The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 92, July 1988 - April, 1989 Page: 146
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
Texas, must have been particularly compelling. The Forty, or the For-
tiers, chose Texas over Wisconsin and Iowa and laid plans for passage
from Hamburg on the St. Pauli. In April, 1847, they sailed to Galveston
and, after delays described in the following letter, to Indianola. Prom-
ised $12,oo000 by the directors of the League of Nobles, or Adelsverein,
officially the Society for the Protection of German Immigrants in Texas,
the fraternity contracted to settle two hundred families within the bor-
ders of the Fisher-Miller contract. In a letter of January 28, 1847, to
Baron Ottfried Hans von Meusebach, Solms's successor, Count Carl of
Castell wrote from Germany that the young men "have the trust of
their German countrymen, and if their settlement succeeds, there can
be no doubt that the stream of emigration will be directed toward
While the Forty patterned themselves on Etienne Cabet's Icarian
dream of a communistic utopia (1840), their reform philosophy de-
rived from Charles Fourier's ideas of social inventiveness. The frater-
nity was agnostic, perhaps with a strong Comtean flavor. The students
"had no regular scheme of government," so far as Louis Reinhardt, the
youngest member and a major firsthand informant, recalled. "In fact,
being communistic, the association would not brook the tyranny of a
ruler." Instead, Reinhardt continued, the community recognized by
common consent certain members as "guiding spirits." "Being the
youngest of the whole company-I was thirteen-I was, of course,
After listening to Prince Carl of Solms-Braunfels and having no doubt
read Charles Sealsfield's Texas novel Das Kajiitenbuch (x1841; The Cabin
Book, 1844), the young members imagined Texas as the perfect setting
to seek ideal community-in Reinhardt's summary of the prince's
words, "a land of milk and honey, of perennial flowers, of crystal streams
rich and fruitful beyond measure, where roamed myriads of deer and
buffalo, while the primeval forests abounded in wild fowl of every
kind."' The following letter, though of more restrained style, nonethe-
less abounds in such imagery as well. Friedrich Schenck, one of the
"guiding spirits" alluded to by Reinhardt, was an outdoorsman and
better equipped than most to survive on the frontier to the north and
2Count Carl of Castell to Ottfried Hans von [John O.] Meusebach, Jan. 28, 1847 (Solms-
Braunfels Archiv, Sophienburg, New Braunfels)
SSee Arthur Eugene Bestor, Backwoods Utopias- the Sectarnan and Owenmte Phases of Commu-
ntaran Socsalum in America, 1663-1829 (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1950),
4 Reinhardt, "The Communistic Colony of Bettina," 34.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 92, July 1988 - April, 1989, periodical, 1989; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101212/m1/173/: accessed June 25, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.