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