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Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1887-1889 and 1999. Virtualology.com warns that these 19th Century biographies contain errors and bias. We rely on volunteers to edit the historic biographies on a continual basis. If you would like to edit this biography please submit a rewritten biography in text form . If acceptable, the new biography will be published above the 19th Century Appleton's Cyclopedia Biography citing the volunteer editor



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Sir James Wright

WRIGHT, Sir James, bart., governor of Georgia, born in Charleston, South Carolina, about 1714; died in London, England, 20 November, 1785. His father, Robert, removed from Durham, England, to Charleston, and was chief justice of South Carolina for many years. The son was probably educated in England, studied law, and practised in Charleston. He was appointed agent of the province in Great Britain, and became chief justice and lieutenant-governor of South Carolina on 13 May, 1760. He was appointed royal governor of Georgia in 1764, and was the last to administer its affairs in the name of the king. He arrived in Savannah in October, 1764, and his management of affairs was successful until the passage of the stamp-act. He labored to convince the people that they should submit to the king's authority, but the governor's proclamations only served to exasperate them. On 5 December, 1766, his majesty's ship '" Speedwell" arrived in the Savannah river with the stamped paper, which was placed under the care of the commissary" but, on receiving news that the " Liberty boys" had determined to break open the fort and destroy the papers, the governor ordered a guard to prevent their seizure, and afterward had them removed to Fort George, on Cockspur island. In 1768 the governor charged the assembly with revolutionary conduct and dismissed it. On 17 June, 1775, several men-of-war arrived in Tybee, and, to prevent the governor from holding communication with them, Joseph Habersham entered his dwelling and took him prisoner" but the governor made his escape, and went to Bonaventure, whence he was conveyed to the armed ship "Scarborough," where he addressed a letter to his council. The assembly adjourned without giving Governor Wright an answer, and he then planned an attack upon the town, which proved unsuccessful, and he afterward sailed for England. In 1779 he was despatched to resume the government of Georgia. Savannah was at this time in possession of the British, and the Americans were endeavoring to recover it. The friends of General Wright say that, owing to his determination and spirit, the defence of his capital "was one of the most brilliant events of the war in the south," and would not have been made but for his deciding vote in the council of war. At the close of hostilities he retired to England, and his extensive property was confiscated, he was created a baronet on 8 December, 1772. Wrightsborough, Columbia County, Georgia, was named in his honor.--His brother, Jermyn, was in command of a fort on St. Mary's river, which became a rendezvous for the Tories of that part of the court-try, and was unsuccessfully assailed by the patriots. A severe writer calls it a "nest of villains." Another account is that Wright's force consisted of negroes. In 1778 he was attainted, and lost his estate. His name appears in the confiscation act of South Carolina in 1782.--James's son, James, succeeded his father in 1785. The Georgia Royalists were raised for him in 1779, but his name is found in connection with that corps only at the siege of Savannah, when his post was in a redoubt built of green wood strengthened by fillings of sand, and mounted with heavy cannon. He died in 1816 without issue, and his "title reverted to his grand-nephew, Sir James Alexander. -Another son, Alexander, born in 1751, married Elizabeth, the only daughter and heiress of John Izard, of South Carolina. At the close of the Revolution he settled in Jamaica, Wisconsin He was of "known and just influence."

Edited Appletons Encyclopedia, Copyright © 2001 VirtualologyTM

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