TRAVELS IN THE COLONIES

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TRAVELS IN THE COLONIES

excuse my coming away without a farewell, these adiew’s are pain- full to anyone, but must have been more so in my situation. I found myself fast a going, my health ruined by having disagreable objects before my eyes and no comfort within my hearing; what could I do at home; nothing; my hands were tied, I was certain if anything could recover me it would be a ramble. Nature formed me for travelling, I believe I am of the Tartar kind—whithout

any disparagement to the Mylne’s blood that runs in my veins. I travelled at as little expence as any man could do, I learnt this in my younger days, and had it not been for a severe fit of sickness I had at Charlestown , my whole journey hither would have cost less than I used to spend in a London jaunt. I believe it was the last efforts of my disorder with my constitution, the battle ended in a violent flux, which had well nigh carried me off, since that time I have enjoyed an uninterrupted state of good health.

I shall not trouble you with an account of the events that have happened to me in my coming hither, I wrote a kind of an abstract to Nanny which I make no doubt she has communicated to you. I have several friends at Augusta at whose houses and tables I am always welcome; Mr. Mackay, one of the principal merchants concerned in the trade with the Indians of those parts, made me an offer of his house to live at, this I declined, wanting to live in a retired manner for some time until I could settle my mind which had been so long discomposed. In one of my rambles in the month of February last I learnt I might rent the place I now live at. It is situate on Stephen’s Creek, the house or cabin is built of pine trees laid a top of one the other, it is covered with what they call clap boards, these are split pines & hung by pinns on the lath, the contents in the inside sixteen feet by twelve. In the corner stands my bed which is of boards, upon these is a matrass, although it is hard yet I sleep sound. Opposite to this is my chest with a few shirts in it, behind which one of my hens has brought me nine chickens. I have a small gallin pot, a frying pan for cooking, I go To the miln for meal made of Indian corn, it is three miles distance, it would make you laugh to see me sitting a horse back on the top of the meal bags. I have a peach orchard in which there was an incredible number of peaches before a frost we had in the month of May, but still there are many more left than I shall use. I have a small garden cultivate with my own hands, In Which are greens of different kinds, cucumbers, musk and water melons. I have cured bacon within the house, butter I have at six pence a pound, cheese at five pence, six hens I have layes me more eggs than I can eat and I am rearing chickens, when I want broth I go to the woods and shoot a squirrel or two, this makes excellent [broth], fish I have in the creek.

I have a good horse (for there is no doing without one), he runs in the woods and obeys my call when I want him, he will come running at a mile’s distance when he hears my voice. There is a little bird that has built her nest opposite to my bed that wakens me in the morning by its sprightly notes, its nest I am obliged to guard for fear of a cat that has come to me from the woods, this creature has become very tame, she furs about my legs when I

get out of bed, I suppose she belonged to the people who had left the house.

Now says you what do you want-Yes, I do want; God Almighty has planted in our breasts an active principle for wise purposes; I feel this at present in a very strong degree; I want again to be in action now the machine is repaired. I want money to purchase some land, and a few negroes to cultivate it under my directions, and with my assistance. All the best land had been taken up by a set of men who now sell it out to newcomers. The life of a planter is that I should like, in it I could lay by money; I have learnt the methods to cultivate the different articles of produce in this country; betwixt £300 & £400 would set me up & every year I should lay by some money. Be so good as inform your self if this is expected out of the wreck of my fortune, if it is not I must stear some other course. I have lived many years to little purpose; you are no stranger to the vexations I have endured, and the friendly part you acted during them, I shall always have a gratefull remembrance of.

There is a tract of land of300 acres fin[e]ly situate on the River Savannah, this place I want much to buy, I imagine it may be bought for about £60 sterling. The person who owns it, lives at St Augustine in East Florida, I have even wrote to a gentleman who came passenger in the ship with me, to know what it may be bought for. If money can be got out of the rubbish of my af-

fairs to purchase this and three or four negroes I am made for the rest of my days. Upon it I can plant corn, raise tobacco, make indigo; cattle and hoggs I can rear as many as I please, these when killed and salted give a good price at Savannah for the West India market, and the navigation of the river makes the carriage cheap. My neighbour thinks me a strange man, to live as I do by myself, I have none higher than two miles except one, and him I must cross the Creek to, which may {be} about 4 times as broad as Pouderhall water, this I seldom do unless it be for to carry over some shirts for his daughters to wash, for which I pay them. I have some times half dozen of these people in my cabbin at a time, they come in when they are hunting their cattle, they will sit 3 or 4 hours, some on a form I have for a seat, others in the bed, listening with open ears, their visits of late have been more frequent, driven by their curiosity. I am always well armed having two guns and two brace of pistols within my reach in the nighttime. These people are very ignorant of the world and know little more than raising their crops and carrying it to the store, for which they receive goods in return, few of them going to Charlestown and Savannah where they would receive payment in cash or in goods at £50 p{e}r c{en}t less than they pay here, they all complain of the extravagant rates they are obliged to give for goods and indeed I believe this deadens their industry.

There was a strange accident happened the other night. I have I not given over my custom of reading in bed yet before I go to sleep. In place of candles I make use of lightwood split in long pieces, this is of the heart of the pine. I heard the hen that has the chickens dabbing with her beak and making a great noise, I got out of bed and by help of the lightwood found it was a snake endeavoring to get at the chickens, which she defended. He retired at my coming up, I put a piece of wood into the hole where he got in, and went to bed where I fell fast asleep. Some time after I was I waked by a noise from that corner and concluded it must be the snake again, I went to the chimney to find if there was any remains of fire where after much blowing I made a shift to make a light. The noise by this time was ceased. I went towards the hen who I found to all appearances dead, the snake was twisted round her body below the wings and round her neck; with a stick I struck part of him that was disengaged from the hen, whom he directly quit[t}ed, I got another strock which smashed his head, I then threw him out of doors. In the morning I measured him, he was five feet eight inches long. Some of my neighbours who happened to call in told me he was what they call a chicken snake, that his bite was not poisonous but troublesome, however I should not like to have been bite by him, as I would not have known whither it was so or not. You must know my humble cot has but a clay floor and this creature had found its way in at the joints of the loggs.

I forgot to tell you I have an excellent spring of clear water which is all my drink, unless when I go to Augusta where I am treated with wine and punch, this is but seldom for in four months now I have been only three times there although often pressed to come. What I write is only for Betty, my mother, Nanny and your perusal, if the people with you knew of my strange manner of life they would conclude me mad, therefore for your own sakes keep it to yourselves, for madness in one of a family hurts the rest, you have children with part of the Mylne’s blood in them. I can only add the country is most beautiful at present and by not exposing myself in the heat of day I find I can stand the hot weather very well. I wrote Livingston a little while ago, I sent him a power of attorney from London , their was an absolute necessity to continue him. No other could understand my affairs.

May God Almighty bless our dear Mother, Berry , Nanny and yourself. May your children be a credit and honour to you is the sincere prayer of your real friend.

Willm Mylne

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