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After Spangenberg had decided not to comply with the request
contained in the letter from Savannah, but to stay and prosecute the work
among the Schwenkfelders, where a door seemed to be opening,
he became conscious of a feeling of uneasiness, an impression
that he was needed in Georgia. This was increased by news
of the expected Spanish outbreak, for so general was the alarm
that all the war-ships in the northern harbors were ordered to Carolina,
and the selling of supplies to the Spaniards was absolutely prohibited.
At this point George Neisser and Benjamin Ingham came,
bringing word of the pressure on the Moravians, their decision
to leave Georgia as soon as it could be arranged, and their request
that Spangenberg should go to England with Ingham to see the Trustees,
and secure their consent. Of this plan Spangenberg did not approve,
for he thought the war would ruin everything, or else the danger
would be over, before he could make the long journey to England, and return.
Ingham professed himself ready to carry letters to the Trustees,
and do his best to influence them to grant the Moravian requests,
so Spangenberg decided to entrust that errand to him, and himself go at once
to Georgia, to see whether he could not help matters there.
John Eckstein, a resident of Germantown, a middle-aged man
who was in entire sympathy with Spangenberg's plans for religious work
in Pennsylvania, resolved to accompany him on his trip to Georgia.
They sailed from Philadelphia on the 22nd of May, 1737,
and had a long and very trying voyage. The Captain and crew were evil men,
given to cursing and swearing, and more than once they threatened
to murder the two passengers, whom they called sorcerers, and accused
of bringing the continuous head winds and frequent storms upon them.
Seventy-seven long days the voyage lasted; twice they sailed southward
past Cape Hatteras, and twice were they driven back to north and east,
taking weeks to recover the distance lost; and the Captain finally discovered
that not only were the elements against him, but his helmsman was slyly
hindering their progress all he could, for some malicious purpose of his own.
To the mental strain of the long journey was added physical discomfort,
for firewood gave out, so that no cooking could be done, and for a month
the crew lived on hard tack, dried cherries soaked in water, and raw fish, —
dolphins caught as need required. Spangenberg and his companion
had brought provisions to supplement the ship's fare, but long before
the voyage was ended their store of butter and sugar was exhausted.
Dried ham and tongue had a tendency to increase their thirst,
but by soaking tea in cold water they made a beverage
which bore at least a fancied resemblance to that brewed on shore.
Then the supply of water ran low, each man's allowance was reduced
to a pint a day, and even this small amount would have failed had they not
been able occasionally to catch rainwater to replenish their casks.
The Captain at last opened a keg of beer found in his cargo,
and sold his passengers enough to relieve their thirst,
for which they were very grateful.
But unkind words, delay, uncooked food, thirst, were not all
that Spangenberg and his companion had to bear, for actual danger was added
to their experience from time to time. High waves broke over the ship,
winds tore away the sails, and a water-spout threatened total destruction.
So late was the ship in reaching port that she was given up for lost,
and word was sent to Pennsylvania which caused much grief,—needless grief,
for Spangenberg's days of service were not to be ended thus.
It sounds almost trivial to say that in the midst of trials of body,
mind and soul Spangenberg occupied himself with making buttons,
but no doubt the homely, useful labor did its part toward rendering endurable
the seemingly endless days.
At last, on the 7th of August, the ship ran on a sandbank near Tybee,
and the Moravians, hearing that Spangenberg was on board,
took a boat and brought him to Savannah. They had asked him to go to England,
he had disregarded their request and come to Georgia,
but he was dear to them through many months of united service and mutual help,
and they gave him a hearty welcome, ignoring all cause for complaint,
and taking him at once into their full confidence. He and Tõltschig
sat up all of the first night carefully discussing the condition of affairs
and what could be done to remedy them. Their views were very different,
for Spangenberg thought they had been too hasty in deciding to leave Georgia,
while Tõltschig felt that it was a reflection on the lot
to try and hold them in Savannah, when the lot had said "go".
But Tõltschig possessed the rare art of seeing a disputed question
through the eyes of those who did not agree with him,
as well as from his own standpoint, and now, with no petty self-assertion,
he quietly awaited developments, and told Spangenberg all that had happened
since Neisser's departure.
As the alarm concerning an immediate invasion by the Spanish had died away,
the inhabitants of Savannah had regained their composure,
and the wild outcry against the Moravians gradually ceased.
The wagon and oxen which had been taken for work on the fort
had been returned to their owners, after seven or eight weeks of hard usage,
and the hope that starvation would shake the resolution of the non-combatants
had signally failed of fulfillment. The ship which was
to bring the town supplies had been twelve weeks late in coming,
and the stock in the store-house was almost exhausted.
The authorities therefore had announced that provisions would be sold
only to those who were helping build the fort. This entirely excluded
the Moravians, but instead of suffering from hunger they had been able
to share with some of their neighbors. The prices charged at the store
in Savannah were always high, so, as he was passing through New York
on his return from St. Thomas, Spangenberg had asked a friend
to send the Moravians two thousand pounds of flour and salt-meat,
for which they were to pay. The merchant at that time knew of no ship
sailing for Savannah, so in Philadelphia, Spangenberg had arranged
that two thousand pounds of meat should be sent from there at once
on a year's credit. Meanwhile the New York merchant found an opportunity
to send what was ordered from him, so the Moravians had been surprised
by a double quantity, which proved to be just what they needed
during the general scarcity. When the friends in Pennsylvania heard
that provisions had been sent, but not enough to last until the next harvest,
they gave thirty-six hundred pounds of flour to Spangenberg to be taken,
as a present, to the Georgia Moravians, and when word was received that
Spangenberg's ship was lost, they sent an additional eighteen hundred pounds,
so the "Society" was well supplied with this necessary article of food
for some time to come.
In their household affairs the Moravians had had various experiences.
Hermsdorf had been so thoroughly frightened by the demonstrations
against the Moravians that on the 16th of May he had sailed for Germany,
regardless of Tõltschig's efforts to persuade him to wait,
as his wife might even then be on her way to join him.
Not only did he fear the townspeople so greatly that day and night
he stayed in his room "as in a prison", but he was still more afraid
to face Gen. Oglethorpe, who, it was said, would soon return.
Only once had he joined in the devotional exercises of the household
after his return from Frederica, and it was rather a relief when he left
for home, having first repaid the amount of his passage to Georgia.
He seems to have retained his connection with the Moravian Church,
for he was in Herrnhut when Wesley visited there, and showed him
many courtesies; and he is mentioned in 1742, as bearing letters
to the "Sea Congregation", then about to sail for Pennsylvania.
On the 6th of June a four-year-old English boy had been taken
into their household. He was an orphan, and they meant to bring him up,
but the little fellow died on the 23rd of July.
On the 10th of June the matrimonial troubles of George Waschke
and Juliana Jäschke had been happily terminated by their marriage.
Waschke had been one of the discontents ever since the arrival
of the second company, but when his marriage was finally arranged
he professed himself contrite, and promised all obedience
to the rules of the "Society", so long as he stayed in Savannah,
though he retained his desire to leave as soon as possible.
Juliana also had greatly improved in her behaviour before the wedding.
This marriage was the cause of a very interesting discussion
among the Moravians, as to who should perform the ceremony.
"In the afternoon the Brethren met to decide who should be appointed
to marry Waschke and Juliana. Properly Br. Peter (Rose)
should have been ordained by Br. Anton (Seifert) to the office of a "Diener"
in the Congregation, that he might marry and baptize, but the Brethren
did not think it necessary to ordain him on Waschke's account,
and voted that Tõltschig should marry them. He objected,
but they said Tõltschig had been made a `Diener' of the Congregation
at Herrnhut. He protested that he had not been sent to Georgia
to marry and baptize, and did not wish to do it. The others insisted,
and asked that the lot be tried; Tõltschig agreed to submit to their wish,
and the lot drawn read `he shall marry these two'," which he did the next day.
Parallel with this is the baptism of Rose's twin daughters,
Anna Catherina and Maria Magdalena, who were born on the 16th of September,
1737,—Anna Catherina dying later in the same year.
Of this Tõltschig wrote: "I, at the request of the Brethren,
baptized them in the name of the Father, the Son, and of the Holy Ghost,
after Br. Anton (Seifert) had ordained me a "Diener" in the Congregation."
It frequently happens that a puzzling action becomes clear
when it is considered from the standpoint of the man who has done it,
but when the motive can not be fathomed many things are hard to understand.
That Seifert had been empowered to delegate to another member
a duty usually reserved for the clergy, was reasonable, though unusual,
for his serious illness or death would have left the Congregation
without ministration until word could be sent to Germany,
and some one else could come to take his place,—a matter of months, —
but, when the "Aeltester" was present, in full health, in entire accord
with his Congregation, and when he in person confirmed candidates
for Church membership, why did he not marry and baptize directly,
instead of ordaining a "Diener" especially for those two offices?
There must have been some regulation in the Congregation at Herrnhut
which led to it, for the idea that Seifert himself
should marry Waschke and Juliana, and baptize the Rose children,
evidently did not occur to them, but the rule can not now be found,
and there is no clue to the strange proceeding.
Soon after the Waschke affair had been settled to the satisfaction
of all parties, serious trouble had arisen with Jag and Haberecht.
It was reported to the Moravians that Jag had engaged himself to a Swiss woman
living in Savannah, and when questioned he admitted that it was true.
They argued with him, and pled with him, but to no avail,
and finally told him plainly that they would not allow him
to bring the woman to their house, and more than that,
if he persisted in his determination he would have to leave them;
and angry and defiant he did take his departure the next day, July the 10th.
That "troubles never come singly" was exemplified, for the very day
that Jag left, Haberecht went to Tõltschig, and asked if some way
could not be found so that HE could marry that same Swiss woman!
Tõltschig was almost stunned by this second blow, and gave a stern answer,
whereupon Haberecht applied to Seifert, the Aeltester,
who was equally as unyielding in his condemnation of the acquaintance
already made, and his refusal to countenance further steps. Poor Haberecht,
less resolute than Jag in his rebellion, drank deeply of the waters of Marah
during the next weeks; promising to give up the woman,
who was really unworthy of his regard, and then trying to draw Tõltschig
into a discussion of his possible marriage; despairingly making his way
to the garden to hide himself among the swine, feeling he was fit for
no better company, and then going to the woman and asking her to marry him,
to which she consented, having already thrown Jag over;
again bitter repentance, confession, and a plea that his associates
would forgive him. Either he was really in earnest this time,
or Spangenberg's arrival had a salutary effect, for after that
the Swiss woman disappears from the story, and two months later Jag returned,
promised good behaviour, and humbly asked for readmittance to the household
which was at once accorded him.
The first days of his visit to Savannah, Spangenberg spent
in acquainting himself with the condition of affairs,
and in interviews with the members singly and collectively,
trying to persuade them to content themselves in Georgia.
The "bands" were reorganized, but he was unable to re-establish
a feeling of unity among them, and even those who were willing to stay,
and work, and try whether their plan might not still be carried out,
felt that it would be unwise to hold the rest, for as Tõltschig wrote,
almost with a groan, "it is a blessed thing to live
with a little company of brethren, who are of one heart and one soul,
where heart and mind are dedicated to Jesus, but so to live, when many
have weak wills and principles, and there must be a community of goods,
is rather difficult, especially when many seek their own ends,
not the things of Christ."
Spangenberg was forced to see that his arguments were futile,
and wisely yielded to the inevitable. At a general conference
each man was called upon to state his wishes. Several desired to leave
at the earliest possible moment, others as soon as the debt was fully paid;
two or three wanted to return to Europe, others preferred
to go to Pennsylvania to Spangenberg; some longed to live among the Indians
as missionaries, while quite a number were content to stay in Savannah,
unless absolutely forced to leave, or definitely called to labor elsewhere.
However, no immediate steps were taken toward breaking up the settlement.
On the 12th of August, Spangenberg and Wesley visited the Salzburgers
at Ebenezer, by the invitation of Bolzius, the senior pastor.
They, too, had had their troubles without and within,
and Gronau had mourned over the fact to the Moravians,
who deeply sympathized with him. At this time Gronau and Bolzius
differed greatly in their feeling for the Moravians.
Gronau was openly and honestly on the best of terms with them,
but Bolzius, while occasionally accepting their hospitality in Savannah,
sent complaints to the Trustees, in keeping with his original protest
against their coming to Georgia. The English friends of the Moravians
heard of these letters, and were much puzzled, as the reports
from the Savannah Congregation spoke only of pleasant relations
with the Salzburgers, and requests for union of the two forces.
Probably Bolzius was fretted by their refusal to join him,
even as the leaders at Halle resented the independence of Herrnhut,
and after Gronau's death, in 1745, the pastors of Ebenezer steadily opposed
the efforts of the Moravians to recommence a mission work in Georgia.
Apart from the friction with their fellow townsmen and the lack of
united purpose among their own number, Spangenberg found the Moravian colony
in good condition. Their devotional hours were steadily observed,
the Lord's Supper was celebrated regularly, and a weekly conference
kept the many interests of the "Society" running smoothly.
By the aid of the second company, various improvements had been made,
so that their lots and garden presented a prosperous appearance.
"They have a house in town (on Spangenberg's lot) with a supply of wood
for the kitchen. Behind the house is a well, with a pump,
on which almost the whole town depends, for it not only never goes dry,
as do all the others, but it has the best water to be found in the town.
From early morning to late at night the people come with barrels,
pails and pitchers, to take the water to their homes.
Once some one suggested that strangers should be charged so much a pail
for the benefit of the orphans, but Frank said `they have so far received
spiritual water from us without price, let them also have this freely.'
Between the well and the house is a cow shed. They have a cow,
which is pastured out during the day, but comes back in the evening,
and they use the milk and butter for the sick. Near the shed
is a kitchen and bake-oven, and on the other side a hut for their provisions.
Behind the well, on Nitschmann's lot, stands on one side Tanneberger's
and on the other Rose's cabin, with a roof between,
under which the leather is stored, which is to be made into shoes.
"Two English miles from the town they have cleared ten acres, (the garden)
and planted corn and rice, which is growing nicely. They have set out
mulberry, peach, and apple trees, which are doing well;
in the middle of the garden, which is enclosed with a fence and ditch,
they have built a corn-house, a cabin in which to live, and a stable."
Another cabin, the first erected in the garden, had been burned in January,
at which time Mrs. Waschke was living in it, though she was away
when it caught fire, and returned too late to give an alarm and save it.
The farm four miles from town was proving unsatisfactory,
requiring much labor and yielding little return, and they had about decided
to stop cultivating it, and give all their effort to the garden,
which was paying well.
From the 14th to the 17th of August, Spangenberg busied himself
with the account between the Moravians and the Trustees.
In addition to the bonds signed by the first and second companies
for their passage to Georgia, and provisions to be delivered on arrival,
it had been necessary to get a great deal at the store on credit.
On the other hand the men had done a considerable amount
of carpenter work and hauling for the Trustees and for others.
The account on the books at the Trustees' store was all in confusion,
and as everybody at the store claimed to be too busy to unravel it,
Spangenberg obtained permission to do it himself, and found that
in addition to the bonds, (60 Pounds and 226 Pounds 13 Shillings 9 Pence,)
the Moravians had taken supplies to an amount which gave them a total debt
of some 500 Pounds ($2,400.00). Against this they had a credit
which entirely paid their current account at the store, and reduced their debt
to the Trustees to 121 Pounds 2 Shillings 9 Pence, ($580.80).
On the 19th, a Lovefeast was held in honor of Spangenberg and Eckstein,
and on the 21st of August the two visitors sailed for Pennsylvania,
landing there safely in due time.
A Closing Door.
With the month of September letters began to come from England and Germany
in response to Dober's report, and the communications sent by Ingham,
who presented the Moravian request to the Trustees,
(receiving "a sour answer",) and also sent a full account
of their circumstances to Count Zinzendorf. The Count had already written
to his distressed brethren, giving his advice on various points,
and this letter, which was the first to arrive, gave them little comfort.
They had once hoped for reinforcements, earnest men and women
who would strengthen their hands for the work among the Indians,
and even now it was disappointing to hear that Zinzendorf had decided
not to send any more colonists to Georgia. He argued that it would take
very few men to supply teachers for Tomochichi's little village,
and that as the Trustees would only permit four missionaries
among the more distant tribes, that number could easily be spared
from the company already in Savannah.
Regarding military service he repeated his former definite instructions,
"you will not bear arms either defensive or offensive."
He said that he had tried to secure from the Trustees a formal "dispensation",
either verbal or written, exempting the Moravians entirely from military duty,
but they refused to give it, insisting that the Moravians
must at least employ two men to represent the two town lots
in defense of the country. Zinzendorf had agreed to this,
so far as the night watch was concerned, since such a watch was necessary
for civic peace and well-being, and the Moravians were authorized
to pay the necessary sums therefor, but he considered it inconsistent
to refuse to fight as a matter of conscience and then hire others to do it,
and so, as he said, "there is nothing to do but to say no, and wait."
Although Spangenberg had hoped it would not be necessary
for the Moravians to leave Georgia, he had sent the Trustees their request
for permission to go, adding, "Nor indeed is there any reason
why they should be detained, since it is their full intention and design
to pay every farthing of their debt before they stir a foot;
and they have never yet sold their liberty to any man,
neither are they bound to any man by any writing or agreement whatsoever.
I doubt not therefore but ye will readily shew the same clemency towards
innocent and inoffensive men, which any one may expect from your Honors,
whose business is not to destroy but to save and benefit mankind.
May it please you therefore to send orders to the Magistrate of Savannah
that these people may have leave to depart that Province.
I do assure your Honors they always thought it a great favor that ye
were pleased to send them thither; but now they will think it a greater
to be dismissed."
In reply the Trustees wrote to Mr. Causton, forbidding the introduction
of martial law without their express order, and reproving him for having
required more than two men from the Moravians, but in that very reproof
practically insisting that two must serve. The Moravians thought
they had defined their position clearly at the outset, and believed
they had the Trustees' promise that all should be as they desired,
and if the Trustees realized the construction placed upon their words
they had taken a most unfair advantage of the Moravians
by offering them the two town lots as a special favor,
and then using the ownership of those lots as a lever
to force unwelcome service. On the other hand the Trustees claimed
that Zinzendorf had tacitly agreed to furnish two fighting men
when he allowed Spangenberg and Nitschmann to take the two freeholds,
and one can hardly imagine that the gentlemen who served
as Trustees of Georgia would stoop to a subterfuge to gain two soldiers.
Probably it was an honest misunderstanding for which neither side
was to blame, and of which neither could give a satisfactory explanation,
each party having had a clear idea of his own position,
and having failed to realize that in the confusion of tongues
the other never did grasp the main point clearly.
Regarding the Moravian request for permission to leave, the Trustees declined
to give instructions until after an exchange of letters with Zinzendorf;
but in a second letter to his Congregation, the Count wrote,
"If some do not wish to remain, let them go," and "if the authorities
will not do what you demand it is certain that you must break up
and go further; but whether to Pennsylvania, or New York or Carolina,
the Lord will show you." Carolina would be no better than Georgia
for their purpose, for the military conditions were identical,
and Bishop Nitschmann's advice that they go to Pennsylvania,
together with Spangenberg's residence there, decided them in favor
of that location.
Zinzendorf's permission having cleared the way for departure,
they resolved to wait no longer on the Trustees, and a general conference
was held on September 18th, in which definite arrangements were made
for the assumption of the debt by those who were willing as yet
to remain in Georgia, freeing the four who were to go first.
A recent letter had informed Tanneberger of the death of his wife and children
in Herrnhut, and the news shattered his already weak allegiance.
Without them he cared little where he went, or what became of him,
if only he could get away, and Haberecht was more than ready to join him.
His young son went as a matter of course, and Meyer,
another member who had been lazy and unsatisfactory, completed the party,
which sailed for Pennsylvania on the 16th of October.
Jag also intended to go, but for some reason waited for the next company.
Haberecht settled at Ephrata, and the two Tannebergers at Germantown.
In 1741, Haberecht joined the Moravians who were building
in "the forks of the Delaware", and became one of the first members
of the Bethlehem Congregation. In 1745, David Tanneberger
married Regina Demuth, who had lost her husband the previous year,
and they ultimately moved to Bethlehem also. Meyer never renewed
his association with the Moravians.
Before the four started to Pennsylvania, another member
had taken the longer journey, and had been laid beside his brethren
in the Savannah cemetery. This was George Haberland, who died September 30th,
from flux, a prevalent disease, from which almost all of the colonists
suffered at one time or another. He had learned much during his life
in Georgia, had been confirmed in June with his brother Michael,
and had afterward served acceptably as a "Diener" of the Congregation.
On the 7th of October, Seifert and Bõhner moved to Tomochichi's village
to perfect themselves in the language, and begin their missionary work.
As some of the congregation had already left Savannah,
and others were soon to follow, Seifert thought that he could be spared
even though he was "Aeltester", especially as at first
he returned to Savannah every Saturday to hold the Sunday services.
In November he and Bõhner spent several weeks in town
helping the carpenters raise the frame of a large house they were building,
and when they returned to the Indians in January, 1738,
Peter Rose, his wife, and surviving daughter went with them.
Friday, December 13th, John Wesley left Savannah, to return to England.
His popularity had long since waned, in the face of his rigid insistance
on ecclesiastical rules, and it was said "the Brethren alone
can understand him, and remain in love with him." He was unfortunate enough
to provoke a spiteful woman, a niece of Mr. Causton, the Magistrate,
and so greatly did the persecution rage under her influence,
that Wesley's chance of doing further good was ruined, and nothing was left
but for him to withdraw. The Magistrates forbade him to leave,
(secretly rejoicing that they had driven him away,)
but he boldly took his departure, without molestation,
making his way to Beaufort, where Charles Delamotte joined him.
Together they went to Charlestown, where he parted from Delamotte,
and on the 2nd of January, 1738, sailed from the continent
that had witnessed the shattering of so many fond hopes and ambitions.
Forty-seven years later Brierly Allen settled in Savannah,
the first minister there to represent the great denomination which grew
from Wesley's later work in England, and the first Methodist Society
in that city of his humiliation was organized in 1806.
During the preceding summer Zinzendorf had written to the Trustees,
asking once more for (1) entire exemption from military service
for the Georgia Moravians, for (2) permission for them to leave Georgia
if this could not be granted, and (3) that at least four
might remain among the Indians as missionaries.
In answer the Trustees (1) repeated their former decision
regarding freehold representation, (2) gave consent for the Moravians to leave
if they would not comply with this, and (3) refused to let them stay
as missionaries. "The privilege of going among the Indians
was given to your people out of consideration for Your Excellency,
and also on account of their good conduct, they being citizens of this colony;
but if they cease to reside there, this privilege will not be continued
to any of them. To employ them as missionaries to instruct the Indians
would be a reflection on our country, as if it could not furnish
a sufficient number of pious men to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Therefore your people may continue among the Indians,
only so long as they are citizens of the colony."
This was the death-blow to the Moravian settlement in Georgia.
Had the Trustees exemplified their much-vaunted religious toleration
by respecting the conscientious scruples of the Moravians,
there were enough members of the Savannah Congregation
who wanted to stay in Georgia to form the nucleus of the larger colony
which would surely have followed them, for while they were willing
to give up everything except religious liberty, they were human enough
to regret having to abandon the improvements which they had made
at the cost of so much labor and self-denial. The Church at large
shared this feeling, and for many years watched and waited
for an opportunity to re-open the work in Savannah, but without result.
If the Trustees had even permitted the Moravians to stay as missionaries
it might have saved the settlement to Georgia, for within a decade
the English Parliament passed an Act granting the Moravians
the very exemption for which they now asked in vain,
and had there been a promising work begun among the Indians
during the intervening years it would inevitably have drawn more laborers,
as it did in Pennsylvania. But the Trustees shut the door in their faces,
other promising and more hospitable fields opened, and the Moravian efforts
were thereafter given to the upbuilding of other commonwealths.
In the latter part of January, 1738, eight more of the Moravian colonists
left Savannah,—Gotthard Demuth and his wife, George Waschke,
his wife and mother, Augustin Neisser, Gottlieb Demuth, and David Jag,
those who remained giving them money and provisions for their journey
to Pennsylvania. Gotthard Demuth and wife settled in Germantown,
later moving to Bethlehem and joining in the organization
of that Congregation. In 1743 they were again living at Germantown,
where Gotthard died the following year. Regina subsequently
married David Tanneberger and moved once more to Bethlehem.
Gottlieb Demuth lived at several places, but finally married,
and settled in the Moravian Congregation at Schoeneck.
Jag, who located at Goshenhopper, and the Waschkes and Augustin Neisser
who went to Germantown, never rejoined the Church.
On the 28th of January, the Moravians in Savannah received
an unlooked-for addition to their number. Tõltschig wrote to Spangenberg,
"Yesterday two boys, who belong to Herrnhut, came unexpectedly to our house.
They ran away from the Brethren in Ysselstein and went to Mr. Oglethorpe
in London, begging him to send them to the Brethren in Georgia. He did so,
but we will have to pay their transportation. One is Zeisberger's son David,
about 17 years old, and the other John Michael Schober, about 15 years old.
Both are bad boys." It appears that when Zeisberger's parents went to Georgia
he was left in Herrnhut to finish his education. From there
Count Zinzendorf took him to a Moravian settlement near Utrecht, Holland,
where he was employed as errand boy in a shop. He was treated
with well-meant but ill-judged severity, and finally after
a particularly trying and undeserved piece of harshness in October, 1737,
he and his friend Schober decided to try and make their way
to his parents in Georgia. In this they succeeded, and though their story
was received with disapprobation, they soon made a place for themselves.
Schober did not live very long, but Zeisberger, from the "bad boy"
of Tõltschig's letter, became the assistant of Peter Bõhler
in South Carolina, and later the great "apostle to the Indians".
During this Spring the Moravians strained every nerve
to do an amount of work sufficient to balance their account with the Trustees.
It took a little longer than they expected, but at last Tõltschig was ready
for his journey to England, the lot having previously decided
that he should go as soon as financial affairs made it proper.
His wife remained in Savannah, it being uncertain whether he would
stay in Germany or return to America. John Regnier took his place
as financial agent of the Moravians.
On March 12th, Tõltschig went aboard a ship, bound for Charlestown,
sailing from Tybee two days later. On the 18th, he reached Charlestown,
whence he sailed April 1st, bearing with him the record of their account
with the Trustees, and commissioned to tell the authorities at Herrnhut
all about the Georgia colony. On the 30th of May, the vessel touched
at Cowes, where Tõltschig landed, making his way overland to London
which he reached on the 2nd of June.
On the 11th of June, Tõltschig, accompanied by Richter,
went to present the account to the Trustees. They asked him
many questions concerning Georgia, all of which he answered frankly,
receiving most courteous attention. Three days later
a settlement was reached. The written accounts showed that the Moravians
were short 3 Pounds 5 Shillings 5 Pence, which Tõltschig offered
to pay in cash, but the Trustees said they realized
that the supplies provided for in the second bond had been rated
at a higher price in Georgia than in England, and they were content
to consider the obligations as fully discharged, interest included.
Tõltschig answered "I am very glad," a short sentence which spoke volumes!
Wesley, Ingham and Tõltschig.
During the days which elapsed between his arrival in London
and the meeting of the Trustees, Tõltschig had many interviews
with those who had been "awakened" by the two companies of Moravian colonists,
by Count Zinzendorf, and by Peter Bõhler and George Schulius.
The last two were even then at Portsmouth, on their way to America,
and the interest caused by their visit was very manifest.
John and Charles Wesley had been particularly attracted to Bõhler,
the former especially finding great relief in laying
his many spiritual perplexities before him. Wesley complained
that when he conversed with Spangenberg in Georgia,
and they could not agree on any point, Spangenberg would drop the subject
and refuse to discuss it further, but in Bõhler he found
a clearness of argument, and power of persuasion which convinced
without irritating him.
Having passed through many stages with the guidance, sympathy,
and encouragement of Bõhler, Wesley at last found the assurance of salvation
he had sought for so many years, and three weeks after Bõhler left London,
he records that at a meeting of their society "I felt I did trust in Christ,
Christ alone for salvation, and an assurance was given me
that he had taken away my sins, even mine, and saved me
from the law of sin and death." A few days previously his brother Charles
had made the same happy experience, and this gave to their religious life
the warmth and fervor which, added to the zeal, industry and enthusiasm that
had always characterized them, made their labors of so much value to England,
and founded the denomination which has grown so rapidly in America,
still bearing the name once given in derision to the little group
of Oxford "Methodists".
But Wesley's mind was not one of those which can rest contentedly
upon one vital truth, he must needs run the whole gamut of emotion,
and resolve every point raised by himself or others
into a definite negative or affirmative in his own life.
Once settled in a position to his entire satisfaction,
he was as immovable as a mountain, and this was at once
the source of his power and his weakness, for thousands gladly followed
the resolute man, and found their own salvation therein,
while on the other hand the will which would never bend clashed hopelessly
with those who wished sometimes to take their turn in leading.
So he became an outcast from the Church of England, alienated from Ingham,
Whitefield, and other friends of his youth, estranged from the Moravians,
even while he was one of the greatest religious leaders
England has ever produced.
At the time of Tõltschig's sojourn in London, however,
he was in the early, troubled stage of his experience,
rejoicing in what he had attained through Bõhler's influence,
but beset with doubts and fears. And so, as he records in his Journal,
he determined "to retire for a short time into Germany,
where he hoped the conversing with those holy men who were themselves
living witnesses of the full power of faith, and yet able to bear
with those that are weak, would be a means, under God,
of so establishing his soul, that he might go on from faith to faith,
and from strength to strength."
Ingham, meanwhile, informed of Tõltschig's arrival in London,
had hastened "over one hundred and forty miles" to see his friend,
a fact that seems to have touched Tõltschig deeply,
and arranged to go with him to Herrnhut, as they had often planned
while still in Georgia. John Wesley joined them, and the three young men
sailed on June 24th, landing at Rotterdam two days later.
Wesley's Journal does not mention Tõltschig by name,
but on leaving Rotterdam he says, "we were eight in all,
five English and three Germans," and there is no doubt
that Tõltschig went with them to Marienborn to report to Count Zinzendorf,
who was living there during his temporary exile from Herrnhut.
In Rotterdam, Dr. Koker showed the party much kindness,
while at Baron von Watteville's in Ysselstein, they were received
"as at home". At Amsterdam, they joined in the meeting of the "societies"
established under Moravian influences, and from there proceeded to Cologne,
and up the Rhine to Frankfort. Having neglected to supply themselves
with passports, they experienced much difficulty whenever they reached
a walled city, sometimes being refused admittance altogether,
and at other times being allowed to enter only after much delay,
which caused Wesley to "greatly wonder that common sense and common humanity
do not put an end to this senseless, inhuman usage of strangers."
When any of their number had an acquaintance in the city
to which they had come they sent in a note to him, and he would arrange
for their entrance, and at Frankfort they applied to Peter Bõhler's father,
who entertained them "in the most friendly manner."
On Tuesday, July 15th, they reached Marienborn, where Wesley remained
for fifteen days, and Ingham for about seven weeks.
From Marienborn, Wesley went to Herrnhut, stopping at Erfurt, Weimar, Jena,
Halle, Leipsig and Dresden on the way. He remained at Herrnhut twelve days,
and then returned by the same route to Marienborn, and to England.
This trip to Germany has been given as the beginning of the breach
between Wesley and the Moravians, but it is doubtful
whether such was really the case. In the "Memoirs of James Hutton"
it is stated that Wesley was offended because Ingham was admitted
to the Communion at Marienborn, while permission was refused him,
and that he secretly brooded over the injury, but Wesley himself
does not mention the occurrence, and refers to Marienborn as a place
where he met what he "sought for, viz.: living proofs of the power of faith,"
and where he stayed twelve days longer than he at first intended.
The tone of his account of Herrnhut is also distinctly friendly,
though he did not unreservedly accept two or three theological statements
made to him, but the long conversations he records prove his joy
at finding sympathy, and confirmation of what he wanted to believe
concerning justification by faith, and the fact that a weak faith
was still a real faith, and as such should be cherished and strengthened,
not despised. He could not have been greatly influenced against the Moravians
by his visit to Halle, for each time he stayed but one night,
and on the first occasion Professor Francke was not at home, nor were
their arguments new to him, that they should have impressed him deeply.
It frequently happens that when a controversy has arisen between friends,
both parties look backward and read into former words and deeds
a meaning they did not have at the time they transpired,
and most probably this is what has happened in regard to the trip to Germany
and its effect on Wesley.
Immediately on his return to England, Wesley began
an active religious campaign, drawing such crowds of all kinds of people
that the various churches in turn closed their doors upon him,
and eight months later he followed Whitefield into open air preaching,
after consultation with the Fetter Lane Society. This Society
had been organized at the time of Bõhler's visit to London,
and was composed of members of the earlier Methodist societies,
Germans residing in London, and English who had been interested in salvation
by Zinzendorf and the Moravian companies bound for Georgia.
It had met in the home of James Hutton until it outgrew the rooms,
and was then transferred to the Chapel at 32 Fetter Lane.
It was an independent Society, with no organic connection
with the Moravian Church, and the religious work was carried on
under the leadership of John Wesley, and, in his frequent absences,
by James Hutton and others who leaned strongly toward the Moravians,
some of whose customs had been adopted by the Society.
The Hutton "Memoirs" state that Wesley made an effort to break off intercourse
between the Society and the Moravians soon after his return from Germany,
but failed, and matters continued to move smoothly until about the time
that Wesley began his field preaching. During the subsequent months
disputes arose among the members, largely on account of views introduced
by Philip Henry Molther, who at that time had a tendency toward "Quietism".
Molther was detained for some time in England, waiting for a ship
to take him to Pennsylvania, he having received a call to labor
in the Moravian Churches there, and being a fluent speaker
he learned English rapidly and made a deep impression on many hearers.
Wesley was much hurt by the dissensions in his Society,
and entirely opposed to Molther's views, and after several efforts
to bring all the members back to his own position, he, on Sunday,
July 31st, 1740, solemnly and definitely condemned the "errors" and withdrew
from the Fetter Lane Society, adding "You that are of the same judgment,
follow me." About twenty-five of the men and "seven or eight and forty
likewise of the fifty women that were in the band" accepted his invitation,
and with them he organized the "Foundry Society". Into the Foundry Society
and the many others organized among his converts, Wesley introduced lovefeasts
and "bands" (or "classes",) both familiar to him from the Fetter Lane Society,
which had copied them from the Moravians. When his societies grew so numerous
that he could not personally serve them all he selected lay assistants,
and then "became convinced that presbyter and bishop are of the same order,
and that he had as good a right to ordain as to administer the Sacraments."
He, therefore, ordained bishops for America, and Scotland,
and registered his chapels in order to protect them, according to
the Act of Toleration. This gave the Methodist body a separate legal status,
but Wesley always claimed that he was still a member of the Church of England,
and would not allow the preachers of his English societies
to administer the Sacraments, a right which was finally granted them
by the Methodist Conference after his death.
When Benjamin Ingham returned from Georgia he commenced to preach the Gospel
in Yorkshire, his native place, and at the time of his journey to Germany
a promising work was begun there. From Herrnhut he wrote to Count Zinzendorf
asking that Tõltschig be permitted to visit him in England,
and the request was granted a few months later. Meanwhile Ingham's work
prospered mightily, so that in June, 1739, he was forbidden the use
of the churches, and forced to imitate Wesley and preach in the open air.
Some forty societies were formed, and in November, Tõltschig went to him,
making many friends among the people, repeating his visit at intervals
during the following months.
The intimacy between Ingham and the Moravians became closer and closer,
and in July, 1742, he formally handed over the care of his societies
in Yorkshire and Lascashire to the Moravian Church, himself going
into new fields, and then giving new societies into their keeping.
It has often been stated that Ingham was a Moravian, but this is a mistake.
During these years he worked with them shoulder to shoulder,
but there is no record of his having been received into their Church
as a member, nor did they reordain him into their ministry.
The situation would be more strange to-day than it was then,
for there was apparent chaos in England, the Spirit of God
moving upon the face of the waters before "light shone,
and order from disorder sprung," and the Moravians did not care to emphasize
their independence of the Anglican Church lest it injure their usefulness.
In 1744, when England was threatened with a French invasion,
a number of loyal addresses were presented to the King,
and among them one from the "United Brethren in England,
in union with the ancient Protestant Episcopal Bohemian and Moravian church,"
a designation selected after long and careful discussion
as to a true term which would avoid placing them among the Dissenters
from the Church of England.
When the Moravians took over the Yorkshire Societies in 1742
they established headquarters at Smith House, near Halifax,
but this not proving permanently available, Ingham, in 1744,
bought an estate near Pudsey, where the Moravians planted
a settlement which they called "Lamb's Hill", later "Fulneck".
In 1746 and 1749 Ingham presented to the Moravians the ground on which
the Chapel and two other houses stood, but for the rest they paid him
an annual rent. The property is now held of Ingham's descendents
on a lease for five hundred years.
In 1753 Ingham withdrew from his close association with the Moravians,
and established a new circle of societies, himself ordaining
the ministers who served them. These societies flourished for a while,
but about 1759 Ingham became imbued with the doctrines of a certain Sandeman,
and the result was the almost total wrecking of his societies.
This broke Ingham's heart, and affected his mind, so that his last days
were very sad. He passed away in 1772, and his societies
gradually merged themselves into other churches.
John Tõltschig, Ingham's friend in Georgia and his co-laborer in Yorkshire,
came to England in November, 1739, in company with Hutton,
who had been to Germany to form a closer acquaintance with the Moravians.
After the debt to the Trustees was paid, Tõltschig had eagerly planned
new things for Georgia,—extension of work among the Indians,
a settlement further up the Savannah River, the strengthening
of the Savannah Congregation, from which missionaries could be drawn
and by which they should be supported while laboring among the heathen tribes.
He offered to return to America at once, ready for any duty,
but requesting that he might not be sole financial manager again,
as he had found it most difficult to attend to those duties,
and at the same time share in the spiritual work.
The elders of the Church, after carefully weighing all the circumstances,
decided not to send him back to Georgia, but that he should go to England,
to labor in the Fetter Lane Society, and among its friends.
The first step was a visit to Ingham in Yorkshire, and the reception given him
was so cordial and the field so promising that he went again, and yet again.
Bõhler and Spangenberg returned to England and traveled hither and thither
in response to the calls that came from every side, other members aided
as they could, and the societies under their direction grew apace.
Fetter Lane Society was organized into a congregation in November, 1742,
and the others followed in due time. The Moravian Church
was introduced into Ireland, and took a firm hold there.
In England its successes were paralleled with much opposition, and in 1749,
after several years of preparation, an appeal was made to Parliament
for recognition as a Protestant Episcopal Church, with full liberty
of conscience and worship throughout Great Britain and her colonies.
General Oglethorpe warmly championed their cause, and after
a thorough investigation of Moravian history and doctrine,
the bill was passed, May 12th, 1749, and the Moravian right
to liberty of worship, freedom from military service,
and exemption from oath-taking was unreservedly granted.
While not involved in these Parliamentary proceedings,
Tõltschig played an important part in the development of the Moravian Church
in England and Ireland. Although he had great success as a preacher,
his especial talents were as an organizer, and as leader of the "bands",
as might be expected of a man with a judicial mind, executive ability,
and great tact. He was Elder of the "Pilgrim Congregation"
formed at Fetter Lane in May, 1742, a congregation composed exclusively
of "laborers" in the Lord's vineyard, and he was also one of the committee
charged with the oversight of the general work.
In February, 1748, he went to Ireland, as superintendent
of the societies there, some of which had been organized by Wesley,
but now wished to unite with the Moravians. In 1752 he conducted
a company of colonists to Pennsylvania, but the next year
went back to Ireland, where certain troubles had arisen
which he could quiet better than any one else.
After Zinzendorf's death in 1760, Tõltschig was one of that company
of leading men who met in Herrnhut to provide for the immediate needs
of the Moravian Church, whose enemies prophesied disintegration
upon the death of the man who had been at its head for more than thirty years.
These predictions failed of fulfillment, and "it was demonstrated
that the Lord had further employment for the Unitas Fratrum."
Less renowned than many of his confreres, Tõltschig was a type
of that class of Moravians who carried their Church
through slight and blight into the respect and good-will of the world.
Industrious and scrupulously exact in business affairs,
courteous and considerate in his dealings with others,
firm and fearless in matters of conscience, bold to declare his faith,
and witness for his Master, energetic and "conservatively progressive"
in promoting the growth of his church, he took little part
in the controversies of his day, but devoted himself unreservedly
to preaching the Gospel as it was read by John Hus, by the founders
of the ancient Unitas Fratrum, by the renewers of that Church in Herrnhut,
"Salvation by faith in Christ and real Christian living
according to the precepts of the Bible."
The Negro Mission.
John Tõltschig had been the diarist of the Moravian Congregation
in Savannah, as well as their treasurer and most able member,
and after he left very little record was kept of the daily occurrences.
A few stray letters have been preserved, but little of interest
appears therein, beyond the facts that the summer of 1738 was hot and dry,
and that the Moravians were not molested, although always conscious
of the under-current of antagonism.
Some time during these months Matthias Seybold left for Pennsylvania,
where he married, and was one of the company that established the settlement
at Bethlehem. He returned to Europe in 1742, and died at Herrnhut in 1787.
In May, the Rev. George Whitefield reached Georgia, "authorized to perform
all religious offices as Deacon of the Church of England,
in Savannah and Frederica," in the place of John Wesley.
The poverty of the people touched him deeply, he distributed to the most needy
such sums as he had brought for their relief, and with James Habersham,
who had come over at the same time, he agreed upon the erection
of an Orphan House. Whitefield visited Ebenezer, and acquainted himself
with conditions there and elsewhere, and then returned to England, in August,
to raise funds for his Orphan House, Habersham meanwhile beginning
to collect and instruct the most neglected children.
During his stay in Georgia, Whitefield lodged with Charles Delamotte,
who was still carrying on the little school. During the winter
Delamotte had boarded for a while with the Moravians,
and when he returned to England in the autumn, he at once associated himself
with the English members. Tyerman in his Life and Times of John Wesley,
says, "On his return to England, Charles Delamotte became a Moravian,
settled at Barrow-upon-Humber, where he spent a long life of piety and peace,
and died in 1790."
On the 16th of October, Peter Bõhler and George Schulius
arrived in Savannah, accompanied by the lad, Simon Peter Harper.
They came as missionaries to the negroes of Carolina,
the hearts of various philanthropic Englishmen having been touched
by reports of the condition of these half wild savages recently imported
from the shores of Africa to till the fields of the New World.
The plan originated during Count Zinzendorf's visit to London,
in February, 1737, when it was suggested to him that such a mission
should be begun by two Moravian men, under the auspices of
"the associates of the late Dr. Bray".
Thomas Bray, an English divine, was born in 1656, made several
missionary trips to America, and in 1697 organized a society
for the propagation of the Gospel in the English Colonies.
He died in 1730, but the work was continued by his "associates",
many of whom were also interested in the Georgia Colony.
As this mission was to be under their direction, "the associates
of the late Dr. Bray" wished to be very sure that the doctrine and rules
of the Unitas Fratrum did not conflict with the Church of England,
but being assured by the Archbishop of Canterbury that he considered them
as agreeing in all essential points, they closed an agreement with Zinzendorf
whereby the Count received 30 Pounds with which to prepare "two Brethren
to reside for the instruction of the Negroes at such place in Carolina
as the said associates shall direct." The missionaries,
when they had entered upon their work, were to receive a salary,
"not exceeding thirty pounds a year," from the "associates".
For this missionary enterprise, so much to his liking, Zinzendorf appointed
"one of my chaplains, master Bõhler," and "Schulius, a Moravian brother,"
who with Richter and Wenzel Neisser arrived in London, February 18th, 1738.
At the house of their friend Wynantz, the Dutch merchant,
they met John Wesley, who offered to secure them a pleasant,
inexpensive lodging near James Hutton's, where he was staying.
Peter Bõhler had been a student at Jena when Spangenberg
was lecturing there, and was himself a professor at that seat of learning
when he decided to accept Zinzendorf's call to mission work,
and join the Moravians, with whom he had been for a long time in sympathy.
Like Spangenberg he was a highly educated man, and an able leader,
fitted to play an important part in the Church of his adoption.
In December, 1737, he was ordained at Herrnhut by the bishops,
David Nitschmann and Count Zinzendorf, and in later years he, too,
became a bishop of the Unity.
On the 22nd of February, Bõhler and his companions
called on Gen. Oglethorpe, who at first supposed they were simply going over
to join the Savannah congregation. Bõhler explained that Richter,
who spoke French as well as German, had come as the Agent of the Moravians,
in accordance with the suggestion made by the Trustees to Bishop Nitschmann
in 1736; that Wenzel Neisser was going on an official visitation to America,
especially to the West Indies; and that he and Schulius were the missionaries
promised by Count Zinzendorf for work among the negroes in Carolina.
The General courteously invited them to confer with him further,
either by letter or in person, and offered to take them with him,
as he expected shortly to sail for Georgia with his regiment.
Later, when they wished to come to a definite agreement with Oglethorpe,
who represented the "associates of Dr. Bray", they experienced
some difficulty, owing to the fact that a letter of introduction
Oglethorpe expected to receive from Count Zinzendorf had failed to arrive,
but the exhibition of their passports, and Richter's explanation
that Zinzendorf thought (from newspaper notices) that Oglethorpe
had already left England, enabled Bõhler and Schulius to establish
their identity. So soon as Zinzendorf heard that his word was needed,
he sent them a formal letter of introduction to Oglethorpe,
which was gladly received as corroboration of their statements.
The Moravians were at their own expense while waiting in London,
but Oglethorpe promised that they should be provided with Bibles, grammars,
and other things they might need for the negro school.
Being detained in London for three months, instead of three weeks
as they expected, Bõhler and his friend had ample opportunity
to make acquaintances in the metropolis. They sent word of their arrival
to those Germans who had learned to know Zinzendorf
and the earlier Moravian emigrants to Georgia, and on the first Sunday
"the brethren", (as they affectionately called all who, like themselves,
were interested in living a Christian life,) came to them,
and a series of meetings for prayer, conference, and instruction was begun.
Bõhler was a man of attractive personality, and convincing earnestness,
and in spite of his slight knowledge of their language
many English also became interested and formed a society similar to that
begun by Zinzendorf, the two soon uniting in the Fetter Lane Society.
Ten days after Bõhler reached London he accepted an invitation
from the two Wesleys, and went with them to Oxford.
There he was most kindly received, preached in Latin once or twice each day,
and had many private conversations with inquirers.
Among those with whom he became acquainted was the Rev. John Gambold,
who later became a bishop in the Moravian Church, and many others
were mightily stirred to seek the salvation of their souls.
Noting how little English Bõhler and Schulius knew,
Gen. Oglethorpe offered them a boy who was bright and intelligent,
could speak both English and German, and understood some French,
and they found him so serviceable that they asked and obtained permission
to take him with them to Carolina.
Through Wesley, Bõhler heard that Gen. Oglethorpe was much surprised
at the speed with which he acquired English, and that he had asked
whether Bõhler would consent to serve as Minister of the Church of England
in Savannah, if that Congregation remained without a pastor.
Bõhler expressed his willingness to preach at any time,
but declined to administer the Sacraments for any denomination except his own,
so the appointment was not made.
On the 28th of April, the baggage of the Missionaries
was put aboard the `Union Galley', Capt. Moberley, with instructions
that Bõhler and his companions should join her at Portsmouth.
Neisser was to go with them to Georgia, and from there,
as opportunity offered, to St. Thomas, but while the ship lay at Portsmouth
other instructions reached him, and Oglethorpe kindly made no objection
to his withdrawing his box and staying behind, though he did not
quite understand it.
On the 15th of May, Peter Bõhler, George Schulius,
and the lad Simon Peter Harper, left London, but finding the ship
not yet ready to sail, they, by Oglethorpe's instructions,
went to Southampton where some of the vessels were lying.
Returning to Portsmouth they embarked on May 22nd, and soon found
they were "to dwell in Sodom and Gomorrah" during their voyage.
On the 30th the fleet sailed to Southampton for the soldiers,
and when they came aboard four days later "Sodom and Gomorrah
were fully reproduced." As the ships lay off Spithead
a conspiracy was discovered,—the soldiers on one vessel
had planned to kill their officers, take what money they could find,
and escape to France. During the voyage there were several fights
among the soldiers, or between them and the sailors, and in one drunken riot
a soldier cut off a young girl's hand. "The Lord was our defense and shield,
and we were among them like Daniel in the midst of the lions," wrote Bõhler,
for the quiet, Bible-reading Moravians found little to like
in their rough associates, who cared for them just as little,
and wished they could be thrown overboard.
The ships put to sea July 16th and reached the Madeiras on the 29th,
where they were detained until the 8th of August. Bõhler and Schulius
went on shore a number of times, were courteously treated
by the most prominent Catholic priest there, climbed a mountain
for the exercise, and particularly enjoyed their escape
from turmoil and confusion. The captain, who had taken a dislike to them,
tried to prevent their leaving the ship, but Oglethorpe stood their friend,
and ordered that they should have entire liberty. For Bõhler,
as for many who had preceded him, Georgia and Carolina were to be a school
where great life lessons would be learned. Fresh from the University halls
of Jena, he had met the students of Oxford on equal footing,
quickly winning their respect and admiration, but these soldiers and sailors,
restless, eager for excitement, rude and unlettered, were a new thing to him,
a book written in a language to which he had no key. Later he would learn
to find some point of contact with the unlearned as well as the learned,
with the negro slave and the Yorkshire collier as well as
the student of theology, but just now his impulse was to hold himself aloof
and let their wild spirits dash against him like waves about the base
of a lighthouse which sends a clear, strong beam across the deep,
but has few rays for the tossing billows just beneath.
On the 18th of September land was sighted, and on the 29th
the fleet anchored in the harbor of St. Simon's Island,
and with grateful hearts the Moravians watched the landing of the soldiers.
On the 4th of October they transferred their baggage
to a sloop bound for Savannah, which sailed the 6th,
but on account of head winds did not reach Savannah until the 16th.
The Moravians still at Savannah came in a boat to welcome them,
and take them to their house, but Bõhler was anxious
to see the scene of his future labors, and stayed in town only a few days,
leaving on the 21st for a tour through Carolina. Schulius accompanied him
all the way, and several others as far as the Indian town
where Rose was living with his wife and child. Here they talked
of many things regarding the Savannah Congregation,
but on the following afternoon the missionaries went on their way,
Zeisberger, Haberland, Bõhner and Regnier accompanying them to Purisburg.
There Bõhler and Schulius lodged with one of the Swiss
who had come to Georgia with Spangenberg and the first company.
His wife expressed the wish that the Moravians in Savannah
would take her thirteen-year-old daughter the following winter,
and give her instruction, for which she would gladly pay.
Bõhler took occasion to speak to the couple about salvation and the Saviour,
and they appeared to be moved. Indeed this was the main theme
of all his conversations. To the owners of the plantations visited,
he spoke of their personal needs, and their responsibility
for the souls of their slaves; while to the slaves he told the love of God,
filling them with wonder, for most of them were newly imported
from the wilds of Africa, and suspicious even of kindness.
Many knew little of the English tongue, and the few
who could understand his words had not yet learned that there was a God
who cared how they lived or what became of them. Their masters, as a rule,
thought the missionaries were attempting an almost hopeless task
in trying to lift these negroes above the brute creation,
but were quite willing to give permission and an opportunity to reach them,
and on this tour Bõhler found only one land-owner who refused his consent.
Purisburg had been named as the location of the negro school,
but Bõhler found there were very few negroes in the town,
which had been largely settled by Swiss, who had not prospered greatly
and had bought few slaves. The nearest plantation employing negroes
was five miles distant, and only seven lived there,
so the outlook was far from encouraging at that point.
Bõhler and Schulius then made their way from one plantation to another,
until they reached Charlestown. The Rev. Mr. Garden,
to whom they had a letter of introduction, advised that the school
should be begun in Charlestown, where there was a large negro population,
perhaps a thousand souls. This was more than could be found
on any single plantation in Carolina, and as the slaves
were strictly forbidden to go from one plantation to another
it would hardly be possible to find another place where so many
could be reached at the same time. Bõhler and Schulius
were much impressed with the advantages offered, especially as Mr. Garden
promised all the assistance he could give, and they debated
whether Schulius should not stay and begin at once,
while Bõhler returned to report to Oglethorpe. The lot was finally tried,
and the direction received that they should carefully study the situation
but wait until later to commence work. Therefore on the 1st of November
the two companions set out for Savannah, which they reached in eight days.
The following weeks were a sore trial for the missionaries.
With a promising field in sight, and eager to commence work in it,
they were obliged to wait for Oglethorpe's permission,
and Oglethorpe was very busy on the frontier establishing the outposts
for which his regiment had been brought over. When he did return to Savannah,
it was only for a few hours, and he was in no frame of mind
for a long argument of pros and cons. He told Bõhler rather testily
that they should not go to Charlestown with his consent;
that if they were not willing to follow the plan for Purisburg
he would have nothing more to do with them; and that if they wanted
to talk further they must wait till he came again.
Bõhler and Schulius wished themselves free to proceed without his consent,
wished they had not entered into an agreement with "the associates
of the late Dr. Bray", but under the circumstances felt themselves bound
to give the work at Purisburg a fair trial. In December, Schulius went
to Purisburg to look over the field, and make acquaintance with the people,
while Bõhler waited at Savannah for Oglethorpe, and finally,
when his patience was quite exhausted, followed the General to St. Simons.
Oglethorpe persisted in his intention to have the school at Purisburg,
and when he learned that his wishes would be obeyed
he gave instructions for the renting of a large house and two acres of ground,
and for supplies to be furnished from the store at Savannah.
In February, 1739, therefore, Bõhler and Schulius settled in Purisburg.
Young Harper seems to have been with them in Purisburg
on some of their earlier visits, but was sent temporarily to Savannah,
and as he does not reappear in the records, he probably went back
to his English home. David Zeisberger, Jr., joined Bõhler
and was his willing helper in many ways.
At first the outlook was rather more promising than they expected.
There were very few colored children for the school,
but "daily more were bought and born," there was some interest aroused
among the older negroes, and the owners were disposed to be friendly,
and allow the missionaries free access to their slaves.
The German and Swiss settlers were unaffectedly glad to have the Moravians
in their midst, and begged for religious services, and instruction
for their children, so Bõhler and Schulius agreed on a division of labor,
the latter to devote himself to the white residents and their little ones,
while Bõhler spent most of his time visiting adjoining plantations.
But when the warm weather came Bõhler was taken with fever,
and from June to October he suffered severely. From time to time
he was able to be up, and even to visit Savannah, but he was so weak
and his feet were so badly swollen that walking was very difficult,
and of course missionary tours were impossible.
On the 4th of August, George Schulius died, after an illness
of eighteen days' duration. Bõhler was in Savannah when he was taken sick,
but returned in time to nurse him, to soothe him in delirium,
and to lay him to rest amid the lamentations of the Purisburg residents.
At his death the school for white children was given up,
for Bõhler was too weak to shoulder the additional load,
and felt that his first duty was to the negroes. In September,
Oglethorpe was in Savannah, and after much difficulty
Bõhler obtained speech with him, and succeeded in convincing him
that a negro school at Purisburg was hopeless. He approved of Bõhler's plan
to itinerate among the plantations and promised that both
his own and Schulius' salaries should be paid him, that he might be supplied
for traveling expenses. In November, when his health was restored,
Bõhler wished to make his first journey, but the storekeeper
declined to pay him any money until the expiration of the quarter year.
When he went again at the appointed time the storekeeper refused
to pay anything without a new order from Oglethorpe, except the remainder
of the first year's salary, now long overdue. Bõhler concluded
that the man had received private instructions from Oglethorpe,
and that his services were no longer desired by the representative
of "the associates", so in January, 1740, he gave up further thought
of obligation to them, and prepared to go on his own account.
He planned to go by boat to Purisburg and from there on foot
through Carolina to Charlestown, but on the way up the Savannah River
the canoe was overtaken by a severe thunderstorm, and forced to land.
Knowing that a sloop would sail in two days he returned to Savannah,
meaning to go to Charlestown on her, but on trying the lot
he received direction to wait for the present in Savannah.
While Bõhler was making his attempt among the negroes,
some changes were taking place in the Savannah Congregation.
He had been very much distressed by the condition he found when he arrived,
for owing partly to their many difficulties and partly to Seifert's absence
among the Indians, no Communion had been celebrated for a year,
and the "bands" had been dropped. The Bible and prayer gatherings
were steadily observed, but it seemed to him there was a lack of harmony
among the members, and they were by no means ready to take him at once
into their confidence. Seifert, too, was not well, and had been obliged
to leave the Indians, and return to Savannah.
The Indian work was most discouraging, for the men were careless and drunken,
and in January, 1739, even Rose gave up, and moved back to Savannah
with his family. In October, Tomochichi died, and was buried with great pomp
in Percival Square in Savannah. The Moravians were asked to furnish music
at the funeral, but declined, and it was hardly missed
amid the firing of minute guns, and three volleys over his grave.
After his death his little village was abandoned, and the question
of further missionary efforts there settled itself.
During the winter John Regnier became deeply incensed at some plain speaking
from Schulius, and decided to leave at once for Europe,
the Congregation paying his way. He probably went to Herrnhut,
as that had been his intention some months previously, and later he served
as a missionary in Surinam. In after years he returned to Pennsylvania,
where he joined those who were inimical to the Moravians.
Peter Rose, his wife and daughter left for Pennsylvania
soon after their withdrawal from Irene. They settled in Germantown,
and there Peter died March 12th, 1740. Catherine married John Michael Huber
in 1742, who died five years later on a voyage to the West Indies.
Being for the third time a widow, she became one of the first occupants
of the Widows' House in Bethlehem, and served as a Deaconess for many years,
dying in 1798. Mary Magdalena became the wife of Rev. Paul Peter Bader
On August 10th, 1739, John Michael Schober died after a brief illness,
the ninth of the Moravian colonists to find their final resting place
beside the Savannah River.
In September, General Oglethorpe received instructions
to make reprisals on the Spanish for their depredations
on the southern borders of the Georgia Province. He rightly judged this
to be the precursor of open hostilities, and hastened his preparations
to put Carolina and Georgia in a state of defense. In October
the British Government declared war on Spain, and November witnessed
the beginning of fighting in the Colonies. Of course this meant
a re-opening of the old discussion as to the Moravians' liability for service,
a repetition of the old arguments, and a renewal of the popular indignation.
Oglethorpe was fairly considerate of them, thought Zinzendorf ought
to have provided for two men, but added that he did not want
the Moravians driven away. Still the situation was uncomfortable,
and the Moravians began to make arrangements for their final departure.
By this time Bõhler had won his way into the confidence
of the Savannah congregation, and had learned that he was not the only one
who had the Lord's interests at heart. With Seifert again
in charge of affairs, the religious services had taken on new life,
and on October 18th, John Martin Mack was confirmed. Judith Tõltschig,
however, gave them great concern, and her brother Michael Haberland
sided with her, so that the company gladly saw them sail for Germany
in the latter part of January, 1740. There Michael married,
and returned to America in May, 1749, as one of the large company
which came to settle in Bethlehem, where he died in 1783.
Judith joined her husband in England, and in 1742 was serving
as "sick-waiter" of the Pilgrim Congregation in London.
This left only six Moravians in Savannah, for John Bõhner
had already started for Pennsylvania on January 20th.
He had a very sore arm which they hoped would be benefited by the change,
and he was commissioned to try and gather together the members
who had preceded him, and to make arrangements for the reception
of the remnant which was soon to follow. He aided faithfully
during the early days of the settlement at Nazareth and Bethlehem,
and in 1742 went as a missionary to the island of St. Thomas,
where he labored earnestly and successfully for the rest of his life,
and died in 1787.
Nothing now remained for the members still in Savannah,
but to so arrange matters that they might leave on the first opportunity.
Oglethorpe had already bought their trumpets and French horns at a good price,
but they needed to sell their rice and household furniture
to provide sufficient funds for their journey. This was happily arranged
on the 2nd of February, when George Whitefield, who had reached Savannah
for the second time a few days before, came to see them, promised to buy
all they cared to sell, and offered them free passage to Pennsylvania.
This offer they gratefully accepted, receiving 37 Pounds
for their household goods, and on April 13th, 1740, they sailed
with Whitefield on his sloop the Savannah, Captain Thomas Gladman.
Their land and improvements were left in the hands of an Agent,
and the town house was rented to some of Whitefield's followers
for a hospital.
With the Moravians went the two boys, Benjamin Somers and James __,
who had been given into their hands by the Savannah magistrates in 1735,
and a young woman, Johanna Hummel, of Purisburg. The two lads gave them
much trouble in Pennsylvania, and Benjamin was finally bound out in 1748,
while James ran away. Johanna married John Bõhner, and sailed with him
to the West Indies in 1742, but died at sea before reaching there.
Bõhler and his company expected to find Spangenberg and Bishop Nitschmann
in Pennsylvania, and were much disappointed to learn that both were absent.
They scarcely knew what to do, but Bõhler held them together,
and when Whitefield decided to buy a large tract of land
and build thereon a Negro school, and a town for his English friends
of philanthropic mind, and when the Moravians were offered the task
of erecting the first house there, Bõhler and his companions
gladly accepted the work. Bethlehem followed in due time,
and all were among those who organized that congregation.
David Zeisberger, Sr., died there in 1744, his wife in 1746.
Anton Seifert was appointed Elder, or Pastor of the Bethlehem Congregation,
married, and took an active part in the Church and School work there
and at Nazareth, the latter tract having been purchased from Whitefield
in 1741. April 8th, 1745, he sailed for Europe, laboring in England,
Ireland and Holland, and dying at Zeist in 1785.
John Martin Mack became one of the leaders of the Moravian Church
in its Mission work among the Indians in New York, Connecticut and Ohio
until 1760, when he was sent to the negro slaves on St. Thomas,
preaching also on St. Croix and St. Jan, and the English West Indies.
He was ordained to the ministry November 13th, 1742,
and was consecrated bishop October 18th, 1770, during a visit to Pennsylvania,
this being the first Episcopal consecration in the American Province
of the Moravian Church. He was married four times, his last wife passing away
two years before his departure. He died June 9th, 1784,
and was buried in the presence of a great concourse of people,—negro converts, planters, government officers and the Governor-General.
David Zeisberger, Jr., lived a life so abundant in labors,
so picturesque in experiences that a brief outline utterly fails
to give any conception of it. "The apostle of the Western Indians
traversed Massachusetts and Connecticut, New York, Pennsylvania and Ohio,
entered Michigan and Canada, preaching to many nations in many tongues.
He brought the Gospel to the Mohicans and Wampanoags,
to the Nanticokes and Shawanese, to the Chippewas, Ottowas and Wyandots,
to the Unamis, Unalachtgos and Monseys of the Delaware race,
to the Onondagas, Cayugas and Senecas of the Six Nations.
Speaking the Delaware language fluently, as well as
the Mohawk and Onondaga dialects of the Iroquois; familiar with
the Cayuga and other tongues; an adopted sachem of the Six Nations;
naturalized among the Monseys by a formal act of the tribe;
swaying for a number of years the Grand Council of the Delawares;
at one time Keeper of the Archives of the Iroquois Confederacy;
versed in the customs of the aborigines; adapting himself
to their mode of thought, and, by long habit, a native in many of his ways;—no Protestant missionary and few men of any other calling,
ever exercised more real influence and was more sincerely honored
among the Indians; and no one, except the Catholic evangelists,
with whom the form of baptism was the end of their work,
exceeded him in the frequency and hardships of his journeys through
the wilderness, the numbers whom he received into the Church of Christ,
and brought to a consistent practice of Christianity,
and conversion of characters most depraved, ferocious and desperate."
"Nor must we look upon Zeisberger as a missionary only;
he was one of the most notable pioneers of civilization
our country has ever known. * * * Thirteen villages sprang up
at his bidding, where native agents prepared the way
for the husbandman and the mechanic of the coming race."
"He was not only bold in God, fearless and full of courage,
but also lowly of heart, meek of spirit, never thinking highly of himself.
Selfishness was unknown to him. His heart poured out a stream of love
to his fellowmen. In a word, his character was upright, honest,
loving and noble, as free from faults as can be expected of any man
this side of the grave."(1)
He died at Goshen, Ohio, Nov. 17th, 1808, having labored among the Indians
for sixty years.
Like Spangenberg, Peter Bõhler's story belongs to the whole Moravian Church,
rather than to the Georgia colony. His time was divided
between England and America, in both of which spheres
he labored most successfully. Jan. 10th, 1748, he was consecrated bishop
at Marienborn, Germany. After Zinzendorf's death he helped frame
the new Church constitution, and in 1769 was elected to the governing board
of the entire Unitas Fratrum. He died in London, April 20th, 1774,
having been there for a year on a visitation to the English congregations
of the Moravian Church.__________
(1)Life and Times of David Zeisberger, by Rt. Rev. Edmund de Schweinitz.
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