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In Their Own Words

July 29, 1739

Spanish Spy Caught

William Stephens recorded the capture of a Spanish spy masquerading as a Jewish doctor:

“…In the Evening, upon Intelligence, that a Person had been skulking in Town, under the Character of a Jew practicing Surgery and Physick, ever since Friday; and giving out, that he came from North-Carolina, intending to go for Frederica, and hoped to get Leave to settle there; it was thought proper to have him taken up, and examined before the Magistrates; which was done: And it appeared by the Testimony of our principal Jews here, that he was not of that Religion: Then; upon asking him what Country he was of, he said, of Germany: But his Complexion not agreeing with that Climate, we could not presently give Credit to it: And moreover it appearing he had his Pockets well stored, and that finding he began to be suspected, he had agreed with some Hands to row him up the River in the Night to some convenient Place, from whence he might travel by Land as far South as Darien; we were more and more confirmed in our Opinions, that he was a dangerous Person: whereupon it was thought needful to have his Pockets well searched, where he had Abundance of Papers, &c. among which, though we could not make a plain Discovery of his Designs, yet many Tokens appeared of his deserving to be taken good Care of: When he found that it was in vain for him to deny, what we could quickly prove, he confessed himself born in Old Spain; that he had been rambling for a few Years past, farther Northward, in the Practice of his Profession, particularly in Virginia and North-Carolina, &c. but had made no Abode in South-Carolina, nor seen Charles- Town for a long while past: But upon looking into his Papers, was evident he was in Charles-Town about a Fortnight or three Weeks since; which, as near as we could guess, was much about the Time that the Spanish Launch was lately there: It was plain that he had gone by several Names; and in short there was sufficient Reason for suspecting strongly that he was no better than a Spy: Whereupon he was committed to the Guard, to be there secured till the next convenient Opportunity of enquiring farther, after having made as stridl an Examination as we could till Midnight.”

Source: Allen D. Candler, ed. The Colonial Records of the State of Georgia, Vol. IV, Stephens’ Journal 1737-1740, Atlanta, GA, 1906, pp. 378-379.