The original extent of the Commonwealth

The American Confederation Act was an Act of Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, passed in 1802 and subsequently ratified by several colonial legislatures. It resulted in the creation of the Commonwealth of New England, a federation of British colonies on the North American continent intended to better manage their affairs and their relationship with the mother country, which later evolved into the present-day Commonwealth of America with the addition of further colonies.

The full text of the Act is as follows:

WHEREAS it hath been made known to we, the Lords Spiritual and Temporal and Commons in this present Parliament assembled, his Majesty's desire for a Union or Confœderation of certain overseas Provinces in order to promote and secure the essential interests of Great Britain and Ireland and of said Provinces, and for the consolidation of the strength, power and resources of the British Empire, be it therefore enacted by and with the advice and consent of these two Houses in Parliament assembled and with the authority of the same, as follows:

THAT His Majesty's Provinces of Nova Scotia, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts Bay, Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, Connecticut and New York shall, upon the first day of January in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and three, be united forever after into one Dominion and Realm to be intituled the Commonwealth of New England.

THAT said Commonwealth of New England shall have a Parliament of two Houses, fashioned after the manner of these two Houses, such that members of the Lower House shall be burgesses or Knights of the Shires chosen by an electorate of his Majesty's subjects residing thereof, elections for membership being held with a frequency not less that once in every five years, and that members of the Upper House shall be noteworthies of the Provinces appointed by his Majesty or nominated by the Gouvernors of said Provinces.

THAT the Parliament of the Commonwealth of New England shall nominate, not less than once in every ten years, up to three candidates for the Office of Viceroy or Gouvernor-General, one of whom shall be selected by this Parliament to be his Majesty's representative in said Commonwealth and to exercise the royal Prerogative on his Majesty's behalf.

THAT the Gouvernment and Parliament of said Commonwealth shall be impowered to act upon the behalf of the Member Provinces with regards to taxation, trade, the keeping and maintenance of a Militia for the protection of this Empire against alien Foes, the establishment of a Judiciary and Supreme Court for the oversight of certain legal Matters arising in the Provinces, and the regulation of Relations between the Provinces and his Majesty's other Realms.

THAT the Gouvernments of the Provinces shall retain all their present powers and competencies which are not by the present Statute delegated to the Gouvernment or Parliament of the said Commonwealth.

THAT taxes or duties shall not be levied upon residents of the Commonwealth of New England save with the consent of the Parliament of said Commonwealth.

THAT the Gouvernment of said Commonwealth shall not make any agreement or undertake any relations with His Majesty's allies among the Indian nations, or with any foreign power friend or foe, save with the consent of his Majesty and of these Houses.

THAT should it come to pass that an act of the Parliament of said Commonwealth be in conflict with an act of this Parliament, the act of this Parliament shall take precedence, it being the case that this Parliament is closer to his Majesty's mind and must of neccessity be responsible for the affairs of the British Empire in its intirety.

THAT those of his Majesty's subjects residing within the boundaries of said Commonwealth who profess the Popish religion, or any other Christian religion, shall not be hindered from excercising the Rights to vote, to hold high office, to own property, to construct churches and schools, or to enter the practice of the Law, save under those circumstances which would cause an adherent to the established Church to be deprived of said Rights.

THAT should any others of His Majesty's Provinces in the continent of America be desirous at a future date of entering into Confœderation with the said Commonwealth of New England, His Majesty, his heirs and successors shall be open to considering any Petition for such, and may in due course issue a Proclamation to the effect thereof.

THAT this Act shall be known as the Act for American Confœderation, passed in the forty-second year of the reign of His Majesty the Lord George the Third, by the Grace of God King of Great Britain, France, Ireland, Duke of Brunswick and Lüneburg, Archtreasurer and Prince-Elector of the Holy Roman Empire, Defender of the Faith.

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