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STATE OF GEORGIA
COMPILED AND PUBLISHED UNDER AUTHORITY
ALLEN D. CANDLER
THE FRANKLIN PRINTING AND PUBLISHING COMPANY
GEO. W. HARRISON, STATE PRINTER.
The compilation of the Colonial and Revolutionary records of Georgia has been attended with unusual difficulties. These difficulties were due to the loss or destruction of many of the most important documents and record-books pertaining to those two periods of the history of the State. When Savannah fell into the hands of the British in December, 1778, the Secretary of State, Captain John Milton, by order of Governor Houstoun, conveyed the most important records of his office and that of the Governor to Charleston to prevent their capture by the enemy; but the older records, pertaining to the early Colonial period, and many of those relating to the period of the Royal Governors, were left behind and lost. Georgia's earliest historian, Captain Hugh McCall, who wrote about the beginning of the last century, in speaking of the records saved by Captain Milton says: "These records, principally belonging to the office of Secretary of State, were almost the only public papers of Georgia which were preserved." Of those thus saved at that time many were doubtless subsequently lost in their frequent removals from place to place in the effort to save them from capture; and many of those still in existence are in a mutilated and fragmentary condition. Prior to the fall of Charleston, in May, 1780, Secretary Milton again removed his records, this time overland in wagons from Charleston to Newbern, North Carolina, where he left them in the care of Governor Nash of that State, and returned to the army. Later on, when Georgia and South Carolina had been entirely overrun by the British and Tories, and North Carolina was invaded, and the Georgia records were again in danger of capture, Captain Milton got leave of absence from his command and carried them to Maryland, where they remained until after the close of the war, when they were brought back to Georgia. Thus were saved through the War of the Revolution most of the papers and documents pertaining to the office of Secretary of State, and a part, and only a part, of those belonging to the office of the Governor.
Nearly all of the papers relating to the twenty years of the government of the Trustees which had ever been in Georgia, and many of those relating to the period of the rule of the Royal Governors, were lost or
entirely destroyed during the progress of the war. Since the close of the Revolutionary struggle the capital of Georgia has been four times removed, and once occupied and sacked by a hostile army. In each of these removals doubtless many valuable papers which escaped destruction during the war for independence have been lost; and it is within the memory of many living residents of that city, that when Milledgeville was occupied by the Federal army in the winter of 1864, many important records and documents were taken out of the Capitol and either destroyed or carried away. At that time and in that way, many important papers relating to Georgia, and especially the part she had played in all the wars in which the United States had been engaged up to the war between the States, were irretrievably lost. In one or more of these ways many of the Journals of the Proceedings of the Legislature and the Minutes of the Governor and Council during the progress of the War of the Revolution perished, and never having been printed, and no manuscript copy of them ever having been made, they were totally destroyed or lost. To fill the gaps thus made in the legislative and executive history of our State recourse has been had to all other available sources of information-the acts of those Legislatures whose Journals have been lost, authentic contemporaneous publications in newspapers and books, old county records in the counties which were settled before the Revolutionary War, and to some publications of the Georgia Histor ical Society. While to supply the place of the lost records of the Revolutionary period has been so difficult and well-nigh impossible, it has not been so difficult as to the Colonial period. Fortunately for us, while comparatively few of them are to be found in Georgia, and many of those relating to the causes which led up to the War of the Revolution and its conduct and progress have been entirely lost, there are still preserved in the Public Records Offices in London either the originals or copies of most of these papers; and in 1837, sixty-five years ago, the Legislature, realizing the importance of having them on file in the Archives Rooms of our Capitol for the use of the people and the future historian, passed an act appropriating money for the purpose, and authorizing the Governor to appoint some fit and proper person to "repair to London for the purpose of procuring the Colonial records, or copies thereof, now in the Colonial Department of Great Britain, that relate to the history, and settlement of this State." In pursuance of the provisions of this act, Governor Gilmer, on the fifth of April, 1838, appointed the Reverend Charles Wallace Howard, a Presbyterian divine, eminent