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In Their Own Words

December 17, 1739

Stephens Visited Malcontents

The group of early Georgia colonists opposed to the Trustees’ regulations were called the Malcontents. On this day, William Stephens recorded in his journal of a visit he paid to the club where they liked to gather:

“…In the Evening I had once more an Inclination to make a Visit to our nightly Club; where in this Time of Scarcity of News from all Parts, I thought I should not fail of something, either true or false; for rather than want, they could coin: I found them now reduced to a very small Number, three or four only; who upon my coming in (whatever Subject they had been upon before) turned most of their Discourse into a doleful Story of the sad State they saw poor Georgia fallen into, and how People were deserting it Day by Day; Which not having Sagacity enough of myself to discover, I said I wished to know who they were: And after a pretty long Pause upon it, they named two or three, adding to them all the Jews in general; which I said little to then, intending to be better informed: And by Degrees passing from one Point to another, at length the Trustrees Answer to their Representation was to be animadverted on; which with Patience I heard them a pretty while take in Pieces, and reason upon in their own Way as they liked, offering sometimes a Word or two myself in Vindication of what needed none: Till at last they came to that Length as to tell me, in plain Words, they thought it not a fair Answer, nor Way of proceeding in the Trust, to publish an Answer in Print, to what so very few in England had seen in Writing; and that in Justice they should have set one against the other, and printed them both together, whereby the World would then judge who was in the right: Which I thought such a Piece of Impudence, that I could no longer bear; and so I took my Leave, not likely to trouble them, or myself about them again in haste.”

Source: Allen D. Candler, ed. The Colonial Records of the State of Georgia, Vol. IV, Stephens’ Journal 1737-1740, Atlanta, GA, 1906, pp. 469-470.