Page images

country must starve for want of employment, and so of other trades.

In order to maintain many people, it was proper that the land should be divided into small portions, and to prevent the uniting them by marriage or purchase. For every time that two lots are united, the town loses a family, and the inconveniency of this shows itself at Savannah, notwithstanding the care of the Trustees to prevent it. They suffered the moiety of the lots to descend to the widows during their lives: those who remarried to men who had lots of their own, by uniting two lots made one be neglected; for the strength of hands who could take care of one, was not sufficient to look to and improve two. These uncleared lots are a nuisance to their neighbors. The trees which grow upon them shade the lots, the beasts take shelter in them, and for want of clearing the brooks which pass through them, the lands above are often prejudiced by floods. To prevent all these inconveniences, the first regulation of the Trustees was a strict Agrarian law, by which all the lands near towns should be divided, fifty acres to each freeholder. The quantity of land by experience seems rather too much, since it is impossible that one poor family can tend so much land. If this allotment is too much, how much more inconvenient would the uniting of two be? To prevent it, the Trustees grant the lands in tail male, that on the expiring of a male line they may regrant it to such man, having no other lot, as shall be married to the next female heir of the deceased, as is of good character. This manner of dividing prevents also the sale of lands, and the rich thereby monopolizing the country.

Each freeholder has a lot in town sixty foot by ninety foot, besides which he has a lot beyond the common, of five acres for a garden. Every ten houses make a tithing, and to every tithing there is a mile square, which is divided into twelve lots, besides roads: each freeholder of the tithing has a lot or farm of forty-five acres there, and two lots are reserved by the Trustees in order to defray the charge of the public. The town is laid out for two hundred and forty freeholds; the quantity of lands necessary for that number is twentyfour square miles; every forty houses in town make a ward, to which four square miles in the country belong; each ward has a constable, and under him four tithing men. Where

the town lands end, the villages begin; four villages make a ward without, which depends upon one of the wards within the town. The use of this is, in case a war should happen, the villages without may have places in the town, to bring their cattle and families into for refuge, and to that purpose there is a square left in every ward, big enough for the outwards to encamp in. There is ground also kept round about the town ungranted, in order for the fortifications whenever occasion shall require. Beyond the villages, commence lots of five hundred acres: these are granted upon terms of keeping ten servants, &c. Several gentlemen who have settled on such grants have succeeded very well, and have been of great service to the colony. Above the town is a parcel of land called Indian lands; these are those reserved by king Toma Chi Chi for his people. There is near the town, to the east, a garden belonging to the Trustees, consisting of ten acres; the situation is delightful, one half of it is upon the top of the hill, the foot of which the river Savannah washes, and from it you see the woody islands in the sea. The remainder of the garden is the side and some plain low ground at the foot of the hill, where several fine springs break out. In the garden is variety of soils; the top is sandy and dry, the sides of the hill are clay, and the bottom is a black, rich garden mould well watered. On the north part of the garden is left standing a grove of part of the old wood, as it was before the arrival of the colony there. The trees in the grove are mostly bay, sassafras, evergreen oak, pellitory, hickory, American ash, and the laurel tulip. This last is looked upon as one of the most beautiful trees in the world; it grows straight-bodied to forty or fifty foot high; the bark smooth and whitish, the top spreads regular like an orange tree in English gardens, only larger; the leaf is like that of a common laurel, but bigger, and the under side of a greenish brown; it blooms about the month of June; the flowers are white, fragrant like the orange, and perfume all the air around it; the flower is round, eight or ten inches diameter, thick like the orange flower, and a little yellow near the heart. As the flowers drop, the fruit which is a cone with red berries succeeds them. There are also some bay trees that have flowers like the laurel, only less.

The garden is laid out with cross-walks planted with orange trees, but the last winter, a good deal of snow having

fallen, had killed those upon the top of the hill down to their roots, but they being cut down sprouted again, as I saw when I returned to Savannah. In the squares between the walks, were vast quantities of mulberry trees, this being a nursery for all the province, and every planter that desires it has young trees given him gratis from this nursery. These white mulberry trees were planted in order to raise silk, for which purpose several Italians were brought at the Trustees' expense, from Piedmont by Mr. Amatis; they have fed worms, and wound silk to as great perfection as any that ever came out of Italy; but the Italians falling out, one of them stole away the machines for winding, broke the coppers and spoiled all the eggs which he could not steal, and fled to South Carolina. The others who continued faithful, had saved but a few eggs when Mr. Oglethorpe arrived; therefore he forbade any silk should be wound, but that all the worms should be suffered to eat through their balls, in order to have more eggs against next year. The Italian women are obliged to take English girls apprentices, whom they teach to wind and feed; and the men have taught our English gardeners to tend the mulberry trees, and our joiners have learned how to make the machines for winding. As the mulberry trees increase, there will be a great quantity of silk made here.

Besides the mulberry trees, there are in some of the quarters in the coldest part of the garden all kinds of fruit trees usual in England, such as apples, pears, &c. In another quarter are olives, figs, vines, pomegranates and such fruits as are natural to the warmest parts of Europe. At the bottom of the hill, well sheltered from the north wind and in the warmest part of the garden, there was a collection of West India plants and trees, some coffee, some cocoa-nuts, cotton, Palma-christi, and several West Indian physical plants, some sent up by Mr. Eveleigh, a public-spirited merchant at Charlestown, and some by Dr. Houstoun, from the Spanish West Indies, where he was sent at the expense of a collection raised by that curious physician, Sir Hans Sloan, for to collect and send them to Georgia, where the climate was capable of making a garden which might contain all kinds of plants, to which design, his Grace, the Duke of Richmond, the Earl of Derby, the Lord Peters, and the Apothecary's Company contributed very generously; as did

Sir Hans himself. The quarrels among the Italians proved fatal to most of these plants, and they were laboring to repair that loss when I was there, Mr. Miller being employed in the room of Dr. Houstoun, who died in Jamaica. We heard he had wrote an account of his having obtained the plant from whence the true Balsamum Capivi is drawn ; and that he was in hopes of getting that from whence the Jesuits' Bark is taken, he designing for that purpose to send to the Spanish West Indies.

There is a plant of Bamboo cane brought from the East Indies, and sent over by Mr. Towers which thrives well. There was also some tea seeds, which came from the same place; but the latter, though great care was taken, did not grow.

Three miles from Savannah, within land, that is to say to the south, are two pretty villages, Hampstead and Highgate, where the planters are very forward, having built neat huts, and cleared and planted a great deal of land. Up the river also there are several other villages and two towns, not much better than villages, on the Georgia side, the one called Joseph's town, which some Scotch gentlemen are building at their own expense, and where they have already cleared a great deal of ground. Above that is Ebenezer, a town of the Saltzburghers. On the Carolina side is Purysburgh, chiefly inhabited by Swiss. There are also a party of rangers under the command of Capt. McPherson, and another under the command of Capt. Æneas M'Intosh; the one lying upon the Savannah river, the other upon the Ogeechee. These are horsemen and patrol the woods to see that no enemy Indians, nor other lawless persons, shelter themselves there.

There were no public buildings in the town, besides a storehouse; for the courts were held in a hut thirty foot long, and twelve foot wide, made of split boards, and erected on Mr. Oglethorpe's first arrival in the colony. In this hut also divine service was performed; but upon his arrival this time Mr. Oglethorpe ordered a house to be erected in the upper square, which might serve for a court house, and for divine service till a church could be built, and a work house over against it; for as yet there was no prison here.

Two ships lay close to the town, the James, Capt. Yokely, in the Trustees' service, waiting for our arrival, (with pro

visions) and another ship from Bristol, Capt. Dickens, commander, loaded with passengers. The water is not only deep, but thoroughly sheltered from hurricanes, and, being fresh, there are no worms, an advantage few ports have in America.

On the 10th I went on board the Two Brothers, Capt. Thomson, and unloaded her, sending some part of her cargo up to Savannah store, and the remainder on board the James, Capt. Yokely, who on the unwillingness of the other ships, as before mentioned, Mr. Oglethorpe engaged to go and try the entrance of Jekyl sound, his ship being but about a hundred tons burden.

On the 11th Mr. Oglethorpe returned from Ebenezer to Savannah, where he found Captain Yokely, not ready to sail. I heard that he had given leave to the Saltzburghers to remove from Old Ebenezer to a place called the Red Bluff, upon the river Savannah. Some people had infused such notions into them, that they were obstinately resolved to quit Old Ebenezer, where they had very good houses ready built, a pleasant situation, a fine range for cattle, and a good deal of ground cleared. Mr. Oglethorpe in vain advised them against the change, and told them, that sickness would naturally follow the clearing a new town; but they insisting, he granted their request. Mr. Oglethorpe, in this journey, pursuant to the Trustees' orders, and to save expense, reduced Mr. Patrick Mackay's company that was come down from the Indian nation. He called at Purysburgh, on his return from Ebenezer.

On the 12th Mr. Oglethorpe went from Savannah down to the ships at Tybee, having first raised fifty rangers, and one hundred workmen, and sent Captain M'Pherson with a parcel of his rangers, over land to support the Highlanders on the Alatamaha river. These Highlanders under the command of Captain Hugh Mackay, were settled on the Altamaha river, within one mile and a half of where fort KingGeorge formerly stood, and where His Majesty's independent company had been garrisoned for several years. The want of supplies and communication with Carolina, obliged them to abandon the garrison and destroy the fort. Therefore the first thing was to open a communication by land, that the like distress might not again happen. Mr. Oglethorpe ordered Mr. Walter Augustine and Mr. Tolme to

« PreviousContinue »