Reference > Cambridge History > Later National Literature, Part III > Non-English Writings I > Colonial Germans; Francis Daniel Pastorius
  Periods of German Writing in the United States John Kelpius  


The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21).
VOLUME XVIII. Later National Literature, Part III.

XXXI. Non-English Writings I.

§ 2. Colonial Germans; Francis Daniel Pastorius.

The name Francis Daniel Pastorius (1651–1719) begins the literary as well as the historical annals of the Germans in America. Pastorius, in 1683 founder of the first German settlement at Germantown, Pennsylvania, was a thorough scholar, a university man, trained in theology and law. Mortified that Latin provided a very inadequate preparation for the pioneer, he turned into service even the meanest of his accomplishments, his clean and stately handwriting, which appears in most of the documents of the new colony and most nobly in the first public protest against negro slavery on record in America, made by the German Quakers of Germantown in 1688. Pastorius’s familiarity with ancient and modern languages is seen in his Hive or Beestock (Bienenstock, Melliotrophium), his scrap-book of encyclopædic learning, in which historical, statistical, and geographical materials are mingled with epigrams and verses in many languages. More valuable is his description of Pennsylvania (Umständige geographische Beschreibung der zu allerletzt erfundenen Provintz Pennsylvania, etc.), a collection of letters and reports sent to his father and published by the latter in book form. 1  The manuscript verse-collections, Voluptates Apianæ and Deliciæ Hortenses reveal Pastorius as a cultivator of bees and flowers.“He who never has a garden, and knows naught of flowers, and never looks back into the earthly paradise,—he is but a slave and serf of the plough, and is accursed,” said Pastorius the teacher, caring not solely for the progress of his pupils in the three R’s or even in Latin, and fearing the engrossing materialism of the pioneer’s existence.   2

Note 1. The language of the people of the United States has been English even more prevailingly than their institutions and their culture. Practically every written tongue, however, is represented by newspapers designed for the use and pleasure of the various language-groups among Americans, although only German, French, and Yiddish may be said to show something like a special literature of their own.—THE EDITORS. [ back ]

  Periods of German Writing in the United States John Kelpius  

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