In a letter from Mr. Amatis to James Oglethorpe, dated September 8, 1734, he wrote:
"....all the silk that I have drawn off for the past year in three different quantities....and I pray you also to cause people skilled and expert in the manufacture to come to see the said silk, and I have no doubt that they will find it in all its perfection, quality by quality...however I hope that this year silk will be more lustrious and not so smoky by reason of the precautions which I shall take...also how generous I have been in this enterprise since I have spent nothing...except those expenses I have been obliged to pay out of my subsistence along without having first wished to give you the marks of my skill; I hope that those persons you will completely satisfied in seeing results of my labours...."
This same year, Mr. Samuel Auspourger, a gentleman who had contracted with the Trustees in London to leave his home in the Canton of Bern, Switzerland to come to Georgia to grow mulberry trees and wind the silk, sent 20 pounds of raw silk to England, declaring it was as fine as any Itialian silk. Later, in July of 1739, he left America to go to England and obtain a land grant of 500 acres and to get some of his countrymen to return as servants to cultivate the trees.
Paul Amatis had troubles keeping the Trust Garden tended, complaining about various gardeneers who neglected it. He was not in the colony for prolonged periods of time, leaving the Garden to the German Trust Servants, while he went to recruit more servants from Switzerland, or to London with silk samples. Finally, he quit the colony altogether, disillusioned.
In January of 1740, Mr. Cooksey, arriving in London from Savannah, gave an account of life in the Georgia settlement, saying that black mulberry trees grew wild in the country, but in hickory ground or swampy land, and the silk people were not using the leaf: it being too harsh for the worm. The white mulberry trees were not thriving, and leaves were being brought down from Carolina.
For years, the Camuse family at Savannah were silk winders, and after the death of Jacques Camuse, Mrs. Camuse, widow, continued to work. She had her problems obtaining assistance, always writing the Trustees to send apprentices. The work was hard and competitive with silk workers in Purysburg, South Carolina. She grumbled to William Stephens, Secretary to the Colony, who finally procured for her payment for each apprentice trained, and finally secured a pension for her.
The land was not suitable, even though wild mulberrys grew along the Georgia coast, and particularly on St. Simon's Island. Colonists did not try to venture privately in this undertaking. It was strictly directed by the Trustees, who sent persons like Mr. Amatis, providing small numbers of trust servants to the Garden. Another problem was the survival period for sefvants. Many died once they put their feet on the soil, others were sickly, only living short periods of time. But I don't think the shortage of servants allotted for raising silk had much to do with its bandonment. The colonists were simply trying to survive. Those at Ebernezer raised corn, at New Inverness (Darien), cattle, on the Midway River, rice and cotton, and Savannah, the timber business prevailed. The settlers found large trees along the Altamaha River, where sawmills were erected, and large tracts of timber were cleared in Liberty Co., shipping logs up Savannah River to Charles Towne.
A South Carolina merchant, Sam Eveleigh, traveled back and forth into the Colony dealing with its businessmen, such as the Bakers (owned sawmills), consigning lumber, selling rum, shipping leather goods and trappins from America to England. Eveleigh was a resident of Charleston and was mentioned in 1617 deeds available on (South Carolina Pioneers)
Source: Colonial Georgians by Jeannette Holland Austin
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