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A Harmony of the SpiritsTranslation and the Language of Community in Early Pennsylvania$

Patrick M. Erben

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780807835579

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: July 2014

DOI: 10.5149/9780807838198_erben

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Debating Pennsylvania: Religious and Linguistic Diversity and Difference

Debating Pennsylvania: Religious and Linguistic Diversity and Difference

(p.127) Chapter Three Debating Pennsylvania: Religious and Linguistic Diversity and Difference
A Harmony of the Spirits

Patrick M. Erben

University of North Carolina Press

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter discusses the religious and linguistic diversity of colonial Pennsylvania. It describes how the confrontation with and frequent embrace of linguistic difference allowed individuals and groups in early Pennsylvania to see past religious differences.

Keywords:   religious diversity, spiritual diversity, diversity, colonial Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania, linguistic difference, religious differences

Two cities occupied prominent places in the imagination of colonial Pennsylvania: Philadelphia and Babel/Babylon. The first was the City of Brotherly Love, founded by Quakers and other European dissenters as a holy experiment to be governed by Christian affection, religious tolerance, and moral integrity. The second city was not only the place where—according to the book of Genesis—human pride had built a tower reaching to heaven and had thus induced God to separate human language from its divine roots; it was also—reincarnated as the Babylon of the book of Revelation—the allegorical “mother of harlots” (Rev. 17:5). The frequent conflation of Babel/Babylon reveals that Pennsylvanians or writings about Pennsylvania folded linguistic confusion and moral degeneration into a pervasive fear that Philadelphia might devolve into Babel. Throughout the colonial period, Pennsylvanians of various religious, ethnic, linguistic, cultural, and national backgrounds asked how they could build a city or community founded on the dual principles of individual religious freedom and Christian love without falling into a state of linguistic, moral, and civic dissolution.

As the first justice of the peace of Germantown, Francis Daniel Pastorius wondered how he could establish “Love and Peace and Unity” / “Liebe, Fried u. Einigkeit”—symbolically expressed in a bilingual poem—when the acerbic doctrinal debates among the Pennsylvania Quakers known as the “Keithian controversy” seemed to turn Philadelphia into its evil twin. Weighing the tools of linguistic and civic power against the ideal of broth-erly love, Pastorius declared the suppression of someone's testimony—no matter how misguided or wrong in his own eyes—to be “Committing frat-ricide” / “Ein art des bruder-Mords.” The paradox Pastorius struggled with became paradigmatic for Pennsylvania: unchecked, religious and linguistic division, resulting from an excess of freedom and differences, might drive the “holy experiment” into becoming a new Babel/Babylon. Yet if power, (p.128) in the form of oppression, limited dissent in order to enforce “Peace and Unity,” it might destroy the principal ideal of “Love.” Which city Pennsyl-vanians would build always depended on the type of language they used.1

The spiritual and social utopianism that undergirded the founding of Pennsylvania soon seemed to yield to a spirit of contentiousness that rivaled the denominational strife of Europe. Communal, religious, and political partisanship in early Pennsylvania first climaxed in the Keithian contro-versy, which historians have variously interpreted as a dispute over reli-gious doctrine, ministerial authority, or political power among Pennsyl-vania Quakers during the 1690s and early 1700s. In spite of considerable differences among scholars regarding its causes, most seem to agree that the Keithian controversy constituted a conflagration virtually consuming the bonds that tied together civil and religious community in the nascent prov-ince. Suddenly, the cultural and linguistic diversity of early Pennsylvania touted in early promotional tracts seemed to cause or at least fan the disso-lution of community. An analysis of the English and German writings par-ticipating in and responding to the Keithian controversy, however, calls into question facile assumptions about a mutually compounding effect of reli-gious heterodoxy and other types of diversity, particularly multilingualism, in the development of community in early Pennsylvania. The confrontation with and frequent embrace of linguistic difference allowed individuals and groups to see past seemingly insurmountable religious differences. At least in part, German- and English-speaking Pennsylvanians counteracted com-munal divisiveness by exploring linguistic and spiritual correspondences through translation and multilingual writing in poetry and prose.2

(p.129) The disputes of the Keithian controversy did not result from the clash of different religious, ethnic, or linguistic groups aggregating under the um-brella of Penn's policy of toleration; rather it originated from a split within the Society of Friends. Although the Quaker faith sprang from the belief that a common knowledge of truth or Inward Light permeates all believers and produces a spirit of “Love and Unity” among the faithful, Pennsylva-nia Friends suddenly found that on religious issues they did not speak the same language. Each side alleged that the religious error of the opposing camp manifested itself in the ranting or babbling of individual Friends, particularly George Keith, the main critic of Quakerism in Pennsylvania. Conflating spiritual and linguistic confusion, writers abandoned any sub-stantive discussion of doctrinal matters and delved into textual disputes that valued the letter of religious testimony higher than its spirit. Errors were not so much found in the religious tenets of the opposing camp but in the way individuals had heard, read, and interpreted professions of faith. Keithians and orthodox Quakers confronted one another like two groups lacking a common linguistic system, an impartial go-between, or an adequate trans-lator. The controversy appeared as a relapse into the linguistic confusion of Babel.3

On the surface, the influx of German immigrants seemed to enhance the religious wrangling among English Quakers. Some of Johannes Kel-pius's followers joined the Keithians in their critique of orthodox Quakers, whereas Pastorius rushed to their defense. To a certain degree, German immigrants reenacted the linguistic and spiritual confusion of the Keithian controversy. Rather than causing the sudden disappearance of the Phila-delphian desire for linguistic and religious reformation and unification, however, the intense debates over doctrinal differences among related reli-gious groups in Pennsylvania confirmed the passionate search for a com-mon spiritual language. Whether agreeing or disagreeing in religious terms, (p.130) German- and English-speaking neighbors inevitably had to confront and overcome linguistic differences in order to communicate with one another. Even for a dispute to take place across these linguistic divisions, at least one side had to be capable and willing to transpose religious testimony from one language into another. Translation and multilingual composition high-lighted linguistic correspondences and, in doing so, frequently established new spiritual alliances. In the wake of the Keithian controversy, linguistic multiplicity did not spur the disintegrating forces of religious controversy; it strengthened communal cooperation.

“Brat of Babylon”: George Keith and the Crisis of Spiritual Communication

Scholarly opinion about the causes of the Keithian controversy is almost as divided as Pennsylvania Quakerism was in the late seventeenth century. Historians variously stress Keith's public rebellion against the overlapping of church and state, his denunciation of doctrinal ignorance and theological error among fellow Friends, or his haughty manners in dealing with highly respected members of the community. My purpose in rereading the Keith-ian controversy through the lens of linguistic confusion and multilingual cooperation is not to refute any existing scholarly opinions about the causes of this religious and communal upheaval. Understanding the controversy as a dispute about the communal agency of language, instead, helps to ex-plain the largely unaccounted fact that the textual debates surrounding the controversy continued for years after doctrinal matters had been dissected into the minutest details, after Keith had left the province, and even after Thomas Lloyd, the Keithians' principal political target, had died.4

(p.131) My interpretation of the Keithian controversy focuses on the ways in which communal confrontation with religious dissent and linguistic differ-ences reshaped the original vision of establishing Pennsylvania as an experi-ment simultaneously repairing the linguistic and spiritual causes of Babel and Babylon. A steady erosion of trust in the ability of oral and written language to mediate truthfully religious testimony and to bind individuals together in a common experience and awareness of faith lay at the heart of the controversy. The shift from the oral culture of the Quaker meeting sys-tem to the widespread dissemination of opposing arguments in print encap-sulates a communal groping for a trustworthy medium and mode of com-munication. After oral exchanges had devolved into the hissing of linguistic and spiritual dissonance, print discourse quickly gained a similarly derisive reputation of falsifying personal testimony for the manipulation of public opinion.

Even a cursory outline of the Keithian controversy reveals a preoccupa-tion with the ability of language to give voice to an acceptable and trust-worthy representation of religious truth and thus establish a foundation for a coherent community of the faithful. George Keith—one of the leading figures of late-seventeenth-century Quakerism and one of the most astute theologians in early Pennsylvania—differed widely from the ruling Quaker ministers in defining what constituted an acceptable religious testimony. Valuing a personalized faith over a set of doctrines establishing church discipline, Quakers traditionally regarded religious testimonies as an ex-tension of individuals' experience of the Inward Light or indwelling spirit of God. Keith, however, was appalled at the supposed ignorance of his fel-low Quakers in scriptural knowledge and the most basic tenets of Chris-tianity. During the late 1680s and early 1690s, he called for a set of doctrines to which prospective and existing members of the Society of Friends in Pennsylvania would have to consent in a public statement of faith. Keith, in other words, tried to install a normative linguistic performance as an effec-tive platform for judging an individual's faith and access to religious truth.5

Orthodox Quakers initially refused to comment on the doctrinal issues (p.132) raised by Keith. When several Quaker ministers, however, accused Keith of heresy for denying the sufficiency of the Inward Light and preaching two different Christs—one within and one without—he increased the pitch of his attacks. He personally denounced the most prominent Pennsylvania Quakers and public officeholders, including the deputy governor Thomas Lloyd and the minister Samuel Jennings. Ostensibly disagreeing over a change of venue in the spring of 1692, Keith and his followers established a separate meeting and dubbed themselves Christian Quakers. The Quaker establishment rejected the new meeting and disowned Keith. With the sup-port of William Bradford, the only printer in Pennsylvania at the time, Keith blamed the orthodox Quakers for the controversy and publicly ridiculed the Quaker ministry for their ignorance in doctrinal matters and refusal to accept his demands for reform.6

To curb Keith's denunciations, the Quakers brought a libel suit against him and Bradford for publicly attacking those ministers who were also pro-vincial magistrates. Although Keith, Bradford, and several others were convicted and fined, the temporary suspension of Quaker rule with the ar-rival of royal governor Benjamin Fletcher prevented further action against them. The climax of the controversy occurred in 1693, when Keith and his followers rudely disrupted an orthodox meeting. In early 1694, Keith left Pennsylvania for London to present his grievances at London Yearly Meet-ing. He eventually leveled similar charges at the London Friends, who con-cluded that “George Keith is Gone from the blessed unity of the peaceable spirit of our Lord … and hath separated himself from the holy fellowship of the Church of Christ.” Keith became an Anglican minister in 1700 and returned to Pennsylvania for a two-year visit in 1702.7

(p.133) A closer examination of the terminology both sides used to charac-terize their opponents illuminates the central debate over language that propelled the controversy for more than a decade. According to George Keith and Thomas Budd's Account of the Great Divisions (1692), orthodox Quakers added to the list of epithets describing Keith—which already in-cluded “heretic,” “schismatic,” and “apostate”—the appellation “Brat of Babylon.” If Keith's opponents had indeed used this term, they probably meant to evince the ominous conflation of spiritual dispersion epitomized by Babel and the moral corruption represented by Babylon. Yet both sides believed that their opponents had fallen prey to a religious heresy or error that manifested itself in a confusion of language, witnessed in such char-acteristic acts as “railing” and “babbling.” Orthodox Friends, in particu-lar, feared that the distortion of religious truth through unfriendly public uses of language turned their holy experiment into a new Babel, doomed to linguistic and spiritual dispersion. Upon his arrival in Pennsylvania, the German mystic Johann Gotfried Seelig believed to have found the Quakers in a post-Babel state of confusion, claiming that the “pieces of their estab-lished Meetings lie scattered all over.” Seelig's trope recalled the ruined Tower of Babel and signified the breakdown of the Quaker attempt to build a new community on the premise of a universal spiritual truth imparted on all people by the Inward Light. During the controversy, any deployment of oral or written language to cement this truth against dissolution provided further evidence of spiritual error, resulting in a spiral of accusation and counteraccusation.8

As a member of a religious community relying largely on the mediation of faith through oral testimony representative of the operations of an inward language or Inward Light, Keith faced a fundamental dilemma. In trying to address the heresy he claimed to be prevalent among Quakers, Keith could not rely on any written statements that would have espoused such false beliefs. In his tract “Gospel Order Improved,” he called for a written confession of faith, which would reveal doctrinal errors to the entire com-munity. When the Philadelphia Yearly Meeting refused to act upon Keith's demands, he decided to reveal heresies among the Friends himself. Keith interpreted oral testimonies delivered in meeting and subsequently repre-sented (p.134) supposed errors to the aggregate members of the church. The dis-crepancy between what these individuals thought they believed and what Keith told them they had confessed sparked the verbal battles of the Keith-ian controversy.9

Keith leveled his accusations both within the oral culture of the meet-ings and, more subversively, in unauthorized print publications. Orthodox Friends particularly objected to Keith's haughty public use of language in confronting others. Samuel Jennings believed that the “General Cause” for Keith's actions was “an Unbounded Ambition … which had blown him up into such Towering Thoughts of himself, as made him a very uneasie Mem-ber of any Society, either Civil, or Religious.” Sharing a “Towering” pride with the builders of the Tower of Babel, Keith allegedly caused a similar lin-guistic and spiritual confusion. In a letter to London Yearly Meeting, ortho-dox ministers complained about “the disorder and distraction occasioned … by George Keith, and our time being much gone by hearing and suffer-ing his Clamours against us from which he by no means of perswasion be reclaim'd.”10

Keith, in turn, detected the same linguistic derangement among his opponents and blamed them for “railing.” In An Account of the Great Divi-sions, Keith and his follower Thomas Budd described a scene of physical, spiritual, and linguistic confusion resembling Babel:

Was it therefore any matter of Wonder or Crime, that G.K. being zeal-ous and fervent for the true Faith, and Doctrine of Christ … was stirred in spirit to use sharp words against them, which yet were all true, and therefore no Railing, nor yet blameworthy…. Is it not great Hypocrisie and Partiality of these men so severely to judge him, and wholly to conceal, not only their own Ignorance, Error and Blas-phemy, but the extream Passion, the rude, uncivil and unmannerly Speeches they uttered against him, both in these Meetings, and often since, calling him, Reviler of his Brethren, Accuser of the Brethren, Brat (p.135) of Babylon, One that always endeavoured to keep down the power of Truth, drawing from the Gift of God; calling him also, Pope, Primate of Pensilvania, Father Confessor, accusing him of Railing, Envy, extream Passion, and a Turbulent and Unsubdued Spirit, and not only so, but most uncivily and unchristianly, yea, inhumanely, otherwise treating him in these Meetings, often six or ten, all at once, speaking to him, and some pulling him by one sleeve, and others by the skirts of his Coat, more like Mad men than Sober; and some bidding him go out, and when he essayed to go out, and prayed them to let him go, others pulling him back, and detaining him; so that greater Confusion was scarce ever seen in any Meetings pretending to Christianity.

Keith and Budd's account revealed a complete breakdown of proper com-munication and Christian fellowship. Apparently, both sides traded the principles of “Love and Unity” and the rhetorical means of “perswasion” for name-calling and physical attacks. The central accusation of “Railing” not only implied an uncivil deportment but also a cacophony of voices that degraded language from a system of intelligible utterances to a nonsensi-cal “babbling.” The threat of a Babylonian confusion had become a reality, with the separation or scattering of the Quaker community following the inability of Friends to speak with one voice or one language.11

Although Keith could not feasibly deny his own yelling, name-calling, or even passion, he claimed superiority over the orthodox Quakers by redefin-ing the language acceptable within the meeting system (and in the commu-nity at large). His emphasis on a discourse of truth supposedly validated any utterance delivered in any manner as long as it communicated divine will or the fundamental tenets of Christianity. Elsewhere in the same tract, Keith even admitted to having called his opponents “Fools, ignorant Hea-thens, Infidels, silly Souls, Lyars, Hereticks, Rotten Ranters, Muggletonians”; yet he claimed that “he never gave such Names to any of them, but to such as he can prove did deserve them, and for which he can appeal to all impar-tial men that profess Christianity.” For the orthodox Quakers, any linguistic utterance that did not abide by their principle of communal affect and unity (p.136) was unintelligible and constituted “Railing”; for Keith, any utterance com-plying with his standard of truth deserved to be heard.12

Keithians and orthodox Quakers further entrenched their positions by waging a relentless pamphlet war. Yet the increasing reliance on print did not open up the forum of public debate to a wider spectrum of individuals; the extreme literalism of the discourse narrowed the number of those who could legitimately write about the issue. For example, William Davis's single publication, Jesus the Crucified Man (1700), attacked the elitism of the dis-course on both sides and tried to return to the Quaker reliance on the indi-vidual access to truth unmediated by education or social distinction. The “thirst after Truth,” he wrote, “doth illustrate a mans Name more than the Trophies of his Ancestors, or the Success of his indisputable Courage and Bravery, or what ever other brave Qualifications in famous humane Arts and Sciences, as well as Tongues and Languages he may or hath attained unto.” Seemingly rejecting the theological and linguistic acumen necessary to fol-low the debate, Davis's tract itself practiced the endless refutation of the opposing side's writings that became the hallmark of the controversy.13

Both sides soon discovered that the spirit of contention equally infil-trated print discourse. Readers and writers complained that their oppo-nents twisted their words, cited their statements out of context, and gen-erally manipulated language for sheer demagoguery. Writers such as Caleb Pusey (for the orthodox Quakers) and Daniel Leeds (for the Keithians) deployed print discourse as a representation of truth all the while using a pedantic metadiscourse over the misrepresentation of one another's state-ments. Falsification of written testimony had apparently become so ram-pant that Pusey introduced his pamphlet The Bomb Search'd (a refutation of Leeds's tract “call'd a BOMB”) with lengthy instructions on proper reading:

And now we shall desire the Candid Reader, that in reading the fol-lowing charges against these men and our observation on them that he read and consider them very impartially; but before we recite them, we also request the Reader that he would be Pleased to take the ad-vice given by these eminent persons following concerning the reading of books. The first is the famous John Lock [sic], who saith thus ‘To have one's words exactly quoted, and their meaning interpreted by the plain and visible design of the Author in his whole discourse being a (p.137) right that every writer hath a just claim to, and such as a lover of truth will be wary of violating.’

Pusey's anxious attempt to mold the ideal reader fleshed out what he be-lieved had been going wrong in the exchanges surrounding the controversy. Pamphleteers quoted passages from orthodox Quaker or Keithian writings out of context and even twisted quotations to serve their own purpose. Spe-cifically, Pusey blamed Leeds for “miscitations, Clipping of sentences, and perverting of our friends writings.” Much of Pusey's tract, therefore, was bogged down in quoting passages from Quaker writers such as William Penn and demonstrating how Leeds and others falsified them in word and spirit.14

Leeds rebutted Pusey's accusation of twisting evidence by making his sources physically accessible to the reader. In his pamphlet The Great Mistery of Fox-craft Discovered, Leeds encouraged his readers to inspect “two letter[s] written by G. Fox to Coll. Lewis Morris, deceased, exactly Spell'd and Pointed as in the Originals, which are now to be seen in the Library at Burlington in New Jersey, and will be proved (by the likeness of the Hand, etc.) to be the Hand-Writing of the Quakers learned Fox, if denyed.” Reading had devolved into a subcategory of forensics, with readers cross-checking handwriting samples to determine the identity of the author and exclude the possibility of forgery.15

Again, orthodox Quakers went along with such an exacerbation of dis-trust and assembled an entire library of reference works serving as the seem-ingly incorruptible evidence for Leeds's deception and Pusey's honesty. Pusey wrote:

We have procured the books out of which their quotations are pre-tended to be taken to be lodged one whole year, commencing the first of the ninth month 1705 at the house of Robert Burrow in Chesnut Street in Philadelphia, where any person may seasonably and soberly (p.138) come and view any of the said passages in order to satisfy himself, whether what we have here transcribed out of their books, and our observations on them be not genuine.

This erosion of the Quaker belief in an essential link between religious tes-timony and the inward language of the soul thus disrupted the bonds that tied members of the community to one another. The endless transcribing, excerpting, quoting, and disputing of passages removed testimony so far from the author that only the return to a library of disembodied but osten-sibly original sources could presumably ensure genuineness. Both Leeds and Pusey tried to replace a community of Friends who trusted that one another's speech was filled with spiritual truth with a meeting of books that spoke in its stead.16

In their effort to construct Pennsylvania as an antidote to the linguis-tic and moral corruption of Europe, Quakers had restaged the confusion of Babel. For Keith, the Quaker emphasis on individual inspiration—the Inward Light—sanctioning and sanctifying individual religious testimony undermined the authority of the Bible as the original and direct Word of God and the authority of Christ, the Word made flesh. For the orthodox Quakers, Keith's demand for doctrinal soundness and the primacy of the scriptures denied the primacy of individual inspiration; his vociferousness and wild accusations, more importantly, perverted the desire to turn the language of the community into a direct expression of the mutual love and affection that held the Society of Friends together. Eventually, both sides pushed their respective truth claims so far that only a return to the original, physical handwriting of people like George Fox and William Penn could, presumably, authenticate the relationship between language—in speech, writing, or print—and the individual believer. Ironically, therefore, Quakers on both sides had descended into a Babylonian confusion precisely through their efforts to tie the language of individual believers and the community ever closer to the divine Word.

SIMILAR TO THE EARLIER promotional discourse, the Keithian controversy soon involved German immigrants and thus developed transnational and translingual dimensions. Although several Germantown residents joined the Keithians early on, the German immigrant community became thor-oughly embroiled in the dispute with the arrival of the mystical Pietist group (p.139) under Johannes Kelpius in 1694. Kelpius and his followers championed a mystical union of the individual believer with Christ, metaphorically re-vered as the heavenly bridegroom or the “Beloved” of the Song of Songs. The strongly physical, even erotic dimension of the mystics' concept of Christ clashed with the Quakers' rather disembodied Inward Light the-ology. Although Kelpius and most of his followers avoided open doctrinal disputes, a more quarrelsome member of the group, Heinrich Bernhard (Henry Bernhard) Köster, tried to direct German and English Pennsylva-nians back to orthodox Protestantism and reinstate the rites of baptism and the Lord's Supper shunned by the Quakers. Köster joined with English Keithians, such as William Davis, Thomas Rutter, and Thomas Boyer, to form an independent religious community close to the Baptists. On Sep-tember 22, 1696, the group violently disturbed the Philadelphia Yearly Meeting held at Burlington. Pastorius witnessed the intrusion and broke his public silence on the issue by printing—with the Meeting's approval—the anti-Keithian pamphlet Four Boasting Disputers of This World Briefly Rebuked, a vehement condemnation of Köster, Davis, Rutter, and Boyer.17

In responding to Köster's accusations in general and the tone of his tirades in particular, Pastorius himself slipped from language mindful of brotherly love into a vitriolic condemnation of opposing viewpoints. Fall-ing prey to the same rage he detected in his four culprits, Pastorius named Babel/Babylon as the allegorical origin of an earlier publication issued by his opponents without an imprint:

Though this their said Pamphlet doth not set forth the place where it was printed, yet mentioning so many things of Babylon; for Example, The Councils, and Clergies, and Universities of Babylon, page 2. The Babylonian Churches, page 4. The Babylonian Beasts, page 7. The four chief Quarters of Babylon, page 8. And being it self thoroughly full of Babel, or Confusion, it thereby plainly discloseth, that it was hatched in the very Center of that great City, whose wise and learned men most able (in their own Conceit) to advise others, can not write but thus sinisterly, even with their right hands…. They stile themselves, The Brethren in America page 7. The true Church of Philadelphia or (p.140) Brotherly Love, etc…. He the said H. B. Koster arriving here in Pen-silvania, … was as cunning as to intice and induce four or five to a Commonalty of goods, and so settled a Plantation near German Town, upon a Tract of Land given unto them, calling the same IRENIA, that is to say, The House of Peace, which not long after became ERINNIA, The House of raging Contention, and now returned to the Donour, the Brethren in America being gone and dispersed, and the Church of Philadelphia (falsly so called) proving momentary, and of no mo-ment, Mark 3, 25.

In using Greek (the etymological source of “Philadelphia”), Pastorius de-scribed the fate of the group as a fall from “IRENIA” into “ERINNIA,” a fall from a place of peace to a place of error or confusion. The homonymic proximity of the Greek words “IRENIA” and “ERINNIA” symbolized how dangerously close the opposite spiritual states they designate in fact were. Further parading his own superior linguistic acumen (and thus a vain use of language), Pastorius also punned on the Latin meaning of the word “sin-ister,” that is, left or left-handed. Even when writing with the “right” side, the Keithians (according to Pastorius) only achieved “left-handed” or “sin-ister,” that is, false, results.18

With his two double entendres, Pastorius tried to illustrate that spiritual and linguistic confusion were the ultimate enemy of community in Pennsyl-vania. Lacking the self-reflective scrutiny Pastorius later used in his multi-lingual poetry on the Keithian controversy, however, the pamphlet also demonstrated that the slippery slope from spiritual unity to dissolution was paved with the prideful use of the human power over language. Further emphasizing the rift between the testimony of the orthodox Quakers and their opponents, Pastorius likened the Keithians' speech to the falseness of theatrical performance, a practice reviled by all Friends: “But ours being in God, and the members thereof chosen out of the world, and redeemed from the Contentiousness and other vain Customs of the same, will never engage in such a stage play or Theatrical Jangling and Wrangling with these Bablers [sic] and Mountebanks of Babylon.” The Keithians, Pastorius alleged, had (p.141) disqualified themselves as a true church and distinguished themselves as “Babylonians … because of the confusedness of their Language, some not understanding the Speech of the others, who cryed for Water to be plunged in; so that they were scattered before they finish't the Tower of their imagi-nary Church.” Pastorius might have recognized that his tract helped to usher the community further along in their plunge into the waters of spiri-tual and linguistic confusion, for he never published any tracts on the Keith-ian controversy again. Köster and Pastorius thus reenacted the confusion of Babel by battling over language, especially the linguistic representation of Quaker principles of faith. During the Keithian controversy, English and German writers alike ironically fostered confusion through their very en-deavor to unite the people in true “Philadelphia.”19

Even while participating in the pamphlet war against the Keithians in Pennsylvania, Pastorius attempted to salvage the image of Philadelphian-ism in his representation of the province to readers in Germany, particu-larly his Pietist sponsors. Pastorius wrote a lengthy letter to the Pietists in Frankfurt, who promptly published it as a tract. In his letter, Pastorius pre-sented his own view of the Keithian controversy, refuted Köster's specific allegations (which, he alleged, had been published in Germany for politi-cal reasons), and vindicated his newly adopted religious community—the orthodox Pennsylvania Quakers. Although the printed tract was entitled “A Letter of Open-Hearted Affection to the So-Called Pietists in Germany,” its purpose was ironically to declare Pastorius's affection for the “so-called” Quakers in America.20

Pastorius's specific refutation of Köster and the Keithians was of a kind with other orthodox Quaker writings on the subject; his strategically placed references to his own conversion and embrace of his new community, how-ever, are all the more significant for demonstrating the multiple acts of trans-lation and transformation Pastorius accomplished in mediating between different languages and faiths. Pastorius distanced himself from the Pietists and aligned himself with the Quakers. For instance, he referred to Luther-anism as “the Religion in which [he] was born and raised,” rather than his (p.142) current religion. Moreover, Pastorius cast himself as an authority in Quaker writings and a personal witness to Quaker preaching. In order to mediate between his old and new allegiances, Pastorius recommended to the Ger-man Pietists specific Quaker books (most prominently, Robert Barclay's Apology for the True Christian Divinity [1678]) that had been translated into German and would place the Friends (and his new faith) in the cor-rect light.21

Instead of overemphasizing the authority of written texts and even trans-lations, Pastorius referred his readers “primarily to the indwelling Word of God, from which originate and come forth all good words and salvific teach-ings, as well as sufficient strength to sanctify our souls. If people would only listen properly to and follow the word hovering in their heart and in their mouth, then all academic quarreling, war of words, and blasphemy would soon come to an end.” Pastorius thus distanced himself and his readers from the perceived pitfalls of contemporary European and, more recently, Pennsylvanian society: the rancorous fighting over words and doctrines. In the act of mediating or translating between two faiths, two languages, and his past and present community, Pastorius asked Pennsylvanians and Europeans alike to return to a goal of the highest order—to reform human society by rooting out, as Jacob Boehme had put it, the quarrelling “over the spirit of the letters” and to put in its place a mutually accessible, inward language.22

In his later manuscript reflections on the Keithian controversy, Pastorius regretted its effects on the language and feeling of Christian affection and thus its erosion of the possibilities for the establishment of a Philadelphian (p.143) community. In an anniversary poem written to the daughters of his late friend Thomas Lloyd in 1714, Pastorius combined religious allegory with political satire, ridicule over the fate of an enemy with lament over the suf-fering of a friend: “It seem'd to me, he [Lloyd] would his Master [Christ] equalize, / And suffer wretched fools his Station to despise, / Especially George Keith, well nigh devour'd by Lice.” Suffering for his faith, Thomas Lloyd earned the honor to follow Christ. Pastorius and his friends were joined through a deep congeniality in personal affairs and through com-mon bonds in civic and religious matters. Severing the bonds of political and doctrinal allegiance, contentious Friends/friends such as George Keith also severed the ties of personal relationships. In an encomium commemo-rating Penn's return to Pennsylvania, Pastorius deployed even stronger satire to condemn the Keithian “Apostacy” and the concomitant abuse of language:

  • We understood what things in Pensilvania were
  • Of good or evil use, to follow, or t'avoid,
  • The wisest of us all was honest Thomas Lloid.
  • Some lent their itching Ears to Kuster, Keith and Budd,
  • And miserably fell into the Ditch of Mud,
  • Where they may stick and stink; For as a sightless whelp,
  • So stark-blind Apostates do grin at profer'd help:
  • They spend their Mouths, and fain with words would ensnare,
  • Or if this will not do, scold, back-bite, bug-bear, scare;
  • Hereof, brave William Penn, me thinks, thou hadst thy share.

Pastorius described the deterioration from deceptive language slyly tempt-ing individuals toward apostacy (a betrayal of mutual beliefs) to full-blown verbal violence. The trauma of such vituperative language lingered: no-where else in his manuscript poetry did Pastorius resort to crude figures of speech such as “Ditch of Mud” or “stick and stink.” The most fundamental threats to community in Pennsylvania, in other words, lay in the disruption of personal bonds mediated by a common language of love or affinity.23

(p.144) “In These Seven Languages I This My Book Do Own”: Linguistic Multiplicity and Spiritual Unity in Francis Daniel Pastorius's Manuscript Writings

In order to overcome the contentious literalism of the Keithian controversy, writers and readers had to abandon their fear that any deviation from their own representation of religious truth constituted a malicious deception. Re-linquishing the acrimony of his earlier writings on the subject, Pastorius's manuscript poetry deployed translation and multilingualism to undermine the literal-mindedness at the heart of the controversy by pairing an implicit acceptance of linguistic incongruence with the desire to establish mutual understanding. Pastorius realized that the encounter with actual linguistic difference allowed individuals and groups to explore spiritual affinities in spite of the inaccuracy inherent in any act of translation. He fashioned him-self as a linguistic and cultural mediator between the German and English sections of the community. Although he conceived the multilingual poetry collected in manuscript volumes such as the “Bee-Hive” and Deliciae Hor-tenses as a direct reflection of his work as teacher and court scribe in a multi-lingual community, he understood his polyglot poetics as symbolic of the spiritual unity possible across multiple linguistic systems.

Pastorius's poetics inscribed the actual and the metaphorical relation-ships between the multilingual self and a multilingual community. For the combatants of the Keithian controversy, even the slightest variation in the written representation of truth constituted complete error or deliberate fal-sification. Multilingualism, however, enabled Pastorius to write out a single spiritual or moral precept in up to seven languages while preserving the same core meaning or spiritual content. Where monolingual speakers would have encountered utter difference and the absence of meaning outside their own version of truth, Pastorius found harmony and unity. The reproducing of religious and moral truth in different languages allowed Pastorius and like-minded Pennsylvanians to envision a multiplying of community, that is, a diversification of the religious, linguistic, and ethnic composition of com-munity without the disintegration of community itself. Pastorius under-stood the Keithian controversy as a fundamental threat to the linguistic and spiritual utopia he had hoped for. Yet he came to regard multilingualism, not as a sign of a fallen humanity, but as an antidote to spiritual confusion or a means for reversing Babel.

Clearly, Pastorius's multilingualism embodied the elitist, humanistic ideal of education with its emphasis on a polyglot training, particularly in (p.145) the classical languages Latin and Greek. He had studied law for seven years at various European universities, and his Latin-language dissertation con-formed to the requirements of his discipline. During a two-year grand tour through Holland, England, France, Switzerland, and Italy, Pastorius per-fected his knowledge in modern philology, particularly in the vogue lan-guages French and Italian. This background has tempted scholars to inter-pret the multilingual choices of Pastorius's Pennsylvanian poetry primarily through the lens of European literary aesthetics. Even if these aesthetics and literary traditions match Pastorius's poetry, their motivations, however, had changed. Rather than a sign of elite distinction, Pastorius flaunted his multilingualism both as a practical tool for the advancement of community and as a poetic antidote to the spiritual and linguistic dispersal of commu-nity in the province.24

Through his work of translating court documents from English to Ger-man (and vice versa), keeping multilingual court records, and translating the English laws of Pennsylvania into German, Pastorius mediated between two linguistically and culturally different groups. An entry in Pastorius's “Bee-Hive” manuscript, his monumental commonplace book and encyclopedia, for instance, reflected on the cultural implications of translating English legal terms for the sake of the German immigrant community. Pastorius re-counted annotating an English legal manual for his fellow German settlers: “By adding [a] few lines I do expect No Briths [sic] by birth to teach, but (p.146) to direct / My loving Countrymans (:the Dutch's:) defect.” The “defect” Pastorius hoped to correct with his annotations was the Germans' lack of familiarity with the English language and with English jurisprudence. As a multilingual individual and a lawyer by trade, Pastorius helped German immigrants to bridge both divides. The annotated legal volume resulting from his dual capacities became a textual emblem for Pastorius's multiple communal roles and ability to mediate between identities and languages; he thus described himself as someone “Who English'd does himself to them [his fellow Germans] Connect.” By acquiring the English language, the German immigrant Pastorius assumed an English cultural subjectivity and connected both groups. His use of the term “Dutch”—an English moniker for German immigrants—translated his personal and communal identity into an English cultural system and made it intelligible for an English audi-ence.25

By his own account, Pastorius did not speak any English when he arrived in Pennsylvania, using Latin or French in conversing with elite residents such as William Penn and Thomas Lloyd. Quite possibly, a Latin-English version of Jan Amos Comenius's Janua Linguarum Reserata helped him with the acquisition of the predominant language of his new home. Al-though Comenius was certainly not the only influence on Pastorius's ideas about multilingualism, his multilingual poetics visually and spiritually re-flected Comenius's bilingual and trilingual works and the spiritual coher-ence between languages they tried to establish; Pastorius's ethos of creating spiritual unity from multiple linguistic and religious voices also echoed Comenius's ideal of harnessing language learning for “the conversion of all non-Christians and the unification of all Christian sects.”26

Overall, Pastorius's acquisition of English seemed to suggest that a speedy assimilation of German and Dutch immigrants into an English lin-guistic, legal, civic, and religious system would ensure greater communal (p.147) harmony. Pastorius's observation of and participation in the Keithian con-troversy, however, must have taught him that a shared linguistic system did not ensure spiritual compatibility. The poetry collected in Pastorius's manuscript volumes visually and poetically argued that linguistic difference presented no obstacle to spiritual coherence. If, according to Quaker doc-trine, an Inward Light permeated all human beings, all languages equally gave voice to this indwelling sense of divine truth. The simultaneous de-ployment of different languages in Pastorius's poetry thus proclaimed that different representational systems or languages signified a unified idea, moral precept, or religious truth. Visually, the many title pages of Pas-torius's “Bee-Hive” manuscript declared the volume's goal of presenting universal moral or spiritual precepts in a multiplicity of languages. Pas-torius designed these title pages not only to outline the “Bee-Hive's” differ-ent stages of composition and functions as commonplace book, encyclope-dia, and collection of original poetry but also to address specific ideological and philosophical issues. Thus, he felt the need to justify and explain his use of up to seven languages as a means to enhance spiritual unity rather than—as readers then and now might suspect—to parade his elite educa-tion. Paradigmatically, Pastorius asserted that writing the date of the “Bee-Hive's” commencement (1696) in three different numerals “plainly shews, that we may word a thing many ways to the same intent.” On another title page, Pastorius wrote his name and the title of his book in seven differ-ent languages: Greek, Latin, English, Dutch, German, Italian, and French (Figure 6).27

Such a linguistic profusion certainly was not within the reach of every Pennsylvanian immigrant; nevertheless, the poem following the title rushed to undermine any impression of superiority or class distinction:

  • Debating Pennsylvania: Religious and Linguistic Diversity and Difference

    Figure 6. Detail of Title Page from Francis Daniel Pastorius's “Bee-Hive” in Seven Languages. MS Codex 726. By permission of the Rare Book and Manuscript Library, University of Pennsylvania

    (p.148) In these Seven Languages I this my Book do own, …
  • Friend, if thou find it, Send the same to Germantown;
  • Thy Recompence shall be the half of half a Crown:
  • But, tho’ it be no more than half the half of this,
  • Pray! Be Content therewith, and think it not amiss.
  • Yea and if, when thou com'st, my Cash perhaps is gone,
  • (For Money is thus scarce, that Often I have none.)
  • A Cup of Drink may do.

Pastorius did not belong to the economically struggling members of early Pennsylvanian society, but this passage demonstrated his wish to inscribe his personal and communal ideology of simplicity and communal harmony within the first lines of his manuscript writings. Subsequently, these Ger-man and Latin lines emphasize a strict adherence to the principle of broth-erly love or the Golden Rule:

  • (p.149) Freünd, Was Du findest, wiedergieb,
  • Sonst hält man dich vor einen Dieb
  • In diesem; und in jenem Leben folgt anders nichts als Höllenpein.
  • Gott Selbst hat diß Gesetz gegeben
  • Zu thun, wie man Gethan will seÿn.
  • Quod Tibi vis fieri, hoc facias Alÿs.
  • [Friend, whatever you find, return,
  • otherwise people will call you a thief
  • and in this life and the next
  • follows nothing but the pains of hell.
  • God Himself gave us this law
  • do unto others, as you
  • would have them do unto you.]

The multilingual title and the trilingual (English, German, Latin) reflec-tion on simplicity and brotherly love encapsulated the significance of lin-guistic multiplicity in Pastorius's poetic works and commonplace collec-tions: moral and spiritual truth remained the same no matter what language or system of representation was used. In a similar fashion, the multiple selves visualized in the many versions of Pastorius's name (from the Latin Franciscus Daniel Pastorius to the Italian Francesco Daniele Pastorio) and the multiplying of the volume's title (from the English “Paper-Hive” to the Dutch “Bie-Stock”) ultimately shared the same referents. Whereas the pam-phleteers of the Keithian controversy suspected a spiritual aberration in the slightest deviation in language, Pastorius rejoiced that seven different lan-guages described the same person, the same work, and the same moral or spiritual insight.28

Given the universalizing possibilities offered by the spiritual unison of different languages, Pastorius rejected the manipulation of language for the sake of spiritual division during the Keithian controversy. In a poem de-scriptively titled “Zur Zeit der Anno 1692 in Pennsilvanien entstandenen Trennung” (During the schism that arose in Pennsylvania in 1692), he re-vealed his inner conflict over taking a partisan position. Pastorius recog-nized the conflicting demands of protecting the sanctity of individual tes-timony and preventing the community from fracturing under the pressure of religious schism. He apparently paid utmost attention to weighing the equally frightening specters of communal dissolution and spiritual repres-sion, for he wrote the entire poem in both German and English, appealing (p.150) to all members of the community. In both languages, Pastorius began by presenting the infighting of the Keithian controversy as a violation of the fundamental laws of nature:

  • Jedes schonet seiner Art,
  • Tÿger, Wolff, u. Leopard.
  • Eÿ wie kommts dann daß ein Christ
  • wider seines gleichen ist?
  • Da ihm doch sein Herr gebeüt
  • Liebe, Fried u. Einigkeit. Joh. 13:34.
  • None deal with his own hard;
  • Tyger, Bear, Wolf, Lion, Pard.
  • What provok's so harshly than [sic]
  • Christian against Christian?
  • When Christ command's constantly
  • Love and Peace and Unity. Joh. 13:34.

Not even the fiercest predators destroy their own kind, but Christians can be their own worst enemies. The linguistic unison between the German and English versions, however, envisions cooperation not only within one's own group or kind but also across divisions of language and culture. Signifi-cantly, the core values of “Liebe, Fried u. Einigkeit” / “Love and Peace and Unity” run exactly parallel in both versions, whereas other sections show significant syntactic differences.29

Pastorius's reflection on the dilemma between his civic obligation to pre-serve peace and his faith in the divine nature of personal testimony among Friends reveals some crucial differences in both languages. Pastorius did not literally translate from German to English but geared both toward the specific concerns of each community and his own role within it:

  • Die fehler meiner brüder
  • sind mir zwar gantz zu wider: 1. Tim. 5:22.
  • Doch wegen eines Worts Jac. 3:2. 2. Tim. 2:14.
  • Ihr Zeügniß zu vernichten,
  • u. freventlich sie richten, Röm. 14:13. 1. Cor. 4:5.
  • befind ich meines Orts
  • Zu seÿn ein luft-streich kämpfen, 1. Cor. 9:26.
  • (p.151) Ein Gottlos Geistes-Dämpfen, 1. Thes. 5:19.
  • Ein art des bruder-Mords, 1. Joh. 3:15.
  • Sound Doctrine I approve
  • As much as men behoove;
  • Yet talking is but foul
  • And merely idle Noise,
  • If I to Wisdom's Voice
  • Not hearken in my soul.
  • Pray! what can me availe high knowledge?
  • When I deale most spitefully with most,
  • And by my learned Pride
  • Committing fratricide,
  • Do quench the holy ghost.

In a community joined by brotherly love, a judgment based on linguistic disagreement—“wegen eines Worts” (because of one word)—would de-stroy this spiritual bond and thus dissolve the relationships that tie them together as Friends. In the German version, the suppression of the testi-mony of others implicitly evoked Pastorius's power as justice of the peace in Germantown to judge (“richten”) his neighbors and resolve the controversy politically. In the English version, however, he noticeably shifted the locus of authority in judging over others from political power to intellectual acu-men. For English readers, Pastorius's position in Germantown would have been less meaningful, but Quakers throughout the colony were familiar with his learnedness. Thus, Pastorius feared that “high knowledge” degenerated into “learned Pride” and, in turn, led to the suppression of the testimony of fellow Friends, a form of “fratricide.” Clearly, Pastorius regarded his own intellectual ability as a dubious tool in dealing with other Christians. Yet, unlike the German version, the English part of the poem simultaneously im-plicated Keith, who, unlike Pastorius, never refrained from harnessing his superior education to condemn others and thus committed “fratricide.”30

In poetic practice, Pastorius thus preserved cultural and linguistic dif-ferences while seeking out spiritual harmony. Following the epigrammatic style characteristic of the seventeenth century, he encapsulated the desire for peace and unity in the following English and German lines from the “Bee-Hive”:

  • How happy could men be in all their Course of life,
  • If they did Strive to love, as they do love to Strive.
  • = Wie klüglich könnten wir Ja glücklich allhier leben,
  • Wann Lieben uns so lieb wolt sen als widerstreben!

This bilingual epigram doubly counteracted division, both through its sen-timent and the unison of languages expressing the same thought. In these four parallel lines, Pastorius strategically placed key words representing key values or actions in the same position in both languages. Thus, “life” and (p.152) “leben” as well as “strive” and “widerstreben” at the end of the English and German lines shared the same meaning and syntactic position. Yet the German version is not a literal translation of the English. Both are origi-nal verses, for both employ a verbal witticism specific to each language. In English, Pastorius played on the double meaning of the verb “strive” if combined in different syntactical combinations with “love.” “Strive to love” designates a laudable eagerness to love others, whereas “love to strive” means the desire to struggle. In the first German line, Pastorius punned on the phonetic similarity of the words “klüglich” (wisely) and “glücklich” (happily). The near equal sound of the two words referred to their seman-tic closeness, for those who live wisely would also live happily. The key to love and a happy life—in English or German—was the avoidance of un-necessary strife. Pastorius's multilingual poetics, therefore, created multiple originals that highlighted the idiosyncratic qualities of each language while conveying the idea of spiritual and moral unity.31

Pastorius acknowledged that multilingual individuals occupied a privi-leged position in exploring such spiritual correspondences across linguistic divisions. In the “Bee-Hive,” he explained having read and excerpted books in “my Mother-Tongue, but likewise in the Low-Dutch, French, Italian and Latin,” but he concluded that his two sons (Johann Samuel and Heinrich or, in English, John Samuel and Henry), to whom he dedicated the manu-script, “will never attain to the Understanding of the said Languages.” Per-haps Pastorius did not make any attempts to teach them these languages because he did not see any practical use for them in the community where they were growing up. Ultimately, Pastorius believed that the project of dis-cerning truth among a multiplicity of voices could also proceed in a single language. Thus, the “Bee-Hive” declares as its goal “the better learning of the ENGLISH [tongue], and that my two Sons … might hereafter have some of their Fathers Steps, thereby to be guided to the same Diligence and Assi-duity of Picking the BEST out of GOOD Writings.”32

It would be easy to categorize Pastorius's embrace of English—the lan-guage of choice for his sons and the exclusive language of the “Alphabetical Hive,” an encyclopedia of terms attached to the “Bee-Hive”—as a resig-nation to the powerful forces of acculturation and the dissolution of a mi-nority subjectivity under the pressure of English dominance. However, Pas-torius's (p.153) choice of English was not a decision made under cultural duress; it was primarily a continuation of his endeavor to find spiritual unity within a multiplicity of voices. For Pastorius, English was multilingual in itself, for it united influences from a plethora of other languages. The “English Tongue,” he explained in an entry in his “Alphabetical Hive,” is “a hotch-potch of many languages.” On a title page to the “Bee-Hive,” Pastorius at length described English as a linguistic mosaic, allowing the observer in-sights into the many languages contributing to its development:

The Language now a days spoken in England and Colonies thereunto belonging is not the ancient Britan-Tongue; No, not the least Off-spring thereof; But a Mingle-mangle of Latin, Dutch and French: Rel-icks or Remains of the Roman, Saxon and Norman Conquests. Most Mono Syllables are of a Dutch Origin, ax, ox … Words of Many Syllables are either brought by the Romans … Or by the Normans … And besides those there are also Hebrew, Arabick, Greek, Italian, Spanish, Danish and Welch words in the said English Tongue…. Hence it is, that when other Europians can not deliver their minds but by expressing one thing by one word, the English may do it Com-monly by two; Oftentimes by three or four.

As a microcosm of human linguistic diversity, English offered various choices in expressing a single thought. Pastorius's embrace of the English language might thus have been a compromise between the continuation of the form of linguistic diversity that requires a mediator or translator and a crystallization of this diversity in a single language. In English, speakers of other languages could still find a representation of their own heritage.33

Above all, Pastorius was so fascinated by the etymological multiplicity of the English language because it presented the best medium for his quest to express a single spiritual idea or concept in a variety of ways. His use of English allowed him to construct a polyphonic poetics and simultaneously advance a common, spoken language for the Pennsylvanian experiment. En-glish was akin to multilingualism and the wealth of nature in capturing the central paradox of spiritual unity from external diversity. In a poem from his book of gardening emblems, Deliciae Hortenses, he conjoins the multiplicity of language with the diversity of nature in a poetic whole extolling God:

  • (p.154) Non levis est Cespes, quin probet esse Deum.
  • In all wat groeyt
  • Godts Eere bloeyt.
  • Der bunten Blumen-pracht
  • Zeigt Gottes Wunder-macht.
  • Laudat et extollit quaelibet herba Deum.
  • Jedes Kraut sammt seinem Samen,
  • Lobt und preiset Gottes Nahmen.
  • [There is no grass so insignificant that it does not prove the existence of God.
  • In all that grows God's honor flourishes.
  • The colorful magnificence of the flowers shows God's wonderful power.
  • Every plant praises and extols God.
  • Every herb and all its seeds laud and praise the name of God.]

All languages and all of nature, Pastorius asserts, praise in unison the name of God. If God epitomized the unity of all things, then true faith could unify language. Pastorius found no difference between using multiple languages or a single language like English that still made visible its multiple linguis-tic origins. Either way, the apparent dualism between the many and the one collapsed entirely through faith in God and the evocation of nature as God's visible manifestation.34

The back and forth between actual linguistic multiplicity and the poly-phonic variety of English in Pastorius's poetry ultimately climaxed in the device of listing the seemingly limitless number of names for Jesus—the Word of God:

  • My Wisdom, way, Truth, righteousness, my Blessing, Strength and Peace….
  • Ye word, ye good and perfect Gift, ye true Light alone
  • Sufficient and marvellous, which does in all that blossom
  • Discern the very hidden Thoughts and Intents in their bosom.
  • The Lord, ye Prince, ye Govr. ye Prophet, head and Preacher,
  • Ye godly Shepherd of his Church, Guide, Counsellor and Teacher,
  • My high-Priest truely merciful, harmless and undefiled,
  • Melchisedec, by whom I am through bloodshed reconciled.
  • The Lamb of God and Passover for my sins sacrificed,
  • (p.155) A full Propitiation and Ransom greatly priced;
  • My Mediatour, Advocate and Intercessor there,
  • Where I with Zions Children once expect to have a Share.
  • Yea with ye well beloved Son and Image of the Father,
  • The brightness of his Majesty, the heir of all, or rather
  • JEHOVAH and Emmanuel, God Self for ever blessed,
  • Professed by the hypocrites, by Upright-ones possessed.
  • Thus much of ye Messias now, whom in good Confidence
  • (—who cleanses and who purifies my Soul and Conscience)
  • I call my dear and choicest Friend, my Bridegroom and my Brother,
  • My First and Last, mine All in All, JESUS and not another. DEUS meus et OMNIA!

Pastorius arranged this catalog of names to climax in the single name that comprises all the others: Jesus Christ. The diversity of all languages—whether expressed through one or many tongues—was always subsumed in Christ, the word made flesh, as the center of all faith and the end of all language.35

I DO NOT MEAN to fashion Pastorius as a proto-multiculturalist who pre-saged English as a common medium for an ethnically diverse nation. Yet the questions he addressed more than three hundred years ago are no less topi-cal today. As Pastorius's example demonstrates, the relationship between personal identity and language always had broad communal implications. For Pastorius, languages were at once an object of study, a plaything, and a means to insert himself into different communal and cultural settings. Of course, his often whimsical use of multilingualism hinted at the baroque love for excessive intellectualism. Yet, in the context of early Pennsylvania and his search for spiritual cohesion, the expression of the same thing or idea in several languages was also a yardstick for the development of a con-crete communal ethics. If different linguistic versions existed of the same concept, there had to be a common spiritual language that expressed all things perfectly.

In many ways, Pastorius's approach to the multiplicity of languages made the long-standing debate between the naturalist and conventionalist (p.156) theories of language irrelevant. Whether human languages indeed carried vestiges of an original, divinely inspired tongue or merely represented social and cultural constructs mattered little in the concrete, multilingual environ-ment of early Pennsylvania. Pastorius thus submerged theological and lin-guistic debates over linguistic multiplicity, perfect or universal languages, and linguistic reform in the encyclopedic portion of his manuscripts. In his poetry, he foregrounded the practical desire for spiritual unity and broth-erly love that had motivated him to settle in Pennsylvania. A common spiri-tual language, above all, emerged when disparate members of a community accepted differences and explored interpersonal, supralinguistic relation-ships and affinities. Instead of making a single, unified language a prerequi-site for communal cohesion, Pastorius demonstrated that different linguistic approaches provided access to the same spiritual knowledge.

In light of the Keithian controversy and other political, social, and reli-gious debates, English and German immigrants wondered how to apply the colony's original vision—the Philadelphian concept of a unified spiri-tual language and society—to concrete communal interaction. Pennsylvania seemed to have fallen prey to the same ills as Europe, particularly the in-cessant arguing over the dead letter of doctrine. Unfortunately, scholarship has too narrowly followed those commentators in colonial Pennsylvania and across the Atlantic who declared Penn's holy experiment a failure. Neverthe-less, Pennsylvania has also been stereotyped as the birthplace of pluralism in America. This disconnect stems from a failure to recognize and describe the ways in which Pennsylvanians adapted the ideals of seventeenth-century radical Protestantism to communal interaction in a fractured society. His-torians have largely missed the continuation and adaptation of the original dream of a common spiritual language as the foundation for a renovation of human society in the province because they have dismissed the spaces, mo-ments, relationships, and practices where it continued to thrive the most—in the transfer and translation of religious, communal, intellectual, and per-sonal ideals across differences in language, denomination, gender, and class.

In colonial Pennsylvania, the central means for creating community from disparate parts were translation and other tools of translingual and transcul-tural communication. The remaining chapters describe iconic moments and spheres of translation and translingualism that reapplied earlier visions of linguistic and spiritual unity to concrete communal relationships and crises in colonial Pennsylvania. The search for a common spiritual language did not thrive in spite of or next to political and religious divisiveness; rather, translation and multilingualism expressed the desire to mend factionalism, (p.157) partisanship, and communal acrimony. Though the on-the-ground effects of translation and multilingualism are difficult or impossible to measure, schemes for discovering or building a common spiritual idiom and thus a more harmonious community continued to flourish throughout the colonial period. (p.158)


(1) . Francis Daniel Pastorius, “Silvula Rhytmorum Germanopolitanorum,” in “Bee-Hive,” #38, MS Codex 726, Rare Book and Manuscript Library, University of Pennsylvania. Pastorius entitled his poetic miscellany within the larger “Bee-Hive” manuscript “Silvula Rhytmorum Germanopoli-tanorum,” that is, “A Little Forest of Verse from Germantown.” All entries within this section are numbered consecutively.

(2) . Jon Butler, “‘Gospel Order Improved’: The Keithian Schism and the Exercise of Quaker Min-isterial Authority in Pennsylvania,” William and Mary Quarterly, 3d Ser., XXXI (1974), 431–452; Butler, “Into Pennsylvania's Spiritual Abyss: The Rise and Fall of the Later Keithians, 1693–1703,” Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, CI (1977), 151–170; Butler, “Power, Authority, and the Origins of American Denominational Order: The English Churches in the Delaware Valley, 1680–1730,” American Philosophical Society, Transactions, LXVIII (1978), 32–39; Butler, “The Records of the First ‘American’ Denomination: The Keithians of Pennsylvania, 1694–1700,” PMHB, CXX (1996), 89–105; Edward J. Cody, “The Price of Perfection: The Irony of George Keith,” Pennsylvania History, XXXIX (1972), 1–19; J. William Frost, ed., The Keithian Controversy in Early Pennsylvania (Norwood, Pa., 1980); Frost, “Unlikely Controversialists: Caleb Pusey and George Keith,” Quaker History, LXIV (1975), 16–36; David L. Johns, “Convincement and Disillusionment: Printer William Bradford and the Keithian Controversy in Colonial Pennsylvania,” Journal of the Friends' Histori-cal Society, LVII (1994), 21–32; Clare J. L. Martin, “Controversy and Division in Post-Restoration Quakerism: The Hat, Wilkinson-Story, and Keithian Controversies and Comparisons with the In-ternal Divisions of Other Seventeenth-Century Non-Conformist Groups” (Ph.D. diss., Open Uni-versity, 2004); Andrew R. Murphy, Conscience and Community: Revisiting Toleration and Religious Dissent in Early Modern England and America (University Park, Pa., 2001); Gary B. Nash, Quakers and Politics, Pennsylvania, 1681–1726 (Boston, 1993); John Smolenski, Friends and Strangers: The Making of a Creole Culture in Colonial Pennsylvania (Philadelphia, 2010), 149–177.

(3) . See Hermann Wellenreuther, “The Quest for Harmony in a Turbulent World: The Principle of ‘Love and Unity’ in Colonial Pennsylvania Politics,” PMHB, CVII (1983), 537–576.

(4) . According to Frost (“Unlikely Controversialists,” Quaker History, LXIV [1975], 20–23), a group of scholars including Keith's biographer Ethyn Williams Kirby believes that the contro-versy was caused and spurred by Keith's obnoxious personality and his violation of personal bonds with other members of the community, especially prominent ministers such as Samuel Jennings and William Stockdale as well as Penn's lieutenant governor Thomas Lloyd. Another group, represented by Gary Nash, argues that existing political animosities between opponents and supporters of the proprietor William Penn spread to the religious realm, where accusations of religious heresy inten-sified earlier partisanship. Jon Butler, among others, argues that Keith's attacks sprang from his dis-content over the magisterial rule of Quaker ministers. Thus, the controversy was largely an expres-sion of disagreement over church polity and the power of the ministry. Frost himself argues that the central issue sparking the Keithian controversy was doctrinal. Specifically, the debate raged over the dual nature of Christ, with Keith alleging that most Quakers in Pennsylvania denied the physical re-turn of Christ after the resurrection. See Butler, “‘Gospel Order Improved,’” WMQ, 3d Ser., XXXI (1974), 431–452; Butler, “Into Pennsylvania's Spiritual Abyss,” PMHB, CI (1977), 151–170; “American Denominational Order,” APS, Trans., LXVIII (1978), 32–39; Butler, “Records of the First ‘American’ Denomination,” PMHB, CXX (1996), 89–105; Ethyn Williams Kirby, George Keith (1638–1716) (New York, 1942); Nash, Quakers and Politics, 144–180. On Lloyd, see David Haugaard, “Thomas Lloyd,” in Craig W. Horle et al., eds., Lawmaking and Legislators in Pennsylvania: A Biographical Dictio-nary, I, 1682–1709 (Philadelphia, 1991), 505–516.

(5) . Frost, Keithian Controversy, 27.

(6) . The term “orthodox” for the Quakers who did not follow Keith is very misleading. The Oxford English Dictionary (OED) defines “orthodox,” with regard to opinion or doctrine, as something “right, correct, in accordance with what is accepted or authoritatively established.” Following this definition, Keith intended to make the Quakers more orthodox, and his camp should be, strictly speaking, designated as “orthodox” because they tried to revive Quaker adherence to established Christian doctrine. Ultimately, the designation “orthodox Quakers” emphasizes Keith's actions as a form of apostasy from standard Quakerism, even if that standard was perceived to be unorthodox by many, including Keith. I continue to use the term “orthodox Quakers” for consistency with most existing scholarship.

William Bradford had originally been employed by Pennsylvania Friends to print their officially sanctioned publications. During the controversy, Bradford emphasized that he would publish the positions of both camps. Orthodox Quakers, however, demanded that he desist completely from publishing anything critical of their position.

(7) . Quoted in Butler, “American Denominational Order,” APS, Trans., LXVIII (1978), 39.

(8) . George Keith [and Thomas Budd], An Account of the Great Divisions amongst the Quakers in Pensilvania … (London, 1692), 5, 6; Johann Gotfried Seelig, Copia eines Send-Schreibens auß der neuen Welt … Germandon in Pennsylvania Americae d. 7. Aug. 1694 ([Halle and Frankfurt?], 1695), 9.

(9) . The manuscript “Gospel Order Improved” was first published as “Gospel Order and Disci-pline,” Journal of the Friends' Historical Society, X (1913), 70–76. See also Butler, “‘Gospel Order Improved,’” WMQ, 3d Ser., XXXII (1974), 435 n. 14.

(10) . Samuel Jennings, The State of the Case, Briefly but Impartially Given betwixt the People Called Quakers, in Pensilvania, etc. in America, Who Remain in Unity; and George Keith … (London, 1694), 13 (emphasis added); Frost, Keithian Controversy, 138. On the Quakers' use of and relationship to print culture in seventeenth-century England, see Kate Peters, Print Culture and the Early Quakers (Cambridge, 2005).

(11) . Keith [and Budd], Account of the Great Divisions, 5–6. The OED defines “babbling” as a “a confused murmur or noise, as of many voices heard at once.” Already guilty of “babbling,” the Quaker meeting would have deserved the related name “Babel” in three ways: as “a lofty structure; a visionary project” (Friends tried to build a perfect society), as “a scene of confusion; a noisy assem-bly,” and, finally, as “a confused medley of sounds; meaningless noise” (Shorter Oxford English Dictionary).

(12) . Keith [and Budd], Account of the Great Divisions, 8.

(13) . William Davis, Jesus the Crucified Man … ([Philadelphia], 1700), preface.

(14) . [Caleb Pusey], The Bomb Search'd and Found Stuff ‘d with False Ingredients … (Philadelphia, 1705), 13, 75. Also see [Pusey], Daniel Leeds, Justly Rebuked … (Philadelphia, 1702); [Pusey], Satan's Harbinger Encountered … (Philadelphia, 1700). For one of the first scholarly efforts to recover the importance of Caleb Pusey as Quaker writer and community leader, see John Smolenski, Friends and Strangers, 286–296.

(15) . D[aniel] L[eeds], The Great Mistery of Fox-craft Discovered … ([New York, 1705]), 1. Also see Leeds's earlier tract, News of a Trumpet Sounding in the Wilderness … (New York, 1697). The fol-lowing tract has been attributed to Leeds: [J.B. A. Protestant], News of a Strumpet Co-habiting in the Wilderness … ([New York?], 1701).

(16) . [Pusey], Bomb Search'd, 76.

(17) . For a list of Quakers associated with the Keithians, see Frost, Keithian Controversy, 371–375. The records of the Pennepek Baptist Church state: “William Davis, with one Henry Bernard Koster a Germane, and some more made up a kinde of Society, did Break bread, Lay on hands, washed one anothers feet, and were about having A Community of Goods. But in a little time they disagreed, and broke to pieces” (quoted in Butler, “Into Pennsylvania's Spiritual Abyss,” PMHB, CI [1977], 160).

(18) . Francis Daniel Pastorius, Henry Bernhard Koster, William Davis, Thomas Rutter, and Thomas Bowyer, Four Boasting Disputers of This World Briefly Rebuked, and Answered according to Their Folly, Which They Themselves Have Manifested in a Late Pamphlet, Entituled, Advice for All Professors and Writers ([New York, 1697]), 1–3. No copy of the pamphlet published by Köster et al. is extant; ac-cording to Pastorius, it was published in both English and German.

(19) . Ibid., 5, 13–14. Pastorius is referring to the disputes over the legitimacy of water baptism among Davis and Köster's group. See Butler, “Into Pennsylvania's Spiritual Abyss,” PMHB, CI (1977), 161–166.

(20) . Pastorius, Ein Send-Brieff offenhertziger Liebsbezeugung an die so genannte Pietisten in Hoch-Teutschland (Amsterdam, 1697).

(21) . Pastorius, Ein Send-Brieff, 10 (“Dann ob schon dieses von vielen Lutheranern, [als in welcher Religion ich gebohren und erzogen worden], vor unmüglich gehalten wird, so wissen jedennoch die so genannte Quäker, daß sonder diß es nicht müglich, ein rechtschaffener Jünger Christi zu seyn”), 11 (“Und wünschte ich hertzlich, daß ihr und alle meine geliebte, umb ihre Seligkeit bekümmerte Landsleut dero Bücher in unserer Mutter Sprach haben und lesen möchtet”).

(22) . Pastorius, Ein Send-Brieff, 11–12 (emphasis added). The complete passage in the German original reads: “Weilen aber diesselbe in Englisch, und (so viel mir bewust ist) nur einige wenige Tractätlein ins Teutsche übersetzet sind, weise ich euch vors erste dahin, und unter solchen zu ged. Robert Barclays Catechism und so intitulirter Apologia; haubtsächlich aber zu dem eingepflantzten Wort Gottes, von welchem beedes alle gute Wörter und heilsame Lehren, als auch gnugsame Krafft unsere Seelen seelig zu machen entspringen und herrühren. Wolten die Menschen diesem ihnen so nah, in dero Hertzen und Mund schwebenden Wort einst gebührlich Gehör geben und folgen, würde alles Schuhlgezänck, Wortkrieg, und Lästerung bald ein End gewinnen.” See also Jacob Boehme, Sämtliche Schriften (1730), ed. Will-Erich Peuckert, 11 vols. (Stuttgart, 1955–1960), VII, 261.

(23) . Pastorius, “Ship-Mate-Ship: An Omer Full of Manna, for Mary, Rachel, Hannah, the Daugh-ters of Brave Lloyd, by Brave Men Now Enjoy'd,” composition book, 5, Pastorius Papers, Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia; Pastorius, “Bee-Hive,” 108.

(24) . For a discussion of Pastorius's elite European education, see Marion Dexter Learned, The Life of Francis Daniel Pastorius, the Founder of Germantown (Philadelphia, 1908), 50–115; DeElla Victoria Toms, “The Intellectual and Literary Background of Francis Daniel Pastorius” (Ph.D diss., North-western University, 1953), 32–65; John David Weaver, “Franz Daniel Pastorius (1651–c.1720): Early Life in Germany with Glimpses of His Removal to Pennsylvania” (Ph.D. diss., University of Califor-nia, Davis, 1985), 184–264. For references to Pastorius's travels and education in his own work, see Circumstantial Geographical Description of Pennsylvania, trans. Gertrude Selwyn Kimball, in Albert Cook Myers, Narratives of Early Pennsylvania, West New Jersey, and Delaware (New York, 1912), 361–363 (“Preface”), 429–430 (letter to his father, Mar. 1, 1697); “Genealogia Pastoriana,” in “Bee-Hive,” 221–226; “Kurtzer Lebens Lauff,” in “Res Propriae,” 5–12, Pastorius Papers. For Pastorius's thesis, see Pastorius, Disputatio Inauguralis … (Altdorf, 1676). For various interpretations of Pas-torius's multilingual poetics, especially within a baroque aesthetics, see Christoph E. Schweitzer, “Introduction,” in Francis Daniel Pastorius, Deliciae Hortenses; or, Garden-Recreations and Volup-tates Apianae, ed. Schweitzer (Columbia, S.C., 1982), 5; Schweitzer, “Excursus: German Baroque Literature in Colonial America,” in Gerhart Hoffmeister, ed., German Baroque Literature: The Euro-pean Perspective (New York, 1983), 178–193; Schweitzer, “Francis Daniel Pastorius, the German-American Poet,” Yearbook of German-American Studies, XVIII (1983), 21–28. For a general study on the literary aesthetics of the time, see Robert M. Browning, German Baroque Poetry, 1618–1723 (Uni-versity Park, Pa., 1971).

(25) . Pastorius, “Silvula Rhytmorum,” in “Bee-Hive,” #48.

(26) . Pastorius's library in Pennsylvania included three volumes by Comenius, including John Robotham's English translation of the Janua Linguarum Reserata. See Pastorius, “Res Propriae,” Pastorius Papers; Learned, Life of Pastorius, 280. In the “Bee-Hive,” Pastorius included lengthy lists of Quaker and non-Quaker writers he had consulted in assembling the manuscript. The bib-liography for “non-Quakers” lists several references to Comenius's linguistic work. See Lyman W. Riley, “Books from the ‘Beehive’ Manuscript of Francis Daniel Pastorius,” Quaker History, LXXXIII (1994), 116–129. Also see Alfred L. Brophy, “The Quaker Bibliographic World of Francis Daniel Pas-torius,” PMHB, CXXII (1998), 241–291; Walter W. Woodward, Prospero's America: John Winthrop, Jr., Alchemy, and the Creation of New England Culture, 1606–1676 (Chapel Hill, N.C., 2010), 58.

(27) . Pastorius, “Bee-Hive,” 7 (n.b. variant pagination of title pages). The most frequent languages Pastorius used in his “Bee-Hive” are English and German, followed by Dutch and Latin. English, German, and Dutch were the three main languages used in Pastorius's late-seventeenth- and early-eighteenth-century Pennsylvania. Latin and French were used as learned or genteel languages for communication among scholars and social elites in late humanistic Europe, and Pastorius's use of these languages reflects this status to a certain degree (for example, in his communication with William Penn in French). Pastorius used all seven languages for the kind of multilingual or bilingual meditations on similar spiritual or intellectual points throughout his “Bee-Hive”; my analysis focuses on English and German because they are the most frequent and because they parallel my discussions of translingual relationships between speakers of both languages throughout this book. This focus is not designed to privilege these two languages in any way from a present-day perspective. See below for Pastorius's own favoring of English as the lingua franca of Pennsylvania.

(28) . Pastorius, “Bee-Hive,” 3 (the English text in brackets is my translation). See Matt. 7:12.

(29) . Pastorius, “Silvula Rhytmorum,” in “Bee-Hive,” #38.

(30) . Ibid.

(31) . Ibid., #9.

(32) . Pastorius, “Bee-Hive,” 55.

(33) . Ibid., 50; Francis Daniel Pastorius, “Alphabetical Hive” (encyclopedic commonplace book), in “Bee-Hive,” #1382.

(34) . Pastorius, Deliciae Hortenses, ed. Schweitzer, 58 (translations by Schweitzer).

(35) . Pastorius, “Canticum, or an Hymn of the Beloved of My Soul,” in “Silvula Rhytmorum,” in “Bee-Hive.” See August Hermann Francke's list of seventy-five “names” or titles the Bible gives Christ in his Christus der Kern heiliger Schrifft (Francke, Schriften zur Biblischen Hermeneutik I, ed. Erhard Peschke [Berlin, 2003], 313–322).