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Appendix E. Proclamation Concerning Slavery

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Appendix E:

Proclamation Concerning Slavery

(Frankfurter Journal, No. 196, July 17, 1844, reproduced in SolmsBraunfels Archives (transcripts) V, 207, 208.)

“The rejection by the Senate and House of Representatives of the

United States of North America of the bill to annex Texas confers to the Society for the Protection of German Emigrants in Texas a greater hope for a favorable prospect . . . [discussion of England and France’s efforts to abolish slavery] . . . From this fact alone it is therefore no more than natural to expect complete support in every respect from the English as well as the French governments as the society undertakes to establish a colony of free German farmers in Texas with the complete exclusion of slavery, and we can document from authentic sources that we have received firm assurances in this matter.

“If Texas remains an independent country, then the abolition of slavery depends solely on the prospect of large numbers of free citizens being settled therein, who in heart and soul are opposed to slavery and who through the nature of their obligations bind themselves to not tolerate slavery in their settlements. The exclusion of all forms of labor based on slavery will be the guiding principle of the society, which is well aware, that it would dishonor itself in the eyes

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Chapter 1. The Adelsverein

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tic influence and poised to counterbalance the growing commercial and military dominance of the United States in the New World. Many individuals, likewise, pinned their hopes on the new republic: they dreamed of getting rich by speculating in cheap Texas lands or they aspired to create a fresh life in a wide open land frequently portrayed as a new Garden of Eden.

Germany, by contrast, appeared as a place of little or no opportunity.

Its intelligent, vigorous, and growing population had no outlet for their energy; no possibility for betterment in their homeland. This brought about a frustration and despair that cut across class lines from peasant farmers to the upper nobility. A massive exodus from Central Europe resulted, and the destination was, in the main, North America.

In the spring of 1842, twenty German noblemen and one noblewoman met at the residence of Adolph Duke of Nassau in Biebrich on the Rhine.2 They endeavored to fashion a program of important national significance whereby the opportunities of Texas would supply an antidote to the frustrations of Germany. In so doing they sought to enhance the prestige of the German nobility and also to increase their personal wealth by speculating in cheap Texas lands. In scope and audacity, the plan they eventually adopted holds a unique place in the history of emigration to the New World.

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Appendix D. Slave Inventories

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Chapter 4. Germany and Texas in 1843 and 1844

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Chapter 4

Germany and Texas in 1843 and 1844

Decisions reached in Germany in 1843 put the Society on a path that would lead to financial disaster and relegate the plantation to a supporting role. Carl Count of Castell had his sights set much higher than a plantation, or a string of them, and he set about to insure that the Society adopted his vision. The plantation encompassed a little more than four thousand acres; a land grant amounted to hundreds of thousands of acres. Like gold fever, this was a mighty temptation, which clouded his judgment. Several letters by various members of the nobility testify to the count’s active involvement working behind the scenes to promote the Society. His friend, Carl Prince of SolmsBraunfels, supported him in his program.1

His efforts bore fruit in the second general assembly, which convened in Biebrich June 18 and 19, 1843, amidst an atmosphere of great optimism.2 All the initial subscriptions had been covered.

The program had, in fact, met with such enthusiasm that the list was expanded to thirty shares. Ten members attended, several with the power of attorney to act on behalf of others. Count Castell, for example, was empowered to vote for five other members.3 In the absence of Christian Leiningen, the founder and nominal president, Count

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Chapter 12. Nassau-Rosenberg

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business careers, rising to positions of prominence. As a group they were also extremely civic-minded. They established schools, churches, and clubs in many communities across the state.

They were also prime participants in an unpleasant but fascinating episode concerning the plantation; they left an extensive record of their move to and assimilation in their new country; and, finally, their presence in the Round Top area acted as a magnet to other educated Germans so that the small town and surrounding community eventually emerged as one of the more refined German settlements in Texas.1

The record they left is generally in the form of letters; most, but not all, translated and published by the family.2 Collectively, this correspondence offers a rich, absorbing, and multifaceted record of the trials and tribulations, as well as the simple joys and pleasures, of frontier (or quasi-frontier) life in Texas in the 1850s with particular reference to Nassau Plantation. Additionally, Amanda

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