Narratives of Early Pennsylvania, West New Jersey and Delaware, 1630-1707

By Albert Cook Myers | Go to book overview

INTRODUCTION

UPON the most trustworthy estimate, one-fifth of the blood of the United States is German. In Pennsylvania the proportion runs even higher. The German contribution to American civilization defies numerical estimate. Plainly, therefore, a book which aims at presenting typical narratives of Pennsylvania's foundation should include the chief writing relative to the beginnings of German colonization in that province, and especially if that principal writing should by chance have emanated from the chief figure in that earliest movement of German settlement. That classical position belongs so precisely to Pastorius Umständige Geographische Beschreibung Pensylvaniæe, that it is surprising that it has never before been presented, save in fragments, in an English translation.

Francis Daniel Pastorius was born September 26, 1651, at Sommerhausen in Franconia, the son of Melchior Adam Pastorius, legal counsellor to the Count of Limpurg,1 and of Magdalena Dietz, his first wife. His father's removal to the city of Windsheim, where the elder Pastorius became burgomaster and judge, brought it about that Francis was educated first at the gymnasium in that city, under a Hungarian schoolmaster named Tobias Schumberg.2 In 1668 he proceeded to the university of Altdorf, and for the next eight years was engaged in studies, chiefly of law, there and at the universities of Strassburg, Basel, and Jena. Taking his degree of doctor of laws at Altdorf in 1676, he practised law at Windsheim and at Frankfort-on-the-Main till 1680, when as the companion of a young

____________________
1
For a fuller account of Melchior Adam Pastorius, see below, p. 361, note 1.
2
A poem of Pastorius addressed to his former schoolmaster is printed below, pp. 422-424.

-355-

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