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Now Georgia is just about the middle of Purchas's Florida. But not to go too far with the poet, theorist, and old historian; it is probable those Indians divided the solar year into two years as the Virginian Indians did. Let us rely upon what we know at this day; it must not be concealed, that in this country, as almost in every new climate, strangers are apt to have a seasoning; an ague, or sort of a fever; but then it is very slight: And for the rest, people very seldom want health here but by intemperance, (which indeed is too common.) And notwithstanding their several skirmishes with the Spaniards and Indians, and that the plague was imported thither in the year one thousand seven hundred and six; yet there are now several aged persons living at Charles Town, who were of that little number that first settled there and hewed down timber above sixty years ago. By the healthiness of this climate, and some accounts of Spanish expeditions hither in early times, which were vigorously repulsed by great armies of the natives, one would expect to find the country by this time fully peopled with Indians. It is indeed probable that they were much more numerous in those days than they are at present, or else they could not have defended themselves against the Spaniards as they did. But if their numbers were formerly considerable they have since greatly decreased; and that might easily happen in a century, even though the country be naturally fertile and healthy, for the Indians in all the continent of North America, near the Atlantic ocean, have been discovered to have this resemblance in common: They are small tribes of huntsmen, exceedingly apt to make war upon each other, as our five nations of Iroquois beyond New England and New York, have within these forty years driven many other nations from fertile inland countries, of the extent of many millions of acres, and that not without incredible slaughter. Add to which, that these poor creatures, living with hardly any husbandry, or stores of provisions, must perish in heaps if the fruits of the woods, or their hunting should once fail them; one scanty season would infallibly famish whole nations of them. Another great cause of their destruction was the small-pox, the Europeans brought this distemper among them. Now their common cure in all fevers is to sweat plentifully, and then to stop that evacuation at once by plunging instantly into a river. They cannot be per
suaded to alter this method in the case of the small-pox, and it certainly kills them. Rum also has been a fatal liquor to them, many of them have been inclined to drink it to such an excess as we sometimes hear of at home in the abuse of Geneva, and sometimes they are so little masters of their reason, when intoxicated, as to be too apt to commit murders; but there are many sober men among them who abhor the abuse of this liquor. Thus Mr. Archdale relates, that, when he was governor, he ordered an Indian to be executed, who being drunk with rum had murdered an Indian of another tribe. The king of his tribe came to him and reminded him how often he had warned him of the dangers attending excesses in that liquor, but exhorted him (since death was unavoidable) to die like a man, which the unhappy man performed with firmness and gallantry. I have mentioned this story because a vulgar error prevails, as if the Indians were all addicted to this vice. But to return to the opposition against the Spaniards. It is also probable that many tribes were leagued together in the common cause, and that the Spaniards were thence induced to think the people of this part of the continent much more numerous than in truth they were. It is most certain that the nations of Carolina in our days have exactly answered in all respects the descriptions we have of the inhabitants of Virginia, when we first got footing there in the beginning of the last century. Captain Smith (next to Sir Walter Rawleigh) the most industrious and resolute planter of Virginia in those days, computed that all the tribes in a country much more fertile and little less in extent than England, could not draw into the field above five thousand fighting men, though the tract of land is sufficient to maintain more than ten millions of people.
Sane populus nuraerabilis, utpote parvus. Hoe.
This is confirmed and illustrated by the well-attested story that one of their little kings instructed his minister, who was coming hither, to number our tribe; the minister, at his arrival, attempted to execute his commission by making notches on a stick, but soon grew tired of his arithmetic, and at his return expressed the multitude of our forefathers by pointing to the stars, and to the fallen leaves of a wood in autumn. And here I cannot omit saying, that it is a policy of considerable benefit to our colonies, and an expense well laid out, at proper distances of time to persuade some of the chiefest savages, both for authority and understanding, to visit Great Britain. That awed with the high idea which our metropolis gives them of the grandeur of this empire, and propagating that idea among their tribes, our planters in their several neighborhoods may enjoy uninterrupted peace and commerce with them, and even assistance from them, for at least one generation. Such was the journey of the Irroquois chiefs in the reign of Queen Anne, and such was lately the visit from our Indian neighbors of Carolina. The good effects of these visits are well known to the planters of those colonies respectively, and probably will be felt with pleasure for an age to come.
The description of the Carolina Indians in their present state of nature, is as follows, * they are somewhat tawny, occasioned chiefly by oiling their skins, and by exposing themselves naked to the rays of the sun. They are generally straight-bodied, comely in person, quick of apprehension, and great hunters, by which they are not only serviceable by killing deer to procure skins for trade with us, but our people that live in country plantations procure of them the whole deer's flesh, and they bring it many miles for the value of six-pence sterling, and a wild turkey of forty pound weight for the value of two-pence.
Persons reduced to Poverty are not Wealth to the Nation, may be Happy in Georgia, and profitable to England; they are within the Design of the Patent.
Since the time that the lords proprietors sold their rights in Carolina to the crown, the Governor there, has been ordered and instructed to assign liberally portions of land to every new planter according to his ability to occupy it; to erect towns and parishes of twenty thousand acres of land in each district; and to grant to each parish the privilege of sending two members to the assembly of the province, as soon as one hundred masters of families shall be settled in it. Neither will the planters be confined to the ground first alloted them, their lots are to be augmented as they become able to cultivate a larger quantity. These lands are to be granted in fee-simple under the yearly rent of four-pence for every hundred acres: but this rent is not to be charged for the first ten years; during that time the lands shall be entirely free.
* Archd. Description, page 7.
But all this encouragement was not sufficient to people this country, they who can make life tolerable here are willing to stay at home, as it is indeed best for the kingdom that they should, and they who are oppressed by poverty and misfortunes are unable to be at the charges of removing from their miseries. These were the people intended to be relieved, but they were not able to reach the friendly arm extended for their relief, something else must be done, of which more shall be said in a proper place. Let us in the mean time cast our eyes on the multitude of unfortunate people in the kingdom of reputable 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. But all agree in this one circumstance, that they must either be burthensome to their relations, or betake themselves to little shifts for sustenance, which (it is ten to one) do not answer their purposes, and to which a well educated mind descends with the utmost constraint. What various misfortunes may reduce the rich, the industrious, to the danger of a prison, to a moral certainty of starving! These are the people that may relieve themselves and strengthen Georgia, by resorting thither, and Great Britian by their departure.
I appeal to the recollection of the reader (though he be opulent, though he be noble,) does not his own sphere of acquaintance? (I may venture to ask) does not even his own blood, his set of near relations furnish him with some instances of such persons as have been here described? Must they starve? What honest mind can bear to think it? Must they be fed by the contributions of others? Certainly they must, rather than be suffered to perish. Are these wealth to the nation? Are they not a burthen to themselves, a burthen to their kindred and acquaintance? A burthen to the whole community 1
I have heard it said (and it is easy to say so) let them learn to work; let them subdue their pride and descend to mean employments, keep ale-houses, or coffee-houses, even sell fruit, or clean shoes for an honest livelihood. But alas! these occupations and many more like them, are overstocked already by people who know better how to follow them, than do they whom we have been talking of. Half of those who are bred in low life, and well versed in such shifts and expedients, find but a very narrow maintenance by them. As for laboring, I could almost wish that the gentleman, or merchant, who thinks that another gentleman, or merchant in want, can thresh, or dig, to the value of subsistence for his family, or even for himself; I say I could wish the person who thinks so, were obliged to make trial of it for a week, or (not to be too severe) for only a day: he would find himself to be less than the fourth part of a laborer, and that the fourth part of a laborer's wages could not maintain him. I have heard it said, that a man may learn to labor by practice; it is admitted: but it must also be admitted that before he can learn, he may starve. Suppose a gentleman were this day to begin, and with grievous toil found himself able to earn three pence, how many days, or months, are necessary to form him that he may deserve a shilling per diem 1 Men, whose wants are importunate, must try such expedients as will give immediate relief. It is too late for them to begin to learn a trade when their pressing necessities call for the exexercise of it.
Having thus described (I fear, too truly) the pitiable condition of the better sort of the indigent, an objection rises against their removal upon what is stated of their imbecility for drudgery. It may be asked, if they can't get bread here for their labor, how will their condition be mended in Georgia? The answer is easy; part of it is well attested, and part self-evident. They have land there for nothing, and that*land is so fertile that (as is said before) they receive an hundredfold increase for taking very little pains. Give here in England ten acres of good land to one of these helpless persons, and I doubt not his ability to make it sustain him, and this by his own culture, without letting it to another: but the difference between no rent, and rack-rent, is the dif*Descr. Abreg. p. 13.