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Scots in Eastern and Western Prussia
Part I – The Scottish Trader (3)


The same grievances against their own countrymen are presented to the Markgraf of Brandenburg by the Scots dwelling in the small town of Margrabova in the year 1624.

In short, the Scots themselves, as soon as they settled down, seem to have succumbed to the same infectious trade jealousy and narrow-minded trading principles that actuated their German brethren, only they did not go to the same extremes of inventing charges where there was no other foundation to go upon

Moved by these petitions, pouring in from all sides and quarters, the rulers of the whole north-east of Germany [Indeed they were not behind-hand in the south. In Regensburg a decree is issued in 1501 agains the pedalling Scots. Those, however, who with "good merchandise, such as gold, silver, velvet and silk," visit the monasteries and noblemen’s seats, are excepted in 1553 from a similar prohibition.] issued, as we have seen, quite a number of edicts, laws and prohibitions against the Scots. So frequent did they become that we fancy we detect a slight indication of annoyance in many of them "We cannot for ever be bothered with the Scot, let our former mandates suffice."

Most of these royal decrees date from the XVIth Century, but some were issued in Prussia much earlier. Fundamental for Poland was the so - called "Royal Universale" against the Scots of the year 1566. It is of a very sweeping character, forbidding the Scottish pedlars to roam about the country, and even going so far as to declare any letters issuing at any future time from the Royal Secretary’s Office and purporting to convey different opinions to be null and void. [One is tempted to pronounce the last clauses interpolated.]

Other prohibitions of later kings repeat the same reasons and restrictions. Thus Sigismund III, issues a mandate against Jews, Scots and other vagabonds in 1594 at the request of the town of Kcyna. The Scots are chiefly forbidden to make large purchases of grain. [Kgl. St. Archiv, Posen, Dep. Exon., N. 1.]About a hundred years later King Augustus II., in a privilege granted to the town of Kosten, refers to the old laws against the Scots. He forbids that they should acquire any landed or town property with the significant addition that they were "a religione Romana Catholica dissidentes" (1699).

The dukes of Pomerania issued similar mandates in 1585 from Wolgast, also in 1594. Philipp Julius, Duke of Stettin, on the usual plea of "false goods" and detrimental competition., commands his governors to prevent the Scottish pedlar from hawking about in the country; "those, however, who live at Stettin, sharing the common burdens of a citizen, shall be free to exhibit their goods and sell them at the usual fairs and during one week annually like the other merchants."

In the Duchy of Prussia we have the edicts of 1525 (7th of May), according to which, not only vagabondage of the Scots is forbidden, but also the drawing of lots for the position of stalls at the fairs. This edict of Albrecht the Elder was confirmed in 1530, 1542, 1545 and in 1558, expressing at the same time astonishment that former Ducal laws had been evaded, and displeasure at those of the nobility who harbour the Scots for any length of time (1549) On the whole, however, the rulers of Prussia showed a most remarkable sense of justice and fair play, they never granted all the requests of the irate guilds, and, as we shall see by and by, often put themselves in distinct opposition to the narrow-mindedness of the city magistrates. It was this same Albrecht, a man of great uprightness and a strong desire to rule well, who in 1549 on the 9th of September writes to his minister Nostiz: "Before us appeared the bearer of this letter, Wilhelmus Scotus, and told us how he for the sake of the gospel had been driven out of Scotland, at the same time asking us in our mercy for a contribution towards his sustenance. We have therefore promised him a plain suit of clothes as well as four Gulden for his food, and request of you to let him have it out of our Exchequer." [The charming naivete of this Ducal note is quite lost in the translation.]

There are later edicts in the Lithuanian language (1589) and in German, printed and unprinted. In some of them a certain district is assigned to the Scot for free trading, notably in the so-called Prussische Landesedict of 1551.

In Mecklenburg also, where large numbers of Scottish Tabuletkramer [So called from "tabulet" – the pedlar’s box.]went about the country in the XVIth and XVIIth Centuries, we have the sketch of a mandate from the hand of Duke Johann Albrecht, and dated Feb. 25th, 1554. [Gr. St. Archiv, Schwerin.]

Even the bishops joined. The Bishop of Ermeland, whose territory cleaves the Prussian possessions like a wedge, draws special attention to the Scotsman’s unlawful dealing in furs and skins, which trade was a monopoly, and to the corruption of the magistrates and bailiffs in the country "who are not above receiving bribes." The goods of any hawking Jew or Scot in any part of his dominions are to be confiscated and sold, one half of the proceeds to go to the bishop, the other to the village. There is to be a fine of forty marks besides (1551 and 1579).

In short there seems to have been a general consent to stamp out the Scottish pedlars as a nuisance. Not only was their trade hampered, but they were heavily taxed. This tax varied somewhat in the different countries; for Poland it amounted to two forms for a man on horseback, one form for a pedestrian; in Prussia the amount was fixed at two thalers. Besides this they had to pay for their stands at the fairs. The accurate amount of this rent is handed down to us in the account books of Marienwerder, a small town in Eastern Prussia. There we read (1606-7): "Received forty marks ‘marktgeld’ from four Scotsmen who are allowed to sell their goods in the lower parts of this district. Formerly there used to be eight of them paying for their privilege at the rate of eight marks annually; but four of them either died or moved elsewhere. The remaining four: Thomas Stehler (?) David Feller, Andres Morgiss and George Allan have paid at this time of Michaelmas their ten marks and are bound to do so annually."

Two remedies were open to the much harassed Scottish itinerant trader: he could lay his complaints before the sovereign of his country, or he could remove to the towns and acquire a fixed abode. He tried both, and in Prussia at least, he tried effectually. We have given some of his supplications before, [See Scots in Germany.] showing how the Scots themselves proposed a tax and a central receiver and certain articles for their organisation. The Duke, partly influenced by the intercession of the King of Great Britain, to whom the Scots in their distress had appealed a few years previously, appointed several influential men to investigate the matter. One was a certain Dr Mirander, a famous legal luminary of the day, who proceeded with prudence and energy, arguing with some of the more obstinate ones, and reminding them of the fact that not for their "yellow hair" but for the "prince’s liberality" they could earn so much in the country; that they were very well off indeed, and so forth. Finally he succeeded in making them agree to a self-imposed tax.

Together with Mirander, Koch or Kook, a Scotsman, was appointed to make a census of the Kramers in 1615. [Ibid.] For this trouble he received an annual emolument of fifty thalers in gold, half a last of corn, half a last of malt and a last of oats.

His report is still extant. The Scots are willing, he says, to pay four Thalers annually for horse and cart, two Thalers when on foot; he moreover recalls to the Duke’s memory the fact that many Scots died in his country without heirs, in which case their property fell to the Crown, that their ships were bringing goods into his dominions for which duty was being paid. Finally, he proposes to collect the above tax against 1000 marks (1615). He encloses certain rules ("Rolle") which the Scots had agreed upon, and adds the following introduction: "As many of the Scottish nation in this Duchy of Prussia seek their living up and down the country, most of them without a fixed abode and under no jurisdiction, and as frequently transgressions of the law have taken place amongst them, the Governor of this country has granted them leave, some years ago, to draw up their own rules so as to remove the unjust stigma of vagabonds, and to found ‘unanimo consensu’ a fixed Brotherhood. They are to meet four times a year . . . the whole guild is responsible for the payment of the tax; the elders of each district forming a commission with their head committee in Konigsberg." Then follow the articles which we have given elsewhere. [See Scots in Germany.]

Now at this time Patrick Gordon, of whom we have spoken, [Ibid.]was still British Consul or factor at Danzig. Meddlesome and officious character as he was, he felt aggrieved that somebody else should take the credit of this transaction. He objected to the articles in their present form, promised the Scots to intercede for them with His British Majesty, so that they should not have to pay any taxes, and blamed Koch for having taken upon him to act in an official capacity. A breach occurred. Some of the Scots, aggrieved at Koch having laid bare some of their unlawful trade practices, adhered to Gordon, whereupon Koch wrote pitiful letters to the Churfürst on his own behalf, quoting Gordon’s threat, that his fate should be worse than that of Stercovius who had suffered the death penalty at Rastenburg, [Ibid.]but in the end the "mandatarius regis" won. He relies on his dignity and refuses to be a procurator causae. Koch was guilty of a "crimen falsi," he maintained, having deported himself as a regularly paid official of the Duke, which he was not, and he had no "causam litigandi." The Court declared in Gordon’s favour; Koch was dismissed with his complaint, and the Scottish nation received a copy of the judgment (19th Sept 1616).

The new articles, eighty in number, which Gordon now published, or rather submitted to the government of the Duchy of Prussia, were based upon the original rules given by us previously. [Scots in Germany.] The first article deals with the constitution of the fraternity, and with the election of elders who are to officiate for one year only. They are to have jurisdiction in minor matters, and are to meet in proper places and at proper times, and not during "dinner and talking hours". The second article bears the heading "On the worship of God" (De Divino Cultu), and enjoins regular attendance at church and at the communion, besides the closing of the doors and windows of the shops on Sundays and the avoidance of religious controversies The third article deals with the relations of master and servant. Every servant is to have a certificate of good conduct, the master is responsible for his servant, a servant (or journeyman), not knowing German, must bind himself to serve four years. Fines are fixed for various transgressions on the part of master or boy, e.g, if the servant calls his master out to a duel or lays violent hands on him, he shall be deprived of the benefit of the Brotherhood. The fourth article deals with vagabonds, drunkards, gamblers and others. Nobody shall be allowed to hawk his despicable wares about unless they be worth fifty Gulden. Riotous living is to be fined. In the fifth article, treating of public moneys, provision is made for the maintenance of the poor, the care for the sick, and the burial of the dead. Guild brothers must make an inventory of a deceased brother’s property. Debts and the stands or booths on the fairs are dealt with in the sixth and seventh articles, whilst the eighth provides against adulterated goods and false measure. The ninth article is an enlargement of articles thirteen and fourteen of the original draft, [Scots in Germany.] the tenth of the eleventh; the eleventh, on the dangers of travelling, of the original fifteenth. The twelfth article settles the contributions of the brethren, whilst the last two deal with appeals to a higher Court and the carrying out of the sentence; the whole constitution ends with these words: "Should any articles of a similar description be deemed necessary by common consent, which are not expressly stated in the foregoing rules, the same shall be observed as if they were expressed" (1616).

As will be seen, the constitution is well drawn up, and Gordon, if he did nothing else, deserved well of the Scottish nation on account of its composition. Curiously enough, a confirmation of these statutes from the hand of the Duke or the magistrates could not be discovered; all that remains is a short draft of marginal notes and annotations, probably drawn up by one of the members of the government. [The articles were written in English it appears, and then translated by Gordon. The corrections and annotations date from the year 1624. Various petitions for the confirmation of the rules date from 1617 and 1622. – Kgl. St. Archiv, Konigsberg.] The immediate effect, however, was the same.

The advantages of the letters of protection, and the self-imposed tax, were eagerly embraced, and the lot of the Scottish itinerant trader considerably improved. Königsberg became the centre of the Scottish settlements and of the Brotherhood in Prussia. In a census of Scotsmen in the small town of Welan, only two, Jacob Ertzbell (Archibald?) and William Schott were found that had no Schutzzeddel, both giving a reasonable excuse. Others were of the opinion that as citizens of smaller towns they did not require them.

The original of one of these letters of protection is preserved in the case of Alexander Murray, a citizen of Memel, who is permitted to trade in Ermeland for a year with two horses and his pack. "The bearer," the document continues, "in the name of His Grace the Duke, is to be protected by the magistrates of each place against all violence and oppression at the hands of soldiers and recruiting officers. And because Alexander Murray has paid as protection-tax the sum of two ducats this will serve as a receipt. He is, however, not to use false weight, measure, or merchandise under pain of confiscation, and to pay other taxes imposed by the diet of the country willingly" (July 3, 1656).

As to the protection duty to be paid, the question arose whether the servants who went with their master’s goods about the country were also liable. A number of Scots in Königsberg petition the Duke in this matter, complaining, at the same time, that the present representative of the fiscal had exacted the tax without distinction, and, being a slave of drink and lazy in the performance of his duty, had molested the Scots greatly in the fairs, when they had not yet earned a penny, "flying at them with slanderous speech in his drunken state,so that manslaughter and murder might have been the consequence." They pray the duke to rid them of this fellow, and rather to appoint a place at Königsberg, either an office in the town hall or the governor’s office, for the payment of their "protection-money" (Schutzpfennig), and, as a term, the annual great fair. [Kgl. St. Archiv, Konigsberg, N.D., but apparently not long after agreeing to the tax.]

In the neighbouring state of Pomerania the case of the Scottish pedlar was not settled satisfactorily. Here also we have the proposal of appointing a captain or spokesman. A certain Colonel Getberg writes to the Duke asking to be given the mill at Lauenburg in reward for faithful services during twenty-six years. He then continues his letter in these terms: "Because a week ago a handsome Scotch lad, Hans Rylands, a pedlar, was murderously slain with an axe by a wicked citizen at Rummelsburg, the Scots again urge me, praying me for God’s sake to be their captain, patron, and advocate, and to appoint a learned man of the law in each principality who would attend to their business. They offer to pay one Thaler each to the local treasurer in each place at Michaelmas. Now because His Majesty of Poland, my most gracious sovereign, ten years ago, appointed a captain called Adam Young [Also called Abraham Young, see Scots in Germany.] (Junge) for the purpose of advocating the cause of this foreign nation at court and of protecting them against uncalled for violence, Your Majesty might also grant such a privilege for thirty years to me and my successors, this being my first prayer, and it would in no way be derogatory to your own prerogatives. Therefore I trust your Serene Highness will arrange matters so that each treasurer at Michaelmas, when he hands in his accounts, shall also pay me a Thaler on the part of the Scots. For this service I shall give to each of these collectors, as an annual recompense, a handsome young horse in token of gratitude. Not doubting the granting of my petition.

"PETER GETBERGK, Colonel."
(Jan. 1626).

Unfortunately the Duke was of a different opinion. He feared that if those traders, who were already taxpayers, had an additional tax laid upon them, they would raise the price of their goods, which would be a hardship to other inhabitants and to his "poor subjects." The petition was therefore refused, and the bailies had to go without their beautiful young horses.

In Prussia, however, we hear much less of the grievances of the Scottish pedlar. Altogether he seems to have drifted little by little into the towns where the chances of earning an honest and less dangerous livelihood seemed certainly better. From about the middle of the XVIIth Century we notice a large and steadily increasing influx of Scotsmen into the smaller and larger towns of Prussia and Poland. In many cases these men’s hopes of finding at last a haven of rest were disappointed; for here also the trade hostilities were great, more bitter, perhaps, in close proximity than at a distance. Here also the magistrates showed little inclination to grant any freedom of movement, though, it must be said, the towns varied greatly in this respect; Danzig, for instance, distinguishing herself by a certain amount of liberal treatment of the foreign merchant. In most other places, especially in Prussia, the Scots and other strangers—notably the Dutch, of whom there was at this time a large immigration [Kgl. St. Archiv, Konigsberg.]—had to submit to a number of irritating restrictions. They had to report themselves at their arrival, and tell the value of their goods and the character of their trading; they were not allowed to sell to strangers; they were not allowed to have more than one shop; they could not lodge or board their own countrymen, or sell any new clothes; [Decree from 1580 at Danzig. In Konigsberg an exception was made in favour of married men with a family.] they could not acquire any house property; the retail trade by the ell and the pound was closed to them as well as the traffic on the river. [This was considered a monopoly of the townspeople. They complain most bitterly against "the cunning Scots who use the calmest, nay the ‘holiest’ nights to put whole bales of their goods into boats, sail up the river, and smuggle great quantities of merchandise." (1678 Jan. 18th), Kgl. St. Archiv, Konigsberg.] They could not, as a rule, become burgesses, though they paid the taxes of such. It was this last restriction which caused most dissatisfaction.

In Poland, King Vliadislaus among others, had sanctioned the principle in 1635, and in Prussia a decree of the Churfurst of Brandenburg, in 1613 (Feb. 3rd), in its fourth paragraph restated the former law that no Dutchmen, Scot, or Englishman could acquire civil rights. Sixteen of the smaller Prussian towns had also proclaimed this restriction which, so far from being an innovation, had already been imposed by the Hanseatic League more than a century ago. For a very long time the war between these German towns and the Scottish petitioners was waged with great bitterness, and, at first sight, we do not expect ever to hear of any Scottish-German citizens within the length and breadth of Prussia.

The law, however, was more severe in its letter than in its administration. There were various ways of bringing a certain amount of pressure to bear upon the city fathers, and it goes without saying that in availing themselves of these the Scots had no equals. First of all, there was the intercession of the sovereign and other men of influence, and secondly—a more pleasant way—the fact of having married a German lady, the daughter of a native of the place.

In Danzig we find after the year 1577, in which the Scots together with the other citizens so valiantly helped to drive off the King of Poland, a number of applications for the freedom of the city at the intercession of the Scottish Colonel; thus Andreas Moncreiff in 1577, Osias Kilfauns in 1578, and in the same year George Patterson. In 1580 or 1581, to keep the ball rolling, eight Scotsmen apply for the burgess-ship on the same grounds. Their names are Steen, Donaldson, Lockerbie, Simpson, Newman, Henton, More (or Murray). This William Lockerbie from Domfries (!) writes again in 1609, after wishing a blissful rule to the magistrates: "I, poor man that I am, will not withhold from you, that I have been at Danzig for the last thirty-six years, having served in the wars as a soldier, married and reared children, and lived for twenty years on the Vendeten. [A Vendeter or Venteter was an old-clothes man, also a pedlar, small trader. The Ventete was the place or street where this trade was carried on.] I have dragged myself to the fairs of the small towns back and forward and thus kept myself, my wife, and my children alive with sorrow. Now the Almighty has taken my children and left me lonely together with my decrepit, sick old woman. Moreover, I am getting old, and being loth to travel, I should like to earn my bread honourably and with the help of God, as long as it pleases Him to prolong my life. But, because I need to be enrolled as a burgess for that, and having served this town in time of need and being still willing to serve it faithfully as long as I live, my prayer is, that you would grant my humble request and endow me with the citizens’ rights as a Vendeter, for which I am ready to pay the necessary sum." [Kgl. St. Archiv, Danzig.]

Thomas Gregor in 1589 and 1592, and Thomas Griffin or Grieff in 1583 adopt the same course, the latter adding "that he had been sworn in as a soldier in the defence of the city and did not spare his gray hair." In a similar strain Jacob Brown (Brunaeus), addresses the Danzig Courts in 1592. He writes: "I beg to state that I have lived in this good town more than twenty years, and have by the grace of God and my own activity earned my living, and although in the last war I, being under no obligation, might with others have sought my advantage elsewhere, yet have I, without any pay, from sheer good nature and special affection, taken part in all the skirmishes under Captain Gourlay, and, after he was drowned, under Captain Trotter, having been shot through the leg in consequence of my willingness on one of the bastions. Now, having served this good town in times of need to the risk of my life, I did so in the hope, that in the future, when I should be wishing to settle in this place, you would grant my request and enroll me on the list of your burgesses." Indeed it is stated in the petition of Gregor that civil rights were promised to all Scots at the Colonel’s intercession in or about 1577, "provided they be faithful and of honest birth." [Gabriel Foster obtains civil rights at Bartenstein at the intercession of Captain Caspar Sack in 1588.]

At other times we read of the intercession of Kings and Queens. One Jacob Hill and his friend John Tamson, towards the end of the XVIth Century, depend upon the recommendation of the King and Queen of Poland. Sophia Charlotte, wife of the Markgraf of Brandenburg, intercedes for Andrew Marshall, a Scottish merchant, who desires to settle at Konigsberg. "His character is known to us, his conduct is irreproachable," she writes (April 29, 1690). Prince Radziwill intercedes for William Buchan; and the good services of His Majesty the King of Great Britain are on several occasions appealed to and obtained.

The King of Poland pleads for several Scotsmen, candidates for the citizenship of Danzig, at the request of Andrew Keith, Baron of Dingwall. But the third Order objects, because the city was overrun with strangers, and their own daily business interfered with by them (1588).

With the nobility of the country, as well as with the ruling powers, the Scots had managed to live on terms of friendly intercourse. They had lent them money; they were raised to the high position of royal merchants in Poland; they procured among other things the cloth for the uniforms of the soldiery in Prussia and had ingratiated themselves with the rulers by many other friendly services, such as offering to procure dogs for them from England, [William Watson writes to the Duke Albrecht of Prussia in 1544 from Danzig: "My brother Richard asked me in a letter to send some English dogs to Your Grace. I have ordered some, and they have been put on board a vessel. Of these three one jumped overboard; the other two can be fetched from Jurgen Rudloff, the skinner. In case Your Grace wanted more, it would be well to let me know if You want them young or old. I shall then willingly order them." He also offers to procure court dresses or dress material for the Duke—Kgl.St. Archiv, Konigsberg.] or silks and velvets from other countries.

Numberless, in consequence, were the appeals to the different Dukes of Prussia from Scotsmen wishing to be enrolled as citizens of any of the towns of their Duchy. Indeed, these poor Dukes must have led a miserable life between the complaints of the guilds of merchants, clothiers, tailors, shoemakers and furriers against the Scots, and of the "afflicted" Scots against these, and, finally, having to listen to their recalcitrant and obstinate magistrates, especially those of Konigsberg, their capital, whose views did not coincide with the more liberal and broad-minded treatment of strangers inhabiting their towns proposed by the Head of the State. Already, in 1589, in the case of the Scottish pedlars, whose trade had been so seriously crippled by the Ducal decrees forbidding their hawking about the country except on settled fair days, George Frederick the then Markgraf of Brandenburg or Duke of Prussia, had proved his humane inclinations. It is true, neither he nor his successors could put themselves in opposition to the trades or emancipate themselves from the trading principles then adopted, so far as to give the pedlar free trade, or throw open the gates of the cities to the merchant-stranger. By doing so they would have had to override trade and city privileges sanctioned ages ago. But they could mitigate harsh laws as far as possible, and by an occasional "sic volo sic jubeo" assert their own royal prerogatives against those of the cities.

The case of 1589 was this. Hans Drum and his son, Scotsmen, had appeared before him protesting, that they, though acknowledging their duty to abstain from hawking, had given goods on credit and lent money up and down the country previous to the promulgation of the Duke’s decrees, and that he could not recover these debts now, when the "Scots on the highways were seized and overpowered whether they carried their merchandise about them or no," without a letter of protection. This letter the Duke granted for the said purpose, and promised him protection throughout the whole extent of his dominions, with the exception only of the seaboard, where he was not allowed to set foot. From January till the next Easter the letter was to be in force, and its protection was extended to fifteen or sixteen other Scotsmen, and in the following year (1590) to two more: Hans Adie and Andrew Park. [Kgl.St. Archiv, Konigsberg.]

The same desire of mitigating the rigour of the law and of stemming the tide of petty persecution that had set in against the Scot in the towns was shown by the rulers of Prussia on many occasions, giving rise to much angry correspondence between the civil rulers of the towns and their Sovereign.

In Rastenburg, in 1570, the magistrates return a petition of Zander Wilson, praying the Duke not to interfere with their ancient rights; "Let him settle elsewhere." And when, in 1594, a Scot named Andrew Schott asks to be enrolled as burgess, the magistrates immediately write to the Duke stating that they had never conferred civil rights on any but Germans, least of all on the Scots, who were given to all sorts of "cunning devices" and cheating practices, enriching themselves and impoverishing the native trader. They go on quoting the case of a Scot at Bartenstein who, even although he married a citizen’s daughter, was not admitted as a burgess and had to remove elsewhere. Moreover, the candidate was said to deal in amber "secretly on the sea coast." In 1627, Rastenburg again refuses to admit a Scot with the name of David Hunter, for the same reasons. "Such a thing never happened before," the letter of the magistrates says, "except once in the case of Andrew Ruperten Sohn (Robertson), at the intercession of the most gracious Lady the Duchess, who was then staying in the town during the time of the plague (at Konigsberg ?)."

Many complaints reach the Prince from Riesenburg, another small town. Andrew Rutherford had acquired civil rights there on account of the Prince’s intercession about 1560; ["Because Andrew Rutherford (Rudersfurt) has performed all the duties of a citizen, paying taxes, working at the fortifications, and so forth, and has also proved his honest birth by birth briefs, His Grace wishes him to be admitted as a citizen, and like his neighbors in their town of Riesenburg, to earn his bread by brewing, distilling and the sale of small merchandise. This is granted to him provided no deceit or false dealing be proved against him." (1561). – Kgl. St. Archiv, Konigsberg.] but when his widow had married another Scotsman and complained that the town did not give him these rights as well, the magistrates’ reply was that in the meantime the rule had been adopted only to receive Germans as citizens (1565).

In Memel the magistrates, in a letter to the Duke, assert their right to refuse any but German burgesses, according to the statute-law of Cologne, which had been adopted by them. Theirs being a border town one Scot would draw many other Scots after him, and the consequence would be "that if the Lord gave them daughters, their countrymen would conclude marriages and settle there, whereby we Germans would be oppressed. Moreover, no trust could be placed in a Scotsman in times of need." This was their argument, and the Duke’s reply and decision ran: "If you can show real privileges and have not given citizens’ rights to other strangers already, your supplication shall be granted"; thus leaving a door open to the petitioner, one Hans Mancke (Mackey?), whose condition was rendered all the more pitiful, since the validity of his promise of marriage had been made conditional upon his acquiring civil rights (2nd of May 1606). [Kgl. St. Archiv, Konigsberg.]

Another petition, signed by William Turner, Hans Bessett and Zander Bisset, Scotsmen of Memel, refers to former decrees in favour of the admission of the Scots granted by Markgraf Joachim Friedrich in 1606, May 2nd, and in 1608, July 5th; also by the father of the present Duke, Markgraf Johann Sigismund, in 1611, Jan. 10th, and complains of the dilatoriness of the magistates who had postponed the final meeting in this matter of civil rights till October on account of the great fair; though this fair was no business of theirs, and their purpose no other but to humble the Scottish nation and make it lose all patience. They wanted to elude the term, for in the end of October the ice was just beginning to bear on the Haff; rendering all travelling most difficult; the delay was indeed rooted only in the unwillingness of the authorities to show reason why the Scots should not enjoy the privileges of citizens when they did bear a citizen’s burdens. Petitioners therefore pray to fix upon the earlier date of the 1st of September for their meeting.

In 1627 and again in 1636, by decree {Dated Jan. 27, 1636. Kgl. St. Archiv, Konigsberg.] of the Duke, the town of Memel was permitted until further notice to exact from the Scots who were admitted to the privileges of burgess "the sum of one hundred thaler, in consideration of the great hardships it had to endure during the Swedish occupation in 1629-1635, and of the exhausted state of its treasury." If the Scots were admitted indiscriminately they would deprive the inhabitants of their living, the decree says. In consequence of this high fee difficulties arose; a Scotsman with the name of Gilbert refusing to pay more than 100 mark, although he neither served the town in times of war, nor had he stayed in it for a considerable length of time. As he was, moreover, a man of means, it was hoped that the Duke would not listen to his representations. Thus the Mayor and Town Councillors of Memel wrote in 1642, April 10th, and the Duke saw no reason for changing his mind.

Of all the cities in his realm, it was his own capital, however, that gave him most trouble. Fierce and long were the conflicts between the Dukes and the magistrates of Königsberg on account of the Scots. Let us take a few typical instances.

Already in 1624 a Scotsman with the name of Dick tried hard to obtain civil rights there, and was finally successful. But only after a most determined resistance on the part of the city authorities. The latter wrote to the Duke complaining that Dick attempted to wrest the civil rights from them with his "cunning practices; "‘that he had certain friends among the councillors of the township of Kneiphof, and that he had approached the Duke in order to gain his intercession per importunas preces. Dick, it appears, relied on the fact of his having married the daughter of a famous Prussian legal adviser to the Crown, one Johannes Mirander. King Sigismund III. of Poland also supported his claim in a Latin letter to the magistrates, dated Warsaw, May 3rd, 1624, in which the merits of Mirander are extolled; nor did the Churfürst George Wilhelm hesitate to join issue with his royal cousin. He insisted on this candidature being an exceptional one, and pleaded with the town council not to consider Dick as a Scotsman, but as the husband of his wife. [Letter dated Dec. 4, 1624.]Kneiphof however, not only refused to enroll him but distrained his goods. Again it required the severe reproof of their sovereign, and even threats, to make the magistrates relent, restore the property to its owner (1626), and grant his request.

Churfürst (Elector) Frederick William in 1642 had yielded to the request of Hans Dennis, who had produced letters of recommendation from the Kings of England and of Poland, and granted him liberty of trading not only throughout our duchy by land and water, but chiefly also in and around our town of Königsberg; by which he may trade in cloth, woollen stuffs, silks and other goods with the strangers and inhabitants at the annual fairs, especially those at Candlemas and Michaelmas, freely and unrestrictedly. In this we will protect him against the magistrates of any place." Soon this ominous addition was to be put to the test. In the year 1644 Dennis’s goods are distrained in the town on the pretence that he secretly carried his wares about by night; that he had hired a house; that he had made purchases outside the city boundaries; and that he had defrauded the customs. The Churfurst, on hearing of the matter, ordered his goods to be released, and sent for Dennis. He proposed to him to move his quarters to the Liberties and to restrict his trading to cloths. He might freely visit Memel and Tilsit and the rent of his house would not be required of him.

Now the guild of merchants as the defendant showed itself at first very hard and not at all inclined to desist from its suit; it had also made such proposals of settlement as could not be accepted by Dennis. They complain that Dennis had bought a house in the Kneiphöfische Langgasse, where he carried on business with strangers and natives alike for mere "bravado" and against former orders of the Duke, and they actually propose to force not only Dennis but all other Scots that dwelt in the suburb of Kneiphof, occupying houses in the best situations with their families and receiving their countrymen as guests from abroad and from the country districts, to leave the town as quickly as possible. Finally, however, the guild gave in, and from the law courts of Königsberg the case was transferred to the Duke for his arbitration. The following conditions were proposed by the town: 1, Dennis resigns his privileges; 2, he settles on the Ducal liberties; 3, he may buy his goods from the citizens and sell them either to strangers or to natives by the ell; 4, the defendants have to be compensated for their expenses; 5, insulting words or writings have to be retracted by Dennis. These conditions were considered too hard; Dennis is however willing to concede 1 and 2 if he had liberty to bring his goods from Elbing and Danzig and Thorn and sell them to strangers or natives alike by the piece and by the ell the whole year through. The Duke holds out the possibility that Dennis would restrict his commercial transactions to the trade in cloth and expects that an arrangement could be made with the widow from whom Dennis had hired the house for a term of six years, three of them having yet to run, so that he would not be pressed for the rent. As to law expenses he proposes share and share alike. To this the deputies of the town reply, that if Dennis was to restrict his trading to cloth only, they would try to persuade the Guild to grant him one of the Königsberg fairs where he could then make purchases sufficient for his living. They also agree after some more parley to allow him the great Dominic fair at Danzig as well as the fairs of Elbing and Thorn. Finally an arrangement is arrived at, according to which the Duke recedes from his privilege, Dennis settles on the Liberties, trades in cloth only, promises to pay an instalment on his rent and to revoke his insults as spoken and written "nullo injuriandi animo." On the other hand he is free to buy his goods at the towns and times mentioned (but not from ships on the river and not dearer than at 6 gulden the yard), and to sell them here at Königsberg and in the country towns to anyone by the piece or by the ell not only at the fairs but at all times unrestrictedly. In this way a reconciliation was effected in 1645 on the 22nd of November.


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