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service. I have already taken the first step towards it that is proper in our situation, and will pursue that by others as fast as I can have opportunity; hoping that the secret will be as inviolably kept on your side as it shall be on this, so far as the nature of such a transaction between two persons who must see one another sometimes can pass unobserved.'
4. 1721. ' Among the same papers,' says the Reviewer quoted on the previous page, 'there is a letter from Mrs. Oglethorpe to the Pretender (Jan. 17, 1721), containing assurances from Lord Oxford of his eternal respect and good wishes, which from accidental circumstances he had edin Rn been, unable to convey in the usual manner.' as before.
5. 1722. April 14. The Pbetendeb [to Lord Oxford ?]
'If you have not heard sooner or oftener from me, it hath not, I can assure you. been my fault. Neither do I attribute to your's the long silence you have kept on your side, but to a chain of disappointments and difficulties which hath been also the only reason of my not finding all this while a method of conveying my thoughts to you, and receiving your advice, which I shall ever value as I ought, because I look upon you not only as an able lawyer but a sincere friend. This will, I hope, come soon to your hands, and the worthy friend by whose canal I send it will accompany it, by my directions, with all the lights and informa- smart tion he or I can give, and which it is therefore useless to repeat here.' P«j>e«,l722.
6. 1722. April 16. The Pbetendeb to Attebbuby.
'I am sensible of the importance of secrecy in such an affair, yet I do not see how it will be possible to raise a sufficient sum, or to make a reasonable concert in England, without letting some more persons into the project. Tou on the place are best judge how these points are to be compassed, but I cannot but think that [the Earl of Oxford ?] might be of great use on this occasion. [Lord Lansdowne ?] is to write to him on the subject, and I am confident that if you two were to compare notes together you would be able to contrive and settle matters on a more sure and solid foundation than they have hitherto been.' im.
7. 1722. In a report made to the Earl of Mar by George Kelly, one of his emissaries employed in England, it is stated that on the delivery, by Kelly, of Mar's letter to Atterbury, the prelate asked the messenger if he had anything to say, in addition to the contents of the letter, and that he replied (in the jargon of his calling): 'It is a proposal for joining stocks with the Earl of Oxford, and taking the management of the Company's business into their hands.' Atterbury, according to this story, required a day's deliberation, and then told Kelly that he was 'resolved to join both heart and hand with the Earl; and not only so,
but in the management and course of the business he would shew him all the deference and respect that was due to a person who had so justly filled the stations which he had been in.' The Bishop, says Kelly, also added that he was ' resolved to dedicate the remainder of his days to the King's service, and proposed, by this reunion, to repay some part of the personal debt which he owed to the Earl of Oxford, to whom he would immediately write upon this subject.' The messenger goes on to assure Lord Mai- that Atterbury ' is entirely of your opinion that there is not much good to be expected from the present managers, and thinks it no great vanity to say that the Earl of Oxford and himself are the fittest persons for this purpose; but the chief success of their partnership will depend upon the secrecy of it.'
Of the genuineness of the several letters,—of the credit due to the emissaries and their reports, — even of the accurate identification, in some instances, of the 'Mr. Hackets,' 'Houghtons,' and numerous other pseudonyms, under which 'Lord Oxford' is assumed to be veiled, there are, as yet, no adequate means of judging,
'He pry'd through Nature's store,
Whate'cr she iu th' ethereal round contains,
Flemish Exiles in England.—The Adventures, Mercantile and Colonial Enterprises, and Vicissitudes of the Courtens.— William Courten and his Collections.— The Life and Travels of Sir Hans Sloan E—His acquisition of Courten's Museum.—Its growth under the new Possessor.—History of the Sloanc Museum and Library, and of their purchase by Parliament.
The history of the rise and growth of our English trade Booki, is, in a conspicuous degree, a history of the immigration Th» hither of foreign refugees, and of what was achieved by 'P0TME,: their energy and industry, when put forth to the utmost under the stimulus and the stern discipline of adversity. Other countries, no doubt, have derived much profit from a similar cause, but none, in Europe, to a like extent. By turns almost all the chief countries of the Continent have sent us bands of exiles, who brought with them either special skill in manual arts and manufactures, or special
Thkir AdVentures And EnterPrises.
capabilities for expanding our foreign commerce. To Flemish refugees, and more particularly to those of them who were driven hither by Spanish persecution in the sixteenth century, England owes a large debt in both respects. Our historians have given more prominence of late years to this chapter in the national annals than was ever given to it before, but there is no presumption in saying that not a little of what was achieved by exiles towards the industrial greatness of the nation has yet to be told.
Nor is it less evident that, over and above the political and public interest of the things^done, or initiated, by the new comers in their adopted country, the'personal and family annals of the exiles possess, in not a few instances, a remarkable though subsidiary interest of their own. In certain cases, to trace the fortunes of a refugee family, is at once to throw some gleams of light on obscure portions of our commercial history, and to tell a romantic story of real life.
One such instance presents itself in the varied fortunes of the Cocrtens. That family attained an unusual degree of commercial prosperity, and attained it with unusual rapidity. In the second generation it seemed—for a while —to have struck a deep root in our English soil. It owned lands in half-a-dozen English counties, and its alliance was sought by some of the greatest families in the kingdom. In the next generation its fortunes sank more rapidly than they had risen. In the fourth, the last of the Courtens was for almost half his life a wanderer, living under a feigned name, and he continued so to live when at length enabled to return to his country. The true name had been preserved only in the records of interminable litigation—in England, Holland, India, and America—about the scattered wreck of a magnificent property. But the enterprise of the Book I,
family, in its palmy days, had planted for England a pros- T„^p'
perous colony. It had opened new paths to commerce in o°TM"IES
the East Indies, as well as in the West. And its last f"5"*
survivor found a solace for many ruined hopes in the collection of treasures of science, art and literature, which came to be important enough to form no small contribution towards the eventual foundation of the British Museum.
In 1567 William Courten, a thriving dealer in linens Th* and silks, living at Menin in Flanders, was together with *hb r^iLr* his wrife, Margaret Casier, accused of heresy. Courten was thrown into the prison of the Inquisition, but contrived both to make his escape into England, and to enable his wife soon to join him. He established himself in London, in the same business which had thriven with him at home. His wife shared in its toils, and by skilfully adapting her exertions to those tastes for finery in the families of rich citizens which were now striving with some Famliy success against the rigour of the old sumptuary laws ^"^4,. made the business more prosperous than before. It ex- ">MS
r r Sloane,351B,
panded until the poor haberdasher of 1567 had become a />»«»». notability on the London Exchange.
In 1571 a son was born to the exiles. This second William Courten was bred as a merchant rather than as a tradesman. He had good parts, and seems to have started into life with a passion for bold enterprise. His early training in London was continued at Haerlem, and there he laid a foundation for commercial success by marrying the daughter of Peter Crommelinck, a wealthy merchant. First and last, his wife brought him a dowry of £40,000, of which sum it was stipulated by the father's