Page images

The patience of the people was exhausted, and they waited only for a favourable opportunity to throw off their oppressive yoke. In 1719, at a general review of the militia at Charleston, occa sioned by a threatened invasion of the colony, from Florida, the officers and soldiers bound themselves, by a solemn compact, to support each other in resisting the tyranny of the proprietors; and the assembly, which was then in session, requested the governor, by a respectful address, to consent to administer the government in the name of the king.

He refused, and, by proclamation, dissolved the assembly. The members immediately met, as a convention, and elected Colonel James Moore their governor. He was a bold man, and exceedingly well qualified for a popular leader, in a turbulent season. He accepted the appointment, and, assisted by the convention, and supported by the people, administered the affairs of the colony.

The conduct of the proprietors and people was brought before his majesty in council. After a full hearing, it was decided, that both colonies should be taken under the protection of the crown. Several years afterwards, seven of the proprietors sold to the king their claim to the soil and rents, and all assigned to him their right of jurisdiction. The government was subsequently administered by executive officers, appointed by the crown, and by assemblies chosen by the people, and under their controul the colony prospered.

In 1738, occurred an alarming insurrection of the negroes. A number of them assembled at Stono, surprised and killed two men who had charge of a warehouse, from which they took guns and ammunition. They then chose a captain, and, with drums beating and colours flying, marched southwestward. They burned every house on their way, killed all the whites they could find, and compelled other negroes to join them.

Governor Bull, who was returning to Charleston, from the southward, accidentally met them, hastened out of their way, and spread an alarm. The news soon reached Wiltown, where, fortunately, a large congregation were attending divine service. The men having, according to a law of the province, brought their arms to the

place of worship, marched instantly in quest of the negroes, who, by this time, had become formidable, and spread terror and desolation around them.

While, in an open field, they were carousing and dancing, with frantic exultation at their late success, they were suddenly attacked by the whites. Some were killed, the remainder. fled. Most of the fugitives were taken and tried. They who had been compelled to join the conspirators, were pardoned; but all the leaders and first insurgents suffered death.

About twenty whites were murdered.

From this period until the era of the revolution, no important event occurred in the colony. It was sometimes distressed by Indian wars; but the number of inhabitants and means of subsistence and comfort, were constantly increasing. Emigrants came principally from the northern colonies; but often large bodies of protestants arrived from Europe; in one year, 1752, the number who came exceeded sixteen hundred.



Upon the southern part of the territory included in the Carolina charter, no settlement was made, until several years after that charter was forfeited. In June, 1732, several benevolent gentlemen, in England, concerted a project for planting a colony in that unoccupied region. Their principal object was to relieve, by transporting thither, the indigent subjects of Great Britain; but their plan of benevolence embraced also the persecuted protestants of all nations.

To a project springing from motives so noble and disinterested, the people and the government extended their encouragement and patronage. A patent was granted by the king, conveying to twenty-one trustees the territory now constituting the state of GEORGIA, which was to be apportioned gratuitously among the settlers; and liberal donations were made by the charitable, to defray the expence of transporting them across the Atlantic, and of providing for their support the first season.

The concerns of the colony were managed by the trustees, who freely devoted much of their time to the undertaking. Among other regulations, they provided, that the lands should not be sold nor devised by the owners, but should descend to the male children only; they forbade the use of rum in the colony, and strictly prohibited the importation of negroes. But none of these regulations remained long in force.

In November, 1732, one hundred and thirteen emigrants embarked for Georgia, at the head of whom the trustees had placed James Oglethorpe, a zealous and active promoter of this scheme of benevolence. In January, they arrived at Charleston; and the Carolinians, sensible of the advantage of having a barrier between them and the southern Indians, gave the adventurers a cordial welcome. They supplied them with provisions, and with boats to convey them to the place of their destination. Yamacraw Bluff, since called Savannah, was selected as the most eligible place for a settlement.

The next year, five or six hundred poor persons arrived, and to each a portion of the wilderness was assigned. But it was soon found that these emigrants, who were the refuse of cities, had been rendered poor by idleness, and irresolute by poverty, were not fitted to fell the mighty groves of Georgia. A race more hardy and enterprising was necessary. The trustees, therefore, offered to receive, also, such as had not, by

His con

persecution or poverty, been rendered objects of compassion, and to grant to all who should repair to the colony, fifty acres of land. In consequence of this offer, more than four hundred persons, from Germany, Scotland, and Switzerland, arrived in the year 1735. The Germans settled at Ebenezer, the Scotch at New Inverness, now Darien.

In 1736, John Wesley, a celebrated methodist, made a visit to Georgia, for the purpose of preaching to the colonists, and converting the Indians. Among the former, he made some proselytes, but more enemies. He was accused of diverting the people from labour, of fomenting divisions, of claiming and exercising high and unwarranted ecclesiastical authority. duct towards the niece of one of the principal settlers, was highly resented by her friends. Thirteen indictments for alleged offences were found against him ; but before the time of trial he returned to England, and there, for many years, pursued a successful and distinguished career of piety and usefulness.

Two years afterwards, George Whitefield, another and more celebrated methodist, arrived in the colony. He had already made himself conspicuous in England, by his numerous eccentricities, his ardent piety, his extraordinary eloquence, and his zeal and activity in propagating his opinions. He came to Georgia for the benevolent purpose of establishing an orphan house, where poor children might be fed, clothed, and educated in the knowledge of christianity. In the prosecution of this

« PreviousContinue »