Volumes XXXII, XXXIII, and XXXIV consist of the Trustees’ Entry Book of commissions, powers, instructions, leases and grants of land, agreements, appointments of various officials, orders and answers of the Trustees, letters of attorney, memorials or petitions to the King and various administrative offices and to Parliament, and annual abstracts of accounts, number of new settlers, and lands granted.
Most of the decisions which brought these documents into being are briefly referred to in the Journal of the Trustees or the Minutes of the Common Council of the Trustees (printed in Volumes I and II of this series). But the full documents give much more information not in the Journal or Minutes. Thus Trustee policy and changes in it can sometimes be more clearly seen than in previously published volumes.
There are more documents concerned with land granting than any other single topic. A number of these grants are in minute detail, but most refer to an earlier full grant or document. One thing made clear by these grants is that the Trustees were willing to grant inheritance rights to women and people other than the eldest son of the grantee, if the grantee requested it. These grants make it clear that women received considerably more inheritance rights than an adherence to the general rules of the Trustees would have allowed.
The documents in these volumes were written by Benjamin Martyn, the Secretary of the Trustees, and Harman Verelst, Accountant to the Trustees, apparently the only office force the Trustees ever had. Usually general matters were handled by Martyn and fiscal ones by Verelst, but both might write about any subject when the other was not available.
Little is known about Martyn and Vere 1st. There is a brief sketch of Martyn in the Dictionar of National Biography, XII, 1199-1200. Trevor R. Reese wrote “Benjamin Martyn, Secretary to the Trustees of Georgia,” Ga. Hist. Quarterly, XXXVIII, 142-147, and “Harman Verelst, Accountant to the Trustees,” ibid., XXXIX, 348-352.
This volume, the first in this series of three, shows Trustee in-decision and changes of policy, especially about land granting, early in the life of the Trust. As time went on things became more routine and there were fewer changes. As always in the Trustees’ life, much more work was done by the Common Council of the Trustees rather than by the full body of the Trustees.
The volume divisions created by Allen D. Candler and Lucian Lamar Knight, the original compilers of this series, have been retained. This will facilitate references in works already published which used these volumes in manuscript.
Original spellings are retained unless the meaning is not clear. (Note. The Old English thorn “th” was usually written and printed as “y” in the early eighteenth century. This has been kept throughout this text. Thus “ye” is “the,” “yt” is “that,” and “ym” is “them.”) All raised letters have been lowered, abbreviations that are not clear have been expanded, and slips of the pen have been corrected silently. A single word may be explained in brackets immediately after its appearance in the text. More lengthy explanations will be given in footnotes. Punctuation, often scarce in eighteenth century manuscripts, has been supplied sometimes for the sake of clarity, though many sentences are long by modern standards. No attempt at uniform spelling, even of proper names, has been attempted; rather the original text has been followed. For proper names, a single most common spelling has been used in tbe index.
In the manuscript there is no consistency in the system of money notation. Thus £1.7.10 might be written that way, £1:7:10, or £1..7..10. Colons have been left as written, but the .. has been changed to a single period. When the pound sign is given after the figure it is often written as a lower case 1 with a line through it (ł). These have been changed to£ for the sake of clarity.
Each document is given a short introduction which consists of the office of origin, date, Public Record Office location, and topic or topics treated.