SIR,—We do not know if you
remember having heard that the Reformed Church in Little Poland used to
send one or two students for periods of three years to Edinburgh in
Scotland to study theology. The students partially subsisted on a legacy
of twenty pounds per annum that the City of Ediuburgh paid them yearly
in virtue of the Will of a certain Mr Brown. The conditions of this Will
are that the legacy should be given to students of Theology, members of
the Reformed Church, either natives of Little Poland, recommended by the
Elders of the Church, or to Students of Reformed Theology from other
countries, but likewise recommended by these gentlemen. And the
Administrators of this Will are authorised to give this annual
bursary to Scotsmen when no Polish students apply, nor those of other
nations with necessary Recommendations. As the distance between Scotland
and Poland is very great, news of these young men’s conduct was but rarely
received. It sometimes happened that they became dissipated and contracted
debts so that it was difficult to get them home again. Some even finally
discouraged the Gentlemen, your Predecessors, from wishing to profit by
the late Mr. Brown’s liberality and sending their young compatriots to a
country so far away from their home. Therefore the Poles’ place at
Edinburgh has been continually taken by Scotsmen for about 40 years. But
we know for certain that the Administrators of the above-mentioned Will
would again distribute these 20 pounds sterling among theologians
recommended by the Elders, if any such arrived.
As we do not believe that
you are inclined to risk now the same inconveniences to which the
Gentlemen, your Predecessors, were exposed in sending their students to
Scotland, we beg you, Sir, to Propose to the Synod that they may give a
letter of Recommendation on our behalf to the Administrators of Mr.
Brown’s will for a young man, Thomas Hay, born at Dantzig, and grandson of
Mr. Hay, Minister of the English Church in our town. This young student is
going to study Theology at Edinburgh and, having but little from his
parents, would be in less straitened circumstances by means of this
subsidy of 20 pounds sterling. If the Respectable Elders do not wish to
profit by their right it would be an act of brotherly love towards a
confrere to help him in the pursuit of his studies by a recommendation.
We are, Sirs, with much esteem.—Your
very humble Servants, JEAN D. CLERK. & D. G. DAVISSON.
Dantzig, March 6th,
SIR,—The Preacher Elsner
tells me in a letter written in Berlin on May 14th, that the
Venerable Seniors have taken from his son the stipend which was accorded
to him until next autumn. I do not wish to enter into the reasons which
your venerable conferes have for taking this step, but he also tells me at
the same time, and even your letter of April 7th announces in some
way, that the Venerable Synod proposes to have all the annual stipend sent
into Poland. Although I accommodate myself to everything, and am fully
persuaded that your Excellency and your confreres know better than we do
what is best for our church, I could not lend myself to this arrangement
without consulting Mr Clerk and all who will succeed him and who will
succeed me. I should risk much if I did the thing by myself. My faithful
advice, which I impart to you in secrecy, is that the Venerable Seniors
should attack Mr Clerck as much as me before the magistrates here, so that
they command us to send you the whole annual sum. I protest to your
Excellency that I shall in no way oppose it, and that I even shall be
ravished to rid myself in this way of an administration which I have
fulfilled for twenty-eight years, but of which I have always given an
account to Mr. Clerk. The capital which Mr. Clerk remitted to me in the
year 1750, in the month of January, is always the same and has even
increased. I do not think that the magistrate of Dantzig will put any
difficulties in the way of your getting the whole capital at your
disposition, if only I and Mr. Clerk are relieved of it in a legal way. I
have communicated the circumstance remarked on by Mr. Elsner to Mr. Clerk:
he will not be so easy as . . . . In case you receive the whole capital
for your own disposition you will have to satisfy the students belonging
to the church in Great Poland, not only for the subsidies they receive
every term but for their extra grants. You will have to satisfy the
students of Lithuania, who have received travelling expenses from time to
Your last letter of May
4th, in which you put the Venerable Senior’s certificate, gave me great
pleasure, and I am under an obligation to them for it. Although you give
quite a different name from his to my grandfather’s benefit, and one that
is quite unknown to me, I am very pleased that the worthy body was willing
to lend itself to my requests.
I enclose an exact copy of
my grandfather’s ordinance. You will see thereby, although it is somewhat
incomplete, that the sole aim thereof was to procure efficient preaching
for the Reformed Church in Poland. What always makes me angry with my
grandfather is that he does not mention which of the Reformed (Churches)
in the Polish Province are to enjoy the greater part of his benefit: one
does not know if they are the Reformed of Little or of Great Poland, both
could claim equally if custom had not given the preference to the Reformed
of Little Poland. But, in order not to make my letter too long, I repeat
to your Excellency that I would willingly lend my services in order to
satisfy your Venerable Body, and, at the same time, to get rid of an
administration that begins to weigh terribly upon me. I leave it to your
Excellency and your confreres to take prudent and suitable measures for
the good of our church. I should have rid myself of this charge twenty
years ago. I have been too patient.
I recommend myself to your
Excellency in begging you to assure the Venerable Seniors of my respect,
and I am with attachment, Your Excellency’s very humble servant,
Dantzig, May 20th, 1779.
As it has pleased you to
mention an unknown person’s benefit, I suppose that the founder was a
Pole, and so the administration thereof belongs to you rather than to us
here in Dantzig. You will see that I am just. In the writing which my
father left about the legacy, which is an epitome of my grandfather’s
ordinance, he does not say a word about anybody else besides Mr. Daniel
Davison, Senior. This would be the time to attack us. It would be
difficult to withdraw the entire capital from Dantzig because of the
losses owing to the worthlessness of house property in these unhappy
times, but it would only be just to have free disposition thereof, and to
give it to him in whom you place most confidence, although my grandfather
expressly forbids it. As for myself, I have had enough of this
administration: apparently death took my grandfather by surprise
before he was able to command anything for certain. He does not mention
the annual sum. There are many pious wills for students, but the executor
has his hands tied as to how much, when, and to whom he is to give. Here
my grandfather mentions theological students of the Reformed faith in
Poland of Scottish extraction who are to receive aid at the universities;
but he does not say from what Province of Poland, how much they should
have, and for how long; all that is arbitrary so that a pettifogging
administrator can cause a thousand disputes. My grandfather must have
thought all men are as sincere and religious as he himself was. But, alas!
they are not so as a rule, and especially in the iron times we have
YOUR EXCELLENCY!—At the
beginning of the present year I decided, after consulting with my
colleagues and co-administrators of the fund, to cease from administering
the capital set apart for bursaries for the use of theological students of
the Reformed Faith in Little Poland, as I have already fulfilled the
duties connected therewith for more than thirty years. My resignation was
sent in before their Excellencies the Seniors’ Secretary arrived here.
In this letter, Mr. John
Daniel Claerk nominates [The letter is in John Clerk’s handwriting. He
signed himself D.G. Davisson in accordance with the Founder’s
request—though Alex. Givson seems to have only signed with his own name.
Leszno Archives, vol. 86, p. 132.] one of the descendants of
the founder’s—Daniel Davisson, senior. This gentleman is Mr. Alexander
Gibsone, the Consul for Great Britain in Dantzig. In introducing him to
the Bulliant Synod, I recommend him most highly to your Excellencies. I
assure you that I will try to deserve the confidence your Excellencies
place in me, to the highest point.
Always ready to serve you, I have
the honour to be. Your really devoted servant,
D. G. DAVISSON.
Dantzig, February 24th, 1781.
received your Excellency’s letter, dated May 29th, addressed to me and to
the son of my sister, Barin Gibson. The English resident here brought it
to you. I have the honour to tell you that the Councillor Davisson, my
mother’s cousin and my kinsman, left a legacy. I could not look after this
legacy for want of time, so certain gentlemen do so in the name of the
Reformed Community in Little Poland. Nevertheless, we have heard nothing
about this legacy for several years lately; neither do we know what
becomes of the monies derived therefrom. The Testator’s wish is that this
money, or rather the percentage derived from the fund, should be given to
students going abroad to learn theology. The percentage amounts to about
40 red zloty yearly. But I am, nevertheless, certain that this interest
has not been paid to anybody for the past three years and three-quarters,
so that the total sum of 150 ducats has accumulated.
Colonel Tiedemann, always used to pay it in return for a receipt.
The capital could not get
lost, because it was invested in mortgages on different houses. It may be
that the interest thereon has not been paid on account of the bad times,
and that Colonel Tiedeman has ceased to pay for that reason.
May God save us from such
hard times and misfortunes! I wish this, your Excellencies, with all my
heart.—Your humble servant,
Dantzig, Sept. 20th, 1781
[An anonymous letter,
written in a feigned hand on an untidy-looking piece of paper.] DEAR
SIR,—By reason of our friendship I advise you to apply a second time to
the Administrators of the Davisson Fund for payment. I warn you that, if
you do not, the administrators will finally apply to the authorities
at Dantzig—only one or two members need apply to get what they want.
They are trying their best to snatch
the capital from the Poles and give it to the English chapel. You
will, by the answer you get, at once be assured that this information is
not false —I remain, dear sir,
YOUR ACQUAINTANCE AND WELLWISHER.
To Mr A Gajewski, Minister
of the Word of God, and Notary to the Dissidents’ Synod at Tursko, at
Stasow, near Tursko
[The letter is in German,
but the address in French.]YOUR EXCELLENCIES,—A year has passed since the
14th of October, when I last received news from the Elders of our Reformed
Church in Little Poland. Your letter, which I received at one time, signed
by the Synod’s notary, assured me that, this year, at the meeting of the
Dissidents at Thorn, the question touching the bursaries given to students
studying abroad should be settled, and that I should immediately receive
news of the decision resulting therefrom. Though this meeting did not take
place, another did at Wengrow. I wait and wait for news, and in vain I
therefore ask you once more to let us, Administrators of the Davisson
Fund, John Daniel Clerk, and myself, Daniel Gotlieb Davisson, know the
results of your deliberations, as I am not alone in this matter, and the
whole case must very shortly be prepared. I am very much astonished that
your Excellencies put the matter off for so long.
I wrote to Mr. Thomas
Tomson in Breslau, thinking that he would answer me; but he has answered
me nothing at all.
I therefore await your reply, asking
that it may be sent to Tursko, whereas, did you send it elsewhere, I
should have trouble in getting it. Sending you hearty and friendly
greeting.—I remain, with deep respect, Your humble servant,
D. G. DAVISSON.
Dantzig, December 11th, 1781.
PRO MEMORIA. [Leszno
Archives, vol. 86, p. 183.]
GENTLEMEN,—In answer to
your letter of July 17th, to the Administrators of the Reformed
Church in Little Poland, addressed to General Tiedeman, we have the honour
to give you the following information in connection with the Davidson
The administrators of the
endowment bearing the name of the Daniel Davidson Fund give, for the aid
of divinity students:
1. One hundred red Polish
2. And do not put any
conditions whatever upon these bursaries.
In addition we must note
that such stipendia are only given to poor divinity students.
Although the present
administrators are ready to put their hands to anything which may lead to
the above-mentioned bursaries being paid, at the same time it is their
duty to act in strict accordance with the testator’s—that is, their
ancestor’s—wishes, and also to facilitate any methods that may be used in
order to keep to the conditions of the endowment.
The deed, as a matter of
fact, only mentions one student who is to receive financial aid during the
time he spends in studying at a university. Nevertheless, an additional
clause says that, should the income derived from the interest increase in
the course of time, it will be possible to send one more student abroad to
pursue his studies. In this case it is our duty to give money to send
another bursar away. In addition to this, we must remember to help the
widows and orphans belonging to this Reformed Church here, in so far as
our means allow, giving them a certain sum every year.
The local administrators
are especially bound to help people advanced in years, and to give them a
pension for life.
It does not concern the
present business to add that, if these above-mentioned people received
help from former administrators of the fund, it must be observed that, in
view of the daily occurrence of destitution amongst those belonging to
this Commune of the Reformed faith, the administrators should take note of
such cases and help, not only divinity students, but also the poor and
aged mentioned above.
The books and ledgers prove
that, from the very beginning help has been given to Polish students to
the extent of 30, 60, 100, and 150 red Polish zloty; and generally
to each one for three consecutive years.
Although, as a matter of
fact Samuel Stephen Milecki was given 70 red Polish zloty during
three years, beginning from the year 1744, at the same time it is proved
that there were fewer cases of destitution amongst the members of the
Reformed Commune in Dantzig, and nobody here benefited by the bursary. The
same thing also happened in the year 1753. Petroselin and Claudian from
Leszno studied here and received together the sum of 800 red Polish zloty
yearly. As to changes which took place in the year 1788, we must
say that, since there were no suitable candidates from Poland amongst
divinity students, some boys were sent to Berlin from a totally foreign
community, that is, from Bohemia. These enjoyed a total bursary of 60 red
In the year 1771 we also
allowed ourselves to make a small digression from the regulations
of our fund, using 100 red Polish zloty in repairing and setting in order
the various requisites. Afterwards this was not done at all. As there were
no students of the Reformed Faith from Little Poland, help was given to
the church of the Reformed Faith here, a little at first, but then a
regular annuity of 40 red Polish zloty, which is paid to Colonel Tiedeman
every year—in return for his receipt. In 1785 it was
paid on December 10th.
Whilst informing your
Excellencies, the seniors of the Reformed Church in Little Poland, of
these matters we trust that you will not fail to approve of the way in
which we administer the fund.
At the same time we wish
that the bursaries of the Davison Fund may be given next December to both
the students from Little Poland, that is, to Vladilas Radosz and N. N.
Musonius, who have already finished their studies in the Joachimsthal
School in Berlin, and are going to continue their education at an
We have likewise the honour
to inform you that we are ready to depart from the custom we have hitherto
observed, and to order the bursaries to present their certificates to your
We also agree, in
accordance with your Excellencies’ wishes, to discontinue the annual
yearly payment of 40 red Polish zloty made to this Community. Instead of
this, we will strictly adhere to the wishes of the founders, and pay, in
accordance with the ancient custom, a stipendium to each of the
above-mentioned students recommended by your Excellencies for three
consecutive years. But as we have undertaken to build a granary when we
came into office, and have also the repairing of a house in view, we have
come to the conclusion that our means do not admit of our allowing 30 red
zloty per annum to each candidate, or, that is 60 red zloty in all, for
three consecutive years.
Nevertheless, we will do
all in our power to carry out our obligations as well as our income
allows. These students must present their receipts, and next year, that
is, in 1797, they get the above-mentioned sum paid to them in advance.
Neither in the deed written
by our great-grandfather, nor in the books kept by those gentlemen who
preceded us as administrators, do we find any traces whatever of
conditions touching the annual payment of a certain sum of money to the
excellent gentlemen seniors. Therefore we flatter ourselves that your
Excellencies will not exact the same any more.
Dantzig, October 17th,
C. F. GRALATH, D. G.
Being the Administrators of
Mr. Gotleb Dawidsohn.
Appointed thereto by the court of
law, and administrating the fund established by Daniel Davisson
ad pias causas.
SIR,—I have the honour to
receive your letter of February 7th with the Synod’s receipt. I am very
much obliged to you for having procured it, and return you the one made
out in your own hand, being infinitely glad to have had the latter. I have
also the honour to enclose a Pro Memoria, written by the administrators of
the Davisson Legacy in reply to your letter, which I handed to them. You
will find these gentlemen fully disposed to obey the orders of the Synod
in future, and it now only depends upon that body to make the necessary
For the rest, I do not see
that the Synod will gain thereby if it force the administrators to produce
the will by applying to the law. The late Mr. Klerk told me several times,
and the present administrators say the same thing, namely, that it is not
so much a formal will as a simple draft of one, drawn up by Daniel
Davisson without even his signature, and that its authenticity depends
only upon the late Mr. Clerk’s assurance that it was written by the
Testator’s, Daniel Davisson’s, own hand.
You must well feel, sir,
that such an instrument, which lacks almost all form, is worth very little
in the eyes of justice, one would even run the risk of seeing it declared
to be null, and what worse thing could happen than that?
According to my ideas it
would be much better to let the whole thing rest as it is rather than
force it from that side.
In any case it will depend
on what the Synod wishes to do in the matter. As for me, I am ready to
execute its orders.
I await them, together with yours,
sir. Having the honour to be, sir, with the most distinguished
esteem.—Your very humble and obedient servant,
J. D. TIEDEMANN,
My respects, if you please, to
Ruszoczijn, April 6th,
When you do me the honour
to write, be so kind as to let me know what is happening in military
matters in Poland, and where the Raczynski regiment actually is.
To the Brilliant and Well-born
Secretary, Kahlen, Resident at the Court of the King of Poland as Envoy of
the town of Dantzig.
April 19th, 1790.
We, the undersigned, in the name of
the local commune of the Reformed church in Little Poland, do herewith
make answer to the letter in the form of a Memorandum written by the
High-born Secretary, Kahlen, on February 22nd, and sent to General
Ozarowski, Knight of the Order of St. Stanilas, touching the annual
bursary from the Endowment founded by Daniel Dawisohn
ad pias causas.
On December 19th, 1788, we
detailed our relationship with the student Musioniusz, and declared that
he will cease to enjoy any further benefits from the Fund, because he has
already done so for three consecutive years. On March the 6th, the same
student handed us a written paper of thanks, because he had still received
help, although, according to the strict reading of the clauses of our
Foundation, candidates may only enjoy help for three years. This was done,
nevertheless, at the request of the Brilliant and Well-born General
Ozarowski, and because there are no candidates for the bursary this year.
For the rest, the student Waclaw Radoz himself presented a petition on
March 14th, begging that he might be allowed to enjoy the bursary for one
We are therefore ready to
give him not only half of what he has hitherto received, but also that
which his ex-colleague, Musonius, enjoyed. He will therefore have, in all,
60 red Polish zloty, or 180 Russian thalers, which have already been paid
to him, on the twelfth of this month at Königsberg.
We therefore ask you to
deign to inform the Brilliant and Well-born General Ozarowski of these
facts, and also to ask him to be so kind as to nominate two new candidates
from Dantzig for next year, who shall in future enjoy the vacant
Dantzig, April 19th, 1790.
CARL FRIEDRICH GRALATH.
D. G. WEICKHMANN.
The legal administrator of the Fund,
ad pias causas,
founded by Daniel Davidson, of
[Leszno Archives, vol lxxxv.
P. 68.] In ancient times, up to the year 1700, many Scots, both singly and
in colonies, settled in Poland, especially preferring the towns of Dantzig,
Lublin, Zamosc, Warsaw and Cracow.
These people collected
monies for the up-keep of their clergy and places of worship. Most of them
left Poland, because of the disturbances, and settled in Dantzig, where
they also started funds for the same purpose.
Several of the Davisson
family are now trying to take such money from the English Church and make
it their own.
Therefore it is necessary
to obtain all possible information, touching the conditions under which
they lived in Poland and the conventions they made amongst themselves. To
attain this end I send herewith a list containing several questions,
[These questions have been lost. –ED.] and trust that your Excellency will
be so good as to allow them to be answered, and also to inform me of any
facts touching them that may come to your knowledge. The expenses thus
incurred shall be refunded to you in Warsaw.
I take the liberty to ask
you to have the matter laid before Lieutenant-General von der Goetz of
Grabionna, and hope that your Excellency will see your way to grant my
request.— I have the honour to be, Your humble servant,
British Commissioner and Consul.
Dantzig, May 28th, 1793.
To the Synod of the
Reformed Churches in Little Poland.
I should be much
obliged if you could give me trustworthy information about the fund, which
is managed by the Davidson family, because I have reasons for supposing
that this fund has been collected by means of voluntary contributions. I
therefore took the liberty of inquiring into this matter on May 28th,
1793, and wish to express my thanks for your dispatch of June 20th, 1793.
The contents of the latter dispatch perfectly coincide with information I
have since obtained, namely:--
(1) That the
above-mentioned legacy has been founded for the sole benefit of the Synod
of the Reformed Churches in Little Poland, for the purpose of granting
stipends to theological students;
(2) And that David
Ackenhead, who was the first founder of the fund, contributed a
considerable sum of money towards it, and that Daniel Davidson and many
other Scottish families gave money towards it.
As Daniel Davidson left
Zamosc and established himself here, it is probable that the Synod, in
order to have the money in safe keeping, transported it to this city,
putting the management of the money into the hands of Davidson, who acted
As nobody was sent abroad
to study theology, the money steadily increased until 1735, and, as Daniel
Davidson was already dead, he was succeeded by his son, Emmanuel Davidson,
who, together with John Claerke, acted till the 1742, after which year,
the latter’s son, John Daniel Claerke, and David Gottleb Davidson, were
acting as ‘Provisors’ till the years 1781-1782, when Claerke, being sixty
years of age, died, and I was appointed Provisor in his stead. On my
receipt of the safe, I found the same in great disorder.
I tried to set the whole
affair in order, but in vain, and tried to return the fund and all the
documents relating thereto to Mr. Claerke.
He managed it, with the
help of Nichenby, till the year 1785. After his death the management fell
into the hands of Messers. S. T. Gralath and Daniel Gottleb Weickmann,
both of the Lutheran faith, and not the eldest descendants of the Davidson
family. For this reason I am quarrelling with them at the present moment,
because they have taken the Daniel Davidsohn fund, and have ordered the
books to be sent to them. In this way everything might have been lost, had
I not put myself in opposition to them, as I was the one person who knew
anything about the matter.
Amongst the various
documents here there is not one original one, for amongst the account
books there is only a copy of the document already published, which states
that the capital is invested in mortgages, and that the interest accruing
therefrom is paid as stipends to theological students coming from Little
Poland, and that the eldest male descendants of the Davidsohn family,
professing the reformed faith, are to be chosen as provisors. People have
acted against these regulations in the most unruly way, quite indifferent
to their responsibilities. Therefore, if the Reformed Synod supply me with
the necessary documents, I will prove their authenticity in a proper
manner, although this will be a difficult task, owing to the intrigues of
the present ‘Provisors.’
The documents necessary for
this might easily be obtained from the deeds in the possession of the
Synod, and are as follows:--
- The original Foundation Deed, or a
reliable, certified copy of the same.
- Proofs as to how and from whom
contributions were collected.
- A copy of Daniel Dawidsohn’s
testamentory dispositions, of which, according to report, your
Excellencies are in possession.
The Power of Attorney issued in
the name of the Synod of Little Poland to Messrs. Adam
Elliott and John Aitkenson,
directors of the Anglican Church here.
It is necessary to settle
this question and to invest the money belonging to the fund in house
property in the name of the Reformed Synod of Little Poland’s foundation,
and to control the same. It is always a doubtful business to put one’s
trust in private administration, especially if the Provisor’s children
happen to be taking part in such management. If the funds invested are
entered in the mortgage books in the Provisor’s name, they must be
separated from the estate of the deceased every time a death occurs, and
be translocated in the names of his heirs. And this was not done either by
Daniel Davidsohn, his son, Emmanuel, or the latter’s son, Emmanuel Gotlieb
Davidson, after his death.
In this way the capital,
which is the property of the Reformed Synod in Little Poland, has always
been entered in the mortgage books in the name of Daniel Davidson, and is
now entered in the names of Gralath and Weickman, who have located it in
their own names Opportunity sometimes inclines the most honest men towards
dishonesty. This case is a very grave one as far as the Synod is
concerned, and therefore I ask you to lose no time but to send the
documents asked for as soon as possible. I will endeavour to pay the
expenses thus incurred out of the fund.
The capital for these
stipends consists partly of ground and partly of money invested in
mortgages. When Claerke administered the fund the total sum amounted to
68000 Polish zloty, or about 5400 ducats, this was in the year 1786. What
it amounts to at present, with the added interest, I do not know; but
altogether it ought to be about 2000 ducats, from which the monies already
paid to us ought to be deducted.
As I at first thought the
capital had been formed by Scots I began to look after it. But as I now
see that it belongs to the Synod of the Reformed Churches in Little Poland
I am quite prepared to help this Synod, in order to save the capital, and
likewise for the reason that Davidson’s descendants have obtained the
right to look after the administration thereof.
Therefore I await the
documents required, hoping they will arrive as quickly as possible; also
the Powers of Attorney namely :—
1. From the Foundation in
2. From the Davidson Fund.
But, in order to bring the whole
matter to a peaceful determination, if possible, I think it would be well
for you, gentlemen, to write to the present Provisors of the fund—in
accordance with the draft letter I have enclosed herewith, and to send me
the ensuing correspondence. I, on my side, will endeavour to come to an
understanding in the matter, which will be the best thing to do.—Your
To their Excellencies, the
Seniors of the Reformed Church in Little Poland.