Page images

poration, or the major part of them, to dispose of, expend and apply, all the moneys and effects belonging to the said corporation, and to make contracts for carrying and effecting the good purposes therein intended, and that they should, from time to time, appoint a treasurer, secretary, and such other officers, ministers, and servants of the said corporation as they should see proper, for the good management of their affairs, and at their pleasure to remove them and appoint others in their stead, and that they should appoint reasonable salaries, perquisites and other rewards for their labor or services, and that such officers should be sworn before they act, for the faithful and due execution of their respective offices and places; and declared, that the treasurer and secretary for the time being should be incapable of being members of the said corporation ; and granted to the said corporation that it should be lawful for them, their officers or agents, to transport and convey into the said province, such of his majesty's subjects and foreigners as were willing to go and inhabit and reside there; and declared all persons born within the said province, and their children and posterity, to be

free denizens as if they had been born within any of his : majesty's dominions. And empowered the said common

cauncil in the name of the corporation and under their common seal, to distribute, convey, assign, and set over such

particular portions of the said lands, tenements and heredita: ments, unto such of his majesty's subjects and others willing : to live in the said colony, upon such terms, and for such estates, and upon such rents, reservations and conditions, as the same might lawfully be granted, and as to the said common council, or the major part of them, should seem fit and proper, provided that no grant should be made of any part of the said lands, unto, or in trust for, or for the benefit of any member of the said corporation, and that no greater quantity of the said lands be granted either entirely or in parcels, to or to the use of, or in trust for, any one person, than five hundred acres; and declared that all grants made contrary to the true intent and meaning thereof should be absolutely null and void. And granted that the said corporation for the term of twenty-one years from the date of the said letters patent should have power to erect and constitute judicatures and Courts of Record, or other courts, to be held in his majesty's name, for the hearing and



determining of all manner of crimes, offences, pleas, processes, plaints, actions, matters, causes and things whatsoever, arising or happening within the said province, or between persons inhabiting or residing there, and for awarding and making out executions thereupon; and directed the said corporation to register or cause to be registered, all leases, grants, plantings, conveyances, settlements and improvements whatsoever, as should at any time be made of any lands, tenements or hereditaments within the said province, and yearly transmit authentic accounts thereof unto the auditor of the plantations, or his deputy, and to the surveyor of South Carolina, to inspect and survey the same, to ascertain the quit-rents that should become due according to the reservation before mentioned; but not to have, or take any gratuity, fee or reward for such survey or inspection, on forfeiture of their office; with a proviso, that all leases, grants and conveyances to be made, of any lands within the said province, or a memorial containing the substance or effect thereof, should be registered with the auditor of the plantations within one year from the date thereof, otherwise that the same should be void. And directed, that all rents, issues or profits which should come to the said corporation, issuing or arising out of, or from the said province, should be laid out and applied in such manner as would most improve and enlarge the said colony, and best answer the good purposes therein mentioned, and for defraying all other charges about the same; and directed the said corporation from time to time to give in to one of the secretaries of state, and to the commissioners of trade and plantations, accounts of the progress of the said colony; and directed that the said common council should from time to time for the said term of twentyone years from the date of the said letters patent, have power to appoint all such governors, judges, magistrates, ministers, and officers, civil and military, both by sea and land, within the said district, as they should think fit and needful for the government of the said colony (except such officers as should be appointed for managing, collecting, and receiving such of his majesty's revenues, as should arise within the said province) with a proviso, that every governor so appointed, should be approved by his majesty, and qualify himself as other governors - in America are by law required to do, and give security for observing the acts of parliament

relating to trade and navigation, and obeying all instructions from his majesty, or any acting under his authority, pursuant to the said acts. And granted, that the said corporation for the said term of twenty-one years, from the date of the said letters patent, should have power, by any commander or other officer for that purpose appointed, to train, instruct, exercise, and govern a militia for the special defence and safety of the said colony, to assemble in martial array, and put in warlike posture, the inhabitants of the said colony, and in time of actual war, invasion or rebellion, to use and exercise the law martial, and also to erect forts and fortify any place or places within the said colony, and the same to furnish with all necessary ammunition, provision, and stores of war for offence and defence, and from time to time to commit the custody and government of them to such person or persons as to them should seem meet, declaring that the governor or commander-in-chief of South Carolina should have the chief command of the militia of Georgia, and that they should observe his orders; and granted that the said corporation should have power to import or export their goods, at or from any port or ports that should be appointed by his majesty within the said province for that purpose, without being obliged to touch at any other port in Carolina. And declared, that after the end of the said twenty-one years, such form of government, and method of making laws, statutes, and ordinances for the government of the said province, and its inhabitants, should be observed and established within the same, as his majesty, his heirs and successors should ordain and appoint, and should be agreeable to law; and that after the end of the said twenty-one years, the goyernor, and all officers civil and military, within the said province, should be appointed by his majesty, his heirs and successors. In pursuance of his majesty's charter, and in order to fulfil the good intents and purposes therein expressed, it was thought necessary for the trustees to send over such poor people and foreign protestants as were willing to live in Georgia, not only to cultivate the lands, but at the same time to strengthen his majesty's colonies. For which purpose they considered each inhabitant both as a planter and a soldier; and they were therefore to be provided with arms for their defence, as well as tools for their cultivation, and to be taught the exercise of both, and towns were to be laid out for their settlements, and lands allotted to each of them for their maintenance as near to those towns as conveniently could be, that they might never have occasion to be too far distant from their towns which were to be regarded as their garrisons.

And as the military strength of the province was particularly to be taken care of, it seemed necessary to establish such tenures of lands as might most effectually preserve the number of planters, or soldiers, equal to the number of lots of land, and therefore each lot of land was to be considered as a military fief, and to contain so much in quantity as would support such planter and his family; and fifty acres were judged sufficient and not too much for that purpose, and provision was made to prevent an accumulation of several lots into one hand, lest the garrison should be lessened, and likewise to prevent a division of those lots into smaller parcels, lest that which was no more than sufficient for one planter, when entire, should, if divided amongst several, be too scanty for their subsistence.

And in the infancy of the colony, the lands were granted in tail male, preferable to any other tenure, as the most likely to answer these purposes; for if the grants were to be made in tail general, it was thought that the strength of each township would soon be diminished, inasmuch as every female heir in tail, who was unmarried, would have been entitled to one lot, and consequently have taken from the garrison the portion of one soldier; and by intermarriages several lots might have been united into one; and if such tenant in tail general had had several daughters, his lot must have been divided equally amongst them all as co-partners.

Nor were these the only inconveniences which were thought likely to arise from estates in tail general. For women being equally incapable to act as soldiers or serve on juries, these duties, and many others, such as watchings and wardings, &c., would return so much oftener to each man, in proportion as the number of the men in the township was lessened, and by that means become very burthensome to the remaining male lot-holders, and in case of any attack from the Indians, French, or Spaniards, the township would be less able to make a defence.

And as it was not thought proper to grant estates in tail general, it appeared to be more inconvenient to grant them.

in fee simple; which estate would have been attended with all the objections before mentioned incident to estates in tail general, and to several other besides; for the right of alienation being inseparable from an estate in fee, the grantee might have sold, mortgaged, or aliened his lands to whomever he thought fit, which was a power not to be intrusted with the people sent over, for the following reasons:

1. From considering their condition.
2. From considering the purposes they were sent for.

3. From considering the persons to whom lands might be alienated. And,

4. From considering that it might occasion a monopoly of land contrary to the intent of the charter.

As to the first, the persons sent over were poor indigent people, who had, for the most part, so indiscreetly managed what they had been masters of here, that it did not seem safe to trust so absolute a property in their hands, at least in the infancy of the colony, and before they had, by a careful and industrious behavior, given some reason to believe they would prove better managers for the future.

As to the second, they were sent over to inhabit, cultivate and secure, by a personal residence, the lands granted to them within the province, and they voluntarily engaged so to do; and in expectation that they would perform those engagements, they were maintained at the expense of the public during their voyage, and their passage was paid for them, and they were provided with tools, arms, seeds, and other necessaries, and supported from the public store, many of them at least for four years together from their first landing, in which respect the public may be said to have purchased those people for a valuable consideration, their personal residence, and all the industry and labor they could bestow in the cultivation of this province, and to have given them even pay for the hazard they might run in the defence of it.

As to the third, it was thought unsafe to grant them such an estate as might be the means of introducing such sort of people as might defeat what the trustees had always at heart, viz., the preservation of the Protestant religion in that province, which was necessary to be taken care of, both on a political and religious account, the French lying to the west, and the Spaniards to the south of the province of Georgia.

« PreviousContinue »