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This paper, drawn up at the suggestion of the Trustees, by William Stephens, Esq., secretary of the colony, for the purpose of vindicating them from the aspersions, which some turbulent men had thrown upon them, was designed to be read and signed in open court in the town of Savannah.
The following is secretary Stephens's account of the occasion :-“Monday, November 10th, 1740. The court met as appointed, when nothing happened more than what I expected; for it could not be, but those few who remained among us, that were tinged with the same principles, and disposition, wherewith our late club were actuated, would give all the opposition they possibly could, to every thing that tended to vindicate the Trustees from the foul reflections which they had been the occasion of being thrown upon them ; thus prepared at a court holden this day, purposely for the occasion, I was to see what would be the event of those matters, which I had been so long collecting, to show what was the real present state of this colony; wherein let what would happen, I could at least have the inward satisfaction of mind, to acquit myself of any partiality, or of attempting to impose upon any person's understanding, the least tittle of what I was not in myself fully convinced either from my own knowledge, or from the most certain information I could obtain from others, was unquestionably true : nevertheless, I well knew, from what I had observed before, that an opposition was ready, whenever I should begin to lay open what I had to offer ; which I did, by reading as audibly and distinctly as I could, those sheets of paper which were intended to be sent to the Trust; containing what I had entitled, and what I firmly believed was, the present state of the colony. After I had so done, and a little pause thereon, Mr. Duchee stood forth, and the first complaint he bestowed was, that he thought what I had read contained more oil than corn ; that he expected to have heard the people's grievances set forth, and remedies proposed for redressing them, &c., directing his discourse to the assembly, and putting them in mind of what they ought to think most valuable : whereupon I could no longer sit still, without telling him that I thought it was not the present business of the court to attend all controversy that might arise on such a subject : that I was determined not to ask any one person to sign it, for unless they did it voluntarily, I thought it of little value ; wherefore, after signing it myself, I should leave it to every body to do as they pleased. Accordingly, I set my hand to it, and immediately Mr. Parker, as first bailiff, did the same ; then it was offered to the second, (Mr. Fallowfield), who, in a surly manner, refused it; after which, the third bailiff, Mr. Jones, signed it, Noble Jones, and others, promiscuously, all being sworn as they signed the contents. But Mr. Fallowfield, rising suddenly from the bench and going out with Mr. Duchee, most of the common people, in a sort of confusion, went also out of court (whether upon a signal given or not I could not tell); about twenty only putting their hands to it and taking their oaths in course. I took care notice should be given, that the book should lay open at my house for a few days, till I found an opportunity of sending it to the Trust, during which time, any person who had an inclination to join us, and had any scruples about him, might freely read it, and be informed by me in any thing concerning it, that was in my power to evince the truth of; and so ended this affair for the present.”
This account will give some idea of the contentions then existing, and of the height to which they raged. Most of the gentlemen whose names are affixed to this paper, were of great respectability, and undoubted in. tegrity, and so far as the partisans of any cause which excites violent opposition can be trusted, their assertions are entitled to consideration.
PROVINCE OF GEORGIA,
ATTESTED UPON OATH IN THE COURT OF SAVANNAH,
NOVEMBER 10, 1740.
The province of Georgia lies from the most northern stream of the river Savannah (the mouth of which is in the latitude of thirty-two degrees) along the sea-coast, to the most southern stream of the Alatamaha (the mouth of which is thirty and a half degrees) and westward from the heads of the said rivers, respectively in direct lines to the South Seas.
This province was part of South Carolina ; but the eastern and southern parts of it, inhabited by the Creek Indians, the northern by the Cherokees and Chickasaws, the western by the Choctaws, the Bluemouths, and other Indian nations, to the South Sea. The Creek Indians, who always acknowl
edged the king of England for their sovereign, yet made war - with the people of Carolina, to obtain satisfaction for injuries done by their pedling traders. The war was concluded by a peace, which obliged the people of Carolina not to settle beyond the river Savannah ; and no Englishman was settled within this district, that we know of, when the first colony of Georgia arrived. The country was then all covered with woods. Mr. Oglethorpe agreed with the Indians, and pur
chased of them the limits mentioned in the treaty. 1. The town of Savannah was laid out, and began to be built, in which are now one hundred and forty-two houses, and good habitable huts. The soil, in general, when cleared, is productive of Indian corn, rice, peas, potatoes, pumpkins, melons, and many other kinds of gourds, in great quantities; wheat, oats, barley, and other European grains, it is found by divers experiments, may be propagated in many parts (more especially in the uplands toward Augusta), with success. Mulberry trees and vines agree exceeding well with the soil and climate, and so does the annual cotton, whereof large quantities have been raised, and it is much planted ; but the cotton, which in some parts is perennial, dies here in the winter, which, nevertheless, the annual is not inferior to in goodness, but requires more trouble in cleansing from the seed. Cattle, hogs, poultry, and fruit trees of most kinds, have increased even beyond imagination.
Ships of about three hundred tons can come up to the town, where the worm (which is the plague of the American seas) does not eat; and the river is navigable for large boats, as far as the town of Augusta, which lies in the latitude of 33 deg. 5 min., and is 250 miles distant from Savannah by water; small boats can go three hundred miles further to the Cherokees.
There is already a considerable trade in the river; and there is in this town a court-house, a gaol, a storehouse, a large house for receiving the Indians, a wharf or bridge, a guard-house, and some other public buildings; a public garden of ten acres cleared, fenced, and planted with orangetrees, mulberry-trees, vines, some olives which thrive very well, peaches, apples, &c.
It must be confessed that oranges have not so universally thriven with us, as was expected, by reason of some severe blasts by frosts in the spring ; yet divers with proper care have preserved them; and as we see them grow and thrive well, with many of our neighbors of Carolina to the northward, we are convinced that they will with us also, as soon as we are become more perfect in the knowledge of propagating them in a right manner; in order to which frequent experiments are making ; and we have already discovered not only what kind of soil agrees best with them, but also that they flourish most when they grow under forest trees, whereby we imagine they are protected from blasts; and it is observed that they take no harm from the droppings of any, except the pine, which suffers nothing to grow near it, unless of its own kind.
Notwithstanding the quantity of silk, hitherto made, has not been great, yet it increases, and will more and more considerably, as the mulberry trees grow, whereof there are great numbers yearly planted.
Vines likewise of late are greatly increased, many people appearing to have an emulation of outdoing their neighbors ; and this year has produced a considerable quantity of very fine grapes, whereof one planter in particular made a trial, to see what kind of wine they would make, which he put into a large stone bottle, and made a present of it to the General, who, upon tasting, said he found it to be something of the nature of a small French white wine, with an agreeable flavor; and several persons here, who have lived formerly in countries where there are a plenty of vineyards, do affirm, that all young vines produce small wines at first, and the strength and goodness of it increases as the vines grow older.
Three miles up the river there is an Indian town, and at six miles distance are several considerable plantations; at ten miles distance are some more, and at fifteen miles distance is a little village, called Abercorn.
Above that, on the Carolina side is the town of Purysburg, twenty-two miles from Savannah ; and on the Georgia side, twelve miles from Purysburg, is the town of Ebenezer, which thrives very much; there are very good houses built for each of the ministers, and an orphan house; and they have partly framed houses, and partly huts, neatly built
, and formed into regular streets; they have a great deal of cattle and corn ground, so that they sell provisions at Savannah ; for they raise much more than they can consume.
Thirty miles above Ebenezer, on the Carolina side, lies the Palachocolas Fort. Five miles above the Palachocolas, on Georgia side, lies the Euchee town (or Mount Pleasant) to which about a hundred Indians belong ; but few of them stay now in the town, they choosing rather to live dispersed. All the land from Ebenezer to the river Briers belongs to those Indians, who will not part with the same, therefore it cannot be planted.
One hundred and forty-four miles above Mount Pleasant, on the Carolina side, is Silver Bluff, where there is another settlement of Euchee Indians : on both sides of the river are fields of corn planted by them.
Thirty miles above Silver Bluff is New Windsor, formerly known by the name of Savannah town, or Moore's fort, where there are but two or three families on the Carolina side, and a small fort.
Seven miles above New Windsor, on the Georgia side, lies the town of Augusta, just below the Falls; this was laid out by the trustees' orders in the year 1735, which has thriven prodigiously; there are several warehouses thoroughly well furnished with goods for the Indian trade, and five large boats belonging to the different inhabitants of the town, which can carry about nine or ten thousand weight of deerskins each, making four or five voyages at least in a year to Charleston, for exporting to England; and the value of each cargo is computed to be from twelve to fifteen hundred pounds sterling. Hither all the English traders, with their servants, resort in the spring; and it is computed above two thousand horses come thither at that season; and the traders, packhorsemen, servants, townsmen, and others, depending upon that business, are moderately computed to be six hundred white men, who live by their trade, carrying upon packhorses all kinds of proper English goods; for which the Indians pay in deer-skins, beaver, and other furs ; each Indian hunter is reckoned to get three hundred weight of deer-skins in a year. This is a very advantageous trade to England, since it is mostly paid for in woollen and iron.
Above this town to the north-west, and on the Georgia side of the river, the Cherokees live, in the valley of the Appelachin mountains; they were about five thousand warriors; but last year it is computed they lost a thousand, partly by the small-pox, and partly (as they themselves say) by too much rum brought from Carolina. The French are striving to get this nation from us, which if they do, Carolina must be supported by a vast number of troops, or lost: but as long as we keep the town of Augusta, our party in the Cherokees can be so easily furnished with arms, ammunition and necessaries, that the French will not be able to gain any ground there.
The Creek Indians live to the westward of this town. Their chief town is the Cowetas, two hundred miles from Augusta, and one hundred and twenty miles from the nearest French fort. The lower Creeks consist of about a thousand, and the upper Creeks of about seven hundred war