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In Their Own Words

July 02, 1735

Trustees’ Inheritance Policies Explained

In this days proceedings of the Georgia Trustees, a complaint was read as to the Trustees’ policy of not allowing daughters to inherit land grants in Georgia. In his journal of the Trustee proceedings, the Earl of Egmont summarized the reason for the policy:

“The Arguments urged by the Gentlemen [Trustees present] against making any alteration in the Tenure of lands were, That it was unfit the Trustees Should bind themselves down to give daughters a right to Succeed, because many cases might arise full of perplexity. So that it would be difficult to make one general Rule to Serve all. That our Grants are gifts & favours which may be made on what terms we please, and no many who accepts them on the present foot has reason to complain. That the Trustees will always do what is right, and the people Should have confidence in us. That we have already declared in our Rules that Special regard Shall be had of daughters, which is Sufficient to Satisfy the world on that head, and Should we be more explicite, the general welfare of the Colony might Suffer by it dispeopling it. For persons not inhabiting the Colony might marry Such daughters. That we know our own minds, that if Such daughters marry persons approved of by us who will Settle on the fathers grant, we Shall give it anew to her and her husband and her heirs male. Or we will Sell the Estate to one who will reside, and give the daughters the profit.”

Source: Robert G. McPherson, 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), p. 96.