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GEORGIA A FREE COLONY.
ness and to the savages. South Car- characterized the British system of olina, a century ago, was as intense- Imprisonment for Debt, he devoted ly, conspicuously aristocratic and himself to their reform, and carried slaveholding as in our own day. through the House an act to this end. But when Slavery had obtained eve- His interest in the fortunes of bankrywhere a foothold, and, in most col- rupt and needy debtors led him to onies, a distinct legal recognition, plan the establishment of a colony without encountering aught deserv- to which they should be invited, and ing the name of serious resistance, it in which they might hope, by inwere absurd to claim for any colony dustry and prudence, to attain indeor section a moral superiority in this pendence. This colony was also inregard over any other.
tended to afford an asylum for the The single and most honorable ex- oppressed Protestants of Germany ception to the general facility with and other portions of the continent. which this giant wrong was adopted He interested many eminent and inand acquiesced in, is presented by fuential personages in his project, the history of Georgia. That colony obtained for it a grant of nearly ten may owe something of her preëmi- thousand pounds sterling from Parnence to her comparatively recent liament, with subscriptions to the foundation ; but she is far more in- | amount of sixteen thousand more, debted to the character and efforts of and organized a company for its her illustrious founder. JAMES OGLE- realization, whereof the directors THORPE was born in 1688, or 1689, at were nearly all noblemen and memGodalming, Surry County, Eng-bers of Parliament. Its constitution land; entered the British army in forbade any director to receive any 1710; and, having resigned on the pecuniary advantage therefrom. Berestoration of peace, was, in 1714, ing himself the animating soul of the commended by the great Marlborough enterprise, he was persuaded to acto his former associate in command, cept the arduous trust of governor the famous Prince Eugene of Savoy, of the colony, for which a royal by whom he was appointed one of his grant had been obtained of the aids. He fought under Eugene in western coast of the Atlantic from his brilliant and successful campaign the mouth of the Savannah to that against the Turks in 1716 and 1717, of the Altamaha, and to which the closing with the siege and capture of name of Georgia was given in honor Belgrade, which ended the war. of the reigning sovereign. The Declining to remain in the Austrian trustees were incorporated in June, service, he returned, in 1722, to Eng- 1732. The pioneer colonists left land, where, on the death of his England in November of that year, elder brother about this time, he in- and landed at Charleston in January, herited the family estate ; was elected 1733. Proceeding directly to their to Parliament for the borough of territory, they founded the city of Hazelmere, which he represented for Savannah in the course of the enthe ensuing thirty-two years, and, be- suing month. Oglethorpe, as director coming acquainted with the frightful and vice-president of the African abuses and inhumanities which then Company, had previously become
acquainted with an African prince, I was retaliated by a much stronger captured and sold into slavery by Spanish expedition, which took Fort some neighboring chief, and had re- St. Simon, on the Altamaha, and turned him to his native country, might easily have subdued the whole after imbibing from his acquaintance colony, but it was alarmed and rewith the facts a profound detestation pelled by a stratagem of his concepof the Slave-Trade and of Slavery. tion. Oglethorpe soon after returned One of the fundamental laws devised to England; the trustees finally surby Oglethorpe for the government of rendered their charter to the Crown; his colony was a prohibition of slave- and in 1752 Georgia became a royal holding; another was an interdiction colony, whereby its inhabitants were of the sale or use of Rum-neither of enabled to gratify, without restraint, them calculated to be popular with their longing for Slavery and Rum. the jail-birds, idlers, and profligates, The struggle of
struggle of Oglethorpe" in who eagerly sought escape from their Georgia was aided by the presence, debts and their miseries by becoming counsels, and active sympathy, of members of the new colony. The the famous John Wesley, the founder spectacle of men, no wiser nor bet- of Methodism, whose pungent deter than themselves, living idly and scription of Slavery as “the sum of luxuriously, just across the Savannah all villainies,” was based on personal river, on the fruits of constrained observation and experience during and unpaid negro labor, doubtless his sojourn in these colonies. But inflamed their discontent and their “another king arose, who knew not hostility. As if to add to the gov- Joseph ;" the magisterial hostility to ernor's troubles, war between Spain bondage was relaxed, if not wholly and England broke out in 1739, and withdrawn; the temptation remained Georgia, as the frontier colony, con- and increased, while the resistance tiguous to the far older and stronger faded and disappeared ; and soon Spanish settlement of East Florida, Georgia yielded silently, passively, to was peculiarly exposed to its ravages. the contagion of evil example, and Oglethorpe, at the head of the South soon became not only slaveholding, Carolina and Georgia militia, made but, next to South Carolina, the most an attempt on Saint Augustine, infatuated of all the thirteen colonies which miscarried; and this, in 1742, in its devotion to the mighty evil.
12 Oglethorpe lived to be nearly a hundred and is much above ninety years old; the finest years old-dying at Cranham Hall, Essex, Eng- figure you ever saw. He perfectly realizes all land, June 30, 1787. It is not recorded nor
my ideas of Nestor. His literature is great, his probable that he ever revisited America after knowledge of the world extensive, and his facul
ties as bright as ever.
* * He is quite a preux his relinquishment of the governorship of Geor-chevolier; heroic, romantic, and full of the old gia; but he remained a warm, active, well. gallantry." informed friend of our country after, as well as Popo—who praised so sparingly—had spoken before and during, her struggle for independence. of him, not quite half a century earlier, in terms In 1784, Hannah More thus wrote of him : evincing like admiration; and many other contem.
“I have got a new admirer; it is Gen. Ogle- poraries of literary eminenco bore testimony to thorpe, perhaps the most remarkable man of his his signal merits. - See Sparks's American Biotime. He was foster-brother to the Pretender, | graphy.
SLAVERY IN THE REVOLUTION.
The American Revolution was no convinced of the danger and essential sudden outbreak. It was preceded iniquity of Slavery, and the conservaby eleven years of peaceful remon- tive who argues that few or none strance and animated discussion. perceived and admitted the direct The vital question concerned the application of their logic to the case right of the British Parliament to of men held in perpetual and limitimpose taxes, at its discretion, on less bondage, are alike mistaken. British subjects in any and every There were doubtless some who did part of the empire. This question pre- not perceive, or did not admit, the sented many phases, and prompted inseparable connection between the various acts and propositions. But rights they claimed as British freeits essence was always the same; and men and the rights of all men everyit was impossible that such men as where; but the more discerning and James Otis, John Adams, Thomas logical of the patriots comprehended Jefferson, and Patrick Henry, should and confessed that their assertion of discuss it without laying broad foun- the rightful inseparability of Repredations for their argument in presentation from Taxation necessarily mises affecting the natural and gene- affirmed the grander and more essenral Rights of Man to self-government, tial right of each innocent, rational with the control of his own products being to the control and use of his or earnings. The enthusiast who own capacities and faculties, and to imagines that our patriots were all the enjoyment of his own earnings.?
I Witness the Darien (Ga.) resolutions. In the eulogizes “the firm and manly conduct of the Darien committee, Thursday, June 12, 1775:
people of Boston and Massachusetts," acquiescing "When the most valuable privileges of a peo Congress in Philadelphia last October.” The
in all the resolutions of the “grand American ple are invaded, not only by open violence, but
second resolution is denunciatory of England, by erery kind of fraud, sophistry, and cunning,
in shutting up the land office, and in other opit behooves every individual to be upon his pressive acts. The third is opposed to ministeguard, and every member of society, like bea
rial mandates under the name of constitutions. cons in a country surrounded by enemies, to The fourth is denunciatory of the number of give the alarm, not only when their liberties
officers appointed over the colonies by the in general are invaded, but separately, lest the
British crown, and their exorbitant salaries. precedent in one may affect the whole; and to
The fifth is as follows: enable the collective wisdom of such a people
" 5th. To show the world that we are not into judge of its consequences, and how far their
fluenced by any contracted or interested motive, reerective grievances concern all, or should be
but a general philanthropy for all mankind, of opposed to preserve their necessary union.
whatever climate, language, or complexion, we Every laudable attempt of this kind by the good hereby declare our disapprobation and abhorpeople of this Colony, in a constitutional manner,
rence of the unnatural practice of Slavery in has been hitherto frustrated by the influence
America (however the uncultivated state of our and authority of men in office and their numer
country, and other specious arguments, may plead ous dependents, and in every other natural and
for it), a practice founded in injustice and cruelty, just way by the various arts they have put in
and highly dangerous to our liberties (as well practice. We, therefore, the representatives of the extensive district of Darien, in the colony below men, and corrupting the virtue and morals
as lives), debasing part of our fellow-creatures of Georgia, being now assembled in congress
of the rest, and as laying the basis of that liberty by the authority and free choice of the inhabit
we contend for (and which we pray the Almighty ants of the said district, now free from their
to continue to the latest posterity) ipon a very setters, do Resolve"
wrong foundation. We therefore resolve at asl There are six resolutions in all. The first times to use our utmost efforts for the manumis
The principles of civil and political | arraignment of British tyranny; but liberty, so patiently evolved and so which were, nevertheless, widely and thoroughly commended during the deeply felt to be an important and long controversy which preceded integral portion of our case. Even the appeal to arms, were reduced divested of this, the Declaration to axioms, and became portions of stands to-day an evidence that our the popular faith. When Jeffer- fathers regarded the rule of Great son, in drafting our immortal Britain as no more destructive to Declaration of Independence, em- their own rights than to the rights of bodied in its preamble a formal and mankind. emphatic assertion of the inalienable No other document was ever issued Rights of Man, he set forth propo- which so completely reflected and sitions novel and startling to Euro- developed the popular convictions pean ears, but which eloquence and which underlaid and impelled it as patriotic fervor had already engraven that Declaration of Independence. deeply on the American heart. That The cavil that its ideas were not Declaration was not merely, as Mr. original with Jefferson is a striking Choate has termed it, “the passion testimonial to its worth. Originality ate manifesto of a revolutionary of conception was the very last merit war;" it was the embodiment of our to which he would have chosen to forefathers' deepest and most rooted lay claim, his purpose being to emconvictions; and when, in penning body the general convictions of his that Declaration, he charged the countrymen — their conceptions of British government with upholding human, as well as colonial, rights and and promoting the African slave- British wrongs, in the fewest, strongtrade against the protests of the est, and clearest words. The fact colonists, and in violation of the that some of these words had already dictates of humanity, he asserted been employed—some of them a truths which the jealous devotion of hundred times—to set forth the same South Carolina and Georgia to slave general truths, in no manner unfitted holding rendered it impolitic to send them for his use. forth as an integral portion of our
The claim that his draft was a pla
sion of our slaves in this colony upon the most safe against the LIBERTIES of one people, with crimes and equitable footing for the masters and them which he urges them to commit against the LIVES selves."— American Archives, 4th Series, vol i., of another." 1774 and 1775.
* Mr. Jefferson, in his Autobiography, gives the * The following is the indictment of George III., following reason for the omission of this reas a patron and upholder of the African slave
markable passage from the Declaration as adopttrade, embodied by Mr. Jefferson in his original ed, issued, and published: draft of the Declaration :
“The clause, too, reprobating the enslaving "Determined to keep opan a market where MEN the inhabitants of Africa, was struck out in should be bought and sold, he has prostituted his complaisance to South Carolina and Georgia, who negalive for suppressing every legislative attempt to had never attempted to restrain the importation prohibit or to restrain this execrable commerce. And of slaves, and who, on the contrary, still wished that this assemblage of horrors might want no fact to continue it. Our Northern brethren also, I of distinguished dye, he is now exciting those very believe, felt a little tender under those censures ; people to rise in arms among us, and purchase for, though their people had very few slaves that liberty of which he has deprived them, by themselves, yet they had been pretty consideramurdering the people on whom he also obtruded ble carriers of them to others." - Jefferson's thom: thus paying of former crimes committed | Works, vol. i., p. 170.
SLAVERY IN THE REVOLUTION.
giarism from the Mecklenburg (N. | taining happiness and safety.” See C.) Declaration of April 20th, pre- also the Mecklenburg Declaration. ceding, he indignantly repelled; but The original draft of the Declarahe always observed that he employed tion of American Independence was whatever terms best expressed his first communicated by Mr. Jefferson thought, and would not say how far separately to two of his colleagues, he was indebted for them to his read- John Adams and Benjamin Franking, how far to his original reflec-lin, on the committee chosen by Contions. Even the great fundamental gress to prepare it; then to the whole assertion of Human Rights, which he committee, consisting, in addition, of has so memorably set forth as follows: Roger Sherman and Robert R. Liv“We hold these truths to be self- ingston; reported, after twenty days' evident, that all men are created gestation, on the 28th of June; read equal; that they are endowed by in Committee of the Whole on the their Creator with certain inaliena- 1st of July; earnestly debated and ble rights; that among these, are life, scanned throughout the three followliberty, and the pursuit of happiness; ing days, until finally adopted on the that to secure these rights govern- evening of the 4th. It may safely ments are instituted among men, be said that not an affirmation, not a deriving their just powers from the sentiment, was put forth therein to consent of the governed ; that, when the world, which had not received ever any form of government be the deliberate approbation of such comes destructive of these ends, it is cautious, conservative minds as those the right of the people to alter or to of Franklin, John Adams, and Roger abolish it, and to institute a new gov- Sherman, and of the American Peoernment, laying its foundations on ple, as well as their representatives such principles, and organizing its in Congress, those of South Carolina powers in such form, as to them shall and Georgia included. seem most likely to effect their safety The progress of the Revolution and happiness,” was no novelty to justified and deepened these convicthose who hailed and responded to tions. Slavery was soon proved our it. Three weeks before, the Virginia chief source of weakness and of peril. Convention had unanimously adopt- of our three millions of people, half ed a Declaration of Rights, reported a million were the chattels of others; on the 27th of May by George Ma- and though all the colonies tolerated, son,' which proclaims that “All men and most of them expressly legalized are by nature equally free, and have slaveholding, the slaves, nearly coninherent rights, of which, when they centrated in the Southern States, enter into a state of society, they paralyzed the energies and enfeebled cannot, by any compact, deprive or the efforts of their patriots. Incited divest their posterity; namely, the by proclamations of royal governors enjoyment of life and liberty, with and military commanders, thousands the means of acquiring and possess of the negroes escaped to British ing property, and pursuing and ob- camps and garrisons, and were there
The grandfather of James M. Mason, late Emissary to England. George Mason was one U.S. Senator from Virginia, since Confederate l of Virginia's most illustrious sons.