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BRUNSWICK,
GEORGIA,

ITS PORT AND CITY.

__________

CIRCULAR LETTER,
ADDRESSED TO THE

Commercial and Business Men of the United States

AND

FOREIGN COUNTRIES

BY

THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS

OF THE

CITY OF BRUNSWICK

___________

NEW YORK:

GEORGE F. NESBITT AND CO., PRINTERS COR. WALL AND WATER STREETS

-------

1853.

Pg. 3

BRUNSWICK, GEORGIA,
ITS PORT AND CITY

______

            THE President and Directors of “The City of Brunswick,” desiring to afford exact and authentic information concerning the objects, plans and purpose of the Company, present to the public the following facts and considerations:—
            The port of Brunswick lies about midway on the coast of Georgia, in latitude thirty-one degrees north; longitude, eighty-one degrees, thirty minutes.  The waters by which it is formed are commonly known as “Turtle River.”  Correctly speaking, this river is a great inlet, or arm of the sea—the waters of which are as salt as the ocean itself.  It passes between two islands, known by the names of Jekyll and St. Simon, forming a wide, deep and swift column, and flowing into the interior upwards of twenty miles.  It is the only salt-water harbor on our southern Atlantic coast.
            Safe, easy and uninterrupted communication with the sea is secured at all times.  Ships, whose masters or crews had never before seen the port, can enter in perfect safety without a pilot.  This is frequently done, in stress of weather, by coasting vessels of heavy burthen, by night as well as by day.  Once in port, they find the best anchorage, completely land-locked, and certain shelter from the storm.  So capacious is the roadstead, that the largest navy in the world may find a secure haven at every season of the year, and in any state of the elements.  The harbor also presents positions for defence strong enough to render it impregnable:  thus affording protection alike from the violence of the sea, and the batteries of an enemy.

Pg. 4

            Some years ago, the Government of the United States, acting under a resolution of the Senate, appointed a Board of Commissioners to examine the harbors south of the Chesapeake Bay, in order to determine their comparative advantages for the establishment of a Naval Depot.  Three distinguished officers of the navy, Commodores Woolsey, Claxton and Shubrick, were assigned to this duty.  After personal inspection of the several ports whose natural facilities gave them a claim on the public attention, the Commissioners, in their report to the Navy Department, designated Brunswick as uniting the greatest number of requisite qualifications, and as holding a position near the great outlet of the commerce of the West Indies and the Gulf of Mexico, which would be invaluable in a state of maritime warfare.  The report is now on the files of the department, and constitutes the basis upon which the statement in this paragraph is made.
            The site of Brunswick is a beautiful bluff of close sand, perfectly dry, and very eligible for a city of the largest dimensions.  The land rises on a regular grade.  Commencing at Brandy Point, on a level with high water, it ascends gradually until it reaches an elevation, on the north line of the old Oglethorpe town, more particularly referred to hereafter, of fifteen feet.  From thence, the ascending grade continues, with the same regularity, to the point of the Canal Lock on O Street, at an elevation of thirty feet above high-water mark.  And this is about its summit-level.  The best anchorage may be found near the bluff, ranging along the whole extent of the town, in from twenty to forty feet water at the lowest time of tide.
            The neck of land on which Brunswick is situated, has a width, at its centre, of one and a half miles; the front being on Oglethorpe Bay, or Inner Harbor, as it is called.  Its extreme length, from south-east to north-west, along the Oglethorpe Bay, is about three and a quarter miles.  It is bounded on the east by St. Simon’s Sound; on the west by Oglethorpe Bay and Turtle River; on the south by St. Simon’s Sound; and on the north by a high Pine Land, (so called.)  This high Pine Land runs gradually back about twenty-five miles, until it reaches the sand hills in Wayne County, at an elevation of ninety-two feet above tide-water at Brunswick.  And this is the highest point of land on the line of the Brunswick and Florida Railroad.

Pg. 5

            The distance of Brunswick from the ocean is about six miles.  Its highest temperature is ninety-four degrees—its lowest, twenty-two degrees:  with a mean temperature of sixty-seven.  The summer-heats are tempered by cool breezes regularly setting in from the sea; and the diseases ascribed to some parts of the low country of Georgia are unknown there.  Pure water, and a salubrious climate at all seasons of the year, offer securities for health and comfort, to an extent not to be found in any other port on the southern coast.
            The superior position of Brunswick, and the natural advantages possessed by its harbor for a great commercial and maritime settlement, have been long known and understood.  About a century ago, General Oglethorpe, when Commander-in-Chief of Georgia and South Carolina, designated this harbor as the only one on the southern sea-board adapted for a naval depot, and as being, also, the best, in all respects, for a commercial emporium.  Under instructions from the then reigning monarch of England, George II., the governor laid out the town of Brunswick.  Subsequent to that event, a British seventy-four gun ship entered the harbor, and lay at anchor there for a whole year.  In the year 1790, when nearly all the surrounding territory was in the undisturbed possession of the Indians, and when no produce could reach the port, except along the coast, a sale of the town lots took place.  Such was the estimate of their value, even at that early day, that some lots were sold at prices varying from £500 to £800 sterling—or, from $2,400 to upwards of $4,000 each.
            The State of Georgia holds an elevated rank among her sister confederates of the Union.  From the mountains to the sea-coast, she possess almost every variety of soil and climate.  She is gifted abundantly with mineral vegetable and agricultural wealth.  But her growth has been impeded, her energies have been crippled, and her material resources in a great degree locked up, by the want of a safe, direct, and ready access to the sea.  In other words, she has hitherto been without a good port.  That great, paramount necessity, long comprehended, but never before provided for, is now about to be supplied.  An outlet for her immensely valuable productions, and an inlet for all the foreign necessaries and luxuries which she may desire, is to be opened to her.
            During the last session of her Legislature, a charter was granted to the proprietors of the city of Brunswick, under which a complete

Pg. 6

organization of the company has been effected.  The capital stock has been fixed at three millions of dollars, ($3,000,000,) in thirty thousand shares of one hundred dollars ($100) each.
            The property of the company consists of three thousand and fifty-seven city lots, including the old town of Brunswick, as laid out by Governor Oglethorpe—embracing, as already state, an area of about three miles and a quarter—directly upon the water-front.  In addition to the city lots already surveyed and located, the company own several tracts of land adjoining and in the immediate vicinity, comprising fourteen hundred and sixty-five acres.  In the purchase of these lands, and in the improvements upon them, the sum of six hundred thousand dollars has already been expended.  A spacious hotel, with out-buildings, wharves, store-houses, dwelling-houses, and land culverts, for the drainage of the city, have also been constructed.
            The great stream known as the Altamaha River penetrates, with its branches, the heart of the State of Georgia, from the ocean to the mountains.  It is the largest river on this side of the Mississippi; but it flows into the sea, for some miles near its mouth, over a number of banks and shoals, inaccessible to vessels of any burthen.
            The first grand object to be effected was to unite this river, having no good harbor at its mouth, with the port of Brunswick, which has no navigable river running into the interior.  And this object is now almost accomplished by means of a canal.
            The Altamaha has two large branches, or divisions, called the Ocmulgee and the Oconee.  It is navigable by steamboats, at all seasons of the year, to its junction with these branches.  And it runs a distance of about one hundred miles, by land, from the mouth of the canal to the point at which the junction is formed.
            The largest of the two branches is the Ocmulgee, or southern branch.  It is navigable, for river steamboats, to Macon—a distance, by land, of 130 miles above its junction with the Altamaha; and a distance from the same point, by the courses of the river, of 250 miles.
            The other, or northern branch—the Oconee—is navigable, by steamboats, to Milledgeville—a distance of 200 miles from its junction with the Altamaha.
            Above the point of steamboat navigation, each of these branches is navigable for lumber a distance of 100 miles.  There are also

Pg. 7

innumerable tributary streams, navigable by small boats and rafts, emptying into the river and its branches in all directions; and which, if followed through their multiplied windings, would cover a navigation not less, in extent, than four to seven thousand miles.
            The neck of land which separates the harbor of Brunswick from the navigable waters of the Altamaha River is distant thence, in a northerly direction, less than twelve miles.  It has been stated that a canal connecting the two points is very near completion.  This work has been constructed under the authority of the State of Georgia.  The sum of six hundred thousand dollars has been expended upon it.  So important was the object deemed by the State authorities, that the Legislature adopted a resolve empowering the Governor to appoint three Commissioners, whose duty it should be to examine the port of Brunswick, and to report, upon oath, whether or not it would be advisable for the State to render her aid in opening the navigation to the interior.  Three distinguished citizens, judges of the courts, were appointed—Messrs. John G. Polhill, Hugh Lawson, and Moses Fort.  After accurate personal inspection, they reported that it “was highly advisable for the State to render aid efficiently and promptly.”  Upon the faith of this report, the sum of fifty thousand dollars ($50,000) was subscribed and paid by the State towards the completion of the canal.  Its length will be twelve miles.  Its junction with the Altamaha River is at a point called Six Mile Creek, on the south branch, and is about twenty miles from the mouth of the river.  A lock, to be supplied by tide water, is to be constructed at each end of the canal.  The contractors have bound themselves to complete the work during the present spring, and the force now employed upon it is sufficient for the purpose.
            This canal will change the whole course of trade on the Altamaha and its waters.  Planters can send their crops to Brunswick direct by the river, and thus avoid the expense, risk, and delay of tran-shipment, at Darien, for Savannah and Charleston.  Produce can be carried by steamers much cheaper than by railroad, and still yield large profits to the former.
            The lumber trade alone presents an array of facts well worthy of attention.  Its importance and extent are not generally understood.  The Altamaha and all its branches abound in forests and the finest yellow pine, equal in quality to any that can be found on the continent,

Pg. 8

and sufficient in extent to supply the markets of the world.  White oak, cypress, live oak, and various other timbers, are also to be found in abundance.  Any quantity of this timber may be brought into market through the canal.  Five hundred million feet (500,000,000) a year can easily be produced.  It can be cut and delivered at Brunswick at less cost per one thousand feet, than it can be cut and delivered on any other river known on the Atlantic coast.  When it arrives at the port of Brunswick, it has reached a point where ships of the largest class can be freighted with it for any part of the world.  It is a fact little known, but worthy of record here, as a matter of commercial history, that four hundred million feet of timber (400,000,000) are annually brought to Troy an Albany, through the Erie Canal—a distance of 364 miles; and a large portion of it coming from the lakes.
            In the West Indies, and almost within sight, as it were, of the pine forests of Georgia, the State of Maine finds one of her best and larges markets.  The Island of Cuba alone consumes forty millions of feet for the single article of sugar-boxes.  Yet this supply is brought from our Eastern country, passing on its voyage the very gateway of Brunswick, a distance of nearly 2,000 miles, and is sold at remunerative rates.
            The statistics of Maine and of the Province of New Brunswick, convey some interesting information respecting the extent of the timber trade in those regions.  The State of Maine builds more ships than all the other States of the Union, as the following summary will show:—
            Vessels built in the United States in 37 ½ years, from 1815 to 1852:—
            1815 a 1824, 10 years,            8,604 vessels,              879,858 tons.
            1825 a 1834, 10 years,            9,147 vessels,              1,089,805 tons
            1835 a 1844, 9 ½ years,          8,005 vessels,              1,050,418 tons
            1845 a 1852, 8 years,              11,599 vessels,            2,072,575 tons
                                  37 ½ years         37,355 vessels             5,092,656 tons

            1848, 1851 vessels built, 318,076 tons } 2 greatest years.
            1852, 1844 vessels built, 351,494 tons } 2 greatest years.

            Another important item in the business of Brunswick, and in the revenues of the canal, will be the article of turpentine.  The pine lands of Georgia, including at least one-sixth of all its territory, have been hitherto unproductive.  Large tracts of this territory,

Pg. 9

thus opened, have been explored by gentlemen from North Carolina, with reference solely to its manufacture.  The facilities for carrying on this branch of commerce, are without limit.  Arrangements having that object in view, are now in progress, and, from this consideration alone, an increased value of 200 per cent. has already been given to the lands.
            All the other products of the county—cotton, rice, sugar, corn, flour and stock—must, also, seek a market through this canal.  It is a safe and moderate calculation to estimate the cotton alone at 100,000 bales a year, with a steady prospective increase on that number.  All the sea-island cotton which now grows south-west of the Altamaha River—all that which now issues from St. John’s River, and other points in Florida, must naturally go to Brunswick as the nearest shipping port.  This is a sort of “longshore” business, entirely distinct from that of the railroad or canal.
            Other and greater benefits, however, are to flow from this enterprise, and from others immediately connected with it.
            The Brunswick and Florida Railroad Company are now constructing a line of road, designed ultimately to connect Brunswick, in Georgia, with Pensacola, in Florida—or, in other words, the Atlantic Ocean with the Gulf of Mexico—thus cutting off the circuitous and critical navigation round the Capes of Florida.  The great national importance of such a work has long been felt and acknowledged.  The line is to run, in the first instance, from Brunswick to the Gulf of Mexico, via Thomasville, in Thomas County, Georgia, to the port of St. Mark’s, in Florida; with a branch from the main line at Troupville, to Albany, Flint River.  This river, which is the principal tributary of the Chattahoochee, affords a steamboat navigation to Pinderton, in Georgia, at the end of the railroad communication with the big bend of the Ocmulgee.
            The road is now under contract, and the work is prosecuted under the most experience and energetic management.  The company propose, at the earliest practicable moment, to extend it from Thomasville to Pensacola, in a direct line.
            It will penetrate the finest cotton-growing region of the United States.  The rich and fertile cotton-lands on the line of the road are rapidly inviting settlements of wealthy planters, from the sea-board further north.  The distance saved by the road, when it reaches Florida, to all commerce of the States bordering on the Gulf of

Pg. 10

Mexico, will exceed 1,000 miles, for each passage to and fro Europe and the Northern sea-board, and the insurance against sea-risks will be reduced one-half.
            Other and great improvements must soon follow.  The States of the West are projecting and constructing various links of communication; and the time is not far distant when an immense system of railroads will cover, like a network, the whole valley of the Mississippi.  And all these lines must ultimately be more or less tributary to the growth and business of Brunswick.
            By the adoption of the Brunswick and Florida route, only 400 miles of railroad will be required, on an easy grade and on a course almost straight, to connect the Mississippi River, at Vicksburg, with the Atlantic Ocean.  At a freight of 3 cents per ton per mile, a 500 lb. bag of cotton can be carried from New Orleans to the
            Shipping Port of Brunswick, for ----------------------- $3 00
Freight from Brunswick to Liverpool, ½ d. per lb. ---------------5 00
Insurance on $50, at 1 ¼ per cent., -----------------------------0 63
Making, by this route, the cost of taking a bale from New
            Orleans to Liverpool, ---------------------------$8 63
While, from New Orleans, around Florida to Liverpool
            the freight ranges from 5/8 d. to 1 ¼ d. per lb.
            If we call the freight and Mississippi River and
            port charges 7/8 d. per lb., it will be on a 500 lb
            bale ---------------------------------------------$8 75
Insurance ranges from 2 to 3 per cent.; if we call it 2
            per cent. on $50, ---------------------------------1 00  $9 75
Difference in favor of the Brunswick route, per bale,                   $1 12
From Mobile to Brunswick, 300 miles, at same
            rate is, ------------------------------------------$2 25
Freight from Brunswick to Liverpool, ½ d. per lb., ------- 5 00
Insurance          do.              do.     $50, 1 ¼ per cent. --- 0 63
                                                                                                  $7 88
While around Florida the expenses are same as from
            New Orleans, ------------------------------------------$9 75
Difference in favor of the Brunswick route, per bale, ------------$1 87
Besides the gain in time by this mode of forwarding.

            To those districts of the States of Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Texas and Florida, which are situated near the line of the road, the amount saved will far exceed the estimate given; whilst to the States of Tennessee, Louisiana, and all the northern sea-board States, the advantages by this route will be equally great.

Pg. 11

            The distance from the northern commercial towns, to Tehuantepec, will also be shortened about as much as the distance to and from Europe; and a valuable avenue will thus be opened for trade and travel to Mexico, via Vera Cruz; and by the Isthmus of Tehuantepec to California and the Pacific.
            The Secretary of the Treasury, in his last annual report, (January, 1853,) states the annual amount of the agricultural, mineral and manufacturing productions of the United States at not less than three thousand millions, (3,000,000,000,) a large portion of which is transported river, canal, or coasting vessels, or on railroads, and which, in the course of trade, changes hands several times before reaching the domestic consumer;—making an aggregate amount of internal and coastwise traffic counting by thousands of millions; whilst the whole amount shipped to foreign countries, and finding an outlet in foreign markets, is only one hundred and fifty millions, (150,000,000,) or one-twentieth part of the entire production of the country.  In the same document, the Secretary states, that the coastwise trade, to and from the American ports on the Gulf of Mexico, is of itself, probably, nearly equal, in point of value, to the entire export of American productions to foreign nations.
            The completion of these two great works—the canal and the railroad—will give to Brunswick the full benefit of her natural advantages, and place her in a position to become the great commercial emporium of the South.  There is no sound reason why goods should not be bought as cheap, and produce command as high a price at Brunswick as at Charleston or New Orleans.  Ships from Liverpool, Bordeaux, or the East Indies, can go to Brunswick as readily as to New-York or Charleston.  And many causes combine to render this the cheapest commercial port in the United States.  Among these are the deep water—the bold shore—the city side from which wharfs can be readily and cheaply projected—the facility of approach to the harbor, no pilotage being necessary, and there being no currents to contend against—the safe anchorage, and the healthy climate.  There will be no delay either in running into port or putting out to sea—no heavy river charges—and no loss of time to increase the cost of merchandise.
            The busy hum of a large, industrious and energetic population, will soon be heard in the streets of Brunswick.  Seamen and ships will be profitably employed there.  Cotton, grain, sugar, tobacco

Pg. 12

lead, pork, wool, and every other home production will go there; and the merchant of large capital will soon find lucrative objects in which it can be invested.  Yards for building ships—factories for making carriages, and for other mechanical and manufacturing purposes, will be established on a large scale.  Blacksmiths and shipwrights are already there, and the prices of lumber, and the wages of mechanics are much the same as in the timber regions of Maine—no higher.  Steam mills are now in process of erection, and it is believed that at least 500 vessels will be laden with lumber for the English and French markets, and for the Northern States, during the next season.
            The tide of emigration has already turned towards Brunswick.  Large quantities of land are being purchased on the waters of the Altamaha.  Experienced lumberman from Maine and North Carolina are engaged in the enterprise.  Some of them are erecting sawmills to go into operation immediately on the completion of the canal.  Cotton houses and cotton presses will also be erected.  Mercantile houses for lumber, agencies for the purchase of cotton, turpentine agencies, banking houses, and commercial projects of every description will spring into existence immediately on the opening of the port.
            Various powerful causes are at work to build up, in this new field of enterprise, a trade and business far outreaching any reasonable estimate which the Directors are willing at this time to lay before the public.  It is sufficient for them to know that the day is near at hand when the City and Port of Brunswick will present to the country a solid, permanent structure of commercial and maritime prosperity not surpassed, in its relative importance, by that of any port on the American continent.

            By order of the Board of Directors,
                                                WILLIAM CHAUNCEY, President.

THOMAS A. DEXTER, Secretary.
AMOS DAVIS, Treasurer.

Office of the Proprietors of the City of Brunswick,}
cor. Of Broadway and Wall St., New-York, March
1, 1853}

 

 

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