Count Zinzendorf's Negotiation With the Trustees of the Colony of Georgia

In April, 1733, a decree went forth that all Schwenkfelders were to leave the Kingdom of Saxony. This, of course, affected those who were living at Ober-Berthelsdorf, and a committee of four waited on Count Zinzendorf, and requested him to secure a new home for them in the land of Georgia in North America. Probably Zinzendorf, whose attention had been caught by the attractive advertisements of the Trustees, had unofficially suggested the idea to them.

Lest his opening negotiations with the English Company should foment the trouble at home, he sent his first communication to them anonymously, about the end of 1733.

A nobleman, of the Protestant religion, connected with the most influential families of Germany, has decided to live for a time in America, without, however, renouncing his estates in Germany. But as circumstances render it inadvisable for him to take such a step hastily, he wishes to send in advance a number of families of his dependents, composed of honest, sturdy, industrious, skillful, economical people, well ordered in their domestic affairs, who, having no debts, will try to sell such possessions as they cannot take with them in order to raise the funds for establishing themselves in their new home.

This nobleman, on his part, promises:

(1) To be governed by the King, and the English Nation, in all things, matters of conscience alone excepted; that is, he will be true to the Prince, the Protestant Succession, and Parliament in everything relating to the estates he may receive in this country, and thereto will pledge his life, and the property he may in future hold under the protection of His Majesty of Great Britain.

(2) To be surety for the dependents that he sends over, and to assume only such jurisdiction over them as is customary among English Lords on their estates.

(3) To carefully repay the English Nation such sums as may be advanced for his establishment in Georgia, and moreover, as soon as the property is in good condition, to consider it only as rented until the obligation is discharged.

(4) To assist the King and Nation, with all zeal and by all means in his power, to carry out His Majesty's designs for Georgia. He will bring to that all the insight and knowledge of a man of affairs, who from youth up has studied the most wholesome principles and laws for a State, and has had personal experience in putting them into execution; but, on the other hand, he has learned such self-control that he will meddle with nothing in which his services are not desired.

In consideration of these things the nobleman asks that --

(1) If more knowledge of his standing is desired he shall be expected to give it to no one except a Committee of Parliament, composed of members of both houses, appointed by his Britannic Majesty, or to a Committee of the `Collegii directoriatis' of America, who shall be empowered to grant his requests; this in view of the fact that the petitioner is a German Nobleman, whose family is well known, his father having been Ambassador to England, and his kindred among the foremost statesmen of Europe.

(2) After the Committee has received sufficient and satisfactory information it shall be silent in regard to the circumstances and his personality, as he has weighty reasons for not wishing to subject himself to criticism.

(3) He shall be given a written agreement, guaranteeing the following things:

a. That he shall receive enough land for a household of fifty to sixty persons, and for about a hundred other dependents, most of whom have a trade or profession, and all able to help build up the country.

b. That his dependents shall be given free transportation, and supplies for the voyage.

c. That they shall be taken directly to the place mentioned in the agreement.

d. That he and his agent shall have certain sums advanced to him for the expenses of the removal to Georgia, the money to be given them only when they are ready to embark in England, -- payment to be made several years later, a rate of interest having been mutually agreed on, and the estate in Georgia being given for security if necessary.

e. All that is needed for the building of a village for himself and his dependents shall be furnished them, -- but as an interest bearing loan.

f. That he, and the colonists who will go with him, shall have full religious liberty, they being neither papists nor visionaries.

g. That if any of his dependents should fall into error no one should attempt to correct them, but leave him to handle the matter according to his own judgment; on the other hand he will stand surety for the conduct of his dependents as citizens.

h. That he and his descendents shall be taken under the protection of the English Nation if they request it.

i. That he may be permitted to choose whether he will go himself to Georgia, or send a representative to set his affairs in order, and if the latter, then the representative shall receive the courteous treatment that would have been accorded him.

j. That those among his colonists who wish to preach the gospel to the heathen shall be allowed to do so; and their converts shall have the same religious freedom as his colonists.

k. That he and his dependents in Georgia shall be given the privileges in spiritual affairs which the independent Lords of Germany enjoy in temporal affairs.

l. That all his property shall be at the service of the State in time of need, but neither he nor his dependents shall be called on for military duty, in lieu whereof he will, if necessary, pay a double war tax.