Illustrious Sirs,—Master Robert
Brown, a Scotsman who at one time amassed great wealth from the business
in which he was engaged at Zamosc, in Poland, by a Public Instrument,
dated July 14th, 1713, reserved and dedicated the sum of ten thousand
shillings in our money, and arranged that its annual interest should be
expended upon the maintenance and education of two young men of the
Reformed Faith, the one a Scot, the other a Pole, to enable them to pursue
the study of Letters at the University of Edinburgh. It was stipulated by
the Legator that the Polish candidate should bring with him from his
country a written testimonial from the Assembly or Synod of the Ministers
of Poland, and also from the Elders and Citizens of the town of Zamosc who
profess the Reformed Faith. By the terms of the same Instrument, three
hundred shillings are to be paid to the Pole from the annual interest, and
any surplus resulting from a vacancy must be spent upon the expenses of
his journeys to Scotland and back. For several years now no student has
been sent to this University from Poland, and it is on that account that
this business has been entrusted to me by the Provost, Magistrates and
Council of the City of Edinburgh, whom the said Robert Brown left Patrons
of his gift, namely, to inform you that if you think fit to send any young
man here with the requisite Testimonials, he will reap the fruits of this
benefaction.— Farewell, Illustrious Sirs.
(By order) HUGH BUCHAN,
Edinburgh, 11th December 1771.
To the Reverend Presbyters
and Elders of the Congregation of the Reformed Faith at Zamosc, in Poland.
Whereas Master Robert
Brown, Merchant in the kingdom of Poland, by his Act of Mortification,
dated July 14th, 1718, mortified the sum of five hundred pounds English to
maintain and educate in the University of Edinburgh two students, the one
a Pole, the other a Scot, the interest of which money to be divided after
the manner prescribed in the Act of Mortification, and as hereinafter
And whereas the City
Council of Edinburgh by their Act, dated May 5th, 1714, accepted the said
Mortification, and ordained that the interest of the said sum of five
hundred pounds English should be paid each year for the benefit of these
students, viz., the interest of three hundred pounds for the benefit of
the Polish student, and the interest of two hundred pounds for the benefit
of the Scottish student:
And whereas every Polish
student going to Scotland in order to study at the University of Edinburgh
must have a Testimonial and Recommendation from the Synod of Pastors of
the Reformed Faith in Poland, and also a Resolution and Recommendation
from the Elders and Citizens of the Reformed Faith in the city of Zamosc;
and the cost of the journey of the Polish student from Poland to Scotland,
and from Scotland back to Poland, must be paid from the interest of the
said money which was not disbursed during the years of vacancy:
And whereas the
disturbances in Poland brought it about that for several years no Polish
student was sent to Edinburgh; and since it is right that the will of the
pious and beneficent Donor should be carried into effect:
Therefore, we the Elders
and Citizens of the Reformed Faith in the city of Zamosc, in the kingdom
of Poland, knowing Emmanuel Thomas Hay, that he is a youth of good ability
and good character, and worthy to fill the place at present vacant for a
Polish student, hereby recommend the same Emmanuel Thomas Hay to the Most
Honourable Provost, Magistrates and general council of the city of
Edinburgh, the Patrons of the said University, and resolve to confer upon
the same Emmanual Thomas Hay the benefice at present vacant for a Polish
student; and moreover, we pray that the same most excellent Patrons will
order payment to be of the sum saved during the years of vacancy, as much
shall be sufficient for making the journey from Poland to Edinburgh, and
from Edinburgh back to Poland. In testimony whereof, we have appended our
At Zamosc, in the 1778th
year of the Salvation of Man: month: day.
To the Great Glory of God! [Leszno
Archives, vol. 85, f. 14.]
The good and Almighty God
unceasingly cares for faithful ones and defends His Holy Church upon
earth, even in the midst of persecutions, so that His great name may be
praised by them, even until the world’s end; He provideth means for those
who have been studying theology and have been found proficient and who
wish to go to the Universities and have not the wherewithal to do so. It
has pleased God to single out a God-fearing man, who, perceiving the great
poverty of the Reformed Church in Poland, as well as the lack of good and
eager teachers, and the small number of those who wish to uphold and
succour with love and honour, has thought well to make a pious legacy,
such a pious legacy as may remain and continue in good order for all time.
And therefore I wish, while still alive, to lay down the following
regulations, which, to my mind, are necessary. The first is:--
1. The Trustees are to name
their successors during their lifetime, and these latter shall look after
the fund in case of the death of any of them. I point out that the same
must be good, straightforward and conscientious people, of good worldly
standing, and that they must profess the Reformed Faith. I do not doubt
but that they shall be such as every honest, God-fearing Protestant would
refrain from taking up such duties if he do not mean to perform them well.
And I add that this shall be done to God’s Honour and to better His
2. The student who is to be sent to
the University must have good recommendations: it is not enough that he
has been a good scholar, so that he may, in future, become a good and
well-educated theologian. But he must also have led a good life and be of
good repute among the people. Further, he must be from Poland or the Grand
Duchy of Lithuania, or be born in Poland, so that he be perfect with the
Polish language. Those descended from Scots are to have special
preference, if they are to be found capable and of good conduct. Thirdly,
as this legacy will be increased through interest, it will be possible to
maintain more than one student in foreign lands; and I think it well that
another student should be taken, and, should he be in straitened
circumstances, maintained. And, should any of the interest remain, or
should the interest amount to more than is necessary to keep two students,
I have found it good that the money remaining over shall be given yearly
to the poor widows and orphans as well as to people without means,
provided they are of the Reformed Faith; or the money remaining over shall
be distributed amongst them every half year. Especially must we have
compassion on the aged, whose term of life has already passed, who cannot
earn anything themselves, and who are recommended by people as being of
good life and actions. They can be kept as stipendiaries for their
3. As before mentioned, the
stipendiary must be of the Reformed Faith and be present at the meetings
in our Reformed Churches and must have certificates from our Pastors to
that effect. It does not matter whether they be of Scotch, Polish, or
German nationality, but those of Scotch or Polish descent are to be
4. And their names are to be entered in a
book so that they may receive yearly or half-yearly notice as to the time
when they are to get that which God has given them.
5. Whether the capital be
as it is, or whether it accumulate, it is very important that it should be
kept in a safe place. Therefore I find that the best way will be to make a
safe, and remove the money, as occasion arises, from the magistracy and
other officially-controlled places. But the Trustees must always consider
which is the safest place in which to keep the capital, and consider
whether it is better to keep it all in the safe or to leave part of it in
6. The Trustees are bound
to do nothing without knowledge and consent; but to do everything
necessary the benefit of the students and the poor together. As far as the
capital is concerned, however, each of them must have cash-books and
papers; and each is to have a key and neither is to do anything without
the other’s knowledge.
7. Since the capital is now
invested in my own name, lest my successors, which God forbid, should make
difficulties or covet that which is not for them, I have written a deed
with my own hand and stamped it with my seal, although the capital for the
poor is not entered into my books and although it is not for me to leave
it to them as a gift. And therein have I written of what the capital
consists. And, if God permits me, I shall renew the same yearly and leave
it together with my books. And my Trustees shall do likewise after my
8. The Trustees are not
allowed to take the money to their houses or safes; and even should they
agree upon this point, they must take the money to other safes or to the
houses of other citizens of this place. And I wish this for certain
reasons of my own.
9. I lay stress upon the
above clause out of pride, and should my successors and the Trustees find
it necessary for the benefit of the students and the poor, and especially
for the purpose of keeping order and submission (but without repressing or
annulling my clauses), they can make rules for the good of the students
and the poor. May Almighty God reign in their hearts and Councils, to the
honour of His holy name and to the benefit of His persecuted church!
10. As I wish to name my
successors and Trustees whilst I am still living, I hold it for good that
I have done my best, through the Providence of Almighty God, to establish
this legacy, so that, after my death, the capital may be kept in good
order. I herewith nominate my eldest son, Alexander Davisson, for that
purpose. But, should it be God’s will that I die before he come of age or
be fit to be trusted with the management of the money, I request my
brother-in-law, John Clerck, to undertake the management of the legacy
with my sister’s son, Nicholas Begin, until my son becomes of age, and
then to give up the management of the capital, together with Nicholas
Begin. I express my thanks to the two above-mentioned persons and wish
that the management of the capital may remain in my name and family. They
are to keep my son Alexander and my sons under their protection. After
them the eldest male offspring is to undertake the management, and so on
successively, so that the management may ever remain in the name of
11. The students who are
going to be sent to the Universities and are accepted as stipendiaries are
obliged to serve the Reformed Church of Poland in the future. Those
students who only receive partial help or not more than 50, 30, or 60
florins, and who study in foreign lands, are not obliged to serve the
Reformed Church of Poland. Only those are obliged to do so who receive
yearly help and full stipends.
12. As the Reformed
Congregations are growing smaller and smaller in Poland and as, therefore,
the incomes of many of the clergy there are greatly reduced, I hold that
it will be good for the poor clergy to receive such help as may be
necessary and as the remainder of the income from this endowment allows.
And this the more because this endowment is formed so that the holy order
of clergy in Poland may be composed of good men—a thing which would be
impossible if the clergy were to die of want of means. This, in any case,
will not make the expenditure too great, nor surpass the intentions of the
Founder of this endowment, because good works are its object, and I will
also enlarge the fund from time to time to such an extent that I shall
easily be able to make alterations as various cases may arise.
13. As I am not only the
moving cause, but also the promoter of this good endowment, I expect that
those who shall succeed me in the management thereof shall conduct all the
correspondence in my name—Daniel Davisson—so that my good intentions may
be known as a famous example to posterity.
14. With regard to the keeping of
accounts of this endowment, I find that it should be done alternatively.
If not, the bookkeeping, the management of the cash, papers, and so forth
must be done as appointed in clause number 6. And the box is to be brought
to him who keeps the accounts for that year.
15. The present copy is
taken out of a book bound in white parchment; and on the title-page
thereof is written ‘Dantzig, Anno 1688. February.’ This has been collated
by me, a Notary, in the original order out of the aforesaid book. The
words missing on page four, viz., ‘Reformed church,’ and on page five,
the word ‘son’ have been inserted. In the last page in the original,
the words ‘my brother-in-law’ have been struck out. The deed has been
found to coincide with the original. This have I copied at the request of
Mr. Daniel Gotlieb Davisson, and have annexed his written paper thereto.
Dantzig, April 29, 1779.
CARL SIGISMUND BOPPO,
Notary of His Sacred Majesty the King of Poland.
MY LORD,—I have received
your Excellency’s letter dated March 10th, which your Excellency did me
the honour to write touching two subjects which it recommends to me, of
which the one is Robert Synclar and the other the son of the reverend
father, your pastor, stating that they will apply to me in the month of
June, the one to go to Edinburgh, and the other to Leyden, both in order
to continue their studies, in order that I may take care to furnish them
with the necessary for their journey—in which I will not fail. But with
regard to the stipend of 25 red zloty per annum that your letter asks in
Mr. Synclar’s favour, and for him who is at Lisse, I regret very much that
the capital does not admit thereof, for, following my uncle the late Mr.
E. Davisson’s example I try to preserve them as much as possible. As to
the recommendation for the Magistrate of Edinburgh, I shall look after it
as well as Mr. Synclair’s travelling expenses, if possible. I expect Mr.
Jurick here in the month of May at latest. For the rest, I wish your
Excellency a long and happy life, for the progress of religion and for the
good of our church, and I am, with very profound respect, My Lord’s and
your Excellency’s very humble and obedient servant,
JOHN DANIEL CLERK.
Dantzig, April 4th, 1744.
re-read your Excellency’s letter, I remark that Mr. Synclar is the son of
a Scotsman. As the will made in the favour of Polish students says that
those of that nation born in Poland ought always to have preference before
others, I will arrange that Mr Mitecki shall have 70 and Mr Synclar 20 red
zloty per annum. Otherwise, Mr Mitecki shall cede his place to the latter.
Before all, I await your Excellency’s answer in order to be able to
To the Brilliant and
High-born Gentleman, the Starost. [Leszno Archives, vol. 86, f. 19.]
In answer to the letter of
the Well-born Gentlemen Seniors, handed to me by the student, Andrew
Gojewski, I have the honour to inform your Excellencies that, much
as I have wished it, I cannot give you any verbal proof, here in
You were kind enough to
inquire after my health through Mr Roesner. For which reason I have the
honour to thank you heartily and to say that I hope your Excellency and
your family may always enjoy the best of health. My mother charges me to
send you her respects —I remain, with the greatest respect, Your most
D G DAVISON.
Dantzig, October 8th, 1753
To the Brilliant and
High-born Starost [Leszno Archives, vol 86, f. 88.]
Before everything I
must humbly beg your pardon that I did not immediately answer your letter
of the 4th of last month; but I could not do so before because I was not
at home, having gone into the country. I therefore have the honour to tell
you that the carrier or shipper was not here to see me once during his
stay in the town, neither did he apply to me after his departure about the
money business in connection with the Reformed Commune of Little Poland.
As far as I could find out afterwards, the reason for this is as follows:—
Mr. Gibson went in for
commercial business, to which he is a total stranger. He turned against me
one of my customers, who used to sell me his corn every year; besides
this, he insulted also other local merchants in the most disgraceful way.
Evidently fearing that such behaviour would get him into legal trouble, he
thought it much better not to show himself at all. This is the real reason
why he preferred to go without the church money rather than give me
satisfaction, or that I should protest against his conduct.
He alone is to blame for
the expenses and damages the Reformed Church must suffer in order to get
back the money. It would therefore be advisable for them to tell Mr.
Gibson not to meddle with other people’s affairs, and to behave here in a
moral manner. If not, he may get paid back by the local merchants’ guild
in a very coarse way, which would be exceedingly unpleasant for him.
In accordance with your
commands I herewith return the monies sent to this town, namely:--
In the year 1775 /3/m cap.
20/3. March (to pay) 16/rn. cap. August 15. A. p. C. @ 7/m. cap. November
16th; to pay A. p. C. which makes a total of:—
In the year 1776 5 % payable in
In the year 1776 4% payable in August, 240.
Which makes altogether in
ready money, 1060 Polish zloty. On a bill prima-secunda on Hamburg,
payable at 6 weeks from present date to Mr. Thomas Tomson, merchant and
councillor, in Breslau, to the amount of 173 thalers, 32 f. According to
the present rate of exchange at 182 1/2 netto— which makes, in Dantzig
money, 1055. 13.
In addition to this the
factor takes 4 z. 17 grosz for the bill and for sending the money to
Which altogether comes to a
total of 1060 zloty, according to our money.
I ask you to kindly send me
the receipt for this sum. It is to be feared that the local municipal bank
will not be able to pay so regularly in future as business is getting
worse and worse at present, and the town’s income decreasing very rapidly.
As even the Jews are doing less and less business every day, the town’s
receipts likewise suffer. And nothing but the present troublous times are
to blame for this.
Commerce in general,
banking and industries are rapidly going to ruin, so that the ordinary
mortal has no chance of making any money.
Such bad times are driving
people to the beggar’s staff. Even as it is you meet so many beggars in
the street that it is impossible to drive them off. We all pray daily that
God may have mercy on us and help us, for otherwise we shall be lost
In future I will try to do
all business regularly, and to send your Excellency a regular report of
what is going on —Your most humble servant, CHARLES ROSS.
Dantzig, October 15, 1776
To the Well-born Starost
and Cousin. [Leszno Archives, vol. 86, f. 94.]
In consequence of your
Excellency’s orders, and with great respect to the Little Polish Assembly,
I will in the future endeavour that the small sums accruing annually from
our municipal bank shall be paid in advance to Mr Gibson, whom your
Excellency has named, or to anybody else your Excellency may appoint. The
receipts from the above-mentioned bank amount to, so far, 6000 Polish
zloty. The capital, up to the 15th of this month, amounts to 7000 Polish
zloty. The capital is payable on November 16th of the present year.
At present we are going
through terrible times here, and under such sad conditions the municipal
receipts do not come in regularly; and God only knows how things will be
in the future.
In the meantime I will
endeavour to get these receipts, in accordance with my orders.
Your Excellency was good
enough to mention a legacy of 2000 Polish zloty in connection with a local
citizen, Andrew Steiff. I therefore have the honour to inform you that, so
far, I have received no orders in this matter, and did not even know
anything about it. I therefore spoke to the man himself, who is alive at
present, I found out that he himself certified to these 200 zloty. At the
same time I found out that he destines the percentage on this capital, 100
zloty, for the use of the Little Polish Assembly. He used formerly to pay
this to the shipper, Mr. Gibson, namely, down to the year 1769. From that
date, nobody has applied to him. It would therefore be desirable to find
out when I, or somebody else, will get orders to take over this money,
namely, from the year 1770-1777 inclusive, which amounts, during eight
years; to 800 Polish zloty. This capital of 2000 zloty he has probably
bequeathed before his death to the Reformed Commune in Little Poland.
It hurts me very much to
learn that your Excellency has been ill for so long, and has not yet quite
recovered. God grant that you may recover your health as soon as possible
and bless you with it till a ripe old age! that the Christian community
may benefit by your Excellency’s efforts as long as possible! I on my side
will ask the Almighty to listen to my prayer.—Your Excellency’s most
Dantzig, August 26, 1777.