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Papers Relating to the Scots in Poland (1576 - 1798)
Miscellaneous Extracts relating to Scots in Poland (3)


Done on the Tuesday after Passion Sunday (Dominiaca Judica),28th March 1651.

Compearing in person before the present session of the Council of Cracow, the Prudent JOHN GAWRONER, His Majesty’s General, declared, as his faithful Report, that on the previous day, acting as pursuer at the request of the Prosecutor of His Royal Majesty and the State, on the information of the Treasury of the Realm, he did deliver into the hands of the Worshipful Francis Cyrus, then Mayor of Cracow, in the Judicial Council Chamber, and of Alexander Dyxion, in the Hall of these City Chambers, two Summonses in writing from the Chancery of His Majesty the King, bearing the Lesser Seal of the Realm (dated Warsaw, the Tuesday [14th March.] after the Third Sunday in Lent (Dominica Oculi Quadragesimalis), 1651, and fixing a Term two weeks from their issue), and affecting the present Council of Cracow, the Well-famed Alexander Dyxion, a Scotsman’s son, James Chanbarz, James Larmche, and all other Scots or those of Scottish descent dwelling here in Cracow (whose several names the said Prosecutor desires to have entered in their Summons, and is bound to specify at a future date) cited to appear as representing the present Court; the charge against the said Court being ‘that they did fail to compel the above-mentioned Alexander Dyxion, a Scotsman’s son, and all other Scots or those of Scottish descent who are citizens of Cracow, or enjoy the right to dwell therein or to continue in their accustomed trade, to take the bounden and statutory oath concerning the Assessment of their whole estate in general; and also to receive from them and pay into the Treasury of His Majesty the King a tithe of their substance as assessed on oath after the manner sanctioned by law,’ and that against the foresaid Alexander Dyxion and the other Scots above-named being ‘that in contravention of the Constitution of the recent Warsaw Diet concerning subsidy for His Most Serene Highness the King of Great Britain, and of the Letters Universal relating thereto, they did fail to take the oath as premised on the assessment of all their estate, and to give up a tithe of their substance to this present court, and pay it through the same into the Treasury of His Majesty the King, thereby neglecting to comply absolutely and entirely with the foresaid Constitution and the Letters Universal of His Majesty the King’ (as their citations in the premises more fully bear).

He reported furthermore that he had fixed and appointed a Term for their compearance before the Court of His Royal Majesty, as stated in the forementioned Summonses. In these express terms did he make this his Report, declaring that he had acted thus and not otherwise.—Cons. Crac., 1648-1652, f. 1073-4.

Done on the Wednesday after Passion Sunday, 29th March 1651.

The Well-famed RICHARD GORDON, compearing in person before the present session of the Council of Cracow, presented to the said court the following Instruments signed by the Well-born Olbracht Krosnowski, Courtier of His Majesty the King, and the Worshipful John Ubaldin, Mayor of Lemberg, and fortified with the seals of the foresaid Krosnowski and the city of Lemberg, safe, sound, and marred by no taint of suspicion, craving that they be adopted in the present Acts and engrossed therein to secure the best advantage. This request was granted. The first of these Instruments is to the following effect:—

‘The Well-famed Richard Gordon, compearing in person in the Town Hall of Lemberg (Lwow) in the presence of Olbracht Krosnowski, Secretary, Courtier, and Commissioner of His Royal Highness, and in presence of the gentlemen of the Lemberg Council (in accordance with the Constitution and Letters Universal of His Royal Highness) assembled to hear his oath and to take the tenth part of his whole substance—a tax laid upon the merchants of English and Scottish birth—took the oath according to the Letters Universal (?) dated Warsaw, 25th November 1650, and expressed, and written (?) in this Town Hall over the Testament of our Lord Jesus Christ.

(Here follows the statutory oath.)

The same Richard Gordon, having given the tenth part of his substance in ready money, received a sufficient receipt.’

Cornpearing in person before the present session of the Council of Cracow, the Honest MAGDALEN, wife of the Well-famed Abram Ossert, with the lawful assistance of the Noble John Maiewski, assumed as her Tutor ad hoc during the temporary absence of her husband from the city, and approved by the court, presented to the said court the following Instrument, fortified with the Seal of the city of Lublow, and signed by the hand of the Honourable Albert Pruskowski, then Judge of the city of Lublow, sound, safe, intact, and free from all mark of suspicion, craving that it be adopted in the Acts and engrossed therein. This request was granted. The Instrument is to this effect:—

‘In the year 1651, on the 24th day of January, the Well-famed Abraham Ossert, a Scot by nationality, our fellow-citizen and merchant of Lublow, compearing in person before our plenary Court according to the regulation of the Constitutions-General at Warsaw on 5th December of last year (1650), liquidated his estate on oath, and made us certify that he reached 1000 florins as his total, from which he now and hereby pays into our hand 100 florins, as the Constitutions prescribe.

‘In surer witness whereof we have had these Letters signed with our own hand and fortified with the Lesser Seal of our Community.

‘Given in our Town Hall at Lublow on the above date. ALBERT PRUSZKOWSKI, Judge of Lublow, and his sworn Assessors. (Here is affixed the seal.)’—Cons. Crac., 1648-1652, f. 1075-6.

One JACOB [Probably an error for James.] CZAMER is also mentioned as having given a tithe of his substance.

Documents about Taxes levied upon Scots in Poland.

(1) EXTRACT FROM CIRCULAR LETTER as to Taxes issued in the reign of Sigismund Augustus, A.D. l569. [In Warsaw, the ‘Scots’ Tax,’ as it was called, amounted to 24 florins, 3 ½ groszy per head. It was this tax which, imposed in 1617, aroused the indignation of the Scots trading in Poland. In 1626, the proceeds of the tax, in Warsaw, were spent on those suffering in the effects of the plague.]

Item. The Scots who carry their things upon their backs to sell them, must pay at the rate of 1 zloty of money.

Item. The Scots who carry about their wares with horses must pay sixty groszy in money. [60 groszy=2 zloty. The relative values of Polish moneys will be found at the end of this book.]

In this manner hath the tax to be taken in towns and hamlets.

Item. The Scots who go with packs and have no carts must pay 1 zloty per head, and those who have carts and horses must pay 2 zloty, and from their wares shall they be equal to the others.

(2) CIRCULAR OF TAXATION.

At the free Diet of the Crown held in Warsaw in the year 1613. Zigismond III.

Item. The Scots by head must pay two zloty. And all who have carts and horses, for each horse must pay fifteen groszy, and for their wares apart, equally with other merchants, must they pay four groszy.

All drivers from the horse must pay fifteen groszy.

And the Scots who go with packs and have no carts must pay for each one zloty during the whole year.

‘GENEALOGIA ORSETTI’

See ‘Acta Testimonium, h. 1122 f. 399, in the library of the ARCHIVES of ANCIENT DEEDS in Cracow, Poland.

(The curious document, of which the following is a translatioti, is in the ‘Cracow Archives of Ancient Acts,’ under the title of ‘Genealogia Orsetti’ (v. Acta Testimonium, h. 1122, f. 399). Written partly in Latin and partly in Polish, it throws an interesting light upon the part the Scots played in the history of Poland and the fallacy of the idea that they were always crushed and ill-treated by the Poles. Unfortunately the end of Hunter’s career is wrapped in mystery as all traces of the result of this inquiry have been lost.

Tynec, the place where Hunter deserted the Poles for the Swedes, was a strongly fortified monastery on the banks of the Vistula, a few miles from Cracow. It is now in ruins, but the gateway through which Hunter must have led his men stands.)

At the instance and application of the noble and famous William Orsetti, citizen and merchant of Cracow, the under-mentioned witnesses were diligently examined, and having taken the oath by raising the fingers of their right hands towards heaven, the first witness, the honest Francis Fyatr, merchant and citizen of Cracow, and second, Adam Sobierayczyk, citizen and merchant, recognise as follow:--

The first Question. Whether he was here in Cracow during the time of the Swedes, and whether he knows what Mr. Hunter did and how he behaved with the Swedes.

To which he answers. I lived in Cracow during the Swedish occupation, and saw how Mr. Hunter went out against the Polish army with the Swedes, and led his troop and had a sign on his troop and a position for different Scottish apprentices; that is, merchants went to him. And when he was with the Swedes under Tynec then he took Mr. Orlem to prison and to the town. What he did with him after that I know not.

Secondly. Whether he went to Witemberk when the Swedes entered the town, and what service he did him.

To which he answers, that he was Witemberk’s manager, for Witemberk always called him manager, and Mr. Hunter himself boasted that this same Witemberk always made him the eldest, even to the Swedish King himself, and that he rendered accounts to none but the Swedish King, and that by Witemberk’s promotion.

Third question. Whether he did not himself manage all Witemberk’s affairs for the side of the Swedes against his own. To which he hath replied in the negative.

Fourth. Whether he was in such favour with Witemberk and other Swedes that he got all he wanted and did what he liked.

To which he hath made reply in the affirmative that he had favour with Witemberk as with a master, and got what he wanted, and did what he liked. [This must refer to Hunter. Cf. answer to question 6.]

Fifth. Whether after Witemberk’s leaving he knew all the secrets and knew whatever the Swedes were to do. To which he hath made reply in the negative.

Sixth question. Whether he had his own company and who was in that company, and whether he, with this company, rode out against our own, as under the mogila. [Mogila was the stone laid upon the graves where soldiers were buried in large numbers after a battle.]

To which he hath made answer as above, that he had this troop, which he led under his banner, and various Scottish apprentices were in it, that is, apprentices of this Mr. Pupp and various others; but the Christian and surnames of these I do not know, as I only knew them by sight.

Seventh question. Whether he had taken any booty, either he or any of his apprentices.

To which he hath made negative reply, that I do not know.

Eighth question. Whether he plundered any villages or set the Scots to do so.

To which he hath made negative reply. That I do not know.

Ninth Question. Whether he was under Tynec when they stormed ours, and whether he, having got Mr. Orlem out of prison, took him first to his house and then took him to the Castle with other prisoners, when he boasted that he had defeated and killed ours.

To which he replied as above. That he was under Tynec and took Mr. Orlem to prison, but I did not see whether he took other prisoners, but he often boasted that he had beaten and killed ours, and even said that our beloved Majesty the King was never to be King of Poland any more. This I heard from his own lips, he even said he would no longer be king.

Tenth Question. Whether, during the time that the Swedes went out from the town against ours, Hunter stayed in the town with the guard he had trained, looking after the citizens lest they should look out of their houses—or run away.

To which he hath made reply in the negative, that I do not know.

Eleventh Question Whether he rode about the town with a gun and looked over the streets and walls and rendered other services to the Swedes against us to such an extent that the Swedes themselves could not have done more.

To which he hath made reply in the affirmative, that he always walked about the town with a rapier, and always had a gun when he rode, and he could always ride about by the walls and did so ride, and was even commandant over the watch of the citizens who were told off at night. At such times he was there and looked after things.

Twelfth Whether he at all times walked abroad with a sword, even when other citizens had theirs taken away.

To which he made reply in the affirmative, that he always went with a rapier or a sword.

Thirteenth Whether he did cavil, curse, and everywhere laugh at the Polish army, did circulate bad news against ours, and rejoiced at the Swedish victories.

To which he hath made reply in the affirmative, that he hath done all this, that he cavilled at the Polish army, and did his best to curse them on every occasion, he never scattered good news but always bad, and rejoiced at the Swedish victories.

Fourteenth Whether he knoweth or hath heard that Hunter disposed of the goods and things belonging to Mr Orsetti, and which were left in the same house wherein he lived and took them for himself.

To which he hath made answer in the negative, that he does not know that.

The third witness, David Wolff, hath answered the first question in the affirmative. He hath given the names of the Scots who followed Hunter as Blahal, Hod (?), Puppe.

Second Question. He hath made answer that he is not sure.

Third He hath affirmed that Hunter sat at the Council with Witemberk.

Fourth Question He made reply affirmatively, affirming the same things as the others.

The fifth witness, David Sanochi, hath suggested that Blahal, Karmichael and other gentlemen, Scots, could make best answer to question third. He also hath affirmed that Hunter made boast that he had killed a noble.

Eighth. He answered in the negative.

Ninth. He answered in the negative.

Tenth. He answered in the negative.

Twelfth. He made reply that he always went about with a sword, that he never gave the Polish army a good word. (One Andrew Sanochi also affirms that Hunter led a troop against the Poles; that he was Witemberk’s ‘good man,’ but knows nothing of their secret dealings. He answers question number three in the negative. Says that he saw Blahal and Danil [?] Puppe, ‘Scots,’ with Hunter, and that Hunter went about with a sword, and laughed at the Polish army.

The tenth witness, one Paul Byczkowicz, likewise affirms that Hunter had a troop, and was in favour with Witemberk and another Swedish general; that he had a guard in the town; went about with a sword; laughed at the Polish King and army; took Mr. Orsetti’s goods; but that he does not know how many.

[Several other witnesses, who bear out, more or less, the statements of the foregoing, are then called, and the entry closes.]


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