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In Their Own Words

July 14, 1740

Slave Loyalty Questioned

From Ebenezer, Johann Martin Boltzius recorded concern about the loyalty of black slaves in South Carolina:

“In the current circumstances of war we are most troubled because of the black slaves in Carolina, who only recently in Santy [Santee], a city beyond Charlestown, would have stormed the church on Sunday and slaughtered the people there, had they not been betrayed by two Negroes. The whole country is overload with these black folk, and many a planter in Charlestown has some hundreds of such slaves, and not even one white or European for an overseer. Rather the Negroes born in this country, if they are considered loyal, are placed over the others as drivers. I was told that, because many whites had gone to war from Carolina against the Spaniards, the masters themselves in Charlestown are moving to New York or Pennsylvania from fear of their slaves. This will, of course, become known to the Negroes, who are very sly and suspicious. To be sure, for some time no more Negroes have been allowed to be brought to Carolina, but there are already some thirty thousands in the country. They are all, very few excepted, treated very harshly and barbarously, which will lead to troubling consequences, if the Lord does not hold back His judgments… .”

Source: George Fenwick Jones and Don Savelle (ed. and trans.), Detailed Reports on the Salzburger Emigrants Who Settled in America … Edited by Samuel Urlsperger (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1983), Vol. VII, pp. 190-191.