Georgia’s Slave and Lawyer-Free Origins
Englishman James Edward Oglethorpe founded the slave-free colony of Georgia despite being a director of the King’s Royal African Company – considering it “unsafe to have another race in the midst of an infant colony.” Many years after his final return to England he wrote: “Slavery is against the gospel, as well as fundamental law of England. We refused, as trustees, to make a law permitting such a horrid crime.” Constantly overruling colonial legislatures in America who became alarmed by large British slave importations to work the plantations, the Crown put profit before humanity.
Bernhard Thuersam, Chairman
North Carolina War Between the States Sesquicentennial Commission
"The Official Website of the North Carolina WBTS Sesquicentennial"
Georgia’s Slave-Free Origins
“Even before Oglethorpe went home to England to stay, the original noble aims of the colony began to disintegrate right before his eyes. The people were loud on lamentations over the restrictions imposed upon them. They wanted slaves, so they could be gentlemen, like their South Carolina neighbors, and not be compelled to work in the fields themselves, under the hot sun.  They wanted to be as other people were, which is the rock upon which most utopias split.
The colonists began to desert the city. Some went across the Savannah to South Carolina. Savannah almost disappeared as a city at one time toward the end of Oglethorpe’s tenure, dwindling to a population of about five hundred from a peak of about five thousand reached in the first six years of the colony.
Prohibition was a failure, only reacting in lawlessness. Rum was bootlegged into the colony. Grogshops operated openly on Savannah street corners. Juries would not convict their fellow citizens. Liquor cases were transferred to trial before judges, without a jury, But the judges were equally lenient, for they indulged in drink themselves. Finally, in 1742, the Trustees relented and permitted the importation of rum, but required that it could be purchased only with an exchange of products of the colony, so that the trade would benefit.
Oglethorpe was sound and farseeing in his opposition to slavery and continued, to the end, to resist its extension to his colony; but this utopian scheme vanished, too, after he had gone back to England.  Those who could afford slaves found a way around the law.  The scheme was to lease them from Carolina on a hundred-year lease, with payment of the full market price. In 1748 the Trustees yielded on slavery, worn down by the agitation and discontent. [R]estrictions were imposed common to the slavery system as it existed elsewhere, such as no labor on Sunday, registration of the slaves in the colonial records, no intermarriage with whites, instruction in the Christian religion.
For the first time, with the beginning of royal government under a royal governor [after Oglethorpe], the colony had an organization of local government. Georgia, it was decreed, should be “free from the pest and scourge of mankind called lawyers.” Lawyers were eventually permitted in the colony…[and] One of the first acts of the assembly was to frame and adopt a code for slavery as a substitute for the earlier “regulations” of the Trustees.
A colony of Puritans who had migrated from Massachusetts and settled in Carolina in the early days of that colony moved into Georgia in 1752. They occupied a tract of 32,000 acres between the Savannah and Altamaha Rivers below Savannah. This settlement was called Midway, as it was halfway between the two streams. They brought 1,500 slaves with them.”
(The Savannah, More Than a Story of a River, Thomas L. Stokes, University of Georgia Press, 1951, pp. 116-124)