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In Their Own Words

February 19, 1739

Stephens Complained about Servants

William Stephens wrote in his journal about problems with servants in colonial Georgia, first those working for others, then ones of his own:

“…Notwithstanding the Order of Court, lately it. made and published against all Servants going abroad with Guns, not having their Master’s License; many of the Germans (who seemed most of them determined to follow their own Will in every Thing) continued their former Pradlices; and that not only on ordinary Days but Yesterday several of those particularly under Mr. Bradley’s Direction, were known publickly, and he himself also complained of it, for daring to defy all Authority, by carrying Arms into the Woods; not only Guns, but Cutlasses also, as if they meant to maintain by Force, those Liberties they saw fit to assume. This gave great Offence to all sober People, who had Regard to the Prophaning of that Day, as well as endangering the publick Peace: But being in continual Expectation of the General among us, it was thought most advisable to refer the Remedy of such Disorders to him, rather than come to Extremities, if it might be avoided. Spent the Afternoon again among my slothful Servants,^ where I was not disappointed at what I saw, but sufficiently chagrined at the Thoughts of it on my Return.”

Source: Allen D. Candler, ed. The Colonial Records of the State of Georgia, Vol. IV, Stephens’ Journal 1737-1740, Atlanta, GA, 1906, p. 283.