It is pointed out, in Wikipedia, that although Oglethorpe promoted the idea that Georgia be used to settle the worthy poor of England, providing an alternative to the overcrowded debtors' prisons, the colony was not ultimately founded by or for debtors. Nevertheless, the misconception of Georgia as a debtor or penal colony has persisted. Oglethorpe and other British philanthropists secured a royal charter as trustees of the colony of Georgia on June 9, 1732. With the motto, "Not for ourselves, but for others," the trustees selected colonists for Georgia. Many of the first settlers consisted of poor English tradesmen and artisans, as well as religious refugees from Switzerland and Germany. On February 12, 1733, they landed in the Anne at what was to become the city of Savannah. After 15 months Oglethorpe returned to England and arranged to have slavery banned in Georgia. As a result, many settlers became hostile to Oglethorpe and regarded him as a "perpetual dictator." In 1750, after a series of political and military defeats, Oglethorpe lost his battle to oppose slavery and the ban was lifted. Little heed was later paid to the eloquent sentiments of the Declaration of Independence, drafted by slave-owning Thomas Jefferson between June 11 and June 28, 1776, with its assertion that "all men are created equal", and slavery continued in the land of the free until 1865. It was abolished by Britain on 25th March, 1807; and had in any case not legally applied for centuries to any person recognized as a Briton, or as domiciled in Britain. Trade in slaves and serfdom was ruled illegal in London in 1102 AD, by the Council of Westminster.

North American Affairs

These only impinged directly on the Monamy years towards the end of his life: with Porto Bello in 1740, and Louisbourg in 1745. The captures of these two ports spanned the extents of British colonial interests along the American eastern seaboard: the French as enemies in the north, and the Spanish in the south.

The excerpts from The Craftsman, below, exemplify the manner in which concepts originally used with some legitimacy in the pamphlet war against Walpole, transferred across the Atlantic and were speciously re-employed to serve the self-interest of the American colonists. The inspiring words of the British anthem, that Britons never shall be slaves, originally an expression of particular appeal to British refugees from the Inquisition, Counter-Reformation and later victims of the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes, ceased to apply in liberty-loving America.

Three themes constantly dear to the contributors to The Craftsman are picked out here, left.

1. The Good Old Cause. The name of Cromwell could still only be slipped in, somewhat obliquely, in 1733, but here it is, nevertheless. In other words, Republicanism and Anti-royalism. The ghost of Andrew Marvell, with its attacks on "arbitrary rule" was still vigorously alive in the 1720s.

2. The Spirit of Liberty. This was re-iterated so frequently that some, such as Dr Johnson, grew quite sick of hearing it. The cry of a scoundrel, in his view.

3. Taxation. Nothing could be calculated to inflame the rising middle classes more than the threat of higher taxes.

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vernon v walpole
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© Charles Harrison Wallace 2007
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