Frederic de Coninck Letters
Translation Project

Brother Francois becomes the manager of the 'Jardin'; Frederic returns a vital document to his mother; Frederic asks brother Jean to consider selling his lace; half-brother Robert Oursel Jr. emigrates to London and finds work; Uncle Daniel stops farming and plans to go to Virginia; Jean and daughter 'Catin' are re-united; Jean gets engaged to cousin Marie Testard-Crommelin; Frederic's wife Marie Camin miscarries a second time; Francois is seriously ill; hurtful rumours about Jean cause his engagement to Marie Testard-Crommelin to collapse

1688 Timeline

5 January 1688 - St. Quentin

Marriage at St. Jacques Church (RC) of Camille Crommelin (1664- ),
daughter of Jacob Crommelin and Elisabeth Testart,
to Daniel Jeannot.
Click to enlarge. 2 / 3


Schiedam, Holland
8 January 1688

Monsieur Jeremie le Blanc [in Hamburg]

I had the honor to write to you on 20 November and send you at the same time a covering letter and invoice for a box of lace from Dieppe to sell on my behalf. It was shipped in the vessel of Peter Downes. I learned from the handler that it arrived in Hamburg but as yet I haven't received a letter from you which disturbs me, fearing that my letter may have been lost. I'm sending you this second notice. I urge you therefore to let me know what you think of the lace so that I can know what to do. While waiting I wish you a good and prosperous year and am as you know...

Schiedam, Holland
8 January 1688

Monsieur Abraham de Rochefort - [One of Frederic's business partners in the tannery who later dropped out.]

I sent you the following by boat the day before yesterday:
18 dozen pair calf hides of which:
No. 5: 6 doz per 220
No. 2: 6 doz per 220
No. 3: 5 11/12 doz per 208
17 11/12 dozen - 648 pound net.
It was implemented without reckoning that paquet No. 3 is a line in which there are only 5 pair, therefore a bit less than 18 dozen. But since this won't be essential, it doesn't really matter. If you find this to be of benefit, I would be pleased to receive your orders and render service on other things. You know that I am...

17 January 1688 - Received Letter #121 from Mother at Le Havre. Replied 29 January.

Le Havre
10 January 1688

My dear son and my dear daughter

I received your letters. I wish I had the ability to break into pieces in order to satisfy you all. You know poorly the situation here since much hangs on the document which is essential to us. It isn't enough that Oursel has it. He must have it in hand in case Roudiere causes us grief. He claims that you have no confidence in him. I can't tell you more than that.

I have, my dear daughter, the lace patterns all ready to send to you. I'm waiting for the opportunity to send them by a certain ship's master, but he doesn't stop here [in Le Havre]. I will have to send them to Rouen to Mr. Hubert who will send them on their way. They will be sent to your cousin where you can get them. I hope with all my heart that you can do a good trade and that something good comes of it. If you want something done with them and it's to your benefit, let me know. It won't cost you anything. Terotte worked hard on these.

I pray God, my children, that He richly blesses your business and makes this year happy and full of all kinds of prosperity for you. May He give you long days together with contentment. May this great God have mercy on us and give us his peace and the reestablishment of his church in this country. God give me the grace to see you one day. I embrace you both and am ...

PS - You know via April that your brother is to become the manager [of the Jardin rental property in Rouen]. He began to exercise his charge at the beginning of this year. So he has the means to maintain it if she wants to take care of him.

To tell you how we live now, nobody says anything. Each does his devotions in his own house and sings the psalms. There are apostles in this district who discreetly preach the word of God. It's well known, but there are no more investigations. May God by his grace so rekindle the torch of his Gospel so that it can bring light to the most ignorant, and so that all might come to a perfect knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

Schiedam, Holland
29 January 1688

Madame Caterine Crommelin

I received your letter of the 10th of this month. I must admit that for some time I was apprehensive to receive it since I see in it only more sadness and bitterness for me. There are times when life depresses me so much that I would like to have the means to travel to the other side of the world to rid myself of so much anxiety and piercing worry. I haven't been able to be paid one pitiful thing in 7 or 8 years of what belongs to me. And yet to add to the woe it seems that you declare against me and that you won't hear the fairest and clearest thing in the world which I proposed to end this unfortunate affair. Let the whole earth judge it. In God's name consider it and do me justice as soon as possible. I wait anxiously everyday that this be done because you know that with little it is almost impossible to live. I can't stress the benefits of the foregoing enough.


I would only like to have the happiness of which you speak and to know the truth of all things. I am not mistrustful, but if that were the case you can't find it strange since one finds with difficulty when I can expect to get anything, and possibly nothing should be expected by either you or me since you urge me not to run any risks. Letters and packets are not lost by the post office. It is a sacred thing. In addition to this there are many other secure and fast couriers that brother Oursel knows about better than I. This is all that I can tell you regarding this document, and I believe you will kindly put this into effect.

I think my sister told you that I no longer needed the patterns and I reiterated to you the same thing. If I had them 4 months ago they would have been useful but now it's too late. I am much obliged to my sister Terotte, and I thank her for her trouble and greet her affectionately. Also my other sisters and brother Francois. I was pleased to learn that he has a job. I hope that it goes well for him. I think he has forgotten me and that he doesn't consider an appeal that I made to him with respect to Durand, the father. His son is a wretch who is twice as much trouble.

If I didn't write you at the beginning of the year, it's because of the grief I've been having. However, this doesn't prevent me from still extending my best wishes always for your prosperity. May you have everything that you wish for in the world to your contentment and satisfaction, with a long life for our consolation. These are my prayers that I put before God continually.

Schiedam, Holland
17 February 1688

Monsieur Jean de la Chambre [in London]

Several months ago I wrote you with an appeal to send me immediately a summary of your account with me. Since then I haven't heard a thing from you which causes me to redouble my appeal on this subject. In God's name give me an hour of your time and send me an account of the balance owing as soon as possible so that I or Mr. Camin can withdraw this amount.

You know that with little one can do little, and that I now have great need of what belongs to me. I don't doubt that you will render me justice on all things in accord with your usual fairness. It's what I'll be waiting for anxiously. I haven't heard a thing from that wretch, Durand, which makes me


worry that his debt to me is lost. My wife and I salute you humbly, and all your family, able now to render you service, knowing that I'm always at your service...

25 February 1688 - Received Letter #122 from Mother at Le Havre. Replied 15 March.

Le Havre
14 February 1688

My dear son

I received yours of the 29th past which had been delayed in transit. If you have any bitterness or sadness, be assured that I have 4 times as much. So much, in fact, that I can hardly express it, and unless I die nothing can possibly fix it, so I just don't say anything about it.

He [Oursel] doesn't deliberately withhold what you request so as not to satisfy payment of the balance outstanding. You think that I don't take your side in this matter. I told you before God that I take it so readily that we often have a quarrel over it. Why do you lash out at a thing that is so just? We must have the document for our discharge. It comes from worst case worries about Roudiere. And you, my dear son, wouldn't want me to get into trouble. If you will send it to me I declare that I'll do as much to see that you're satisfied. You can send it to me via whomever you want. I'll return your certificate soon. You can imagine how agitated I am.

Our ship brought back nothing on this last trip. The preceding one didn't bring back anything either, so to make up for this it was necessary to take the money out of the big one and have it put up for sale. We have nothing left because there are only 4 banks and the farmer's don't pay. I've never had such sadness in my heart as I have right now for having to live here and because so many others have gone. Furthermore I live without the means to fix anything. I have, however, a bold plan to see you. Whale products are still being sold although it doesn't bring in a lot of money. There isn't much of it.

Your brother Francois is in possession of his employment which earns him 60# (livres) per month. If he were frugal he could save 30# however he never has enough to spend. He seized the 'Jardin' (rental property). Next Easter he will have received two years worth of rent, both yours and mine. Write him for your portion and take care not to raise a fuss over it. Be friendly because he takes offence over nothing. This miserable Jardin has cost me a lot of money in defending myself against a knave who sued me for sub-letting his property. Since he is dead all is in suspense.

With regard to the lace patterns, they were all ready to send in a letter to be given to the master of a vessel. I didn't know you wanted them sooner. I'm quite upset about it. My daughter, your wife, changed her mind about doing any more work with lace but she does embroidery like your aunt du Chemin [Esther Crommelin]. May God give her good success. May God bless you because nothing would give me more joy than knowing that you are well established.

As for the father Durand, I don't know if your brother sees him much at present. It seems to me that this is no longer as it was in times past. The savings are gone. I don't think you'll have too much trouble getting the certificate which he has in his hands since Roudiere is anxious to know everything at Abbeville.

Mademoiselle Petan is in London. If she wishes to give the money to her brother to pay you, she would do it with pleasure. Goodbye. I greet you and your wife affectionately. Your very affectionate mother ...

PS - If you write your brother, Francois, don't mention the 'Jardin'. There must be silence a little while longer because of Roudiere's involvement. Do have patience.

Schiedam, Holland
15 March 1688

Madame Caterine Crommelin

I received your letter of the 14th of last month. I still complain that you have for me an extraordinary hardness having no regard for my appeals for justice in my cause. However to show you that I'm acting in good faith, I've returned what you've been asking for. Necessity and your consideration call for many things to be done beyond the rules of equity. You will be the guarantor of my future. I don't doubt the sincerity of your promises. They were made a long time ago which makes me believe that you won't take advantage by delaying putting them into effect.

I urge you, and I don't want to have to say it twice, to give me a receipt for the return of this document - something I must have. I greet you humbly and affectionately...

Schiedam, Holland
16 March 1688

Monsieur Jeremie le Blanc [in Hamburg]

I haven't received a single letter from you since the one you wrote me on 6 January. This makes me think that my lace still hasn't been sold. I had thought of continuing this business, but far from that, I see that it's a losing venture since there's no way to lower their price. I assure you that if all the costs are added up they amount to more than their sale price. However to put an end to this, get as much as you can for them in cash. I still offer you my services. I am ...

Schiedam, Holland
30 March 1688

Monsieur Jean de la Chambre [in London]

I was pleased to receive your letter of the 2nd of this month with a summary of your account with me in which I see that it returns to me 61:8 pounds of which you kindly remitted 36f10 via a bank note by Joseph Pyle on Samuel Antony and Company of Rotterdam at 2% which he accepted. I examined the account which I found quite satisfactory. It remains only for me to thank you for all the trouble that...


you took on my behalf. I'll never forget it. Please continue your good friendship and know that if there's anything I can do for you, I will do so most gladly.

I'm greatly saddened that our uncle Daniel doesn't do anything with his land anymore. He wrote me saying that he's decided to leave in order to go to Virginia where he can stand on his own legs. I wish him luck. I'll write him shortly. [Apparently Daniel had grown tired of working on rented property at Greenway Court, Kent, and wanted to go to Virginia where he would buy some property of his own.]

As for what pertains to Durand, I'd be grateful if you would please continue to speak occasionally to Mr. Browne to learn if there's any way to extract something from him. I greet you most humbly and also my cousin, your wife. I am wholeheartedly...

Schiedam, Holland
6 April 1688

Monsieur Jean de Conincq [in London]

I benefit from the occasion of brother Oursel to tell you that I received your letter of 20 December last in which I see that according to all appearances I will lose what Durand owes me. [Frederic's half-brother, Robert Oursel Jr. living in Rotterdam, apparently paid a last visit to Frederic in nearby Schiedam before emigrating to England in April 1688. He carried this letter with him to Frederic's younger brother, Jean de Coninck, in London.]

That doesn't prevent me from asking you to do whatever you can to extract something from him by speaking to him from time to time. I wouldn't know how to complain enough about a rascal like that. He's written me nothing. But what astonishes me most right now about his knavery is his indifference.

Our tannery is coming together normally. God willing I may have found a way to earn a living. I mentioned to you that I started a business selling lace from Dieppe but it isn't going anywhere right now. It's rather dormant. Please let me know if there's some way to sell it where you are without loss and if there would be any risk in sending it to you.

I have much joy in learning that your establishment is gaining more and more by the increase in commissions which come your way without you having to account for them yourself. [Apparently Jean is a good salesman for some company.]

I also rejoice that you have been reunited with little 'Catin'. I pray that God gives you satisfaction one way and another. My wife greets you affectionately, as I do too. I am...
[Jean's wife, Marthe Duval, died in England around May 1687 so little 'Catin' (Catherine de Coninck) never saw her mother again after she was hurriedly separated from her parents when they fled from Rouen, France to Rotterdam, Holland in October 1685. It took about 3 years for her to be finally reunited with her widower father sometime around December 1688. 'Catin' and her sister, Marie, were soon to become orphans in August 1690, aged 5 and 4 respectively.]

Schiedam, Holland
6 April 1688

Monsieur Daniel Crommelin [at Greenway Court, Kent, England]

I was very pleased to receive your letter of 15 February, all the more because I thought you hardly ever thought of me, but on the other hand I was sad to learn that your land isn't being worked anymore because it didn't yield what you hoped it would. This means you have to leave ...


and find something better. Provided that milord Culpeper is reasonable and that it doesn't cost you, I think you'll be alright. When I consider the French people who have taken land, they only seem to have lost. I consider myself fortunate to be outside and that I wasn't held to my word on Cobhome's land for which I had offered 60 pieces but of which I probably wouldn't have 1 pound left right now. If the land spoken about in Virginia is true and sincere, it sounds incomparable. Better to go there and live at one's ease than to live in these countries and eat sadly what little we have left.

I admit that if I were single I'd make a trip to these places to know for certain how things are there because, to tell you the truth, I'm suspicious of all that has been said on this subject. Everyone speaks according to his passion or inclination. We get tempted and then fall insensibly into the same traps as others have, or those who deliberately went down the drain ('aller a la Caroline'). It reminds me of the time when I was with you, and you said that folks were leaving Virginia because of the tariffs that the king had imposed. You know that almost nothing but tobacco is being grown there and that there's a high customs duty for its entry into England.

Be that as it may, I hope I'm wrong and I ask that you'll let me know when you're over there to tell me exactly what the situation is. I don't regard my current occupation as so permanent that I wouldn't go away and find out whether things are as you say they are. I have enough incentive to do that especially if my hopes of earning a living in this country don't prove true. Your company, that of our good friend, Mr. Rondeau, and perhaps that of our great cousin Daniel [de la Chambre], in addition to a troupe of dear friends following your example will attract and influence me much. Thank you for your good advice. I'll put it into practice as soon as I can.

[A letter from Daniel that Frederic alludes to above may have included an invitation to join Daniel in his planned trip to the New World. If that had happened, Frederic also would likely have died of yellow fever in Jamaica five years later.]

Please convey my regards to all those who remember me. My wife salutes them also, and you especially as well as my aunt [Anne Testart]. I'll look for the relative whom you mentioned. I wish you all manner of prosperity and contentment. I am, as you know...

5 May 1688 - Received Letter #123 from Mother. Replied 16 September.

24 April 1688

My dear son

This is the covering letter for the two certificates attached which I'm sending you. Don't worry about the arrival time. I'll do the best I can to have them on their way soonest since the last ship left about 7 or 8 days ago. I'll be careful, don't doubt that. I pray God that He will bless you and cause everything to succeed to your satisfaction.

Thank you for taking the trouble to guide Oursel [Robert Oursel Jr.] If this time of misery lasts he'll be a poor boy if he doesn't shape up. I suspect your wife is pregnant now. I am continually in spirit with you. My dear son, I am so depressed I can hardly express it. May God lessen my grief. Please pray always for me. I embrace you both. Adieu. Manon has left de Febure. All send their greetings. Let me know that you have received this letter.

22 June 1688 - St. Quentin

Marriage at St. Jacques Church (RC) of Adrian Crommelin (1643-1706),
son of Adrian Crommelin and Susanna Doublet,
to Marguerite Richard ( -1720).
Click to enlarge. 2 / 3

Schiedam, Holland
July 1688

Monsieur Jean de Coninck [in London]

Since monsieur le Febure was returning with his new wife, I asked him to give you this letter by which you'll note that I received both yours of 2 April and 20 May.
[Rachel Crommelin was a daughter of Jean Crommelin and Rachel Tacquelet. She was the second wife of Pierre Testart. One of their children was Rachel Testart who married Pierre Le Febure in Rouen in 1677. Apparently she had now died and Pierre Le Febure had a new wife whom he was taking over to England where he was now living. He carried this letter over from Holland to Jean de Coninck in London. See bottom notes of Catherine's letter of 15 November 1686 for more info about Le Febure/Testart.]

I would have replied sooner to the first one if I had seen that the sale of the Dieppe lace was going better than what you indicated. It didn't give me the courage to send you any considering also the risk of confiscation if it were discovered. [Apparently England and Holland were nearly in a state of war at this time.] I have purchased some for around f90, half of which I sent to Hamburg eight months ago. The rest is still here. What bothers me is that not a single piece has been sold.


One must have patience and wait for better times with the promise that I won't ever go any further with this business.

As for our tannery, I would say that it isn't going very well, but also not too poorly since I haven't had any losses until now. There's nearly a war starting with England which may cause us to become more active. We've done little trade since we reorganized our business so we'll have to see what this brings about. If after this things don't go any better, I'll have to think about going elsewhere. What bothers me most is that my capital is so small that I can't afford any loss. Besides, one has to live. Although the affairs in England aren't going too well, there are times when I regret having left there because if I had gone away from London a thousand or two (leagues), I would have had few expenses and the interest on the little that I had would have been a great help. Thus I would have drawn little upon my capital until I had the means to become employed. Anyhow I hope that your affairs are going better than mine and that they are succeeding to your satisfacton.

The rumour here is that you are getting restless being alone and that shortly you will be joined by a person [Marie Testard-Crommelin] for whom I have a high regard. I will be most happy when that happens. I was even given to believe that this event has already happened, but I don't believe in hearsay. No doubt you would have told me if it were so.

[Marie Madeleine Testard-Crommelin was the widow of Isaac Testard of Blois, son of the minister Paul Testard. She was already settled in London before the death of Isaac Testard and her three children from that marriage. [Previously it was thought that she had settled in London after the death of her husband and children.] She had become a widow with 2 children around January 1687 (See Catherine's letter of 13 February 1687). Their first child, Marie Testard, had already died by the time of Isaac's death but the second child, Marianne, and Isaac Jr. were mentioned in his Will.

She was the daughter of Louis Crommelin and Marie Mettayer. This prospective marriage to Jean de Coninck didn't take place because of a nasty rumour that was spread about Jean de Coninck. Instead, Marie Testard-Crommelin married Nicolas de la Cherois five years later on 4 May 1693 at the French Church in London's Threadneedle Street. [However, this may not be the case because many Huguenot registers were lodged at Threadneedle Street when the Huguenot churches closed. Mormon transcribers have falsely claimed that marriages etc took place at this church. It is unlikely that they married there as the first de la Cherois daughter was baptised by pastor Samuel Mettayer at his second Church in La Petite Patente in Soho in 1694.]

He was Nicolas de la Cherois the elder, captain and major of the De Marton regiment. Thus began the de la Cherois-Crommelin family line in Ireland.

During the winter of 1689, after the debacle of Dundalk, the brothers Nicholas and Boisjonval de la Cherois were stationed in Lisburn from where they were sent on forays to Carlingford, Sligo and the besieged Charlemont. Captain Nicholas De La Cherois fought at the Boyne and during the rest of the Irish Campaign, only returning to Lisburn after Daniel de la Cherois had settled there, probably after 1699. Then he joined Daniel in the linen industry, also living in Castle Street. He married Marie Madeleine, a sister of Louis Crommelin [of Lisburn], and they had two children. He died accidentally in 1724 after being sent poison in mistake for medicine by an apothecary.

Marie Madelaine had three children with Nicholas de la Cherois - Marie 'Madelaine', Nicholas and Samuel. Nicholas Sr died 1702, Nicholas Jr died 1706 and Marie Madelaine Crommelin died 1724. ]

With regard to what you told me about Durand, I see that he's still as ornery and audacious as ever. More than two years ago this visionary gave me the same promises that he repeated to you. I would have been a lot happier if I had never known this wretch who has caused me nothing but grief. Therefore I consider my debt as lost. I would be obliged if you would continue trying to get something from him. My wife, who is about to give birth, salutes you. On her behalf and mine, know that I am always...

Schiedam, Holland
July 1688

Monsieur Robert Oursel [in London]

I pay you the usual apologies for being late in sending you this letter and for not writing sooner. Since Mr. le Febure was on his way home, I gave him this letter to deliver to tell you that I received yours of 20 April which pleased me much - all the more because you say that you have found a nice place to live with two merchants who give you substantial money with the expectation of prospering for years to come. Congratulations on this find, and I hope that you will be able to live there satisfied and to your joy and satisfaction.

As for our tannery, it isn't going very well. Regretfully it returns only a meager income. I'm not sure whether the changes we made in reorganizing our crew will make it go any better. Time will tell if it was wise to dismiss Mr. Braux and Mr. Harmen. We didn't make any more with them than with our friends. Instead we're just going to give up making chamois. As for me, I'm getting a bit tired of this city but to go elsewhere would be difficult. The lack of success in working with leather is most discouraging. Our account ledgers still haven't begun...


to show a profit although I'm getting by. As you know I've written and mentioned this several times but for all that, I don't see where it's been of any benefit. This makes me wonder if I should stay or whether I'd be better off if my tannery were in the antipodes...

9 August 1688 - Received 27 July Letter from Jean de Coninck in London. Replied 3 September.
Page 1
Page 2

27 July 1688

Monsieur my brother

When I received your nice letter via monsieur le Febure, I assure you that it was beginning to bother me that I hadn't heard any news from you for a long time. I'm also sorry to hear about the lack of success you're having with the tannery as well as with lace. I hope the reorganization you have undertaken works out for the better.

As for the latter, if you would like to try it here, you can send me what you have when it pleases you. If they are of fine quality with nice patterns showing little flowers, they will sell well. This season would be good to send them because some are stocking up for winter, especially those items that have a strong resemblance to the lace from Malines.

I hope that the pregnancy of my sister, your wife, produces for you a second boy who fills the loss of the first. I wish her a good and speedy delivery. Please give her my love.

As for the wedding that monsieur Testart said that I had contracted with our cousin Testard, I appreciate your sincere reply that it was a good match and that you hoped it had already taken place. I confess that it is still very much under consideration and that I would like your honest opinion. Since you know her disposition I won't say anything about that. Therefore I ask that you kindly approve my deliberations and that you do it soon because I'm not sure of certain things. Be assured that I wouldn't do anything of this nature without your input since we're brothers of friendship and kindred spirit.

I won't mention the reasons that compel me to take a wife for the second time. You aren't ignorant of my situation. It isn't as though I didn't ask mother to send over our sister, Manon - something I asked for several times. It won't happen, at least not soon. That's all I can say on this subject, and that I am wholeheartedly, monsieur, my brother, your very humble servant and brother, John De Conincq.

DSC_6842.JPG - [New box of letters]

Schiedam, Holland
12 August 1688

Monsieur Jeremie le Blanc [in Hamburg]

It would appear that my lace hasn't been sold since I haven't received any news since your letter of 15/25 March by which you informed me that you would try to put an end to them. I would reiterate to you the same thing that you make one last effort to sell them at the least loss possible. The longer you keep them, the worse it will be. I can readily assure you that in future I won't be involved in this business any longer.

Schiedam, Holland
3 September 1688

Monsieur Jean de Coninck [in London]

I happily received your letter of 27 July to which I would have replied sooner if I hadn't planned to inform you at the same time of my wife's child birth. According to her count, she passed her term three weeks ago. However, she still hasn't given birth which causes me to fear that there's been a miscarriage, especially since she's been badly afflicted by bronchitis which still hasn't left her. May God cause all to go according to what He deems best.

As for your marriage, I would be most happy if you were to be joined by a person for whom I have so much esteem - my good cousin Testard [Marie Testard-Crommelin, widow of Isaac Testard of Blois. She had 2 children.]. I hope that in a short time I will learn about the conclusion and consummation. At the same time I pray God that it is to your well-being, and that He pours out His blessings on all your enterprises so that all goes according to your aspirations.

With regard to my lace, I would have sent it to you a long time ago if there wasn't so much risk involved. It's the fear of confiscation that has prevented me from doing so up till now. I'll wait a little while longer. If I can't sell it here then I'll send it over to you.

I was told in Rotterdam that the last fire in London was put out three houses away from yours which you had fled from in fear. What's worrisome is that in the times we're living such incidents won't happen more often. My wife greets you affectionately. I am...

18 September 1688 - Letter #124 from Mother at Le Havre.

Le Havre
18 September 1688

My very dear son

Although it's been quite a long time that I haven't received a letter from you or your wife, it doesn't prevent me from taking part in all that touches you, especially what I learned with great dismay through your sister Camin [Catherine de Coninck, wife of Jean Camin in Rotterdam] regarding the pregancy of your wife who suffered 3 weeks before giving birth. She knew that the poor little baby was at its end when she wrote me, thus I suspect that God has taken him to his eternal rest. My dear son and daughter, don't be grieved by this. God is a shelter from all the anguish and affliction in the world. See how many children God allows to suffer in all ways. It's true that it's sad and that now God has taken back two from you. Don't lament their well-being. God will give you another when it pleases Him. My dear girl, may God raise you up to good health again.

Our miserable vessel returned the day before yesterday with 130 kegs of whale products. It was the worst one to arrive in Le Havre. There was one other in Honfleur that didn't bring back anything. That of Jacques and Mr. vander Hulten was devoid of cargo. It would have been better if ours had done as much, if this isn't offensive to God, because in trying to survive we are in great consternation. May God give us the strength to rise again above this trial. The affliction we're suffering isn't for us but undoubtedly comes by His will and grace for His glory.

I embrace you both with all my heart. May God bless and keep you. I came back from Rouen eight days ago where I looked after your brother who was sick. The poor boy was all alone. He hates his work, and his health isn't too good. He is extremely full of bile which soaked through the linen. When you have a chance, please write him. He'll like that. Adieu. I am...

Schiedam, Holland
26 September 1688

Madame Caterine Crommelin

It isn't for lack of love or respect that it's been so long since I've written. It's because I feared saying some things that would upset you because after failing to show faith in a forthright manner during which I was hard put to be patient after such a long time of complaining, you wrote that as soon I would send...


what you wanted so badly, you would render me justice and satisfy me soon. In that assurance on the word which you gave me, I happily did what you wanted me to do for your peace of mind. However this had no benefit for me. On the contrary, you don't even consider my situation. This action strikes to the bottom of love and I'm beside myself to even think about it. O God, must I go on complaining forever and never receive justice? It isn't for you, mother, that I'm writing this. You know for whom it is meant [her husband, Robert Oursel Sr.] I think that if he didn't control your interests, everybody would be happy. Please continue being mindful of my concerns. Do what you can so that I can recover what legitimately belongs to me. I've told you several times that I need it, so now I repeat it once more. My business isn't going at all well as I had hoped. On the contrary, if God doesn't restore better times, I don't know what will become of me.

My wife gave birth on Saturday eight days ago to a baby boy whom God took back on the following Thursday. She is doing well enough and sends her regards. Please give my affectionate greetings to my sisters. I forgot to say that if you don't want to give me satisfaction, you can return via the post what I'm sending you herewith. This is a person's right which you can't honestly refuse. May God keep you well. I am...

Schiedam, Holland
26 September 1688

Monsieur Francois de Coninck [in Rouen]

If it's been a long time since I've written you, it isn't because of lack of affection but the lack of opportunity. I live in a small town where it isn't easy to get mail out to foreign places, at least not in a sure way, not even by boat. However, that doesn't prevent me from inquiring from time to time how you are doing. Rest assured that I'll never forget you and that I will always have a brotherly love for you. I learned that you are sick which causes me sadness and anxiety. I pray God wholeheartedly that He restores you to perfect health.

Perhaps I can congratulate you on the subject of the employment which you have obtained - all the more since I'm told that your situation is lucrative. On the other hand I hear there are certain envious people who do all they can to hurt you. I have no doubt they won't succeed in their nasty intentions because you have friends to support you and because of your rotund build that doesn't give them much to strike at. This is what I hear, although I hope you'll be able to rise above this trouble and live a life that's quiet and peaceful.

As for me, my business which I thought was good in the beginning now proves to be contrary. Therefore, unless God gives us better times I don't know what else to put my mind to.

My wife salutes you. She gave birth on Saturday eight days ago to a baby boy whom God took back on the following Thursday. I would be pleased to get news from you from time to time. In that expectation I am wholeheartedly...

28 September 1688 - Received 11 September Letter from Jean de Coninck in London.
Page 1

11 September 1688

Monsieur my brother

As I take part in your joy for the happy deliverance of a child by my sister, your wife, I also share in your affliction in the early loss of a son which God gave to you. I can't even find words to console you. You are too good a Christian not to accept with humility all that it pleases God to send us, and to reflect on how God takes the innocent into his place of rest as soon as they see the light, not wishing that they be subject to the miseries that we mortals endure here below.

I am most grateful for the letter you wrote me and the approval you have for my marriage to cousin Testard and your best wishes regarding this enterprise. May it be according to God's will, His glory, my well-being, and the mutual satisfaction of all my friends, and especially for the good of my children.

As for your lace, if you can sell it where you are then you will avoid all manner of risks. If not, then send it to me whenever it pleases you. I'll be devoted to selling it to your maximum advantage.

A while ago I received a letter from mother telling me that our brother [Francois] was quite sick and that he was chronically sad and depressed. Expressing regret over his deficiencies, I hoped to draw him out of his melancholy. He asked me where he could get his old used clothes (although I replied that I thought he had enough already). [Francois spent some time in England and evidently left some of his old clothes behind with Frederic.]

May God give him grace and to all those who stayed in France. I pray especially that He may bless you according to all the righteous desires of your heart. These are the wishes of your very humble servant and affectionate brother, John de Conincq.

PS - Please give my affectionate greetings to my sister, your wife.

6 October 1688 - Received Letter from Jean de Coninck

21 September 1688

Monsieur my brother

I'm writing you these lines with the greatest sorrow in the world, urging you immediately in brotherly love to make discreet inquiries as to who the enemies are who at their pleasure say all manner of evil things about me, and to find out what they are doing to disparage me and to cause me to lose my reputation so that everyone will say that I'm unable to do business, and that I've wasted the best part of my life.

It is being said by my closest relations who have said such things to our cousin Louis Crommelin [this is the 'Louis of Lisburn' who married his cousin Anne Crommelin. He and Marie Testard-Crommelin are the children of Louis Crommelin and Marie Mettayer] who in turn wrote to his sister to dissuade her from considering my merits. So now she doesn't want to go through with completing our marriage, even though the contract has been all arranged!

I address myself to you since I believe that you, as my brother, have some interest in my welfare. I therefore urge you to make inquiries so that I can know who these relatives are that have cost me my marriage and my reputation. Not only have they torn apart my marriage by their malevolence which I regarded as a boon, but they also caused me to lose my reputation amongst those who I counted on for support. Therefore please be kind enough to make inquiries and do not reveal that I've asked you to do this. Requesting this favour with my whole heart, my dear brother, I am your very humble and affectionate brother, John de Coninck.

PS - You can render in your own handwriting the enclosed. I greet my sister, your dear companion.


Schiedam, Holland
8 October 1688

Monsieur Jean de Coninck

I received your letters of 11 and 21 September. I note with sadness in the last one where you talk about your marriage. It's all the more surprising because I thought that it had already taken place. In all honesty I can't think who amongst our relatives could be behind this breakdown and that of your reputation.

Anyway, this knavery must be quite extensive so I'll speak to those who live in Rotterdam. As for the others who live elsewhere in the country, I don't have any communication with them since I'm rather isolated here and rarely see anybody. It seems that you are destined to be tested much with regard to your marriages. You recall the opposition you encountered over your first marriage [to Marthe Duval] but which you managed to overcome.

I have no doubt the same thing will happen this time especially when my cousin comes to the place where she is apprised of the nasty rumours, and that they are merely the works of perhaps a rival suitor who spread them to make you look bad. I hope with all my heart that this happens so that in a little while I can see you in possession of the one you love.

May God bless your undertakings and keep you. I am with all my heart...

PS - The old clothing of our brother is still at the home of cousin de la Chambre. At least that's where I left them.

[This marriage did not take place. Marie Testard-Crommelin married Nicholas de la Cherois five years later. Therefore Nicholas de la Cherois could have been the originator of the nasty rumours that caused Jean de Coninck's second engagement to fail. He was likely in the area around this time because in November he was in Exeter for three weeks with William of Orange as part of the Dutch Army of the Glorious Revolution. Since there was no second marriage for Jean de Coninck, the inheritance money of his orphaned daughters, Catherine and Marie, eventually fell into the hands of Daniel Crommelin who used the money to establish himself in New York.]

From Fiona Lewis:
I will send corrections of a few factual errors mentioned here regarding Marie Madelaine Crommelin. Reading these letters anew I would say that Guillaume Crommelin (her brother) was in London as a merchant where Marie Madelaine Crommelin was widowed after Isaac Testard's death. (Isaac had been an ANISE merchant in London.) He left a Will but I have not seen it yet. Her sister, Catherine Crommelin, wife of Jeremie Bourgeat/Burgeat, died in 1686 in Paris and requested beforehand that her mother, Marie Mettayer, should emigrate from Paris to London, which she did and made her Will there in May 1688, leaving Marie Madelaine Crommelin £300.

(Late in 1695 Jeremie Bourgeat/Burgeat proposed to Marie Oursel ('Manon'), but she turned him down much to Frederic's disappointment (see Letter of 26 January 1696). This means that he had been widowed for about 10 years before making this proposal to 28 year-old Manon. He was obviously an older man but very wealthy. On 17 August 1686 he and Jacob Crommelin signed an act of burial of Rachel Tacquelet (Jacob's mother and Jeremie's wife's grandmother) who died the week previously. Apparently Jeremie lost his wife (Catherine Crommelin) and Rachel Tacquelet the same year. Perhaps Jeremie was a 'nouveau converti' Catholic. His lucrative business interests in Paris may have prompted him to abjure.)

Perhaps Louis merely wrote to his sister, Marie Madelaine Crommelin, not to marry in haste so soon after being widowed from Isaac Testard, and that their mother was there to help her, at least during her initial bereavement. Jean de Coninck clearly indicates that he needed childcare, and a wife was cheaper than hired help. It is good to know that both de Coninck brothers held Marie Madelaine Crommelin in high esteem.

'Not sure what to make of the rumours, but doubt that it was Nicholas de la Cherois who started them as they had already spread. Also, the engagement between Marie Madelaine Crommelin and Jean de Coninck was cancelled before Nicholas de la Cherois reached London on 19 Dec 1688. Btw Nicholas and Marie Madelaine Crommelin had 3 children, not 2. Nicholas died aged 12 in 1708.

•November 11 (November 1 OS) – The Glorious Revolution: William III of Orange sets sail a second time from Hellevoetsluis in the Netherlands to take over England, Scotland and Ireland from King James II of England before the Glorious Revolution.
•November 15 (November 5 OS) – The Glorious Revolution begins: William of Orange lands at Torbay in Britain with a multinational force of 15,000 mercenaries. He makes no claim to the British Crown, saying only that he has come to save Protestantism and to maintain English liberty, and begins a march on London.
•November 19 (November 9 OS) – William of Orange captures Exeter after the magistrates flee the city.
•November – Nicholas de la Cherois stayed at Exeter for three weeks in November with William of Orange as part of the Dutch Army of the Glorious Revolution.
•November 26 – Hearing that William of Orange had landed in England, Louis XIV declares war on the Netherlands. Perhaps revealingly, he does not attack the Netherlands but instead strikes at the heart of the Holy Roman Empire with about 100,000 soldiers. The Nine Years' War begins in Europe and America.
•December 11 – Having led his army to Salisbury and been deserted by his troops, James VII and II attempts to flee to France. On his flight to France, King James II stayed at the 'Dirty Habit Inn' (pub) in Hollingbourne, near Greenway Court, Kent, England where Daniel Crommelin and Anne Testart were living. It was at Hollingbourne that Frederic de Coninck and Marie Camin were married while residing with Daniel Crommelin.
•December 18 – William of Orange enters London.