“Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God. Give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God: Even as I please all men in all things, not seeking mine own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved.”
—I Corinthians 10:31-33
James Oglethorpe Founds Savannah, Georgia,
February 12, 1733
ike Confederate President Jefferson Davis, James Oglethorpe was the tenth and last child of a wealthy landowner, but in London, England rather than Fairview, Kentucky. James would eventually follow his father and two older brothers as a Member of Parliament. He dropped out of college to fight the Turks as an aide to the Duke of Savoy, returned to Corpus Christi, Oxford, but dropped out again, for good. Then, as now, most of the people in college did not belong there — James Oglethorpe was destined to become a social reformer, fort-builder, general, and founder of the Georgia Colony — the thirteenth of Britain’s North American Empire.
Memorial statue at the Augusta Common of James Oglethorpe (1696-1785), founder of the Georgia Colony
In 1728, one of Oglethorpe’s good friends, Robert Castell, was thrown into debtors’ prison. Such prisoners had to pay for their own lodging in jail and for their jailor’s salary. Unable to meet those fees, Castell was thrown into a cell with a smallpox-ridden prisoner and subsequently died from the same disease. Oglethorpe, from his position as an MP, launched a national campaign for prison reform. His concern for the condition of the poor led him to propose the establishment of a new colony in America that would provide an opportunity for the poor and debtors to start anew as farmers. The idea of a colony that would act as a pressure valve for the urban poor, and geographically provide a buffer between Carolina and Spanish Florida, so appealed to King George II that he granted a charter for that purpose.
An 1818 map of Savannah shows how the city preserved and elaborated on the original town plan laid out by James Oglethorpe