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In Their Own Words

October 28, 1741

Father-Son Sad Farewell

One of the main problems William Stephens dealt with as a leader in colonial Georgia was the Malcontents - those opposed to the Trustees’ policies. It was doubly difficult when his own son decided to join the opposition group. On this day he recorded what he thought would be their final visit, as his son prepared to leave for England to lay their concerns before the Trustees:

“…The Time being now come, when my Son thought himself furnish’d with Materials sufficiently to commence Agent under those Worthies whom he had undertaken to serve, and who had made a Collection among themselves of a Sum of Money (which to his utter Shame he took) to enable him to carry on the good Work…He came this Morning to make a farewell Visit, attended by William Woodroofe and William Ewen, with the Paper they had fram’d, and was now sign’d, by all they could prevail with, far and near, of any Sort, whether interested in it or not; for which End Messengers had been daily sent abroad to catch whom they could: And herein this deluded Son of mine thought he fulfill’d the Promise, which he had voluntarily made me some Time ago, that he would shew me this Work before he went…I plainly told them, that I was very indifferent about the Whole, and did not conceive any Loss the Trust would be at in maintaining their own Honour, without being instructed by them, or any other, what they had to do; and so (turning coldly aside) they left me and my Son together, with whom I commun’d a short While; but the Oppression of my Spirit was now such, that I could utter very little: Wherefore after telling him that probably it was the last Meeting we should ever have, cautioning him to look back, and consider what dangerous Ways he was got into, directly opposite to his Father’s Sentiments, and repeated Advice; in which Course if he persisted, he would most certainly bring on himself both Sorrow and Shame; (which he gave me the Hearing of, and only saying that he hoped I would look upon him still as my Son;) we parted with wet Eyes…”

Source: Allen D. Candler, ed. The Colonial Records of the State of Georgia, Vol. IV Supplement, Journal of William Stephens, Atlanta, GA, 1906, pp. 274-275.