|Excerpts From "The History of Friedrich the Great" by Thomas Carlyle
|For three years past there has been much rumor over Germany, of a strange affair going on in the
remote Austrian quarter, down in Salzburg and its fabulous Tyrolese valleys. Salzburg, city and
territory, has an Archbishop, not theoretically Austrian, but sovereign Prince so styled; it is from him
and his orthodoxies, and pranks with his sovereign crosier, that the noise originates. Strange rumor of
a body of the population discovered to be Protestant among the remote Mountains, and getting
miserably ill-used, by the Right Reverend Father in those parts. It is well known there was extensive
Protestantism once in those countries. Prior to the Thirty-Years War, the fair chance was Austria too
would all become Protestant; Salzburg Country is one of those nooks;
An extensive Crypto-Protestantism lodging, under the simple slouch-hats, in the remote
valleys..Protestantism peaceably kept concealed, hurting nobody; wholesomely forwarding the
wooden-clock manufacture, and arable or grazier husbandries, of those poor people. More harmless
sons of Adam, probably, did not breathe the vital air, than those dissentient Salzburgers; generation
after generation of them giving offence to no creature.
Successive Archbishops had known of this Crypto-Protestantism, and in remote periods had made
occasional slight attempts upon it; but none at all for a long time past. All attempts that way, as
ineffectual for any purpose but stirring up strife, had been discontinued for many generations; and
the Crypto-Protestantism was again become a mythical romantic object, ignored by Official persons.
However, in 1727, there came a new Archbishop, one "Firmian", Count Firmian by secular quality,
of a strict lean character, zealous rather than wise; who had brought his orthodoxies with him in a
rigid and very lean form. Right Reverend Firmian had not been long in Salzburg till he smelt out the
Crypto-Protestantism, and determined to haul it forth from the mythical condition into the practical;
and in fact, to see his law-beagles there worry it to death as they ought.
Hence the rumors that had risen over Germany, in 1729: Law-terriers penetrating into human
cottages in those remote Salzburg valleys, smelling out some German Bible or devout Book, making
lists of Bible-reading cottagers; haling them to the Right Reverend Father- in-God; thence to prison,
since they would not undertake to cease reading. With fine, with confiscation, tribulation: for the
peaceable Salzburgers, respectful creatures, doffing their slouch- hats almost to mankind in general,
were entirely obstinate in that matter of the Bible. "Cannot, your Reverence; must not, dare not!"
and went to prison or whithersoever rather; a wide cry rising, Let us sell our possessions and leave
Salzburg then, according to Treaty of Westphalia. "Treaty of Westphalia? Leave Salzburg?" shrieked
the Right Reverend Father: "Are we getting into open mutiny, then? Open extensive mutiny!"
shrieked he. Borrowed a couple of Austrian regiments,--Kaiser and we always on the pleasantest
terms,--and marched the most refractory of his Salzburgers over the frontiers (retaining their
properties and families); whereupon noise rose louder and louder.....
Friedrich Wilhelm writes to the Kaiser; to the King of England, King of Denmark;--orders
preparations to be made in Preussen, vacant messages to be surveyed, moneys to be laid up;--bids
his man at the Regensburg Diet signify, That unless this thing is rectified, his Prussian Majesty will
see himself necessitated to take effectual steps: "reprisals" the first step, according to the old method
of his Prussian Majesty. Rumor of the Salzburg Protestants rises higher and higher. Kaiser intent on
conciliating every CORPUS, Evangelical and other, for his Pragmatic Sanction's sake, admonishes
Right Reverend Firmian; intimates at last to him, That he will actually have to let those poor people
emigrate if they demand it; Treaty of Westphalia being express.
"Emigrate, says your Imperial Majesty? Well, they shall emigrate," answers Firmian; "the sooner the
better!" And straightway, in the dead of winter, marches, in convenient divisions, some nine hundred
of them over the frontiers: "Go about your business, then; emigrate--to the Old One, if you
like!"--"And our properties, our goods and chattels?" ask they.--"Be thankful you have kept your
skins. Emigrate, I say.!" And the poor nine hundred had to go out, in the rigor of winter, "hoary old
men among them, and women coming near their time;" and seek quarters in the wide world mostly
unknown to them.
......Those poor ousted Salzburgers cower into the Bavarian cities, till the weather mend, and his
Prussian Majesty's arrangements be complete for their brethren and them. His Prussian Majesty has
been maturing his plans, all this while gathering moneys, getting lands ready. We saw him hanging
Schlubhut in the autumn of 1731, who had peculated from said moneys; and surveying Preussen,
under storms of thunder and rain on one occasion. Preussen is to be the place for these people; Tilsit
and Memel region, same where the big Fight of Tannenberg and ruin of the Teutsch Ritters took
place: in that fine fertile Country there are homes got ready for this Emigration out of Salzburg.
And so, February 2,1732, Friedrich Wilhelm's first lot of Emigrants, near a thousand strong; and
fairly takes the road with them.......
A long road and a strange: above five hundred miles before we get to Halle, within Prussian land;
and then seven hundred more to our place there, in the utmost East. Men, women, infants and hoary
grandfathers are here; most of their property sold, still on ruinous conditions. Their poor bits of
preciosities and heirlooms they have with them; made up in succinct bundles, stowed on ticketed
baggage-wains; some have their own poor cart and horse, to carry the too old and the too young,
those that cannot walk.
Glimpse FIRST is of an Emigrant Party arriving in the cold February days of 1732, at Nordlingen,
Protestant Free-Town in Bavaria: three hundred of them; first section, I think, of those nine hundred
who were packed away unceremoniously by Firmian last winter, and have been wandering about
Bavaria, lodging "in Kaufbeuern" and various preliminary Towns, till the Prussian arrangements
Prussian Commissaries are, by this time, got to Donauworth; but these poor Salzburgers are ahead
of them, wandering under the voluntary principle as yet. Nordlingen, in Bavaria, is an old Imperial
Free-Town; Protestantism not suppressed there; scene of some memorable fighting in the
Thirty-Years War, especially of a bad defeat to the Swedes and Bernhard of Weimar, the worst they
had in the course of that bad business. The Salzburgers are in number three hundred and thirty-one;
time, "first days of February, 1732, weather very cold and raw." The charitable Protestant Town has
been expecting such an advent.
Two chief Clergymen, and the Schoolmaster and Scholars, with some hundreds of citizens and
many young people went out to meet them; there, in the open field, stood the Salzburgers, with
their wives and their little ones, with their bullock- carts and baggage- wains," pilgriming towards
unknown parts of the Earth. "'Come in, ye blessed of the Lord! Why stand ye without?' said the
Parson solemnly, by way of welcome; and addressed a Discourse to them," devout and yet human,
true every word of it, enough to draw tears from any Fassmann that were there;
On their getting to the Anspach Territory, there was so incredible a joy at the arrival of these exiled
Brothers in the Faith (GLAUBENS-BRUDER) that in all places, almost in the smallest hamlets, the
bells were set a-tolling; and nothing was heard but a peal of welcome from far and near. Prussian
Commissary, when about quitting Anspach, asked leave to pass through Bamberg; Bishop of
Bamberg, too orthodox a gentleman, declined; so the Commissary had to go by Nurnberg and
Baireuth. Ask not if his welcome was good, in those Protestant places. At Erlangen, fifteen miles
from Nurnberg, where are French Protestants and a Dowager Margravine of Baireuth, the Serene
Dowager snatched up fifty of them into her own House; and Burghers of means had twelve, fifteen
and even eighteen of them, following such example set.
Nay certain French Citizens, prosperous and childless, besieged the Prussian Commissary to allow
them a few Salzburg children for adoption; especially one Frenchman was extremely urgent and
specific: but the Commissary, not having any order, was obliged to refuse. These must have been
interesting days for the two young Margravines; forwarding Papa's poor pilgrims in that manner.
At Baireuth, other side of Nurnberg, it was towards Good Friday when the Pilgrims under their
Commissarius arrived. They were lodged in the villages about, but came copiously into the Town;
came all in a body to Church on Good Friday; and at coming out, were one and all carried off to
dinner, a very scramble arising among the Townsfolk to get hold of Pilgrims and dine them. Vast
numbers were carried to the Schloss
From Donauworth, by Anspach, Nurnberg, Baireuth, through Gera, Zeitz, Weissenfels, to Halle,
where they are on Prussian ground, and within few days of Berlin. Other Towns, not upon the first
straight route to Berlin, demand to have a share in these grand things; share is willingly conceded:
thus the Pilgrims, what has its obvious advantages, march by a good variety of routes. Through
Augsburg, Ulm (instead of Donauworth), thence to Frankfurt; from Frankfurt some direct to Leipzig:
Some through Cassel, Hanover, Brunswick, by Halberstadt and Magdeburg instead of Halle. Starting
all at Salzburg, landing all at Berlin; their routes spread over the Map of Germany.....
April 21st, 1732, the first actual body, a good nine hundred strong, got to Halle where they were
received with devout jubilee, psalm-singing, spiritual and corporeal refection, as at Nordlingen and
the other stages; "Archidiaconus Franke" being prominent in it. They were lodged in the Waisenhaus
(old Franke's orphan house);
Official List of them was drawn up here, and, after three days, they took the road again for Berlin.
Useful Buchholz, then a very little boy, remembers the arrival of a Body of these Salzburgers, not
this but a later one in August, which passed through his native Village, Pritzwalk in the Priegnitz:
How village and village authorities were all awake, with opened stores and hearts; how his Father,
the Village Parson, preached at five in the afternoon.
|It was the 30th April, 1732 that this first body of Salzburg Emigrants, 900 strong, arrived at Berlin;
four in the afternoon, at the Brandenburg Gate; Official persons, nay Majesty himself, or perhaps
both Majesties, waiting there to receive them. Yes, ye poor footsore mortals, there is the dread King
himself; stoutish short figure in blue uniform and white wig, straw-colored waistcoat, and white
gaiters; stands uncommonly firm on his feet; reddish, blue-reddish face, with eyes that pierce through
a man: look upon him, and yet live if you are true men.
His Majesty's reception of these poor people could not but be good; nothing now wanting in the
formal kind. But better far, in all the essentialities of it, there had not been hitherto, nor was
henceforth, the least flaw. This Salzburg Pilgrimage has found for itself, and will find, regulation,
guidance, ever a stepping-stone at the needful place; a paved road, so far as human regularity and
punctuality could pave one. That is his Majesty's shining merit. Next Sunday, after sermon, they [this
first lot of Salzburgers] were publicly catechised in church; and all the world could hear their
pertinent answers, given often in the very Scripture texts, or express words of Luther.
His Majesty more than once took survey of these Pilgrimage Divisions, when they got to Berlin. A
pleasant sight, if there were leisure otherwise. On various occasions, too, her Majesty had large
parties of them over to Monbijou, to supper there in the fine gardens; and "gave them Bibles," among
other gifts, if in want of Bibles through Firmian's industry.
Her Majesty was Charity itself, Charity and Grace combined, among the Pilgrims. On one occasion
she picked out a handsome young lass among them, and had Painter Pesne over to take her portrait.
Handsome lass, by Pesne, in her Tyrolese Hat, shone thenceforth on the walls of Monbijou, and
fashion thereupon took up the Tyrolese Hat, which has been much worn since by the beautiful part
of the Creation, says Buchholz; but how many changes they have introduced in it no pen can trace.*
At Berlin the Commissarius ceased and there was usually given them a Candidatus Theologiae, who
was to conduct them the rest of the way, and be their Clergyman when once settled.
* Lovely 18 year old Elizabeth Oberpüchler was one of a family of 11 children who had fled their mountain homeland.
Her portrait is on the page entitled "Pesne"
500 long miles still. Some were shipped at Stettin; mostly they marched, stage after stage,--four
groschen a day. At the farther end they found all ready; tight cottages, tillable fields, all implements
furnished, and stock, even to Chanticleer with a modicum of Hens.
Old neighbors, and such as liked each other, were put together: fields grew green again, desolate
scrubs and scrags yielding to grass and corn. Wooden clocks even came to view,--for Berchtesgaden
neighbors also emigrated; and Swiss came, and Bavarians and French: and old trades were revived in
those new localities.
It cost Friedrich Wilhelm enormous sums, say the Old Histories; probably "ten TONS OF GOLD,"
that is to say, ten hundred thousand thalers; almost 150,000 pounds, no less! But he lived to see it
amply repaid, even in his own time; how much more amply since; We have only to add or repeat,
that Salzburgers to the number of about 7,000 souls arrived at their place this first year; and in the
year or two following, less noted by the public, but faring steadily forward upon their four groschen
a day, 10,000 more. Friedrich Wilhelm would have gladly taken the whole; "but George II. took a
certain number," say the Prussian Books (George II., or pious Trustees instead of him), "and settled
them at Ebenezer in Virginia," read, Ebenezer IN GEORGIA, where General Oglethorpe was busy
founding a Colony. There at Ebenezer I calculate they might go ahead, too, after the questionable
fashion of that country, and increase and swell; but have never heard of them since."
|Above: The King, Monbijou and Stettin Below: Onlookers watch the Exiles pass through Leipzig
|Above: The Exiles pass through Nordlingen
|THE SALZBURGERS: EAST PRUSSIA