Click here to read and annotate the text using your hypothes.is account. Let these two questions guide your reading:
- Who do you think Oglethorpe addresses and what does he hope the publication of his tract to effect? Find clues in the text to support your answer and conclude on the nature of this document.
- What aspects of the Georgia scheme are underlined in the text and why? Analyse the different arguments as you answer the question.
You can read these contextual notes taken from the Encyclopedia Britannica to help you understand the text:
The foundation of Georgia
A trust for establishing the colony of Georgia was granted a charter by George II (for whom the colony was named) in 1732, long after the large English migrations of the 17th century to North America. The prime mover in obtaining the charter was the English soldier and philanthropist James Edward Oglethorpe, who sought to found a colony where the poor of England could get a new start. He and other trustees encouraged the settlers to produce wines, silks, and spices, and thus relieve England of a dependency on foreign sources. The colony also would serve as a bulwark against the Spanish and French to the south and west.
The first English settlement in Georgia was made at Savannah in 1733. Some colonists paid their way; the colony’s trustees paid the expenses of others. Oglethorpe directed the affairs of the colony, primarily its military operations. Essential to the trustees’ utopian plan was a tightly structured settlement system designed to create a population of yeoman farmers living in compact villages and towns and cultivating outlying garden and small farm tracts. Slavery was prohibited in order to avoid the growth of large plantations. Like most such schemes, the colony failed to live up to the trustees’ vision. Their most notable success was the planning and construction of Savannah. Faced with unrest and emigration, the trustees surrendered all power in the colony to the British government in 1752, a year before their charter was to expire. Plantation agriculture, based mainly on the production of sugar, rice, and indigo, took hold. It relied heavily on slavery and became the mainstay of the colony’s economy.