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In Their Own Words

April 16, 1740

Rumors of Malcontent Activity

William Stephens recorded in his journal about hearing rumors of more agitation from the Malcontents - the group of colonists opposed to the Trustees’ regulations governing early colonial Georgia:

“…What I thought most worth regarding, was some private Intelligence I got, that there was a Combination carrying on, among our incessant Workers of Mischief, to form another Representation of Grievances, in a different Strain from their former, and of more dangerous Consequences; forasmuch as that was speculative only, and imported divers Propositions, so far culpable, as they were the Production of a rash Presumption: But this (I understood) was intended to strike at the Foundation of the executive Power in this Place, by heaping up Abundance of illegal and arbitrary Proceedings, deserving immediately to be remedied; and laying them to the Charge of all those in any Authority, who hitherto boldly withstood their mischievous Purposes; wherein even the General himself (if my Information proves true) will hardly escape their vile Calumny: It is said moreover, that the People at Darien act secretly in Concert with them; and that an Agent from thence, whose Name I yet forbear mentioning (though I observed for several Weeks past his frequent coming and going to and fro) has been very busy here, on this good Work. Among other Pieces of curious Politicks, I am told farther, they want an Officer to be created, under the Title of Sheriff; but how far his Power is to extend, or be limited, I can not yet learn; nor whether, in these Times of War, he is to be elective, Dictator-like, or not, is not yet revealed: But in case it comes out such a finished Piece as we may expect, it will then be seen what the Authors dare to drive at; which a little Time will shew. …”

Source: Allen D. Candler, ed. The Colonial Records of the State of Georgia, Vol. IV, Stephens’ Journal 1737-1740, Atlanta, GA, 1906, pp. 554-555.