« PreviousContinue »
of October, in an open boat, with two other boats attending him, and after rowing two days and two nights, arrived at Savannah. On the 20th he was received by the magistrates at the water side and saluted by the cannon and militia under arms. The people spent the night in rejoicing, making bonfires, &c., &c.”
On the 21st Tomachichi came to wait upon the General. He said he had been very ill, but the old man was so rejoiced at the General's arrival that he said it recovered him. He acquainted the General that the chiefs of several towns of the Creek nation were at his house, to congratulate him upon his arrival, and to assure him of their fidelity to the King of Great Britain.
On the 23d the Indians came down the river from Tomachichi's house, viz., the Mico (which word translated is King,) of the Chickasaws, the Mico of the Ocmulgees, the Mico of the Uchees, with thirty of their warriors, and fiftytwo of their attendants. As they walked up the hill they were saluted by a battery of cannon, and conducted to the town hall by a party of militia, where the General received them. On their seeing the General they expressed great joy, and said the Spaniards had strove to persuade them that the General was at St. Augustine, and invited them down to his fort to see him there, where they accordingly went, but as soon as they found the General was not there they returned, though the Spaniards offered them great rewards, and pretended he was on board of a ship in the harbor, sick.
General Oglethorpe was diligently employed during the winter of 1738, and the spring of '39, in placing the province of Georgia in the best condition for defence that time and his means permitted, as war between England on the one side, and France and Spain on the other had become inevitable. Among these means he considered his Indian alliances first, not from any actual force that they could bring into the field, either for offensive or defensive war, but because while they remained faithful to their engagements, the French of Louisiana and West Florida would be cautious how they weakened their own provinces, to aid Spain in carrying out her claims upon Georgia and Carolina.
As the best means of accomplishing this end, he determined to attend in person a great council of the Indian
tribes, that was to assemble in the July and August of the year 1739, at Coweta town, now Fort Mitchell
, on the Chattabouchee; and in July he proceeded there, not in military pomp or force, but simply with a few pack horses and servants for his personal accommodation, and to carry presents for bis red friends.
When we call into remembrance the then force of these tribes,
for they could have brought into the field twenty thousand fighting men, - when we call to remembrance the influence the French had everywhere else obtained over the Indians, when we call to remembrance the distance he had to travel through solitary pathways from Frederica, exposed to summer suns, night dews, and to the treachery of any single Indian, who knew, and every Indian knew the rich reward that would have awaited him for the act from the Spaniards in St. Augustine, or the French in Mobile ; surely we may proudly ask, what soldier ever gave higher proof of courage? What gentleman ever gave greater evidence of magnanimity? What English governor of an American province, ever gave such assurance of deep devotion to public duty.
General Oglethorpe was received at Coweta by the assembled chiefs that were deputed to meet him, from the Creeks, Cherokees, and Chickasaws, with the warmest friendship and devotion. They declared that they remained firm in love to the king of Great Britain, and all his people. They renewed and confirmed all the treaties they had formerly made with him. In their new treaty the Creeks still reserved the small territory between Pipe-maker's Creek and Savannah, that when they came to see their white friends, they might sleep upon their own ground, and the islands of Ossabaw, St. Catherine's, and Sapelo, that they might fish and bathe in their own waters. General Oglethorpe smoked with them the hallowed pipe
peace, drank with them the medicine drink, and was initiated by the medicine men into their mysteries. While with them he received communications from New York, informing him that the French were descending the Ohio and Mississippi to attack the Chickasaws. The Council separated in haste, with pledges of faith and friendship to prepare for war with the common enemy.
Wbile General Oglethorpe was yet in Savannah, before bis return to Frederica from the Indian council, he lost his
first and most devoted Indian friend. Tomachichi departed to join his fathers in the land of spirits; and we will follow him to his grave, in the recorded events of the day.
Savannah, October 10th, 1739. “King Tomachichi died on the 5th instant, at his own town, four miles from hence, of a lingering illness, being aged about ninety-seven. He was sensible to his last moment, and when he was persuaded that his death was near, he shewed the greatest magnanimity and sedateness, and exhorted his people never to forget the favors he had received when in England; but to persevere in their friendship to the English. He expressed the greatest tenderness for General Oglethorpe, and seemed to have no concern at dying, but its being at a time when he might have been useful against the Spaniards.
“ He desired that his body might be buried amongst the English at Savannah, where it lies. He had prevailed upon the Creeks to give the land and had assisted in founding the town.
“The corpse was brought down by water. The General, attended by the magistrates and people, met it upon the water's edge. The corpse was carried into Percival square. It was followed by the General and the Indians, the magistrates and the people of the town. Minute guns were fired from the battery all the time of the burial. The General bas ordered a pyramid of the iron stones which are dug in the neighborhood, to be erected over him."*
Tomachichi was a chief, and in his youth a great warrior. He had an excellent judgment, and a very ready wit, which showed itself in all his speeches. He was very generous, giving away all the rich presents he had received, and living himself in poverty. But we ask where is his tomb? Savannah owes it to herself, she owes it to the memory of General Oglethorpe, she owes it to her first friend among red men.
Immediately after the funeral of Tomachichi General Ogle
* A very few days after giving the order, the Spaniards made the first attack upon his advanced post at Amelia Island, and he was engaged in great and dangerous and difficult operations, against an enemy commanding at will twice his available means. Nor did he from that hour until he finally left Georgia, know one day of calm repose, one day in which the mind is allowed to fall back upon itself in the full enjoyment of a sabbath of rest.
thorpe returned to Frederica, and we extract from a journal of the day what follows:
“ Frederica, November 15th, 1739. “ Advice is just received from Amelia Island that the Spaniards landed at night, and murdered two Highlanders in the woods that had gone out of the fort unarmed, but upon the party in the fort going out, the Spaniards fled.”
At this point commenced the war with Spain in Georgia, and General Oglethorpe began to collect around him his very inadequate means for the invasion of Florida, under the deep conviction that if he did not carry the war into Florida, St. Augustine would become a nucleus around which troops from Cuba and Mexico and the other powerful and adjacent provinces of Spain would congregate to overwhelm and destroy his yet feeble colony.
The following was known to be the condition of the fortifications at St. Augustine at this time:
The castle is built of soft stone, with four bastions, the curtain sixty yards in length, the parapet nine feet thick, the rampart twenty feet high, casemated underneath for lodgings, arched over and newly made bomb-proof, and they have for some time past been working on a covert way, which is nearly finished. This fort has fifty pieces of cannon mounted on it, sixteen of which are brass and twenty-four pounders. The town is entrenched with ten salient angles, in each of which are some cannon.
The number of troops now there are thirteen hundred and twenty-four regulars, besides the militia of the town, and a few Spanish Indians.
General Oglethorpe received orders in January, 1740, to make hostile movements against Florida, with an assurance from Sir Robert Walpole's administration, that Admiral Vernon, after having made a demonstration of his force in the West Indies, should be at hand to coöperate with him. He himself believed, that, when war is necessary “the great and not the little war,” should be resorted to; and having heard, by a deserter, that St. Augustine was in want of provisions, he determined to make that his point of attack.
Carolina had twice recently been upon the verge of ruin by the insurrection of her slaves, instigated by the black emissaries who had formerly run away from the province, and who were detained at St. Augustine for the express purpose of being employed upon such occasions. Looking to her own interest, he could not doubt that Carolina would enter with zeal into the enterprize, and give every aid in her power. He communicated his intention, therefore, to Lieutenant Governor Bull; and as success could only be hoped for by taking the enemy by surprise, and before he was supplied with additional means, and men from Cuba, (the then head and centre of Spanish American power,) he proceeded to Charleston, to arrange with Governor Bull the means and order of attack. The assembly were warmed into action by his presence, and voted £120,000 (equal to about $70,000) and 400 men for the expedition. The men were placed under the command of Colonel Vanderdussen. Captain Price, with four sloops of war of twenty guns each, consented to coöperate in the attack. And the river St. John's, in Florida, was determined upon as the point of reunion, after each should have performed the task assigned them.
Having accomplished all that was in his power, and baving impressed upon Governor Bull the absolute necessity of prompt and immediate action, he returned to Frederica, to join his own regiment, and prepare all under his control for the expedition.
The Carolina regiment, under Colonel Vanderdussen, reached Darien, the first of May; where they were joined by General Oglethorpe's favorite corps, the Highlanders, ninety strong, commanded by Captain McIntosh and Lieutenant McKay. They were ordered, accompanied by his Indian force, to march promptly for the Cow-ford, (now Jacksonville) upon the river St. Johns. This route was familiar to the Carolinians, who had maintained small military posts, before Genéral Oglethorpe's occupancy of Georgia, as far south as the St. Mary's river. And the Cow-ford is the only point where men, proceeding by land, can conveniently pass the river. General Oglethorpe embarked four hundred of his regiment at Frederica, on the third of Máy, in galleys and flat bottomed boats, with his stores, ammunition and provisions, to take the route by the inland passage for Florida. He had been compelled, of necessity, to leave three hundred of his own regiment at Frederica and the intermediate points, under the command of Major Horton, to garrison his works; lest the enemy, hearing of his movements, should pass into his rear, and destroy his now feeble and disarmed colony.
In six days he had wound his way through the creeks and