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casks each. The question was also discussed at this meeting, whether deputies should be sent to join the deputies of the other colonies, at the general Congress, which passed in the negative, owing to the illicit voting of some of the government officials. The parish of St. Johns, (now Liberty County,) dissented from this negative, and on the 30th of August resolved, “that if the majority of the other parishes would unite with them, they would send deputies to join the general committee, and faithfully and religiously abide by and conform to such determination and resolutions as should be then entered into, and come from thence recommended ;" and the articles of the Continental Association, emanating from that body, were adopted by the St. Johns people, on the 1st of December. On the 8th of December, fifteen deputies were chosen in Savannah, to meet with those elected from other Parishes, in Provincial Congress, on the 18th of January, 1775. The General Assembly met also on that day, and the critical situation of American affairs occupied a prominent place in the speech of the Governor, and the answers of both branches of the Legislature. But though he urged them to discountenance the resolutions of the other colonies, the Assembly almost unanimously adopted those passed by the Continental Congress, on the 14th of October, 1774, setting forth, in the strongest light, the oppressive measures of the ministry towards America.
While this body was thus engaged, the deputies to the Provincial Congress had convened, and on the 23d of January, forty-five of them entered into a non-importation, nonconsumption, and non-exportation association, to which they solemnly bound themselves to adhere. On the same day, Archibald Bullock, Noble Wimberly Jones, and John Houston, were elected delegates to the General Congress, to convene in Philadelphia, in May, 1775. To these proceedings the people of St. Johns took exceptions, because they extended the time for closing the port from the 1st of December to the 15th of March, which they declared contravened the purposes of the Association. The Committee of that parish'accordingly withdrew from the Provincial Congress, on the 21st of January, alleging that the committees of the several parishes now sitting, are not, and cannot be called a Provincial Congress, because the greater number of parishes in this province are not represented therein ;
this was erroneous, as seven of the twelve parishes sent delegates to the meeting. On the 9th of February, therefore, they addressed a letter to the General Committee in Charleston, praying to be received into their Association, and deputed Daniel Roberts, Samuel Stevens and Joseph Wood, to present the same. But the Carolinians refused the petition, on the ground of its militating with the 14th article of their Continental Association, which precluded all intercourse with a province, not acceding to the full terms of their Associa'tion. Baffled on this point, they determined to apply to the Philadelphia Congress, and having the port of Sunbury in their district, prohibited all dealings with Savannah, and on the 25th of March, elected Doctor Lyman Hall' as a delegate to Congress, who, under certain restrictions, was admitted into that august body.
At this period the parish of St. John possessed nearly one third of the entire wealth of the province; and its inhabitants were remarkable for their upright and independent character. Sympathizing, from their New England origin, more strongly with the northern distresses than the other parts of Georgia, and being removed from the immediate supervision of the Governor and his Council, they pressed on with greater ardor and a firmer step than her sister parishes.
The time for action had arrived, and the irresolution of fear had no place in their decisive councils. Alone she stood, a Pharos of Liberty in England's most loyal province, renouncing every fellowship that savored not of freedom, and refusing every luxury which contributed to ministerial coffers. With a halter around her neck, and the gallows before her eyes, she severed herself from surrounding associations, and cast her lot, while as yet all was gloom and darkness, with the fortunes of her country, to live with her rights, or die in their defence. Proud spot of Georgia's soil ! Well does it deserve the appellation which a grateful state conferred upon it, and truly may we say of its sons, in the remembrance of their patriotic sacrifices, “nothing was wanting to their glory, they were wanting to ours.”
The hesitation on the part of the other parishes in Georgia to adopt all the measures of Congress, was the theme of violent and unjustifiable denunciation. A momentary glance at the condition of Georgia, will remove these unfounded aspersions. According to the returns of Governor
Wright to the Lords of Trade, the population of Georgia in 1774, was but seventeen thousand whites, and fifteen thousand blacks; and the entire militia, between the ages of sixteen and sixty, numbered only two thousand eight hundred and twenty-eight, scattered from Augusta to St. Mary's. Within her borders, and along her frontier, were the Creeks, with four thousand gun men, the Chickasaws with four hundred and fifty gun men, the Cherokees with three thousand gun men, and the Choctaws with two thousand five hundred gun men, comprising all together, over forty thousand Indians, ten thousand of whom were warriors, and all, by means of presents and the influence of Captain Stuart and Mr. Cameron, were firm in their alliance with the royal party, and could be brought in any numbers against the colony. On the south, lay the garrisoned province of Florida with a large military force under Governor Tonyn, and hordes of tory bandits waiting for the signal of the spoiler. On the east was a long line of seaboard, with many fine harbors, sheltered bays, large rivers, well-stocked islands, and every thing inviting for a naval depredation. And the Earl of Dartmouth had directed General Gage and Admiral Graves, to furnish Governor Wright with any force, military and naval, which he might require. Besides these motives, which addressed themselves to the fears of the colonists, there were others, which partook of a moral character. Since its settlement, Georgia had received, by grant of Parliament, nearly a million of dollars, in addition to the bounties which had been lavished on the silk culture, indigo, and other agricultural products. This consideration weighed with much force on many minds, and on such, the Governor took every occasion to impress the baseness of ingratitude towards a sovereign whose paternal care had been so largely exerted in their behalf. Each of the other colonies also had a charter upon which to base some right, or claim of redress, but Georgia had none. When the trustees' patent expired in 1752, all her chartered privileges became extinct. On its erection into a royal province, the commission of the Governor was her only constitution, she had no fixed and fundamental basis, but lived upon the will of the monarch, the mere creature of his volition. At the head of the government was Sir James Wright, Bart., who, for fourteen years, had presided over it with singular ability and acceptance. When he arrived in
culture, indiched with
1760, the colony was languishing under the accumulated mismanagement of the former trustees, and more recent Governors. But his zeal and efforts soon changed its aspect to health and vigor. He guided it into the avenues of wealth, he sought out the means of its advancement; his prudence secured the amity of the Indians; and his negotiations added millions of acres to its territory. Diligent in his office, firm in his resolves, loyal in his opinions, courteous in his manners, and possessed of a vigorous and well-balanced mind, he ruled the province more by suasion and argument than by menace and force. Instead of being, like many of the royal Governors, obnoxious, he was beloved by his people, and though he differed from the majority of them as to the cause of their distresses, and the means for their removal, he never allowed himself to be betrayed into one act of violence, or into any course of outrage and revenge. The few years of his administration were the only happy ones Georgia ever enjoyed, until after the revolution; and to his energy and devotedness, mainly, is to be attributed her civil and commercial prosperity. With these obstacles within and around her, is it to be wondered that Georgia hesitated and wavered ? that she feared to assume a responsibility which threatened inevitably to crush her? Her little phalanx of patriots, but little outnumbering the band of Leonidas, were men of Spartan hearts; but Spartan hearts, even at Thermopylæ, could not resist the hosts of the.Persians; and what had they to hope, in her feeble state, her inhabitants rent with discord, her metropolis filled with placemen and officers, her seaboard guarded by a fleet, and her frontier for too hundred and fifty miles, gleaming with the tomahawk of the scalper, and the fires of the warrior's wigwam ? If there ever was a time for Georgia to falter, it was then ; and falter she did,—but only for a moment, for, soon summoning her energies, she cast aside all fear, and commending her cause to the God of battles, joined in the sacred league of independence.
The attempted seizure of the military stores at Concord and Lexington, and the battles consequent on that procedure, impressed the Americans with the necessity of securing all provincial munitions, and preserving them for colonial use. Accordingly, on the night of the 11th of May, 1775, the day after the news of the first skirmish with the British troops had arrived, Noble Wimberly Jones, Joseph Habersham, and
Edward Telfair, with a few others, broke open the King's magazine, at the eastern part of the city, and took from it over five hundred pounds of powder, part of which they sent to Boston, where it was used in the battle of Bunker Hill; thus uniting, on that field, the heroism of Massachusetts and of Georgia, joining them, at the cannon's mouth, in the first great contest of the revolution, to be disunited, never.
On Monday, the 5th of June, the first liberty pole was erected in Georgia, and such was still the desire of the people for reconciliation on constitutional principles, that it was erected on the day celebrating His Majesty's birth; and, at the dinner immediately after, amid the discharge of artillery, under the fold of the liberty flag, the first toast drank was, “ the King;" the second, “ American Liberty.”
On the 22d of June, a Council of Safety was appointed, and on the 15th of July, Archibald Bullock, John Houston, Rev. John J. Zubly, D. D., Doctor Noble Wimberly Jones, and Doctor Lyman Hall, were elected delegates to Congress, four of whom presented their credentials to that body, September 13th, 1775. Thus the confederation of the colonies was rendered complete; the first requisite for successful resistance.
The resolves of non-importation, passed by the Provincial Congress, on the 6th of July, 1775, were to take effect on the 10th of September, by which all trade with Great Britain, the West Indies, and every colony which had not agreed to the rules of the Continental Association, ceased. By no circumstance was the firmness of Georgia more tested, than by the support of this Association. Nearly half of its population were slaves, grouped in various numbers on scattered plantations, dependent on their masters, whose supplies were thus cut off without a possibility of present relief. Vessels, indeed, frequently arrived with the necessaries required, but the continental articles were rigidly enforced, and they departed without opening their cargo or coming up to town. The self-denial of the Georgians was the more conspicuous,
in that they had none of the internal resources possessed į by the northern colonies. Their staple products were rice,
lumber, indigo, skins, &c., which found their market in the West Indies, or Great Britain, and were there exchanged for commodities needed at home; but this traffic was now closed.