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Scots in Eastern and Western Prussia
Part I – The Scottish Trader (5)


But even the enrolled Scottish citizen had often to suffer from the ill-will of the German fellow-citizen. A very curious and instructive case of this sort is recorded from Neidenburg. In this small town, to the south of Konigsberg, a Scot, with the name of Duncan, had settled, and for more than twenty years attended to his business. In 1603, he had a quarrel with the magistrates on accoutit of a house which he had bought and of his having added cloth to his stock-in-trade. So far, this was only the common form of trade jealousy. But the matter went much further. Let us listen to poor Duncan’s story in his own words. "Some people in Neidenburg," he writes, "not only prevent me from brewing my beer, but also try to hinder me from erecting on my own ground, bought by me twenty years ago, instead of the old coach-house another building to contain an upper room and a closet. In consequence of this, when the old building had already been taken down and the new foundation laid with all wood-work ready, they send Wolf Geschell and Uttman to me on holy Easter eve to let me know that I was not to proceed with the building or else they would pull it down again. Whereupon on Easter Monday I complained to the governor, and asked for protection which he promised, bidding me at the same time go on with my building; he would order the aforesaid two men in virtue of his office to leave me in peace. But when I was away at Thorn on Tuesday, and my carpenters had completed their work, Dominick Uttman, being then vice-consul, in the absence of the burgomaster sent from house to house, ordering every one under penalty of three marks to be present at nine of the clock on the following morning at the town-hall, with their axes and spears for to tear down my new building. At the appointed hour on Friday, the alarm-bell is rung to call the inhabitants together. But because many did not approve of proceedings so violent, and consequently stayed away, he again commands them under penalty of ten marks and imprisonment in the tower to come forward, and when the bell had tolled twice at one o’clock, he, Dominick Uttman, as the author of this tumult, marches off with those who had gathered together; although many others, and especially the judge, whom my poor terrified wife had implored for protection, tried to dissuade him, representing to him that the governor and burgomaster as well as myself were from home; yet he, having some of the town council with him who were, together with himself; urging the armed rabble on, caused ladders to be raised against the house, and mounting to the top they strike, cut, break and throw down at their pleasure, until the whole upper story is demolished. Even strangers that passed, crowded together, especially some of the Polish nobility who, viewing the turnout, deplore the great destruction, and express their detestation of the crime in words like these: ‘In other places people are enjoined to erect pretty buildings, in Prussia they are forced to pull them down.’ Some of the rioters, stung by this remark, were drawing back, when Dominick ordered the beadle to use his whip, as if they were a herd of cattle; and the town carpenter, who did not want to participate in these acts of violence, and had said to him he would rather sit in the dungeon for some weeks than assist in these unlawful doings, he had cast into prison after the rioting was over. He also caused my servant girl, who had jokingly asked one of the rioters to come in and have something to eat after a hard day’s work, to be suddenly taken up in the lane unawares and to be put in prison for some days, so that I, poor man, can find neither justice nor protection in Neidenburg."

Duncan, who, as will be noticed, did not want an eye for the picturesque, afterwards obtained permission to go on with the building. [Brussius (Bruce) also interceded for him as a ‘mercator honestus’ (1606).] He was to pay to the magistrates the sum of twenty gulden as ground rent and one mark annually, but he was not allowed to light a fire in his house. As to his dealing in cloth, he was not allowed to sell common cloths outside the public fairs. Fine cloths, however, at one and more gulden a yard, he was at liberty to sell and to cut. To this decision was added the note: "Let him behave reverentially and be obedient to the magistrates, and do not let the latter be too hasty." The permission given to sell cloth at all was, however, very distasteful to the guild of cloth merchants. They complain again and again against Duncan and his son-in-law as the "blood-suckers" of the country.

It was pitiful, indeed, that to a life already so full of trouble from within, new trouble should be added, arising in their own home. We have already mentioned the various begging missions of King Charles II. and the names of those who, according to an extraordinary knack of this monarch always to appoint the worst persons to the worst place, were put in charge of them. [See Scots in Germany.] We are enabled now to give additional details which will show the different attitudes of the King of Poland and the Kurfürst of Brandenburg towards the scheme of extracting money from Scotsmen now living within these territories.

The first information we get of this plan is contained in a letter of Frederick William to the members of his council in the Duchy of Prussia, dated 1651, 20th of January. In it he simply declares that a subsidium charitativum, as he calls it, be collected from the English and Scots living in his domains. Two months later, on March 30th, after due consideration he says, in a circular letter to all his Magistrates and Councils: "We have decreed that for the distressed Royalty of Great Britain, ten per cent. should be collected from the Scots and English within our territories. But after those Scots and English who have settled in our towns at this time and have borne all civil burdens and contributions have humbly besought us not to impose this extraordinary tax upon them, it is not our intention to grieve our subjects and citizens with a double and heavy tax, but we shall be satisfied, if only those Scots who are not domiciliated are applied to, but the others who have obtained civil rights and are settled in our towns passed by in the meantime."

Scarcely had this letter been dispatched when on the following day a new letter was sent after it. Apparently the Churfurst was in great difficulties; on the one side his sense of fairness, on the other hand his distressed royal brother and the strong appeals of the hot-headed King of Poland. He now writes: "We do not see that anything worth speaking of could be collected from the vagabonds and pedlars alone, for there are not very many of them who would be able to contribute anything at all. It would be very disreputable if we were to send such a trifling sum as a contribution. We consider it necessary, therefore, and wish to impress it upon you, and request you to send for all the inhabitants of the Scottish or English nation in our Duchy of Prussia and to represent to them in the most moving terms how they for the love of their country and respect for their King should not refuse to pay this subsidy willingly; with this additional assurance that no precedent should be established thereby."

The temper of the Scottish and English residents in Prussia with regard to this matter is very well expressed in the memorial which the latter presented to the magistrates of Konigsberg on the third day of October 1651.

"We have communicated with our countrymen, the English settlers in this town, of whom there are only four, respecting the contribution of a subsidy to His Majesty in Scotland. Now we would like very much indeed that we were in such a position as to be able to appease the restlessness and the disturbed state of our native country by it and to remedy all misfortune. But such is the condition of our dear fatherland that if we were to obey this request at once, and the people there came to know of it, not only our property but our lives and those of our own families would be forfeited after those that would assist the King having been declared traitors by Parliament. What have we done, that by a contribution like this, our total ruin should be wrought? We who are only guests here and have never mixed ourselves up with the quarrel between King and Parliament, but have simply attended to our business and as factors to the orders of our principals? In so doing we have contributed large sums to the treasury not only but also enriched the community of this town. We can prove from our books that the duty paid by us amounted annually to 30,000 gulden. All this would cease if we and our principals and the whole English and Scottish trade were to be driven out from here. And how could it be otherwise since all the more important ports are in the hands of the Parliament? The only way to save our lives and our property and that of our friends in England would be to emigrate to other places such as Danzig, Elbing, etc., where this request has not only been rejected but the person and the property of the English been taken under the protection of the authorities, whilst their trade was declared free and all magistrates enjoined to petition His Majesty the King on their behalf." This document was signed by John Cottam, Thomas Taylor, Joseph Wynde, and John Burges.

In the meantime Croffts, one of Charles’ messengers, had not been idle. He was very anxious to know the result of his appeal. We find him writing from Thorn to the magistrates of Konigsberg, requesting them to send the details of the collection (June 14th, 1651); and again seven weeks later from Danzig to the Council Boards of Prussia. He had commissioned Colonel Seton to go to Königsberg and confer with the magistrates there. He concludes by saying: "The matter suffers no delay since the King presses me for a detailed account which I cannot give without having received a definite answer from. you."

It seems almost incredible that this could have been said and done in the face of Charles’ letter, in which he disavows Croffts, and which was dated Dec. 9th, 1650. One is almost tempted to believe in a forgery, as was actually done by Johannes Casimirus, the King of Poland, who, in an angry letter of Sept. 1651, threatens the Scots in his kingdom with expulsion because they made "certain forged letters the pretext of not paying the contribution."

But the royal missive was no forgery, as we know from a letter issued by the magistrates of Danzig to the Scots who had asked for a Latin translation of it. It officially sets forth its genuineness. The signature had, by comparison with other letters of the same writer, been found genuine, the seal intact, and the whole document free from any suspicious feature.

The half-heartedness of Frederick William, the Churfurst, also appears, from a letter of protection issued on the first of June 1651 to the following six Scotsmen:— Hans Dinings (Dennis?), Hans Simson, Gilbert Ramsay, Andrew Ritchie, Hans Brown and Hans Emslie, in which it is expressly stated that the bearers as inhabitants and citizens of Königsberg paying taxes to the Prince, were in nowise obliged to give the tenth part of their possessions to His Royal "Dignity" in Great Britain, as the other Scots in Poland. The letter granted them safe-conduct for themselves and their goods, especially in their journeys to and from the fairs of Elbing and Danzig, where otherwise their property might have been confiscated at the instigation of the British Orator, because of their nonpayment of the subsidy. At the same time, it certified that they were settled in Königsberg and not at Danzig; therefore not under the jurisdiction of Poland.

Little remains to be told of this sad tale of double-dealing. The subsidium charitativum proved no success. All Croffts got amounted to about 10,000 pounds, as we have seen, and how little of this sum ever reached the King will perhaps never be fully known. [See Scots in Germany.]

The reader of these old records concerning the Scots in Germany cannot fail to be greatly impressed by these facts: the comparatively inoffensive lives these colonists led, their unbroken energy and the quick way they ascended in the second or third generation to positions of trust and eminence.

Barring that large and undesirable element that swept across the Northern States of Germany during the great flood of Scottish emigration—an element the greatest crimes of which seem to have been its youth and poverty—we seldom find the Scot implicated in criminal cases. We say "seldom," of course, in consideration of the long centuries of their settlement and their vast numbers, which at one time must have exceeded by far the thirty thousand mentioned by Lithgow. Neither was the moral atmosphere of Germany in the XVIIth Century particularly fit to inspire and invigorate any man’s character. Requesting the reader to keep both these points in view we shall now give a few examples of the Scot as he appeared before the German Courts.

In the minute books of the Courts at Bromberg we are told of Jacobus Herin (Heron), Scotus, who is accused of having sent his famulus David Heron to attack a Scotch tailor, with the name of Alexander, whom he wounded (1598). Heron replies that David was nobilis et sui juris, of noble birth and of age, and not his famulus. He himself knew nothing of the crime, having on the day of its committal been absent in Thorn on business (mercatum). The same books relate how a Scot with the name of Wolson (Wilson), who had been president of the court of bailies in the absence of the Starost, was called before the council of the town, and accused of having suppressed certain important documents to the detriment of the place (1671). He, however, appeared only to deny the competency of the court, and "went away."

In Stuhm, in the year 1594, a virago strangles her husband, David Trumb (?), a Scot, by means of his own suspenders, and throws his body out on the field of one Junker Brandis. [History of the District of Stuhm.] The small town of Hohenstein reports that two and a half years ago a quarrel and fight took place between some Scots and some peasants (1604). [This notice is interesting also from a linguistic point of view, the word for quarrel or fight being "parlament.’] On Dec. 10th, 1555, Alex. Paton, David Alston and George Fleck appear before the court at Neuenburg. During a quarrel, George Fleck had wounded Alexander in the left hand, and he had to get it dressed in the town. The parties settle the matter amicably for the sake of good friendship, on condition that Alexander pay the barber. Jacob Forbes, in a case of manslaughter, is indignant at the Governor of Rastenburg for distraining a sum of money whilst he was quite willing to come to terms peaceably with the family of the deceased, whom he had killed by accident only and not by malice (1569).

To a similar charge, one Albrecht Braun has to answer, but it is not quite clear in his case whether he was a Scot or not (1586).

Hans Wilandt, a Scot, in the town of Konitz, must retract his insults and swear not to offend Andrew Bernt, a jeweller, again (1587); whilst some years later, on the 13th of April, 1598, Alexander Nisbett has to vouch for the honesty of a certain purchase of corn. In Tilsit, John Irving and his workman Anderson are taken before the bench on account of desecrating the solemn day of repentance by selling some goods to a Pole. He is admonished and fined in one thaler (1684). In the same town, Jacob Murray is brought up to pay his rent after having been called on forty times. He pleads great poverty, and promises to pay within a week (1687). [Kgl. St. Archiv, Konigsberg.]

Very curious is the case of Hamilton, or Hammelton as the German records spell his name. He was a citizen of Tilsit, a cooper by trade, poor, "so that he seldom kept strange servants, but managed to get along with the help of his two grown-up sons, leading a respectable life," as a certificate says, which the town, at his request, issued in 1687.

Now the peace of mind of father Hamilton is greatly disturbed by the slanderous behaviour of three or four other coopers, Germans, who in a letter had accused his son Christoph of having fraternised with the son of the executioner at Konigsberg. Nothing could be more disreputable, more hurtful to the moral feelings of those days, than to have any intercourse with those social outcasts, "unehrliche Leute," as they were called in German, of whom the executioner was the foremost and the most formidable. Accordingly, Hamilton appeals to the law, and the following judgment is given on the 15th of March 1688:

"Whereas Master Andr. Lorentz, Master Abraham Kraus, as well as David Kraus and Johann Lorentz, coopers by trade, defendants, have written to the cooperguild at Königsberg accusing Christopher Hamilton, the plaintiff, of having in a public beerhouse fraternised with the executioner’s son, which, though denied by them, has been sworn to by two witnesses, and whereas they have refused to arrange matters amicably, the Court of Bailies decide that the defendants go to prison for a night and a day, binding them over to hold the peace. Thereupon they were at once marched off to the cells." [Kgl. St. Archiv, Konigsberg, E. P. Fol.]

Hot temper seems to have been the origin of many of the reported crimes. Already in 1517 a case of that kind is reported of a Scot from Dumblane, Henry Gorm, aggravated by an attempt of robbery. It was, however, privately settled by the Danzig magistrates. [Kgl. St. Archiv, Danzig, D. xvii.] In Schöneck, a Scot is imprisoned on suspicion of having killed a man, but he is released on the testimony of Captain Sutherland, who testifies on his oath that the deceased was accidentally drowned (1599).

In Jastrow, Hans Forbes, father of the Burgomaster, Balthasar Forbes, was placed in the dock on the charge of having shot a man. Having sworn that it had not been done maliciously, he is fined in 150 gulden (1607). [Cp. Fr. Schulz, Chronik der Stadt Jastrow, 1896, pp. 55-57. Since 1602 there were eleven Scotch families in Jastrow: Andr. Barry, Andr. Swan, Hans Forbes, Andr. Sym, Jurge "a Schott," Thos. Hilliday, Elias Dennix, Jacob Krudde (?), Adam Darby, John Duncan, Hans and George Smedt (Smith). In the year 1647 therew were only two left who could be called of Scottish nationality.] Very tragic is the story of Barry, another Scot of the same town, who quarrelled with his wife because she at one time had left him, accusing him of criminal relations with his step-children. Barry himself then brought the matter before the court and had her sentenced to death. It was only through the intercession of the Starost, the president of the court, that the stubborn man was brought to a more conciliatory frame of mind, resulting in an amicable adjustment, "because she had done it in great rashness."

Rather frequent were the contraventions of the many trade prohibitions. In this respect, as we have said, the Scottish moral code was lax. We do not wonder, therefore, at William Hutney, John Ray and William Turry having been called before the authorities to show reason why they had unlawfully imported into the kingdom and sold English cloths, which did not bear the mark of the city of Danzig (1630); or at one Mallisson from Elbing, who is caught fishing sturgeon in forbidden waters (1661). An offence sure to excite the reader’s pity is that of Andrew Law, who is unable to live at peace with his mother-in-law, the widow of Andrew Morrisson, and is on that account brought before the magistrates of Neuenburg in 1643. [Kgl. St. Archiv, Konigsberg, W. Pr. Fol.]

The worst cases seem to have taken place in a small town of Western Prussia, called Deutsch Krone. Here, at the beginning of the seventeenth century, two or three rich Scottish merchants ruled, and ruled with a high hand. They were the Wolsons, the Lawsons and the Malsons. The mischief commenced with John Malson in 1609 killing a man who had been a furrier by trade. Two of his countrymen become surety for him; but in the following year he is himself attacked and killed by two noblemen with the name of Jurno. John Lawson, who had taken upon himself to pay the alimentation money to the children of the slain furrier, and who seems to have shared the violent temper of his friend, killed a Jew a few years later, a crime for which he was promptly called to account by the Woywod, governor, of Posen, the officially appointed protector of the Jews. But his extradition is refused by the Mayor of Krone, who maintains that he alone represented the proper authority (1615). Of Walson and his money-lending we have already spoken in another place; how he was accused of wearing the apparel of the rich and how tight a grip he had on the needy Polish nobility. Later in life he turned Roman Catholic, and wrote a last will and testament in favour of the Jesuits, which was, however, contested by the magistrates of the town (1642).

There are, of course, a number of other smaller civil cases of debt, pilfering and so on, but on the whole, here again we have an example of a people’s moral worth being in the inverse ratio of the full enjoyment of its liberties. Not much energy is called forth by basking in the sun; it is in fighting that hearts of oak are made. Any other nation but a sturdy one, physically and mentally, would have succumbed to a life so full of privations. But the Scot was reared in hardship and poverty and on plain food; his saving disposition made him gather property under the most adverse circumstances; his fidelity to his superiors was beyond suspicion, and having once obtained by his wealth or the favour of the great a position of influence, his shrewdness and his clannishness made him use it to the most far-reaching advantage. In the face of never ending hostilities this was necessary.

Even at the approach of death the Scots dared not lay their weapons down. They had to contend against two curious laws: the jus caducum and the quarta detractus, as they were respectively called. By the former the property of a man dying childless, or of a stranger dying in the land, if not claimed within a certain time reverted to the Crown; the latter gave the Crown the right to retain one-fourth of the property of the deceased stranger, provided that the other three-fourths went out of the country. The official who looked after the interest of the State was called the Fiscal. It is only natural that these laws proved a very fruitful source of dispute between Scotland and Germany. It was customary, therefore, in olden times for the Scottish claimant to provide himself with letters of introduction and recommendation from King or queen before he started on his voyage to the Baltic ports, in order to prove his rights to the property of a deceased relative.

Thus both Queen Mary and Henry Darnley supply David Melville with letters of recommendation, who went to Danzig in order to claim the inheritance of his brother James, after the latter’s death from the plague two years previously (1566). [Kgl. St. Archiv, Danzig. XCIX. A.] James VI. recommends Captain Arnot, who goes to Germany claiming an inheritance of his wife, the daughter of William Forbes, a citizen of Danzig (1581, July 11th); and in 1594, Joannes Strang, of Balcalzye, who is about to start to the same city, on a similar errand. Or the magistrates of Perth certify that Jacobus Stobie has been empowered to regulate certain matters of inheritance at Danzig by the parties concerned (1589).

Richard Bailly presents a letter from the magistrates of Edinburgh with respect to the inheritance of the late Robert Baillie of Danzig, from which it appeared that the rightful heirs of Robert, who had died childless, were Maria, Jeanet and Margaret, daughters by a second marriage of Jacob Baillie, late minister of Lamington, in the county of Lanark, the father of Robert. These three daughters transfer their rights to Richard Baillie, the bearer (1665). Thomas and Patrick Aikenhead appoint Robert Tevendail, or Tevendale, and Daniel Davidson, citizens of Danzig, trustees for the assets of David Aikenhead, a Polish merchant. [Edinburgh, Nov. 16, 1689.]

We also find the town of Dumfries on a similar occasion issuing a letter to a certain Greer or Grier, who went to Danzig to claim the inheritance of his brother (June 20th, 1594). [The witnesses to the letter are Robert Cunningham, Andrew Cunningham and "Albertus Cunningham, notarius publicus et scriba."]

On the other hand, the magistrates of Königsberg inform those of Glasgow that they desire to intercede for one Hannibal Spang, son of Colonel Andrew Spang, who claims an inheritance amounting to one thousand "Imperiales"(1661).

But all these recommendations from high and official personages could not prevent frequent friction between the Fiscal and the Scotch heirs. Sometimes, and for certain periods and districts only the Kings would transfer their claims to the inheritance of a stranger to certain persons of merit as a favour; as when the King of Poland granted the estate of John Tullidaft who died at Neumark in 1618, and whose property reverted to the Crown to Robert Cunningham, "nobilis de Bernys aulico nostro"in grateful recognition of his faithful services, or when the same King Sigismund presents Colonel Learmonth [The name is evidently Polonised.] with the inheritance of a certain Fritz in 1619.

A very interesting case, illustrating this law of reversion, happened in Bromberg in 1625. A Scot, with the curious name of Michael Nosek, had just died there and the "royal notary," Nicholas Gurski, a nobleman, demands the inheritance as a donation of the king. The bailies are about to hand over the property of the deceased when John Varuga and John Brommer, a medical practitioner, lodge a protest. Finally, the decision of the court is as follows: Considering

1. That the deceased Nosek had deposited an authenticated and unobjectionable birth-brief;
2. That he had done military service under King Stephen in Livonia;
3. That he had made Bromberg his domicile, acquiring real estate there;
4. That he had sworn the oath of fealty to the magistrates;
5. That he had married according to the rites of the Roman Catholic Church, and had begotten children;
6. That he had earned his living in an unobjectionable way; and

7. That he has paid taxes, and had borne other civic burdens: he has acquired the rights of a native. The "jus caducum," therefore, can not be applied to his case, although his wife and his children had died before him, and his property was left to relations of his wife and to charitable institutions.

The so-called quarta deductus, or the right to deduct one-fourth of the inheritance for the Crown was applicable to Scottish citizens also. The Fiscal’s duty was to have an inventory made of the deceased Scotsman’s property. For instance, in 1590, a Scot dies at Johannesburg. Three of his countrymen—Andrew Robertson, Daniel Nicholl and Alb. Meldrum—undertake the work of appraising in the presence of the clerk. The goods, in this case mostly pieces of cloth, are taken to the Castle and there re-valued. Whatever was retained for the necessary use of the house must be brought to account and finally the quarter fixed, after the deduction of the debts due. If the property was small, the rulers of the country often refused to claim it. Thus, George Frederick, Markgraf of Brandenburg, writes from Konigsberg in 1601 to his magistrates in the country: "Whereas, two years ago, two Scotsmen named Jacob Chalmer and Richard Watson, travelled together to Livland, and quarrelled on the road till they came to blows, and Watson was slain by the other; whereas, also, the culprit fled, and the property of the killed man fell to the Crown; but whereas, thirdly, the fugitive has not only come to terms with the deceased’s friends in Scotland, but His Majesty of Scotland has also written requesting us to give up whatever may be left of the dead man’s goods in our Duchy to the bearer Alexander Crichton, who has arranged with the representative of our treasury concerning the "fourth;" we command all our governors and magistrates to deliver the said inheritance to him without fail, and to assist him against Hillebrant Watson, who has already seized upon a great part of the property."

In 1633, there dies at or near Memel a Scot with the name of Butchart, leaving "much cattle, money and outstanding bonds." A good deal of his money was invested in Königsberg and Tilsit, and Paul Greiff the Elector’s receiver, was not slow to prosecute his inquiries. "In this way he discovered at the house of a Scot, called Jacob Guthrie, the sum of two thousand gulden, which he at once distrained until the deceased’s brother should arrive from Scotland. Now, as the fourth of the 30,000 gulden left by Butchart were claimed by the Elector, though Memel was at that time in the hands of the Swedes, he wrote a letter to that town maintaining the assets to have been accumulated within his own territories, and asking for a new inventory. [Kgl. St. Archiv, Konigsberg.]

A long exchange of letters between the Churfürst and his councillors took place with respect to this same law at the death of a Captain Trotter in 1653. Forty-three years later, Frederick III. of Prussia decided that according to the treaties concluded with England in 1660, and again in 1690, the quarter could not be claimed of the inheritance of Thomas Scoles, a native of Hull, who had died at Konigsberg in 1697 or 1698. [In 1692, when Thos. Taylor died at Kneiphof, the fourth was claimed but not insisted upon if William Garforth, the heir, would remain in the country. Kgl. St. Archiv, Konigsberg.] As to Scotland, the treaties seem to have been forgotten until the year 1725, when Allan, a Scotch merchant in Konigsberg, died, leaving a pretty considerable fortune. The magistrates inquired of the Churfurst concerning the "quarter," and were told to write to England in order to ascertain whether or not a duty was levied there on property left to Prussian subjects in Prussia. In his answer, the Fiscal at Konigsberg pointed out that in a convention between the Dutch and the English, it had been agreed that the subjects of neither country should come under the jus detractus ; and that afterwards in 1661 an agreement with England was arrived at, according to which subditi suae Majestatis Brittannicae, i.e. comprising the Scots, should enjoy the same privileges as the Dutch. The Churfurst is not quite satisfied in his own mind by this reply. Scotland is not England, he writes back, and a different custom may obtain there. Therefore an assurance ought to be demanded from Scotland that in a similar case no quarter would be levied in that country either (May 1st, 1725). Thus the matter drags on till 1727. A certificate issued from London is not considered sufficient. The sister of the deceased, after having sent various petitions, at last appoints a delegate or trustee, who succeeds in procuring the necessary documents from Dundee and Aberdeen. The former city says: "To all and everybody reading this letter, we Bessy Allan, the widow of the late John Leitch, baker in Aberdeen, but now the wife of Alexander Reid, inhabitant of Old Aberdeen, with the consent of said Alexander Reid for his portion, and Agnes Leitch, eldest daughter of the said John Leitch, now the wife of Alexander Webster, shipbuilder in the port of Dundee, send our greeting. Since the late George Allan, merchant and dyer at Konigsberg, left certain moneys to the above-named Bessy Allan, his sister, and to Agnes Leitch, his niece, we appoint Christoph Heidenreich our attorney. Signed by W. Cruikshank, W. Chalmers, and others."

From Aberdeen, the following document was sent in 1729: "As His Majesty the King of Prussia consented to hand over a certain legacy to our citizens, Bessy Allan and Agnes Leitch, without deducting the regal fourth part or any other part, on that condition that we should bind ourselves to forward any sums of money left in succession to Prussian citizens likewise free of duty, if such case should arise, we testify that not only has hitherto nothing been detracted but we also promise faithfully on the part of this town not to do so in future." [The original is written in Latin. St. Archiv, Konigsberg.]

Examples of this kind could easily be multiplied. In 1737, for instance, Alexander Fairweather, a native of Montrose, died at Goldap, a small town in Western Prussia. He left to each of his sisters, Catherine Fairweather, the wife of James Smith, at Irvine in Ayr, and to Marjory Fairweather in Montrose, the sum of three hundred gulden. This legacy the magistrates of Goldap had in the meantime put on interest, and they now claimed the fourth part of it. David Barclay, a merchant in Konigsberg, who had been appointed trustee, appeals to the King; but only in 1740 the legacy is given free, reference being made to the treaties mentioned above. About twenty years later, Alexander Moir died at Konigsberg, leaving the large fortune of 38,000 gulden, of which the greater part went to three brothers and sisters at Danzig. About five thousand gulden were left to his nephew, Samuel Cutler in London. Here, also, the question of the fourth part arose.


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