The following text and dates and ship names are from the book Pennsylvania German Pioneers by Ralph B. Strassburger and William J. Hinke, published in 1934 by the Pennsylvania German Society, Norristown, PA.
It was through the arrival of these three ships of 1717, with their 363 Palatines, that the attention of the provincial authorities was first directed, with serious concern, to these newcomers. On September 17, 1717, Governor William Keith:
|Q Observed to the Council, that great numbers of foreigners, from Germany, strangers to our language and Constitution, having lately been imported into this Province, daily dispersed themselves immediately after Landing, without producing any Certificates, from whence they came or what they were; & as they seemed to have first landed in Britain, & afterwards to have left it without any License from the Government, or so much as their knowledge, so in the same manner they behaved here, without making the least application to himself or to any of the Magistrates; That as this Practice might be of very dangerous Consequences, since by the same method any number of foreigners from any nation whatever, as well Enemys as friends, might throw themselves upon us; The Governor, therefore, thought it requisite that this matter should be considered by the Board, & accordingly it was considered, & 'tis Ordered thereupon, that all masters of vessels who have lately imported any of these foreigners be summoned to appear at this Board, to render an Account of the Number and character of their Passengers respectively from Britain; That all those who are already Landed be required by a Proclamation, to be issued for that purpose, to Repair within the space of one month to some Magistrate, particularly to the Recorder of this City, to take such Oaths appointed by Law as are Necessary to give assurances of their being well affected to his Majesty and his government; But because some of these foreigners are said to be Mennonists, who cannot for Conscience sake take such Oaths, that those persons be admitted upon their giving any Equivalent assurances in their own way and manner, & that the Naval Officer of this Port be required not to admit any inward bound vessel to an Entry, until the Master shall first give an exact list of all their passengers imported by them.|R7|r |q|Pxviii|p
|F|R4|rThis letter of Guldin was translated and published by the writer in the Journal of the Presbyterian Historical Society, Vol. XIV, (1930) pp. 28-41; 46-73.|f
|F|R5|rSee Colonial Records, Vol. III, p. 29.|f
|F|R6|rHallesche Nachrichten, new ed., Vol. II, p. 353.|f
In response to this order of the Council the captains of the three ships that had just arrived appeared before the Council two days later and handed in lists of the Palatines whom they had imported. After this one action, however, the order of the Council was apparently forgotten or failed to be enforced. At least there are no more references in the minutes of the Council to this subject, which implies that during the next ten years no other captains were required to submit lists. Neither is there any evidence that the proclamation of the Governor was issued or that the subject of immigration excited any more discussion.
This, however, does not mean that no more Germans arrived, for we find that they continued to come in constantly increasing numbers. In 1719, Jonathan Dickinson, one of the members of the Provincial Council, wrote, "we are daily expecting ships from London which bring over Palatines, in number six or seven thousand. We had a parcel that came about five years ago, who purchased land about sixty miles west of Philadelphia, and proved quiet and industrious."|R8|r The last sentence refers undoubtedly to one of the later colonies of Swiss Mennonites that settled in Lancaster County. |Pxix|p
|F|R7|rColonial Records, Vol. III, p. 29.|f
In the year 1720, the American Weekly Mercury, printed in Philadelphia, contained the first notice of a ship bringing Palatines to Pennsylvania. On September 1, 1720, the Mercury states: "On the 30th [of August arrived] the ship Laurel, John Coppel, [captain] from Liverpool and Cork with 240 odd Palatine Passengers come here to settle."|R9|r It was most likely this ship which brought the Rev. John Philip Boehm to Pennsylvania, the founder of the Reformed Church in Pennsylvania.
How many Germans arrived during the first three periods, which we have been considering, from 1680 to 1730, is difficult to determine. Various, widely divergent, opinions have been expressed, even by contemporary writers, during the eighteenth century.
One estimate was made in 1730, by the Rev. John Wilhelmius, the friend of the Palatines in Rotterdam, where he came personally in contact with them. He reported to the Synod of South Holland, that there were "already 15,000 Reformed confessors of the Palatinate in Pennsylvania."|R10|r When that statement was sent to Pennsylvania, the Rev. John Bartholomew Rieger, who was at that time pastor in Philadelphia, replied on November 22, 1731:
|Q It is to be regretted that the estimate of the number of [Reformed] confessors is not correct. The number would, indeed, be considerable, but, as there were no regular pastors,|q
|F|R8|rRupp's Thirty Thousand Names, p. 10.|f
|F|R9|rThis extract from the Mercury, together with many other extracts from contemporary newspapers, made by the writer and handed by him to his friend, Mr. Frank R. Dieffenderffer, was published by him in his German Immigration into Pennsylvania, p. 202. (Vol. X of the Proceedings of the Pennsylvania German Society).|f
|F|R10|rFrom the minutes of the Synod of South Holland, held at Breda, July 4-14, 1730.|f
|Pxx|p |Qfor so long a time, most of the people have gone over to the sects or have entirely separated themselves from all church connections. The rest of the truly Reformed people is, therefore, rather small and perhaps not more than three thousand can be counted in the whole land."|R11|r |q
In a later letter of March 4, 1733, Rieger supplemented the above estimate with the following statement:
|Q As regards the number of the members of the Reformed Church in Pennsylvania, we make answer that we think that there must be altogether about 15,000 Germans, but these people live scattered over more than 300 or 400 miles and have no churches in the rural sections. We had thus far two regularly-called ministers, who cannot possibly be everywhere. Hence it is impossible to ascertain the actual number of members.|R12|r |q
In view of these statements we must conclude that the total number of Germans in the province by the year 1730 must have been considerable. But they did not attract special attention nor call forth special comment until a new governor, Patrick Gordon, took office in 1726. In the next year, on September 14, 1727:
|Q The Governor acquainted the board, that he had called them together at this time to inform them that there is lately arrived from Holland, a Ship with four hundred Palatines, as 'tis said, and that he has information they will soon be followed by a much greater Number, who design to settle in the back parts of this province; & as they transport themselves without any leave obtained from the Crown of Great Britain, and settle themselves upon the Proprietors untaken up Lands without any application to the Proprietor or his Commissioners of property, or to the Government in general, it would be highly necessary to concert proper measures for the peace and security of the province, which may be endangered by such numbers of strangers daily poured in, who being ignorant of our Language & Laws, & settling in a body together, make, as it were, a distinct people from his Majesties Subjects.|q
|Q The Board taking the case into their serious Consideration, observe, that as these People pretended at first that they fly hither on the Score of their Religious Liberties, and come under the Protection of his Majesty, It's requisite that in the first Place they should take the Oath of Allegiance, or some equivalent to it to his Majesty, and promise Fidelity to the Proprietor & obedience to our Established Constitution: And therefore, until some proper Remedy can be had from Home, to prevent the Importation of such Numbers of Strangers into this and others of his Majesties Colonies,|q|Pxxi|p
|F|R11|rThe original letter of Rieger is in the Synodical Archives at The Hague, No. 74. I. 10.|f
|F|R12|rLetter in the Archives at The Hague, No. 74. I. 15.|f
|Q 'Tis ORDERED, that the Masters of Vessells importing them shall be examined whether they have any Leave granted them by the Court of Great Britain for the Importation of these Foreigners, and that a List shall be taken of the Names of all these People, their several Occupations, and the Places from whence they come, and shall be further examined touching their Intentions in coming hither; And further, that a Writing be drawn up for them to sign declaring their Allegiance & Subjection to the King of Great Britain & Fidelity to the Proprietary of this Province, & that they will demean themselves peaceably towards all his Majesties Subjects & strictly observe and conform to the laws of England and of this Government.|R13|r |q
In compliance with this order of Council, a paper was submitted to the Council, at its next meeting, on September 21, 1727, which contained an oath of allegiance to George the Second, King of England and a declaration of fidelity to the Proprietor of the province together with a promise to obey the laws of the province. A signed list of the new arrivals was laid before the Board, containing the names of one hundred and nine male adults. The captain of the ship William and Sarah, William Hill, was then questioned, if he had any license for bringing in these people. He replied that he had no other license than the clearance papers which he had received from the port authorities at Dover, England. With this answer the Board had to be satisfied. The Palatines who were well were then called in and fifty-one of them signed the oath of allegiance, headed by the Rev. G. M. Weis, who had been their leader on the journey to Pennsylvania.
|F|R13|rColonial Records, Vol. III, pp. 282-283. For the oath of allegiance see below, pp. 2-4.|f|Pxxii|p
These quotations from the minutes of the Provincial Council make it perfectly plain that the passenger lists and the lists of signatures to the oath of allegiance were called forth by a government scare. The governor and Council were afraid that the peace and security of the province were menaced by "such large numbers of strangers pouring in daily into the province," as the Clerk of Council expresses it. In their eagerness to remove this terrible danger they cast about for a remedy. The remedy which they selected was twofold: First, the captains of ships importing these strangers were ordered to submit lists of all the people they imported, and, secondly, the male passengers of sixteen years and upwards were ordered to sign the oath of allegiance to the English king. Fortunately the danger which they foresaw was altogether imaginary, or else their remedy would have been ineffective. But, though their fear was uncalledfor and their remedy ineffective, we are reaping today the benefits of their folly. For this government scare has preserved for us tens of thousands of names, which delight the historian and the genealogist. Besides, later governors of Pennsylvania did not hesitate to give the newcomers their unqualified approval. In 1738, for example, Governor George Thomas, in a message to the Provincial Assembly, declared:
|Q This Province has been for some years the asylum of the distressed Protestants of the Palatinate, and other parts of Germany; and I believe it may with truth be said that the present flourishing condition of it is in great Measure owing to the Industry of those people; and should any discouragement divert them from coming hither, it may well be apprehended that the value of your Lands will fall, and your Advances to wealth be much slower; for it is not altogether the goodness of the soil, but the Number and Industry of the People that make a flourishing Country.|R14|r |q
Just as remarkable as the manner in which the lists came into existence is their contents. A careful analysis of the lists brings to light many interesting facts. We are, of course, eager to find out how the detailed orders of the Council were actually carried out.
|F|R14|rColonial Records, Vol, IV, p. 315.|f|Pxxiii|p
The order relating to the duty of the captains had three points. First, they were to make a list of all the people they imported. Secondly, they were to give their several occupations, and thirdly, they were to give the places from which the passengers had come. What a boon it would have been for genealogists, if the captains had strictly complied with these orders! How much trouble and research they could have saved the present-day historians. But alas, none of the captains paid the slightest attention to the last two points of the order of Council. Neither the occupations nor the places of domicile in Europe were ever recorded by them.
Not even the first point, that they should hand in lists of the names of the people they imported, was interpreted alike by all the captains. Most of them thought that to give the names of the male adults was all that was required. Only twenty-five captains have given complete lists of all the men, women and children. Three captains have given the names of the men and women, but omitted the children, while sixty-four captains atoned somewhat for their remissness in carrying out the orders by giving the ages of the passengers, an item that they had not been asked to give, but which we are glad to insert, wherever they are found. Sometimes the captains give the total number of freights, children being counted as "half freights." In two instances (Nos. 1-2) the totals in each family are given. Looking at the captains' lists as a whole, we must say, that they are of all sorts and descriptions. Each one made his list to suit himself, without any reference to the orders of the Council. At first, when the signatures were made in the presence of the Provincial Council, the captains were required to attest the correctness of the list by an affidavit. This custom prevailed from 1727 to 1740, or down to list No. 80. After that attestations by captains are no longer found on the lists.
But what proved in course of time the most serious fact regarding the captains' lists remains to be mentioned. Each captain wrote his list on a large, loose sheet of paper, which he handed to the magistrate at Philadelphia, sitting as a Court. Sometimes it was the Governor, sometimes the Mayor of the City, sometimes a city magistrate, before whom the captains appeared. The first forty-three lists, down to October 19, 1736, were signed before the Provincial Council. As a result, the Clerk of Council incorporated the names of the signers of the oath of allegiance into the minutes of the Council. But after 1736 this was no longer done. |Pxxiv|p
What became of the lists of the captains, handed in on loose sheets of paper? Sad to relate, most of them were lost. Of the 324 ships arriving between 1727 and 1775, we have the captains' lists of only 138 ships.
In addition to the captains' lists we have the lists of the signers of the oath of allegiance. On these lists we naturally expect to find the signatures of all the male adults on the ships. But here we meet with another disappointment. What we actually find, at least on the first seventy lists, are the names of all the male adults who were well on the day of signing and were able to appear at the Court House. If any of the male passengers were sick, they were not required to sign later. Beginning in August 1739, we find that the Clerk of Council signed the names of the absent passengers. But, in the earlier lists, there is often a serious discrepancy between the male adults that were on board and those that actually signed. Thus, for example, on the very first captain's list there are 109 names, but only 51 persons actually appeared in the Court House and signed the oath. The others, who are reported as sick, "never came to be qualified."
The names of these signers of the oath of allegiance were also written on large, loose sheets of paper. The result was the same as noted in the case of the captains' lists. Most of them were lost. Only 138 of these lists of signatures of the oath of allegiance have survived to the present day. But they are not all of the same ships as the captains' lists.
But, strange to say, there is a third set of lists. Rupp, in his Collection of Thirty Thousand Names, informs us, p. 40, that this set of lists, which he calls C, is an autograph duplicate of B, the list of signers of the oath of allegiance, and that this list is preserved in book form. The fact is, that Rupp has entirely misjudged the character of these lists, although his statement has been faithfully copied by later historians, as if it were the Gospel truth. On the face of it, it is absurd to suppose that the passengers signed the oath of allegiance twice. What would have been the purpose of such a strange procedure? |Pxxv|p
Evidently neither Rupp nor any of the later historians took the trouble to examine the third set of signatures carefully enough to discover their true purpose. A careful scrutiny of these lists brings to light the following, rather surprising, facts:
First of all, the lists are not found in one book, as we might have inferred from the statement of Rupp, but in a series of six large folio volumes, of which we give the following, detailed description:
1. EXHIBIT A.
A paper-bound volume, 7 x 12 inches in size, containing 79 numbered pages, of which pp. 10, 77 and 78 are blank. Like all the succeeding volumes it opens with a set of oaths (about which more presently) to which the passengers attached their signatures. The volume includes lists 9-44, from August 19, 1729, to August 30, 1737.
2. EXHIBIT B.
A paper-bound volume, 8 x 12 inches in size. Beginning with two pages of oaths, it has 63 numbered pages, and contains lists Nos. 45-77, from September 10, 1737, to September 30, 1740.
3. EXHIBIT C.
A paper-bound volume, 8 x 12 inches in size. It has 89 numbered pages, of which pp. 25 and 41 are blank. It contains lists Nos. 78-120, from November 25, 1740, to September 15, 1748.
4. EXHIBIT D.
A paper-bound volume, 8 x 13 inches in size. It contains 96 numbered pages, of which p. 17 is counted twice; p. 51 is omitted in the count; and pp. 94-95 are blank; pp. 1-6 are found in the rear of the book. The lists in the book include Nos. 121-153, September 15, 1748, to August 28, 1750.
5. EXHIBIT E.
A paper-bound volume, 9 x 14 inches in size. It has 63 numbered pages, of which pp. 2, 3, 18, 28, 29, 38, 60 and 61 are blank; pp. 11-12 are omitted in the count, while the first two pages are marked 0 and 00. The lists contained in the volume are Nos. 154-176, August 28, 1750, to October 16, 1751.
6. EXHIBIT F.
It is a large leather-bound volume, 11 x 17 inches in size. It has 263 numbered pages, of which pp. 21-22 are omitted in the count; p. 24 is counted twice, marked 24A and 24B. The following pages are blank: pp. 2, 132, 133, 135-138, 144, 158, 162, 180, 187, 188; p. 167 was missed in the count; p. 168 was counted twice; pp. 183-186 have been cut out, but the stubs of the leaves show that they once existed; p. 257 was also counted twice. At the end of the volume are many unnumbered, blank pages. The lists in the book are Nos. 177-324, September 15, 1752, to October 9, 1775. |Pxxvi|p
A second remarkable fact about these six volumes is, that each volume opens with an oath or, to be more exact, there are two oaths, which are not identical with the oath of allegiance, but entirely new oaths, whose real significance has apparently been missed by earlier investigators, for none of them has drawn attention to them.|R15|r
The first of these oaths reads:
|QI A B. do solemnly & sincerely promise & declare that I will be true & faithful to King George the Second and do sincerely and truly Profess Testifie & Declare that I do from my heart abhor, detest & renounce as impious & heretical that wicked Doctrine & Position that Princes Excommunicated or deprived by the Pope or any Authority of the See of Rome may be deposed or murthered by their Subjects or any other whatsoever. And I do declare that no Foreign Prince Person Prelate State or Potentate hath or ought to have any Power Jurisdiction Superiority Preeminence or Authority Ecclesiastical or Spiritual within the Realm of Great Britain or Dominions thereunto belonging.|q
The second oath, slightly abbreviated, reads:
|QI A B. do solemnly, sincerely and truly acknowledge, profess testify & declare that King George the Second is lawful & rightful King of the Realm of Great Britain & all others his Dominions & countries thereunto belonging, and I do solemnly & sincerely declare that I believe the Person pretending to be Prince of Wales during the Life of the late King James and since his Decease pretending to be and Taking upon himself the Style and Title of King of England by the Name of James the Third...has any Right & Title whatsoever to the Crown of the Realm of Great Britain. And I do renounce & refuse any allegiance & obedience to him, etc.|q
|F|R15|rThis statement ought to be qualified somewhat. The oaths were printed in the Pennsylvania Archives, 2nd series, Vol. XVII, pp. 3-4, but it was not stated that these oaths had anything to do with the C lists.|f|Pxxvii|p
Declaration of Fidelity and Abjuration." They were adopted by an act of the Legislature of Pennsylvania, passed May 10, 1729, of which the first two sections read as follows:
|Q(Section I.) Be it enacted by the Honorable Patrick Gordon, Esquire, Lieutenant-Governor of the Province of Pennsylvania, &c., by and with the advice and consent of the freemen of the said Province in General Assembly met, and by the authority of the same, That all persons being aliens born out of the allegiance of the King of Great Britain and being of the age of sixteen years or upwards shall within the space of forty-eight hours after their being imported or coming into this province, by land or water, go before some judge or justice of the peace of the said province or before the mayor or recorder of the city of Philadelphia for the time being and there take the oaths appointed to be taken instead of the oath of allegiance and supremacy and shall also take the oath of abjuration, for which each person shall pay to the person administering the said oaths the sum of twelve pence and no more. And if any such alien (being of age aforesaid) shall refuse or neglect to take the oaths aforesaid, it shall and may be lawful to and for any judge, justice of the peace or other magistrate of this government forthwith to cause such person or persons to be brought before them and oblige them to give security for their good behavior and appearance at the next court of general quarter-sessions of the peace to be held for the city or county where such Magistrate resides.|q
|QAnd for the more effectual discouraging the practice of importing such persons as may affect the peace of and become chargeable to the inhabitants of this province from foreign states and kingdoms and from parts beyond the seas:|q
|Q(Section II.) Be it enacted by the authority aforesaid, That every person being an alien born out of the allegiance of the King of Great Britain and being imported or coming into this province by land or water shall pay the duty of forty shillings for the uses in this act hereafter mentioned.|q
|QAnd that all masters of vessels, merchants or others who shall import or bring into any port or place within this province any Irish servant or passenger upon redemption, or on condition of paying for his or her passage upon or after their arrival in the plantations, shall pay for every such Irish servant or passenger upon redemption as aforesaid the sum of twenty shillings.|R16|r |q
|F|R16|rStatutes at Large of Pennsylvania, Vol. IV, 1724-1744, pp. 135-140.|f|Pxxviii|p
These and later sections of this law were so severe that they would have seriously interfered with all immigration. Hence they were soon rescinded by a new law, passed February 14, 1730.|R17|r But the section demanding a signature to the oath of abjuration remained in force and it explains satisfactorily the third set of lists. This oath of abjuration, aimed against Catholics, was one of the results of the great upheaval in England, which led to the overthrow of the Catholic house of the Stuarts and the establishment of the Protestant princes of the house of Hanover, as kings of England, in 1689.
It was indeed a fortunate circumstance for us that this oath of abjuration was prescribed in 1729. It caused the names of the signers to be entered into bound books, which have escaped the fate of the other two lists. Beginning with the ninth list, on August 17, 1729, these lists run continuously, with but two omissions,|R18|r down to the 324th list, on October 9, 1775. It is, therefore, this third set of signatures which is alone complete. Instead of being merely a copy of the other list it is really the backbone of the whole series of lists, and the most important set, from which we derive most of our information regarding the ships and their passengers.
Internal evidence shows that the two lists of signatures (lists B and C) were made before different clerks, seated probably at different desks. This can be inferred from the fact that when the passengers were unable to write and the clerk wrote the name for them, the same name is often spelled in two different ways on the two lists. Besides, the chirography of the clerks differs on the two lists. These facts show that there were two clerks, each superintending the making of one list.
The ordinary, and for many years the only, place for signing the oaths was the Court House at Philadelphia on High (now Market) Street, between 2nd and 3rd, of which we present an old drawing. But as early as 1741, three lists were signed at Passayunk and Wicacoa (Nos. 83, 84, 85). After 1766, it was a common occurrence to have the passengers sign the lists at some other place. Such was the house or the office of the Mayor (Nos. 260, 263, 265, 267, 268, 270, 272, 274, 275), or the office of Isaac Jones (Nos. 278, 279) or Robert Ritchie's store (No. 309) or Joshua Fisher & Son's store (No. 307) or Messrs. Willing & Morris's store (Nos. 277, 300, 306) or even Dowers and Yorkes Rigging Loft (No. 311) or John Appowen's Sail Loft (No. 312). But even during the last years the oaths were occasionally signed at the Court House (Nos. 283, 288, 292, 299, 301, 304, 322, 324).
|F|R17|rL. c., Vol. IV, p. 170.|f
|F|R18|rThe omissions are List 229 A and 233 A, of which only the captains' lists are in existence.|f| Pxxix|p