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The Scots in Germany
Commerce and Trade (Part 2)
We have therefore in the years 1581-1584 eighteen ships of Dundee, fifteen of which sail to Danzig, one to Königsberg, two to Lübeck. In 1588 four ships sail to Danzig, two to Stralsund, and during the period 1612-1618 twelve to Danzig, six to Königsberg, three to Stralsund, one to Greifswald and one to Lübeck. Altogether Dundee kept a fleet of about twenty to thirty ships to trade with the Baltic ports. If we remember that Dundee with regard to shipping, only takes the second place, we can form an adequate idea of the extent of the Scottish trade with the Baltic cities.
Nor are the two books of Wedderburne and Halyburton less interesting concerning the manner of trade in bygone days. The skipper, it appears, was at the same time the salesman of his goods, unless a special personage was sent along with him for this purpose. Sometimes the merchant would himself travel with the ship that contained his merchandise. Thus Wedderburne sends one Patrick Gordon in William Fyfe’s ship to Danzig in 1597, and entrusts him among other things with two old rose nobles, one new one, and two double ducats “to be warit on rye gif it be within 48 gudlenis and falzeing thereof on lynt, a part thereof to be shippit in any ship that hapins to be frauchtit.” Or he sends fifty reals “in a pocket” “to wair on wax and if it be extraordiner deir forby the waunted prices at his discretioune to wair on coper.” And when he goes himself to Königsberg in 1596 he takes with him amongst a multitude of foreign coins, a gold chain weighing fourteen crowns. Thus we still see the remnants of primitive barter in the XVIth Century.
During the last quarter of it Scotland is visited by famine of a particularly aggravated character. We hear complaints of it in 1572 and in 1595. King James VI writes to his ambassador at the court of Denmark, Sir P. Waus, and Peter Young to try and get the duties remitted at Elsinore for the numerous Scotch vessels ready to sail for Danzig for the purpose of buying victuals; and this not only on account of the “great scarcitie and famine at home” but also in order to prevent them selling their freight elsewhere, and falling an easy prey to English ships.
To the many cases of piracy already mentioned we add the following: a merchant of Emden accuses the Earl of Orkney of having plundered his ship laden with rye from Danzig, off the coast of Norway. A skipper named Ogilvie of Dundee is sentenced to pay damages to a Danzig merchant. Three years later in 1594 the same man stands his trial against Thomas Stalker, a Scotsman settled at Danzig, who accuses him of having plundered the ship “Grite Jonas.” Part of the cargo, strange to say, belonged to the Grand Duke of Toscana. When driven by the stress of weather to the Orkney islands the governor and two citizens of Dundee arrested the goods as “papistical.” Ogilvie is sentenced to pay compensation to the Grand Duke.
Finally we may mention as interesting that in 1572 cannons and ammunition for the castle of Edinburgh are imported from Hamburg; and that a certain captain William Rentoun receives permission to levy and transport one hundred and fifty men for the service of the city of Danzig which had just then entered upon a disastrous war against the King of Poland, Stephan Bathory (1577).
The XVIIth Century, of which we had a glimpse already in the Dundee ship-list, commences with a trial for fighting and manslaughter in broad daylight among the Scottish settlers of Danzig. Then again we hear of precautionary measures against the introduction of the plague through German ships.
In the year 1603 David Smart claims before the magistrates of Dundee the inheritance of his brother, who died at Danzig and left about 600 pounds. The authorities in Germany acknowledge his claim and send the money.
In the same year the following new ships occur: the “Fortune” and “Neptune” from Emden, “Mary” and “Pelican” from Stralsund to Scotland. One ship from Flemisberry, very probably Flensburg, is mentioned in 1616.
About this time (1606) the ruinous state of their church causes much anxiety to the City Fathers of Aberdeen. They resolve therefore to send a trustworthy person in “William Meason’s ship” to Danzig in order to buy lead to the value of 105 Pound Scots for the repair of the sacred building. In 1609 the Castle of Edinburgh again runs short of ammunition, and a vessel is despatched to Danzig to bring over “200 stane” of gunpowder.
To the common articles of import from Germany, such as wood and timber, wainscot, lint, wax, flour, grain, iron, etc. is now added glass (1610-12). But no sooner has notice been taken of this fact than an order against its importation is issued (1621). Salt is being imported in 1656-1658 to the value of 1100 Pounds. The trade in skins seems to have been particularly brisk. Two small boats from Aberdeen carry 8000 lamb-skins in 1617 and in 1650 no less than 30,000 lamb-fells are exported to Danzig. The old articles of export are increased by knitted wool-wares, especially stockings.
Seven ships sail from Leith to Konigsberg in 1622 and mention is made of one ship from Bremen and one from Konigsberg in 1625-26; the former had to seek shelter in Tynemouth. Two vessels from Leith are lying in the harbour of Danzig towards the end of July 1626.
A dangerous voyage was that of Henry Dinklaff with his ship the “Pruss Mayden” from Kneiphovia (a part of Konigsberg). It was attacked by the rebellious Scottish Clan Jan and would have been plundered but for the assistance of a royal vessel. Finally Montrose and Kirkcaldy send a ship each to Konigsberg and Danzig in 1688 and 1692.
A great obstacle in the way of trade was the war between Great Britain, Spain and France during this century. A long story is told of a certain Captain Robertson, who, fortified by letters of marque from the King of Scotland, had attacked ships from Lubeck, because of their carrying ammunition and other prohibited freight. His own vessel, however, had suffered so much in the fight, that it had to seek refuge in a Norwegian port to get repaired. But no sooner had it arrived there, than German sailors, mostly hailing from Hamburg, board the ship, ill-treat the crew and abuse the Scottish flag. Afterwards the Court at Hamburg refuses to acknowledge the statements of the witnesses made before the Scottish Admiral, and the King sees himself compelled to renew the letters of reprisal to Robertson.
Another time a ship of Danzig sailing to Spain is driven by stress of weather to the coast of the Shetland isles, and there saved by Scottish sailors, only to be carried as a lawful prize into the harbour of Leith, where it has to lie six weeks until the captain, one Edward Jansen, complains before the authorities at Edinburgh, that he had no longer any means to feed his crew. An order is then given to sell part of the cargo, consisting of wax. Finally the Danzig skipper gets his rights, and ship and cargo are restored.
Again Danzig complains in 1672 with regard to the unlawful seizure of three vessels, two of which, the “Sun” and the “Crown,” had been brought into Scottish ports suspected of carrying contraband-goods.
With the XVIIIth Century Scotland lost the last remnant of independence. Her trade became the trade of Great Britain. After the last fierce death struggle of a lost cause the neighbour south of the Tweed gradually learned, if not to love his neighbour in the north, at least not to slay him. Gradually the pirates hide in story-books, and the grim spectre of the plague keeps at a respectful distance; gradually a more enlightened commercial policy gains the day, and the full profit of a rational working of the resources of the country is earned by the people. The export also changes in kind. Coal, the black jewel of the land, and the herring the silvery treasure of the sea, take the place of rabbit-skins and coarse wool.
But our sketch of the commercial relations between Germany and Scotland during the period of the independence of the latter would be incomplete without considering that curious German and Polish inland traffic—a pedlar-trade—carried on by Scotsmen during the XVth, XVIth and XVIItb Centuries. The origin of this remarkable historical fact is to be found in a very large Scotch emigration to Danzig, Konigsberg and Poland from the end of the XVth Century and earlier, gradually increasing until the end of the XVIIth, an emigration which makes Poland the America of those days. Some writers have tried to explain this fact from one cause only. They have tried in vain. It was not religious persecution alone, not the well-known roaming disposition of the Scotch alone, which drove them across the sea in thousands. It was the result of many causes working together. First and chiefly: the hunger and the distress of their country. We have already mentioned the letter of King James VI dated 1587 in which the great “scarcitie” and famine is spoken of and the hope of alleviating it by a speedy importation of “viveris” from Germany. But already in the year 1572 famine had been so severe that the King saw himself compelled to take the extraordinary step of commanding emigration by solemn proclamation at Leith. Birrell notices a great famine in 1595 in his diary, and the chronicles of the Scotch towns are full of the distressful state of the country. Further reasons we find in the never-ending religious and political wars at home, the hardships of the law of primogeniture, in the love of martial adventure and in the pronounced clannishness of the people. The first thing a Scotsman did who had emigrated to Danzig or Konigsberg or had settled at Krakaw was, to invite other members of his family, who perhaps found it difficult to make their way at home, owing to the disturbed and poverty-stricken condition of their native land.
But why—one might ask—was distant Poland chosen of all other countries as the goal of emigration? The answer is not far to seek. The English were the enemies of Scotland: all trade with them partly restricted, partly prohibited altogether. Holland was already full of the Scotch; and France, eldorado as it proved to be to the Scottish soldier and scholar, did not offer the same facilities for trade as a country did, where the middle and trading class between the noble and the serf was actually non-existing. All trading in Poland on the other hand was done by Jews and foreigners; here then was a field for the enterprising Scot: a wide country with plenty of room to travel about, an excellent seaport, Danzig, visited since the days of old by many a Scotch trading vessel; a luxurious and magnificent royal court and little competition in business. In a book of the time Poland is called the heaven for the nobility, the paradise for the Jews, the hell for the peasant, and the gold mine for the stranger; and a famous Scotch traveller, named Lithgow, who on his journeyings over Europe had also visited Krakaw and Lublin and found many of his countrymen there, calls Poland the “mother and nurse of the youths and younglings of Scotland, clothing, feeding and enriching them with the fatness of her best things, besides 30,000 Scots families that live incorporate in her bowels. And certainlie Poland may be termed in this kind the mother of our commerce and the first commencement of all our best merchants’ wealth, or at least most part of them.”
This statement has been doubted. But it agrees with other contemporaneous information. Sir James Cochrane, the Scotch Ambassador at the Court of Poland, “tells of many thousand Scots in the country besides women, children and servants”; and in a letter of the English Statesman Chamberlain to his friend Carlton (1621) we read: ‘The Polish Ambassador had an audience of the King…. there are about 30,000 Scots in Poland.’
Sir John Skene, the celebrated Scotch lawyer, who had travelled far and wide on the continent, confirms in his book, “De verborum significatione” sub verbo “pedlar” that he had met a vast multitude of them, his countrymen, in Krakau (1569).
To this may be added long lists of names of Scotch settlers in Poland and Prussia, which have been handed down to us in the archives of these countries.
Scotch emigration then, having been proved to be extremely large and to affect all classes of society and all ages, it is not to be wondered at, that many went, who were utterly unable and unfit to make their own living, or who finally turned out a disgrace to their country. It is quite surprising how many young Scotch boys not older than fifteen or seventeen years sought their fortune at that time in Danzig. Naturally enough complaints of rowdyism were frequent. Patrick Gordon, then Scotch Consul at Danzig, a man who will engage our notice again, draws the attention of King James VI to the miserable and disorderly state of many of the emigrants, and adds that the Scotch settlers themselves wished to get rid of them. It is in consequence of this letter that the King in 1625 issues the following proclamation: —”Whereas the grite number of young boyes uncapable of service and destitute of meanis of liveing yearlie transported out of that our kingdome to the East-seas and specially to the town of Dantzik and there manie tymes miserablie in grite numbers dyeing in the streets have given quite scandal! to the people of those countries and laid one foull imputation on that our kingdome, to the grite hinderance and detriment of those our subjects of the better, who traffique in the saidis countreyis: it is our pleasour, that by oppin proclamatioun ye cause prohibite all maisters of shippis to transport anie youthes of either sex to the said easterne countreyis bot such as either salbe sent for by their friendis dwelling there, or then, sail carrie with them sufficient meanis of meantenance at least for ane yeare under the pane of fyfe hundreth markis monie of that our kingdome, toties quoties they sail offend in that kind.”
After this edict the emigration, though it did not cease, took a different channel; the people emigrating often having some means of their own, or intending, if they were cadets of a lord or laird of the country, to enter the military service of Poland or, finally, wishing to visit their many friends in Germany.
Most of the Scotsmen settled in Poland were pedlars. They sold tin utensils, a kind of woollen stuff called “Scotch,” and linen kerchiefs, often decorated with pictures of the Turkish wars. Those that lived in towns had small shops (‘institutae Scotorum’), where one could buy iron goods and scissors and knives and cloths of every description, or they kept booths at the large fairs all over the country.
In many respects the great expectations of these Scotch emigrants were not realised. It is true, there was religious tolerance in Poland since 1573, and we never hear of any religious persecution; but Poland as well as Germany was always ready to invent new obstacles and burdens in the way of the free exercise of their trade. Of two trading restrictions of Stralsund and Danzig in the first half of the XVth Century we have already spoken. Later on, in the year 1564, a tax was imposed on the Scots of Poland, a poll-tax, in common with the Jews and Gipsies. If a pedlar went on foot, he had to pay one form; if he kept a horse, he had to pay for it in addition. 1578 one form for the man, two forms for the horse were raised; 1613 two florins for the man and fifteen groschens for the horse. But this was only an apparent relaxation: for now a tax is imposed on the goods also. At last the influential Scotsmen by their united efforts succeeded in mitigating these hardships. First of all they appealed to the King of Scotland, complaining at the same time of the inactivity of the Scotch Consul Gordon at Danzig. The King wrote in strong words to his representative in return and possibly also to his friend the King of Poland. Anyhow the terms of the law by which they were placed on a level with the Jews, terms that had chiefly caused the irritation, were expunged, and an edict of 1629 promised them the same treatment as other “foreign merchants.”
Other restrictions for other Polish towns followed, chiefly caused and called forth by the jealousy of the native merchants. King Sigismund II Augustus issued an edict on the 17th of Sept. 1568, which was to check the influx of Scotsmen into Bromberg. It was chiefly directed against the pedlars or small shopkeepers (‘revenditores’). Merchants, who sell, not by the ell and the pound, but in whole pieces or by stone-weight, are exempt, and special mention is made of four Scottish merchants already members of the guild. It is therefore to be assumed that the Scots tried to evade the restrictions of the law by becoming citizens and members of the merchant fraternity. In 1673 one Gasparus Wolson (Wilson) is the president of the guild; town councillors, aldermen, even burgomasters of Scottish birth or parentage, occur in old Bromberg documents. Especially frequent are the names of Watson, Wilson, Wallace, Hutton, Herin (Heron) and M‘Kean. In 1733, a Joseph Wilson is provost, in 1823 one Makkien “Archivarius.”
Nor were the laws against the Scots in other countries less strict. The town of Breslau issued an edict on the 2nd of July 1533 against pedlars, Scots, gipsies, beggars, etc. In 1558 Markgraf Albrecht of Brandenburg, Duke of Prussia, gave an order not to allow Scotch “vagabonds,” to roam about in the country, “because they are the ruin of our own poor subjects, taking away their living and reducing them to beggary.” He also accuses them of using false weights and measures and strictly limits their trade to the annual fairs appointed by law. Thirty-one years later his son Georg Friedrich repeats his father’s prohibition in much the same words.
Greater still was the hostility shown to the strangers by the native tradespeople. The cutler-guild at Krakau accuses the “cunning” Scots before the court, “that they did not content themselves with one shop but had several at each end of the town, and would moreover send a boy to sell their wares from house to house.” Similarly the united guild of “Kramer” of Prussia, in the year 1569, Nov. 11th, present a supplication to the Markgraf, in which they state that their business is spoiled by the travelling Scots, that nobody cared to come into the town to buy, if he could get the goods brought to his own house; that the orders issued as far back as 1545 were disobeyed; that there was a Scotsman, called Ventour, who said he was a citizen of Zinten, but he did not live up to it, but kept boys, who in his name travelled all over Samlandt, doing great harm to the whole country; they (i.e. the Scots) probably bought beaver and marten skins and amber in Prussia and sold them in Lublin (Poland); not content with that they brought “false (adulterated) ware” into the country, such as pepper, saffron, silk spoiled by water. (‘versoffene Seide’). “Let alone that they are cheats,” continues the indictment, “bribing the custom officers and, it is to be feared, acting as spies to betray the country (!) which may God prevent.” The petitioners finally express the charitable wish that His Serene Highness would deliver the Scots and their goods into their hands, and that then they would make over the value of the goods taken from them to some hospital.
Now, we will not for a moment deny that among the 30,000 Scottish pedlars there were some that did not always act up to the dictates of conscience, and that many of them lived a life of misery and privation, but this document of the “gantze Krämerzunft von Preussen” bears on the face of it only too clearly the ill-concealed inability to withstand a sudden, keen competition of trade.
Against these insinuations the Scots defend themselves in many supplications addressed to the Duke of Prussia In 1599 they sign as “the honorable Company of the honorable Scottish Nation,” at other times as the “elders of the Scots in the districts of Holland, Riesenburg and the Prussian Mark” or as the “Scots of the district Rastenburg and Barten” (1628).
They state first of all that they “the poor foreigners have been ‘very exceedingly’ grieved (‘mit fast hochbetrubtem gemuthe’) at the order of the Duke commanding them to cease their journeyings as pedlars in the country except to the duly ordained public fairs, “as if we, the poor strangers, were the worst of all.” Then they explain that they were not newly-arrived “juvenales” but mostly “fellows well up in years” (‘ziemlich betagte gesellen”), who had been travelling about for many years in this country and against whom there never was any complaint raised as to “false measure,” etc. “Why is it,” they continue, “that we Scots alone should be singled out for such excessively severe measures, seeing there are so many other stranger-merchants in the land? We are the most humble and faithful subjects of the Duke and have at all times paid ‘duty and contribution.’ We shall continue to do so, nay to serve Y.R.H. ‘to the risk of our body and blood’ (‘mit Aufsetzung Leibes und Bludts‘).
“That we have not been made use of hitherto, is not our fault; but it may yet come to pass, and though we are at the present time not domiciled or owners of houses (‘heuszlich angesessen’), the good God can in his own gracious time bring it about that we settle in the dominions of Y.R.H. as the rightful owners of property.”
Finally, they offer to pay an annual tax of two Thaler, and urgently requesting again a withdrawal of the order and measures to prevent the violent seizure (‘Auffgreiffer’) of their persons, they sign in dutiful submission as subjects of H.R.H.
The Scots of the districts of Barten and Rastenburg complain moreover, that there was no distinction made in the imposing of their ‘contributions,’ though their trade-earnings were very different. They also, very properly, request that a central comptroller should be appointed of the whole province, who would make a list of their names and receive their taxes at stated times; instead of having this tax gathered, as now, by magistrates, collectors of the duty on grain, burgomasters and town-clerks.
It strikes one as very curious in these hostile trade-manifestations against the Scots that the Jews are constantly coupled with them; and yet the fact is easily explained by the consideration that previous to the arrival of the Scots the whole retail traffick in Poland lay almost exclusively in the hands of the Jews. The Scottish strangers stepped into the Jewish inheritance with all its advantages and burdens. Remembering this, and also bearing in mind that large money transactions were carried on by the Scots, we need no longer be astonished at the prejudices and groundless reproaches of injured competitors: they were gratuitously transferred from the Jewish to the Scottish pedlar.
For the Scots, however, these and similar manifestations of ill-will served the good end of accelerating their acquiring the rights of citizenship in the towns of Prussia and Poland, and of making them band themselves together for mutual protection in a large union (Bruderschaft) with laws regulating their traffick, such as their own King James had recommended and the German and Polish authorities acquiesced in. This they did, and we possess very interesting accounts of their constitution. One comes from Krakau. In the year 1603 the Polish Government had commissioned Abraham Young (Jung), a captain in the Scotch regiment of the King, with full judicial power to make inquiries into the organisation of his countrymen in Poland. The depositions of a witness named Richard Tamson, a merchant of Posen, have been preserved, and from them it appears that the Scottish Brotherhood in Poland had twelve branches with their own elders and judges. The latter had power not only to impose fines, but also, with the consent of the elders, to pronounce the sentence of banishment. On each fair-day they held their meetings and a general court of appeal met at Thorn on the Feast of Epiphany, when each Scotsman could produce his grievances. There was no appeal to the King. The “decreta” or decrees were entered into a special book. The duty of the elders was to do everything necessary for the Protection of the guild and its privileges, and to receive every newly arrived Scotsman into the brotherhood. The clergymen, who collected a tax every year for the building of their own Presbyterian churches, belonged to the number of the elders ex oficio. Each guild had its own books, some of which showed a hostile feeling towards the Roman Catholics. Guilelmus Forbes, Gilbert King, Peter Orem, Guilelmus Henderson and John Forbes, rich Scotch merchants in Krakau, were for many years judges. The new member of the guild had to swear an oath, to observe the laws and regulations and to submit to the decisions of the court. He wrote his name with his own hand into a book.
Other witnesses add, that the Scots in Poland elected four judges every year, who issued decrees and were at once accusers and judges. Very often the punishment inflicted was a kind of proscription, so that nobody was allowed to speak, eat or drink with the person in question. Criminal cases however did not come under the jurisdiction of this court. Fines paid were again lent out at a high rate of interest. As their highest judge the Scots acknowledged, according to a privilege granted them by King Stephen Bathory, the Royal Marshall only. They even disputed Captain Young’s right to meddle in their affairs until King Sigismund III made him the chief of all Scotch merchants living in Poland (March 10th, 1604). Now they had to obey him and to enter their names into his books “in order that they might be found easier if required for the defence of the country”; as the order significantly adds. From this blow, and a necessary blow it seems to have been, the Scotch autonomy never recovered.
We are still more accurately informed of the constitution of the Scotch Brotherhood in Brandenburg and Preussen. There in 1615 a certain Jacob Koch (Kock or Cook), a Scotsman, made at the command of the Kurfurst (Elector) a complete list of the Scotch Kramers in the dominions of His Serene Highness. This list contains 410 names. Prefixed are certain recommendations of Koch’s as to taxation, and his own travelling expenses. At the end he adds the twenty articles which constituted the Scotch Guild or Nation or Brotherhood. This curious and important document, literally translated from the German, runs as follows:—
“In the name of the holy and inseparable Trinity. As a great number of the Scottish nation in this Dukedom of Prussia, scattered here and there, seek their living, and many of them not capable of a fixed abode or a certain jurisdiction, and since on that account frequent disorders have taken place, the Oberburggraf of this country many years ago did graciously permit them, to establish certain rules and articles amongst themselves, so as to prevent much bothering of the magistrates, cheating and other excesses and irregularities for the maintenance of good order, lest they might be considered, as has been done most unjustly and untruly, mere fugitives and vagabonds. They have therefore constituted ‘unanimo et successivo consensu’ a certain brotherhood amongst themselves, and ordered that their meetings should take place four times in the year: at Martinmas, Candlemas, Whitsuntide and Bartholomew’s Day (Aug. 24th), when it is the duty of the youngest brother to invite the others to be present without fail. After prayer all their names are called by the secretary, and he who is not there before prayer, must pay five groschen into the poor-fund. But those who stay away altogether without sufficient excuse, shall incur the penalty the elders may deem proper to inflict.”
Besides this there are contributions and collections for the poor, sick and needy according to the means of each one; there is also something given to the hospital out of the collected fines. The other articles are as follows:-
1. “Of the Sabbath.
Nobody shall without grave reasons miss the service and the sermon in this Duchy of Prussia in whatever place it may be. This is the will of all and the duty of a Christian. Neither shall he profane the Sabbath by gluttony, drinking and gambling and such like misdeeds, but keep it holy with love towards God and his neighbour according to the rule of God’s Word. He shall also partake four times a year as a token of his Christianity, of the supper of the Lord, in which He offers us His true body and His true blood spilt on the cross, and shall not withdraw himself from the table of the Lord. He who purposely offends this order shall after due warning, if it occur again, be expelled from the Brotherhood.
2. Of duty towards those in authority.
In the next place everyone shall pray for those in authority, show himself obedient and reverent, and in case of necessity be ready to serve it even unto death. He shall also pay the due rent for his stall in the fairs and as the Brethren have settled before, contribute an annual tax to the rulers for their gracious protection and the hoped-for confirmation of our articles. Neither shall any of us refuse to pay if a tax should eventually be imposed upon us.
3. Of our elders.
Those that the Brotherhood esteems most worthy shall be chosen for elders by a majority of votes, and they shall then be reminded of their duties out of God’s Word.
4. Oath of the elders.
We the elders do swear with hands uplifted before God and the whole Brotherhood, that we will not, according to our best knowledge and that power which God has given us, do ought or allow it to be done against any body, that goes against justice and is the outcome of mere partiality for the preservation of the Brotherhood. So help us God and His holy Word.
5. Of the appeal from the decision of the elders to that of the whole Brotherhood and from it again to the German municipal Court
If anyone should feel himself aggrieved by the sentence of the elders, he is free to appeal to the united Brotherhood. But if the united Brotherhood confirm the sentence of the elders and the appellant be not content yet, he may go to the judges in the cities. Two of our elders however shall be in duty bound to defend their decision before the German Court. If the sentence be approved of as just by the presiding judge, the appellant must pay, if otherwise, the elders ought to pay damages to the appealer.
If it should so happen, that clearly one or the other of the elders from envy or favour should try to obtain an unjust decree, he shall, if convicted, be fined and dismissed from office.
6. Of those that withstand the elders.
They shall without delay and with one accord be punished.
7. Of false measure, weight and wares.
Concerning this point, it has been resolved by common consent of the Brotherhood, that nobody, be he rich or poor, shall use false measure, weight or goods against God’s written law: Thou shalt not steal. He who does not desist shall be handed over to the presiding judge, that he may be sentenced as a thief or be expelled the country, or punished with imprisonment as the occasion requires, if he should not be able to pay. Or if a brother sell to the other brother or to anybody else adulterated goods, the seller shall not only have no price, but also refund the damages that may have accrued to the buyer hereby, and submit to the decree of the elders. But this is to be done only upon condition, that the buyer can prove his case, for otherwise many might come and use this subterfuge adducing unheard of things, even those that never entered a man’s mind. And he who tries to dispose of false goods knowingly shall be punished without delay, and the value of the goods be paid into the poor-fund.
8. Of those who are consulted concerning a sale and give false account.
They shall be punished according to the verdict of the elders, and in case of the offence being repeated twice or three times be considered untrustworthy witnesses and expelled the Brotherhood.
9. Of those who outside the fairs sell their goods to the detriment of the towns.
They shall be severely punished according to the verdict of the elders. Likewise nobody shall be permitted to keep more than one shop in the country. Offenders to be duly punished.
10. Of those who know something of others that is against our rule, and yet do not reveal it.
Everyone shall at our regular meeting according to his conscience tell everything that he can prove of anybody, wherein an excess or crime has been committed. If he conceal it and it should come out afterwards through others, both shall be duly punished.
11. Of moving into decent lodgings.
It has been ordered that all Brethren of our guild shall take up their lodgings in honest houses. He who stays in suspected places shall not go unpunished. He shall also dress decently and suitably to his station, and shall invariably be present at the funeral of a deceased brother at the time appointed to assist in burying him honorably.
12. Those who abstract anything in peasants’ houses or farms, or from other people, be it ever so trifling, shall first settle with the party and afterwards be punished by the Brethren.
13. Of those who at meetings draw daggers, knives or the like.
They shall be punished severely and be handed over to the municipal Court.
14. Of those who use nicknames instead of Christian names.
Let them be punished without delay.
15. Of Brethren, who have been murdered by evil-doers.
We pledge ourselves to seek and pursue the evil-doer, who without provocation murdered one of our Brethren or did him any other wrong, until he has been seized, and after he has been put in prison to proceed against him until be has either been executed or liberated by the ludge. But if one of our Brethren be killed secretly or injured, we will pursue the evil-doer at his expense, if he has means; if not, we will raise money according to our power so that we may carry out our purpose. As to the property of him that was murdered or robbed, we shall only use it ‘pendente lite.’ Whatever may be left after the execution of justice, our elders shall hand it over to the murdered man’s relations when claimed, on condition, however, that the fourth Pfennig go to the prince. And in case the late man had relations in the country, if they be spendthrifts, the money shall not be handed over to them, but be retained for his other friends in Scotland for a year. If the right heirs do not claim the property within the space of a year, the assets shall be distributed among the poor.
16. Of those who have for some lime stayed abroad.
We have resolved, that those of our Brethren, who hire a servant-man from elsewhere or make an agreement with him in the country. . .. shall be punished, especially if the said man or boy did not complete his time, but ran away from his master or was mixed up with other crimes. . .
17. Of stiff-necked and wilful servants.
They shall be expelled and lose their wages unless they improve.
18. Because every year some of our nation are brought here by skippers and others, who turn out badly and refuse to do well, having already before they arrived here, as experience has taught us, misbehaved, which tends to the disgrace of the whole Scottish nation, and more especially causes unmerited disrespect, contempt and injury to our Brotherhood in this place: we have resolved, that if a skipper or other person do bring or Procure such servants, he should place them with friends, if such there are, giving sufficient proof of their honesty and find security of well-known people; but if the newcomer cannot be lodged in this way, he shall take him home again. He who trespasses any of these rules shall be punished by the Brotherhood.
Item, if anyone hire a servant who has been living here for some time, yet owes his former master still something, the new master shall pay this debt. Nobody is to keep more than one servant for four years.
If the master wrong the servant, he shall be punished after due consideration of the case.
19. Not to hire any strange man, unless he can give honest proof of having served his master faithfully for four years.
20. If any one of our Brethren, be he free man or serving, be found squandering his own or goods entrusted to him by card-playing, dice, laziness or other evil and useless doings by which the Brotherhood suffer injury: if this should happen in the country he shall have power to hold the offender till help arrives or bring him to the magistrate, lest he do squander the remaining property also, and from this remaining money shall he be satisfied who found him out and perhaps spent some money in doing so, though he be only a serving man. But if he be a free man but carries other people’s wares, and is admittedly in debt: he shall fare likewise.
All the Brethren have solemnly sworn to observe the above articles in all particulars as far as possible, so help them God!”
After this most excellent constitution had been ratified by the authorities, though with many alterations, complaints against the lawlessness of the Scotch cease.
But then trouble arose from political causes.
In Scotland in the meantime the thundercloud had burst over the heads of the unfortunate Stuarts. Charles I having been found guilty of treason had been beheaded in front of his own palace, and Charles II as a fugitive in France needed money for the maintenance of his semi-royal state, money again for his far-reaching political intrigues. In his necessity he wrote to a number of foreign princes, nay he even recollected his beloved subjects settled in Poland, of whose thriving state, rumour—ever increasing in wonder with the increasing distance — had perhaps reached his ears. As a proof of their loyalty these Scots were now to pay a tax amounting to no less than the tenth part of their possessions. This was the meaning and the message of the King’s ambassador, Sir J. Cochran; to Hamburg, Danzig and Poland. The fourth paragraph of his instructions ran: “If you finde it to be true that our said good brother, the King of Poland, hath endeavoured to bring all our Scotch subjects in that kingdome to a just acknowledgment of us and of our power and authority as their lawfull king, you shall from us thankfully acknowledge his friendship and justice therein and intreate him to continue and improve his kindness to us in that particular so far, that none of them be permitted to enjoy the libertie they have in that kingdome, but such as shall approve their loyaltie and good affection to us by some supply of money or other assistance according to their abilitie in this time of our great necessitie. To which end you shall intreat our said good brother to authorize and encourage our bane of money or other assistance that our said subjects can be induced to give.
A further duty of the ambassador was to assemble the most prominent Scotsmen in Poland, to acquaint them with all the circumstances of the “abominable” murder of his father and to persuade them to assist their lawful monarch with a sum of money collected among themselves.
The consequence of this embassy and this request was a decree of the “good royal brother,” the King of Poland, dated 1650, which, in recognition of the friendship of the King of England’s grandfather “tempore necessitatis belli Turcici,” and in order to assist him in his present distress, commanded all the Scotch settled in Poland to assess personally their fortunes and to deposit within two months ten per cent of it with the local magistrates. This edict was approved of by the parliament in December of the same year. It was, however, but slowly and almost unwillingly, it appears, carried into effect. Poland herself was about this time implicated in a frightful war against the Cossacks and her means were straitened. Finally, towards the end of January 1651, John Cazimir commanded Henry Drioss, secretary to the Royal Exchequer, to enforce this tribute to the King of England “ratione subsidii” with all energy.
On the 28th of February four of the wealthiest and most influential Scotsmen of the city of Krakau, Carmichael, Fraser, Blackhal and George Cruikshank, are cited before the Burgomaster. There they had on oath to tell the amount of their property and to bind themselves to inform their countrymen of the decree of the Polish parliament. But the payment of the tax took place only on the 3rd of March. The four mentioned above paid down large amounts varying from two to six hundred dollars; others less. Andrew Dixon, a Scotch merchant of Krakau, refused altogether to pay on the plea that he, having lived in Poland for the last fifty-seven years, ought to be exempt from being taxed. His case was postponed for a closer examination of the circumstances. A like plea is brought forward by James Cramer of Brady, Richard Gordon of Leopol, and others. The loyalty does not seem to have been quite as great as King Charles II presumed or was led to presume. Nevertheless a sum of £10,000 was collected, of which sum, however, only £600 or £800 reached the King.
Nor were the political troubles on the Continent less disastrous to the Scotch settlers. In the year 1656 Danzig had declared war against Sweden and the greatest possible efforts were made for the defence of the town. Men and money were urgently needed, and, knowing that Oliver Cromwell favoured the Swedes, the magistrates resolved to compel the Scotch and English settlers either to submit—
(1) To the administration of the oath of fidelity;
(2) To military service;
(3) To a war-tax; or to quit the country.
The Scots unanimously refused these three points; whereupon the expulsion of them, not even the asked-for delay of a few months being granted, finally took effect on the 12th July 1656. The banishment, however, cannot have lasted long, for we find Scotch merchants in Danzig mentioned very soon afterwards.
In the meantime, thanks to their industry and their superior intelligence, many of the Scotch merchants in Poland had earned great riches and obtained influential positions at court. If they did not return to Scotland, they acquired landed property in the country of their adoption. Eight of the richest were made “mercatores aulici” or “curiales,” purveyors to the Court. As such they enjoyed very great trading privileges. They were also bankers. Many of them were ennobled. The names of Scott, who lived in the castle, Orem, Dixon and Fergusson are mentioned as such. How important their position was, is evident from an edict issued by King Stephan in the year 1585. “Beloved subjects,” it runs, “the Scots who always follow our court and who are at liberty in all places, where We and our Royal Council stay, to exhibit their wares and to sell them, complain that they are prevented by our faithful subjects from exercising their privileges granted by us, in Krakau likewise. Now we command you to put nothing in their way in this business, especially not to hinder those to whom we have given liberty of trading and assigned a certain district. For if they on account of the failure of their trade should leave our court, none of you indeed will follow us into Lithuania and other places. Our court cannot be without them, that supply us with all that is necessary. It is just, therefore, that they should enjoy the same privileges in Krakau as elsewhere. They have also supplied us well in former times of war. Let a certain district be assigned to them. This we command our faithful subjects.’—Niplomice, the 7th of May 1585.”
From this document it would appear that the trading-liberty of the Scots was bound by certain local limits. However this may be taken as a whole, their situation in the country was tolerable. It was nothing extraordinary that they should be taxed as pedlars: the pedlars in England at that time paid a similar tax; it was nothing extraordinary that they should meet with trade opposition: the times were not ripe yet for the blessings of an unfettered competition. On the other hand we read of no religious persecution; they enjoyed many privileges; they occupied high positions at various times in the town council, and the luxurious Royal Court, not being willing to miss those who had furnished supplies in money and otherwise in times of war and peace, plainly preferred them to its own trading subjects.
It is, however, not in Warsaw and Krakau and surrounding districts only that we meet with the trading Scot. He spreads over the whole of Eastern and Western Prussia, Brandenburg, Pommern and Mecklenburg. Andrew Spalding emigrates in the beginning of the XVIIth Century from Scotland and settles in the small town of Plau in Mecklenburg, which had at that time a considerable cloth-manufacture and trade with England. In time he becomes a senator of the place. A branch of the family was ennobled in Prussia in 1834. In Wismar the Scots appear about the middle of the XIVIth Century; they were small traders. The names of William and Th. Donatzen (Donaldson) 1571; Jacob Mackay (1579-1592); Andreas Jack (about 1600), who married Mackay’s widow; Thomas Dumasson (Tompson? 1577); and Hans (John) Selby (1597-1602) are preserved in the records. The name of Watson also occurs, though it is not expressly stated that its bearer was of Scottish origin. A Scotsman, John Grinlis (Greenlees ?), buys a shop “under the town-hall” at Strasburg in Western Prussia for the high price of ‘10 Marks. (1573.) Burgomaster and Councillors of Mewe in the same province are commanded by a rescript of Sigismund III, dated 1588, to admit the Scotsman Andrew Herve, who had been settled in the place for the last ten years, without delay to the freedom of the city. In Tilsit Scotch merchants are first mentioned in 1592, in Memel about 1607, in Stuhm 1594. In Barten (Eastern Prussia) an old epitaph may be seen in the church erected by Thomas Gordon for one Alexander Schant (?) from Aberdeen, who died in 1637, fifty-five years old. In Marggrabowa lived about 1670 a Scotch merchant called John Birrell; in Angerburg occur the names of Daniel Wilson, Thomas Hamilton, George Wilson and William Anderson as owners of breweries. The last-named became a town councillor. His son and grandson obtained the dignity of burgomaster. Other names of Scotch people occur in Christburg and Strasburg. Even as far as Lithuania and Masuren, in Ragnit, Stallupönen, Goldap and Lyck and Insterburg did they settle and find a home. Of the Scots that settled in Memel since the commencement of the XVIIth Century, the Ogilvies, Muttrays and Simpsons were most successful and rose to high distinctions. Thomas and John Ogilvie founded a potash factory there in 1771. John Simpson (1774) as well as W. Muttray obtained the dignity of “Bürgermeister,” the latter in 1813. Thomas Ogilvie became a member of the Town Council. All three distinguished themselves by their truly noble liberality and their constant efforts for the benefit of their fellow-citizens. John Simpson and his cousin Ludwig became the chief founders of the Lodge Memphis (1776) and left many valuable gifts and donations especially to the Reformed, i.e. Calvinistic, Church, of which they were members. When Muttray resigned his official dignity as Mayor in 1815, he expended almost the whole of the salary that had been attached to it, on charitable purposes, giving to the Elementary Schools a donation of 1000 Thaler, to the Institute for the education of the Poor 600 Thaler, and for the purchase of books, instruments, etc., 250. He also deserves the chief credit for considerable sums collected in 1815 and sent to the King of Prussia at Paris, who expended them for the comfort of the wounded during the great war against Napoleon. Thomas Ogilvie at his death in 1811 left a considerable legacy to the poor of Memel.
Other names of Scotsmen residing in this town are: Littlejohn (1616), Pesaller (1616), G. Wölssel (?) (1620), A. Smith, the three last named from Aberdeen. Also Arrot, Adam, Barclay, Durham, Irwing, Marschall, Minorgam (?), Mitchel, Mitchelhill, Murray, Palmer, Ramsay. Ritchie, Scrumseour (Scrimgeour): all of the XVIIth Century. Later on we find a rope-maker James Duncan mentioned; indeed the emigration to Memel seems never to have ceased, since as late as the beginning of the XIXth Century Scotsmen were enrolled as citizens, notably one Robert Pitcairn from Perth in 1807 in the town of Elbing—the seat of the Swedish Governor-General for the Baltic coast from Memel to Elbing during the Thirty Years’ War, and strongly garrisoned by Scotch troops—the following names are rescued out of many: 1. Thomas Achenwall (Auchinvale) (born 1581, died 1653).’His birthbrief is still preserved and is issued by the “Praefectus et consules et senatores civitatis Sterlinensis” on the 24th of February 1614. 2. William Lamb de Aberton, whose son William is born at Elbing on the 7th of December 1586. 3. Alexander Nisbet from Edinburgh, who died in 16I7. 4. Charles Ramsay, born 1576 at Dundee, died at Elbing in February 1650. His birthbrief (1611) tells us that he was the son of Charles Ramsay at Deidonum “urbis nostrae olim consiliarius,” and of Janeta Duncan. His family existed at Elbing up to 1863.
The earliest settlement of the Scots took place in Danzig, as we have seen; but the exact date of the foundation of the suburb, called ‘Alt-Schottland’ (Old Scotland), so called after a colony of Scottish weavers, is difficult to ascertain. We shall not go wrong, however, if we fix the year of the first arrival of the colonists at about 1380. With this the historian Goldbeck agrees, and adds, that the place must have been tolerably well cultivated in the XIVth Century, for it was burnt to the ground in 1520, when the Poles had engaged upon a war of two years’ duration with Albrecht, the head or ‘Hochmeister’ of the Teutonic Order and afterwards first Duke of Prussia. The Carthusian Prior Schwengel (ca. 1720) relates, that Alt-Schottland was inhabited originally by so-called “gardiners,” i.e. small peasant-proprietors, and that not till later on tradespeople, especially Scottish linen-weavers and tanners, had settled there. According to him the place was already known as “Alt-Schottland” in 1433, when it was burned by the Hussites. He further tells us, that on account of the growing prosperity of the place, the people of Danzig procured the privilege, that within a radius of five miles no town was to be built and no trade to be established that was commonly carried on in townships only. But already in 1526 the Bishop takes the part of the linen-weavers. This is to be explained from the fact, that ‘Schottland’ and other small places in the neighbourhood of Danzig belonged to the so-called ‘liberties of the Church,’ that is to say, to the property of the Bishop of Leslau and the Monastery of Pelplin. These ‘liberties’ became Prussian possessions at the first division of Poland in 1772, whilst the town of Danzig itself obtained the dignity of a ‘free City.’
Here as elsewhere the Scottish settlers held together very closely; a Scottish factor, or ‘resident’ as he was called afterwards, looked after their interests. Numerous Scottish names, such as Murray, Muttray, Simpson, Nesbit, Maclean (MackIm), still current in or about Danzig, testify to the extent of the former colony. Some rich Scottish merchants there we shall have to mention in due course.
In the town of Posen, then belonging to Poland, the records of a number of Scotch families date back to the middle of the XVIth Century. They were mostly engaged in trade; some of them, however, were handicraftsmen. King Stephan Bathory tried to make them permanent citizens by directing the Magistrate of Posen in 1567 to remove those Scotsmen out of the town, who had no house-property. The strangers now endeavoured to fulfil the necessary conditions. They were an active, intelligent and cautious race, some of them well-to-do. Their number, however, decreased in the following century, chiefly on account of heavy taxation. The Forbeses and Watsons are especially named as very rich. The then (XVIth Century) famous merchant and shipowner Ryd (= Reid) in Danzig and Posen, is very probably also of Scotch origin. He was a banker too and supplied large sums to the needy Polish aristocracy. Here as elsewhere, the hostility of the native trade-unions was great. Thus there is a passage in the Statutes of the Purse-maker guild saying: “It shall not be permitted to merchants, be they Scotch or Jews, to sell purses singly, but only by the dozen. Offenders to lose their goods” (1675). And the shoemakers received a constitution from the magistrates, in which the nineteenth paragraph runs: “No master or any other person shall make so bold as to bring boots and shoes from elsewhere for sale in Posen, least of all the Jews, Scots, Armenians, Lithuanians and others that are not members of the guild.” A similar rule obtained with the tinsmiths.
Whilst this trade-opposition was common enough all over Poland and Prussia, in Posen an event happened, which in the midst of religious intolerance could not fail to render the Scotch settlers hated. It was in the year 1652 that a drunk Scot, in a public-house and in the presence of several people, uttered some blasphemous remarks against the Virgin Mary. A great uproar and tumult arose and he barely escaped with his life. But not content with that, the offender had to stand his trial, the three classes of the representatives of the inhabitants assembled in the town-house, and resolved to petition the King, “feria tertia in crastino festi natalis Sancti Joannis Baptistae,” to defend the honour of the most holy Virgin, and to have the culprit punished most severely.
Thus it came to pass that in the XVIIIth Century only a few Scotch families, such as the Watsons, Fergussons and Forbeses were settled in Posen.
In the town of Deutsch-Krone (Polish = Walcz) a Scotchman with the name of Wolson (Wilson or Watson?) is made a sort of honorary member of the guild of cloth-makers (1617). It must have been an exceptional act, since, in general, ‘Jews, Scots and Heretics, i.e. Protestants,’ were refused admission.
It was here that a curious action, for sumptuous apparel, in contravention of the laws against luxury frequently promulgated in Poland during the first quarter of the XVIIth Century, was preferred against the strangers, They were said to have dressed in robes of blue silk, richly trimmed with costly fur and that they had even assumed the distinctive sign of the nobility, the shoes of yellow morocco leather. The plaintiff was a Polish nobleman, named Ostrowski, and amongst the accused were the two richest merchants of Krone, Wolson and Lawson. Now the Scots being proverbially known to be inclined to thrift and parsimony rather than to sumptuousness in the way of silk and morocco leather, the complaint seems on the face of it absurd; there were other reasons, probably, which induced the plaintiff to prefer this charge. Wolson as well as Lawson had both acquired a large fortune; both were money-lenders, and the Polish nobility of the surrounding district seem to have been pretty well at their mercy by reason of their debts. Thus we read, that in 1617 the nobleman John v. der Golz and Barbara v. Walda mortgaged their share of the estate of Klausdorf to Wolson, the Scot, for 1000 Guldens. and some years later (1630) another member of the Golz family, not finding the magistrates of Krone inclined to assist him in his law-suit against Wolson, attacked him at night ‘and maltreated him.’ But he is himself brought to book in 1635 and 1639 for a debt to the Scotchman amounting to 736 Guldens.
In a similar manner Sophia Lawson, the widow of the above-named Lawson, and her son Christoph hold a bond of one Bernhard von Blankenburg; and when Christoph dies in 1641 and his property comes to be divided, we are told that five noblemen, whose names are given, owe him a debt of nearly 6000 Gulden. May not also a case like this have been the reason of Ostrowski’s charges? Be this as it may, the important position of the Scottish settlers as money-lenders and bankers receives additional and interesting confirmation by these events in the history of Deutsch-Krone.
Another settlement of the Scots was at Putzig, not far from Danzig. In the records of this town we read of several actions for insult preferred by them, against the inhabitants for calling them “Scottish rogues.” A long law-suit of this description against one called George Ratzke in 1620 ends with his being sentenced to pay a fine and costs, and when he is unable to do this, he is banished out of the town “for a year and a day.”
Most of these immigrants were, as we have seen, of the reformed faith; yet the Roman Catholics were not wanting. They showed a predilection for the Catholic province of Ermeland or visited, as far as they did not belong to the trading fraternity, the school of the Jesuits at Braunsberg. Speaking of the foundation of St Rochus’ Chapel at Arnsdorf the author relates: “Once upon a time when a merchant from abroad, a Scot, drove from Guttstedt to Wormditt, where in those days much trade was done, he heard near Arnsdorf a ploughman ploughing near the road sing a Scotch tune. He wondered and stopped, called the ploughman and being questioned as to what brought him to this country the latter told his countryman, that his name was Maier (probably Mayor), that he had been forced to leave his native place during the religious persecutions of Queen Elizabeth, and that he and many others had at last arrived in Ermeland, where he, owing to his poverty, had to hire himself out as a farm-labourer. The merchant, who from the manner in which the tale was told, recognised Maiers’ great capacities, took him with him and left him with the Jesuits at Braunsberg for further education. Later on the former ploughman became a rich merchant. Out of gratitude towards God for the fortunate turn of his life he in the year 1617 built a chapel dedicated to St Rochus at Arnsdorf with eight window; a small steeple and a bell. On a slab of black marble on the eastern wall we read the following inscription:
I. M. I.
FAMATUS JOANN MAlER, NATIONE
SCOTUS, CIVIS BRUNOB; IN PUERIS
AHRENSDORFII ET LAUTERWALDII SERVIENS
EX VOTI CAUSA HOC SACELLUM
AD DEI OMNIPOTENTIS CLORIAM
FUNDAVIT ET EXSTRUXIT. ANNO
SALUTIS HUMANAE 1617.
i.e. the famous John Mayor, a Scot, citizen of Braunsberg in his youth serving at Ahrensdorf and Lauterwald, founded and built this chapel according to a vow, in honour of the Almighty God. In the year of grace 1617.”
Finally it deserves mention, that many of the immigrated Scotch merchants, who in not a few cases belonged to the class of “lairds” at home, became founders of noble families in the land of their adoption. There is a close connection between the Austrian Barons von Skene, who own large cloth-manufactories and sugar-refineries in Prerau and Brunn, and David Skene, a native of Aberdeen, who was made a citizen of Posen in 1586 and whose second son married the daughter of a Scotch merchant in Danzig, named Chalmers.
Nathaniel Gordon left Scotland, fourteen years old, in 1701, and went to Krakau to seek his fortune. He succeeded so well that he became the ancestor of the Polish noble family of Gordon now living at Ycon, their family seat to the north of Krakau. Two brothers Gibson, who came to Danzig in or about 1600, amassed a great fortune. A descendant of theirs received the title of “Baron” from Frederick the Great. Many of the Ogilvies, who are met with throughout Poland, obtained high military titles and dignities. The Bonars, of an ancient and very numerous Scotch clan, emigrated to Poland as early as the XVth Century. Upon them also were conferred the highest honours. One John de Bonar, became Burggraf Krakau, and Baron of the German Empire; a second one Theobald was made Franciscan-General; whilst a third St John Isaiah de Bonar was even canonised by the church in 1483.
Especially numerous among Scotch emigrants were the Fergussons and Frasers. In the year 1662 there died in Poland the merchant John Fergusson. He had encouraged two nephews George and William to emigrate also (1703). One of these, the eldest, married Catharina Concordia Tepper of Posen, a sister of a rich Banker Tepper in Warsaw. Their son Peter became the successor and heir of his uncle, was chosen a member of the legislative assembly and was granted permission to add the name Tepper to his own. He died in 1794. His son again Philipp Bernhard von Fergusson-Tepper, called the “second banker of Europe,” was made honorary citizen of Edinburgh. He possessed a splendid house in Warsaw and built a Protestant Church next to it; besides being a large land-owner in the Kingdom of Prussia. In spite of his Protestant faith he was a Knight of the Order, of Malta. His children intermarried with noble Russian and Prussian families.
As to the noble family of Johnston of Craigieburn near Moffit, now of Rathen in Silesia, the reader will find the necessary information in Parts II. and IV.
In Krakau we find mention made incidentally to some money-transaction, of one Jacob Drummond who is further styled: “ex familia magnifici baronis de Borlandt oriundus”; and in the beginning of the XVIIth Century of one William Lindsay, whose son Jacob wrote for a certificate of his noble birth.
It often happened, that these young Scots, who were at first perhaps only known by their Christian names, afterwards when success smiled on them or when they claimed an inheritance or applied for a situation, wrote home for their birth-certificates or birth-briefs, elaborate genealogical statements most of them according to Scotch predilections in that special branch of domestic history. A large collection of these is to be found in the so-called Propinquity Books at Aberdeen.
Of the rich Scotch merchants abroad, many made a noble use of their prosperity. Besides the founder of the Chapel of St Rochus, let another Roman Catholic be mentioned, who in the documents is erroneously called Portius instead of Porteous. He lived at Krosna in Poland and was engaged in a very flourishing trade in Hungarian wines. He rebuilt the church of his adopted home, which had been destroyed by fire, endowed it with rich vestments, altar-vessels, a baptismal font and beautiful bells. At his death he left legacies to the King and to the place of his birth, besides a large amount of money to his heirs. In the writing on a picture of him in Krosna he is called “generosus.”
Another Scotsman, better known than Porteous, Robert Gordon of Aberdeen, spent the wealth which he had accumulated at Danzig in founding Gordon’s Hospital in Aberdeen. John Turner, also a Scotch merchant of Danzig left at his death in 1680 four hundred Marks annually for the maintenance of four poor students, and legacies for the Scotch school, the Elisabeth Hospital and the “Pockenhaus” at Danzig. Patrick Forbes and William Lumsden witness the will.
Among the Scots who emigrated to Danzig during the first half of the XVIIth Century was a certain Cockburn, whose name, according to the dialect of the district, became Kabrun. Originally no doubt a merchant, he soon succeeded in buying a small landed property near the city and in obtaining the rights of a citizen. A grandson of this first Kabrun acquired great wealth, owing chiefly to his superior and uncommon technical abilities. He started the first sugar-refining works at Danzig, had an extensive trade with Poland and was engaged in other factory-enterprise. His son James born on the ninth of January 1759, became one of the most philanthropic and public spirited merchants Danzig ever possessed. His youth was passed in a time full of political oppression and suffering. The hard measures of Frederick the Great against the town, which after three centuries of thriving growth and privileges under the sovereignty of Poland, resisted his desires of incorporation and especially the heavy duties levied in all the suburbs and surrounding districts occupied by the Prussians on all goods imported into Danzig from the side of the sea or that of Poland, completely paralysed the trade. But Kabrun’s business suffered besides that for private reasons. His partner had incautiously become surety for a strange firm, and a great flood occurring in 1775 had destroyed a considerable part of his goods and stores. Thus it came to pass, that the father failed, and the youth, then scarcely seventeen, was thrown back on his own energy and resources. Matters mended, however, soon. An uncle took him into his business, where he in a short time completely gained the confidence of his employer by his untiring application, and his commercial ability. He undertook successful travels in Holland and England and was fortunate also in some small commercial undertakings of his own. After acting for a time as partner of the firm, he in 1800 after his uncle’s death became the sole representative of it and rapidly acquired the envied and enviable position as one of the wealthiest and most generous merchants of Danzig. Not satisfied with the great revival of trade after the final incorporation into Prussia, he tried to start new branches of industry by settling in his native town a colony of silk-weavers from the South of Germany, granting them dwellings and guaranteeing them fair wages. He also extended his shipping trade, by sending one of his vessels to the distant port of Buenos Ayres. Fond of travelling his large collection of paintings and prints was constantly added to, whilst in his leisure hours he composed essays on the science of Financing or wrote other books, notably his “Life of a Merchant,” an autobiography, which after the great model of Goethe, he called: “Wahrheit ohne Dichtung” (Truth without Fiction). It was through him also that the plan of erecting an Open-House was successfully carried out at the cost of about £4000. In short, Kabrun proved besides being an enterprising merchant, a munificent patron of all that contributed to the mental development of his fellow-citizens. Unfortunately he had to abandon his favourite scheme of establishing a commercial academy at Danzig owing to the indolence of the inhabitants and the threatening aspect of the times. The sufferings of the town during the reign of Napoleon are well known. It was twice besieged, once by the French in 1807 from the 24th of April to the 24th of May and again by the Russians and Germans in 1814 before the final retreat of the French. Kabrun’s energy found ample scope for work. He acted as a true helper in distress and a father of the poor and suffering; displaying everywhere a total disregard of his own health and comfort in his desire to ameliorate the terrible consequences of war and privation. Not only did he collect a large sum of money from his friends in Germany, which he conscientiously distributed chiefly amongst working men, who wanted to purchase new tools or buy material to rebuild their houses, but he also wrote to his business-connections in London, and originated a collection in the City in aid of the sufferers of Danzig, which amounted to the large sum of £5000. Not being a man of a strong physical constitution it was not to be wondered at, that this ceaseless strain accelerated his death. Occupied with the plans for his new country house, and with the erection of dwellings for the families of poor artizans on an estate lately purchased by him and partly intended for mercantile and technical purposes, he was struck by paralysis on October 24th, 1814. By his will he left his whole library, his pictures, drawings and prints and the sum of 100,000 Gulden for the foundation of a Commercial academy at Danzig. The two sons of Kabrun, both dying without male heirs, increased this bequest of their father by rich legacies and the gift of further art-treasures.
Owing to adverse circumstances the Commercial Establishment was not opened till July 2nd, 1832; but since then it has exercised a very beneficent and widespread influence over the youths of the town and district, and the name of Kabrun, who although of Scottish origin, had become the prototype of a public-spirited, far-seeing German patriot, will be unforgotten.
Finally mention must be made of William Brown of Angus in Scotland, who went to Danzig about 1693, and returned to England in 1699 after having acquired great wealth. He was made a Baronet.
Very various indeed were the claims that were made upon the liberality of these Scotch merchants abroad. It will be remembered, how thoroughly Charles II took advantage of his faithful subjects in Poland in the year 1651. Towards the end of that century it happened that the buildings of Marischal College became dilapidated, and again the Scot abroad, especially at Königsberg and Danzig, must come to the rescue. The Rector and the Professors of Aberdeen, after having received contributions some sixteen years ago, address a new letter to their distant countrymen with the prayer to assist them still further in procuring the necessary building funds. Nor was this appeal in vain. Very considerable sums were contributed by fifty-four members of the Scotch Brotherhood in Königsberg, by twenty-one at Warsaw, and many others at Danzig, Elbing and other places. John Turner above named had already in 1685 subscribed over 600 pounds; Postmaster Low in Danzig 290, Patrick Forbes at Danzig 280 pounds. The latter wrote on the 6th of September 1684 to the Rector and the Professors of Aberdeen as follows:-
“Right honorabell Sirs,
Through this bearer Baylie Alexander Gordon; your acceptabell letter I reseawed and heawing respect to such worthie persones, your good desinges and rasonabell demands, I wold not be refractive bot heaw (for hes discharg) delyvred to the forsaid Baylie Gordone ane hundred Crossdollers in specie which I intreat yee will accept and registrat in yor books for the building of the Marischall Colleg. I wish it be onlly imployed to that use, and it shall be allwayes my earnest wish to heyr, gif not to see, Learneing may increas in my native, which is the speciall mean to uphold both church and stait, which God allmightie mantin in hes fear, love and unyformetie to the end.
Commiteing you and your desing to the directyone of the ailmighty and myself to your favor, I subscrybe
Sir, yours in observaunc
Low and Miller write in a similar strain in 1700 and 1701; the latter holding out no hope of collecting more, for “times are so very hard in this country and so little trade.”
Another Scotch merchant established a bursary for a Polish student at Edinburgh and Patrick Aikenhead, who died at Danzig in 1693, left a legacy of 3500 pounds to the same city, “ad pios usus.”
Of the contributions towards the building of a new Church at Danzig for the united “British Nation” as well as of the Davidson Bequest in the same town, we have already spoken.
In short, the saying “blood is thicker than water” may be applied to these Scotch merchants abroad with the same propriety as it applies to the emigrants in Australia: their blood remains their blood, their home their home.
But in the land of their adoption also the Scots have left, though in the times when drums of war did not cease beating, hundreds of them perished and left no trace behind, the grateful recollections of a new race. They have founded families which flourish to this day in Germany, Russia, Sweden, Holland, Austria and France; they have proved their industry and their intelligence, their bravery and their strength of religious conviction amidst many dangers and calumnies, and by sacrificing the results of their labour, nay their lives, shown their gratitude towards a country, which had in times of dearth and persecution become a refuge for the