Calendar, 1738-1777, to the James Glen Papers

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Biographical Note

A native of Linlithgow, Scotland, James Glen (1701-1777) served as Governor of S.C. from 1738 to 1756, but did not actually arrive in the province until 1743.

South Carolina historian David Duncan Wallace assessed Glen's administration as "one of the best, as well as longest in service, of all our governors."

After stepping down as governor in 1756 to be succeeded by William Henry Lyttleton (1720-1808), Glen remained in South Carolina until 1761. Glen's sister, Margaret, married S.C. planter John Drayton, Jr. in 1752; after Glen's departure from S.C., Drayton managed Glen's business affairs in the colony.


One hundred and eight manuscripts of colonial governor James Glen include official government documents, papers concerning relations with Native American Indians, business papers relating to his ownership of a South Carolina rice plantation, and correspondence between Glen and S.C. planter, John Drayton (1713-1779), who was married to Glen's sister Margaret (d.1772). The union between the families is recorded in a marriage settlement signed by Glen, Drayton, and Margaret Glen.

Among the official papers, the most important are Glen's leadership instructions signed by King George II (1727-1760), an undated letter from six Cherokee leaders signed with their marks and referring to future relations, and the text of seventeen articles of a treaty regulating Indian affairs. In a forty-eight page address delivered to the Assembly in 1750, Glen reviews "our situation with regard to Indians," discusses his agreement with Indian trader Charles MacNair, gives a detailed account of MacNair's activities among the Choctaws, and denounces his conduct.

The papers contain another speech by Glen delivered 11 July 1753 to King Malatchi, the Redcoat King, the Wolf King, the Otaffee King, and other Indians. A number of the documents concern Glen's meeting in 1755 with the Cherokees at Saluda Old Town in Saluda County, S.C. Glen made use of these documents in filing a claim for his private funds expended in providing food and other provisions at the conference.

After Glen's departure from South Carolina, his brother-in-law John Drayton managed his business affairs in the colony. Yearly crop accounts and the letters of Drayton indicate Glen's income and expenditures for plantation supplies, articles of clothing for African-American slaves, and wages for overseers. Drayton informs Glen of injuries, runaways, and deaths among the slaves and in one instance records a payment of £15 to constable Thomas Woodward for apprehending the man "who Stoled Your negroe Savannah." In a memorandum compiled around 1773, Glen presents an itemized statement of his annual income, his "constant yearly unavoidable expense," and a statement of his financial affairs since returning from S.C.

The correspondence between Drayton and Glen, 1761-1775, consists of thirteen letters written by Drayton to Glen and two letters from Glen to Drayton. While Drayton managed Glen's business affairs in S.C., Glen attempted to look after Drayton's sons who were studying in England. Drayton's lengthy letters apprise Glen of his earnings from investments, complain of his sons' conduct, and report political and economic developments. The expenditures of his sons and their apparent disregard of scholarly pursuits is a constant refrain of Drayton. When Charles Drayton failed to appear for a college examination in 1769, Drayton lamented, "Charles little knows the many hot summers day I have been out in the field broiling my Head, while he is spending with ease & pleasure what I so hard fatigued for." His anger was not exclusively vented upon Charles, for Glennie "is wild & ungovernable."

The correspondence occasionally reveals a straining in the kindly feeling of kinship between the two men. Drayton and Glen apparently disagreed over their accounts, and Glen berated Drayton for his critical opinion of his sons. When Glen's sister (Drayton's wife) died in Scotland in 1772, Glen sends a letter from Lithingow insinuating Drayton had not furnished her "a necessary provision." Mrs. Drayton's death severed a link between the men. In 1776 Glen advised William Henry Drayton that his father had ignored his delinquent account and by "this cruel and unjust treatment has put a final period to all future correspondence between him and me."

The papers also include 2 documents, 26 December 1749 and 8 July 1752, concerning a surveyor's report and deed of land in Fredricksburg Township, Craven County, N.C.; land grant and plat, 5 September 1750, George Brown, signed by James Glen; and a manuscript, 29 September 1838, with genealogical notes copied from A History of the Glen family of South Carolina and Georgia (published 1923), by J.G.B. Bulloch.


Abbreviations / Legend

ADS = autograph document signed

ALS = autograph letter signed

ALS(T) = transcribed copy of autograph letter signed

DS = document signed

LS = letter signed

MP = printed manuscript

MS = manuscript

n.d. = undated

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