Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography/Pastorius, Francis Daniel

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PASTORIUS, Francis Daniel, colonist, b. in Sommerhausen, Franconia, Germany, 26 Sept., 1651; d. in Germantown, Pa., 27 Sept., 1719. He was the son of a judge of Windsheim, educated in the classical and modern languages, and all the science of his age, and had entered upon the practice of law, when, having joined the sect of Pietists, he concerted with some of his co-religionists a plan for emigrating to Pennsylvania. They purchased 25,000 acres, but abandoned the intention of colonizing the land themselves. Pastorius, their agent, had formed the acquaintance of William Penn in England, and became a convert to the Quaker doctrines. He was engaged by his associates, who in 1686 organized as the Frankfort land-company, and by some merchants of Crefeld, who had secured 15,000 acres, to conduct a colony of German and Dutch Mennonites and Quakers to Pennsylvania. He arrived on 20 June, 1683, and on 24 Oct. began to lay out Germantown. He was until his death a man of influence among the colonists, was its first bailiff, and devised the town-seal, which consisted of a clover on one of whose leaves was a vine, another a stalk of flax, and the third a weaver's spool with the motto “Vinum, Linum, et Textrium.” In 1687 he was elected a member of the assembly. In 1688 he was one of the signers of a protest to the Friends' yearly meeting at Burlington against buying and selling slaves, or holding men in slavery, which was declared to be “an act irreconcilable with the precepts of the Christian religion.” This protest began the struggle against that institution in this country, and is the subject of John G. Whittier's poem, “The Pennsylvania Pilgrim.” For many years he taught in Germantown and Philadelphia, and many of the deeds and letters required by the German settlers were written by him. He published a pamphlet, consisting in part of letters to his father, and containing a description of the commonwealth and its government, and advice to emigrants, entitled “Umständige geographische Beschreibung der allerletzt erfundenen Provintz Pennsylvaniæ” (Frankfort-on-Main, 1700). Several volumes were left by him in manuscript, containing philosophical reflections, poems, and notes on theological, medical, and legal subjects. His Latin prologue to the Germantown book of records has been translated by Whittier in the ode beginning “Hail to Posterity.”