Page images
PDF
EPUB

The trustees receiving an account dated the 12th February, 1738, from their Secretary in the province, of an uneasiness amongst several persons upon the tenures of their lots being confined to the heirs male, and they considering that the colony had been for some time established, and the people grown more numerous, and a regiment being stationed in it for its defence, whereby the former tenures became less necessary, did on the 15th March following, at their anniversary meeting, resolve, that in default of issue male, any legal possessor of land, might by a deed in writing, or by his last will and testament, appoint his daughter as his successor, or any other male or female relation, with a proviso, that the successor should in the proper court in Georgia, personally claim the lot granted or devised within eighteen months after the death of the grantor or devisor.

This was soon after extended to every legal possessor's being impowered to appoint any other person to be his successor.

But whilst the trustees were taking these steps for the satisfaction of the people, and whilst those in the southern part of the province (though exposed to greater danger,) were industrious and easy in their settlements, many of those in the northern part, who had neglected the cultivation of their lands, drew up a representation dated the 9th December, 1738, setting forth the want of a fee simple to their lands, and negroes to cultivate them ; but they were far from being seconded or supported by the people in the southern parts of the province in this representation, who not only refused to sign it, but petitioned the trustees against the use of negroes, setting forth the danger they should be in from the Spaniards, who had proclaimed freedom to all slaves who should resort to them, and that by this means they should be exposed to an enemy without and a more dangerous one in their bosoms.

The industrious Saltzburgers also at Ebenezer, (who are in the northern part of the province, not far from Savannah) petitioned against negroes, and set forth their satisfaction and happiness in their settlement; that they had raised in the last season, more rice, pease, potatoes, pumpkins, cabbage, corn, &c., than was necessary for their consumption, and that they did not find the climate so warm but that it was very tolerable for working people.

British.

Number
sent.

testants.

The persons sent on )

Foreign Pro- Men. the charity this 9 whereof 2 and 7 and in 4

year were ... Those in the former 1374 whereof 909 and 465 and in 634

years were .. The number of per-)

sons sent in the seven years were } 1383 whereof 911 and 472 and in 638 9th June 1739 were . . .

The only return from Georgia this year, was an account of the people at Savannah, who were one hundred and nine freeholders, besides their wives and children, and besides inmates and servants, of the latter of which there were a great number, part of whose passages were paid for in the next year on representations made to the trustees for that purpose.

The lands granted in trust this year to be cultivated for the maintenance of an orphan house in Georgia, were five hundred acres.

The money received this year pursuant to act of parliament, was £8,000, and in benefactions 4731. 9s. 4d. which the trustees applied, as also part of their former balance to the amount of 10,3471. 4s. 1d. of which they exhibited an account to the lord chancellor, and master of the rolls, pursuant to their charter, and carried the then remainder into their succeeding account.

From the 9th June, 1739, to the 9th June, 1740.

At the time that some of the people at Savannah were so clamorous for negroes (for seventy-five land and freeholders of whom fifty-two were freeholders, did not apply for them) the province of South Carolina was under frequent alarms on account of their negroes there. They had intelligence that a conspiracy was formed by the negroes in Carolina to rise and forcibly make their way out of the province, to put themselves under the protection of the Spaniards; who had proclaimed freedom to all who should run away to them from their owners. That this conspiracy was discovered at Win

yar, the most northern part of that province, from whence as the negroes must bend their course, it argued that the other parts of the province must be privy to it, and that the rising was to be universal. Whereupon the whole province was upon their guard ; the number of negroes in South Carolina being computed to be about forty thousand, and the number of white men at most not above five thousand. As several negroes who were employed in periaguas and other like craft (which they carried off with them) had taken the benefit of the Spaniards' proclamation and gone to Augustine, the government of South Carolina sent a solemn deputation to demand their slaves; this deputation consisted of Mr. Brathwaite, a member of the council, Mr. Rutlidge, one of the assembly, and Mr. Amian, clerk of the assembly ; but the governor of Augustine, though in time of profound peace, peremptorily refused to deliver them up, and declared he had orders to receive all such as should come there and protect them.

Upon this, and the petition which was sent from the Highlanders at Darien, and the Saltzburgers at Ebenezer, representing the danger and inconvenience of the introduction of negroes, the trustees sent under their seal answer to the representation of some of the inhabitants of Savannah.

Among the persons to whom grants of land were made in order to their settling at their own expense in the colony, some never went over; others were gentlemen of Carolina who neglected to take up their lands, or even desire to have them laid out; and others who quitted their plantations, and went to reside at Savannah as shop-keepers. One man in particular, an apothecary surgeon, from the beginning neglected his grant and followed his practice in the town; another quitted his plantation and betook himself to selling of rum. To these two almost all the town of Savannah were indebted for physic or rum, and they first raised the clamor that lands might be alienable, and negroes admitted, which would have made them possessors of the chief part of the lots. To these some others who had gone at their own expense, and had employed their covenanted servants on their plantations joined themselves, taking their servants from their labor and letting them out to hire in the town for the sake of an immediate profit, on which they lived in an idle and riot. ous manner; and even at the time when their servants were

taken off from their proper labor in their plantations, they fomented the clamor for negroes in order to carry them on. The spirit of idleness which was very early introduced in the town, many of the people were too ready to follow; constant clubs have been held, and horse races kept up by them to amuse and divert the people from their labor. And delinquents (who have insulted the laws even in the courts of justice and declared they would do their utmost to destroy the colony) have, when committed to prison, been abetted and supported by them. By these the beforementioned representation was formed, and many of the people by their own inclination to idleness, by the power the others had over them as creditors, and by hopes being given them that if they stuck together the trustees must grant them negroes, or see the colony abandoned, were thus drawn in to sign the same, in which they in a manner demanded the permission of negroes and an alteration of their tenures.

The trustees to make all the people as easy and contented as they could, published an advertisement in the London Gazette, the 8th September, 1739, and other papers, which was continued for several days, and ordered it to be published in the South Carolina Gazette, that they had resolved to enlarge their grants on failure of issue male, and to make a provision for the widows of the grantees in the following manner, viz., that the lands already granted should on failure of issue male descend to the daughters of such grantees, and in case there should be no issue male or female, that the grantee might devise such lands, and for want of such devise that such lands should descend to their heirs at law; with a proviso that the possession of the person who should enjoy such devise should not be increased to more than five hundred acres, and that the widows of the grantees should hold and enjoy the dwelling-house, garden, and one moiety of the lands their husbands should die seized of for and during the term of their lives.

The trustees directed, in the advertisement, that those who intended to have the benefit given them should enter their respective claims, in order that proper grants and conveyances in the law might be forth with prepared and executed for that purpose; and that no fee or reward was to be taken for the entering of any such claim directly or indirectly by any person or persons whatsoever.

In the month of August, 1739, the trustees received advice from General Oglethorpe, that he had frequent intelligence of the Spaniards endeavoring to bribe the Indians, and particular the Creek nation, into a rupture with the English, which made it necessary for him to go to the general assembly of the Indian nations at the Coweta-Town, about five hundred miles distant from Frederica, in order to prevent such designs and seditions among them, and that he had been obliged to buy horses and presents to carry up to this meeting, where the Choctaws (who are upon the frontiers between the English and French Settlements) and the Chickasaws were to send their deputies.

This journey of General Oglethorpe's has since appeared to be of great service to the public ; for on the 26th August, 1739, Mr. Stephens received an express from Col. Bull, lieutenant governor of South Carolina, that he had intelligence from lieutenant governor Clarke, of New York, concerning the French marching from Montreal, near Quebec, with a body of about two hundred regular troops and five hundred Indians, who were to be reinforced by French and Indians in their journey. That this army was designed against the Indians in friendship with his Britannic majesty's subjects of Carolina and Georgia, who are situated near some branches of the Mississippi river. Col. Bull added, that he should immediately despatch an express to the Creek nations with advice to General Oglethorpe of the contents of lieutenant governor Clarke's letter, and that it was necessary that both the provinces of Carolina and Georgia should be on their guard, though if the Creek Indians should prove true, the danger would not be great; General Oglethorpe by his treaties with the Indians in this journey has confirmed them in the British interest, and made a new treaty with them whereby their former concession of lands to Great Britain was confirmed and extended.

A parcel of raw silk was brought this year from Georgia by one Mr. Samuel Augspourguer, who made an affidavit before a master in chancery, that he received it from the hands of Mr. Thomas Jones, the trustees' storekeeper at Savannah, who told him it was the produce of Georgia, and the said Samuel Augspourguer, who resided in the southern part of the province said, that when at Savannah, he saw the Italian family there winding off silk from the cocoons.

eir guard, Ould not

in

this

« PreviousContinue »