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‘Against the Soul Traffickers’
Extracts from Gottlieb Mittelbergers Journey to Pennsylvania in the Year 1750 and Return to Germany in the Year 1754


Containing Not Only a Description of the Country According to Its Present Condition, But Also a detailed Account of the Sad and Unfortunate Circumstances of most of the Germans That Have Emigrated, or Are Emigrating to That Country

Special thanks to Tennessee Keith, for providing this incredibly valuable book for my study. I was wrapping up Crackerboy when I received Gottlieb’s book. After a perusal of it I decided to use it as a source for Paleface—as Pennsylvania was white Indian central for 150 years. Indeed, Gottlieb writes in detail about the natives and the wildlife, including a creature he calls a monkey, which was certainly a raccoon. However, since the few white slave narratives we have were of children, the information concerning the process of their bondage, their transport, the Middle Passage and their eventual sale tends to be wanting.

As a literate adult, a pious Christian who served as a minister on board the ship of horrors he took the Middle Passage on, an organist, contracted through an agent by a consortium of leading citizens to teach music and German at a Philadelphia-area church, Gootlieb was the cream of the servant class, who had been promised all the things that modern academics tell us were effusively given to all Caucasian servants in Plantation America. Gottlieb voluntarily sold himself to a group of honorable men to fulfill a three-year obligation of service as a schoolmaster. But in his book, which was begged by many of his fellow suffering German slaves in Pennsylvania to be written as a warning and protest against the horrid condition they had been trafficked into, Gottlieb relates the horrors of German-American servitude, an arrangement, that on the face of it, appeared to be even better than that suffered by so-called indentured servants from the British Isles. In his heart-rending rendition of suffering which equals in horror anything reported from African slave ships, Gottlieb describes in very real and practical terms, how a contract to serve a Pennsylvania master for 3 years, was, more often than not, a death sentence.

Gottlieb addressed his book to his Sovereign German Lord, Prince Carl, Duke of Wurtemberg, and took it upon himself to inventory the Germans that had been trafficked into Philadelphia in the 4 years of his stay from October 1750 through July 1754, Gottlieb noted 20-24 ships every autumn arriving with German immigrants in Philadelphia, depositing 25,000 souls over 4 years. On his return to his homeland he received a letter [most likely from the honorable Captain Diemer] stating that 22,000 Germans had been trafficked into Philadelphia that very autumn and that so many were sick that they had to sell their children and then linger like zombies, burying one another as they perished from the effects of the savage Middle Passage, which was intentionally extended for sick human freight.

In 5 years 47,000 Germans were trafficked into Philadelphia, at the very time that most runaways were Irish. In 1727 and 28 5,000 Irish and 2,500 Germans had been trafficked into Philadelphia. According to Gottlieb roughly a third of those shipped perished. If we take low median yearly human inventory for Philadelphia at 5,000 sold, 1,000 lost in transit from 1700 through 1775, and then again from 1784 to 1799 we have 80 years [it being impossible to figure shipment rates during the Revolution] we can arrive at a low conservative estimate for the souls swallowed by the Atlantic on the way to Pennsylvania at 80,000 and those processed in [roughly half of whom perished in bondage] at 400,000.

The greed of one province in Plantation America, easily consumed a half million European souls in the 1700s alone.

Some dozen articles, breaking down details of the horror that was German slavery in Pennsylvania will be included in Crackboy and will be posted on the Patreon site for patrons. Crackerboy will also contain the annotated biography of Benjamin Franklin by Thomas Jay, both Pennsylvanians, as well as a register of all known escaped slaves in 1700s Maryland, over 90% of which were not of African descent.

Thank you Tennessee Keith.

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