Front Page Titles (by Subject) 79: [William Penn's Plan of Union] - Colonial Origins of the American Constitution: A Documentary History
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79: [William Penn’s Plan of Union] - Donald S. Lutz, Colonial Origins of the American Constitution: A Documentary History 
Colonial Origins of the American Constitution: A Documentary History, ed. Donald S. Lutz (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund 1998).
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[William Penn’s Plan of Union]
The calendar in use during the seventeenth century designated February as the twelfth month of the year, so this document is often reproduced with the date as “1696.” The text is reproduced from Marianne S. Wokeck et al., eds., The Papers of William Penn: Volume Three, 1685–1700 (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1986), 482–83.
February 8, 1697
Penn’s Plan lists only nine colonies, but these nine encompass the existing settled seaboard. As of 1697 New Hampshire is claimed by Massachusetts, (here identified idiosyncratically as “Boston”); Delaware is included as one of “the Jerseys” (so implicitly there are ten colonies); Carolina has not yet been differentiated into north and south, and Georgia is not yet chartered. The emphasis in this proposal is on resolving intercolonial disputes.
a briefe and plaine scheam
How the English Colonies in the North parts of America Viz: Boston, Connecticut, Road Island, New York, New Jerseys, Pensilvania, Maryland, Virginia and Carolina may be made more usefull to the Crowne, and one anothers peace and safty with an universall concurrence.
1st. That the severall Collonies before mentioned, do meet once a year, and oftener if need be, dureing the Warr, and at least once in two yeares in times of Peace, by their Stated and Appointed Deputies, to Debate and Resolve if such Measures, as are most adviseable for their better understanding, and their Public Tranquility and Safety.
2dly That in Order to [effect] it two persons, well Qualified, for Sence Sobriety and Substance, be appointed by each Province, as their Representatives or Deputies; which in the whole make the Congresse to Consist of Twenty persons.
3dly That the Kings Commander, for that purpose specially appointed, shall have the Chaire, and Preside in the said Congresse.
4thly That they shall meet as neer as Conveniently may be, to the most Centrall Colony for ease of the Deputies.
5thly Since that may, in all Probability, be New Yorke, both because it is neer the Center of the Collonys, and for that it is a Fronteir, and in the Kings Nomination, the Governour of that Colony may therefore also be the Kings high Commander during the Session, after the manner of Scotland.
6thly That their businesse shall be [to] hear and Adjust all matters of Complaint or difference Between Province and Province; as 1st where Persons quit their own province and go to another, that they may avoid their Just debts. Tho’ able to Pay them. 2dly where Offenders fly Justice, or Justice cannot well be had upon such offenders in the Provinces that entertaine them. 3dly to prevent or cure Injuries in point of Commerce. 4thly To consider of wayes and meanes to support the Union and safety of these Provinces against the Publick Enemies; In which Congress the Quota’s of Men and Charges will be much easier, and more equally sett, then it is Possible for any Establishment made here to do: for the Provinces knowing their own Condition and one anothers, can debate that matter with more freedome and satisfaction, and better adjust and ballance their affaires in all respects for their Common safety.
7thly That in times of War the Kings high Commander shall be Genll or Cheife Commander of the severall Quota’s upon service against the Common Enemy, as he shall be advised, for the good and benefitt of the whole.