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In Their Own Words

January 18, 1739

Malcontents Disappointed

While the Malcontents - the colonists who opposed the Trustees regulations in colonial Georgia - would eventually get most of what they wanted, William Stephens recorded a setback for them on this day:

“…Observing of late that there appeared a profound Calm and Quiet more than for a while past had been among us, my Curiosity again led me to visit our nightly Club in the Evening, and to see if I could discover what might occasion such a Change of Temper among them: And I soon per- ceived that they were much crest-fallen, and not a little chagrined at the Disappointment they had met with from their Friends at Darien, and in the South; to whom (it seems) they had sent their late Representation, expecting an universal Concurrence from them: But it so fell out, that Capt. Wood, to whose Care they told me they had committed it, depending on his Readiness to promote it, had a different Way of thinking from them; and upon opening it, when he found what it was, folded it up in the same cover wherein it came; and without sealing it again, gave it to Mr. Minis, a Jew Freeholder of this Town, to carry it back, who had never signed it, and happening to be there on Business of his own, was then returning. This was thought by some of our high- spirited Gentry a very great Indignity offered, and such as by their Words they showed great Resentment at. What farther (I saw) vexed them, was, that they had received Information, the People in those Parts were not altogether so warm as they expedled, and had been reported; for tho’ there were some among them that showed they were not very easy; yet most of them drew back in Time, thinking it the wisest Way not to quar- rel with the Bread and Butter they got, though perhaps not spread to their Liking: So that our Madcaps (I fancied) began to think themselves bit, and outwitted; under which Perplexity of Thought, I left them at present, and went home.”

Source: Allen D. Candler, ed. The Colonial Records of the State of Georgia, Vol. IV, Stephens’ Journal 1737-1740, Atlanta, GA, 1906, pp. 264-265.