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In Their Own Words

January 13, 1733

Oglethorpe to Trustees on First Seeing America

James Oglethorpe and the first Georgia colonists arrived at Charles Town, South Carolina. Earlier in the day, on first seeing the coast of America from the decks of the Anne, Oglethorpe wrote the Trustees:

“We just now discover the coast of America and it proves to be the land which lies off Charles Town. We are now with nine miles distant and can, from the deck with the naked eye, discover the trees just above the horizon, no disagreeable sight to those who for seven weeks have seen nothing but sea and sky. We have had a very favourable passage, considering that we passed the Tropic of Cancer and stood to the southward ‘till we came into 20 Degrees and then stood back again to 32 where we now are. By this means we lengthened our navigation from England above a third, which was done to avoid the fury of the Northwest winds that generally rage in the winter season on the coast of America. We have lost none of our people except the youngest son of Richard Cannon, aged eight months, and the youngest son of Robert Clarke, aged one year and an half, both of whom were very weakly when I came on board and had indeed been half starved through want before they left London as many others were who are recovered with food and care. But these were so far gone that all our efforts to save them were in vain. Doctor Herbert and all on board are in perfect health except Mr. Scott who was bruised with a fall in the last storm. At present we are all in a hurry so must beg leave to refer you for a fuller account in my next letters. We intend to take in a pilot at this place for to conduct us to Port Royal where we shall hire embarkations to carry us to Georgia.”

Source: Mills Lane (ed.), General Oglethorpe’s Georgia (Savannah: Beehive Press, 1990), Vol. I, p. 3.