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“10. By refusing Jacob Matthews for the same reason: and baptizing an Indian trader's child with only two sponsors." (This I own, was wrong; for I ought, at all hazards, to have refused baptizing it till he had procured a third.)
Fri. Sep. 2.-Was the third court at which I appeared since my being carried before Mr. P. and the recorder.
I now moved for an immediate hearing on the first bill, being the only one of a civil nature : but it was refused. I made the same motion in the afternoon; but was put off till the next court day.
On the next court day I appeared again ; as also at the two courts following: but could not be heard, because (the judge said) Mr. Williamson was gone out of town.
The sense of the minority of the grand jurors themselves (for they were by no means unanimous) concerning these presentments, may appear from the following paper, which they transmitted to the Trustees :
“ To the Honourable the Trustees for Georgia. “ Whereas two presentments have been made, the one of August 23, the other of August 31, by the grand jury for the town and county of • Savannah, in Georgia, against John Wesley, clerk.
" We, whose names are underwritten, being members of the said grand jury, do humbly beg leave to signify our dislike of the said presentments; being, by many and divers circumstances, thoroughly persuaded in ourselves, that the whole charge against Mr. Wesley, is an artifice of Mr. Causton's, designed rather to blacken the character of Mr. Wesley, than to free the colony from religious tyranny, as he was pleased, in his charge to us, to term it. But as these circumstances will be too tedious to trouble your honours with, we shall only beg leave to give the reasons of our dissent from the particular bills.
“With regard to the first bill, we do not apprehend that Mr. Wesley acted against any law, by writing or speaking to Mrs. Williamson, since it does not appear to us, that the said Mr. Wesley has either spoke in private, or wrote to the said Mrs. Williamson, since March 12, (the day of her marriage,) except one letter of July the 5th, which he wrote at the request of her uncle, as a pastor, to exhort and reprove her.
* The second we do not apprehend to be a true bill; because we humbly conceive Mr. Wesley did not assume to himself any authority contrary to law: for we understand, 'Every person intending to communicate, should signify his name to the curate, at least some time the day before;' which Mrs. Williamson did not do; although Mr. Wesley had often, in full congregation, declared, he did insist on a compliance with that rubric, and had before repelled divers persons for non-compliance therewith.
“The third we do not think a true bill; because several of us have been his hearers, when he has declared his adherence to the Church of England, in a stronger manner than by a formal declaration; by explaining and defending the Apostles', the Nicene, and the Athanasian, Creeds, the Thirty-nine Articles, the whole Book of Common Prayer, and the Homilies of the said Church; and because we think a formal declaration is not required, but from those who have received institution and induction.
“ The fact alleged in the fourth bill we cannot apprehend to be contrary to any law in being.
- The fifth we do not think a true bill; because we conceive Mr. Wesley is justified by the rubric, viz. “If they (the parents) certify that the child is weak, it shall suffice to pour water upon it.' Intimating (as we humbly suppose) it shall not suffice, if they do not certify.
« The sixth cannot be a true bill; because the said William Gough, being one of our members, was surprised to hear himself named, without his knowledge or privity; and did publicly declare, it was no grievance to him, because the said John Wesley had given him reasons with which he was satisfied.
“ The seventh we do not apprehend to be a true bill; for Nathaniel Polhill was an Anabaptist, and desired in his lifetime, that he might not be interred with the office of the Church of England. And further, we have good reason to believe, that Mr. Wesley was at Frederica, or on his return thence, when Polhill was buried.
“As to the eighth bill we are in doubt, as not well knowing the meaning of the word · Ordinary. But for the ninth and tenth, we think Mr. Wesley is sufficiently justified by the canons of the Church, which forbid 'any person to be admitted godfather or godmother to any child, before the said person has received the holy communion;' whereas William Aglionby and Jacob Matthews had never certified Mr. Wesley that they had received it.”
This was signed by twelve of the grand jurors, of whom three were constables, and six more tithingmen; who, consequently, would have made a majority, had the jury consisted, as it regularly should have done, of only fifteen members, viz. the four constables and eleven tithingmen.
Fri. Sept. 30.-Having ended the Homilies, I began reading Dr. Rogers's eight sermons to the congregation : hoping they might be a timely antidote against the poison of infidelity, which was now with great industry propagated among us.
October 7.- I consulted my friends, whether God did not call me to return to England ? The reason for which I left it had now no force ; there being no possibility, as yet, of instructing the Indians; neither had I, as yet, found or heard of any Indians on the continent of America, who had the least desire of being instructed. And as to Savannah, having never engaged myself, either by word or letter, to stay there a day longer than I should judge convenient, nor ever taken charge of the people any otherwise than as in my passage to the Heathens, I looked upon myself to be fully discharged therefrom, by the vacating of that design. Besides, there was a probability of doing more service to that unhappy people, in England, than I could do in Georgia, by representing, without fear or favour to the Trustees, the real state the colony was in. After deeply considering these things, they were unanimous, “ That I ought to go; but not yet." So I laid the thoughts of it aside for the present: being persuaded, that when the time was come, God would “make the way plain before my face.”
Sat. 15.–Being at Highgate, a village five miles from Savannah, consisting of (all but one) French families, who, I found, knew but little of the English tongue, I offered to read prayers there in French every Saturday in the afternoon. They embraced the offer gladly. On Saturday, the 22d, I read prayers in German likewise, to the German villagers of Hampstead ; and so continued to do, once a week. We began the service (both at Highgate and Hampstead) with singing a psalm. Then I read and explained a chapter in the French or German Testament, and concluded with prayers and another psalm.
Sat. 29.—Some of the French of Savannah were present at the “ayers at Highgate. The next day I received a message from them
all, “ That as I read prayers to the French of Highgate, who were but few, they hoped I would do the same to those of Savannah, where there was a large number, who did not understand English.” Sunday, the 30th, I began so to do; and now I had full employment for that holy day. The first English prayers lasted from five till half an hour past six. The Italian (which I read to a few Vaudois) began at nine. The second service for the English (including the sermon and the holy communion) continued from half an hour past ten, till about half an hour past twelve. The French service began at one. At two I catechised the children. About three began the English service. After this was ended, I had the happiness of joining with as many as my largest room would hold, in reading, prayer, and singing praise. And about six, the service of the Moravians, so called, began : at which I was glad to be present, not as a teacher, but a learner.
Thur. Nov. 3.-I appeared again at the court, holden on that day; and again, at the court held, Tuesday, November 22d. On which day Mr. Causton desired to speak with me. He then read me some affidavits which had been made, September 15th, last past; in one of which it was affirmed, that I then abused Mr. Causton in his own house, calling him liar, villain, and so on. It was now likewise repeated before several persons, which indeed I had forgot, that I had been reprimanded at the last court, for an enemy to, and hinderer of, the public peace.
I again consulted my friends, who agreed with me, that the time we looked for was now come. And the next morning calling on Mr. Causton, I told him, I designed to set out for England immediately. I set up an advertisement in the Great Square to the same effect, and quietly prepared for my journey.
Fri. Dec. 2.- I proposed to set out for Carolina about noon, the tide then serving. But about ten, the magistrates sent for me, and told me, I must not go out of the province; for I had not answered the allegations laid against me. I replied, “I have appeared at six or seven courts successively, in order to answer them. But I was not suffered so to do, when I desired it time after time.” Then they said, however, I must not go, unless I would give security to answer those allegations at their court. I asked, “ What security ?" After consulting together about two hours, the recorder showed me a kind of bond, engaging me, under a penalty of fifty pounds, to appear at their court when I should be required. He added, " But Mr. Williamson too has desired of us, that you should give bail to answer his action.” I then told him plainly, “ Sir, you use me very ill, and so you do the Trustees. I will give neither any bond, nor any bail at all. You know your business, and I know mine.”
In the afternoon, the magistrates published an order, requiring all the officers and centinels to prevent my going out of the province; and forbidding any person to assist me so to do. Being now only a prisoner at large, in a place where I knew by experience, every day would give fresh opportunity to procure evidence of words I never said, and actions I never did ; I saw clearly the hour was come for leaving this place : and as soon as Evening prayers were over, about eight o'clock, the tide then serving, I shook off the dust of my feet, and left Georgia, after
having preached the Gospel there (not as I ought, but as I was able;) one year, and nearly nine months.
During this time I had frequent opportunities of making many observations and inquiries concerning the real state of this province, (which has been so variously represented,) the English settlements therein, and the Indians that have intercourse with them. These I minuted down from time to time; a small extract of which I have subjoined.
1. Georgia lies in the 30th and 31st degree of north latitude. The air is generally-clear, the rains being much shorter, as well as heavier, than in England. The dews are very great. Thunder and lightning are expected almost every day in May, June, July, and August. They are very terrible, especially to a stranger. During those months, from ten in the morning to four in the afternoon, the sun is extremely scorching. But the sea breeze generally blows, from ten till three or four. The winter is nearly of the same length as in England. But the midday sun is always warm, even when the mornings and evenings are very sharp, and the nights piercing cold.
2. The land is of four sorts,-pine barren, oak land, swamp, and marsh. The pine land is of far the greatest extent, especially near the sea coasts. The soil of this is a dry, whitish sand, producing shrubs of several sorts, and between them a spiry, coarse grass, which cattle do not love to feed on. But here and there is a little of a better kind, especially in the savannahs ; (so they call the low, watery meadows, which are usually intermixed with pine lands.) It bears naturally two sorts of fruit,--hurtle-berries, (much like those in England,) and chincopinnuts; a dry, harsh nut, about the size of a small acorn. A laborious man may, in one year, clear and plant four or five acres of this land : it will produce the first year from two to four bushels of Indian corn, and from four to eight of Indian peas, per acre. The second year it usually bears half as much; the third, less; the fourth, nothing."
3. Vines, mulberries, and peach trees, it bears well. The white mulberry is not good to eat. The black is about the size of a blackberry, and has much the same flavour. In fresh pine land, Indian potatoes grow well; (which are more luscious and larger than the Irish.) And so do watermelons and sewee-beans, about the size of our scarlet, but to be shelled and eaten like Windsor beans.
4. Oak land commonly lies in narrow streaks between pine land and some swamp, creek, or river. The soil is a blackish sand, producing several kinds of oak, (though none exactly like the English,) bay, laurel, ash, walnut, sumac trees, gum trees, (a sort of sycamore,) dog trees, (covered in spring with large white flowers,) and many hickory trees, which bear a bad kind of walnut. In the moistest part of this land some persimmon trees grow, (which bear a sort of yellow, clear, luscious plum,) and a few mulberry and cherry trees. The common wild grapes are of two sorts,—both red : the fox grape grows two or three only on a stalk, is thick-skinned, large-stoned, of a harsh taste, and of the size of a small Kentish cherry. The cluster grape is of a harsh taste too, and about the size of a white currant.
5. This land requires much labour to clear; but when it is cleared, it will bear any grain, for three, four, or sometimes five years, without laying any manure upon it. An acre of it generally bears ten bushels of Indian corn, besides five of peas, in a year. So that this at present is justly esteemed the most valuable land in the province.
6. A swamp is, any low, watery place, which is covered with trees or canes. They are here of three sorts, cypress, river, and cane swamps. Cypress swamps are mostly large ponds, in and round which cypresses grow. Most river swamps are overflown every tide, by the river which runs through or near them. If they were drained, they would produce good rice; as would the cane swamps also ; which in the mean time are the best feeding for all sorts of cattle.
7. The marshes are of two sorts ; soft marsh, which is all a quagmire, and absolutely good for nothing ; and hard marsh, which is a firm, but barren sand, bearing only sour rushes. Marshes of both sorts abound on the sea islands, which are very numerous, and contain all sorts of land. And upon these chiefly, near creeks and runs of water, juniper trees and cedars grow.
8. Savannah stands on a flat bluff, (so they term any high land hanging over a creek or river,) which rises forty-five feet perpendicular from the river, and commands it several miles both upward and downward. The soil is a white sand for above a mile in breadth, southeast and northwest. Beyond this, eastward, is a river swamp; westward a small wood, in which was the old Indian town. On the other side of the river is a marshy island, covered with large trees. Southwest of the town is a large pine barren, which extends backward to a branch of the Alatamahaw river.
9. St. Simon's Island, having on the southeast the Gulf of Florida, on the other sides, branches of the Alatamahaw, is about one hundred miles south of Savannah, and extends in length about twenty, in breadth from two to five miles. On the west side of it, on a low bluff, stands Frederica, having woods to the north and south; to the east, partly woods, partly savannahs, and partly marshes. The soil is mostly a blackish sand. There is not much pine land on the island ; the greatest part being oak land, intermixed with many savannahs, and old Spanish or Indian fields.
10. On the sea point, about five miles southeast of the town, is the fort where the soldiers are stationed. But the storehouse in Frederica better deserves that name ; being encompassed with regular ramparts of earth, and a palisaded ditch, and mounted with cannon, which entirely command the river.
11. About twenty miles northwest from St. Simon's is Darien, the settlement of the Scotch Highlanders, a mile from Fort King George, which was built about seventeen and abandoned about eleven years since. The town lies on the main land, close to a branch of the Alatamahaw, on a bluff about thirty feet above the river, having woods on all sides. The soil is a blackish sand. They built at first many scattered huts ; but last spring, (1736,) expecting the Spaniards, they built themselves a large fort, and all retired within the walls of it.
12. Augusta, distant from Savannah one hundred and fifty miles, and five from old Savannah town, is designed to stand in an old Indian field, on a bluff, about thirty feet high. A small fort of wooden piles was built there in 1737 ; but no house was then built, nor any more ground cleared, than Mr. Lacy and his men found so.