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In Their Own Words

February 08, 1739

Fear of Slave Revolt Expressed

William Stephens recorded rumors of slaves in South Carolina revolting and fleeing to (then) Spanish Florida; he used the rumor as argument against allowing slavery into colonial Georgia:

“…what we heard told us by several newly come from Carolina, was not to be disregarded, viz. that a Conspiracy was formed by the Negroes in Carolina, to rise and forcibly make their Way out of the Province, to put themselves under the Protection of the Spaniards; that this was first discovered at Winnyaw, which is at the most Northern Part of the Province; from whence, as they were to bend their Course South, it argued, that the other Parts of the Province must be privy to it, and that the Rising was to be universal; whereupon the whole Province were all upon their Guard: It was added, that the Council and Assembly had each deputed a Person, whom they had sent off in a Sloop for Augustine, to demand of the Governor there a Restitution of all those Negroes who had lately fled to that Place; some of which I before took Notice of [vide December 15.) And I could not miss now again refledling on the mistaken Politicks of some among us, who endeavour to evince the Necessity of using of them in Georgia. …”

Source: Allen D. Candler, ed. The Colonial Records of the State of Georgia, Vol. IV, Stephens’ Journal 1737-1740, Atlanta, GA, 1906, pp. 275-276.