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In Their Own Words

December 17, 1736

Generous Donation to Trustees

In London, Sir Jacob Debouverie attended a meeting of the Georgia Trustees and announced that his father had died and left an estate of £500 and that he was willing to match that amount in order to give the Trustees £1,000 - a sizable amount at the time - for use in the colony of Georgia. Debouverie’s only stipulation was that the money be used for a specific purpose. The Earl of Egmont’s response, as recorded in his diary, indicated that religion was an important consideration in their plans for Georgia. However, the financial cost of promoting religion was more than the Trustees were ready to assume, and so they recommended using Debouverie’s gift for another purpose:

“I replied with thanking him [Debouverie] for his favour to our Colony, and said the branches of our designs were the propagating Christianity among the Indians and the making numbers of poor families happy. That the former implied a maintenance of ministers to preach to the Indians and the latter a religious and civil care. The religious care was the maintenance of clergymen which are much wanting for to supply our new town Frederica and our distant villages, also the maintenance of catechists [persons who taught basic religious beliefs], the building of churches and the support of them, and the cutivating [sic] lands in order to maintain our ministers. That the civil care was cultivating lands for the support of a Governor, the building of forts to defend our people, and the filling our stores to feed them until they had cultivated their lands sufficiently to support themselves, which last being a very heavy head of expense, and the people wanting servants to assist them in cultivating, the sending over of servants was a fourth branch of our designs, which at this time we could not furnish, our money being near exhausted… .

“Mr. Towers and Mr. Vernon spoke to the same purpose. Sir Jacob said he best liked the furnishing servants, since he saw this would further cultivation, and was a thing we stood in need of at this time, and therefore if we pleased the money should be applied that way… .”

Source: U.K. Historical Manuscripts Commission, Diary of the First Earl of Egmont (London: His Majesty’s Stationery Office, 1923), Vol. II, pp. 320-321.