The German Immigration into Pennsylvania though the Port of Philadelphia: 1700-1775
Chapter IX.

Two months in port and not all sold yet!

One more extract from the Baltimore American and I am done. It is this, in the issue of February 7, 1817, a winter of extraordinary severity in that latitude:

"A ship with upward of 300 German men, women and children has arrived off Annapolis, where she is detained by ice. These people have been fifteen weeks on board and are short of provisions. Upon making the Capes, their bedding having become filthy, was thrown overboard. They are now actually perishing from the cold and want of provisions."

No bedding, few provisions, with the thermometer ranging from five degrees above to four below zero. Surely the Maryland Redemptioner was tasting all the miseries of servitude, as his Pennsylvania brother had done for three-quarters of a century previously.

In answer to a strong newspaper appeal made by a German descendant, a meeting of Germans and descendants of Germans was called on February 13, 1817, to form a society to protect and assist, so far as was possible, the German immigrants. That action resulted in the formation of the German Society of Maryland. The membership was composed of the best and most prominent men in the State, and it at once went to work with an energy and determination that promised good results. The captain of the Johanna was prosecuted for illegal practices and for appropriating to his own use the effects of dead passengers. The sick on board were sent to hospitals.

In 1818 the Society was instrumental in securing the passage of an act by the Maryland Assembly consisting of numerous sections in which provision was made to do away with the evils which had hitherto prevailed in the importation, sale and treatment of Redemptioners of German and Swiss ancestry. Every one of the disgraceful practices which formerly obtained was done away with. The Society took care that this excellent law was strictly enforced and in a few years the bringing over of Redemptioners became so unprofitable that the very name disappeared from the records. Upon one occasion-it was in March, 1819-a ship, the Vrouw Elizabeth, reached Baltimore with a number of immigrants, who before embarking had subscribed to the usual conditions. But when they reached this country, they refused to comply with their agreements. The officers of the Society refused to countenance this action and wrote them a letter in which they said that as the Captain of the ship had treated them with the utmost kindness, they must comply with their contracts and that the Society would not countenance their attempt to evade their honest obligations. Herein the Society manifested its desire to deal fairly with Shipmasters as well as with the poor people they brought over. 161

It deserves to be stated that, in addition to the large number of Germans who went to Maryland from Pennsylvania, there was also considerable immigration into that State through the port of Annapolis. From the entries at that city we learn the fact that from 1752 to 1755, 1,060 German immigrants arrived there; in 1752, 150; in 1753, 460; and in 1755, 450. They are spoken of as Palatines. 162
Caption: The Blue Anchor Tavern. 163

"No public records were kept of the contracts entered into abroad by the Redemptioners (of Maryland) nor of the time of the expiration of their service. The Redemptioners were not furnished with duplicates of their contracts. They could be, and sometimes were, mortgaged, hired out for a shorter period, sold and transferred like chattel by their masters. (Maryland Archives, 1637-50, pp. 132-486.) The Redemptioners, belonging to the poor and most of them to the ignorant class, it is apparent that under these circumstances were at a great disadvantage against rapacious masters, who kept them in servitude after the expiration of their true contract time, claiming their services for a longer period.

"As the number of slaves increased in the colony, and labor became despised, the Redemptioner lost caste and the respect which is accorded to working people in non-slave-holding communities. He was in many respects treated like the black slave. He could neither purchase nor sell anything without the permission of the master. If caught ten miles away from home, without the written permission of his master, he was liable to be taken up as a runaway and severely punished. The person who harbored a runaway was fined 500 pounds of tobacco for each twenty-four hours, and to be whipped if unable to pay the fine. There was a standing reward of 200 pounds of tobacco for capturing runaways, and the Indians received for every captured runaway they turned in a 'match coat.' For every day's absence from work ten days were added to his time of servitude. The master had a right to whip his Redemptioner for any real or imaginary offense, which must have been a very difficult matter to determine, for offenses may be multiplied. The laws also provided for his protection. For excessively cruel punishment the master could be fined and the Redemptioner set free. I presume in most cases this was only effective when the Redemptioner had influential friends who would take up his case." 164

 

Chapter IX.

The German Immigration into Pennsylvania though the Port of Philadelphia: 1700-1775
Chapter IX.

The System in New York.

New York had a similar system, although, owing to the fact that the many large landed estates owned by the Patroons, were worked by free tenant farmers, the number of white indentured servants was not nearly so great as in Pennsylvania. The character of this labor was, however, the same as in Pennsylvania and Maryland. They consisted of convicts sent from England and Ireland, of the miserably poor who were kidnapped and sold into servitude, and of Redemptioners who were disposed of on their arrival, as in Pennsylvania, to pay the cost of transportation and other expenses. 165 It is elsewhere stated in these pages that many of the children of parents who died on the ten ships that brought over the more than three thousand Germans to New York in 1710, were bound out to servitude by the Government authorities.

The State of New York also legislated on this perplexing question, as may be seen by the following:

"And Whereas, the emigration of poor persons from Europe hath greatly conduced to the settlement of this State, while a Colony; and Whereas, doubts have arisen tending to the discouragement of further importations of such poor persons;-therefore be it further enacted, by the authority aforesaid that every contract already made or hereafter to be made by any infant or other person coming from beyond the sea, executed in the presence of two witnesses and acknowledged by the servant, before any Mayor, Recorder, Alderman or Justice of the Peace, shall bind the party entering into the same, for such term and for such services as shall be therein specified: And that every assignment of the same executed before two credible witnesses shall be effectual to transfer the same contract for the residue of the term therein mentioned. But that no contract shall bind any infant longer than his or her arrival to the full age of twenty-one years; excepting such as are or shall be bound in order to raise money for the payment of their passages, who may be bound until the age of twenty-four years, provided the term of such service shall not exceed four years in the whole." 166


Chapter IX.

The German Immigration into Pennsylvania though the Port of Philadelphia: 1700-1775
Chapter IX.

The Traffic in Virginia.

The early Virginia colonists were a class, who came not to work themselves, but to live on the labor of others. This required the aid of servile labor. Negro labor was at first resorted to. That was in 1619, but as the demand was greater than the supply, other sources had to be found. Convicted criminals were sent from the mother country in large numbers. But other means were also resorted to. Men, boys and girls were kidnapped in the streets of London, hurried on ship-board and sent to the new colony, where they were indentured as servants for a term of years. The usual term of service was four years but this was only too frequently prolonged beyond that period for trivial offenses. Fiske says "their lives were in theory protected by law, but when an indentured servant came to his death from prolonged ill usage or from excessive punishment, or even from sudden violence, it was not easy to get a verdict against the master. In those days of frequent flogging, the lash was inflicted upon the indentured servant with scarcely less compunction than upon the purchased slave." 167 But the majority of the indentured white servants of Virginia, like those of Pennsylvania, were honest, well-behaved persons, who like the latter sold themselves into temporary servitude to pay the charges of transportation. The purchaser paid the ship master with the then coin of the colony, tobacco, and received his servant. There as in Pennsylvania they were known as Redemptioners, and like those in this State numbered many of excellent character. There was no let up in this importation of convicts and servants until it was terminated by the Revolutionary War. It has been variously estimated that the number of involuntary immigrants sent to America from Great Britain between 1717 and 1775 was 10,000 and during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries 50,000. 168 Probably a majority of these reached Virginia. The latter colony received more Redemptioners than any of the other colonies during the seventeeth century, but in the eighteenth, Pennsylvania was the more favored province.

There were still another class of servants who were sent to America who deserve to be mentioned in this connection. They were prisoners of war, men who were captured by Cromwell at Dunbar and Worcester. Some of
Caption: Passenger Ship of the Period-1750. From a Contemporary Drawing. these were sent to Virginia. After the restoration of the Stuart dynasty, so many non-conformists were sold into servitude in Virginia as to lead to an insurrection in 1663, followed by legislation designed to keep all convicts out of the colony. 169

Of the services rendered to the colony of Virginia by these indentured servants it has been said they were "the main pillar of the industrial fabric, and performed the most honorable work in establishing and sustaining it." 170

In Virginia, as in Pennsylvania, many of these Redemptioners rose to be persons of wealth and importance in the Commonwealth, and occasionally became members of the House of Burgesses. At the same time it deserves to be very distinctly stated that the general character of the Redemptioners in Virginia was by no means equal to that of the Germans who came to Pennsylvania; nor was anything else to be expected considering the classes from whom so many sprung.

 

Chapter IX.

The German Immigration into Pennsylvania though the Port of Philadelphia: 1700-1775
Chapter IX.

In New Jersey.

Mellick informs us that the laws of New Jersey were about like those of Pennsylvania in relation to the Redemptioners. Contiguous as the two were, with only the Delaware river between, this was to be expected. In Section 5, of the Colonial Entry Book of that State, occurs the following:

"The waies of obtayning these servants have beene usually by employing a sorte of men and women who make it theire profession to tempt or gaine poore or idle persons to goe to the Plantations and having persuaded or deceived them on Shipp board they receive a reward from the person who employed them."

In New Jersey, under the laws, white servants could not be compelled to serve more than four years if sold or bound after attaining the age of seventeen years. Young children were held until they attained their majority. When the term of service expired the redemptioner received two suits of clothing, one falling axe, one good hoe and seven bushels of corn. The master was not allowed to inflict corporeal punishment upon his bond servant, but he could bring the case to the attention of a civil magistrate.

It is a noteworthy fact that the most popular novel published in the United States in the year 1899 has a Redemptioner for its hero, and for the most part the scene of the novel is laid in New Jersey. Another work of fiction, almost equal to the previous one mentioned in popularity, deals with a Redemptioner hero in Virginia. 171

The colony South Carolina also received some of this Redemptioner immigration, and pretty nearly the same conditions and terms for taking them there, and holding them in bondage, prevailed as elsewhere.

Joshua Kocherthal in his little pamphlet, published in Frankfort in 1709, in which he strives to divert German emigration from Pennsylvania to South Carolina, says in his ninth chapter that "Special arrangements have to be made with the Captain for each half grown child. Perons too poor to pay, sometimes find proprietors willing to advance the funds, in return for which they serve the latter for some time in Carolina. The period of service, in time of peace, is from two to three years, but when the fare is higher (he states it to be from five to six pounds sterling, but the cost of a convoy and other expenses, raise it to seven and eight pounds for every adult), the time is necessarily longer." 172 He adds in an appendix that "an immigrant to Pennsylvania must have the ready money with which to prepay his passage, while for one going to Carolina, this is not necessary."
Caption: The De La Plaine House, Germantown.

 

Chapter X.

The German Immigration into Pennsylvania though the Port of Philadelphia: 1700-1775
Chapter X.

Argument Attempting to Show the Redemptioner System was by no Means an Unmixed Evil.-That Much Good Came out of it.-That in Most Respects it was Preferable to the Unending Round of Toil that had to be Encountered in the Fatherland. "O, Rivers, with your beauty time-defying, Flowing along our peaceful shores to-day, Be glad you fostered them-the heroes lying Deep in the silent clay. "Be jubilant ye Hill-tops old and hoary-Proud that their feet have trod your rocky ways; Rejoice, ye Vales, for they have brought you glory And ever during praise."
Caption: Franklin Arms.

One hundred and fifty years are but a short period in the history of the human race. In the early ages of the world that number of years would come and go and at their close men thought and did and felt about as at their beginning. Habits and morals were not as now, things that change almost as regularly and frequently as the earth's revolutions around the sun. But times have undergone a wonderful transformation during the past century and a-half. So far away is 1730 in its customs and manner of thought, that we hardly realize that it was the time in which our great-grandfathers lived, and yet in some things we seem as far removed from those days as we are from the biblical patriarchs who lived and died upon the Judean hills, thousands of years ago.

This man-traffic, which I have attempted to describe in these pages, did not at that time create the general abhorrence with which we now regard it. It was a matter of every-day business in every community. It had the
Caption: Specimen of Ephrata Display Type, Made and Used at that Place Prior to 1748. endorsement, so far as we may judge from the records and the spirit of that time, of the majority of the community. It was recognized as a legitimate business by the laws of the land. It was in full accord with the common life of the people. Even Sauer, Mittelberger, Muhlenberg and the other worthies of that period who have been referred to and liberally quoted, did not arraign the system itself, but the numberless and almost nameless abuses it called forth. It was the injustice, the hardships, the rascality, misrepresentations, methods of transportation, the crowded condition of the ships, the hunger and starvation, the sufferings, the general horrors by which it was accompanied, that called forth their protests. Never, since men have gone down to the sea in ships, have such sufferings and iniquities been known. Only men dead to all the better instincts of our human nature could have been guilty of the barbarities practiced upon these innocent, helpless victims of man's inhumanity to man.

Even as I read them to-day, I cannot understand why these men did not arise in their might and their wrath, smite their oppressors, and cast them into the sea, even as their own dead were thrown into the kindly waters, unknelled, uncoffined and unknown. They were many and their oppressors few; smarting under the deceptions and wrongs practiced upon them, their forbearance seems almost inexplicable. Here, too, the spirit of the age played its part. It was an age of loyalty to lord and master. To them the doctrine of jure divino was not a mere abstraction. It was one of the overmastering principles of their lives. They were respecters of authority, and to an extent that for half a century and more led to their disadvantage. For once the divine precept of obedience to authority worked to their undoing.

We fail to understand how these poor people should have consented to all this unutterable injustice and wrong-doing for several generations. If the immigrant of 1728 was unaware of what was in store for him, the same cannot be said of those who came in 1750 and thereafter. The Atlantic
Caption: Fac-Simile of Cover on Bailey's German Almanac. 173
Caption: German Immigration Into Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania-German Farm Life. A Community Cider-Press. was wide, but not so wide that letters could not reach the relatives and friends who were still in the old home. We know many of them wrote and told the horrors that had been encountered. It is true, as is elsewhere recounted, that the Newlanders even stole the letters from America, when they could, to prevent the dismal tales they told from becoming known to those for whom they were intended; but that, doubtless, was an infrequent occurrence, and possible only on favorable occasions. Why then did these people persist in coming, five and six thousand yearly, for lengthy periods? The question is difficult to answer, perhaps, and yet I venture upon an explanation.

Why do thousands of gold-seekers and other adventurers brave all the hardships of Alaskan winters to find fortunes in the Klondike? Everybody knows that not one in a score of them is successful, and yet the hegira thitherward is as active to-day as when that wealth-fever first set the gold-seekers in motion. We hear and know some are successful. The rest hope they may be. All who came to America did not score failures. Not all were penniless and needy. Those who were able to make a fair start were successful far beyond anything they could ever have attained in their old homes. The virgin lands were rich almost beyond description. In that the booklets of Penn, Pastorius, Thomas and others did not exaggerate. The situation in this particular was not overdrawn, and the lands were cheap. It is true there was hard labor and plenty of it before the settler. But he was a German, strong of will and limb, inured to toil and not afraid to labor every day in the year except Sundays, if the situation required such service. The seasons were on his side and he saw houses and lands, such as he never dreamed of owning, belonging to him, yielding him an abundant support and providing an inheritance for those whom he should leave behind him.

Another important condition of life came to the front with these people, to which most of them perhaps had been strangers in the old home. It was the question of food. Not only did the soil yield its abundant harvests, but the fields and the woods made no mean additions to their larder. Game of many kinds was at their command. Fur and feather and fin may almost be said to have been as much the product of their farms as wheat and corn and potatoes. Meat could be on their tables daily if they so desired. Mittelberger is very explicit on this point. He says: "Provisions are cheap in Pennsylvania. The people live well, especially on all sorts of grain, which thrives very well, because the soil is wild and fat. They have good cattle, fast horses and many bees. The sheep which are larger than the German ones, have generally two lambs a year. Hogs and poultry, especially turkeys are raised by almost everybody. Every evening many a tree is so full of chickens that the boughs bend beneath them. Even in the humblest and poorest houses in this country there is no meal without meat, and no one eats the bread without the butter or cheese, although the bread is as good as with us. On account of the extensive stock raising, meat is very cheap: one can buy the best beef for three kreuzers a pound." 174 He tells of poultry and eggs, fish, turtles, venison, wild pigeons, and other foods; not to mention nuts, grapes and other fruits that were to be had in every woods for the gathering.

All these things were well known in the Fatherland. Every letter spoke of them. Such flattering tales had their effect. They came for the most part to men and women whose lines in life were hard and drawn. The struggle for existence there was all those words imply. Nowhere in Europe was it harder. It was a from-hand-to-mouth life. The food was often scant, and not of the best at that. As these letters and the various descriptions of Penn's wonderful land which were everywhere distributed by the Newlanders were read around the fireside during the bleak winters, and the ever-present scant larder forced itself upon the mind, there could be but one result.

The overmastering instinct of the race to better its condition came upon them. There are many causes that lead men to seek new homes, in distant lands, but there is one that overtops all the rest. It is the desire to better their worldly condition, the hope of material advancement, in short, it is better bread and more of it that lies at the source of nearly all the migrations of the human family. The love of gain, the desire for property and the accumulation of wealth was the great underlying principle of all colonization on the American continent. It was this all-powerful motive that crowded out all else, and led these people to brave all dangers, known and unknown, to reach this western Eden. So long as distress and danger and difficulties are in the dim distance, we fail to give them due consideration. It is only when they become a present reality, a source of trial and sorrow, that we realize the true condition of things.

These people were ready to encounter the obstacles they knew were to be met. Perhaps they underestimated their importance and character. That was something which could not be guarded against. At all events, their fears were cast behind them and that hope which springs eternal in the human breast held sway, and spurred them to take the leap in the dark which many lived to regret, and which thousands regretted while dying. No sadder tale can ever be told. It has become an imperishable page in the history of the Germans of Pennsylvania; one that the historian
Caption: Barber's Basin, in Use 150 Years Ago. reluctantly deals with, so full of sorrow and heart-break is it.

So abominable and inhuman were the dealings of the Newlanders, ship-masters, ship-owners and most of the commission merchants with these helpless immigrants, and so sad and sorrowful the fate of many of them, that the wrath of the reader is also aroused and the denunciation has become universal. The same incidents are told by them all, and the worst are of course chosen for exposure; the same tale of starvation and pestilence and death is rehearsed so that we almost insensibly reach the conclusion that from the beginning until the end, there was one long, continuous cloud over the horizon of these people, unrelieved by a single rift and un-illumined by a single ray.

Almost every writer whom I have consulted has written only in terms of unqualified condemnation of the evils that arose out of the system of bonded servants. There is however one noteworthy exception.

Elder Johannes Naas, who, next to Alexander Mack, was the most celebrated and influential member of the Taufer or Brethren church in Germany, came to this country in 1733. Shortly after his arrival he wrote a long letter to his son, Jacob Wilhelm Naas, who was living in Switzerland at the time, in which all the incidents and circumstances of his voyage are minutely detailed. The letter is well worth reading by every one who has an interest in the events I have been trying to depict. Want of space prevents its appearance here in its entirety. The concluding portion bears directly on the case of the Redemptioners, and contrary to the customary practice, the writer regards that question favorably, rather than otherwise, for which reason I quote that part of his letter.

 

Chapter X.

The German Immigration into Pennsylvania though the Port of Philadelphia: 1700-1775
Chapter X.

Elder Naas' Letter.

"Now that we have safely arrived in this land and have been met by our own people in great love and friendship all the rest has been forgotten (the mishaps and hardships of the voyage) in a moment, so to speak, for the sake of the great joy we had in one another. This hardship has lasted about nineteen weeks; then it was over, wherefore be all the glory to the Highest: Amen, yea; Amen!

"For it does not rue us to have come here, and I wish with all my heart that you and your children could be with us; however, it cannot be and I must not urge you as the journey is so troublesome for people who are not able to patiently submit to everything, but often in the best there are restless minds, but if I could with the good will of God do for you children all, I assure you that I would not hesitate to take the trip once more upon me for your sake; not because one gets one's living in this land in idleness! Oh! no; this country requires diligent people, in whatever
Caption: Fac-Simile of Earliest Entries in Trappe Church Records, March 8, 1729. trade they may be-but then they can make a good living. There are, however, many people here, who are not particularly successful; as it seems that if some people were in Paradise it would go badly with them. Some are to be blamed for it themselves; for when they come to this country and see the beautiful plantations; the number of fine cattle; and abundance in everything; and, knowing that they only just have come here too, then they want to have it like that at once, and will not listen to any advice but take large tracts of land with debts, borrow cattle and so forth. These must toil miserably until they get independent. Well, what shall I say, so it is in the world, where always one is better off than the other. If a person wants to be contented here, with food and shelter, he can under the blessing of God and with diligent hands get plenty of it. Our people are well off; but some have more abundance than others, yet nobody is in want. What I heard concerning the people who do not have the money for the passage, surprised me greatly, how it goes with the young, strong people and artisans, how quickly all were gone, bricklayers, carpenters, and whatever trades they might have. Also old people who have grown children and who understand nothing but farm labor, then the child takes two freights (fare for two) upon itself, its own and that of the father or of the mother four years, and during that time it has all the clothing that is needed and in the end an entirely new outfit from head to foot, a horse or cow with a calf. Small children often pay one freight and a half until they are twenty-one years old. The people are obliged to have them taught writing and reading, and in the end to give them new clothes and present them with a horse or cow.

"There are few houses to be found in city or country where the people are at all well off, that do not have one or two such children in them. The matter is made legal at the city hall with great earnestness. There parents and children often will be separated 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20 hours (in distance), and for many young people it is very good that they cannot pay their own freight. These will sooner be provided for than those who have paid theirs and they can have their bread with others and soon learn the ways of the country.

"I will make an end of this and wish patience to whomsoever reads this. God be with you all. Amen. 175

"Johannes Naas."

This is an extreme view, and not wholly a just one. The facts as they stand recorded in the works of historians and the letters of private individuals are true, and they must always be accepted as such. At the same time it must be admitted they present us with but one side of the story. Is there no other side to their picture? There are, admittedly, two sides to every narrative? Is this one of the German immigration and the indenturing of many individuals as servants for a term of years an exception? It would, indeed, be an anomalous case if it were so. But it is not. Men like Christoph Saur and Pastor Muhlenberg and Gottlieb Mittelberger embarked in this cause to right a great existing wrong, one that was daily occurring before their own eyes, and with which they were almost hourly made acquainted. It was a crime almost without a parallel in its atrocity, practiced against their countrymen and it may be, their own kith and kin. They were tireless in their efforts to strike it down. They left no stone unturned, nothing undone that would do away with this crime against humanity. They showed it up at its worst to arouse the better part of our human nature against the evil, believing, and most truly, that in this way it could most quickly be driven out of existence. If they saw a brighter side to the question it was not for them to reveal it. It was the wrong against which their blows were directed. The better and brighter side needed no defense and, therefore, none was made for it.
Caption: One of the Dangers Encountered by the Early Settlers.

And there was a brighter side just as certainly as there was a dark one. That must, indeed, be an evil's crown of evil that is wholly and unspeakably bad and totally without redeeming features.

Let us, for a while, turn this gloomy picture to the wall and see whether we can discover something better on the other side. Let us bear in mind, in the first place, that while many plunged heedlessly into the pitfalls laid by the soulless soul-brokers, there were-must have been-thousands of others who were not ignorant of what a servant for a term of years meant. Why did these eager thousands hurry from their homes in the Fatherland to such a fate here? We know full well how it was with a majority of them there. Born in poverty, unable to rise above the station of hewers of wood and drawers of water, they were doomed to lives of unceasing toil, with the hope of bettering their condition as remote as the distant and unheeding stars. What had even the fertile valleys of the Rhine to offer these men? Nothing, and well they knew it. Surely things could not be worse for them in America, and in this we must all agree.

It was a voluntary action on their part. They knew the consequences of their step. They were aware that a shipowner would not carry them three thousand miles across the broad ocean and feed them on the way for nothing, merely out of charity. Men do not give valuable things to every comer for nothing. They knew this indebtedness must be repaid when they reached this country by some one for they could not do it themselves. But whoever assumed the temporary burden, they knew that in the end their own strong arms must make payment. It cannot be doubted the trials of the voyage were more severe than was anticipated. For that, perhaps, they were not prepared. A healthy young man who may never have known a day's sickness in his life, little thinks the plague will smite him on ship-board; and it was the foul diseases disseminated by personal contact that more than decimated so many hopeful ship companies that sailed out of Rotterdam. It will hardly be contended that the men coming to Pennsylvania under such conditions looked forward to anything but a life of work until time wiped out the score that had been marked up against them.

It is true we read of "Servants" or "Redemptioners" who fell into the hands of hard taskmasters. No doubt this was the case. It has been the case since the days of Pharaoh and will continue to be while masters and servants exist upon the earth, and that, most probably, will be until the end of time.

But that was not the rule. I cannot bring myself to believe that they were not mostly exceptional cases. 176 It was natural that Germans already in the country and in need of help on their farms, or in whatever occupation they may have been engaged, should have preferred their own countrymen. The Germans hold together: it is one of their characteristics, and always has been. The employer preferred one who spoke his own language: who can doubt that? That he preferred one from his own dorf or locality is also certain. When such came together it could not have been difficult to strike a bargain. And having thus made their engagement, will it be doubted that the faithful service of the Redemptioner, anxious to free himself and his wife and perhaps his children also, was not appreciated by the master, his own countryman, and perhaps even an acquaintance? To doubt kind treatment from the buyer to the bought, under these conditions is to impugn German honor, German kindness, and that German sense of right which we know is always true to eternal instincts. We have reason to know that as a rule the existing conditions worked well. It was also the servitor's privilege to find another master when the one he had was not to his liking.

If these men were poor, they were nevertheless honorable. It was their bounden duty to comply with their contracts. Nothing could be gained by shirking their duties, save trouble. Every one was certain that the day of deliverance would come, when he in turn would be an independent land-owner and entitled to all the rights of citizenship enjoyed by any one. He saw around him, men of standing and character in the community, who had stood on the lowest rung of the social ladder where he himself was then standing. They had attained their position by fulfilling their engagements faithfully. They were an example and their successful careers were an incentive to all who knew them, to also do as they had done. The laws of the Province made no distinction between him and those above him. He could aspire to anything or any place anyone else had attained. In addition to that, they lent him a helping hand when the hour of his freedom arrived and gave him lands, if he wanted them, on the most favorable terms. There was every incentive for a "Redemptioner" to make a man of himself if he had the will and ability to do so. And why should he not strive towards that end? His hour, the hour so long awaited, had come at last; the prize he had set out to reach was now within his grasp; the day of fruition was at hand. He had worked hard, but he had done that in the Fatherland also, done it on scanty rations and without any hope of rising or in any way bettering his position. He had passed that point in his new home. He was a free man. The three, four, or five years had rolled away quickly and he was now master of the situation.

And what had others done? They had become the owners in fee simple of estates that ranged from a hundred to a thousand acres of the best and brightest lands the sun shines on to-day. They had become the owners of estates, which in Germany would have entitled them to the highest consideration. In all but name, they had in reality become what the Newlander had promised. Nowhere in all North
Caption: A Custom in the Fatherland. America was such prosperity seen. It had taken years of honest toil to accomplish this, but it had been done and now the independent owner could sit down, literally as well as figuratively, under his own vine and roof tree with the world's abundance of good things about him.

With such encouragement the "Redeemed"-no longer the "Redemptioner"- had but to go to work for himself as earnestly as he had done for him who had taken him into his family. Generally he was a man in the vigor of life, with many years of good work still in him. There was still ample time to go ahead and improve his condition. Released from the indenture that had held him, with his earlier ambition to improve still strong within him, his lot was a hundred fold better and more promising than it had
Caption: Title-Page of Plockhoy's Book. Containing a Scheme for Settlement on the Delaware. 177 been in his old home. He felt it and he fell to work to make the most of it. German industry and German thrift still accompanied him. The greedy ship-master and the avaricious broker could not rob him of these. With them and the ready assistance that was ever forthcoming on the part of the old master and nearby acquaintances, he started out on his independent career.

The result is well known. He prospered as he deserved to do. His cattle multiplied and the soil failed not to pour forth its abundance. The days of adversity passed away. The era of prosperity took their place, and his early hopes and aspirations were realized. That was the career of thousands. Even though some had in earlier days encountered unspeakable evils, was not this rich fruition of later years infinitely better than anything that could have fallen to their lot in Germany? There they were not bound to a master by indentures, but necessity compelled them to serve him nevertheless from boyhood until incapacitated by age, when the poorhouse received their wornout frames. He was a servant all his life without any recompense at its close, while his food in the meantime was
Caption: German Immigration Into Pennsylvania. Franklin Collegem, 1787. that of the poor laborer, poor in kind and scant in quantity. Surely, we cannot contrast such an existence with that passed by his fellow laborer, Redemptioner though he was, in the welcoming breezes of Pennsylvania.

Thousands of them achieved both fame and fortune. Often, if he was a good man and true, he married his quondam owner's daughter, and with her got back part of the riches his years of honorable servitude had helped to create. Among his own countrymen he lost no caste by reason of his service. Why should he? In the world around him one-half his fellows were working as hard as he to repay borrowed money or to pay for lands or other valuables they had purchased. He too was paying a debt voluntarily incurred and there was no disgrace attached to it.

Our early history is filled with the story of Redemptioners who grew rich by their honest toil and left honorable names to their descendants. I have at this moment an autobiographical sketch lying before me, written by one of these people. He came to the town where I was born, and for nearly half a century lived within easy speaking distance of my own home. He was well educated. He was honest and faithful. The community honored him with public office, while his enterprise, energy and thrift brought him a large estate. He founded a family and his descendants to-day are honorable and honored, the wealthiest people in the community. 178 These are things we must not forget in passing judgment upon this man traffic. Common fairness demands it. It rescued thousands from lives of poorly requited toil and placed them where their labor met with its proper reward. Instead of remaining hewers of wood and drawers of water until life's close, they were placed in conditions where the results of their work went to reward themselves. Not one of all this vast multitude, could their views have been ascertained, would have preferred the old hum-drum life of the Fatherland with its many trials and few rewards to the newer life, the freer air, the more generous living and less oppressive burdens they found in the pleasant land of Pennsylvania.
Caption: The Morris House in Germantown. Where Washington lived in 1793.

At this distant day we can hardly realize all the untoward circumstances and conditions that fell into the lives of these sons of the Fatherland-these children of misfortune and of want. It has been said man must be born somewhere; it is true, and wherever that somewhere may be, that spot, though it be the bleakest on all the earth, will live in his memory forever, and cost him many a pang ere he becomes reconciled to new conditions.

To leave home and friends and country is a trial under even the most favorable circumstances. To leave them, penniless, with the future all doubt and uncertainty, but with a full knowledge that a life of toil, hard and unremitting, with perhaps nothing better at the end of it, is as dreary a prospect as can shadow any life.

Thousands of them, after spending many years in freeing themselves and their loved ones from the clutches of the taskmaster, had to begin life anew on their own account, in the silence and gloom of the forest. Here their remaining years were passed, generally with abundance crowning their declining years. They had at last homes and fireside comforts to leave to those who came after them. The worst for them was now over. True, they had at last attained their early hopes, but how much in mind and person had to be endured before the period of fruition arrived. How often in their hours of deepest sadness and gloom the memories of the earlier days in the old home must have forced themselves with overpowering strength upon these sons of sorrow! Only men and women deeply imbued with the consolations of religion could have survived it all without following the advice of the Hebrew prophet's wife, to curse God and die.

Out of those olden forests, out of those homes in the valleys and mountain recesses emerged men imbued with the same spirit of freedom and independence that has marked the men of German ancestry during the long ages that have come and gone since Tacitus portrayed their sturdy virtues in his imperishable pages. Centuries of suffering as well as centuries of success were needed to build and mould the German character into what we find it to-day. The crown has come after the cross. Wrong and sorrow and toil were theirs, but through them all they were true to their lineage, and now, when another century and a-half has come and gone, the proudest eulogium we can pass upon them and their work is the one we could wish succeeding generations may pronounce upon us:- they fought a good fight, they kept the faith.

"We leave their memory to the hearts that love them; Their sacrifice shall still remembered be;

The very clouds shall pause in pride above them Who, though in bonds, were free."