April 6, 1733
About three weeks since did myself the honour to go down and visit Mr. Oglethorpe. What I here remarked I caused to be published in the Carolina Gazette and sent it to Mr. Samuel Baker, merchant in London, and desired him to get it inserted in the London newspapers, which suppose by this time you have had sight of.
On Tuesday the 13th instant, I went on board a canoe, in company with Mr. George Lucat and Mr. John Ballantine, with four Negroes, and about 10 o'clock we set off from Mr. Lloyd's Bridge for Georgia, and passing by Port Royal on Wednesday night, we arrived Friday morning, an hour before day, at Yamacraw, a place so called by the Indians, but now Savannah, in the colony of Georgia. Some time before we came to the landing, the sentinel challenged us and, understanding who we were, admitted us ashore. This is a very high bluff, forty feet perpendicular from the high water mark. It lies, according to Captain Gascoign's observations, in the Latitude of 31-58, which he took off Tybee, an island that lies at the mouth of the Savannah River. It's distant from Charles Town, South West, according to the course and windings of the rivers and creeks, about 140 miles, but by a direct course of 77.
This bluff is distant 10 miles from the mouth of the rivers on the South side; and Purrysburg is 24 miles above it on the North, and is so situated that you have a beautiful prospect. Both up and down the river it's very sandy and barren, and consequently a wholesome place for a town or city. There is on it 130-odd souls; and from the time they embarked at London, to the time I left the place, there died but two sucking children, and they at sea. When they arrived, there was standing on it a great quantity of the best sorts of pine, most of which is already cut down on the spot where the town is laid out to be built. The land is barren above a mile back, when you come into very rich ground; and on both sides, within a quarter mile of the town, is choice good planting land. Colonel Bull told me that he had been seven miles back and found it extraordinarily good.
Mr. Oglethorpe is indefatigable, takes a great deal of pains; his fare is but indifferent, having little else at present but salt provisions; he's extremely well beloved by all his people: the general title they give him is Father. If any of them is sick, he immediately visits them and takes a great deal of care of them. If any difference arises, he's the person that decides it. Two happened while I was there and in my presence, and all the parties went away to outward appearance satisfied and contented with his determination. He keeps a strict discipline. I neither saw one of his people drunk, or heard one swear, all the time I was there. He does not allow them rum, but in lieu gives them English beer.
It's surprising to see how cheerfully the men goes to work, considering they have not been bred to it. There's no idlers there, even the boys and girls do their parts. There are four houses already up, but none finished; and he hopes, when he has got more sawyers, which I suppose he will have in a short time, to finish two houses a week. He has ploughed up some land, part of which he sowed with wheat, which is come up, and looks promising. He has two or three gardens, which he has sowed with divers sorts of seeds, and planted thyme, with other sorts of pot-herbs, sage, leeks, scallions, celery, licorice, &c. and several sorts of fruit trees. He was palisading the town 'round, including some part of the common, which I do suppose may be finished in a fortnight's time. In short, he has done a vast deal of work for the time, and, I think his name justly deserves to be immortalized.*
* South Carolina Gazette, March 24, 1733
There are several other things which the printer for want of room could not put in. I carried down with me a great bundle of asparagus and as soon as he received it he ordered it to be given [to] the women with child, without reserving any for himself. There's about a 11 foot at high water on the bar, which I look upon to be of advantage to a young settlement, for in case of war no vessel of force can enter to disturb them. While
I was there Mr. Oglethorpe gave Captain's commissions to two of the chief Indian warriors together with some presents, at which they seemed well satisfied and promised to do him what service they could. Excuse me, Gentlemen, if I take the liberty to make one remark: Mr. Oglethorpe told me that by their constitution they were to have no Negroes amongst them, which I think will be a great prejudice if not means to overset your noble design. For there is a vast quantity of extraordinary fine land which [is] plentifully stored with large trees, which I can't think can be felled by persons that are not used to work. And they can't there live without corn. Besides, it will be very difficult for white people to hoe and tend their corn in the hot weather, for I do assure you I think 'tis equally as hot as ever I felt in Jamaica in the summer months, which I compute to be from the middle of May to the middle of September. Mr. Oglethorpe once a week puts up a turkey or some other thing of value to be shot for by his men, which has already had good effect, bringing them acquainted with arms which some of them before were ignorant of. He sent me down a small cask of skins which I have shipped on board the Volant, Edmund Smyler, and consigned to my friend Mr. Samuel Baker, with some of my own, who will enter them and deliver them to you, which will save you some trouble and charge. When I was at Georgia I acquainted Mr. Oglethorpe that there was on the island and on the main next to the sea such vast quantities of live oak trees as is not to be seen in any part of the world, besides the sufficient to build more ships than the British Navy consists of, which for its durableness and crookedness of growth suitable for all difficult timbers, is preferable to English or any other oak whatsoever, as one Mr. Barry who was bred in His Majesty's [ship]yard, if alive can inform you. He married Bella Ash, the daughter of John Ash, Esquirem formerly of this province. She's a relation, as I have been informed, of the Lord Townsend's and St. Paul Methuen. I wrote you this that you may know how to find her. I design in three weeks' time to get some carpenters to cut several pieces of these timbers and send you some for a trial. Since I wrote the above, I am informed that the said was living within these three years and was foreman of His Majesty's yard of Deptford. I am, Gentlemen, your very humble servant.