- Historic Sites
A Mission For Mr. Wedgwood
August 1970 | Volume 21, Issue 5
Nothing of Moment occurd dureing my stay here, till January the fourteenth when I loaded five Waggons with Five Ton of Clay and set off for Chas.Town; but light horse, bad roads, and sollid Loading, obligd us to Travill very Slow: on the Eighteenth I lay with Parson Hamerer at Little River, then to Capt. Aron Smith’s Tavern, and so on to Matthew Edward’s, at Long Cane and the next day to Whitehall, where I waited four days for the Waggons: and then on to Coffee Creek, and lodged in the woods, and the next night allso at Turkey Creek: on the Twenty Seventh I came to the Ridge, where I stayed two nights, and so on to Indian head, where I slept again in the woods, and happening a very heavy Night’s rain, gave me a great Cold and much disordered me; the next day’s march brot me to Oringburg and the next day to Capt Wm Young’s Tavern, and so on to the four holes and Cypress; the next day to Dorchester, and on the fourth of february I arrived once more at dear, and long wishd for, Charles Town—
Nothing Material happened dureing my stay in this Capital; I saw severall Thieves executed that were Lurking about in the Woods I had Travilld thro, after this I saw a farr pleasanter sight, which was some very good horse Raceing, when we consider boath breed and Country young: This is a very gay and compact Town, finely situated on a peninsula, between Ashley and Cooper Rivers; and an exceeding good harbour for Shiping; here is boath good religion & Salutary Laws; and their divine Service is performd with great order and regularity: The people are mostly True Patriots and dear Lovers of Liberty; a great many of ’em carefull and thrifty; severall Eminent Merchants who Transact their Business very quick and discreet, but withall, there reigns too great a spirit of gaming amongst ’em, and they are arrived to a great highth of pride; they sertainly do, and can afoard to live very well, as provision is boath plenty and cheap, but in truth they take care to make Straingers and Travilling people pay dear enough—
On the first of March I agreed for Freight and passage with Capt. Morgan Griffiths of the Rialto, Bound for London; and on the fourth we bid farewell to Chas. Town …
April the first we spoak the John and Ann Brig bound from London to Newfound Land in Latt 48-46W. Long 17-40 and on the fourteenth of Aprill we arrived in the Downs; and the Sixteenth Capt. Griffiths, Mr John Smith and my self Left the Ship in the Pilots charge at Graves End and came to London by Land.
Thus the great adventure was ended, and in due course the Cherokee clay reached its final destination. Considering the fact that its cost worked out at about £130 per ton, which was a considerable sum of money in those days, and the fact that the mining of white clays of equal or superior quality had been developed in Cornwall, it was a highly uneconomic proposition. But this didn’t faze Wedgwood one bit. “It might not be a bad idea,” he wrote to Bentley, “to give out that our Jaspers are made of the Cherokee clay which I sent an agent into that country on purpose to procure for me, & when this present parcel is out we have no hopes of obtaining more.”
There is no moral to this story, but it does reveal the extraordinary pioneering zeal that, indirectly, was so largely responsible for the Industrial Revolution and that characterized those hardy colonists who braved the elements and the Indians to open up a new country.