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In Their Own Words

June 13, 1738

Oglethorpe Letter on Tricky Spanish Relations

In a letter to fellow Trustee the Earl of Egmont, James Oglethorpe wrote from Frederica:

“The Governour of Augustine is wonderful civil, but I believe the reason is patience perforce. We are as civil but will not trust them, nor permit any of their boats, not so much as one of their men, to come amongst us, but correspond by sea from Charles Town… .

“They [Spanish officials in St. Augustine] receive runaway Negroes and have strove to bribe our Indians among us. But my party among the Creeks, particularly those who were in England, stick firmly to us. Yet there are some priests and other sent up by the French and Spaniards with presents to bribe the mercenary part, so that my friends in the [Creek] Nation have invited me to come us. They are to have a general meeting in July, where they either will renew their assurances of fidelity to the King or go into the Spanish interest. My friends have sent down to invite me to be there and do not doubt but my presence will entirely settle them in an unanimous resolution to adhere to His Majesty. There are 1500 warriors belonging to this Nation. Their meeting is to be at a town of the Coweta about 500 miles from the sea … .

“This would have been an excellent occasion for introducing a missionary had I had a good one here.”

Source: Mills Lane (ed.), General Oglethorpe’s Georgia: Colonial Letters, 1733-1743 (Savannah: Beehive Press, 1990), p. 405.