By: Claire Revere, Kathryn McHenry, and Eileen Bates
Inspired by South Carolina’s decision to send delegates to theFirst Continental Congress, Georgians fed-up with the Britishgovernment’s refusal to listen to their complaints met inTondee’s Tavern. However, the majority of Georgians were notradicals. The majority wanted to keep British troops in Georgiato protect their frontier while being just radical enough not toanger South Carolina. Georgia’s economy relied heavily ontrade with Charleston, SC whose port was far bigger thanSavannah’s. If South Carolina had cut-off trade with them fornot being radical enough, that would have been disastrous forGeorgia’s economy (Golden). August 5, 1774 July 24, 1774 Royal governor Wright of Georgia learns about the meetings in Tondee’s Tavern and prohibits them. He is ignored.
At a follow-up meeting to the July 24th one, each Georgianparish had a representative. The Intolerable Acts were addressedand objected to. Georgia objected primarily to two acts withinthe Intolerable Acts: the Administration of Justice Act, whichprohibited British soldiers from being tried in America for crimesthey committed there, and the Quartering Act, which requiredcolonies to pay for the expenses of soldiers. Since Georgia wasrequesting for and relying upon British soldiers to protect themfrom Indian attacks, they were highly opposed to these acts.This meeting also established that any 11 members of thisquickly-growing group could organize to correspond with othercolonies on an official basis (Golden). August 10, 1774
The First Continental Congress convened in Philadelphia. Allof the thirteen colonies sent delegates except for Georgia.Georgia decided not to send delegates because they werefacing attacks from the Creek Indians on their borders (TheBritish has previously forced the Creek to cede over half amillion acres of their land) and badly needed the support ofBritish soldiers. They also worried about the British cuttingthem off from trade, from which Georgia had prosperedgreatly. By the early 1770s, Georgia was exporting over$56,000/year (worth about $1.75 million today) worth of rice,indigo, beef, and pork to England. September 1774 September 5, 1774 At the First Continental Congress, the Congress asked all colonies to join the Association that would ban trade from Britain. Georgia was reluctant to join the Association for similar reasons to why they were hesitant to go to the Continental Congress, both because they didn’t want to anger the British and lose any hope of military support during an Indian attack, but also because they had prospered under British rule and trade with Britain.
After hearing about the battles of Lexington and Concord, incendiary action on the part of the British, many Georgians became patriots. On this day in May, the Sons of Liberty stormed the royal magazine in Savannah and took all the ammunition from inside. It was some of the first radical action taken by the previously generally loyalist Georgians, and a significant step toward their later involvement in the revolution. January 18, 1775 May 11, 1775A provincial congress gathered inSavannah, Georgia, to decide whether or notrepresentatives should be elected to go the secondcontinental congress. The elected representativeschose not to go to Philadelphia, because they didn’tknow what action they would choose to take there.
Patriots began replacing royal authority with their own during this time period. In June they turned the celebration of the king’s birthday into a demonstration against him. They continued to “drink to the king” so to speak, but during the 2nd Provincial Congress, they really took the government into their own hands. This was the first time they actually named delegates to go to the ongoing continental congress. In addition, they finally joined the Association and local committees were established to actually enforce the bans on trade. And finally, they formed a Council of Safety to act when the provincial congress wasn’t in session that could raise troops and control the military, negotiate with natives, issue currency, and provide expenditures. May 25, 1775 June-July 1775This was the first time Georgia was represented at aContinental Congress, specifically by St. John’s Parish,who sent Lyman Hall. However, Hall didn’t feel that heaccurately represented Georgia well enough to actuallyvote, as he mostly supported radical parishes.
A local committee confronted a man, named Thomas Brown, inAugusta, who was notorious for encouraging the formation of acounter association. As he refused to swear loyalty to theAssociation, he was publicly tortured, and used to send a messageto others acting against it. Small skirmishes, and marches occurred,as Brown retreated to the Carolinas, and gained support from otherloyalists, until heeding to Governor Campbell of South Carolina’sadvice, of waiting to fight until the British arrived. August, 1775 August 22, 1775 While in this intermediary stage, Brown worked with Florida officials to recruit Indians to fight on the frontiers, when the British arrived. This would mean that the Georgians would not only be fighting the British on the coast, but also the Indians on the Florida border.
Under British commander, James Grant, a number of rice boatsanchored near Hutchinson Island were taken over. The Committee ofSafety in Savannah placed the British Royal Governor, James Wright,under house arrest, and gave Colonel McIntosh the duty of defendingthe city, as British warships had arrived.2 members holding a parley flag were arrested by the British, andMcIntosh opened fire. The Committee of Safety decided that to resistthe British attempt to seize supply ships, others would be burnt toprevent their capture. March 2-3, 1776 James Wright escaped confinement, and got safely to one of the British fleet ships; marking the end of British control in Georgia. It is unclear why they did not try to capture Savannah at the time, as they would return in 1778 to do so.
At the Provincial Congress meeting, a form of government wasdrafted, and implemented, called “Rules and Regulations”. Itincluded, but was not limited to the following principles: theywere to vote on a president, have a Council of Safety (made up of13 people, aimed to aid the president and restrict tyrannicalbehavior), follow the laws of The Association, and have oneChief-Justice and two assistant judges. This meeting wasunattended by, and free of British influence. July 4, 1776 May 1, 1776 The Provincial Congress sends Georgia delegates: George Walton, Button Gwinnett, and Lyman Hall, to the Philadelphia Convention, to sign the Declaration of Independence.
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