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In Their Own Words

December 15, 1738

Slaves Escaped to Florida

William Stephens wrote in his journal of a ship captain stopping in Savannah, and noting how his slaves from South Carolina had escaped to Florida. Stephens used this incident to bolster the argument against slavery in colonial Georgia:

“…What I had to remark, was a Relation he made, that no less thaft nineteen Negro Slaves which he had in Carolina, run away from him lately all at once, under that strong Temptation of the Spaniards making all free that fled to them from the English, which he said he found verified; for he saw all his said Negroes now at St. Augustin, who laughed at him; and on his applying to the Governor, he told him, that it was the King of Spain’s Orders. If the Negroes in Carolina can make their Escape to the Spaniards, notwithstanding the great Obstructions they are to meet with from this Province lying in their Way; Quaere If the Use of such were permitted to this Colony, what could be expedled, but they would march off when they pleased?”

Source: Allen D. Candler, ed. The Colonial Records of the State of Georgia, Vol. IV, Stephens’ Journal 1737-1740, Atlanta, GA, 1906, pp. 247-248.