ALTHOUGH he spent most of his life in London, Henry Newman was a New Englander, the grandson of a dissenting English clergyman who had emigrated to Massachusetts in the time of Cromwell.* Orphaned at the age of six, Newman was reared by his mother’s people and educated at Harvard, where he later served for three years as librarian. Having been influenced by liberal tutors, he gradually dropped his Congregational faith and became an Anglican; yet he retained the stern Puritan virtues of his forebears, particularly those of diligence and devotion to duty. While chiefly concerned with theology and the humanities, he also occupied himself with astronomy and other natural sciences. As a youth he served as lay chaplain on several ocean voyages, during one of which he was wounded in an encounter with a French warship. When his ship reached England after his harrowing experience, Newman kissed British soil and never again left the land of his ancestors.
In England Newman first served in the household of the Duke of Somerset, a favorite of Queen Anne, in whose service he acquired considerable skill in diplomacy and administrative procedure and also a life-long loyalty to the newly established House of Hanover and to the policy of Protestant Succession. Because of his natural piety, good education, and diplomatic experience, to say nothing of his private means and celibate life, Newman was ideally qualified to be the secretary of a missionary society, and for such a call he did not have long to wait. During his residence in London, the leading English charitable enterprise there was the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge (S. P. C. K.), which had its office in Bartlett’s Buildings in Holborn, London. This pious organization had been founded by Dr. Thomas Bray in 1698 to carry the gospel to the underprivileged classes of Great Britain and of the British colonies, or “Plantations” as they were then called. It did not restrict its membership to Englishmen but also invited certain prominent Protestant clergymen on the European Continent and in the “plantations” to become corresponding members.
Protestant supremacy was constantly threatened during the seventeenth century, and for three years England was ruled by a Catholic King, James II; but in 1691 the Protestants strengthened their position by crowning the Dutch prince William of Orange jointly with Queen Mary, and Protestant Succession became law by the Act of Settlement of 1701. After the reign of Queen Anne, the crown passed in 1714 to George IV, Duke of Hanover and Brunswick, who then became George I of England and founded the English House of Hanover. This personal union of England and Hanover under a common crown tightened England’s natural ties with the Protestant states of Germany, since many of the new monarch’s German officials followed him to London. As the letters of these letterbooks show, the Hanoverian Envoy to the Holy Roman Empire served George II both as Duke of Hanover and as King of England. As king, George II was the head of the Church of England, yet in private life he remained a German Lutheran of the Augsburg Confession; and, judged by royal standards of the time, he was an exceptionally pious ruler.
With the House of Hanover firmly established and Protestant Succession assured, many Englishmen looked upon England as the natural champion of Protestantism on the European continent as well as at home; and it was in this spirit that the S.P.C.K. solicited the services of Protestant divines, mostly Lutheran, in the various German states. Continental Protestantism was then in a sorry plight. Having been worsted in a series of wars, the Huguenots of France had been barely tolerated by the Edict of Nantes of 1598; and, after that safeguard was revoked in 1685, they were ruthlessly suppressed and those who did not escape or recant were sent to the galleys. Thus Protestantism quickly ceased being a major factor in France. Calvinism held its own in the Netherlands and Switzerland, but it was losing ground in Germany, where the Lutheran Church was fighting a rear-guard action too.
Popular concern for the Protestants on the Continent was shared by the members of the S.P.C.K., who wished to aid and assist all persecuted Protestants. Chief among these were, of course, the Huguenot refugees from France, who were scattered throughout the Protestant cities and countries of Europe or else living undercover in France and seeking any ways and means to escape. The S.P.C.K. also aided the Waldensians of Piedmont, who were being persecuted by the Duke of Savoy. This oldest Protestant sect in Europe had already endured some five centuries of persecution since the followers of Peter Waldo broke with the Church of Rome. Because the survival of their religion depended on the ability of their ministers to study abroad, the S.P.C.K. contributed funds to make such study possible.
The popular sympathy felt for the Huguenots and Waldensians was far surpassed by the surge of sympathy for the Salzburg Protestants in 1731, when the reigning Archbishop, Count Leopold Anton of Firmian, resolved to expell all Protestants from his domain. Nothing of this kind had yet happened in the 18th century, which considered itself an enlightened age. Whereas princes still had the legal right to regulate the religion of their subjects, most of them had found it more expedient to tolerate small and harmless sects.
To understand the Archbishop’s motives, we must briefly review the religious situation then prevailing in the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation, as the crazy-quilt of quarrelsome little states in Central Europe was called. Luther’s defiance of the Pope at Worms in 1521 was popularly acclaimed as a blow for German freedom from Papal interference and oppression, and it was accepted and championed by the populace at large, from prince to peasant. The Lutheran, or Evangelical, faith was adopted by most secular princes and by nearly all Imperial Free Cities, except for some of those in the Southwest, which embraced the dogmas of Calvin or Zwingli. The only German states in which the Reformation made little headway were the ecclesiastical territories, especially those belonging to the archbishops and bishops along the Rhine and Main and to their south; for these clerics saw the Reformation as a threat to their secular power. After spreading rapidly at first, the reformed religion was slowed down by the Counter Reformation; and, with the aid of Spanish troops, the Catholic emperor came close to crushing it in the Schmalkaldic War. Nevertheless, the Peace of Augsburg of 1555 granted freedom of religion to those Protestant princes and free cities that had already subscribed to the Confession of Augsburg, the Lutheran articles of faith as formulated by Melanchthon, Luther’s spokesman. This treaty put an end to further Evangelical expansion; and the initiative soon passed to the Counter Reformation, which was pressed relentlessly by the Vatican and Jesuits.
Except for minor dynastic skirmishes, the Treaty of Augsburg was followed by a long peace, albeit an uneasy one, during which the German princes aligned themselves in two opposing factions: the Protestant Union and the Catholic League. The long expected hostilities broke out in 1618, when Catholic forces undertook to suppress Protestantism in Bohemia; and what had begun as a war of religion swiftly degenerated into a thirty-year free-for-all in which nearly all the German states and most of their neighbors participated as expedience rather than conscience dictated. Few wars have been waged with such cynicism and perfidy or with such wanton destruction and cruelty; for religion served principally as a pretext for personal greed and ambition. Gustavus Adolfus of Sweden was one of the few participants to whom genuinely religious motives can be imputed, and it is ironic that he was subsidized by Cardinal Richelieu of Most Catholic France, who supported the German heretics, and also the Turkish infidels, as a means of weakening the Catholic emperor. After thirty violent years, peace was finally negotiated in 1648 at the Treaty of Westphalia, largely at the expense of the German Empire and to the advantage of France.
The great war was followed by a period of economic stagnation, caused in part by the destruction of life and property in the war and by the shift of trade routes to the Atlantic seaboard, but also by the greed and particularism of the petty princes, who had now won almost complete freedom from the Empire, an empire which was, as Voltaire later remarked, neither Holy nor Roman nor an Empire. Germany was a patch-work of principalities, duchies, counties, bishoprics, cantons, marches, free cities, and other jealous little entities, each fighting for itself and ready to sacrifice the common good for its own particular advantage. All the while France continued to nibble away at Germany’s western frontier, while most of the German princelings welcomed any foreign encroachment that spared their territory and distracted the emperor from asserting his authority.
Through clever diplomacy and successful wars, France succeeded in keeping Germany a house divided, especially one divided by confession. The Calvinists of western Germany, who bore the brunt of French aggression, remained politically impotent; and the Zwinglians and Calvinists of Switzerland and the Netherlands had separated themselves from the affairs of the Empire. Consequently, the chief confessional division in Germany was between Roman Catholics and Lutherans, the latter of whom were on the defensive and feared Catholic more than French aggression. In reading the following letters about persecution in Austria and Hungary, it is easy to see that the Protestants of Central Europe could say “Rather the Sultan than the Pope” (Lieber der Sultan als der Pabst), for the Sultan was satisfied with tribute and did not try to enforce his religion by stake and sword.
Although most Protestants lived in the north of Germany and most Catholics lived in the south, this division was not clear-cut, since most of the Imperial Free Cities in the south were still Protestant, as were some large territories in Württemberg and the Palatinate, both of which had Catholic rulers. Augsburg, the spiritual home of the Georgia Salzburgers, was not unusual in being rather evenly divided between Protestants and Catholics, each group having its own mayor and council. With such a delicate balance of power, it is understandable that the Catholic part of the city hesitated to let so many alien Protestants lodge in the city.
There being literally hundreds of sovereign states and cities in the Empire, there were a corresponding number of representatives and envoys. In principle there was a representative from each city and state to each city and state, although in practice a single agent might represent several governments, as was the case of Baron von Reck, who represented George II in his capacity of King of England as well as of Duke of Hanover, Brunswick, and Zell. Some agents were subjects of the states in which they resided, rather than of those they represented, as seems to have been the case of Mr. Gullman, the British agent at Frankfurt, and of Mr. Wolters, the British agent at Amsterdam. Like von Reck, they probably represented the English king in all his capacities.
During the expulsion of the Salzburg Lutherans, the diet or parliament of the loosely-united Empire was accustomed to meet in the Danubian city of Regensburg, or Ratisbon as our letters call it, which was then a free city but is now in Bavaria. Being more concerned with maintaining their religious freedom than with defending the moribund empire, the Protestant representatives were united in a Protestant Body (Evangelick Body, Corpus Evangelicorum), in which they could take measures for their common defense; and it was this body that assumed the chief responsibility for defending the rights guaranteed to Protestant minorities by the Treaty of Westphalia. Baron von Reck, the English-Hanoverian envoy at the Diet, seems to have been an important agent in aiding the Salzburger emigrants, even though political considerations caused his name to be partially suppressed in our letters.
The fragmentation of the German realm into so many little parcels naturally hampered commerce, especially because of the fantastic number of tolls and other mercantile restrictions. John Vat’s letter of 9 October 1734 from Rotterdam gives some idea of the tolls demanded on just a short section of the Rhine, tolls that were not entirely abolished until the Customs Union (Zollverein) of 1844. Despite such restrictions and tariffs, the diligent burghers and peasants of Germany did create wealth, but much of what they created was wasted by the countless little potentates, each of whom wished to imitate the court of Versailles.
Not the least extravagant of these rulers were the archbishops of Salzburg, who, although nominally men of God, maintained lavish courts and built handsome palaces at the expense of their tax-burdened subjects. The Protestants who resolved to emigrate from Salzburg had the right to take their property with them, yet their property was largely confiscated through all the real and pretended taxes and other claims of the archbishop. Moreover, with so many farms suddenly thrown on the market, the price of real estate dropped drastically, especially since few of the archbishop’s subjects had much cash. By the time the King of Prussia sent commissioners to Salzburg to try to collect the moneys owed his new subjects from there, very little was forthcoming; and there is no evidence and little likelihood that the Georgia Salzburgers ever received any part of the claims they submitted.
Luther’s revolt reached Salzburg quickly and two of his disciples actually preached his cause there, yet the archbishops succeeded in stamping out the movement in the capital and in most of their territory. Lutheran heretics continued to worship secretly in various remote valleys; but, as often as heresy was detected, the offenders were punished and usually dispossessed and expelled, and it was assumed that the trouble had been eradicated. In the year 1686 a Salzburger named Joseph Schaitberger publicly professed his Evangelical religion and was forthwith imprisoned. Exiled upon his release from prison, he settled in Nürnberg, where he lived a pious and industrious life as a wood-carver while remaining in communication with his co-religionists back home. It was he who wrote the “Exiles’ Song”, the hymn sung by all later groups of exiles who migrated through the countries of central Europe in search of freedom to practice their Protestant religion.
Partly as a result of Schaitberger’s propagandistic and missionary activities, to say nothing of the good treatment he received from Protestant well-wishers, his co-religionists in Salzburg not only maintained but even increased their numbers despite constant persecution. Finding himself unable to stamp out this heresy, Archbishop Leopold Anton decreed that all Protestants would have to recant their faith or leave the country at once. He apparently believed the heresy to be limited to a few troublemakers, who would forsake their faith rather than their native land; and therefore it came as a surprise when nearly a fourth of his subjects declared themselves Protestant and announced that they were ready to abandon their homes rather than their religion. Historians differ concerning the total number of these exiles, which is usually set between twenty and thirty thousand; but there is evidence that Frederick William, the Elector of Brandenburg and King of Prussia, received no less than 18,000 of them into his territories in Prussia and Lithuania, which had been partially depopulated by plague. He also welcomed others into Brandenburg and elsewhere, as did the rulers of Denmark, Hanover, the Netherlands, and other Protestant states.
The earliest item in our letterbooks is an extract of a letter of 14 April 1732 from Samuel Urlsperger, the senior Lutheran pastor at Augsburg, acknowledging receipt of £ 125 contributed for the benefit of the Salzburg exiles. This sum came from England; and it may have been donated by King George II himself or by his family or court, it having been collected by the Rev. Frederick Michael Ziegenhagen, the king’s German chaplain, a man of great influence at court because of his free access to the king. The next letter, Ziegenhagen’s of 23 May to Newman, indicates that the S.P.C.K. had by then assumed responsibility for aiding the Salzburgers; and the next, Newman’s of 13 June to Urlsperger, indicates that the S.P.C.K. accepted Ziegenhagen’s suggestion to have their funds remitted by the German business firms of Johann Baptista Mayer of London and Christian Münch of Augsburg.
From this point on the letterbooks consist mainly of the correspondence between Newman and Urlsperger, the two prime movers of the Georgia Salzburger venture; and to this correspondence are added letters by all the more important participants and benefactors of the undertaking. Prominent among these benefactors were Sir John Phillips, Baronet, and James Vernon and William Tillard, Esquires, who were members of the S.P.C.K. entrusted with soliciting donations. Sir James Vernon was also a Trustee for Establishing the Colony of Georgia and therefore able to assure close collaboration between the S.P.C.K. and the Georgia Company.
Because mail service was irregular, letters did not always arrive in the same sequence in which they were sent; and, because the mails were slow, Urlsperger, as the more prolific writer, often wrote successive letters before receiving an answer to his first. This was of course even more the case when he corresponded with the pastors in Georgia, from whom an answer took anywhere from six to twelve months. The length and frequency of Urlsperger’s letters may owe something to a personal penchant for letter-writing, or one might say to a national inclination to this pastime; but they are also due to the need of keeping the S.P.C.K. and its donors abreast of the latest developments. Urlsperger supplied much of this information by enclosing extracts of letters from informants elsewhere, particularly from correspondents in Ratisbon. As is indicated in the incoming letter of 26 February, 1733, many of these letters were from Johann Göbel, the commissary appointed by the King of Prussia to deal with the exiles from Salzburg and Berchtolsgaden. Some seem to have been from Baron von Reck, the English king’s ambassador to the Imperial Diet, who would have thought it diplomatic to keep his religious activities secret while dealing with the deputies of a Catholic emperor. Others may have come from a zealous Lutheran pastor named Esterlin, who was one of Urlsperger’s correspondents there, as is shown in the incoming letter of 6 April 1733. Some of the atrocity stories transmitted by Urlsperger may have been more rhetorical than historical, for their veracity was questioned even by Pastor Heinrich Walther Guerdes of the so-called Swedish Church, which was actually German Lutheran and therefore keenly concerned with the persecutions. Like the American authorities in Berlin after World War II, the Protestant leaders in eighteenth-century Germany had to be constantly on guard against clever imposters posing as victims of oppression and all too ready to fabricate atrocity stories on order. But, whether accurate in their details or not, these accounts did serve to open the hearts and purses of potential benefactors.
It is interesting to observe how, despite the stilted epistolary commonplaces of the age and despite the hurdles of translation, Newman and Urlsperger soon came to a perfect understanding of each other through their letters. In view of so much correspondence with Germans, it is surprising that Newman never attempted to learn their language; but he was probably discouraged by the barbaric Gothic script then in use, which did much to isolate the Germans from their Western neighbors.
Newman’s correspondence gives a play-by-play account of the entire Georgia Salzburg operation; but even more important, it gives an insight into the emotional environment of the time. Some of the persons and events of the early letters played no direct role in the Georgia operation, yet they do throw light on the thinking of the leading actors and benefactors. Several of these letters have been omitted because of irrelevance, but these are duly mentioned in the notes. The letters quickly show the changing motives for the S.P.C.K.’s activities. The first few remittances to Urlsperger were for the benefit of the exiles in general and without restrictions; but soon the purpose changed and money was solicited only for the exiles destined for Georgia. In other words, funds were solicited less for the succor of Salzburgers than for the recruitment of colonists, and Urlsperger spent more and more of his time convincing the exiles that they should migrate to Georgia. These mixed motives were typical of the age and of the whole colonization of Georgia, which was to be a haven for debtors and other impecunious people who had failed in Europe, a refuge for distressed Protestants, a military outpost, and a source of raw materials to supply the industrial needs of Great Britain. It is clear that no policy could have been developed to fit these conflicting purposes, each of which was very laudable in its own right.
Urlsperger’s task of finding Salzburgers willing to settle in Georgia was made difficult by rumors and letters, many of them unfortunately true, concerning the hardships and cruel treatment awaiting most German colonists in America, even those who had been persuaded by promises just as grand and just as convincing as those made by or for the Trustees. Even more disturbing was the sad return of so many of the Tirnbergers, a group of Salzburg exiles who had settled on the island of Cadzand in the Netherlands at the invitation of the States General. Despite the sincere promises made by the Dutch ambassador at Ratisbon, these people were maltreated by the inhabitants of Cadzand, who looked upon them only as a cheap source of labor; and those who could escape did so and returned to Frankfurt, Ratisbon, and other Free Cities, where they became a burden and embarrassment for their hosts and a reason for their compatriots to trust no more promises.
Most of the German letters of this Salzburg correspondence were done into English by J. C. Martini, Ziegenhagen’s secretary. At first glance his translations appear bumpy and too German, yet a careful comparison with letters by Newman and others shows that the quaint vocabulary and awkward word-order of Martini’s English conformed to common English usage of the period, and even his use of a singular verb with a multiple subject (the minister and the catechist was) agreed with English usage. When Martini writes “is dead” for “has died”, that need not be the influence of German “ist gestorben”, since Newman uses the same expression, which is still permissible in British English. In fact American readers should keep in mind that many of Martini’s phrases that sound foreign or antiquated to our ears are still current in British speech. Despite a few Germanisms in unimportant passages, such as “upper servant” for Oberknecht (foreman) or “Country folks” for Landsleute (compatriots), Martini’s translations, while very free, usually render the precise meaning of the originals. Martini may have been responsible for the anglicization of some of the German names, it having been customary at the time to naturalize foreign names, even family names. Thus Johann Heinrich Schmidt may become John Henry Schmidt, or even John Henry Smith. The same was true in reverse, and Henry Newman often appears as Heinrich Neumann in German translations of his letters. Martini’s translations usually render German place-names in their normal eighteenth-century English forms, such as Cologne, Mayence, Munich, Frankfort, and Hall (Halle), but in a few cases he attempts to translate them, as in the case of Saltzkammergut, which he renders as Salt-Cammer-Good-or Estate. Sometimes the result is a hybrid, as for example when Leipzic becomes Leipswick, perhaps through analogy with Brunswick (Braunschweig). In some instances the German place-names in these letterbooks concur with neither normal German nor normal English eighteenth-century usage; yet this does not necessarily indicate carelessness on the part of the copyists, who were rendering the names as they were commonly spelled in South Germany. Whereas German orthography since Luther had been much better standardized than English, it still permitted some variations, particularly with regard to South German proper names. Upper German names like Lansperg, Innspruck, Goldeg, and Millstatt could be retained in standard German or they could be “corrected” to Landsberg, Innsbruck, Goldeck, and Mühlstadt.
Unfortunately, Martini’s English script was sometimes illegible for Newman’s clerks, who misread some names and words and gave up on others. This explains the occasional blank spaces in their copies, which they seem to have left just long enough to insert the missing word after consulting the translator. Since none of the existing blanks are of much significance, we can assume that the scribes neglected to follow the matter through in these cases. Most of the mistakes in spelling German names must have been due to the copyists, who apparently wrote from dictation. That the copyists were trusting their ears rather than their eyes is suggested by their complete disregard for the spelling, punctuation, or capitalization of the original letters, to say nothing of such phonetically correct but graphically wrong renditions as “the wholly Roman Empire.” In the case of Newman’s letter of 20 August, 1734, to J. von Reck, which was inadvertently entered twice; the punctuation and capitalization of the copies differ even though both entries were made by the same hand and within a short period of time.
Although Newman’s letters would not pass a modern freshman composition test, they were acceptable by the standards of his day. Like his German contemporaries, he had little feeling for syntax or even for following a direct train of thought; and the most diverse grammatical structures can be juxtaposed in a single sentence. Not unusual is his letter of 21 November, 1732, to Urlsperger, the first paragraph of which is written as a single sentence comprising numerous subordinate clauses. Particularly annoying for a modern reader is the sometimes unclear relationship between pronouns or relative clauses and their antecedents. Newman writes, for example, that the officers at Gravesend are “to permit the Landing of all the Baggage of the Salzburgers and to show them all Civilities they can, but then they are to be locked up in some Warehouse. …”, and then he writes that it will be more convenient for the Salzburgers “to come up to the Red House instead of stopping at Gravesend where they may embark on the prince of Wales at half the trouble and expense. …” It takes a second look to see that “they” refers to the baggage, not to the Salzburgers, and that “where” refers to the Red House and not to Gravesend.
Even though they do not meet present standards of syntax, Newman’s letters are intelligible and informative; and they offer occasional passages of great charm, such as the description of Sir John Phillip’s death. It should be noted that Newman’s apparently casual style did not result from carelessness or lack of concern. He first composed his thoughts directly into a notebook and then edited the rough draft carefully, making numerous deletions, additions, and changes, before copying it, usually in his own hand, for sending. As some of his letters confess, ill health sometimes made him delegate this latter task to his clerk. Because the drafts of his Salzburg letters were scattered among many others in his innumerable notebooks, Newman caused them to be copied into his Salzburg Letterbooks, which thus furnished the S.P.C.K. with a compact record of the entire proceedings. Some, but not all of the letters in these letterbooks bear a code or file number which relates them to the overall correspondence of the S. P. C. K.
A comparison with the original drafts in the notebooks (or General Letterbooks as they are designated in the S. P. C. K. archives) show that the clerks copied them very carefully, at least in regard to the sound of the originals. One or two letters were entered into the Salzburg Letterbooks in Newman’s own hand, but all the rest were in the clearer hands of his amanuenses. Being of legal and financial import, the correspondence of the Letterbooks is complete and is supplied with cross references between inward and outward correspondence. Very few letters were lost in the vast correspondence, and these were always replaced by copies from the originals. The importance of these letterbooks is indicated, for example, when they settled Urlsperger’s and Newman’s misunderstanding about the amount of salary promised to Bolzius and Gronau. Autographed originals of some of this correspondence by Newman, Urlsperger, and others are preserved in the Miscellaneous Letters of the S. P. C. K. Archives; and a collation of these with their copies in the letterbooks confirms the care taken by the scribes to retain the exact wording of the originals, even if not always the exact spelling, capitalization, or punctuation. In this regard, we should remember that the letters were written to be read aloud: when they were “laid before the Society”, the members of the S. P. C. K. were interested in their meaning but not in their spelling or capitalization.
After Newman and Urlsperger, the next most frequent contributor to this correspondence was Baron von Reck, the English-Hanoverian envoy at Ratisbon, who must be distinguished from his nephew, the Baron von Reck who led the first transport of Salzburgers to Georgia. As is so often the case in this correspondence, the uncle’s Christian names are never given, and only two of his signatures included the initial “J” (which could of course, have been an “I”, since the two were not differentiated when capitalized). In first mentioning the nephew, Urlsperger gave his Christian name as George; and consequently that is how he appears in many English records, even though the nephew himself almost always signed his name Philipp Georg Friedrich. The context often indicates whether the Baron von Reck under discussion is the envoy at Ratisbon or his nephew elsewhere, yet this is not always immediately apparent. Therefore, although anyone reading these letters consecutively can usually identify the von Reck in question, the initials (J) and (Ph) are always added for the benefit of those who might consult the letters out of sequence.
Needing a pastor for the first transport of Georgia Salzburgers, Urlsperger consulted his colleague, Professor Gotthilf August Francke of Halle, who was the son and successor of August Hermann Francke, the famous Pietist leader and founder of the Francke Foundations (Franckesche Stiftungen). Gotthilf August Francke, a corresponding member of the S. P. C. K., remained one of the three “Reverend Fathers” of the Georgia Salzburgers, together with Urlsperger and Ziegenhagen. Although few of his letters appear in this collection, he corresponded regularly for many years with John Martin Bolzius (sometimes written and always pronounced Boltzius!), the young Latin teacher he proposed to Urlsperger as chief minister of the Georgia Salzburgers. Bolzius and his assistant, Israel Christian Gronau, wrote many letters from Georgia, some of which appear in this volume, as well as a copious journal which should eventually appear in the Wormsloe Foundation Series.
In reading these letterbooks, the reader must keep in mind that all English letters are dated Old Style (O.S.), or according to the older Julian Calendar, whereas all letters from the Continent are dated New (N.S.), or according to the newer Gregorian Calendar. This fact explains, for example, how John Vat’s letter of 4 October from Frankfurt was read in London on 1 October. Since 4 October O.S. equalled 22 September N.S., the letter took nine days to arrive and be read. The dates of letters acknowledged or referred to in the correspondence are always distinguished by the clues O.S. and N.S., or else by their Latin equivalents S.V. and S.N.
Although the Society tried to be prompt in attending to all correspondence, delays sometimes occurred in convening board meetings; and consequently some time might elapse between the arrival and the reading of a letter. Also, because of the slowness of the mails, there was an inevitable delay between the writing of a letter abroad and its arrival in London. On the average, letters from Dover took one or two days, those from Rotterdam a week (if not delayed by contrary winds), those from Augsburg, Ratisbon, and Halle two weeks or more, and those from Georgia anywhere from three to six months. Because of the irregularity of the mails, particularly by water, a letter from a distant correspondent might arrive long before another one sent much earlier by the same correspondent. For this reason it would be meaningless to try to rearrange these letters in any order based upon their date of writing; and it is clearly better to keep them in the order that Newman, in his wisdom, saw fit to collect them.
Since these letters furnish a journal or log of the whole Salzburg venture, they can best be read in the sequence in which they came to the attention of the board of the S. P. C. K., for only then can the reader grasp the board’s motives, decisions, and policies. That means that Newman’s letters should be read according to the date of writing, whereas incoming letters should be read according to the date they were read or “laid before the Society,” this date being always given in the caption of the copy. When read in this order, these letters give an intimate insight into the whole undertaking.
First we see the reception of the Salzburger exiles at Augsburg, their sojourn there, and their trip by land to Marksteft and by boat down the Main and Rhine to Rotterdam and from thence by ship to Dover, Charleston, and Savannah. Little is heard from them after their arrival at Ebenezer, perhaps because it was hoped the initial hardships and sickness would be successfully surmounted. John Vat, leading a second transport a year later, furnished a vivid account of the trip down the Rhine, and we get a detailed report of the exiles’ stay in England. Only when Vat reaches Ebenezer do we realize the dreadful conditions prevailing there as a result of the unhealthy climate, the barren soil, and the confusion caused by directives sent by a benign but misinformed rear-echelon headquarters.
Meanwhile, the letterbooks indicate that Philipp von Reck, elated by his first successful mission to Georgia and by his audience with the King, had set out without the authorization of the S. P. C. K. to recruit Bohemian Protestants for Georgia, an undertaking quickly stopped by stern letters from Newman to the young enthusiast and to the more mature Urlsperger in Augsburg. Nevertheless, our letters show that other Bohemians did emigrate to Georgia, even if they remained there only a short time. These were the Bohemian Brothers (Fratres Bohoemiae), also called the Moravian Brothers or Moravians, who had previously fled persecution in Bohemia and Moravia and had found refuge at Herrnhut, the estate of Count Nicolaus Ludwig Zinzendorf, a lay minister of their brotherhood. The Trustees permitted Zinzendorf to send a contingent of his co-religionists to Georgia under August Gottlieb Spangenberg despite the objections and warnings of Urlsperger, von Reck, and Bolzius, who had witnessed Zinzendorf s radical views and innovative zeal at Halle. These letters also show that von Reck’s enthusiasm encouraged certain citizens of Appenzell in Switzerland, under the leadership of John Tobler, to seek an asylum for their compatriots with the Salzburgers at Ebenezer. While the Georgia venture did not materialize, Tobler’s group did pass through Ebenezer on their ill-starred journey to establish a city at New Windsor high up the Savannah River.
The second transport appearing to have been successful, the Trustees resolved to send another Salzburger transport, this time once again under Philipp von Reck. Because there were not enough Salzburgers willing to join the proposed third transport, the Trustees resolved to accept some exiles from Carinthia, the province bordering Salzburg to the southward and belonging to the hereditary possessions of the Emperor. Of the many Carinthians who had declared themselves Protestant, most were transported involuntarily to the Emperor’s new domains in Hungary, where they were settled among the Saxons of Transylvania. Others had gathered at Ratisbon, where they hoped the Evangelical Body would persuade the Emperor to release the wives and children they had been forced to leave at home. Because the Emperor refused to let their dependents go, von Reck could recruit only a small number of Carinthians for his journey.
Supplementing these Carinthians with a few fellow-sufferers from Upper Austria, mostly from Salzkammergut adjacent to Salzburg, von Reck returned to Augsburg to pick up whatever Salzburgers might wish to join them. Despite the efforts of the Trustees and the S. P. C. K. to suppress the unfavorable reports coming from Georgia, people in Central Europe were becoming skeptical of all promises; yet von Reck succeeded in enlisting enough Salzburgers to complete his transport. In his hurry to reach England before Oglethorpe’s departure, he does not seem to have allowed much time for writing, for we hear nothing about his journey from Augsburg to England. With his letter of 27 October 1735 to Newman, which he wrote aboard the London Merchant off the Downs, incoming letters ceased being copied into the letterbooks; and for the remainder of this narrative we must depend upon Newman’s unilateral correspondence, which continued to be copied for four more years. Newman’s correspondence gradually slacked off and finally limited itself almost entirely to practical matters concerning the ministers’ salaries and the like, so the last four years are represented by fewer letters than were written in the single year 1733.
Nevertheless, Newman’s diminishing correspondence did not imply lessened concern. His enthusiasm and optimism may have waned, but not his love or loyalty; and to his last day he remained the faithful champion of his children across the sea. It is perhaps significant that the last letter of this collection proposes the sending of a fourth transport of Salzburgers, a project strongly urged by the residents of Ebenezer despite the war that had just broken out with Spain and her possessions in nearby Florida. Newman was instrumental in organizing this fourth transport, which reached Georgia safely in 1741; and he continued giving his moral and material aid until his death two years later. After his death, the S. P. C. K. continued its benevolence toward the Salzburgers and paid the salaries of their ministers until the War of Independence severed Georgia’s political ties with the Mother Country and thus removed it from the sphere of the Society’s activities. Of all the settlements made in Georgia during the Trustee’s administration, that of the Salzburgers was by far the most successful one, and its success was due in no small measure to the benefactions of the S. P. C. K. and to the wisdom and loyalty of its secretary, Henry Newman.
*For an excellent account of Newman’s life and works, see Leonard Cowie, Henry Newman, An American in London, 1708-43 (London, 1956).