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In Their Own Words

August 17, 1775

Letter on Independence Movement

Georgia governor James Wright wrote once again to Lord Dartmouth, British secretary of state for the colonies, about the independence movement in Georgia:

“I am now again constrained to write Your Lordship a farther [sic] disagreeable account of the proceedings of the [Provincial] Congress and [Sons of] Liberty People here. The Congress determined that no militia officers should remain but such as signed the [Articles of] Association and directed that the Captains of the militia should order musters throughout the province and that any of the officers that might refuse to sign the Association should not be suffered to act any longer but that the people should elect others in their place. Thus Your Lordship sees how they are going on here, and the scheme and attempt to wrest the command of the militia out of my hands, and it is said that the Committee of Safety are to give commissions to the people who are to chose officers in the room of those who refuse to sign the Association.

“My Lord, I mentioned in my last some means used to compel people to sign the Association and those, with tarring and feathering and the punishment of ordering any that refuse to quit their habitations on a few days’ notice, are executed without any hesitation. One Mr. Brown, a young gentleman who appeared a little active in opposing the Liberty people, has been most cruelly treated in the town of Augusta. He, having threatened to get a party and take satisfaction, the offenders raised a number of men in the country and wrote to Savannah to the Council of Safety for assistance, and a party of the grenadier company and some of the light infantry company, who signed the Association, set out from hence to Augusta the 9th instant without any application to or authority from me, but I am well informed were ordered to do so by the Council of Safety and it’s said they, by persuasions and threats, prevailed on a great number to joint them as they went through the country and what outrages of acts of violence they may commit before they return it’s difficult to say, though I am just informed Mr. Brown has retired into Carolina. My Lord, are these things to be suffered in a British government?”

Source: Mills Lane (ed.), Georgia: History written by Those who lived It (Savannah: Beehive Press, 1995), pp. 34-35.