Item of the Day: Reasons for Establishing the Colony of Georgia (1733)

Full Title: Reasons for Establishing the Colony of Georgia, with regard to the Trade of Great Britain, the Increase of our People, and the Employment and Support it will afford to great Numbers of our own Poor, as well as foreign persecuted Protestants. With some Account of the Country, and the Design of the Trustees. By Benjamin Martin, Esq; Second Edition. London: Printed for W. Meadows, at the Angel in Cornhill, MDCCXXXIII.




IT is undoubtedly a self-evident Maxim, that the Wealth of a Nation consists in the Numbers of her People. But this holds true so far only, as Employment is, or can be found for them; if there be any Poor, who do not, or cannot add to the Riches of their Country by Labour, they must lie a dead Weight on the Publick; and as every wise Government, like the Bees, should not suffer any Drones in the State, these Poor should be situated in such Places, where they might be easy themselves, and useful to the Commonwealth. 

IF this can be done by transplanting such as are necessitous and starving here, and consequently unnecessary; it is incumbent on  us, at this Time more particularly, to promote and enlarge our Settlements abroad with unusual Industry, when the Attention of almost all the Powers in Europe is turn’d towards the Improvement of theirs. The French are continually underming us both in the East and West-Indies. The Emperor is attempting the same: Portugal owes her Riches chiefly to her Plantations: Sweden, Denmark, and Germany find themselves poor, because they have none at present, tho’ they abound with laborious Men. The Colonies of Spain supply the Want of Industry in her Natives, and Trade in her Towns: If the Scarcity of her People at home is imputed to them, I think it unjust; it is evidently owing to the Nature of her Government, her Religion, and its Inquisition: As may be seen by Italy, who has no Colonies, yet is thin of Inhabitants, especially in the Pope’s Dominions: And tho’ as rich a Soil as any in the World, yet her People are poor, and the Country in many Places uncultivated, by shutting up those, who would serve their Maker in a better Manner by being industrious, and would be more useful Members of Society as Plowmen than as Monks. IT is at all Times our Interest to naturalize as much as we can the Products of other Countries; especially such as we purchase of Foreigners with ready Money, or otherwise to our Disadvantage; such as are necessary or useful to support, or carry on our Manufactures: Such as we have a great Demand for: And such as we can raise ourselves as good in Kind as any other Country can furnish us with. Because by so doing we not only gain a new Provision for our Poor, and an Increase of our People by increasing their Employment; but by raising such Materials ourselves, our Manufactures come the cheaper to us, whereby we are  enabled to cope with other Nations in foreign Markets, and at the same Time prevent our Home Consumption of them being a Luxury too prejudicial to us.

I HOPE in the following Tract to  make these evidently appear, and shew the Advantages that must accrue to our Trade by establishing the Colony of Georgia. I shall give some Account of the Country, and the Proceedings of the Trustees, and with Candor take Notice of the Objections that are made to this Design, and endeavour to answer them in the clearest and fullest Manner I can. I think it may be proved that we have many, who are, and will be useless at home, and that the settling such a Colony with these, and the foreign persecuted Protestants is consistent with the Interest and Reputation of Great-Britain.TO show the Disadvantage under which we purchase some fo the Products of other Countries, I shall begin with the Italian Trade, the Balance of which is every Year above 300, 000 l. against us, as appears by Accounts taken from the Custom-house Books. And this Balance is occasion’d by the large Importation of Silk, bought there with our ready Money, tho’ we can raise Raw Silk of equal Goodness in Georgia, and are now enabled to work it up here in as great Perfection as the Italians themselves. THAT we can raise it, we have sufficient Proof by an Importation of it from Carolina for several Years, tho’ for want of Hands only to carry it on, the Quantity imported has been too small for any thing more than Trials. With many navigable Rivers for the Convenience of its Trade, the Country is extremely rich and fruitful. It produces white Mulberry-Trees wild, and in great Abundance. The Air, as it is healthy for Man, (the Latitude about 32,) is also proper for the Silk-worms; and as Care is the principal Thing requisite in nourishing and feeding these, every Person from Childhood to old Age can be of Use. But the Goodness of this Silk will appear fully by the following Letter from a Gentleman, whose Name will carry more Weight, than any Thing I can offer in behalf of it. This Letter was written to the Trustees for establishing the Colony. A Copy here of it is here Printed, with the Gentleman’s Leave. . . .   


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Filed under 1730's, Colonial America, Georgia, Great Britain, Posted by Caroline Fuchs

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