Southern Colonies > Province of Georgia

Province of Georgia

Background

Well governed and generously treated by Parliament, Georgia had little cause to aspire after independence, but Saint John's Parish sent a delegate to the second Continental Congress in March, 1775, and its example was followed by the other parishes. In 1778 the British captured Savannah, and in 1779 Augusta and Sunbury. An attempt by the Americans and French to retake Savannah was unsuccessful (October, 1779), and it was held by the enemy till 1782.

Under the new regime the colony was so prosperous that Sir James Wright (1716-1785), the last of the royal governors, declared Georgia to be “the most flourishing colony on the continent.” The people were led to revolt against the mother country through sympathy with the other colonies rather than through any grievance of their own. The centre of revolutionary ideas was St John’s Parish, settled by New Englanders (chiefly from Dorchester, Massachusetts). The Loyalist sentiment was so strong that only five of the twelve parishes sent representatives to the First Provincial Congress, which met on the 18th of January 1775, and its delegates to the Continental Congress therefore did not claim seats in that assembly. But six months later all the parishes sent representatives to another Provincial Congress which met on the 4th of July 1775. Soon afterward the royal government collapsed and the administration of the colony was assumed by a council of safety.

The war that followed was really a severe civil conflict, the Loyalist and Revolutionary parties being almost equal in numbers. In 1778 the British seized Savannah, which they held until 1782, meanwhile reviving the British civil administration, and in 1779 they captured Augusta and Sunbury; but after 1780 the Revolutionary forces were generally successful. Civil affairs also fell into confusion. In 1777 a state constitution was adopted, but two factions soon appeared in the government, led by the governor and the executive council respectively, and harmony was not secured until 1781.

Thirteen Colonies

Sources

Primary Sources

Secondary Sources

1911 Encyclopædia Britannica, Volume 11

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