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In Their Own Words

December 21, 1738

Birthday Celebration Turned into Argument

William Stephens wrote that a gathering to celebrate the birthday of Georgia founder James Oglethorpe began cheerfully, but then descended into an argument led by the Malcontents - the group of colonists opposed to the Trustees’ regulations on colonial Georgia:

“…Another very heavy Rain of all the last Night, and this whole Day’s continuance; which what- ever Impediment it might occasion to other Affairs, was no Hinderance to our Celebration of the General’s Birth- Day, as had been always accustomed hitherto, and in the very same Manner we did last Year, under a Discharge of Cannon; but in the Evening we were not in the same Capacity to follow that Pattern, for Reasons too apparent: Wherefore it was proposed and agreed to, by some of the principal Inhabitants, among whom were the Magistrates and Constables, to get some Supper bespoke at a publick House, where all that would come should pay their Club, and Mr. Jones (to make it the easier to them) was to send a little Wine, &c. Accordingly the Company met, to the Number of fifteen, or more, and were chearful awhile, behaving with good Temper and Decency; till at length they made the Representation the Topick of their Discourse, which brought on Argument of various Kinds; and some Warmth beginning to shew itself, which was not very agreeable, I and a few others withdrew and left them.”

Source: Allen D. Candler, ed. The Colonial Records of the State of Georgia, Vol. IV, Stephens’ Journal 1737-1740, Atlanta, GA, 1906, p. 250.