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Scots in Eastern and Western Prussia
Part I – The Scottish Trader (4)


Some time later, about the year 1657, another exchange of strongly worded letters took place between the Duke and the magistrates. "Next to the loss of our means of subsistence," the latter say, "the impairment of our privileges and customs must be our most anxious consideration. We therefore pray You not to receive our petition ungraciously since we have sworn solemnly to defend our civil liberties. As great difficulties are raised in these days about the conferring of civil rights upon strangers, we must insist on the fact that as long as our town of Konigsberg is in existence this has not been done indiscriminately, but only after due consideration of the petitioner’s birth-place, his married state, etc. Above all, foreign nations, especially the Scots and the Dutch, have been refused admission to our rolls of burgesses. For this law, not unknown to Your Grace, there have been very weighty reasons, among others the fear of introducing foreign manners and customs. Nor do our own people in England or Scotland enjoy civil rights and unrestricted trading liberties. In spite of all this, two Scotsmen, Gilbert Ramsay, Andrew Ritch [The Churfurst had interceded for these two men in 1656.] and others by their importunate prayers have obtained intercessions from Your Highness and the privilege of free-trade and civil rights, though hitherto this concession has belonged to the magistrates only and has always been left undisturbed; whilst the principle has been confirmed by Markgraf Johann Sigismund in his decree of 1613, paragraph 4." Then the letter reminds the Prince of former decrees against the Scots issued by his forefathers, and of the fact that in the case of Dennis he had promised not to create a precedent, and concludes with the old assertion that their trade would be ruined by the influx of the Scots. In conclusion they maintain their ancient privileges and mention incidentally that the Scots, so far from having enjoyed equal rights with the citizens, had only been tolerated in their city, and that only during a certain time of the year, whilst they had had to leave in winter. To admit one or two Scots as burgesses would mean to admit many, on account of their extraordinary clannishness.

In spite of all this opposition, guilds and civil authorities had to yield to the Duke’s pressure and after having used their last resource, that of distraining these Scotsmen’s goods, they had to admit Ramsay and Ritch among the number of their citizens.

Other instances presented the same difficulty owing to the obstinacy of the town guild and magistrates. Take the case of Johann Krehl (Crail) who had applied for admission to the roll of citizens in Königsberg. As usual the magistrates refuse on the ground of his being a stranger. Krehl appeals to the Duke.

In his petition, dated 1676, he stated that his goods, though properly registered at the Custom House, had been twice distrained and his offer to find security been rejected; nay, the magistrates of the three towns apparently "tried to ruin me by appealing from one court to another, under the pretext that I, not being a citizen, had no right to trade at all. And yet," he continues, "I have carried on my business unmolested on the Castle Liberties and under protection of the Duke for nearly sixteen years, having previously served my time with Gilbert Ramsay, now a citizen and a merchant in the town of Kneiphof, for which I again beg to thank Your Grace most humbly. To supply this want I am most ready to acquire citizens’ rights; but here again they refuse to admit me "propter Nationem." Now, as I have no other profession nor have learned any other trade by which I could earn bread for my wife and children. . . .I should be compelled, if I be not allowed to trade here, to remove with my poor family to another place, and because others of my nation who live on the Liberties [The inhabitants of the Liberties were not counted for full by the inhabitants of the towns of Konigsberg.] would for the like reasons be forced to do what I did, Your Grace’s customs would be deprived annually of a considerable sum. But because Your Grace’s whole and well-known intention has always been to let everybody carry on his business securely in your domains, I pray to have my goods restored and my application for the citizenship granted."

Thereupon the Duke, in 1677, issues the following letter: "John Krehl, a merchant in the Castle Liberties, has approached us and informed us how he had lived in Königsberg almost from his boyhood up, and how after having attained ripe years, he had for more than sixteen years carried on his business there. He also complains that he has not been able, in spite of all his efforts, to obtain the rights of a burgess, on account of his being of Scottish extraction. He begs of us to intercede on his behalf. Now we are fully aware of the decrees issued by our diets in this matter, and we have no intention to annoy you, but you will easily see for yourselves how ungracious a thing it would be on your part to let Krehl, a man who has dwelt among you so long and has been carrying on a large trade, the benefits of which in taxes and duties you also reap, come under the common rule of the exclusion of Scotsmen, and to put him on a level with a stranger who only recently put foot in your town and as to whose intentions you are utterly ignorant. Such harsh treatment would be a discredit and a detriment to you and yours. It would be a disgrace in the eyes of the strangers and above all of the English nation, between which and the Scottish there is such excellent understanding (!) and with which you carry on so much commerce. We do not doubt, therefore, that you will take everything into due consideration, and that you will not refuse to admit Krehl as a burgess; especially since this case shall not establish any precedent. Given in the camp before Stettin, July 10th, 1677."

Still the magistrates remained obstinate, and the dispute grew in bitterness, especially when the Duke Frederick William had granted Krehl’s son, a lad of sixteen, the veniam aetatis or majority, ostensibly because he had done well in business, and could manage for himself, in reality only to invalidate the objection of being a stranger in the boy’s case, who, being a German by birth, now had a right to claim citizenship (1682). It was a clever stroke, but the civil authorities were still masters of the situation. They reply by another move. On the 30th of November the Duke writes to them: "We let you know that John Krehl complained that you refused his son civil rights under the pretext that he was not married yet, and that you also wrongfully seized five pieces of his cloth. Now, as there are no other valid reasons to be brought against this son, to whom we have granted the veniam aetatis in order to let him continue his father’s business, surely his being not married would make no difficulty. For although you may have in your laws certain passages to that effect, yet is it known that you yourselves have often made a change and have given to those who applied for civil rights, being bachelors, a certain time within which they might marry. This course would be the one to adopt in young Krehl’s case until his years permit him to take a wife. We therefore order you to restore the five pieces of cloth, and to remove the cause of his complaint. (1682, November 30th). [Kgl. St. Archiv, Konigsberg.]

As was to be expected the council and the magistrates persist in their refusal to receive young Krehl on the roll of burgesses. "We will not admit boys instead of men" they say. "When Your Grace recommends some one as a new member to the nobility, either his or his ancestors’ merits are considered, but we can find nothing in Krehl; he being still so young that he can neither carry on an ordinary conversation nor do useful services; and as to the old one he is so obstinate and importunate that he not only ruins the guilds, but also disgraces the magistrates by his slanderous counter-statements and reports. The money he has accumulated in Prussia has made him insolent. Let him pay a fine of 1000 gulden." [Kgl. St. Archiv, Konigsberg.] This was in February 1683. In September of the same year Krehl’s goods are at last restored after a severe letter of the Duke threatening to mulct the magistrates of 2000 thaler. A good many more letters were required before the matter was finally settled by the Duke in a written order to the Königsberg authorities to admit young Krehl without fail and delay, in default whereof the threatened line would certainly be exacted. [Letters dated 17th January 1684, 7th of February and 7th of Arpil 1684.]

Sometimes the Scottish applicants for the honour of citizenship, when they did not rely on the intercession of royalty, preferred curious claims in their favour.

Hans Abernethy from Aberdeen, for instance, states on a similar occasion that he had married the daughter of the bailie’s man, [There was a lower grade of citizenship at Danzig and a higher one. A higher fee was charged for obtaining the latter, which comprised the merchants, and, in general the better class of people of the community.]and that he had provided the town of Danzig with butter for the last ten years. Jacob Hill and W. Tamson also married daughters of citizens, and have carried produce into the city. Alexander Demster (end of the XVIth Century) married the daughter of the clerk at the Corn Exchange, "by whom he got nothing." He had also for charity’s sake taken his two sisters-in-law into his house after their father’s death, "one of them almost deaf."

No less remarkable were the conditions attached by the authorities to the enrolment of new burgesses. In Christburg, one Donalson has in a case like this to promise only to marry a German girl on pain of losing his privileges (1640). In the town of Posen not only had the candidates to present the town on their admission as citizens with "leather buckets" or a musket ("sciopetum"), but they had also to conform to religious tests. In the year 1667 three other Scotsmen — Jacobus Joachimus Watson, George Edislay from Newbattle, and Wilhelmus Aberkrami (Abercrombie) from Aberdeen, are with others enrolled as burgesses after having produced their birth briefs. But this condition is added, that they should on Sundays and festival days go and hear the sermon at the Parish Church of S. Mary Magdalene and embrace the Roman Catholic faith within a year. In 1630 three Scotsmen—Erasmus Lilitson (?) from Aberdeen, and Gilbert Blenshel (?) and Georgius Gibson from Culross, produce letters from the King of Poland and are admitted as citizens on the pledge of Jacobus Braun, a merchant at Posen. They promise to be present at all the Catholic services on festivals, and pay the large sum of 900 florins "as wages for the poor workmen."

It is only just, however, to add that these are the only two instances found out of a large number of Scottish names in the Civil Registers of Posen where a similar interference with the religious belief of the candidate occurs. In two other cases the applicants are called "Calvini," but no condition like the above is added. [See the list of Scottish citizens at Posen, a most suggestive and interesting document, in Part III.]

In Konigsberg David Grant is one of the few Scots who had gained the heart of the magistrates. Considering that he had lived quietly and retired for thirty years in the town, and that neither his neighbours on account of his domestic life, nor the guilds of citizens on account of injury done to their trade ever complained of him; considering also that he, after the death of his first wife, married the daughter of a German citizen, whereby he became related to and befriended with good and well-to-do people, and that the ministers of the Church give him an excellent character for piety; considering lastly that the guild of merchants intercedes for him, the magistrates grant him permission to acquire his own house and to keep it, without, however, establishing a precedent (Sept. 5, 1622). [This is the only example of the magistrates looking favourably upon the civil claims of the Scots. But what an imposing catalogue of virtues was demanded in exchange!]

Significant is the addition made when Thomas Smart from Dundee was admitted into the ranks of Danzig citizens; it runs: "but he is to refrain from buying up noblemen’s estates" (1639). [Kgl. St. Archiv, Danzig, xxiii. D. 28.] Read together with the notice to be found in a document in which John and Andrew Tamson complain "of having lent more than two tuns of gold to noblemen of the Polish kingdom on the security of their estates, of which large sum nothing could be recovered in consequence of the Cossack warriors" (1653), this speculation in landed estates does not seem to have been a very profitable one.

Curious to say that in very many cases the young Scottish burgess who had encountered such great difficulties in gaining admission, now rapidly rose in the public estimation of his fellow-citizens. We find him in positions of trust as mayor, councillor, elder or president of the guilds. For the latter also had been obliged to open their gates most reluctantly at first, more willingly after the second generation of the Scot, retaining its Scottish name but born in the country "of right, free German kind," as the old documents call it, had grown up within the walls of a German city. In Konigsberg, where popular prejudice and hatred of the stranger made itself much more noisily heard than at Danzig, there appear as members of the guild of merchants in the year 1690— Charles Ramsay, son of Gilbert, another Charles Ramsay, Jacob Kuick, Jacob Hervie, John Brooke, Adam Fullert, and William Ritch. In the same year Thomas Hervie, a young merchant, applies for admission, stating that he was already a burgess, had been duly sworn in and was quite ready to submit to the laws of the guild. The elders thereupon declare their willingness to admit him as a guild brother on this condition that if he did not marry within a year’s time, he should lose his civil rights as well as his guild privileges. And since the reception of one unmarried was uncommon, not only were the laws read out to him, but he was also given to understand that he would do well to consent to an extra fee for admission to the guild. This admonition proved so effective that he subscribed ninety gulden, adding voluntarily another ten gulden for the treasury; setting, as the document quaintly adds, "a glorious example to his successors; and many were the wishes for his prosperity and happiness. May God keep him strong and in good health, so that he may work with much profit and acceptance in this honourable guild!’ [(Roll of the Merchants’ Guild at Konigsberg.) For complete list of Scottish members from 1602-1750 see Part III.]

The elders or presidents of the guild had each year on the accession to their office to deliver a long speech, which was duly reported in the minute-books. Now this must have been a hard task for some of the Scottish members. It explains, perhaps, why a good many bought themselves out, among them the above named William Ritch. In a marginal note of the minute-book of the guild we find this addition (1690): "the money has not been paid yet, Ritch having gone to the wars in England."

But not only in the guilds, in Church and State matters also the Scots after they had settled in the towns, took an active part. They contributed liberally to all public undertakings and to all charitable institutions, especially the hospitals; they were among the most active of the great German patriots who helped to shake off the yoke of a foreign tyrant. [Compare Scots in Germany.]But their own Scottish community or "nation," as it was then called, always remained nearest to their hearts. Their care for their own poor had almost become proverbial. There is not an important event in their families which did not find an expression in a donation to "our dear poor." In the dusty--very dusty—records of the Church of SS. Peter and Paul and St Elizabeth, the two Presbyterian places of worship at Danzig, the congregations of which were largely joined by Scotch and Dutch, [The Dutch had their own "Church Books" written in Dutch, but of Scottish records written in English no trace could be discovered.] we find numerous and touching instances of this. Gourlay in 1682 gives two hundred gulden to the poor-box in memory of his son killed at Blois in France; T. Carmichael contributes twelve gulden after the death of his "Söhnlein" Jacob; Col. Patterson gives six gulden on the occasion of the baptism of his son, whilst Chapman (1619), Lumsdel, Ramsay (1672), Thomas Leslie, Robert Tevendale and D. Davidson [Davidson wrote a sketch of his own life. The manuscript is in the Town Library of Danzig. He was born at Zamosc in Poland in 1647. His father, born 1591 at Edinburgh, came to Poland in 1606, served six years as a boy and three years as journeyman, after which he commenced his own business. Later he came to Danzig where he "by the advice of his friend Robert Tevendail," married a daughter of Al. Aidie, the scholar. In 1682 he was enrolled as citizen and became President of the Board of the Smallpox Hospital, then a most important institution and one much favoured by the Scots in their last wills. He was also an elder at St. Peter’s Church. His daughter married one John Clerk in 1699 and received as dowry the large sum of 25,000 gulden. In his will he left large bequests to the poor, exhibitions for Polish students of the Calvinistic faith and legacies to the widows and orphans of Danzig. His name is also written Davisson.] on a like occasion contributed ten gulden each. Now as some of the Scottish families boasted of many children, the poor must have fared rather well. We are glad to read that the same Carmichael was comforted for the loss of his "Söhnlein" by the birth of another son in 1691 and of another in the following year: the Scottish poor profiting each time twenty -four gulden. The Turner brothers, Andrew and William, also show the same liberal spirit, and so does Alexander Ross who at one time sends his contribution accompanied by the words: "A debt of due gratitude to the Great God for the safe delivery of his beloved wife "(1702).

The same national spirit prevailed among the Scottish nation of Konigsberg. Unfortunately we have hardly any Church Records there, beyond what was told in our third chapter of "The Scots in Germany"; but the following document, dated May 27, 1636 [Kgl. St. Archiv, Konigsberg.] will go far to prove it. It is signed by the Burggraf; i.e. the representative of the Sovereign who was at the same time the President of the Board of the Great Hospital in Lobenicht, and runs:

"This day there appeared before us the representatives of the whole Scottish nation dwelling in this city and made known to us how they were unanimously of the opinion that it would be necessary and proper to have their own room or lodgment in the hospital, in which not only their servants but also their countrymen could find a refuge, comfort and assistance when they came here by land or by water and were according to God’s will taken ill or fell into poverty. Now since they know of no other place so well provided for and fitted up as the large hospital of Lobenicht, where in such cases of necessity the sick would best be cared for, they therefore applied to us and urgently requested us to let them have a room and a small room for the sum of 1500 mark and an annual perpetual rent due at Easter 1637 of twenty mark. In answer to this request we, the masters of the hospital, have promised the above representatives of the Scottish nation to build them a room thirty-six feet long and broad, also another small apartment of about eight feet width but of the same length as the large room; in the meantime we have assigned to them for their use a vacant room situated near the gate, which they will have to give up as soon as the new rooms have been built. These new rooms they will have to keep in repair for all time and to furnish with beds, bed-clothes, tables, seats, wardrobes and other furniture, and they will have a right to make use of the rooms as their own property for their children, servants and countrymen, should illness or poverty overtake them (which God prevent). But they ought to apply in such cases to the master and bring a letter from one of their elders to prevent imposition. The sick shall then be taken in willingly and shall be furnished with the needful food and drink, wood for heating purposes, light and other necessaries as far as the means of the hospital allow; and in order that there be no want of good and faithful nursing, a man and a woman, whom the Scots may select and submit to the approval of the hospital governors, shall be appointed for these rooms. In the case of death all moneys owned or acquired during the illness, all goods and clothes shall become the property of the hospital. The same rule applies to those afflicted with morbo Gallico, who shall have been brought into these or other rooms at the request of the elders for their recovery; only that in such case the person afflicted with this abomination of the French shall be holden to pay his medical fee to the barber. Signed with my own hand,

THE OBERST BURGGRAF."

In their marriages also a strong national tendency shows itself. It is true, in a great many cases the daughters of German citizens were chosen, especially in the second generation, and very often, it is to be feared, for the purpose of getting on socially as well as politically. But wherever there were no such reasons, as a rule, the Scotsman preferred his own blood. Unfortunately, shall we say, the choice among Scotch girls was not a large one; but then there were the widows. The widow of a Scotsman in Germany never had to wait very long before she was led to the altar again by one of her own nation. Numerous entries in the marriage register of the Presbyterian Churches of Danzig prove this. The very first name we meet is that of James Burges, who in 1573 marries the widow of Simon Lang. In 1647, Alex. Nairn, a Scotch lieutenant, marries John Irvin’s widow; H. Saunders leads Davidson’s widow to the altar in 1651. Other entries are: Hans Morton marries Mary Robertson; Jacob Meldrum, Christina Balfour in 1629; William Balfour marries Anna Pilgram in 1631; [William Balfour married a second time in 1636. His wife was Maria von Hoffen.] Jacob Littlejohn, Barbara Edwards (1634); George Dempster marries Elizabeth Steven; and Thomas Philip, the daughter of Hans Kant (1635); Elizabeth Muttray (Aberdeen) is chosen by Albert Bartelt (?), a Scotch glover; John Wood marries Maria Robertson (1654) ; and Francis Gordon, the Consular Agent of Britain in 1655. Margaret, the daughter of James Porteous, a late minister in Scotland.

At the christenings, too, godfathers and godmothers were mostly chosen from amongst their own people. Hans Tamson has a "Söhnlein" baptised in 1631, godfather and godmother are Williamson and Anne Pilgram. For David Biel’s son Nathaniel Andrew Thin, "noch em Scbottsmann," and James Smith’s wife perform the duty (1632); whilst William Balfour is godfather to David Moritz’s (Morriss) son Henry, and again to Arnt Pilgram’s son Jacob, together with Jacob Meldrum’s wife and the German Sühnefelt. [See the Records of the Churches of SS. Peter and Paul and of St. Elizabeth at Danzig. The latter church was sold in consequence of the terrible distress after the French occupation, there is now only one Presbyterian Church there, that of St. Peter, a very old fine building.]

If Scottish children or widows required guardians, or a Scottish plaintiff or testator, witnesses: again we invariably come across Scottish names. All business transactions that had to be carried on by commissioners or delegates lay in the hands of Scotsmen. Thus David Nisbet gives Jacob Rhodo (?) at Danzig, power to call in certain moneys owed by A. Guthrie (1619); or David Maxwell as the assignee of the brothers George and Alexander Bruce "de Carnok," gives a receipt to J. Rowan at Danzig for a certain sum of money, whereby two contracts entered into at Culross and Edinburgh become void (1627). Thus Patrick and Thomas Aitkenhead depute R. Tevendale and D. Davidson concerning the property left by David Aitkenhead (1689). [Edinburgh, Nov. 16th. Kgl. St. Archiv, Danzig.] Or Anna Moir at Danzig appoints George Falconer to receive a legacy left to her children from the hands of Dr William Skene, the Rector of the High School at Edinburgh. Or the City of Aberdeen writes to one Chapman in Danzig to act as trustee for Mrs Janet Cruikshank, who is to receive three-fourths of the residue from George Cruikshanks’ widow (1672).

A very common event was the solemn declaration of the coming-of-age of a young Scot. For this purpose one or two of his friends accompanied him before the magistrates, pronounced his apprenticeship finished, and gave him a verbal testimonial of good character. Hundreds of those cases are recorded. We shall only mention a few at random. Hans Morton at Danzig receives a certificate of good conduct from his brother-in-law Orem, and from Andrew Bell, and is declared of age "as a braidmaker." [Feb. 10th, 1660.] Jacob Grieff receives the certificate from his two guardians and is declared of age (1619). Frequently this was accompanied by a short speech of the young Scot, in which he declared his gratitude to the guardians and absolved them from all further responsibility.

In clannishness like this the Scot must have found a source of happiness; for though now settled in a town, the hostilities of the trade and the ill-favour of the magistrates, consequent upon it, were by no means diminishing. Twice in Konigsberg did they reach quite an acute point; in 1612 and again in 1683. The orders to banish the Scots from the town had been given, and but for the energy and the wisdom of the Duke would ruthlessly have been executed. The Duke again was influenced by the British ambassador Georgius Brussius, [He was sent in 1604 by James VI., and was a native of Caithness. His birth brief issued by the Comes de Caithness (1591) is still preserved at Danzig, as well as his University Certificate, dated Wurzburg, 1594, He had studied law at Wurzburg for four years.] who had been sent for the very purpose of assisting and protecting the Scottish subjects of His Majesty the King of Great Britain.

Protesting against the narrow-minded policy of his capital, the Duke writes on the 3rd of February, 1613: "That according to the laws of your town you refuse civil rights to the Dutch and the Scots may pass. But I do not find in your laws, or anywhere else, the least cause why those foreign nations should not be suffered in this country, nor why they should not have their own houses. On the contrary, this town of Königsberg derives great advantages and profit from the commerce and trade of these nations. Moreover, it might prove a dangerous thing to proceed to extreme measures and give cause to pay us back with the like coin; the commerce of our towns might easily be injured thereby. For these and other important reasons it is our will that the foreign tradesman as hitherto, so in the future, shall not be prevented from acquiring house-property, it being not only inhuman and against good manners to deny any Christian nation, that lives with us without giving any offence, the jus hospitii, but also per indirectum deducible from your conduct, that you, by such heavy taxes and unbearable innovations, wish to drive the Dutch and the others out of this town of Konigsberg altogether. This would be a thing which we, for many and grave reasons, could not approve of and much less permit.

HANS SIGISMUND."

How there could be any doubt as to the Duke’s way of thinking after an energetic letter like the above is beyond comprehension. Yet the struggle went on to the end of the century — the justly - aggrieved Scots against dense magistrates and jealous trades; again the narrow-minded policy of the magistrates against the fairness of the sovereign. Obstinacy on both sides. In 1617 the Scots and the Dutch complain that they could only bury their dead at a much higher fee than that exacted from the citizens of Königsberg, and that in some cases burial was refused to those who had not received the Lord’s supper from the hands of a priest on their death-bed; and from a petition to the Churfurst of the year 1622 it appears that the Scots had been threatened with expulsion. They write very indignantly as follows: "It could easily be proved from the annals of Prussian history that of the Scottish nation in this duchy, not only in the time of the Teutonic Order, but also since Prussia became a duchy, honest and upright merchants have been suffered by the three towns of Konigsberg. These merchants have always shown themselves duly submissive to their rulers and the city authorities, so that no great insubordination or unpleasantness occurred. But now they have not only refused us habitation, but given us to understand by public notice that we must leave this town at Michaelmas, and with our households betake ourselves elsewhere. This decree appears to us all the more grievous as our nation has been in possessione ultra centenaria, a possession which it has never given up, so that the rule applies in possidetis ita possideatis. But may God prevent that our nation should rely upon the rigour of the law; it has always preferred the way of supplication and humble petition. Moreover, our intention has always been, and is still, to risk our very lives for the Crown of Poland and the Duchy of Prussia. We can prove by many examples how in war the Scots performed many glorious deeds, Therefore we do not expect that Your Highness will, as long as we live peacefully and like our neighbours, showing due reverence for Burgomaster and Council, consent to the steps taken by the three towns of Konigsberg, whereby we would be cast off as ‘vile members.’ Such a step would be a disgrace in the eyes of the whole world, which the Scottish nation could never extinguish. Moreover, those of us who perhaps did not obey the law at times have always been duly punished. We have hoped that the decision of this matter would have been deferred until Your Highness’s home-coming. We would then not have doubted that a way would have been found to satisfy the magistrates. But since this was not done, we now humbly pray Your Highness to postpone the decision, or to remit the quarrel to Your Ducal Court of Justice. We can then show that we are in naturali et civili possessione, and that we cannot be expelled out of it by the three towns."

The Churfürst, in reply, sends a very angry letter to the magistrates, expressing his astonishment that they dared to assume an authority which did not belong to them. He commands them to postpone the matter until his return. We read no more of an expulsion, but the magistrates bewail the fact that their office was slighted much more by the present than by the former rulers, their decrees continually blamed and set aside, and that everything was either comprised under the title of regal rights or esteemed a lesion of royal prerogatives.

Matters reached another climax in the years 1680-1690. It appears that in that time new taxes had been laid upon the Scots, whose unpopularity had increased with their increased success in business. [One more letter of complaint to the Duke from the merchants of Konigsberg may here be introduced, because it proves to what extremes, both in statements and expression, trade jealousy had by that time driven the writers. They say in article 5, "because it is plain that strangers and those unfit to acquire civil rights, especially the Scots, have usurped most of our trade. . . it is all the more a matter of complaint that this is not done secretly, but under the plea of just privileges. These people have, like a cancerous ulcer, grown and festered; they cling to each other, keep boarders, hire large houses, nay, sometimes just honest citizens by offering a higher rent, furnish several stores, and this not because of their large capital—most of them are only commission-merchants—but because four or five of them collude, so that if we were to admit one as a burgess publicly we should secretly create half-a-dozen of them, who would prowl about the country towns from east to west, and finally leave by the gate with a patched knapsack, not, however, without leaving in their place at home a couple of green boys, who would afterwards carry on no better. . . .The great damage the Scot Jackson in the Crooked Lane is doing to our trade in spices under the cover of old Schonfeld is as plain as the light of day. In his and in Wobster’s open shop not natives, but two or three Scottish boys are trained the whole year round to our ruin. We therefore pray you" etc. etc. Then follow the usual proposals for inhibiting the trade of the Scots, banishing them out of the town during winter, and so on.] Moreover, as this was the time of religious controversy within the walls of the Protestant Church, the odium religionis had made itself felt in spite of the most urgent protests on the part of the sovereign of the country. Already in 1680 the Churfurst Frederick William had written to Konigsberg requesting the authorities not to oppress the Scotch and English. In the following year the latter again bitterly complain against the severity of the magistrates, and ask for the liberty of acquiring civil rights, and of buying and hiring houses. The English Ambassador also at the Court of Prussia, Robert Southwell, interceded for his countrymen in a French letter.

The opinion of the Churfürst was not long withheld. In 1681, on the 28th of March, the sovereign writes from Potsdam: "We can not allow that the strangers, especially the Scotch and the English, be thus oppressed or expelled, but it is our will that every kindness should be shown them. You will have to take care, therefore, not to oppress them unfairly."

And again, on the 20th December 1681: "We command you to remove all those new taxes which in fairness cannot be claimed from them, to show them good-will, and not to hinder them from hiring or living in decent houses."

Similar letters were sent in 1682, in January and April. "We again command you, with all our authority, to look to it lest the Scots be oppressed unfairly. This we do in the interest of your own city."

In spite of all this, the matter dragged on till the year 1693, when it needed another strong letter from the Churfürst to make the magistrates desist from an expulsion of the Scots.

This humane spirit of the rulers showed itself everywhere. Letters of protection are issued to Andreas Porter and Hans Adie in 1590 at Königsberg, and concessions are given to sell on the public fair to Jacob From and Andrew Wright (1620); also to the brothers Lawson to visit the fairs in the districts of Welau, Memel and Tilsit (1698). The widow of a drowned Scottish soldier, Charles Ray, obtains permission to carry on her small trade (1697). Or, take the case of Mary Anderson, who had taken refuge in Königsberg after the destruction of Wilda, a village in Posen, by the Russians. She had been driven, for the want of other means, to gain a living by making caps and bonnets, but was greatly annoyed by the guild of furriers, who took the finished goods from her by force. A letter of protection is issued to her in 1668. [Kgl. St. Archiv, Konigsberg.]

About the same time, one George Hotcheson appeals to the Duke and claims exemption from having soldiers quartered in the little house he built for himself at Tragheim, one of the suburbs of Konigsberg. The reply states that if the house was not built as a permanent residence, or for the purpose of letting it, but only as a summer-house to be used in the time of the plague, no soldiers should be billeted in it (1663 and 1667).

Gradually only, very gradually, and not till the eighteenth century had well commenced, did the Scots in Prussia enjoy civil rights and privileges.


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