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In Their Own Words

March 22, 1738

Stephens Talked with Malcontent

William Stephens wrote in his journal of a conversation he had with one of the Malcontents - the group of colonists opposed to the Trustees’ regulations governing early colonial Georgia. Stephens hoped the man would soon be able to express his concerns to Georgia’s founder:

“…Mr. Robert Williams and I meeting in our Walk towards our Plantations, he fell into Discourse with me, partly in relation to several Bickerings lately betwixt him and Mr. Causton on various Occasions; which I could not form a Judgment of, who was most in the right; but I found it was mostly about Matters of Account, wherein I presumed one might think the other too tenacious; wherefore I said little to it: But was more attentive to what he said afterwards; when he told me he had run out some Lands in Carolina, about fifteen hundred Acres; that his Title had passed through all the Offices in due Form, but was stopt at last by Colonel Bull, who refused to pass it as President, alledging that he thought it would not be agreeable to Mr. Oglethorpe for any of the Colony here to settle on Lands in Carolina, which he said was all the Reason he gave for stop- ping it; and then flew into a great Passion, protesting, that no Man upon Earth should compel him to relinquish what was his Right, or hinder him from going where he thought fit; that he had been at great Expences in Improvements in Georgia, and had suffered very much by them; nevertheless he was still going on in Hopes of better Encouragement, which if he failed of, he must do better where he could, and would not be a Prisoner any where: All which was of a Piece with what had been the Drift of his Discourse a long while; and Negroes was at the End of it. All that I had to say to it was, that I hoped the Time was coming, when he might have an Opportunity to open his Mind freely to Mr. Oglethorpe himself concerning any of those Matters, who would hear him, and give him such an answer as was requisite.”

Source: Allen D. Candler, ed. The Colonial Records of the State of Georgia, Vol. IV, Stephens’ Journal 1737-1740, Atlanta, GA, 1906, pp. 108-109.