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In Their Own Words

February 18, 1732

Percival Diary Entry on Frustration Getting Charter Signed

In London, John Percival, James Oglethorpe, and other supporters of a new colony in America to the south of South Carolina were frustrated that their charter was still unsigned, as noted in the entry in Percival’s diary:

“… Perceiving an unaccountable delay in the putting his Majesty’s seal to the Carolina Charter, and that it sticks with the Duke of Newcastle, all our gentlemen concerned as trustees are much out of humour and some are for flinging it up, and restoring the money arising from the lottery tickets which were given up to tell for the advantage of the colony. I told my mind freely to Horace Walpole, sitting by him this morning, that we thought ourselves ill used, and that if it was expected by the Government that we should entreat any more the passing this charter, he was mistaken, for it is a matter we think they ought to entreat us to undertake; that being restrained at our own desire by oath from making any advantage directly or indirectly of the charter, this delay must be the highest reflection on us as if we did not intend to regard our oaths, for this delay cannot possibly be given but from a suspicion we should abuse our trust. If, therefore, he did not think it a good thing, I desired he would tell us, and we would quit it. He replied, he thought it a good thing … .

“Soon after, Mr. Oglethorp came to me, and said that upon his complaining to Drummond of the usage, Drummond replied Sir Robert was very hearty for the charter, but that it happened the day before we waited on the Duke of Newcastle to desire he would forward the King’s signing the charter, his Grace had carried the charter in a bag with five other things for his Majesty to sign, but that the King not being in right humour, refused to sign any one of them … .”

Source: U.K. Historical Manuscripts Commission, Diary of the First Earl of Egmont (London: His Majesty’s Stationery Office, 1923), Vol. I, p. 223.