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The German Emigrants title pages


Preparations for a Voyage.  Taking leave of home.

"In the spring of the year 1851 there was an unusual stir and bustle in the village of Joachimsthal.  The rage for emigration and a restless longing to try their luck and perhaps make a fortune beyond the seas, had attained a height bordering on frenzy amongst the good folks inhabiting that part of the country where the village lay.  The greater portion of the villagers had sold their houses and farms, and inscribed their names as emigrants, according to legal enactment.  Neither the paternal remonstrances of the grey-headed minister, nor the brotherly advice of the schoolmaster, a man in the prime of life, could avail to shake their resolution.  The excitement was daily gaining ground to such an extent, that the agent of an American Emigration Company was welcomed and honored as a special messenger sent by providence.  Such a one it was who had taken up his abode in the house of farmer Traugott Wohlgemuth, who was more infatuated than anybody else with everything American, and heeded neither wife or child.

Wohlgemuth had been very well off in the world.  He was reckoned an excellent farmer and brick-maker and had formerly been a miner, and would have been considered a most worthy man by the whole parish, but for one failing, which was the being of a litigious disposition.  This propensity had cost him a deal of money, and had entangled him in the outbreaks during the year 1849.  He did not see that he was himself in the wrong, but grumbled, and determined to leave his native country.  His persuasions won over his wife Marie and all his neighbours to adopt his views.  He sold his farm for less than its value, and we now find him spending the last day in his house, which is already sold.  Having talked till she was tired, his wife was weak enough to follow him unconditionally, while his only child, the boy Fred, was quite delighted at the thoughts of the voyage.

Fred was eleven years old, and a pretty, lively, healthy looking child, but rather greedy and froward.  He did not get on much with his book, at school, but he was very handy at all light kinds of work, such as basket weaving, netting, and so forth--and he had learnt to beat the drum from the village watchman.

The hour for bidding farewell to their native place had now come.  The emigrants went to church for the last time, and received the minister's blessing, many of them shedding tears all the while.

Last of all Fred went to see his godfather, the clergyman, who dismissed him with this piece of advice: 'Let God be ever before your eyes and in your heart.'

The coaches and horses stood in readiness just outside the village, and the travellers now drove to the neighbouring river leading to Bremen on the Weser, where a steamer took them and their luggage on board, and conveyed them to the seaport called Bremerhaven, from whence they all embarked in the steamer Columbia, Captain Gottfried.

It was a bright, beautiful spring day when they heaved anchor, and put out to sea.

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