The Germans

     Page 10 ~
A Flood Of Palatines Pours Into The British Isles

   The earliest emigration of Germans and Swiss from their homelands to the New World was that of a party led by Francis Daniel Pastorius in the year 1683. Enticed by William Penn's invitation to his province, the party settled near the young town of Philadelphia. The German settlement was appropriately named "Germantown".

   Twenty-five years would pass between the emigration of the Pastorius party and the next significant mass departure. In 1708 the Reverend Joshua Kocherthal assembled a party of forty-one adults and their children and prepared to emigrate to the Carolinas; they had been enticed by the advertisements published by the proprietary governor of the Carolina colony. In order to settle in any of the British colonies, Kocherthal had to submit a request to Queen Anne. The party traveled to London in the Spring of 1708 to secure the royal permission and was confronted by the usual governmental red-tape. Reverend Kocherthal had to provide a justification for the emigration; the reason given was the French ravages in the Rhine and Neckar Valleys in 1707. The Germans' petition was submitted to the Board of Trade. The Board of Trade suggested that the Germans should be settled in Antigua. Upon the opinion that the Palatines would not be suited to the hot climate of the West Indies it was then suggested that they be directed to the Hudson River Valley of the Province of New York. The Germans would therefore be available to assist the English on the frontier against the French and the Indians.

   By the time that the Germans actually embarked for the New World in October, the original party of forty-one had been increased by the addition of fourteen more emigrants. One family had to remain behind because of the mother's illness. En route, two children were born.

   The Kocherthal party arrived at Long Island on 18 December, 1708. They were granted lands along the west side of the Hudson River about fifty-five miles north of New York City. Their settlement developed into the town of Newburgh. Almost from the start, the Germans suffered from want of provisions. A proposed naval stores industry, by which the Germans would be gainfully employed, never materialized. The Reverend Kocherthal returned to England to petition the Queen for additional monetary assistance. He hoped to raise the funds necessary to establish vinyards in the new settlement. Although not able to raise the exact amount that he hoped for, the Reverend Kocherthal succeeded in obtaining some funds, and the Newburgh settlement survived and flourished. The success of the Newburgh settlement is important to the history of German emigration because it paved a favorable path through the English government for subsequent emigrants. If the settlement had failed, the English might not have been so eager to provide assistance to future German settlement schemes.

   Other German families were excited by the news of the success of the Newburgh Palatines, as Kocherthal's party of emigrants became known. They were also enticed by the suggestion made by Kocherthal in the third edition of his pamphlet, Aussfuhrlich und umstandlicher Bericht von der beruhmten Landschafft Carolina, that because the English government had provided their party with monetary assistance, perhaps it would likewise provide for other emigrants.

   German and Swiss families from the Rhine and Neckar Valleys began to pack up their belongings and traveled north toward the the ports of the Netherlands. A dispatch from James Dayrolle, the British Resident at the Hague, dated 24 December, 1708 included a letter from an unknown person which stated that:

"There arrived in this place a number of Protestant families, traveling to England in order to go to the English colonies in America. There are now in the neighborhood of Rotterdam almost eight or nine hundred of them, having difficulty with the packet boat and convoys."

   Although the letter exaggerated the number of emigrants (i.e. the number would not reach nine hundred until some three months later), it was prophetic. During 1709 approximately 13,500 German and Swiss emigrants would apply for passage to the English colonies.

   Troops were being ferried on transport ships from England to the Low Countries to fight against the French in the War of the Spanish Succession. Dayrolle negotiated with the Duke of Marlborough to allow the Palatines to be conveyed to England on the return trip of the transport ships. Eight hundred and fifty-two Germans were carried to London in April, 1709. Shortly thereafter, word was received in Rotterdam that the Elector Palatine had issued an edict forbidding the German emigrants from leaving their homeland. A number of persons were imprisoned after they were captured making their way down the Rhine. But the edict and the show of force did little to deter the mass exodus of the Palatines. They traveled by land toward the seaports of the Netherlands.

   Queen Anne, through the intercession of the Duke of Marlborough, had agreed to allow the nine hundred or so emigrants to be transported to England. The English government even paid for the transport of the refugees from Rotterdam. In May, when an additional two thousand had arrived at Rotterdam, Dayrolle again requested Marlborough's intercession on their behalf. A second transport was agreed to. But as the German emigrants continued to arrive in Rotterdam, the English hospitality began to strain and break down. The English Secretary of State, Henry Boyle, wrote to Dayrolle on the 24th of June instructing him to send over to London only those Palatines who were then actually in the Netherlands. All others on their way were to be turned back. Dayrolle had advertisements published in the Gazette of Cologne warning that no more Palatines would be given passage to England. The hospitality of the Dutch authorities at Rotterdam was also becoming very strained. They appealed for help from the States General at the Hague. The Dutch ministers at Cologne and Frankfurt were informed to do what they could to stop the flow of emigrants. All the efforts by the English and Dutch authorities were to no avail; the proprietors of the Carolinas had sent over pamphlets and circulars titled: Propositions of the Lord Proprietors of Carolina to encourage the Transporting of Palatines to the Province of Caroline. The missives promised, among other things, one hundred acres of land for every man, woman and child, free of quit-rent for ten years. The Palatines, enticed by the promise of a better life in the American colonies, poured like a giant wave toward the Netherlands and England.

   Thirteen thousand and five hundred Palatines arrived in London between May and October, but the authorities there sent back 2,257 because they were Roman Catholic. The emigrants were initially given shelter throughout London under the assumption that they would soon embark for the American colonies. But arrangements for such a large number had not been made, and the temporary lodging became an extended encampment. As the days and weeks wore on, the patience of the English people wore out. The Palatine encampments were attacked on more than one occasion by mobs of armed Englishmen.

   Until such time that a plan could be devised to handle the logistics of transporting the thousands of German and Swiss emigrants across the Atlantic Ocean, short range plans were discussed to settle them in the British Isles. The plans included settlement of the emigrants in Wales where they could be put to work in the silver and copper mines. Of the various proposals considered by the English authorities, one that was finally agreed upon was proposed by the Council of Ireland. The Council hoped that the settlement of the Palatines there would strengthen the Protestant presence in the largely Catholic island. Over three thousand Palatines made new homes in Ireland between September, 1709 and January, 1710.

   Despite troubles with the Irish Catholics who were understandably upset about the colonization of their homeland, the Palatines flourished in their new settlements. Over time they intermarried with their Irish neighbors to the extent that their "Germanic" origins were nearly forgotten.