American History Told by Contemporaries/Volume 2/Chapter 6

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CHAPTER VI — GEORGIA

39. "Designs of the Trustees for Establishing the Colony of Georgia" (1733)

BY GENERAL JAMES EDWARD OGLETHORPE
 
General Oglethorpe was the prime mover in the establishment of the colony as a philanthropic enterprise; a man of the highest character and trustworthiness. — Bibliography: Winsor, Narrative and Critical History, V, 392-406; C. C. Jones, Georgia, I, chs. iv, v; Channing and Hart, Guide, § 103.
 

IN America there are fertile lands sufficient to subsist all the useless Poor in England, and distressed Protestants in Europe ; yet Thousands starve for want of mere sustenance. The distance makes it difficult to get thither. The same want that renders men useless here, prevents their paying their passage ; and if others pay it for 'em, they become servants, or rather slaves for years to those who have defrayed the expense. Therefore, money for passage is necessary, but is not the only want ; for if people were set down in America, and the land before them, they must cut down trees, build houses, fortify towns, dig and sow the land before they can get in a harvest ; and till then, they must be provided with food, and kept together, that they may be assistant to each other for their natural support and protection.

The Romans esteemed the sending forth of Colonies, among their noblest works ; they observed that Rome, as she increased in power and empire, drew together such a conflux of people from all parts that she found herself over-burdened with their number, and the government brought under an incapacity to provide for them, or keep them in order. Necessity, the mother of invention, suggested to them an expedient, which at once gave ease to the capital, and increased the wealth and number of industrious citizens, by lessening the useless and unruly mul titude ; and by planting them in colonies on the frontiers of their empire, gave a new strength to the whole ; and This they looked upon to be so considerable a service to the commonwealth, that they created peculiar officers for the establishment of such colonies, and the expence was defrayed out of the public treasury. From the Charter. — His Majesty having taken into his consideration, the miserable circumstances of many of his own poor subjects, ready to perish for want : as likewise the distresses of many poor foreigners, who would take refuge here from persecution ; and having a Princely regard to the great danger the southern frontiers of South Carolina are exposed to, by reason of the small number of white inhabitants there, hath, out of his Fatherly compassion towards his subjects, been graciously pleased to grant a charter for incorporating a number of gentlemen by the name of The Trustees for establishing the Colony of Georgia in America. They are impowered to collect benefactions ; and lay them out in cloathing, arming, sending over, and supporting colonies of the poor, whether subjects or foreigners, in Georgia. And his Majesty farther grants all his lands between the rivers Savannah and Alatamaha, which he erects into a Province by the name of Georgia, unto the Trustees, in trust for the poor, and for the better support of the Colony. At the desire of the Gentlemen, there are clauses in the Charter, restraining them and their successors from receiving any salary, fee, perquisite, or profit, whatsoever, by or from this undertaking ; and also from receiving any grant of lands within the said district, to themselves, or in trust for them. There are farther clauses granting to the Trustees proper powers for establishing and governing the Colony, and liberty of conscience to all who shall settle there.

The Trustees intend to relieve such unfortunate persons as cannot subsist here, and establish them in an orderly manner, so as to form a well regulated town. As far as their fund goes, they will defray the charge of their passage to Georgia ; give them necessaries, cattle, land, and subsistence, till such time as they can build their houses and clear some of their land. They rely for success, first on the goodness of Providence, next on the compassionate disposition of the people of England ; and, they doubt not, that much will be spared from luxury, and superfluous expenses, by generous tempers, when such an opportunity is offered them by the giving of ₤20 to provide for a man or woman, or ₤10 to a child for ever.

In order to prevent the benefaction given to this purpose, from ever being misapplied ; and to keep up, as far as human Precaution can, a spirit of Disinterestedness, the Trustees have established the following method : That, each Benefactor may know what he has contributed is safely lodged, and justly accounted for, all money given will be deposited in the Bank of England ; and entries made of every benefaction, in a book to be kept for that purpose by the Trustees ; or, if concealed, the names of those, by whose hands they sent their money. There are to be annual accounts of all the money received, and how the same has been disposed of, laid before the Lord High Chancellor, the Lord Chief Justice of the King s Bench, the Master of the Rolls, the Lord Chief Justice of the Common Pleas, and the Lord Chief Baron of the Exchequer, or two of them, will be transmitted to every considerable Benefactor.

By such a Colony, many families, who would otherwise starve, will be provided for, and made masters of houses and lands ; the people in Great Britain to whom these necessitous families were a burthen, will be relieved ; numbers of manufacturers will be here employed, for supplying them with clothes, working tools, and other necessaries ; and by giving refuge to the distressed Saltzburghers, and other persecuted Protestants, the power of Britain, as a reward for its hospitality, will be encreased by the addition of so many religious and industrious subjects.

The Colony of Georgia lying about the same latitude with part of China, Persia, Palestine, and the Madeiras, it is highly probable that when hereafter it shall be well-peopled and rightly cultivated, England may be supplied from thence with raw Silk, Wine, Oil, Dyes, Drugs , and many other materials for manufactures, which she is obliged to purchase from Southern countries. As towns are established and grow populous along the rivers Savannah and Alatamaha, they will make such a barrier as will render the southern frontier of the British Colonies on the Continent of America, safe from Indian and other enemies.

All human affairs are so subject to chance, that there in [is] no answering for events ; yet from reason and the nature of things, it may be concluded, that the riches and also the number of the inhabitants in Great Britain will be increased, by importing at a cheap rate from this new Colony, the materials requisite for carrying on in Britain several manufactures. For our Manufacturers will be encouraged to marry and multiply, when they find themselves in circumstances to provide for their families, which must necessarily be the happy effect of the increase and cheapness of our materials of those Manufactures, which at present we purchase with our money from foreign countries, at dear rates ; and also many people will find employment here, on account [of] such farther demands by the people of this Colony, for those manufactures which are made for the produce of our own country ; and, as has been justly observed, the people will always abound where there is full employment for them. Christianity will be extended by the execution of this design ; since, the good discipline established by the Society, will reform the manners of those miserable objects, who shall be by them subsisted ; and the example of a whole Colony, who shall behave in a just, moral, and religious manner, will contribute greatly towards the conversion of the Indians, and taking off the prejudices received from the profligate lives of such who have scarce any thing of Christianity but the name.

The Trustees in their general meetings, will consider of the most prudent methods for effectually establishing a regular Colony ; and that it may be done, is demonstrable. Under what difficulties, was Virginia planted? — the coast and climate then unknown; the Indians numerous, and at enmity with the first Planters, who were forced to fetch all provisions from England ; yet it is grown a mighty Province, and the Revenue receives ₤100,000 for duties upon the goods that they send yearly home. Within this 50 years, Pennsylvania was as much a forest as Georgia in [is] now ; and in these few years, by the wise œconomy of William Penn, and those who assisted him, it now gives food to 80,000 inhabitants, and can boast of as fine a City as most in Europe.

This new Colony is more likely to succeed than either of the former were, since Carolina abounds with provisions, the climate is known, and there are men to instruct in the seasons and nature of cultivating the soil. There are but few Indian families within 400 miles ; and those, in perfect amity with the English : — Port Royal (the station of his Majesty's ships) is within 30, and Charlestown (a great mart) is within 120 miles. If the Colony is attacked, it may be relieved by sea, from Port Royal, or the Bahamas ; and the Militia of South Carolina is ready to support it, by land.

For the continuing the relief which is now given, there will be lands reserved in the Colony ; and the benefit arising from them is to go to the carrying on of the trust. So that, at the same time, the money by being laid out preserves the lives of the poor, and makes a comfortable provision for those whose expenses are by it defrayed ; their labor in improving their own lands, will make the adjoining reserved lands valuable ; and the rents of those reserved lands will be a perpetual fund for the relieving more poor people. So that instead of laying out the money upon lands, with the income thereof to support the poor, this is laying out money upon the poor ; and by relieving those who are now unfortunate, raises a fund for the perpetual relief of those who shall be so hereafter. There is an occasion now offered for every one, to help forward this design ; the smallest benefaction will be received, and applied with the utmost care : — every little will do something ; and a great number of small benefactions will amount to a sum capable of doing a great deal of good.

If any person, moved with the calamities of the unfortunate, shall be inclined to contribute towards their relief, they are desired to pay their benefactions into the Bank of England, on account of the Trustees for establishing the Colony of Georgia in America ; or else, to any of the Trustees, who are, &c.

James [Edward] Oglethorpe, A Brief Account of the Establishment of the Colony of Georgia, in Force, Tracts,etc. (Washington, 1836), I, No. ii, 4-7.


40. The Coming of the Salzburg Germans (1733/4)
BY REVEREND JOHANN MARTIN BOLZIUS
(ANONYMOUS TRANSLATION)


Bolzius was a Salzburger minister, who came over with the first emigration of the German Protestants fleeing from the persecution of their prince bishop. — Bibliography : Winsor, Narrative and Critical History, V, 395-396; C.C.Jones, Georgia, I, ch. xi; Channing and Hart, Guide, § 103.


Savannah, Tuesday, March 12.


AT the Place of our Landing, almost all the Inhabitants of the Town of Savannah were gather'd together ; they fired off some Cannons, and cried Huzzah ! which was answer'd by our Sailors, and other English People in our Ship, in the same manner. Some of us were immediately fetch'd on Shore in a Boat, and carried about the City, into the Woods, and the new Garden belonging to the Trustees. In the mean time, a very good Dinner was prepared for us : And the Saltzburgers, who had yet fresh Meat in the Ship, when they came on shore, they got very good and wholesome English strong Beer. And besides the Inhabitants shew ing them a great deal of Kindness, and the Country pleasing them, they were full of Joy, and praised God for it. We, the Commissary, and Mr. Zwefler the Physician, were lodged in the House of the Reverend Mr. Quincy, the English Minister here.
Wednesday, March 13.

OurSaltzburgers were lodged in a Tent, pitch'd on purpose for them, till Mr. Oglethorpe's Arrival from Charlestown. A Jew invited our Saltzburgers, and treated them with a good Rice-Soop for Breakfast. And God hath also moved the Hearts of several others here, to be very good and hospitable to us. The Country, as the Inhabitants say, is very fruitful ; and the Land chose by us, which is about 21 English Miles from hence, is still better. All that is sowed, grows in a short Time.

Thursday, March 14.

Last Night we Prayed on shore for the first time, in the English Chapel, made of Boards, and used for divine Worship, till a Church can be built ; the Use of which is allowed us, during our Stay here. The Inhabitants join with us, and shew much Devotion. The Jews likewise, of which there are 12 Families here, come to Church, and seem to be very devout : They understand the German Tongue. Though the Chapel is but of Boards, it is very convenient, and pleases the Saltzburgers. . . .

Friday, March 15.

This Day Mr. Oglethorpe arrived here, and received our Saltzburgers and us in a very friendly manner ; and we dined with him. He will speedily give Orders that our People shall go to the Place intended for their Settle ment. He being very sollicitous that these poor Indians should be brought to the Knowledge of God, has desired us to learn their Language ; and we, with the Blessing of God, will joyfully undertake the Task. . . .

Our Saltzburgers have often been admonished very earnestly to abstain from drinking a certain intoxicating Liquor like Brandy, called Rum ; which is made of Molosses, in the Islands of the West-Indies, &c. because this Liquor hath occasion d the Death of many People. Some good Persons, who lately visited our Saltzburgers, are much pleased with their Devotion, and with the whole of their Behaviour ; and on that Account, prophesy much Good to the Country. . .

Tuesday, March 19.
Mr. Oglethorpe went last Friday with the Commissary, Mr. Zwefler, Mr. Gronau, and a Saltzburger, to the Place where we are to live with our Saltzburgers, in order to shew them the Ground where they are to build their Houses. This Day the Commissary and Mr. Zwefler return'd back, and inform d us much of the Goodness and Fertility of the Ground, as also of the Goodness of the Indians. . . .
Wednesday, March 20.

. . . The Saltzburgers have (as the other Settlers in Georgia) received a Gift from the Trustees, of Arms, Houshold Goods, and working Tools, viz. Kettles, Pots, Dishes, Saws, Axes, Shovels, &c. . . .

Tuesday, March 26.

It is a great Pleasure to us, that Mr. Oglethorpe approved of our calling the River, and the Place where our Houses are to be built, Ebenezer 1 Sam. vii. 12. Then Samuel took a Stone, and set it between Mizpeh and Shen, and called the Name of it Ebenezer; saying, Hitherto hath the Lord helped us. Which Denomination is already known among the People that live hereabout. This Word hath at our Arrival here, and when we were yet on board the Ship, made us joyful to the Praise of God, and will do it for the future as often as we name the Name of our Town or River, or hear it named. . . .

Saturday, March 30.

As, by the Help of God, we are now at more Ease, and in better Order, we can take more Care of the Education of the Children ; who come daily several times to our Room, where they are taught proper Texts out of the Holy Scripture, and are Catechized. At Prayers, all is repeated in the Presence of the grown People, whereby they are edified ; as well as by the Catechism, and Texts of the Holy Scripture, that are explained unto them. As soon as we come to our Ebenezer, we shall also begin to teach them Reading and Writing.

An Extract of the Journals of Mr. Commissary Von Reck . . . and of the Reverend Mr. Bolzius (London, 1734), 32-50 passim.
 
41. A New England Man in Georgia (1735)
BY REVEREND SAMUEL QUINCY
 
Quincy was a resident minister in Georgia, whose services were not acceptable to the Georgia trustees. He was succeeded by John Wesley. — Bibliography : Winsor, Narrative and Critical History, V, 392-406; Channing and Hart, Guide, §103.
 

Savannah, Oct. 23, 1735.

 

YOURS by Mr. Foster, together with a kind present, came to hand, for which I return you and my good cousin a great many thanks. We are in daily expectation of the arrival of Mr. Oglethorpe, who comes over to over-see the building of forts on our frontiers, pursuant to the king's orders. Affairs here are but in an ill situation, through the discouragements attending the settlement, which have rendered some of the better sort of people very discontented, and if the trustee, who comes over, does not remove them, I believe many will leave the place. The magistrate, to whom the government of the colony was left, proves a most insolent and tyrannical fellow. Several just complaints have been sent home against him, which do not meet with a proper regard, and this has made people very uneasie. Indeed it has a very ill aspect ; for it looks as if they designed to establish arbitrary government, and reduce the people to a condition little better than that of slavery. There are some things likewise in their very constitution, which looks this way ; the tenure by which they hold their land subjects them to a kind of vassalage, not consistent with a free people. In short, Georgia, which was seemingly intended to be the asylum of the distressed, unless things are greatly altered, is likely to be itself a mere scene of distress. Some of the people, to support their extravagance, and others out of real necessity, have run themselves miserably in debt ; the store-keepers having given them credit in hopes of possessing themselves of their houses, and even their persons, by obliging them to be their servants ; and if the trustees do not disconcert these designs, great numbers must be unavoidably ruined ; though to do this must needs ruin the store keepers, for they are most of them deeply indebted to their merchants in Carolina : But I think indeed they deserve no pity, because their designs appear to have been rapacious and dishonest. This is our present condition, and the small improvements that are made on lands, gives us a very indifferent future prospect. Notwithstanding the place has been settled nigh three years, I believe I may venture to say there is not one family, which can subsist without farther assistance, and most would starve if they had not dependence on the trustees ; but the trustees have raised very large assistance to carry it on, and will no doubt do their utmost to support it, and therefore it is to be hoped that it may in time come to something, though on the present footing things are established, it will never be a desirable place, and therefore none will choose to settle in it who can remove elsewhere, unless it be some who are particularly favoured by the trustees. . . .

Massachusetts Historical Society, Collections, Second Series (Boston, 1814), II, 188-180-
 
42. The Question of Slavery in Georgia (1738-1739)
BY FREEHOLDERS AND THE GEORGIA TRUSTEES
 
The trustees for Georgia had forbidden the use of slaves in the colony, and for years the matter was a bone of contention between the majority of the colonists and the trustees. — Bibliography: Winsor, Narrative and Critical History, V, 392-404; C. C. Jones, Georgia, I, ch. vi; Channing and Hart, Guide, § 103. — On the general question of slavery, see below, ch. xvi.
 
A. PROTEST OF THE SETTLERS

To the Honourable the Trustees for Establishing the Colony of Georgia in America.

May it please Your Honours ;

 

WE whose Names are under-written, being all Settlers, Freeholders and Inhabitants in the Province of Georgia, and being sensible of the great Pains and Care exerted by You in Endeavouring to settle this Colony, since it has been under Your Protection and Management ; Do unanimously join to lay before You, with the utmost Regret, the following Particulars. . . . The Land . . . not being capable to maintain the Settlers here, they must unavoidably have recourse to and depend upon Trade : But to our woful Experience likewise, the same Causes that prevented the first, obstruct the latter ; for tho' the Situation of this Place is exceeding well adapted for Trade, and if it was encouraged, might be much more improved by the Inhabitants ; yet the Difficulties and Restrictions, which we hitherto have and at present do labour under, debar us of that Advantage : Timber is the only Thing we have here which we might export, and notwithstanding we are obliged to fall it in Planting our Land ; yet we cannot manufacture it for a Foreign Market but at double the Expence of other Colonies ; as for Instance, the River of May, which is but twenty Miles from us, with the Allowance of Negroes, load Vessels with that Commodity at one Half of the Price that we can do ; and what should induce Persons to bring Ships here, when they can be loaded with one Half of the Expence so near us ; therefore the Timber on the Land is only a continual Charge to the Possessors of it, tho of very great Advantage in all the Northern Colonies, where Negroes are allowed, and consequently Labour cheap. We do not in the least doubt but that in Time Silk and Wine may be pro duced here, especially the former ; but since the Cultivation of Land with white Servants only, cannot raise Provisions for our Families as before mentioned, therefore it is likewise impossible to carry on these Manufactures according to the present Constitution. It is very well known, that Carolina can raise every thing that this Colony can ; and they having their Labour so much cheaper will always ruin our Market, unless we are in some Measure on a Footing with them ; and as in both, the Land is worn out in four or five Years, and then fit for Nothing but Pasture ; we must be always at a great deal more Expence than they in Clearing new Land for Planting. . . .

But we for our Parts have intirely relied on and confided in Your good Intentions, believing You would redress any Grievances that should appear ; and now by our long Experience, from Industry and continual Application to Improvement of Land here, do find it impossible to pursue it, or even to subsist ourselves any longer, according to the present Nature of the Constitution ; and likewise believing You will agree to those Measures that are found from Experience capable to make this Colony succeed, and to promote which we have consumed our Money, Time and Labour ; we do, from a sincere Regard to its Welfare, and in Duty both to You and ourselves, beg Leave to lay before Your immediate Consideration, the Two following chief Causes of these our present Misfortunes and this deplorable State of the Colony, and which, we are certain, if granted, would be an infallible Remedy for both.

1st, The Want of a free Title or Fee-simple, to our Lands ; which if granted, would both induce great Numbers of new Settlers to come amongst us, and likewise encourage those who remain here chearfully to proceed in making further Improvements, as well to retrieve their sunk Fortunes as to make Provisions for their Posterity.

2d, The Want of the Use of Negroes, with proper Limitations ; which if granted, would both occasion great Numbers of white People to come here, and also render us capable to subsist ourselves, by raising Provisions upon our Lands, until we could make some Produce fit for Export, in some Measure to Ballance our Importation. We are very sensible of the Inconveniencies and Mischiefs that have already, and do daily arise from an unlimited Use of Negroes ; but we are as sensible, that these may be prevented by a due Limitation, such as so many to each white Man, or so many to such a Quantity of Land, or in any other Manner which Your Honours shall think most proper.

By granting us, Gentlemen, these Two Particulars, and such other Privileges as His Majesty's most dutiful Subjects in America enjoy, You will not only prevent our impending Ruin, but, we are fully satisfied, also will soon make this the most flourishing Colony possess'd by His Majesty in America, and Your Memories will be perpetuated to all future Ages, our latest Posterity sounding Your Praises, as their first Founders, Patrons and Guardians ; but if, by denying us these Privileges, we ourselves and Families are not only ruin'd, but even our Posterity likewise ; You will always be mentioned as the Cause and Authors of all their Misfortunes and Calamities ; which we hope will never happen.

We are,
with all due Respect,
Savannah Your Honours most dutiful
9th December, 1738. and obedient Servants. . .

B. ANSWER OF THE TRUSTEES

To the Magistrates of the Town of Savannah, in the Province of Georgia.

THE Trustess for establishing the Colony of Georgia in America, have received by the Hands of Mr. Benjamin Ball of London, Merchant, an attested Copy of a Representation, signed by You the Magistrates, and many of the Inhabitants of Savannah, on the 9th of December last, for altering the Tenure of the Lands, and introducing Negroes into the Province, transmitted from thence by Mr. Robert Williams.

The Trustees are not surprized to find unwary People drawn in by crafty Men, to join in a Design of extorting by Clamour from the Trustees an Alteration in the Fundamental Laws, framed for the Preservation of the People, from those very Designs.

But the Trustees cannot but express their Astonishment, that You the Magistrates, appointed by them to be Guardians of the People, by putting those Laws in Execution, should so far forget your Duty, as to put Yourselves at the Head of this Attempt.

However they direct You to give the Complainants this Answer from the Trustees, That they should deem themselves very unfit for the Trust reposed in them by His Majesty on their Behalf, if they could be prevailed upon, by such an irrational Attempt, to give up a Constitution, framed with the greatest Caution for the Preservation of Liberty and Property ; and of which the Laws against the Use of Slaves, and for the Entail of Lands, are the surest Foundations.

And the Trustees are the more confirmed in their opinion of the Unreasonableness of this Demand, that they have received Petitions from the Darien, and other Parts of the Province, representing the Inconvenience and Danger, which must arise to the good People of the Province from the Introduction of Negroes. And as the Trustees themselves are fully convinced, that besides the Hazard attending that Introduction, it would destroy all Industry among the white Inhabitants ; and that by giving them a Power to alien their Lands, the Colony would soon be too like its Neighbours, void of white Inhabitants, filled with Blacks, and reduced to be the precarious Property of a Few, equally exposed to Domestick Treachery, and Foreign Invasion ; and therefore the Trustees cannot be supposed to be in any Disposition of granting this Request ; and if they have not before this signified their Dislike of it, this Delay is to be imputed to no other Motives, but the Hopes they had conceived, that Time and Experience would bring the Complainants to a better Mind : And the Trustees readily join Issue with them in their Appeal to Posterity, who shall judge between them, who were their best Friends ; Those, who endeavoured to preserve for them a Property in their Lands, by tying up the Hands of their unthrifty Progenitors ; or They, who wanted a Power to mortgage or alien them : Who were the best Friends to the Colony, Those who with great Labour and Cost had endeavoured to form a Colony of His Majesty's Subjects, and persecuted Protestants from other Parts of Europe, had placed them on a fruitful Soil, and strove to secure them in their Possessions, by those Arts which naturally tend to keep the Colony full of useful and industrious People, capable both to cultivate and defend it ; or Those, who, to gratify the greedy and ambitious Views of a few Negroe Merchants, would put it into their Power to become sole Owners of the Province, by introducing their baneful Commodity ; which, it is well known by sad Experience, has brought our Neighbour Colonies to the Brink of Ruin, by driving out their white Inhabitants, who were their Glory and Strength, to make room for Black, who are now become the Terror of their unadvised Masters.

Signed by Order of the Trustees,
this 20th Day of June, 1739.
Benj. Martyn, Secretary.

 
Pat [rick] Tailfer and others, A True and Historical Narrative of the Colony of Georgia, in America (Charles Town, 1741) ; reprinted in Force, Tracts,etc. (Washington, 1836), I, No. iv, 37-53 passim.
 
43. Mr. Whitefield's Orphan-House (1739/40)
BY SECRETARY COLONEL WILLIAM STEPHENS
 
Stephens was resident secretary in Georgia for the trustees, and later president of the colony. His journal is of great value on account of its accuracy and minuteness. —Bibliography: Winsor, Narrative and Critical History, V, 392-406; C. C. Jones, Georgia, I, 400-419; Channing and Hart, Guide, § 103. — See below, No. 100.
 

FRIDAY [January 11]. Towards Noon arrived Mr.Whitfield, accompanied by three or four in his Travels ; and it luckily happening, that Mr. Norris arrived Yesterday from the South, it was quickly seen with what Temper they met : When, to the Disappointment of some People, who are pleased best with Contention, upon Mr. Whitfield's shewing the Authority he brought with him, Mr. Norris, without the least Emotion, told him, that he should by no Means enter into any Disputes to disturb the Peace of the Church ; nor had he ever wrote once to the Trustees concerning it, from the first Notice he had of what was in Agitation ; wherefore it was far from his Intention to enter into any Controversy with him ; but on the contrary declared, that his Ministry at Savannah ceased from that Instant, declining to officiate at Evening Prayer this Night, but left it to Mr. Whitfield to take Possession of the Church immediately ; who accordingly did so, when a greater Congregation than usual most Days were met, many (I fear) more out of Curiosity than Devotion. He delivered to me in the Afternoon a Letter from Mr. Martyn, Secretary to the Trust, dated June 1, relating to the Land appointed for his Use, and whereon to set the Orphan-House, &c. which after I had read, he also did ; and I told him I would not be wanting in any Thing on my Part to promote what the Trust appointed, and to give him what Assistance I could ; but as to the five hundred Acres, Mr. Habersham, without conferring with me upon it, when the General was here, applied himself to him, who approved of the Place he had made Choice of, ordered it to be run out, and then signed a Warrant, which he directed me to give the Constable, empowering him to give Possession of it to Mr. Habersham ; which was done accordingly in some short Time after : And that Mr. Habersham had already began fencing and clearing upon it. After his reading the Letter from Mr. Martyn, he desired me to let him take a Copy of it ; which I would not refuse him.

Saturday. Mr. Whitfield lost no Time in setting forward the Work which he professed to have much at Heart, about an Orphan- House ; and rode out to view the Land which Mr. Habersham had taken Care to provide against his coming, consisting of five hundred Acres, that he had taken Possession of in his own Name ; where Mr. Whitfield gave such Orders and Directions as he thought proper. . . .

Sunday. Mr. Whitfield's Name, which of late had made so much Noise in England, could not fail drawing all Sorts of People to Church, who professed Christianity, to hear what Doctrine it was that he preached : When both in the Morning and Afternoon, he made our Justification by Faith only, the Subject of his Discourse ; taking those Words in St. Matthew for his Text, :What think you of Christ?" Which he pressed home with great Energy, denouncing Anathema s on all such as taught otherwise. . . .

Tuesday. What I thought most worth present Observation, arose from the extraordinary Preparations making to build the Orphan-House, &c. wherein Mr. Whitfield indeed shewed himself much in earnest ; and it may be presumed, he expected it would be finished in few Months ; in order to which, there was hardly one Sawyer of any Value in Town, but all hired, and engaged by him to go over and work, where he meant to erect that Building : Most of our Carpenters, Bricklayers, &C. were likewise engaged by him, and a great Quantity of Scantling Timber, ready sawn, was coming (as I heard) for the more Expedition, from North-Carolina. The House that Mr. Bradley had lived in, being empty, Mr. Jones complimented the first Comers with the Use of, for the present ; and Mr. Whitfield chose, upon his Arrival, to carry those Friends that came with him thither also, as well as to be with them himself, leaving Mr. Norris in Possession of the Parsonage-House (which could not hold more than two or three) till he could conveniently move what he had there, and carry it with him to Frederica: But the great House not being finished within, and incommodious on many Accounts, especially by letting the Rain come through the Roof, which was flat; Mr. Whitfield agreed with David Douglass for the Use of his House (much the largest of any private Lot in Town) at the Rent of 20l. Sterling for half a Year only. . . .

Sunday. Mr. Whitfield did the Duties of the Day, with more than ordinary Diligence, by reading Prayers at Seven in the Morning ; at Ten again, with a Sermon after it ; at Three again, the same as at Ten ; and a Lecture at Seven in the Evening ; besides the Sacrament, which he administred to betwixt thirty and forty People after the second Morning Service : His Sermons both before Noon and after, in the same Manner as on Sunday last, were wholly on the Doctrine of Justification and Regeneration; which we hoped would ere long be followed by an Exhortation to the Practice of all Christian Duties, that so our Faith might be shewn by our Works; otherwise a dry and inactive Faith, it is to be feared, might prove a dangerous State. …

William Stephens, A Journal of the Proceedings in Georgia (London, 1742), II, 243-254 passim.

44. Need of Relieving Georgia (1749)

BY EDMUND BURKE

 
Burke was a well-known English orator and statesman, who later sided with the colonies in their complaints of the home government. He is responsible for the book from which this extract is taken, though it was probably prepared by an unknown hack-writer.—Bibliography: Winsor, Narrative and Critical History, V, ch. vi; Channing and Hart, Guide, § 103.
 

ALL these, and several other inconveniencies in the plan of the settlement, raised a general discontent in the inhabitants; they quarrelled with one another, and with their magistrates; they complained; they remonstrated; and finding no satisfaction, many of them fled out of Georgia, and dispersed themselves where they deemed the encouragement better, to all the other colonies. So that of above two thousand people, who had transported themselves from Europe, in a little time not above six or seven hundred were to be found in Georgia; so far were they from increasing. The mischief grew worse and worse every day, until the government revoked the grant to the trustees, took the province into their own hands, and annulled all the particular regulations that were made. It was then left exactly on the same footing with Carolina.

Though this step has probably saved the colony from entire ruin, yet it was not perhaps so well done to neglect entirely the first views upon which it was settled. These were undoubtedly judicious; and if the methods taken to compass them were not so well directed, it was no argument against the designs themselves, but a reason for some change in the instruments designed to put them in execution. Certainly nothing wants a regulation more, than the dangerous inequality in the number of negroes and whites in such of our provinces where the former are used. South Carolina, in spite of its great wealth, is really in a more defenceless condition, than a knot of poor townships on the frontiers of New England. In Georgia, the first error of absolutely prohibiting the use of negroes, might be turned to very good account ; for they would have received the permission to employ them under what qualifications soever, not as a restriction, but as a favour and indulgence ; and by executing whatever regulations we should make in this point with strictness, by degrees we might see a province fit to answer all the ends of defence and traffic too ; whereas we have let them use such a latitude in that affair, which we were so earnest to prevent, that Georgia instead of being any defence to Carolina, does actually stand in need of a considerable force to defend itself.

As for the scheme of vines and silk, we were extremely eager in this respect in the beginning ; and very supine ever since. At that time such a design was clearly impracticable ; because a few people seated in a wild country must first provide every thing for the support of life, by raising of corn and breeding of cattle, before they can think of manufactures of any kind ; and they must grow numerous enough to spare a number of hands from that most necessary employment, before they can send such things in any degree of cheapness or plenty to a good market. But now there is little said of either of these articles, though the province is longer settled and grown more populous. But the misfortune is, that though no people upon earth originally conceive things better than the English do, they want the unremitting perseverance which is necessary to bring designs of consequence to perfection. We are apt suddenly to change our measures upon any failure ; without sufficiently considering whether the failure has been owing to a fault in the scheme itself; this does not arise from any defect peculiar to our people, for it is the fault of mankind in general, if left to themselves. What is done by us is generally done by the spirit of the people ; as far as that can go we advance, but no farther. We want political regulations, and a steady plan in government, to remedy the defects that must be in all things, which depend merely on the character and disposition of the people.

At present Georgia is beginning to emerge, though slowly, out of the difficulties that attended its first establishment. It is still but indifferently peopled, though it is now twenty-six years since its first settlement. Not one of our colonies was of so slow a growth, though none had so much of the attention of the government, or of the people in general, or raised so great expectations in the beginning. They export some corn and lumber to the West-Indies ; they raise some rice, and of late are going with success into indigo. It is not to be doubted but in time, when their internal divisions are a little, better composed, the remaining errors in the government corrected, and the people begin to multiply, that they will become a useful province.

Georgia has two towns already known in trade ; Savannah the capital, which stands very well for business about ten miles form [from] the sea, upon a noble river of the same name, which is navigable two hundred miles further for large boats, to the second town, called Augusta ; this stands upon a spot of ground of the greatest fertility, and is so commodiously situated for the Indian trade, that from the first establishment of the colony it has been in a very flourishing condition, and maintained very early six hundred whites in that trade alone. The Indian nations on their borders are the upper and lower Creeks, the Chickesaws, and the Cherokees ; who are some of the most numerous and powerful tribes in America. The trade of skins with this people is the largest we have, it takes in that of Georgia, the two Carolinas and Virginia. We deal with them somewhat in furs likewise, but they are of an inferior sort. All species of animals, that bear the fur, by a wise providence have it more thick, and of a softer and finer kind as you go to the northward ; the greater the cold, the better they are clad.

[Edmund Burke], An Account of the European Settlements in America (London, 1760), II, 269-273.