PROCEEDINGS

of the

COMMITTEE

APPOINTED

for the relief

of the

POOR GERMANS

who were brought to London

and there left destitute

in the month of August 1764

 

Introduction:  The saga of the "Poor Palatines" (Click here to skip this section)


(Exerpted from "Palatine Roots")

Land scam?
     Colonel de Stumpel appears in the British Admiralty records for July 22, 1763, as a mercenary soldier in the service of the King of England complaining of financial losses he had sustained because of the early end to hostilities in the recent "Seven Years War." He had been forced to pay off the German marines he had recruited at his own expense. The Lords of the Admiralty expressed no sympathy for his plight and responded that they did "not feel that his pretensions were well founded."
     Finding himself in a foreign land and skilled in a profession for which there was no market, de Stumpel probably saw the opportunity to develop land in Nova Scotia as a well timed godsend.  During the remainder of the year 1763, he devoted himself to obtaining the approval of the Board of Trade and Plantations for a grant of 200,000 acres in that new territory. The records show that the grant was approved and signed December 15th, but apparently the arrangement began to sour immediately afterward.   In the Privy Council records of February, 1764, de Stumpel is described to their Lordships as being of dubious ability and unable to obtain the "number of people needed for so extensive a tract as 200,000 acres of land and therefore that it would not be advisable . . . to grant him so large a quantity of land . . ."
     Probably under great pressure from the government, the enterprising colonel prudently reduced his request to a modest 20,000 acres and appears to have received approval for that amount of land at the February meeting of the Council. It was noted in the record of that meeting that he had already in London forty-five families (128 persons) whom he had recruited from various countries, so that it is clear that he had initiated his promotional activities while believing that he had approval for the full 200,000 acres. Since the settlement was to be based on a density of one person per hundred acres, he would have expected to recruit about 2000 colonists.  His  subsequent  misfortunes probably resulted from the success of his promotional campaign. As many as 600 Palatines would now be arriving in London expecting to occupy a grant which would support only two hundred.
     The London newspapers announced  June 16, 1764, that de Stumpel had arrived from Germany with his officers and had been granted 20,000 acres in Nova Scotia where he planned to build a city named "Stumpelberg." But just one month later, on July 18th, "several foreign officers" petitioned the Board of Trade and Plantations to provide passage for them to America and to grant them lands in the colonies. They stated that they had been given false and improper assurances by Colonel de Stumpel. These "assurances" apparently were that the British government would provide transportation to Nova Scotia at no expense to the colonists. There is no indication that such provisions were ever made and the Board simply confirmed to the officers that any such promises made by the colonel were without foundation.
     It is tempting to characterize this opportunist as unscrupulous, but it is possible that de Stumpel was simply a victim, himself, of a giant bureaucratic snafu. In any case, concluding that discretion was the better part of valor, he apparently had already left the country by the time his officers went before the Board of Trade, knowing that there were several hundred more of his people on their way to London expecting free passage to Nova Scotia.

The Palatines in London.
     The exact date on which those "poor Palatines" actually arrived is unknown, but on August 29th, a letter was published in the London newspaper "Lloyd's Evening Post" which described their "unutterable distresses" and challenged: "For shame, Britons! Exert yourselves and lot a spirit of charity inspire you to feed the strangers that are within your gates." 
     Dr. Anton Wachsel, pastor of St. George's German Lutheran church also published an impassioned plea for assistance to the 600 (there were actually about 400) refugees. Two hundred of them did not have the means to pay their arrival fees and were therefore confined and "rotting in filth and nastiness" aboard their ships.
     The response of the people of London to these letters was instantaneous and quite remarkable. A committee of twenty-one gentlemen was quickly organized and by eleven o'clock in the morning on which the pastor's letter appeared, relief in the form of tents, food, clothing and money began to be distributed to the suffering Palatines where they were assembled in an open area of East London known as "Goodman's Fields." (Today, very little of the open area remains, but just across Alie Street, on the northwest side of what was once Goodman's Fields, you can still visit Dr. Wachsel's German Lutheran church. The date 1763 on the front of the old brick structure shows that it was new when the Palatines arrived.  The location is just a few blocks north of the Tower of London.)
     The relief committee held frequent meetings in the local coffee houses and remained active on behalf of the refugees, collecting about 4000 pounds sterling and arranging for a grant of lands in South Carolina to be made available to them on favorable terms from King George III.


East London in 1746 showing the location of Goodman's Fields.

All aboard for South Carolina.
     The committee contracted for two ships, the "Union" and the "Dragon," to carry 180 passengers each. When it became apparent that these were inadequate to transport both passengers and baggage, a third ship, the "Planters Adventure," was engaged to carry the baggage of the entire group and thirty-three of their number to watch over it.
     Arrangements were also made with Messrs. Cathcart and Woodrop in Charles Town, South Carolina, to serve as agents for the committee.  They were charged with the responsibility of paying the ship captains and seeing to the outfitting of the Palatines on their arrival. The immigrants were to be supplied with tools, livestock and provisions as they were needed until September 30, 1765.

A tearful departure.
     During the several weeks that the Palatines were under the benevolent care of Dr. Wachsel and other members of the relief committee, strong bonds of Christian love and friendship were formed, bonds which resulted in what must have been an extremely painful experience when the time came to part. The account which appeared in the London Magazine, Saturday, October 6, 1764, gives us a glimpse of that emotional moment:

     "The Palatines broke up their camp behind Whitechapel church. The tresurer, and some other gentlemen of the very benevolent committee, attended on that occasion and accompanied them to the water side and particularly the Reverend Mr. Wachsell, who has been indefatiguable during their abode in England and whose pious labours are above all praise. His taking leave of them was a most moving spectacle, tears flowing plentifully on both sides, especially from the sick, and pregnant women who were near their time. Many of the persons present could not refrain from sympathizing with them. They were carried in lighters to the ships lying at Blackwall, singing hymns all the way, and a great number of boats filled with spectators attending them, who seemed greatly affected with their devout behavior and demonstrations of gratitude to the nation which had so hospitably treated them."
     The ships Dragon and Union sailed from Gravesend, England, on October 7, 1764, arriving in Charles Town December 14th and 16th, respectively, after a passage of ten weeks. The Planters Adventure departed later and did not arrive until February 12th, causing considerable inconvenience for the new arrivals since they were without their belongings for nearly two months.
     The Union suffered the loss of three children during the ten week passage. Two were born.  Those who sailed aboard the Dragon were not so fortunate, however. Lt. Governor William Bull reported in a letter to the committee that all arrived sick and had to be placed immediately in an emergency hospital which was established in the local barracks. Twenty had died aboard ship and twenty more died shortly after arrival. It was concluded that the disparity in the health of those aboard the two ships was no reflection on the quality of care provided by the captain of the Dragon, but rather was due to the fact that those who were taken on board included all those who were sickly from their stay in London and that the sickness had then spread to the other passengers.
     A careful analysis of the records (see Appendix C) shows that 374 Palatines sailed from London aboard the three ships. The Union carried 181, the Dragon 160, and the Planters Adventure, which also transported the baggage, carried 33 along with unrelated passengers and goods. During the passage, twenty died on the Dragon, three on the Union and none on the Planters Adventure. Two children were born on the Union, so that 353 immigrants actually reached their destination.  Of those, 131 were under fourteen years of age.
     Within six weeks after their arrival in Charles Town, at least 44 more, including fifteen children, would die from their illnesses, leaving only 309 of the original group to find their way to the new life they had dreamed about and traveled so far to experience.

A painful choice.
     In the years that followed, time and a preoccupation with survival no doubt dimmed the memories of those hardy Germans and much of the hardship and bereavement of the early days in South Carolina may have been forgotten. But they could never forget the kindness, mercy and generosity of those who had cared for them so unselfishly during their sojourn in London. Nor could they forget the king by whose grace they were not forced to return to Germany, but were instead provided with free land and protection in the New World. So, when the time came just a few years later for the choice to be made between Whig and Tory, it is not surprising that the majority elected to support their benefactors. Those who made that choice lost their lands and were forced again to leave their homes and their homeland.
     The case of Christian Zang is probably typical of those Palatines who elected to serve the British rather than to take up arms with the rebels.  In 1765, when they first arrived in South Carolina, the Zang family consisted of Christian (40), Juliana (32), Peter (9), Jacob (7), Christian (4), and Johannes (3). A fifth son, Phillip, was born in January, 1765, shortly after the arrival of the Union in Charles Town. Twenty-one years later, in July, 1786, Zang told this story to the British authorities in Nova Scotia to support his claim for recovery of losses suffered as a result of his choice: 

     "In the first year of the Troubles took Arms, in the year 1775, & drove the Rebels from the Town in Ninety Six, besieged them & they Capitulated, but soon after got together and drove them away.  Claimant was taken prisoner & carried to Charles Town & afterwards released, being an old man. In 1778 joined the British Army under Col. Robinson & Major Maclauren, served as a Volunteer, went into Florida, then went to Georgia, from Georgia came back to Charles Town, serving all this time & came from Charlestown to this Province. 
     His eldest son, Peter, was in a British Station & was taken by the Rebels & hung, his 2 sons (second son?) died at the siege of Savannah, he was then in the British Army, his 3rd Son, Christian, was shot in a Scouting Party, he was then a Volunteer in the British Army."

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The complete report of The Committee is presented in the following links:

(Page numbers refer to the PDF pages, not the document pages.)

Section 1  (22 pages)
     2  Establishment of the relief committee
     2  Rev. Wachsell's first letter
     5  Committee member list
     7  Petition to the king's council
     9  Response of the king's council
    10  The committee's plans and directions for relief
    12  Letter to Wm. Bull, Lieutenant Governor of South Carolina
    15  Letter to the agents, Woodrop and Cathcart
    20  Directions for preparing the Palatines for transport

Section 2  (31 pages)
    List of subscriptions (names of donors and amounts)

Section 3  (19 pages)
     1  Examples of benevolence toward the Palatines
     2  Rev. Wachsell's second letter
     3  Letter from Captain Smith of the ship Union
     3  Letter from Lieutenant Governor Wm. Bull
     8  Letter from Captain Smith of the Union
     9  Certificate from agents Woodrop and Cathcart concerning the ship captains
     9  Certificate of the Palatines concerning the ship captains
     9  Report of the agents Woodrop and Cathcart (January 12, 1765) concerning the disposition of the
         Palatines in South Carolina
    13  Explanation for the disparity in the health of passengers on the ships Union and Dragon
    15  Accounting of receipts and disbursements of the committee August 30, 1764 through April 18, 1765
    16  Discussion of the bounty payments to be made in connection with the placement of the Palatines.
    18  Final statements regarding the justification and benefits of the actions of the committee

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