Search just our sites by using our customised search engine
Unique Cottages | Electric Scotland's Classified Directory

Click here to get a Printer Friendly PageSmiley

Scots in Eastern and Western Prussia
Part I – The Scottish Trader (6)

Sometimes it happened that Scotsmen or Scotswomen, settled in Germany, acquired property in Scotland by the death of a relative; as when the magistrates of Dirschau write to the town council of Aberdeen stating that Jacob Koliszon (Collisson) had sold his portion of the inheritance of his father Duncan in Aberdeen to one Andrew Walker, (May 2nd, 1542), to whom he remitted at the same time the money due for teaching him the weaving trade. Likewise, Hans Anderson and Albr. Kuk struck a bargain with reference to a house in Aberdeen inherited by the former (1567). ["Bailie’s Minute Book of the Altstadt," Konigsberg.] Some years later the sisters Elizabeth and Isabella Murray, the latter being the widow of the late John Dale, a Scot in Danzig, appear before the magistrates of this city. They had inherited some houses in Aberdeen from their grandfather John and their father Andrew Murray, and appoint Robert Munro their trustee. The situation of the houses is accurately described. [Kgl. St. Archiv, Danzig, xxxiii., D 14, 20a.] In 1597, Alexander Morell (or Norell) at Danzig, son of the late James Morell, sells his father’s house in Edinburgh, situated on the west of the Erleus Street (?), for 1500 gulden. A case somewhat similar occurs in the year 1632, when George Forbes, only son of the late Andrew Forbes, declares before the court that he gives his movable and immovable goods, moneys and so forth, especially a house in Aberdeen, "situated near the lower Kirkgate, between the houses of Samuel Mason and Robert Patterson," to Marian Moor for her use during her lifetime; after her death to Peter Moor and his heirs "as a reward for the many benefits received from his hands" (Aug. 18th).

Again, in many instances an arrangement was made by the Scottish heirs, by which property left to them in foreign countries was sold to third parties, as when in 1589 James Wright appears before the court at Linlithgow, certifying that he had transferred his part of the inheritance of his late brother, who died at Johannisburg in Prussia, to George Nicholl from Edinburgh, by whom he had been fully compensated; [Kgl. St. Archiv, Konigsberg.] or, in 1619, when William Allanson from Glasgow, died at Belgard in Pomerania, and his inheritance was sold to one William Kammer (Chambers), at Colberg. In this case, however, a birth-brief and two letters of surrender from the brother and sister of the deceased were required, and even then the magistrates were not satisfied. Only after a letter of King James himself in favour of Chambers, dated Greenwich, June 12, 1621, in which it was stated that "Camerarius" had acted quite properly, the property was released. [Kgl. St. Archiv, Danzig.] Or, when in 1628, Thomas Melville, a citizen of Aberdeen, "who cannot talk German very well," declares at Tilsit that he had sold the shop left to him by the late Hans Philipp in that town, to Thomas Hay, also of Tilsit, for the sum of 300 gulden. [Kgl. St. Archiv, Konigsberg. The Scottish heirs in this case had much trouble given them by the young clerk of the deceased, John Laurie, whom they suspected of having kept back certain goods.]

But, apart from the legal aspect, the wills and bequests of the Scots dying in Prussia and Poland are very often highly interesting on account of the insight they afford into the domestic life of those days and into the character of the deceased.

Very frequently the assets left were exceedingly small, hardly worth enumeration in a special inventory. Yet, however small, a charitable bequest, either to the Scottish poor-box or to one of the Danzig or Königsberg hospitals or otherwise, is always there. Take the case of Alex. Wright mentioned above. The whole of the money left amounted to nine thalers and eighteen groschen, of which sum one thaler and fifteen groschen was to be handed to the schoolmaster. Besides this, there were found sixteen pieces of coarse linen; two and a "half parcels of red trousers;" one parcel of veils; two pieces of ticking; fifteen of linen; one piece of green cloth for aprons; one half stone of cummin, and one fourth of pepper. [In an edict against the Scot they are called "apothecarii," not exactly druggists but dealers in drugs. Spices formed a valuable item of their stock-in-trade. Itinerant drug vendors were also known in Scotland in the Middle Ages.] There were also a horse and a cart, but they were claimed by the Duke and valued at ten gulden. With very many of the Scottish small merchants something like this must have been their stock-in-trade.

Equally modest were the assets of Hans Patrzin (Patterson) from Aberdeen, who died at Konitz in 1574. An inventory of his property was made on "Thursday before Holy Easter," as the old records tell us, "by Alex. Symson, a burgess of Tuchel, and another Scot . . . and there were found twelve gulden of outstanding debts and goods valued at sixteen gulden which Symson was told to convert into cash and to hand over to the relations of the deceased, in case the inheritance should be claimed within a year and a day. If not, he is to deposit the money with the magistrates."

By the side of this, for the sake of contrast, we shall now put the last will of William Robertson, who died at Danzig in 1670. It was translated from the "Scottish into the German language" by one Robert Mello, a broker and an interpreter; but this was done with a total disregard of grammar and idiom, making it difficult at times to arrive at the proper meaning of the document:

"I, William Robertson," it runs, "of legitimate birth, am the son of Thomas Robertson, citizen and merchant of Ross, in the Kingdom of Scotland, and of his wife, Christina Lefries, and I was born after they had lived together in matrimony for some years. I, William Robertson, do write this my last will and testament, being in sound health, God be praised. I ordain that my body shall be buried in St Peter’s Church. To the clergyman preaching the funeral sermon I leave eight thaler, to the Smallpox Hospital 300 gulden, to the Scottish Poor Fund 300 gulden. To William Robertson, my brother’s eldest son, my god-son, the money owed to me by Archibald Campbell on the lands of Hillpont (or Killpont?) in Lothian, Scotland, namely, 20,000 mark Scottish; moreover, I bequeath to him the money I sent to Scotland in 1665 with George Skene, i.e. 2438 thaler in specie. I give and bequeath to this my godson, after my death, everything that is in my room at Danzig; my large cash-box and all in it, my small chest of drawers with all my linen . . . my upright bed, including bedding, my coverlet, my two pillows, my sheets and mattresses . . . my wardrobe with all its contents, my big basket (?) and my small basket, my four chairs, my bottle-stand, my large wardrobe with my cloak and coat in it, my hand-tub, my tankard with the lid of English tin, my close-stool lined with tin . . . three doublets of satin and three caps of sable and other two of marten; two coats lined with sable and marten; a small silver bowl, another silver bowl gilt, a small clock and other things; my silver tankard, three brass candlesticks, and a coat lined with fox. All these articles I give to my godson William; and more, as soon as my debt has been collected from Patrick Simson, which, at eight per cent. interest, will amount to more than 8000 thaler in specie; and from Alexander Kemp 12,000 mark Scottish. To my friend and relative, James Abercrombie, I leave 2000 mark, besides what he received from me long ago. The rest of my debts when called in I leave to Jacob and Johann, the two brothers of my godson. My mirror and my carriage I give to William Robertson, my godson. As executors I appoint James Campbell, Writer to the Signet, my friend Jacob Abercrombie, my brother’s son William, and my friend W. Anderson. When this money has been received, let it be invested in landed estate in Lothian and not lent on written security. Ye know, dear friends, that God gave me the opportunity in His grace to be helpful to my friends; therefore I pray you to take a special care of this my last will and testament, as you must give an account on the last day to the Judge of all things." [Danzig, Jan. 4, 1670.]

Another large fortune was left by Jacob Balfuhr who died childless in 1622. His wife received 14,000 gulden; Andreas, his brother, about 7000. Legacies were given to Margaret Balfuhr, daughter of the late Duncan Balfuhr; to William Balfuhr, son of the same; to Christina Balfuhr, daughter of the late William Balfuhr. Moreover, to David Balfuhr’s stepson 500 gulden, the interest of it to go to the mother Isabella till her death. To each of the two children of his late brother Duncan at St Andrews 500 gulden; to William, his brother Duncan’s son, who is now in the service of the testator, 400 thaler; to Stephen Balfuhr, who is now serving his time abroad, 500 gulden; and to Christina Balfuhr, in Danzig, at her marriage, 1000 gulden. To the son of his late brother William in St Andrews 500 gulden. Likewise to each clergyman of his own persuasion at Danzig 50 gulden; to the Hospital of St Elizabeth 100 gulden; to the Scottish Poor-box 100 gulden, besides another hundred gulden to be distributed among the poor after his decease. Lastly, his servant, Daniel Robertson, on account of his faithful services, shall have as much added to his due wages as to amount to 400 thaler, and his servant girl, Elsie, shall have 50 gulden. [Kgl. St. Archiv, Danzig.]

George Kilfauns in 1657 leaves three fourths of his fortune to Christina Hebron (Hepburn). As legacies he gives to each of the four Presbyterian clergymen ten ducats, five ducats for his funeral sermon, ten ducats to the poor; twenty for the poor of the Scottish congregation. His brother Hans is to receive the remaining fourth.

Mrs Smith, née Leitch, leaves "half a house" in the Heilige Geist Gasse at Danzig, together with the sum of 1000 gulden, to the daughter of Catherine Lermonth. She also bequeaths 700 gulden to the Scottish Poor-box (1660).

W. Garioch leaves a certain sum to the Scottish community, and to the Small-pox Hospital at Danzig. He left only distant relations in Scotland "with whom he had not corresponded for the last thirty-two years" (1669).

The will of John Turner, written in English, was deposited in Aberdeen with a George Skene; but it appears that he left another will at Danzig with reference to the property not disposed of in the Scottish document. As the testator had died childless, his cousins William and Andreas, merchants in Poland, are declared heirs. The following legacies are bequeathed: To John Turner in Poland, 6000 gulden; to William Lumsdel, 1500; to Peter Dunbar’s and Thos. Smart’s widow, 100 gulden each; to the Scottish Poor-box, 300; the Elizabeth Hospital, 200; the Small-pox Hospital also 200 gulden (1688). [Cp. Scots in Germany.]

A very wealthy man Jacob Carmichael must have been, who died at Krakau in 1696. His brother Robert succeeds him. A taste for art jewellery seems to have distinguished him, for he left, besides many silver and gilt articles, one diamond ornament, one ruby necklace and pendants, six diamond rings, one signet ring set with diamonds, one ring set with emeralds, two bracelets and three strings of pearls.

At Danzig again, one Robert Gellentin bequeaths to the Scottish Poor 300 gulden, to the Smallpox Hospital 300, and to the preacher of his funeral sermon ‘pro labore’ the goodly sum of 200 gulden.

Of Daniel Davidson’s charitable bequests we have already spoken.

Good common sense is shown in the will of Robert Chapman, who died in 1675. He makes his sister’s son, William Tampson, his heir. "Taking into consideration," he says, "that he has a good heart, and is a youth of good promise, and that my mother"—she had married a second time—" has plenty of means as it is, and has been richly blessed by God." He then gives various legacies to the Small-pox Hospital and other hospitals of the city, leaves to the poor of the Scottish congregation 300 gulden, and to Alb. Duggel (Dugald), "a poor Scotsman," thirty gulden.

Now and then these last testaments give rise to legal wrangling and quarrels among the heirs and creditors themselves. One of these last, named Laurence Gream (Graham), after the death of George Hutcheson, opposes James Masterton from Edinburgh, "who wants to make himself paid first" (1649). A similar case occurred somewhat earlier, in 1642, after the death of Laurence Orr in Insterburg, when the son of Regina Oliphant, living in Scotland, thus writes to the Elector of Brandenburg: "I cannot help complaining that William Oliffant cunningly tries not only to deprive your Electoral Highness of the quarter but also his brothers and sisters and their children of the inheritance left by his late brother Conrad Oliffant, late inhabitant of your Highness’s town of Insterburg. Under the pretence of being a burgess, he demands possession of the goods; but as there are four other heirs his portion can only be one-fifth." [Kgl. St. Archiv, Konigsberg.]

Very remarkable is the last will of Robert Porteous or Porcyus, as his name is written in Polish documents We have in our former volume [Scots in Germany.] been able to give a very few details only of this successful Scot. Further researches have brought to light other circumstances of his life, enabling us to complete the portrait.

When still a young man, Porteous emigrated to Krosno in Poland previous to the year 1623, when his name occurs in a business transaction. Where his Scottish home was is not very certain. His being called "de Lanxeth" [The additional "h" lengthens the preceding "e," and makes the syllable sound like "aid."] on a painting in the Church of St Peter and Paul at Krosno may probably point to a place "Langside," which again would refer us to Dalkeith and neighbourhood. A certain violent rashness of his character early manifested itself. When serving his time with a certain Johann Laurenstein he caused his master the loss of 50 florins, and a short time later he is mulcted in the same sum for wounding a man in a quarrel. The records in the Episcopal Archives before the year 1627 call him a "heathen," that is a follower of Calvin or Luther. In that year he embraced the Roman Catholic Religion of which he remained a most devoted member to the date of his death. He also married in 1627, then twenty-six years old, the widow of one Bartholomew Mamrowitz, whose maiden name was Anne Hesner. She was his senior by eleven years, and had a son Paul, who is frequently mentioned as a Doctor of Medicine in the testament of Porteous. Three of his own children, two daughters and a son, died.

The commercial enterprise of Porteous soon extended over Lithuania, the whole of the Austrian empire, Prussia, Silesia and Scotland, and was encouraged by several privileges granted to him by successive kings: Sigismund III. in 1632, Ladislaus IV. in 1633, and John Casimir in 1649. [The exact dates are: 20th April, 11th of February, and 8th of February.] They also permitted him freely to dispose of his property. The chief trade of Porteous consisted in Hungarian wines, of which he practically held the monopoly. This gave cause to the citizens of Krosno to complain of his high handed manner of doing business: buying wine at 50 florins and selling it to the town at 200. Moreover, the town was compelled to borrow money from him, the only very rich man in Krosno, and this also he used for his own advantage.

Nobody, however, could deny that Porteous, if inclined to carry out his own will in a manner rather imperious, was a man of strict honesty. A story is told of him confirming this. Once there arrived for him a cargo of wine from Hungary. When they were lowering down the casks into his cellars, it was thought that one of them was unusually heavy. On being opened how great was Porteous’ surprise when he found it to be filled with ducats instead of wine. He informed the owner in Hungary immediately, but received for an answer: that what was once sold was sold for ever. Not satisfied with this Porteous brought the matter before the courts of justice, and the money which was owned by nobody was finally devoted to pious purposes. To this honesty he joined a most generous public spirit, not only for the benefit of churches and hospitals, but also of town improvements.

Porteous died in 1661. [Not in 1651 as erroneously stated on his portrait in the Chapel of St. Peter and Paul.] His brother Andrew survived him, but seems to have left Krosno. Another brother Thomas is strangely enough not mentioned in his will. Other relations of his were John Dawson (Dasson), a nephew, and Francis Gordon (Gordanowitz), who had married a cousin of his. [The name of Porteous continued in Krosno until the 18th century.]

The Parish Church of Krosno looked upon Porteous as its "secundus fundator." He restored the nave and the vaults which had been destroyed in a previous conflagration; he covered the roof with copper; he presented to it new bells, a baptismal font, many precious vestments and paintings, and a set of bells. [The biggest of these weighs 50 cwt., has a circumference of about 14 feet, and a height of about 4 feet and 6 inches. The circumscription contains, besides the names of the makers, that of the donor, Porteous and his coat of arms: three stars, a book, and a sword. The date is 1639.] His own burying vault is below the Chapel of St Peter and St Paul. It has remained undisturbed, though other graves had long since to give way to new sanitary improvements of the town. His funeral was attended by over a hundred members of the Catholic clergy, who at the request of the Bishop of Przemysl thus honoured their benefactor. It almost seems a pity that, according to a chronicler of the time, each of them was given 3 "imperiales" for his trouble.

Porteous’ last will in its chief enactments reads as follows: "As it is the duty of everyone, especially of a Christian, to redeem his soul, bought by the most precious blood of the Son of God, I, Adalbert [Porteous so called himself after his Patron Saint.] Porcius, citizen of the Royal town of Krosno and a merchant, being of sound body and mind, and not knowing when my last hour shall strike, make the following declarations in writing: As I, by the grace of God, commenced my life in the Christian Roman Catholic Religion, I shall also end it according to its teaching. I therefore commend my soul into the hands of our God and Creator; but since it was joined to a sinful body and could not therefore be without sin and offences in God’s eyes, I wish that it should for its eternal redemption have an advocate here below, for which purpose I set aside certain portions of my property. My body being made of earth, may again return to earth, and be buried in the Parish Church of Krosno in the vault of the Chapel of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul which I have founded. As to my moveable and immoveable property, I shall, according to the privileges granted me by three successive Kings of Poland, and in order to avoid quarrels amongst my relations, make the following dispositions which I beg my executors to obey in all points for the salvation of their souls:

"For the renovation of the belfry of the Parish Church, the covering of its roof with sheet-copper, and the making of iron shutters, also for the raising of the steeple by ten yards in order to hang the bells, I bequeathe 6000 florins to be paid by my executors.

"The lustre made of brass and stag’s horn, which is now in my large room, I also bequeathe to this Chnrch, and request that the same may be hung up above the magistrates’ and judges’ pew in the centre. For wine and wax for the two chapels of Peter and Paul, and of Adalbert, my Patron Saint, I leave the sum of 200 f1. Moreover I assign to these two chapels my farm [Here follows the exact situation.]. . .and that field which is situated . . . for the renovation of several church vessels or for other repairs. If necessary the wine and the candles for the two brass candlesticks and the gilt wooden one are also to be paid out of these farm rents. Whatever remains of the rent is to be put aside in a separate box, and to be placed in the treasury well locked, the key of it to be kept by the priest. All sacred utensils, cups, vestments and sacred silver vessels which I bought for these chapels are to be used in them only, and not in other churches. Should one of my relations wish to buy the said farm and field, he may do so on condition of his investing 1000 florins in safe and unencumbered property for the purpose of redemption. . . . No payments of the priest out of these funds must be made without the consent of the clergymen of Krosno. But if the farm be sold to strangers, let it be done to the best advantage of the chapels, so that new sacred vessels may be bought, and all repairs duly carried out.

"As the clergyman of the Church at Krosno is but poorly paid, I bequeathe the sum of 1200 florins to be invested in good security, the interest of which will go to him. For this he will say two masses for the repose of my soul in the Chapel of St Adalbert, one for my wife and one for my relations, on Mondays and on Thursdays. . . . Myself as well as my wife, now resting in God, having been members of the Confraternity, called St Anne, it is my wish that our souls should be remembered at Mass, and I assign to the Priest of the said Confraternity the sum of 300 florins; but as the Confraternity of St Anne already owes me 160 florins, only 140 florins shall be paid to it out of my property, the interest to be used only.

"To the Organist I leave 600 florins on condition of his taking his degree at the Academy of Krakau, and I impose upon him the duty of singing the Litany Omnium Sanctorum with his school-children after Vespers on Wednesdays in the Chapel of St Peter and Paul, and on Fridays in the Chapel of St Adalbert the Litany of the Sacred Heart. He has also to insist that his scholars obey the call of the Church Bells on Saturdays and on the days preceding each Holy Day, when they will dust the pews. To the Bellringer I leave 200 florins, the interest of which he is to receive; he shall be obliged, however, to summon those of the Church Beggars who are strong enough, to assist him in cleaning the sacred paintings, and he is to ring the Angelus on the big Bell every mid-day about 12 o’clock. To the bellows’ blower I give and bequeathe in consideration of his small salary, 100 florins. For the beggars in the porch of the Church I bequeathe 200 florins, of which legacy they will receive the interest monthly from the hands of the clergymen on condition that they clean the font every month and the two brass candlesticks as often as it appears necessary. . . . The house which my stepson Paul Mamrowitz bought of me I leave to my brother Andrew and to the said Mamrowitz, Doctor of Medicin. They will also have to share in equal parts my clothes, tin-vessels, guns, horses, grain, flour, pictures and other things. My farm Suchodol. . . . I likewise leave to my brother Andrew and Paul Mamrowitz. One of them may live on the farm, as I have done, and pay half of its proceeds to the other, or they may live there alternately as they may think desirable.

"Having enjoyed the trade monopoly in Krosno I leave to the said town for the repair of the town-walls and the bridge behind the Krakau Gate, which has been allowed to fall into decay, as well as for the improvement of the pavement, the sum of 2000 florins. It is my wish that this should be done as soon as possible, as it will not be difficult for the town to provide carts. Let my servants get their due wages and a decent sum of acquittance besides, and let them pray for my soul to God.

"To George Hay I leave 1500 florins in the hope that he will remember my kindness, and conscientiously hand over everything to my executors so as to avoid the judgement of God. . . . To my steward I give 50 florins, to my head coachman 100 florins, to my head cook Elizabeth 40; to the younger cook 15 florins besides their due wages, so that they may buy suitable mourning. . .

After enumerating certain other legacies left to the Brotherhood of St Anne, of which, as we have seen, both the testator and his wife had been members, Porteous continues:—

"Having acknowledged all through life His Majesty John Casimir as my gracious King and Protector, I wish to give him a further proof of my loyalty by leaving to him the sum of 10,000 florins. I also present to him an altar made of pure gold. My relations Francis Gordon and John Dasson (Dawson) will attend to this my request. . . . To the Revd. priest Prazimorski I leave 2000 florins and 3 casks of wine; to the Bishop of Przemysl, my benefactor, likewise 2000 florins and 3 casks of wine, with the humble prayer that they would accept these gifts and assist in the carrying out of my last will. My brother Andrew and Dr. Paul Mamrowicz will see that all my creditors who can duly prove their claims be satisfied.

"As to my funeral, I cannot say of course what the expense will be, but I request my executors to invite the clergy of all the neighbourhood, to receive them hospitably, and to give each of them one thaler. Before the funeral let all poor beggars be treated to a dinner. I leave besides 50 pieces of linen at 6 gulden each, 50 pieces of Krosno Cloth at 16 or 18 florins, for distribution among the poor. Should there be found ready made linen and common cloth in my house, only so much must be bought as will complete the number of pieces."

Porteous requests the treasury of the Government to assist in calling in his outstanding debts, of which one part is to be employed for the payment of the soldiery. Debts under 100 gulden are to be entirely remitted; all other debtors are allowed to per cent. in their favour and in no case is there any great rigour to be employed.

"All my moveable and immoveable possessions in the Crownland of Hungary, as well as my claims against Hungarian noblemen, merchants and citizens, I leave to my sister’s son, Johann Dasson, and to Francis Gordon and his wife, with the strict injunction to be guided entirely by my information written in the Scottish language and signed by two witnesses.

"In Danzig also I have some outstanding money with Thomas Gielent for potash bought from me. All this I leave to John Dasson, according to the wishes expressed in my Scottish codicil.

"As additional ‘Protectors’ of my last will I name 1, His Majesty our most gracious King; 2d" . . . Here the Testament of R. Porteous suddenly comes to a close, the last page being torn off.

No wonder that his memory is still honoured in Krosno. A portrait of himself, his wife and his brother, probably the work of later years, is still to be seen in the Church of St Peter and Paul. Very different from the wills of most of the Scots Porteous left nothing of his vast wealth to his countrymen as such or to the Scottish "Nation."

How important a part was played by this Scottish "Nation," and how in every place where there was a large number of Scots such directing body was established and demanded implicit obedience, we have frequently had occasion to remark. It is seen also in a succession case of Jacob Kyth (Keith) in the year 1637.

It appears that the late Jacob Hill owed the late William Kyth, a brother of the above, who died in 1636 on his journey to Jaroslaw, a sum amounting to between five and six thousand gulden, but the Scottish ‘Nation’ at that town thought it right, for reasons not stated, to reduce the sum to two thousand seven hundred gulden. Jacob Kyth agreed, and gives the children of Hill a receipt for that sum.

Looking over these last wills and testaments, which only represent a small portion, we arrive at the natural conclusion that the most influential Scotsmen settled in Germany were merchants. They possessed houses in good localities, they traded oversea and overland, their services were much sought after by kings and nobles. Their natural propensities and their characteristic mental features made necessarily for success in this branch of human industry.

Whilst in France we hear of nothing but of the heroisms of Scottish warriors; it was the Scottish trader in Germany who chiefly left his imprints upon the country of his adoption, ready when the times demanded it to show a heroism quite as great as that of his more celebrated and more loudly acclaimed countryman-in-arms.

But there were a good many handicraftsmen among the Scottish emigrants also, Scottish linen-weavers being among the very earliest settlers of Danzig. [Cp. P 53 in Scots in Germany. It is curious to notice how long these Scottish weavers remained in their old settlement at Alt Schottland, south of Danzig proper. There exists an agreement of the year 1517 (June 8th) between the guild of linen weavers in Danzig and the Scottish masters of Leslau’s territory, concerning trade difficulties and the obligations of the Scots towards the maintenance of the Chapel of St Thomas (Kgl, St. Archiv, Danzig]. Numerous were those that had to do with wool and cloth, as weavers, dyers, tailors, braidmakers and clothiers. Another large class represented the leather trade, such as shoemakers, belt and harnessmakers, and tanners; a few of them were brewers and distillers, notably the Barclays in Rostock [There was a Paul Barclay, brewer, in 1592; Henry Barclay enrolled as a citizen in 1659 and Ludwig in 1685, all of them brewers on a large scale.] and James Littko (Lithgow) of Danzig. We have only come across one butcher, one pastry-cook, a few coppersmiths, [Handicraftsmen were preferred in bestrowing civil rights on the Scots. Hans Witte, a coppersmith from Cupar, obtains citizenship at Danzig in 1575, because his craft gave him the preference. He had to promise, however, not to carry on any trade, and not to keep any lodgers, but strictly to attend to his handicraft (Burgerbuch, Kgl. St. Archiv, Danzig).] one or two coopers, one or two jewellers, one letter-painter, but no joiner, carpenter, or mason. Very soon, as we have seen, we find the Scot occupying positions of trust, as councillors of state, governors, magistrates, bailles, presidents of guilds in Poland, as well as in Prussia, Pomerania, and Mecklenburg. Their foreign extraction and language did not even prevent them from serving the state in the capacity of post-office clerks and postmasters. In the annual account book of Marienwerder (1607-8) we find that a Scotsman attends for two weeks to the letters at the magistrates’ office for the fee of three marks, by the command of the elector; and at the end of that century one Low was postmaster at Danzig. Princes liked to have Scotsmen for their trusty waiting-men, as well as for their body-guard. Thus the Duke of Mecklenburg, Frederick William, in 1697 kept two Scotsmen as running footmen, John Macnab and John Macullen; and among the citizens of Cassel in 1618 occurs the name of Alexander Arbotnit (Arbuthnot), a footman or "lackai."

Of the eminent position many Scotsmen in Germany took in the world of letters and science we have spoken at length elsewhere. [Scots in Germany] A special mention deserves Gilbert Wachius (Waugh), prorector of the school of St Peter and Paul at Danzig; [He left 50 gulden to the Scottish poor at Konigsberg in 1692.] and the Latin poet, Andreas Aidie, whose son Alexander occurs as one of the contributors to the Marshal College Fund. He was headmaster of the High School at Danzig from 1609 to 1613, and his appointment so pleased King James that in 1611 he wrote a special letter of thanks to the Magistrates.

Return to book index page


This comment system requires you to be logged in through either a Disqus account or an account you already have with Google, Twitter, Facebook or Yahoo. In the event you don't have an account with any of these companies then you can create an account with Disqus. All comments are moderated so they won't display until the moderator has approved your comment.

comments powered by Disqus