bullet 1762 Brotherly Agreement

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Enacted in Bethlehem in the Month of

May 1762

After we completed lifting the previous communal economy and establishing a Settlement Congregation, as far as it has been possible up to this time, and after every family and workshop, as well as the two choir houses of the Single Brothers and Single Sisters, had begun taking care of their own business, then we considered making known to the whole congregation the Community Ordinances or Statutes for Bethlehem, which had long been drafted and intended and which follow in Section A, page 5, below.

Because, however, a Committee was named in the said Community Ordinances whose office and duty it is to enforce these ordinances, so it was that on May 1st in the Conference Chamber the stated Community Ordinances were read aloud to this committee and their thoughts about every paragraph were heard, for there were things that needed to be added at several places for clarification and in order to make the matter clear.

On Wednesday, May 5, at 7:30 p.m. the future Community Council, named below in Section B, page 23, and consisting of all the congregational and choir workers, foremen of the workshops, masters of the crafts, heads of the families, and, in general all active persons, gathered in the Congregation’s Saal in order to hear the stated Community Ordinances read aloud, to have every paragraph discussed quietly, and for the brothers and sisters to have their thoughts thereupon heard and noted.
Because time was too short and only the first half could be dealt with, thus on
Thursday, May 6th, the afore named persons came together again at 7:30 p.m. in the Congregation’s Saal, in order to hear the second half of the Community Ordinances read aloud in the already stated manner.

Because a number of points were raised orally as well as in writing, so on
Friday the 7th at the above-stated time the Community Council was again called together and received [literally: were communicated] the same in the same manner as on the previous day.
And thus this composition of the Community Ordinances was approved by the afore-mentioned Congregational Council without dissenting vote and adopted as the regulations of our Bethlehem Constitution, which is to be regarded not only as something for every resident to respect, but also for the Committee to take as its instructions in the name of the whole settlement. This is to be entered into the minutes as a resolution of the Community Council. Enacted as above.
Joh. Arbo


Because, through the grace of our Lord, a portion of our United Brethren’s Church has for more than 20 years been resident here in Bethlehem, in the County of Northampton, in the Province of Pennsylvania and has not only grown under His blessing and led a quiet and peaceful life in all godliness and honesty, but has also been in the position to perform archpriestly deeds for our neighbors, and also because our Church with its institutions and offices has been recognized as an old Protestant Episcopal Church by the highest authorities of the King and Parliament of Great Britain and has been encouraged by them to settle in greater number in their colonies because we have gotten a beneficial regard as an orderly, quiet, and industrious people of the land, we want to assert the good character of our people in front of everyone and, still further, we want to have this taken seriously.

In this present change of the former economy, we have communally reached a settlement with each other so that no one will make any further demand on the former economy because of another, and in the future everyone will maintain his own household. Nevertheless, we are still resolved to live together as a Brethren’s Church in churchly fellowship and good public order, for we find it necessary to prevent any sort of damage and disorder which would harm our own peace, or hurt our conscience, or slander our good name, or dispossess any member of his property, or deprive him of his meager sustenance. Right at the beginning we have reached a settlement about several articles in which we all agree and which every resident must observe, or else not belong to our society or be allowed to reside among us.

§.1. Not only so that these ordinances may be kept, but also to prevent any trials or hearings in cases of misunderstanding, to that end we will at the same time constitute a Committee of Arbitrators which should see to it that these ordinances are observed.

The said Committee will consist of the Congregational and Choir Workers who are serving at the time and several residents of the settlement. At this time, the members are the following:

Fr. Wm. Marschall
Andr. Weber
Joh. Arbo
Tho. Fischer

Should in the future one or the other of these move away from here or die, or should it be found good to add another useful member, so should the Committee recommend the same in the quarterly meeting of the Community Council, and should no objection to him be raised, the same [person] shall be considered a member of the Committee and his name shall be added to these articles.

§.2. We specify in advance that no one can be resident here in Bethlehem who does not belong to the Brethren’s Church or who, being allowed to stay here for a time, does not want to be guided by her rules.

§.3. At the same time [we declare] that nothing may be taught here which is opposed to what is contained in the Act of the United Brethren in England of the Year 1749 which was presented to the Parliament of Great Britain. If someone has his own opinion, he may certainly hold it. He must, however, not discuss this with another, much less try to teach it publicly.

§.4. Because it is a basic principle among us that God is not only a God of order, but also that one must obey all human ordinances in order to obey the will of the Lord, so we must set out from the beginning that everyone who wants to live among us will love the authorities who are set up to take care of all human ordinances, will acknowledge his office, and will conduct himself as well according to the community and settlement institutions which have been introduced in our Church, and will submit himself freely and from the heart, and will not set himself against any servant of the Community or against anyone who otherwise holds office when [that person] orders or demands something.

§.5. Further, should anyone be lacking in his office, no one shall be allowed to resist him. Instead, the real or imagined failings should be brought to the attention of the Committee, which shall decide the matter as arbitrators.

§.6 [We require] also that the provincial and country taxes which are levied on persons or trades or anything else be paid promptly by everyone and that this be done freely according to the measures of the law of the land.

§.7. Because a Community Settlement also has all sorts of things to decide [literally: dispute] about what is best for the whole settlement, or a portion thereof— for example, it has to provide for the poor [and] keep a night watch or see to it that there is a watchman in the square by day to maintain order in the settlement; it should make a waterworks or public spring, provide certain lanterns for night, lay out lanes or footpaths, maintain the God’s Acre, erect a public building, and make ordinances against [conditions which make for] the outbreak of fire—so when the community through the Community Council unanimously or by the majority of votes has decided something, no resident should withdraw [his support], rather he should take his proportional share, just as the others do.

§8. In order to make these ordinances, a Community Council should be held quarterly (or from time to time as circumstances demand) to meet with all house fathers and masters of the crafts. On behalf of the choir houses, their workers and active persons should also appear. The Committee of Arbitrators, however, has the current responsibility.

§.9. The Committee or Community Council should appoint a Brother to collect the monies which are herein determined. The same [brother] must keep an accurate accounting of his income and disbursals, and lay the same [accounting] before the Committee quarterly, so that all may be done honestly, not only before God but also before man.

§.10. The Committee will especially make a fire ordinance and supervise the observation of the same, for the good of the whole settlement.

§11. We also don’t want to tolerate any quarrels or arguments among us, much less suits against each other. Insofar as any misunderstanding or disunity might arise between residents of this settlement, so they themselves should earnestly try to reach a settlement. However, insofar as they are unable to do so between themselves within 8 days, both parties should bring the matter before the Committee of Arbitrators, from which the matter should be finally resolved without delay. The cause, however, should be carefully moved out of the way, everything being laid to the charge of the one who has done too much to the other.

§.12. Every resident must work and earn [literally: eat] his own bread. Whoever has official business in the community and thus cannot support himself, for him the community must provide the necessities. Whoever cannot work because of old age or lack of ability, him will the community feed insofar as he has no relatives who are responsible to do so according to God’s law.

§.13. Not only so that good products are made and sold for a cheap price, but also because in the opposite case some resident might, through neglect of the same [principles of good business] bring the settlement into bad repute and put it in a situation of disadvantage, therefore we want to ordain a College of Master Craftsmen among us which from time to time has to see to it that these points are observed in all crafts. The masters of all crafts and all sorts of businesses in the settlement, besides the Committee of Arbitrators, will make arrangements for [controlling the quality of] the goods and setting the prices for cheapness.

§.14. The Clerk, the same Johann Arbo, shall keep an orderly transcript of the resolutions of the Community Council, as well as of the arrangements which the Committee of Arbitrators makes.

§.15. All cheating and crossing one’s neighbor in commerce or lending, be it direct or indirect, shall be regarded as scandalous among us and, like all heathen sins, not to be tolerated.

§.16. Here belongs also all damage which may be inflicted on orchards and food gardens, meadows, cottages, hedges and other fences in the fields through the burning or chopping down of the trees in the forest. Likewise, by keeping doves, hunting, birding, or fishing in the Manakesy when it is not expressly permitted. And whoever ruins something in the springs, paths, houses, or elsewhere shall make it good again.

§.17. Nor should anyone allow swine or other livestock, except for turkeys, chickens, geese or other feathered animals, to run free. Rather, they should be held in their own stalls and boundaries, so that it does not become burdensome to anyone, nor cause damage. Dogs should not be kept in the settlement except for a purpose, and those who have them must keep them under
strict supervision.

§.18. The lanes should be kept clean and orderly by those who live along them. No straw, manure, garbage or other refuse shall be spread there, rather everything should be gathered in the yard, garden or field.

Also, no one should set up or place anything in the public paths. These are for the use of everyone. Nor should anyone dig ditches there. Where this is unavoidable, they should be fenced at all times.

§.19. So that the residents do not restrict each other in buying and selling where something is best and cheapest, the Committee of Arbitrators will see to it that no one overbids another, thus causing prices to rise.

§.20. Because we do not want to tolerate among us strange people [i.e., non-residents] going from house to house selling things, no resident may buy anything in this way. Instead, those who do public harm should be sent away. This does not affect those who have orders to bring foodstuffs into the house.

§.21. It is an important thing to us to avoid temptation, harm to souls, and annoyances. All house fathers, choir houses, and institutions therefore have to make such arrangements in their families that evil may be prevented as much as possible. They should see to it that their people are at home at the right time in the evening and that all running around at night is prevented. Parents and masters are responsible for their children and families and for the orderliness of their house and shop. When children or servants do not behave well, or when they don’t accept guidance, it shall be reported to the Committee so that before evil spreads an order can be issued to avert the damage, or at least the damaging part of its sojourn among us can be terminated.

§.22. All disorderly beings, sins, and heathen spirits, as they are wont to be named, still can be conveyed through excess in eating and strong drink, insofar as such products can give cause for unhealthy curiosity. For example, immoral books and engravings do not belong among us, nor will similar persons be tolerated when they, for example, do not give heed to the warnings given [to them]. Thus it shall not be suffered that people gather in the dark anywhere in this settlement, regardless of whether anything improper can be proved or not.

§.23. Whoever sees or hears or discovers anything whereby either the settlement or also only a single person could suffer danger or damage to soul or body or otherwise in some way offense or annoyance, that person is not allowed to keep such things quiet, but he may also not speak about it indiscreetly. Rather, depending on the seriousness of the matter, he should make it known either to the Workers or to someone on the Committee. Whoever does not report such a matter to the proper place and at the right time shall be regarded as an accomplice.

§.24. Not only careless, disorderly, and unnecessary contact between the sexes, but also that which according to our Choir Principle is not allowed shall carefully be avoided. [This injunction forbids contact between] married as well as single people [and] outside of as well as within the village.
There also should be no running around and playing by children in the lanes.

§.25. In order to avoid all disorder, temptation, or impropriety, no couplings or secret marriages should occur among us, rather all marriages should take place with the foreknowledge and approval of the Congregational and Choir Workers. Whoever wants to act differently, saying that it is a matter affecting his own person or that is a matter of consent, he may well live where he wants–only not among us.

§.26. No one may take a farmhand, maid, apprentice, servant, Negro, or journeyman into his household without the prior knowledge and approval of the Committee, and everyone shall send away such people who become seducers.

§.27. Except in the inns, no one shall be given a place to sleep for the night without the consent and foreknowledge of the Warden or the Committee.

Likewise, no one should travel overland nor send anyone of his household [traveling] without it having previously been registered and, in all cases, having gotten the good counsel of the Warden.

§.28. All commerce and lending shall take place without bidding and counterbidding, by simple agreement, and ordinarily using cash or cash equivalents. Giving and receiving credit shall be avoided as much as possible.

§.29. To be arrested for debt, or to arrest each other would be totally improper among us. In order to prevent this, whoever borrows or lends capital should do this with the foreknowledge of the Committee. When someone has to negotiate something in the name of the community, this shall be agreed upon in the Community Council and his authority shall be given in writing by the Committee or at least by the Warden and Clerk of the same in the name of the community, because the whole community will be liable for it. If, however, someone does something in the name of the community which he is not authorized to do, he shall be liable for it with his own fortune.

§.30. Whoever borrows should pay it back at the hour he has agreed to do so. And whoever lends shall set such a time as he likely can be repaid.

Nor should anyone take for his use and borrow something without the foreknowledge of the one to whom the thing belongs.

§.31. No resident shall practice another trade than the one that he has begun with the knowledge and will of the Committee, nor shall he impinge on any other business in the settlement.

§32. No one should waste his time with the practice of doctors, surgeons, or midwives without the knowledge and consent of the Warden and the Committee, nor without their foreknowledge get any advice except from those persons authorized and appointed in the community.

§.33. Should someone through God’s will fall into insanity, so God’s mercy should be shown to him, he should be carried in a friendly way, given over to understanding persons, cared for by them in body and soul, otherwise not be talked to about it and, when he has recovered, not spoken to about what went on before.

§.34. It is good and necessary that everyone makes a will in a timely manner in which he clearly declares what should be done about his burial, the education of his children, his temporal fortune, and whom he chooses as executors and guardians. This should especially be done when he has outside relatives who could make decisions for his children contrary to his desires. The Committee can be drawn upon to give advice.

§.35. Should someone move here from another place and want to become eligible to live here, he must first of all lay his external affairs before the Committee immediately, but above all his debts and if and how he can repay them. If the same is demanded, he must pay them before he can receive his permission to stay here.

§.36. Insofar as someone receives permission to build a house here, he must attest that neither he nor his successors, executors or administrators have the power to rent, to mortgage, to sell, or to give away his house or lot. Then it will be according to a written finding of the Committee and the owner of the land or his executors, administrators, or assigns.

§.37. The owner of the land or his heirs, executors and administrators will give a lease to each one who builds here. He must in return give a bond that he will conduct himself according to the conditions specified in the lease or that he will be liable for penalties in the amount of a sum specified therein.

§38. Every house must be built exactly on the site which is laid out and of the size, depth, and height which has been approved by the Committee. It is especially important that the fireplaces be efficient and built according to the plan.

Above all, neither a main building nor an outbuilding shall be built, neither an alley nor a boundary laid out without the plan having been laid before the Committee and their approbation having been received.

§.39. In order to prevent all disgrace, disunity or temptations in the name of the community, the Committee of Arbitrators is responsible for keeping all these points under exact observation, all the more because no one is compelled to belong to our community and all retain the freedom to leave here.

§.40. Should it now occur that someone can no longer live in Bethlehem, then the Committee must make clear on several occasions that he must leave the settlement.

§.41. In the case, however, that he happens to possess a house or land, the same shall be bought [from him] according to the provisions of his lease.


Dav. Nitchsm.
Abr. Andres
Th. Fischer
Capn. Fischer
Sam. Johannes
Marx Kiefer




John Ockely
Ant. Schmid
Ad. Schneider

Fr. Steup
Doct. Schmid

Single Brothers
Dav. Zeisberger
Joh. Arbo
Steph. Blum
Wm. Böhler
Jac. Bonn
Christensen the mill builder
Christensen the shoemaker
von Erd
Sam. Herr
Andr. Hoeger
Thim. Horsfield
Jsr. Horsfield
Steph. Nichol.
Chrph. Schmid
Paul Schneider
Dom. Krause

Married Sisters
A. L. Haberland
Andr. Weber
Joh. Müller

Single Sisters
Anna Rosel
Rosel Schuliusin
M. Barbel
Magd. Schmiedin
Aennel Schafern
Ros. Schwarzin
A. Seidelin
Elis. Brockschin
Martha Mansin
Liesel Orthin
Marg. Groschin
Reb. Montagne
Elisab. Steinern
Cath. Riezin
M. Lis. Loeschin
Anna v. d. Bilt
A. Rebecca Langley
Elisab. Burnet

That the Community Ordinances written above consist of 41 paragraphs, and that they are the common decision and understood agreement of our society specified above, we attest all together with these signatures in our own hands.

Friedrich Marschall
Ferdinand Jacob Detmers
Andreas Christoph Weber
Johannes Bechtel
Daniel Kliest
Thomas Fischer
Johann Vallentin Haidt
Matthias Weis
Johann Tobias Hirtt
Christ Eggert
Joahnn Stoll
Johan Jacob Wießinger
Christian Friedrich Örter
Georg Friederich Böckel
Mattheus Shropp
Johan Christian Kieffer
Johann Mattheus Otto
Michael Haberland
Johann George Geitner
Balthasar Philipp
Caspar Fischer
Johann Gottfried Kämmolt
Rudoph Strehle
Samuel Mauh
Gottlieb Lange
Görg Jung Mann
Görge Hubner
Robert Hussey
Richard Poppelwell
Heinrich Krause
John Hirst
Johann Schneider
Abr. Andreas
Peter Worbasse
Wm. Edmonds
Joachim Birnbaum
Johann Brün
Anton Schmidt
Johannes Arbo
Hans Christoph Christensen
Ernst Georg Walter
Johann Christian Petersen
Michael Odenwald
Johann Adam Horsfield
Willhelm Löscher
Nicholas Matthissen
Adam Erden
Heinrich Schön
Joh. Teobald Bornman
H. W. Schemes
Josa Tohmas
Matthias Tommerup
Johann Andreas Borheck
Andreas Hoeger
Martin Schenck
Johannes Roth
Heinrich Strauß
Jn Francis Oberlin
Johann Antes
Joh. Matth. Mücksch
Immanuel Nitschmann
Jacob Andreas Wagenfeil
Heinrich Gerstberger
Peter Joachim Pell
Philip Jacob Hoecher
Peter Paulus Backer
Jacob Schneider
Adam Huth
Friedrich Unger
Joseph Sturges
Carl Sigmud Weineck
Michael Möhring
Johannes Heinrich Rauch
David Muntz
Friederich Blum
Johann Becker
Johann Beutel
Conrad Gansard
James Hall
Friedrich Rauschenberger
Johann Seifart
Georg Schindler
Johann Jacob Herman
Just Jansen
Heinrich Fellhausen
Joseph Hübsch
Adam Koffler
Jenß Wittenberg
Heinrich Schmid
Joseph Willes
Jacob Bonn
Joseph Giersch
Dominicus Krauss
Peter Stoz
Johan Jagt
Israel Horsfield
Johannes Nickolaus
Daniel Stamm
Georg Volck
Elerd Coordsen
Joseph Lemert

Since then, the following have agreed to these Community Ordinances and have signed them.
On the 27th of July 1763 in the presence of Friedrich Marschall and Mattheus Shropp,
J. Okley

On the 25th of July 1764 in the presence of Friedrich Marschall and J. Okely,
A Bömpers

1765, the 21st of January in the presence of the Committee,
David Tannenberg

1765, the 9th of April in the presence of the Committee,
Andr. Shober
George Partsch

1767, the 1st of May in the presence of our John Ettwein and Ferdinand Detmers,
Ludwig Hübener

1770, the 22nd of January in the presence of the Committee,
Timothy Horsfield jun
Christian Hornig
Leonhard Krause


Transcription and translation by Otto Dreydoppel, Jr.

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