Part 1 out of 4
The Moravians in Georgia, 1735-1740.
by Adelaide L. Fries
[Note on text: Italicized words or phrases are capitalized.
A few obvious errors have been corrected. Many German names with umlauts
have had the umlaut replaced with an `e' following the vowel
(according to standard form) due to the limitations of ASCII.
These names are noted in the Index.]
The Moravians in Georgia, 1735-1740.
Adelaide L. Fries
Winston-Salem, N. C.
In the life of any individual, association, or nation, there will probably be
one or more occurrences which may be considered as success or failure
according to the dramatic features of the event and the ultimate results.
Of this the Battle of Bunker Hill is a striking example.
On the morning of June 17th, 1775, a force of British soldiers
attacked a small body of raw, ill-equipped American volunteers,
who had fortified a hill near Boston, and quickly drove them
from their position. By whom then was the Bunker Hill Monument erected?
By the victors in that first engagement of the Revolution? No,
but by proud descendants of the vanquished, whose broader view showed them
the incalculable benefits arising from that seeming defeat,
which precipitated the great struggle, forcing every man in the Colonies
to take a position squarely for or against the American Cause,
convinced the timid that only proper equipment would be needed
to enable the American army to hold its own against the foe,
and taught the British that they were dealing, not with hot-headed rebels
who would run at first sight of the dreaded "red coats", but with patriots
who would stand their ground so long as a charge of powder remained,
or gunstocks could be handled as clubs.
Very much the same line of argument may be applied to the first attempt
of the Moravian Church to establish a settlement on the American Continent.
The story is usually passed over by historians in a few short paragraphs,
and yet without the colony in Georgia, the whole history of the Renewed Church
of the Unitas Fratrum would have been very different. Without that movement
the Moravian Church might never have been established in England,
without it the great Methodist denomination might never have come into being,
without it the American Moravian provinces, North or South,
might not have been planned. Of course Providence might have provided
other means for the accomplishment of these ends, but certain it is
that in the actual development of all these things the "unsuccessful attempt"
in Georgia, 1735 to 1740, played a most important part.
In preparing this history a number of private libraries, the collections of
the Georgia Historical Society, the Congressional Library, the British Museum,
were searched for data, but so little was found that the story,
in so far as it relates to the Moravian settlement,
has been drawn entirely from the original manuscripts in the Archives
of the Unitas Fratrum at Herrnhut, Germany, with some additions from
the Archives at Bethlehem, Pa., and Salem, N. C. For the general history
of Georgia, of the Moravian Church, and of the Wesleys,
Steven's History of Georgia, Hamilton's History of the Moravian Church,
Levering's History of Bethlehem, Pa., Some Fathers of the American
Moravian Church, by de Schweinitz, Strobel's History of the Salzburgers,
Tyreman's Oxford Methodists, and Wesley's Journal have been most largely used.
The history of the Moravian settlement in Georgia falls into that period
when dates are much confused through the contemporaneous use of the old style,
or Julian calendar, and the new style, or Gregorian calendar.
As the latter is now current everywhere, except in Russia and the Orient,
it is here employed throughout, old style dates being translated
where they occur in the records.
Special thanks are due to Rev. A. Glitsch, Archivist at Herrnhut,
for courtesies extended while the author was examining
the invaluable collection of papers entrusted to his care,
and also for his supervision of the copying of such documents
as were selected; to Mr. Isaac Beckett, of Savannah, for information
respecting the Moravian lands; to Mr. John Jordan, of Philadelphia,
for copies of deeds and other papers relating to the settlement;
to Mr. W. S. Pfohl, of Salem, for assistance with the illustrations;
and to Mr. John W. Fries for suggestion and inspiration for the work,
and the constant encouragement and sympathetic interest without which
the author's courage would have failed during the tedious years
of gathering material for the book, which is now presented to those
who may find in it something of explanation, something of interest,
concerning the Moravian settlement in Georgia, and the broader history
which the story touches on every side.
Adelaide L. Fries.
Table of Contents.
Chapter I. Antecedent Events.
The Province of Georgia.
Chapter II. Negotiations with the Trustees of Georgia.
The "First Company".
Chapter III. The First Year in Georgia.
Making a Start.
Aim and Attainment.
Chapter IV. Reinforcements.
The "Second Company".
Chapter V. The Second Year in Georgia.
The English Clergymen.
Work Among the Indians.
Rumors of War.
Chapter VI. Disintegration.
A Closing Door.
Wesley, Ingham and Toeltschig.
The Negro Mission.
Chapter VII. Conclusion.
Later Attempts in Georgia.
The Savannah Lands.
Arrivals, Departures, Deaths.
The Moravians in Georgia, 1735-1740.
Chapter I. Antecedent Events.
The Province of Georgia.
It was in the year 1728 that the English Parliament was persuaded
by James Oglethorpe, Esq. -- soldier, statesman and philanthropist, --
to appoint a committee to investigate the condition of the debtors
confined in the Fleet and Marchalsea prisons. The lot of these debtors
was a most pitiable one, for a creditor had power to imprison a man
for an indefinite term of years, and the unfortunate debtor,
held within the four walls of his prison, could earn no money
to pay the debt that was owing, and unless friends came to his rescue,
was utterly at the mercy of the oft-times barbarous jailor. The Committee,
consisting of ninety-six prominent men, with Oglethorpe as Chairman,
recommended and secured the redress of many grievances, and the passing
of better laws for the future, but Oglethorpe and a few associates
conceived a plan which they thought would eradicate the evil
by striking at its very root, the difficulty which many found
in earning a living in the overcrowded cities.
In 1663 King Charles II. had granted to eight "Lords Proprietors"
the portion of North America lying between the 31st and 36th degrees
of latitude, enlarging the boundaries in 1665 to 29 deg. and 36 deg. 30 min.
By 1728 most of these Lords Proprietors had tired of their attempt
to govern the colonies they had established in "Carolina", and in 1729
seven of the eight sold their interest to the English crown,
the district being divided into "North Carolina", "South Carolina",
and a more southerly portion, nominally included in the latter,
which was held in reserve.
To this unused land the thoughts of Oglethorpe turned,
and he and his friends addressed a memorial to the Privy Council,
stating "that the cities of London, Westminster, and parts adjacent,
do abound with great numbers of indigent persons, who are reduced
to such necessity as to become burthensome to the public, and who would be
willing to seek a livelihood in any of his majesty's plantations in America,
if they were provided with a passage, and means of settling there."
They therefore asked for a grant of land lying south of the Savannah River,
where they wished to establish a colony in which these unfortunate men
might begin life anew, and where Protestants, persecuted in some parts
of Europe, might find a refuge. They also offered to take entire charge
of the affair, and their petition, after passing through the usual channels,
was approved by the King, George II, a charter was prepared,
and the great seal was affixed June 9th, 1732.
This instrument constituted twenty-one noblemen and gentlemen
a body corporate, by the name and style of "The Trustees for establishing
the Colony of Georgia in America", and in them was vested full authority
for the collecting of subscriptions and the expending of moneys gathered,
the selection of colonists, and the making and administering of laws
in Georgia; but no member of the corporation was allowed to receive a salary,
or any fees, or to hold land in the new province. The undertaking was to be
strictly for the good of others, not for their own pecuniary benefit.
The charter granted to them "all those lands, countries,
and territories situate, lying and being in that part of South Carolina,
in America" between the Savannah and Altamaha, gave them permission
to take over any British subjects, or foreigners willing to become such,
and guaranteed to each settler the rights of an English subject,
and full liberty of conscience, -- Papists alone excepted.
This apparently pointed exception was natural enough,
since from a political standpoint the new colony was regarded
as a valuable guard for the Protestant English Colonies on the north,
against the Indians and Roman Catholic colonists to the south,
who had been keeping the border settlers in a continual state of uneasiness,
even in times of nominal peace. Moreover England had not forgotten
the terrible experience of the latter half of the preceding century,
when it was war to the death between Catholic and Protestant,
and the latter party being the stronger the former was subjected
to great and unpardonable persecution, many were executed,
and all holding that faith were laid under political disabilities
which lasted for a hundred and fifty years.
The plans of the Trustees were very broad. They intended "to relieve
such unfortunate persons as cannot subsist here, and establish them
in an orderly manner, so as to form a well regulated town. As far as
their fund goes they will defray the charge of their passage to Georgia --
give them necessaries, cattle, land, and subsistence, till such time
as they can build their houses and clear some of their land."
In this manner "many families who would otherwise starve will be provided for,
and made masters of houses and lands; * * * and by giving refuge
to the distressed Salzburgers and other Protestants, the power of Britain,
as a reward for its hospitality, will be increased by the addition
of so many religious and industrious subjects."
Each of the emigrants was to receive about fifty acres of land,
including a town lot, a garden of five acres, and a forty-five acre farm,
and the Trustees offered to give a tract of five hundred acres
to any well-to-do man who would go over at his own expense,
taking with him at least ten servants, and promising his military service
in case of need.
But there was a commercial as well as a benevolent side to the designs
of the Trustees, for they thought Georgia could be made to furnish silk,
wine, oil and drugs in large quantities, the importing of which
would keep thousands of pounds sterling in English hands which had hitherto
gone to China, Persia and the Madeiras. Special provision was therefore made
to secure the planting of mulberry trees as the first step
towards silk culture, the other branches to be introduced as speedily
as might be.
Filled with enthusiasm for their plan, the Trustees proceeded
to spread abroad the most glowing descriptions of the country
where the new colony was to be settled.
"The kind spring, which but salutes us here,
Inhabits there, and courts them all the year.
Ripe fruits and blossoms on the same trees live --
At once they promise, when at once they give.
So sweet the air, so moderate the clime,
None sickly lives, or dies before his time.
Heaven, sure, has kept this spot of earth uncurst,
To shew how all things were created first."
So wrote Oglethorpe, quoting the lines as the best pen picture he could give
of the new land, and truly, if the colonists found the reality less roseate
than they anticipated, it was not the fault of their generous,
energetic leader, who spared neither pains nor means in his effort
to make all things work out as his imagination had painted them.
The Trustees having, with great care, selected thirty-five families
from the number who wished to go, the first emigrant ship sailed for Georgia
in November, 1732, bearing about one hundred and twenty-five
"sober, industrious and moral persons", and all needful stores
for the establishment of the colony. Early in the following year
they reached America, and Oglethorpe, having chosen a high bluff
on the southern bank of the Savannah River, concluded a satisfactory treaty
with Tomochichi, the chief of the nearest Indian tribe, which was later
ratified in a full Council of the chiefs of all the Lower Creeks.
His fairness and courteous treatment won the hearts of all,
especially of Tomochichi and his people, who for many years
remained on the best of terms with the town which was now laid out
upon the bluff.
The Salzburgers, referred to by name in the proposals of the Georgia Trustees,
were, at this time, very much upon the mind and heart of Protestant Europe.
They were Germans, belonging to the Archbishopric of Salzburg,
then the most eastern district of Bavaria, but now a province of Austria.
"Their ancestors, the Vallenges of Piedmont, had been compelled
by the barbarities of the Dukes of Savoy to find a shelter from the storms
of persecution in the Alpine passes and vales of Salzburg and the Tyrol,
before the Reformation; and frequently since, they had been hunted out
by the hirelings and soldiery of the Church of Rome, and condemned
for their faith to tortures of the most cruel and revolting kind.
In 1684-6, they were again threatened with an exterminating persecution;
but were saved in part by the intervention of the Protestant States
of Saxony and Brandenburg, though more than a thousand emigrated
on account of the dangers to which they were exposed.
"But the quietness which they then enjoyed for nearly half a century
was rudely broken in upon by Leopold, Count of Firmian and Archbishop
of Salzburg, who determined to reduce them to the Papal faith and power.
He began in the year 1729, and ere he ended in 1732
not far from thirty thousand had been driven from their homes,
to seek among the Protestant States of Europe that charity and peace
which were denied them in the glens and fastnesses of their native Alps.
"The march of these Salzburgers constitutes an epoch
in the history of Germany. * * * Arriving at Augsburg,
the magistrates closed the gates against them, refusing them entrance
to that city which, two hundred years before, through Luther and Melancthon
and in the presence of Charles V and the assembled Princes of Germany,
had given birth to the celebrated Augsburg Confession, for clinging to which
the Salzburgers were now driven from their homes; but overawed
by the Protestants, the officers reluctantly admitted the emigrants,
who were kindly entertained by the Lutherans.
"The sympathies of Reformed Christendom were awakened on their behalf, and the
most hospitable entertainment and assistance were everywhere given them."
Only a few months after the signing of the Georgia Colony Charter,
the "Society for the Propagation of Christian Knowledge"
requested the Trustees to include the Salzburgers in their plans.
The Trustees expressed their willingness to grant lands,
and to manage any money given toward their expenses, but stated
that they then held no funds which were available for that purpose.
In May, 1733, the House of Commons appropriated 10,000 Pounds
to the Trustees of Georgia, "to be applied towards defraying the charges
of carrying over and settling foreign and other Protestants in said colony,"
and over 3,000 Pounds additional having been given privately, the Trustees,
at the suggestion of Herr von Pfeil, consul of Wittenberg at Regensberg,
wrote to Senior Samuel Urlsperger, pastor of the Lutheran Church of St. Ann
in the city of Augsburg, who had been very kind to the Salzburgers
on their arrival there, "and ever afterward watched over their welfare
with the solicitude of an affectionate father." On receipt of the invitation
from the Trustees, seventy-eight persons decided to go to Georgia,
and left Augsburg on the 21st of October, reaching Rotterdam
the 27th of November, where they were joined by two ministers,
Rev. Mr. Bolzius, deputy superintendent of the Latin Orphan School at Halle,
and Rev. Mr. Gronau, a tutor in the same, who were to accompany them
to their new home. In England they were treated with marked kindness,
and when they sailed, January 19, 1734, it was with the promise
of free transportation to Georgia, and support there until they could reap
their first harvest from the fifty acres which were to be given
to each man among them.
They reached Charlestown, South Carolina, the following March,
and met General Oglethorpe, the Governor of Georgia, who was intending
an immediate return to Europe, but went back to help them select
a suitable place for their settlement, they preferring not to live
in Savannah itself. The site chosen was about twenty-five miles
from Savannah, on a large stream flowing into the Savannah River,
and there they laid out their town, calling it "Ebenezer",
in grateful remembrance of the Divine help that had brought them thither.
Baron von Reck, who had accompanied them as Commissary of the Trustees,
stayed with them until they had made a good beginning, and then returned
to Europe, leaving Ebenezer about the middle of May.
But while the Salzburgers received so much sympathy and kindness in Germany
on account of their distress, other exiled Protestants, whose story was
no less touching, were being treated with scant courtesy and consideration.
On the 6th of July, 1415, the Bohemian Reformer, John Hus, was burned
at the stake. But those who had silenced him could not unsay his message,
and at last there drew together a little body of earnest men,
who agreed to accept the Bible as their only standard of faith and practice,
and established a strict discipline which should keep their lives
in the simplicity, purity, and brotherly love of the early Apostolic Church.
This was in 1457, and the movement quickly interested the thoughtful people
in all classes of society, many of whom joined their ranks. The formal
organization of the Unitas Fratrum (the Unity of Brethren) followed,
and its preaching, theological publications, and educational work
soon raised it to great influence in Bohemia, Moravia, and Poland,
friendly intercourse being established with Luther, Calvin,
and other Reformers as they became prominent.
Then came destruction, when the religious liberty of Bohemia and Moravia
was extinguished in blood, by the Church of Rome. The great Comenius
went forth, a wanderer on the face of the earth, welcomed and honored
in courts and universities, introducing new educational principles
that revolutionized methods of teaching, but ever longing and praying
for the restoration of his Church; and by his publication of its Doctrine
and Rules of Discipline, and by his careful transmission of the Episcopate
which had been bestowed upon him and his associate Bishops,
he did contribute largely to that renewal which he was not destined to see.
In the home lands there were many who held secretly, tenaciously, desperately,
to the doctrines they loved, "in hope against hope" that the great oppression
would be lifted. But the passing of a hundred years brought no relief,
concessions granted to others were still denied to the children of those
who had been the first "protestants" against religious slavery and corruption,
and in 1722 a small company of descendants of the ancient Unitas Fratrum
slipped over the borders of Moravia, and went to Saxony,
Nicholas Lewis, Count Zinzendorf, having given them permission
to sojourn on his estates until they could find suitable homes elsewhere.
Hearing that they had reached a place of safety, other Moravians
took their lives in their hands and followed, risking the imprisonment
and torture which were sure to follow an unsuccessful attempt
to leave a province, the Government of which would neither allow them
to be happy at home nor to sacrifice everything and go away.
Among these emigrants were five young men, who went in May, 1724,
with the avowed intention of trying to resuscitate the Unitas Fratrum.
They intended to go into Poland, where the organization of the Unitas Fratrum
had lasted for a considerable time after its ruin in Bohemia,
but, almost by accident, they decided to first visit Christian David,
who had led the first company to Herrnhut, Saxony, and while there
they became convinced that God meant them to throw in their lot
with these refugees, and so remained, coming to be strong leaders
in the renewed Unity.
Several years, however, elapsed before the church was re-established.
One hundred years of persecution had left the Moravians only traditions
of the usages of the fathers, members of other sects who were in trouble
came and settled among them, bringing diverse views, and things
were threatening to become very much involved, when Count Zinzendorf,
who had hitherto paid little attention to them, awoke to the realization
of their danger, and at once set to work to help them.
It was no easy task which he undertook, for the Moravians insisted
on retaining their ancient discipline, and he must needs try to please them
and at the same time preserve the bond of union with the State Church, --
the Lutheran, -- of which, as his tenants, they were officially
considered members. His tact and great personal magnetism
at last healed the differences which had sprung up between the settlers,
the opportune finding of Comenius' `Ratio Disciplinae' enabled them
with certainty to formulate rules that agreed with those
of the ancient Unitas Fratrum, and a marked outpouring of the Holy Spirit
at a Communion, August 13th, 1727, sealed the renewal of the Church.
"They walked with God in peace and love,
But failed with one another;
While sternly for the faith they strove,
Brother fell out with brother;
But He in Whom they put their trust,
Who knew their frames, that they were dust,
Pitied and healed their weakness.
"He found them in His House of prayer,
With one accord assembled,
And so revealed His presence there,
They wept for joy and trembled;
One cup they drank, one bread they brake,
One baptism shared, one language spake,
Forgiving and forgiven.
"Then forth they went with tongues of flame
In one blest theme delighting,
The love of Jesus and His Name
God's children all uniting!
That love our theme and watchword still;
That law of love may we fulfill,
And love as we are loved."
At this time there was no thought of separating from the State Church
and establishing a distinct denomination, and Zinzendorf believed
that the Unitas Fratrum could exist as a `society' working in,
and in harmony with, the State Church of whatever nation it might enter.
This idea, borrowed probably from Spener's "ecclesiolae in ecclesia",
clung to him, even after circumstances had forced the Unity to declare
its independence and the validity of the ordination of its ministry,
and many otherwise inexplicable things in the later policy of the Church
may be traced to its influence.
In 1734 Zinzendorf took orders in the Lutheran Church, but this,
and all that preceded it, seemed to augment rather than quiet the antagonism
which the development of Herrnhut aroused in certain quarters.
This opposition was not universal. The Moravians had many warm friends
and advocates at the Saxon Court, at the Universities of Jena and Tuebingen,
and elsewhere, but they also had active enemies who drew their inspiration
principally from the University of Halle.
The opposition of Halle seems to have been largely prompted by jealousy.
In 1666 a revolt against the prevailing cold formalism of the Lutheran Church
was begun by Philip Jacob Spener, a minister of that Church,
who strongly urged the need for real personal piety on the part
of each individual. His ideas were warmly received by some,
and disliked by others, who stigmatized Spener and his disciples
as "Pietists", but the doctrine spread, and in the course of time
the University of Halle became its centre. Among those who were greatly
attracted by the movement were Count Zinzendorf's parents and grandparents,
and when he was born, May 26th, 1700, Spener was selected as his sponsor.
Being of a warm-hearted, devout nature, young Zinzendorf yielded readily
to the influence of his pious grandmother, to whose care he was left
after his father's death and his mother's second marriage,
and by her wish he entered the Paedagogium at Halle in 1710,
remaining there six years. Then his uncle, fearing that he would become
a religious enthusiast, sent him to the University of Wittenberg,
with strict orders to apply himself to the study of law. Here he learned
to recognize the good side of the Wittenberg divines, who were decried
by Halle, and tried to bring the two Universities to a better understanding,
but without result.
In 1719 he was sent on an extensive foreign tour, according to custom,
and in the picture gallery of Duesseldorf saw an Ecce Homo
with its inscription "This have I done for thee, what hast thou done for me?"
which settled him forever in his determination to devote his whole life
to the service of Christ.
Rather against his wishes, Count Zinzendorf then took office under
the Saxon Government, but about the same time he bought from his grandmother
the estate of Berthelsdorf, desiring to establish a centre of piety,
resembling Halle. The coming of the Moravian and other refugees
and their settlement at Herrnhut, near Berthelsdorf, was to him at first
only an incident; but as their industry and the preaching of Pastor Rothe,
whom he had put in charge of the Berthelsdorf Lutheran Church,
began to attract attention, he went to Halle, expecting sympathy
from his friends there. Instead he met with rebuke and disapproval,
the leaders resenting the fact that he had not placed the work
directly under their control, and apparently realizing, as he did not,
that the movement would probably lead to the establishment
of a separate church.
In spite of their disapprobation, the work at Herrnhut prospered,
and the more it increased the fiercer their resentment grew. That they,
who had gained their name from their advocacy of the need for personal piety,
should have been foremost in opposing a man whose piety
was his strongest characteristic, and a people who for three hundred years,
in prosperity and adversity, in danger, torture and exile,
had held "Christ and Him Crucified" as their Confession of Faith,
and pure and simple living for His sake as their object in life,
is one of the ironies of history.
Nor did the Halle party confine itself to criticism. Some years later
Zinzendorf was for a time driven into exile, and narrowly escaped
the confiscation of all his property, while its methods of obstructing
the missionary and colonizing efforts of the Moravians will appear
in the further history of the Georgia colony.
Chapter II. Negotiations with the Trustees of Georgia.
Among those who came to share the hospitalities of Count Zinzendorf
during the years immediately preceding the renewal of the Unitas Fratrum,
were a company of Schwenkfelders. Their sojourn on his estate
was comparatively brief, and their association with the Moravian Church
only temporary, but they are of interest because their necessities
led directly to the Moravian settlements in Georgia and Pennsylvania.
The Schwenkfelders took their name from Casper Schwenkfeld,
a Silesian nobleman contemporary with Luther, who had in the main
embraced the Reformer's doctrines, but formed some opinions of his own
in regard to the Lord's Supper, and one or two other points. His followers
were persecuted in turn by Lutherans and Jesuits, and in 1725 a number of them
threw themselves on the mercy of Count Zinzendorf. He permitted them
to stay for a while at Herrnhut, where their views served
to increase the confusion which prevailed prior to the revival of 1727,
about which time he moved them to Ober-Berthelsdorf.
In 1732, Zinzendorf's personal enemies accused him, before the Saxon Court,
of being a dangerous man, and the Austrian Government complained
that he was enticing its subjects to remove to his estates.
The Count asked for a judicial investigation, which was granted,
the Prefect of Goerlitz spending three days in a rigid examination
of the affairs of Herrnhut. The result was a most favorable report,
showing the orthodoxy of the settlers, and that instead of urging emigration
from Bohemia and Moravia, Zinzendorf had protested against it,
receiving only those who were true exiles for conscience' sake.
In spite of this the Saxon Government, a few months later,
forbade him to receive any more refugees.
In April, 1733, a decree went forth that all Schwenkfelders were to leave
the Kingdom of Saxony. This, of course, affected those who were living
at Ober-Berthelsdorf, and a committee of four waited on Count Zinzendorf,
and requested him to secure a new home for them in the land of Georgia
in North America. Probably Zinzendorf, whose attention had been caught
by the attractive advertisements of the Trustees, had unofficially
suggested the idea to them.
Lest his opening negotiations with the English Company should foment
the trouble at home, he sent his first communication to them anonymously,
about the end of 1733.
"A nobleman, of the Protestant religion, connected with the most influential
families of Germany, has decided to live for a time in America,
without, however, renouncing his estates in Germany. But as circumstances
render it inadvisable for him to take such a step hastily,
he wishes to send in advance a number of families of his dependents,
composed of honest, sturdy, industrious, skillful, economical people,
well ordered in their domestic affairs, who, having no debts,
will try to sell such possessions as they cannot take with them
in order to raise the funds for establishing themselves in their new home.
"This nobleman, on his part, promises:
(1) To be governed by the King, and the English Nation, in all things,
matters of conscience alone excepted; that is, he will be true to the Prince,
the Protestant Succession, and Parliament in everything relating to
the estates he may receive in this country, and thereto will pledge his life,
and the property he may in future hold under the protection of His Majesty
of Great Britain.
(2) To be surety for the dependents that he sends over, and to assume
only such jurisdiction over them as is customary among English Lords
on their estates.
(3) To carefully repay the English Nation such sums as may be advanced
for his establishment in Georgia, and moreover, as soon as the property
is in good condition, to consider it only as rented until the obligation
(4) To assist the King and Nation, with all zeal and by all means
in his power, to carry out His Majesty's designs for Georgia.
He will bring to that all the insight and knowledge of a man of affairs,
who from youth up has studied the most wholesome principles and laws
for a State, and has had personal experience in putting them into execution;
but, on the other hand, he has learned such self-control
that he will meddle with nothing in which his services are not desired.
"In consideration of these things the nobleman asks that --
(1) If more knowledge of his standing is desired he shall be expected
to give it to no one except a Committee of Parliament, composed of members
of both houses, appointed by his Britannic Majesty, or to a Committee
of the `Collegii directoriatis' of America, who shall be empowered
to grant his requests; this in view of the fact that the petitioner
is a German Nobleman, whose family is well known, his father having been
Ambassador to England, and his kindred among the foremost statesmen of Europe.
(2) After the Committee has received sufficient and satisfactory information
it shall be silent in regard to the circumstances and his personality,
as he has weighty reasons for not wishing to subject himself to criticism.
(3) He shall be given a written agreement, guaranteeing the following things:
a. That he shall receive enough land for a household
of fifty to sixty persons, and for about a hundred other dependents,
most of whom have a trade or profession, and all able
to help build up the country.
b. That his dependents shall be given free transportation,
and supplies for the voyage.
c. That they shall be taken directly to the place mentioned
in the agreement.
d. That he and his agent shall have certain sums advanced to him
for the expenses of the removal to Georgia, the money to be given them
only when they are ready to embark in England, -- payment to be made
several years later, a rate of interest having been mutually agreed on,
and the estate in Georgia being given for security if necessary.
e. All that is needed for the building of a village for himself and
his dependents shall be furnished them, -- but as an interest bearing loan.
f. That he, and the colonists who will go with him, shall have
full religious liberty, they being neither papists nor visionaries.
g. That if any of his dependents should fall into error
no one should attempt to correct them, but leave him to handle the matter
according to his own judgment; on the other hand he will stand surety
for the conduct of his dependents as citizens.
h. That he and his descendents shall be taken under the protection
of the English Nation if they request it.
i. That he may be permitted to choose whether he will go himself to Georgia,
or send a representative to set his affairs in order, and if the latter,
then the representative shall receive the courteous treatment
that would have been accorded him.
j. That those among his colonists who wish to preach the gospel
to the heathen shall be allowed to do so; and their converts shall have
the same religious freedom as his colonists.
k. That he and his dependents in Georgia shall be given the privileges
in spiritual affairs which the independent Lords of Germany enjoy
in temporal affairs.
l. That all his property shall be at the service of the State
in time of need, but neither he nor his dependents shall be called on
for military duty, in lieu whereof he will, if necessary,
pay a double war tax."
From this document it appears that even at this early stage
of the negotiations Zinzendorf's plans for the settlement in Georgia
were well matured. A town was to be built by his colonists,
where they should have all privileges for the free exercise of their religion;
they, as thrifty citizens, were to assist in the upbuilding of Georgia;
they were to preach the gospel to the heathen; they were NOT to bear arms,
but in case of war to pay a double tax. His careful avoidance of the plea
of religious persecution was caused by the fact that his own King
had ordered the exile of the Schwenkfelders, for Zinzendorf all his life
sought to pay due respect to those in authority, and even when his conscience
forced him to differ with them it was done with perfect courtesy,
giving equal weight to all parts of the commandment "Honor all men;
love the brotherhood; fear God; honor the King."
The proposals of the Count were forwarded through Herr von Pfeil,
and were presented to the Trustees of the Colony of Georgia by a Mr. Lorenz.
Who this gentleman was does not appear, but a man bearing that name
was one of the Germans, living in London, who in 1737 formed a society
for religious improvement under the influence of Count Zinzendorf.
Through the same channel the answer of the Trustees was returned:
The proposals sent by Baron Pfeil from Ratisbon (Regensberg)
to the Trustees of Georgia have been read at their meeting, but as they see
that the gentleman asks pecuniary assistance for the establishment
he contemplates, they answer that they have absolutely no fund
from which to defray such expenses, but that in case the gentleman
who suggests it wishes to undertake the enterprise at his own cost
they will be able to grant him land in Georgia on conditions to which
no one could object, and which he may learn as soon as the Trustees
have been informed that he has decided to go at his own expense.
You will have the kindness to forward this to Baron Pfeil, and oblige,
your most humble
servant J. Vernon."
Whether this plea of "no fund" was prompted by indifference,
or whether they really considered the money appropriated by Parliament
as intended for the Salzburgers alone, is immaterial.
Perhaps Zinzendorf's very proposals to consider any assistance as a loan
made them think him able to finance the scheme himself.
The Schwenkfelders, being under orders to expatriate themselves,
left Berthelsdorf on the 26th of May, 1734, under the leadership
of Christopher Wiegner (sometimes called George in Moravian MSS.)
and at their request George Boehnisch, one of the Herrnhut Moravians,
went with them. Their plan was to go through Holland to England,
and thence to Georgia, but in the former country they changed their minds
and sailed for Pennsylvania. In December of the same year
Spangenberg was in Rotterdam, where he lodged with a Dr. Koker,
from whom he learned the reason for their, until then, unexplained behavior.
Dr. Koker belonged to a Society calling themselves the "Collegiants",
the membership of which was drawn from the Reformed, Lutheran,
and various other churches. Their cardinal principles were freedom of speech,
freedom of belief, and liberty to retain membership in their own denominations
if they desired. The Society was really an offshoot of the Baptist Church,
differing, however, in its non-insistance upon a particular form of baptism.
Twice a year the members met in the Lord's Supper, to which all were welcomed
whose life was beyond reproach. In Holland they enjoyed the same privileges
as other sects, and had a following in Amsterdam, Haarlem, Rotterdam,
It appeared that the Schwenkfelders had first addressed themselves
to these Collegiants, especially to Cornelius van Putten in Haarlem,
and Pieter Koker in Rotterdam, but when their need grew more pressing
they appealed to Count Zinzendorf. When he was not able to obtain for them
all they wanted, they turned again to the Collegiants, and were
in conference with them in Rotterdam. The Collegiants were very much opposed
to the Georgia Colony, -- "the Dutch intensely disliked anything that would
connect them with England," -- and although Thomas Coram, one of the Trustees,
who happened to be in Rotterdam, promised the Schwenkfelders
free transportation (which had been refused Zinzendorf),
the Collegiants persuaded them not to go to Georgia. Their chief argument
was that the English Government sent its convicts to Georgia,
a proof that it was not a good land, and the Schwenkfelders were also told
that the English intended to use them as slaves.
Disturbed by this view of the case, the Schwenkfelders accepted
an offer of free transportation to Pennsylvania, where they arrived in safety
on the 22nd of September.
Spangenberg had wished to serve as their pastor in Georgia,
thinking it would give him opportunity to carry out his cherished wish
to bear the gospel message to the heathen, and he felt himself
still in a measure bound to them, despite their change of purpose,
and at a somewhat later time did visit them in their new home. There was
some idea of then taking them to Georgia, but it did not materialize,
and they remained permanently in Pennsylvania, settling in the counties
of Montgomery, Berks and Lehigh. Their descendents there preserve the customs
of their fathers, and are the only representatives of the Schwenkfelder form
of doctrine, the sect having become extinct in Europe.
While the exile of the Schwenkfelders was the immediate cause
which led Zinzendorf to open negotiations with the Trustees
of the Colony of Georgia, the impulse which prompted him involved far more
than mere assistance to them. Foreign Missions, in the modern sense
of the word, were almost unknown in Zinzendorf's boyhood,
yet from his earliest days his thoughts turned often to those who lay
beyond the reach of gospel light. In 1730, while on a visit to Copenhagen,
he heard that the Lutheran Missionary Hans Egede, who for years
had been laboring single handed to convert the Eskimos of Greenland,
was sorely in need of help; and Anthony, the negro body-servant
of a Count Laurwig, gave him a most pathetic description
of the condition of the negro slaves in the Danish West Indies.
Filled with enthusiasm, Zinzendorf returned to Herrnhut,
and poured the two stories into willing ears, for ever since
the great revival of 1727 the Moravian emigrants had been scanning the field,
anxious to carry the "good news" abroad, and held back only by
the apparent impossibility of going forward. Who were they,
without influence, without means, without a country even,
that they should take such an office upon themselves?
But the desire remained, and at this summons they prepared to do
the impossible. In August, 1732, two men started for St. Thomas, --
in April, 1733, three more sailed for Greenland, and in the face of hardships
that would have daunted men of less than heroic mold, successful missions
were established at both places.
But this was not enough. "My passionate desire," wrote Zinzendorf
from Herrnhut in January, 1735, "my passionate desire to make Jesus known
among the heathen has found a satisfaction in the blessed Greenland,
St. Thomas and Lapp work, but without appeasing my hunger.
I therefore look into every opportunity which presents itself,
seeking that the kingdom of my Redeemer may be strengthened among men."
Nor did he lack ready assistants, for the Moravians were as eager as he.
"When we in Herrnhut heard of Georgia, of which much was being published
in the newspapers, and when we realized the opportunity it would give
to carry the Truth to the heathen, several Brethren, who had the Lord's honor
much at heart, were led, doubtless by His hand, to think that it would be
a good plan to send some Brethren thither, if it might please the Lord
to bless our work among the heathen, and so to bring those poor souls,
now far from Christ, nigh unto Him. We tried to learn about the land,
but could secure no accurate information, for some spoke from hearsay,
others with prejudice, and many more with too great partiality. But we
at last decided to venture, in the faith that the Lord would help us through."
The needs of the Schwenkfelders gave a new turn to their thoughts,
and suggested the advantages that might accrue from a settlement in America
to which they might all retreat if the persecution in Saxony waxed violent;
but early in the year 1734, the question "Shall we go to Georgia
only as Colonists, or also as Missionaries?" was submitted to the lot,
and the answer was "As Missionaries also."
The defection of the Schwenkfelders, therefore, while a serious interference
with the Herrnhut plan, was not allowed to ruin the project.
Zinzendorf wrote again to the Trustees, and they repeated their promise
of land, provided his colonists would go at their own expense.
After much consultation the decision was reached that Zinzendorf should ask
for a tract of five hundred acres, and that ten men should be sent over
to begin a town, their families and additional settlers to follow them
in a few months.
The next step was to find a way to send these men across the Atlantic.
Baron George Philipp Frederick von Reck, a nephew of Herr von Pfeil,
who had led the first company of Salzburgers to Georgia,
was planning to take a second company in the course of the next months.
He was young and enthusiastic, met Zinzendorf's overtures most kindly,
and even visited Herrnhut in the early part of October, 1734, when,
as it happened, nine of the prospective colonists were formally presented
to the Congregation. Baron Reck was very much impressed,
promised to take with him to Georgia any of the Moravians who wished to go,
and even sent to David Nitschmann, who was to conduct the party
as far as London, full authorization to bring as many as desired to come,
promising each man who went at his own expense a fifty-acre freehold
in Georgia, and offering others necessary assistance when they reached London.
This paper was signed at Bautzen, October 22nd, 1734.
But Reck had failed to realize the force of the Halle opposition to Herrnhut,
and soon weakened under the weight of persuasion and command laid upon him
by those whose opinion he felt obliged to respect. On the 4th of November
he wrote from Windhausen to Graf Stolberg Wernigerode, "I have hesitated
and vexed myself in much uncertainty whether or not I should go
with the Herrnhuters to America. And now I know that God has heard our prayer
at Halle and Wernigerode, and your letters have decided me to stay in Germany
this winter, in the first place because my going would be a grief
to my dear Urlsperger, whom I love as a father, secondly because the English
will send over a third transport of Salzburgers in the coming spring
and wish me to take them, and thirdly because I wish to obey
worthy and chosen men of God."
He wrote to the same effect to Zinzendorf, and the Count,
though doubtless annoyed, replied simply: "Your Highness' resolution
to accomodate yourself to your superiors would be known by us all for right.
You will then not blame us if we go our way as it is pointed out to us
by the Lord."
A few days later Reck received a sharp note from the Trustees of Georgia,
reproving him for his temerity in agreeing to take the Moravians with him
to Georgia without consulting them, and reiterating the statement
that the funds in their hands had been given for the use of the Salzburgers,
and could be used for them alone.
The young man must have winced not a little under all this censure,
but while he yielded his plan to the wishes of the Halle party,
he held firmly to the opinion he had formed of the Moravians.
He wrote to Urlsperger and others in their behalf, declaring that
they were a godly people, much misunderstood, that it was a shame
to persecute them and try to hinder their going to Georgia,
and he felt sure that if their opponents would once meet the Moravians
and converse with them freely, confidentially, and without prejudice,
they would come to respect them as he did. He also suggested
that there were many protestants remaining in Bohemia, who would gladly leave,
and who might be secured for Georgia on the terms offered to the Salzburgers.
The next year in fact, an effort was made to obtain permission
from the Austrian Government for the emigration of these people,
and Reck was authorized by the Trustees to take them to Georgia,
but nothing came of it.
Nor did his championship of the Bohemians and Moravians already in Saxony
have any result. Urlsperger was offended that the negotiations from Herrnhut
with the Trustees were not being carried on through him,
"the only one in Germany to whom the Trustees had sent formal authority
to receive people persecuted on account of religion, or forced to emigrate,"
and the Halle party were unable or unwilling to meet
the leaders of the Moravians "without prejudice". The company of Salzburgers
therefore sailed for Georgia in November without Baron von Reck,
and without the Moravians, Mr. Vat acting as Commissary.
The Moravians, meanwhile, were not waiting idly for matters to turn their way,
but even before Reck reached his decision Spangenberg had started for England
to arrange personally with the Georgia Trustees for their emigration.
August Gottlieb Spangenberg was born July 15th, 1704, at Klettenberg, Prussia.
In the year 1727, while a student at Jena, he became acquainted
with the Moravians through a visit of two of their number,
which won them many friends at that institution. Later,
when he was Assistant Professor of Theology at Halle, he was required
to sever his connection with the Moravians, or leave the University,
and choosing the latter he came to Herrnhut in the spring of 1733.
He was one of the strongest, ablest, and wisest leaders that
the Unitas Fratrum has ever had, and eventually became a Bishop of the Unity,
and a member of its governing board. He was a writer of marked ability,
and in his diaries was accustomed to speak of himself as "Brother Joseph",
by which name he was also widely known among the Moravians.
Spangenberg left Herrnhut in the late summer or early fall of 1734,
bearing with him Zinzendorf's Power of Attorney to receive for him
a grant from the Georgia Trustees of five hundred acres of land,
and to transact all other necessary business. He stopped for some time
in Holland, where he made a number of acquaintances, some of whom gave him
letters of introduction to friends in England and in America,
and others contributed toward the necessary expenses of the emigrants.
From Rotterdam he wrote to Zinzendorf, saying that he heard
no ship would sail for America before February or March, and that he thought
it would be best for the colonists to wait until he wrote from London,
and then to come by way of Altona, as the Holland route was very expensive.
These suggestions, however, came too late, as the party had left Herrnhut
before the arrival of his letter.
Spangenberg had a stormy voyage to England, and on reaching London,
rented a room in "Mr. Barlow's Coffee House, in Wattling's street,
near St. Anthelius Church." He found the outlook rather discouraging,
and a long letter written on the 10th of January, gives a vivid picture
of the English mind regarding the "Herrnhuters". Spangenberg had called
on several merchants to see if he could arrange a loan for the Moravians,
for Zinzendorf's means were already strained to the utmost
by what he was doing for the Church, and he did not see how it was possible
to provide the money in any other way. But the merchants declined
to make the loan, saying: "We can not take the land (in Georgia) as surety,
for it is not yet settled, and no man would give us a doit for it;
the personal security (of the emigrants) is also not sufficient,
for they might all die on the sea or in Georgia, -- there is danger of it,
for the land is warmer than Europeans can bear, and many who
have moved thither have died; if they settle on the land and then die
the land reverts to the Trustees, so we would lose all;
and the six per cent interest offered is not enough,
for the money applied to business would yield twenty per cent.
Others objected to having the Moravians go at all,
especially Court Preacher Ziegenhagen, who belonged to the Halle party,
and who, Spangenberg found, had much influence on account of his good judgment
and spotless character. They claimed: (1) That the Moravians
were not oppressed in Saxony, and had no good reason for wishing to leave;
(2) that to say they wished to be near the heathen was only an excuse,
for Georgia had nothing to do with the West Indies where they had a mission;
(3) the Moravians could not bear the expense, and neither the Trustees
nor the Society for the Propagation of Christian Knowledge would help them;
(4) they could neither speak nor understand English, and would therefore be
unable to support themselves in an English colony; (5) their going
would create confusion, for Herr Bolzius, the pastor of the Salzburgers
at Ebenezer, had written to beg that they should not be allowed to come;
(6) if they went it would involve England in trouble with Saxony,
and the Georgia Colony was not meant to take other rulers' subjects
away from them, only to furnish an asylum for exiles, and poor Englishmen;
(7) the Moravians could not remain subject to Zinzendorf,
for they must all become naturalized Englishmen; (8) the suggestion
that Zinzendorf's land could be cultivated by the heathen was absurd,
for slavery was not permitted in Georgia and the Moravians could not afford
to hire them; (9) ten or fifteen men, as were said to be on the way,
would never be able to make headway in settling the forest,
a task which had been almost too much for the large company of Salzburgers.
Some of these statements dealt with facts, about which the critics
might have acquired better information, had they so desired,
others were prophecies of which only the years to come
could prove or disprove the truth, others again touched difficulties
which were even then confronting Count Zinzendorf's agent;
but in the light of contemporary writings and later developments,
it is possible to glance at each point and see in how far the Halle party
were justified in their argument. (1) The treatment in Saxony,
while not as yet a persecution which threatened them with torture and death,
had many unpleasant features, and the constant agitation against them
might at any time crystalize into harsh measures, for those members
of the Herrnhut community who had left friends and relatives in the homelands
of Bohemia and Moravia were already forbidden to invite them to follow,
or even to receive them if they came unasked seeking religious freedom.
(2) There was no idea of associating the missions in Georgia
and the West Indies, for the heathen whom they wished to reach
by this new settlement were the Creek and Cherokee Indians with whom
Governor Oglethorpe had already established pleasant relations,
bringing several of their chiefs to England, and sending them home
filled with admiration for all they had seen, much impressed by the kindness
shown them, and willing to meet any efforts that might be made to teach them.
(3) The money question was a vital one, and it was principally to solve that
that Spangenberg had come to England, where with Oglethorpe's help
he later succeeded in securing the desired loan. (4) That they
could speak little English was also a real difficulty; Spangenberg used Latin
in his conferences with the educated men he met in London, but that medium
was useless in Georgia, and while the Moravians learned English
as rapidly as they could, and proved their capability for self-support,
the failure to fully understand or be understood by their neighbors
was responsible for many of the trials that were awaiting them
in the New World. (5) The protest of Bolzius was only a part
of the general Salzburger opposition, and to avoid friction in Georgia,
Zinzendorf had particularly recommended that the Moravians settle in a village
apart by themselves, where they could "lead godly lives, patterned after
the writings and customs of the apostles," without giving offense to any;
and he promised, for the same reason, that as soon as they were established
he would send them a regularly ordained minister, although laymen were doing
missionary work in other fields. (6) In order to avoid any danger
of creating trouble between the Governments, the Moravian colonists
carefully said nothing in London regarding their difficulties in Saxony,
or the persecutions in Bohemia and Moravia, and instead of
proclaiming themselves exiles for the Faith as they might have done
with perfect truth, they appeared simply as Count Zinzendorf's servants,
sent by him to cultivate the five hundred acres about to be given to him,
and by his orders to preach to the Indians. (7) A change of nationality
would not affect the relation between Zinzendorf and his colonists,
for their position as his dependents in Germany was purely voluntary,
such service as they rendered was freely given in exchange
for his legal protection, and his supremacy in Church affairs then and later
was a recognition of the personal character of the man,
not a yielding of submission to the Count. (8) That the Indians
could not be employed on Zinzendorf's estate was quite true,
not so much on account of the law against slavery, for the Count intended
nothing of that kind, but their character and wild habits rendered them
incapable of becoming good farmers, as the American Nation has learned
through many years of effort and failure. (9) Whether the ten or fifteen men,
reinforced by those who followed them, would have been able to make a home
in the heart of the forest, will never be known, for from various reasons
the town on the five hundred acre tract was never begun. In short,
while the Moravians were risking much personal discomfort,
there was nothing in their plan which could possibly injure others,
and the cavil and abuse of their opposers was as uncalled for
as is many a "private opinion publicly expressed" to-day.
Hearing of the many obstacles which were being thrown in their way,
Mr. Coram, who was a man of wide charities, and interested in other colonies
besides Georgia, suggested to Spangenberg that his company should go
to Nova Scotia, where the climate was milder, and offered them
free transportation and aid in settling there, but this proposal
Spangenberg at once rejected, and pinned his faith on the kindness
of Gen. Oglethorpe, whose return from Georgia the preceding July,
explained the more favorable tone of the Trustees' letters after that date.
Oglethorpe asked him numberless questions about the doctrine and practice
of the Moravians, and their reasons for wishing to go to Georgia,
and promised to lay the matter before the Trustees, using all his influence
to further their designs.
The "First Company".
On the 14th of January, 1735, the first company of Moravian colonists
arrived in London. At their head was David Nitschmann, -- variously called
"the III", "the weaver", "the Syndic", and Count Zinzendorf's "Hausmeister",
who was to stay with them until they left England, and then return to Germany,
resigning the leadership of the party to Spangenberg, who was instructed
to take them to Georgia and establish them there, and then go to Pennsylvania
to the Schwenkfelders. The other nine were
John Toeltschig, Zinzendorf's flower-gardener.
Peter Rose, a gamekeeper.
Gotthard Demuth, a joiner.
Gottfried Haberecht, weaver of woolen goods.
Anton Seifert, a linen weaver.
George Waschke, carpenter.
Michael Haberland, carpenter.
George Haberland, mason.
Friedrich Riedel, mason.
They were "good and true sons of God, and at the same time skillful workmen,"
with such a variety of handicrafts as to render them largely independent
of outside assistance in the settlement which they proposed to make;
and all but Haberecht were religious refugees from Moravia and adjacent parts
Nitschmann and Toeltschig were two of the five young men
in Zauchenthal, Moravia, who had set their hearts on the revival
of the ancient Unitas Fratrum. Toeltschig's father, the village burgess,
had summoned the five comrades before him, and strictly forbidden
their holding religious services, warning them that any attempt at emigration
would be severely punished, and advising them to act as became their youth,
frequent the taverns and take part in dances and other amusements.
They were sons of well-to-do parents, and little more than boys in years,
(Nitschmann was only twenty), but their faith and purpose were dearer to them
than anything else on earth, so they had left all and come away,
commending their homes and kindred to the mercy of God,
and singing the exile hymn of the ancient Unitas Fratrum,
sacred through its association with those brave hearts who had known
the bitterness and the joy of exile a hundred years before.
"Blessed the day when I must go
My fatherland no more to know,
My lot the exile's loneliness;
"For God will my protector be,
And angels ministrant for me
The path with joys divine will bless.
"And God to some small place will guide
Where I may well content abide
And where this soul of mine may rest.
"As thirsty harts for water burn,
For Thee, my Lord and God, I yearn,
If Thou are mine my life is blest."
Though holding positions as Count Zinzendorf's hausmeister and gardener,
both Nitschmann and Toeltschig were actively employed in the affairs
of the renewed Unitas Fratrum, and had been to England in 1728
to try to establish relations with the Society for the Propagation
of Christian Knowledge, though without success. They were the better fitted,
therefore, to conduct the party to England, and to share in the negotiations
already begun by Spangenberg.
This "first company" left Herrnhut on the 21st of November, 1734,
traveling by Ebersdorf (where Henry XXIX, Count Reuss,
Countess Zinzendorf's brother, gave them a letter of recommendation
to any whom they might meet on their way), to Holland,
whence they had a stormy and dangerous voyage to England.
The day after they reached London they called on Gen. Oglethorpe
and having gained admittance with some difficulty they were very well received
by him, carrying on a conversation in a mixture of English and German,
but understanding each other fairly well. Spangenberg coming in
most opportunely, the Moravian affairs were fully discussed,
and the new-comers learned that their arrival had been fortunately timed,
for the Georgia Trustees were to hold one of their semi-annual meetings
two days later, when Oglethorpe could press their matter,
and a ship was to sail for Georgia the latter part of the month.
Oglethorpe was disturbed to find that the colonists had failed
to raise any money toward their expenses, but promised to try and assist them
in that also.
On the 18th the colonists were formally presented to the Trustees,
heard the lively argument for and against their cause,
and had the satisfaction of seeing the vote cast in their favor.
It was contrary to the custom of the Trustees to grant lands
to any who did not come in person to apply for them
and declare their intention of going to Georgia to settle,
but Oglethorpe's argument that the high rank of Count Zinzendorf
was entitled to consideration was accepted and five hundred acres of land
were granted to the Count and his male heirs.
The Indenture bore date of Jan. 10, 1734, Old Style, (Jan. 21, 1735,)*
and the five hundred acres were "to be set out limited and bounded
in Such Manner and in Such Part or Parts of the said Province
as shall be thought most convenient by such Person or Persons
as shall by the said Common Council be for that Purpose
authorized and appointed," there being a verbal agreement
that the tract should be in the hilly country some distance from the coast,
which, though less accessible and less easily cultivated,
lay near the territory occupied by the Indians. Five pounds per annum
was named as the quit rent, payment to begin eight years later;
and such part of the tract as was not cleared and improved
during the next eighteen years was to revert to the Trustees.
The Trustees also agreed that they would reserve two hundred acres
near the larger tract, and whenever formally requested by Count Zinzendorf,
would grant twenty acres each "to such able bodied Young Men Servants
as should arrive and settle with him in the said Province of Georgia."
* This IS written correctly. See the author's explanation of the calendar
in Chapter IV. -- A. L., 1996.
In addition to the five hundred acres granted to Zinzendorf,
fifty acres were given to Spangenberg, and fifty acres to Nitschmann,
although as the latter was not going to Georgia, and the former
did not intend to stay, this alone was a departure from the custom
of the Trustees. Each of the fifty acre grants was in three parts,
a lot in the town of Savannah, a five acre garden, and a forty-five acre farm,
and while their acquisition had not been a part of the Herrnhut plan
the colonists readily yielded to the advice of their English friends,
who pointed out the necessity of having a place to stay
when they reached Savannah, and land that they could at once
begin to cultivate, without waiting for the selection and survey
of the larger tract. In fact, though they knew it not, these two grants,
which lay side by side, were destined to be the scene of all their experiences
in the Province of Georgia.
The Trustees seem to have been pleased with the appearance
of their new settlers, and approved of their taking passage in the ship
that was to sail the latter part of the month. Since the vessel
had been chartered by the Trustees, they promised to make no charge
for such baggage as the Moravians wished to take with them,
arranged that they should have a portion of the ship for themselves
instead of being quartered with the other passengers,
and offered Spangenberg a berth in the Captain's cabin. This he declined,
preferring to share equally with his Brethren in the hardships of the voyage.
Medicine was put into his hands to be dispensed to those who might need it,
and he was requested to take charge of about forty Swiss emigrants
who wished to go in the same vessel on their way to Purisburg
in South Carolina, where they sought better material conditions
than they had left at home.
Land having been secured, Gen. Oglethorpe arranged that the Trustees
should lend the "First Company" 60 Pounds, payable in five years,
with the understanding that if repaid within that time
the interest should be remitted, otherwise to be charged at ten per cent.,
the usual rate in South Carolina. Of this 10 Pounds was spent in London
for supplies, and 50 Pounds paid their passage across the Atlantic.
The ten men (Spangenberg taking Nitschmann's place) pledged themselves
jointly and severally to the payment of the debt, the bond being signed
on Jan. 22nd, (Jan. 11th, O. S.) the day after the grant of the land.
In addition to this Oglethorpe collected 26 Pounds 5 Shillings,
as a gift for the Moravians, 10 Pounds being presented to them in cash
in London, and the rest forwarded to Savannah with instructions
that they should be supplied with cattle, hogs and poultry to that amount.
Oglethorpe further instructed Messrs. Toojesiys and Baker, of Charlestown,
to honor Spangenberg's drafts on him to the amount of 20 Pounds,
so securing the settlers against possible need in their new home.
The next day Gen. Oglethorpe presented Spangenberg to the Bishop of London,
who received him very kindly. Oglethorpe's idea was that the Moravians
might ally themselves closely with the Church of England,
and that the Bishop might, if they wished, ordain one of their members
from Herrnhut. Spangenberg and Nitschmann were not authorized
to enter into any such agreement, but both welcomed the opportunity
to establish pleasant relations with the English clergy,
and several interviews were had which served as a good opening
for intercourse in later years.
Until their vessel sailed, the Moravians found plenty to interest them
in the "terribly great city", where they were regarded with much interest,
and where they were greatly touched by the unexpected kindness they received.
They had interviews with the Trustees, with Mr. Vernon,
and with Gen. Oglethorpe, who gave them much information as to what to expect
in their new home, and many suggestions as to the best way
of beginning their settlement. Spangenberg was presented
to the "Society for the Propagation of Christian Knowledge",
was courteously received, offered more books than he was willing to accept,
invited to correspond with the Society, and urged to keep on friendly terms
with the Salzburgers, which he assured them he sincerely desired to do.
Conversations with Court Preacher Ziegenhagen were not so pleasant,
for a letter had come from Senior Urlsperger inveighing against the Moravians
and Ziegenhagen put forth every effort to reclaim Spangenberg
from the supposed error of his ways, and to persuade him to stop the company
about to start for Georgia, or at least to separate himself from them,
and return to the old friends at Halle. Oglethorpe smiled at the prejudice
against the Moravians, and told them frankly that efforts had been made
to influence him, but he had preferred to wait and judge for himself.
"It has ever been so," he said, "from the time of the early Christians;
it seems to be the custom of theologians to call others heretics.
They say, in short, `you do not believe what I believe, a Mohammedan also
does not believe what I believe, therefore you are a Mohammedan;'
and again `you explain this Bible passage so and so, the Socinian also
explains it so and so, therefore you are a Socinian.'" As for opposition,
he, too, was beginning to find it since the Georgia Colony
was proving a success.
Meanwhile new friends were springing up on every side of the Moravians.
A doctor helped them lay in a store of medicine, another gave them some balsam
which was good for numberless external and internal uses. A German merchant,
who had become an English citizen, helped them purchase such things
as they would require in Georgia, and a cobbler assisted Riedel
in buying a shoemaker's outfit. Weapons were offered to all the members
of the party, but declined, as they wished to give no excuse to any one
who might try to press them into military service. They yielded, however,
to the argument that they would need to protect themselves
against wolves and bears, and sent Peter Rose, the gamekeeper,
with Mr. Verelst, one of the secretaries of the Trustees,
to purchase a fowling piece and hunting knives.
Letters of introduction to various prominent men in America
were given to them; and, perhaps most important of all in its future bearing,
people discovered the peculiar charm of the Moravian services.
Reference is made in the diaries to one and another, -- from English clergyman
to Germans resident in London, -- who joined with them in their devotions,
and seemed much moved thereby. Neither was it a passing emotion,
for the seed a little later blossomed into the English Moravian Church.
And so the month passed swiftly by, and the ship was ready
to commence her long voyage.
Chapter III. The First Year in Georgia.
In the year 1735 a voyage across the Atlantic was a very different thing
from what it is in this year of grace 1904. To-day a mighty steamship
equipped with powerful engines, plows its way across the billows
with little regard for wind and weather, bearing thousands of passengers,
many of whom are given all the luxury that space permits,
a table that equals any provided by the best hotels ashore, and attendance
that is unsurpassed. Then weeks were consumed in the mere effort
to get away from the British Isles, the breeze sometimes permitting
the small sailing vessels to slip from one port to another,
and then holding them prisoner for days before another mile could be gained.
Even the most aristocratic voyager was forced to be content
with accommodations and fare little better than that supplied
to a modern steerage passenger, and those who could afford it
took with them a private stock of provisions to supplement the ship's table.
And yet the spell of adventure or philanthropy, gain or religion,
was strong upon the souls of men, and thousands sought the New World,
where their imagination saw the realization of all their dreams.
Bravely they crossed the fathomless deep which heaved beneath them,
cutting them off so absolutely from the loved ones left at home,
from the wise counsels of those on whom they were accustomed to depend,
and from the strong arm of the Government under whose promised protection
they sailed, to work out their own salvation in a country
where each man claimed to be a law unto himself, and where years were to pass
before Experience had once more taught the lesson that real freedom
was to be gained only through a general recognition of the rights of others.
On the 3rd of February, 1735, the Moravians arose early
in their London lodging house, prayed heartily together, and then prepared
to go aboard their vessel, "The Two Brothers", Capt. Thomson,
where the Trustees wished to see all who intended to sail on her.
A parting visit was paid to Gen. Oglethorpe, who presented them with
a hamper of wine, and gave them his best wishes. After the review on the boat
Spangenberg and Nitschmann returned with Mr. Vernon to London
to attend to some last matters, while the ship proceeded to Gravesend
for her supply of water, where Spangenberg rejoined her a few days later.
On the 25th of February they passed the Azores, and disembarked at Savannah,
April 8th, having been nine and a half weeks on shipboard.
The story of those nine weeks is simply, but graphically, told in the diary
sent back to Herrnhut. Scarcely had they lifted anchor when the Moravians
began to arrange their days, that they might not be idly wasted.
In Herrnhut it was customary to divide the twenty-four hours
among several members of the Church, so that night and day
a continuous stream of prayer and praise arose to the throne of God,
and the same plan was now adopted, with the understanding
that when sea-sickness overtook the company, and they were weak and ill,
no time limit should be fixed for the devotions of any,
but one man should pass the duty to another as circumstances required!
Other arrangements are recorded later, when, having grown accustomed
to ship life, they sought additional means of grace. In the early morning,
before the other passengers were up, the Moravians gathered on deck
to hold a service of prayer; in the afternoon much time was given
to Bible reading; and in the evening hymns were sung that bore on the text
that had been given in the morning. Spangenberg, Toeltschig, and Seifert,
in the order named, were the recognized leaders of the party,
but realizing that men might journey together, and live together,
and still know each other only superficially, it was agreed
that each of the ten in turn should on successive days
speak to every one of his brethren face to face and heart to heart.
That there might be no confusion, two were appointed to bring the food
to the company at regular times, and see that it was properly served,
the following being "the daily Allowance of Provisions
to the Passengers on board the "Two Brothers", Captain William Thomson,
for the Town of Savannah in Georgia.
"On the four beef-days in each week for every mess of five heads
(computing a head 12 years old, and under 12 two for one,
and under 7 three for one, and under 2 not computed), 4 lbs. of beef
and 2-1/2 lbs. of flour, and 1/2 lb. of plums.
"On the two pork days in each week for said mess, 5 lbs. of pork
and 2-1/2 pints of peas.
"And on the fish day in each week for said mess, 2-1/2 lbs. of fish
and 1/2 lb. of butter.
"The whole at 16 ounces to the pound.
"And allow each head 7 lbs. of bread, of 14 ounces to the pound, by the week.
"And 3 pints of beer, and 2 quarts of water (whereof one of the quarts
for drinking), each head by the day for the space of a month.
"And a gallon of water (whereof two quarts for drinking) each head,
by the day after, during their being on their Passage."
Another Moravian was chosen as nurse of the company,
although it happened at least once that he was incapacitated,
for every man in the party was sick except Spangenberg,
who was a capital sailor, and not affected by rough weather.
His endurance was severely tested too, for while the breeze at times
was so light that they unitedly prayed for wind, "thinking that the sea
was not their proper element, for from the earth God had made them,
and on the earth He had work for them to do," at other times
storms broke upon them and waves swept the decks, filling them with awe,
though not with fear. "The wind was high, the waves great,
we were happy that we have a Saviour who would never show us malice;
especially were we full of joy that we had a witness in our hearts
that it was for a pure purpose we sailed to Georgia," --
so runs the quaint record of one tempestuous day.
A more poetic expression of the same thought is given by Spangenberg
in a poem written during the voyage, and sent home to David Nitschmann
to be set to the music of some "Danish Melody" known to them both.
There is a beauty of rhythm in the original which the English
cannot reproduce, as though the writer had caught the cadence of the waves,
on some bright day when the ship "went softly" after a season of heavy storm.
"Gute Liebe, deine Triebe
Zuenden unsre Triebe an,
Dir zu leben, dir zu geben,
Was ein Mensch dir geben kann;
Denn dein Leben, ist, zu geben
Fried' und Segen aus der Hoeh.
Und das Kraenken zu versenken
In die ungeheure See.
"Herr wir waren von den Schaaren
Deiner Schaeflein abgetrennt;
Und wir liefen zu den Tiefen,
Da das Schwefelfeuer brennt,
Und dein Herze brach vor Schmerze,
Ueber unsern Jammerstand;
O wie liefst du! O wie riefst du!
Bist du uns zu dir gewandt.
"Als die Klarheit deiner Wahrheit
Unsern ganzen Geist durchgoss,
Und von deinen Liebesscheinen
Unser ganzes Herz zerfloss,
O wie regte und bewegte
Dieses deine Liebesbrust,
Uns zu hegen und zu pflegen,
Bis zur suessen Himmelslust.
"Dein Erbarmen wird uns Armen,
Alle Tage wieder neu,
Mit was suessen Liebeskuessen
Zeigst du deine Muttertreu.
O wie heilig und wie treulich
Leitest du dein Eigentum;
O der Gnaden dass wir Maden
Werden deine Kron' und Ruhm.
"Wir empfehlen unsre Seelen
Deinem Aug' und Herz und Hand,
Denn wir werden nur auf Erden
Wallen nach dem Vaterland.
O gieb Gnade auf dem Pfade,
Der zum Reich durch Leiden fuehrt,
Ohn' Verweilen fortzueilen
Bis uns deine Krone ziert.
"Unser Wille bleibe stille
Wenn es noch so widrig geht;
Lass nur brausen, wueten, sausen,
Was von Nord und Osten weht.
Lass nur stuermen, lass sich tuermen
Alle Fluthen aus dem See,
Du erblickest und erquickest
Deine Kinder aus der Hoeh'."
(Love Divine, may Thy sweet power
Lead us all for Thee to live,
And with willing hearts to give Thee
What to Thee a man can give;
For from heaven Thou dost give us
Peace and blessing, full and free,
And our miseries dost bury
In the vast, unfathomed sea.
Lord, our wayward steps had led us
Far from Thy safe-guarded fold,
As we hastened toward the darkness
Where the sulphurous vapors rolled;
And Thy kind heart throbbed with pity,
Our distress and woe to see,
Thou didst hasten, Thou didst call us,
Till we turned our steps to Thee.
As Thy Truth's convincing clearness
Filled our spirits from above,
And our stubborn hearts were melted
By the fervor of Thy love,
O Thy loving heart was moved
Us Thy righteous laws to teach,
Us to guide, protect and cherish
Till Thy heaven we should reach.
Without merit we, yet mercy
Each returning day doth bless
With the tokens of Thy goodness,
Pledges of Thy faithfulness.
O how surely and securely
Dost Thou lead and guard Thine own;
O what wonderous grace that mortals
May add lustre to Thy throne.
In our souls we feel the presence
Of Thine eye and heart and hand,
As we here on earth as pilgrims
Journey toward the Fatherland.
O give grace, that on the pathway,
Which through trial leads to heaven,
Without faltering we may hasten
Till to each Thy crown is given.
Though our path be set with danger
Nothing shall our spirits shake,
Winds may rage and roar and whistle,
Storms from North and East may break,
Waves may roll and leap and thunder
On a dark and threatening sea,
Thou dost ever watch Thy children,
And their strength and peace wilt be.)
Before the vessel sailed the Trustees had followed up their request
to Spangenberg by requiring the forty Swiss emigrants to promise submission
to his authority, and consequently numerous efforts were made
to be of service to them. It was disappointing work, in a way, for attempts
to give them religious instruction were met with utter indifference,
but their material needs were many. There was a great deal of sickness
among them, and four died, being buried hastily, and without ceremony.
The Moravians themselves were not exempt, several being dangerously ill
at times, even Spangenberg was prostrated, from having, he supposed,
stayed too long on deck in the night air, tempted thereto by the beauty
of a calm night in a southern latitude. But having work to do among the Swiss
on the following day, he roused himself, and soon became better.
Two of the Moravians were appointed nurses for the sick Swiss,
and by the use of the medicine provided by the Trustees,
supplemented by unwearying personal attention, they were made
as comfortable as possible.
Nor were the crew forgotten. From the day when the Moravians
helped lift the anchor as they sailed from the coast of Dover,
they busied themselves in the work of the ship, always obliging,
always helpful, until the sailors came to trust them absolutely,
"even with the keys to their lockers." When the cook was suddenly taken sick
they nursed him carefully, and then appointed two of their number
to carry wood and water for him until his strength returned,
and it is no wonder that such accommodating passengers were well regarded.
Captain Thomson was disposed to favor them, but when they realized
that they were receiving a larger share of food and drink than went
to the Swiss, they courteously declined, fearing it would breed jealousy.
His kindly feeling, however, continued, and when Toeltschig was ill
he brought a freshly killed fowl from which to make nourishing broth,
and on another occasion, after a severe attack of sea-sickness,
they all derived much benefit from some strong beer which he urged upon them.
There were a few cabin passengers on the ship, and on one occasion
Spangenberg was invited to dine with them, but their light jesting
was distasteful to him, and the acquaintance was not pursued.
Making a Start.
The vessel entered the Savannah River, April 6th, and the Captain,
taking Spangenberg and Toeltschig into his small boat,
went ahead to the town of Savannah, the capital of Georgia,
now the home of about six hundred people. Spangenberg had
a letter of introduction to Mr. Causton, who received him and his companion
in a friendly fashion, entertained them at supper, and kept them over night.
Mr. Causton was one of the three magistrates charged
with all civil and criminal jurisdiction in Savannah, and his position
as keeper of the Store, from which all provisions promised by the Trustees
were dispensed, gave him such additional power that he was really
the dictator of Savannah, ruling so absolutely that the people
finally rebelled, and in 1738 secured his dismissal from office.
On his return to England in 1739, he found great difficulty
in trying to explain his accounts to the Trustees, was sent back to Georgia
to procure some needed papers, died on the passage over, and was buried
in the ocean. His treatment of the Moravians was characteristic,
for he was courtesy itself to the new-comers who had money to spend,
inconsiderate when hard times came, deaf to appeals for settlement
of certain vexing questions, and harsh when their wills were opposed to his.
The next morning, before sunrise, Spangenberg and Toeltschig
went apart into the woods, fell upon their knees, and thanked the Lord
that He had brought them hither in safety. The day was spent
in gaining information as to the customs of the place,
Mr. Causton again claiming them as his guests at dinner,
and in the evening they accepted the invitation of a merchant to supper.
As they ate, the report of a cannon announced the arrival of their vessel,
and Toeltschig went to spend the night aboard, Spangenberg remaining on shore
to push the preparation for the reception of the company.
Early on the following morning, April 8th, he had their town lots assigned,
(Nos. 3 and 4 Second Tything, Anson Ward), in order that their baggage
might be brought directly to their own property, for he had found
that lodgings in the town were very dear, and decided that a small cabin
should be built at once and a house as soon as possible.
Going then to the ship he guided the company to their new home,
and the entire day was consumed in moving their belongings to the town,
as it was some distance, and everything had to be carried by hand
to the little hut which was hastily erected and roofed over with sacking.
Evening came before they had really finished the arrangement
of their possessions, but before they prepared and shared their evening meal,
they humbly knelt and thanked God for His mercies, discussed the Bible text
for the day, and joined in several familiar hymns. A New York merchant
stopped and asked them to sing one of his favorites, which was done,
and an Indian who had joined them near the river and followed them home,
stayed through the service, and at parting beckoned them to come
and visit him. Despite their fatigue, the "Hourly Intercession" was observed
throughout the night, their slumbers rendered more peaceful by the knowledge
that one and another in turn was watching and praying beside them.
On the following day two more Indians visited the Moravians.
Their faces were adorned with streaks of red paint, and they seemed
very friendly, rejoiced over the gift of two pewter mugs,
and on leaving made signs that some one should go with them,
an invitation that could not then be accepted.
The 10th of April, the first Sunday in America, Spangenberg attended service
in the English Church, and heard a sermon on the text,
"Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good,"
well fitted to be the watchword of the Moravian settlers
in the trials that were before them.
No unpleasant presentiments, however, troubled them,
as they went busily about their work during the next weeks.
Mr. Causton was very pleasant to them, selling them provisions at cost,
offering them credit at the store, and promising Spangenberg
a list of such Indian words as he had been able to learn and write down.
He also introduced him to Tomochichi, the Indian Chief, and to John Musgrove,
who had a successful trading house near the town. Musgrove had married Mary,
an Indian princess of the Uchees, who had great influence with all
the neighboring tribes. At a later time, through the machinations
of her third husband, she made much trouble in Georgia,
but during the earlier years of the Colony she was the true friend
of the white settlers, frequently acting as Interpreter in their conferences
with the Indians, and doing much to make and keep the bond of peace
between the two races.
On the 11th of April the five acre garden belonging to Spangenberg
was surveyed, and work was immediately begun there, as it was just the season
for planting corn. Nine days later Nitschmann's garden was laid out
aside of Spangenberg's. By the 14th the cabin on Spangenberg's town lot
was finished. It was twenty feet long, ten feet wide, and fourteen feet high,
with a little loft where they slept, their goods, with a table and benches
being in the room below. At daybreak they rose, sang a hymn,
and prayed together, breakfasted at eight o'clock, the daily text
being read aloud, then worked until half past eleven, when they dined
and read the Bible. More work, an evening prayer service, and such conference
as was needed that each might engage in the next day's labor
to the best advantage, prepared them for their well-earned repose.
With this simple program steadily carried out, much was accomplished.
A fence was built around a small kitchen-garden on their town property,
and a chicken-yard was enclosed, while the neighbors came to look on and opine
"that the Moravians had done more in a week than their people in two years."
As the gardens (the five acre lots) lay at some distance from Savannah,
a hut was built there, to serve as a shelter against sun and rain,
a heavy storm having chased them home one day soon after their arrival.
Either from the noonday heat, or other conditions to which
they were not yet acclimated, Gotthard Demuth and George Haberland
became seriously ill, causing Spangenberg much anxiety,
for he did not feel at liberty to send for a physician,
as they could not afford to pay for medicine. So resort was had to bleeding,
then an approved practice, and to such medicine as remained from their voyage,
and Rose was fortunate enough to shoot a grouse, which gave them
some much needed palatable meat and broth. Perhaps the most serious case
was Gottfried Haberecht's, who suffered for several days with fever
resulting from a cut on his leg. Finally oak-leaves were heated
and bound about the limb, which induced free perspiration
and quickly relieved him, so that he was able to return to work!
A day was appointed on which Spangenberg and several others
were to ride out into the country to select the five hundred acre tract
granted to Count Zinzendorf, and the additional two hundred acres
which the Trustees had promised to hold in reserve,
and grant to the Count's "servants" whenever he should request it,
but there was rumor of a raid by hostile Indians, under Spanish influence,
so the expedition had to be postponed, with the promise, however,
that it should be made as soon as possible.
By the close of the third week in Georgia the invalids were better,
and matters were in such a shape that the Moravians resolved
"that on each Saturday work should stop early, and every Sunday should be
a real day of rest." As an immediate beginning, they on Saturday evening
united in a Lovefeast, where "we recalled much loving-kindness
which God has shown us hitherto; Toeltschig washed the feet of the Brethren;
we remained together until very late, and were truly blessed."
Aim and Attainment.
When the "first company" left Herrnhut for London and the New World,
they took with them Count Zinzendorf's formal "Instructions"
for the conduct of their affairs:
"I shall not attempt to tell you what you are to do from day to day.
I know that in many ways Love will lead you, prepare the way,
and point out your path. I shall only bid you remember
the principles and customs of our Congregation, in which, if you stand fast,
you will do well. Your one aim will be to establish a little place
near the heathen where you may gather together the dispersed in Israel,
patiently win back the wayward, and instruct the heathen tribes.
"You have and will ask nothing more than the opportunity to attain this end
through your own labors, but you will request free transportation
for yourselves and those who will follow you, -- if they receive
your present small number the Lord will send you more.
"If you should be tempted to injure any work of the Lord for my sake,
refrain from doing it, remembering that I am under a gracious guardianship
which nothing can disturb.
"You will take absolutely no part in the Spangenberg-Halle controversy;
you know the mind of the Congregation regarding it. If you find people
prejudiced against you leave it to Him who has bidden you go to Georgia.
Enter into no disputes, but, if questions are asked, give the history
of the Congregation, being careful not to censure our opposers, and saying,
which is true, that the Congregation at Herrnhut gives them little heed.
Entire freedom of conscience must be granted you, but there may be points
which you can yield without injuring the cause of Christ, --
if so you will find them in due time.
"You must live alone, establishing your own little corner,
where your customs will irritate no one; and as soon as you are settled
an ordained minister will be sent you, out of consideration
for the scruples of the Salzburgers, although our Brethren in other Colonies
are served by laymen, as permitted by our ancient constitution.
"God willing, I shall soon follow you, and only wait until He opens the way
for me. Our dear Elder (Spangenberg) will quickly return from America,
and in his absence I commit you to the mighty grace of God.
Your brother and servant,
Lewis Count v. Zinzendorf.
"At this time one of the Elders at Herrnhut. November 27th, 1734.
"`He everywhere hath way,
And all things serve His might, etc.'"
That these sensible and liberal instructions were not fully carried out
is at once apparent, especially in the two points of free transportation
and settlement in a quiet, secluded spot. The inability of the Trustees
to grant their request for the first, burdened the Moravian colonists
with what was, under the circumstances, a heavy debt, while the location
of Zinzendorf's five hundred acre tract was responsible for their failure
in attaining the second.
When Gen. Oglethorpe planned the fortifications and defense of Savannah
in 1733, he decided to erect a small fort on the Ogeechee River,
some miles south, in order to command one of the trails by which the Indians
had been accustomed to invade Carolina. This "Fort Argyle" was garrisoned
with a detachment of rangers, and ten families were sent from Savannah
to cultivate the adjacent land. The tract selected in London
for Count Zinzendorf, was to lie on the Ogeechee, near Fort Argyle,
an excellent place from which to reach the Indians in times of peace,
but the worst possible location for noncombatants when war was threatening.
Spangenberg urged the survey of the five hundred acre tract
as often and as strongly as he dared, but from various causes,
chiefly rumors of Indian incursions, the expedition was deferred
until Aug. 22nd, when Spangenberg, Toeltschig, Riedel, Seifert, Rose,
Michael Haberland, and Mr. Johnson, the Trustees' surveyor,
prepared to start on their toilsome journey, going by boat,
instead of attempting to follow the circuitous, ill-marked road
across the country, impassable to pedestrians, though used to some extent
At one o'clock in the morning of Aug. 23rd the seven men embarked,
taking advantage of the ebbing tide, and made their way
down the Savannah River. It was very dark, the Moravians were unaccustomed
to rowing, and Mr. Johnson, who steered, went to sleep time after time,
so when they accidentally came across a ship riding at anchor
they decided to stay by her and wait for the day. When dawn broke
they hastened on to Thunderbolt, where a fort had been built,
and some good land cleared, and there they found two Indians,
who claimed to know the country, and agreed to go with them as pilots.
Toward evening they reached Seituah*, where a stockade was being built
as a protection against the Indians, and the night was spent
with a Captain Wargessen (Ferguson), who, with several soldiers,
was out in a scout boat watching the movements of the Indians and Spaniards
in that neighborhood.
* On Skidaway Island, exact site unknown.
The next day they made their way among the islands until they reached
the mouth of the Ogeechee, up which they turned, but night overtook them,
and they were forced to drop their anchor. The Indians had been
left behind somewhere, and with the return of day it became necessary
to retrace their course for some hours in order to learn where they were.
That night was spent at Sterling's Bluff, with the Scotch who had settled
upon it, and the next morning they proceeded to Fort Argyle.
As they rowed up the river, a bear left one of the islands,
and swam across to the main land. "He was better to us than we to him,
for Peter shot at him twice when he came near us, but he left us in peace
and went his way!"
The following morning Spangenberg and Johnson, accompanied by
the Lieutenant from Fort Argyle and several of his rangers,
rode out to inspect the land selected for the Moravians.
The horses were accustomed to service against the Indians,
and went at full gallop, pausing not for winding paths or fallen trees,
and the University-bred man of Germany expected momentarily to have
his neck broken, but nothing happened, and after looking over the tract
they returned to Fort Argyle.
Despite the exertions of the morning Spangenberg then manned his boat,
and started up the river to visit an Indian town, where he hoped
to find Tomochichi. Much floating timber rendered the trip
dangerous and tedious, and it was not until early Sunday morning
that they reached their destination, only to find the place deserted,
as the band had left a few days before for a hunting expedition,
and, if fortune favored them, for a brush with the Spanish Indians,
with whom they had a perpetual feud. Soon Johnson appeared,
guided by some of the rangers, who, after a hearty meal with the Moravians,
returned to the Fort, Johnson remaining behind.
Monday morning, August 29th, before the sun rose, the party repaired
to the Moravian tract, which Johnson surveyed, the Moravians acting
as chain-carriers. Spangenberg was much pleased with the tract.
It had a half mile frontage on the Ogeechee, extended two miles back
into the forest, and gave a good variety of land, some low and damp
for the cultivation of rice, sandy soil covered with grass for pasturage,
and dry uplands suitable for corn and vegetables. A rapid stream
furnished an abundance of pure water, and site for a mill,
while the thick growth of timber guaranteed a supply of material
for houses and boats. Near the river rose a high hill,
where it had once been the intention to build a fort,
and a house had really been erected. This the Indians burned,
and later another site had been chosen for Fort Argyle,
but the place retained the name of "Old Fort", and the hill would serve
as the location for the Moravian dwelling.
Indian tribes which were friendly to the English lived at no great distance,
and the trail to Savannah and Ebenezer led directly by Old Fort,
while the opening of two roads would bring both those towns
within a four hour's ride of the settlement.
Well content, therefore, with their new acquisition, the Moravians returned
to Fort Argyle, whence Johnson rode back to Savannah, leaving them to follow
with the boat. At the mouth of the Ogeechee they encountered a severe storm,
against which they could make little headway, try as they would.
Their anchor was too light to hold against the current,
and there was a marsh on one bank and rocks on the other,
but at last, after night-fall, in the face of a terrific thunder storm,
they forced their way to a place where they could land,
and where they passed the rest of the night, enduring as best they could
the heavy rain, and the attack of insects, against neither of which
they were able to protect themselves. "This place takes its name,
-- `Rotten-possum', -- from an animal frequently found here,
which they call a Possum. I am told that it has a double belly,
and that if pursued it puts its young into one belly,
runs up a tree until it reaches a limb, springs out on that
until it is among the leaves, and then lays itself across the branch
with one belly on each side, and so hides itself, and saves its life!"
The rest of the journey was uneventful, and on Friday morning, September 2nd,
they reached Savannah, having been absent ten days.
It seems a great pity that the Moravians were unable to establish themselves
on this tract, where their industry would soon have made an oasis
in the wilderness, but one thing after the other interfered,
and the "second company" which arrived early in the following year,
found them still at Savannah.
In Savannah matters moved toward a fair degree of prosperity
for the Moravians. About four acres of Spangenberg's garden
were cleared in time for the first summer's crop of corn,
which yielded them sixty bushels. They also raised some beans,
which came to maturity at a time when provisions and funds were very low,
so helping them greatly.
The two farm lots were laid out during the summer, Spangenberg assisting with
the survey. By the close of the year twenty-six acres had been cleared, --
on the uplands this meant the felling of trees, and gradual removal of stumps
as time permitted, but on the rice lands it meant far more. The great reeds,
ten to twelve feet high, grew so thick that a man could scarcely set foot
between them, and in cutting them down it was necessary to go "knee-deep"
below the surface of the ground, and then the roots were so intertwined
that it was difficult to pull them out.
Every acre of land that was cleared and planted had to be securely fenced in,
for cattle roamed in the woods, and ruined unprotected crops.
Indeed, the colonists in Georgia derived little benefit from their cattle,
which ran at large, and when a few were wanted for beef
or for domestic purposes, they were hunted and driven in.
The Moravians had to wait until midsummer before they could get
their allotment, and then they received a cow and calf,
six hogs and five pigs, with the promise of more. Before the others came
the cows had again escaped to the woods, and the swine had been drowned!
In July Spangenberg wrote to Herrnhut that he had given his fifty acres
of land, including the town lot, to the Moravian Congregation at Savannah,
and that he would at once apply to the Trustees to vest the title
in that body, and if he left Georgia before this was accomplished
he would give a full Power of Attorney to Toeltschig.
From the first his land had been used as the common property of the party,
and he desired that the nine men, who, with him, were bound to the repayment
of the 60 Pounds, borrowed from the Trustees, should have the use of it
until that obligation was met, and then it should be used
as the Savannah Congregation thought best.
Nitschmann's land seems to have been held in a different way,
although granted at the same time, and under similar circumstances.
July 11th, Spangenberg sent him a detailed description
of the town and garden lots, explaining the advantages and difficulties
of cultivation, suggesting several methods by which it could be done,
and giving the approximate cost, urging that instructions be sent
as to his wishes. Later he wrote that the company had decided
not to wait for Nitschmann's reply, but to clear the garden on the terms
usual in Georgia, e.g., that the man who cleared a piece of ground
held it rent free for seven years, when it reverted to the owner.
This had been done, and the garden was ready to plant and fence,
and if Nitschmann approved they intended to clear the farm,
and would build a small house on the town lot. Zinzendorf had suggested
that negroes be employed on Nitschmann's land, but at that time
slavery was prohibited in Georgia, and any negroes who ran away from Carolina
were at once returned to their masters.
The two farms lay side by side about four miles from Savannah,
the gardens, also adjoining, were about two miles from town,
so it was necessary to build cabins at both places,
as shelters from sun and storm, which the settlers found equally trying.
Two additional cabins had been built in Savannah on Spangenberg's lot,
and by the end of the year a house, thirty-four by eighteen feet in size,
was under roof, though not yet finished. This gave an abundance of room,
not only for themselves, but for the second company to whose arrival
they were looking forward with such eagerness.
When this reinforcement came they hoped to move to Zinzendorf's tract,
and then, as soon as they could be spared, Demuth, Haberecht,
Waschke and the two Haberlands wished to claim the twenty acres apiece
which the Trustees had promised to the Count's "servants".
Riedel was of the same mind, but he did not live to see the arrival
of the second company. Some months after reaching Georgia,
he was dangerously ill with fever, but passed the crisis successfully,
and recovered his full strength. He was one of the party
who went to survey Zinzendorf's tract, but was taken sick again
three days after the boat left Savannah, and by the time they returned
he was obliged to go to bed, and soon became delirious.
The other Moravians were greatly distressed, but could do nothing
except nurse him carefully and pray for him earnestly, and toward the end
his mind cleared, though his body had lost the power to recuperate.
He died on the 30th of September, the first Moravian to "fall asleep"
in the United States, though others had given up their lives
for the mission work in the West Indies. His spiritual condition
had at times caused much concern to Toeltschig, who was especially charged
with the religious welfare of the first company, many of whom
had been under his care in Germany, but in the main he had been
an earnest man, a willing and industrious partaker in the common toil,
and his death caused much regret. The burial customs in Savannah
included the ringing of bells, a funeral sermon, and a volley of musketry,
but learning that these ceremonies were not obligatory
the Moravians declined the offer of the citizens to so honor their Brother,
and laid him to rest in the Savannah cemetery with a simple service
of hymns and prayer.
As they were robing Riedel for his burial, a young man came to the door,
and asked if he could not make them some pewter spoons. In the conversations
that followed it developed that he was a native of Switzerland,
the son of a physician, and after his father's death he had sailed
for Pennsylvania, intending there to begin the practice of medicine.
But his fellow-passengers stole his books and everything he had,
he was unable to pay for his transportation, and forced to sell his service
for seven years as a redemptioner. At the end of five years
he had become quite ill, and his master, having waited six months
for his recovery, heartlessly turned him out, to live or die
as the case might be. Instead of dying, his strength returned,
and then his former master demanded 10 Pounds Pennsylvania currency,
for his unexpired term, although only 5 Pounds had been paid for him,
and he had served five years. The young man was obliged to promise
to pay this, and Spangenberg encouraged him to push his spoon-making,
in order to do it as speedily as possible. Meanwhile the Moravians
were so much pleased with his appearance and speech, that they agreed
to receive him into their company for as long as he chose to stay,
and John Regnier soon became an important factor in their comfort.
Spiritually he was somewhat at sea. At one time he had desired to be
a hermit, and then he had drifted from one sect to another, seeking something
which he could not find, but acquiring a medley of odd customs.
Spangenberg advised him to turn his thoughts from men to God,
learning from Him "what was better and higher, Faith, Love, Hope, etc.",
and under the Moravian influence he gradually laid aside his unwise fancies,