Sunday, 21 October 2012

Settlers to America

"Our Europeans, who are purchased, must always work hard, for new fields are constantly laid out; and so they learn that stumps of oak-trees are in America certainly as hard as in Germany. In this hot land they fully experience in their own persons what God has imposed on man for his sin and disobedience; for in Genesis we read the words: In the sweat of thy brow shalt thou eat bread. Who therefore wishes to earn his bread in a Christian and honest way, and cannot earn it in his fatherland otherwise than by the work of his hands, let him do so in his own country, and not in America; for he will not fare better in America. However hard he may be compelled to work in his fatherland, he will surely find it quite as hard, if not harder, in the new country. Besides, there is not only the long and arduous journey lasting half a year, during which he has to suffer, more than with the hardest work; he has also spent about 200 florins which no one will refund to him. If he has so much money, it will slip out of his hands; if he has it not, he must work his debt off as a slave and poor serf. Therefore let every one stay in his own country and support himself and his family honestly."

This extract explains the hardship of the work that has to be carried out in exchange for safe passage across the Atlantic to America. How one must work for several years of their life in order to 'pay back' what they owe to the people that helped them reach America. Shows the introduction of Slavery, getting bought straight off the boat in order to begin work in the fields. They must work 3,4,5,6 years in order to gain their freedom, as then their 'debts' will be paid off and they will be able to start their new life as they had planned when they first came to America.

“Work and labor in this new and wild land are very hard”: A German Migrant in Philadelphia, 1750

by Gottlieb Mittelberger

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