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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 Mar 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,—0f the credit due to the emissaries and their reports, — even of the accurate identification, in some instances, of the ‘ Mr. Haekets,’ ‘ Houghtons,’ and numerous other pseudonyms, under which ‘ Lord Oxford’ is assumed to be veiled, there are, as yet, no adequate means of judging.
Flemish Exiles in England—The Advenfures, rMercanh'le and Colonial Enterprises, and Vicissz'ludes of Me Counrsns.——William COURTEN and lll8 Collections.— '1’/ze Life and Travels of Sir Hans SLOANE—Ilis acquisilz'on of Cochran’s fill/seam.—Ils yrowl/l under (be new Possessor.—Hislory of Me Sloane Museum and Library, and of their parc/zase by Parliament.
THE history of the rise and growth of our English trade is, in a conspicuous degree, a history of the immigration hither of foreign refugees, and of what was achieved by 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
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 thingdeone, 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 inteiest 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 Couaraus. 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 adeep root in our English soil. Itowned 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 COUR'I‘ENS 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 family, in its pahny days, had planted for England a prosperous colony. It had opened new paths to commerce in the East Indies, as well as in the West. And its last survivor found a solace for many ruined hopes in the collec; tion 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 and silks, living at Menin in Flanders, was together with his wife, Margaret Casma, accused of heresy. Couarau was throwuinto 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 citichs which were now striving with some success against the rigour of the old sumptuary laws made the business more prosperous than before. It expanded until the poor haberdasher of 1567 had become a notability 0n the London Exchange.
In 1571 a son was born to the exiles. This second William Coua'ran was bred as a merchant rather than as a tradesm'an. 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
vol. cix, Q 90;
vol. xii, QEB. (R. ll.)
will that not less than one half should be laid out in the purchase of lands in England, to be settled on the eldest son that should be born of the marriage.
By the time of his attaining the age of five and thirty William COURTEN had already become—for that period— a great capitalist. He then, in 1606, established in London a commercial house which added to the ordinary business of merchants on the largest scale, that of marine insurers, and also that of adventurers in the whale fishery. His partners in the firm were his younger brother, Peter Couarau, and John Monncar. One half of the joint stock belonged to the founder ; the other half was divided between the junior partners.
For nearly a quarter of a century this mercantile partnership prospered marvellously. Its annual returns are said to have averaged £200,000. It built more than twenty large ships, and kept in constant employment more than four hundred seamen and fishermen. The head of the firm gradually acquired a large landed property which included estates in the several counties of Worcester, Gloucester, Leicester, Nottingham, Essex, and Kent.
This great prosperity had, of course, its drawbacks. Amongst the earliest checks which are recorded to have befallen it was a Crown prosecution of COURTEN (in company with several other foreign merchants of note, among whom occur the names of BURLAMACHI, VANLORE, and DE Quas'raa) on the frequent charge—so obnoxious to the political economy of that age—of ‘the unlawful exportation of gold.’ COURTEN was brought into the Star Chamber and was fined £20,000; a sum so enormous as to excite a suspicion of the accuracy of the record, but for its repeated entry. The prosecution was instituted in June, 1619; the defendant’s discharge bears date July, 1620. But it may