The Moravians in Georgia
Chapter 3. The First Year in Georgia
In the year 1735 a voyage across the Atlantic was a very different thing from what it is in
this year of grace 1904. To-day a mighty steamship equipped with powerful engines,
plows its way across the billows with little regard for wind and weather, bearing
thousands of passengers, many of whom are given all the luxury that space permits, a
table that equals any provided by the best hotels ashore, and attendance that is
unsurpassed. Then weeks were consumed in the mere effort to get away from the British
Isles, the breeze sometimes permitting the small sailing vessels to slip from one port to
another, and then holding them prisoner for days before another mile could be gained.
Even the most aristocratic voyager was forced to be content with accommodations and
fare little better than that supplied to a modern steerage passenger, and those who could
afford it took with them a private stock of provisions to supplement the ship's table.
And yet the spell of adventure or philanthropy, gain or religion, was strong upon the
souls of men, and thousands sought the New World, where their imagination saw the
realization of all their dreams. Bravely they crossed the fathomless deep which heaved
beneath them, cutting them off so absolutely from the loved ones left at home, from the
wise counsels of those on whom they were accustomed to depend, and from the strong
arm of the Government under whose promised protection they sailed, to work out their
own salvation in a country where each man claimed to be a law unto himself, and where
years were to pass before Experience had once more taught the lesson that real freedom
was to be gained only through a general recognition of the rights of others.
On the 3rd of February, 1735, the Moravians arose early in their London lodging house,
prayed heartily together, and then prepared to go aboard their vessel, "The Two
Brothers", Capt. Thomson, where the Trustees wished to see all who intended to sail on
her. A parting visit was paid to Gen. Oglethorpe, who presented them with a hamper of
wine, and gave them his best wishes. After the review on the boat Spangenberg and
Nitschmann returned with Mr. Vernon to London to attend to some last matters, while the
ship proceeded to Gravesend for her supply of water, where Spangenberg rejoined her a
few days later. On the 25th of February they passed the Azores, and disembarked at
Savannah, April 8th, having been nine and a half weeks on shipboard.
The story of those nine weeks is simply, but graphically, told in the diary sent back to
Herrnhut. Scarcely had they lifted anchor when the Moravians began to arrange their
days, that they might not be idly wasted. In Herrnhut it was customary to divide the
twenty-four hours among several members of the Church, so that night and day a
continuous stream of prayer and praise arose to the throne of God, and the same plan was
now adopted, with the understanding that when sea-sickness overtook the company, and
they were weak and ill, no time limit should be fixed for the devotions of any, but one
man should pass the duty to another as circumstances required!