2: Negotiations with the Trustees of Georgia
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Among those who came to share the hospitalities of Count Zinzendorf
during the years immediately preceding the renewal of the Unitas Fratrum,
were a company of Schwenkfelders. Their sojourn on his estate
was comparatively brief, and their association with the Moravian Church
only temporary, but they are of interest because their necessities
led directly to the Moravian settlements in Georgia and Pennsylvania.
The Schwenkfelders took their name from Casper Schwenkfeld,
a Silesian nobleman contemporary with Luther, who had in the main
embraced the Reformer's doctrines, but formed some opinions of his own
in regard to the Lord's Supper, and one or two other points. His followers
were persecuted in turn by Lutherans and Jesuits, and in 1725 a number of them
threw themselves on the mercy of Count Zinzendorf. He permitted them
to stay for a while at Herrnhut, where their views served
to increase the confusion which prevailed prior to the revival of 1727,
about which time he moved them to Ober-Berthelsdorf.
In 1732, Zinzendorf's personal enemies accused him, before the Saxon Court,
of being a dangerous man, and the Austrian Government complained
that he was enticing its subjects to remove to his estates.
The Count asked for a judicial investigation, which was granted,
the Prefect of Goerlitz spending three days in a rigid examination
of the affairs of Herrnhut. The result was a most favorable report,
showing the orthodoxy of the settlers, and that instead of urging emigration
from Bohemia and Moravia, Zinzendorf had protested against it,
receiving only those who were true exiles for conscience' sake.
In spite of this the Saxon Government, a few months later,
forbade him to receive any more refugees.
In April, 1733, a decree went forth that all Schwenkfelders were to leave
the Kingdom of Saxony. This, of course, affected those who were living
at Ober-Berthelsdorf, and a committee of four waited on Count Zinzendorf,
and requested him to secure a new home for them in the land of Georgia
in North America. Probably Zinzendorf, whose attention had been caught
by the attractive advertisements of the Trustees, had unofficially
suggested the idea to them.
Lest his opening negotiations with the English Company should foment
the trouble at home, he sent his first communication to them anonymously,
about the end of 1733.
"A nobleman, of the Protestant religion, connected with the most influential
families of Germany, has decided to live for a time in America,
without, however, renouncing his estates in Germany. But as circumstances
render it inadvisable for him to take such a step hastily,
he wishes to send in advance a number of families of his dependents,
composed of honest, sturdy, industrious, skillful, economical people,
well ordered in their domestic affairs, who, having no debts,
will try to sell such possessions as they cannot take with them
in order to raise the funds for establishing themselves in their new home.
"This nobleman, on his part, promises:
(1) To be governed by the King, and the English Nation, in all things,
matters of conscience alone excepted; that is, he will be true to the Prince,
the Protestant Succession, and Parliament in everything relating to
the estates he may receive in this country, and thereto will pledge his life,
and the property he may in future hold under the protection of His Majesty
of Great Britain.
(2) To be surety for the dependents that he sends over, and to assume
only such jurisdiction over them as is customary among English Lords
on their estates.
(3) To carefully repay the English Nation such sums as may be advanced
for his establishment in Georgia, and moreover, as soon as the property
is in good condition, to consider it only as rented until the obligation
(4) To assist the King and Nation, with all zeal and by all means
in his power, to carry out His Majesty's designs for Georgia.
He will bring to that all the insight and knowledge of a man of affairs,
who from youth up has studied the most wholesome principles and laws
for a State, and has had personal experience in putting them into execution;
but, on the other hand, he has learned such self-control
that he will meddle with nothing in which his services are not desired.
"In consideration of these things the nobleman asks that—
(1) If more knowledge of his standing is desired he shall be expected
to give it to no one except a Committee of Parliament, composed of members
of both houses, appointed by his Britannic Majesty, or to a Committee
of the `Collegii directoriatis' of America, who shall be empowered
to grant his requests; this in view of the fact that the petitioner
is a German Nobleman, whose family is well known, his father having been
Ambassador to England, and his kindred among the foremost statesmen of Europe.
(2) After the Committee has received sufficient and satisfactory information
it shall be silent in regard to the circumstances and his personality,
as he has weighty reasons for not wishing to subject himself to criticism.
(3) He shall be given a written agreement, guaranteeing the following things:
a. That he shall receive enough land for a household
of fifty to sixty persons, and for about a hundred other dependents,
most of whom have a trade or profession, and all able
to help build up the country.
b. That his dependents shall be given free transportation,
and supplies for the voyage.
c. That they shall be taken directly to the place mentioned
in the agreement.
d. That he and his agent shall have certain sums advanced to him
for the expenses of the removal to Georgia, the money to be given them
only when they are ready to embark in England,—payment to be made
several years later, a rate of interest having been mutually agreed on,
and the estate in Georgia being given for security if necessary.
e. All that is needed for the building of a village for himself and
his dependents shall be furnished them,—but as an interest bearing loan.
f. That he, and the colonists who will go with him, shall have
full religious liberty, they being neither papists nor visionaries.
g. That if any of his dependents should fall into error
no one should attempt to correct them, but leave him to handle the matter
according to his own judgment; on the other hand he will stand surety
for the conduct of his dependents as citizens.
h. That he and his descendents shall be taken under the protection
of the English Nation if they request it.
i. That he may be permitted to choose whether he will go himself to Georgia,
or send a representative to set his affairs in order, and if the latter,
then the representative shall receive the courteous treatment
that would have been accorded him.
j. That those among his colonists who wish to preach the gospel
to the heathen shall be allowed to do so; and their converts shall have
the same religious freedom as his colonists.
k. That he and his dependents in Georgia shall be given the privileges
in spiritual affairs which the independent Lords of Germany enjoy
in temporal affairs.
l. That all his property shall be at the service of the State
in time of need, but neither he nor his dependents shall be called on
for military duty, in lieu whereof he will, if necessary,
pay a double war tax."
From this document it appears that even at this early stage
of the negotiations Zinzendorf's plans for the settlement in Georgia
were well matured. A town was to be built by his colonists,
where they should have all privileges for the free exercise of their religion;
they, as thrifty citizens, were to assist in the upbuilding of Georgia;
they were to preach the gospel to the heathen; they were not to bear arms,
but in case of war to pay a double tax. His careful avoidance of the plea
of religious persecution was caused by the fact that his own King
had ordered the exile of the Schwenkfelders, for Zinzendorf all his life
sought to pay due respect to those in authority, and even when his conscience
forced him to differ with them it was done with perfect courtesy,
giving equal weight to all parts of the commandment "Honor all men;
love the brotherhood; fear God; honor the King."
The proposals of the Count were forwarded through Herr von Pfeil,
and were presented to the Trustees of the Colony of Georgia by a Mr. Lorenz.
Who this gentleman was does not appear, but a man bearing that name
was one of the Germans, living in London, who in 1737 formed a society
for religious improvement under the influence of Count Zinzendorf.
Through the same channel the answer of the Trustees was returned:
The proposals sent by Baron Pfeil from Ratisbon (Regensberg)
to the Trustees of Georgia have been read at their meeting, but as they see
that the gentleman asks pecuniary assistance for the establishment
he contemplates, they answer that they have absolutely no fund
from which to defray such expenses, but that in case the gentleman
who suggests it wishes to undertake the enterprise at his own cost
they will be able to grant him land in Georgia on conditions to which
no one could object, and which he may learn as soon as the Trustees
have been informed that he has decided to go at his own expense.
You will have the kindness to forward this to Baron Pfeil, and oblige,
your most humble
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 Bőhnisch, one of the Herrnhut Moravians,
went with them. Their plan was to go through Holland to England,
and thence to Georgia, but in the former country they changed their minds
and sailed for Pennsylvania. In December of the same year
Spangenberg was in Rotterdam, where he lodged with a Dr. Koker,
from whom he learned the reason for their, until then, unexplained behavior.
Dr. Koker belonged to a Society calling themselves the "Collegiants",
the membership of which was drawn from the Reformed, Lutheran,
and various other churches. Their cardinal principles were freedom of speech,
freedom of belief, and liberty to retain membership in their own denominations
if they desired. The Society was really an offshoot of the Baptist Church,
differing, however, in its non-insistance upon a particular form of baptism.
Twice a year the members met in the Lord's Supper, to which all were welcomed
whose life was beyond reproach. In Holland they enjoyed the same privileges
as other sects, and had a following in Amsterdam, Haarlem, Rotterdam,
It appeared that the Schwenkfelders had first addressed themselves
to these Collegiants, especially to Cornelius van Putten in Haarlem,
and Pieter Koker in Rotterdam, but when their need grew more pressing
they appealed to Count Zinzendorf. When he was not able to obtain for them
all they wanted, they turned again to the Collegiants, and were
in conference with them in Rotterdam. The Collegiants were very much opposed
to the Georgia Colony,—"the Dutch intensely disliked anything that would
connect them with England,"—and although Thomas Coram, one of the Trustees,
who happened to be in Rotterdam, promised the Schwenkfelders
free transportation (which had been refused Zinzendorf),
the Collegiants persuaded them not to go to Georgia. Their chief argument
was that the English Government sent its convicts to Georgia,
a proof that it was not a good land, and the Schwenkfelders were also told
that the English intended to use them as slaves.
Disturbed by this view of the case, the Schwenkfelders accepted
an offer of free transportation to Pennsylvania, where they arrived in safety
on the 22nd of September.
Spangenberg had wished to serve as their pastor in Georgia,
thinking it would give him opportunity to carry out his cherished wish
to bear the gospel message to the heathen, and he felt himself
still in a measure bound to them, despite their change of purpose,
and at a somewhat later time did visit them in their new home. There was
some idea of then taking them to Georgia, but it did not materialize,
and they remained permanently in Pennsylvania, settling in the counties
of Montgomery, Berks and Lehigh. Their descendents there preserve the customs
of their fathers, and are the only representatives of the Schwenkfelder form
of doctrine, the sect having become extinct in Europe.
While the exile of the Schwenkfelders was the immediate cause
which led Zinzendorf to open negotiations with the Trustees
of the Colony of Georgia, the impulse which prompted him involved far more
than mere assistance to them. Foreign Missions, in the modern sense
of the word, were almost unknown in Zinzendorf's boyhood,
yet from his earliest days his thoughts turned often to those who lay
beyond the reach of gospel light. In 1730, while on a visit to Copenhagen,
he heard that the Lutheran Missionary Hans Egede, who for years
had been laboring single handed to convert the Eskimos of Greenland,
was sorely in need of help; and Anthony, the negro body-servant
of a Count Laurwig, gave him a most pathetic description
of the condition of the negro slaves in the Danish West Indies.
Filled with enthusiasm, Zinzendorf returned to Herrnhut,
and poured the two stories into willing ears, for ever since
the great revival of 1727 the Moravian emigrants had been scanning the field,
anxious to carry the "good news" abroad, and held back only by
the apparent impossibility of going forward. Who were they,
without influence, without means, without a country even,
that they should take such an office upon themselves?
But the desire remained, and at this summons they prepared to do
the impossible. In August, 1732, two men started for St. Thomas, —
in April, 1733, three more sailed for Greenland, and in the face of hardships
that would have daunted men of less than heroic mold, successful missions
were established at both places.
But this was not enough. "My passionate desire," wrote Zinzendorf
from Herrnhut in January, 1735, "my passionate desire to make Jesus known
among the heathen has found a satisfaction in the blessed Greenland,
St. Thomas and Lapp work, but without appeasing my hunger.
I therefore look into every opportunity which presents itself,
seeking that the kingdom of my Redeemer may be strengthened among men."
Nor did he lack ready assistants, for the Moravians were as eager as he.
"When we in Herrnhut heard of Georgia, of which much was being published
in the newspapers, and when we realized the opportunity it would give
to carry the Truth to the heathen, several Brethren, who had the Lord's honor
much at heart, were led, doubtless by His hand, to think that it would be
a good plan to send some Brethren thither, if it might please the Lord
to bless our work among the heathen, and so to bring those poor souls,
now far from Christ, nigh unto Him. We tried to learn about the land,
but could secure no accurate information, for some spoke from hearsay,
others with prejudice, and many more with too great partiality. But we
at last decided to venture, in the faith that the Lord would help us through."
The needs of the Schwenkfelders gave a new turn to their thoughts,
and suggested the advantages that might accrue from a settlement in America
to which they might all retreat if the persecution in Saxony waxed violent;
but early in the year 1734, the question "Shall we go to Georgia
only as Colonists, or also as Missionaries?" was submitted to the lot,
and the answer was "As Missionaries also."
The defection of the Schwenkfelders, therefore, while a serious interference
with the Herrnhut plan, was not allowed to ruin the project.
Zinzendorf wrote again to the Trustees, and they repeated their promise
of land, provided his colonists would go at their own expense.
After much consultation the decision was reached that Zinzendorf should ask
for a tract of five hundred acres, and that ten men should be sent over
to begin a town, their families and additional settlers to follow them
in a few months.
The next step was to find a way to send these men across the Atlantic.
Baron George Philipp Frederick von Reck, a nephew of Herr von Pfeil,
who had led the first company of Salzburgers to Georgia,
was planning to take a second company in the course of the next months.
He was young and enthusiastic, met Zinzendorf's overtures most kindly,
and even visited Herrnhut in the early part of October, 1734, when,
as it happened, nine of the prospective colonists were formally presented
to the Congregation. Baron Reck was very much impressed,
promised to take with him to Georgia any of the Moravians who wished to go,
and even sent to David Nitschmann, who was to conduct the party
as far as London, full authorization to bring as many as desired to come,
promising each man who went at his own expense a fifty-acre freehold
in Georgia, and offering others necessary assistance when they reached London.
This paper was signed at Bautzen, October 22nd, 1734.
But Reck had failed to realize the force of the Halle opposition to Herrnhut,
and soon weakened under the weight of persuasion and command laid upon him
by those whose opinion he felt obliged to respect. On the 4th of November
he wrote from Windhausen to Graf Stolberg Wernigerode, "I have hesitated
and vexed myself in much uncertainty whether or not I should go
with the Herrnhuters to America. And now I know that God has heard our prayer
at Halle and Wernigerode, and your letters have decided me to stay in Germany
this winter, in the first place because my going would be a grief
to my dear Urlsperger, whom I love as a father, secondly because the English
will send over a third transport of Salzburgers in the coming spring
and wish me to take them, and thirdly because I wish to obey
worthy and chosen men of God."
He wrote to the same effect to Zinzendorf, and the Count,
though doubtless annoyed, replied simply: "Your Highness' resolution
to accomodate yourself to your superiors would be known by us all for right.
You will then not blame us if we go our way as it is pointed out to us
by the Lord."
A few days later Reck received a sharp note from the Trustees of Georgia,
reproving him for his temerity in agreeing to take the Moravians with him
to Georgia without consulting them, and reiterating the statement
that the funds in their hands had been given for the use of the Salzburgers,
and could be used for them alone.
The young man must have winced not a little under all this censure,
but while he yielded his plan to the wishes of the Halle party,
he held firmly to the opinion he had formed of the Moravians.
He wrote to Urlsperger and others in their behalf, declaring that
they were a godly people, much misunderstood, that it was a shame
to persecute them and try to hinder their going to Georgia,
and he felt sure that if their opponents would once meet the Moravians
and converse with them freely, confidentially, and without prejudice,
they would come to respect them as he did. He also suggested
that there were many protestants remaining in Bohemia, who would gladly leave,
and who might be secured for Georgia on the terms offered to the Salzburgers.
The next year in fact, an effort was made to obtain permission
from the Austrian Government for the emigration of these people,
and Reck was authorized by the Trustees to take them to Georgia,
but nothing came of it.
Nor did his championship of the Bohemians and Moravians already in Saxony
have any result. Urlsperger was offended that the negotiations from Herrnhut
with the Trustees were not being carried on through him,
"the only one in Germany to whom the Trustees had sent formal authority
to receive people persecuted on account of religion, or forced to emigrate,"
and the Halle party were unable or unwilling to meet
the leaders of the Moravians "without prejudice". The company of Salzburgers
therefore sailed for Georgia in November without Baron von Reck,
and without the Moravians, Mr. Vat acting as Commissary.
The Moravians, meanwhile, were not waiting idly for matters to turn their way,
but even before Reck reached his decision Spangenberg had started for England
to arrange personally with the Georgia Trustees for their emigration.
August Gottlieb Spangenberg was born July 15th, 1704, at Klettenberg, Prussia.
In the year 1727, while a student at Jena, he became acquainted
with the Moravians through a visit of two of their number,
which won them many friends at that institution. Later,
when he was Assistant Professor of Theology at Halle, he was required
to sever his connection with the Moravians, or leave the University,
and choosing the latter he came to Herrnhut in the spring of 1733.
He was one of the strongest, ablest, and wisest leaders that
the Unitas Fratrum has ever had, and eventually became a Bishop of the Unity,
and a member of its governing board. He was a writer of marked ability,
and in his diaries was accustomed to speak of himself as "Brother Joseph",
by which name he was also widely known among the Moravians.
Spangenberg left Herrnhut in the late summer or early fall of 1734,
bearing with him Zinzendorf's Power of Attorney to receive for him
a grant from the Georgia Trustees of five hundred acres of land,
and to transact all other necessary business. He stopped for some time
in Holland, where he made a number of acquaintances, some of whom gave him
letters of introduction to friends in England and in America,
and others contributed toward the necessary expenses of the emigrants.
From Rotterdam he wrote to Zinzendorf, saying that he heard
no ship would sail for America before February or March, and that he thought
it would be best for the colonists to wait until he wrote from London,
and then to come by way of Altona, as the Holland route was very expensive.
These suggestions, however, came too late, as the party had left Herrnhut
before the arrival of his letter.
Spangenberg had a stormy voyage to England, and on reaching London,
rented a room in "Mr. Barlow's Coffee House, in Wattling's street,
near St. Anthelius Church." He found the outlook rather discouraging,
and a long letter written on the 10th of January, gives a vivid picture
of the English mind regarding the "Herrnhuters". Spangenberg had called
on several merchants to see if he could arrange a loan for the Moravians,
for Zinzendorf's means were already strained to the utmost
by what he was doing for the Church, and he did not see how it was possible
to provide the money in any other way. But the merchants declined
to make the loan, saying: "We can not take the land (in Georgia) as surety,
for it is not yet settled, and no man would give us a doit for it;
the personal security (of the emigrants) is also not sufficient,
for they might all die on the sea or in Georgia,—there is danger of it,
for the land is warmer than Europeans can bear, and many who
have moved thither have died; if they settle on the land and then die
the land reverts to the Trustees, so we would lose all;
and the six per cent interest offered is not enough,
for the money applied to business would yield twenty per cent.
Others objected to having the Moravians go at all,
especially Court Preacher Ziegenhagen, who belonged to the Halle party,
and who, Spangenberg found, had much influence on account of his good judgment
and spotless character. They claimed: (1) That the Moravians
were not oppressed in Saxony, and had no good reason for wishing to leave;
(2) that to say they wished to be near the heathen was only an excuse,
for Georgia had nothing to do with the West Indies where they had a mission;
(3) the Moravians could not bear the expense, and neither the Trustees
nor the Society for the Propagation of Christian Knowledge would help them;
(4) they could neither speak nor understand English, and would therefore be
unable to support themselves in an English colony; (5) their going
would create confusion, for Herr Bolzius, the pastor of the Salzburgers
at Ebenezer, had written to beg that they should not be allowed to come;
(6) if they went it would involve England in trouble with Saxony,
and the Georgia Colony was not meant to take other rulers' subjects
away from them, only to furnish an asylum for exiles, and poor Englishmen;
(7) the Moravians could not remain subject to Zinzendorf,
for they must all become naturalized Englishmen; (8) the suggestion
that Zinzendorf's land could be cultivated by the heathen was absurd,
for slavery was not permitted in Georgia and the Moravians could not afford
to hire them; (9) ten or fifteen men, as were said to be on the way,
would never be able to make headway in settling the forest,
a task which had been almost too much for the large company of Salzburgers.
Some of these statements dealt with facts, about which the critics
might have acquired better information, had they so desired,
others were prophecies of which only the years to come
could prove or disprove the truth, others again touched difficulties
which were even then confronting Count Zinzendorf's agent;
but in the light of contemporary writings and later developments,
it is possible to glance at each point and see in how far the Halle party
were justified in their argument. (1) The treatment in Saxony,
while not as yet a persecution which threatened them with torture and death,
had many unpleasant features, and the constant agitation against them
might at any time crystalize into harsh measures, for those members
of the Herrnhut community who had left friends and relatives in the homelands
of Bohemia and Moravia were already forbidden to invite them to follow,
or even to receive them if they came unasked seeking religious freedom.
(2) There was no idea of associating the missions in Georgia
and the West Indies, for the heathen whom they wished to reach
by this new settlement were the Creek and Cherokee Indians with whom
Governor Oglethorpe had already established pleasant relations,
bringing several of their chiefs to England, and sending them home
filled with admiration for all they had seen, much impressed by the kindness
shown them, and willing to meet any efforts that might be made to teach them.
(3) The money question was a vital one, and it was principally to solve that
that Spangenberg had come to England, where with Oglethorpe's help
he later succeeded in securing the desired loan. (4) That they
could speak little English was also a real difficulty; Spangenberg used Latin
in his conferences with the educated men he met in London, but that medium
was useless in Georgia, and while the Moravians learned English
as rapidly as they could, and proved their capability for self-support,
the failure to fully understand or be understood by their neighbors
was responsible for many of the trials that were awaiting them
in the New World. (5) The protest of Bolzius was only a part
of the general Salzburger opposition, and to avoid friction in Georgia,
Zinzendorf had particularly recommended that the Moravians settle in a village
apart by themselves, where they could "lead godly lives, patterned after
the writings and customs of the apostles," without giving offense to any;
and he promised, for the same reason, that as soon as they were established
he would send them a regularly ordained minister, although laymen were doing
missionary work in other fields. (6) In order to avoid any danger
of creating trouble between the Governments, the Moravian colonists
carefully said nothing in London regarding their difficulties in Saxony,
or the persecutions in Bohemia and Moravia, and instead of
proclaiming themselves exiles for the Faith as they might have done
with perfect truth, they appeared simply as Count Zinzendorf's servants,
sent by him to cultivate the five hundred acres about to be given to him,
and by his orders to preach to the Indians. (7) A change of nationality
would not affect the relation between Zinzendorf and his colonists,
for their position as his dependents in Germany was purely voluntary,
such service as they rendered was freely given in exchange
for his legal protection, and his supremacy in Church affairs then and later
was a recognition of the personal character of the man,
not a yielding of submission to the Count. (8) That the Indians
could not be employed on Zinzendorf's estate was quite true,
not so much on account of the law against slavery, for the Count intended
nothing of that kind, but their character and wild habits rendered them
incapable of becoming good farmers, as the American Nation has learned
through many years of effort and failure. (9) Whether the ten or fifteen men,
reinforced by those who followed them, would have been able to make a home
in the heart of the forest, will never be known, for from various reasons
the town on the five hundred acre tract was never begun. In short,
while the Moravians were risking much personal discomfort,
there was nothing in their plan which could possibly injure others,
and the cavil and abuse of their opposers was as uncalled for
as is many a "private opinion publicly expressed" to-day.
Hearing of the many obstacles which were being thrown in their way,
Mr. Coram, who was a man of wide charities, and interested in other colonies
besides Georgia, suggested to Spangenberg that his company should go
to Nova Scotia, where the climate was milder, and offered them
free transportation and aid in settling there, but this proposal
Spangenberg at once rejected, and pinned his faith on the kindness
of Gen. Oglethorpe, whose return from Georgia the preceding July,
explained the more favorable tone of the Trustees' letters after that date.
Oglethorpe asked him numberless questions about the doctrine and practice
of the Moravians, and their reasons for wishing to go to Georgia,
and promised to lay the matter before the Trustees, using all his influence
to further their designs.
The "First Company".
On the 14th of January, 1735, the first company of Moravian colonists
arrived in London. At their head was David Nitschmann,—variously called
"the III", "the weaver", "the Syndic", and Count Zinzendorf's "Hausmeister",
who was to stay with them until they left England, and then return to Germany,
resigning the leadership of the party to Spangenberg, who was instructed
to take them to Georgia and establish them there, and then go to Pennsylvania
to the Schwenkfelders. The other nine were
John Tőltschig, Zinzendorf's flower-gardener.
Peter Rose, a gamekeeper.
Gotthard Demuth, a joiner.
Gottfried Haberecht, weaver of woolen goods.
Anton Seifert, a linen weaver.
George Waschke, carpenter.
Michael Haberland, carpenter.
George Haberland, mason.
Friedrich Riedel, mason.
They were "good and true sons of God, and at the same time skillful workmen,"
with such a variety of handicrafts as to render them largely independent
of outside assistance in the settlement which they proposed to make;
and all but Haberecht were religious refugees from Moravia and adjacent parts
Nitschmann and Tőltschig were two of the five young men
in Zauchenthal, Moravia, who had set their hearts on the revival
of the ancient Unitas Fratrum. Tőltschig'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 Tőltschig 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,)(1)
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."
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.__________
(1)This is written correctly. See the author's explanation of the calendar
in Chapter IV. —A. L., 1996.
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