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In Their Own Words

April 15, 1765

Concern over Stamp Act Expressed

James Habersham was one of colonial Georgia’s leading citizens, having come to the colony with George Whitfield, with whom he helped establish the orphanage at Bethesda. But Habersham chose to remain in Georgia when Whitfield departed, and eventually established a flourishing trading business. In the following letter to William Knox, Georgia’s provincial agent in London, Habersham noted the concern in Georgia over the recently passed Stamp Act:

“William Knox Esq. London (pr Ship Jno Gally, Thos Hulme) Savannah in Georgia 15th April 1765 Sir, We are instructed by a resolution of both Houses of Assembly, to direct you to make proper Application of Redress of such parts of the Act, passed the last Session of parliament, Intituled, ‘An Act for granting certain Duties in the British Colonies and plantations in America &c’ as particularly affect the Trade of this province, and to instruct you on that Head, and direct you to act (so far) in concert with any Agent or Agents of the northern provinces. In Consequence of this Resolution, we have taken the said Act into Consideration, and tho’ there are several clauses therein, that must concern the welfare of this province, tho’ perhaps not in so great a degree as some of the Northern Colonys, yet the Incumbrance laid on the Exportation of all kinds of Lumber (our most natural produce) and all other non Enumerated Commodities, so essentuially injured us, that we shall at present confine our Remarks on the Act to that Branch of Commerce only - You are not insensitive of the very great Benefit of the Exportation of Lumber, Horses, Live stock &c has been to this young colony, having principally been the Means, whereby most of the Inhabitants have acquired the little property they possess … .

“[I]n respect to the stamp duty, which as far as appears to us, may be as equal as any, that could be generally imposed on the Colonys, yet, we must own, the manner of imposing it greatly alarms us, as we know not, where the precedent may end, and however it may be with any or all of the Northern provinces, the Expence absolutely required for the Support of our internal polity is rather more, than the present Inhabitants can bear, and consequently they are in no Condition to be loaded with new Burthens … .”

Source: Collections of the Georgia Historical Society, The Letters of Hon. James Habersham, 1756-1775 (Savannah: Georgia Historical Society, 1904), pp.31-32.