Thursday, 9 May 2013

A Voyage to Georgia; Part 11.

Begun the 15th of October, 1735.
Those who have cleared their 5 Acre Lotts, have made a very great Profit out of them by Greens, Roots and Corn.  Several have improv’d the Cattle they had at first, and have now 5 or 6 tame Cows; others, who to save the Trouble of Feeding

1735-6. February. Savannah.
them, let them go into the Woods, can rarely find them, and when they are brought up, one of them will not give half the Quantity of Milk, which another Cow fed near Home will give.  Their Houses are built at a pretty large Distance from one another, for fear of Fire; the Streets are very wide, and there are great Squares left at proper Distances, for Markets and other Conveniences.  Near the River-side there is a Guard-house inclosed with Palisades a Foot think, where there are 19 or 20 Cannons mounted, and a continual Guard kept by the Free-holders.  This Town is governed by 3 Bailiffs, and has a Recorder, Register, and a Town Court, which is holden every six Weeks, where all Matters Civil and Criminal are decided by grand and petty Juries, as in England; but there are no Lawyers allowed to plead for Hire, nor no Attornies to take Money, but (as in old times in England) every Man pleads his own Cause.  In case it should be an Orphan, or one that cannot speak for themselves, there are Persons of the best Substance in the Town, appointed by the Trustees to take care of the Orphans, and to defend the Helpless, and that without Fee or Reward, it being a Service that each that is capable must perform in his Turn.  They have some Laws and Customs peculiar to Georgia; one is, that all Brandies and distilled Liquors are prohibited under severe Penalties; another is, that no Slavery is allowed, nor Negroes; a Third, that all Persons who go among the Indians must give Security for their good Behavior; because theIndians, if any Injury is done to them, and they cannot kill the Man who does it, expect Satisfaction from the Government, which if not procured, they break out into War, by killing the first white Man they conveniently can.  No Victualler or Alehouse-keeper can give any Credit so consequently

1735-6. February, Savannah.
cannot recover any Debt.  The Free-holds are all entailed, which has been very fortunate for the Place.  If People could have sold, the greatest part, before they knew the Value of their Lotts, would have parted with them for a trifling Condition, and there were not wanting rich Men who employed Agents to Monopolize the whole Town: And if they had got Numbers of Lotts into their own Hands, the other Free-holders would have had no Benefit by letting their Houses, and hardly of Trade, since the Rich, by means of a large Capital, would underlet and undersell, and the Town must have been almost without Inhabitants, as Port Royal in Carolina is, by the best Lotts being got into a few Hands.
            The mentioning the Laws and Customs leads me to take notice that Georgia is founded upon Maxims different from those on which other Colonies have been begun.  The Intention of that Colony was an Asylum to receive the Distressed.  This was the charitable Design, and the governmental View besides that, was, with Numbers of free white People, well settled, to strengthen the southern Part of the English Settlements on the Continent of America, of which this is the Frontier.  It is necessary therefore not to permit Slaves in such a Country, for Slaves starve the poor Labourer.  For if the Gentleman can have his Work done by a Slave who is a Carpenter or a Bricklayer, the Carpenter or Bricklayers of that Country must starve for want of Employment, and so of other Trades.
            In order to maintain many People, it was proper that the Land should be divided into small Portions, and to prevent the uniting them by Marriage
1735-6. February. Savannah.
or Purchase.  For every Time that two Lotts are united, the Town Loses a Family, and the Inconveniency of this shews itself at Savannah, notwithstanding the Care of the Trustees to prevent it.  They suffered the Moiety of the Lotts to descend to the Widows during their Lives: Those who remarried to Men who had Lotts of their own, by uniting two Lotts made one be neglected; for the strength of Hands who could take care of one, was not sufficient to look to and improve two.  These uncleared Lotts are a Nusance to their Neighbours.  The Trees which grow upon them shade the Lotts, the Beasts take shelter in them, and for want of clearing the Brooks which pass thro’ them, the Lands above are often prejudiced by Floods.  To prevent all these Inconveniences, the first Regulation of the Trustees was a strict Agrarian Law, by which all the Lands near Towns should be divided, 50 Acres to each Freeholder.  The Quantity of Land by Experience seems rather too much, since it is impossible that one poor Family can tend so much Land.  If this Alottment is too much, how much more inconvenient would the uniting of two be?  To prevent it, the Trustees grant the Lands in Tail Male, that on the expiring of a Male-Line they may regrant it to such Man, having no other Lott, as shall be married to the next Female Heir of the Deceased, as is of good Character.  This manner of Dividing, prevents also the Sale of Lands, and the Rich thereby monopolizing the Country.

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