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In Their Own Words

June 29, 1741

Spanish Threat and Slavery Ban Discussed

From Frederica, James Oglethorpe wrote the Trustees about the continuing Spanish threat to Georgia, further arguing that the ban on slavery in Georgia be maintained:

“I have wrote very fully to the Ministry to obtain assistance for the defense of this colony, which every day I believe shows the usefulness of, since without any new succours from Europe we ravaged Florida and besieged Saint Augustine and have since defended ourselves, though the Spaniards have received great reinforcement from Cuba.

“The Spanish emissaries are very busy in stirring up discontents amongst the people, hence their principal point is Negroes, since as many slaves as there are so many enemies to the government and consequently friends to the Spaniards. Another great point is to discourage the planters, since they think, if planting don’t go forward, England will grow tired of supporting the colony and then of course the Spaniards will gain their ends.

“The way to overcome all this is to persist in allowing no slaves, encourage the importation of Germans and married recruits, and prevail with the government to answer those necessary expenses of Rangers, sloops, boats and fortifications… .”

Source: Mills Lane (ed.), General Oglethorpe’s Georgia: Colonial Letters, 1733-1743 (Savannah: Beehive Press, 19909), Vol. II, pp. 586-587.