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As to the fourth, a monopoly of several lots into one hand would necessarily have been the consequence of a free liberty of buying and selling lands within the province, which would have been directly contrary to the intent of the charter, whereby the grant of lands to any one person is limited not to exceed five hundred acres.
A further inconvenience seemed likely to arise in every case where the tenant in fee died without any children, or without having disposed of his lot by will; for the heir general who might have the right to it might not happen to be found out for many years after, especially if it was one of the foreign Protestants, and all that time the house would have run to decay, and the land remain uncultivated and become a harbor for vermin, to the great annoyance and damage of the neighboring lots.
But though the before mentioned restraints were intended for the good of the whole, yet whenever particular cases required it, they were taken off and dispensed with. And upon any application for leave to alienate lands, licenses were always granted for that purpose; and when the succession of females became less dangerous to the province, by the growing strength and increase of the people, and by the security provided for it by his Majesty's forces there, the trustees resolved to enlarge the tenures of the lands to estates in tail general.
The tenures being thus settled, it was thought necessary to require the inhabitants to cultivate their lands within a limited time, and in order to raise raw silk, which was intended to be one of the produces there, a certain proportion of white mulberry trees were to be planted, and in their respective grants ten years were allowed for the cultivation, and one hundred white mulberry trees were to be planted on every ten acres of land when cleared ; with a power for the trustees to reënter on the parts that should remain uncultivated.
But as the people were not able to cultivate their lands within the time required by their grants, by reason of the alarms from the Spaniards, the droughts in that part of America, and other unforeseen accidents, the trustees resolved to release all forfeitures on that account, and to require the cultivation of no more than five acres of the said fifty acres within the remainder of the said term of ten years.
And as other persons applied to the trustees for grants of land, in order to go over and settle there at their own expense, particular grants were made under the same tenure, and on the following conditions, viz. : That they should within twelve months from the date of their grants, go to and arrive in Georgia, with one man servant for every fifty acres granted them, and should with such servants abide, settle, inhabit and continue there for three years. That they should within ten years clear and cultivate one fifth part of the land granted them, and within the next ten years clear and cultivate three fifth parts more of the said lands, and plant one thousand white mulberry trees upon every one hundred acres thereof when cleared. And that they should not at any time hire, keep, lodge, board, or employ any negroes within Georgia on any account whatsoever, without special leave.
Which conditions were readily approved of, and counterparts executed by them all. And to those who desired to name their successor on failure of issue male, special covenants were entered into by the trustees for that purpose, agreeable to their own propositions. And for an encouragement for their men servants to behave well, like covenants were entered into, to grant to every such man servant, when requested thereunto by any writing under the hand and seal of the master, twenty acres of land under the same tenure.
The trustees were induced to prohibit the use of negroes within Georgia, the intention of his Majesty's charter being to provide for poor people incapable of subsisting themselves at home, and to settle a frontier to South Carolina, which was much exposed by the small number of its white inhabitants. It was impossible that the poor who should be sent from hence, and the foreign prosecuted Protestants, who must go in a manner naked into the colony, could be able to purchase or subsist them if they had them, and it would be a charge too great for the trustees to undertake; and they would be thereby disabled from sending white people. The first cost of a negro is about thirty pounds, and this thirty pounds would
passage over, provide tools and other necessaries, and defray the charge of subsistence of a white man for a year, in which time it might be hoped that the planter's own labor would grant him some subsistence, consequently, the purchase money of every negro (abstracting
the expense of subsisting him as well as bis master) by being applied that way, would prevent the sending over a white man, who would be a security to the province, whereas the negro would render that security precarious.
It was thought the white man, by having a negro slave, would be less disposed to labor himself; and that his whole time must be employed in keeping the negro to work, and in watching against any danger he or his family might apprehend from the slave, and that the planter's wife and children would by the death, or even the absence of the planter, be at the mercy of the negro.
It was also apprehended, that the Spaniards at St. Augustine would be continually enticing away the negroes, or encouraging them to insurrections. That the first might easily be accomplished, since a single negro would run away thither without companions, and would only have a river or two to swim over, and this opinion has been confirmed and justified by the practices of the Spaniards, even in times of profound peace, amongst the negroes in South Carolina, where, though at a greater distance from St. Augustine, some have fled in periaguas and little boats to the Spaniards, and been protected, and others in large bodies have been incited to insurrections, to the great terror, and even endangering the loss of that province, which, though it has been established above seventy years, has scarce white people enough to secure her own slaves.
It was also considered that the produces designed to be raised in the colony would not require such labor as to make negroes necessary for carrying them on ; for the province of Carolina produces chiefly rice, which is a work of hardship proper for negroes, whereas the silk and other produces which the trustees proposed to have the people employed on in Georgia, were such as women and children might be of as much use in as negroes.
It was likewise apprehended, that if the persons who should go over to Georgia at their own expense, should be permitted the use of negroes, it would dispirit and ruin the poor planters who could not get them, and who by their numbers were designed to be the strength of the province; it would make them clamorous to have negroes given them, and on the refusal would drive them from the province, or at least make them negligent of their plantations, where they
would be unwilling, nay would certainly disdain, to work like negroes; and would rather let themselves out to wealthy planters as overseers of their negroes.
It was further thought, that upon the admission of negroes, the wealthy planters would, as in all other colonies, be more induced to absent themselves and live in other places, leaving the care of their plantations and negroes to overseers.
It was likewise thought, that the poor planter sent on charity, from his desire to have negroes, as well as the planter who should settle at his own expense, would (if he had leave to alienate) mortgage his land to the negro merchant for them, or at least become a debtor for the purchase of such negroes; and under these weights and discouragements would be induced to sell his slaves again upon any necessity, and would leave the province and his lot to the negro merchant. In consequence of which, all the small properties would be swallowed up, as they have been in other places, by the more wealthy planters.
It was likewise considered, that the admitting of negroes in Georgia would naturally facilitate the desertion of the Carolina negroes through the province of Georgia, and consequently this colony, instead of proving a frontier and adding strength to the province of South Carolina, would be a means of drawing off the slaves of Carolina, and adding thereby a strength to Augustine.
From these several considerations, as the produces to be raised in the colony did not make negro slaves necessary, as the introduction of them so near to a garrison of the Spaniards would weaken rather than strengthen the barrier, and as they would introduce with them a greater propensity to idleness among the poor planters, and too great an inequality among the people, it was thought proper to make the prohibition of them a fundamental of the constitution. ,
When the trustees had made these dispositions, and were enabled by benefactions from several private persons, on the 3d of October, 1732, it was resolved, to send over one hundred and fourteen persons, men, women and children, being such as were in decayed circumstances, and thereby disabled from following any business in England, and who, if in debt, had leave from their creditors to go, and such as were recommended by the minister, church-wardens and
moon, along the south side of which the banks are about forty feet high, and on the top a flat, which they call a bluff; the plain high ground extends into the country about five or six miles, and along the river side about a mile. Ships that draw twelve feet water can ride within ten yards of the bank. Upon the river side, in the centre of this plain, I have laid out the town, opposite to which is an island of very rich pasturage, which I think should be kept for the trustees cattle; the river is pretty wide, the water fresh, and from the key of the town you see its whole course to the sea, with the island of Tybee, which forms the mouth of the river, for about six miles up into the country. The landscape is very agreeable, the stream being wide, and bordered with high woods on both sides. The whole people arrived here on the 1st of February; at night their tents were got up. Till the 10th we were taken up in unloading and making a crane, which I then could not get finished, so took off the hands, and set some to the fortification and began to fell the woods. I have marked out the town and common; half of the former is already cleared, and the first house was begun yesterday in the afternoon. A little Indian nation, the only one within fifty miles, is not only in amity, but desirous to be subjects to his Majesty King George, to have lands given them among us, and to breed their children at our schools; their chief, and his beloved man, who is the second man in the nation, desire to be instructed in the Christian religion.
I am, gentlemen, &c.
In this month of April
, the trustees in another embarkation of seventeen persons, sent some Italians whom they had procured from Piedmont, in order to promote the silk business.
They received another letter from Mr. Oglethorpe, dated the 20th February, 1732, of which the following extract gives a further account of the people and their situation.
“Our people are all in perfect health. I chose the situation for the town upon an high ground, forty feet perpendicular above high water mark; the soil dry and sandy, the water of the river fresh, springs coming out from the sides of the hill. I pitched upon this place not only for the pleasantness of the situation, but because from the above mentioned and other signs, I thought it healthy; for it is sheltered