James Edward Oglethorpe, founder of the colony of Georgia, born in London, Dec. 21, 1688, died at Cranham hall, Essex, June 30, 1785. He was commissioned an officer in the queen's guards in 1714, and as one of Prince Eugene's aides-de-camp participated in the campaigns against the Turks in 1716-'17, and took an active command at the celebrated siege and battle of Belgrade. He returned in 1722 to England, and in the same year was elected to parliament from Ilazelmere, which he represented for 32 years. He made a successful effort in parliament to improve the condition of the poor debtors confined in the London prisons, and projected a plan for a colony in North America to serve as an asylum for the oppressed Protestants of Germany and other continental states, "and for those persons at home who had become so desperate in circumstances that they could not rise and hope again without changing the scene and making trial of a different country." The unoccupied territory between Carolina and Florida was selected for the experiment.
In June, 1732, 21 "trustees for founding the colony of Georgia " were incorporated by letters patent; and in January, 1733, a party of colonists, under the guidance of Oglethorpe, who was appointed governor of the colony, arrived at Charleston. The narrative of his career in Georgia, until his final return to England in 1743, will be found in the article Georgia. During the invasion of the young pretender in 1745 he was appointed a major general. His conduct was repeatedly the subject of official inquiry, but he was acquitted. In 1765 he received the rank of general of all his majesty's forces.