Pastorius, Francis Daniel (DNB00)

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search

PASTORIUS, FRANCIS DANIEL (1651–1719?), New England settler, born in Sommerhausen, Frankenland, Germany, on 26 Sept. 1651, was son of Melchior Adam Pastorius, judge of Windsheim. In 1668 he entered the university of Altorf, afterwards studied law at Strasburg, Basle, and Jena, and at Ratisbon obtained a practical knowledge of international polity. On 23 Nov. 1676 he received the degree of doctor of law at Nuremberg. In 1679 he was a law lecturer at Frankfort, where he became deeply interested in the teachings of the pastor Spener, the founder of Pietism. In 1680 and 1681 he accompanied Johannes Bonaventura von Rodeck, on Spener's recommendation, in his travels through France, England, Ireland, and Italy, returning to Frankfort in 1682. Having joined the sect of the pietists, he devised, with some of his co-religionists, a plan for emigrating to Pennsylvania. They purchased twenty-five thousand acres, but abandoned the intention of colonising the land themselves. Pastorius, who acted as their agent, had made the acquaintance of William Penn in England, and became a convert to the quaker doctrines. He was commissioned by his associates, who in 1683 organised themselves as the Frankfort Land Company, and by some merchants of Crefeld, who had acquired fifteen thousand acres, to conduct a colony of German and Dutch Mennonites and quakers to Pennsylvania. He arrived on 20 June 1683, settled upon the company's tract between the Schuylkill and the Delaware rivers, and on 24 Oct. began to lay out Germantown. Soon after his arrival he united himself with the Society of Quakers, and became one of its most able and devoted members, as well as the recognised head and law-giver of the settlement. In 1687 he was elected a member of the assembly. In 1688 he drew up a memorial against slave-holding, which was adopted by the Germantown quakers and sent up to the monthly meeting, and thence to the yearly meeting at Philadelphia. It is noteworthy as the first protest made by a religious body against negro slavery, and is the subject of John Greenleaf Whittier's poem, ‘The Pennsylvania Pilgrim.’ The original document was discovered in 1844 by Nathan Kite, and was published in the ‘Friend’ (vol. xviii. No. 16). Pastorius was elected the first bailiff of the town in 1691, and served the office again in 1692, afterwards acting frequently as clerk. For many years he carried on a school in Germantown, which he temporarily removed to Philadelphia between 1698 and 1700, and wrote deeds and letters required by the more uneducated of his countrymen. He died in Germantown between 26 Dec. 1719 and 13 Jan. 1720, the dates respectively of the making and proving of his will. On 26 Nov. 1686 he married Anneke, daughter of Dr. Johann Klosterman of Mühlheim, by whom he had two sons, John Samuel (b. 1690) and Henry (b. 1692). He was on intimate terms with William Penn, Thomas Lloyd, Chief-justice Logan, Thomas Story, and other leading men in the province belonging to his own religious society, as well as with Kelpius, the learned mystic of the Wissahickon, with the pastor of the Swedes church, and the leaders of the Mennonites.

His ‘Lives of the Saints,’ &c., written in German and dedicated to Professor Schurmberg, his old teacher, was published in 1690. He also published a pamphlet, consisting in part of letters to his father, and containing a description of Pennsylvania and its government, and advice to emigrants, entitled, ‘Umständige geographische Beschreibung der zu allerletzt erfundenen Provintz Pennsylvaniæ,’ 8vo, Frankfort and Leipzig, 1700, a further portion of which was included in the quaker Gabriel Thomas's ‘Continuatio der Beschreibung der Landschafft Pennsylvaniæ,’ 8vo, Frankfort and Leipzig, 1702. Some of his poetry, which is chiefly devoted to the pleasures of gardening, the description of flowers, and the care of bees, appeared in 1710, under the title of ‘Deliciæ hortenses: eine Sammlung deutscher epigrammatischer Gedichte.’

Others of his works are: 1. ‘De Rasura Documentorum,’ Nuremberg, 1676, 4to, being his inaugural dissertation for his degree. 2. A primer, printed in Pennsylvania previously to 1697. 3. ‘Treatise on four Subjects of Ecclesiastical History, viz., the Lives of the Saints, the Statutes of the Pontiffs, the Decisions of the Councils of the Church, the Bishops and Patriarchs of Constantinople,’ written in German and printed in Germany, and dedicated by Pastorius to his old schoolmaster at Windsheim, Tobias Schumberg, 1690.

Pastorius left forty-three volumes of manuscripts. Few of these compilations have escaped destruction; the most curious of all, however, the huge folio entitled ‘Francis Daniel Pastorius, his Hive, Bee-stock, Melliotrophium Alucar or Rusca Apium,’ was in 1872 in the possession of Washington Pastorius of Germantown. It is a medley of knowledge and fancy, history, philosophy, and poetry, written in seven languages. His Latin prologue to the Germantown book of records (1688) has been translated by Whittier as an ode beginning ‘Hail to Posterity,’ which is prefixed to the ‘Pennsylvania Pilgrim.’

[Penn Monthly for 1871 and for January and February 1872; Whittier's Writings (London, 1888–9), i. 316–45, 434–5; Der deutsche Pionier (Cincinnati) for 1871; Allgemeine deutsche Biographie, xxv. 219; Appleton's Cyclop. of Amer. Biogr.]

G. G.