1762 Brotherly Agreement
Enacted in Bethlehem in the Month of
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
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 Congregations
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,
Thursday, May 6th, the afore named persons came together again at 7:30
p.m. in the Congregations 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
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.
Because, through the grace of our Lord, a portion of our
United Brethrens 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 Brethrens 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
§.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
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 Brethrens Church or who,
being allowed to stay here for a time, does not want to be guided by
§.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 Gods Acre, erect a public
building, and make ordinances against [conditions which make for] the
outbreak of fireso 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 dont 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 Gods 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
§.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 ones 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
§.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
§.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 dont
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
§.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 wantsonly 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
§.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
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
§.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
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 Gods will fall into insanity,
so Gods 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
§.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.
Christensen the mill builder
Christensen the shoemaker
A. L. Haberland
M. Lis. Loeschin
Anna v. d. Bilt
A. Rebecca Langley
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.
Ferdinand Jacob Detmers
Andreas Christoph Weber
Johann Vallentin Haidt
Johann Tobias Hirtt
Johan Jacob Wießinger
Christian Friedrich Örter
Georg Friederich Böckel
Johan Christian Kieffer
Johann Mattheus Otto
Johann George Geitner
Johann Gottfried Kämmolt
Görg Jung Mann
Hans Christoph Christensen
Ernst Georg Walter
Johann Christian Petersen
Johann Adam Horsfield
Joh. Teobald Bornman
H. W. Schemes
Johann Andreas Borheck
Jn Francis Oberlin
Joh. Matth. Mücksch
Jacob Andreas Wagenfeil
Peter Joachim Pell
Philip Jacob Hoecher
Peter Paulus Backer
Carl Sigmud Weineck
Johannes Heinrich Rauch
Johann Jacob Herman
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
On the 25th of July 1764 in the presence of Friedrich Marschall and
1765, the 21st of January in the presence of the Committee,
1765, the 9th of April in the presence of the Committee,
1767, the 1st of May in the presence of our John Ettwein and Ferdinand
1770, the 22nd of January in the presence of the Committee,
Timothy Horsfield jun
Transcription and translation by
Otto Dreydoppel, Jr.