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    this term refers to the first two decades in the history of the colony of georgia, mainly because an appointed board of men ran and governed the colony.


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    James Oglethorpe

    As visionary, social reformer, and military leader, James Oglethorpe conceived of and implemented his plan to establish the colony of Georgia. It was through his initiatives in England in 1732 that the British government authorized the establishment of its first new colony in North America in more than five decades. Later that year he led […]

    As visionary, social reformer, and military leader, James Oglethorpe conceived of and implemented his plan to establish the colony of Georgia. It was through his initiatives in England in 1732 that the British government authorized the establishment of its first new colony in North America in more than five decades. Later that year he led the expedition of colonists that landed in Savannah early in 1733. Oglethorpe spent most of the next decade in Georgia, where he directed the economic and political development of the new colony, defended it militarily, and continued to generate support and recruit settlers in England and other parts of Europe.

    James Oglethorpe

    Courtesy of Georgia Info, Digital Library of Georgia.

    James Edward Oglethorpe was born on December 22, 1696, in London, England; he was the tenth and last child of Eleanor and Theophilus Oglethorpe. Though frequently in London, the Oglethorpes maintained a large family estate in Godalming, a small Surrey town near London. Here at Westbrook Manor (later the Meath Home) young Oglethorpe grew up. His father owned other property in Godalming and the neighboring town of Haslemere, and the rent from these gave the Oglethorpes a comfortable life. Both Theophilus and Eleanor had long been interested in politics, and in 1698 voters of Haslemere elected Theophilus to the House of Commons. All three of his sons—including Oglethorpe—would later hold this seat.

    Little is known about Oglethorpe’s boyhood, but in 1714 he was admitted to Corpus Christi College at Oxford University. The excitement of Europe’s defense against the advancing Turks led him to drop out of school to enroll in a military academy in France. He subsequently traveled to Austria, where he became an aide to Prince Eugene of Savoy. After a victorious campaign against the Turks, Oglethorpe returned to England, where he reentered Corpus Christi. Although he never graduated, the college did award him a special M.A. in 1731.

    James Oglethorpe

    Courtesy of Oglethorpe University

    After a brief sojourn with academics, Oglethorpe returned to Godalming. In 1722 he successfully ran for Parliament, occupying a seat in the House of Commons previously held by his father and two older brothers. Here Oglethorpe devoted his energies to Britain’s national and international interests.

    Prison Reform

    In 1729 James Oglethorpe’s life was to change. The previous year, one of his friends, Robert Castell, was jailed in London’s Fleet Prison because of his debts. At the time, inmates were forced to pay prison staff fees for decent room and board. Unable to pay, Castell was thrown into a cell with a prisoner who had smallpox. Castell’s death from the disease led Oglethorpe to launch a national campaign to reform England’s prisons. Named chairman of a parliamentary committee to investigate the jails, Oglethorpe saw firsthand the horrible conditions, abuses, and extortion prisoners faced. He also was alarmed that so many British citizens faced jail for no other reason than indebtedness.

    As a result of the investigation a number of steps were taken to reform London’s prisons. Oglethorpe’s efforts to expose and correct prison abuses gained him national attention, and he became widely regarded as one of Britain’s most active humanitarians. Prison reform did not, however, solve the plight of the large number of poor people in England. Oglethorpe and several colleagues from the jails committee, notably John Lord Viscount Percival (later the first earl of Egmont), began exploring the possibility of creating a new colony in America. They believed that if given a chance, England’s “worthy poor” could be transformed into farmers, merchants, and artisans. But strict rules would be needed to prevent the class divisions that plagued English society. Thus, all the settlers would work their own land, with slavery and large landholdings specifically prohibited.

    Georgia’s Founding

    Although charity had been the initial motivation for the Georgia movement, by 1732 military and economic considerations were the principal factors. As a result of Oglethorpe’s persuasive arguments, King George II in 1732 granted a charter for creating Georgia and named Oglethorpe as one of twenty-one Trustees to govern the new colony.

    As the Trustees began interviewing potential colonists, they looked for carpenters, tailors, bakers, farmers, merchants, and others with the skills necessary for the colony’s success. By this time any ideas of Georgia’s being a haven for debtors in English prisons had long vanished—and not one formerly jailed debtor was among the first colonists selected. Georgia’s founders thought that the colony’s climate would be suitable to the production of valuable silk, wine, and other Mediterranean-type commodities. The Trustees imagined the colony as a place where settlers could achieve a comfortable living rather than an enormous personal fortune, which was associated with plantation life in other parts of British America.  

    In November 1732 a total of 114 men, women, and children gathered at Gravesend on the River Thames to set sail for the new colony of Georgia. Oglethorpe understood that Georgia’s charter prohibited him from holding office, owning land, or receiving a salary in the new colony, yet he gave up the comforts of home to accompany the first boatload of Georgia settlers.

    After several delays they boarded the Anne for a two-month journey across the Atlantic. Following a brief visit in Charleston, the colonists proceeded to Port Royal, South Carolina’s southernmost outpost. While they rested, Oglethorpe and a band of Carolina Rangers went ahead to look for a place to settle. Some seventeen miles inland from the mouth of the Savannah River, they found Yamacraw Bluff overlooking the south bank of the river. Oglethorpe immediately struck up a friendship with the Yamacraw chief, Tomochichi, thus beginning a long and close relationship between the two.

    On February 12, 1733, Oglethorpe returned to Yamacraw Bluff with the Georgia colonists. With the help of militia and enslaved African Americans from South Carolina, the pine forest was quickly cleared, and Oglethorpe laid out a plan for the new town of Savannah. His distinctive pattern of streets, ten-house “tythings,” and public squares soon became a reality. Identical clapboard houses built on identical lots, plus restrictions on how much land could be owned and an outright prohibition on slavery, were testimony to the Trustees’ desire to produce a classless society—one in which each head of household worked his own land. This egalitarian ideal was not fully realized, however, in that women were not allowed to own land in the new colony. The Trustees based this policy on the assumption that each plot of land requried a male worker (and armed defender). 

    Savannah City Plan, 1770

    Courtesy of Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library, University of Georgia Libraries.

    Leadership in the New Colony

    Living up to the motto of Georgia’s Trustees—Non sibi sed aliis (Not for self, but for others)—Oglethorpe worked tirelessly on behalf of the colony during the initial months. Sometimes violating Trustee policy, Oglethorpe permitted Jews, Lutheran Salzburgers, and other persecuted religious minorities to settle in Georgia. On the matter of importing enslaved Africans from any source, Oglethorpe never wavered in wholly opposing slavery in Georgia. With respect to Georgia’s Indians, he had an enlightened policy, always respecting their customs, language, and needs. Land cessions were always agreed to by treaty according to proper Indian custom. Also, Oglethorpe actively sought to protect the Indians from unscrupulous white traders.

    Oglethorpe with Creek Indians

    Courtesy of Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library, University of Georgia Libraries.

    Oglethorpe had come to Georgia with no formal title other than Trustee. Although he could not hold office, Oglethorpe was clearly the leader of the colony, subject to instructions and rules promulgated by the Trustees back in London. In recognition of his role, he is almost universally regarded as Georgia’s first governor.

    Despite its charitable origins, Georgia was also a military buffer designed to protect Britain’s southern colonies. As the Spanish military presence in St. Augustine, Florida, grew, Oglethorpe’s dream that Georgia would become an ideal agrarian society began to fade. The threat of invasion heightened, and Oglethorpe focused his efforts on the defense of Georgia. Because support from the Trustees and Parliament had never been sufficient, Oglethorpe had mortgaged his landholdings back in England to finance the colony’s needs. Although he hoped that Parliament would repay his rising debts, he fully realized that he could lose everything. Oglethorpe believed in the cause of Georgia—and as long as he had anything that he could mortgage to raise money for the colony, he was not going to give up.

    Military Leadership

    Oglethorpe returned to London on several occasions to lobby the Trustees and Parliament for funding to build forts in Georgia. During a visit in 1737 Oglethorpe convinced King George II to appoint him as a colonel in the army and give him a regiment of British soldiers to take back to Georgia. Interestingly, Oglethorpe was a civilian at this time, with only limited military experience (primarily as an aide to Prince Eugene). Nevertheless, he got what he wanted: rank in the regular army and a regiment. Oglethorpe also was given the title of “General and Commander in Chief of all and singular his Majesty’s provinces of Carolina and Georgia.” This has led to confusion as to whether Oglethorpe was now a colonel or a general. In terms of military rank in the British army, he was a colonel. During the pending hostilities with Spain, however, Oglethorpe also held a brevet (or temporary) field commission as general in order to command all allied forces (Carolina Rangers, Indian allies, etc.). Only in September 1743, however, was Oglethorpe actually promoted to the rank of brigadier general in the British army.

    James Oglethorpe

    Courtesy of Georgia Info, Digital Library of Georgia.

    After the War of Jenkins’ Ear erupted in 1739, Oglethorpe was ready to take the initiative. In 1740 he assembled an invasion force consisting of his regiment, Indian allies, Carolina Rangers, and several ships in the Royal Navy. His goal was the Spanish fortress at St. Augustine. Unfortunately, the siege failed and the allied force fell apart, forcing a dejected Oglethorpe back to St. Simons Island to await the Spanish counterattack that would surely follow.

    The Spanish invasion of Georgia came in July 1742. Ships bearing thousands of Spanish troops landed on the south end of St. Simons Island. Back at Fort Frederica, which was still under construction, Oglethorpe rallied his forces for battle. In a critical skirmish known as the Battle of Gully Hole Creek, Oglethorpe’s forces turned back a Spanish advance force. As they pursued the retreating Spaniards down the trail, Oglethorpe halted his force at the edge of a marsh. Here he positioned his men to await the counterattack by the main Spanish army. Oglethorpe then took temporary leave of his force to return to Fort Frederica, which he feared was under naval attack. Finding no such assault underway, Oglethorpe left to rejoin his men at the marsh. Meanwhile, Spanish troops had already arrived but were turned back after a brief but fierce fight. Ironically, Oglethorpe arrived just after the conclusion of what would become known as the Battle of Bloody Marsh. This loss helped persuade Spanish commanders to withdraw to St. Augustine. Never again would Spanish forces mount an offensive against Britain’s colonies on the East Coast of America. As a result, Oglethorpe was a national hero in England, and King George II promoted him to brigadier general in His Majesty’s Army.

    Return to England

    In 1743 Oglethorpe led one more unsuccessful attempt to take the Spanish fortress at St. Augustine. While he pondered his future, Oglethorpe suddenly received word that he had to return to London. After the Florida invasion an unhappy officer in his regiment had made some serious allegations of misconduct against Oglethorpe, and the War Office in London wanted the general to answer those charges. Also, Oglethorpe needed Parliament to repay him for his substantial personal loans on Georgia’s behalf.

    In 1744 a special board of general officers discharged all allegations that had been made against the general. That same year Parliament voted to reimburse Oglethorpe—so both his honor and fortune had been preserved.

    To this point Oglethorpe had lived his life almost solely for others, but that was to change. In London the popular hero met Elizabeth Wright, a recent heiress. They married in September 1744 and settled at Cranham Hall, her inherited estate in the small Essex town of Cranham, seventeen miles east of London.

    Much of their social life was spent in London, where Oglethorpe became friends with Samuel Johnson, James Boswell, Oliver Goldsmith, and other well-known men and women of the time. In 1745 Oglethorpe resumed his military career after the invasion of forces attempting to place the Stuart Pretender, Bonnie Prince Charlie, on the British throne. He was ordered to take a force to the north of England to engage the invaders, but because of controversy centering upon his strategy in the campaign, Oglethorpe was subjected to a court martial. Once again, he was totally exonerated.

    James Oglethorpe

    Courtesy of Georgia Historical Society.

    Oglethorpe continued to serve on the Board of Trustees of Georgia. Despite his opposition, however, the Trustees gradually relaxed their restrictions on land ownership, inheritance, rum, and slavery. As a result, the general’s attendance on the board declined. By 1750 Georgia’s founder was no longer involved with the board at all. The grand experiment was over, and the few remaining Trustees voted to return their charter to govern Georgia, which subsequently became a royal colony.

    Oglethorpe remained in Parliament until 1754, when he was defeated in a bid for reelection. Eventually he became the senior general in the British army, but never again would he serve on active duty (though there is a popular legend that with the outbreak of the American Revolution [1775-83], Oglethorpe was asked to command a British force—an offer he declined). The general did have one final experience on the field of battle. In the 1750s he left England quietly to fight in Europe with his old friend Field Marshal James Keith in the Seven Years’ War (1756-63). Because of possible implications of a British general’s involvement in a war against France, however, Oglethorpe served under fictitious names.

    Later Life

    Oglethorpe returned to England in 1760 to live the life of a gentleman. He and Elizabeth divided their time between their country estate and their London town house on Lower Grosvenor Street. Though they never had children, by all accounts James and Elizabeth enjoyed an active social life entertaining friends and many of the literary and artistic figures of the day.

    Oglethorpe eventually lived to see the colony that he founded become part of the United States of America. Though the historical record is silent as to how he felt about the American Revolution, it is known that on June 4, 1785, Oglethorpe met with John Adams, the first U.S. ambassador to Great Britain, and expressed “great esteem and regard for America.”

    After a brief illness Oglethorpe died on June 30, 1785—just six months shy of his eighty-ninth birthday. He was buried in a vault beneath the chancel floor of the Parish Church of All Saints, which stands immediately adjacent to Cranham Hall. Upon her death two years later, Elizabeth was interred in the same tomb.

    Georgians still remember James Edward Oglethorpe in many ways. His name adorns Oglethorpe County, two towns (including Oglethorpe), Oglethorpe University, and numerous schools, streets, parks, and businesses. In paying tribute to Oglethorpe, however, Georgians can perhaps best honor his memory by remembering him as a man who wouldn’t quit and who lived by the simple but profound philosophy that life is not about self, but about others.

    James Oglethorpe

    Source : www.georgiaencyclopedia.org

    Trustee Georgia

    Trustee Georgia is the name of the period covering the first twenty years of Georgia history, from 1732–1752, because during that time the English Province of Georgia was governed by a board of trustees. England's King George II, for whom the colony was named, signed a charter establishing the colony and creating its governing board on July 7, 1732. His action culminated a lengthy process. Tomochichi was a Native American that resides along the Savannah River that allowed Oglethorpe to settle on the Yamacraw Bluff.

    The charter was granted to the Trustees for the Establishment of the Colony of Georgia in America, a group formed by James Oglethorpe. Oglethorpe envisioned the province as a location for the resettlement of English debtors and " worthy poor", although few debtors were part of the organized settlement of Georgia. Another motivation for the founding of the colony was to create a "buffer state" (border), or "garrison province" that would defend the southern part of the British colonies from Spanish Florida and French Mississippi. Oglethorpe envisioned a province populated largely by yeoman farmers who would secure the southern frontier of British America; because of this, as well as on moral grounds, the colony's regulations prohibited slavery.

    Oglethorpe's plan for settlement (now known as the Oglethorpe Plan) was founded on eighteenth-century country party philosophy and drew from principles of Roman colonial town design.


    The Georgia Charter[edit]

    The charter contained contradictions. The colonists were entitled to all the rights of Englishmen, yet there was no provision for the essential right of local government. Religious liberty was guaranteed, except for Roman Catholicism and Judaism. A group of Jews landed in Georgia without explicit permission in 1733 but were allowed to remain. The charter created a corporate body called a Trust and provided for an unspecified number of Trustees who would govern the colony from England. Seventy-one men served as Trustees during the life of the Trust. Trustees were forbidden by the charter from holding office or land in Georgia, nor were they paid. Presumably, their motives for serving were humanitarian, and their motto was Non sibi sed aliis ("Not for self, but for others"). The charter provided that the body of Trustees elect fifteen members to serve as an executive committee called the Common Council, and specified a quorum of eight to transact business. As time went on, the council frequently lacked a quorum; those present would then assume the status of the whole body of Trustees, a pragmatic solution not envisioned by the framers of the charter. Historian John McCain counted 215 meetings of the Common Council and 512 meetings of the corporation.

    Twelve Trustees attended the first meeting on July 20, 1732, at the Georgia office in the Old Palace Yard, conveniently close to Westminster. Committees were named to solicit contributions and interview applicants to the new colony. On November 17, 1732, seven Trustees bade farewell to Oglethorpe and the first settlers as they left from Gravesend aboard the Anne. The Trustees succeeded in obtaining £10,000 from the government in 1733 and lesser amounts in subsequent years. Georgia was the only American colony that depended on Parliament's annual subsidies.

    The original charter specified the colony as being between the Savannah and Altamaha Rivers, up to their headwaters (the headwaters of the Altamaha are on the Ocmulgee River), and then extending westward "to the south seas." The area within the charter had previously been part of the original grant of the Province of Carolina, which was closely linked to Georgia.[1] South Carolina had never been able to gain control of the area, but after the Yamasee War the Georgia coast was effectively cleared of Indians, excepting a few villages of defeated Yamasee, who became known as the Yamacraw to distinguish them from the still-hostile Yamasee in Florida and among the Creek.

    Active trustees[edit]

    The most active members of the Trust, in terms of their attendance at council, corporation, or committee meetings, were, in order of frequency, James Vernon, John Perceval, Earl of Egmont, Henry L'Apostre, Samuel Smith, Thomas Tower, John LaRoche, Robert Hucks, Stephen Hales, James Oglethorpe, and Anthony Ashley Cooper, 4th Earl of Shaftesbury. The number of meetings attended ranged from Vernon's 712 to Shaftesbury's 266. Sixty-one Trustees attended fewer meetings.

    James Vernon, one of the original Associates of Dr. Bray and an architect of the charter, maintained an interest in Georgia throughout the life of the Trust. He arranged the Salzburger settlement and negotiated with the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts for missionaries.

    He differed from Egmont and Oglethorpe in his willingness to respond to the colonists' complaints. When Oglethorpe became preoccupied with the Spanish war, Vernon proposed the plan of dividing the colony into two provinces, Savannah and Frederica, each with a president and magistrates. The Trustees named William Stephens president in Savannah, and he served until 1751, when he was replaced by Henry Parker in the final year of the Trust's tenure. Oglethorpe neglected to name a president for Frederica, and the magistrates there were instructed to report to Stephens. The Trustees did not want to appoint a single governor because the king in council had to approve the appointment of governors, and the Trustees preferred to keep control in their hands. After Egmont's retirement in 1742, Vernon became the indispensable man. He missed only 4 of 114 meetings during the last nine years of the Trust and supervised the removal of restrictions on land tenure, rum, and slavery.

    Egmont, the first president of the Common Council and the dominant figure among the Trustees until his retirement, acted as Georgia's champion in Parliament. He strongly opposed Walpole's attempts to conciliate Spain at the expense of Georgia. He had to walk a careful line, however, because the Trustees depended upon Walpole for their annual subsidies.

    Other Trustees contributed according to their abilities. Henry L'Apostre advised on finances, Samuel Smith on religion, and Thomas Tower on legal matters, particularly on instructions to Georgia officials. Stephen Hales's closeness to the royal family and his standing as a scientist lent prestige to the body of Trustees. Shaftesbury, a political opponent of Walpole, joined the Common Council in 1733 and, except for a brief resignation, remained faithful to the end. He led the negotiations to convert Georgia to a royal colony. For the entire twenty years the Trustees employed only two staff members, Benjamin Martyn as secretary and Harman Verelst as accountant.

    Georgia Indians in London[edit]

    Oglethorpe returned to England in June 1734 with goodwill ambassadors in the persons of Yamacraw chief Tomochichi, Senauki, his wife, their nephew Toonahowi, and six other Lower Creek tribesmen. The Indians were regarded as celebrities, feted by the Trustees, interviewed by the king and queen, entertained by the archbishop of Canterbury at Lambeth Palace, and made available to meet the public. All but two of them posed with a large number of Trustees at the Georgia office for the painter William Verelst. One of the absent Indians died of smallpox, despite the ministrations of the eminent physician Sir Hans Sloane, and was buried by his grieving comrades in the burial plot of St. John's in Westminster. After performing their social obligations, the Indians became tourists, visiting the Tower of London, St. Paul's Cathedral, Oglethorpe's Westbrook Manor, and Egmont's Charlton House, and enjoying a variety of plays, from Shakespearean dramas to comic farces.

    Salzburgers, Moravians and Highlanders[edit]

    The Indians departed on October 31, 1734. With them went fifty-seven Salzburgers to join the forty-two families already in Georgia at Ebenezer. In 1734 and 1735 two groups of Moravians went to Georgia. As pacifists they opposed doing military duty and left Georgia by 1740. After delivering the Indians and Salzburgers to Georgia, Captain George Dunbar took his ship, the Prince of Wales, to Scotland. Dunbar and Hugh Mackay recruited 177 Highlanders, most of them members of Clan Chattan in Inverness-shire. In 1736 the Highlanders founded Darien on Georgia's southern boundary, the Altamaha. Dunbar subsequently served as Oglethorpe's aide in Georgia and in Oglethorpe's campaign against the Spanish in 1745.

    Oglethorpe went to Georgia in 1736, with the approval of his fellow Trustees, to found two new settlements on the frontiers, Frederica on St. Simons Island and Augusta at the headwaters of the Savannah River in Indian country. Both places were garrisoned by troops. In 1737 Oglethorpe returned to England to demand a regiment of regulars from a reluctant Walpole. Not only did he get his regiment and a commission as colonel, but Egmont persuaded Walpole to pay for all military expenses.

    Trustee legislation and reactions[edit]

    Continual complaints by the colonists and the near abandonment of Georgia during the war with Spain discouraged all but the most dedicated of the Trustees. Especially embarrassing was the list of grievances presented on the floor of Parliament by Thomas Stephens, son of the Trustees' agent in Georgia, William Stephens. A committee went through the motions of looking into the complaints and then exonerated the Trustees. Stephens was made to kneel in apology on the floor of Parliament. However, the prestige of the Trustees had been wounded, and their influence in Parliament weakened. Walpole lost office in 1742, and the new administration declined the Trustees' request for funding. Egmont resigned in protest, but not all the Trustees gave up. Under the leadership of Vernon and Shaftesbury, the Trustees conciliated the administration, and the government renewed the annual subsidies until 1751, when the Trustees' request was again denied.

    Oglethorpe returned from Georgia in 1743 and never again showed the same enthusiasm for the work of the Trust. He disagreed with the relaxation of the ban on rum in 1742 and with the admission of slavery in 1750. He engaged in an unfortunate argument with the Trustees over expenses. The accountant claimed that he owed the Trust £1,412 of funds used for military purposes for which he had been compensated. Oglethorpe countered that the Trustees owed him far more than that amount. No agreement was reached. Oglethorpe attended his last meeting on March 16, 1749.

    End of Trustee rule[edit]

    In March 1750 the Trustees called upon Georgians to elect delegates to the first representative assembly but cautioned them only to advise the Trustees, not to legislate. Augusta and Ebenezer each had two delegates, Savannah had four, and every other town and village had one. Frederica, now practically abandoned, sent no delegate. Sixteen representatives met in Savannah on January 14, 1751, and elected Francis Harris speaker. Most of the resolutions concerned improving trade. The delegates showed maturity in requesting the right to enact local legislation, and they opposed any annexation effort on the part of South Carolina. The Trustees intended to permit further assemblies, but the failure of Parliament to vote a subsidy in 1751 caused the Trustees to enter into negotiations to turn the colony over to the government a year before the charter expired. Only four members of the Trust attended the last meeting on June 23, 1752, and of the original Trustees only James Vernon persevered to the end.

    The earl of Halifax, the new president of the Board of Trade, secured broader powers and infused new life into the administration of the board. He regretted that the colonies had been neglected for so long, and he intended to make Georgia a model colony and an example to others. Thus Georgia passed from the control of one set of gentlemen of Parliament to another.

    See also[edit]


    Further reading[edit]

    Trustee Georgia

    Source : en.wikipedia.org

    Establishing the Georgia Colony, 1732

    In the 1730s, England founded the last of its colonies in North America. The project was the brain child of James Oglethorpe, a former army officer.

    Establishing the Georgia Colony, 1732-1750

    In the 1730s, England founded the last of its colonies in North America. The project was the brain child of James Oglethorpe, a former army officer. After Oglethorpe left the army, he devoted himself to helping the poor and debt-ridden people of London, whom he suggested settling in America. His choice of Georgia, named for the new King, was also motivated by the idea of creating a defensive buffer for South Carolina, an increasingly important colony with many potential enemies close by. These enemies included the Spanish in Florida, the French in Louisiana and along the Mississippi River, and these powers' Indian allies throughout the region.

    Twenty trustees received funding from Parliament and a charter from the King, issued in June 1732. The charter granted the trustees the powers of a corporation; they could elect their own governing body, make land grants, and enact their own laws and taxes. Since the corporation was a charitable body, none of the trustees could receive any land from, or hold a paid position in, the corporation. Too, since the undertaking was designed to benefit the poor, the trustees placed a 500-acre limit on the size of individual land holdings. People who had received charity and who had not purchased their own land could not sell, or borrow money against, it. The trustees wanted to avoid the situation in South Carolina, which had very large plantations and extreme gaps between the wealthy and the poor.

    The undertaking was paternalistic through and through. For example, the trustees did not trust the colonists to make their own laws. They therefore did not establish a representative assembly, although every other mainland colony had one. The trustees made all laws for the colony. Second, the settlements were laid out in compact, confined, and concentrated townships. In part, this arrangement was instituted to enhance the colony's defenses, but social control was another consideration. Third, the trustees prohibited the import and manufacture of rum, for rum would lead to idleness. Finally, the trustees prohibited Negro slavery, for they believed that this ban would encourage the settlement of "English and Christian" people.

    Georgia's first year, 1733, went well enough, as settlers began to clear the land, build houses, and construct fortifications. Those who came in the first wave of settlement realized that after the first year they would be working for themselves. Meanwhile, Oglethorpe, who went to Georgia with the first settlers, began negotiating treaties with local Indian tribes, especially the Upper Creek tribe. Knowing that the Spanish, based in Florida, had great influence with many of the tribes in the region, Oglethorpe thought it necessary to reach an understanding with these native peoples if Georgia was to remain free from attack. In addition, the Indian trade became an important element of Georgia's economy.

    It didn't take long, however, until the settlers began to grumble about all the restrictions imposed on them by the trustees. In part, this grumbling may have been due to the fact that most of those moving to Georgia after the first several years were from other colonies, especially South Carolina. These settlers viewed restrictions on the size of individual land holdings as a sure pathway to poverty. They also opposed restrictions on land sales and the prohibition against slavery for the same reason. They certainly did not like the fact that they were deprived of any self-government and their rights as Englishmen. By the early 1740s, the trustees slowly gave way on most of the colonists' grievances.

    For additional documents related to these topics, search The Capital and the Bay collection using such key words as James Oglethorpe, Georgia (and individual towns such as Savannah and Ebenezer), South Carolina (and Charles Town), Negro, slavery, and such individual Indian tribes as Creek (both Upper and Lower), Choctaw, and Cherokee. Another way to find documents relating to the colonization of Georgia is to peruse the four volumes edited by Peter Force (in the 1830s) in the The Capital and the Bay.


    Establishing the Georgia Colony, 1732

    Source : www.loc.gov

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