OF COMMISSIONER VON RECK,
When He Went from Ebenezer in Georgia to the Northern Regions of America and from There Back Again to England, Holland, and Germany.
The 14th of May, 1734, I went, in God’s name, from Ebenezer to Abercorn and, on the same day, continued to Purrysburg, accompanied by good Mr. Boltzius. We spent the night there and,
On the 15th, went by boat to Savannah. Mr. Boltzius accompanied me partly because of his tender and fatherly love for me and partly because of his love for the Germans in Carolina, and also because he had to purchase some household equipment in Charleston. We arrived in Savannah this evening after a good trip and praised God for having provided for the continuance of our trip when we learned that a boat was ready to depart.
On the 17th we left Savannah. As we were traveling past desolate and unsettled land and were unable to reach Port Royal by evening, we had to spend the night in the small open boat.
On the 18th we passed Port Royal and toward evening we landed at a place where are found many mulberry trees. The boatmen also went ashore but failed to fasten the boat, which the tide carried away from the land and down the river. No one was able to swim after it; and we had no hope of finding help here as it was late evening, and the tide was strong and the ocean not far away. I gave all of my belongings up for lost and I grieved that I had not used them to do good to my neighbors. God gave me on this occasion some valuable experience regarding the treasures of this world which we all must leave some day, something which many others do not learn until they are on their deathbed; yet the difference was that I got back what had been lost. By a wonderful disposition of God it happened that a sloop arrived which brought back the boat and my belongings.
The 19th of May. A storm forced us to land where we found a colony of blacks with whom we had to spend the night. Since nearly all of them understood the English language, we took the occasion to talk with them. They complained a great deal about their master as, to be sure, most Negroes have good cause to.1 For (1) the master forces them to work for him all week without giving them anything to eat. He then permits them to work on Sunday for wages, and they must earn enough then so that they can eat the rest of the week. (2) Another master requires his Negroes to earn for him a certain amount every day. If, as is often the case, they are unable to earn anything on one day, they must bring in double the amount on the next day, or triple on the third.2 As this is frequently impossible they are led to steal, but this seems to satisfy the master as long as he gets the required amount. (3) He permits them to breed like animals so that he will get many slaves. (4) He whips them nearly to death but will not punish even the greatest misdeed with death because that would make him lose a slave. The Negroes know this, of course, and for that reason are easily given to knavish tricks. All of them were very attentive. They gathered around us and we spoke with them nearly all night long about God, about the creation of the world, about human life, and about the purpose for which man had been created. They assured us that they would gladly work as slaves if they could only receive instruction. But (5) their master would beat them even more if they were to let him know that they desired to become Christians.3
On the 20th of May we passed through the sound, alone and without a pilot. It is a dangerous place in the sea in which many have perished. We did it without knowing about the danger. Afterwards we were frightened no little, and we praised God, when we were told how easily one can founder there.
The 22nd. We arrived in Charleston at night. I had only a star to steer by but it brought us to our destination at the very moment that a violent storm came up with much thunder, lightning, and rain. If this had come while we were still traveling across the bay it would have delivered us to death’s door or at least into grave danger.
On the 26th good Mr. Boltzius went back to Georgia. This afternoon a rich merchant came to see me and offered me a bill of exchange for 100 pounds sterling. I refused at first but accepted because he continued to urge it upon me.
On the 27th I left for Pennsylvania in a sloop, in God’s name. God be praised eternally for helping us across the Bay of Charleston! With a favorable wind we made progress at the rate of 5 to 6 miles per hour.
The 28th. God maintained the favorable wind and the good weather. When I left Ebenezer I was very sick. My weakness increased and I would have perished in my misery if Your Word, O God, had not given me comfort. One of the passengers on the boat is a lay preacher of the Quakers. At the beginning this man acted very serious and expressed extreme distaste for the wicked life of the ship’s crew; but all the while he did not notice the beam in his own eye. He bragged that he had never had a button on his hat or a pleat in his coat, and that he had never committed a deliberate sin. But he used filthy and shameful language and, in spite of his age, was as lascivious a man as I have ever seen.
The 29th. My weakness, coupled with bad diarrhea, has nearly consumed me.4
The 30th of May. Yesterday and today we have hurried along, with favorable winds, at the rate of five, six, and seven miles per hour. This afternoon we had a calm which remained through
The 1st of June. At 8 o’clock this evening God gladdened us with a favorable wind. But my sickness had so weakened me that I wished to be delivered and accepted by my Saviour.
The 2nd was the first day of Pentecost. This evening we dropped a sounding-lead into the sea and struck bottom at 21 fathoms and later at 17, yet we could not sight land. This puzzled us very much.
The 3rd we sighted Maryland. Its coast is very low, is often flooded and, therefore, uninhabited. Shortly thereafter we discovered the headland of Pennsylvania, Cape Delaware.5
The 4th. The tide had carried us somewhat further and into sight of Cape May, which is the headland of New Jersey. The wind was against us so that we were unable to enter the Delaware River in spite of great efforts. In the afternoon God gave us a southwest wind which took us to Lewistown, a city on the headland of Delaware, where a pilot came aboard. In this region one can see many wrecked and grounded vessels which now serve the seafarers in place of pilots.
The 5th. In the morning at 7 o’clock we came into a narrow channel in the bay in which the water was only one and one half fathoms deep. But God, our God, helped us through it and at noon we entered the Delaware River. Both banks of the river look very pleasant. The land you see on the right when going up the river belongs to New Jersey, that on the left to Pennsylvania. Forty miles this side of Philadelphia we passed New Castle, which is inhabited by Irish and Germans, and soon after that Christiani Creek, where Swedes and Danes have settled.6 Toward evening we anchored because the sky had become overcast and a storm was feared.
The 6th. At three o’clock in the morning we raised anchor and passed by Chester, a small town about 10 miles from Philadelphia, and at 11 o’clock we arrived in Philadelphia, well and happy by the grace of God. There a merchant unknown to me, Mr. Peter Baynton, graciously invited me to his house and entertained me there. I called on the Lord Proprietor, Thomas Penn, and His Excellency, Governor Gordon. Both received me with great cordiality and friendship, and Mr. Penn even made a present to our colony of a sloop loaded with ship’s bread, flour, butter, and cheese. He assured me that it was to depart immediately.7 God be praised for guiding generous hearts to our unworthy selves in this land too!
This city of Philadelphia is flourishing very much. Agriculture and commerce are being pursued with equal vigor, and the city can already offer everything that is needed for people’s existence, comfort, and worldly pleasure. Food is very reasonable in price. The city itself is very neat and gay looking and is built in a healthy location on the Delaware River. The streets are straight as an arrow and most of them are paved. Some houses are made of stone and some of wood, very well built according to the latest architectural style. And everything that is so beautifully built up now was still a wilderness 50 years ago. Considering the small and difficult start made by the Quakers under William Penn, it seems unlikely that any other city could grow as prosperous and strong in so short a time. Complete freedom encourages trade; and I have seen nearly twenty ships at the docks. All religions and sects are represented here, Lutherans, Reformed, Episcopalians, Presbyterians, Catholics, Quakers, Dunkers, Mennonites, Sabbatherians, Seventh Day Adventists, Separatists, Bohemian Schwenkfelders, Tuchtfelders, Wellwishers, Jews, Heathens, etc.
Good arrangements have been made for the poor and the aged who are placed in homes and cared for there. The streets are very nice, graced with parks, gardens, and teahouses. Where the land is not too rocky and hilly it is well cultivated. And in many places the forest has been well thinned out so that the atmosphere here is healthy. It gets very cold here in the wintertime and very hot in the summer, hotter even than in the southern regions. The numerous hills and rocks contain many minerals, but they remain unused for lack of miners. Rivers and streams come from the hills in abundance and their water is very cold and clear. In them you can catch trout, eels, etc.
Stock farming is not as advantageous here as in South Carolina and Georgia, for in those warm regions people do not have to worry about maintaining the animals in winter, while in these cold areas they must prepare for winter in the summertime. The grapes that are found in the woods here are like ours, sour, thick skinned, and with large seeds. Mr. Thomas Penn is the proprietor of the entire province; next to him comes the governor who is proposed by him, but appointed by the king. Neither of the gentlemen abuses his power, and love is the guiding spirit of their government.
The 9th of June. This Sunday God gave me an opportunity to call the Germans in Philadelphia together. I used the occasion, in God’s Name and by His Grace, for our mutual edification. May God give His blessing for it!
On the 10th I went to Germantown, a very gay, clean city built of stone, which is 1 English mile long and situated 6 English miles from Philadelphia. Nearly all of its inhabitants are good German people who received me with much joy. They left all of their work and were happy to give me the entire day. God put His blessing upon all our hearts and we made a covenant, before the countenance of Jesus Christ, to further the cause of Heaven with the strength of His spirit.
The 12th. As previously stated, I had brought from Charleston a bill of exchange for 100 pounds sterling which I was to cash in Philadelphia. I had made certain plans for the money and therefore went to get it; but I learned that the man was not at home but at sea, although he was expected any day. The mounted mail left
On the 13th of June. Since the man had not returned, I decided to travel on with what little money I had. I took leave from the Proprietor, who told me something very remarkable; namely that he had learned from some Indian traders that there is an Indian nation a few hundred miles from us in Georgia, which is called the Welsh Indians. It is believed that their early ancestors came to America from Cornwall, a province of England, and that in the course of time their children and descendants had completely degenerated into Indians in color, manners, customs, and their general way of life. Yet they had retained their Welsh language, and they even carefully preserved among themselves a book from which one of them reads to them once a week. It was his intention, he said, to send some people there who speak the Welsh language for the purpose of telling them about the unknown God.
When I was ready to depart, good Peter Baynton gave me his horse to ride on to New York. A large group of upright people from Germantown came to see me and accompanied me a good part of the way. Along the road I found an abundance of beautiful peachtrees. Their fruit is said to be much larger, juicier, and more delicious than in Germany. There is to be found here a kind of snake that is called horned snail [snake!] It is said that when they stick their stinger into a tree the tree will wither within 24 hours. We passed through a small settlement named Frankford, and, through the gracious love of our Saviour, we reached Bristol this evening. It is small but well built and situated on a navigable river.8 On the other side of the river is Burlington. Both places are about 20 English miles from Philadelphia.
The 14th. We rose very early this morning and I continued on my way alone, accompanied only by Caspar Wistar.9 He told me in elaborate terms how difficult it is to get ahead in this country because servants are not to be had and it is not Christian to buy Negroes. The land is very fertile, he said, and grain grows well, but peas do not do very well because worms eat them when they dry and most of them can not be used for seed. People here have a superabundance of horses; there does not seem to be a lack of them in any place in America, for one hardly ever sees anybody walk, be it man, woman, or child.
The 15th of June. In the morning at 10 o’clock we reached Trenton, which is the first city in New York.10 We crossed a river here which divides the two provinces of Pennsylvania and New York. Here my escort turned back, who had accompanied me to the border at the governor’s orders. God be praised for this benefaction also! In God’s name I continued on my way with the mounted mail and toward evening I reached Brunswick, which is about 40 miles from New York, and passed through Piscataqua and spent the night in Perth-Amboy. This and Brunswick are nice little towns.
The 16th. At 10 o’clock in the morning I reached Elizabeth, where many Germans live. The town is several miles long, but the houses are often a good distance apart and most country towns have only one street. From Elizabeth-Point you have to go across the bay to New York. I boarded a sloop at 2 o’clock in the afternoon; but, since we had a calm in addition to an ebb tide, we were not able to reach New York this evening. Instead, we anchored off Long Island.
On the 17th, which was a Sunday, we arrived in New York at 6 o’clock in the morning. Long Island, Staten Island, and Albany come under the government of New York. This province first belonged to the Dutch but was traded to the English for Surinam. Most of the inhabitants are still Dutch and they have the two best churches in town. This city is the oldest one in the northern provinces of America. It is built in Dutch style, and the streets and houses are kept as clean here as in Holland. People complain that the place now has far less commerce than formerly. They blame it on too much government, too many taxes, and on the fact that the rich exploit the poor. But, it seems to me, there is enough commerce to support libertinism. Unfailing proof is given by the fact that the place swarms with Negroes who were introduced by laziness, too many riches, and debauchery. And although the people fear, as they do in Carolina, that the Negroes will cut their throats some day, they let this fear be outweighed by their great convenience.
The governor of New York is not elected by the parliament of the province, as is the case in the other provinces of North America, but is appointed by the king. Thus it happens that this is the only province which must pay a yearly tribute to the King of England. Long Island is very fertile and not as rocky as New York. The province of Albany stretches out into the country, about 140 miles from New York, and is settled mostly by Germans and Dutch. A Dutchman, Jeremias von Rensler, has it as a fief from the government.
The 18th of June. I visited Governor [William] Cosby and inspected the fort under which flows the Hudson River, which is navigable for a distance of 140 miles from its mouth. At this fort is the only regular militia of the English type (Georgia excepted).
I left here in the afternoon, accompanied by many of my dear friends. At four o’clock we passed through Harlem, then Kingsbridge, and in the evening reached New Rochelle, where we spent the night. This place was built by the Frenchmen that fled Rochelle. They have fertile soil here and are doing well.
The 19th. This morning I took leave from my company again, bought a horse for four pistoles, and continued on my way, in God’s name, with the mounted post. We passed through Rye, a very widely spaced place. Here a river forms the boundary between New York and New England. The province of New England has three governments: 1) that of Connecticut; 2) that of Rhode Island, and 3) that of Boston. Coming from New York you reach Connecticut first. The country on the other side of said river is called Christians Ground, or the land of the Christians.
We passed Horseneck where I was shown a plain on which the Indians once gave battle to English but came out on the short end and had to leave. We fed our horses at Stamford, a small town 50 miles from New York. At noon we reached Norwalk, where one of my horses went lame and I had to leave it. God be praised for having moved the people here to help me out without delay! In the afternoon we passed through Fairfield, a pretty town. It has wide streets and the houses are built closer together. The governor of Connecticut lives here. Streetfield is a widely spaced place. We spent the night in Stratford. Here and there God awakens good people who tried to show me every kindness. “Soul, do not forget,” etc.
On the 20th of June I went via Milford to New Haven, where they have an academy or college [Yale] which I also visited. The building is very large and about 80 students and three professors live in it. They live two to a room, and it costs them 6 shillings each in English money, or approximately 12 groschen, for a week’s meals at noon and in the evening. The subjects taught are languages, especially Greek and Hebrew, mathematics, history, geography, Latin, etc. The library which I was shown was donated to the college by an English bishop and has enough books for a start.
The 21st. I arrived at New London in the afternoon. This little city is situated on a river, surrounded by pleasant and gay looking country. It is located advantageously for commerce, since the sea is only 7 leagues away from the harbor, yet only a few people stop here. The reason probably is that the local merchants are not yet rich enough and the land itself does not produce anything for overseas trade. Most of the people here are Quakers and Presbyterians.
I rode on until 11 o’clock at night and spent the night at Stonington. This place is well named, for the country is very hilly and rocky and the land is covered with stones and, therefore, nearly useless. But when the fields are cleared of stones and properly plowed, they are very fertile and produce the most beautiful grain.
On the 22nd of June we crossed the river Pakatok, which forms the boundary between the government of Connecticut and that of Rhode Island. Westerly is the first town in Rhode Island. Not far from there is South Kingston, situated on a hill and located in a very pretty and fertile region. Three miles from South Kingston I had to go across the sound on the ferry, which lands at New Providence. In the evening I arrived at Newport, the capital of Rhode Island. This city is on the sound. The open sea is only one hour away; and thus it is favorably located for the commerce which flourishes here. Almost daily one can see ships or sloops enter and leave. Many a merchant has 16 to 20 ships at sea which belong to no one but himself. Most of the trade is with Guinea, the West Indies, Jamaica, Barbados, Portugal, Spain and England. This has made the city grow rapidly.
The city is a mile long and the houses are built of brick and wood and are very comfortable. Some of them are expensive, having been built beautifully according to all rules of good architecture. Although the streets are paved, they are too narrow, thus diminishing the good looks of the city. The city is built up on a hillside and gives a beautiful view of the sea, the bay, and the land. The entire island is only 12 miles long, yet it may be considered a garden spot of America because of its beauty. The local timber is considered much more durable and better for shipbuilding than that of Carolina and Pennsylvania; consequently, many of the merchants there have their ships built here. Cattle and oxen here are of a size and strength that I have never seen before. The sheep rival those of England in wool production, and people here manufacture a duck and a camlet which is much more durable than any I have seen in Germany.
Most of the inhabitants are Quakers, but there are also Episcopalians, Presbyterians, and Seventh Day Adventists here. The Governnor, who is elected by the province, is a Quaker. Because I arrived in Newport very late, I did not want to disturb the merchant whose address I had been given. Instead, I looked for an inn where I could spend the night. But no one would take me in. At last I found someone who was willing to put up my horse, but he was unwilling to accommodate me until I pulled out my letters and asked for my merchant. I had hardly mentioned the name when he begged me to stay at his house, and I accepted gladly. But the merchant arrived that same night and took me with him. He showed me many courtesies during my entire stay.
On the 23rd of June I visited the fort of Newport, which is situated on a small island not far from the city. It has two batteries of 40 cannons each and can fire at all ships.
On the 27th I left Newport in the company of a merchant from Boston and one from Jamaica. We did not go any further than Seekonk, where we spent the night. Our traveling companion from Jamaica told me many things about this Island, to wit: The island of Jamaica is one of the richest and most productive islands in England’s possession. Thus all who want to get rich go there. Even the smallest silver coin there, called a bit, is worth as much as 5 groschen. But because the manner of life and the great heat of Jamaica combine to undermine the health of body and soul, those who have good sense leave there in time, after they have accumulated something; but many others get caught are delivered to both temporal and eternal death. He said that he had left because he did not want to live in constant fear of death and that he intended to lengthen his life by living happily in a place with a healthful climate.
People in Jamaica live in the greatest abundance, debauchery, and all other vices. The island produces mainly spices, sugar, and cotton. Several kinds of pepper grow there, he related. Pimento pepper grows in the northern parts of Jamaica on large trees, with the peppercorns hanging on tender shoots. If you expect to collect peppercorns again in the same year, you must break these off, and then you can see a new branch grow out almost immediately. This particular pepper, he said, has the smell and flavor of a number of spices, mainly cloves, and pepper, that’s why the English call it simply spice.
There is to be found there an abundance of lemons, limes, and pineapples, the latter being one of the juiciest and best tasting fruits in the world. It grows like an artichoke and resembles that plant somewhat. It is a pity that this fruit cannot be taken to other lands and stay as beautiful as it is in Jamaica and Barbados. If it is picked too soon, it won’t ripen; if picked when ripe and shipped across the ocean it will either rot or loose its sweet juice. That is why it is nowhere as good as it is in America. The cotton that is widely grown there seldom succeeds and has frequent crop failures because there is a kind of worm that often does damage. Sugar cultivation fares much better. They plant the head or upper part of the sugar cane which does not ripen for twelve to 18 months. After that the cane can be cut for the first time. That applies only to first year plants, for afterwards they can be cut every year for 20 years. As soon as it is cut, another strong and healthy shoot will grow. The cane that is cut off is boiled, the liquor is cooled in a wooden container, then it is strained and the sirup is separated from the brown sugar. They use the sirup to distill a kind of brandy, called rum, and brown sugar is turned into white sugar through various processes in the refineries.
The riches of the island are matched by its burden of sin, and although God has punished it on numerous occasions, the people pay very little attention to it. The many earthquakes, the terrible hurricanes that have nearly destroyed entire cities and buried a large number of people, the constantly recurring epidemics, and the current rebellion of the Negroes are unmistakable signs of the wrath and the judgment of God.
The 28th of June. In the afternoon I arrived happily in Boston. The merchant in whose company I had come here vacated a room for me in his house. This was especially remarkable; for, when I wanted to go see the merchant whose address I had, I found that he was the very one who had traveled with me and who had taken me into his house even before he knew me. May God reward him in eternity for the love and hospitality I enjoyed when staying with him. It was also very remarkable that, having been unable to cash the bill of exchange in Pennsylvania, I was led by God on my entire trip through North America with only a few gulden on me, and was guided from place to place without ever suffering from want. On the contrary, I had an abundance of everything. It shall also serve me to strengthen my childlike trust in God that I did not accept the money which a local merchant tried to urge upon me; yet, as will be related, God led me across the sea to Dartmouth and from Dartmouth to London so comfortably and quickly that I still had something left over from the few gulden when I was ready to leave London. NEVER FORGET THE POWER OF THE ALMIGHTY WHO LOVES YOU.
The city of Boston is the largest and most imposing commercial city in all of English America. Located on Massachusetts Bay, it is as favorably situated for commerce as any city in the world. Various measures have been taken for both the safety and the comfort of navigation. A lighthouse built of stone on one of the islands shines with 18 lights for the incoming and outgoing vessels. A fort, built on another island, covers with its 180 cannon a narrow channel through which all ships must pass. It is of special advantage here that no 2 ships can pass through the channel at the same time. And even if, under very favorable conditions, it should happen that a ship did get through without being badly damaged, it would run into the warship usually stationed before Boston. And there is an additional fort to be put back into condition on Fort Hill, which can command the bay as well as a large part of the city. A long wharf extending into the sea is very advantageous for commerce, for even the largest ships of 500 tons or more can land here and unload for a small fee.
But it is to be regretted that everybody here concentrates on trade, for this causes agriculture to be sadly neglected. In addition, everybody, especially the artisans connected with shipping, is bent on getting rich quick and tries to deceive the seafarers in all sorts of ways, and many people in England have therefore decided to stop their trade with Boston. Articles of export consist mainly of pitch, tar, turpentine, rice, furs, oil, spermaceti, whalebone, dried and salted fish, rum, sugar, etc. The city is nearly three English miles long and has a few hills around it. It is almost entirely surrounded by water, being connected with the mainland only by a narrow strip of land. Most of the houses are of stone and are beautifully built. Although the streets are paved they are not laid out, thus diminishing the beauty of this great city. Hanover Street, so named by the governor, is one of the prettiest.
From one of the hills you get a view so beautiful that I have never seen its equal. All of the things that nature creates here and there in perfect beauty can be seen here at one glance; the city of Boston, Charlestown, the sea, the bay, a large number of small islands, mountains, valleys, plains, rocks, rivers, tilled fields, summer houses, pleasure gardens, parks, incoming and outgoing vessels, a large number of fishing boats, etc., all of this praises the wisdom God shows in His many creations, and should awaken us to glorify Him who gave us everything when He gave His son. On this same hill a tall structure has been erected on which a large torch is lit when danger is feared or present. It can mobilize the entire region, from place to place, in a short time.
Through God’s blessings this city has grown to its present size in 104 years. Most of the inhabitants are Presbyterians11 whose worldly conduct is serious and good. The government is currently headed by Governor Belcher, who can be put before all people in America as an example of honesty, good conduct, and love. May God keep him! The revenue of the government consists of approximately 60,000 pounds in New England money, counting 4 pounds for one pound sterling. Many Christian provisions have been made here for the poor and the orphans. There is, for example, a corn house in which a large quantity of corn is stored every year when prices are lowest and where, when food gets expensive in the winter and people begin to starve, they can buy the corn they need for the price at which it was bought. There are, likewise, a hospital,12 four schools for poor orphans, etc. Four English miles from Boston is the University of Cambridge [Harvard] where 200 students are enrolled.
Across from Boston, on the mainland, is Charlestown, a very beautiful town that is older than Boston. The first fundatores or founders did not dare settle too close to the water because it would have been too easy for enemy ships to surprise them. But in time this fear vanished, and later they founded the new place because it was more favorably located for commerce.
The 2nd of July. Governor Belcher, who has been so gracious to me, promised our Saltzburgers a large number of boards for the building of a church, schools, and houses.13 They are to be sent there in two sloops. May God reward this dear and esteemed gentleman for his great kindness here on earth, but especially in eternity. Everybody in America realizes that God never blessed a colony as much as ours in Georgia. May He give us the right understanding so that we will look upon Him as the source of all the good and that we will continue to partake of His abundance of grace.
The 3rd. When I arrived in Boston a ship was ready to sail for London; but, although I wanted very much to take this opportunity for a quick departure, my baggage, which I had sent by boat from New York, had not arrived. As a special favor the captain waited 24 hours to see if it would not come in that time, but when it failed to arrive he took leave from me and sailed from Boston today. When he had gone about 9 miles, the wind became unfavorable for him, coming from the east, and favorable for an English ship which entered the harbor today. This caused him to return to Boston in a small boat to see if he should make any special arrangements because of the war. In the meantime my baggage arrived and the captain of the warship did many kind favors for me. He found the captain of the other ship, the Priscilla, who was called Hammerden, and offered to have my things sent out to it by some of his men. He himself and a merchant attempted to get my things from the sloop and load them into a boat, but the captain of the sloop would not surrender them to him or to the merchant, not even for security. When I arrived he not only surrendered them but would not let me pay him for the freight. Shortly before my departure several merchants came to see me who made the following proposition for the care of Saltzburgers or others driven from their lands for the sake of Jesus Christ: 1) They would pay all the costs of transportation, 2) furnish the necessary provisions as well as tools for 2 to 3 years. 3) When the colonists were self-supporting they were to make yearly payments to reimburse them until all expenses were paid back. 4) Afterwards all the land and everything else would belong to them and their male and female heirs, without encumbrance or assessment. In addition they 5) would permit them to choose the land they liked best, 6) they would enjoy complete freedom of conscience; and 7) they could choose their government from their midst among their own people.
At 11 o’clock at night I left Boston in a small boat and
On the 4th of July, at three in the morning, I reached the ship Priscilla. My great hurry had not let me buy any provisions for use on the ship, but when I came aboard, I found that God had provided for me in a most fatherly way. The governor had sent some provisions, refreshments, and preserves to the ship for me, and an English merchant on his way to London had taken along so many smoked chickens, geese, ducks, sheep, and pigs, and had such an abundant supply of beef, beer, various wines, sugar, etc., that it was a pleasure for him to share it with me; yet we were hardly able to consume half of it.
I had hardly boarded the ship when God gave us a desirable west wind.
The 6th of July. We had several calms but none of them lasted very long. A heavy fog which darkened the sky all day prevented us from making any observations.
The 8th. With favorable winds from west-south-west and west we covered eight and one half miles per hour. Today I saw a sea wonder, called a seahorse, which is about 14 feet long, thick-skinned, and covered with short, reddish-white hairs. Its eyes are large, its nose looks like the nose of a horse; above the mouth one can see many white bristles and some long black hairs; its jaws are full of holes that look like sweat holes. It has two large teeth, nearly a foot long. The rest of its teeth are like those of a foal. It has two feet which end in fins. At the rear it looks like a fish. This animal lives in the water but goes on land occasionally and grazes like an ox.
This evening we had a calm which continued until
The 9th. God gladdened us again with a northeast-by-east wind which speeded us on our way southeast-by-south.
The 13th. Every day God has given us a westerly wind which pushed us east and northeast at the rate of six and one half to seven miles per hour. It became colder every day, the closer we came to the coast of Newfoundland.
The 15th of July. Today we again had a calm.
The 16th. Today God gave us a south-by-east wind. There are icebergs in this region which are often very large, go to a depth of 20 fathoms, and can be very dangerous if a ship collides with them. But you can see them even at night because they glow and cause a brightness in the air. Occasionally you can also see a light rise from the sea, which is nothing but a greasy, sulphur-like substance which ignites in the air. Seafarers think it shows that a storm is coming.
The 20th. Because our faithful Father gave us a steady south, southwest, and west-southwest wind we passed the length of the Western Isles and took a course east by south. All of the crew members, some of whom have been at sea for 28 years, admitted that they had never had such a quick and comfortable voyage. God be praised eternally for it!
The 22nd. The wind changed from south to north bringing heavy rains. It did so with such speed and force that we suffered no little danger before we could change the sails according to the wind.
The 25th. We saw a great whale lying on top of the water, which noisily blew water from its mouth like a great fountain. We did not have enough ropes, for the sea is several hundred fathoms deep here; otherwise we could have caught it.
The 27th. A beautiful northwest wind moved us along at a speed of seven to eight and one half miles per hour. At 6 o’clock in the evening we lowered a sounding-lead which struck bottom at 143 fathoms. We estimated that we were about 25 miles from the Scilly Isles. A watch was posted all night at the bow of the ship to look out for rocks or the noise of water dashing against rocks. God be praised forever for giving us favorable wind and bright moonlight at this dangerous place!
The 29th of July. At 2 o’clock in the morning we sounded again and found a depth of 53 fathoms. At 4 o’clock in the morning we sighted the Scilly Isles. There are very dangerous places in the sea here and many rocks and cliffs, some of which stick out of the water. Many have come to grief here and a certain admiral ran aground here with his fleet and drowned. Seafarers never go as close to the isles as we did. The reason we stayed so close to the English shores is that the captain was afraid of French warships. Ordinarily many hundreds of ships pass through the Channel and never see the Scilly Isles. At 8 o’clock we saw Landsend, the headland of Cornwall. At night we had a calm which continued
On the 30th and forced us to go very close to the coast of Devonshire.
On the 31st the wind was against us again, coming from the northeast. The captain advised me to land here and to travel to London by land. This suited me and I landed at Dartmouth, in the province of Devonshire; and on the same evening I traveled on to Exeter on horseback. After having passed Shersbury, Salisbury, and Kensington, I arrived
On the 3rd of August, at 12 o’clock noon, in London, thanks to the merciful love of the Saviour. I immediately went to see Secretary Newman, and God arranged it so that I met him at his door as he was leaving to mail a package of letters to me in Georgia.
On the 15th I sailed, in God’s name, from London to Rotterdam aboard a sloop and sighted
On the 20th, at 8 o’clock in the morning, Helvoet Sluys and Briel. Since the sloop was not heavily loaded, the ship’s crew decided to go across the dangerous sandbank near Briel, which is much nearer than the route via Helvoet Sluys. God helped us across safely. Had the bottom of the ship even so much as touched the sand the ship would have been lost. At 7 o’clock in the evening we arrived at Rotterdam. Praise and honor be to the Highest, the Father of all Goodness!
On August 22nd I left Rotterdam by boat to go on the Schyt to Sluys in Flanders in order to go to Cadzand to see for myself the conditions of the Saltzburgers there.14 Although we had unfavorable winds and storm from the very beginning, our dear Father in Heaven helped us to arrive,
On the 25th, at Sluys in Flanders. I immediately took a ferry to Cadzand and went to Groede without delay. This is a fairly large village where pastor [J. G.] Fischer lives.
The peninsula of Cadzand is seven hours long. The soil is very productive of various grains and especially flax, the latter being considered the best in all of Holland. People also plant many beans which are commonly used for horsefeed. Wood is very expensive and the only trees to be seen are the willows and elms which are planted along the canals and around the fields. These they top every three or four years and use them for fuel. They also use straw, peat, and coal. Feed and pasture for animals is very expensive and a cow can hardly earn as much as it costs. Food also is very expensive and excises heavy.
Although this land is on the sea, fish are not to be had in Cadzand. The water is poor, sometimes even scarce. The wells contain half salty seawater which is not very useful. Thus all fresh water to be used is collected in cisterns. In the beginning that is very pure and good but whenever there is no rain for some time it gets wormy, stinking, and rotten and sometimes even gives out. The air is considered to be unhealthy because it changes as often as there is a change in the wind and the sea air. The many marshes and the stagnant water in the canals contribute most to that, and they also consider the season of the bean blossoms as unhealthy, since it fills the air with their aroma. Diseases that are caused by this are fevers, with which most of the Saltzburgers, of whom there are 210 here, are sick. Both in summer and winter it is easy to get work here that is well paid.
The 210 Tirnbergers that are still in Cadzand live in three places, Groede, Ysendyk, and Schoendyk. They are very well satisfied. The Evangelical gentlemen from Amsterdam and Rotterdam show them many kindnesses and send them everything they need or ask for.
On the 26th of August I went back to Sluys and from there, in God’s hands, to Rotterdam, where I left
O that I had a thousand tongues and a thousand mouths; then I would sing one song of praise after the other, from the very bottom of my heart, about the kindness God has shown me.