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Tartan Ferret

Book frontispiece


Part I

In the English Parliament of 1606, when a union between England and the inhabitants of Scotland was proposed the proposal met with indignant opposition. 'The party opposing said:

"If we admit them into our liberties, we shall be overrun with them, as cattle (naturally) pent up by a slight hedg will spill over it into a bettet soyl, and a tree taken from a barren place will thrive to excessive and exuberant branches in a better, witness the multiplicities of the Scots in Polonia."' [Arthur Wilson, p. 34. 'The History of Great Britain, being the Life and Reign of King James the First, relating to what passed from his first access to the Crown till his death.' London, 1653."

These 'multiplicities' were certainly considerable, and were it not otherwise proved, indeed almost incredible. The indefatigable Clydesdale traveller, William Lithgow, who visited Poland in 1616, gives a short account of them. He comments thus on his experience in Poland in that year: -

'Being arrived in Crocko or Crocavia, the capitall city of Polland (though but of small importance), I met with diverse Scotish Merchants, who were wonderfull glade of mine arrival there, especiaIly the two brothers Dicksones, men of singular note of honesty and Wealth. It was my lucke here, to bee acquainted with Count du Torne (Graf von Thorn) the first Nobleman of Boheme, who had newly broake out of Prison in Prage and fled hither from Bohemia for safety. Mathias then being Emperour, against whom hee had highly offended in boasting him in his Bed Chamber with hard and intollerable speeches.

'This Fugitive Earle stayed me with him ten dayes. . . At last his trayne and treasure comming with many other Bohemian Barons and Gentlemen his friends, I humbly left him, and touching at Lubilinia where the Judges of Polland sit for halfe the yeare, I arrived at Warsaw, the resident place for the King Sigismond, who had newly married the other sister of his former wife, being both Sisters to this Ferdinando now Emperour. . . .'

He continues after an interval: 'Polland is a large and mighty Kingdome, puissant in Horsemen and populous of strangers being charged with a proud Nobility, a familiar and manly Gentry, and a ruvidous Vulgarity.' Between Cracow, Warsaw, and Lublin, he met many compatriots. 'Here I found abundance of gallant, rich Merchants, my Countrey-men, who were all very kind to me, and so were they by the way in every place where I came, the conclusion being ever sealed 'with deepe draughts, and God be with you.' [The Totall Discoveries of the Rare Adventures and Painefull Perigrinations, by Wm. Lithgow, pp. 367-368. Glasgow, 1906.]

He continues to praise the Land of Poland-which suited the Scottish adventurer-in an oft-quoted passage: 'And for áuspicuousness, I may rather tearme it to be a Mother and Nurse, for the youth and younglings of Scotland, who are yearely sent hither in great numbers, than a proper Dame for her owne birth; in cloathing, feeding, and inriching them with the fatnesse of her best things; besides thirty thousand Scots families, that live incorporate in her bowells. And certainely Polland may be tearmed in this kind to be the mother of our Commons, and the first commencement of all our best Merchants' wealth, or at least most part of them.'

This handsome tribute to the Poles as the source of wealth is at least more complimentary than the constant comparison later, almost the only allusion to the Poles one finds in British sources, being that Parliament, when a Parliamentary debate became unseemly, was becoming a mere 'Polish diet'; [e.g. News Letters of 1715-16, edited by A. Francis Steuart, p. 21.] and this one could only have come from a Scot who knew the conditions of his own country and his countryman's adopted country.

But that we can know these conditions, we had, until the present volume could be issued, to rely to a great extent upon the works of a German savant who was by good fortune known to the writer of these pages, Dr. Th. A. Fischer. He, luckily for those interested in foreign parts where the Scot penetrated, in past ages, wrote two monographs, The Scots in Germany, [Edinburgh, 1902.] and The Scots in Eastern and Western Prussia, [Edinburgh, 1903.] both of which shed much light on Scottish travellers of the trading class in Poland. The present writer feels less scruple in referring the curious reader to them for details, and also for quoting very largely from them, for three reasons. First, they are not as well known as, from their learning and information, they ought to be; secondly, he was 'at the biggin' of both; and thirdly, that the books are difficult to understand, as they are chronologically rather confused, written in German-English, and have meagre indices, so that although all essential information is there waiting a discoverer, possibly their usefulness will be increased, through the assistance of this present volume, for a future historian of the Scots in Poland.

Somehow, from poverty or love of adventure, one reason or another, the Scottish nation were forced to go abroad as traders from an early period. That they did so in such quantities seems to the writer to show that in early ages the population was by no means so sparse as is now generally supposed. At any rate, as far back as the mid of the fifteenth century, the Scots were firmly established in wealth and prosperity in the Hanse city of Dantzig, and thence were very numerous in Poland, an alien country, with scarcely any settled rule as we understand it, and very far distant from their own.

At that time many things favoured them. The Government of Poland - such as it was - was wholly military. There were but two classes: the nobles, who had all the power; and the peasants, who had none. All commerce was left, failing the Scots, Dutch, or German, or whatever foreigner chose to meddle in it, to the 'despised Jews', who had colonised Poland in the thirteenth century, if not much earlier, [Cf. Miss Beatrice Baskerville, The Jew in Poland.] and were by this time settled there in vast numbers and whose descendants were to be (as it has proved) the sole traders as soon as the foreign merchants were ousted.

The Scots, seeking to benefit an unexploited country, and, incidentally, as usual, themselves, simply swarmed on East Prussia and Poland via the city of Dantzig. [The Hanse town of Dantzig, the chief home of the Scots in Northern Europe, although it became Polish in 1454, and although it was represented in the Polish Diet and helped to elect the Polish kings, remained a free city. No notice of its history is therefore contained in this sketch. Dr. Fischer supplies this want, however, and moreover gives a list of those Scots who became burgesses, and mentions innumerable Scots who were connected with the town in his Scots in East and West Prussia. The list of burgesses begins in 1531 and ends in 1710.] They came mainly from the class of small laird or town trader as hucksters, and were called Krämers, Krahmers, Cramers, and revenditores in the different deeds relating to their merchandise.

'A Scot's pedlar's pack in Poland,' which, we are told, became a proverbial expression, usually consisted of cloths [General Patrick Gordon mentions meeting at an inn near Elving 'a fellow standing befor a pack, measuring off lawn; and having heard in Braunsberg that there were diverse Scottishmen who used this kind of trade in Prussia, I began to suspect this was a countreyman.' Diary of Patrick Gordon (Spalding Club), p. 10.] and some kind of woollen goods called 'Scottish,' and linen kerchiefs (often, it is said, decorated with pictures of the Turkish wars).

They sold tin-ware, ironware, such as scissors and knives. In addition to this they kept booths and small shops in the towns (institae Scotorum), attached themselves to the powerful Polish princes, to whom they lent money and acted as bankers; and, finally, eight of their chief merchants were made Mercatores aulici or curiales, purveyors to the Court, a life appointment of great importance. From 1576, as we will see from his Royal Grants, until 1585, we find King Stephen (Bathory) protecting 'the Scots who always follow our Court,' on the ground that they alone of all the merchants would follow it into Lithuania. 'Our Court cannot be without them, that supply us with all that is necessary,' and it is stated that they had supplied the king well during former times of war. He, therefore, commanded (dating from Niplomice on 7th May) [Fischer, The Scots in Germany. In this book the first faculty to John Gibson to 'follow the Court' is dated Warsaw, 1576.] that a certain district in Cracow might be assigned to them.

That they were established there earlier is certain, for it is interesting to find that in 1569 Sir George Skene in his tract 'De Verborum Significatione,' under the word "Pedlar,' mentions that he had met a vast multitude of his countrymen in that condition at Cracow; many suffered great privations and dangers, and they were not by any means all prosperous. Fynes Moryson writing in 1598 recognised this. He wrote that the Scots 'flocke in greate numbers into Poland, abounding in all things for foode, and yielding many commodities. And in these (Northern) kingdomes they lived at this time in great multitudes, rather for the poverty of their owne kingdome, then for any great trafficke they exercised there, dealing rather for small fardels, then for great quantities of rich wares.'

The Merchant Guilds were very hostile to the huckster Scots, and to the Scots who did not gain admission to them, and they were by no means favoured by the Polish laws. In 1564 they were taxed along with the Jews and Gipsies. In 1566 a universal decree was promulgated forbidding Scottish pedlars to roam about the country, and King Stephen in 1567 issued orders that the unpropertied Scots must be forced to remove from his domains in Posen. Yet they could not become burgesses of the towns without much difficulty and submitting to many conditions. Poor Scots as well as more wealthy cramers continued to swarm into East Prussia and Poland, and often died of hunger: hucksters were forbidden to settle in Bromberg in 1568; and we have evidence that they were still legislated against, sometimes coupled with the hated Jews, which galled them greatly, and even occasionally with Gipsies and beggars. [These laws are given in Fischer's The Scots in Germany.]

Sigismund III., at the request of the town of Keyna, issued a mandate against 'Jews, Scots, and other vagabonds,' and later we shall see how the Scots objected to have to pay a capitation tax along with the Jews. The hostile measure of the trading communities forced the Scots also into a union or Brudershaft regulating their traffic. We are told this was recommended by King James VI. - no bad man of affairs - and agreed to by their German, Prussian, and Polish suzerains. In 1603 the Polish Government, says Dr. Fischer, commissioned Abraham Young (Jung), a captain in the King of Scots' army, to inquire into the governing laws of his compatriots in Poland. [The Scots in Germany.] The evidence of a witness, Richard Tamson, a merchant in Posen [See also Scots in Germany.] shows that the Scottish Brotherhood in Poland had twelve branches with their own elders and judges. The latter could not, only fine, but could prosecute, proscribe, and, with the consent of the elders, banish. Their meetings took place every fair day, and there was a general Court of Appeal on the Feast of the Epiphany at Thorn. This was the ultimate resort, there was no appeal to the king at home. The 'decreta' were kept in a special book, and the elders had special duties to protect the guild and its privileges. They had to receive every new Scotsman into the Brotherhood, and the clergy who collected a tax for the upkeep of the Presbyterian churches were ex officio elders. Some of the Guild books show hostility to the Catholics. William Forbes, Gilbert Orem, William Henderson, and John Forbes, all merchants in Cracow, and rich, were for many years judges. The highest judge they acknowledged was the Royal Marshal according to a privilege granted them by King Stephen Bathory. They disputed even Captain Young's right to meddle in their affairs until King Sigismund III., 20th March 1604, made him chief merchant of all the Scots in Poland, and they were forced to enter their names in his register 'in order that they might be found easier if required for the defence of the country.' From this blow, Dr. Fischer adds, 'the Scottish autonomy never recovered.'

And yet it was at this time they were very powerful. The connection between Scotland and Poland was, considering the distance and interval of nations, wonderfully intimate. [I have not called special attention to the Polish story that the daughter born to Bothwell and Mary Queen of Scots died in a convent in Warsaw.] Mr. Robert Abercromby, the intriguing priest, when he thought it wise to leave Scotland for a time, went to Poland in 1607. [Register of the Scottish Privy Council, vol, xiv. Addenda, p. 487.] Another evidence of the intimate knowledge of what happened in Poland is shown by the incident of the unfortunate John Stercovius. [See Register of the Scottish Privy Council, vol. ix. pp. 540-543, and vol. x. pp. 100 n, 164, 191-193, 251.] This German inhabitant of Poland had (apparently a rare experience) visited Scotland, where his Polish costume had made him laughed at in the streets. On his return to Poland he published a tract on his journey very detrimental to the Scottish people. This came into the hands of King James VI., who felt it necessary that he must show great irritation at this 'libel' on the nation from which he sprung. Therefore, through his 'famulus' Patrick Gordon, the Scottish 'factor' [In a note to the king's letters, in Letters and State Papers of the Reign of James VI. (Abbotsford Club), pp. 211-212, he is called 'Author of The Bruce.] at Dantzig, and one David Gray, born in Prussia, he prosecuted the unhappy writer of this famosus libellue; and brought so much weight. to bear upon the Polish government that the wretched Stercovius was apprehended, convicted, sentenced, and beheaded 'by the sword,' at Rastenburg in 1611. Nor was this all. The King was still unsatisfied. The 'Chronicle of Rastenburg' has an entry, 15th February 1612, that an order was issued at the request of the King of Great Britain that all extant copies of the libel were to be sent, well wrapped up and sealed, to the magistrates by the owners, under a penalty in the case of disobedience. [The Scots in Germany.]

But the king, though anxious to vindicate the honour of his people, was by no means anxious to pay the expenses of the prosecution in Poland set afoot by Gordon. He proposed instead to obtain it by taxing the Scottish burghs. The magistrates were unwilling, and the Lords of the Secret Council, to whom he wished to refer his refractory subjects, refused to proceed on the ground that they had no jurisdiction. The king then wrote a letter to John Spermannus and all the other magistrates and officials of Dantzig, proposing to raise the money by a tax on all his subjects resident there, in Poland, and in Prussia. [Letters and State Papers of the Reign of James VI., No. CXVII, Note 2.]

After Mr. Patrick Gordon's success in the matter of the unfortunate Stercovius, it is interesting to find that he too had evil days. He returned to Scotland, and there, on 3rd July 1617, was called upon to answer before the Privy Council in Edinburgh a complaint lodged against him by Gilbert Wilson, Merchant, in Peterco, for gross neglect of his duties in his Polish agency. The complaint begins by showing that the Polish Parliament at Warsaw had passed an edict which imposed on every Scot residing in Poland a capitation tax of two gulden yearly. This tax caused great dissatisfaction among the Scots in Poland, as it was also 'layd upon the Jewis,' and on no other Christian strangers in the kingdom. The Scots agitated so much by their nominees, the complainer, John Wynrahame and James Broun, that they obtained from their delegates (after they had met at Lanschoittis) to the Polish Court, the complainer and Alexander Narne, a suspension of the Edict. The complainer then went to England, and begged the king for a letter of remonstrance to the King of Poland, and in doing so told the king that Gordon had done nothing in the matter. Royal remonstrances were sent. The edict was modified by being made a 'personal' tax, and not a capitation tax like that which the Jews endured; but we are told that this was by private agitation, and 'nawyse be the procurement of the said Mr. Patrick.' Other complaints in regard to the property of one Thomas Forbes, a Scottish merchant in Poland, whose estate on his reported death became escheated to the Polish Crown, were made also; and it appeared that Gordon had not come clean-handed out of this matter either, and during the dispute 'avowit and protestit to caus cut the luggis out' from Gilbert Wilson's head. The case can be read in full, [Register of the Privy Council of Scotland, vol. xi. Pp. cxli-v, 174-178, 357-362. Some letters of King James I. And VI. to Patrick Gordon exist among the Denmyin MSS. In the Advocates' Library.] and ended in the triumph-with seven hundred merks to the good-of Wilson over Patrick Gordon. [A letter of Patrick Gordon to King James VI. Will be found later in this volume.]

The position of the mercantile Scot abroad, and indeed of the Scot in Poland especially, was not improved after the death of James VI. by the Parliamentary wars. When Parliament had overcome the king they were worse off owing to the uncertainty in which the Scots stood in regard to the Commonwealth, and the opposing claim of Charles II. The latter thought - during his wandering - that his subjects in Poland ought, having been duly and officially told of his Royal father's execution, to contribute to his maintenance. Desirable although the object may have been for himself, his subjects at Dantzig and in Poland proper did not like it much, and eventually it raised so much difficulty that King John Casimir of Poland threatened in 1651 to expel all the Scots on account of their 'forged Royal letters,' which were in reality but too real. We have to note that when the forced subsidy was collected for the king there were only nine trading Scots families left in Posen. These were Edward Hebron (Hepburn), James Heyt, William Huyson (Hewison), James Farquhar, James Lindsay, Daniel Mackalroy, Jacob and Andrew Watson and Albert Schmart (Smart). These were all 'new names' since 1605, and, as Dr. Fischer points out, prove the fluctuating nature of the Scottish settlements. [ The Scots in Germany. Eleven are noted but only nine are named.] Eventually some 10,000 pounds was raised, and, as was supposed, transmitted to His Majesty, but of the sum collected in Poland and Prussia one is afraid only 800 or 600 pounds reached him. [Clarendon, History of the Rebellion, vol. v. p. 255.]

It is very interesting for us to see how during this period the Scots traders had remained established in their Polish El Dorado. The usual estimate in the first half of the seventeenth century of the number of Scots who were in Poland was the same as that Lithgow the traveller had made, as we saw, in 1616. The Englishman Chamberlain wrote in 1621 to his friend Carlton: 'The Polish Ambassador had no audience of the King. . . there are about 30,000 Scots in Poland,' [Cal. State Papers, Dom., p. 33.] and this is corroborated by the statement of Sir James Cochrane, the English Ambassador to Poland, that there were in 1652 many thousand of Scots in the country besides women, children, and servants. [Thurloe, State Papers.]

Part II

After all these weary tracasseries of the cramers, it is refreshing, if only by way of contrast, to come to the military Scot in Poland, who was, if not more noble by birth than many of the merchants, yet considerably more interesting. Dr. Fischer tells us much less about them. He gives, however, the sad case of Colonel Alexander Ruthven, whose widow, Margaret Munro, in 1605, petitioned the town of Dantzig for help for herself and her poor children, inasmuch as her husband had lost his life in the service of King Sigismund III., whose Chancellor and Field-Marshal, John Zamoyski (Zamoscius) had promised, 'when he was about to meet his death at the siege of Volmer,' to see them provided for. George Bruce, George Smyth, George Hepburn, all Scots in Poland, appear in the documents. [Fischer, Scots in Eastern and Western Prussia.]

In 1615, Patrick Gordon, tutor to the Swede Count Gustaf Stenbock, returned from Poland to Sweden, and reported that wicked, abominable people had been writing more libels there, printed cum privilegio regali, not, moreover, only against the Protestant Elizabeth Stuart, Queen of Bohemia, but against all the House of Stuart. Trouble was evidently brewing against Sweden or Britain, and we find that some time afterwards, in 1623, it burst.

In that year King Gustavus Adolphus wrote (on the 23rd September) an indignant letter in excellent latinity to King James I and VI , informing him there was a Scottish renegade in his service who had gone over to the King of Poland and had made a bargain to bring eight thousand Scots into that of the Polish King for the invasion of Sweden and the ruin of the reformed faith. This Scot was Lord Robert Stuart of Middleton, 'Son of the Earl of Orkney, [Bastard brother to Queen Mary and uncle to King James VI.] and once secretary to the Vice-Chancellor of Poland,' and with him was another, Sir John Vizard, a 'gilded Knight' The Swedish envoy, the Scot, James Spens of Wormistoun, younger (whose father James Spens had served the Swedish crown so faithfully, and won such encomiums), received a 'counterblast' from King James (4th March 1624) in the form of a counter-warrant [Register Privy Council of Scotland, vol. xiii. pp. lvii, 364-365.] to levy twelve hundred Scots for service in Sweden. It is said Spens moved every stone, and (perhaps for his Scottish audience) hinted that money was not forthcoming from Poland, which news was most comforting to his British and Swedish masters, 'and of the 9000 Scots raised for the King of Denmark in 1627, many, dazzled by the brilliance of Your [Swedish] Majesty's renown, prefer serving under Your victorious banner, with all the chances of war, to good pay in Denmark.' [Horace Marryat, One Year in Sweden, vol. ii. pp. 466-467. London, 1862.]

That there was (in spite of this) much favour to the Scots is shown to us by the fact that in one case the King of Poland granted in 1618 to Robert Cunningham the property (the fourth part of the property of a stranger invariably was confiscated to the Crown) of John Tullidaff (Tullidelph). Whether he was in the army is not stated. [Fischer, East and West Prussia] That other Scotsmen were in the Polish army is demonstrated by (in 1619) a grant by the King of Poland to Peter Learmonth, 'nobilis,' to whom the Crown renounced a heritage fallen to it by the jus caducum. The deed says, 'He showed himself a brave and active soldier, not only against the Duke of Sudermania, but also during the whole of the Russian war when we were besieging Smolensk.' [Ibid. p. 131. It is there suggested that he may have been ancestor of the Russian poet Lermontoff, whose ancestors came to Russia from Poland, by way of Tula.] We know later that he became chief captain over three companies of German soldiers, nine hundred in all, and that King Sigismund III. gave a letter [Penes Patrick Keith-Murray, Esq. A translation of the letter is printed in the Scottish Historical Review, vol. iii (1906), pp. 524-552.] of recommendation and a free pass to him and to his captain William Keitz (Keith), [Perhaps this was the William Kyth who died in 1636 on his way to Jaroslave. If so, he had a brother, Jacob Keith. - The Scots in East and West Prussia. The head of the Keith family, William, 5th Earl Marischal (died 28th October 1635), member of the Scottish Privy Council under King Charles I., it is said, fitted out a fleet which he sent to King Vladislas of Poland.] dated at Warsaw, 17th January 1621. There was also Thomas Fergusson, 'egregius,' who had served with Jacob Wilson and Captain Kirkpatrick as a sergeant against the Russians. To him King Vladislas IV. granted permission in 1624 to return to his native country, characterising his service as brave and honourable. [Fischer, East and West Prussia, iv. p. 129.] Colonel James Murray was also a Scottish officer of the Poles. In 1627 he commissioned one Jacob Rowan (the persecuted Ruthvens sometimes took that name) at Dantzig to collect his pension, [Reg. Privy Council (2nd Series) pp. 480, 481. ] and we find him still in Poland in 1632 petitioning for a belated birth-brieve. We also discover the names of Captain Reay and of Major-General Count von Johnston, a colonel of a regiment of cuirassiers. We have a curious instance also, in February 1639, of the cosmopolitanism of the Scot when, in the Roll of the Vassals called by the Earl of Mar in his actions, we notice one in Denmark cheek by jowl with '. . . Fentoun in Swaden, and . . . Norie in Pole.' [Hist. MSS. Commission Report, 'The Earl of Mar and Kelley's MSS.,' p. 9.]

In 1656 we find that some Scottish Highlanders, dissatisfied with Cromwell's government, went to Poland in the service of the King of Sweden. Mr. James Fraser's account of this levy is as follows: [Chronicle of the Frasers, the 'Wardlaw MS.,' p. 417. Edited by Wm. Mackay. Scottish History Society, 1905.]'This yeare the Lord Cranston haveing gotten a Cornels Commission levyes a new regiment of voluntiers for the King of Poles [really Sweden's] service, and it tristed well for his incurragement and advantage; for the royalists chused rather to goe abroad, though in a very meane condition, than live at home under a yoke of slavery. The Collonel sent one Captain Montgomery north in June, and had very good luck, listing many for the service; and himselfe followed after in August, and, reseeding at Invernes, sallied out to visit the Master of Lovat, and in 3 dayes got 43 of the Frasers to take on. Among the rest Captain James Fraser, my Lord Lovats son, engages, and without degradation Cranston gives him a Captains commission. Hugh Fraser, young Clunvacky, takes on as lieutenant. William Fraser [Brother of the author, Mr. James Fraser.] sone to Mr. William Fraser of Phoppachy, an ensign; James Fraser, sone to Foyer, a corporall. The Lord Lovats son, Captain James, had 22 young gentlemen with the rest, who ingaged be themselves out of Stratharick, Abertarph, Aird, and Strathglass, that I heard the Collonel say he was vain of them for gallantry. I saw them march out of Invernes, and most of the English regiment lookeing on with no small commendation as well as emulation of their bravery.'

This levy would, as it was really Swedish, of course concern us little, were it not for the fact that some of the officers remained in Poland after leaving their regiment. The same writer tells us their tale. [Chronicle of the Frasers, 'Wardlaw MS.,' p. 424. Edited by Wm. Mackay. Scottish History Society, 1905.] 'That same summer (1659) Captain James Fraser, my Lord Lovat's sone, who had gone abroad with the Lord Cranston, 1656, died up at Torn in Pomer, and three more of his name with him; and onely Lieutenant Hugh Fraser, Clunvacky, returnd home alive.' And later, [Ibid. p. 491.] in 1670: 'This October came to the country my brother germain, William Fraser. He went abroad with Captain James Fraser, my Lord Lovat sone, anno 1656, in the qualety of an Ensign in the Lord Cranstons regiment, for the service of Carolus Gustavus, King of Sweden; and after the peace he went up to Pole with other Scotshmen, and settled at Torn, where he married, as a marchant . .' This is interesting because, as Dr. Fischer has pointed out, Scottish merchants of pure Celtic origin are comparatively rare. 'He had given trust and long delay to the Aberdeens men, and was necessitat to take the occasion of a ship and come to Scotland to crave his own. He and yong Clunvaky, Hugh, are the only surviving two of the gallant crew who ventered over seas with their cheefes sone, Captain James, and he is glad of this happy occasion . . continued here among his friends all the winter, and returned back in the spring, never to see his native country again. Two of his foster brothers ventered with him, Farqhar and Rory, very pretty boyes.'

Another levy brought (unwillingly enough) into the Polish service, General Patrick Gordon of Auchleuchries, who later gained great fame in Russia as 'Patrick Ivanovitch,' the friend and collaborator of Peter the Great. He entered the Swedish army in 1655, seduced thereto at Hamburg by a Ruit-master Gardin, of his own nation; was captured after the siege of Cracow next year by the Poles. He was compelled to take service in their army, in a company of dragoons under Constantine Lubomirsky, Starosta of Sandets, being released for the purpose, through the intervention of his countryman, 'P. Innes, Provincial of the Franciscans.' It was not the first time that Patrick Gordon had been in Poland, however, as we learn from his Diary, [Passages from the Diary of General Patrick Gordon of Auchleuchries, A.D. 1635-A.D. 1699. (Spalding Club), 1859.] which is delightful in itself, and invaluable to all students of Russian and Polish history.

The son of the laird of Auchleuchries in Aberdeen, and his wife, Mary Ogilvy, he was born in 1635, and educated at the school of Ellon and other local schools till 1651, when, he says, 'staying at home, did wait upon my father.' Anxious to make his fortune as 'the younger son of a younger brother of a younger house,' he determined to go abroad to seek his fortune with - although a Catholic - no particular choice of country 'seing I had no knowne friend in any foreigne place.' He shipped to Dantzig, found Scottish friends there, and then thought of the Jesuit college of Bromberg, 'yet could not my humor endure such a still and strict way of liveing.' Slipping away, he had many adventures of the poor traveller in Prussia until, in 1653, 'falling into acquaintance with one John Dick; who was prentice to a merchant called Robert Sleich, I was perswaded by him to travell further up into Polland, and, because I was much inclined to be a souldier, he told me that Duke Ian Radzewill had a lyfe company, all or most Scottismen, where wee would without doubt be accommodated.' His journal in Poland chiefly shows the ubiquity of the Scots. The first night (1654) in a village they 'lodged by a Skotsman who lived there.' They went on to Warsaw and lodged 'in the suburb Lesczinsky, so called from a pallace-like house hard by, built by noblemen of the family of Leczinskyes. The seym or parliament was sitting at this time in Varsaw,' but 'Duke Radzivell was not there.' His 'comerad' was of use, as he 'had been two or three years in the countrey, could speak Polls and Dutch, had some skill in merchandising, and so, for getting a livelyhood had many wayes the advantage of me.' Nor was his companion alone in this. 'Here were many merchants of our countreymen, into whose acquaintance I was ashamed to intrude myself, and they showed but very little countenance to me, haveing heard of my intention to turne souldier, and fearing lest I should be burthensome or troublesome to them.'

So, anxious to get back to Scotland, he pushed on (with but eight or nine forms left) to a big city and soon 'had a sight of the fair citty of Posna.' (Posen). .. 'Of all the cities of Polland. . . the most pleasant, being very well situated, haveing a wholesome aire, and a most fertile countrey round about it . . . But that which surpasseth all, is the civility of the inhabitants, which is occasioned by its vicinity to Germany, and the frequent resorting of strangers to the two annual faires, and every day allmost; the Polls also, in emulation of the strangers dwelling amongst them, strive to transcend one another in civility.' Here he met more compatriots. 'The gentleman who brought me along, had his house or lodging' (this is very significant of the confusion of the Poles of Jews and Scots, to the detriment of the latter) 'in the Jewes Street, where I dined with him; and after dinner he took me along to a Skotsman, called James Lindesay, [A family of Lindsay, apparently descendants of the family of Fesdo, had their noblesse recognised by the National Diet of 1764 under the name of Lindesin -Lives of the Lindsays, vol. ii. P. 281n.] to whom I had a recommendatory letter. At first, he was imperiously inquisitive of my parents, education, travells, and intentions. I answered to all his demands, with an observant ingenuity. One passage I cannot forgett, which was this. When, upon his enquiry, I had told him what my parents names were, he said in a disdainful manner: Gordon and Ogilvie! These are two great clannes, sure you must be a gentleman! To which, albeit I knew it to be spoken in derision, I answered nothing, but that I was not the worse for that. However afterwards he was kind enough to me,' as were Robert Farquhar, James White, James Watson, and other Scots. They recommended Gordon, a passionate Royalist, to accompany a young nobleman Opalinsky, who was 'going to visit foreign countreys,' furnishing him liberally with money, and he travelled with him until (being warmed with wine) he entered the Swedish army.

After his capture by the Poles in 1656, his adhesion to their service did not last very long. When captured again by the Swedes he pleaded that he had been forced into the Polish ranks, and his statement was accepted. [We see a case of 'treason' by a Scot going over from the Polish to the Swedish side later in this book. Since this was written I have discovered a Scottish officer in the army of John Sobieski, George Guthry. He was a colonel in the Polish service, and there still exists in his family a silver cup out of which King John drank just before he saved Vienna. This George Guthrie, who organised at his own expense a regiment of Hussars, part of the victorious host at Vienna in 1683, is described as a descendant of Guthrie of Guthrie in Scotland, and was, for causes examined in 1672, granted a Diploma of Polish Nobility by King John Sobieski. His descendant Baron de Guttry lived at Pariz, near Posen, in 1914, and it is to his eldest son that I am indebted for the family history.] With them, driving cattle and getting booty employed him well, until, in 1657, he was again taken prisoner by the troops of Poland. One of these who pressed him unsuccessfully to quit the allegiance of Sweden for Poland was Patrick Gordon [The reader will find much information about 'Steelhand' and many of the many Gordons in the Polish service in Mr. J.M. Bulloch's invaluable House of Gordon (New Spalding Club), vol. iii. Lieutenant Adam Gordon and Ensign John Kennedy, both dying in the Polish service, gave Patrick Gordon some trouble in recovering their properties.] of the Steel Hand, an excommuniated Royalist who had taken flight from Scotland into the service of the King of Poland, and was now a captain in the Polish cavalry. On 22nd November 1658, after many vicissitudes such as capture by the Imperial forces, he again fell into the hands of the Poles, and the latter, wishing his service, now refused to release him, holding him as a valuable asset. Probably as a Catholic he was quite glad to serve under their banner, but he was politic enough to show reluctance. John Sobieski offered him the command of a dragoon company on his own estates, but he declined the offer of one whom he described as 'a hard bargainer but courteous.' One wonders what a Royalist like Patrick Gordon would have done had he known that John Sobieski's grand-daughter, Clementina Sobieska, was to marry the Chevalier de St. George, the son of his revered sovereign, more revered because deposed, James II. and VII.

In his next campaign, in 1659, he, now quartermaster, met two more compatriots, James Burnett of Leys, [Grandson of Sir Thomas Burnett of Leys, first baronet. He borrowed money from Gordon in 1667.-The Family of Burnett of Leys (New Spalding Club), p.66.] in the train of the 'Waywode of Kiew,' and Dr. William Davidson, then physician to Field-Marshal Lubomirski, but afterwards, for he made Poland his home, premier physician to King John Casimir of Poland.

We see Gordon's good sense. When he was offered a company of a regiment of dragoons, his first care was for the health of his men, and he repaired to Posen to consult a Jew doctor reputed wise in treatment of the plague. We are also told he avoided marching his troops to one town whose prince protected foreigners and whose 'provost' was a Scot; but he afterwards repented this generosity. In June 1660 Gordon took part in the Polish victory over the Russians at Czudno(Chudnovo). Yet we find that, in 1661, after coquetting with the service of the Emperor, [In the proposed levy of eight hundred horse he mentions Lieutenant-Colonel John Watson, Major Davidson. His sureties were Steelhand, James Birney, George Gordon, and James Wenton, all merchants in Zamosk.] he determined to enter that of the Tsar of Russia, Aleksei Mikhaelovitch, and went with Paul Menzies (of the Pitfoddels family, a Catholic, in the Polish service), Colonel Crawford (in the Russian service, but a Polish prisoner of Lord Henry Gordon, who 'not only maintained him at a plentifull table at Varso, but dismissed him ransome free, and gave him a pass as a Captaine of horse'), when he left for Moscow. Gordon's success there can be read in other books, [Cf. Scottish Influences in Russian History, by A. Francis Steuart. Glasgow, 1913.] for it was continuous and certain, and he died at Moscow full of honours on the 29th November 1699.

On his journey to Moscow, Gordon mentions that at Znin they 'were merry with Captaine Portes and Ensigne Martine,' Scots, no doubt; and it is interesting to note that he describes another halting-place, Kiadany, in this way: 'This towne belongeth to the family of the Radzivills, [The Radzivill family were for long the chief supporters of the Calvinists in Poland. (See Miss Baskerville's Introduction also.) They were patrons of John Johnston, who dedicated his book, Thaumatographia Naturalis (Amsterdam 1665), to Prince Janus and his son Prince Boguslas Radzivill.] where is the public exercise of the Protestant religion, and because of that many Scotsmen were liveing, by one whereof wee lodged,' and there, or near there, he met one 'Major Karstares.'

The Lord Henry Gordon mentioned above deserves a word, and his twin-sister a few words more. Lord Henry Gordon [Miss Baskerville has another note on the Gordon family on pp. 104-105.] was the youngest son of George, second Marquis of Huntly. Though 'hare-brained,' we are told he was 'very courageous,' a good attribute. He is said to have come to Poland after his sister's marriage and, any way, became a Polish noble in 1658. He got from King Charles II. a life annuity of six thousand merks Scots from the Huntly estates in 1667. He died in Scotland at Strathbogie.

His twin-sister, Lady Catherine Gordon, had a very different career. A Catholic, she was carried to France, and was, as her high birth entitled her, attached to the Court. When Cardinal Mazarin, in order to remove her influence from French politics, married the Princess Marie Louise de Gonzaga-Nevers to King Vladislas of Poland in 1645, Lady Catherine was one of her 'train,' as was the child Marie de la Grange d'Arquien, who became later the wife of King John Sobieski. Lady Catherine Gordon married in Poland the poet-noble, Andrew John, Count Morsztyn, the 'exiled' Grand Treasurer of Poland (who 'haveing more regard to his own private interest than the public benefitt, sent all the riches of the thesaurary into France, quhairunto he retired himself, anno 1683, to prevent the Diet's calling him to account'). His wife, 'an active woman,' had very considerable political influence, and 'much credite' during the reigns of the last of the Vasa kings and during the promotion of John Sobieski, [See K. Waliczewskis 'Marysienka.' She had a birth-brieve under the Great Seal of Scotland, 21st August 1687.] and also influenced the election of the Prince de Conti. She had a son, the Comte de Chateau Villain, killed at Namur, who married the daughter of the Duc de Chevreuse, by whom he had two daughters; and (at least) two daughters. The one married the Polish Grand-Chamberlain, Count Bielinski, the other, Isabelle de Morszlyn, [She had also a birth-brieve granted by the Privy Council of Scotland, 6th March 1700-Hist. MSS. Commission Report, the 'Duke of Roxbugh's Papers,' p. 82. The portraits of these ladies, which I had hoped to reproduce as illustrations to this volume, from the originals in the Czartoriski Collection, have, unfortunately, owing to the war, never reached me.] married Casimir Czartoriski, Palatine of Wilna. Her son was ancestor of the later Czartoriskis, while her daughter, Constance Czartoriska, married (14th September 1720) Stanilas Poniatowski, and was mother of the last King of Poland. Nor was this great alliance forgotten by her relations in Britain. They remembered it, and were proud of it. We find that Grande Dame, Lady Mary Coke (née Campbell), a daughter of the powerful Highland Chief, John, Duke of Argyll, writing in 1768: 'The Polish Prince (Czartoriski) you mention is our cousin. His Grand Mother or great Grand-Mother, was a daughter of the Marquis of Argyll's. The King of Poland is the same relation to Us.' [The Journal of Lady Mary Coke, vol. ii. P. 361.]

Part III

Dr. Fischer's books contain many interesting details and names of Scots settled in Poland and Prussia. Of the former he printed lists of the burgesses and of those who merely dwelt in Posen [The Scots in East and West Prussia] (1585-1713), in Cracow (1573-1687), [The Scots in Germany. This supplements the information contained in this volume, on the 'Scots admitted to the citizenship of Cracow, with evidence regarding their parentage.'] and in Warsaw [Ibid.] (1576-1697), and all those who settled (first or last) at Dantzig.

Incident on these he gave us, in spite of the general denial by King Vladislas in 1633 of civil rights to the Scots, except in exceptional circumstances, the Charter of Privileges the Scots in Bromberg received on 7th October 1568, which was confirmed by King Stephen in 1581, and confirmed (with alterations) by King Sigismund III. In 1622, and King Vladislas IV. in 1636. [Ibid.]In addition to these towns we find Scots established in Lithuania, and Catholic Scots in Ermeland. The birth-brieves that are printed in full [Miscellany (New Spalding Club), vol. v. pp. 325-368.] show that the Scots of good family came in hordes from Dundee, from Aberdeen, and the surrounding counties, whether for merchandise or for war, and are found in very many Polish towns, the names of which are strangely written. We find them in 'Zakroczim, Malsak, Posnay, Pitercow, Crosna, Pultuskie, Creta, Tarnova, Varsa, Lublin (they had a congregation there for long), Lisnae, Samosche, Wratslaffsko, Columin, Wisigrad, Cracow, and Presneets,' and this from the years 1637 to 1705.

The Aberdeenshire draft being either highflying Episcopalians or Catholics probably adapted themselves best to their adopted country, but the Calvinists also existed in large contingents, and not only in Lublin (as we have seen), but also in the chief settlement of Dantzig. There was, happily for them, comparatively little religious persecution as such in Poland; still the Catholic party became stronger and stronger and helped to weaken the status of the Scot, to make his position as a 'Disident ' intolerable, and ultimately, with the constant political turmoils, to put an end to his superiority as a trader.

In 1630 Posen imposed a religious test on its citizen. As we shall see in this book, Protestants, confused with Arians and classed with Jews, were often in trouble. We can follow their continuous persecutions in Lublin, and also at Cracow in 1647. In 1635, James Paull petitioned for help in Scotland, having with his Polish wife-a convert to Protestantism-fled from Lublin, and described his persecution and hers by the Jesuits. [Regiser of the Privy Council of Scotland (2nd Series), vol. v. p. 470.] We have seen how some of the Scottish confraternities legislated against Catholics. In 1652 a drunken riot in Posen, in which a Scot played an important part, turned the Catholics against the Protestants there. This persecution, and the hardships endured by the Polish 'Dissidents' evoked much sympathy in Scotland. We find that collections for the 'distressed Protestants' in Poland had been made, but when the delegate, Paul Hartmann, came to receive them, he found that the relief fund had been 'intrometed with' and 'misemployed by diverse persons.' [Register of the Privy Council of Scotland (3rd Series), vol. i. pp. 447-471, 483, 597-598.] In 1638 an inquiry into this was ordered from the Sheriffs of each shire. The Council's order effected little and, eight months later, 'Mr. John Elsener, Pollander,' who had arrived had to complain that, instead of receiving the collection for his fellow-Protestants as he had been commissioned to do, he himself was in poverty living on 'some honest people,' and could not get away. The Council 'recommended' the magistrates of Aberdeen, where the collection had been raised, to 'relieve his distress and transport him to his own country.' The magistrates seem to have done little in the matter, as the order is repeated in June 1665, [Register of the Privy Council of Scotland (3rd Series), vol. ii. pp. xlvii-xlviii. 104-105.] and a letter in the name of King Charles, in response to a petition of an agent of the distressed churches, was sent to the Council. It was prompted by the churches' 'calamitous condition and increasing miseries by treason of the Turks invasion and warr,' and ordered the Council to make a 'speedy order' for a national voluntary collection in the royal burghs and parish churches. The money this time was, to prevent decrease, to be sent direct either to Sir John Frederick in London, or to Sir William Davidson, official resident in Amsterdam. This was dated from Whitehall, 30th November 1664. No result is known, yet in 1665 we find a collection for 'two Pollonian students' at Banff. [Annals at Banff (New Spalding Club), p. 46.]

We now perhaps notice more Catholics, or pseudo-Catholics, coming to Poland than heretofore. In 1664, [Register of the Privy Council of Scotland, (3rd Series), vol. i. p. 560.) Ludovic Sinclair, son of the late Sir William Sinclair of Roslin, who had been in the military service of Sweden and Denmark, and 'last under the King of Poland, in whose dominions he intends to reside,' applied for and obtained a birth-brieve. [Father Angustin Hay calls him Lewis, 'Captain of Horse in General Duncan's Regiment,' and says he was 'killed at the Siedge of Hallingsted in the County of Hall.' - Genealogie of the Sainte Claires of Rosslyn, pp. 153-154. It is one of the representatives of his family, Mr. Bower St. Clair, whom Miss Baskerville mentions on p. 115.] Three years later three Scots, James Joachim Watson, George Edislay, and William Abercrombie, were enrolled as burgesses of Posen, after procuring birth-brieves, but under the condition that they are to embrace the Catholic faith within the year. [The Scots in East and West Prussia.]

In 1671, we find a Scot, George Bennet, applying for a birth-brieve, as he has for 'severall weightie affairs' to reside in 'the Great dukdome of Lituania,' holding the high office of Secretary to the King of Poland. He had 'purchased a testifical thereof under the hands of the Laird of Moncreiffe and diverse uther Gentlemen,' so the Privy Council accorded his request. [Register of the Privy Council of Scotland, (3rd Series), vol. iii. p. 374.] Near this time (1673) members of the Scottish family of Chalmers were added to the list of Polish nobles. [This ennoblement was probably qualified. Cf. Miss Baskerville's note, p. 223 of this volume. Papers about the families of Chalmers and Ross will be found in the Appendix.] Others on the list were Forseit (Forsyth), Fraser, Gordon, Halyburton, Karkettle, Lindesay, Macfarlant, Mackay, Miller, Murison, Ogilvy, Patterson with the surname of Hayna, Stodart, Watson, and Bonar (old settlers), of whom we are given in Burke's 'Landed Gentry of 1848' an account which we can only cite 'without prejudice.'

'Of all the Continental branches, the most illustrious were the Polish lines, which rose to great importance, and filled the highest offices in that kingdom, holding the dignities of Lord High Chancellor - of Earl Seneschal - or Burgrave Palatin of Cracow - of Prime Minister of the Crown - of Premier Lay Senator of Poland - of Lord Chief Governor - or Magnus Gubernator - of Lord High Treasurer - of Lord President of the States - of Tavernicorum Regalium Magister - of Grand Master of the Mint and Mines; they were also invested with the rank and title of Starosts, or Earls of the kingdom of Poland, and of Barons of the Holy Roman Empire (which last dignity was possessed by all the other Continental branches of this family), and produced several prelates, eminent both by their learning and piety, of whom the two most conspicuous were Theobald, of the Silesian branch (issued from a younger son of John, Lord High Treasurer of Poland, temp. King Sigismund I.) who was General of the Franciscans; and still greater lustre has been shed on the name by the virtues and piety of St. John - Isajah de Bonare, patron-saint of Casimirowna, who, dying in odour of sanctity in 1473, was canonised, and is recorded in the calendar on the 8th of February, as appears in the Acts of the Bollandists. This eminent personage was brother to John de Bonare, Lord High Chancellor of Poland, temp. King Casimir IV., and his exemplary piety and Christian virtues are treated of at length by Simplicianus, Elsius, Herrera; Szembeck, and Aligamba; and Bazil Skalsky, who published a biography of St. John-Isajah de Bonare, whose life was also written again at a later period by the Rev. Dom Fulgentius de Dryasky Ordin. Sanct. Augustin, who states that, at the time he wrote, the splendid mausoleum erected over the ashes of St. John-Isajah by his family was still in good preservation, and was magnificently sculptured in white marble, and adorned at each angle with a scutcheon bearing the arms of the family of Bonare.

The four most illustrious descendants of this family on the Continent, and all descended from John of Laindes, were: '1. Jehan de Bonare . . . 1337. 2. St. John Isajah de Bonare, Patron-saint of Casimirowna, and canonised, d. in 1473. 3. John de Bonare, Starost of Zator, Rabzstym, and Oczwyecin, Baron de Biecin, and of the Holy Roman Empire, Premier Lay Senator of Poland, Burgrave Palatin of Cracow, and Magnus Gubernator in 1550, who m. his dau. to John de Firley, Heritable Grand Marshal and Palatine of Poland, elected king in 1572, but resigned in favour of King Henry de Valois. This lady is said by Mismiez to have carried a considerable portion of the possessions of the family of Bonar into the house of Firley, by her marriage; 4. John de Baner (of the Swedish Line), Field Marshal and Generalissimo of the Northern League in 1640' As we have said, this is given for what it may be worth.

The Scots were now becoming more fused with the Poles and, though of a very different nationality, should have been far less strangers. In this book we can see the wealth they acquired and to a certain degree reconstruct their lives and their influence in Poland. Yet even as late as 1675, in Posen, the Pursemakers' Guild chose to include them with the Jews, and prohibited them to sell by retail, and the Shoemakers' Guild were ordered by the magistrates to prohibit them equally with the Jews, Armenians, and Lithuanians to bring in boots to sell in the town. [The Scots in Germany.] Still, rich Scots merchants had done well by their adopted country. Robert Porcyus (Porteus) 'de Lanxeth,' a great merchant in Poland and Lithuania, who died in 1661, became 'secundus fundator,' after his conversion to Catholicism, to the Church of SS. Peter and Paul at Krosna. [For his career, see the Scots in East and West Prussia.] The Scots benefited many charitable institutions and acted generously in Poland. [Cf. Caspar Kin's will, p. 64, and p. 125 n on Alexander Chalmers.] Nor did they forget their connection with their own land. In 1693 a bursary was founded for a Polish student at the University of Edinburgh, and in 1701, when collections were made for the Restoration fund of Marischal College, Aberdeen, the Scottish settlers in Poland, not counting Dantzig, which subscribed largely, gave (by J. Robertson) at least 957 pounds. Their day as the chief foreign merchants in Poland was passing, however, with that of the unhappy kingdom itself. King Augustus II., in 1699, could still refer to the old laws against the Scots in Kosten, forbidding them to hold heritable property as heretics, but their reasons for being in Poland were fast vanishing. The appointment of one of the last Scottish 'Purveyors to the Court' [The Scots in Germany.] was made in 1697, and though we can see in this book the Scots receiving privileges as late as 1729, after that date the Scot remaining in Poland merged gradually into the native Polish population, although the Scottish Brotherhood at Lublin, whose history is also contained in this volume, continued at least until 1732.

We have this description of the economic wretchedness of Poland in the eighteenth century. 'Long before 1763 the Estate of Burgesses had virtually disappeared, and all but a very few of the larger towns were the private property of the magnates. The few native merchants still surviving were to be found in the semi-German cities of Dantzig and Thorn, or in the half-dozen or so royal boroughs which had contrived to save some small fragments of their ancient privileges. But all the old cities were phantoms of their former selves. Cracow, once one of the most populous and prosperous cities in Central Europe, had sunk to the miserable level of a decayed provincial town. Grass grew in the streets of the once flourishing city of Lemberg. . . . The magistrates and the nobility encouraged the Jews at the expense of the native traders, because they could get more out of them, and the Jews, in their turn, sucked the few remaining burgesses dry.' [R. Nisbet Bain, The Last King of Poland, pp. 39, 40.] The great Tepper Bank [Cf. Miss Baskerville's note in this volume.] which had become the bank of the Scots Fergusons, and the Court bank, failed disastrously owing to the bankruptcy of King Stanislas Poniatowsky. There was, therefore, no alternative for any Scots who remained except to become Polish subjects with a doomed political future, to withdraw to Scotland, or else at least to leave the country. By so doing they left the trade of the fading kingdom just as it had been before their arrival some centuries back, and until some happy revival should come, to the tender mercies of as well as in the mercantile hands of the Jews.


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