New Viewpoints in Georgia History

By Albert B. Saye | Go to book overview

CHAPTER II
The Execution of a Trust

THE CHARTER of June 9, 1732, for the last of England's thirteen Colonies along the Atlantic Coast of North America bore much in common with the charters of the earlier Colonies, particularly the Charters of 1629 and 1612 for Virginia and the Charter of 1629 for Massachusetts Bay, albeit the Georgia Charter was a provincial charter, not one granted to a commercial company. But though a composite picture shows certain dominant features to stand out in fairly sharp relief as common to the governments of all the Colonies, no two of them were governed exactly alike. On the basis of the forms of their charters, it has become customary to classify those Colonies as "royal," or "crown," which were directly under the control of the King; "charter," or "corporate," in which a charter was granted directly to the Colony; and "proprietary," in which the grant was to a landlord or proprietor. If Georgia must be pressed under any one heading of this threefold classification, then the last is the most appropriate; but so long as the term "proprietary" suggests ownership as property rather than the execution of a trust, no more inappropriate label could be chosen for Georgia, as an examination of the Charter will make clear.1

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1
In their Memorial to the King in connection with the surrender of the Charter, the Trustees recalled that the grant had been made to them "not as Proprietors thereof but as Trustees for granting the said Lands to such of your Majesty's indigent Subjects, and to such persecuted Foreign Protestants, as should desire to inhabit, and reside in the said province." C.O.5/671, 190.

The Charter of Georgia, says Sidney George Fisher, "differed from all the other colonial charters and constitutions, and was neither the charter of a trading company nor the constitution of a people, but a charitable trust or eleemosynary corporation." The Evolution of the Constitution of theUnited States

-51-

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New Viewpoints in Georgia History
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page i
  • Preface v
  • Contents ix
  • Chapter I the Genesis of Georgia 3
  • Chapter II the Execution of a Trust 51
  • Chapter III a Model Royal Colony 106
  • Chapter IV the Revolution 134
  • Chapter V Early State Government 157
  • Chapter VI the Federal Union 196
  • Bibliography 237
  • Index 249
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