AN HISTORICAL ACCOUNT OF THE RISE AND PROGRESS OF THE COLONIES OF SOUTH CAROLINA AND GEORGIA
In Two Volumes.
By ALEXANDER HEWATT
CONTENTS OF THE SECOND VOLUME
The form of legal governments. Sir Alexander Cumming sent out to treat of peace with the Indians. Brings with him to England seven Cherokees. Who enter into a treaty of peace and alliance. Speech of a Cherokee warrior. Robert Johnson governor. Several indulgences granted the people. Happy effects of peace and security. A project formed for planting a new colony. James Oglethorpe carries a colony to Georgia. He treats with Indians for a share of their lands. Tomochichi's speech to the King. His Majesty's answer. Indians easiest managed by gentle and fair means. The colony of Switzers brought Carolina. Eleven townships marked out. A struggle about lands. State of the colony. The regulation of the Trustees. Their impolitical restrictions. Two colonies of Highlanders and Germans sent out. Thomas Broughton Lieut.-governor of Carolina. Oglethorpe fortifies Georgia. Which gives umbrage to the Spaniards. The brave Chickesaws defeat the French. Religious state of the colony. The association of Presbyterians. Remarks on paper currency. Small progress of Georgia. Hardships of the first settlers. An Irish colony planted.
Trade obstructed by the Spaniards of Mexico. William Bull Lieutenant-governor. Oglethorpe's regiment sent to Georgia. The Spaniards try in vain to seduce the Creeks. Matters hastening to a rupture with Spain. Mutiny in Oglethorpe's camp. A negro insurrection in Carolina. A war with Spain. A project for invading Florida. Measures concerted for this purpose. General Oglethorpe marches against Florida. Invests Augustine. Raises the siege. A great fire at Charlestown. A petition in favour of the rice trade. Remarks on the treatment of slaves. The hardships of their situation. Oppressed with ignorance and superstition. James Glen governor. Lord Carteret's property divided from that of the Crown. The country much exposed to invasion. The Spaniards invade Georgia. A stratagem to get rid of the enemy. The Spaniards retreat to Augustine. Ill treatment of General Oglethorpe. His character cleared, and conduct vindicated. The Carolineans petition for three independent companies. The colony's advantages from Britain. Its advantage and importance to Britain.
All commotions and oppressions in Europe favourable to America. Cultivation attended with salutary effects. Mean heat in Carolina. The diseases of the country. Climate favourable to the culture of indigo. The manner of cultivating and making indigo. The common methods of judging of its quality. Nova Scotia settled. The great care of Britain for these colonies. Low state of Georgia. Complaint of the people. Troubles excited by Thomas Bosomworth. With difficulty settled. The charter surrendered to the King. George Whitfield's settlement. Whitfield's orphan-house. Sketch of his character. A congress with Creeks. The Governor's speech to them. Malatchee's answer. A hurricane at Charlestown. The advantages of poor settlers in the province. The advantages of money-lenders. And of the borrowers. Great benefits enjoyed by the colonists. Progress of the province.
A dispute about the limits of British and French territories. A chain of forts raised by the French. The distracted state of the British colonies. General Braddock's defeat in Virginia. Colonel Johnson's success at Lake George. Governor Glen holds a congress with the Cherokees. And purchases a large tract of land from them. Forts built in defence of Carolina. Its excellent fruits and plants. Its minerals undiscovered. The British forces augmented. Their first success in America. The cause of the Cherokee war. Governor Lyttleton prepares to march against them. The Cherokees sue for peace. Governor Lyttleton marches against the Cherokees. Holds a congress at Fort Prince George. His speech to Attakullakulla. Attakullakulla's answer. A treaty concluded with six chiefs. The Governor returns to Charlestown. The treaty of peace broken. Occonostota's stratagem for killing the officer of the fort. The war becomes general. Colonel Montgomery arrives. And marches against the Cherokees. Chastises them near Etchoe. And returns to Fort Prince George. The consternation of the inhabitants from Indians. Great distress of the garrison at Fort Loudon. The terms obtained for the garrison. Treacherously broken by the savages. A proposal for attacking Fort Prince George. Captain Stuart escapes to Virginia. The war continues. The Highlanders return to Carolina. Colonel Grant marches against the Cherokees. Engages and defeats them. Destroys their towns. Peace with the Cherokees. A quarrel between the commanding officers. A whirlwind at Charlestown. Of the heat at Savanna.
A peace, and its happy effects respecting America. Boundaries of East and West Florida. The southern provinces left secure. Encouragement given to reduced officers and soldiers. Georgia begins to flourish. A plan adopted for encouraging emigrations to Carolina. A number of Palatines seduced into England. Sent into Carolina. And settled at Londonderry. Some emigrate from Britain, and multitudes from Ireland. And from the northern colonies, resort to Carolina. Regulations for securing the provinces against Indians. John Stuart made superintendant for Indian affairs. Decrease of Indians, and the causes of it. Present state of Indian nations in the southern district. Mr. Stuart's first speech to the Indians, at Mobile. A description of Charlestown. The number of its inhabitants. A general view of the manners, &c. of the people. And of their way of living. The arts and sciences only of late encouraged. The militia and internal strength of the province. Of its societies formed for mutual support and relief. Of its merchants and trade. Of its planters and agriculture. An interruption of the harmony between Britain and her colonies, and the causes of it. The new regulations made in the trade of the colonies give great offence. A vote passed for charging stamp-duties on the Americans. Upon which the people of New England discover their disaffection to government. An opportunity given the colonies to offer a compensation for the stamp-duty. The stamp-act passes in parliament. Violent measures taken to prevent its execution. The assembly of Carolina study ways and means of eluding the act. Their resolutions respecting the obedience due to the British parliament. The people become more violent in opposition to government. The merchants and manufacturers in England join in petitioning for relief. The stamp-act repealed. Which proves fatal to the jurisdiction of the British parliament in America. And gives occasion of triumph to the colonies.
THE HISTORY OF THE RISE AND PROGRESS OF THE COLONY OF SOUTH CAROLINA.
[Sidenote] The form of legal governments.
From that period in which the right and title to the lands of Carolina were sold, and surrendered to the King, and he assumed the immediate care and government of the province, a new aera commences in the annals of that country, which may be called the aera of its freedom, security, and happiness. The Carolineans who had long laboured under innumerable hardships and troubles, from a weak proprietary establishment, at last obtained the great object of their desires, a royal government, the constitution of which depended on commissions issued by the crown to the Governor, and the instructions which attended those commissions. The form of all provincial governments was borrowed from that of their mother country, which was not a plan of systematic rules drawn before-hand by speculative men, but a constitution which was the result of many ages of wisdom and experience. Its great object is the public good, in promoting of which all are equally concerned. It is a constitution which has a remedy within itself for every political disorder, which, when properly applied, must ever contribute to its stability and duration. After the model of this British constitution the government of Carolina now assumed a form like the other regal ones on the continent, which were composed of three branches, of a Governor, a Council, and an Assembly. The crown having the appointment of the Governor, delegates to him; its constitutional powers, civil and military, the power of legislation as far as the King possesses it; its judicial and executive powers, together with those of chancery and admiralty jurisdiction, and also those of supreme ordinary: all these powers, as they exist in the crown, are known by the laws of the realm; as they are entrusted to Governors, they are declared and defined by their commissions patent. The council, though differing in many respects from the house of peers, are intended to represent that house, and are appointed by the King during pleasure, for supporting the prerogatives of the crown in the province. The Assembly consists of the representatives of the people, and are elected by them as the House of Commons in Great Britain, to be the guardians of their lives, liberties, and properties. Here also the constitution confides in the good behaviour of the representatives; for should they presume in any respect to betray their trust, it gives the people more frequent opportunities than even in Britain, of chusing others in their stead. The Governor convenes, prorogues, and dissolves these Assemblies, and has a negative on the bills of both houses. After bills have received his assent, they are sent to Great Britain for the royal approbation, in consequence of which they have the force of laws in the province. This is a general sketch of the royal governments, which are intended to resemble the constitution of Great Britain, as nearly as the local circumstances of the provinces will admit, and which, notwithstanding its imperfections, is certainly the best form of government upon earth. By the instructions which the Governor receives from time to time from England, his power no doubt is greatly circumscribed; but it is his duty to transmit authentic accounts of the state of his province, in order that the instructions given him may be proper, and calculated for promoting not only the good of the province, but also that of the British empire.
[Sidenote] Sir Alexander Cumming sent out to treat of peace with the Indians.
After the purchase of the province, the first object of the royal concern was, to establish the peace of the colony on the most firm and permanent foundation; and for this purpose treaties of union and alliance with Indian nations were judged to be essentially necessary. Domestic security being first established, the colonists might then apply themselves to industry with vigour and success, and while they enriched themselves, they would at the same time enlarge the commerce and trade of the mother-country. For this purpose Sir Alexander Cumming was appointed, and sent out to conclude a treaty of alliance with the Cherokees, at this time a warlike and formidable nation of savages. These Indians occupied the lands about the head of Savanna river, and backwards among the Apalachian mountains. The country they claimed as their hunting grounds was of immense extent; and its boundaries had never been clearly ascertained. The inhabitants of their different towns were computed to amount to more than twenty thousand, six thousand of whom were warriors, fit on any emergency to take the field. An alliance with such a nation was an object of the highest consequence to Carolina, and likewise to the mother-country, now engaged for its defence and protection.
[Sidenote] Brings with him to England seven Cherokees.
About the beginning of the year 1730, Sir Alexander arrived in Carolina, and made preparations for his journey to the distant hills. For his guides he procured some Indian traders, well acquainted with the woods, and an interpreter who understood the Cherokee language, to assist him in his negociations. When he reached Keowee, abort three hundred miles from Charlestown, the chiefs of the lower towns there met him, and received him with marks of great friendship and esteem. He immediately dispatched messengers to the middle, the valley, and over-hill settlements, and summoned a general meeting of all their chiefs, to hold a congress with him at Nequassee. Accordingly in the month of April the chief warriors of all the Cherokee towns assembled at the place appointed. After the various Indian ceremonies were over, Sir Alexander made a speech to them, acquainting them by whose authority he was sent, and representing the great power and goodness of his sovereign King George; how he, and all his other subjects, paid a cheerful obedience to his laws, and of course were protected by him from all harm: That he had come a great way to demand of Moytoy, and all the chieftains of the nation, to acknowledge themselves the subjects of his King, and to promise obedience to his authority: and as he loved them, and was answerable to his Sovereign for their good and peaceable behaviour, he hoped they would agree to what he should now require of them. Upon which the chiefs, falling on their knees, solemnly promised fidelity and obedience, calling upon all that was terrible to fall upon them if they violated their promise. Sir Alexander then, by their unanimous consent, nominated Moytoy commander and chief of the Cherokee nation, and enjoined all the warriors of the different tribes to acknowledge him for their King, to whom they were to be accountable for their conduct. To this they also agreed, provided Moytoy should be made answerable to Sir Alexander for his behaviour to them. After which many useful presents were made them, and the congress ended to the great satisfaction of both parties. The crown was brought from Tenassee, their chief town, which with five eagle tails, and four scalps of their enemies, Moytoy presented to Sir Alexander, requesting him, on his arrival at Britain, to lay them at his Majesty's feet. But Sir Alexander proposed to Moytoy, that he should depute some of their chiefs to accompany him to England, there to do homage in person to the great King. Accordingly six of them agreed, and accompanied Sir Alexander to Charlestown, where being joined by another, they embarked for England in the Fox man of war, and arrived at Dover in June 1730.
[Sidenote] Who enter into a treaty of peace and alliance.
We shall not pretend to describe their behaviour at the sight of London, or their wonder and astonishment at the greatness of the city, the number of the people, and the splendour of the army and court. Being admitted into the presence of the King, they, in the name of their nation, promised to continue for ever his Majesty's faithful and obedient subjects. A treaty was accordingly drawn up, and signed by Alured Popple, secretary to the Lords Commissioners of trade and plantations, on one side; and by the marks of the six chiefs, on the other. The preamble to this treaty recites, "That whereas the six Chiefs, with the consent of the whole nation of Cherokees, at a general meeting of their nation at Nequassee, were deputed by Moytoy, their chief warrior, to attend Sir Alexander Cumming to Great Britain, where they had seen the great King George: and Sir Alexander, by authority from Moytoy and all the Cherokees, had laid the crown of their nation, with the scalps of their enemies and feathers of glory, at his Majesty's feet, as a pledge of their loyalty: And whereas the great King had commanded the Lords Commissioners of trade and plantations to inform the Indians, that the English on all sides of the mountains and lakes were his people, their friends his friends, and their enemies his enemies; that he took it kindly the great nation of Cherokees had sent them so far, to brighten the chain of friendship between him and them, and between his people and their people; that the chain of friendship between him and the Cherokees is now like the sun, which shines both in Britain and also upon the great mountains where they live, and equally warms the hearts of Indians and Englishmen; that as there is no spots or blackness in the sun, so neither is there any rust or foulness on this chain. And as the King had fastened one end to his breast, he defied them to carry the other end of the chain and fasten it to the breast of Moytoy of Telliquo, and to the breasts of all their old wise men, their captains, and people, never more to be made loose or broken.
"The great King and the Cherokees being thus fastened together by a chain of friendship, he has ordered, and it is agreed, that his children in Carolina do trade with the Indians, and furnish them with all manner of goods they want, and to make haste to build houses and plant corn from Charlestown, towards the towns of Cherokees behind the great mountains: That he desires the English and Indians may live together as children of one family; that the Cherokees be always ready to fight against any nation, whether white men or Indians, who shall dare to molest or hurt the English; that the nation of Cherokees shall, on their part, take care to keep the trading path clean, that there be no blood on the path where the English tread, even though they should be accompanied with other people with whom the Cherokees may be at war: That the Cherokees shall not suffer their people to trade with white men of any other nation but the English, nor permit white men of any other nation to build any forts or cabins, or plant any corn among them, upon lands which belong to the great King: and if any such attempt shall be made, the Cherokees must acquaint the English Governor therewith, and do whatever he directs, in order to maintain and defend the great King's right to the country of Carolina: That if any negroes shall run away into the woods from their English masters, the Cherokees shall endeavour to apprehend them, and bring them to the plantation from whence they run away, or to the Governor, and for every slave so apprehended and brought back, the Indian that brings him shall receive a gun and a watch-coat: and if by any accident it shall happen, that an Englishman shall kill a Cherokee, the King or chief of the nation shall first complain to the English Governor, and the man who did the harm shall be punished by the English laws as if he had killed an Englishman; and in like manner, if any Indian happens to kill an Englishman, the Indian shall be delivered up to the Governor, to be punished by the same English laws as if he were an Englishman."
This was the substance of the first treaty between the King and the Cherokees, every article of which was accompanied with presents of different kinds, such as cloth, guns, shot, vermilion, flints, hatchets, knives. The Indians were given to understand, "That these were the words of the great King, whom they had seen, and as a token that his heart was open and true to his children the Cherokees, and to all their people, a belt was given the warriors, which they were told the King desired them to keep, and shew to all their people, to their children, and children's children, to confirm what was now spoken, and to bind this agreement of peace and friendship between the English and Cherokees, as long as the rivers shall run, the mountains shall last, or the sun shall shine."
[Sidenote] Speech of a Cherokee warrior.
This treaty, that it might be the easier understood, was drawn up in language as similar as possible to that of the Indians, which at this time was very little known in England, and given to them, certified and approved by Sir Alexander Cumming. In answer to which, Skijagustah, in name of the rest, made a speech to the following effect:—"We are come hither from a mountainous place, where nothing but darkness is to be found—but we are now in a place where there is light.—There was a person in our country—he gave us a yellow token of warlike honour, which is left with Moytoy of Telliquo,—and as warriors we received it.—He came to us like a warrior from you.—A man he is;—his talk is upright—and the token he left preserves his memory among us.—We look upon you as if the great King were present;—we love you as representing the great King;—we shall die in the same way of thinking.—The crown of our nation is different from that which the great King George wears, and from that we saw in the tower.—But to us it is all one.—The chain of friendship shall be carried to our people.—We look upon the great King George as the Sun, and as our father, and upon ourselves as his children.—For though we are red, and you are white, yet our hands and hearts are joined together.—When we shall have acquainted our people with what we have seen, our children from generation to generation will always remember it.—In war we shall always be one with you. The enemies of the great King shall be our enemies;—his people and ours shall be one, and shall die together.—We came hither naked and poor as the worms of the earth, but you have every thing,—and we that have nothing must love you, and will never break the chain of friendship which is between us.—Here stands the Governor of Carolina, whom we know.—This small rope we show you is all that we have to bind our slaves with, and it may be broken.—But you have iron chains for yours.—However, if we catch your slaves, we will bind them as well as we can, and deliver them to our friends, and take no pay for it.—We have looked round for the person that was in our country—he is not here;—however, we must say he talked uprightly to us, and we shall never forget him.—Your white people may very safely build houses near us;—we shall hurt nothing that belongs to them, for we are children of one father, the great King, and shall live and die together." Then laying down his feathers upon the table he added: "This is our way of talking, which is the same thing to us as your letters in the book are to you, and to you beloved men we deliver these feathers in confirmation of all we have said."
The Cherokees, however barbarous, were a free and independent people; and this method of obtaining a share of their lands by the general consent, was fair and honourable in itself, and most agreeable to the general principles of equity, and the English constitution. An agreement is made with them, in consequence of which the King could not only give a just title to Indian lands; but, by Indians becoming his voluntary subjects, the colonists obtained peaceable possession. The Cherokees held abundance of territory from nature, and with little injury to themselves could spare a share of it; but reason and justice required that it be obtained by paction or agreement. By such treaties mutual presents were made, mutual obligations were established, and, for the performance of the conditions required, the honour and faith of both parties were pledged. Even to men in a barbarous state such policy was the most agreeable, as will afterwards clearly appear; for the Cherokees, in consequence of this treaty, for many years, remained in a state of perfect friendship and peace with the colonists, who followed their various employments in the neighbourhood of those Indians, without the least terror or molestation.
[Sidenote] Robert Johnson Governor.
About the beginning of the year 1731, Robert Johnson, who had been Governor of Carolina while in the possession of the Lords Proprietors, having received a commission from the King, investing him with the same office and authority, arrived in the province. He brought back these Indian chiefs, possessed with the highest ideas of the power and greatness of the English nation, and not a little pleased with the kind and generous treatment they had received. The Carolineans, who had always entertained the highest esteem for this gentleman, even in the time of their greatest confusion, having now obtained him in the character of King's Governor, a thing they formerly had so earnestly desired, received him with the greatest demonstrations of joy. Sensible of his wisdom and virtue, and his strong attachment to the colony, they promised themselves much prosperity and happiness under his gentle administration.
This new Governor, from his knowledge of the province, and the dispositions of the people, was not only well qualified for his high office, but he had a council to assist him, composed of the most respectable inhabitants. Thomas Broughton was appointed Lieutenant-governor, and Robert Wright Chief Justice. The other members of the council were, William Bull, James Kinloch, Alexander Skene, John Fenwick, Arthur Middleton, Joseph Wragg, Francis Yonge, John Hamerton, and Thomas Waring. At the first meeting of Assembly, the Governor recommended to both houses, to embrace the earliest opportunity of testifying their gratitude to his Majesty for purchasing seven-eight parts of the province, and taking it under his particular care; he enjoined them to put the laws in execution against impiety and immorality, and as the most effectual means of discouraging vice, to attend carefully to the education of youth. He acquainted them of the treaty which had been concluded in England with the Cherokees, which he hoped would be attended with beneficial and happy consequences; he recommended the payment of public debts, the establishment of public credit, and peace and unanimity among themselves as the chief objects of their attention; for if they should prove faithful subjects to his Majesty, and attend to the welfare and prosperity of their country, he hoped soon to see it, now under the protection of a great and powerful nation, in as flourishing and prosperous a situation as any of the other settlements on the continent. They in return presented to him the most loyal and affectionate addresses, and entered on their public deliberations with uncommon harmony and great satisfaction.
[Sidenote] Several indulgences granted the people.
For the encouragement of the people, now connected with the mother country both by mutual affection and the mutual benefits of commerce, several favours and indulgences were granted them. The restraint upon rice, an innumerated commodity, was partly taken off; and, that it might arrive more seasonably and in better condition at the market, the colonists were permitted to send it to any port southward of Cape Finisterre. A discount upon hemp was also allowed by parliament. The arrears of quit-rents bought from the Proprietors were remitted by a bounty from the Crown. For the benefit and enlargement of trade their bills of credit were continued, and seventy-seven thousand pounds were stamped and issued by virtue of an act of the legislature, called the Appropriation Law. Seventy pieces of cannon were sent out by the King, and the Governor had instructions to build one fort at Port-Royal, and another on the river Alatamaha. An independent company of foot was allowed for their defence by land, and ships of war were stationed there for the protection of trade. These and many more favours flowed to the colony, now emerging from the depths of poverty and oppression, and arising to a state of freedom, ease and affluence.
[Sidenote] Happy effects of peace and security.
As a natural consequence of its domestic security, the credit of the province in England increased. The merchants of London, Bristol, and Liverpool turned their eyes to Carolina, as a new and promising channel of trade, and established houses in Charlestown for conducting their business with the greater ease and success. They poured in slaves from Africa for cultivating their lands, and manufactures of Britain for supplying the plantations; by which means the planters obtained great credit, and goods at a much cheaper rate than they could be obtained from any other nation. In consequence of which the planters having greater strength, turned their whole attention to cultivation, and cleared the lands with greater facility and success. The lands arose in value, and men of foresight and judgment began to look out and secure the richest spots for themselves, with that ardour and keenness which the prospects of riches naturally inspire. The produce of the province in a few years was doubled. During this year above thirty-nine thousand barrels of rice were exported, besides deer-skins, furs, naval stores, and provisions; and above one thousand five hundred negroes were imported into it. From this period its exports kept pace with its imports, and secured its credit in England. The rate of exchange had now arisen to seven hundred per cent. i. e. seven hundred Carolina money was given for a bill of an hundred pounds sterling on England; at which rate it afterwards continued, with little variation, for upwards of forty years.
Hitherto small and inconsiderable was the progress in cultivation Carolina had made, and the face of the country appeared like a desert, with little spots here and there cleared, scarcely discernible amidst the immense forest. The colonists were slovenly farmers, owing to the vast quantities of lands, and the easy and cheap terms of obtaining them; for a good crop they were more indebted to the great power of vegetation and natural richness of the soil, than to their own good culture and judicious management. They had abundance of the necessaries, and several of the conveniencies of life. But their habitations were clumsy and miserable huts, and having no chaises, all travellers were exposed in open boats or on horseback to the violent heat of the climate. Their houses were constructed of wood, by erecting first a wooden frame, and then covering it with clap-boards without, and plastering it with lime within, of which they had plenty made from oyster-shells. Charlestown, at this time, consisted of between five and six hundred houses, mostly built of timber, and neither well constructed nor comfortable, plain indications of the wretchedness and poverty of the people. However, from this period the province improved in building as well as in many other respects; many ingenious artificers and tradesmen of different kinds found encouragement in it, and introduced a taste for brick buildings, and more neat and pleasant habitations. In process of time, as the colony increased in numbers, the face of the country changed, and exhibited an appearance of industry and plenty. The planters made a rapid progress towards wealth and independence, and the trade being well protected, yearly increased and flourished.
[Sidenote] A project formed for planting a new colony
At the same time, for the relief of poor and indigent people of Great Britain and Ireland, and for the farther security of Carolina, the settlement of a new colony between the rivers Alatamaha and Savanna was projected in England. This large territory, situated on the south-west of Carolina, yet lay waste, without an inhabitant except its original savages. Private compassion and public spirit conspired towards promoting the excellent design. Several persons of humanity and opulence having observed many families and valuable subjects oppressed with the miseries of poverty at home, united, and formed a plan for raising money and transporting them to this part of America. For this purpose they applied to the King, obtained from him letters-patent, bearing date June 9th, 1732, for legally carrying into execution what they had generously projected. They called the new province Georgia, in honour of the King, who likewise greatly encouraged the undertaking. A Corporation consisting of twenty-one persons was constituted, by the name of Trustees, for settling and establishing the Colony of Georgia; which was separated from Carolina by the river Savanna. The Trustees having first set an example themselves, by largely contributing towards the scheme, undertook also to solicit benefactions from others, and to apply the money towards clothing, arming, purchasing utensils for cultivation, and transporting such poor people as should consent to go over and begin a settlement. They however confined not their views to the subjects of Britain alone, but wisely opened a door also for oppressed and indigent Protestants from other nations. To prevent any misapplication or abuse of charitable donations, they agreed to deposit the money in the bank of England, and to enter in a book the names of all the charitable benefactors, together with the sums contributed by each of them; and to bind and oblige themselves, and their successors in office, to lay a state of the money received and expended before the Lord Chancellor of England, the Lord Chief Justice of the King's Bench and Common Pleas, the Master of the Rolls, and the Lord Chief Baron of the Exchequer.
When this scheme of the Trustees with respect to the settlement of Georgia was made public, the well-wishers of mankind in every part of Britain highly approved of an undertaking so humane and disinterested. To consult the public happiness, regardless of private interest, and to stretch forth a bountiful hand for relief of distressed fellow-creatures, were considered as examples of uncommon benevolence and virtue, and therefore worthy of general imitation. The ancient Romans, famous for their courage and magnanimity, ranked the planting of colonies among their noblest works, and such as added greater lustre to their empire than their most glorious wars and victories. By the latter old cities were plundered and destroyed; by the former new ones were founded and established. The latter ravaged the dominions of enemies, and depopulated the world; the former improved new territories, provided for unfortunate friends, and added strength to the state. The benevolent founders of the colony of Georgia perhaps may challenge the annals of any nation to produce a design more generous and praise-worthy than that they had undertaken. They voluntarily offered their money, their labour, and time, for promoting what appeared to them the good of others, leaving themselves nothing for reward but the inexpressible satisfaction arising from virtuous actions. Among other great ends they had also in view the conversion and civilization of Indian savages. If their public regulations were afterwards found improper and impracticable; if their plan of settlement proved too narrow and circumscribed; praise, nevertheless, is due to them. Human policy at best is imperfect; but, when the design appears so evidently good and disinterested, the candid and impartial part of the world will make many allowances for them, considering their ignorance of the country, and the many defects that cleave to all codes of laws, even when framed by the wisest legislators.
About the middle of July, 1732, the trustees for Georgia held their first general meeting, when Lord Percival was chosen President of the Corporation. After all the members had qualified themselves, agreeable to the charter, for the faithful discharge of the trust, a common seal was ordered to be made. The device was, on one side, two figures resting upon urns, representing the rivers Alatamaha and Savanna, the boundaries of the province; between them the genius of the colony seated, with a cap of liberty on his head, a spear in one hand and a cornucopia in the other, with the inscription, COLONIA GEORGIA AUG.: on the other side was a represention of silk worms, some beginning and others having finished their web, with the motto, NON SIBI SED ALIIS; a very proper emblem, signifying, that the nature of the establishment was such, that neither the first trustees nor their successors could have any views of interest, it being entirely designed for the benefit and happiness of others.
[Sidenote] James Oglethorpe carries a colony to Georgia.
In November following, one hundred and sixteen settlers embarked at Gravesend for Georgia, having their passage paid, and every thing requisite for building and cultivation furnished them by the Corporation. They could not properly be called adventurers, as they run no risque but what arose from the change of climate, and as they were to be maintained until by their industry they were able to support themselves. James Oglethorpe, one of the Trustees, embarked along with them, and proved a zealous and active promoter of the settlement. In the beginning of the year following Oglethorpe arrived in Charlestown, where he was received by the Governor and Council in the kindest manner, and treated with every mark of civility and respect. Governor Johnson, sensible of the great advantage that must accrue to Carolina from this new colony; gave all the encouragement and assistance in his power to forward the settlement. Many of the Carolineans sent them provisions, and hogs, and cows to begin their stock. William Bull, a man of knowledge and experience, agreed to accompany Mr. Oglethorpe, and the rangers and scout-boats were ordered to attend him to Georgia. After their arrival at Yamacraw, Oglethorpe and Bull explored the country, and having found an high and pleasant spot of ground, situated on a navigable river, they fixed on this place as the most convenient and healthy situation for the settlers. On this hill they marked out a town, and, from the Indian name of the river which ran past it, called it Savanna. A small fort was erected on the banks of it as a place of refuge, and some guns were mounted on it for the defence of the colony. The people were set to work in felling trees and building huts for themselves, and Oglethorpe animated and encouraged them, by exposing himself to all the hardships which the poor objects of his compassion endured. He formed them into a company of militia, appointed officers from among themselves, and furnished them with arms and ammunition. To shew the Indians how expert they were at the use of arms, he frequently exercised them; and as they had been trained beforehand by the serjeants of the guards in London, they performed their various parts in a manner little inferior to regular troops.
[Sidenote] He treats with Indians for a share of their lands.
Having thus put his colony in as good a situation as possible, the next object of his attention was to treat with the Indians for a share of their possessions. The principal tribes that at this time occupied the territory were the Upper and Lower Creeks; the former were numerous and strong, the latter, by diseases and war, had been reduced to a smaller number: both tribes together were computed to amount to about twenty-five thousand, men, women and children. Those Indians, according to a treaty formerly made with Governor Nicolson, laid claim to the lands lying south-west of Savanna river, and, to procure their friendship for this infant colony, was an object of the highest consequence. But as the tribe of Indians settled at Yamacraw was inconsiderable, Oglethorpe judged it necessary to have the other tribes also to join with them in the treaty. To accomplish this union he found an Indian woman named Mary, who had married a trader from Carolina, and who could speak both the English and Creek languages; and perceiving that she had great influence among Indians, and might be made useful as an interpreter in forming treaties of alliance with them; he therefore first purchased her friendship with presents, and afterwards settled an hundred pounds yearly on her, as a reward for her services. By her assistance he summoned a general meeting of the chiefs, to hold a congress with him at Savanna, in order to procure their consent to the peaceable settlement of his colony. At this congress fifty chieftains were present, when Oglethorpe represented to them the great power, wisdom and wealth of the English nation, and the many advantages that would accrue to Indians in general from a connection and friendship with them; and as they had plenty of lands, he hoped they would freely resign a share of them to his people, who were come for their benefit and instruction to settle among them. After having distributed some presents, which must always attend every proposal of friendship and peace, an agreement was made, and then Tomochichi, in name of the Creek warriors, addressed him in the following manner: "Here is a little present, and, giving him a buffaloe's skin, adorned on the inside with the head and feathers of an eagle, desired him to accept it, because the eagle was an emblem of speed, and the buffalo of strength. He told him, that the English were as swift as the bird and as strong as the beast, since, like the former, they flew over vast seas to the uttermost parts of the earth; and, like the latter, they were so strong that nothing could withstand them. He said, the feathers of the eagle were soft, and signified love; the buffalo's skin was warm, and signified protection; and therefore he hoped the English would love and protect their little families." Oglethorpe accordingly accepted the present, and after having concluded this treaty limited by the nature of their government, was nevertheless great, as they always directed the public councils in all affairs relative to peace and war. It is true their young men, fond of fame and glory from warlike exploits, and rejoicing in opportunities of distinguishing themselves, will now and then, in contempt to the power of their old leaders, break out in scalping parties. To moderate and restrain the fiery passions of the young men, the sages find generally the greatest difficulties, especially as these passions are often roused by gross frauds and impositions. Unprincipled and avaricious traders sometimes resided among them, who, that they might the more easily cheat them, first filled the savages drunk, and then took all manner of advantages of them in the course of traffic. When the Indian recovered from his fit of drunkenness, and finding himself robbed of his treasures, for procuring which he had perhaps hunted a whole year, he is filled with fury, and breathes vengeance and resentment. No authority can then restrain him within the bounds of moderation. At such a juncture in vain does the leader of the greatest influence interpose. He spurns at every person that presumes to check that arm by which alone he defends his property against the hands of fraud and injustice. Among themselves indeed theft is scarcely known, and injuries of this kind are seldom committed; and had the traders observed in general the same justice and equity in their dealings with them, as they commonly practice among themselves, it would have been an easy matter with their wise and grave leaders to maintain peace in all the different intercourses between Europeans and Indians. Tomochichi acknowledged, that the Governor of the world had given the English great wisdom, power and riches, insomuch that they wanted nothing; he had given Indians great territories, yet they wanted every thing; and he prevailed on the Creeks freely to resign such lands to the English as were of no use to themselves, and to allow them to settle among them, on purpose that they might get instruction, and be supplied with the various necessaries of life. He persuaded them, that the English were a generous nation, and would trade with them on the most just and honourable terms; that they were brethren and friends, and would protect them from danger, and go with them to war against all their enemies.
Some say that James Oglethorpe, when he came out to settle this colony in Georgia, brought along with him Sir Walter Raleigh's journals, written by his own hand; and by the latitude of the place, and the traditions of the Indians, it appeared to him that Sir Walter had landed at the mouth of Savanna river. Indeed during his wild and chimerical attempts for finding out a golden country, it is not improbable that this brave adventurer visited many different places. The Indians acknowledged that their fathers once held a conference with a warrior who came over the great waters. At a little distance from Savanna, there is an high mount of earth, under which they say the Indian King lies interred, who talked with the English warrior, and that he desired to be buried in the same place where this conference was held. But having little authority with respect to this matter, we leave the particular relation of it to men in circumstances more favourable for intelligence.
[Sidenote] The colony of Switzers brought to Carolina.
While the security of Carolina, against external enemies, by this settlement of Georgia, engaged the attention of British government, the means of its internal improvement and population at the same time were not neglected. John Peter Pury, a native of Neufchatel in Switzerland, having formed a design of leaving his native country, paid a visit to Carolina, in order to inform himself of the circumstances, and situation of the province. After viewing the lands there, and procuring all the information he could, with respect to the terms of obtaining them, he returned to Britain. The government entered into a contract with him, and, for the encouragement of the people, agreed to give lands and four hundred pounds sterling for every hundred effective men he should transport from Switzerland to Carolina. Pury, while in Carolina, having furnished himself with a flattering account of the soil and climate, and of the excellence and freedom of the provincial government, returned to Switzerland, and, published it among the people. Immediately one hundred and seventy poor Switzers agreed to follow him, and were transported to the fertile and delightful province as he described it; and not long afterwards two hundred more came over, and joined them. The Governor, agreeable to instructions, allotted forty thousand acres of lands for the use of the Swiss settlement on the north-east side of Savanna river; and a town was marked out for their accommodation, which he called Purisburgh, from the name of the principal promoter of the settlement. Mr. Bignion, a Swiss minister, whom they had engaged to go with them, having received episcopal ordination from the bishop of London, settled among them for their religious instruction. On the one hand the Governor and council, happy in the acquisition of such a force, allotted each of them his separate tract of land, and gave every encouragement in their power to the people: On the other, the poor Swiss emigrants began their labours with uncommon zeal and courage, highly elevated with the idea of possessing landed estates, and big with the hopes of future success. However, in a short time they felt the many inconveniencies attending a change of climate. Several of them sickened and died, and others found all the hardships of the first state of colonization falling heavily upon them. They became discontented with the provisions allowed them, and complained to government of the persons employed to distribute them; and, to double their distress, the period for receiving the bounty expired before they had made such progress in cultivation as to raise sufficient provisions for themselves and families. The spirit of murmur crept into the poor Swiss settlement, and the people finding themselves oppressed with indigence and distress, could consider their situation in no other light than a state of banishment, and not only blamed Pury for deceiving them, but also heartily repented their leaving their native country.
[Sidenote] Eleven townships marked out.
According to the new plan adopted in England for the more speedy population and settlement of the province; the Governor had instructions to mark out eleven townships, in square plats, on the sides of rivers, consisting each of twenty thousand acres, and to divide the lands within them into shares of fifty acres for each man, woman, and child, that should come over to occupy and improve them. Each township was to form a parish, and all the inhabitants were to have an equal right to the river. So soon as the parish should increase to the number of an hundred families, they were to have right to send two members of their own election to the Assembly, and to enjoy the same privileges as the other parishes already established. Each settler was to pay four shillings a year for every hundred acres of land, excepting the first ten years, during which term they were to be rent free. Governor Johnson issued a warrant to St. John, Surveyor-general of the province, empowering him to go and mark out those townships. But he having demanded an exorbitant sum of money for his trouble, the members of the council agreed among themselves to do this piece of service for their country. Accordingly eleven townships were marked out by them in the following situations; two on river Alatamacha, two on Savanna, two on Santee, one on Pedee, one on Wacamaw, one on Watcree, and one on Black rivers.
[Sidenote] A struggle about lands.
The old planters now acquiring every year greater strength of hands, by the large importation of negroes, and extensive credit from England, began to turn their attention more closely than ever to the lands of the province. A spirit of emulation broke out among them for securing tracts of the richest ground, but especially such as were most conveniently situated for navigation. Complaints were made to the Assembly, that all the valuable lands on navigable rivers and Creeks adjacent to Port-Royal had been run out in exorbitant tracts, under colour of patents granted by the Proprietors to Cassiques and Landgraves, by which the complainants, who had, at the hazard of their lives, defended the country, were hindered from obtaining such lands as could be useful and beneficial, at the established quit-rents, though the Attorney and Solicitor-General of England had declared such patents void. Among others, Job Rothmaller and Thomas Cooper, having been accused of some illegal practices with respect to this matter, a petition was presented to the Assembly by thirty-nine inhabitants of Granville county in their vindication. When the Assembly examined into the matter, they ordered their messenger forthwith to take into custody Job Rothmaller and Thomas Cooper, for aiding, assisting, and superintending the deputy-surveyor in marking out tracks of land already surveyed, contrary to the quit rent act. But Cooper, being taken into custody, applied to Chief Justice Wright for a writ of habeas corpus, which was granted. The Assembly, however, sensible of the ill consequences that would attend such illegal practices, determined to put a stop to them by an act made on purpose. They complained to the Governor and Council against the Surveyor-General, for encouraging land-jobbers, and allowing such liberties as tended to create litigious disputes in the province, and to involve it in great confusion. In consequence of which, the Governor, to give an effectual check to such practices, prohibited St. John to survey lands to any person without an express warrant from him. The Surveyor-general, however, determined to make the most of his office, and having a considerable number to support him, represented both Governor and Council as persons disaffected to his Majesty's government, and enemies to the interest of the country. Being highly offended at the Assembly, he began to take great liberties without doors, and to turn some of their speeches into ridicule. Upon which an order was issued to take St. John also into custody; and then the Commons came to the following spirited resolutions: "That it is the undeniable privilege of this Assembly to commit such persons they may judge to deserve it: That the freedom of speech and debate ought not to be impeached or questioned in any court or place out of that house: That it is a contempt and violation of the privileges of that house, to call in question any of their commitments: That no writ of habeas corpus lies in favour of any person committed by that house, and that the messenger attending do yield no obedience to such; and that the Chief Justice be made acquainted with these resolutions." In consequence of which, Wright complained before the Governor and Council of these resolutions, as tending to the dissolution of all government, and charged the lower house with disallowing his Majesty's undoubted prerogative, and with renouncing obedience to his writs of habeas corpus. But the Council in general approved of their conduct, and were of opinion, that the Assembly of Carolina had that same privilege there, that the House of Commons had in England. In short, this affair created some trouble in the colony. For while a strong party, from motives of private interest, supported the Chief Justice; the Assembly resolved, "That he appeared to be prejudiced against the people, and was therefore unworthy of the office he held, and that it would tend to the tranquillity of the province immediately to suspend him."
In this situation was the colony about the end of the year 1733. Each planter, eager in the pursuit of large possessions of land, which were formerly neglected, because of little value, strenuously vied with his neighbour for a superiority of fortune, and seemed impatient of every restraint that hindered or cramped him in his favourite pursuit. Many favours and indulgences had already been granted them from the Crown, for promoting their success and prosperity, and for securing the province against external enemies. What farther favours they expected, we may learn from the following Memorial and Representation of the state of Carolina, transmitted to his Majesty, bearing date April 9th, 1734, and signed by the Governor, the President of the Council, and the Speaker of the Commons House of Assembly.
[Sidenote] State of the colony.
"Your Majesty's most dutiful subjects of this province, having often felt, with hearts full of gratitude, the many signal instances of your Majesty's peculiar favour and protection, to those distant parts of your dominions, and especially those late proofs of your Majesty's most gracious and benign care, so wisely calculated for the preservation of this your Majesty's frontier province on the continent of America, by your royal charter to the Trustees for establishing the colony of Georgia, and your great goodness so timely applied, for the promoting the settlement of the Swiss at Purisburgh; encouraged by such views of your Majesty's wise and paternal care, extended to your remotest subjects, and excited by the duty we owe to your most sacred Majesty, to be always watchful for the support and security of your Majesty's interest, especially at this very critical conjuncture, when the flame of a war breaking out in Europe may very speedily be lighted here, in this your Majesty's frontier province, which, in situation, is known to be of the utmost importance to the general trade and traffic in America: we, therefore, your Majesty's most faithful Governor, Council, and Commons, convened in your Majesty's province of South Carolina, crave leave with great humility to represent to your Majesty the present state and condition of this your province, and how greatly it stands in need of your Majesty's gracious and timely succour in case of a war, to assist our defence against the French and Spaniards, or any other enemies to your Majesty's dominions, as well as against the many nations of savages which so nearly threaten the safety of your Majesty's subjects.
"The province of South Carolina, and the new colony of Georgia, are the southern frontiers of all your Majesty's dominions on the continent of America; to the south and south-west of which is situated the strong castle of St. Augustine, garrisoned by four hundred Spaniards, who have several nations of Indians under their subjection, besides several other small settlements and garrisons, some of which are not eighty miles distant from the colony of Georgia. To the south-west and west of us the French have erected a considerable town, near Fort Thoulouse on the Moville river, and several other forts and garrisons, some not above three hundred miles distant from our settlements; and at New Orleans on the Mississippi river, since her late Majesty Queen Anne's war, they have exceedingly increased their strength and traffic, and have now many forts and garrisons on both sides of that great river for several hundred miles up the same; and since his most Christian Majesty has taken out of the Mississippi Company the government of that country into his own hands, the French natives in Canada come daily down in shoals to settle all along that river, where many regular forces have of late been sent over by the King to strengthen the garrisons in those places, and, according to our best and latest advices, they have five hundred men in pay, constantly employed as wood-rangers, to keep their neighbouring Indians in subjection, and to prevent the distant ones from disturbing the settlements; which management of the French has so well succeeded, that we are very well assured they have now wholly in their possession and under their influence, the several numerous nations of Indians that are situated near the Mississippi river, one of which, called the Choctaws, by estimation consists of about five thousand fighting men, and who were always deemed a very warlike nation, lies on this side the river, not above four hundred miles distant from our out-settlements, among whom, as well as several other nations of Indians, many French Europeans have been sent to settle, whom the priests and missionaries among them encourage to take Indian wives, and use divers other alluring methods to attach the Indians the better to the French alliance, by which means the French are become throughly acquainted with the Indian way, warring and living in the woods, and have now a great number of white men among them, able to perform a long march with an army of Indians upon any expedition.
"We further beg leave to inform your Majesty, that if the measures of France should provoke your Majesty to a state of hostility against it in Europe, we have great reason to expect an invasion will be here made upon your Majesty's subjects by the French and Indians from the Mississippi settlements. They have already paved a way for a design of that nature, by erecting a fort called the Albama fort, alias Fort Lewis, in the middle of the Upper Creek Indians, upon a navigable river leading to Mobile, which they have kept well garrisoned and mounted with fourteen pieces of cannon, and have lately been prevented from erecting a second nearer to us on that quarter. The Upper Creeks are a nation very bold, active and daring, consisting of about two thousand five hundred fighting men, (and not above one hundred and fifty miles distant from the Choctaws), whom, through we heretofore have traded with, claimed and held in our alliance, yet the French, on account of that fort and a superior ability to make them liberal presents, have been for some time striving to draw them over to their interest, and have succeeded with some of the towns of the Creeks; which, if they can be secured in your Majesty's interest, are the only nation which your Majesty's subjects here can depend upon as the best barrier against any attempts either of the French or their confederate Indians.
"We most humbly beg leave farther to inform your Majesty, that the French at Mobile perceiving that they could not gain the Indians to their interest without buying their deer-skins, (which is the only commodity the Indians have to purchase necessaries with), and the French not being able to dispose of those skins by reason of their having no vent for them in Old France, they have found means to encourage vessels from hence, New-York, and other places, (which are not prohibited by the acts of trade), to truck those skins with them for Indian trading goods, especially the British woollen manufactures, which the French dispose of to the Creeks and Choctaws, and other Indians, by which means the Indians are much more alienated from our interest, and on every occasion object to us that the French can supply them with strouds and blankets as well as the English, which would have the contrary effect if they were wholly supplied with those commodities by your Majesty's subjects trading with them. If a stop were therefore put to that pernicious trade with the French, the chief dependence of the Creek Indians would be on this government, and that of Georgia, to supply them with goods; by which means great part of the Choctaws, living next the Creeks, would see the advantage the Creek Indians enjoyed by having British woollen manufactures wholly from your Majesty's subjects, and thereby be invited in a short time to enter into a treaty of commerce with us, which they have lately made some offers for, and which, if effected, will soon lessen the interest of the French with those Indians, and by degrees attach them to that of your Majesty.
"The only expedient we can propose to recover and confirm that nation to your Majesty's interest, is by speedily making them presents to withdraw them from the French alliance, and by building some forts among them your Majesty may be put in such a situation, that on the first notice of hostilities with the French, your Majesty may be able at once to reduce the Albama fort, and we may then stand against the French and their Indians, which, if not timely prepared for before a war breaks out, we have too much reason to fear we may be soon over-run by the united strength of the French, the Creeks and Choctaws, with many other nations of their Indian allies: for, should the Creeks become wholly enemies, who are well acquainted with all our settlements, we probably should also be soon deserted by the Cherokees, and a few others, small tribes of Indians, who, for the sake of our booty, would readily join to make us a prey to the French and savages. Ever since the late Indian war, the offences given us then by the Creeks have made that nation very jealous of your Majesty's subjects of this province. We have therefore concerted measures with the honourable James Oglethorpe, Esq; who, being at the head of a new colony, will (we hope) be successful for your Majesty's interest among that people. He has already by presents attached the Lower Creeks to your Majesty, and has laudably undertaken to endeavour the fixing a garrison among the Upper Creeks, the expence of which is already in part provided for in this session of the General Assembly of this province. We hope therefore to prevent the French from encroaching farther on your Majesty's territories, until your Majesty is graciously pleased further to strengthen and secure the same.
"We find the Cherokee nation has lately become very insolent to your Majesty's subjects trading among them, notwithstanding the many favours the chiefs of that nation received from your Majesty in Great-Britain, besides a considerable expence which your Majesty's subjects of this province have been at in making them presents, which inclines us to believe that the French, by their Indians, have been tampering with them. We therefore beg leave to inform your Majesty, that the building and mounting some forts likewise among the Cherokees, and making them presents will be highly necessary to keep them steady in their duty to your Majesty, lest the French may prevail in seducing that nation, which they may the more readily be inclined to from the prospect of getting considerable plunder in slaves, cattle, &c. commodities which they very well know we have among us, several other forts will be indispensibly necessary, to be a cover to your Majesty's subjects settled backwards in this province, as also to those of the colony of Georgia, both which in length are very extensive; for though the trustees for establishing the colony of Georgia, by a particular scheme of good management, painfully conducted by the gentleman engaged here in that charitable enterprise, has put that small part of the colony, which he has not yet been able to establish, in a tenable condition, against the Spaniards of Florida which lie to the southward; yet the back exposition of those colonies to the vast number of French and Indians which border on the westward, must, in case of a war, cry greatly aloud for your Majesty's gracious and timely succour. The expense of our safety on such an occasion, we must, with all humility, acquaint your Majesty, either for men or money, can never be effected by your Majesty's subjects of this province, who, in conjunction with Georgia, do not in the whole amount to more than three thousand five hundred men, which compose the militia, and wholly consist of planters, tradesmen, and other men of business.
"Besides the many dangers which by land we are exposed to from so many enemies that lie on the back of us; we further beg leave to represent to your Majesty, the defenceless condition of our ports and harbours, where any enemies of your Majesty's dominions may very easily by sea invade us, there being no fortifications capable of making much resistance. Those in Charlestown harbour are now in a very shattered condition, occasioned by the late violent storms and hurricanes, which already cost this country a great deal of money, and now requires several thousands of pounds to repair the old and build new ones, to mount the ordnance which your Majesty was graciously pleased to send us, which, with great concern, we must inform your Majesty we have not yet been able to accomplish, being lately obliged, for the defence and support of this your Majesty's province and government, to raise, by a tax on the inhabitants, a supply of above forty thousand pounds paper currency per annum, which is a considerable deal more than a third part of all the currency among us; a charge which your Majesty's subjects of this province are but barely able to sustain. Since your Majesty's royal instruction to your Majesty's Governor here, an entire stop has been put to the duties which before accrued from European goods imported; and if a war should happen, or any thing extraordinary, to be farther expensive here, we should be under the utmost difficulties to provide additionally for the same, lest an increase of taxes with an apprehension of danger, should drive away many of our present inhabitants, as well as discourage others from coming here to settle for the defence and improvement of your Majesty's province, there being several daily moving with their families and effects to North Carolina, where there are no such fears and burdens.
"We must therefore beg leave to inform your Majesty, that, amidst our other perilous circumstances, we are subject to many intestine dangers from the great number of negroes that are now among us, who amount at least to twenty-two thousand persons, and are three to one of all your Majesty's white subjects in this province. Insurrections against us have been often attempted, and would at any time prove very fatal if the French should instigate them, by artfully giving them an expectation of freedom. In such a situation we most humbly crave leave to acquaint your Majesty, that even the present ordinary expences necessary for the care and support of this your Majesty's province and government, cannot be provided for by your Majesty's subjects of this province, without your Majesty's gracious pleasure to continue those laws for establishing the duty on negroes and other duties for seven years, and for appropriating the same, which now lie before your Majesty for your royal assent and approbation; and the further expences that will be requisite for the erecting some forts, and establishing garrisons in the several necessary places, so as to form a barrier for the security of this your Majesty's province, we most humbly submit to your Majesty.
"Your Majesty's subjects of this province, with fulness of zeal, duty and affection to your most gracious and sacred Majesty, are so highly sensible of the great importance of this province to the French, that we must conceive it more than probable, if a war should happen, they will use all endeavours to bring this country under their subjection; they would be thereby enabled to support their sugar islands with all sorts of provisions and lumber by an easy navigation, which to our great advantage is not so practicable from the present French colonies, besides the facility of gaining then to their interest most of the Indian trade on the northern continent; they might then easily unite the Canadees and Choctaws, with the many other nations of Indians which are now in their interest. And the several ports and harbours of Carolina and Georgia, which now enable your Majesty to be absolute master of the passage through the Gulf of Florida, and to impede, at your pleasure, the transportation home of the Spanish treasure, would then prove for many convenient harbours for your Majesty's enemies, by their privateers or ships of war to annoy a great part of the British trade to America, as well as that which is carried on through the Gulf from Jamaica; besides the loss which Great Britain must feel in so considerable a part of its navigation, as well as the exports of masts, pitch, tar, and turpentine, which, without any dependence on the northern parts of Europe, are from hence plentifully supplied for the use of the British shipping.
"This is the present state and condition of your Majesty's province of South Carolina, utterly incapable of finding funds sufficient for the defence of this wide frontier, and so destitute of white men, that even money itself cannot here raise a sufficient body of them.
"With all humility we therefore beg leave to lay ourselves at the feet of your Majesty, humbly imploring your Majesty's most gracious care in the extremities we should be reduced to on the breaking out of a war; and that your Majesty would be graciously pleased to extend your protection to us, as your Majesty, in your great wisdom, shall think proper."
[Sidenote] The regulations of the Trustees.
In the mean time the Trustees for Georgia had been employed in framing a plan of settlement and establishing such public regulations as they judged most proper for answering the great end of the corporation. In this general plan they considered each inhabitant both as a planter and a soldier who must be provided with arms and ammunition for defence, as well as with tools and utensils for cultivation. As the strength of the province was their chief object in view, they agreed to establish such tenures for holding lands in it as they judged most favourable for a military establishment. Each tract of land granted was considered as a military fief, for which the possessor was to appear in arms, and take the field, when called upon for the public defence. To prevent large tracts from falling in process of time into one hand, they agreed to grant their lands in tail male in preference to tail general. On the termination of the estate in tail male, the lands were to revert to the trust; and such lands thus reverting were to be granted again to such persons, as the common council of the trust should judge most advantageous for the colony; only the Trustees in such a case were to pay special regard to the daughters of such persons as had made improvements on their lots, especially when not already provided for by marriage. The wives of such persons as should survive them, were to be during their lives entitled to the mansion-house, and one-half of the lands improved by their husbands. No man was to be permitted to depart the province without licence. If any part of the lands granted by the Trustees, shall not by cultivated, cleared, and fenced round about with a worm fence, or pales, six feet high, within eighteen years from the date of the grant, such part was to revert to the trust, and the grant with respect to it to be void. All forfeitures for non-residence, high-treason, felonies, &c. were to the Trustees for the use and benefit of the colony. The use of negroes was to be absolutely prohibited, and also the importation of rum. None of the colonists were to be permitted to trade with Indians, but such as should obtain a special licence for that purpose.
[Sidenote] Their impolitical restrictions.
These were some of the fundamental regulations established by the Trustees of Georgia, and perhaps the imagination of man could scarcely have framed a system of rules worse adapted to the circumstances and situation of the poor settlers, and of more pernicious consequence to the prosperity of the province. Yet, although the Trustees were greatly mistaken, with respect to their plan of settlement, it must be acknowledged their views were generous. As the people sent out by them were the poor and unfortunate, who were to be provided with necessaries at their public store, they received their lands upon condition of cultivation, and by their personal residence, of defence. Silk and wine being the chief articles intended to be raised, they judged negroes were not requisite to these purposes. As the colony was designed to be a barrier to South Carolina, against the Spanish settlement at Augustine they imagined that negroes would rather weaken than strengthen it, and that such poor colonists would run into debt, and ruin themselves by purchasing them. Rum was judged pernicious to health, and ruinous to the infant settlement. A free trade with Indians was considered as a thing that might have a tendency to involve the people in quarrels and troubles with the powerful savages, and expose them to danger and destruction. Such were probably the motives which induced those humane and generous persons to impose such foolish and ridiculous restrictions on their colony. For by granting their small estates in tail male, they drove the settlers from Georgia, who soon found that abundance of lands could be obtained in America upon a larger scale, and on much better terms. By the prohibition of negroes, they rendered it impracticable in such a climate to make any impression on the thick forest, Europeans being utterly unqualified for the heavy task. By their discharging a trade with the West Indies, they not only deprived the colonists of an excellent and convenient market for their lumber, of which they had abundance on their lands, but also of rum, which, when mixed with a sufficient quantity of water, has been found in experience the cheapest, the most refreshing, and nourishing drink for workmen in such a soggy and burning climate. The Trustees, like other distant legislators, who framed their regulations upon principles of speculation, were liable to many errors and mistakes, and however good their design, their rules were found improper and impracticable. The Carolineans plainly perceived, that they would prove unsurmountable obstacles to the progress and prosperity of the colony, and therefore from motives of pity began to invite the poor Georgians to come over Savanna river, and settle in Carolina, being convinced that they could never succeed under such impolitic and oppressive restrictions.
[Sidenote] Two Colonies of Highlanders and Germans sent out.
Besides the large sums of money which the Trustees had expended for the settlement of Georgia, the Parliament had also granted during the two past years thirty-six thousand pounds towards carrying into execution the humane purpose of the corporation. But after the representation and memorial from the legislature of Carolina reached Britain, the nation considered Georgia to be of the utmost importance to the British settlements in America, and began to make still more vigorous efforts for its speedy population. The first embarkations of poor people from England, being collected from towns and cities, were found equally idle and useless members of society abroad, as they had been at home. An hardy and bold race of man, inured to rural labour and fatigue, they were persuaded would be much better adapted both for cultivation and defence. To find men possessed of these qualifications, the Trustees turned their eyes to Germany and the Highlands of Scotland, and resolved to send over a number of Scotch and German labourers to their infant province. When they published their terms at Inverness, an hundred and thirty Highlanders immediately accepted them, and were transported to Georgia. A town-ship on the river Alatamaha, which was considered as the boundary between the British and Spanish territories, was allotted for the Highlanders, on which dangerous situation they settled, and built a town, which they called New Inverness. About the same time an hundred and seventy Germans embarked with James Oglethorpe, and were fixed in another quarter; so that, in the space of three years, Georgia received above four hundred British subjects, and about an hundred and seventy foreigners. Afterwards several adventurers, both from Scotland and Germany, followed their countrymen, and added further strength to the province, and the Trustees flattered themselves with the hopes of soon seeing it in a promising condition.
[Sidenote] Thomas Broughton Lieut.-governor of Carolina.
The same year Carolina lost Robert Johnson, her favourite Governor, whose death was as much lamented by the people, as during his life he had been beloved and respected. The province having been much indebted to his wisdom, courage and abilities, to perpetuate his memory among them, and, in testimony of their esteem, a monument was erected in their church at the public expence. After his decease the government devolved on Thomas Broughton, a plain honest man, but little distinguished either for his knowledge or valour. As the welfare of the province depended greatly on its government, no man ought to be entrusted with such a charge but men of approved virtue and capacity. There is as much danger arising to a community from a feeble and contemptible government, as from an excess of power committed to its rulers. Weak and unexperienced hands hold the reins of government with awkwardness and difficulty, and being easily imposed upon, their authority sinks into contempt. At this time many of the leading men of the colony scrupled not to practise impositions, and being eagerly bent on engrossing lands, the Lieutenant-Governor freely granted them warrants; and the planters, provided they acquired large possessions, were not very scrupulous about the legality of the way and manner in which they were obtained.
[Sidenote] Oglethorpe fortifies Georgia.
James Oglethorpe having brought a number of great guns with him from England, now began to fortify Georgia, by erecting strong-holds on its frontiers, where he judged they might be useful for its safety and protection. At one place, which he called Augusta a fort was erected on the banks of Savanna river, which was excellently situated for protecting the Indian trade, and holding treaties of commerce and alliance with several of the savage nations. At another place, called Frederica, on an island nigh the mouth of the river Alatamaha, another fort, with four regular bastions, was erected, and several pieces of cannon were mounted on it. Ten miles nearer the sea a battery was raised, commanding the entrance into the sound, through which all ships of force must come that might be sent against Frederica. To keep little garrisons in these forts, to help the Trustees to defray the expences of such public works, ten thousand pounds were granted by the parliament of Great Britain.
[Sidenote] Which gives umbrage to the Spaniards.
While James Oglethorpe was thus busily employed in strengthening Georgia, he received a message from the Governor of Augustine, acquainting him that a Spanish Commissioner from Havanna had arrived there, in order to make certain demands of him, and would meet him at Frederica for that purpose. At the same time he had advice, that three companies of foot had came along with him to that Spanish settlement. A few days afterwards this Commissioner came to Georgia by sea, and Oglethorpe, unwilling to permit him to come to Frederica, dispatched a sloop to bring him into Jekyl Sound, where he intended to hold a conference with him. Here the Commissioner had the modesty to demand, that Oglethorpe and his people should immediately evacuate all the territories to the southward of St. Helena Sound, as they belonged to the King of Spain, who was determined to maintain his right to them; and if he refuted to comply with his demand, he had orders to proceed to Charlestown and lay the same before the Governor and Council of that province. Oglethorpe endeavoured to convince him that his Catholic Majesty had been misinformed with respect to those territories, but to no purpose; his instructions were peremptory, and the conference broke up without coming to any agreement. After which Oglethorpe embarked with all possible expedition, and sailed for England.
During his absence the strict law of the Trustees, respecting the rum trade, had like to have created a quarrel between the Carolineans and Georgians. The fortification at Augusta had induced some traders of Carolina to open stores at that place, so conveniently situated for commerce with Indian nations. For this purpose, land carriage being expensive, they intended to force their way by water with loaded boats up Savanna river to their stores at Augusta. But as they passed the town of Savanna, the magistrates rashly ordered the boats to be stopt, the packages to be opened, the casks of rum to be staved, and the people to be confined. Such injurious treatment was not to be suffered; the Carolineans determined to give a check to their insolence, and for that purpose deputed two persons, one from the Council and another from the Assembly, to demand of the Georgians by what authority they presumed to seize and destroy the effects of their traders, or to compel them to submit to their code of laws. The magistrates of Georgia, sensible of their error, made great concessions to the deputies, and treated them with the utmost civility and respect. The goods were instantly ordered to be returned, the people to be set at liberty, and all manner of satisfaction was given to the deputies they could have expected. Strict orders were sent to the agents of Georgia among Indians not to molest the traders from Carolina, but to give them all the assistance and protection in their power. The Carolineans, on the other hand, engaged not to smuggle any strong liquors among the settlers of Georgia, and the navigation on the river Savanna was declared equally open and free to both provinces.
[Sidenote] The brave Chickesaws defeat the French.
About the same time the French took the field against the Emperor; and the flames of war kindling between such powerful potentates, would, it was thought, inevitably spread, and involve all Europe in the quarrel. In case Great Britain should interfere in this matter; and declare in favour of the Emperor, orders were sent out to the Governors of Quebec and New Orleans to invade the weakest frontiers of the British settlements of America. For this purpose an army was formed in New France, and preparations were made for uniting the force of Canada and Louisiana to attack Carolina. But before this design was put in execution, advice came, that the clouds of war which threatened Europe were dispersed, and a general peace was restored, by the mediation of Britain and Holland. This put a stop to the motions of the main body in Canada; however, a detachment of two hundred French and four hundred Indians were sent down the Mississippi, to meet a party from New Orleans to cut off the Chickesaw Indians. This tribe were the firm allies of Britain, and the bravest nation of savages on the continent, but consisted only of between six and eight hundred gun-men. The French having encroached in their lands, and built some forts nigh them, had on that account drawn upon themselves their invincible enmity and resentment. The Chickesaws had long obstinately opposed their progress up the river Mississippi, and were now the chief obstacle that prevented a regular communication between Louisiana and Canada. The French determined to remove it, by extirpating this troublesome nation, and for this purpose fell down the river in boats to the place where they expected to meet their friends from New Orleans. But the party from the southward not coming up at the time appointed, and the Canadians thinking themselves strong enough for the enterprize, began the war by attacking the Chickesaw towns. Upon which the savages gathered together above three hundred warriors, gave the French battle in an open field, and, though with considerable loss, compleatly defeated them. Above forty Frenchmen and eight Indians were killed on the spot, and the rest were taken prisoners, among whom was their commander, and chief, brother to Mons. Bienville, Governor of New Orleans. Hard was the fate of the unfortunate prisoners, who for several days were kept almost perishing with hunger in the wilderness, and at last were tied to a stake, tortured, and burned to death. Another party of French from Mobile, in the same year, advanced against the Creeks, who were also unsuccessful, and obliged to retreat with considerable loss. Carolina rejoiced at those disasters, and began now more than ever to court the friendship and interest of these rude nations in their neighbourhood, considering them as the best barrier against their natural enemies.
[Sidenote] Religious state of the colony.
By this time the Episcopalian form of divine worship had gained ground in Carolina, and was more countenanced by the people than any other. That zeal for the right of private judgment had much abated, and those prejudices against the hierarchy, which the first emigrants carried from England with them, were now almost entirely worn off from the succeeding generation. To bring about this change, no doubt the well-timed zeal and extensive bounty of the society, incorporated for the propagation of the Gospel, had greatly contributed. At this time the corporation had no less than twelve missionaries in Carolina, each of whom shared of their bounty. Indeed, a mild church-government, together with able, virtuous, and prudent teachers, in time commonly give the establishment in every country a superiority over all sectaries. Spacious churches had been erected in the province, which were pretty well supplied with clergymen, who were paid from the public treasury, and countenanced by the civil authority, all which favoured the established church. The dissenters of Carolina were not only obliged to erect and uphold their churches, and maintain their clergy by private contributions, but also to contribute their share in the way of taxes, in proportion to their ability, equally with their neighbours; towards the maintenance of the poor, and the support of the establishment. This indeed many of them considered as a grievance, but having but few friends in the provincial assembly, no redress could be obtained for them. Besides, the establishment gave its adherents many advantageous privileges in point of power and authority over persons of other denominations. It gave them the best chance for being elected members of the legislature, and of course of being appointed to offices, both civil and military in their respective districts. Over youthful minds, fond of power, pomp and military parade, such advantages have great weight. Dissenters indeed had the free choice of their ministers, but even this is often the cause of division. When differences happen in a parish, the minority must yield, and therefore through private pique, discontent or resentment, they often conform to the establishment. It is always difficult, and often impossible for a minister to please all parties, especially where all claim an equal right to judge and chuse for themselves, and divisions and subdivisions seldom fail to ruin the power and influence of all sectaries. This was evidently the case in Carolina for many of the posterity of rigid Dissenters were now found firm adherents to the church of England, which had grown numerous on the ruins of the dissenting interest.
[Sidenote] The association of Presbyterians.
However, the emigrants from Scotland and Ireland, most of whom were Presbyterians, still composed a considerable party of the province, and kept up the Presbyterian form of worship in it. Archibald Stobo, of whom I have formerly taken notice, by great diligence and ability still preserved a number of followers. An association had been formed in favour of this mode of religious worship, by Messrs. Stobo, Fisher, and Witherspoon, three ministers of the church of Scotland, together with Joseph Stanyarn, and Joseph Blake, men of respectable characters and considerable fortunes. The Presbyterians had already erected churches at Charlestown, Wiltown, and in three of the maritime islands, for the use of the people adhering to that form of religious worship. As the inhabitants multiplied, several more in different parts of the province afterwards joined them, and built churches, particularly at Jacksonburgh, Indian Town, Port-Royal, and Williamsburgh. The first clergymen having received their ordination in the church of Scotland, the fundamental rules of the association were framed according to the forms, doctrines, and discipline of that establishment, to which they agreed to conform as closely as their local circumstances would admit. These ministers adopted this mode of religious worship, not only from a persuasion of its conformity to the primitive Apostolic form, but also from a conviction of its being, of all others, the most favourable to civil liberty, equality, and independence. Sensible that not only natural endowments, but also a competent measure of learning and acquired knowledge were necessary to qualify men for the sacred function, and enable them to discharge the duties of it with honour and success, they associated on purpose to prevent deluded mechanics, and illiterate novices from creeping into the pulpit, to the disgrace of the character, and the injury of religion. In different parts of the province, persons of this stamp had appeared, who cried down all establishments, both civil and religions, and seduced weak minds from the duties of allegiance, and all that the Presbytery could do was to prevent them from teaching under the sanction of their authority. But this association of Presbyterians having little countenance from government, and no name or authority in law, their success depended wholly on the superior knowledge, popular talents and exemplary life of their ministers. From time to time clergymen were afterwards sent out at the request of the people from Scotland and Ireland; and the colonists contributed to maintain them, till at length funds were established in trust by private legacies and donations, to be appropriated for the support of Presbyterian ministers, and the encouragement of that mode of religious worship and government.
[Sidenote] Remarks on paper-currency.
I have several times made remarks on the paper-currency of the province, which the planters were always for increasing, and the merchants and money lenders for sinking. The exchange of London, like a commercial thermometer, served to measure the rise or fall of paper-credit in Carolina; and the price of bills of exchange commonly ascertained the value of their current money. The permanent riches of the country consisted in lands, houses, and negroes; and the produce of the lands, improved by negroes, raw materials, provisions, and naval stores, were exchanged for what the province wanted from other countries. The attention of the mercantile part was chiefly employed about staple commodities; and as their great object was present profit it was natural for them to be governed by that great axiom in trade, whoever brings commodities cheapest and in the best order to market, must always meet with the greatest encouragement and success. The planters, on the other hand, attended to the balance of trade, which was turned in their favour, and concluded, that when the exports of any province exceeded its imports, whatever losses private persons might now and then sustain, yet that province upon the whole was growing rich. Let us suppose, what was indeed far from being the case, that Georgia so far advanced in improvement as to rival Carolina in raw materials, and exchangeable commodities, and to undersell her at the markets in Europe: This advantage could only arise from the superior quality of her lands, the cheapness of her labour, or her landed men being contented with smaller profits. In such a case it was the business of the Carolina merchants to lower the price of her commodities, in order to reap the same advantages with her neighbours; and this could only be done by reducing the quantity of paper-money in circulation. If gold and silver only past current in Georgia, which by general consent was the medium of commerce throughout the world, if she had a sufficient quantity of them to answer the purposes of trade, and no paper-currency had been permitted to pass current; in such case her commodities would bring their full value at the provincial market, and no more, according to the general standard of money in Europe. Supposing also that Carolina had a quantity of gold and silver in circulation, sufficient for the purposes of commerce, and that the planters, in order to raise the value of their produce, should issue paper-money equal to the quantity of gold and silver in circulation, the consequence would be, the price of labour, and of all articles of exportation would be doubled. But as the markets of Europe remained the same, and her commodities being of the same kind and quality with those of Georgia, they would not bring an higher price. Some persons must be losers, and in the fist instance this loss must fall on the mercantile interest, and moneyed men. Therefore this superabundance of paper-credit, on whose foundation the deluded province built its visionary fabric of great wealth, was not only useless, but prejudicial with respect to the community. Paper-money in such large quantities is the bane of commerce, a kind of fictitious wealth, making men by high founding language imagine they are worth thousands and millions, while a ship's load of it would not procure for the country a regiment of auxiliary troops in time of war, nor a suit of clothes at an European market in time of peace. Had America, from its first settlement, prohibited paper-money altogether, her staple commodities must have brought her, in the course of commerce, vast sums of gold and silver, which would have circulated through the continent, and answered all the purposes of trade both foreign and domestic. It is true the value of gold and silver is equally nominal, and rises and falls like the value of other articles of commerce, in proportion to the quantity in circulation. But as nations in general have fixed on these metals as the medium of trade, this has served to stamp a value on them, and render them the means not only of procuring every where the necessaries of life, but by supporting public credit, the chief means also of national protection.