Skip to comments.Benjamin Franklin translated works in German and French
Posted on 04/20/2013 7:36:49 AM PDT by ProgressingAmerica
He even helped to establish a German-language College. Benjamin Rush, with financial assistance from Dr. Franklin, established Franklin College in Lancaster, Pa.: (Translation Studies Reader, by Lawrence Venuti, page 454)
In Pennsylvania alone, there were enough German speakers that Benjamin Franklin thought of publishing his first newspaper, the Philadelphische Zeitung(1732), in that language, and another Founding Father, Benjamin Rush, even put forth the idea of establishing German-language colleges.
In 1787, Benjamin Rush wrote about this in his "Letter Describing the Consecration of the German College at Lancaster in June, 1787", though I was unable to find a version readily readable online. It's clear enough: German College means German language. The reference to Franklin's paper above brings me to the meat of the topic. In Alan Craig Houston's "Benjamin Franklin and the Politics of Improvement", the following is written: (page 138)
Prior to the Seven Years' War, Pennsylvania Germans resisted assimilation. They supported German printing houses, patronized German stores, and taught their children in German. Christopher sauer - the man who drove Franklin's German-language paper, the Philadelphische Zietung, out of business - "assaulted all proposals that hinted at closer English-German union in religious or political affairs in Pennsylvania." Sauer had "one simple lesson" he "hammered home" : "Support the Quakers and avoid courts, lawyers, politics, and unnecessary involvement with English-speakers that might endanger our language, our families and customs, and our faith."
Franklin's ire at German immigrants began to crystallize in 1747, when they refused to heed his call to join the Association. Franklin had praised "the brave and steady Germans." And he had translated, printed, and distributed a German-language edition of Plain Truth. But it was to no avail; his campaign was immediately countered by Sauer, and very few Germans took the oath of engagement. Their reasoning-that if they remained neutral, then it did not matter whether the British or the French governed the colony-disturbed Franklin.
And again on page 139:
By the early 1750s, parliamentarians and members of the metropolitan elite solicited Franklin's views on German immigration. Manuscript copies of the Observations were eagerly read and discussed. In private correspondence Franklin embraced proposals to establish free English schools in German communities, to require that all legal documents be written in English, and to require that all public officials be competent speakers of English.
Franklin would write by his own hand, to Peter Collinson by the mid 1750's:
With regard to the Germans, I think Methods of great tenderness should be used, and nothing that looks like a hardship be imposed. Their fondness for their own Language and Manners is natural: It is not a Crime. When People are induced to settle a new Country by a promise of Privileges, that Promise should be bonâ fide performed, and the Privileges never infringed: If they are, how shall we be believed another time, when we want to People another Colony?
The most interesting observation, at least to me at this moment, is how the Founders(in this instance, Dr. Franklin) used the schools as a way to help Americanize immigrants. Foster unity over diversity, which is the exact opposite of how progressives use the schools today. I have little doubt that Benjamin Rush's ideal was the same for Franklin College: assimilation and fostering the distinct American culture.
Regarding Franklin's translations into French - from "Benjamin Franklin: An American Life", by Walter Isaacson, the following is written: (page 370)
Franklin used his bagatelles as a way to improve his language skills; he would translate them back and forth, show them to friends like the Abbe de la Roche, and then incorporate corrections. He wrote his famous story about paying too much for a whistle as a child, for example, in two columns, the left in French and the right in English, with space in the margins for revisions. Because Madame Brillon spoke no English, Franklin sent her the French versions of his writings, often showing her the corrections others had made.
Francis Marion translated British into ‘gurgle, gurgle’ ~ quite adept with ye olde hatchet!
I am looking for any book written in German that tells the true story of the bamster. I go to Amazon.de and none of the books we conservatives are familiar with are listed there.
All the books are either his own two books or pro-bamster books.
I wish Dinesh D’Souza’s book or film was in a German version.
I need to straighten out some relatives I have over there.
Lots of Germans from the colonial period, mostly in the mountainous regions from PA through VA. What is known as the KY rifle is actually the PA rifle, as it was PA German (not Amish) gunsmiths who developed this firearm.
I didn’t know they were so stubborn. Later USA immigrants didn’t seem to be so, thus do I think we never hear about our huge German roots in our American culture.
But there are a lot of us here. Michigan and much of the Midwest is primarily of German descent. I grew up in a town called Hanover (MI.) after Hanover Germany. There is also a Hanover in PA. and another in IA..
I can’t think of a single German-speaking Loyalist down here in NC. There were several notable Patriots with the majority remaining studiously neutral, rendering medical aid and providing spritual assistance to all who needed it.
Survived the indian wars that way, the Cherokee knew them as the kind Dutch fort people with much bread. Surrounding English settlements weren’t so inclined to peaceable coexistence and were thus perceived as enemies. The fort was there to protect settlers until the raid subsided, mostly English settlers.
My direct paternal line fifth great grandfather was of those English but he married a German (German speaking but of Alsatian origin by way of Pennsylvania). His neighbor Joseph Winston had a “blockhouse” that served the same purpose as the fort, protection from raids, but it couldn’t accomodate everybody when the Cherokee came a-calling again.
So, those who couldn’t be accomodated in the blockhouse fled to Bethabara, to the paling fort, to the German speaking Moravians who regarded them with a little disdain, thought they were spritually dead actually, but helped them anyway as they were commanded by God to do it. Tbey regarded their relationship to governments similarly. Render unto Caesar.
New Hanover County, NC. The famous Plott Bear Hound is descended from the Hanoverian Hound.
ping for later
Long before that, beginning in 1638 and lasting until the 1700s, Scandinavians by the boatload were sent to America to the British colonies to do work related to naval stores (pine tar, lumber, metal mining). That first group are actually the largest simply because their ancestors arrived so early, but they are little known. For the majority of them today they frequently misidentify their own surnames as of German origin, or just 'plain American'.
A great example is the Lancaster county PA experience. First settled in the 1600s by Swedes, Finns and Sa'ami, by 1700 they all relocated to York county PA on the other side of the river to get away from the Quakers who were attempting to convert them from Lutheranism by force.
The Quakers in short order began importing Germans to do the work in Lancaster county. Later, other Germans from various communal orders came there and replaced the original German farmers and Quaker landowners.
Doing genealogy on any early Pennsylvania ancestor is very difficult if he has a Germanic name ~ or what you think is just a misspelled Germanic name. Hovås is a good example. Three generations down the road most Hovås ancestors spelled it Hovis and 7 generations down some of them got the idea it was Hofius.
They imagine it to be German yet it started out as a common Swedish name.
You realize that was fiction, don’t you?
Manuel McConnell ~ one of the ancestors, was with him from beginning to end. I think they used his pension application in the background of the script ~ see: http://revwarapps.org/s2773.pdf
I’m talking about the hatchet thing (though your joke was pretty funny).
The RevWar/Colonial History/General Washington ping list
1812 on the Indiana frontier ~ “What must she
do ? At this critical moment the baby began crying and the poor
mother hastilv stuffed a corner of her woolen shawl into its
mouth. Baby-like it reimlsed this and noise issued. Suddenly
the Indians stopped as if they had heard a sound. Can we for a
moment imagine how long time must have been to this over-bur-
dened, over-anxious, helpless mother? One minute was an eter-
nitv while the Indians passed out of sight. When she wnthdrew
her hand the child was silent, was motionless, yea dead.” ~ That was my 3 times Great Grandmother ~ the baby ~ but she survived ~ the narrative of the thread is driven by ancient Indo-European story telling requirements ~ into which are dropped real names and places. Another gentleman, also an ancestor, married to a Collins (or Khalins) sister kills 7 Indians with one blow of his razor sharp hatchet. All in the family history called The Collings-Richie Book (also Collins-Ritchy). It’s not on the net but this is http://www.archive.org/stream/historyofpigeonr00cole/historyofpigeonr00cole_djvu.txt
Actually Germans are the biggest immigration group ever, from colonial all the way through at least c. 1900. I don’t know why no one notices such a huge population, maybe partly what you mention, but Germans never seemed to make much over themselves. Never made waves, per se.
My family is very German both sides. Mother again recounted today how anti-German people were from WWI, but not so much WWII. Her family had a local meat-packing plant and they experienced much more boycotting, etc in WWI than the latter. Mom lived through the latter albeit very young, and never felt prejudice.
The Boone family split over the idea of settling Indiana, so the local Boones in this area are not Daniel Boone descendants, but most of them also have an ancestor among a competing settlement company operated by James Harrod.
These folks were on the rawest of the raw frontiers in America during wartime and found themselves fighting the British ~ along the Ohio and its tributaries. As part of the treaty ending the Revolution the Brits had been allowed to maintain forts in the Indiana territory for the purpose of protecting their interests in the fur trade. Here they were using the forts to provision the Indians to attack women, children and other civilians as part of a war.
You go anywhere in that area and you can easily dig up a modicum of sheer hatred for the British and disgust for their ways. Really stands out too.