Page images
PDF
EPUB

took to solicit benefactions from others, and to apply the money towards clothing, arming, purchasing utensils for cultivation, and transporting such poor people as should consent to go over and begin a settlement. They did not confine their views to the subjects of Great-Britain alone, but wisely and humanely opened a door also, for oppressed and indigent protestants from other nations. To prevent any misapplication or abuse of the charitable donations, they agreed to deposit the money in the bank of England, and to enter in a book to be kept for that purpose, the names of all the charitable benefactors, together with the sums contributed by each of them ; and to bind and oblige themselves, and their successors in office, to lay a statement of the money received and expended, before the lord chancellor of England, the lords chief justices of the king’s bench and common pleas, the master of the rolls, and the lord chief baron of the exchequor. When this scheme of the trustees with respect to the settlement of Georgia, was made public, the well wishers of mankind in every part of Great-Britain, highly approved of an undertaking so humane and disinterested. To consult the public happiness, regardless of private interest, and to stretch forth a bountiful hand for the relief of their distressed fellow-creatures, were considered as examples of uncommon benevolence and virtue; therefore worthy of general imitation. The ancient Romans, famous for their courage and magnanimity, ranked the planting of colonies amongst their noblest works, which added greater lustre to their empire, than the most glorious wars and victories. By the latter, old cities and countries were plundered and destroyed ; by the former, new ones were founded and established : the latter ravaged the dominions of enemies, and depopulated the world; the former improved new territories, provided for unfortunate friends, and added strength to the state. The benevolent founders of the colony of Georgia, perhaps may challenge the annals of any nation, to produce a design more generous and praise-worthy than the one which they had undertaken. They voluntarily offered their money, labor and time, for promoting what appeared to them, the good of others, leaving themselves no other reward, than the gratification arising from virtuous actions. Amongst other great ends which they had in view, was the civilization of the savages: if their regulations were not effectual in accomplishing the laudable purposes they had in contemplation; if their plan of settlement proved too narrow and circumscribed, they are nevertheless, entitled to all the credit due to their praise-worthy intentions, and disinterested motives. In cons formity with the charter, a common seal was ordered to be made ; the device was, on one side, two figures resting upon urns, representing

the rivers Alatamaha and Savannah, the northeastern and south-western boundaries of the province; between them the genius of the colony was seated, with a cap of liberty on her head, a spear in one hand, and a cornucopia in the other, with the inscription, colo N IA G EoRc 1A AUG : on the other side was a representation of silk worms, some beginning and others having finished their webbs, with the motto, Non sI BI sed ALI is ; a very proper emblem, signifying that the nature of the establishment was such, that neither the first trustees, nor their successors, could have any views to their own interest, it being entirely designed for the benefit and happiness of others. The intentions of the trustees, principally, in forming this colony, were to provide for poor people, who were incapable of subsisting themselves and families in Europe, and to settle a frontier to South-Carolina, which was much exposed by the small number of its white inhabitants; it was therefore determined to prohibit the use of negro slaves: it was also thought impossible that the poor who should be sent from hence, and the foreign persecuted protestants, who must go in a manner naked into the colony, could be able to purchase or subsist negroes if they had them, and that it would be a charge too great for the trustees to undertake; and they would thereby be disabled from sending white people, whose habits they intended to change to industry. The first cost of a negro

would be about thirty pounds sterling, and this sum would be sufficient to pay the passage over, provide tools and other necessaries, and defray the other charges and subsistence of a white man for one year; in which time it might be hoped that the planters own labor would produce him some subsistence ; consequently the purchase money of every negro, abstracting the expense of subsisting him as well as his 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 more precarious. It was thought the white man, by having a negro 'slave, would be less disposed to labor himself, and that a great portion of his time would be employed in keeping the negro at work, and in watching against any danger he or his family might apprehend from the slave; and that the planters wife and children would by the decease or absence of the husband, be at the mercy of the negro. It was also apprehended that the Spaniards at Augustine, would be continually inveigling away their negroes and encouraging them to insurrections : That the first might be easily accomplished, has been confirmed in many instances in Carolina, and an asylum furnished by the Spaniards in times of profound peace; and insurrections had been

excited from the same source to the great terror of the people, and even endangered the loss of the Province, though it had been established so

many years. The white population was scarcely equal to a secure defence against internal invasion. It was also calculated that the sort of produce designed to be attended to in the colony, would not require such labor as to make the assistance of negroes necessary : the produce of Carolina was chiefly rice, consequently required the labor of that description of people, to make it profitable; whereas the silk and other products, intended by the trustees, to be encouraged in Georgia, were of that light kind of work, where poor women and children might be usefully and advantageously employed. It was also apprehended that if the persons who would go over to Georgia at their own expense, were permitted to own negroes, it would dispirit and ruin the poor people who could not purchase them, and who by their numbers, were intended to give strength to the province. That upon the admission of negroes, the wealthy planters would, as in other colonies, be induced to absent themselves to more pleasant places of residence, leaving the care of their plantations and negroes to overseers; that the poor planter sent on charity, from a desire to have slaves as well as those who settled at their own expense ; if leave was given to alienate, and mortgage his land to the negro merchant for the eventual payment, or at least become a debtor for the purchase of negroes ; and under these weights and discouragements would be induced to sell his slaves again upon

« PreviousContinue »