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In Their Own Words

July 07, 1733

Georgia’s First Colonial Government Structure Established

Peter Gordon kept a journal of the first Georgia colonists’ voyage to and establishment of the colony of Georgia; on this day he described the establishment of their first form of government (which included himself). He also added serious concern about its chances of success:

“…Mr. Oglethorp haveing some thoughts of returning to England, as soon as could possibly gett things a litle setled and being desirious before his departure, to see what success the new scheme of government would have, declared his intentions of constituting the court (which was to be a Court of Record) and qualifying those persons who were appoynted to the magistracy, by a speciall comission from the Trustees before we left England, with (as it was believed) a discretionary power to continue or discontinue them as he found they were deserving. Accordingly the day was appoynted which was the 7th of July, when the people being assembled together Mr. Oglethorp opened the Trustees Commission for appoynting the magistrates, and called and qualified them according to their rank, which was as follows: Peter Gordon, first Bailiff; William Westmoreland, second; Thomas causton, third; Thomas Christie, Recorder; and Joseph Hughes, Register. The government of owr new setlement being thus modell’d, wee were now to act in a sphere different from anything we hade ever appear’d in before, the nature of which wee were but too litle acquainted with; and I cannot help saying not suffitiently qualified for offices of so great power and trust, as the disposall of such a number of peoples libertyes and properties, and even their lives, in a full a sense as any judge in England…”

Source: Our First Visit in America: Early Reports from the Colony of Georgia, 1732-1740 (Savannah: Beehive Press, 1974), pp. 23-24.