TO THE PUBLISHERS OF THE
BOSTON EVENING-POST
 
September 26, 1763    
 
I do not know what Degree of credit the following Account may deserve, or how the extraordinary Facts contained therein are authenticated; but the narrative, though in Appearance somewhat romantic, is extremely curious; and as the Character described is such an uncommon mixture of Philosophy and Enthusiasim, that I think it well worthy a Place in your Paper.
 
Whilst the brave and worthy General Oglethorp commanded in Georgia, and by his extensive influence over the Indian nations around that colony kept them in friendship and subjection to this crown; and in March, 1743, while he, with a detachment of his indefatigable regiment, and a large body of Indians, was making an incursion to the very gates of St. Augustine, one Preber, a German Jesuit, as he afterwards appeared to be, was sent prisoner to Frederica, by Capt. Kent, who commanded at Fort Augusta, on the main. Capt. Kent, had, for some time before, perceived a remarkable intractability in the Creek Indians, in matters of trade, and a sulkiness in that generous nation that betokened no good to the English;  After a wise and secret enquiry, and from proper intelligence, he had great reason to imagine some ill humours were stirred up in these people, by a white man, who had resided some time in the upper towns, after having been many years among the Cherokee, who always shewed him the utmost deference.  Upon these advices he got him privately seized and conveyed (without noise or bustle) to Frederica, as aforesaid, little imagining the importance of his capture; though the Indians, missing him, made it very apparent by their clamours, that they were not a little interested in his safety.  The General, at his return, was surprised, upon examination, to find in this person, who appeared in his dress a perfect Indian, a man of politeness and gentility, who spoke Latin, French, Spanish, and German fluently, and English brokenly.  What passed at his several examinations, it is not in my power to determine; but the consequence was, that he was detained a prisoner, so remained when I left the colony, in the beginning of the year 1744, which was after his excellency returned to England.
 
Preber, as to his person, was a short dapper man, with a pleasing, open countenance, and a most penetrating look.  His dress was a deerskin jacket, a flap before and behind his privities, and morgissons, or deer-skin pumps, or sandals, which were laced, in the Indian manner, on his feet and ancles.  the place of his confinement was the barracks, where he had a room, and a centry at his door, day and night.  the philosophical cafe, with which he bore his confinement, the communicative disposition he seemed possessed of, and his politeness, which dress or imprisonment could not disguise, attracted the notice of every gentleman at Frederica, and gained him the favour of many visits and conversations.
 
His economy was admirable; from his allowance of (? -) and bread, he always spared till he had by him a quantity on which he could regale, even with gluttony, when he allowed himself that liberty.  "It is folly," he would say, "to repine at one's lot in life; - my mind soars above misfortune;  -- in this cell I can enjoy more real happiness, than it is possible to do in the busy scenes of life.  Reflections upon past events, digesting  former studies, keep me fully employed, while health and abundant spirits allow me no anxious, no uneasy moments;  __ I suffer -- though a friend to the natural rights of mankind, -- though an enemy to tyranny, usurpation and oppression;  --and what is more, --I can forgive and pray for those that injure me; -- I am a christian, -- and christian principles always promote internal felicity."
 
Sentiments like these, often expressed, attracted my particular notice, and I endeavoured to cultivate a confidence he seemed to repose in me, more especially, by every kind office in my power.  Indeed, had nothing else been my reward, the pleasing entertainment his conversation imparted, would have been a sufficient recompence.  He had read much was conversant in most arts and sciences; but in all greatly wedded to system and hypothesis.
 
After some months intercourse, I had, from his own mouth, a confession of his designs in America, which were neither more no less, than to bring about a confederation amongst all the southern Indians, to inspire them with industry, to instruct them in the arts necessary to the commodity of life, and i short to engage them to throw off the yoke of their European allies, of all nations.  For this purpose he had, for many years, accommodated himself to their opinions, prejudices and practices, had been their leader in wars, and their priest and legislator in peace, interlarding (like his brethren in China) some of the most alluring Romish rites with their own superstitions, and inculcating such maxims of policy as were not utterly repugnant to their own, and yet were admirably calculated to subserve the views he had upon them.  Hence they began, already, to be more acute in their dealings with the English and French, and to look down upon those nations as interlopers, and invaders of their just rights.  The Spaniards, I found, he looked upon with a more favourable eye; "They, says he, are good christians, that is (with a smiling sneer) such subjects as may be worked upon to do any thing for the sake of converting their neighbours; -- with them my people would incorporate and become one nation;  -- a bull, a dispensation, or a brief, will bring them to anything."  When I hinted, though at a distance, the bloodshed his scheme would produce, the difficulties he had to encounter, and the many years it would require to establish his government over the Indians, he answered in this remarkable manner;  "Proceeding properly, many of these evils may be avoided, and as to length of time, -- we have a succession of agents to take up the work as fast as others leave it.  We never lose sight of a favourite point, nor are we bound by the strict rules of morality, in the mans, when the end we pursue is laudable, if we err, our general is to blame, and we have a merciful god to pardon us.  But, believe me, before this century is past, the Europeans will have a very small footing in this continent."  Thus, the father, or nearly in these words, expressed himself, and often hinted that there were many more of his brethren, that were yet labouring amongst the Indians for the same purpose.  The adventures of this remarkable man, which he imparted to me, are so extraordinary, that I shall, the first opportunity, consign them to your hands for publication, if you will accept of them; and, at present, shall conclude this letter with one striking instance of his presence of mind and fortitude.
 
On the 22nd of March, 1744, the large magazine of bombs, and small magazine of powder, at Frederica, by some accident were set on fire and blew up with a dreadful explosion.  In a moment the town wore all appearance of a bombardment, the inhabitants left their houses, and fled with the utmost consternation into the adjacent woods and savannahs, whilst the splinters of the bursting shells flew in the air to an amazing distance, considering they were not projected from the usual instruments of destruction.  The worthy and humane Capt. Mackay, who then commanded in the garrison, immediately opened the doors of the prisons to all the captive Spaniards and Indians, and bid them shift for themselves.   A message was sent to Preber to the same purpose, which he politely refused to comply with, an din the hurry he was forgotten.  the bombs were well bedded as it providentially happened, and at intervals, were some hours discharging themselves.  When the explosion began to languish some of us thought of the jesuit, and went to his apartment, which by the bye, was not twenty paces from the bomb-house; after calling some time, he put forth his head from under his feather bed with which he had prudently covered himself, and cried, "Gentlemen, I suppose all's over; -- for my part, I reasoned thus; the bombs will rise perpendicularly, and, if the force fails, fall again in the same direction, but the splinters will fly off horizontally;  therefore, with this truly convering, I had better stand the storm here, than hazard a knock in the pate by flying further."  This was said with the same ease that he would have expressed himself at a banquet, and he continued the conversation, with his usual vein of pleasantry, to the end of an explosion, that was enough to strike terror to the firmest breast. 
 
I am, Sir, your constant reader and humble servant
Americus