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Colonial Settlement, 1600s-1763
Establishing the Georgia Colony, 1732-1750
The Province of Georgia in 1740: Settlers

The pamphlet from which the following excerpt came, A State of the Province of Georgia, was written about seven years after the first colonists landed in Georgia. According to this author, is the colony prospering? Who are the settlers and what had they been doing? Did they face any particular problems?

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As the Boundaries of the Colony are now known, together with the Climate, and Manner of Agriculture, more might be done henceforward in one Year, than could in several Years before we attained to that Knowledge; but our People are weak, being decreased, by great Numbers having been decoyed away to other Colonies: Many having taken to Idleness, upon shutting up the Store went away; but those who stayed, and now remain are still a Body of the most valuable People, that find Means to live comfortably, some by their Trades, some by Planting, and raising live Stock, and some by their Labour, either by Land or Water; and one of those remaining, are worth three that left us, for such Work: And if an Embarkation was to come in with the next Year, it would be of great Service to the Colony, the Saltzburghers wishing for more of their Countrymen, and having been very industrious.

The Persons sent from England on the Charity were of the Unfortunate, many of whom have by their Industry proved that they deserved better, and have thriven; many also shewed they were brought into those Misfortunes by their own Faults; and when those who quitted their own Country to avoid Labour, saw Labour stand before their Eyes in Georgia, they were easily persuaded to live in Carolina by Cunning, rather than work: This has been a great Misfortune also upon many Persons, who brought over Servants indented to serve them, for a certain Number of Years, who being picked up in the Streets of London, or some such Manner, their Masters found them unfit for Labour, and many of them took such Opportunities as they could get, to desert and fly into Carolina, where they could be protected. Indeed, good and bad which came from England, were mostly Inhabitants of Towns there; but such seldom turn out good Husbandmen with their own Hands; yet some of them proved very useful in a new Colony, since they most readily compose Towns, which is the first Thing necessary to be a Receptacle for new Comers: And from thence, when all Demands of Labour, for Building and Trade are supplied, the laborious People may enlarge into the Country, and raise Provisions for the Use of the Towns: Whereas, if the first were all labouring Countrymen, they would naturally disperse to the most fertile Land, and perhaps succeed for a While; but for Want of Neighbourhood and Markets, would force most of them to remove, and the Country remain little or nothing the better improved, as it happened in Virginia, till the Government, with great Difficulty at last, raised Towns in that Province.

It ought not here to be passed over, how ready the Country is to receive a Number of German Families, accustomed to Husbandry, such as usually come once a Year down the Rhine to Holland, and embark thence for America, or the East-lndies; some of these we have already had Experience of, insomuch that the People here would take off a good Number of them: And it would be of great Service (as we apprehend) to this Colony, at present, to send a Ship over, loaden with Germans, on the same Terms Mr. Hope does to Philadelphia, only taking Care that Provisions for them on their Passage be more plentiful, and that they are less crowded than on board his Ships: The Terms are, they pay Half their Passage themselves on embarking, and six Weeks after their Arrival, to pay the other Half, which they Generally do, with private Contracts to People; but in case they do not, then they may be bound by the Ship's Master for four or five Years, if they are above twenty-one Years of Age; but if under, they may be bound until the Age of twenty-one if Men, and eighteen if Girls. It must be at the same Time confess'd, that divers of these Foreigners have, during the Time of their Servitude, shewn themselves of a dogged Disposition, surly and obstinate, discovering an Averseness to their Masters Orders, which proceeds (as we imagine) from a Dislike of their being subject to Strangers; whilst others again have behaved well; but it may be alledged with Truth, that when, or wheresoever among us, any of them have worked for their own Benefit, they are indefatigable, and out-done by none, which joined with great Parsimony, fits them for excellent Settlers when free.

To enable the industrious English Settlers to go on with Planting, who are truly desirous of Cultivating Land; we humbly conceive nothing could be a greater Inducement to it, than that the honourable Trustees would please to import yearly, so long as they see good, a Number of English or Welch Servants, such as are used to hard Labour in the Country, and Strangers to London, to be contracted with in England to serve the Trustees for five Years, from two to four Pounds yearly Wages, according to their Ability, for finding themselves in Apparel. Those Servants, on their Arrival, to be hired, by the Inhabitants for one Year, the Person hiring to pay over and above the contracted Wages, one Pound yearly to the Trustees, so that in five Years the Passage-Money will be paid. And to enable the Planters to pay the said Wages, it is humbly proposed, that a Bounty be settled on every Product of the Land, viz. Corn, Pease, Potatoes, Wine, Silk, Cotton, Flax, &c. to what Value the honorable Trust shall judge meet to be limited in the following, or any other Manner, viz. For the first Years the said Bounty to be payable for Corn, Pease, Potatoes, &c. only; and thenceforward to cease wholly, and the Residue of Years wherein any Bounty should be allowed, to be payable only for Silk, Wine, Oil, &c. by which Means the Planter so assisted might be able to live, whilst at the same Time he propagates Vines, Mulberry-Trees, &c. from which he can expect no immediate Benefit before they come to some Maturity. A Rule to be made, that they who hire the said Servants shall employ them only in Plantation-Work of their own, and not let then out at Hire to Work at handicraft Trades, or any other Business, &c. That each Servant shall serve one whole Year; and if they part at the Year's End he shall find himself another Master within Days to serve for one Year also, and so on to the End of their respective Times to serve; by which Means good Masters will not want good Servants, and 'twill be a great Means to make other Masters become good, in order to get good Servants, or else be content with the bad, or none. If any Disputes arise between Masters and Servants, such to be determined by the Magistrates, according to the Laws of England, wherein the Magistrate concerned as a Party shall not appear as a Judge, or offer to interfere with the Opinion of the others, but acquiesce in their Determination, if it happens to be in Favour of the Servant, whom they ought to defend from cruel Usage, and where they find such evil Treatment either thro' too severe Correction, or want of sufficient wholsome Food, according to the Custom of the Colony, the Magistrates to have Power of vacating such Services, and obliging the Servants to find another Master.

The kind Intention of the honourable Trustees to extend the Tenure of Lands in the manner proposed (as signify'd to their Secretary here) gave great Satisfaction to all reasonable Persons who seem'd to desire no more, and only wish to find that ratify'd, which they apprehend to be not yet done, and that occasions some Anxiety about it.

Whether these Helps, or whatever other, the honourable Trustees shall be pleas'd to afford us, the Ability of The Inhabitants to support themselves must still in a great Measure depend on the Industry and Frugality of each. Divers in the Province who understand Planting, and are already settled, provided they can attain to some live Stock, can and do support themselves. Men working for Hire, Boat-men, Pack-horse-men, &c. support themselves very well, if they will work; and more such would, were they to be found. Shopkeepers, Tradesmen, and Artificers, such as Tallow-Chandlers, Soap-Boilers, Brasiers, Sadlers, Shoe-makers, Tanners, &c. live very well on their Business here, and many more might, were there more Merchants to import Goods for supplying the Indian Traders, which would increase the Resort to Savannah; whereas those Traders are now obliged to get the greatest Part of what they want from Charles-Town in Carolina. New Planters, and such as go on upon particular Improvements, such as Wine, Silk, &c. will need some Assistance. Magistrates, Constables, and Tything-men, and others whose Time is taken up in the publick Service, require some Allowance for the same. It is also needful for the Well-being of the Colony, that Roads should be maintain'd: Posts for communicating of Letters, and Forts upon the Frontiers, as well towards the Indians as Spaniards, be supported: As likewise other publick Works, which the People here are in no Degree able to bear.

When the East Part of the Province of Georgia was taken Possession of under the Trustees Charter by Mr. Oglethorpe, according to the Limits of the British Dominions in America, Forts were erected upon the Extremities to keep up Marks of Possession: The Strength and Materials were of such a Nature, as the Men he had with him could make, and sufficient for Defence against any Strength that could be brought against them by the neighbouring Indians, or Spaniards in Florida.
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