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Charter Of Georgia [June 1732]

 

GEORGE: the second, [&c] . . .
Whereas we are credibly informed, that many of our poor subjects are, through misfortunes and want of employment, reduced to great necessity, insomuch as by their labor they are not able to provide a maintenance for themselves and families; and if they had means to defray their charges of passage, and other expences, incident to new settlements, they would be glad to settle in any of our provinces in America where by cultivating the lands, at present waste and desolate, they might not only gain a comfortable subsistence for themselves and families, but also strengthen our colonies and increase the trade, navigation and wealth of these our realms. And whereas our provinces in North America, have been frequently ravaged by Indian enemies; more especially that of South-Carolina, which in the late war, by the neighboring savages, was laid waste by fire and sword, and great numbers of English inhabitants, miserably massacred, and our loving subjects who now inhabit them, by reason of the smallness of their numbers, will in case of a new war, be exposed to the late [like?] calamities; inasmuch as their whole southern frontier continueth unsettled, and lieth open to the said savages—. . . Know ye therefore, that we . . . by these presents . . . do . . . ordain . . . that our right trusty and well beloved John, lordviscount Purcival, of our kingdom of Ireland, our trusty and well beloved Edward Digby, George Carpenter, James Oglethorpe, George Heathcote, Thomas Tower, Robert Moore, Robert Hucks, Roger Holland, William Sloper, Francis Eyles, John Laroche, James Vernon, Williarn Beletha, esquires, A. M. John Burton, B. D. Richard Bundy, A. M. Arthur Bedford, A. M. Samuel Smith, A. M. Adam Anderson and Thomas Corane, gentleman; and such other persons as shall be elected in the manner herein after mentioned, and their successors to be elected in the manner herein after directed; be, and shall be one body politic and corporate, in deed and in name, by the name of the Trustees for establishing the colony of Georgia in America; . . . and that they and their successors by that name shall and may forever hereafter, be persons able and capable In the law, to purchase, have, take, receive and enjoy, to them and their successors, any manors, messuages, lands, tenements, rents, advowsons, liberties, privileges, jurisdictions, franchises, and other hereditaments whatsoever, lying and being in Great Britain, or any part thereof, of whatsoever nature, kind or quality, or value they be, in fee and in perpetuity, not exceeding the yearly value of one thousand pounds, beyond reprises; also estates for lives, and for years, and all other manner of goods, chattels and things whatsoever they be; for the better settling and supporting, and maintaining the said colony, and other uses aforesaid; and to give, grant, let and demise the said manors, messuages, lands, tenements, hereditaments, goods, chattels and things whatsoever aforesaid, by lease or leases, for term of years, in possession at the time of granting thereof, and not in reversion, not exceeding the term of thirty-one years, from the time of granting thereof; . . . and that they . . . by the name aforesaid, shall and may forever hereafter, be persons able, capable in the law, to purchase, have, take, receive, and enjoy, to them and their successors, any lands, territories, possessions, tenements, jurisdictions, franchises and hereditaments whatsoever, lying and being in America, of what quantity, quality or value whatsoever they be, for the better settling and supporting and maintaining the said colony; . . . And our will and pleasure is, that the first president of the said corporation . . . shall be . . . the said Lord John Viscount Percival; and that the said president shall, within thirty days after the passing this charter, cause a summons to be issued to the several members of the said corporation herein particularly named, to meet at such time and place as he shall appoint, to consult about and transact the business of said corporation. And . . . we . . . direct, that the common council of this corporation shall consist of fifteen in number; and we do . . . appoint . . . John Lord Viscount Percival, . . . Edward Digby, George Carpenter, James Oglethorpe, George Heathcote, Thomas Laroche, James Vernon, William Beletha, esqrs., and Stephen Hales, Master of Arts, to be the common council of the said corporation, to continue in the said office during their good behavior. And whereas it is our royal intention, that the members of the said corporation should be increased by election, as soon as conveniently may be, to a greater number than is hereby nominated; . . . we do hereby . . . direct, that from the time of such increase of the members of the said corporation, the number of the common council shall be increased to twenty four; and that the same assembly at which such additional members of the said corporation shall be chosen, there shall likewise be elected in the manner hereinbefore directed for the election of common council men, nine persons to be the said common council men, and to make up the number twenty-four. And our further will and pleasure is, that . . . Edward Digby, esquire, shall be the first chairman of the common council of the said corporation; and that the said lord viscount Purcival shall be, and continue, president of the said corporation, and that the said Edward Digby shall be and continue chairman of the common council of the said corporation, respectively, until the meeting which shall be had next and immediately after the first meeting of the said corporation, or of the common council of the said corporation respectively, and no longer; . . . And we do hereby . . . direct, that the said corporation every year lay an account in writing before the chancellor, or speaker, or commissioners, for the custody of the great seal of Great Britain . . .; the Chief Justice of the Court of Kings' Bench, the Master of Rolls the Chief Justice of the Court of Common Pleas, and the chief Baron of the Exchequer . . ., or any two of them; of all moneys and effects by them received or expended, for carrying on the good purposes aforesaid. And we do hereby . . . give and grant unto the said corporation, and their successors, full power and authority to constitute, ordain and make, such and so many bylaws, constitutions, orders and ordinances, as to them . . . at their general meeting for that purpose, shall seem necessary and convenient for the well ordaining and-governing of the said corporation; . . . and in and by such bylaws, rules, orders and ordinances, to sell, impose and inflict, reasonable pains and penalties upon any offender or offenders, who shall trangress, break or violate the said bylaws, constitutions, orders and ordinances; . . . so always, as the said by-laws, constitutions, orders, and ordinances, pains and penalties . . ., be reasonable and not contrary or repugnant to the laws or statutes of this our realm; and that such by-laws, constitutions and ordinances, pains and penalties . . ., and any repeal or alteration thereof, or any of them, may be likewise agreed to be established and confirmed by the said general meeting of the said corporation, to be held and kept next after the same shall be respectively made. And whereas the said corporation intend to settle a colony, and to make an habitation and plantation in that part of our province of South-Carolina, in America, herein after described—Know ye, that we . . . do give and grant to the said corporation and their successors under the reservation, limitation and declaration, hereafter expressed, seven undivided parts, the whole in eight equal parts to be divided, of all those lands, countrys and territories, situate, lying and being in that part of South-Carolina, in America, which lies from the most northern part of a stream or river there, commonly called the Savannah, all along the sea coast to the southward, unto the most southern stream of a certain other great water or river called the Alatamaha, and westterly from the heads of the said rivers respectively, in direct lines to the south seas; and all that share, circuit and precinct of land, within the said boundaries, with the islands on the sea, lying opposite to the eastern coast of the said lands, within twenty leagues of the same, which are not inhabited already, or settled by any authority derived from the crown of Great Britain: . . . to be holden of us, our heirs-and successors as of our honour of Hampton-court, in our county of Middlesex in free and common soccage, and not in capite, yielding, and paying therefor to us . . . yearly forever, the sum of four shillings for every hundred acres of the said lands, which the said corporation shall grant, demise, plant or settle; the said payment not to commence or to be made, until ten years after such grant, demise, planting or settling; and to be answered and paid . . . in such manner and in such species of money or notes, as shall be current in payment, by proclamation from time to time, in our said province of South-Carolina. All which lands, countries, territories and premises . . . we do by these presents, make, erect and create one independent and separate province, by the name of Georgia.... And that all and every person or persons, who shall at any time hereafter inhabit or reside within our said province, shall be, and are hereby declared to be free, and shall not be subject to or be bound to obey any laws, orders, statutes or constitutions, which have been heretofore made, ordered or enacted by, for, or as, the laws, orders, statutes or constitutions of our said province of South-Carolina, (save and except only the [commander] in chief of the militia, of our said province of Georgia, to our governor for the time being of SouthCarolina, in manner hereafter declared;) but shall be subject to, and bound to obey, such laws, orders, statutes and constitutions as shall from time to time be made, ordered and enacted, for the better government of the said province of Georgia, in the manner hereinafter declared. And we do hereby . . . ordain . . . that for and during the term of twenty-one years, to commence from the date of these our letters patents the said corporation assembled for that purpose, shall and may form and prepare, laws, statutes and ordinances, fit and necessary for and concerning the government of the said colony, and not repugnant to the laws and statutes of England; and the same shall and may present under their common seal to us . . ., in our or their privy council for our or their approbation or disallowance: and the said laws, statutes and ordinances, being approved of by us . . ., in our or their privy council, shall from thence forth be in full force and virtue within our said province of Georgia. . . And for the greater ease and encouragement of our loving subjects and such others as shall come to inhabit in our said colony, we do . . . ordain, that forever hereafter, there shall be a liberty of conscience allowed in the worship of God, to all persons inhabiting, or which shall inhabit or be resident within our said province, and that all such persons, except papists, shall have a free exercise of religion, so they be contented with the quiet and peaceable enjoyment of the same, not giving offense or scandal to the government. And our further will and pleasure is, and we do hereby . . . declare and grant, that it shall and may be lawful for the said common council . . . to distribute, convey, assign and set over such particular portions of lands, tenements and hereditaments by these presents granted to the said corporation, unto such our loving subjects, natural born, denizens or others that shall be willing to become our subjects, and live under our allegiance in the said colony, upon such terms, and for such estates, and upon such rents, reservations and conditions as the same may be lawfully granted, and as to the said common council ... shall seem fit and proper.... Provided . . . that no greater quantity of lands be granted, either en full end and expiration of twenty-one years . . ., have full powet and authority to nominate, make, constitute and commission, ordain and appoint, by such name or names, style or styles, as to them shall seem meet and fitting, all and singular such governors, judges, magistrates, ministers and officers, civil and military, both by sea and land, within the said districts, as shall by them be thought fit and needful to be made or used for the said government of the said colony; save always, and except such offices only as shall by us . . . be from time to time constituted and appointed, for the managing collecting and receiving such revenues, as shall from time to time arise within the said province of Georgia, and become due to us . . . Provided always . . .. that every governor of the said province of Georgia, to be ap,)ointed by the common council of the said corporation, before he shall enter upon or execute the said office of governor, shall be approved by us . . ., and shall take such oaths, and shall qualify himself in such manner, in all respects, as any governor or commander in chief of any of our colonies or plantations in America, are by law required to do; and shall give good and sufficient security for observing the several acts of parliament relating to trade and navigation, and to observe and obey all instructions that shall be sent to him by us . . ., or any acting under our or their authority, pursuant to the said acts, or any of them. [The corporation may establish and train a militia, fortify and defend the colony, exercise martial law in time of war, &c.] And . . . Eve do . . . grant, that the governor and commander in chief of the province of South-Carolina . . . for the time being, shall at all times hereafter have the chief command of the militia of our said province . . . And . . . we . . . do give and grant, unto the said corporation and their successors, full ponver and authority to import and export their goods, at and from any port or ports that shall be appointed by us . . . within the said province of Georgia, for that purpose, without being obliged to touch at any other port in South-Carolina. And we do . . . will and declare, that from and after the termination of the said term or [off] twenty-one years, such form of government and method of making laws, statutes and ordinances, for the better governing and ordering the said province of Georgia, and the inhabitants thereof, shall be established and observed within tirely or in parcels, to or for the use, or in trust for any one person, than five hundred acres.... And we do hereby grant and ordain, that such person or persons, for the time being as shall be thereunto appointed by the said corporation, shall . . . have full power and authority to administer and give the oaths, appointed by an act of parliament, made in the first year of the reign of our late royal father, to be taken instead of the oaths of allegiance and supremacy; and also the oath of abjuration, to all and every person and persons which shall at any time be inhabiting or residing with our said colony; and in like cases to administer the solemn affirmation to any of the persons commonly called quakers, in such manner as by the laws of our realm of Great Britain, the same may be administered. And we do . . . ordain . . . that the said corporation and their successors, shall have full power and authority, for and during the terns of twenty one year . . ., to erect and constitute judicatories and courts of record, or other courts, to be held in the name of us . . . for the hearing and determining of all manner of crimes, offenses, pleas, processes, plaints, actions, matters, causes and things whatsoever, arising or happening, within the said province of Georgia, or between persons of Georgia; whether the same be criminal or civil, and whether the said crimes be capital or not capital, and whether the said pleas be real, personal or mixed: and for awarding and making out executions thereupon . . . And our further win and pleasure is, that the rents, issues and all other profits, which shall at any time hereafter come to the said corporation, [shall be applied in such manner as The said corporation] or the major part of them which shall be present at any meeting for that purpose assembled, shall think will most improve and enlarge the said colony, and best answer the good purposes herein before mentioned, and for defraying all other charges about the same. And our will and pleasure is, that the said corporation and their successors, shall from time to time give in to one of the principal secretaries of state, and to the commissioners of trade and plantations, accounts of the progresses of the said colony. . . . And our will and pleasure is, that the common council of the said corporation for the time being . . . shall . . . unto the
full end and expiration of twenty-one years . . ., have full power and authority to nominate, make, constitute and commission, ordain and appoint, by such name or names, style or styles, as to them shall seem meet and fitting, all and singular such governors, judges, magistrates, ministers and officers, civil and military, both by sea and land, within the said districts, as shall by them be thought fit and needful to be made or used for the said government of the said colony; save always, and except such offices only as shall by us . . . be from time to time constituted and appointed, for the managing collecting and receiving such revenues, as shall from time to time arise within the said province of Georgia, and become due to us . . . Provided always . . .. that every governor of the said province of Georgia, to be appointed by the common council of the said corporation, before he shall enter upon or execute the said office of governor, shall be approved by us . . ., and shall take such oaths, and shall qualify himself in such manner, in all respects, as any governor or commander in chief of any of our colonies or plantations in America, are by law required to do; and shall give good and sufficient security for observing the several acts of parliament relating to trade and navigation, and to observe and obey all instructions that shall be sent to him by us . . ., or any acting under our or their authority, pursuant to the said acts, or any of them. [The corporation may establish and train a militia, fortify and defend the colony, exercise martial law in time of war, &c.] And . . . we do . . . grant, that the governor and commander in chief of the province of South-Carolina . . . for the time being, shall at all times hereafter have the chief command of the militia of our said province . . . And . . . we . . . do give and grant, unto the said corporation and their successors, full power and authority to import and export their goods, at and from any port or ports that shall be appointed by us . . . within the said province of Georgia, for that purpose, without being obliged to touch at any other port in South-Carolina. And we do . . . will and declare, that from and after the termination of the said term or [of] twenty-one years, such form of government and method of making laws, statutes and ordinances, for the better governing and ordering the said province of Georgia, and the inhabitants thereof, shall be established and observed within the same, as we . . . shall hereafter ordain and appoint, and shall be agreeably to law; and that from and after the determination of the said term of twenty-one years, the governor of our said province of Georgia, and all officers civil and military, within the same, shall from time to time be nominated and constituted, and appointed by us . . .