The Pageant of America: A Pictorial History of the United States - Vol. 1

By Clark Wissler; Constance Lindsay Skinner et al. | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XV
THE VISION. OF OGLETHORPE

THE Proprietors of Carolina, alive to the menace of Spanish Florida, in 1717 arranged with Sir Robert Mountgomery, a patriotic Briton, to colonize the region we now call Georgia. The new province was to be called the Margravate of Azilia, and the Margrave must colonize it within three years or lose his rights. But Mountgomery failed to allure colonists, and Azilia never gained greater reality than its projected outlines on a map. In 1729 the Proprietors sold their rights to the Crown, and the two Carolinas became royal colonies. Still the southland between Carolina and Florida remained unoccupied -- waiting the forceful claimant, be he English or Spanish.

James Edward Oglethorpe, distinguished soldier, patriot, and humanitarian, took up the issue for England. He formed a company of some twenty associates, obtained a charter from George II, in whose honor he named his province, and in 1732 sailed in the little ship Anna, with his first group of settlers. He founded Georgia as an asylum for the oppressed, and here poor Protestants from the continent were offered homes and freedom. Debtors and other unfortunates lying in English prisons were set free through his influence and were allowed to start life anew in Georgia. Parliament made several grants of money towards this noble scheme, and wealthy philanthropists contributed handsomely. From Europe came persecuted Salzburgers and Moravians. Jews came, and Highlanders, and Italians to teach silk culture. In February, 1733, the first cabins of Savannah rose on Yamacraw Bluff.

571 Oglethorpe Memorial at Savannah, Ga., from the sculpture by D. C. French ( 1850-)

-270-

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