Others of theGermans did not care to go to the Southward, because, they said, Fighting was against their Religion, and they apprehended Blows might happen there. But Captain Hermsdorf came to Mr.Oglethorpe, and desired that he might be put upon every Occasion of Service, if there was any, and that he would never forsake him, but serve with the English to the last. Mr. Oglethorpe told him, that the Stories of War were quite groundless; that there was as little Danger to the Southward, as to the Northward; that the Indians were at Friendship with us, and the Spaniards at Peace; and that as we would not molest them, it was not to be supposed that they would break the Peace, and attack us. Yet still, Caution was the Mother of Safety, and therefore it was fitting to keep the Men to Arms and Discipline; and for that Purpose he should be glad of his Assistance.
It was intended when we came from London, that these two Ship should have sailed into Jekyl Sound, and have landed the Colony, and all the Stores, at the Place where the Town was to be built; and for this Purpose, there had been an Agreement made to pay Demurrage for the Loss of Time there. The Captains did not care to venture down, and gave many Reasons. Capt.Cornish perceiving the great Damage that must arise to the Trust by their Ships not going down, proposed, that if Mr. Oglethorpe would send down Captain Yokeley with the James, to discover the Channel, they would go down, and in, he piloting of them. Captain Thomas agreed to the same Proposal, and Mr. Oglethorpe accordingly agreed with Captain Yokeley.
Mr. Oglethorpe seemed very uneasy at their not going to Frederica at once, but did not care to force them; the Words of the Agreement being not quite clear, and there was no sworn Pilot, who could take charge of the Ships in; for one Miller, the Pilot, who had surveyed that Entry, by Mr. Oglethorpe’s Order, was gone from Savannah before his Arrival; and Kilbury, another Pilot, who knew the fame, was dead, and the Man of War
was not yet arrived, who we depended upon to have gone in first.
Mr. Oglethorpe spoke to the People to prevent their being terrified with false Reports. There seemed to be little need of it, for they were all zealous to settle a Town of their own, and trusting entirely to him, were not at all apprehensive of any Danger; but were fearful of staying and losing their Time at Savannah.
After three Hours stay, he set out for Savannah and took me along with him. About Midnight we arrived there, but being then High-water, and the German Ministers who were to go with him to Ebenezer, not caring to go by Night, he could not go forward as he intended, some of the Boatmen being ill, and the Freshes strong. He lay that Night at a House which he hires atSavannah; it is the same as the common Freeholders Houses are, a Frame of sawed Timber, 24 by 16 Foot, floored with rough Deals, the Sides with feather-edged Boards unplained, and the Roof shingled.
On the 9th, I heard that the Saltzburghers at Ebenezer were very discontented; that they demanded to leave their old Town, and to settle upon the Lands which the Indians had reserved for their own Use; and this was the Occasion of Mr. Oglethorpe’s going up in such haste at a Time when he could be ill spared from the Ships. He set out this Morning-Tide with several Gentlemen, and the Saltzburghers Ministers, and went by Water to Sir Francis Bathurst’s, where part of Captain Mackay’s Troop of Horsemen, lately come out of the Indian Country, lay: There he took Horse for Ebenezer.
The Town of Savannah, its Circumference.
When he was gone, I took a View of the Town of Savannah; it is about a Mile and Quarter in Circumference; it stands upon the flat of a Hill, the Bank of the River (which they in barbarous English call a Bluff) is steep, and about 45 Foot perpendicular, so that all heavy Goods are brought up by a Crane, an Inconvenience designed to be remedied by a bridged Warf, and an easy Ascent, which in laying out the Town, care was taken to allow room for, there being a very wide Strand between the first Row of Houses and the River.
The Strand and Prospect from it.
From this Strand there is a very pleasant Prospect; you see the River wash the Foot of the Hill, which is a hard, clear, sandy Beach, a Mile in Length; the Water is fresh, and the River 1000 Foot wide. Eastward to see the River increased by the Northern branch, which runs round Hutchinson’s Island, and the Carolina Shore beyond it, and the Woody Islands at the Sea, which close the Prospect at 10 or 12 Miles Distance. Over against it is Hutchinson’s Island, great part of which is open Ground, where they mow Hay for the Trusts Horses and Cattle. The rest is Woods, in which there are many Bay-trees 80 Foot high. Westward you see the River winding between the Woods, with little Islands in it for many Miles, and Toma Chi Chi’s Indian Town standing upon the Southern Banks, between 3 and 4 Miles distance.
How the Town is Built.
The Town of Savannah is built of Wood; all the Houses of the first 40 Freeholders are of the same Size with that Mr. Oglethorpe lives in, but there are great Numbers built since, I believe 100 or 150, many of these are much larger some of 2 or 3 Stories high, the Boards plained and painted. The Houses stand on large Lotts, 60 Foot in Front by 90 Foot in Depth; each Lott has a fore and back Street to it; the Lott’s are fenced in with split Pales; some few People have Pallisades of turned Wood before their Doors, but the Generality have been wise enough not to throw away their Money, which in this Country, laid out in Husbandry, is capable of great Improvements, though there are several People of good Substance in the Town, who came at their own Expence, and also, several of those who came over on the Charity, are in a very thriving way; but this is observed, that the most substantial People are the most frugal, and make the least Shew, and live at the least Expence. There are some also who have made but little or bad Use of the Benefits they received, idling away their Times, whilst they had their Provisions from the publick Store, or else working for Hire, earning from 2 Shillings, the Price of a Labourer, to 4 or 5 shillings, the Price of a Carpenter, per diem, and spending that Money in Rum and good Living, thereby neglecting to improve their Lands, so that when their Time of receiving their Provisions from the Publick ceased, they were in no Forwardness to maintain themselves out of their own Lands. As they chose to be Hirelings when they might have improved for themselves, the Consequence of that Folly forces them now to work for their daily Bread. These are generally discontented with the Country; and if they have run themselves in Debt, their Creditors will not let them go away till they have paid. Considering the Number of People, there are but very few of these. The Industrious ones have throve beyond Expectation; most of them that have been there three Years, and many others, have Houses in the Town, which those that Let, have for the worst, 10 l. per Annum, and the best let for 30 l.