A concise natural history of East and West Florida

Material Information

A concise natural history of East and West Florida
Series Title:
Floridiana facsimile & reprint series
Romans, Bernard, ca. 1720-ca. 1784
Place of Publication:
University of Florida Press
Publication Date:
Copyright Date:
Physical Description:
lii, : facsim.) 4, viii, 342, lxxxix p. plates, maps, fold. table), 8 p. ; 19 cm.


Subjects / Keywords:
Natural history -- Florida ( lcsh )
Indians of North America -- Gulf States ( lcsh )
Pilot guides -- Mexico, Gulf of ( lcsh )
Pilot guides -- West Indies ( lcsh )
Description and travel -- Florida ( lcsh )
non-fiction ( marcgt )


Additional Physical Form:
Also issued online.
General Note:
Original title page reads: A concise natural history of East and West Florida; containing an account of the natural produce of all the southern part of British America, in the three kingdoms of nature, particularly the animal and vegetable ... illustrated with twelve copper plates, and two whole sheet maps. Vol. I. New-York: Printed for the author, M, DCC, LXXV.
Statement of Responsibility:
a facsimile reproduction of the 1775 ed.; with introd. by Rembert W. Patrick.

Record Information

Source Institution:
University Press of Florida
Holding Location:
University Press of Florida
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
01579755 ( OCLC )
62014788 ( LCCN )

Full Text




Eafl and Weft FLORIDA;


of the 1775 EDITION


University of Florida Press




Library of Congress Catalogue Card No. 62-14788



IN NO STATE east of the Mississippi River has
the American population explosion of the twentieth
century had more profound effect than in Florida.
Since 1900 the national population has more than
doubled, but in Florida the population has increased ten-
fold. From a relatively unimportant place in numbers of
people in 1900, Florida is now second only to Texas in
the South and ranks ninth in the nation. In contrast to
the national increase of less than 20 per cent from 1950
to 1960, Florida's population increased by more than 78
per cent.
The phenomenal growth of the state is a recent devel-
opment. Although St. Augustine was founded in 1565,
forty-two years before the English settled Jamestown,
Virginia, the British colonies in North America quickly
outstripped Spanish Florida. Only a few hundred Euro-
peans remained in Florida in 1821 when the United States
acquired the province from Spain. Twenty-four years
later the territory with approximately 66,500 inhabitants
became the twenty-seventh state in the American Union,
and in 1900 a population of 528,542 placed Florida
thirty-third among the forty-six American states. By 1960
the' state's 4,951,560 people had jumped her rank to tenth
among the fifty states. Since 1960 Florida has passed
Massachusetts in population, and there are today almost
twice as many people in Florida as there were twelve
years ago.

, -V I


Though the state is the oldest settled area of the United
States, it is one of the most recent in development. This
remarkable increase in population has made the people of
the state and of other American states conscious of the
importance of Florida and anxious to know her history.
There were, however, few books published before 1900
on the then relatively unimportant Florida. The state
government has not supported a program to compile and
publish the colonial records or the sources relating to other
periods of the past. The most extensive publication pro-
gram of the twentieth century, the series of ten volumes
on the Spanish colonial era, was produced by the Florida
State Historical Society with grants from the late John B.
Stetson, Jr. These studies were printed in limited editions
of from 250 to 350 copies.
The combination of desire for information on Florida
and the scarcity of books on the state has sent prices of
Floridiana to fantastic heights. Bernard Romans' A Con-
cise Natural History of East and West Florida could have
been secured in 1900 for a small price, but today a col-
lector would be fortunate to obtain a copy of the 1775
edition for $1,000. Some of the volumes in the Florida
State Historical series, published less than forty years ago,
command a price of $75 or more. A library would be
fortunate to secure a copy of Ellen Call Long's Florida
Breezes for less than $200. These volumes are no more
than examples of tens of Florida items which command
high prices in book marts.
Junior colleges, senior colleges, and university libraries
and high school and public libraries in Florida have de-
mands for many old books on the state's history. In addi-
tion, the major libraries of the other states often find it
impossible to acquire Floridiana. With every passing
decade more and more residents of Florida have deeper
roots in their adopted state and a greater desire to add


books to their personal libraries. The increased importance
of Florida in the American nation and the multiplication
of libraries in the country have created a demand for
To meet this pressing need the University of Florida
Press will publish in its Floridiana Series facsimile edi-
tions of rare books on Florida. These editions will include
an introduction to each volume and an index whenever
the latter was not a part of the original printing. The first
volume in this series is Bernard Romans' rare A Concise
Natural History of East and West Florida.
Every effort will be made in this age of high publish-
ing costs to produce volumes which will sell at reasonable
prices. The general editor of the series acknowledges the
financial assistance for indexing given by the Graduate
School of the University of Florida and the support of
Linton E. Grinter, Dean of the Graduate School.

University of Florida General Editor of the


SEVENTEEN HUNDRED seventy-five was
not a propitious time for Bernard Romans to pub-
lish his first book, A Concise Natural History of
East and West Florida. The year before, the First
Continental Congress had formed an economic union
against Great Britain; in 1775 the Second Continental
Congress established a military organization composed of
thirteen of the British colonies in North America; and in
the following year, the Congress would declare the United
States of America an independent country. Perhaps these
troubled years account for Romans' failure to secure even
two hundred subscribers for his history.
An additional detriment to the success of his literary
endeavor was his contentiousness. Universal genius though
he was, he could not live in amity with his fellow men.
Frequently during his life he was involved in personal
arguments and legal suits with individuals and organiza-
tions-controversies about the payment of his salary, accu-
sations of plagiarism, questions of his authority as an
engineer in constructing a military fortification, and
arguments over his ability to maintain discipline in the
ranks of his soldiers.
Both the revolutionary age and the reputation of
Romans may have influenced the first critic of Romans'
Concise History. Ebenezer Hazard considered the book "a


paltry performance," and he declared it and its accom-
panying map "both catchpenny performances, and, from
a personal acquaintance with the man, had not confidence
enough in his information to think his history worth
Less than twenty years after Romans' death, however,
other critics were appreciative of his work. World traveler,
author, and French politician C. F. Volney, in his Tableau
du climate et du sol des Etats-Unis, used Romans as a source
and regretted that the Concise History had not been trans-
lated into the French language. The American translator
of Volney's book added: "We may also express regret
that it has not been republished in its native language.
The vicinity of Florida to the United States, and the
probability of its being incorporated with our territory, in
a little time, would render its contents interesting to the
present, and still more so to the next generation."2 The
translator enlarged Volney's work by quoting many addi-
tional pages from Romans and justified the addition by
stating that "B. Romans' information on the soil and
diseases of those provinces [East and West Florida] is
very curious and authentic, and, at the same time, this
book is out of print, and extremely rare."
Time proved the French author and the translator of
his book more correct in their appraisals than the con-
temporary critic of Romans. In 1859 Daniel G. Brinton,
writing his Notes on the Floridian Peninsula, found the
Concise History "A very interesting natural history of the
country," and declared that Romans "is one of our stand-
ard authors."4 In 1917 a copy of Romans' rare work sold
for $610, and since that date a complete copy with maps
and chart has brought double that amount. A few years
later, a noted custodian of maps described Romans as "a
universal genius; he was a botanist, engineer, mathemati-
cian, artist, surveyor, engraver, writer, cartographer, lin-


guist, soldier, seaman, and he possessed many other talents,
any one of which would have given him distinction."5
"The student of American history," the same authority
stated, "may find among the rare and prized items in the
various libraries throughout the country such pioneer his-
tories as Capt. John Smith's books on Virginia and New
England, Thomas Hutchins' Topographical description of
Virginia, Pennsylvania, Maryland and North Carolina,
Manasseh Cutler's Ohio, John Filson's Kentucky, General
Daniel Smith's Tennessee, and many others too numerous
to mention; but none of these compare in rarity to the
complete Romans' Concise History. Not only is the work
rare, but the variety of natural, aboriginal, historic, and
miscellaneous information which it so graphically gives
is far more original than that in the above-mentioned
books. Its extreme rarity makes it comparatively unknown,
and if it were republished, this early description of Flor-
ida would be universally read."6 In the 1920's the Florida
State Historical Society planned but failed to reissue the
work of Romans, and not until recent years was the book
reproduced in microcard edition and in a modernized
Unfortunately little is known about the early life of
the remarkable Bernard Romans. Although born in the
Netherlands about 1720, he migrated as a youth to Eng-
land, where he studied civil engineering.8 In his adopted
country he not only mastered the difficult English lan-
guage but also became proficient in the technology of the
eighteenth century. British officials recognized his worth,
and, perhaps as early as the French and Indian War, sent
him to North America. According to his account he
arrived in America in 1757 and was employed in the
following years in various capacities: the head of a large
body of men in the woods, a commander in the King's
Merchant Marine, and the master of a commercial vessel

armed for war service.9 He may have arrived in Florida
as early as 1760, and certainly in 1766 he spent consider-
able time in the province surveying land on Amelia Island
and near the St. Johns River for John Perceval, the second
earl of Egmont.10
After 1766 surveying gave Romans the opportunity to
study and to write about Florida. In 1763, at the conclu-
sion of the French and Indian War and the addition of
Florida and Canada to her empire, Great Britain recon-
sidered her role as mother country to her colonies in
North America. One facet of a resulting "new colonial
policy" was the appointment of two surveyors general,
one for the northern and the other for the southern dis-
trict in North America, to make land and coast surveys,
and the salaries of these officials and their helpers were
to be paid from funds appropriated by Parliament. John
Gerar William De Brahm, who in 1751 had led Euro-
pean Lutheran settlers to Bethany, Georgia, was appointed
Surveyor General of the Southern District. De Brahm was
of Dutch origin-"a curious and distinguished figure,
geographer, engineer, botanist, astronomer, meteorologist,
hydrographer, alchemist, sociologist, historian, and mysti-
cal philosopher."" Formerly a captain of engineers in the
service of Emperor Charles V of the Holy Roman Em-
pire, De Brahm's talents were utilized in the construc-
tion of forts near Ebenezer and Savannah. In 1764 he
accepted a salary of 150 pounds per year as Surveyor
General of the Southern District of the British North
American colonies. He later established his headquarters
at St. Augustine in East Florida and made surveys of the
eastern coasts of that province.
De Brahm was allowed 30 pounds a year for an assist-
ant, and in 1769 selected Romans for the position. By
this date Romans had had considerable experience as
deputy surveyor for Georgia and as the employee of Lord


Egmont in East Florida. Evidently the former Dutchman
had found St. Augustine a suitable place for his head-
quarters. The position as Principal Deputy Surveyor for
the Southern District of North America gave him oppor-
tunity to chart and map the coasts of East and West Flor-
ida, and the islands adjacent to the mainland. One of
the responsibilities of his office was the command of
vessels engaged in sailing along the Florida coasts.
In addition to his official duties, Romans began to ac-
quire land in Georgia and the Floridas. By a number of
petitions to the Governor and Council of Georgia he
acquired by purchase 100 acres in Highgate, Parish
of Christ Church, Savannah, and 500 acres near the
Ogeechee River. Fifty of the 100 acres assigned to him
in Highgate had already been given to another person,
and upon request, Romans received in exchange 57 acres
which had been granted to John Barrell, who had died
before completing the conditions requisite to his patent.
Because he owned and had received no land for three
slaves, Romans requested as a family grant 150 addi-
tional acres and another 150 by purchase adjoining his
Ogeechee lands. In total he secured 857 acres in Georgia
and used his three slaves to cultivate a part of his hold-
ings.12 After surveying the estates of Lord Egmont in
East Florida, Romans requested from the Governor and
Council of that province a grant of 200 acres near the
Nassau River in northeastern Florida.13 Thus before be-
ginning his services as Deputy Surveyor of the Southern
District he was a man of means by colonial standards,
possessing more than 1,050 acres of land and at least
three slaves.
Material possessions, however, evidently were not so
important to Romans as was the opportunity to explore
the coastal waters of the Floridas. In 1770 and 1771 he
made an eleven-month voyage to the Bahama Banks and


around the coast of East Florida and westward to Pensa-
cola, where he arrived in August, 1771.1'4 While in West
Florida he explored the coast, inlets, bays, and rivers, and
interviewed many inhabitants of the area. He was espe-
cially interested in comparing the settlers of French origin
near Mobile Bay with the recently arrived English oc-
cupants. The latter, he concluded, were not so adaptable
as the French to conditions in the New World.
Details of Romans' activities in West Florida are miss-
ing. The governor of that province, Peter Chester, evi-
dently recognized the ability of the man and encouraged
him by placing him on the provincial payroll. While
sailing along the coasts of Florida, Romans busied himself
charting the waters and surveying the coastline. On his
voyage west, on numerous other sailing adventures, and
during his more than two years in and near Pensacola he
filled notebooks with information which he used later in
writing his Concise History. Surveying and drawing, how-
ever, were his primary interests. By midsummer, 1772,
he presented Governor Chester with a map of the eastern
part of West Florida. Highly pleased by the work, the
governor forwarded it to the Earl of Hillsborough in
England with the comment that it had been made under
the governor's direction. In addition, he sent the earl
drawings of unusual flowers and plants made by Romans,
who, in the governor's opinion was "an ingenious man
and both a Naturalist and Botanist-I think him worthy
of some Encouragement."15 Governor Chester recom-
mended a grant of fifty to sixty pounds per year as an
inducement to keep Romans in West Florida.16 A few
months later he sent a map of West Florida to Lord Hills-
borough-a map which the governor believed "more per-
fect and compleat than any hither to be transmitted from
Romans was responsible for most of the eastern sections


and the interior parts of the West Florida map. On it he
located rivers, settlements, and Indian villages; indicated
the type of the soil and its natural products; described
the customs and practices of the Indians; and named
various fish, medicinal plants, and minerals of the area.
George Gauld, an employee in the British Naval Service,
was responsible for mapping the coastal sections of West
Florida, but Romans had spent May, June, and July,
1771, in surveying the interior parts of the province
under a commission from Governor Chester. During the
same period, John Stuart, the Indian Agent for the south-
ern colonies, had David Taitt surveying areas in the
eastern sectors of West Florida. In August, 1772, at Pen-
sacola Romans added the work of his two colleagues to
his own to make the completed map.
Both his map and his botanical studies pleased officials
in England. In 1773 he received an allowance or pension
of fifty pounds a year for "his care and skill in the col-
lection of rare and useful products in physics and bot-
any.""8 Romans continued to enjoy his pension until he
joined the American Patriots in rebellion against Great
In the eighteenth century, fifty pounds adequately cared
for the needs of a bachelor who was more interested in
hard work than in good living. But Romans needed the
money. Shortly after receiving the appointment as prin-
cipal deputy surveyor from De Brahm, the latter was
suspended by Governor James Grant of East Florida and
accused of incivility in dealing with land-seekers, prevent-
ing claimants from securing their lands, and making ex-
cessively high charges for surveys.19 Romans, therefore,
received no salary from the deposed surveyor general and
brought suit to collect compensation for his work. Mean-
while he sold his 200 acres in Florida on January 8, 1771,
for twenty-seven pounds and used the money to finance
his voyage in that year to Pensacola.20

Undoubtedly the salary received from Governor Chester
in West Florida was both small and uncertain in payment.
Not knowing that a pension had been authorized for
him, Romans left Pensacola early in 1773 and sailed for
Charleston, South Carolina, where John Stuart promised
him a job. Somewhere on the treacherous waters of the
Florida Keys, or near the mainland of the east coast,
Romans' small craft foundered and capsized. The weary,
almost penniless traveler made his way to Charleston, but
for some unknown reason Stuart refused to make good
the promised employment.21
In Charleston, however, Romans evidently learned of
his fifty-pound annual pension. This relative affluence
enabled him to proceed with plans to continue to utilize
his research on the Floridas. Although Charleston was the
largest city in the southern region of North.America and
a center of culture, it could not match the wealth and
refinement of the more populous cities of the Middle
Atlantic and New England colonies. Therefore, he sailed
for New York City, where he intended to live while
securing subscribers for contemplated maps and a book
on the Floridas.
For almost two years after his arrival in New York
he spent his time in drawing, writing, and publicizing
his planned works. Traveling at various times to Phila-
delphia and Boston, he appeared before marine and philo-
sophical societies to win subscribers for his proposed maps
and book. On August 2, 1773, he was elected a member
of the Marine Society of the City of New York, and
eighteen days later he attended a meeting of the American
Philosophical Society in Philadelphia.22 To the latter
organization he promised drawings of two rare Florida
plants and details on his idea for improving the mariner's
compass. These promises were fulfilled, and the Philo-
sophical Society responded on January 26, 1774, by elect-


ing him a member of the organization.23 In December of
the year before, he either appeared at a meeting of the
Boston Marine Society or sent it a copy of a map of the
Florida province.
On one visit to Boston he employed Paul Revere and
later paid him sizable sums for engraving plates of Flor-
ida maps. In addition to securing the expert services of
Revere, Romans sold subscriptions to Bostonians for his
forthcoming works on East and West Florida. For eight
years, he informed potential subscribers in 1774, he had
worked at his own expense to produce the maps, and a
book of approximately 500 pages which would accom-
pany them, and planned to print no more than the
number of copies necessary to supply the demand. He
promised his patrons a book which would "amuse the
studious and the learned," a volume that would describe
the botany of the Floridas, other wonders of the subtropi-
cal lands, and give sailing directions for mariners. He
expected the book and maps to be published in July,
Like others authors, Romans was optimistic as to the
date of publication. Another advertisement in the New-
York Gazetteer, October 20, 1774, informed the public
that the maps had been completed, but that the need for
and difficulty in securing special paper on which to re-
produce them would delay the date of their publication.
Since the edition would be small, he urged individuals
desiring copies to order immediately, for after printing
no copies would be sold for less than sixteen dollars.25
Finally, on April 25, 1775, he advertised that publication,
further delayed by the difficulty of mastering the process
of "Copper-plate printing," was completed. "As the ex-
pense of this work has much exceeded his expectation,
he begs the subscribers will immediately send orders
where they are to be delivered, and as it is very necessary


he should after so great a drain of money, at last receive
the returns for his labour, he hopes no demur will be
made in payments."26 His advertisement also announced
a few complete copies available to nonsubscribers at the
price of sixteen dollars.
Completion of the Florida maps and the Concise His-
tory were not his only activities in New England and the
Middle colonies. Whenever opportunity afforded, Romans
visited and conferred with the outstanding men of the
regions. In part these conferences were motivated by
desire to publicize and sell his works, but he also found
intellectual stimulation in conversing with the best minds
of his age. For three days in March, 1775, he talked with
the eminent minister, Ezra Stiles, at Newport, Rhode
Island. The two men discussed various subjects ranging
from the philosophy of Plato, and other classical writers,
to the origin of the Indians of North America, and the
customs and traditions of these "first Americans." Stiles
confided to his diary that Romans knew the Indian tribes
from Panama to Labrador and was an authority on the
Eskimos of the Arctic regions.2- Romans may have also
talked of recent articles which he had written. In January
and April, 1774, he had scholarly writings published in
the Royal American Magazine on the cultivation of indigo
and the growing of madder, and an imaginative essay on
America as the land of opportunity for ambitious
people.28 He even composed a brief poetic description
of the New World from the attempted colonization by
Sir Walter Raleigh to the glorious American civilization
envisioned by Romans.29
Despite extensive travels, advertisements in newspapers,
articles, and conferences with colonial leaders, Romans
secured only 199 subscribers for his works. How many
of these patrons eventually paid for the Concise History
and its maps is unknown. By the spring of 1775 the


colonists of all economic classes were more interested in
the arguments between the mother country and thirteen
of her North American colonies than in a book and maps
on East and West Florida. Romans was also caught in
the dilemma of loyalty to Great Britain or to the colonies.
In his case he had neither personal nor family ties which
held him to a specific province in North America. In fact
his education, opportunity, and salary all stemmed from
his adopted Great Britain. No records, however, indicate
that he hesitated in supporting the American Patriots,
even though his defection from English allegiance cost
him his annual pension.
After the skirmishes at Lexington and Concord in
1775, thousands of irate colonials lifted their muskets
and marched toward Boston. Other men conceived ways
of securing British forts, with their cannon and other
military supplies, in North America. In Connecticut a few
leaders planned an expedition against Fort Ticonderoga
and the capture of that fortification on Lake Champlain
with its supply of materiel. At this time Bernard Romans
was in Hartford, Connecticut, and his training as an
engineer made him a logical participant and leader in
the planned maneuver. On April 29, 1775, he and Noah
Phelps left posthaste, headed west toward the fort, and
later the same day Captain Edward Mott arrived in Hart-
ford with tales of the number and importance of the
cannon at Ticonderoga. He was placed in over-all com-
mand of the expedition. The next morning Mott and five
other men rode away toward Salisbury Forge to join
Phelps and Romans.
On May 1 these Connecticut men reached Easton's
Tavern at Pittsfield, Massachusetts. James Easton, the
tavern-keeper, was also a carpenter, deacon of the church,
colonel in the militia, and an effervescent "windbag." He
and John Brown, a local lawyer, gathered volunteers for


the campaign. Three days later these revolutionists stop-
ped at Catamount Tavern in Bennington, the headquarters
of Ethan Allen-"leader of Green Mountaindom, dealer
in Onion River real estate; a reckless, loud-mouthed
free-booter with a price on his head. At the moment
he had interrupted his horse-whippings and tar-and-
featherings,"30 and since the battle of Lexington had been
waiting impatiently to strike a blow against the British
and thereby make a name for himself. The plan to con-
quer Fort Ticonderoga appealed to Allen. Although
classified as an outlaw by authorities in New York,
frontiersmen of the Green Mountain area loved him, and
175 of "his boys" responded to his call. On Sunday, May
7, they assembled at Castleton on the Vermont side of
Lake Champlain. By this time Romans and the other
original leaders of the expeditionary force were virtually
lost among the more numerous, exuberant highlanders,
who heeded only the orders of Ethan Allen.
The following evening Benedict Arnold arrived at the
encampment at the head of a militia detachment and in
possession of a commission from the Massachusetts Com-
mittee of Safety to command the colonial forces in the
Champlain region. His appearance further complicated an
already involved question of leadership. If Allen had
given the order, his boys would have thrown Arnold and
his militiamen into the lake, but Allen's authority rested
on no more than self-assumed command and the personal
loyalty of his followers. He agreed to share leadership
with Arnold. At daybreak on May 10 the dual com-
manders moved their forces against Ticonderoga and cap-
tured the poorly defended fort.
Some days before this success Bernard Romans had
left the ranks to proceed on an individual enterprise.
During the march westward he had unhappily seen a
command once jointly shared with Noah Phelps taken


over by a succession of self-appointed or self-
commissioned leaders. Evidently, the authority given to
Captain Mott disturbed Romans, but the power assumed
by Easton, Brown, and Allen was more than he could bear.
At Bennington he parted company with the motley force.
Captain Mott confided to his journal: "Mr. Romans left
us and joined us no more; we were all glad, as he had
been a trouble to us, all the time he was with us."31
As an engineer with some military experience in the
service of the English crown, Romans believed he was
best qualified to plan the attack on Fort Ticonderoga.
Finding it impossible to manage the other members of
the Connecticut committee and dismayed by the rough-
ness of the Green Mountain boys, the sensitive Romans
decided to leave Ticonderoga to them and seize Fort
George. Without informing any of his colleagues of his
plan he proceeded on May 12 to the "head of the lake
[and] took possession of what time and weather had left
of Fort George."32 Capture of the dilapidated fort and its
sole defender, the semi-invalid John Nordberg, was not
a noteworthy achievement. Romans gave the aged, half-
pay British officer permission to go wherever he pleased
and wrote a "passport" for his travel to New London,
where Nordberg hoped to regain his health.
After his "capture" of Fort George, Romans joined
Benedict Arnold at Ticonderoga. The two men worked
in harmony, counting the cannon taken there and at
Crown Point, and preparing them for transport to local-
ities where they could be used by the American Patriots.
Arnold reported it impossible to repair Fort Ticonderoga,
and stated that he and Romans, "who is esteemed an able
engineer," believed 1,500 men would be needed to con-
struct a new and defensible fort.33 Arnold found the
engineer an able assistant and informed the Massachusetts
Committee of Safety that Romans "has been of great


service here, and I think him a very spirited, judicious
gentleman, who has the service of the country much to
heart, and hope he will meet proper encouragement.'34
Taking one of Arnold's letters to the Massachusetts Com-
mittee with him, Romans headed for New Haven. By
agreement he was to proceed from that settlement to
Albany, New York, to secure carriages for the sixty-one
serviceable cannon captured at Crown Point.35
Records give few clues to the activities of the engineer-
soldier during the summer of 1775. Evidently he was in
New York when the Committee of Safety of that colony
needed an engineer to construct a fort at the Narrows
of the Hudson River. The need to fortify the Hudson at
some point in the highlands was suggested by the Second
Continental Congress to the Provincial Congress of New
York.36 On August 18, 1775, the latter assembly ordered
the construction of a fort across the river from West
Point and appointed a five-member commission to super-
vise the erection of the fortification.37 Within the follow-
ing months there were many changes in the membership
of the Commission, and it was placed under the jurisdic-
tion of the Committee of Safety of New York. The com-
missioners gave Romans the task of building a fort on
Martelear's Rock.
On what he considered assurance of eventual appoint-
ment as the principal engineer of the colony with the
rank and pay of a colonel in the militia, he began work
on August 29, 1775. By October he requested his prom-
ised commission, and stated: "I have left the pursuit of
my own business, which was very considerable, and en-
dangered my pension from the Crown, by engaging in
our great and common cause."38 His request indicated
that all was not going well at Martelear's Rock, which
had been renamed Fort Constitution. On September 19
he had sent the Committee of Safety an estimate of the


cost of the proposed fort. He recommended the employ-
ment of 150 men and total expenditures of more than
4,600 pounds for labor, provisions, and materials. In
addition he had forwarded three drawings of the area
to be fortified and one sketch of his proposed fortifica-
tion.39 After studying his report, the commissioners de-
cided that the work planned by Romans was no more
than a temporary expedient to prevent vessels from mov-
ing up the Hudson River, and feared that his fortifica-
tions could be captured with ease by a British force which
attacked it from the rear. Evidence of a sharp disagree-
ment between Romans and the commissioners was indi-
cated by their question as to whether he was under their
jurisdiction or they under his.40
On September 29 Romans appeared before the Com-
mittee of Safety with a proposal. For 5,000 pounds he
promised to build the fort and supply it with all the
necessary materials except ordnance, on the conditions
that the entire management of the project be under his
absolute control and that the commissioners do nothing
more than meet his demands for funds.41 After consider-
able discussion the Committee of Safety rejected the
proposition and told Romans that it would employ him
only as the engineer at a salary of twelve shillings a
Dissatisfied with the decision, Romans nevertheless re-
turned to the task. By November 8 he was employing 137
men in building the fortifications. From that date he con-
tinued for months to send demands to the commissioners
and to complain of their interference with his work.43
In reply to one letter from the commissioners he demon-
strated both lack of tact and rigid determination. "As I
am a great hater of epistolary altercation," he wrote, "I
will not answer your long starter of difficulties, which
seems to me a declared commencement of a paper war,


instead of an answer to my reasonable [letter]." Although
he promised them a short letter, he wrote many pages and
concluded: "If I must be cap in hand, gentlemen, to be
an overseer under you, it will not do, depend on it. I
have too much blood in me for so mean an action, and
you must seek submissive engineers elsewhere.""4
Finally the Provincial Congress of New York appointed
a committee to confer with Romans and the commis-
sioners in an attempt to settle their differences. On
December 14 this compromise committee reported failure.
Furthermore it concluded that Romans either was mis-
taken about the authority given him or had assumed
powers never entrusted to him. In addition it found his
fortification almost worthless because the cannon in the
battery could not be turned far enough to rake the river
for a sufficient distance. His guns commanded the Hudson
for no more than 150 yards. A battery of from sixteen
to eighteen cannon, the committee concluded, was needed
to dominate the river for three miles. The Provincial
Congress approved the committee's report and its recom-
On January 3, 1776, Romans appeared before the Com-
mittee of Safety to defend himself. The committee mem-
bers not only agreed that he had a right to lay his planned
fortification before the Continental Congress at Phila-
delphia but also gave him a letter of explanation to pre-
sent to that assembly.4" With a payment of fifty pounds
advanced him for his work, Romans moved to Phila-
delphia, where the Congress voted him "entire approba-
tion of his conduct."" The engineer, however, never
returned to the Hudson River project. Rather, he received
a commission on February 8, 1776, as a captain of a
Pennsylvania artillery company.48 But he returned to
New York to request from the Committee of Safety pay-
ment for the work done on Fort Constitution. He stated


that the Congress by resolution had urged that his salary
be paid up to the date of his military appointment. "The
time is now expired," he declared, "in which your humble
Petitioner was to have appeared at the head of his com-
pany, and a want of money prevents."'4 He begged for
the sum owed to him so that he could proceed to his
military post and save his honor. But on the basis of
extant records, Romans received no more than the fifty
pounds already advanced to him. At that he may have
been overpaid. In describing the fortifications at Fort
Constitution, an officer wrote to General George Wash-
ington: "Upon the whole, Mr. Romans has displayed his
genius at a very great expense and to very little public
Eventually Romans joined his command at Philadelphia
and remained captain of the Independent Pennsylvania
Artillery Company until he resigned his commission on
June 1, 1778.51 His years of command in the army brought
him neither fame nor pleasure. After his vain appeal to
the Committee of Safety of New York, he returned to
Philadelphia, and on April 8, 1776, led his company to-
ward Ticonderoga. Seventeen days later he reached Ticon-
deroga Landing. On the long, arduous march Romans
attempted to keep order in the ranks by refusing to allow
his soldiers to patronize the taverns along the route. In
revenge for this loss of business, according to the cap-
tain's account, tavern-keepers persuaded four of his men
to desert. On April 23 a disturbance at the rear of the
company sent Romans scurrying to the point of the
trouble. He found that a householder had refused some
of the soldiers a drink of water. The soldiers had re-
sponded by calling him a Tory and then killed one of
his turkeys. Romans "offered every satisfaction" to the
farmer, and one of the company lieutenants spent half an
hour trying to persuade another complainant to accept


payment for damage done to his property by the Penn-
sylvania soldiers. Further on another farmer accused the
soldiers of killing his poultry. Investigation proved this
accusation false, but a third householder declared that he
had been beaten by one of the militiamen. Despite the
efforts of Romans and his subordinate officers to satisfy
the mistreated farmers by paying for all damages, the
complainants declared themselves determined to protest
the licentiousness of the soldiers. Romans declared that
he "would sooner be guilty of a crime of Black dye than
to be at the head of a gang of ruffian marauders," and
that he would resign whenever he was unable to main-
tain discipline in the ranks.52
Reports received by his superiors, however, cast doubt
on his control of the Pennsylvania militiamen. Philip
Schuyler wrote Washington that the licentiousness of
some of the troops left few inhabitants who escaped
abuse, either in person or property. "I have done all in
my power," he stated, "to prevent this disgraceful con-
duct of the Army; but Court-Martials are vain where
officers connive at the depredations of the men. I have
ordered Captain Romans to be sent from Canada for trial
here, as a string of complaints are lodged against him."53
On May 15, even Benedict Arnold, who had, as already
stated, been impressed by the ability of Romans, wrote
that "Mr. Romans conduct, by all accounts, has been very
In addition to being accused of allowing his soldiers
to mistreat civilians and take their property, Romans was
also brought before a court of inquiry because of a dis-
pute with one of his lieutenants. Results of Romans' trial
and the court of inquiry are not known. The lieutenant
who complained was, however, dismissed from the serv-
ice, and Captain Romans was apparently acquitted on all


Whatever services he contributed in the war against
Great Britain after the summer of 1776 were evidently
minor in nature. In November of that year he inspected
a few defense works which protected semi-isolated points
where lumber mills were in operation. At Skeensborough,
New York, he found the location of the fort excellent for
the protection of the mill, but "the thing called a fort,
baffles all description: It is an irregular polygon, irregular
indeed; and by its form indefensible with a vengeance.""6
At Cheshire, however, the fortification was good, substan-
tial, and well planned. It was located, he reported, at an
excellent defensive position, and if the woods around it
were cleared, 30 men could hold it against the assault of
500 soldiers equipped with small arms."
Exactly what Romans did in the army from November
until his retirement more than a year and a half later is
not recorded. Evidently he had considerable time for
intellectual pursuits. In these he was more adept than in
command of an artillery company. During the period he
published and offered for sale at two dollars a copy, a map
of Connecticut to which were added parts of New York,
New Jersey, and islands adjacent to these provinces. On
the map he identified locations of significance to the
Revolutionary War. This map was followed by one of the
"Northern Department of North America" from Canada
to the headwaters of the Delaware and Susquehanna
rivers, and another of the "country round Philadelphia."
These maps were advertised for sale at bookshops in
New Haven and Middletown for prices ranging from
two dollars to eighteen shillings per copy.58
Romans apparently considered his maps more impor-
tant, and asked relatively more for them than for his
books. But during his army career he was also writing a
history of his native land. On January 5 and 19, 1779,
he placed on sale his Annals of the Troubles of the



Netherlands at stores in Hartford and New Haven at four
dollars a copy. "This book is wrote [sic]," he advertised,
"to evince the great hardships and amazing success of a
vassal people who extricated themselves from the tyranny
of the most exorbitant power of Europe [Spain], and in
the end ruined that power while the ocean was covered
with its navy, and the earth with its armies, both under
the direction of commanders as famous as any recorded
in history, who had the advantage of marching those
armies by land into the very heart of those revolted
states."59 The author further promised the reader an
account of a king who oppressed the Dutch-an innocent
people who with a territory hardly equal to the smallest
state of the United States and with neither troops nor
navy brought ruin to the most formidable kingdom of the
world. In his book, Romans declared, there was material
of interest for the statesman, soldier, merchant, clergy-
man, farmer, and other citizens of America. To stimulate
orders, he promised that the second volume of the history
would be "much more interesting than the first." Al-
though he advertised that volume two was ready for the
printer, it did not appear until 1782, and by that date
Romans was a prisoner of war.
During the last part of his army service and before his
imprisonment by the British, he spent a number of happy
years in Connecticut. After resigning from the army on
June 1, 1778, he moved to Wethersfield, Connecticut.
On September 15, 1778, the newly arrived citizen adver-
tised a reward of from $37 to $39 for the return of from
$370 to $390 which he lost while traveling to New
Haven.60 This money was earmarked for payment to a
printer in the Connecticut seaport city. But not all of
Romans' time was devoted to writing and drawing. If
tradition is accurate, George Washington introduced the
Dutch-English-American genius to Elizabeth Whiting.



On January 28, 1779, the almost sixty-year-old bachelor
married her.61 Late in October she presented him with
a son, who was later baptized with the name of Hubertus
During his brief period as a husband, Romans con-
tinued to work on his history of the Netherlands. Either
a yearning for travel or the desire to fight with the Pa-
triots of the southern states conquered his urge to write.
According to his wife, he was ordered to join the Ameri-
can army in South Carolina. After sailing from New
London or New Haven, he and others on the vessel were
captured by a British ship. Romans was sent as a prisoner
of war to Montego Bay, Jamaica, where he remained until
the end of the Revolutionary War.62 While a wife should
normally be well informed about the activities of her hus-
band, there are some unconfirmable statements relating to
her husband in her petition for a pension. No extant let-
ters or documents indicate that Romans applied for duty
in the Continental Army or in the forces of a state after
1778. His unhappy experience in military service, his
advanced age, and his contentment as a civilian engaged
in interesting work cast doubt on his willingness to rejoin
the army. Furthermore, his wife declared that he "con-
tinued in the line of his duty as an officer until 1780,"
but available records show that he resigned on June 1,
1778. The probability is that his widow, who had dim
recollections of events which had occurred more than half
a century before the statements in her petition for a pen-
sion, either failed to recall with accuracy or was trying to
present the best possible case for her right to a pension by
enlarging on the military experience of her husband.
Impenetrable to the historical eye is the cloud which
covers the last years of Romans' life. His wife claimed
that the English authorities refused to exchange him as a
prisoner of war because of his "ability to do so much in-



jury to British interests." She further stated that he was
not allowed to leave Jamaica until 1784, that he died
while sailing for the United States, and that "from cir-
cumstances attending his demise his friends had good
reason to believe him to have been wilfully murdered."63
On the other hand, English historians give a different
and more logical version of the last years of the remark-
able Bernard Romans. By their account he was captured
in 1779 by a British detachment at Stony Point on the
Hudson River and sent to England as a prisoner of war.
While in Great Britain he was evidently allowed to accept
remunerative employment. The year following the peace
treaty between the United States and England, he em-
barked for New York, carrying with him a large sum
of money. He disappeared somewhere on the Atlantic
Ocean, and the supposition was that he was murdered in
passage for his money.64
There are many unknowns in the story of Romans'
life, and none is more mysterious than that which shrouds
his death. In sixty-four years the Dutch-born, English-
naturalized, American Patriot traveled extensively, moved
in the circle of the learned, and left monuments to him-
self in maps and books.
The attention of the modern reader of Romans' Con-
cise History will focus on the peculiar spelling of words
with the letter "s" in them. In the eighteenth century
both English and American writers substituted "f" for
"s" except as the final letter of a word. In reading words
printed with that outmoded font one often confuses it
with "f", and house and horse appear to be houfe and
horfe. A little practice, however, will enable the reader
to identify correctly the old form of "s", and he may find
the "translating" an easy, interesting mental exercise.
A second unusual characteristic of the book is the


frequent use as a pronoun of the small "i" rather than
the capital "I". The latter form is used properly five
times by Romans in his brief introduction and once in the
second sentence of the first paragraph of the text. There-
after the small "i" rather than the correct capital "I"
generally appears. Even in sentences and paragraphs
quoted from other sources and reprinted in the Concise
History the small "i" personal pronoun is used. The
probable explanation for this deviation from modern and
former practice is that the printer of the book, whoever
he was,65 had an inadequate supply of capital "I" matrices
in stock to meet his needs for the personal pronoun and
the first letter of words beginning with "I" at the start of
a sentence. Printers had no machines to cast letters to the
speed of a typist's touch. Metal was scarce in the American
colonies and printers, setting type by hand, used what
was available in their trays of already molded letters.
Evidently the printer of the Concise History had a limited
number of these "I"s. Whenever he had no further use
for a page plate of some other work in his shop, he broke
the words in the plate into their component parts and
returned the letters to their proper alphabetical trays.
This supposition would account for the infrequent appear-
ance of the capital "I" as a pronoun in the later pages
of the book.66 Since Romans never referred to this pecul-
iar usage in the errata listings of his book or in his
correspondence about his history, he evidently considered
the substitution of the "i" for "I" unimportant.
Finally, the reader will discover a few other interesting
facts about the printing. Immediately below the last word
on every page of the book appears the first word of the
following page. This practice was in vogue in the
eighteenth century, and, if one is not concerned with print-
ing expense, is a commendable feature of old books. In
common with all writers in English of his age Romans


used the English form in spelling certain words-a form
still current in Great Britain but not in the United States.
Most words ending in "or"-labor, harbor, and others-
are spelled labour and harbour in Romans' work. Quota-
tion marks at the beginning of every line designate the
continuation of material taken from another author. The
absence of chapters and subheadings in the book leaves
the reader the task of dividing the history into parts.
One statement on the title page of the Concise History
requires an explanation. The 1775 edition of the book is
marked "Vol. I," leaving the impression that a second
volume would be forthcoming, but the second printing
in 1776 omitted the "Vol. I" on its title page. In an
advertisement inserted in loose form in the 1776 impres-
sion, Romans informed his subscribers that at the time
of the "first printing of this publication, it was intended
to be a single volume, not exceeding 300 pages, appendix
and all.""' Because of the requests of many friends he
added numerous articles, and these additions increased his
contemplated work to approximately 800 pages. The size,
he added, made necessary the printing of two volumes.
Unexpected difficulties, however, especially the failure to
secure a "copper-plate printer" delayed publication. To
"atone in some measure" to his subscribers he promised
them the second volume, which "is now in the press,
without an additional charge.
What happened to volume two which was "in the
press" in 1776 is an unsolved mystery. Almost every
advertisement and statement made by Romans in refer-
ence to his history of the Floridas promised a two-volume
work. Was the second volume a casualty of the American
Revolutionary War? The second printing of the Concise
History (1776) carries on its title page the imprint "New-
York Printed." As already stated Romans was at the head
of his Pennsylvania Artillery Company in 1776, stationed



near Fort Ticonderoga, and was preparing to join other
American Patriots in an invasion of Great Britain's Cana-
dian provinces. In June, 1776, General William Howe
moved a large British army into the vicinity of New York
City. Supported by an English fleet commanded by his
brother, General Howe began maneuvers which resulted
in the occupation of Manhattan Island. On August 27,
1776, he defeated the forces of General George Washing-
ton at the Battle of Long Island and moved his victorious
British army across the East River into New York City.
Did this occupation end the in-process printing of volume
two of the Concise History? Romans was stationed hun-
dreds of miles away and could not look after his manu-
script or any part of it which was in type. Did the printer
fear that conquest of the city endangered the sale of the
book, and seeing little hope of payment for his work,
break up the plates already set and destroy the manu-
script? Or did some English officer or enlisted man ac-
quire the manuscript and eventually take it to England,
where it remains, lost among other papers in a library or
hidden in the attic of a private house? Perhaps the manu-
script was acquired by an American soldier, who either
threw it away or stored it in some building, where it re-
mains today, unknown and gathering dust. These ques-
tions remain unanswered, and only copies of volume one
of the Concise History are extant.
Almost two hundred years ago Romans took his pros-
pective readers into his confidence. "Prefaces," he wrote,
"at this present day become such impertinent things that
it is almost unpopular to offer one without an apology."
He believed that the desire of concerned individuals for
authentic information on the state, situation, and soil of
the Floridas, since their acquisition by Great Britain from
Spain in 1763, was justification for a book on those prov-
inces. He made no claim, however, that his writing was


definitive. On the contrary, he hoped that his book would
stimulate a more competent writer to undertake a com-
plete study of those colonies. He promised the readers of
his book that it was based on personal observations and
that he had adhered strictly to the truth without willfully
or knowingly deviating from fact. And he had harsh
words for "the numerous and noted puffs" who had mis-
represented the Floridas and protested against their re-
ports which created distaste for those provinces in the
minds of men.
Finally, in his introduction he apologized for his lack
of facility in using the English language. A foreigner, he
declared, was not sufficiently versed in a nonnative me-
dium of communication to please a critical reader. If his
writing was sufficiently clear to be understandable, he
begged his friends to overlook or excuse inaccuracies in
Critics of Romans' style have found it grandiloquent
and bombastic. They also accuse him of being too bold
and too opinionated. These critics, as P. Lee Phillips has
written, are prone to underrate the great intellects of the
past by holding their works to present-day standards of
composition. They fail to take into consideration that
Romans was not English-born, and that he wrestled with
a language the intricacies of which relatively few English-
men or Americans have really mastered. On considering
"the difficulties which the pioneer 'Adventurer' had to
surmount to accomplish his work, the wonder grows at
the reading""6 of his Concise History. Though quaint in
expression at times and different from modern English
in spelling and punctuation, his writing was clear and
Romans had a definite opinion of an author's respon-
sibility to his public. "A describer of countries," he wrote,
"ought in a great measure, to imitate a building Engineer,




in first laying before those, whom he will employ, accu-
rate and distinct plans of his intended work, thereby en-
abling them to judge more distinctly of the execution
thereof" (1).69 In the attempt to give his book a logical
organization, he set out to describe the various sections
of the Floridas, beginning in the eastern areas and pro-
ceeding to the western ones. He divided peninsular Flor-
ida into two parts on the basis of climate: the first began
at the Georgia border along the St. Marys River, extended
west to the Apalachicola River (the dividing line between
East and West Florida), and ran south to an imaginary
line drawn from the northern waters of Mosquito Lagoon
(Indian River) to Charlotte Harbor; and the second in-
cluded the rest of the peninsula with its numerous keys
which jutted out toward the Gulf of Mexico. West Flor-
ida was a distinct colony which encompassed parts of
present-day Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana.
Despite his emphasis on plan and purpose, Romans
wandered in his writing from one topic to another. He
immediately described the climate and general attractive-
ness of East Florida. Repeatedly he commented on the
salubrious climate, fertile soil, and the opportunities
awaiting settlers in the southernmost British colonies of
North America. Careful reading of his book reveals that
an unstated purpose of his work was to interest residents
of other British colonies in moving to East or West
From "the end of September to the end of June," he
stated, "there is perhaps not any where a more delightful
climate to be found" (3) than in Florida. Notwithstand-
ing the humidity and dampness in St. Augustine, Romans
was convinced that nowhere on the continent was there
a "more healthy spot; burials have been less frequent
here, than any where else, where an equal number of
inhabitants is to be found" (9). He explained the re-


ported sickness and epidemic at Mobile in 1765. Accord-
ing to him the climate was not at fault, but the excesses
of the newly arrived British subjects caused the many
illnesses among the people. The former French inhabit-
ants had led sober lives, obtained their drinking water
from safe sources, consumed spirituous liquors and wines
in moderation, and moved out of Mobile when the "heat
caused a putrefaction of the water in pools, and exhaled
the moisture of this low ground, thereby filling the air
with noxious vapours" (11).
To support his contention of the healthfulness of Mo-
bile he cited three examples of longevity among the
French colonists. One woman, who had suffered from the
gout for years, reached the age of more than a hundred
before passing away. Even then her departure from the
world had been speeded as a result of her breaking a leg
when stepping into bed. Another French citizen was al-
most eighty-four years old when Romans visited him
in 1771, and this old man had a mother who was bak-
ing bread, doing other domestic chores, and "singing
and running from place to place as briskly as a girl of
twenty" (12). Her son was not too spry: at the age of
sixty he had fallen more than fifty feet from a tall pine
tree, landed on a log, and the accident had slowed his
physical activities. More than a year later Romans talked
with the same Frenchman. This time he was fishing in a
river located more than five miles from his home. In
answer to a question, the Frenchman said "that his
mother had an inclination to eat fish, and he was come
to get her a mess," and Romans noted that the old fisher-
man "was then on foot and had five miles to come to this
place, and as much back with his prey, after catching it;
a very dutiful son this at eighty five!" (12).
The British soldiers and colonists, Romans pointed out,
failed to follow the simple rules of temperate living in




the Florida climate. These "sons of incontinence, who
upon their arrival, and after their first taking possession
of this country, lived there so fast, that their race was
too soon scampered over; midnight carouzals, and the
converting day into night, and night into day was all the
study of those gay, those thoughtless men, who sported
with their lives; as with a toy not worth esteeming; the
fatal effects of their debauches; joined to the conse-
quences of the situation of their residence, made their lives
indeed comparable to grass, flourishing to day, and with-
ering to morrow" (12-13). Any sensible man who moved
into a new country, Romans advised, should inquire as
to the living conditions and follow known rules for
adapting his constitution to his home. Too often, how-
ever, a newcomer to Florida was told "that a free glass"
now and then was necessary to survival in a hot climate,
but almost always "the free glass generally [increased]
into a glass of excess" (13) with a resulting drunkenness
and quick degeneration of the body.
The excesses of human beings caused sickness, not
Florida which had a "perfect climate." "In this noble
country... all the products of the torrid Zone as well as
of the temperate are capable of being produced" (117),
Romans claimed, and then gave pages of descriptions of
crops which could be grown profitably by industrious
farmers. In addition he found the waters of Florida
abounding in fish that both he and the residents, "when
not inclined to fish with a hook and line, have struck
many hundreds with a stick sharpened at one end, and
hardened in the fire, in lieu of a harpoon" (301). Vari-
ous species of game animals and edible birds were plenti-
ful in woods and fields. He urged adventurous people
living in the northern colonies to "find their way to the
more favourable climates and soil of the southern
colonies" (215).


He gave detailed directions to those who migrated to
and traveled in Florida. Powder, shot, and a fowling piece
were necessary equipment, as were knives for dressing
game and an adequate supply of staples-corn, rice, and
flour. At least one hour before nightfall, the wanderer
should cut wood and build a fire, "for this must be used
in summer as well as winter to rarify the air around the
camp; always lay with your feet towards the fire, and you
are out of danger of catching cold; if you are in a country
where warring savages resort, keep up a large fire all
night, and be sure to put some hats on poles near the
fire" (188-89), as a protection against a surprise attack
by Indians. An elevated location should be selected for a
campsite and a bearskin rug was necessary to protect a
sleeping person from the dampness of the ground. When-
ever necessary to camp in a grass-covered area, the burn-
ing of a large circle around the site would save baggage
and camp equipment. The wise camper would spend half
an hour to make a small hut of dead wood and thatch it
with palmetto fronds. Romans gave detailed instructions
on cooking in the open, tying up boats at night, and
securing protection from mosquitoes.
He was, however, more interested in persuading men
of means than campers to settle in Florida. Using a
hypothetical family, composed of parents, four children,
and two slaves, and living in the New England or Middle
Atlantic colonies, he estimated that $2,500 would be
sufficient to establish a profitable plantation in West
Florida. Most of this money would be needed to pay for
passage by boat, buy seed and agricultural equipment,
build a house, obtain land and satisfy various officials
who must be paid fees for surveying and recording, and
purchase additional slaves. For pages (191 ff.) Romans
described the needs and work of the prospective settler.
With industry and no more than the ordinary run of luck,




he thought a planter could make a profit of $520 the first
year of operation. Even a bachelor who aspired to a small
farm and held only one slave should have $400 in capital
before moving to the Floridas.
For Romans, slavery was essential to the development
of the former Spanish provinces. He cited the history of
Georgia to support his advocacy of slaveholding. Land in
that colony, he reported, was lower in price after twenty
years of colonization than at the beginning of settlement,
but within two decades after the introduction of slavery
the price of an island near Savannah jumped in price
from twenty pounds to ten thousand pounds and the en-
tire colony was becoming more and more prosperous.
Other examples of the economic fallacy of attempting
colonization in a hot climate were the settlements of
Andrew Turnbull at New Smyrna and Denys Rolle at
Rollestown. According to Romans, both of these East
Florida enterprises failed because their promoters em-
ployed European laborers rather than African slaves.
He had no sympathy with colonials who opposed
slavery on moral, religious, or any other grounds. Since
"treachery, theft, stubbornness, and idleness" were in-
bred in the Negro race, and not the result of enslave-
ment, he thought "no man ought to be allowed the
manumission of his slave except he be bound for his
good behaviour and industry, and idle free blacks ought
to be sold for the good of the community" (105). To
him the Negro was biologically and mentally inferior to
the white man, could work and thrive in torrid climates
that would kill the white, and could develop industry
and honesty only under the supervision of the superior
white race. He shed no tears for the rights of Negroes,
for at no time in history or at no place in their native
land had they desired or enjoyed the freedoms held dear
by Englishmen. Romans quoted many short passages from



the Bible, and referred his reader to numerous chapters
and sentences in it to support his contention that God
sanctioned slavery.
Fundamentally Romans saw in slavery the means for
the economic advancement of white settlers. While men
could acquire some property through their own labor, he
warned that "until their industry helps them to the means
of buying one slave and so on till they get more it will
be vanity for them to hope for an accumulation of
wealth" (104-5). "The rhapsodical opinion that the earth
produces more when worked by free men than by slaves
may do in theory but not in practice; the contrary is easily
made to appear; and i am certain from the nature of the
climates, that the same colonies when cultivated by free
men would not produce one tenth part of what they do
now" (107). He urged his fellow men not to allow the
narrow system of morality adopted by some of our con-
temporary enthusiastical Philosophers [to] restrain us
from properly using this naturally subjected species of
mankind" (107) and assured his countrymen that neither
God nor Christian charity forbade slavery, but on the
contrary commanded the use of Negroes to the advantage
of the superior white race.70
He held both the Negro and the Indian in contempt
and wrote extensively about the life and customs of the
latter. He regretted the common use of the word "Indian"
as applied to the natives, for "the French name of savage
is a much more proper one, as the manners of the red
men are in every respect such as betray that disposition,
and shew the savage thro' the best wrought veil of civili-
zation" (37), and they are "not only rude and cultivated,
but incapable of civilization" (39). The intolerant Ro-
mans condemned the Indians because he found their cus-
toms from birth to burial foreign to those of civilized
people. Indians, he claimed, were "addicted to lying in a


high degree; their seeming candour and simplicity is an
effect of dissimulation; they know how to save appear-
ances, and will always find ways to cover their knavish,
thieving tricks; their notions of faith and honour are such
as make them violate their word of promise, even when
they are in treaty, unless compelled to be true by fear or
force" (43). He admitted, however, that physically they
"are well made both men and women; the women have
agreeable features and countenances those that are
cleanly are really attractive" (82), but most of them were
revolting in appearance because of their dirty, nasty way
of life.
With all their bad characteristics, Romans conceded,
"they have one virtue, which is hospitality, and this they
carry to excess; a savage will share his last ounce of meat
with a visitant stranger" (44). He also declared that re-
ports of Indians "giving their daughters to transient per-
sons, is not true, and it is not till after some acquaintance,
that they will give a white man, what they call a wife,
unless he chooses an abandoned prostitute, which are here
to be found as well as elsewhere" (44). While both
sexes were wanton, the punishment prescribed for an
unfaithful wife or a wandering maiden from another tribe
was too severe and inhuman for even the usually unmoved
The origin of the Indians intrigued him. One by one
he summarized and discarded theories that they came
from areas of Asia or from regions of Europe. While he
had no doubt concerning "Moses's account of the Crea-
tion" (54), he questioned individuals who applied that
historian's book to all parts of the world. He saw neither
disrespect of God nor questioning of the Bible in the
assumption "that there were as many Adams and Eves
(every body knows these names to have an allegorical
sense) as we find different species of the human genus


(55). The theory of multiple creation of the human
species of animals pleased Romans. It would account for
the differences in the races of the earth and support his
idea of the superiority of the white race over all others.
Some people might think the flood left only one couple
to populate the earth, but he believed that the Bible de-
scribed "one small part of the earth" (54). To support
the theory he pointed out that the higher mountains of
North America showed few marks of the flood, it com-
pletely covered no more than a small area of Asia, and
many people living at a distance from the Near East sur-
vived its waters.
Romans' explanations of Biblical events and his implied
criticism of the Bible as the exact word of God would
arouse the ire of a later-day fundamentalist. In truth the
engineer-writer had no great faith in the Bible or in re-
ligion. In describing Indian customs, he seemed pleased
to find the savage of North America holding no "idea
of religion to make him superstitious" (40). Many pas-
sages of the Concise History clearly indicate that their
author was an agnostic.
Although he wrote with caution on religious subjects,
he had no mercy on contemporary writers with whom he
disagreed. His anger was particularly aroused and his
words sharp when referring to his former employer, Wil-
liam De Brahm. The report of "this singular genius" to
the British Board of Trade deserved contempt, but his
later production7" bore "marks of insanity, [and] de-
mands our pity" (296). This "Bedlamite," Romans con-
tinued, "from whence also seems to originate the name
Tegesta; he turns one peninsula into broken islands, an-
other into sunken rocks turns water into land, and
land into water, calls the current from Baffin's frozen bay,
to join with the velocious stream of Torrid Mexico and
Florida" all at the cost of no more "than a few strokes

of his inimitable pen" (297). Romans declared that De
Brahm made much of his personal knowledge of one
method of navigation, but "he did not know how to do
it astronomically, by an amplitude of the sun; till i taught
him in 1769" (298).
Another despicable individual, in Romans' opinion,
was Andrew Turnbull, the founder of the New Smyrna
settlement on the east coast of Florida. In 1768 he lured
almost 1,500 men, women, and children from "the plenti-
ful cornfields and vineyards of Greece and Italy" to
Florida, "where instead of plenty they found want in its
last degree, instead of promised fields, a dreary wilder-
ness; instead of a grateful fertile soil, a barren arid sand;
and in addition to their misery, were obliged to indent
themselves, their wives, and children for many years, to
a man who had the most sanguine expectations of trans-
planting" (268) Near-Eastern servitude to America.
Romans accused Turnbull of making the unfortunate
Europeans work in the manner of Negro slaves, of giv-
ing them inadequate supplies of food and clothing, and
of forcing a communal type of living on them. The latter
way of life compelled a man to whip his wife in public
because she stole bread to feed her starving children,
punished humanitarian sailors because they gave food to
the hungry settlers, and executed those who rebelled
against Turnbull's inhuman social order.72 "O Florida!"
Romans exclaimed, "were this the only instance of similar
barbarity which thou hast seen, we might draw a veil
over these scenes of horror" (270). He mentioned other
instances of the mistreatment of settlers in Florida, and
emphasized Rollestown which was a "sepulchre of above
four hundred such victims" (270).
Romans' inaccurate accounts of villains in Florida and
his dated and unscientific picture of Negroes and Indians
make interesting reading, but his descriptions of the natu-


ral resources of the Floridas and the activities of the
people have enduring value. Of all the crops produced
in the provinces, he believed indigo to have the greatest
commercial potential. This opinion was not strange at a
time when the world was demanding color for textiles
and blue indigo was the source of the dye. His details
on the planting, cultivation, and harvesting of the indigo
plant and its processing through various stages to the
eventual bricks of dye are of historic value.
Allied to dye was the source of cloth to receive the
colors which indigo supplied. Cotton, Romans declared,
is "an article of which we can never raise too much (for
like all other things, the more it is multiplied the more
its consumption increases) it therefore behoves me to
mention it as second in rank" (139) of important crops
in Florida. He realized that the major problem in cotton
production lay in separating the valuable lint from the
cotton seeds. For this reason he gave a detailed descrip-
tion of a cotton gin which he saw in West Florida: "It is
a strong frame of four studs, each about four feet high
and joined above and below by strong transverse pieces;
across this are placed two round well polished iron spin-
dles, having a small groove through their whole length,
and by means of treddles are by the workman's foot put
in directly opposite motions to each other; the workman
sits before the frame having a thin board, of seven or
eight inches wide and the length of the frame, before
him; this board is so fixed to the frame that it may be
moved, over again, and near the spindle; he has the cot-
ton in a basket near him, and with his left hand spreads
it on this board along the spindles which by their turning
draw the cotton through them being wide enough to ad-
mit the cotton, but too near to permit the seed to go
through, which being thus forced to leave the cotton in
which it was contained, and by its rough coat entangled;


falls on the ground between the workmans legs while
the cotton drawn through falls on the other side into an
open bag suspended for that purpose under the spindles"
This description of the first known cotton gin antedates
the famous "invention" of Eli Whitney by more than
twenty years. Romans saw a part of one of the gins at the
plantation of a Mr. Krebs, who lived near the Pascagoula
River in West Florida in 1772 and who claimed to be the
inventor of the machine. He was exceedingly cautious in
answering the questions of Romans about its operation.
Other planters told Romans that French farmers had im-
proved Krebs' gin by attaching a large wheel to it, and
that with this addition a Negro boy could operate the
gin with sufficient speed to keep the Negro men shovel-
ing the seed from under the mill. This statement was
either an exaggeration or the slaves worked at a snail's
pace in removing the seed. If, however, the man-powered
cotton gin could separate seventy to eighty pounds of lint
from seed in a day, as residents of West Florida told
Romans, it represented a tremendous technological im-
provement over the slow hand method of picking lint
from the seed.
While recognizing the potential value of a gin and cot-
ton, Romans expressed his dislike of certain other crops
produced in the Floridas. He considered tea a despicable
weed, and a cause of the oppressions laid on the colonists
by the mother country. Although he believed it could be
grown with success and gave detailed instructions for its
cultivation, he hoped that farmers and planters would not
cultivate the tea plant. In his opinion, rice was good only
for "puddings, and to put in soups, or to make the wafer-
like bread called journey cakes in Carolina, yet it must
be mentioned here on account of its usefulness in feed-
ing Negroes, cattle and poultry" (125-26). He saw


tremendous possibilities for other products of the Florida
soils and forests: corn, wheat, peas, beans, grasses, nuts,
grapes, oranges, olives, and many other crops. He even
said, "liquor is as necessary as victuals" (131). Pine and
other varieties of trees would give Floridians opportunity
for important naval stores, lumbering, and shipbuilding
industries, and the climate and grasses would make pos-
sible tremendous herds of cattle. Productive capacity in
agriculture and the extractive industries, together with a
favorable location and good harbors, made Romans fore-
cast profitable shipping and commercial activities for the
Despite his high praise of the provinces, he was suffi-
ciently realistic to depict some of their shortcomings. In
the summer season the regions were hot and the "south
and south west winds make a thick heavy air, and are
in my opinion hurtful to the lungs" (7). The land was
also subject to destructive winds, and Romans described
the devastation caused by a hurricane of late August and
early September, 1772. He expressed his disapproval of
many British policies and urged responsible officials to
encourage settlement, end all monopolies in trade, and
use materials found in abundance in the provinces rather
than ship them in at high cost from New York. The
advantages of the Floridas greatly outweighed the dis-
advantages and, in Romans' opinion, an enlightened
leadership would make the provinces blossom into pros-
perous colonies.
The author covered many topics in his Concise History.
Near the end of his work he presented a day-by-day ac-
count of a trip into the interior areas of West Florida.
In a long appendix he gave detailed directions for those
who sailed in Florida waters, and his maps provided addi-
tional aids for navigators.73
Viewing Romans' writings from the vantage point of


almost two hundred years, the modern reader will laugh
at many of the writer's ideas. If some of his medical ad-
vice were practiced today, there would be a sharp increase
in the American death rate. Even within the book he was
not consistent in appraising the Indians. With all his
prejudice against them and his emphasis on their un-
trustworthiness, he nevertheless included stories which
demonstrated the loyalty, truthfulness, and honesty of
individual warriors. His seeking of Biblical support for
the institution of slavery antedated the writings of South-
erners of the 1840's and 1850's, who also sought sanction
for slavery in the Bible. Even the ardent, present-day
segregationist would find much to approve of in Romans'
ideas of the Negro race.
Despite many errors, he was a remarkable man and a
universal genius. His was one of the first books with a
description of the Floridas and their inhabitants, and the
Concise History was the best written and the most com-
plete of those first accounts. Even his Dutch origin and
his British training did not prevent him from becoming
a patriotic American during the American Revolution.
His books, drawings, and maps have been used as sources
by distinguished scholars and are still sought for by col-
lectors of rare Americana. "His writings," as P. Lee
Phillips has stated, "will always be of value and interest,
not only from their own merit, but as pioneer informa-
tion gained from personal research.""7

R. W. P.


1. Quoted in P. Lee Phillips, Notes on the Life and
Works of Bernard Romans (DeLand, Florida: Florida State
Historical Society, 1924), 72.
2. C. F. Volney, A view of the Soil and Climate of the
United States of America: With Supplementary Remarks
Upon Florida; on the French Colonies on the Mississippi
and Ohio, and in Canada; and on the Aboriginal Tribes of
America, trans., with occasional remarks by C. B. Brown
(Philadelphia, 1804), 316. 3. Ibid., 273 n.
4. Quoted in Phillips, Notes, 72.
5. Phillips, Notes, 71. P. Lee Phillips did extensive re-
search on Romans, and uncovered practically all the extant
sources on his life and works. Phillips, however, did not
place Romans in historical perspective and his account of
Romans is more a source than a biography.
6. Phillips, Notes, 35.
7. Phillips, Notes, 103. The microcard edition is avail-
able from the Lost Cause Press, 235 South Gait Avenue,
Louisville, Kentucky, for $5.95. The modernized version
was published in 1961 by the Pelican Publishing Company
of New Orleans and is priced at $16.
8. Leslie Stephen and Sidney Lee (eds.), The Diction-
ary of National Biography (London: Oxford University
Press, 1917), XVII, 180.
9. Bernard Romans, A Concise Natural History of East
and West Florida (New York: Printed for the Author,
1775), 116.
10. According to the biographical sketch in the DNB
(XVII, 180), Romans lived near St. Augustine between
1760 and 1771 and considered himself the first surveyor
to settle in the Spanish province of Florida. Why an English

NOTES. xlix
national should be living in Florida, when Spain was on
the verge of declaring war against Great Britain, is incom-
prehensible. In 1774 Romans wrote: "I then [1766) got
to be appointed Deputy Surveyor for Georgia, and shortly
after, the late Lord Egmont introduced me into East-Florida,
to survey and divide the estates he had there." (Romans to
the Editor, New-York Gazetteer, February 10, 1774, quoted
in Phillips, Notes, 29.) Romans described four voyages to
Florida: the'first in 1766 when he ran his "vessel a shore
on the tortugas," the second when he lost his ship near Cape
Florida, the third in 1769 and 1770 when he was Principal
Deputy Surveyor for the Southern District, and the fourth
in 1770 and 1771 when he sailed to Pensacola at his own
11. Charles Lock Mowat, East Florida as a British Prov-
ince, 1763-1784 (Berkeley: University of California Press,
1943), 52. See also, William Henry Seibert, Loyalists in
East Florida: the Most Important Documents Pertaining
Thereto; Edited With an Accompanying Narrative (2 vols.;
DeLand: Florida State Historical Society, 1929), II, 337-
38. For other facts on De Brahm, see Allen D. Chandler
Compp.), The Colonial Records of the State of Georgia...
(Atlanta: Franklin-Turner, 1907), IX, 179, XVIII, 205,
12. The petitions of and grants to Romans are recorded
in Chandler Compp.), Colonial Records, X, 171, 338, 352,
414, 501.
13. Statement of Mrs. Dorothy Moore, Claimant, in Sei-
bert, Loyalists in East Florida, II, 117.
14. Seibert, Loyalists in East Florida, II, 342.
15. Peter Chester to Earl of Hillsborough, August 14,
1772, in Phillips, Notes, 47. 16. Ibid.
17. Chester to Hillsborough, October 7, 1772, in Phil-
lips, Notes, 47-48.
18. William Knox to Governor of West Florida, March
3, 1773, quoted in Cecil Johnson, British West Florida,
1763-1783 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1943), 21.
19. Seibert, Loyalists in East Florida, II, 338.
20. Statement of Mrs. Dorothy Moore, Claimant, ibid.,
117; Allen Johnson and Dumas Malone (eds.), Dictionary
of American Biography (New York: Charles Scribner's
Sons, 1935), XVI, 126-27. 21. DAB, XVI, 126.

22. Phillips, Notes, 48-49.
23. Pennsylvania Gazette, January 26, 1774, taken from
Phillips, Notes, 49.
24. Advertisement, Boston Gazette, January 10, 1774,
quoted in Phillips, Notes, 25-26.
25. Quoted in Phillips, Notes, 24.
26. New-York Gazetteer, April 27, 1775, quoted in
Phillips, Notes, 24.
27. Franklin Bowditch Dexter (ed.), The Literary Diary
of Ezra Stiles (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1901),
I, 524-25.
28. DAB XVI,. 126; Phillips, Notes, 76, 77, 80.
29. Phillips, Notes, 77-80.
30. Malcolm Decker, Benedict Arnold: Son of the
Havens (Tarrytown, N. Y.: William Abbott, 1932), 54.
31. Quoted in Phillips, Notes, 52.
32. Phillips, Notes, 53.
33. Benedict Arnold to Massachusetts Committee of
Safety, May 19, 1775, in Peter Force, American Archives,
fourth series (Washington: M. St. Clair Clarke and Peter
Force, 1839), II, 645-46. 34. Ibid., 584-85. 35. Ibid.
36. Benson J. Lossing, The Pictorial Field-Book of the
Revolution (2 vols.; New York: Harper and Brothers,
1850),I, 702.
37. Force, American Archives, fourth series (1843), III,
38. Romans to Provincial Congress of New York, Octo-
ber 12, 1775, in Force, American Archives, fourth series,
III, 1285.
39. Romans to Committee of Safety of New York, ibid.,
40. Samuel Bayard and others to Committee of Safety
of New York, September 25, 1775, ibid., 795-96.
41. Ibid., 917. 42. Ibid., 919.
43. See letters of Romans to the commissioners, they to
him, and Romans to the Provincial Congress, ibid., 1355-
58, 1359-62, 1363-67.
44. Romans to Committee, November 16, 1775, ibid.,
45. Peter Force, American Archives, fourth series (1843),
IV, 420-22. 46. Ibid., 1019-20.
47. Romans to Committee of Safety, March 18, 1776,
in ibid., 405.


48. W. T. R. Saffell, Records of the Revolutionary War
. (Philadelphia: G. C. Evans, 1860), 178.
49. Romans to Committee of Safety, March 18, 1776, in
Peter Force, American Archives, fourth series, IV, 405,
50. Lord Sterling to Washington, June 1, 1776, ibid.,
VI, 672-74.
51. Francis B. Heitman, Historical Register of the Con-
tinental Army (Washington: Rare Book Shop Publish-
ing Company, 1914), I, 473.
52. This paragraph is based on a letter of Romans, April
25, 1776, in Phillips, Notes, 64-66, and note on page 113.
53. Schuyler to Washington, May 10, 1776, in Peter
Force, American Archives, fourth series, VI, 412-14.
54. Arnold to Samuel Chase, May 15, 1776, ibid.,
55. Phillips, Notes, 64; Peter Force American Archives,
fifth series (1853), I, 657.
56. Romans to Horatio Gates, November 8, 1776, ibid.,
606-7. 57. Ibid.
58. The account of these maps are in Phillips, Notes,
59. Advertisement in the Connecticut Currant, and the
Weekly Intelligencer, January 5 and 19, 1779, quoted in
Phillips, Notes, 93. 60. Phillips, Notes, 67. 61. Ibid., 68.
62. Petition of Elizabeth Romans for a pension, October
15, 1846, in Phillips, Notes, 67, 68-70.
63. Ibid., 69. 64. DNB, 180.
65. James Rivington, publisher of the New-York Gazet-
teer, was thought to have been the printer of the Concise
History, but P. Lee Phillips concluded that the printer of
the book is not known. Phillips, Notes, 38.
66. The capital "I" is used throughout the volume as
the first letter of a word which begins a sentence. Indian is
generally "indian."
67. This advertisement of four pages with blank pages
two and three and an "Errata" list on page four is in the
P. K. Yonge Memorial Library, University of Florida. The
original of the 1775 edition which is reproduced in this
volume is in the same library. 68. Phillips, Notes, 30.
69. Rather than using footnotes to indicate the quota-
tion from Romans' Concise History, the page from which
the quotation is taken will be given in parentheses.

lii NOTES.
70. During the Revolutionary period and for some years
after, opposition to slavery was widespread in the United
States. Many colonials and later citizens living below the
Mason and Dixon's line believed that the ownership of
human beings was indefensible. Although the southern
states did not make provisions for the abolution of slavery
after the Revolutionary War, as did the northern states,
many Southerners freed their slaves and other owners
wrestled with their consciences on the problem of slavery.
71. John Gerar William De Brahm, The Atlantic Pilot
(London: Printed for the Author, 1772).
72. Romans' account of the New Smyrna settlement was
filled with inaccuracies. It was not until October 26, 1778,
that Turnbull read Romans' description of the enterprise,
and the founder of New Smyrna then referred to Romans
as a producer of "malicious and improbable falsehoods,"
a caluminiator," "an assassin," and guilty of "malicious
libel." For Turnbull's defense, see Phillips, Notes, 40-44,
73. Romans evidently considered his maps more import-
ant than his book. He defended himself with vigor and
invective against the accusation of plagiarism in the pro-
duction of his maps on Florida. Phillips, Notes, 24-30.
74. Phillips, Notes, 73.

Eaft and Weft FLORIDA;


* a

Fn?~!~j;~ct.i?. yil. r.




Eaf and Weft FLORIDA;

An Account of the natural Produce of all the Southern
Part of BRITISH AMERICA, in the three
Kingdoms of Nature, particularly the Animal and
L I K E W I S E,
The artificial Produce now raised, or poffible to be raised,
and manufaaured there, with fome commercial and po-
litical Obfervations in that part of the world; and a cho-
rographical Account of the fame.
To which ls added, by Way of Appendir,
Plain and eafy Dire&ions to Navigators over the Bank of
Bahama, the Coaft of the two Floridas, the North of
Cuba, and the dangerous Gulph Paffage. Noting alfo,
the hitherto unknown watering Places in that Part of
America, intended principally for the Ufe of fuch Vef-
fels as may be fo unfortunate as to be diflreffed by
Weather in that difficult Part of the World.


Illuftrated with twelve COPPER PLATES,
And Two whole Sheet M A P S.

VoL. I.

Printed for the AUTHOR, M,DCC,LXXV,

SE A S 0 N without experience can do no-
thing I being no more than the mere dream.
phantafms, and meteors of ingenious men,
who abufe their time.

There is need of much diligence and laIour, before
man-can be thoroughly inftruded. LINNEUS,

All things contained in the compafs of the universe
declare, as it were with one accord, the infinite wif-
dom of the Creator ; for whatever flrikes er fenfes,
whatever is tbe objetl of our thoughts, is fo con.
tried, as to afif in manifefling the divine gory (i.
e.) the ultimate et4 vphich God propefed in all his
works. Whoever duly turns his attention to the
things on this our, terraqueous gle, muft necefarily
confeft, that. they arefo connected, fo linked together,
that they all tend to the fame end, and to this end
a vaft number of intermediate ends are necefary.

Mlqnt the fervant and' explaiver of nature, s`-
firve and radiafes as- much as he has earned,: con-
cerning her order, effect, and power; further he
neither knows nor can da. BAcoN.

'-I. -
O --N. E

J TL 44 11.4E1S Ii

/ 7 "

/ /.

[ ( t / i. 0'/ ,

8 //4:.1, /I'/M ,I
7f^/ ~n/^/w7n//y

3 1


p REFACES, at this prffent day, become-
fucb impertinent things, that it is almoft im-
proper to ofer one without an apology.
The many different reports, which have-
prevailed in America, fince the cefion af the Flori-
das, concerning their fate, situation and foil, joined to
the natural desire of thofe concerned, to fee a good ac-
count of thofe fo celebrated countries, i hope will be
apology enough in the present caJe.
Confrcus of being, from experi ne, fuffciently en-
abled to give a jufl account of them, i have under-
taken- the following fJetch, or out-lines of a future
natural hibory ofthofi countries, in hopes that fome
abler hand may be thereby induced to take up the pen,
and furnish the world with a complete work of that
kind for tefe provinces ; being well afured, that no
part of Britih America will furnif the ;naturalift
with more variety.
I offer this humble attempt without any reco.;-
mendations, or praifes, of my own ; only i beg to af-
fire my rea,4r, that i have, through the whole, ad-
hered fo jfritly to truth, as to make no one devia-
tion therefrom willingly, or knowingly; guarding on
the one hagd again the fmireprefentations, where-
with the authors of the mnmerous and noted puffs,
macernini thefe provinces, have fo plentifully inter-

[ 4 ]
larded their labours; and on the other, againfjthe
prejudices of thofe, who have taken fo much pains to
render this country undefervedly defpifed.
No elegance of flyle, nor flowers of rhetoric, muft
be expected from a person, who is conscious that he is
not efficiently acquainted with the language, to write
in fuch a manner as wil pleafe a critical reader, and
if he has wrote fo as to be intelligible, he hopes the
candid will excufe fuch inaccuracies in composition
as it is difficult for a foreigner to avoid.


[ i ]


0 F




MR. Benjamin Andrews, Boffon,
Capt. Samuel Andrews, Newbury-Port,
John Antill, Efq; New-York,
Capt. Vincent P. Afhfield, ditto,
Mr. Thomas Aylwin, Bofton,
Mr. Thomas Allen, New-London.

M R. Theophilaa Bache, New-York,
Mr. Ifaac Beers, New-Haven,
b Charles

[ ]
Charles Bernard, Efq; Eaft Florida, 3 copies,
Capt. Robert BetheU, Philadelphia,
George Bethune, Efq; Bofton,
Mr. Clement Biddle, Philadelphia,
Mr.- Owen Biddle, ditto.
Captain John Blake, Bofton,
Mr. William Bradford, Philadelphia,
Mr. Anthony L. Bleeker, New-York,
Honourable James Bowdoin, Efq; Bofton,
Dirk Brinkerhoff, Efq; New-York,
Lieutenant Brudenell, of the Navy,
Capt. Afhbel Burnham, Middletown,
Thaddeus Burr, Efq; Fairfield,
Adam Babcock, Efq; New-Haven,


CAptain Richard Cary, Bofton,
Chamber of Commerce, 12 copies,
,His Excellency Peter Chefter, Efq; Governor of
Matthew Clarkfon, Efq; for the Library Com-
pany, Philadelphia,
Captain Benjamin Cobb, Bofton,
Captain Triftram Coffin, Newbury-Port,
Honourable Commiffioners of his Majefty's
Cuftoms, Bofton,
Capt. W. Coombs, Newbury Port,
Capt. James Creighton, jun. New-York,
Captain William Curtis, New-York,
Meffieurs Cox and Berry, Bofton.

[ iii ]

CAPT. Benjamin Davis, New-York,
Mr. James Davis, ditto,
Lieut. Dawfon, of the Navy
Capt. Patrick Dennis, New York,
Mr. Gerardus Duyckink, ditto,
Mr. Timothy Dwight, jun. Yale College.

JOHN Ellis, Efq; F. R. S. London,
George Erving, Efq; Bofton,
John Ewing, D. D. Philadelphia.

E Dmund Fanning, Efq; Secretary to Go-
vernor Tryon,
Capt. Nicholas Fletcher, New-York,
John Fothergill, M D. F. R. S. London,
Mr. Philip Francis, Philadelphia,
Mr. David Frazier, Suffex, New Jerfey,
Capt. Benjamin French, Lanfingburgh,
Capt. Jofeph French, New-York.

R. Sylvefter Gardiner, Bofton,
n Capt. Martin Gay, ditto,
John Gibfon, Efq; Philadelphia,
Capt. John Gore, Bofton,
b Jofeph

[ iv ]
Jofeph Green, Efq; Bofton,
John Griffith, Efq; New-York,
Mr. Anthony Griffiths, do.
The right Noble Gronovius, one of the Depu-
ties from the ancient city of Leyden, to the
Chambers of Finances at the Hague.
M R. Reuben Haines, Philadelphia,
His Excellency Major General Frederick
Haldimand, Efq;
Mr. Willis Hall, Bofton,
Jonathan Hampton, Efq; Elizabeth-Town,
Honourable John Hancock, Efq; Bofton,
Ditto for Harvard College,
Capt. J. Harrifon, of the Ship Queen, S. Car6.
Capt. William Henderfon, Middletown,
Samuel Holland, Efq; Surveyor General for the
Northern Diftri&,
Stephen Hooper, Efq; Newbury-Port,
Thomas Howell, Efq; New-Haven,
Capt. Francis Hutchefon, 6oth Regiment,
Lieutenant Hunter, of the Navy,
Capt, John Hylton, New-York.
CAPT. Jabez Johnfon, New-York,
Evan Jones, Efq; Penfacola,
Mr. Ralph Ifaacs, New-Haven.
M R. Henry Knox, Bofton.

JAmes de Lancey, Efq; New-York,
Mr. John Landon, Bofton,

[ v ]
Mr. William Lewis, New-York,
Leonard Lifpenard, Efq; do.
Mr. Abraham Livingfton, jun. do.
Hon. Philip Livingfton, Efq; Penfacola,
Mr. James Lockwood, New-Haven,
John Lorimer Efq; M. D. Penfacola,
Mr. Samuel Loudon, New-York,
John Lukens, Efq; Philadelphia, 6 copies,
Mr. Char. Lukens, York-Town, Pennfylvania,
Thomas Lynch, Efq; Charles-Town, S. Caro.
Chriftopher Leffingwell, Efq; Norwich.
M Arine Society, New-York,
Marine Society, of Bofton,
Marine Society, of Salem,
Marine Society, of Newbury-Port,
Mr. Edward M'Michael, Suffex, New-Jerfey,
Capt. Alexander M'Dougall, New-York,
Mr. William Malcom, ditto,
Richard Martin, Efq; Rio Bueno jamaica,
Thomas Martin, Efq; Portfmouth, N. Hampfli,
Mr. Charles Marfhal, Philadelphia,
Mr. Samuel Miles, ditto,
Capt. Magnus Miller, ditto,
Mr. John Minfhall, New-York,
Hon. J. Montague. Efq; Rear Adm. of the Blue.
Capt. Montrefor, as Succtffor to Capt. T.
Sowers, fix Copies for the Engineers Office,
Capt. Thomas Moore, New-York,
Mr. Ph. Moore, Philadelphia,
Capt. Roderick Morrifon, Newbury Port,
Robert Morris, Efq; Philadclphia.

[ vi ]

T M. Nefbitt, Efq; Philadelphia,
SCapt. Samuel Newhall, Newbury Port,
Capt. Downham Newtown, N. Providence,
Capt. James Nicoll, Newbury-Pert,
Capt. Silas Nowell, ditto.
MAjor Adino Paddock, Bofton,
Mr. Z. Parfons, Springfield,
M. Timothy Penny, Boiton,
Mr. Ifaac Green Pearfon, NewburyPort,
Mr. Jofeph Pemberton, Philadelphia,
William Philips, Efq; Bolton,
Mr. Samuel Philips, ditto,
John Pitts, Efq; ditto,
Mr. Peter le Pool, Charleftown, South-Carolina, 6 Copies,
William Powell, Efq; Boiton,
Capt. Job Prince, ditto,
Mr. John Perrit, Norwich.
C APT. Thomas Randall, New-York,
Mr. Gcrrit Rapalje, do.
John Rapalje, Efq; do.
Meffieurs Read and Yates, do.
Capt. John Rionfon, Boton,
Mr. Huybertus Romans, Amfterdam,
John L. C. Roome, Efq; New-York,
Parr Rofs, Efq; N. Providence,
Jchn Rowe, Efq; Bofton,
Thomas Ruffel, Efq; Charleftown, New-England,
C APT. Giles Sage, Middletown,
Daniel Sargeant, Efq; Cape Ann,
Mr. Elias Shipman, New-Haven,
Jofeph Sherburrie, Efq; Bofton,
onathan Simpfon, Efq; ditto.
Major John Small, ditto,
Mr. Chriftophew Smith, New-York,
Mr. Archibald Stewart, Suffex, New-Jeffey,
Mr. H. W. Stiegel, Lancafter County, Pennfylvania,
6 Copies,
$.henezer Storer, Efq; Bofton,

[ vii]

Capt. Symonds, of the Navy,
Mr. Nathaniel Shaw, jun. New-London.
M R. Nathaniel Trcey, N-wbury-Port, 2 Copies,
Mr. Joh:: Tra. Nevwb-ry Port,
Mr. Rnbert Tracey, 'titto,
His Lxcellency Wii:;m 'T yon, Efq; GovernorofN. York,
William Todd, Eiq; York, in Old England,
Capt. Samuel Tuder, New-York.
M R. Anthony Van Dam, for the New-York Infurance
Mr. John Van Renffelaer, jun. Albany,
William Vaffal, Efq; ditto.
John Vaffal, Eiq; ditto,
CAPT. Jeremiah Wandfworth, Middletown,
C Hon. Hugh Wallace, Efq; New-York,
Mr. Jolhua Wallace, Philadelphia,
Oliver Wendell, Efq; Boron,
Mr. Jofeh Webb, Weathersfield,
Mr. Samuel Webb, ditto,
Edmund Rufh Wegg, Efq; Penfacola,
Jofeph Whartcn, Efq; jun. Philadelphia, 3 Copies,
Hon. Thomas Willing, Efq; ditto,
Capt. Erafmus Williams, New-York,
Mr. Jonathan Williams, tertius, Bofton,
Mr. Thomas C. Williams, Philadelphia,
Mr. William Wilfon, New-Providence,
Capt. Edward Wigglefworth, Newbury-Port,
Capt. Aaron Willard, Boflon,
Capt. If. L. Winn, New-York,
Mr. Jofhua Winflow, Bofton,
Mr. Jofeph Whitall, Philadelphia,
Capt. James Wright, New-York,
Capt. William Wyer, Newbury Port.
RObert William Yates, Efq; Albany,
Dr. Thomas Young, New-Port, Rhode-Ifland.


L viii ]




M R. John Adams, Boilon,
Mr. Jofeph Barnell, ditto,
Mr. Samuel Blagden, New-Haven,
James Burrows, Efq; Bofton,
Rev. Mr. Carey, ditto,
Mefieurs Cox and Berry, ditto, 25 Copies,
Mr. Thomas Fanning, ditto,
Mr. D. S. Franks, Quebec,
Dr. John Greenleaf, Bofton,
Mr. Roger Haldane, New-Haven,
Mr. William Kennedy, Bofton,
Mr. Henry Knox, ditto, go Copies,
Mr. James Lockwood, New-Haven, 25 Copies,
Mr. William Molineaux, Bofton,
Mr. Henry Pelham, ditto,
Capt. Rufus Putnam, Brookfield, 6 Copies,
Dr. Ifaac Rand, Bofton,
Heactr St. John, Efq; Grey Court,
Mr. William Tuder, jun. BI'fon.




Eafi and Weft-Florida.
A DESCRIBER of countries, ought
in a great measure, to imitate a building
Engineer, in firft laying before thofe,
whom he will employ, accurate and di-
ftin& plans of his intended work, thereby enabling
them to judge more diftinaly of the execution
thereof. I think that in a work of this nature, i
tould not do this better that by dire&ing my
readers to the charts or plans accompanying it, in
which they will undoubtedly find materials to form
juft ideas of the places herein described.
To reduce my work to fome regularity, i hall
proceed from the Eaft, Weftward, and begin with,
the Peninfula, dividing it into two parts, which i
will call climates, the one beginning at Amelia or
St. Mary's inlet, in latitude 31 : and extending
Southward to the latitude of 27 : 40 : this will in-
clude the rivers St. Mary, Naffau, St. John's or
Ylacco, and the Mufketo Lagoon (for furely no
or :an call this laft a river) besides several fimal-
ones, which will be mentioned in their places
A thefc

there all empty themselves on the Eaftern fide of
the Apalachicola (the boundary between the two
'Floridas) the Ofkaulafkna the Apalachian, St.
Juan de Guacaro, vulgarly called little Seguana,
the river Amaxura, and the Manatee, which laft
falls into the bay of Tampe, or harbour of Spirito
Santo, and which i have firft discovered.
The other, or Southern climate, beginning at
the latitude 27 :40: and extending Southward
to the latitude of 25, on the main, or to 24: 17 :
including the keys; this contains a large river,
which empties itself into the new harbour, of
which i am the firft explorer, we have given it the
/ name of Charlotte harbour, but neither harbour
ior river have been described by the Spaniards in
their maps, and the Spanifh fishermen diftinguith
the place by the names of its inlets, which are five,
and will hereafter be described ; next is Carlos bay
and Carlos harbour, into which the river Coloofa-
hatcha empties itself; further South are not any
more deferving the name of rivers, but fuch as
they are, i hall give them a place alfo 3 on
the Eaft fide is only the river St. Lucia, with its
Southern branch, the river Ratones, and the La-
coon, known by the name of Ai'fa Hatcha, Rio
i'ais, or Indian river, fome others can fcarcely be
ranked among rivers, but will likewise be more
particularly mentioned hereafter.
After this general division of the country, i think
it is not improper to begin with an account of the
air, which this province enjoys very pure and clear
fobs are feldom known any where except up-
on St. John's .river, but the dews are-very hea-
vy, the spring and summer are in general dry,
the autumn very changeable; the beginning -of

( 3 )
winter wet and ftormy, but the latter part very dry
and ferene; from the end of September to the
end of June, there is perhaps not any where a more
delightful climate to be found, but all July, Au-
guft, and moft of September are exceffively hot, yet
the changes from hot to cold are not fo fudden, as
in Carolina, and froft is not frequently known, the
noon day's fun is always warm, the fevereft
cold ever known there affeas not the tender
china orange trees, which grow here to a very
great perfeaion, i fcruple not to fay, that this
fruit here exceeds in goodnefs every other of the
kind i have yet feen, however the change from
the middle of this climate, to the Northern part of
it is much more perceptible from heat to cold,
than it was to the fouthward from cold to heat, in
the year 1770 and 1771. I felt very severe wea-
ther about the river Naffau, and to the fouthward
of the town of St. Auguftine, the climate changes
fo gradually, that it is not perceivable to the above
named lat. of 27 : 40 : where there is no froft at
all, and which I have always fet down as the line
of no froft. From this line to the southern extent
is a moft charming climate, the air almost always
ferene ; on the eaft fide the common trade wind,
and on the weft fide the Apalachian fea breeze
from the weft to the north-weft, refrefh this deligh-
ful Peninfula during the summer; here we find
all the produce of more northern climes rixed
with the inhabitants of the Tropics, and this as
well in the water as on the land, nor is there ever
fo great a cold as to destroy the fruits of the fouth,
nor fo great a heat as to parch the produce of the
north; in all this Peninfula it is remarkable, that
rain is always prognofticated onq or two days be-

(4 )
fore it falls, and this by either an immoderate dew
or no dew at all, fo that if a very heavy dew falls,
it is a certain fign of rain, and the fame if on a calm
fine night, there be no dew, but i cannot account
for this phenomenon.
The winds are not fo very changeable here as
they are further to the northward, but are during
the greatest part of spring, the whole summer, and
beginning of autumn, generally between the eaft
and fouth eaft, and during the laft of autumn, and
firft part of winter,they are commonly in the north
eaft quarter; the latter part of the winter, and firft
offering they are more generally weft and north
weft, the autumnal equinox is to be dreaded here,
as well two or three weeks before, as two or three
months after it, great forms will then happen, and
many veffels are drove on fhore, or otherwise dif-
abled : I have never heard of much mifchief in
the vernal equinox, and if a hurricane was ever
known in this Periinfula, it was on the 29th
of October 1769, when there was a terrible
guft between thelat. 25 : xo, and 25: 50, which
blew many trees down, and drove the Snow Led-
bury a fhore, where Ihe remained dry on a key,
now diftinguifhed by her name, but heretofore
considered as a part of what was improperly called
by the name of Key Largo.
The fatal hurricane of Auguft 3o, 3g, Septem-
ber I, 2, 3, anno 1772, was severely felt in Weft
Florida, it destroyed the woods for about 30 miles
from the fea coaft in a terrible manner, what were
its effe&s in the unfettled countries to the eaft.
ward, we cannot learn; in Penfacola it. did little
or no mifchief except the breaking down of all the
wharfs but one but farther westward, it was

terrible; at Mobile every thing was in confufion,
vefiels, boats, and loggs were drove up into the
fireets a great distance, the gullies and hollows
as well as all the lower grounds of this town were
fo filled with loggs, that many of the inhabitants
got the greatest part of their yearly provision of
firewood there; all the vegetables were burned up
by the falt water, which was by the violence of
the wind, carried over the town, fo as at the dif-
tance of half a mile, it was feen to fall like rain;
all the lower floors of the houfes were covered
with water, but no houfes were hurt except one,
which flood at the water fide, in which lived a
joiner, a fchooner drove upon it, and they alter-
nately destroyed each other; but the greatest fury
of it was fpent on the neighbourhood of the Pafca
Oocolo river; the plantation of Mr. Krebs there
was almost totally destroyed, of a fine crop of rice,
and a large one of corn were fearcely left any re-
mains, the houfes were left uncovered, his finith's
fhop was almost all wafhed away, all his works
and out houfes blown down; and for thirty miles I
up a branch of this river which (on account of the
abundance of that species of cyprefs vulgarly cal,
led white cedar) is called cedar river, there was
fcarce a tree left standing, the pines were blown
down or broke, and thofe which had not entirely
yielded to this violence, were fo twitted, that they
might be compared to ropes ; at Botereaux's cow
pen, the people were above fix weeks consulting on
a method of finding and bringing home their cat-
tle ; twelve miles up the river, live fome Germans
who, feeing the water rife with fo incredible a rapi.
dity, were almost embarked, fearing an univerfal
flood, but the water not rifing over their land,
) Cspreft Thyoide~. they

(6 )
they did not proceed on their intended journey to
the Cha&aw nation. At Yoani, in this nation, i
am told the effeas were perceivable ; in all this
tra& of coaft and country the wind had ranged be-
tween the fouth fouth eaft and eaft, but farther
weft its fury was between the north north eaft and
eaft, a fchooner belonging to the government
having a detachment of the fixteenth regiment on
board, was drove by accident to the weftward as
far as Cat Ifland, where fhe lay at an anchor un-
der the weft point, the water role fo high, that
when fhe parted her cables, the floated over the
ifland, the wind north by eaft, or thereabout fhe
was forced upon the Free mafons iflands, and lay
about 6 weeks before the was got off, and if they
had not accidentally been discovered by a hunting
boat, the people might have remained there and
died for want, particularly as water failed them
already when discovered; the effe& of this diffe-
rent dire&ion of the current of air or wind was
here furprifing, the fouth eafterly wind having
drove the water in immenfe quantities up all the
rivers, bays, and founds to the weftward, being
here counteraaed by the northerly wind, this bo-
dy of water was violently forced into the bay of
Spirito Santo at the back of the Chandeleurs,
grand Gozier, and Breton Ifles, and not finding
fifficientvent up the rigolets, nor down the outlets.
of the bay, it forced a number of very deep chan-
nels through thefe iflands, cutting them into a
great number of fall iflands. The high island
of the Chandeleur had all the surface of its ground
waffed off, and i really think, had not the clay
been held faft by the roots of the black man-
grove, and in fome places the myrtle (Myrica)

therewould have been fcarce a veftige of the island
left; at the mouth of Miffifippi all the shipping
was drove into the marches; a Spanifh brig
foundered and parted, and a large crew was lof,
fome of the people were taken from a piece of her
at fea, by a floop from Penfacola a few days af-
ter; in the lakes at Chef Menteur, and in the
paffes of the rigolets, the water rofe prodigiouly
and covered the low iflands there two feet; at St.
John's Creek, and New Orleans, the tide was
thought extraordinary high, but at all thefe laft
places there was no wind felt, being a fine ferene
day with a fmall air from the eaftward.
The moft extraordinary effe& of this hurricane
was the produ&ion of a second crop of leaves and
fruit on all the mulberry trees in this country, a
circumstance into which i very carefullyenquired,
but could not learn from the oldeft and moft curi-
ous observers that this had ever happened before;
this tardy tree budded, foliated, bloffomed, and
bore ripe fruit with the amazing rapidity of only
four weeks time immediately after the guft, and
no other trees were thus affected.
The fouth and fouth weft winds make a thick
heavy air, and are in my opinion hurtful to the
lungs; they alfo occasion the fultry weather, fo
much complained of in July and Auguft. The
winds from the eastern quarter every where be
tween the fouth eaft and the north eaft, are cool
and moift, and they caufe the frequent flowers,
by which the very fand of this climate is endued
with fo prodigious a vegetative power that it.amazes
every one. The winds from the eaft to the north
are agreeably cool, and from the north to the north
weft, occasion what is here called cold weather; j

have frequently kept thermonmetricaljournals, but
have none left now for infpe&ion.
I remember the general height of the mercury
on Fahrenheit's fcale, to have been, in the fhade
where the air was not prevented circulating freely
about it, between 84 and 88 and on fome fultry
hot days in July and Auguft, i have known it to
rife up to 940, when at the fame time by carrying
it out and expofing it to the fun, it will rife in a
very fhort time up to 114, nor can i remember
ever to have feen it above one or two degrees be-
low the freezing point; it is impoffible for one to
imagine how inexpreffibly temperate the weather
is here from the latter end of September to the lat-
ter end of June; the western part of this northern
division is not fo very hot in summer, as the whole
eastern fhore of the Peninfula is, but its fea fhore
is much more expofed to the bleak winter winds.
In the southern division i have never feen the
mercury in Fahrenheit's thermometer below the
temperate point, and i cannot remember ever to
have feen it higher than in the northern division.
This southern part of the Peninfula is in the
months of May, June, July, and Auguft very
fubje&, on its weft fide, to dreadful fqualls,
and there is a certainty of one or more of thefe
tornadoes every day, when during that feafon, the
wind comes any where between the fouth fourth
eaft, and fouth weft, but they are of very fhort
duration; then alfo thunder and lightning is fre-
quent, but nothing near fo violent as in Caroli-
na and Georgia, nor do i remember any more
than one instance of damage occasioned by it,
when it made a large hole in a tone wall of a
houfe at St. Auguftine; yet very few electrical
conductors are made ufe of there. Be-

Before i quit this fubjea of the air, i cannot
help taking notice of a remark, which i have read
fome where, made by Dr. James McKenzie,
which is that dampnefs or difcoloring of plaifter,
and wainfcoat, the foon moulding of bread, moift-
nefs of fpunge, diffolution of loaf fugar, rufting
of metals, and rotting of furniture, are certain
marks of a bad air; now every one ofthofe marks
except the laft, are more to be feen at St. Auguf-
tine, than in any place i ever was at, and yet i do
not think, that on all the continent, there is a
more healthy fpot; burials have been lefs frequent
here, than any where elfe, where an equal number
of inhabitants is to be found, and it was remark-
ed during my ftay there, that when a detachment
of the royal regiment of artillery once arrived
there in a fickly ftate, none of the inhabitants
caught the contagion, and the troops themselves
loon recruited; i alfo know of several afthmatic and
confumptive fubjeds, who have been greatly re-
lieved there; the Spanifh inhabitants lived here
to a great age, and certain it is, that the people
of the Havannah looked on it as their Montpe-
lier, frequenting it for the fake of health; i there-
fore afcribe the above circumstances to the nature
of the ftone, wherewith the houfes are built.
Haloes, or as they are vulgarly called circles
round the fun and moon, are very often feen, and
are fure forerunners of rain if not wind forms;
thofe of the fun are lefs frequent, but they are al-
ways followed by very violent gales of wind; it is
remarkable, that if in thofe haloes a break is ob-
ferved, that break is always towards the quarter,
from whence the wind begins; water fpouts are
often feen along this coaft, but i cannot larn that
B they

( to )
they ever occasioned any mischief, nor could i learn,
that earthquakes have ever been experienced in this
part of the world.
Of Weft Florida, there needs fcarce any thing
more to be faid, with regad to the article of climate,
or air, than what i have faid of my northern division
of Eaft Florida, it agreeing in every refpe& there-
with, except that the winter is something more fe-
vere, it often killing tender fruit trees, however,
as the ficknefs of 1765 at Mobile, has been a fub-
je& of much difcourfe, and as it has been fet up
(by people who would if poffible prevent the po-
pulation of fo fine a country) as a fcarecrow to
fuch, as are eafily deceived by appearances, and
never enquire deeper than external fhews; this fa-
tal diforder has been followed by the entire ruin of
Mobile, and had nearly fpoiled the reputation of
Penfacola, which though fituate in as fine, airy,
dry and healthy a fite as any on the continent, and
at leaft at a distance of fixty miles from Mo-
bile, had yet the misfortune to be confounded
with it, and to be thought liable to the fame mif-
fortunes; i will give as faithful an account of that
illnefs, as has come within the verge of my know-
Mobile was originally built by the French, af-
ter they had left their old Fort Conde, thirty
miles higher up the Tombecbe, having found that
situation very inconvenient; they now made at
leaft as injudicious a choice in another refpe&, by
placing themselves at a distance from good water,
on low ground, and direly opposite to fome
marfhy iflands, at the division between the fault and
frefh water, a situation well known in America
not to be eligible for the fake of health, but the
In 1771-2, it killca apple aad pear trees. COn-

convenience of the navigation up to it being the
beft in their poffeffion at that time, its being a bar-
rier against the Spaniards, and the eafy communi-
cation with the Chactaw and Upper Creek nations,
as well as with the Mifliffippi, made people forget
the evils attending it, and it foon became, from a
fort, a pretty town, with fome very good houfes
built in no inelegant tafte, yet the French inhabi-
tants duly observing the inconveniencies of this
unhealthy fpot, adapted their constitutions to it,
by a regular fober life, being uncommonly care-
ful to get their drinking water from a rivulet at the
distance of three miles, where it is very good, nei-
ther did they give into excefs of drinking fpiritu-
ous liquors and wine, and at the feafon, when the
continued heat caused a putrefa&tion of the water
in pools, and exhaled the moifture of this low
ground, thereby filling the air with noxious vapours,
and thus occafioning the acute epidemicaldiforders
(that proved fo fatal in the year 1765) thofe pru-
dent inhabitants retired to their plantations up or
down the river, fome even at a fmall distance,
there to enjoy a freer circulation of a lefs putrified
air, thus alfo by the depopulation of the town, the
remaining inhabitants suffered lefs by being lefs
crowded together, aud there were fuch instances
of longevity here as are not to be outdone in any
part of America. Let me beg leave to mention
among many others, one more commonly known,
it is the Chevalier de Lucere's family, who are
now all very old, and whofe mother not many
years fince died by breaking one of her legs, that
had been fo much calcarizated by the gout, that
it fnapped by ftepping into bed, fhe died aged far
above one hundred years. One other i hall men-

( 12 )
tion, more familiar to me, which is that of one
Mr. Francois, who lives now about five miles be-
low the river Poule: In September 1771, i cal-
led there, the old man told me he was then paft
eighty three years of age, that the old woman,
whom i faw putting bread into the oven, -was his
mother; and that fhe was one of the firft women
that came from France to this country; i faw her
about her domeftick bufinefs in many ways; in a
very cheerful manner, singing and running from
place to place as brifkly as a girl of twenty; Mr.
Frangois told me, that at the age offixty he fell out
of a pine tree, above fifty feet high, with his loins
over a fallen one, that he with difficulty recover-
ed, and that had it not been for that accident, he
would not, as he thinks, yet have been fenfible of
the heavy hand of time; that he was fill a hearty
cheerful old man, was evidently to be feen; when
i came to the river Poule in October 1772, i met
the fame old gentleman fishing at the mouth of the
river, on my afking him whether this diverfion
was agreeable to him, he told me; that his mother
had an inclination to eat fifh, and he was come to
get her a mefs; he was then on foot and had five
miles to come to this place, and as much back
with his prey, after catching it; a very dutiful
fon this at eighty five! He lives comfortably at
an agreeable place, and on the produce of a mid-
ling large ftock of cattle.
Many more of this kind might be mentioned,
but thefe two being more universally known, i
chofe to relate them only. Far otherwise was it
with our fons of incontinence, who upon their arri-
val, and after their firft taking poffeffion of this
country, lived there fo faft, that their race was

( 13 )
too foon fcampered over; midnight carouzals,
and the converting day into night, and night into
day was all the ftudy of thofe gay, thofe thought-
lefs men, who fported with their lives; as with a
toy not worth efteeming; the fatal effects of their
debauches; joined to the consequences of the fitu-
ation of their refidence, made their lives indeed
comparable to grafs, flourishing to day, and wi-
thering to morrow; but as if a punishment for this
abandoned life, was not sufficiently incurred by its
own fatality, in the year 1765 arrived a regiment
(i think the twenty firft) from Jamaica, with
them they brought a contagious diftemper; con-
trated either in the ifland, or on their paffage;
thefe men, like moft soldiers; lived a life of intem-
perance, and besides, drank the water out of the
ftagnated pools, which i myfelf have even in the
winter, feen fuch as to fill a man with horror at
the thought of making ufe thereof, this and other
inconveniences of a foldier's life, joined to their
arriving in a bad feafon, fwept them off fo as
fcarce to leave a living one to bury the dead. See
there the true reason of the fickly character of the
climate, 'and of the deftru&ion of this once flou-
rifhing town, whofe situation by far exceeds that
of Savannah in Georgia, in every refpet.
It is an almost invariable rule for people, who
intend going to a different climate, to confult
fome friend or acquaintance on the manner of life,
he would advife him to lead, i have never yet
heard of one going to Florida, who was not told
by his friend, that a free glafs was neceffary,; how
true this is, i hall not pretend to fay, but certain
it is, that the advice is almost always too freely
followed, the free glafs generally degenerating in.
to a glafs of excefs, Not

( I4 )
Notwithstanding all i have above afferted, it i4
not to be denied, that during the hot months, the
air is not fo wholefome as in the other feafons, but
even then it does not fo much affe& careful ftran-
gers, and new comers, as thofe who have been
fome time there and live irregular lives.
The night air is not fo much to be dreaded
here, as in countries where the fun is vertical, or
nearly fo, and confequently, by its long abfence,
makes a chilling penetrating night follow a burn-
ing day, but here it is not long enough abfent to
cool the atmosphere fuffitiently to hurt the unwea-
ry fleeper, who during the firft heat of a fultry
night perhaps has exposed his open pores to the
mercy of the air.
The atmosphere is, during this feafon, fo burn-
ing hot, that undoubtedly very fudden rarefacti-
ons of the humours, are often experienced, which
caufe fuch abundant perspiration, that water, as
foon as drank, penetrates the open pores, fo that
the human fkin feems to be comparable to a wet
fpunge when squeezed; yet although the water is
here very cool (and if it has not this quality natu-
rally, it is artificially made to acquire it) we ne-
ver hear of the fatal effects of water drinking, fo
often experienced in the cities of New York and
Philadelphia, the reason perhaps is, that it is fel-
dom if ever drank unmixed.
I will however venture to foretell, that on open-
ing the woods of this country for cultivation,
which w!U naturally drain ponds, gullies, &c. the
air will be here very little affe&ed by thofe perni-
cious vapours, which have fo uncommon an influ-
ence over the humours and fibrous parts of the hu-
man frame, as to deftroy their harmonious con-

( 15 )
cordance (may i be admitted the phrase?) and
occafioning them to relax, and thereby producing
weakneffes, laffitudes, and finally dangerous and
fatal disorders.
If we consider the effe&s of heat and humidi-
ty on the hardeft fubftances, fuch as wood, and
even metals, which are thereby expanded, and
have the union of their folid parts relaxed, it may
give us an idea, how much more their effe&s muft
be felt in the animal economy at times, when
fire and water unite their diffolving powers to a&
on all nature.
A very dry hot air, though lefs dangerous to
the body, than a hot moift one, has yet very near-
ly the fame effects, as it partially dries the
Ponds, Marfhes, Swamps, &c. leaving the re-
maining water and mud to exhale, and fpread
their noxious Vapours through the atmosphere.
Every inhabitant of any part of America knows,
that the fudden tranfitions from cold to heat fo
prevalent on that continent, are much more to be
dreaded, than any of the above named causes of
immoderate heat, cold, moisture, and drought.
I am now to consider the nature and appearance
of the earth, which in this part of America, may
be divided into fix different forts, much the fame
as in Carolina, with this diftin&ion, that it is
much more unequally divided.
I hall treat of them by the names of pine land,
Hammock land, favannahs, fwamps, marches,
and bay, or cyprefs galls.
Firft the pine land, commonly called pine bar-
ren, which makes up the largest body by far, the
Peninfula being fcarce any thing elfe; but about
an hundred miles towards the north weft from St.

( z6 )
Auguffine, and about two hundred from the Tfe
in Weft Florida, carry us entirely out of it. This
land confifts of a grey, or white fand, and in ma-
ny places of a red or yellow gravel; it produces a
great variety of fhrubs or plants, of which i hall
hereafter describe fome, the principal produce
from whence it derives its name is the pinus folis
longifimis ex una theca ternis, or yellow pine and
pitch pine tree, which i take to be a variety of the
fame species, both excellent and good timber.
Alfo the chamarops frondibus palmatis plicatis
flipitibus ferratis, of whofe fruit all animals are
very fond.
It is on this kind of land, that immenfe ftocks
of cattle are maintained, although the moft natural
grafs on this foil is of a very harfh nature, and the
cattle not at all fond of it, it is known by the name
of wire grafs; and they only eat it while young;
for the procuring it young or renewing this kind of
pafture, the woods are frequently fired, and at
different feafons, in order to have a fucceflion of
young grafs, but the favannahs that are interfperfed
in this kind of land furnish a more plentiful and
more proper food for the cattle.
Some high pine hills are fo covered with two or
three varieties of the quercus or oak fo as to make an,
underwood to the lofty pines; and a species of
dwarf chefnut is often found here; another species
of a larger growth is alfo found in the lower parts,
particularly in theedges of the bay or cyprefs galls.
This barren and unfavourable foil in a wet fea-
fon bears many things far beyond expe&ation; and
is very ufeful for the cultivation of peach and
mulberry orchards; this land might alfo be ren-
dered ufeful for many other purposes, but either

( 17 )
the people do not choofe to go out of the old beaten
track, or content themselves with looking elsewhere
for new land improveable with left'coft the me-
thod of meliorating it is certainly obvious to the
meaneft capacity, as it every where, at a greater or
kefs depth, covers a ftiff marly kind of clay, which
i am certain, was it properly riixedwfth the land;
would render it fertile, and this might be done
with little expence, the clay laying in fome places
within half a foot or-a foot of the surface; in moft
places it is found at the depth of three, four, or
five feet, consequently not very hard to come at.
In Eaft Florida, in the southern parts, this kind
of land is often very rocky, but efpeeially from the
latitude 2 5: 50, fouthward to the point, where it is
a folid rock, of a kind of lime ftone covered with
innumerable finally, loofe and fharp ftones, every
In Weft Florida the pine land is alfo frequently
found rocky, with an iron tone, especially near
where the pines are found growing in a gravelly
traft, which is frequently thecafe here,
The hammock land fo called from its ap-
pearing in tufts among the lofty pines; fome
finally fpots of this kind, if feen at a distance, have
a very romantic appearance; the large parcels of
it often divide fwamps, creeks, or rivers from the
pine land, this is indeed its moft common fituati-
on; the whole of the up lands, remote from the
fea in the northern parts, is this kind of land, its
foil is various, in fome places a fand of divers co-
lours, and in Eaft Florida, often a white fand t
but the true hammock foil is a mixture of elay and
a blackifh fand, and in fome fpots a kind of ochre,
in Eaft Florida fome of this is alfo sometimes
C found

( I8 )
found rocky; on every kind of this land lays a
fratum of black mould, made by the decayed
leaves &c. of the wood and other plants growing
upon it; the falts contained in this ftratum render
it very fruitful, and when cleared this is the beft;
nay the only fit land for the produ&ion of indigo,
potatoes, and pulfe the firft crops, by means of
the manure above mentioned, generally are very
plentiful, but the falts being oon evaporated, if the
foil over which it lay, should prove to be fand, it
is not better than pine land; the other fort bears
many years planting; its natural produce is fo
various in this clin ate, that the compleat defcrip-
tion of all, would oe more work than one man's
life time would be sufficient for, the principal how-
ever are the following:

Quercus alba Virginiana.
Quercus alba pumilis.

t rctts, foiis. obiongis
non finuatis, femper vi-
Quercus nigra, folio non
ferrato, in fummitate
quafi triangulo,

Quercus migrafoliis cundi
forma, obfolte trilo-

Q ercus nigra Marilandi-
ca, folio trifido, ad
fijfafras accident.

Virginian white oak.
Dwarf white oak, or
poft oak.
Evergreen oak with ob-
long entire leaves, or
live oak.
Black oak, with leaves
ferrated, and their
tops almost triangu-
Black oak, with wedge
fhaped leaves, and
having imperfetly
three lobes.
Black Maryland oak,
with trifid leaves re-
fembling faffafras.



Ruercus rubra Carolinen-
is, virens muricata.
Quercus ca/fanee foliis,
procera arbor.
Yuglans alka, frut7u ova-
to comprejfo profunde
in/culpto durifimo, ca-
vitate intus minima.

7uglans Virginiana alba
Nuxjuglans nigra.
Fagus humilis (feu cafa-
nea, pumila) racemofa
fru7u parvo ; in capfu-
&c echinatis, fingulo.

Fagus foliis lanceolatis
ovatis, acute ferratis
fubtus tomentofis, a-
mentis fliformi nodo-
fis, frutu in capf/is
echinatis, duplice.

fMorusfoliisfubtus tomnn.
to/s amentis longis, di.

Morus, lei arbvris inflar,

9 )
Carolina redoak, prick-
ly when young.
Chefnut leaved oak of
a large fize.
White walnt, or hitk-
ory with egg shaped
fruit clofely grafped,
and buried, in a very
hard fell, with the
fmalleft inward cavi-
Small Virginian hicko.
ry tree.
Black walnut,
Smalleft fagus (or dwarf
chefnut) having the
fruit in bunches, and
contained fiogly in a
prickly pod, vulgq
Fagus, with leaves be-
tween egg and fpear
fiaped, fharply fer-
rated and woolly
underneath, fender
knotty catkins, and a
double fruit in a
prickly pod.
Mtilberry with the un-
der part of the leaves
woolly, having long
catkins; and trees of
different fexes.
Mulberry resembling


( 2C
rwmofa-; fisamplif-

Moru foiis palmatis,
cortice filamentofa,
frualut ngr, radice

Dpiofpyros guaja ana,
igJuidambar,, fyracitflu;
aceris folio.

Borafus frondibus palova-
tis (feu) palma cocci-
feralatifoio, franu a-
tro purpureo, omnum

Pahna humilf (fea) xha-
Laurus foliis acguinatis,
baccci cerueis, pedicel-
lis longis rubris iViden-
Larus.(feu inMamonum
fJyl/) .mericana.
Laurus (feu) corusmas
adorata, foio trefido,
margin e plano, faffa-
fras dila,

Liiodendron tulipifera,
tripartite, aceris foio,


the late.trae full of
branches; and large
Mulberry with hand
ibaped leaves a threa.
dy bark, black fruit,
and the root contain-
ing a dye.
Maple leaved liquidam-
ber, yielding ftorax
or fweet gum.
Boraffus, with hand or
fan shaped leaves (or)
scarlet yielding palm,
with broad leaves,
and a deep purple
fruit which is the
left of all.
Dwarf palm, or cha.
Laurel, with pointed
leaves, and blue ber-
ries, fitting on long
red foot talks.
The wild American cin-
namon Laurel.
The male fcented cornel
or laurel tree, with a
trifd leaf, having
plain edges, called
Tulip bearing lilioden-
dron, with a tripar,
tite maple leaf, hav-

( 21 )
media lacinia velut ing the middle piece
abfcifa. feemingly cut off.
Magnolia maximo flwre Magnolia, with the lar,
folii fubtus ferrugi- geft flower, and the
neis. lower fide of the
leaves ferrugineous.
Magnolia glacea laurifo- Magnolia, with a grey
lio fubtus albicante. laurel leaf whitilh be-
Magnoiaflore albo, folio Magnolia, with a white
major acuminato haud flower, a larger point-
albicante. ed leaf, and not
Magnolia tripetala am- Magnol'i,- with a very
plififoflore albo, friyc- large white flower of
tu coccineo. three petals and A
fcarlet fruit,
Citrus (feu) malus au- The four orange,
rantia acida.
* Illiciumfloridanum (feu) Starry annifeed, or
anmfum ftelatut. fkimmi,
Kaslia, foliisglabris lan- Kalmia, with fmooth
ceolatis.; et corolla cam- lanceolate leaves, and
panule bypocratcr'ue a corolla between fal-
forma, ver and bell shaped.
Ficus Americana, citri American fig, with a
folio,frua~uparvopur- citron leaf and a
pureo. mall purple fruit.
Coccoloba (feu) prunus Coccoloba, or fea fi4e
maritima racemofa, fo- plumb, growing in
lio fubrotundo, venofo bunches, an almost
round veined leaf, &'
fru#&t the
irft found growing near Pcnfaoll, by a fee Negro (Pompey) far
mnern belonging to Chief Jutice Clifton, whish Negro in his own way i,
a curious hrbalift,

( 22 )

fruf~u caruleo qua/i
CoccohB a fois g oblongis o-
vatis venojis, uvis mi-
xcribus erinthiacis.

Zastoxylum fpinofum al-
bum, quaft fraxini fo-
ki, evonymi fruflu

the fruit blue, inclin-
ed to purple.
Coccoloba, with oblong
egg shaped veined
leaves, with pointed
grape like fruit lefs
than currants.
Tooth ach tree, with
whiteTpines almost an
afh leaf, and the cap-
fulum like the fruit
of the fpindle tree.

The ftvannah's are in this country of two very
different kinds, the one is to be found in. the pine
lands; and notwithstanding the black appearance
of the foil, they are as much a white fand as the
higher lands round them, true it is that clay is
very often much nearer to their surface, than in
the higher pine lands; they are a kind of finks or
drains to thofe higher lands, and their low fitua-
tion only prevents the growth of pines in them.
In wet weather the roads leading through them
are almost impaffable. On account of their pro-
ducing fome species of grafs of a better kind than
the wire grafs, they are very often tied-meadows,
and i believe, if they could be improved by drain-
ing them, without taking away all their moisture,
very ufeful grafs might be railfd, in them ; but on
draining them completely, they prove to be as
arrant a fand as any in this country. Thefe fa-
vannahs often have pots in them more. low than,
common, and filled with water; they are over-
grown with different species of the crategus, or
hawmohrn, as alfo very often a species of fhlb

( 23 )
much resembling the Laurus in appearance, but as
i never had an opportunity of feeing it in bloffom,
i cannot defcribe it, fo as to afcertain the genus
it belongs to; in its fruit it is widely different
from any of the laurel kind, that have fallen un-
der my infpecion; it is a bacca with several cells
full of an agreeable acid like the common lime
from the Weft Indies; it is of the fize of a large
pigeon's egg, but more oblong; we alfo find it
on the low banks of rivers in Georgia, and know
it by the name of the Ogeechee lime. The other
favannahs differ very widely from thefe, and are
chiefly to be found in Weft Florida, they confit
of a high ground often with fmall gentle rifings in
them, fome are of a vaf extent, and on the weft
of Miffiflippi, they are faid to be many days jour-
ney over, the largest within my knowledge is on
the road from the Cha&aw to the Chicafaw nation,
and is in length near forty miles over from north
to fouth, and from one end to the other, a hori-
zon, similar to that at fea, appears; there is gene-
rally a rivulet at one or other, or at each end of
the favannahs, and fome come to the river banks;
in one or two of them i have feern fome very fmall
remains of ancient huts, by which i judge, they
were formerly inhabited by indians; the foil here
is very fertile; in fome i have feen foffil shells in
great numbers, in others, flint, in others again,
fome chalk and marl; it is remarkable, that cattle
are very fond of the graffes growing here; the Chi-
cafaw old field, as it is termed, is a clear demonftrati-
on of this, for the cattle will come to it from any dif-
tance, even when the grafs fcarcely appears and
in all the circumjacent tra6, are abundance of both
winter and summer canes to be found, on which

( 24 )
they might more luxuriously feed. In thefe favan.
nahs if a well or pond is dug, the water has a very
strong nitrous tafte. I have feen fAme very curi-
ous plants in this kind of ground, btt there was
no time for my examining any of them, except
a nondefcript of the genus fagetes of a fine crim,
fon colour. I hall in fome meiafue defcribe and
give the figure of this plant. The only high growth
i have feen in thefe favannahs are fome willows and
other aquatic plants, by the fide of rivulets, in or
near them; fome of the smaller kind of oaks and a
few fmalljrnipers are alfo to be feen in thofe places,
thefragarhf orftrawberry is very common in them.
SSwamps are alfo found of two kinds, river and
inland fwamps, thofe on the rivers are juftly
efteemed the moft valuable, and the more fo, if
they are in the tide way, because then the river
water may be at pleafrre let on or kept out, with
much kfs labour and expence than in the other'
kinds ; thefe lands are the forces of riches in there
provinces, because where they lay between the
fandy pite barren they produce that valuable
ftapk Rice, and on the Miffiffippi (where much of
this river land is fituated a great deal higher, than
the common run of it in Carolinra, and other similar
countries) this foil is the beft adapted for corn and
indigo, yet known; fome of thefe groUntds are clay,
others fard, and others again partake of both;
when ufed for rice, it matters not which of thefe
foils they are made tip of, but I believe, were the
fandy ones to be quite drained, they would prove
barren enough; the ufe of water on rice is more to
fupprefs the growth of noxious weeds and grafs4
which would otherwik ftifle the grain, than for
promnoting.the growth of the rice itfelf, for none

( 25 )
of the graffes 'an ftand the water, but rice does, as
long as it is not totally immerfed, therefore it is,
that after weeding, the planter (if he has it con-
venient) lets on water to about half the height of
his grain; by fwamps then in general is to be un-
derftood any low ground subject to inundations,
diftinguifhed from marfhes, in having a large
growth of timber, and much underwood, canes,
reeds, wythes, vines, briars and fuch like, fo
matted together, that they are in a great measure
impenetrable to man or beat; the produce of thefe
fwamps if fandy is more generally the cyprefs tree,
which is here of three species; two of thefe grow
in this kind of land; the common fort grows to an
enormous fize, but none fo large, as what is feen
on or near the banks of the Miffiffippi, the other
kind vulgarly mifcalled white cedar, is in great
quantities near Penfacola, particularly in the
fwamps of Chefter River; this likewise grows to
a tree which may be ranked among thofe of the
firft magnitude: If thefe fwamps are not altogether
fand, but mixed with clay, and other earth, their
produce is in general.

Cupreffus Americana fo-
liis deciduis.
Cupreffus femper virens
feu cuprefus Thyoides.
Quercus alba aquatica fa-
licis folio breviore.

Quercus folio long anguf-
to falicis.

American deciduous
Evergreen cyprefs, vul-
go white cedar.
White fwamp oak, with
a thort willow leaf,
vulgo water oak.
Oak with a long nar-
row willow leaf, vul-
go willow oak.

,uercus D


( 26 )

QUercus alba fliis fuper-
ne latioribus, opposite
finuatis, finubus angu-
lifque obtujis.

17exfloridana, foliis den-
tatis, baccis rubris.

Acer foKis compofitis, flo-
ribus racemofls.

Acer foliis qtlinque par-
tito palmatis acumina-
to dentatis.
Acer foliis quinquelobis
fub-lentatis, fubtusglau-
cis pedunculis fimpliki-
mis aggregatis.

rakinus flrildana, foliis
anguftioribus utrinque
ecuminatis pendutis.

Nyffa foliis lats acumina-
tis et dentttis frutic
aleagni mnajore.

Populas alba tnajoribus
foliis fubcordatis.

Populusrngra foo -ax-
imo, gemmis balfamumt

White oak, with the up-
per leaves broad, op-
pofitely finuated, the
finuffes having obtufe
angles, or the true
white oak.
Floridan holly, with
indebted leaves and
red berries.
Maple, with composite
leaves and the flowers
in bunches.
Maple, with a pahnated
leaf of five parts
sharply indented.
Maple, With a five lo-
bed leaf faintly in-
dented, their lower
part of a blue caft,
with simply aggre-
gate flower talks.
Floridan alh, with nar-
row hanging leaves
on both ends point-
Tupelo, with broad
pointed and indented
leaves, with a fruit
like the largest wild
Great white popular,
with almost heart
shaped leaves.
Black popular, with the
largest leaves, whofe

( 27 )
odoratijimum funden- buds exude-an odori-
tibus. ferous gum or bal-
Platanus occidentalisfoliis Weffern plantane, with
lobatis. lobated leaves (vul-
go) button wood,
water beech, or fyca-
Salix folio angufliffitw, Willow, with narrow
longitimo fubtus albo. long leaves, being
white below.
Bignonia foliis Jimplici- Bignonia, or trumpet
bus cordatis, flore for- flower, with firigle
didi albo, intus macu- heart shaped leaves,
ls ceruleis et purpureis flowers of a dirty
irregulariter adfperfis; white, through whofe
filique longifjima et an- inside blue and pur-
gufliffima. pie fpots are irregu-
larly scattered, hav-
ing a long and nar-
row feed pod (vulgo)
Bignonia, fraxini foliis. Bignonia, with an afhl
Laurus foliis acuminatis, Laurel, with a pointed
baccis ceruleis; pedi- leaf, blue berries fit-
cellis longis rubris infi- ting on long foot-
deutikbs. Talks.
Crategus fruhlu parvo Hawthorn, with a finally
rubro. red fruit.
Genifla capfulo aromatic. Broom, with an aroma-
tic feed pod.
Vitis ngra, vulpina diata. Black vine, called fox
Vitis foliis api, uva co- Parfley leaved vine,
rymbofa with

( 28 )

rymbofa purpura mi-
Vitis vinifera filveftris.
Betula nigrafoliis rhom-
beis ovatis acuminatis
duplicato jerratis
Coriaria foliis gladiatis
ferratis (feu) nicotia-
na Indiorum.
Rhus vernix (feu) toxi-
codendron foliis alatis
frutu rhomboide.

ffuglans alba aquatica,
cortice glabro, arbor
humilis; frutlu amaro.

Sambucus racemofa acinis
nigris, caula herbacea.

Sambucus rymis quinque-

Magnolia, glauca lauri
folio fiibtus albicante.

Fagus foliis ovatis obfo-
lete ferratis; frutlu

Myrica (feu) myrtus (bra-
banticafimilis) florida-
na, baccifera, baccis
fefilis; fruttu cerifero.

with fmall purple
grapes-in a corymbus.
Wild wine vine.
Black birch; with ovate
rhomboid leaves, be-
ing doubly ferrated.
Shumac, ,with ferrated
fword like leaves, or
Savages tobacco,
Shumac or poifon tree,
with winged leaves,
and a rhomboidal
White fwamp hickory,
with a finooth bark
being a dwarf tree
and a bitter fruit.
Elder, with bunches of
black berries, and an
herbaceous talk.
Elder, with the cyma
of five parts and im-
perfeatly winged
Magnolia, with a green
laurel leafwhitifh be-
Beech, with almost egg
shaped lightly ferrat-
ed leaves and a trian-
gular fruit.
Florida berry-bearing
myrtle, the berries
fquat; and yielding

( 29 )

Canna foliis enervibus.

Gleditfia fpinofa, fpinis
triplicibus axillaribus,
capfula ovali, unicum
femen claudente.
Salix folio anguflijimo
ferrato glabro, petiolis
dentatis glandu lofts.

Reed, with very week
Locuft, with triple,
axillary pines, an o-
val feed pod inclofing
a single feed.
Willow, with very nar.
row fmooth ferrated
leaves, the talks
dentated and full of

The back or inland fwamps answer in situation
to what are called the meadows or favannahs
(among the pine lands) their foil being rich, oc-
cafions them to bear trees. The true back fwamps,
that are in wet feafons full of standing water, bear
fcarcely any other tree, than a variety of that fpe-
cies of Nyffa diftinguifhed by Botanifts by the
name of LNyfa foliis latis acuminatis non dentatisfruc-
tu eleagni minore, pedunculis multiflore, vulgarly
called bottle arfed tupelo; the continuance of wa-
ter on this kind of ground, is the reason why fcarce
any undergrowth is found here. There are fwamps
alfo called back fwamps, but they are either at
the head of fome ftream, or have more or lefs wa-
ter running through them; thefe are generally eafy
to drain. I would have confined my description of
back fwamps to the firft or standing ones, and rank-
ed the laft (which i think might properly be done)
among the river fwamps, but i was apprehenfive,
that it might have difpleafed fome person, who
entertains the more eftablifhed opinion; thefe laft
described often are found meer cyprefs fwamps,
in that cafe, they are almost impaffable, by reason

( 30 )
of the cyprefs fpurs, even when dry, and for
horfes, they are extremely dangerous, as they of-
ten get flaked on thofe fpurs. This vegetable
monfter i hall hereafter describe; i do not remem-
ber to have ever feen it mentioned any where;
when this kind of fwamp is not over grown with
cyprefs alone, its product is the fame as that of
the river fwamps above mentioned, and in that
cafe the foil is certainly goods thefe laft when pro-
perly drained, are the beft land for the cultivation
of hemp.
The marches are next to be considered, they
are of four kinds, two in the falt, and two in the
frelh water; they are either foft or hard, the foft
marches confifting of a very wet clay or mud, are
as yet of no ufe, without a very great expence to
drain them; the hard ones are made up of a kind
of marly clay, which in dry feafons is almost
burned up, true it is they afford a pafture fuffici-
ent to keep any gramenivorous animals in good
order; but the milk and flefh of them in feafons,
when the cattle near the fea fide cannot find any other
food, and consequently feed on this alone, are or
fo horrible a tafte, that no stranger to the country
can make ufe of them. Hard marfhes in general
are fuch, whofe foil has too much folidity, for the
water to difunite its particles by penetrating them;
the foft marfhes are thofe, whofe fpungy nature
allows the water eafily to penetrate them; i have
feen of both kinds on Turtle River, about twenty
miles up, in which, at about eight or ten feet be-
low the furface, there are numbers of cyprefs and
other ftumps remaining, but chiefly cyprefs, and
many of the fallen trees croffing each other; this
is only to be-feen at low water, and to the height



2'\ -1


~C-~;; I~i=?~7?~T L~

?-~Yma 7~CU?";-V~;i~Y~'

( 3! )
above named; thefe trees are covered with a rich
nitrous muddy foil; but i beg leave to expea,
that better Naturalifts may explain this extraordi-
nary appearance; i believe them ruins of ancient
forests on which the fea has encroached. *
The marches on frefl water are in every refpe&
fimilar to thofe on the falt, except, that they are
not impregnated with the faline particles, of which
the firit are very replete; therefore the hard ones,
with little trouble, are adapted to cultivation;
the foft ones coft a considerable deal more of ex-
pence, to render them fit to answer this purpose,
but when fb drained as to answer this end, they
certainly are by no means inferior to any land in
this country; in the lower part of thefe marches
grows a kind of hitherto undefcribed grain, of
which the western Indians make a great ufe for
bread, i never could fee it in bloffom, therefore,
cannot describe it, but joined to this is a figure of
it, nearly equal in fize to one eighth of the com-
mon growth of the plant when in perfection, it is
known by the name of wild oats.
This kind of land produces rice very willingly,
but if sufficiently made dry, always proves the beft
for corn, indigo and hemp; i have feen at Mr.
Brewington's plantation, about three miles below
favannah in Georgia, very good corn and rice to-
gether, with the two kinds of melons, and cu-
,.umbers in great perfe&ion on this fpecies of foil.
I hall next describe the bay and cyprefs galls;
thefe interfe& the pine lands, and are feldom of
any breadth; the bay galls are properly water
courfes, covered with a fpungy earth mixed with
The whole appearance of this river feems to indicate fuch an ancient
and unrecorded hurricane on this part of the coat

( 12 )
a kind of matted vegetable fibres; they are fo very
unstable, as to take for a great extent round a
person, who, standing on fome part thereof, moves
himself lightly up and down; they often prove
fatal to cattle, aud sometimes i have been detained
for above an hour at the narroweft paffes of them,
they being fo dangerous to crofs, that frequently
a horfe plunges in, fo as to leave only his head in
fight; their natural produce is a ftately tree called
loblolly bay,* and many different vines, briars,
thorny withs, and on their edges a species of red
or summer cane, which together combine to make
this ground impenetrable, as if nature had thus
intended to prevent the deftru&tion of cattle in thefe
difmal bogs, which would be particularly fatal to
many of them in spring, when the early produce
ofgrafs and green leaves in thefe galls, might en-
tice them into this danger, was not fuch a natural
obstacle in their way; as thefe have generally vent,
they are sometimes drained, and rice planted there-
in, which for one or two years thrives there tole-
rably, but this ground is fo replete with vitriolic
principles, that the water standing in them is im-
pregnated with acid, infomuch, that i have tafted
it four enough to have perfuaded a person, unac-
quainted with this circumstance, that it was an
equal portion of vinegar and water mixed toge-.
ther, therefore it requires to lay open at leaft one
year before it will bear any thing, and they gene-
rally, by laying open four or five years without
any other draining, become quite dry, and might
be advantageoufly ufed for pafture ground.
The cyprefs galls differ from thefe, in being a
firm fandy foil, in having no vitriolic tafte in the
Hyperim, feu Gordonia Lafiantha s

( 33 )
water, and very feldom vent; i never knew there
made ufe of for the purpose of planting, and the
cyprefs they produce, is a dwarf kind, not fit for
ufe, being very much twifted and often hollow;
there is no undergrowth here, but in dry feafons
fome tolerable grafs. Through all the above fpe-
cies of land we find a distribution of very fine
day, fit for manufacturing; the fineft i ever faw
is at the village on Mobile Bay, where i have feen
the inhabitants, in imitation of the Savages, have
several rough made veffels thereof; there is alfo
a great variety of nitrous and bituminous earths,
foffills, marles, boles, magnetic and other iron
ore, lead, coal, chalk, late, free tone, chryf-
tals, and white topazes, thefe laft in the beds of
rivers; ambergris is sometimes found; one Stir-
rup a few years ago found a piece of a very enor-
fhous (ize on one of the keys; there is alfo much
of a natural pitch or afphalthus, vulgarly called
mungiac, thrown up by the fea: The uplands
alfo afford a metallic fubftance appearing like
muiket bullets, which on being thrown into the
fire go off in fmoak with a very fulphureous
The water in this country is very various as to
tafte, quality and ufe, there are fault, brackish, ni-
trous, fulphureous, and good frefh fprings in
moft parts of this country, as well as fault and frefh
lakes, lagoons and rivers, the rivers alfo vary in
many refpe&s, and fo does the fea as well in the
colour, and clearnefs of the water as in its degree
of faltnefs ; the water of St. Mary's and Naffau,
and all the brooks that run into them is very good,
wholefome, and well tafted, the colour in the ri-
vers is dark, as in all the American rivers of the
E southern