Georgia joins the Continental Congress
The First Continental Congress
ended on November 9, 1774,
passing articles that would strengthen the colonial impact on Mother
England. The South Carolina representatives agreed
to accept personal responsibility for Georgia joining the other colonies
and abiding by the decisions made by the body. Royal Governor James
Wright knew of South Carolina's promise and decided it would
be prudent to wait until 1775 to hold the
next Assembly. In the interim, St. Andrews parish
and St. Johns Parish voted to join the Continental
Slowly, individual parishes began to realize that
joining the continental association by adopting the articles was
better for them than not joining and each parish began the movement
towards Revolution. The Scots in Darien
were adamantly against the English. Their charismatic leader,
Lachlan McIntosh, spoke eloquently, evoking the bitter
hatred between the two Old World neighbors. Other radicals joined
in the increasingly harmonious voice of Georgia. At this point,
however, that voice probably did not yet represent a majority of
Georgians. Men like Elijah Clarke, William
Few and George Wells signed a petition
from Augusta stating that they disagreed with the course being taken
by the Radicals.
the "committee of thirty" came a call
for a provincial congress to coincide with the Assembly meeting,
both in Savannah. Word came from St. Andrew's
Parish (Darien) that the Scots had joined the Continental
Association on January 12 and would
send delegates to the provincial congress, set to begin the day
after the Lower House was called to order. Included in a statement
by Lachlan McIntosh was a call for the manumission (freeing) of
all slaves, calling the practice an "unnatural act."
On January 17, 1775
the Georgia Assembly was called to order. Governor
Wright made an opening address in which he appealed for the members
of both the Commons House and the Upper House to act as elected
representatives and not as radicals. The governor's plea did little
good. Quickly the Upper and Lower Houses were in conference on preserving
American rights as British subjects.
Unfortunately, the provincial congress that started
the following day did not go well. Only five parishes sent representatives
and the men from St. Johns Parish (Midway)
wanted the congress to adopt the resolutions of the Continental
Association before they were seated. The provincial congress
did adopt the articles passed by the First Continental Congress,
although they created some exceptions to them. A non-consumption
clause was completely ignored by the state and Georgia did not end
trade with colonies who traded with Britain, however, it was the
Indian trade that created the most problems -- Georgia exempted
virtually everything that could be traded with the Indians from
this agreement. These were to become effective on March
15, 1775. They also elected Noble
W. Jones, Archibald Bulloch and John
Houstoun to represent the colony in the Second
Continental Congress. Before the congress adjoined it turned
its resolutions to the assembly for approval.
Georgia was fearful of the Creek
and Cherokee Indians on its frontier.
This was made all the worse by the powerful British agents who continued
to befriend them. One that concerned them in particular was John
Stuart, a British agent to the Creek Nation.
Once working to stabilize the situation on the frontier, these agents
could easily cause serious problems for Georgia. Many felt that
by maintaining a supply of trade goods the Creek and Cherokee would
not side with the British agents to the west.
Since it did not enthusiastically endorse the articles
of the Continental Association, the provincial
congress is regarded as a dismal failure. Regardless, Governor
James Wright did not want the Assembly to consider the
resolutions, but rather than dissolve the Assembly he merely put
it on hold. This marked the last meeting of this body of government.
St. John's Parish again selected Lyman
Hall to represent them in the Second Continental Congress. The
parish, though, was having a tough time maintaining its rebellious
stance without the support of the other parishes. It had tried,
to no avail, to become a parish in South Carolina. Then it considered
cutting off trade with the rest of Georgia, but quickly realized
that this course of action would be self-destructive.
Meeting in Philadelphia starting on May
10, 1775, the Second Continental
Congress did not feel that Georgia had acted in good faith
regarding trade with Britain and her trading partners. The Congress
decided to cut off trade with the youngest colony. On the day the
congress was seated disturbing news came from the north. An band
of patriots had taken a stand on Breed's Hill in
Lexington, Massachusetts against the most powerful
army in the world and fired "a shot heard 'round the
The month of June, 1775 became pivotal to the colony
of Georgia. Munitions were being stockpiled, taken from city magazines.
Cannon, which the patriots could not carry away, were spiked. Supplies
were sent to the besieged patriots in Boston. And there were meetings.
Lots of meetings. Among the bodies that were established to move
Georgia towards open revolt was a general committee known as the
Council of Safety. Elected the first leader of the council was Archibald
Walton was selected secretary.
Things had begun to deteriorate in the eyes of Wright.
He requested additional troops and more boats on June
27, 1775, to protect the loyalists in the colony. These letters
were opened under the auspices of the South Carolina Committee of
Correspondence and forged documents were sent in their place saying
that everything was under control.
On July 4, 1775 the
state of Georgia held its second provincial congress, and it was
significantly different than the first. Held in the Long Room of
Peter Tondee's tavern, the congress was called
to order with 102 delegates from 10 parishes. Only St. Patrick
and St. James were not represented. Most of the
delegates were from the so-called American Rights
party and these men were call Whigs or "Patriots."
Opposing them were those loyal to the king or Loyalists.
These men were also called Tories.
Calvinist minister John
J. Zubly preached a sermon at the opening call, "The
Law of Liberty." The title comes from James 2:12.
The sermon was filled with viewpoints of many of the philosophers
of the Enlightenment, including Voltaire
and Locke. However, Zubly made it clear that he
felt the monarchy was the best form of government. He did encourage
the men of the provincial congress to insist on their rights under
law, but discouraged separation.
On July 6, 1775
the Second Provincial Congress accepted the provisions of the Continental
Association. The following day the congress elected five men to
represent the state at the Second Continental Congress:
Hall, the Radical leader of St. John's
parish, who led the attempt to leave the colony of Georgia and join
South Carolina, was already in Philadelphia at
Finally, as the provincial congress was wrapping
up, a set of resolutions were published. These claimed for Americans
the rights of all British subjects and included the threat of separation
(Independence) if these rights were not granted.
Next: A Colony
Acts Of War
Georgia in 1763
Sugar Act; Stamp Act
The House dissolved
Radicals Gain Power
Georgia joins the Continental Congress
A Colony at War
A State and Union Formed
The First Florida Expedition
A Leader Dies
The Second Florida Expedition
The Third Florida Expedition
Britain Attacks Georgia
Georgia Fight Backs
The Siege and Battle of Savannah
There Comes a Reaper
The Liberation of Georgia