Next to part 11 this is my favourite part.
It centres heavily on the actions of a German Lutheran (therefore Protestant) minister known as Josua Harrsch – alias: Joshua Kocherthal. Keep that name in mind for the rest of the post.
Although the TAST began as a means for England to get rid of its undesirables, other unwanted ‘whites’ were soon added to the slave caste – including Scottish, Irish and and Germans. The first two were principally because of religious conflicts and old nationalistic feuds. Scots were a proud people, and since the days of the Normans Irish were seen as scum of the earth. Just because they were Irish. Even without the religious differences (Irish were Catholic, English were Protestant), the hatred persisted.
The Germans, meanwhile, came because of a book – which most of them couldn’t read ’cause they were illiterate! These Germans, predominantly from the Palatinate region, heard about A Complete and Detailed Report of the Renowned District of Carolina Located in English America, 1709 (colloquially known as Queen Anne’s Golden Book, despite not being made of gold and not authorised by Queen Anne). It chronicled the miraculous tale of a band of 50 Palatines who back in 1708 had their London accommodation and voyage to Carolina paid off by England’s then Queen Anne! She even allegedly gave them “bread until they could grow it themselves”, providing for all their needs til they became self-sufficient!
In short, 30,000 Poor Palatines (as they were known in England) left their homes and way of life in Germany, believing the queen of England would be inexplicably generous enough to pay for their stay in London, voyage AND livelihoods so they could carry on farming in the wilderness of Carolina, America!
Who wrote this Golden Book? Most likely Joshua Kocherthal, who was with the 50 Palatines described in the book! Although the tale was true, what seemed conveniently forgotten/ ignored/ unknown by the 30,000 was that he’d met the Carolina owners or their representatives and agreed to promote their colonial enterprise. He was basically a salesman for the colonists, and amazingly successful!
In February 1709, thousands of poor Germans turned up in Rotterdam (a port city in south Holland) ready to cross the channel. The English and Dutch slavers weren’t expecting them and at first didn’t know what to do with them, so they bundled them together in strassendorfen (little 1-street towns) balanced on the dykes outside the city. The Rotterdam authorities tried to keep them fed, clothed and watered.
Meanwhile England’s economy was rapidly going to shit and a huge debate about immigration arose. British representative in Holland James Dayrolle favoured immigration, and the Whig government sympathised.
CONFLICT OF INTERESTS ALERT: The Palatines wanted to go through London to Carolina. Yet England was planning to keep hold of them to boost the economy!
At the same time, England was at war with Europe so Dayrolle arranged for the troops to bring the Palatines with them on the way home! The poor illiterate sods probably thought this was the “Queen-Anne-taking-care-of-us” part of the trip.
Soon London Docklands was swamped with immigrants, but the more charitable Londoners raised funds to keep them alive
and well. Barns were rented out to them in Camberwell and Kennington and an encampment was made in Blackheath, but disease raged throughout.
The Tories opposed immigration (as Conservatives do) but Dayrolle had enough backing from the Whigs & Daniel Defoe, a journalist, propagandist and fellow Whig. The Whigs relaxed the naturalisation laws, while Defoe wrote a pamphlet arguing that with enough land the Palatines won’t need to be looked after at all – and they’ll boost the country’s annual income by £80,000.
Now the discrepancy came into play: despite the Palatines telling Defoe they wanted to go to Carolina he ignored them outright AND refused to send them to the colonies because it was too expensive. Some he kept in England as employees (code for slaves?) and the rest were dumped in Ireland. After a few months Londoners started to get annoyed at the Palatines, especially after learning one interesting fact: many were CATHOLICS!!! Provincial worthies refused to have them resettled in their provinces, so the Irish government asked for “German PROTESTANTS” to come to Ireland to work on their estates. They tried it and quickly got sick & tired; only 1200 stayed while the rest went back to London to demand Carolina more forcefully.
Then finally it happened! For about 600 of them, half of whom died in the 13-week voyage. By the next year another 60 died from Tuscarora native attacks and the rest disputed the 250 acres per family they were allocated.
Solution! The Scotsman Robert Hunter concocted a scheme to use Germans as slaves for the New York-based tar & pitch industries. This was important for England because they’d previously been reliant on European-sourced tar, so these new industries would mean they’d have their own source and make a profit. On top of a few from other colonies he received an influx of 3000 Germans from London, who by now had worked out England had no intention of taking them to Carolina but put up and shut up for the meantime.
However, their voyage went tits up – as in it didn’t happen at all! They were kept at anchor in Plymouth from December to April, got diseased and Hunter wanted ’em to work for 7 years to pay off the voyage costs (for a voyage that never happened?!?) and receive 40 acres apiece.
This was their response…
When the fleets arrived, the refugee camps had shut down so the Germans were left to wander the streets as beggars. But then on 13th June 1710 the first ship arrived in New York! It had 2400 live immigrants – including Kocherthal!!! 470 had either died en route or within the first month but whatever! Then another 600, mostly children, died in the first year. London’s Board of Trade paid for their overheads. the allowance was 4p per day for 10-years-olds & under and 6p for older ones. To keep expenses low migrant children were additionally sold off to New Yorkers as “apprentices.” These apprentices included orphans, widows’ kids and ones from large families alike.
In summer 1710, 1500 migrants turned up on Hunter’s camps. Hunter’s greedy-bastard nature shone through. They were given 2000 square feet per family to grow veg, but they wanted & expected 100 acres per person! Furthermore, there was a heavily wooded valley nearby that he could’ve put them in instead; it was much bigger and more suitable for farming but Hunter ignored their requests to move. Arguments got so bad the Germans stopped all work and took up arms (given by England originally to defend against natives). Hunter had to bring in armed troops to silence them twice, but then they ran off into the forest never to be seen again!
And in all that time not even one barrel of tar had been made, and the Board of Trade’s £8000 advance was used up.
Back in London the Tories came to power and stopped paying for risky business ventures abroad, so Hunter now had to pay out of his own pockets. Only a year later he ran out of dosh and still not one barrel of tar had been made. His only solution was to free the Germans.
To add insult to injury, as soon as they received this news the Germans negotiated with Mohawk chiefs for land in the Schoharie Creek. It cost the Mohawks nothing and the Gemans asked for nothing else in return.
What a convoluted one but VICTORY!!!
However, the colonies of William Penn thrived. Pennsylvania attracted huge numbers of Germans! In the 1720s Johann Christoph Sauer wrote it was a blessed land – but changed his tune in 1755 to warn the Germans about “Newlanders”. These were people who preyed on migrants unable to pay their fares. They’d relied heavily on the sponsorship system, in which family and friends back home paid for them so they wouldn’t have to become slaves. But many of them were enslaved anyway as sponsorship money kept coming too little too late. The same thing kept happening not just to Germans, but to all Europeans in pretty much all the colonies before the War of Independence!
In 1750 Gottlieb Mittelberger wrote an account of the experiences of the travellers in a voyage with 50 Germans and other European and African slaves. He said it was dismal; on the ships men’s sleeping quarters were 1’4″ wide while women’s were 1’2″. Apparently the kidnapped Africans and English convicts got more space than that. Even worse, if a person’s spouse had died en route s/he had to pay for both! If a kid’s parents had both died en route s/he had to pay for both of them on top of him/herself!
How was a kid meant to pay? Enslavement for 18 years – approximately.
It got so dire sometimes parents sold their children off, expecting to be able to raise the money later to buy them back. Moral issues and emotional scarring aside, this was a bad idea because families were usually split up so parents may never know where their kids were sent.
Needless to say, abuses of the already abusive system were rife. Many migrants came to believe their rulers back in Europe were benefitting on the side from getting rid of them. Benefit being money, specifically either 3 florins or 1 ducat per person over 10 years old.
(Note: Philadelphian merchants were easily making 60-80 florins per person. Funny how common & easy it was for merchants to become richer than monarchs back then.)
When Mittelberger got back to his home in Wittgenstein in 1755, he got tons of letters of complaint from Philadelphia. He’d read of 22,000 people (predominantly Württembergers, Durlachers, Palatines and Swiss) who’d sold off their kids. It was therefore no surprise that anti-religious sentiment spread like wildfire, even though there were many religions represented in the colonies: Lutherans, Catholics, Quakers, Pietists, Anabaptists, Moravian Brethren, Presbyterians, Dunkers, 7-Day Baptists, Freethinkers, Jews, Freemasons, “Mohammedans” (Muslims), Pagans, “Indians” (native Americans) and “Negroes” (Africans).
So ethnicity/ nationality = religion now. Hmmm…
Back to Part 14
On to Part 16