There is no doubt that all those who have received sufficient information about the Saltzburger Emigration, as it occurred from the end of 1731 until 1733, and also about the emigration of single persons, which is continuing unto this day, and do not willfully refuse to recognize the Finger of God, will readily admit that this is surely one of the greatest revelations of the power and grace of God in the Church Militant. The purpose of our preface does not permit elaboration of this. We will not cite the numerous and elsewhere available testimonials which even Roman Catholic persons and Jews have given concerning this work, because that has been adequately done in the History of Saltzburger Emigants,1* by Pastor Goeking, as well as by many others.
At this time we will add only something by a man of a Catholic Order, taken from an original letter of rebuttal which, to our knowledge, has never been printed. The letter goes as follows: “In the beginning the gentleman has written rather sensibly about the activities of the peasantry (this is of those living in the mountains). I must confess that I can never conceive of the things that have been spread around about them. Tales have been spread among the populace in the name of a member of a religious order, who is not unknown to me, about which, I firmly believe he has never had a thought. O How they blacken the reputation of Lutheranism everywhere around here! The spirit of ridicule rules the whole district, and silly peasant songs have been fabricated to ridicule and malign the people living in the Saltzburg mountains.’’
And again: “While I am writing this, a paper is handed to me in which I read that indeed a thousand persons have left the archbishopric of Saltzburg and that several hundred of them have arrived in Augsburg and have been joyfully received with a welcoming sermon.” He continues: “This has been the Exodus of the Children of Israel from Egypt. My sighs have accompanied these people who have migrated from the abandoned wells of idle human teachings to the life-giving springs of divine knowledge on Mount Zion. I feel like Prometheus, bound to Mount Caucasus. I cannot travel with them, and I am no Samson, who, by destroying his bonds and chains can free himself from the bosom of the falsely caressing Delilah and flee from Babylon.” So much for the unnamed man of the religious order.
During these most marvelous happenings, some places in Germany were more privileged to behold the Magnalia Dei and the great deeds of God connected with these remarkable happenings; and we can truthfully say that our Augsburg had preference over many if not all of the other Protestant cities. We will not record all of the many evidences of divine providence which could be seen as the transports passed through, and of which a short yet thorough sketch could be published for the good of posterity. We shall mention only the praecipuum and remarkable happenings which God allowed our dear Augsburg to see when, in less than a year, two transports of Saltzburgers were assembled here to become colonists of Great Britain and departed from this city for Georgia in America under very hazardous conditions in order to become, with divine guidance, a shining light and the good salt of the earth after having been called savourless salt and having been cast out from their homeland because of their faith in the Protestant Religion.
We hope that many, and especially those who are ready and willing to see the hand of God, will be rendered a valuable service when we give them a somewhat more detailed account of the origin and occasion of this work and of its progress up to this time. It is our view that it is well worth while to preserve for the remembrance of posterity the wise and benevolent guidance of our Lord, which he has bestowed on this small flock.
In order to give the gentle reader some preliminary information regarding the arrangement of our narrative, I have found it necessary to have this work preceded by a brief chronological account giving the causes which brought about the sending of these two transports of Saltzburger Emigrants as well as all noteworthy incidents that occurred until their actual departure for Georgia, so that the reader may have an orderly conception of the whole matter from the very beginning, and so that he may more easily use the other parts, which form the real body of the work. These are the diaries of the Saltzburger pastors, Mr. Boltzius and Mr. Gronau, who departed with the first transport for Georgia, which show, among other things, how they themselves, as well as the entire group, fared on the voyage and also include what happened spiritually and materially during the first three months after their arrival in Georgia, as well as noteworthy daily happenings. To this are added, at suitable points, items from the daily reports that Commissioner von Reck submitted to the Society in the French language, and also the journal of his trip from Ebenezer to the northern part of America and from there back to England, Holland, and Germany.
Next appears a brief report made by Commissioner von Reck on Georgia and the Indians living there. It is to be noted in this connection that Commissioner von Reck received most of his information on the conditions in the land and the Indians living therein from his talks with Mr. Oglethorpe. Therefore, we found it wise to omit the material from the diaries of the two pastors which was received from the same source and to incorporate it into this report in the proper places. This will save the gentle reader from being delayed by needless repetition and from being tired out by trying to keep different sections of the book properly related. The last part finally consists of a number of remarkable, enlightening, and pertinent letters, such as from His Excellency the Governor of New England, residing in Boston, Mr. Belcher; also from the commissioner, Mr. von Reck, and from the two pastors, Messrs. Boltzius and Gronau; further, from the druggist, Mr. Zwifler, and finally from several of the Saltzburgers in Georgia themselves. Some were written to Professor Francke in Halle and to other good friends and benefactors, others to me, the editor.
Whoever takes the trouble to read this work with attention and in the right spirit will find ample material and opportunity to praise and glorify God with abundant thanks for His wise and benevolent guidance which He has gloriously shown in the affairs of the Georgia colonists. But he must not forget his Christian duty to continue unceasingly his prayers for the loyal and wise Lord Trustees of the Colony of Georgia and for the praiseworthy Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge. And he must implore God to keep watch over the new little flock in Georgia and to preserve them and always confirm them in the purity of His Word and in the earnestness of a righteous zeal in Jesus Christ and, for this purpose, to strengthen exceedingly the righteous and proven Protestant teachers in Ebenezer and to bless their service in furthering the good that has been begun and in preventing all evil and, finally, to recompense with abundant grace the love shown by their benefactors in Europe. We hope that no one who believes in the Kingdom of Christ and is mindful of the second supplication of the Lord’s Prayer will look askance when others, who have the call to do so and who are willing to act according to their best knowledge, ask that a few crumbs from our table, which God has so richly provided, be made to fall in the most distant places.
The Lord said in Isaiah 43: 13 (which was our Georgia watchword two years ago), “I will work and who shall let it?” He has helped through storm and high seas and all other difficulties, envy, blasphemy, and evil suspicion; and He will help again. May He bless the Saltzburger branch of emigrants which has begun to establish its rights in Georgia and allow it to become a tree so large that many thousands of Indians may dwell under its shadow, moved by their love for Jesus in Whom they have come to believe. May Jesus Christ, the Good Shepherd himself, watch over His sheep in that distant land, and may He grant that they increasingly enjoy the precious and sweet words: “But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall.” Malachi 4:2. And may the Holy Ghost, who began His good work in them, further it through His grace until it is completed.
Written at Augsburg, September 1, 1735