Letter from Mr. Samuel Eveleigh to Mr. Martyn dated at So. Carolina 10th Septr. 1735
About a fortnight since I came from Georgia where I had been three months and a half waiting the Arrival of three Vessels; Two of which arrive, and the third here where I stop’d her, but design She shall go (when laden) within Tybee and come to an Anchor off of Cock Spur Island and take in some Skins that are ready, and so proceed for Bristol.
A little before I came from Georgia I received your acceptable favour of the first of May and am sorry I am obliged to acquaint You that I did not find things answer there as I expected, for I found the Lumber to cost me (being cut by white People) four times as much more than if I had brought the Scooner into one of the Rivers of this Province and have got her loaded here.
I take notice that the Trustees has pass’d an Act (which has the Royal Approbation) against the Importation and Use of Negroes in their Province, And that it was the general received Opinion that it was a necessary and usefull Act. But I do assure You that here, where they ought at least to be better acquainted in these Affairs than the Gentlemen in England, they are of far different Sentiments, and they all unanimously agree (at least Such as I have talk’d with) that without Negroes Georgia can never be a Colony of any great Consequence. But since the Trustees have thought it fit to pass such a Law I shall say no more, only make this one Remark. That I observed (whilst at Georgia) great Quantitys of choice good land for Rice and am positive that that Commodity can’t in any great Quantitys be produced by white People, because the Work is too laborious, the heat very intent, and the Whites cannot work in the wet at that Season of the Year as Negroes do to weed the Rice.
I took a Trip from thence down to an Island called Ossebaw about 40 miles to the Southward of Savannah, where I saw a vast Quantity of Live Oak Timber and very convenient Places for building of Ships. And (if my information is right) I presume there can’t be less on that Island or thereabout than what will build a thousand Sail of good Vessels and very convenient. We went about 8 miles up into the Creek very near the Heart of the Island where we came to an open Savannah as Level as a Dice and not a Tree in it, except a few Sassafras and them no bigger than ones Thigh. It is Supposed these were formerly Indian Fields and that they will bear both Corn and Rice, and are also extraordinary good for Cattle; There growing upon it small Canes, Grass and other Weeds as high as one’s Head, for which Reasons I look up on that Island to be very valuable. What we saw of that Land was computed to be 3,000 Acres, and I am informed that at the South West End there is a great deal more of the same Sort, which Land if burnt in the Spring plowed and planted for two or three Years will make extraordinary good Meadow Land: And that would be easy to do, because there’s neither Stumps nor Stones. Besides all the Islands, both small and great, and the Main Land next to the Sea are plentifully Stowed with Live Oak Timber.
The Reason that induced me to desire the two Tracts of Land was upon the Account chiefly of Trade, for the Rent of the Houses in Georgia are extravagantly dear, and such as is not to be born with; I pay there for four little Rooms after the Rate of £60. Sterling p Ann., when upon this Bay I can get as much Room for less than a Quarter of the Money, and better Secured from the Weather.
Since I wrote that Letter I have seen Captain Pennefeather’s Grant for 300 Acres of Land in Georgia. The Terms of which I esteem so unreasonable I should not be willing to lay out any Sum of Money in improving any Land there.
I can’t tell how far they may be able in Georgia to erect Saw Mills; That of Mr. Parker’s I am sensible cannot do as it is. Mr. Augustine was erecting one whilst I was there which carries some Appearance of being brought to Perfection, though I don’t rightly understand it; he desired me to Send up some Saws which I shall do this week, having some that have lain by me a considerable time.
The Design of the Trustees in relieving the poor insolvent Debtors and persecuted Protestants abroad is very human and laudable, and deserves Encouragemt. from every Person that is in a Capacity to assist them. But as my Talent lies chiefly in Trade, by not admitting Negroes will hinder me from what I had Thoughts of, or doing that Service wch. otherwise I might.
I am far from being concerned with any Mines especially Gold and Silver, but if there was a Prospect of such a thing I doubt not but a great many People who have much Money would be glad to be concerned therein, and that laid out in Georgia would be much to the Advantage of that Province.
There are several things I wrote to Mr. Oglethorpe about I should be glad to hear his Opinion of, but as he is shortly expected here and some say as Governor, I shall quickly have his Sentiments thereon.
Your very humble Servant.