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Proposal by Johann Rudolff Ochs concerning the settlement in North Carolina by inhabitants of Switzerland
Ochs, Johann Rudolff, 1673-1749
1736
Volume 04, Pages 159-162

[B. P. R. O. North Carolina. B. T. Vol. 10. B. 20.]

A Memorial Concerning the Switzers going to settle in the Plantations of America.

Humbly presented to the perusal of the Right Honourable the Lords Commissioners for Trade and Plantations.

As your Lordships have been of late much occupied about several parties pretending to make settlements of Switzers in Carolina, I thought it proper to lay before your Lordships a true state of the Management of these undertakings, and the consequence which have already and in the future will follow upon them.

It is most certain Switzerland is much peopled, that a great many Inhabitants might be spared in that Country, and there could be ingaged a considerable number of them, if the management thereof was conducted with prudence, discretion and secrecy, and to shew that the Switzers are esteemed some of the most laborious and industrious people for husbandry in all the neighbouring Counties where many of them are settled, and by the Inhabitants esteemed for the best Husbandmen, an evidence thereof is, that they can subsist and thrive where others could not pay their Rents. A Creditable Gentleman from Virginia writes on their behalf concerning their settlement upon Savanah River viz: I have all along been fearfull for them, having a kindness for a Nation who have the fairest Character for honesty and diligence of any other in Europe and envy any Country that is peopled with them with many other kind expressions in his letters

The Governments of Switzerland and particularly the Canton of Bern did suffer several times of their people to go to America, in 1709 there went for North Carolina and settled upon News River 70 Persons those which were not destroyed in the Indian War are now very well settled: The late Mr Purry carried in 3 several times about 600 Persons

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over, but the management of it caused a great Confusion, the People were eager to go in so fine and fruitfull a Country, as was described them in a little book of his without giving them any caution or instruction about the voyage (as I did in mine printed in 1711) which caused so many poor Switzer Familys to come over here in their ignorance 2 years ago, to the great disgust of this city, to be troubled in all the Streets, with so many poor strange people, and by experience it was found that very little was true of what he advanced in the sayd discription, and the most materiall omitted, so that by the report from these people a good part of them died, if not half and very few were excepted of dangerous sicknesses, and the remaining find themselves in a worse condition then they were in their own Country. All which coming to the knowledge of the Governments of Zurich and Bern (which are the most considerable Cantons) they have very stricktly prohibited any of their subjects for the future to go out of their dominions for America, which is chiefly owing to the Ignorance and Imprudence of the late Mr Purry's management. There are but some little Cantons as Apenzel &c: where they have still liberty to go, of which Canton went last October about 30 Familys to the Savanah River, the Manager being now here, for soliciting an assistance towards their settlement the County will be but little the better for these poor people they will soon decrease considerably and an assistance will be but ill imployed as well as upon those that were sent 2 years ago at the charge of the Government to Purisbourg when about 40 of 109 died in 2 months after their arrival that all the money was lost so employ'd for them; this Manager intending to go shortly to Switzerland to bring a more considerable number over for Savanah River: Another party of 6000 Switzers hath been proposed to settle in North Carolina upon News River, by the Agent of Governour Johnston I cannot conceive where they will get them unless they grow in the ground like corn, and this which was proposed by Mr Jenner which of all will soonest thrive and is the most likely to prosper.

The so many different partys they pretend to settle Switzers in America will cause great disturbances in Switzerland that it will certainly be prohibited by all the rest of the Protestant Governments that none more of their subjects will be permitted to go for America.

Therefore if their Lordships are convinced that the Switzers are fit to be encouraged for their knowledge and Industry in Husbandry

It is humbly offered to their Lordships wise consideration to be requisite to examine where these people are fittest to be settled, that they may preserve their health, and prove most serviceable to the Nation by producing to perfection what they understand best to cultivate, viz: wheat

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and other grains, vines, hemp, flax, Cotton (in silk and Potash they must be instructed) and many other usefull commoditys; if the settling upon Savanah River is seriously examined it is evident not to be proper for the Switzers who live in their high and dry Country in a serine air, to bring these people in a sultry hot climate, lowe and marshy land is the reverse of their own Country and cannot but be fatal to their lives and health as the examples have already proved, neither will they be then profitable to the Nation for production, since nothing can be depended upon to reap benefit by but the planting of Rice which requires heat and low wet land, yet without slaves, which are inured to the heat of the sun it cannot be produced with success, the poor that have no means to purchase slaves must perform the work themselves, which in that heat of the Country will make them languish, cast them in Fevers and bring them to the Grave, as several have experienced that took servants with them of which one after the other died; the Rice being now already most overstocked they will add no Benefit to the nation and other Grains do not come so plentifully as North wests, Hemp and Flax attains not half the length as in Europe, the heat brings too soon to maturity, the dairy is not so well furnished from the Cattle as in the Northern parts, so that they come short in everything except Rice.

It is certain that among all the proposed settlements none will be so proper to answer the ends of making a prosperous one as that which was proposed by Mr Jenner towards the Mountains in North Carolina or Virginia both for the peoples health and plentifull production: which deserves to be countenanced above the others for if a good foundation is lay'd there, and a good report of such a settlements prosperity comes to Switzerland it will encourage a great many to follow them, then this Colony will be of great service to the nation when they have good land, and by the influence of the Climate be enabled to import into this kingdom large quantities of their productions which are chiefly desired and wanted.

If these reasons are granted to be undeniably admitted and their Lordships approve thereof, the best method would be to appoint that part of Virginia and North Carolina as we proposed for all the Switzers to settle upon, and to direct those which desire to settle in America thither, that they may prove there most serviceable to [the] nation which would give no small satisfaction to the Governments of the Protestant Cantons in Switzerland if they were convinced that their subjects were taken care of, for the preservation of their lives and welfare: all which is humbly submitted to their Lordships wise Judgment and consideration by a sincere well

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wisher to the prosperity of the Nation and these people in question who is with the greatest submission and due respect

Their Lord Shipps most &c
JOHN RODOLPH OCHS
In the name of his friends in Switzerland.