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The Scots in Germany
Commerce and Trade (Part 1)


THE commercial intercourse of Scotland with Germany dates almost, if not quite, as far back as that with Flanders, where already in the commencement of the XIIlth Century a Scotch Settlement at Bruges was known under the name of "Scottendyk." The oldest document relative to Scotch-German trade is the famous letter of William Wallace, the national Hero and champion of his country’s liberty, which was discovered in 1829 by the German Scholar and Antiquarian Dr. Lappenberg among the archives of the Free City of Lubeck, the renowned chief of the Hanseatic league. It bears the date of 1297 and runs as follows: "Andrew Moray and William Wallace, leaders of the Scotch army, and the commonwealth of the same kingdom send to the prudent and discreet men, our good friends, the Senate and the commoners of Lubeck and of Hamburg greeting and a continuous increase of sincere affection. We have been informed by trustworthy merchants of the said kingdom of Scotland, that you on your own behalf have been friendly and helpful in counsel and deed in all things and enterprises concerning us and our merchants, though our own merits did not occasion this. We are therefore the more beholden to you, and wishing to prove our gratitude in a worthy manner we ask you to make it known among your merchants that they can now have a safe access with their merchandize to all harbours of the Kingdom of Scotland, because the Kingdom of Scotland has, thanks be to God, by war been recovered from the power of the English. Farewell. Given at Hadsington (Haddington) in Scotland on the eleventh day of October in the Year of Grace one thousand two hundred and ninety seven."

"We also pray you to be good enough to further the business of John Burnet and John Frere, our merchants, just as you might wish that we should further the business of your merchants. Farewell. Given as above."

As will be seen, the letter was written immediately after the victorious battle of the Scots near Stirling and the advance of the army into Northumberland.

Previous to this date we can scarcely speak of a regular trade between the two countries; and even up to a much later date the development of commercial intercommunication is slow. This is but natural, when we consider that piracy and the almost ceaseless wars between England and Scotland, and later between the Hanseatic League and the Kingdoms of the North, must be added to the already universal want of safety of the traffic on land and sea.

England had during the XIVth and XVth Centuries issued repeatedly strict orders against providing the "rebellious Scots" with arms, flour or victuals of any kind by way of the sea. King Henry IV had even tried to persuade the Master of the Teutonic Order at Marienburg Konrad von Jungingen, to cease from trading with the Scots altogether, but had only received the dignified answer, that the Order lived in peace with all Christians and could not forbid the King of Scotland to trade with its territories. Thereupon the English out of revenge burn a ship from Stralsund "because it had sided with the enemy," and repeatedly raise complaints on account of the alleged contravening of their trade-prohibitions.

As to the piracy of those days, almost all seafaring nations were guilty of it. The Frisians however and the Scots seem to have enjoyed the worst reputation. The complaints of the suffering shipowners are very frequent. In Scotland as in other countries men of the highest rank took part not only in trading beyond the seas, but also in the more fascinating enterprise of procuring booty at sea by force, an enterprise, which they considered, as their forefathers did before them, a legitimate field of knightly prowess and adventure. Prominent in this respect is the Earl of Mar in the beginning of the XVth Century. Once he had with his companion Davidson taken a Prussian "Kraier" (small ship) on her voyage to Flanders and later on tried to sell the goods at Harfleur, where, however, they had been arrested by Hanseatic merchants. The Parliament of Paris refused the handing over of these goods to the proper owners on account of letters of safe-conduct granted to the Scotsman. Moreover, the Earl of Mar, Alexander Stuart, excuses himself in a letter written at Aberdeen and addressed to Danzig, saying that not he, but Dutch fishermen had committed the deed (1410). He even threatened a feud and did not hesitate in the following year to put his threats into execution. Again the inhabitants of Danzig, or Danskin as it is invariably written, had to suffer most. One of their skippers, named Claus Belleken, who was about to carry a load of salt, flour and beer from Rostock to Scotland, was attacked by the people of the Pirate-Earl on the 6th of June 1412 near Cape Lindesnaes. They threatened to throw him overboard, but relented and finally permitted him to escape in a boat with three of his men. The rest of the crew were taken prisoners and carried to Scotland, where they were employed in carrying stones for the building of a castle in the interior of the country. Two men, Tideman v. d. Osten and Hanneke Schole made good their flight and arrived home safely by way of Flanders.

On the other hand the captain of a sloop from Hamburgh sells the cargo of a plundered ship consisting of wax and other goods in Scotland (1309). In the year 1316 a citizen of Berwick complains, that on a "Tuesday before Easter" a ship of his destined for Berwick, with a cargo of victuals had been seized by vessels from Lubeck, Rostock and Stralsund. He himself had been taken prisoner, his men killed; only by paying the sum of 50 marks as a ransom had he been able to procure his liberty. He now prays the King for power to bring the miscreants to justice.

In the month of December 1462 a citizen of Danzig called Kilekanne is accused of piracy before the Scotch Admiral Sir Alexander Napier. Thereupon the Danzig Magistrates address a long Latin letter to Edinburgh and send a certain Letzke to assist the accused in his trial. Examples of this kind could easily be adduced in great number for centuries afterwards. In the public accounts of the city of Aberdeen in the year 1596 we find an accurate statement of the expense of executing four pirates who had plundered a ship from Danzig.

If one adds to this a great many taxes and heavy duties of export, especially on wool and skins, the bad construction of ships, etc., all of which tended to cripple and delay a satisfactory development of trade: it is not to be wondered at, that the best and most liberal intentions of the Scotch rulers as to the commercial intercourse of Scotland with other countries were only partially realised. And no doubt some of the best Kings of Scotland had the trade and the shipping of their country very near at heart. William the Lion (1165 - 1214) granted "liberum ansum" to the northern towns of his kingdom and Robert Bruce, the great patron of shipping and ship-building, towering high above the men of his time by his far-reaching intelligence and his practical genius as he excelled them in martial accomplishments, in a letter to the Magistrates of Lubeck, dated April 22nd, 1321, promises all merchants of this or any other city of "Alemannia," who "wish to visit Scotland on account of trade, favour, assistance and protection of the customs and liberties granted to them by former Kings of Scotland.

The Earl of March desires the Magistrates of Danzig to make efforts for the revival of the trade between Prussia and Scotland, which had been interrupted by the emprisonment of a certain Caspar Lange. The letter is undated but belongs very probably to the end of the XIVth Century.

King James II, so well known by his own energy and public spirit, takes the merchants of Bremen with their servants and ships under his protection and asks his friends and allies to treat them well. (Feb. 14,  1453). This letter secured for Bremen a direct trade with Scotland and was particularly useful because France was one of the allies spoken of in the recommendation.

Queen Mary commanded several Scottish men-of-war to put an end to the nuisance of piracy in Scottish waters and to look after the safety of the vessels from Danzig, Emden and Hamburg as well as those from France and Sweden (1550).

But these good intentions and efforts of single individuals were not able to cope with the general insecurity of the law and trade of which we have spoken.

After these premises we shall now examine what German and Scottish documents tell us concerning the commercial intercourse of both countries. Of the greatest importance in Germany are the Baltic cities, above all Danzig, then Konigsberg, Stralsund, Elbing, Lubeck and Greifswald; but Hamburg, Bremen, Rostock and Wismar are also mentioned. In Scotland, Aberdeen and Leith take the first place, followed by Perth, Dundee, St, Andrews and—up to 1333—Berwick-on-Tweed.

Beginning with the XIVth Century we have a short, French letter of the year 1302, announcing the arrestment of a certain Gregoire de Gorton (Gordon), a merchant: "en une nief de Lubyk Dalemeygne, fretté d’aler (aller) vers Aberdeen en Escoce." A little later a ship of Lubeck brings iron for the King’s castles to Scotland. A ship from Stralsund to Scotland is burned at Berwick by the English Admiral John Butetort in the reign of Edward I. The money contained in it is taken as a lawful prize, because the crew had joined the Scotch enemies. King Edward II writes with regard to these facts more than five years later (March 13th, 1312) to the Magistrates of Stralsund, demanding the release of English goods which had been arrested to the amount of 1100 marks. In the year 1316 we read of the capture of a ship from Berwick by the Lubeckers; 1319 the, goods belonging to merchants of Stralsund and Lubeck are restored by the King’s command after having been seized unlawfully. The cities of "Hildernesse" (Inverness), Edinburgh, St Andries (Andrews) and Cupar, after much bickering and reproachful correspondence declare themselves ready for a compromise with the German merchants (1348) at Bruges. In the year 1382 a vessel from Rostock to Scotland is mentioned and the skippers Snidewindt, Marquart Vrese and others of Lubeck are freighting a ship with "mail armour, ropes, anchors and victuals" to the same country. Frequent mention is made in this and the next century of Danzig, which was then rapidly growing in prosperity, and of Königsberg, the chief trading centre of the Teutonic Order. A ship from Danzig to Scotland is seized by the French (1382); and the "Groszschaffer" of the Teutonic Knights, who occupied much the same position in the commercial branch of the Order as the Hochmeister did in its military and religious enterprises, towards the end of the century employed Factors or "Lieger" at Glasgow (Lettecowe) and Edinburgh, whose business it was to sell the goods forwarded to them for their employers. The only other Liegers employed by the Order were those of Flanders. The factor’s name at Edinburgh was Hermann Gral, where he is mentioned till 1406.

About the same time we are told in the accounts of the Exchequer of Scotland anent certain expenditures at Perth, that he paid the sum of 194 pounds 6 shillings and 8 pence to Prussian merchants for: "miremio (timber) emto, pro machinis construendis et pro instrumends pro castris" (1382-3). How much we should like now to hear more about these war-engines and instruments for the king’s castles, even at the expense of a diffuse accuracy! Equally interesting is the notice in the same Exchequer Rolls that Prussian sailors "in their ignorance" carried away skins from Leith without paying the necessary duty.

In the year 1386 Telchten, a skipper from Danzig, is attacked by French pirates on his voyage to Scotland, whilst another citizen of the same town obtains letters of safe-conduct to Glasgow, where he goes on account of some property left by his father.

The next centuries offer us more abundant information. The towns of Danzig and Aberdeen still maintain their prominent position. In 1402 one Gercke Veusan sends a cargo of flour from Konigsberg to Scotland, but his ship was lost, being taken by the English. The same account-books of the Teutonic Order also tell us that two years later several ships containing wheat, flour, rye, malt and wainscot to the value of 2800 marks were sent to Edinburgh. Aberdeen in a letter dated Dec. 1, 1410, reminds the magistrates of Danzig of the old friendship existing between Prussia and Scotland and puts her seal, as being sufficiently well known at Danzig, to a letter of neighbouring noblemen, whilst the magistrates of the latter place point to the privileges of their citizens at Edinburgh "juxta ritum ab evo" (1452).

In the Rotuli Scotiæ a letter of safe-conduct is printed in 1406 for two skippers and the servants of the Bishop of St Andrews, who were to fetch wood from Prussia (Spruce) for the building of their church; a similar letter is granted at about the same time to one "John de Camford of Danskin" for ship and passengers. It is in this century that we hear first of Scotch merchants settled at Danzig. The trade between this port and Scotland assumes considerable proportions. The cargo of the vessels is either addressed to German Factors in Scotland or accompanied by a special Factor. Here also the nobility of the country take part in trading operations. The names of John and George von Baysen are mentioned as such, and above all the Family of the "von dem Walde" or "van dem Wolde." A certain Henry of this ilk, so Hirsch tells us, together with two other merchants of Danzig, sends a ship loaded with a variety of goods to Scotland, commissioning his relative Reinhold to sell them; but his trouble is great, when this factor commits suicide at Edinburgh. Hans von dem Walde employs two other factors called Zegebad and Resen, in this city. We also read of a certain Nicolaus or Claus Jerre (1421-1444), who took part in extensive commercial enterprises and had dealings with King James I of Scotland and his favourite Lord William Crichton at Edinburgh. At one time he furnishes the King with a splendid beaver-hat, ornamented with pearls to the value of seven Pounds, and the Queen with an inlaid table valued at five Pounds. But he received no payment. The King was murdered in 1437, and, his son and successor James II (1437-1460) refusing to pay his father’s debts, the Diet of Hansetowns at Danzig takes the matter in hand and threatens to arrest all Scotch goods in Prussia (1443).

In the year 1428 a Prussian merchant delivers iron "ad usum regis" to Edinburgh; 1438 Beer from Hamburg is sent to Lord Crichton for the coronation-festivities; 1435 a payment occurs for wood and beams for the castle of Stirling; 1444 a ship of Aberdeen brings rye from Stralsund. During the years 1449-1456 other payments for wood, beer and timber for Edinburgh Castle are made. The demand for German beer, especially that of Wismar, Rostock and Danzig, is on the increase, though chiefly used by the rich. It was called "cerevisia Almanniæ" or "beer" to distinguish it from the homebrewed article "ale."

Now and afterwards a long time is often taken up to settle between the merchants of the different towns those quarrels that had their rise in piracy. Take for instance the case of James Lauder (Jacobus de Lawdre), who writes to the Hochmeister von Erlichhausen in the month of August 1452 on account of the arrestment of Scotch goods. The greater part of them had been released, but a certain Schonau of Danzig still held his part. In the autumn of the same year he writes again complaining that hitherto his efforts to obtain his property from Schönau had been fruitless. He had no other way but to apply to Erlichhausen because his predecessor in office, the late Hochmeister, had ordered the arrestment. Finally on March 27th, 1453, the following judgment is given: "The public notary Armeknecht testifies, that the members of the council, assembled by the Hochmeister to settle the quarrel between the Scotch merchant Lauder, from Edinburgh, representative of the Scotch merchants Robert Ross, John Tuke, Patrick Ramsan (!) and others on the one side and Schönau, a citizen of Danzig on the other, concerning certain merchandise, have decided that the documents of the parties are unreliable and have to be sent to a higher court." In the meantime Schönau was to pay Lauder 140 merks, "that is 20 Merks down and 20 Merks every following Whitsunside till the amount be reached." The report adds: "Presentibus ibidem honorabilibus viris Willielmus Kant de Dondy (Dundee) et Thomas Wilhelmsson (Williamson) mercatoribus de prefato regno Scotie.)" About this time mention is made for the first time of the city of Thorn as trading with Scotland. A ship loaded there with goods of various description to the value of 500 merks and destined for certain Scotch ports, is plundered at Newcastle by the English. In Leith we find the name of Jan Law, a skipper, who sailed to and from the "Eastlands," and in Edinburgh those of the merchants William Halyburton of Haddington and John Collen; whilst the skippers Herman Bar and John Pape seem to have sailed with fair regularity from Danzig to Scotland. These voyages were however not always successful. Twice, in 1463 and 1490, their cargo, consisting of wool and rabbit-skins, is taken. Sometimes losses like these are voluntarily made good: Aberdeen, for instance, in a letter to Danzig (1487) declares her willingness to repair any losses caused and proved to be caused by the Scots, and Edinburgh pays sixty-six pounds to the merchants of Danzig for damage done to their ships. (1459). Not long after this we read of a vessel from Rostock, which on her way to Scotland is driven by adverse winds to Bergen. In the year 1462 Danzig sends, as we have seen, a long letter to the Scotch Admiral "Napare" (Napier) in support of her citizen Kilekanne, who had been accused of piracy. Another citizen named Lentzke will attend the trial on behalf of the accused.

Thus again we perceive the paralysing effect and the grave consequences of piracy throughout this century. Indeed so frequent were the complaints of the merchants particularly against the Scotst that the Hanse Towns were at last driven to extreme measures.

The dreaded Earl of Mar did, as we have seen, threaten war, when taken to account for his many outrages upon German vessels. The Diet of the Hanse Towns at Luneburg therefore proposed to interdict all commerce of the Baltic cities with Scotland (1412). The cities of Danzig and Stralsund, however, refuse to support a measure of so sweeping a character. Finally, it was agreed to prohibit for a time the importation of Scotch wool and woollen cloths. But even this prohibition failed to have the desired effect. It was the German staple at Brugge (Brugep), where the cloths of Scotch wool were manufactured, that suffered most severely under it. After continued exhortations not to remain satisfied with halfhearted measures such as these, and after renewed acts of piracy on the part of the Scots, Danzig at last consents, and on the gist of August 1415 at the Hanseatic Diet at Elbing the resolution is passed to interdict all trade with Scotland especially in woollens in the Prussian cities also. Then the Scots gave in. Already in the following year a truce was entered upon between Flanders and the Regent (King James being a prisoner in England), during which further deliberations were to take place. But the Scotch ambassadors never arrived. The Hanse Diets of 1418 and 1421 renewed the prohibition; again Flanders acts as mediator, and finally a treaty with Scotland is concluded according to which Flanders undertakes to compensate the Hanse merchants. Tacitly the law was allowed to become a dead letter and trade was formally restored in 1436. During this period protests from Scotland had not been wanting. Thus Robert, the Regent, in the early twenties writes from Falkirk to the Hochmeister of the Teutonic Order complaining bitterly of the restrictions on Scotch exportation of wool, and expressing astonishment that the merchants of the Order should be prohibited from sailing to Scotland. At the same time the Scots and English settled in Prussia likewise complained of oppression. It appears that the Prussian cities had not accepted the terms of the treaty of 1437 which promised to the Scots and English the same privileges as those enjoyed by the Hanse merchants or Easterlings in England; on the contrary, Scotch and English merchants at Stralsund and Danzig were treated worse than other nations. "No Scotsman nor any other man outside the Hansa shall keep an open shop" says an old law of Stralsund (1442), whilst at Danzig they were refused a separate house and the liberty of trading and bartering among one another. Burdensome taxes were imposed on them. On account of these and similar "great wickedness" of the Magistrates they address long letters of complaint to the King of Scotland (e.g. in the year 1423), but matters do not seem to have improved much.

It was with an ill-concealed jealousy that the Baltic cities observed the merchant-vessels of the West spread their sails on Baltic waters. They were sure to put obstacles in the way of trade and did not even shrink from open acts of violence. Fair commercial rivalry was unknown, undesired and a thing to be suppressed with the utmost rigour of the law. Envy and jealousy filled the citizen at the success of the immigrant stranger. This commercial polity, which found an early expression with regard to the pedlar’s trade in Scotch cloth in the following prohibition of Danzig: "henceforward shall no Scotchman nor Englishman trade in country-districts, be he who he may be "—ruled all trade for centuries afterwards and was sanctioned in a more or less narrow manner by all trading nations. Only now and then, when the spirit of oppression became too palpably mischievous, a warning voice was raised.

An instance of this occurs at the Hanse Diet of Lubeck on the 28th of May 1498, when the Burgomaster of Danzig replied to his colleague of Hamburg, who had recommended the refusal of citizenship to strangers, more especially to the Scotch and English, in the following terms: "Dear Sirs, if we were to expel all our citizens that are not born within the hanse, our city would well nigh become a desert," indicating not only a more liberal frame of mind but also the great number of Scots that must have been settled at Danzig about this time. Similarly the Scots, compelled by the famine of their country, issue a decree according to which all strangers bringing victuals to their shore should have free access and be certain of a friendly reception. But these were exceptions, passing moods so to speak, which in no way affected the general tendency of the times.

Next to the dangers on sea, bad debts proved a very grave obstacle in the way of trade-development. It was bad debts among other reasons that caused the trade of the Teutonic Order with Scotland to languish. Following the example of their King many Scots in the beginning of the XIVth Century do not seem to have troubled themselves much about the payment of their debts. In 1417 we find in the account-books of the Order a long list of "bad debts," that is those that could not be recovered. The city of Glasgow and the ‘Customers of Edinburgh’ are high up in the list with fifteen pounds and twenty pounds respectively; and there are other high-sounding names like that of the Earl of Agues (Angus), Lord Dalkeith, Archibald Stuart, Sir John Seaton, and the Earl Duclos (Douglas), the latter owing the large sum of 216 pounds.

Now and then we find in the documents amidst dry or seemingly dry details, traces of unintentional humour; for example, when in the year 1489 Heinrich Polseyne, a merchant of Stralsund, sends the request to the Magistrates of Aberdeen to inquire into the state and the habits of the so-called St Cuthbert’s geese of the Orkney Islands. The matter is entered into with laudable and most obliging thoroughness. Witnesses are called and they relate the most wonderful stories. The birds, it appears, build their nests under the altar of the church in the island of Fame, walk forth when mass is being read and pluck the officiating priest by his gown. They seek their food in the sea and are quite unfit for cooking or roasting. A stone-weight of feathers is valued at a gold "rosenoble." Among the witnesses are Hans Skele (Scheele) and Heinrich Worbosse, citizens of Greifswald and probably seafaring men.

Very likely Polseyne was a man of a far-reaching mind. He wanted to make the geese better known in Aberdeen, or, in modern phraseology, to create a market for the feathers. The odour of sanctity once being established, a thriving trade was sure to follow. Or did Polseyne wish to palm off the feathers of his native Pommeranian geese for those of the famous Eiderduck?

But we must pass on to the sketch of the Scottish-German trade during the XVIth Century, premising, as we did before, a few general remarks relative to the political aspects of the time.

For James IV, King of Scotland, the war of the Hanseatic League against Denmark was fraught with dangers and difficulties. He was applied to and urged on from two sides, by his uncle, the Danish King, who repeatedly and most pressingly demanded men and ships, advising him at the same time to imprison all Hanseatic traders in Scotland, especially those of Lübeck; and by the German Emperor Maximilian, who had written to him and to the King of France in favour of his cities, requesting that no help should be given to Denmark. Under these harassing circumstances James did what a wise man would have done: he contented himself with the resources of diplomacy. In 1508 he sent an ambassador to the Cities of Lubeck, Hamburg and Danzig advising them not to support the Swedes against his uncle. Danzig replied that her relations with both Kingdoms were of a friendly nature; if the King wanted to assist the Danes, he might leave the ships of Danzig unmolested and above all try to abolish those commercial restrictions that were still in use at Edinburgh. In another letter addressed to the Emperor, James complains of the boldness of the Lubeckers and of the unjustified attacks and cruelties his merchants had to suffer from them on the high seas. Fond of moralising, as he always is, he adds, that the blood of Christians should much rather be spilt in fighting against the common enemies of Christ.’ Again in 1512 he exhorts the cities to keep the peace, or rather to conclude it; which was done in the same year at Malmo.

Important for the development of Scottish trade during this period was the order of Margaret of Parma, prohibiting under the pretext of danger from the plague the importation of wool from Scotland into Flanders (1564). The staple for cloth was consequently transferred from Bruges to Emden, a small but rising port in Friesland.

Equally important was the foundation of the "Fellowship of Eastland Merchants" by Queen Elizabeth, who were to control and manage the whole trade with the Baltic cities by means of factors or "liegers," and to compete with the still powerful association of the Hanseatic League. In almost all cities on the coast of Prussia settlements of English and Scottish merchants were now established.~ Trade with England and Scotland flourished, all the more since the direct communication between one port and the other without the intermediate stage of a "staple," became more and more usual.

On the other hand great obstructions to trade were still experienced in the insecurity of the water-ways, most of all, however, in the terrible scourge of the Middle Ages, the Plague. In the very year 1500 we find a ship of Danzig, suspected of the plague at Aberdeen. The cargo is burned; the sailors are for fifteen days confined in certain houses. Edinburgh also adopts strict measures with regard to ships coming from the plague-stricken Danzig (1564). Their crews are being isolated on a small island in the Firth of Forth, ship and cargo are disinfected. The landing of either crew or goods is forbidden on pain of death in 1569. Two brothers, Robert and Nicolaus Liclos, Scotsmen, died of the plague at Danzig in 1564 and two of their friends are commissioned from Edinburgh to look after their property. In 1566, Queen Mary writes to the magistrates of the same city in favour of a certain David Melville who goes to Danzig on a similar errand. This danger from the plague is threatening till far into the XVIIth and XVIIIth Century. As late as 1653 a vessel from Konigsberg is stopped at Dundee as suspected.’

Complaints concerning piracy are still frequent and somewhat monotonous. They are, however, important as affording an idea of the extent of the trade between Germany and Scotland. In the year 1512, a Scotsman accuses natives of Lubeck before the King of Denmark for having seized his ship and its freight of timber on the voyage to Scotland; Lubeck, on the other hand, complains of the capture of two of her ships and demands—" mindful of the old friendship between the two peoples"—restitution. She also asks that her vessels be not molested on the voyage to Bergen, the great emporium of the northern trade in those days; she even uses threats and announces her fleet ready to protect her trade in the northern regions against all comers, French or Scotch alike. A similar case happened in the year 1591, when the good ship "Noah’s Ark" of Danzig was shipwrecked on the coast of Unst in the stormy month of October. The owners sent one Conrad von Bobbert to lay their claims before the Scotch authorities. Better and more effective was the resolution of Lübeck and Rostock henceforward to arm their boats to Bergen and only to sail in company.

Whilst a tolerable security of trade was thus being enforced in these regions by the energetic action of the Hanse Cities, the trouble broke out in another quarter. The Scots complain of the Eastland captains for disturbing the fishing off the Orkney and Shetland islands, and the Hanse merchants of cruelty and atrocities committed against their skippers on the part of the natives. Many letters are exchanged on this subject. King James V writes to Bremen in 1540 and the Magistrates of Bremen address a long Latin letter, written in strong terms, to Queen Mary, in which the pirates are called "Harpyas." A certain Earl of Orkney seems to have taken a prominent part in these acts of piracy.

Nor are the "deditissimi consules et senatus Imperialis civitatis Lubece" behindhand. A letter of theirs to the Regent of Scotland (1557) tells the woeful tale of a ship taken by French "classionarii" (pirates) and brought into the port of "Monrosse" (Montrose). The writers urge the release of the vessel (Oct. 8) since there was no war between Her Majesty and the Hanse Towns. Another letter, dated Oct. 23rd, follows, praying for expedition of the matter as well as for compensation. At last, in the year 1559 the aggrieved merchants of the said cities and the owners of the plundered vessel, the "Saint Martin," resolve to send Joachim Halspag as their delegate to Scotland with full powers to demand final satisfaction.

In August 1564 Danzig writes to Edinburgh in favour of a certain H. Biers, who had travelled to Scotland on a like errand. He succeeds in obtaining a decree for compensation, the goods having been taken unjustly.

Nor are other causes for complaints wanting. Thus Queen Mary’s Regent in 1545 writes to the Magistrates of Lubeck anent the conduct of a certain Bockard Cloch, who, whilst a law-suit was pending, had absconded with his ship causing great loss to the city of Edinburgh, but more especially to a citizen of Malmö, who claimed the fourth part of the cargo. Worse still is the case of John Knape, a skipper from Wismar in Mecklenburg, on whose account the Duke Ulrich writes a long Latin letter to Edinburgh in 1566. It appears that this Knape had sailed to Scotland three years ago in a vessel belonging to two merchants of Wismar. Since then no news had been received from him. His wife and family were living in poverty in his native place. In the meantime it transpired that he had sold the cargo on his own account and had taken service under the Queen of a foreign country. In February of the same year the Magistrates of Wismar likewise addressed the Queen praying that their agent might be permitted to bring ship and cargo to Danzig, or to load coal in case of its being empty.

There is quite a modem flavour in the account of some sailors from Hamburg who are tried and fined at Aberdeen in 1549 for fighting and assault.

Of greater importance is the prolongation of a treaty between Countess Anna of Oldenburg and Delmenhorst and the Scottish Crown, which had been concluded one hundred years previous in 1447.

As to the regular shipping trade during this century the names of the same cities occur again that we met with in the preceding century. But Lubeck and Hamburg have lost somewhat of their proud position compared with the growing importance of the Baltic cities of Prussia and Poland.

In 1508 we find the importation of salt from Stralsund (Trailsound) recorded; in 1510 that of masts for King’s ships from Danzig. Macpherson in his Annals of Commerce talks of "many Scotch ships in the East-Seas." In 1522-23 several vessels from Konigsberg and Danzig to Dundee are mentioned, one from Greifswald (Grippiswold) in 1513. During the years 1539-1542 a great danger threatened the commercial relations between Scotland and Pommerania. Two skippers, Hans Knake and Hans Steffen from Anclam, which in the documents is called Tanglunen, complain that the cargo of their ship after having been brought into the port of Aberdeen by French pirates had been arrested there. The King of Scotland refers the matter to his highest court of justice and the plaintiffs appear in person. But although they return home after due decision, "multo locupletiores," as the report has it, yet they are not satisfied, but succeed by turning and twisting of their case to persuade the magistrates and the Duke of Pommerania that they have suffered grievous wrong. Letters are consequently issued by these authorities commanding the arrestments of the goods of the Scottish merchants in Stralsund. It needed the dignified, clear and convincing epistles of King James V, who encloses a copy of the court’s sentence to the Duke to set matters right.

About the same time the King writes to the Magistrates of Hamburg recommending his messenger Murray, who was to buy horses trained for tournaments (1538).

In 1524 a citizen of Edinburgh, Edward Crawford, who is about to travel to Danzig for the purpose of buying grain, obtains a letter of safe-conduct from the Scottish Regent, whilst Lord Douglas, on the 16th of March 1542, writes to the English Admiral Lisle asking him to extend his protection to a certain William Fehn, the master of a ship of 40 tons, about to sail for Danzig, thence to return with victuals so that he "might remain unmolested by English ships." In a deed of purchase dated May 5, 1533, mention is made of the trade between Edinburgh and Danzig. A ship from the latter port lies in the harbour of Leith in 1544. It is the same which is afterwards wrongfully taken by Patrick Bothwell, who has to compensate the Danzig owner and his factor Fanholf in Edinburgh by making over to them certain properties in land.

About this time there seems also to have been some commerce between Glasgow and Danzig or Poland. It was chiefly in the hands of the rich house of Archibald Lyon. After his death, his son-in-law George Morison became the head of the firm. He and his ship perished on a voyage to Danzig.

In 1546 a vessel from Dundee sails to the same city; three years later a ship from Hamburg brings soap to Edinburgh. Beer is imported from Stralsund and wood for the repair of a church from Rostock to Dundee, the beams to be sixteen yards in length.

It is in this century that we find the first indications of a gradually increasing emigration from Scotland to the Baltic cities and to Poland. The captain of a ship from Edinburgh named Dawson receives permission to carry five merchants to Danskin, and James Foular six, hailing from Peebles, Glasgow, Edinburgh and Dumfries (1555). In 1589 two citizens of Edinburgh become security for six "Polish Cramers," that is Scotsmen who were going to Poland as pedlars. Their names are: John Knox, James Hunter, Macmillan, Carwood, Gilchrist and Muir. They sail for Konigsberg.

James Gowan and Robert Jack, Scotch merchants, dwelt in Trailsound (Stralsund); the brothers Ancroft in Greifswald (Grippiswold).

The chief share in the trade with the East-lands is still claimed by Aberdeen. Gilbert Menzies, a native of this town, imports grain from Danzig in 1563, and in the following year several ships are freighted with victuals from the Baltic port to the same place. One of the ships is called the "Andrew"; another one boasts of the curious name of "Ly-by-the-fire" (1556). Indeed the commerce between the two cities had by this time become so profitable, that a special duty was imposed on all goods imported from Danzig to Aberdeen, a duty which was large enough to pay for the expense of the great light in the gable of the church of St Ninians on the Castle Hill.

Of the last quarter of the century and the first thirty years of the next we are particularly well informed through the invaluable entries of Wedderburne of the "Compt Buik" fame. The list of ships sailing from Dundee extends from the year 1580 to 1618.


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