An Historical Account Of The Rise And Progress Of The Colonies Of South Carolina And Georgia, Volume 2
by Alexander Hewatt
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However, some distinction in point of policy should perhaps be made between a colony in its infancy, and a nation already possessed of wealth, and in an advanced state of agriculture and commerce, especially while the former is united to, and under the protection of the latter. To a growing colony, such as Carolina, paper-credit, under certain limitations, was useful in several respects; especially as the gold and silver always left the country, when it answered the purpose of the merchant for remittance better than produce. This credit served to procure the planter strength of hands to clear and cultivate his fields, from which the real wealth of the province arose. But in an improved country such as England, supported by labourers, manufacturers and trade, large emissions of paper-money lessen the value of gold and silver, and both cause them to leave the country, and its produce and manufactures to come dearer to market. Adventurous planters in Carolina, eager to obtain a number of negroes, always stretched their credit with the traders to its utmost pitch; for as negroes on good lands cleared themselves in a few years, they by this means made an annual addition to their capital stock. After obtaining this credit, it then became their interest to maintain their superiority in assembly, and discharge their debt to the merchants in the easiest manner they could. The increase of paper-money always proved to them a considerable assistance, as it advanced the price of those commodities they brought to the market, by which they cancelled their debts with the merchants; so that however much this currency might depreciate, the loss occasioned by it from time to time fell not on the adventurous planters, but on the merchants and money-lenders, who were obliged to take it in payment of debts, or produce, which always arose in price in proportion to its depreciation.

In excuse for increasing provincial paper-money the planters always pled the exigencies of the public, such as warlike expeditions, raising fortifications, providing military stores, and maintaining garrisons; those no doubt rendered the measure sometimes necessary, and often reasonable, but private interest had also considerable weight in adopting it, and carrying it into execution. In the year 1737, a bill of exchange on London, for a hundred pounds sterling, sold for seven hundred and fifty pounds Carolina currency. Of this the merchants might complain, but from this period they had too little weight in the public councils to obtain any redress. The only resource left for them was to raise the price of negroes, and British articles of importation, according to the advanced price of produce, and bills of exchange. However, the exchange again fell to seven hundred per cent. at which standard it afterwards rested and remained.

[Sidenote] Small progress of Georgia.

By this time the poor colonists of Georgia, after trial, had become fully convinced of the impropriety and folly of the plan of settlement framed by the Trustees, which, however well intended, was ill adapted to their circumstances, and ruinous to the settlement. In the province of Carolina, which lay adjacent, the colonists discovered that there they could obtain lands not only on better terms, but also liberty to purchase negroes to assist in clearing and cultivating them. They found labour in the burning climate intolerable, and the dangers and hardships to which they were subjected unsurmountable. Instead of raising commodities for exportation, the Georgians, by the labour of several years, were not yet able to raise provisions sufficient to support themselves and families. Under each discouragements, numbers retired to the Carolina side of the river, where they had better prospects of success, and the magistrates observed the infant colony sinking into ruin, and likely to be totally deserted. The freeholders in and round Savanna assembled together, and drew up a state of their deplorable circumstances, and transmitted it to the Trustees, in which they represented their success in Georgia as a thing absolutely impossible, without the enjoyment of the same liberties and privileges with their neighbours in Carolina. In two respects they implored relief from the Trustees; they desired a fee-simple or free title to their lands, and liberty to import negroes under certain limitations, without which they declared they had neither encouragement to labour, nor ability to provide for their posterity. But the colony of Highlanders, instead of joining in this application, to a man remonstrated against the introduction of slaves. As they lay contiguous to the Spanish dominions, they were apprehensive that these enemies would entice their slaves from them in time of peace, and in time of war instigate them to rise against their masters. Besides, they considered perpetual slavery as shocking to human nature, and deemed the permission of it as a grievance, and which in some future day might also prove a scourge, and make many feel the smart of that oppression they so earnestly desired to introduce. For as the Spaniards had proclaimed freedom to them, they alledged that slaves would run away, and ruin poor planters; and at all events would disqualify them the more for defending the province against external enemies, while their families were exposed to barbarous domestics, provoked perhaps by harsh usage, or grown desperate through misery and oppression.

[Sidenote] Hardships of the first settlers.

Few persons who are acquainted with the country will wonder at the complaints of the poor settlers in Georgia; for if we consider the climate to which they were sent, and the labours and hardships they had to undergo, we may rather be astonished that any of them survived the first year after their arrival. When James Oglethorpe took possession of this wilderness, the whole was an immense thick forest, excepting savannas, which are natural plains where no trees grow, and a few Indian fields, where the savages planted maize for their subsistence. In the province there were the same wild animals, fishes, reptiles and insects, which were found in Carolina. The country in the maritime parts was likewise a spacious plain, covered with pine trees, where the lands were barren and sandy; and with narrow slips of oaks, hickory, cypress, cane, &c. where the lands were of a better quality. Rains, thunder-storms, hurricanes, and whirlwinds, were equally frequent in the one province as in the other. Little difference could be perceived in the soil, which in both was barren or swampy; and the same diseases were common to both. The lands being covered with wood, through which the sea-breezes could not penetrate, there was little agitation in the air, which at some seasons was thick, heavy and foggy, and at others clear, close, and suffocating, both which are very pernicious to health. The air of the swampy land was pregnant with innumerable noxious qualities, insomuch that a more unwholesome climate was not perhaps to be found in the universe. The poor settlers considered this howling wilderness to which they were brought, to have been designed by nature rather for the habitation of wild beasts than human creatures. They found that diseases, or even misfortunes were in effect equally fatal: for though neither of them might prove mortal, yet either would disable them from living, and reduce them to a state in which they might more properly be said to perish than to die.

Nothing has retarded the progress and improvement of these southern settlements more than the inattention shewn to the natural productions of the soil, and the preference which has commonly been given to articles transplanted from Europe. Over the whole world different articles of produce are suited to different soils and climates. As Georgia lay so convenient for supplying the West Indies with maize, Indian pease, and potatoes, for which the demand was very great, perhaps the first planters could scarcely have turned their attention to more profitable articles, but without strength of hands little advantage could be reaped from them. It is true the West-India Islands would produce such articles, yet the planters would never cultivate them, while they could obtain them by purchase: the lands there suited other productions more valuable and advantageous. Abundance of stock, particularly hogs and black cattle, might have been raised in Georgia for the same market. Lumber was also in demand, and might have been rendered profitable to the province, but nothing could succeed there under the foolish restrictions of the Trustees. European grain, such as wheat, oats, barley, and rye, thrived very ill on the maritime parts; and even silk and wine were found upon trial by no means to answer their expectations. The bounties given for raising the latter were an encouragement to the settlers, but either no pains were taken to instruct the people in the proper methods of raising them, or the soil and climate were ill adapted for the purpose. The poor and ignorant planters applied themselves to those articles of husbandry to which probably they had been formerly accustomed, but which poorly rewarded them and left them, after all their toil, in a starved and miserable condition.

The complaints of the Georgians, however ignorant they might be, ought not to have been entirely disregarded by the Trustees. Experience suggested those inconveniencies and troubles from which they implored relief. The hints they gave certainly ought to have been improved towards correcting errors in the first plan of settlement, and framing another more favourable and advantageous. Such scattered thoughts of individuals sometimes afford wise men materials for forming just judgments, and improving towards the establishment of the best and most beneficial regulations. The people governed ought never to be excluded from the attention and regard of their Governors. The honour of the Trustees depended on the success and happiness of the settlers, and it was impossible for the people to succeed and be happy without those encouragements, liberties and privileges absolutely necessary to the first state of colonization. A free title to their land, liberty to chuse it, and then to manage it in such a manner as appeared to themselves most conducive to their interest, were the principal incentives to industry; and industry, well directed, is the grand source of opulence to every country.

It must be acknowledged, for the credit of the benevolent Trustees, that they sent out these emigrants to Georgia under several very favourable circumstances. They paid the expences of their passage, and furnished them with clothes, arms, ammunition, and instruments of husbandry. They gave them lands, and bought for some of them cows and hogs to begin their flock. They maintained their family during the first year of their occupancy, or until they should receive some return from their lands. So that if the planters were exposed to hazards from the climate, and obliged to undergo labour, they certainly entered on their task with several advantages. The taxes demanded, comparatively speaking, were a mere trifle. For their encouragement they wrought entirely for themselves, and for some time were favoured with a free and generous maintenance.

[Sidenote] An Irish colony planted.

By this time an account of the great privileges and indulgences granted by the crown for the encouragement of emigration to Carolina, had been published through Britain and Ireland, and many industrious people in different parts had resolved to take the benefit of his Majesty's bounty. Multitudes of labourers and husbandmen in Ireland, oppressed by landlords and bishops, and unable by their utmost diligence to procure a comfortable subsistence for their families, embarked for Carolina. The first colony of Irish people had lands granted them near Santee river, and formed the settlement called Williamsburgh township. But notwithstanding the bounty of the crown, these poor emigrants remained for several years in low and miserable circumstances. The rigours of the climate, joined to the want of precaution, so common to strangers, proved fatal to numbers of them. Having but scanty provisions in the first age of cultivation, vast numbers, by their heavy labour, being both debilitated in body and dejected in spirit, sickened and died in the woods. But as this township received frequent supplies from the same quarter, the Irish settlement, amidst every hardship, increased in number; and at length they applied to the merchants for negroes, who entrusted them with a few, by which means they were relieved from the severest part of the labour, then, by their great diligence and industry, spots of land were gradually cleared, which in the first place yielded them provisions, and in process of time became moderate and fruitful estates.


[Sidenote] Trade obstructed by the Spaniards of Mexico.

For several years before an open rupture took place between Great Britain and Spain, no good understanding subsisted between those two different courts, neither with respect to the privileges of navigation on the Mexican seas, nor to the limits between the provinces of Georgia and Florida. On one hand, the Spaniards pretended that they had an exclusive right to some latitudes in the bay of Mexico; and, on the other, though the matter had never been clearly ascertained by treaty, the British merchants claimed the privilege of cutting logwood on the bay of Campeachy. This liberty indeed had been tolerated on the part of Spain for several years, and the British merchants, from avaricious motives, had begun a traffic with the Spaniards, and supplied them with goods of English manufacture. To prevent this illicit trade, the Spaniards doubled the number of ships stationed in Mexico for guarding the coast, giving them orders to board and search every English vessel found in those seas, to seize on all that carried contraband commodities, and confine the sailors. At length not only smugglers, but fair traders were searched and detained, so that all commerce in those seas was entirely obstructed. The British merchants again and again complained to the ministry of depredations committed, and damages sustained; which indeed produced one remonstrance after another to the Spanish court; all which were answered only by evasive promises and delays. The Spaniards flattered the British minister, by telling him, they would enquire into the occasion of such grievances, and settle all differences by way of negotiation. Sir Robert Walpole, fond of pacific measures, and trusting to such proposals of accommodation, for several years suffered the grievances of the merchants to remain unredressed, and the trade of the nation to suffer great losses.

[Sidenote] William Bull Lieut.-governor.

In the year 1738, Samuel Horsley was appointed Governor of South Carolina, but he dying before he left England, the charge of the province devolved on William Bull, a man of good natural abilities, and well acquainted with the state of the province. The garrison at Augustine having received a considerable reinforcement, it therefore became the business of the people of Carolina, as well as those of Georgia, to watch the motions of their neighbours. As the Spaniards pretended a right to that province, they were pouring in troops into Augustine, which gave the British colonists some reason to apprehend they had resolved to assert their right by force of arms. William Bull despatched advice to England of the growing power of Spain in East Florida, and at the same time acquainted the Trustees, that such preparations were making there as evidently portended approaching hostilities. The British ministers were well acquainted with the state of Carolina, from a late representation transmitted by its provincial legislature. The Trustees for Georgia presented a memorial to the king, giving an account of the Spanish preparations, and the feeble and defenceless condition of Georgia, and imploring his Majesty's gracious assistance. In consequence of which, a regiment of six hundred effective men was ordered to be raised, with a view of sending them to Georgia. The King having made James Oglethorpe Major-General of all the forces of the two provinces, gave him the command of this regiment and ordered him out for the protection of the southern frontiers of the British dominions in America.

[Sidenote] Oglethorpe's regiment sent to Georgia.

About the middle of the same year, the Hector, and Blandford ships of war sailed, to convoy the transports which carried General Oglethorpe and his regiment to that province. Forty supernumeraries followed the General to supply the place of such officers or soldiers as might sicken and die by the change of the climate. Upon the arrival of this regiment, the people of Carolina and Georgia rejoiced, and testified their grateful sense of his Majesty's paternal care in the strongest terms. The Georgians, who had been for some time harassed with frequent alarms, now found themselves happily relieved, and placed in such circumstances as enabled them to bid defiance to the Spanish power. Parties of the regiment were sent to the different garrisons, and the expence the Trustees had formerly been at in maintaining them of course ceased. The General held his head-quarters at Frederica, but raised forts on some other islands lying nearer the Spaniards, particularly in Cumberland and Jekyl islands, in which he also kept garrisons to watch the motions of his enemies.

[Sidenote] The Spaniards try in vain to seduce the Creeks.

While these hostile preparations were going on, it behoved General Oglethorpe to cultivate the firmest friendship with Indian nations, that they might be ready on every emergency to assist him. During his absence the Spaniards had made several attempts to seduce the Creeks, who were much attached to Oglethorpe, by telling them he was at Augustine, and promised them great presents in case they would pay him a visit at that place. Accordingly some of their leaders went down to see the beloved man, but not finding him there, they were highly offended, and resolved immediately to return to their nation. The Spanish Governor, in order to cover the fraud, or probably with a design of conveying those leaders out of the way, that they might the more easily corrupt their nation; told them, that the General lay sick on board of a ship in the harbour, where he would be extremely glad to see them. But the savages were jealous of some bad design, and refused to go, and even rejected their presents and offers of alliance. When they returned to their nation, they found an invitation from General Oglethorpe to all the chieftains to meet him at Frederica, which plainly discovered to them the insidious designs of the Spaniards, and helped not a little to increase his power and influence among them. A number of their head warriors immediately set out to meet him at the place appointed, where the General thanked them for their fidelity, made them many valuable presents, and renewed the treaty of friendship and alliance with them. At this congress the Creeks seemed better satisfied than usual, agreed to march a thousand men to the General's assistance whenever he should demand them, and invited him up to see their towns. But as he was then busy, he excused himself, by promising to visit them next summer, and accordingly dismissed them no less pleased with his kindness, than incensed against the Spaniards for their falsehood and deceit.

[Sidenote] Matters hastening to a rupture with Spain.

By this time the King of England had resolved to vindicate the honour of his crown, and maintain his right to those territories in Georgia, together with the freedom of commerce and navigation in the Mexican seas. The pacific system of Sir Robert Walpole had drawn upon him the displeasure of the nation, particularly of the mercantile part; and that amazing power and authority he had long maintained began to decline. The spirit of the nation was rouzed, insomuch that the administration could no longer wink at the insults, depredations, and cruelties of Spain. Instructions were sent to the British ambassador at the court of Madrid, to demand in the most absolute terms a compensation for the injuries of trade, which, upon calculation, amounted to two hundred thousand pounds sterling; and at the same time a squadron of ten ships of the line, under the command of Admiral Haddock, were sent to the Mediterranean sea. This produced an order from the Spanish Court to their ambassador, to allow the accounts of the British merchants, upon condition that the Spanish demand on the South-Sea Company be deducted: and that Oglethorpe be recalled from Georgia, and no more employed in that quarter, as he had there made great encroachments on his Catholic Majesty's dominions. These conditions were received at the court of Britain with that indignation which might have been expected from an injured and incensed nation. In answer to which the Spanish ambassador was given to understand, that the King of Great Britain was determined never to relinquish his right to a single foot of land in the province of Georgia; and that he must allow his subjects to make reprisals, since satisfaction for their losses in trade could in no other way be obtained. In this unsettled situation, however, matters remained for a little while between those two powerful potentates.

[Sidenote] Mutiny in Oglethorpe's camp.

In the mean time preparations were making both in Georgia and Florida, by raising fortifications on the borders of the two provinces, to hold each other at defiance. The British soldiers finding themselves subjected to a number of hardships in Georgia, to which they had not been accustomed in Britain, several of them were discontented and ungovernable. At length a plot was discovered in the camp for assassinating their general. Two companies of the regiment had been drawn from Gibraltar, some of whom could speak the Spanish language. While stationed on Cumberland island, the Spanish out-posts on the other side could approach so near as to converse with the British soldiers, one of whom had even been in the Spanish service, and not only understood their language, but also had so much of a Roman Catholic spirit as to harbour an aversion to Protestant heretics. The Spaniards had found means to corrupt this villain, who debauched the minds of several of his neighbours, insomuch that they united and formed a design first to murder General Oglethorpe, and then make their escape to Augustine. Accordingly, on a certain day a number of soldiers under arms came up to the General, and made some extraordinary demands; which being refused, they instantly cried out, one and all, and immediately one of them discharged his piece at him: and being only at the distance of a few paces, the ball whizzed over his shoulder, but the powder singed his clothes, and burnt his face. Another presented his piece, which flashed in the pan; a third drew his hanger and attempted to stab him, but the General parrying it off, an officer standing by run the ruffian through the body, and killed him on the spot. Upon which the mutineers ran, but were caught and laid in irons. A court-martial was called to try the ringleaders of this desperate conspiracy, some of whom were found guilty and condemned to be shot, in order to deter others from such dangerous attempts.

Nor was this the only concealed effort of Spanish policy, another of a more dangerous nature soon followed in Carolina, which might have been attended with much more bloody and fatal effects. At this time there were above forty thousand negroes in the province, a fierce, hardy and strong race, whose constitutions were adapted to the warm climate, whose nerves were braced with constant labour, and who could scarcely be supposed to be contented with that oppressive yoke under which they groaned. Long had liberty and protection been promised and proclaimed to them by the Spaniards at Augustine, nor were all the negroes in the province strangers to the proclamation. At different times Spanish emissaries had been found secretly tampering with them, and persuading them to fly from slavery to Florida, and several had made their escape to that settlement. Of these negro refugees the Governor of Florida had formed a regiment, appointing officers from among themselves, allowing them the same pay and clothing them in the same uniform with the regular Spanish soldiers. The most sensible part of the slaves in Carolina were not ignorant of this Spanish regiment, for whenever they run away from their masters, they constantly directed their course to this quarter. To no place could negro serjeants be sent for enlisting men where they could have a better prospect of success. Two Spaniards were caught in Georgia, and committed to jail, for enticing slaves to leave Carolina and join this regiment. Five negroes, who were cattle hunters at Indian Land, some of whom belonged to Captain McPherson, after wounding his son and killing another man, made their escape. Several more attempting to get away were taken, tried, and hanged at Charlestown.

[Sidenote] A negro insurrection in Carolina.

While Carolina was kept in a state of constant fear and agitation from this quarter, an insurrection openly broke out in the heart of the settlement which alarmed the whole province. A number of negroes having assembled together at Stono, first surprised and killed two young men in a warehouse, and then plundered it of guns and ammunition. Being thus provided with arms, they elected one of their number captain, and agreed to follow him, marching towards the south-west with colours flying and drums beating, like a disciplined company. They forcibly entered the house of Mr. Godfrey, and having murdered him, his wife, and children, they took all the arms he had in it, set fire to the house, and then proceeded towards Jacksonsburgh. In their way they plundered and burnt every house, among which were those of Sacheveral, Nash, and Spry, killing every white person they found in them, and compelling the negroes to join them. Governor Bull returning to Charlestown from the southward, met them, and, observing them armed, quickly rode out of their way. He spread the alarm, which soon reached the Presbyterian church at Wiltown, where Archibald Stobo was preaching to a numerous congregation of planters in that quarter. By a law of the province all planters were obliged to carry their arms to church, which at this critical juncture proved a very useful and necessary regulation. The women were left in church trembling with fear while the militia, under the command of Captain Bee, marched in quest of the negroes, who by this time had become formidable from the number that joined them. They had marched above twelve miles, and spread desolation through all the plantations in their way. Having found rum in some houses, and drank freely of it, they halted in an open field, and began to sing and dance, by way of triumph. During these rejoicings the militia discovered them, and stationed themselves in different places around them, to prevent them from making their escape. The intoxication of several of the slaves favoured the assailants. One party advanced into the open field and attacked them, and, having killed some negroes, the remainder took to the woods, and were dispersed. Many ran back to their plantations, in hopes of escaping suspicion from the absence of their masters; but the greater part were taken and tried. Such as had been compelled to join them contrary to their inclination were pardoned, but all the chosen leaders and first insurgents suffered death.

All Carolina was struck with terror and consternation by this insurrection, in which above twenty persons were murdered before it was quelled, and had not the people in that quarter been fortunately collected together at church, it is probable many more would have suffered. Or had it become general, the whole colony must have fallen a sacrifice to their great power and indiscriminate fury. It was commonly believed, and not without reason, that the Spaniards were deeply concerned in promoting the mischief, and by their secret influence and intrigues with slaves had instigated them to this massacre. Having already four companies of negroes in their service, by penetrating into Carolina, and putting the province into confusion, they might no doubt have raised many more. But, to prevent farther attempts, Governor Bull sent an express to General Oglethorpe with advice of the insurrection, desiring him to double his vigilance in Georgia, and seize all straggling Spaniards and negroes. In consequence of which a proclamation was issued to stop all slaves found in that province, offering a reward for every one they might catch attempting to run off. At the same time a company of rangers were employed to patrole the frontiers, and block up all passages by which they might make their escape to Florida.

[Sidenote] A war with Spain.

In the mean time things were hastening to a rupture in Europe, and a war between England and Spain was thought unavoidable. The plenipotentiaries appointed for settling the boundaries between Georgia and Florida, and other differences and misunderstandings subsisting between the two crowns, had met at Pardo in convention, where preliminary articles were drawn up; but the conference ended to the satisfaction of neither party. Indeed the proposal of a negotiation, and the appointment of plenipotentiaries, gave universal offence to the people of Britain, who breathed nothing but war and vengeance against the proud and arrogant Spaniards. The merchants had lost all patience under their sufferings, and became clamorous for letters of reprisal, which at length they obtained. Public credit arose, and forwarded hostile preparations. All officers of the navy and army were ordered to their stations, and with the unanimous voice of the nation war was declared against Spain on the 23rd of October, 1739.

[Sidenote] A project for invading Florida.

While Admiral Vernon was sent to take the command of a squadron in the West-India station, with orders to act offensively against the Spanish dominions in that quarter, to divide their force, General Oglethorpe was ordered also to annoy the subjects of Spain in Florida by every method in his power. In consequence of which, the General immediately projected an expedition against the Spanish settlement at Augustine. His design he communicated by letter to Lieutenant Governor Bull, requesting the support and assistance of Carolina in the expedition. Mr. Bull laid his letter before the provincial assembly, recommending to them to raise a regiment, and give him all possible assistance in an enterprize of such interesting consequence. The assembly, sensible of the vast advantages that must accrue to them from getting rid of such troublesome neighbours, resolved that so soon as the General should communicate to them his plan of operations, together with a state of the assistance requisite, at the same time making it appear that there was a probability of success, they would most cheerfully assist him. The Carolineans, however, were apprehensive, that as that garrison had proved such a painful thorn in their side in time of peace, they would have more to dread from it in time of war; and although the colony had been much distressed by the small-pox and the yellow fever for two years past, which had cut off the hopes of many flourishing families; the people, nevertheless, lent a very favourable ear to the proposal, and earnestly wished to give all the assistance in their power towards dislodging an enemy so malicious and cruel.

[Sidenote] Measures concerted for this purpose.

In the mean time General Oglethorpe was industrious in picking up all the intelligence he could respecting the situation and strength of the garrison, and finding it in great straits for want of provisions, he urged the speedy execution of his project, with a view to surprise his enemy before a supply should arrive. He declared, that no personal toil or danger should discourage him from exerting himself towards freeing Carolina from such neighbours as had instigated their slaves to massacre them, and publicly protected them after such bloody attempts. To concert measures with the greater secrecy and expedition, he went to Charlestown himself, and laid before the legislature of Carolina an estimate of the force, arms, ammunition, and provisions, which he judged might be requisite for the expedition. In consequence of which, the Assembly voted one hundred and twenty thousand pounds, Carolina money, for the service of the war. A regiment, consisting of four hundred men, was raised, partly in Virginia and partly in North and South Carolina, with the greatest expedition, and the command was given to Colonel Vanderdussen. Indians were sent for from the different tribes in alliance with Britain. Vincent Price, commander of the ships of war on that station, agreed to assist with a naval force consisting of four ships of twenty guns each, and two sloops, which proved a great encouragement to the Carolineans, and induced them to enter with double vigour on military preparations. General Oglethorpe appointed the mouth of St. John's river, on the Florida shore, for the place of rendezvous, and having finished his preparations in Carolina, set out for Georgia to join his regiment, and make all ready for the expedition.

[Sidenote] General Oglethorpe marches against Florida.

On the 9th of May 1740, the General passed over to Florida with four hundred select men of his regiment, and a considerable party of Indians; and on the day following invested Diego, a small fort, about twenty-five miles from Augustine, which after a short resistance surrendered by capitulation. In this fort he left a garrison of sixty men, under the command of Lieutenant Dunbar, and returned to the place of general rendezvous, where he was joined by Colonel Vanderdussen, with the Carolina regiment, and a company of Highlanders, under the command of Captain M'Intosh. But by this time six Spanish half-galleys, with long brass nine pounders, and two sloops loaded with provisions, had got into the harbour at Augustine. A few days afterwards, the General marched with his whole force, consisting of above two thousand men, regulars, provincials and Indians, to Fort Moosa, situated within two miles of Augustine, which on his approach the Spanish garrison evacuated, and retired into the town. He immediately ordered the gates of this fort to be burnt, three breaches to be made in its walls, and then proceeded to reconnoitre the town and castle.

Notwithstanding the dispatch of the British army, the Spaniards, during their stay at Fort Diego, had collected all the cattle in the woods around them, and drove them into the town; and the General found, both from a view of the works, and the intelligence he had received from prisoners, that more difficulty would attend this enterprize than he at first expected. Indeed, if he intended a surprize, he ought not to have stopped at Fort Diego, for by that delay the enemy had notice of his approach, and time to gather their whole force, and put themselves in a posture of defence. The castle was built of soft stone, with four bastions; the curtain was sixty yards in length, the parapet nine feet thick; the rampart twenty feet high, casemated underneath for lodgings, arched over, and newly made bomb-proof. Fifty pieces of cannon were mounted, several of which were twenty-four pounders. Besides the castle, the town was entrenched with ten salient angles, on each of which some small cannon were mounted. The garrison consisted of seven hundred regulars, two troops of horse, four companies of armed negroes, besides the militia of the province, and Indians.

[Sidenote] Invests Augustine.

The General now plainly perceived that an attack by land upon the town, and an attempt to take the castle by storm would cost him dear before he could reduce the place, and therefore changed his plan of operations. With the assistance of the ships of war, which were now lying at anchor off Augustine-bar, he resolved to turn the siege into a blockade, and try to shut up every channel by which provisions could be conveyed to the garrison. For this purpose he left Colonel Palmer with ninety-five Highlanders, and forty-two Indians at Fort Moosa, with orders to scour the woods around the town, and intercept all supplies of cattle from the country by land. And, for the safety of his men, he at the same time ordered him to encamp every night in a different place, to keep strict watch around his camp, and by all means avoid coming to any action. This small party was the whole force the General left for guarding the land side. Then he sent Colonel Vanderdussen, with the Carolina regiment, over a small creek, to take possession of a neck of land called Point Quartel, above a mile distant from the castle, with orders to erect a battery upon it; while he himself, with his regiment, and the greatest part of the Indians, embarked in boats, and landed on the island of Anastatia. In this island the Spaniards had a small party of men stationed for a guard, who immediately fled to town, and as it lay opposite to the castle, from this place, the General resolved to bombard the town. Captain Pierce stationed one of his ships to guard the passage, by way of the Motanzas, and with the others blocked up the mouth of the harbour, so that the Spaniards were cut off from all supplies by sea. On the island of Anastatia batteries were soon erected, and several cannon mounted by the assistance of the active and enterprising sailors. Having made these dispositions, General Oglethorpe then summoned the Spanish Governor to a surrender; but the haughty Don, secure in his strong hold, sent him for answer, that he would be glad to shake hands with him in his castle.

This insulting answer excited the highest degree of wrath and indignation in the General's mind, and made him resolve to exert himself to the utmost for humbling his pride. The opportunity of surprizing the place being now lost, he had no other secure method left but to attack it at the distance in which he then stood. For this purpose he opened his batteries against the castle, and at the same time threw a number of shells into the town. The fire was returned with equal spirit both from the Spanish fort and from six half-gallies in the harbour, but so great was the distance, that though they continued the cannonade for several days, little execution was done on either side. Captain Warren, a brave naval officer, perceiving that all efforts in this way for demolishing the castle were vain and ineffectual, proposed to destroy the Spanish gallies in the harbour, by an attack in the night, and offered to go himself and head the attempt. A council of war was held to consider of and concert a plan for that service; but, upon sounding the bar, it was found it would admit no large ship to the attack, and with small ones it was judged rash and impracticable, the gallies being covered by the cannon of the castle, and therefore that design was dropt.

[Sidenote] Raises the siege.

In the mean time the Spanish commander observing the besiegers embarrassed, and their operations beginning to relax, sent out a detachment of three hundred men against Colonel Palmer, who surprised him at Fort Moosa, and, while most of his party lay asleep, cut them almost entirely to pieces. A few that accidentally escaped, went over in a small boat to the Carolina regiment at Point Quartel. Some of the Chickesaw Indians coming from that fort having met with a Spaniard, cut off his head, agreeable to their savage manner of waging war, and presented it to the General in his camp: but he rejected it with abhorrence, calling them barbarous dogs, and bidding them begone. At this disdainful behaviour, however, the Chickesaws were offended, declaring, that if they had carried the head of an Englishman to the French, they would not have treated them so: and perhaps the General discovered more humanity than good policy by it, for these Indians, who knew none of the European customs and refinements in war, soon after deserted him. About the same time the vessel stationed at the Metanzas being ordered off, some small ships from the Havanna with provisions, and a reinforcement of men, got into Augustine, by that narrow channel, to the relief of the garrison. A party of Creeks having surprised one of their small boats, brought four Spanish prisoners to the General, who informed him, that the garrison had received seven hundred men, and a large supply of provisions. Then all prospects of starving the enemy being lost, the army began to despair of forcing the place to surrender. The Carolinean troops, enfeebled by the heat, dispirited by sickness, and fatigued by fruitless efforts, marched away in large bodies. The navy being short of provisions, and the usual season of hurricanes approaching, the commander judged it imprudent to hazard his Majesty's ships, by remaining longer on that coast. Last of all, the General himself, sick of a fever, and his regiment worn out with fatigue, and rendered unfit for action by a flux, with sorrow and regret followed, and reached Frederica about the 10th of July 1740.

Thus ended the unsuccessful expedition against Augustine, to the great disappointment of both Georgia and Carolina. Many heavy reflections were afterwards thrown out against General Oglethorpe for his conduct during the whole enterprize. Perhaps the only chance of success he had from the beginning was by surprising this garrison in the night by some sudden attempt. He was blamed for remaining so long at fort Diego, by which means the enemy had full intelligence of his approach, and time to prepare for receiving him. He was charged with timidity afterwards, in making no bold attempt on the town. It was said, that the officer who means to act on the offensive, where difficulties must be surmounted, ought to display some courage; and that too much timidity in war is often as culpable as too much temerity. Great caution he indeed used for saving his men, for excepting those who fell by the sword in fort Moosa, he lost more men by sickness than by the hands of the enemy. Though the disaster of Colonel Palmer, in which many brave Highlanders were massacred, was perhaps occasioned chiefly by want of vigilance and a disobedience of orders, yet many were of opinion, that it was too hazardous to have left so small a party on the main land, exposed to sallies from a superior enemy, and entirely cut off from all possibility of support and assistance from the main body. In short, the Carolineans called in question the General's military judgment and skill in many respects; and protested that he had spent the time in barren deliberations, harassed the men with unnecessary marches, allowed them not a sufficient quantity of provisions, and poisoned them with breakish water. He, on the other hand, declared he had no confidence in the firmness and courage of the provincials; for that they refused obedience to his orders, and at last abandoned his camp, and retreated to Carolina. The truth was, so strongly fortified was the place, both by nature and art, that probably the attempt must have failed, though it had been conducted by the ablest officer, and executed by the best disciplined troops. The miscarriage, however, was particularly ruinous to Carolina, having not only subjected the province to a great expence, but also left it in a worse situation than it was before the attempt.

[Sidenote] A great fire at Charlestown.

The same year stands distinguished in the annals of Carolina, not only for this unsuccessful expedition against the Spaniards, but also for a desolating fire, which in November following broke out in the capital, and laid the half of it in ruins. This fire began about two o'clock in the afternoon, and burnt with unquenchable violence until eight at night. The houses being built of wood, and the wind blowing hard at north-west, the flames spread with astonishing rapidity. From Broad-street, where the fire kindled, to Granville's Bastion, almost every house was at one time in flames, and exhibited an awful and striking scene. The vast quantities of deerskins, rum, pitch, tar, turpentine and powder, in the different stores, served to increase the horror, and the more speedily to spread the desolation. Amidst the cries and shrieks of women and children, and the bursting forth of flames in different quarters, occasioned by the violent wind, which carried the burning shingles to a great distance, the men were put into confusion, and so anxious were they about the safety of their families, that they could not be prevailed upon to unite their efforts for extinguishing the fire. The sailors from the men of war, and ships in the harbour were the most active and adventurous hands engaged in the service. But such was the violence of the flames, that it baffled all the art and power of man, and burnt until the calmness of the evening closed the dreadful scene. Three hundred of the best and most convenient buildings in the town were consumed, which, together with lots of goods, and provincial commodities, amounted to a prodigious sum. Happily few lives were lost, but the lamentations of ruined families were heard in every quarter. In short, from a flourishing condition the town was reduced in the space of six hours to the lowest and most deplorable state. All those inhabitants whose houses escaped the flames, went around and kindly invited their unfortunate neighbours to them, so that two and three families were lodged in places built only for the accommodation of one. After the legislature met, to take the miserable state of the people under consideration, they agreed to make application to the British parliament for relief. The British parliament voted twenty thousand pounds sterling, to be distributed among the sufferers at Charlestown, which relief was equally seasonable and useful on the one side, as it was generous and noble on the other. No time should obliterate the impressions of such benevolent actions. This gift certainly deserved to be wrote on the table of every heart, in the most indelible characters. For all men must acknowledge, that it merited the warmest returns of gratitude, not only from the unfortunate objects of such bounty, but from the whole province.

[Sidenote] A petition in favour of the rice trade.

While the war between Great Britain and Spain continued, a bill was brought into parliament to prevent the exportation of rice, among other articles of provision, to France or Spain, with a view to distress these enemies as much as possible. In consequence of which, a representation to the following effect, in behalf of the province of Carolina, and the merchants concerned in that trade, was presented to the House of Commons while the bill was depending before them, praying that the article of rice might be excepted out of the bill, and endeavouring to prove, that the prohibiting its importation would be highly detrimental to Great Britain, and in no respect to her enemies: "The inhabitants of South Carolina have not any manufactures of their own, but are supplied from Great Britain with all their clothing, and the other manufactures by them consumed, to the amount of one hundred and fifty thousand pounds sterling a-year. The only commodity of consequence produced in South Carolina is rice, and they reckon it as much their staple commodity as sugar is to Barbadoes and Jamaica, or tobacco to Virginia and Maryland; so that if any stop be put to the exportation of rice from South Carolina to Europe, it will not only render the planters there incapable of paying their debts, but also reduce the government of that province to such difficulties for want of money, as at this present precarious time may render the whole colony an easy prey to their neighbours the Indians and Spaniards, and also to those yet more dangerous enemies their own negroes, who are ready to revolt on the first opportunity, and are eight times as many in number as there are white men able to bear arms, and the danger in this respect is greater since the unhappy expedition to Augustine.

"From the year 1729, when his Majesty purchased South Carolina, the trade of it hath so increased, that their annual exports and imports of late have been double the value of what they were in the said year; and their exports of rice in particular have increased in a greater proportion: for, from the year 1720 to 1729, being ten years, both included, the whole export of rice was 264,488 barrels, making 44,081 tons. From the 1730 to 1739, being also ten years, the whole export of rice was 499,525 barrels, making 99,905 tons; so that the export of the latter ten years exceeded the former by 235,037 barrels, or 55,824 tons: and of the vast quantities of rice thus exported, scarcely one fifteenth part is consumed either in Great Britain or in any part of the British dominions; so that the produce of the other fourteen parts is clear gain to the nation; whereas almost all the sugar, and one fourth part of the tobacco, exported from the British colonies, are consumed by the people of Great Britain, or by British subjects; from whence it is evident, that the national gain arising from rice is several times as great in proportion, as the national gain arising from either sugar or tobacco.

"This year, viz. 1740, in particular, we shall export from South Carolina above ninety thousand barrels of rice, of which quantity there will not be three thousand barrels used here, so that the clear national gain upon that export will be very great; for at the lowest computation, of twenty-five shillings sterling per barrel, the eighty-seven thousand barrels exported will amount in value to one hundred and eight thousand seven hundred and fifty pounds, at the first hand; whereto there must be added the charge of freight, &c. from South Carolina to Europe, which amount to more than the first cost of the rice, and are also gain to Great Britain; so that the least gain upon this article for the present year will be two hundred and twenty thousand pounds, over and above the naval advantage of annually employing more than one hundred and sixty ships of one hundred tons each."

"Rice being an enumerated commodity, it cannot be exported from South Carolina without giving bond for double the value that the same shall be landed in Great Britain, or in some of the British plantations, excepting to the southward of Cape Finisterre, which last was permitted by a law made in the year 1729; and the motive for such permission was, that the rice might arrive more seasonably and in better condition at market. We have hereunto added an account of the several quantities of rice which have been exported from South Carolina to the different European markets since the said law was made; and it will thereby appear, that we have not in those ten years been able to find sale for any considerable quantity of rice in Spain; for in all that time we have not sold above three thousand five hundred and seventy barrels to the Spaniards, making only three hundred and fifty-seven barrels annually upon a medium; nor can we in the time to come expect any alteration in favour of our rice trade there, because the Spaniards are supplied with an inferior sort of rice from Turkey, &c. equally agreeable to them and a great deal cheaper than ours; the truth whereof appears by the rice taken in a ship called the Baltic Merchant and carried into St. Sebastians, where it was sold at a price so much under the market rate here, or in Holland, as to encourage the sending of it thence to Holland and Hamburgh.

"In France the importation of Carolina rice without licence is prohibited; and though during the last and present years there hath, by permission, been some consumption of it there, yet the whole did not exceed nine thousand barrels, and they have received from Turkey so much rice of the present year's growth, as to make that commodity five shillings per 100 lb. cheaper at Marseilles than here, and even at Dunkirk it is one shilling and sixpence per 100 lb. cheaper than here; so that there is not any prospect of a demand for Carolina rice in France, even if liberty could be obtained for sending the same to any port of that kingdom.

"Germany and Holland are the countries where we find the best market for our rice, and there the greater part of it is consumed; so that the present intended embargo, or prohibitory law, cannot have any other effect, in relation to rice, than that of preventing our allies from using what our enemies do not want, nor we ourselves consume more than a twentieth part of, and which is of so perishable a nature, that even in a cold climate it doth not keep above a year without decaying, and in a warm climate it perishes entirely. The great consumption of rice in Germany and Holland is during the winter season, when pease and all kinds of pulse, &c. are scarce; and the rice intended for those markets ought to be brought there before the frost begins, time enough to be carried up the rivers; so that preventing the exportation only a few days may be attended with this had consequence, that by the frost the winter sale may be lost.

"And as we have now, viz. since November 11th, above ten thousand barrels of old rice arrived, so we may in a few weeks expect double that quantity, besides the new crop now shipping off from Carolina; the stopping of all which, in a country where there is not any sale for it, instead of permitting the same to be carried to the only places of consumption, must soon reduce the price thereof to so low a rate, that the merchants who have purchased that rice will not be able to sell it for the prime cost, much less will they be able to recover the money they have paid for duty, freight, and other charges thereon, which amount to double the first cost: for the rice that an hundred pounds sterling will purchase in South Carolina, costs the importer two hundred more in British duties, freight, and other charges[1]."

[1] An Account of Rice exported in Ten Years after the Province was purchased for the King.

Barrels. To Portugal, - - - - - - - 83,379 To Gibraltar, - - - - - - 958 To Spain, - - - - - - - - 3,570 To France, - - - - - - - - 9,500 To Great Britain, Ireland, and the British Plantations, - - - 30,000 To Holland, Hamburgh and Bremen, including 7000 barrels to Sweden and Denmark, - - - - - - - 372,118 ———- Total quantity exported in those ten years, - - - 499,525

"Thus it appears, that by prohibiting the exportation of rice from this kingdom, the merchants who have purchased the vast quantities before mentioned will not only lose the money it cost them, but twice as much more in duties, freight, and other charges, by their having a perishable commodity embargoed in a country where it is not used. Or if, instead of laying the prohibition here, it be laid in South Carolina; that province, the planters there, and the merchants who deal with them, must all be involved in ruin; the province, for want of means to support the expense of government; the planters, for want of the means to pay their debts and provide future supplies; and the merchants, by not only losing those debts, but twice as much more in the freight, duties, and other charges, upon rice which they cannot sell. So that, in either case, a very profitable colony, and the merchants concerned in the trade of it, would be ruined for the present, if not totally lost to this kingdom, by prohibiting the exportation of rice; and all this without doing any national good in another way, for such prohibition could not in any shape distress our enemies. It is therefore humbly hoped, that rice will be excepted out of the bill now before the honourable House of Commons."

As this representation contains a distinct account of the produce and trade of the province, and shews its usefulness and importance to Great Britain, we judged it worthy of the particular attention of our readers, and therefore have inserted it. With respect to the internal dangers arising from the savage nature and vast number of the slaves, mentioned in this and a former state of the province, we shall now make some remarks, in which we will be naturally led to consider their miserable condition, and the harsh treatment to which slavery necessarily subjects them.

[Sidenote] Remarks on the treatment of slaves.

That slavery has been practiced by many of the most civilized nations in the world, is indeed a truth evident from the history of them. In war the conquerors were supposed to have a right to the life of their captives, insomuch that they might kill, torture or enslave them, as they thought proper. Yet, though war may be justifiable on the principles of self-preservation and defence, it is no easy matter to vindicate the conqueror's right to murder or enslave a disarmed enemy. Slavery in general, like several other enormities, ought to be ascribed to the corruption and avarice of men, rather than to any principles of nature and humanity, which evidently testify against it; and that vindication which is drawn from the custom and practice of ancient nations in favour of such an institution, is equally applicable to many other enormities which are a shame and disgrace to human nature. Helpless children have been exposed to the fury of wild beasts; pride and ambition have spread their desolations far and wide; but such practices are not therefore humane and just. That many nations have encouraged slavery, and that the remains of it are still observable among the freest of them, are argument which none will plead for their honour and credit. That species of servitude which still remains in Britain among the labourers in the coal mines, &c. is very different from that to which the natives of Africa are subjected in the western world; because such labourers voluntarily enter on such servitude, they acquire wages as their reward, and both their persons and properties are under the protection of the laws of the realm.

Upon the slightest reflection all men must confess, that those Africans, whom the powers of Europe have conspired to enslave, are by nature equally free and independent, equally susceptible of pain and pleasure, equally averse from bondage and misery, as Europeans themselves. Like all rude nations, they have a strong attachment to their native country, and to those friends and relations with whom they spent the early years of life. By this trade being torn from those nearest connections, and transported to a distant land, it is no easy thing to describe the uneasiness and pain they must endure from such violence and banishment. During the passage being loaded with irons, and cooped up in a ship, oppressed with the most gloomy apprehensions, many of them sicken and die through fear and regret. The provisions made for the voyage by the merchants and masters of ships, who consult their worldly interest more than the dictates of humanity, we may be sure are neither of the best kind, nor distributed among them in the most plentiful manner. After their arrival they are sold and delivered over to the colonists, to whose temper, language and manners they are utter strangers; where their situation for some time, in case of harsh usage, is little better than that of the dumb beasts, having no language but groans in which they can express their pains, nor any friend to pity or relieve them. Some destroy themselves through despair, and from a persuasion they fondly entertain, that, after death, they will return to their beloved friends and native country.

[Sidenote] The hardships of their situation.

After the sale the purchasers become vested with the absolute property of them, according to the laws, usages, and customs of the trade, and whatever hardships are thereby imposed on those foreigners, the planters are so far excusable, having the sanction of the supreme legislature for the purchase they make. The laws of England, from necessity or expediency, have permitted such labourers to be imported among them; and therefore, on their part, the purchase, however injurious, cannot be illegal. Having acquired this kind of property, it then lies with the colonists to frame laws and regulations for the future management of their slaves. In doing this, absolute obedience and non-resistance are fundamental principles established for the government of them, and enforced by the severest penalties. All laws framed with respect to them, give their masters such authority over them as is under few limitations. Their power of correction may be said to be only not allowed to extend to death. However severely beat and abused, no negro can bring an action against his owner, or appear as an evidence against white men, in any court of law or justice. Their natural rights as human creatures are entirely disregarded, and punishments are commonly inflicted according to the will of their master, however cruel and barbarous his disposition may be. A common place of correction is instituted, to which they are sent to receive such a number of stripes as their owners shall order, and such blunders have been committed in giving and executing those orders, that the innocent sometimes have suffered along with the guilty. In short, such is their miserable condition, that they are exposed defenceless to the insolence, caprice, and passions of owners, obliged to labour all their life without any prospect of reward, or any hope of an end of their toil until the day of their death. At the decease of their masters they descend, like other estates of inheritance, to the heir at law, and sometimes to thoughtless and giddy youth, habituated from their earliest days to treat them like brutes. At other times, no doubt, they are more fortunate, but their condition of life evidently subjects them to harsh usage even from the best of masters, and we leave the world to judge what they have to expect from the worst.

Indeed it must be acknowledged, in justice to the planters of Carolina in general, that they treat their slaves with as much, and perhaps more tenderness, than those of any British colony where slavery exists; yet a disinterested stranger must observe, even among the best of masters, several instances of cruelty and negligence in the manner of managing their slaves. Comparatively speaking, they are well clothed and fed in that province, which while they continue in health fits and qualifies them for their task. When they happen to fall sick, they are carefully attended by a physician; in which respect their condition is better than that of the poorest class of labourers in Europe. But in the West Indies, we have been told, they are both covered with rags and have a scanty portion of provisions allowed them, in which case urgent necessity and pinching hunger must often urge them to pilfer, and commit many injuries to which otherwise they would have no inclination, and for which they incur severe punishment. In cases of violence and murder committed on these wretched creatures, it is next to impossible to have the delinquents brought to punishment; for either the grand jury refuse to find the bill, or the petty jury bring in the verdict not guilty. When they are tempted to fly to the woods to shun severe labour or punishment then they may be hunted down or shot as wild beasts. When whipped to death, the murderer, after all, is only subjected to an inconsiderable fine, or a short imprisonment, by the provincial laws. It is impossible that the Author of nature ever intended human beings for such a wretched fate; for surely he who gave life, gave also an undoubted right to the means of self-preservation and happiness, and all the common rights and privileges of nature.

But there is another circumstance which renders their case still more wretched and deplorable. Good masters and mistresses, whose humanity and a sense of interest will not permit them to treat their negroes in a harsh manner, do not always reside at their plantations. Many planters have several settlements at considerable distances from the place where they usually live, which they visit perhaps only three or four times in a year. In their absence the charge of negroes is given to overseers, many of whom are ignorant and cruel, and all totally disinterested in the welfare of their charge. In such a case it can scarcely be expected that justice will be equally dispensed, or punishments properly inflicted. The negroes, however, ly entirely at the mercy of such men, and such monsters they sometimes are, as can inflict misery in sport, and hear the groans extorted from nature with laughter and triumph. All slaves under their care must yield absolute obedience to their orders, however unreasonable and difficult, or suffer punishment for their disobedience. It would rouze the anguish and indignation of a humane person to stand by while a puny overseer chastises those slaves, and behold with what piercing stripes he furrows the back of an able negro, whose greatness of soul will not suffer him to complain, and whose strength could crush his tormentor to atoms. The unmerciful whip with which they are chastised is made of cow-skin, hardened, twisted, and tapering, which brings the blood with every blow, and leaves a scar on their naked back which they carry with them to their grave. At the arbitrary will of such managers, many of them with hearts of adamant, this unfortunate race are brought to the post of correction, often no doubt through malice and wantonness, often for the most trifling offences, and sometimes, O horrid! when entirely innocent. Can it be deemed wonderful, that such unhappy creatures should now and then be tempted to assert the rights of nature? Must not such harsh usage often fire them with desires of liberty and vengeance? What can be expected but that they should sometimes give those oppressors grounds of fear, who have subjected them to such intolerable hardships.

But from those labourers in the field the colonials have perhaps less danger to dread, than from the number of tradesmen and mechanics in towns, and domestic slaves. Many negroes discover great capacities, and an amazing aptness for learning trades, where dangerous tools are used; and many owners, from motives of profit and advantage, breed them to be coopers, carpenters, bricklayers, smiths, and other trades. Out of mere ostentation the colonists also keep a number of them about their families, who attend their tables, and hear their conversation, which very often turns upon their own various arts, plots, and assassinations. From such open and imprudent conversation those domestics may no doubt take dangerous hints, which, on a fair opportunity, may be applied to their owners hurt. They have also easy access to fire arms, which gives them a double advantage for mischief. When they are of a passionate and revengeful disposition, such domestic slaves seldom want an opportunity of striking a sudden blow, and avenging themselves, in case of ill usage, by killing or poisoning their owners. Such crimes have often been committed in the colonies, and punished; and there is reason to believe they have also frequently happened, when they have passed undiscovered. Prudence and self-preservation strongly dictate to the Carolineans the necessity of guarding against those dangers which arise from domestic slaves, many of whom are idle, cunning and deceitful.

[Sidenote] Oppressed with ignorance and superstition.

In other respects the policy of the colonists, with respect to the management and treatment of slaves is extremely defective. The hardships to which their bodies are exposed, would be much more tolerable and justifiable, were any provision made for civilizing and improving their minds. But how grievous their circumstances when we consider, that, together with their bodily toil and misery, they are also kept in heathen ignorance and darkness, destitute of the means of instruction, and excluded in a manner from the pale of the Christian church. Humanity places every rational creature upon a level, and gives all an equal title those rights of nature, which are essential to life and happiness. Christianity breathes a spirit of benevolence, gentleness, and compassion for mankind in general, of what nation or complexion soever they be. As government has tolerated and established slavery in the plantations, the supreme charge of these creatures may be regarded rather as a national than a provincial concern. Being members of a great empire, living under its supreme care and jurisdiction, and contributing to the increase of trade and commerce, to the improvement and opulence of the British dominions, they are unquestionably entitled to a share of national benevolence and Christian charity. An institution for their religious instruction was an object of such usefulness and importance, that it merited the attention of the supreme legislature; and the expence of a few superb and perhaps empty churches in England, would certainly have been better employed in erecting some neat buildings in the plantations for this beneficial purpose. To such an institution the merchants of Britain, especially those who owe a great part of their opulence to the labours of Africans, and whose plea for the trade was the bringing them within the pale of the Christian church, ought certainly to have contributed in the most liberal manner. The profits of the trade, abstracting from other considerations, could well admit of it; but every principle of compassion for the ignorant, the poor, and the unfortunate, powerfully dictates the same duty, the neglect of which, to every impartial judge, must appear in a very inexcusable and criminal light. Masters of slaves under the French and Spanish jurisdictions, are obliged by law to allow them time for instruction, and to bring them up in the knowledge and practice of the Catholic religion. Is it not a reproach to the subjects of Britain, who profess to be the freest and most civilized people upon earth, that no provision is made for this purpose, and that they suffer so many thousands of these creatures, residing in the British dominions, to live and die the slaves of ignorance and superstition? How can they expect the blessing of heaven on the riches flowing from their foreign plantations, when they are at no pains to introduce those objects of their care to the knowledge of the true God, and to make them partakers of the benefits and hopes of Christianity.

The advantages of religion, like the other gifts of heaven, ought to be free and common as the air we breathe to every human creature, capable of making a proper use and improvement of them. To the honour of the society for the propagation of the Gospel it must indeed be acknowledged, that they have made some efforts for the conversion and instruction of those heathens. Not many years ago they had no less than twelve missionaries in Carolina, who had instructions to give all the assistance in their power for this laudable purpose, and to each of whom they allowed fifty pounds a-year, over and above their provincial salaries. But it is well known, that the fruit of their labours has been very small and inconsiderable. Such feeble exertions were no ways equal to the extent of the work required, nor to the greatness of the end proposed. Whether their small success ought to be ascribed to the rude and untractable dispositions of the negroes, to the discouragements and obstructions thrown in the way by their owners, or to the negligence and indolence of the missionaries themselves we cannot pretend to determine. Perhaps we may venture to assert, that it has been more or less owing to all these different causes. One thing is very certain, that the negroes of that country, a few only excepted, are to this day as great strangers to Christianity, and as much under the influence of Pagan darkness, idolatry and superstition, as they were at their first arrival from Africa.

But, though neglected by the British nation, they are entitled to a share of the common privileges of humanity and Christianity, from their provincial owners. It is their duty and interest to use slaves with tenderness and compassion, and render them as happy and contented as their situation will admit. Were they to allow them certain portions of time from their labours of body for the improvement of their mind, and open the way for, and provide the means of instruction, would not kind usage be productive of many beneficial effects? The loss of labour none but avaricious wretches would grudge, and the day of rest allotted for man and beast since the beginning of the world, and properly improved for that purpose, might of itself be attended with good consequences; whereas, to encourage them to labour on that day for themselves, is not only robbing them of the opportunities of instruction, but abusing the Sunday, by making it to them the most laborious day of the week. It would strike a stranger with astonishment and indignation, to hear the excuses planters make for this criminal neglect. Some will tell you they are beings of an inferior rank, and little exalted above brute creatures; that they have no souls, and therefore no concern need be taken about their salvation. Others affirm, that they would become more expert in vice by being taught, and greater knaves by being made Christians. But such advocates for heathen ignorance and barbarism merit no serious notice, being enemies to all improvements in human nature, and all the benefits resulting to society from civilization and Christianity. Certain it is, the inhabitants of Africa have the same faculties with those of Europe. Their minds are equally capable of cultivation, equally susceptible of the impressions of religion. Ridiculous is it to imagine, that the black tincture of their skin, or the barbarous state in which they were there found, can make any material alteration. Though fortune has put the former under the power of the latter, and assigned them the portion of perpetual labour to procure the mere luxuries of life for other men; yet, if such a traffic be reasonable and just, there is no crime negroes can commit that may not be defended and justified upon the same principles. If Europe, to obtain sugar, rum, rice, and tobacco, has a right to enslave Africa; surely Africa, if she had the power, has a much better right to rob Europe of those commodities, the fruits of her children's labour. Every argument that can be brought in support of the institution of slavery, tends to the subversion of justice and morality in the world. The best treatment possible from the colonists cannot compensate for so great a loss. Freedom, in its meanest circumstances, is infinitely preferable to slavery, though it were in golden fetters, and accompanied with the greatest splendour, ease, and abundance.

If then the greatest advantages are not a sufficient compensation for the loss of liberty, what shall we think of those who deny them the smallest? But one would imagine that, exclusive of every other motive, personal safety would even induce the colonists to provide for them those advantages which would render them as easy and contented as possible with their condition. Were they duly impressed with a sense of their duty to God and man; were they taught the common rules of honesty, justice, and truth; were their dispositions to humility, submission, and obedience, cultivated and improved; would not such advantages place them more on a level with hired servants, who pay a ready and cheerful obedience to their masters? Were they favoured with the privileges of Christianity, would they not be more faithful and diligent, and better reconciled to their servile condition? Besides, Christianity has a tendency to tame fierce and wild tempers. It is not an easy thing to display the great and extensive influence which the fear of God, and the expectation of a future account, would have upon their minds: Christianity enforces the obligations of morality, and produces a more regular and uniform obedience to its laws. A due sense of the divine presence, the hopes of his approbation, and the fears of his displeasure, are motives that operate powerfully with the human mind, and in fact would prove stronger barriers against trespasses, murders, plots, and conspiracies, than any number of stripes from the hands of men, or even the terrors of certain death. Whereas, to keep the minds of human creatures under clouds of darkness, neither disciplined by reason, nor regulated by religion, is a reproach to the name of Protestants, especially in a land of Christian light and liberty. Sundays and holidays are indeed allowed the negroes in Carolina, the former cannot consistent with the laws be denied them; the latter, as they are commonly spent are nuisances to the province. Holidays there are days of idleness, riot, wantonness and excess; in which the slaves assemble together in alarming crowds, for the purposes of dancing, feasting and merriment. At such seasons the inhabitants have the greatest reason to dread mischief from them; when let loose from their usual employments, they have fair opportunities of hatching plots and conspiracies, and of executing them with greater facility, from the intemperance of their owners and overseers.

After all, it must be confessed, that the freemen of Carolina themselves were for many years in a destitute condition with respect to religious instruction; partly owing to their own poverty and the unhealthiness of the climate, and partly owing to troubles and divisions subsisting among them during the proprietary government. At that time the first object of their concern would no doubt be to provide for themselves and their children: but since the province has been taken under the royal care, their circumstances in every respect have changed for the better, insomuch that they are not only able to provide instruction for themselves and families, but also to extend the benefit to those living in a state of servitude among them. Now they are arrived to such an easy and flourishing situation, as renders their neglect entirely without excuse. The instruction of negroes would no doubt be a difficult, but by no means an impracticable undertaking, and the more difficult the end, the more praise and merit would be due to those who should effectually accomplish it. Even the Catholics of Spain pitied the miserable condition of negroes living among the protestant colonies, and to induce them to revolt, proffered them the advantages of liberty and religion at Augustine. Is it not a shame to a Protestant nation to keep such a number of human creatures so long among them, beings of the same nature, subjects of the same government, who have souls to be saved, and capable of being eternally happy or miserable in a future world, not only in a miserable state of slavery, but also of pagan darkness and superstition. What could be expected from creatures thus doomed to endless labour, and deprived of the natural rights of humanity and the privileges of Christianity, but that they should snatch at the least glimmering hopes and prospects of a better state, and give their task-masters reason to dread, that they would lay hold of some opportunity of forcing their way to it. This inexcusable negligence with respect to them may be considered of itself as no small source of danger to the colonists, as the hazard is greater from savage and ferocious, than mild and civilized dispositions, and, as the restraints of terror and temporal punishments are less constant and powerful than those of conscience and religion. The political and commercial connection subsisting between the mother country and the colonies, makes the charge of negroes, in reason and justice, to fall equally upon both. And whatever other men may think, we are of opinion, that an institution for their instruction was an object of the highest consequence, and that, by all the laws of God and man, that nation which brought this unfortunate race into such a situation, was bound to consult both their temporal and eternal felicity.

[Sidenote] James Glen governor.

About this time James Glen received a commission from his majesty, investing him with the government of South Carolina, and at the same time was appointed Colonel of a new regiment of foot to be raised in the province. He was a man of considerable knowledge, courteous, and polite; exceedingly fond of military parade and ostentation, which commonly have great force on ordinary minds, and by these means he maintained his dignity and importance in the eyes of the people. All governors invested with extensive powers ought to be well acquainted with the common and civil laws of their country; and every wise prince will guard against nominating weak or wicked persons to an high office, which affords them many opportunities of exercising their power to the prejudice of the people. When men are promoted to the government of provinces on account of their abilities and merit, and not through the interest of friends, then we may expect to see public affairs wisely managed, authority revered, and every man sitting secure under his vine, and enjoying the fruits of his industry with contentment and satisfaction. But when such offices are bestowed on ignorant or needy persons, because they happen to be favourites of some powerful and clamorous Lord at court, without any view to the interest and happiness of the people, then avarice and oppression commonly prevail on one hand, and murmur and discontent on the other. The appointment of Governor Glen was so far proper, as he possessed those qualifications which rendered his government respectable, and the people living under it for several years happy and contented. His council, consisting of twelve men, were appointed also by the King, under his sign manual. The assembly of representatives consisted of forty-four members, and were elected every third year by the freeholders of sixteen parishes. The court of chancery was composed of the Governor and Council, to which court belonged a master of chancery and a register. There was a court of vice-admiralty, the Judge, Register, and Marshal of which were appointed by the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty in England. The Court of King's Bench consisted of a Chief Justice appointed by the King, who sat with some assistant justices of the province; and the same judges constituted the Court of Common Pleas. There were likewise an Attorney-General, a Clerk, and Provost-Marshal. The Secretary of the province, who was also Register, the Surveyor-general of the lands, and the Receiver-general of the quit-rents, were all appointed by the Crown. The Comptroller of the customs, and three Collectors, at the ports of Charlestown, Port-Royal, and Georgetown, were appointed by the Commissioners of the Customs in England. The provincial Treasurer was appointed by the General Assembly. The clergy were elected by the freeholders of the parish. All Justices of the peace, and officers of the militia, were appointed by the Governor in Council. This is the nature of the provincial government and constitution, and in this way were the principal officers of each branch appointed or elected, under the royal establishment.

[Sidenote] Ld. Carteret's property divided from that of the Crown.

About the same time John Lord Carteret (now Earl of Granville) applied by petition to his Majesty, praying that the eighth part of the lands and soil granted by King Charles, and referred to him by the act of parliament establishing an agreement with the other seven Lords Proprietors for the surrender of their title and interest to his Majesty, might be set apart and allotted to him and his heirs for ever, and proposing to appoint persons to divide the same; at the same time offering to resign to the King his share of, and interest in the government, and to convey, release and confirm to his Majesty, and his heirs, the other seven parts of the province. This petition being referred to the Lords Commissioners of trade and plantations, they reported, that it would be for his Majesty's service that Lord Carteret's property should be separated from that of his Majesty, and that the method proposed by his Lordship would be the most proper and effectual for the purpose. Accordingly five commissioners were appointed on the part of the King, and five on that of Lord Carteret for separating his Lordship's share, and making it one entire district by itself. The territory allotted him was divided on the north-east by the line which separated North Carolina from Virginia; on the east by the Atlantic ocean; on the south by a point on the sea-shore, in latitude thirty-five degrees and thirty-four minutes; and, agreeable to the charter, westward from these points on the sea-shore it extended, in a line parallel to the boundary line of Virginia, to the Pacific Ocean. Not long afterwards, a grant of the eighth part of Carolina, together with all yearly rents and profits arising from it, passed the great seal, to John Lord Carteret and his heirs. But the power of making laws, calling and holding assemblies, erecting courts of justice, appointing judges and justices, pardoning criminals, granting titles of honour, making ports and havens, taking customs or duties on goods, executing the martial law, exercising the royal rights of a county palatine, or any other prerogatives relating to the administrations of government, were all excepted out of the grant. Lord Carteret was to hold this estate upon condition of yielding and paying to his Majesty and his heirs and successors, the annual-rent of one pound thirteen shillings and fourpence, on the feast of All-Saints, for ever, and also one fourth part of all the gold and silver ore found within this eighth part of the territory so separated and granted him.

[Sidenote] The country much exposed to invasion.

As Carolina abounds with navigable rivers, while it enjoys many advantages for commerce and trade, it is also much exposed to foreign invasions. The tide on that coast flows from six to ten feet perpendicular, and makes its way up into the flat country by a variety of channels. All vessels that draw not above seventeen feet water, may safely pass over the bar of Charlestown, which at spring-tides will admit ships that draw eighteen feet. This bar lies in thirty-two degrees and forty minutes north latitude, and seventy-eight degrees and forty-five minutes west longitude from London. Its situation is variable, owing to a sandy foundation and the rapid flux and reflux of the sea. The channel leading to George-town is twelve or thirteen feet deep, and likewise those of North and South Edisto rivers, and will admit all ships that draw not above ten or eleven feet of water. At Stono there is also a large creek, which admits vessels of the same draught of water; but Sewee and Santee rivers, and many others of less note, are for smaller craft which draw seven, eight, or nine feet. The channel up to Port Royal harbour is deep enough for the largest ships that sail on the sea; and the whole royal navy of England may ride with safety in it. Nature has evidently ordained this place for trade and commerce, by the many advantages with which she hath favoured it. It lies in thirty-two degrees and five minutes north latitude, and in longitude seventy-nine degrees five minutes. Its situation renders it an excellent station for a squadron of ships in time of war, as the run from it is short to the windward islands, but especially as it lies so convenient for distressing the immense trade coming through the Gulf of Florida. From this harbour ships may run out to the Gulf stream in one day, and return with equal ease the next, so that it would be very difficult to escape a sufficient number of cruisers stationed at Beaufort. The harbour is also defended by a small fort, built of tappy, which is a kind of cement composed of oyster-shells beat small, and mixed with lime and water, which when dry becomes hard and durable. The fort has two demi-bastions to the river, and one bastion to the land, with a gate and ditch, mounting sixteen heavy cannon, and containing barracks for an hundred men.

Several leagues to the southward of Port-Royal, Savanna river empties itself into the ocean, which is also navigable for ships that draw not above fourteen feet water. At the southern boundary of Georgia the great river Alatamaha falls into the Atlantic sea, about sixteen leagues north-east of Augustine, which lies in twenty-nine degrees fifty minutes. This river admits ships of large burden as far as Frederica, a small town built by General Oglethorpe, on an eminence in Simon's Island. The island on the west end is washed by a branch of the river Alatamaha, before it empties itself into the sea at Jekyl sound. At Frederica the river forms a kind of bay. The fort General Oglethorpe erected here for the defence of Georgia had several eighteen pounders mounted on it and commanded the river both upwards and downwards. It was built of tappy, with four bastions, surrounded by a quadrangular rampart, and a palisadoed ditch, which included also the King's stores, and two large buildings of brick and timber. The town was surrounded with a rampart, in the form of a pentagon, with flankers of the same thickness with that at the fort, and a dry ditch. On this rampart several pieces of ordnance were also mounted. In this situation General Oglethorpe had pitched his camp, which was divided into streets, distinguished by the names of the several Captains of his regiment. Their little huts were built of wood, and constructed for holding each four or five men. At some distance from Frederica was the colony of Highlanders, situated on the same river, a wild and intrepid race, living in a state of rural freedom and independence. Their settlement being near the frontiers, afforded them abundance of scope for the exercise of their warlike temper; and having received one severe blow from the garrison at Augustine, they seemed to long for an opportunity of revenging the massacre of their beloved friends.

[Sidenote] The Spaniards invade Georgia.

The time was fast approaching for giving them what they desired. For although the territory granted by the second charter to the proprietors at Carolina extended far to the south-west of the river Alatamaha, the Spaniards had never relinquished their pretended claim to the province of Georgia. Their ambassador at the British court had even declared that his Catholic Majesty would as soon part with Madrid as his claim to that territory. The squadron commanded by Admiral Vernon had for some time occupied their attention in the West Indies so much, that they could spare none of their forces to maintain their supposed right. But no sooner had the greatest part of the British fleet left those seas, and returned to England, than they immediately turned their eyes to Georgia, and began to make preparations for dislodging the English settlers in that province. Finding that threats could not terrify General Oglethorpe to compliance with their demands, an armament was prepared at the Havanna to go against him, and expel him by force of arms from their frontiers. With this view two thousand forces, commanded by Don Antonio de Rodondo, embarked at the Havanna, under the convoy of a strong squadron, and arrived at Augustine in May 1742.

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