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In Their Own Words

May 16, 1738

Trustees Letters to Georgia

In London, the Trustees wrote a series of letters with respect to Georgia. As summarized by the Earl of Egmont in his journal of Trustee proceedings, one letter was sent to George Whitefield stating:

“… that we pleas’d with his zeal, and permit him to perform all Religious duties as deacon of the Church of England at Savannah as well as at Frederica, until another Minister is provided for Savannah. That We doubt not but he will lay every Spirit of dissention among the people, and that he will recommend Sobriety, and a due reverence to the Magistracy, as the most effectual means to make them quiet and happy, and qualify them for a just observance of the Worship of God.”

Another letter was sent to the Trustees’ secretary in Georgia, William Stephens, in response to his letter expressing that colonists’ unhappiness with the Trustee policy limiting the inheritance of land grants to male survivors (a policy known as Tail Male). In it, they noted that the policy was not absolute, and enclosed a copy of the printed contract governing inheritance, which Egmont summarized thusly:

“When the land reverts to the Trust on the determination of Estates in Tail male, it is to be granted again to Such persons as the Common Council of the Trustees Shall think most for the advantage of the Colony. And the Trust will have a Special regard to the daughters of those who have made Improvements on their Lotts, not already provided for by having marry’d or marrying persons in possession or entitled to lands in the Province of Georgia … . And the wives of Such persons, in case they Should Survive their husbands, and during their lives, entitled to the mansion house & one half of the lands emproved [sic] by their husbands, that is to Say, enclosed with a fence 6 feet high.”

Source: Robert G. McPherson (ed.), The Journal of The Earl of Egmont: Abstract of the Trustees Proceedings for Establishing the Colony of Georgia, 1732-1738 (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1962), pp. 360-361.