« PreviousContinue »
FROM THE FIRST SETTLEMENT THEREOF UNTIL THIS PRESENT PERIOD:
THE MOST AUTHENTIC FACTS, MATTERS, AND
HIS MAJESTY'S CHARTER, REPRESENTATIONS OF THE PEOPLE, LETTERS, ETC.,
A DEDICATION TO HIS EXCELLENCY GENERAL OGLETHORPE.
PAT: TAILFER, M. D., HUGH ANDERSON, M. A., DA: DOUGLAS,
and Others, Landholders in Georgia, at present in Charleston, South Carolina.
CHARLESTON, SOUTH CAROLINA:
We know but little of Dr. Tailfer, except what we find in Stephens's journal, whose representations of him, though highly colored, show that he was one of the prominent agitators of the disturbances which rent the colony, an invincible enemy of Stephens, and a defamer of Oglethorpe.
He appears to have been a man of violent and excitable passions, for in 1734 he was charged with killing his servant, William Douglas, and also with being excessively cruel to all his servants. The report of the coroner's inquest was,
we believe that the death of William Douglas, late servant of Patrick Tailfer, was caused by violent blows and bruises, received from his said master, Patrick Tailfer.” The grand jury presented him as guilty of manslaughter, but the laxity of the law enabled him to escape with impunity. The deceased, it was said, “ had a liberal education, and was bred a surgeon.” One of the causes which probably embittered his feelings towards General Oglethorpe, was the fact that in September 1739, himself, with five or six others, endeavored to form an independent company “for defence of the country, &c., but exclusive of any commands from the standing militia of the town where they lived." Tailfer was chosen Captain, about a dozen men volunteered, and they petitioned the General to be received and acknowledged as a part of the colonial force. This the General not only refused, but expressed his indignation at their presumption, and rebuked their proceedings. Dr. Tailfer left Savannah for Charleston in September, 1740.
Mr. Anderson, on his removal to Charleston, opened a school, and subsequently became master of the free school of that city. He died in Charleston, Nov. 21st, 1748.
David Douglas was, like the two former, from Scotland, and the intimate associate and partisan of Tailfer. He was one of the “ Juntillo," or “club," so often commented on by Stephens, and had, so far as we can ascertain, no other character than that of an active and somewhat influential demagogue.
In perusing this narrative, it should also be borne in mind, that there was at that period, a rupture of the former amicable relations between Georgia and Carolina, which, from little bickerings of provincial authority, swelled out into angry crimination after the loss at fort Moosa, and the failure of the siege of St. Augustine in consequence of the partial defection of the Carolina troops. Dr. Tailfer, therefore, but ministered to a popular feeling, when he denounced the operations of the trustees, and pampered the malignity of the envious by defaming the character of Oglethorpe. The style of the narrative shows the intemperate spirit in which it was written, while the veiled personalities which it tolerates, but evince the cowardice and the meanness of the detractor.
TO HIS EXCELLENCY
JAMES OGLETHORPE, Esq.,.
General and Commander in Chief of His Majesty's Forces in
South Carolina and Georgia ; and one of the Honorable Trustees for establishing the Colony of Georgia in America, fic.
May it please your Excellency,
As the few surviving remains of the colony of Georgia find it necessary to present the world (and in particular Great Britain) with a true state of that province, from its first rise to its present period ; your Excellency (of all mankind) is best entitled to the dedication, as the principal author of its present strength and affluence, freedom and prosperity : and though incontestable truths will recommend the following narrative to the patient and attentive reader, yet your name, sir, will be no little ornament to the frontispiece, and may possibly engage some courteous perusers a little beyond it.
That dedication and flattery are synonymous, is the complaint of every dedicator, who concludes himself ingenuous and fortunate, if he can discover & less trite and direct method of flattering than is usually practised; but we are happily prevented from the least intention of this kind, by the repeated offerings of the Muses and news-writers to your Excellency, in the public papers : 'twere presumptuous even to dream of equalling or increasing them ; we therefore flatter ourselves, that nothing we can advance will in the least shock your Excellency's modesty ; not doubting but your goodness will pardon any deficiency of elegance and politeness, on account of our sincerity, and the serious truth we have the honor to approach you with.
We have seen the ancient custom of sending forth colonies, for the improvement of any distant territory, or new acquisition, continued down to ourselves; but to your Excellency alone it is owing, that the world is made acquainted with a plan, highly refined from those of all former projectors. They fondly imagined it necessary to communicate to such young settlements, the fullest rights and properties, all the immunities of their mother countries, and privileges rather more extensive : by such means indeed, these colonies flourished with early trade and affluence; but your Excellency's concern for our perpetual welfare, could never permit you to propose such transitory advantages for us ; you considered riches like a divine and philosopher, as the irritamenta malorum, and knew that they were disposed to inflate weak minds with pride; to pamper the body with luxury, and introduce a long variety of evils. Thus have you protected us from ourselves, as Mr. Waller says, by keeping all earthly comforts from us: you have afforded us the opportunity of arriving at the integrity of the primitive times, by entailing a more than primitive poverty on us : the toil that is necessary to our bare subsistence, must effectually defend us from the anxieties of any further ambition : as we have no properties, to feed vainglory and beget contention, so we are not puzzled with any system of laws to ascertain and establish them: the valuable virtue of humility is secured to us, by your care to prevent our procuring, or so much as seeing any negroes (the only human creatures proper to improve our soil) lest our simplicity might mistake the poor Africans for greater slaves than ourselves : and that we might fully receive the spiritual benefit of those wholesome austerities, you have wisely denied us the use of such spirituous liquors, as might in the least divert our minds from the contemplation of our happy circumstances.
Our subject swells upon us; and did we allow ourselves to indulge our inclination, without considering our weak abilities, we should be tempted to launch out into many of your Excellency's extraordinary endowments, which do not so much regard the affair in hand; but as this would lead us beyond the bounds of a dedication, so would it engross a subject too extensive for us, to the prejudice of other authors and panegyrists; we shall therefore confine ourselves to that remarkable scene of your conduct, whereby Great Britain in general, and the settlers of Georgia in particular, are laid under such inexpressible obligations.
Be pleased then, great sir, to accompany our beated imaginations, in taking a view of this colony of Georgia ! this child of your auspicious politics ! arrived at the utmost vigor of its constitution, at a term when most former states have been struggling through the convulsions of their infancy. This early maturity however, lessens our admiration, that your
Excellency lives to see (what few founders ever aspired after) the great decline and almost final termination of it. So many have finished their course during the progress of the experiment, and such numbers have retreated from the phantoms of poverty and slavery which their cowardly imaginations pictured to them, that you may justly vaunt with the boldest hero of them all,
-Like Death you reign O'er silent subjects and a desert plain. Yet must your enemies (if you have any) be reduced to confess, that no ordinary statesman could have digested in the like manner, so capacious a scheme, such a copious jumble of power and politics. We shall content ourselves with observing, that all those beauteous models of government which the little states of Germany exercise, and those extensive liberties which the boors of Poland enjoy, were designed to concentre in your system; and were we to regard the modes of government, we must have been strangely unlucky to have missed of the best, where there was the appearance of so great a variety; for under the influence of our perpetual Dictator, we have seen something like aristocracy, oligarchy, as well as the triumvirate, decemvirate, and consular authority of famous republics, which have expired many ages before us; what wonder then we share the same fate? Do their towns and villages exist but in story and rubbish? We are all over ruins; our public works, forts, wells, high-ways, light-house, store and water-mills, &c. are dignified like theirs, with the same venerable desolation. The log house indeed, is like to be the last forsaken spot of your empire; yet even this, through the death or desertion of those who should continue to inhabit it, must suddenly decay ; the bankrupt jailor himself, shall be soon denied the privilege of human conversation ; and when this last moment of the spell expires, the whole shall vanish like the illusion of some Eastern magician.
But let not this solitary prospect impress your Excellency with any fears of having your services to mankind, and to the