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Biographical Memorials of James Oglethorpe   By:

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BIOGRAPHICAL MEMORIALS OF JAMES OGLETHORPE,

FOUNDER OF THE COLONY OF GEORGIA, IN NORTH AMERICA.

by THADDEUS MASON HARRIS, D.D.

MEMBER OF THE AMERICAN ACADEMY OF ARTS AND SCIENCES; OF THE ARCHAEOLOGICAL SOCIETY AT ATHENS, GREECE; OF THE MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY; THE NEW YORK HISTORICAL SOCIETY; THE AMERICAN ANTIQUARIAN SOCIETY; AND CORRESPONDING MEMBER OF THE GEORGIA HISTORICAL SOCIETY.

MDCCCXLI.

TO THE PRESIDENT, THE VICE PRESIDENTS, THE OFFICERS AND MEMBERS

OF THE

GEORGIA HISTORICAL SOCIETY,

THIS WORK IS

RESPECTFULLY DEDICATED.

TO I.K. TEFFT, ESQ., WILLIAM B. STEVENS, M.D., AND A.A. SMETS, ESQ., OF SAVANNAH ;

WITH A LIVELY SENSE OF THE INTEREST WHICH THEY HAVE TAKEN IN THE PUBLICATION OF THIS WORK, THIS PAGE IS INSCRIBED BY THEIR OBLIGED AND GRATEFUL FRIEND,

THADDEUS MASON HARRIS.

"Thy great example will in glory shine, A favorite theme with Poet and Divine; Posterity thy merits shall proclaim, And add new honor to thy deathless fame."

On his return from Georgia , 1735.

[Illustration: GEN. JAMES OGLETHORPE. This sketch was taken in February preceding his decease when he was reading without spectacles at the sale of the library of Dr. S. Johnson.

PREFACE

Having visited the South for the benefit of my health, I arrived at Savannah, in Georgia, on the 10th of February, 1834; and, indulging the common inquisitiveness of a stranger about the place, was informed that just one hundred and one years had elapsed since the first settlers were landed there, and the city laid out. Replies to other inquiries, and especially a perusal of McCall's History of the State, excited a lively interest in the character of General OGLETHORPE, who was the founder of the Colony, and in the measures which he pursued for its advancement, defence, and prosperity. I was, however, surprised to learn that no biography had been published of the man who projected an undertaking of such magnitude and importance; engaged in it on principles the most benevolent and disinterested; persevered till its accomplishment, under circumstances exceedingly arduous, and often discouraging; and lived to see "a few become a thousand," and a weak one "the flourishing part of a strong nation."

So extraordinary did Dr. Johnson consider the adventures, enterprise, and exploits of this remarkable man, that "he urged him to give the world his life." He said, "I know of no man whose life would be more interesting. If I were furnished with materials, I would be very glad to write it." This was a flattering offer. The very suggestion implied that the great and worthy deeds, which Oglethorpe had performed, ought to be recorded for the instruction, the grateful acknowledgment, and just commendation of contemporaries; and their memorial transmitted with honor to posterity. "The General seemed unwilling to enter upon it then;" but, upon a subsequent occasion, communicated to Boswell a number of particulars, which were committed to writing; but that gentleman "not having been sufficiently diligent in obtaining more from him," death closed the opportunity of procuring all the requisite information.

There was a memoir drawn up soon after his decease, which has been attributed to Capel Lofft, Esq., and published in the European Magazine. This was afterwards adopted by Major McCall; and, in an abridged form, appended to the first volume of his History of Georgia. It is preserved, also, as a note, in the second volume of Nichols's Literary Anecdotes of the Eighteenth Century, with some references and additional information. But it is too brief and meagre to do justice to the memory of one of whom it has been said, "His life was full of variety, adventure, and achievement. His ruling passions were, the love of glory, of his country, and of mankind; and these were so blended together in his mind that they formed but one principle of action. He was a hero, a statesman, an orator; the patron of letters, the chosen friend of men of genius, and the theme of praise for great poets... Continue reading book >>




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