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In Their Own Words

January 17, 1739

Oglethorpe Philosophically Opposed to Slavery

On the previous day, James Oglethorpe had written the other Trustees about practical reasons to oppose slavery in Georgia. Today, in a second letter from Fort Frederica, Oglethorpe addressed more philosophical reasons to oppose slavery:

“I have wrote already a letter upon the head of Negroes and shall only add that if we allow slaves we act against the very principles by which we associated together, which was to relieve the distressed. Whereas, now we should occasion the misery of thousands in Africa, by setting men upon using arts to buy and bring into perpetual slavery the poor people who now live free there… .”

Source: Mills Lane (ed.), General Oglethorpe’s Georgia: Colonial Letters, 1733-1743 (Savannah: Beehive Press, 1990), Vol. II, p. 389.