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In Their Own Words

April 08, 1736

Rum Ban Praised

From New Ebenezer, the Salzburgers’ minister Johann Martin Boltzius wrote in his journal of the favorable reaction by the Cherokees to the Trustees’ ban on rum:

“Two Englishmen called on me. They came down from the Cherokee Indians and wanted to speak with Governor Oglethorpe. They expressed a great satisfaction in his wise decision to prohibit the sale of rum in the entire colony and also to the Indians, because it will eliminate many annoyances and provide a good avenue for the conversion of the heathens. They thought that the Creek Indians would probably be displeased with this order at the start, but they would not be able to engage in any hostile acts because said Cherokee Indians were very friendly with the English, particularly with Mr. Oglethorpe, while at the same time living in a state of constant hostility and war with the Creek Indians. The two men gave me such a good description of the Cherokee Indians’ way of life, their work, and their land, that I was surprised. According to this description their land is full of high cliffs, the soil is very rich and fertile without manure, the weather is cold in the winter and moderately hot in the summer. Their clothes consist only of large woolen blankets or skins which they wrap around themselves, but they live a much more orderly life than the local Indians. They do not tolerate rum or strong drink among themselves. They have their kings and war leaders. This position is usually achieved by one gifted with eloquence who has proved himself to be virtuous and brave. Their language is so different from that of the Creek or local Indians that the two do not agree on a single word. It can be learned easily and well from the Englishmen living among them. They also live from hunting, and they plant corn and raise many pigs and fowl. The Englishmen trade their wares to them for many deer and beaver skins, but the Muscovite beavers are much to be preferred to these. Except for peachtrees there are no fruit trees there, excepting those planted by the Englishmen… .”

Source: George Fenwick Jones and Marie Hahn (ed. and trans), Detailed Reports on the Salzburger Emigrants Who Settled in America… Edited by Samuel Urlsperger, Volume Three, 1736 (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1972), pp. 102-103.