Germans: Respect and Accept Us as One of You!

Dateline: Philadelphia, 15 May 1706. Germans are getting blowback for not being English, and their leader and 150 others appeal to the council of Pennsylvania to naturalize them. They have only benefitted this part of the New World.

They feel insecure in their estates, even though they migrated to Pennsylvania in 1684, and purchased their lands raw and improved them greatly.

In 1691 some of them swore an oath or promised allegiance to William and Mary, and now the other ones are ready to do the same to Queen Anne to prove that they are not the source of unhappiness.

Council:

John Evans, Esq., Lt. Governor

Edward Shippen, John Guest, Samuel Carpenter, Thomas Story, Griffith Owen, Esqs.

J. Logan, William Trent, Capt. Roche, John Pidgeon

Modernized transcription begins:

A petition of Johannes Koster and about 150 other high and low Germans, to the Governor and Council was read, setting forth:

That the petitioners with many other aliens to the Kingdom of England by the encouragement of the Proprietor [William Penn] had transported themselves into this Province and by their industry had changed the uncultivated lands they had purchased into good settlements;

And for twenty-two years past [they] had behaved themselves as liege and loyal subjects of England;

That above 60 of the said petitioners at one time, viz: the 7th of the 3rd month 1691 had in open court promised allegiance to K. William and Q. Mary and fidelity to the Proprietor, besides many others who had done the like, etc., that such as have not already obliged themselves are ready to do it when they shall be admitted.

They therefore request that—seeing they are not at present believed to be secure in their estates—for remedying the unhappiness they may engaged in;

If they still be considered foreigners, the assembly may be convened with all convenient speed and a bill recommended from this board for naturalizing all and every of the said petitioners that they may have an undoubted right to hold, enjoy, alienate, sell, and dispose of any of their lands, as natural born subjects of England may or can do in the Province;

And also that they may be capable of electing and being elected to serve in the Assembly and other offices;

Also that some of the petitioners, being Mennonites, who with their predecessor for above 150 years past, could not for conscience’s sake take an oath, the same provisions may be made for them by a law, as is made for those called Quakers in this Province;

And that law may be sent home with the rest, passed by the late Assembly, in order to obtain the Queen’s royal approbation.

Which petition being argued and considered, it is resolved:

That it is highly reasonable that petitioners and all others in their circumstances should be rendered secure in their estates and titles to the lands in this Province, the value of which is generally, but the effect of their own labors and in pursuance of some parts of the prayer of the said petition, leave [permission] is given to the said petitioners to procure the attorney general to draw up a bill for that purpose to be laid before this board, where it shall meet with all due encouragement.

Transcription ends.

I can’t find where the bill was drawn up, but since everyone was happy, let’s assume they got their wish.

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SOURCE

Minutes of the Provincial Council of Pennsylvania from the Organization to the Termination of the Proprietary Government, containing the Proceedings of Council from December 18 1700 to May 16 1717, vol. II, (Harrisburg Theophilus Fenn, 1838), p. 250

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