indeed, the idea of American "peacekeeping" soldiers is not really so new at all.) Previously, American colonial militia did not move outside American shores to fight European battles--but Bladen's plan for a unified America potentially would change that. Ironically, Bladen's plan came true--just not in the way he had anticipated--with the coming of the American Revolution. The outcome of that Revolution was a union of American colonies, safeguarded by soldiers who eventually (in the twentieth century, especially) left American shores to fight wars in Europe. This is one of the ways in which the United States of America became the Trilateral Center of the New World Order.
Significantly, in 1726 Bladen alone sent Charles, Viscount Townshend, then Secretary of State for the Northern Department, a proposal for uniting the American colonies under one central government, headed solely by the Board of Trade. By 1739 he had replaced the Board of Trade in his proposal with an American confederation (and indeed, an American confederation was formed and operated under the Articles of Confederation during the Revolutionary period, before the creation and ratification of the United States Constitution)--a proposal he transmitted directly to Sir Robert Walpole with the request that Sir Robert persuade Parliament to enact the plan through legislation. Sir Robert, however, was notably reluctant to bring colonial affairs before Parliament--instantly recognizing that to implement what Bladen was proposing required a person bolder than himself. Such bolder men--for instance, George Grenville--were later found--and their coming implemented the measures that sparked the American Revolution--which, ironically, brought about the very American union or confederation that Martin Bladen wished to create--except one free of British control. America was then free to become a future world superpower.
Derived from a Cromwellian proposal for creating a central board to unite and govern the British colonies--a plan later implemented by James II to create the precursors of the Board of Trade--confederation was a highlight of Bladen's original 1721 proposal and his identical, but more detailed, plan of 1739. Supposedly, the plan was designed for the protection of the American colonies from foreign or Indian invasion, although the plan had its commercial side: Bladen wanted to mobilize a united American military force to protect West Indian sugar plantations, some of which he owned. In Bladen's formulation, colonial union was a necessary condition for the purpose of facilitating Anglo-American trade and providing Britain with a powerful military reserve force. Indeed, Bladen's concern was largely militaristic, for he seemed to think that a colonial military force, if used properly, could accomplish great things. But as long as the colonies were divided, with each colonial concerned only for his own interests and the interests of his own colony, and not as concerned for the welfare of the citizens of the other colonies, the Americans would not muster the initiative to create such an intercolonial, America-wide military force. But the motivation for creating such an American Continental Army came with the coming of the American Revolution--ironically, spurred on by the very imperial policies that Bladen's successor advocated. During the 1760's, high-handed imperial tactics created a backlash in the American colonies and impelled the Americans toward colonial union in a way that probably no other motivating factor could have.
Though Bladen was not the first Englishman to propose a plan of American union, his plan was a subtle modification of the major rationale behind the creation of the Board of Trade itself. During Oliver Cromwell's Protectorate, two British merchants--who, like Martin Bladen, owned West Indian plantations--proposed uniting the American provinces into a central polity governed by one English board for the development of Anglo-American trade. Charles II adapted the idea in 1660 to form two committees, one to regulate trade and the other to oversee colonization of the plantations, which later fused to form the predecessor of the Board of Trade. Bladen's proposal, however, called not just for the Board of Trade to oversee all the colonies; rather, Bladen called for the creation of a kind of Congress: His proposed Plantation Parliament was modeled along the lines of a colonial "super-legislature". His planned Plantation Parliament was to have twenty-three councilors and forty-six burgesses. The Bladen plan of 1739 proposed to make the military Captain General for the Continent of North America the governor of both Massachusetts and New York, the latter of which was to serve as the colonial capital. So, it is interesting to note that in this preliminary plan to form what became the Trilateral Center of the New World Order, New York was to be the capital of the American Union. Obviously, Bladen intended the governor of America to be a military commander--except, his role covered civilian activities. (American military commander George Washington, when he later became President of the United States, filled this role admirably.) The Captain General's role was to facilitate American trade beneficial to Great Britain (a commercial role), and to encourage the American colonials to obey the laws of trade and navigation (a legal role). Thus, though technically the Captain General was to be a military commander, additionally, he was to govern commercial and legal affairs. Thus three functions of a chief executive were mixed together: a combination of legal, commercial, and military.
Recognizing the inherent flexibility of the British constitutional system which resulted in frequent incompatibility between imperial and colonial interests, Bladen devised an institutional structure satisfying colonial assemblies' "patriot" view of constitutional liberties while at the same time tightening imperial control over colonial rebellion. The proposal involved no less than a major transformation in imperial government structure. To the Board's original mission of administering the united colonies, Bladen added the notion of forming an American confederation, headed by a Crown-appointed Captain General and a New York-based Plantation Parliament (a kind of Congress), consisting of two houses stocked with legislative representatives from all the British colonies, including charter colonies not under royal control. But two obstacles prevented complete American union: popularly-elected charter governments' antagonism toward the King's prerogative, and disputes between rising colonial assemblies and their governors over the assemblies' unwillingness to grant governors their salary. (Therefore, governors who were following the king's orders to insist on receiving their salaries from the colonial assemblies fit into the plan for furthering colonial union; it is not sometimes recognized that such insistence was part of an overall pattern to further the interests of government policy, rather than the interests of the governors themselves.)
To solve both
problems at once, Bladen abandoned the Board of Trade's twenty-year strategy of
persuading Parliament to revoke the independent colonies' charters. (Jonathan
Belcher, before he became governor of Massachusetts and New Hampshire, had
opposed an attempt to revoke the Massachusetts charter, because he felt it would
violate the people's liberties to take away their colonial
"constitution".) Bladen abandoned this "revocation policy"
in favor of granting the Plantation Parliament power to pass colonial
legislation (though still remaining subject to British parliamentary supremacy),
as well as the power to raise troops and to raise revenue to support the
military and pay royal officials' salaries. Overall, the revenue part of this
proposal was very similar to that later adopted by George Grenville, with the
exception that whereas Bladen's formulation emphasized colonial union (an idea which Bladen abandoned in 1726 but resurrected in 1739),
George Grenville's measure, implemented in 1765, severed the revenue idea from
the colonial union idea and relied on the authority of Parliament, rather than a
colonial super-legislature, to raise the revenue. It was rhetoric
about the American people not being directly represented in Parliament that
stirred up the populace prior to the American Revolution. But ironically, if the
Bladen plan had been implemented prior to the Revolution, the people would have
had direct representation on their own American soil, through the
III. The Albany Union of 1754: Precursor to a United America
The impetus that was begun by Martin Bladen in 1739 was renewed in earnest in 1748. The mid-eighteenth century rise of Whig factionalism led to power plays in which the Duke of Bedford used the interests of British America as a political weapon by repeatedly urging Parliament to pass legislation for imperial control of the American colonies, contrary to Walpole's policy of laissez-faire. In the process, a powerful, new Board of Trade President modified Martin Bladen's idea for colonial union and manipulated it for the hard-liners' purposes.
Such a divisive political environment allowed the Board of Trade to play an expanded, increasingly militaristic role under the leadership of this powerful new president, George Montague Dunk, Earl of Halifax. Impressed by the ideas of Martin Bladen, Halifax remodeled the Board of Trade from 1748 to the beginning of George III's reign along strongly imperialistic and martial lines. In a way that Bladen had not, Halifax galvanized the Board into becoming a power-wielding imperialist machine bent on making the colonies pay their fair share of imperial support and defense. After such a long period of the "salutary neglect" favored by Sir Robert Walpole, the American colonials, unaccustomed to such treatment, revolted; the ensuing result is known as the American Revolution.
Halifax's period of greatest activity was 1750-1754, when he intimidated local colonial politicians by proposing wide-sweeping measures for overhauling the administration of the American colonies and frightened colonials accustomed to believing their own version of the British constitution--that colonial assemblies were on a legislative parity with the British Parliament. On the local, colonial level, Halifax operated through an imperialist triumvirate of adherents--a faction of American colonial governors politically allied with Bedford. With their assistance, and the assistance of Secretary of State Sir Thomas Robinson, in 1754 this group modified Bladen's plan for colonial union to suit their own purposes. The stated objective was to strengthen colonial forces during the French and Indian War--the same justification Bladen had used during the War of Jenkins' Ear. Upon receiving recommendations for invading Canada and for uniting the American colonies under the pretense of securing a treaty with the Six Indian Nations at Albany, New York, Robinson instructed the governors to support troops by a common fund until the group could perfect the plan for colonial union. Working together in 1754, this group pooled their ideas and came up with a plan which American colonial Benjamin Franklin modified as his own--the Albany Plan of Union--while in the meantime, Board commissioners, cabinet members, and non-cabinet advisers fine-tuned an alternative Board of Trade proposal that made the Board a kind of overarching administrative agency with sole authority over the colonies. Apparently, Secretary of State Sir Thomas Robinson served as project coordinator, although he lacked sufficient ability to steer the project through Parliament. Notably, this design, like Bladen's plan, proposed political union of the colonies through the establishment of an executive--a President General--and a Colonial Congress possessing the power to legislate for the colonies. There was an updating of terms: the Captain General had been replaced by a President General, and the Plantation Parliament was now called a Colonial Congress. All that remained, after the American Revolution, was for the colonies to have a President and a Congress. The terms were even there, already circulating in existence during the colonial era in 1754. Incidentally, during this time period Jonathan Belcher was governor of New Jersey (he didn't die until 1757), and he wrote in his letters that he wanted the colonies to unite to fight the French after the devastating attack on General Edward Braddock in 1755--an engagement in which a young American soldier distinguished himself for bravery and thus rose to prominence for the first time in history--a young soldier named George Washington.
Benjamin Franklin entered the picture at this time, too: He told the British imperialist group that it wasn't right to raise revenue from the American colonials when they had no direct representation in Parliament. This was the rhetoric that American patriots would use later during the American Revolution. The discussion about the Albany Plan of 1754 was then the dress rehearsal for colonial opposition to direct Parliamentary control over American revenue later. However, Franklin did seem amenable to the idea of the American people having the right to choose their own representatives to meet in a council or congress--and indeed, Franklin is today acknowledged as the author of the Albany Plan of Union (though more than likely, he took the plan formed by British colonial officials and adapted it for American purposes). To the disappointment of Benjamin Franklin, the Albany Congress of 1754, formed for the purpose of considering "Articles of Union and Confederation", failed to achieve its goals due to the rejection of the plan by the colonial assemblies (even though the Albany Congress' commissioners voted unanimously in the plan's favor). Franklin said that the representatives of the colonial assemblies thought there was too much of the prerogative--the king's authority--in the plan, whereas British officials thought the plan contained too much democracy. Unfortunately, the rejection of the colonial union plan by both the British and American sides opened the door for future conflict--which later came in the form of the American Revolution. And a key element in that path to revolution occurred when the Earl of Halifax dropped the element of colonial union and further pursued the idea of Parliament directly raising revenue from the colonies. However, the most striking feature of the Bladen plan had been the element of colonial union--and the British officials' idea of de-emphasizing that later proved detrimental to British colonial government. If the British government had continued with that element of the Bladen plan and voluntarily encouraged the colonials to form a representative federal government on their own, then the American Revolution might have never happened. The Albany Plan of Union had encouraged the colonials to unite to form their own government (albeit one controlled by and subordinate to the British government)--but the American colonials had refused to do so. So, ironically, it took a war--the American Revolution--to motivate them into doing what they could have done in 1754--but with one further, crucial distinction: the United States of America was a government totally separate from Great Britain, a government free to be a future world superpower, a major player on the world stage--a government free to act as the Trilateral Center for other nations in the world, both commercially and ideologically. That might not have been possible had America continued to be controlled by the British Parliament or the British Board of Trade.
One reason why Halifax might not have been so taken with the idea of colonial union as he was with the idea of raising revenue from the colonies was that, whereas the former idea threatened the imperial grasp on the American peripheries, the latter idea strengthened it. A united colonies just might decide for independence from Great Britain, whereas a revenue act could be levied by Parliament in the absence of a Colonial Congress (to imperialist officials, the most threatening aspect of the colonial union plan was an American political federation with legislative powers rivaling those of Parliament). Because the cabinet ministers rejected the idea of American union as being too controversial to steer through Parliament, Newcastle and other ministers rejected the colonial union plan perfunctorily after receiving the minutes of the Albany Congress, which attempted to achieve colonial union without explicit ministry approval.
Apparently, if the British government was not willing to let the colonies unite, then Benjamin Franklin's Albany committee was determined to unite them, anyway. Significantly, Franklin added his own ideas onto the colonial union plan to become the author of the plan considered at Albany, New York. Worthy of note was the incorporation of Benjamin Franklin's suggestions into the Plan: Gone was the idea of raising revenue from the colonies through a direct act of Parliament; instead, the plan reverted back to a Grand Council possessing its own revenue-raising power. The colonial assemblies were to elect the members of this representative council, and unlike Bladen's bicameral Plantation Parliament, Franklin's Grand Council was to function as a unicameral legislature, whose acts were subject to the veto of the (Crown-appointed) President General.
Another turn-over in the colonial administration of Massachusetts occurred in 1757, shortly after the Albany Congress, and this led Halifax and Newcastle to turn to a new Briton in the American colonies to assist them in advancing their program of imperialist reform. Since 1746, Newcastle and Halifax, as well as the Duke of Bedford and George III's future prime minister, John Stuart, Earl of Bute, had received numerous suggestions regarding the colonies from one Henry McCulloch, a Scottish-born land speculator, pamphleteer, and minor South Carolina official who, curiously enough, obtained his first position in Walpole's government through the influence of his friend, Martin Bladen, in 1739--a year in which Jonathan Belcher was governor of Massachusetts and the same year in which Bladen proposed his third plan of colonial union. In 1757 (the year of Governor Belcher's death in New Jersey), McCulloch, hoping to secure further patronage from Halifax and Newcastle, turned the British ministry's footsteps onto an ever-darkening primrose path toward increasing emphasis on seeking more revenue from America--a policy that ultimately proved calamitous from the British point of view, because the resulting colonial backlash led to Great Britain's loss of the American colonies. The revenue scheme had now been severed from colonial union, at least in British minds, but political upheavals precluded the plan's immediate adoption. The onset of the French and Indian War, which lasted until 1763, made the Board of Trade wary of upsetting the colonies with controversial revenue proposals, since they might engender colonial resistance to the raising of troops. More immediately, in 1757, Halifax, who was ambitious to achieve the cabinet position that the colonial plan of union was supposed to secure for him, betrayed one of the chief managers of the House of Commons, William Pitt's rival, Henry Fox, which allowed Newcastle and Pitt to form a new ministry to replace the fallen coalition between Pitt and the Duke of Devonshire. Newcastle's need to keep Halifax's parliamentary leadership skills on the side of the ministry, rather than attacking Pitt in the Commons, led Newcastle, with Pitt's concurrence, to offer Halifax his long-awaited cabinet position. Once Halifax achieved his goal of entering the cabinet, he temporarily lost interest in colonial reform, and the revenue proposal was never implemented during the rest of his sluggish presidency, which ended in 1761--one year after the ascension of King George III to the British throne. Also, the loss of Henry Fox, to whom the minutes of the Albany Council had been transmitted, left the ministry without an influential parliamentary spokesman who could pilot such a bill through the Commons. (Sir Thomas Robinson's lack of parliamentary influence was one reason why the ministry had rejected the colonial union plan of 1754.)
Thus, the revenue proposal that could have been enacted in 1757 was left laying in the files of the Board of Trade until such time as a zealous, experimental minister, succeeded by a powerful parliamentary manager, should enter the British government scene. That time was April 1763 (considered by some to be a turning point in colonial history toward American revolution--when a turning point also had occurred much earlier, in 1739), and that minister was George Grenville (1712-1770) (who was first Lord of the Treasury, and Chancellor of the Exechequer from 1763-1765). The manager was the Chancellor of the Exechequer from 1766-1767--another person bearing the name of Charles Townshend (1725-1767)--a political ally of Lord Halifax who also at one time had been President of the Board of Trade, but was best known as the proponent of the infamous Townshend Acts (1767), a major immediate cause of the American Revolution. The Townshend Acts really galvanized the Americans to free themselves from Parliament and to attain self-government--and they were the logical extension of the Lord Halifax-era mentality existing at the Board of Trade twenty years earlier. Thus, basically the British government went down the wrong road after 1741 (after the end of Jonathan Belcher's governorship of Massachusetts), as the Walpole "salutary neglect"--under which colonial governors like Belcher had flourished--gave way to the imperialists of Halifax, Grenville, and the third Charles Townshend. This Charles Townshend (1725-1767) had advocated Halifax's imperial reform program and had advised his uncle, the Duke of Newcastle, regarding the feasibility of the Colonial Union Project of 1754. Townshend thought a Colonial Congress and the Albany Plan was the wrong road to follow, but Townshend had misjudged the colonial temper. Townshend's may have been the deciding voice that caused Newcastle to reject the Albany Plan.) The end of that wrong road was loss of the colonies for Great Britain, but gain for America--it became first an independent nation, much later, a world superpower. And in between, America influenced the rest of the world with its democratic ideals and system of federal, constitutional government. The American Revolution marked the beginning of the rise of democracy in Europe during the nineteenth century, beginning most prominently with the French Revolution in the late eighteenth. (See The Trilateral Center: Benjamin Franklin and the New World Order.)
In short, all the
forces necessary for greater imperial control over the colonies finally came
together at one time, in the 1760's. The end of the French and Indian War left
the British government in need of greater revenue to reduce the increased
national debt, and the Board of Trade was in the mood to clamp down on colonial
smuggling. In 1763, the Board feared that Americans planned to unite in
independence from Great Britain once the French threat was removed. Thus, the Board was determined
to regulate the colonies in order to subordinate them for British purposes--for
their trade to aid Great Britain's, not rival it. Antagonism toward America was
intensified by a program of imperial reform submitted in 1763 by former Georgia
official William Knox, who advocated taking a hard-line stance against the
colonies in opposition to colonial union--taking the viewpoint
that the colonies should be kept separated, not united, in order to make it
easier for Great Britain to keep them in a perpetual state of dependence on the
mother country. Colonial union would facilitate independence from Britain by
promoting American manufacturing ability--thus lessening their dependence upon
trade with Britain--and by encouraging them to act as a political and military
unit. So, in 1764 when Benjamin Franklin presented a Grenville secretary with
his resurrected plan for a Colonial Congress, the gesture probably revived
British concerns about the formation of an independent American Union. Thus,
colonial union was to be discouraged--for Britain's sake. But Americans were
thinking of their own interests, more and more. Each new heavy-handed Act of
Parliament stiffened the colonials' resolve to throw off the British yoke that
so constrained their freedom to unite and to become themselves, a great
power--the Trilateral Center of the future New World Order.
IV. America--the World's Trilateral Center
If Martin Bladen's plan had been followed in 1739, or if Benjamin Franklin's plan had been followed in 1754, an American federal system of government might have occurred sooner than the time period in which it actually occurred, and might not have required a war to break away from the mother country, in order to achieve it. Governor Jonathan Belcher's advocacy of colonial union in 1755, following the defeat of General Braddock, helped the colonial union movement, also. But it is questionable whether America's union would have been so strong--as strong as a united states of America, possessing a written Constitution--had not America's resolve been strengthened through war. And it was this path to independency--the war route--that resulted in the creation of a written United States Constitution, that later served as a political model, a political inspiration, for the rest of the world's polities, most notably Europe's. And the rhetoric of revolution inspired Frenchmen, such as the Marquis de Lafayette, who came to America to aid its revolutionary cause, with corresponding desires of initiating similar reforms, in order to achieve similar freedom and democracy, in their own nation.
Thus, the United States of America became the Trilateral Center--as a makeweight in the balance of power between Great Britain and France, as the ideological and political inspiration of French philosophy and government, and as the eventual commercial trading partner of both. (See The Trilateral Center: Benjamin Franklin and the New World Order to see how the trend begun by the American Revolution eventually culminated in the formation of the European Community.) And what was as important, the United States had the geography--ideally situated between the major continents both to the West and East of it--like the base of an equilateral triangle. It was events occurring along the time line of American history forming the base of that triangle that eventually led to the formation of, and continues to influence (and even lead) the actions of, the global community now known as the New World Order. This analysis proposes: that as the sides of a triangle stand on its base, so do other nations in that international community stand on the center of the New World Order--which throughout its early history--up until the post-World War II twentieth century-- has been cloaked with the aura of a periphery: the United States of America.
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