Page images
PDF
EPUB

has been established, had past before any returns were made for the great sums which had been expended. Those, who were impatient, not seeing them so soon as they expected, raised and fomented clamors against its establishment. They declaimed upon the improbability of its success, and the ill consequences of drawing people from England only to perish for want. By letters from* discontented persons there, and by others who were too credulous here, it was represented as a barren and unprofitable country. These clamors spread, and prevailed, as time advanced unladen with any profits. Three several contributions (of large sums too).. were made by the first undertakers. One of them amounted i to near £40,000, a very considerable sum in those days. For above forty years no great improvements were made, and till fthe government undertook to carry it on, and promoted it with vigor, it continued in the same languishing condition. But if they had been intimidated with the clamors, and had despaired of the little prospect of success in the spring of their undertaking, they had lost the harvest of their hopes and labor, and England had been deprived of what has proved one of her richest mines. But to proceed to the objections; and,

1. That the climate is unhealthy.

The reverse of this has been found by the people even in their first settling, in both parts of the Province, and this was the time of trial. No general illness has at any time prevailed there, (even when South Carolina has suffered by them) unless when rum and other spirituous liquors have stolen into the Province. By drinking of rum to an excess one year, many of the people were thrown into burning fevers, which carried off several, and that was the cause as they confessed at their deaths. The flux is a distemper to which new comers in most countries are liable, and some of the people in Georgia had it. But it was chiefly owing to the want of reflection, how requisite it is for men to regulate their diet and manner of living, in a different way in the latitude of thirty-one, from that which they were accustomed to in the latitude of fifty-one, in which they may safely eat and drink those things, which, if indulged in Georgia, would

* Declaration of the State of the Colony and Affairs of Virginia. By his Majesty's Council for Virginia. London, 1630.

+ Keith's History of Virginia.

give them a fever, and consequently a flux. The *heat in Georgia is not greater than in the southern parts of Europe, and there is almost constantly in summer a refreshing breeze from the sea, from eight in the morning till twelve, and from three or four till sun-setting, and the night afterwards is free from those faint and gloomy heats which are so troublesome in some places. What must contribute to the healthiness of the place, is the great quantity of fine running water; for besides the large rivers there are many rivulets, and numberless springs of water, which is sweet, clear, and cool. As the swamps come to be drained and cultivated, and the woods to be thinned or cleared, the country will consequently grow still more healthful. But to proceed to the second objection, which has been more generally and industriously propagated.

2. That the soil is barren.

The land has been found barren only by those, who would not take any pains or labor to make it fruitful. The soil is different, as the land is divided into high and lower grounds. It consists of four sorts generally speaking, which are distinguished and commonly known by the names of pine-barren; oak and hickory, or mixt land; savannah, and swamps.

Pine-barren. This is so called from the pines growing on it, with scarce any other sorts of timber; and the soil, being dry and sandy, will not produce grain like the other lands.' However there is a grass upon it, which feeds abundance of cattle. This being high is found a healthy situation, and the houses are generally built upon it.

Oak and Hickory, or Mixt Land. There is the usual proportion of this sort, as in the neighboring provinces. It is not so high as the pine-barren, nor so low as the swamps. It takes the name of oak and hickory from the great number of those trees growing on it, not but there is a variety of others among them. It has a clay bottom, which in hot countries is esteemed the best, as it keeps the roots of trees, &c. cool. It is covered with a fine mould, is light and works easy, and most things, which are planted on it, answer very well even in the first year. It tproduces, when cultivated, Indian corn, potatoes, peas, wheat, barley and rye with great

• Appendix, No. 1..

† Appendix, No. 2.

increase, asparagus, cauliflowers, cabbage, carrots, and all sorts of garden stuff in abundance: likewise vines, black and white mulberries, apples, peaches, figs, and most kinds of fruits that grow in England; besides many other very useful ones, as oranges, olives, pomegranates, watermelons, &c. which will not thrive in our colder climate.

Savannah Land. This is extremely proper for husbandry; a strong grass grows naturally upon it, and by frequent burning, the grass becomes finer, and makes a very good hay for foddering cattle in the winter. This runs generally upon a level, and sometimes into large parcels of five hundred acres, and upwards; is free from wood, and is always well supplied with springs of water.

Swamps are of two sorts. — The Cypress. They are so called from that sort of tree growing in them; there, is excellent land when cleared, but being the lowest, is difficult to drain and cultivate, and must be a work of time and labor. And,

The Cane. These when cleared (which is done with ease) and cultivated, have a land which is extremely rich, being a black and greasy mould ; and many things grow on it beyond imagination. Rice particularly thrives the best in these swamps.

The land is so far from being barren, or even bad, that the greatest part of it is fruitful and productive of almost every thing requisite for subsistence. And the experience already made by some in the colony, is the best proof how well people may subsist by their labor.

Besides the indigent from England, many foreign Protestants and Highlanders were sent to the colony; these being accustomed to hardship and labor, were not afraid of it in Georgia, and they live by it very comfortably. In the town of New Inverness in Darien, in the southern part of the Province, the Highlanders are settled ; they at first applied themselves with success, to the raising of corn, and have since taken to feeding of cattle, as yielding a more immediate profit, on account of supplying General Oglethorpe's regiment, and the shipping with fresh beef. In the town of Ebenezer, situated in the northern part of the province, the Saltzburghers are planted. They are a sober and industrious people, and do at present reap the fruits of their * in

* Appendix, No. 3.

dustry. They have great herds of cattle which are increasing; their land lies very neat, and is well cultivated. They raise large quantities of corn, peas, potatoes, pumpkins, cabbages, and other garden stuff. They not only raise sufficient for their own consumption, but are enabled to sell at the town of Savannah. They are so contented with their settlement, and so sensible of their happiness, that they are frequently sending to their own country invitations to their friends to go over to them, and have applied to the Trustees to send more transports of their countrymen to be settled with them.

The next objection is, 3. That no produces for trade can be raised in the colony.

And this is believed because no great entries have been seen of any yet in the custom house, though the charter was granted but in June, 1732, and the colony has, from its first establishment, labored under many unforeseen difficulties. Raw silk is the chief article which the Trustees had, and still have, in view. This is bought by Great Britain at present with ready money in Italy, at a vast price; and which notwithstanding that price, our merchants cannot get by any degree so much as is wanted for the few engines which we have for throwing. Nay, they are obliged to take much the greatest part as ready thrown, which carries still a higher price, to pay for the labor of foreigners. Though raw silk requires very little labor, it is obvious, that the raising any great quantity of it must depend upon a number of people, and of those chiefly who are of little use in other products, viz. women and children; and of whom the Trustees could not send many, men being the most necessary in the first establishment of a colony, especially on a frontier. In the raising of silk, even the aged and impotent are of use. Lord Bacon has mentioned it as one of the most profitable works a plantation can go upon. Mr. Joshua Gee, in his excellent treatise, called the Trade and Navigation of Great Britain Considered, has expatiated upon the great advantages and probability of raising it in these parts of the continent.* Other authors have long ago given the same judgment. Sir Thomas Lombe delivered his opinion, “ That it would be attended

* Virginia, more especially the south part thereof, rightly and truly stated, viz. Carolina, printed 1650. Virginia's discovery of silk worms with their benefit, 1650.

with as little hazard and difficulty ; that it was as much wanted, and might as soon be brought to perfection, as any undertaking so considerable in itself, that he ever heard of.” Besides these authorities, experience, (the best authority) has shewn the probability of success. Some silk (though indeed by the negligence of the people, and want of proper hands, but a little) has already been produced in Georgia. Enough, however, for a conviction, that it may in time be brought to such perfection, as may make the colony of the highest advantage to Great Britain. For if twenty pounds of it can be raised there, any greater quantity may likewise with a proper number of people. Some was brought over this year by one Mr. Samuel Auspourguer, who has made an * affidavit, that he saw the Italian family winding it off from the balls. It was viewed by Mr. Zachary, an eminent raw silk merchant, and Mr. Booth, one of our greatest weavers, who affirmed it to be as fine as any Italian silk, or any they would wish to use, and that it was worth at least twenty shillings a pound. The former gentleman's f opinion, may be seen in

the Appendix.

the most south the most prop

Georgia being the most southward part of the English possessions upon that continent, is the most proper for this production. The warmer a country is, (if the heat is not too intense, and by bordering upon the sea, it is refreshed by pleasant gales of wind,) the stronger the worms are, they yield a better increase, and the silk has a better texture. For this reason Italy has the advantage over France, as the same quantity of eggs will produce there a double quantity of silk more than the most northern parts of France in which it is raised, and a proportionable difference is found between these and the most southern provinces.

The planter in Georgia has no obstacle in his way of this undertaking, but his impatience and diffidence. He has many advantages which the peasant in France and Italy wants. The country affords him timber for his fabrics at no expense, but of a little labor. It is found by experience, that the mulberry trees thrive in an extraordinary manner in Georgia, and these being his own, the profits from the worms are so too. He may build his house of what dimensions he likes best,

* Appendix No. 5.

† Appendix No.5.

« PreviousContinue »