Desires to Go Among the Indians
Tuesday, November 23.—Mr. Oglethorpe sailed for England, leaving Mr. Ingham, Mr. Delamotte, and me at Savannah, but with less prospect of preaching to the Indians than we had the first day we set foot in America. Whenever I mentioned it, it was immediately replied, “You cannot leave Savannah without a minister.”
To this indeed my plain answer was, “I know not that I am under any obligation to the contrary. I never promised to stay here one month. I openly declared both before, at, and ever since, my coming hither that I neither would nor could take charge of the English any longer than till I could go among the Indians.” If it was said, “But did not the trustees of Georgia appoint you to be minister of Savannah?” I replied, “They did; but it was not done by my solicitation: it was done without either my desire or knowledge. Therefore, I cannot conceive that appointment to lay me under any obligation of continuing there any longer than till a door is opened to the heathens; and this I expressly declared at the time I consented to accept of that appointment.”
But though I had no other obligation not to leave Savannah now, yet that of love, I could not break through: I could not resist the importunate request of the more serious parishioners, “to watch over their souls yet a little longer, till someone came who might supply my place.” And this I the more willingly did, because the time was not come to preach the gospel of peace to the heathens, all their nations being in a ferment; and Paustoobee and Mingo Mattaw having told me, in terms, in my own house, “Now our enemies are all about us, and we can do nothing but fight; but if the beloved ones should ever give us to be at peace, then we would hear the great Word.”
Wednesday, December 23.—Mr. Delamotte and I, with a guide, set out to walk to the Cowpen. When we had walked two or three hours, our guide told us plainly he did not know where we were. However, believing it could not be far off, we though it best to go on. In an hour or two we came to a cypress swamp, which lay directly across our way; there was not time to walk back to Savannah before night, so we walked through it, the water being about breast high.
By the time we had gone a mile beyond it, we were out of all path; and it being now past sunset, we sat down, intending to make a fire and to stay there till morning; but finding our tinder wet, we were at a stand. I advised to walk on still; but my companions, being faint and weary, were for lying down, which we accordingly did about six o’clock; the ground was as wet as our clothes, which it being a sharp frost, were soon frozen together; however, I slept till six in the morning. There fell a heavy dew in the night which covered us over as white as snow. Within an hour after sunrise, we came to a plantation, and in the evening, without any hurt, to Savannah.