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deprived the firm of its efficient representative in Holland, Booki, and laid a foundation for great misfortunes by putting in Thit 71 his place an unworthy successor. The partner resident at r"%""s Middleburgh had the trust both of a large portion of the Sl0A:"! capital of the Company, and of the chief share of its account keeping.
Peter Boudaen was a nephew of the Courtens, and had been to some extent admitted as a partner. His uncle Peter made him also his executor. He thus acquired a great control over the continental affairs of the house, just at the time when its transactions were expanding in all directions. He proved unfaithful to his trust, applied his large local influence to his personal advantage and to the prejudice of his partners; and at length failed altogether to render due accounts to the two partners in England. Mouncey, the junior of these, went to Holland in order to i«si. enforce an adjustment. He had hardly entered on his task when he died, after a very brief illness, in BouDaen's house at Middleburgh. Boudaen made a Will for him; asserted that the testator had executed it, in due form of law, immediately before his death; and found means to get the document sanctioned by the Dutch Courts, in the face of strong opposition and of strong presumptive evidence of fraud.
Sir William Courten, meanwhile, prosecuted with his ^"J9TM^ characteristic vigour his vast enterprises already established; w.coumn made new and large ventures in the reclaiming of waste British
E J ^ H V R Y
lands in England; and established the 'Fishery Asso- A.SSOCIAciation of Great Britain and Ireland/ with a view to the T10N'
rescue from the Dutch of that productive herring fishery a>rrap, on our own coasts, which the growing supineness of TOi.cch«!mi, English governments during at least two generations had ^ sTM'5. permitted to become almost a monopoly in their hands. »16;
r 1 » cecxvii, S 76.
Of this Association Courten, during the closing years of his life, was the mainspring.
The Dutch, as was natural, strove vigorously to retain the advantage they had acquired, and were little scrupulous about the means of opposition. English herring busses were occasionally captured. And the captors had the great incidental advantage in the strife of dealing with a Government already weak at home, and yearly losing ground.
The East Indian adventures were, at length, attended by circumstances still more complex than those pertaining to the fishery business at home, or to the trading in Holland. For, in the former, English rivalry had to be encountered, as well as Dutch rivalry. And the rivalry took such a shape as to make the carrying on of trade extremely like the carrying on of war. But, as if the care of these varied interests, in addition to all the toils and anxieties of ordinary commerce on an extraordinary scale, were all too little to occupy the mind of a man who had now reached his sixty-sixth year, we find Sir William Courtrn taking, just at the close of life, a new and leading part in the business of redeeming captives who had been taken by the pirates of* Morocco and Algiers. Nor was this merely an affair of the provision of money and the conduct of correspondence. It involved an intimate acquaintance with the circumstances and the needs of the Barbary States, being carried on, in part, on the principle of barter.
But all these far-spread activities were now fast approaching their natural close. Courten's career had been, as a whole, wonderfully prosperous, until very near its close. Already it contained, indeed, the germ of a series of reverses, hardly less remarkable; but the growth of that germ was to depend on the as yet unseen course of public events. His ambition to 'found a family' had also been Book I, gratified by the marriage of his only surviving son*— T«i' William Courten, third of his name—with the Lady Katherine Egerton, daughter of John Egerton, Earl of l]0TM*
Bridgewater. On that son and his heirs, Sir William Courten settled landed estates amounting to nearly p«rm<
O J Mg p.
seven thousand pounds a year. 3515.
Sir William Courten died in June, 1636. The commercial enterprises of all kinds which were in full activity at the time of his death were continued by his son, who inherited large claims, large responsibilities, and large perils. And it was of the perils that—after his succession —he had earliest experience.
Just before the father's death, a complaint had been made to the Privy Council that certain ships which he had cocaTM sent to Surat and other places had committed acts of 'piracy near the mouth of the Red Sea.' It appeared afterwards that the ships which had given cause, or ch«i«i.
■ ri I'll vo1' ccc,1"i'
pretext, of complaint were not Courten's ships, but the s 19. accusation entailed trouble, and was, to the heir, the beginning of troubles to come. The opposition of the East India Company to the Indian trading of 'interlopers' (as they were called already) was unremitting and bitter. In June, 1637, William Courten, with a view to arm himself for the encounter, obtained from the Crown letters patent which empowered himself and his associates to trade with all parts of the East, 'wheresoever the East Cmrln 'India Company had not settled factories or trade before p*"»-in
r J . MS. Sloane,
'the twelfth day of December, 1635.' One of his chief 3515,p.m.
* His eldest son, Peter Courten, had married a daughter of Lord Stanhope of Harrington, and died without issue. Sir William Courten bought the widow's jointure of £1200 a year by the present payment of £10,000, according to a statement in MS. Sloane, 3515.
Booii. associates under the new grant was Endymion Porter, and The it appears that it was partly by Porter's influeuce at
Ofthd,"" Court that the grant had been procured.
Sloab* Renewed activity was now shown in prosecuting the Eastern trade; new and large ventures were made in it. On some occasions as many as seven well-appointed ships were sent out by Courten and his associates at one time. Instructions are still extant which were given to the chief agents, supercargoes, and factors, for the settlement of English factories at many important places where none had heretofore existed. They are marked by great sagacity and breadth of view, and, in several points, contrast advantageously with contemporary documents of a like kind.
Skizueibt The enterprise was pursued, as it seems, with satisfac
The Dutch l 1
or The tory results until the year 1643, when, in the Straits of Espmabza Malacca, two richly-laden vessels of the Courten fleet were DoxADvr." seized by the Dutch. Subsequent proceedings show that i«TM TM TME ^ne vame °f *ne ships and their cargoes, with the contingent losses, exceeded £150,000. Along with this severe blow came the interruptions and injuries to trade at home, which were the inevitable accompaniment of the Civil War. Soon after it, there came indications that the loss to Sir William Courten's representatives by the misconduct of Peter Boudaen at Middleburgh would but too probably prove to be a loss without present remedy. It appears to have been established by the evidence adduced in the course of the almost interminable litigation which ensued that there was due from Boudaen to his partners a sum of £122,000; none of which, it may be added, seems ever to have been recovered. And the debt which had been contracted by James The First and his successor, though less grievous in amount, was at this time even more hopeless.
Under the pressure of such a combination of misfortunes, Booki, William Cocrten found himself practically and suddenly Tm insolvent. He met some of the most pressing claims upon 1 him by the sale of available portions of his landed property. He assigned other portions of his estates to trustees, and became himself an exile. He survived the ruin of the brilliant hopes and expectations to which he had been born about ten years; dying at Florence in the year 1655. He left, by his marriage with Lady Katherine Egerton, one son and one daughter.
The fourth William Courtkn was born in London on Wimja* the 2Sth March, 1642. He was baptized at St. Gabriel Fenchurch, on the 31st of that month. The downfall of S"a"* his family was therefore very nearly contemporaneous with MusEU" his own birth, and makes it explicable that no record can now be found of the places of his education, or of the course of his early years. But the first trace which does occur of him is in exact harmony with the one fact which makes his existence memorable to his countrymen. He appears, at the age of fourteen, in the list of benefactors to the Tradescant Museum, at Lambeth, a collection which 7w«««afterwards became the basis of the Ashendean Museum at Umv Oxford.
The Tradescants—father and son—hold a conspicuous place in the history of Botanical Science in England, and they are especially notable as the founders of the first 'Museum,' worthy of the name, which was established in this country. The next collection of note, after theirs, was that formed by Robert Hubert, in his house near St. Paul's Cathedral. Other collectors—as for example, John ConYers and Dr. John Woodward—soon followed the example. But in this path all of them were far outstripped