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purposes. More recently a new Historical Society has been established in Pennsylvania, at the head of which is the venerable Peter S. Duponceau.
In Connecticut, Rhode Island, Virginia and Ohio, these associations exist. And it is with unfeigned gratification, I now congratulate you gentlemen, upon being able to add to this list the Georgia Historical Society.*
In considering the immediate causes which led to the settlement of Georgia, we cannot fail to be struck with the truth, that the most important events are frequently the result of remote circumstances, having in the beginning no conceivable connection with their ultimate consequences.
In the year 1729 a committee was raised in the English parliament for the purpose of investigating the condition of the prisons, of relieving suffering victims of misfortune and correcting abuses. This humane effort owed its existence to James Oglethorpe, then a member of parliament, by whom it was moved ; and who, as chairman of the committee, was most active and diligent in giving salutary effect to the measure. A great number of persons were found suffering under a rigorous and cruel confinement, who had been imprisoned for inability to discharge their debts. Many of these were rescued by the committee from cruel oppression, and the authors of their sufferings exposed to an indignant public. It was a noble enterprise, a generous care for the 6 many who pine in want and dungeon gloom," "shut from the common air, and common use of their own limbs.” It merited the poet's praise, when, in lines as sweet as the act of mercy he commended, he sang
- "the generous band,
* I have gleaned my information of the existence and progress of these societies from articles in the North American Review, and from a manuscript note by a gentleman in New York, kindly furnished by a friend.
+ Thompson's Winter.
This generous work was not destined to an imperfect consummation. It is the quality of that fine attribute of our natures which sympathizes with others' woes, to grow and expand by the double blessing it imparts, blessing “him that gives as well as him that takes.” The destitute condition of those thus rescued from the horrors of confinement prompted Mr. Oglethorpe and his humane coadjutors to more extended plans for their effectual relief; and to embrace within the circle of their beneficence a'multitude of unfortunate persons in the kingdom, who, in the descriptive language of that day, were “ of respectable families, and of liberal or at least easy education; some undone by guardians, some by law suits, some by accidents in commerce, some by stocks and bubbles, and some by suretyship.” * To meliorate the condition and effectually relieve the wants of this unfortunate class; to afford also an asylum for poor and distressed protestants driven from Germany, to seek refuge in England, the benevolent and enlightened scheme was formed of planting a colony in Georgia. The application to the crown for this purpose was seconded by considerations of public policy and utility. It was seen that the contemplated colony would form a barrier and protection for that of South Carolina against the Spaniards and Indians ; and might be instrumental in retaining the powerful tribes of Southern Indians in the interest of Great Britain, in opposition to the encroachments of Spanish and French influence upon them — while a critical position would thus be occupied, which otherwise, there was reason to believe, would have been occupied by the French.t Thus were beautifully blended, in the very origin of this settlement, the principles of true patriotism with disinterested love for mankind.
No selfish purpose was sought, no personal benefit obtained, no individual aggrandizement promoted by these noble philanthropists, who, in advancing the happiness of others, were the first to set the example of generous contributions from the treasury of their own wealth. Thus strikingly did they exemplify their appropriate motto, "Non sibi sed aliis.”
In June, 1732, a charter of incorporation of the Trustees was obtained. And in November of the same year, Mr. Oglethorpe, with a hundred and sixteen persons, sailed from Gravesend and reached Charleston, in South Carolina, in January, 1733.*
* Pamphlet published in London in 1733. | Harris's Collection of Early Voyages and Travels, published in 1747.
Gentlemen of the Society! You have been pleased to identify this anniversary with the day consecrated by the landing of the founder of our city with his little colony on the bluff of Yamacraw. We stand this day on that spot. Here is the bluff, and we are here in the midst of the ancient city of Oglethorpe. Who does not feel the influence of a sacred inspiration ? The inspiration of the day and of the place. Whose feelings are not irresistibly conducted back to the interesting events of that scene? The landing is effected, the bluff is ascended, the tents are spread. Before them is the wild face of nature, the vast wilderness with its gloomy shades and deep 'solitudes, unbroken save by the rustling footsteps of the savage hunter cautiously pursuing the timid game. Who does not enter into their feelings; their doubts, their fears ? The surrounding neighborhood is explored ; and this spot is selected as the site of a city to bear the name of the noble stream which flows at its base; and destined, we trust, to remain the commercial emporium of the State, and to maintain an honorable competition among her southern sisters. Here we become spectators, as it were, of the interview between the European stranger and the red warrior of his native woods. There we see Oglethorpe explaining the object of his visit, expatiating upon the power, grandeur and wealth of his king and country; proffering friendship, and proposing to treat for a portion of lands. And here Tomochichi, the Indian chief, impressed with solemn respect and awe for the strangers and their country, reciprocating professions of friendship, and in the simplicity of his country's custom, presenting the buffaloe's skin adorned with the head and feathers of the eagle, in token of his profound sense of the greatness and power of the country of his visiters, expressing his acquiescence in the formation of a treaty for land, and his desire of perpetual peace.
We pause for a moment at this point of time, whilst the axe is laid to the tree, the wilderness begins to disappear, and the first rude dwellings of Savannah to arise.
A few months have rolled away, and a second arrival is greeted and cheered. But who are these? From what country come they? For what causes are they thus seeking a home in this new and desert world? These are unfortunate Salzburghers from Germany - exiled from their country for conscience sake — devoted to their religious principles, they have here sought an asylum and a home from persecution and want. This is the glorious effort of the society in England for the propagation of the Gospel in foreign parts, who advanced to the Trustees a sum of money sufficient to provide for seven hundred Salzburghers. These embarkations in September and October, 1733, consisted of three hundred and forty-one persons,* who were settled at Ebenezer, in the county of Effingham; where they have always maintained a church and minister and kept up a communication with their church in Germany.
* Dr. Hewatt, Harris and McCall.
The story of those religious dissensions which, so late as the eighteenth century, terminated in the expulsion of twentyfive thousand persons from their country and their home, belongs to history. Seventeen thousand of them settled in the Prussian States. A large number took refuge in England: £33,000 were raised for their relief in London. Many of these were sent to Georgia and proved excellent colonists. They were visited by Mr. Whitefield at Ebenezer, in 1738; of whom he remarked, that their lands were surprisingly improved — they were blessed with two such pious ministers as he had not often seen; they had no courts of judicature, but all little differences were immediately settled by their ministers. They had an Orphan House with seventeen children and a widow. ,
Many of the settlers were from Herrnhut, the singular religious establishment founded upon his estates, by the yet more singular and eccentric Count Zinzendorf, who was himself for a time banished from his country. From this place came Augustus Gottleib Spangenburg, a man of learning, who had spent many years at the University of Jena, had been invited to Halle, from whence he retired to Herrnhut, and was finally sent out to Georgia to regulate as pastor the Moravian establishment. It was of these people that Mr. Wesley, being present at one of their religious conferences and solemn ordination of a bishop, said, the great sim
* McCall. Harris says, 1734.
plicity as well as solemnity of the whole scene, almost made him forget the seventeen hundred years between, and imagine himself in one of those assemblies where form and state were not, but Paul the tent-maker, or Peter the fisherman presided, — yet with the demonstration of the spirit and of power.
Time rolls on, and the beginning of the year 1735 brings another and a third arrival. Ay, thrice welcome these, whose brawny arms, and stalwart muscles fit them alike to cultivate the soil, and to constitute a rampart between the hostile Spaniards, with their savage allies, and the earlierand more feeble settlers at Savannah. These are the Highlanders of Scotland. Upon their arrival they instantly occupy the post of danger, and upon the banks of the Alatamaha found the now town of Darien. A position exposed and hazardous from its nearer proximity to the Spaniards.
The description which was given of these deep deserts and gloomy wilds, excited the poetic imagination of Goldsmith in that graphic account of them found in the deserted village:
“ To distant climes, a dreary scene, they go,
Far different these from every former scene." General Oglethorpe, who went to England in the spring of 1734, accompanied by Tomochichi and several other Indians, followed, on his return, this last arrival, bringing with him four hundred and seventy persons; which was denominated the great embarkation. This arrival was on the 6th February, 1735.* They were settled at Frederica, on the island of St. Simons. The two Wesleys, John and Charles, came at this time. John remained in Savannah, and Charles went to Frederica, as secretary to Oglethorpe. Many persons of education, family and distinction, accompanied Oglethorpe at their own expense, in his various embarkations for
* Harris. McCall makes it 1736, and differs as to numbers, &c.