Frederic de Coninck Letters
Collecting revenue from lace and an overdue loan; Esther Crommelin; Daniel Crommelin leaves his farm in England;
Wondering who is to care for the two orphans.
12 January 1691 - Received Letter #130 from Mother at Le Havre. Replied 29 January.
Mother: 3 January 1691 - Le Havre
Received: 12 January
Replied: 29 January
My dear son
I have just remitted three hundred livres in a letter to Mr. Nietz on Mr. Francois van Hillegaart of Amsterdam. You will obtain payment in due time. In God's name, don't be impatient for the remainder. That would be the greatest error possible. Everything is in upheaval and I don't know what measures to take. No oil has been sold. I have such great sadness I can hardly talk about it. God give me patience. I have great need of it, in all sorts of ways.
By his grace, God has brought us into a new year. God willing we might have the liberty to travel and have the freedom to see each other in the company of all our brothers. And you, my dear son, may it please God that you be blessed with the holy benediction of heaven and earth. May He make you prosper and bless your labors which would give me much joy because, my dear, I wish with all my heart that I be the only unfortunate one in my family.
There's something worrying me that should be put in order. No doubt you will have found the letters that I wrote to your poor brother Jean. They are of no use now, and in some of them I spoke to him about your brother Francois. They must be burned otherwise seeing them could bring up hard feelings.
I hope that my dear little Frederic is doing well. God bless him and may his cup be full of the fear and admonition of the Lord to your contentment. I kiss you and my daughter, your wife, to whom I extend the same wishes as for you. I am, my dear son, your affectionate mother,
I wish you, my dear brother, a happy new year full of satisfaction and prosperity. My sisters greet you and wish you the same,
29 January 1691
Madame Caterine Crommelin
I received with immense joy your letter of the 3rd of this month in which I found that you made a remittance of 100 livres of what was owed to me in a note on Francois van Hillegaart of Amsterdam. Thank you very much. I lost a lot of money on the exhange rate but one must have patience. I view this remittance as a tangible token of your care, and an answer to my prayers.
I can't help saying, however, that after being sent my parchment as generously and in good faith as I had done, I would have thought that after he [Robert Oursel Sr.] left me to languish and sweat for so long, at least he could have remitted the remainder of what he owed me all at once since then it would do me some good. Then I'd be able to do something with it which presently isn't possible, at least if the rest doesn't follow soon. Mr. Oursel would have been able to do it easily enough because I know that he's a business man. I have a quite a few things to say about this conduct but it's better that I go easy since it would be more Christian to be satisfied without raising too much of a fuss. After doing things his way, I received most of my estate in bits and pieces which barely enabled me to survive. In short, I bid you in God's name to do whatever it takes to put an early end to this matter entirely so that I won't have to weary you anymore with my letters, and then I can write you with a different attitude. I think the value of oil must be increasing in France since you intend to go out fishing this year.
I can't say anything more about my little nieces other than what my sister wrote you. When the lace which is here is sold, a request will be made to the magistrates for a ruling...
on what's to be done with the money and how to proceed. I was always told that you wanted it sent to you but I couldn't believe it. You are too pious for that. This would only be to intentionally lose these children and be the first act of bigotry done to them.
My wife had the honor of writing you at the beginning of this year to wish you all the best. I pray God that He watches over you to see all these wishes fulfilled, and that everyday He might bless you with benedictions spiritual and temporal. Please give my regards to my brother, and my sister Manon, and my other sisters. My wife conveys her greetings as much, but above all for you. Our little one is doing well. I embrace you with all my heart and am with deep respect...
19 March 1691
Monsieur Jeremie Le Blanc
The last letter I wrote you was on 18 December by which I asked you urgently to give me a reply on the subject of the effects in your possession belonging to my late brother, Jean de Coninck. However, I've heard nothing from you which surprises me all the more since you promised to render me justice on this. I don't know what to attribute this unreasonable silence. Permit me to say that.
Please, monsieur, I ask you once more to send me a tally of what you sold and what remains unsold of the said effects so that I can take steps to remove what remains in your hands and not have to bother you again about this matter. I ask this in the name of two small orphans, thus your conscience is to be engaged in this. I hope you will give some thought to putting an end to this matter, the sooner the better. It's something I anxiously await with impatience. I greet you and am...
1 May 1691
Francois Leguat Expedition
Frederic's cousin, Jean Testart, aboard the frigate "Swallow", and part of the 9 man Francois Leguat Expedition, is dropped off at the uninhabited island of Rodrigues in the Indian Ocean.
(Island of Rodrigues in the red box inset.)
8 May 1691
Monsieur Robert Oursel Jr.
I didn't respond sooner to your letter of 23 December because matters hadn't advanced. In the end, however, I was authorized by justice to sell the lace for the benefit of the children as per an invoice written by the hand of the deceased which was found on him after his death. It was for about f1600 and there is still about 1/4 of the lace left to sell. I will try to make an end of the remainder as soon as possible so that some interest can be taken from the net revenue and placed where I'm instructed to do so. Some money was also found in his pocket which was used to pay for the expenses of his burial. That's about all I know pertaining to our brother.
An inventory has been made of everything. I don't see either bills or letters of exchange. I believe, however, there was one between him and Mr. Camin for about 2 or f300. He told me in passing that the deceased owed him that. This is something you may be able to clarify for me. Please also send me a statement of how much the sale of his furnishings amounted to and if there were any debts against them so that I can know how much the aforementioned children will be able to have. When the lace is sold I will let you know what it all amounts to.
As for the aforementioned Le Blanc, he has at last replied that he rendered justice but that it still can't be accomplished anytime soon because he sent a portion of the goods to Coningsbergen and that it will be returned if nothing gets sold. Whatever happens, I don't have much faith in this man and for the most part I don't think he has much integrity. I'm told his brother left for the Indies about 2 years ago.
I've been thinking about what you said about our late brother taking with him the letters and papers necessary to settle with Mr. Camin. I haven't seen anything of that amongst the stuff at Rotterdam, and if there were any more letters of his correspondence from Brussels, I wouldn't be able to know about them. As for the other matter you mentioned, I too think so having learned that our aunt du Chemin also had some claim.
With regard to the guardianship, it would be a waste of time to speak meaningfully with our brother-in-law when the whole world itself would not change anything. He told me himself...
that he was confused by several lawyers, amongst others a Mr. Resuage who created all manner of difficulties for him. Although, in my opinion, it's a matter that he no longer wants to think about, God knows that I have the best wishes in the world for them but I can't do anything. You know that I have a very ornery business in which I struggle everyday and I'm about to have a second child. Even without them my accommodation is very limited, so judge for yourself what I can do. No doubt you'll say that you are also unable to take responsibility for them. I maintain, however, if you'll allow me to say it, that you still haven't taken responsibility for anything and you had the opportunity to earn a proper living. Please have patience and keep an eye on the said children so that they lack for nothing and, above all, manage well what belongs to them. I think that amongst the furnishings you sold, the rods and drapes don't appear.
After all, when I think about this matter, my mother is the closest next of kin. At first she appeared interested but now she doesn't mention it anymore in any way - something I don't find reasonable. You'd think she would at least involve herself jointly with your father by taking them both for the sake of the children. They don't want to take charge of anybody while they would be able to maintain them quite adequately. But even should they promise to take heed of what I say, how long would it last, and how sincere would their promises be? Indeed, there is no longer any justice in the world. As I told you before, my heart sinks when I think about it. If the will had been prepared in the province of Holland, Mr. Camin would not have been able to renounce it, and if my sister were able to follow her instincts, she would do something and perhaps quite a lot, but she is rendered doubly incapable.
If I had believed that you would write to Mr. Le Blanc before me, then I wouldn't have written him. I fear this will only serve as an excuse for him to keep what he has, not knowing to whom he's accountable. Nevertheless since he promised to return justice we'll have to be patient and see which side he reports to.
The thief Durand is now living at Hamburg and I'm told that if I followed him there I wouldn't gain anything by it, and that I wouldn't be any further ahead. However, I'll write to him.
I'm annoyed that this grand scheme of yours didn't succeed. I wish with all my heart that you would encounter another one where you would find all the satsifaction that you've been longing for. But having been writing for half an hour, I want to close by saying that far from hanging on to the children's money, please don't mix up their affairs in any way.
8 July 1691
Monsieur Jeremie Le Blanc
I have duly received the honor of your letter of March 24 by which you note your good intentions to return justice to the children of my late brother. Since then I haven't received any news from you even though this interval has been more than sufficient to have the effects returned from Coningsbergen. If this is so, allow me, monsieur, to say that you had no instructions to send them so far away. Nevertheless, please in the name of God do me and other interested parties justice by remitting the proceeds of the items sold, and obliging me with a tally of what has been sold and what remains for sale.
Please put together a package of the unsold items and send them via the postal stage coach to the address of Mr. Tobie Amsincq at Amsterdam who will receive it on my behalf. I hope you will expedite this without delay inasmuch as you noted that you would be more than happy when you will be free of this affair which only you are able to complete.
Upon examining the lace that you returned to me, I found an error with item No. 21. It cost firstname.lastname@example.org while your tally amounts to 1.5@ that you did not account for. For greater clarity, I am sending you...
the attached receipt written in your own hand so that you will know it to be the truth. Thus there is a balance outstanding of f5:5p which you would be pleased to let me have. I will wait impatiently for you to expedite my requested instructions. Meanwhile be certain of my willingness to render service to you as much as I am able. I am...
8 July 1691
Monsieur Jean Durand
No doubt you will be surprised to receive my letters and perhaps you imagine that I no longer think about you. If so, then rest assured that you are quite mistaken. You are so strongly rooted in my spirit that I will be quite unable to forget you.
It's true that I would like to have kind reminiscences of you regarding a favor that I did but this isn't possible considering you will not give me just satisfaction regarding my requests. I learned that you left incognito for Rotterdam in great haste, apparently at a time when you had no good intentions for me. Now you have left being a chemist to become a merchant. (I'm even assured that you do business at Hamburg.) Perhaps this change of profession would have made you a more honest man and that you will now have a more salutory disposition toward things that concern me. This I would strongly like to know.
Don't mind me, but I can't help saying the plain truth that you trapped me so fiercely and in such an abhorrent manner that I would not be able to forget the supposed services which you rendered me which unfortunately caused me to fall into a trap. Consider the unfair proceedings that you left behind. Don't think for a moment that this is the way to attract the blessings of God on you. Even amongst people you will lose your reputation so that no one will want to trust you.
I hope that you will do some serious reflection and that you will engage your conscience so that you will be resolved to pay me what you owe me for such a long time. I am in great need right now, and I pray in God's name that it be done cordially and as soon as possible. After this I swear that I will easily forget what has transpired and that I will even return you services should the occasion arise. Meanwhile I await with impatience the effect of what I ask. I am...
7 July 1691
Monsieur Pierre Godefroy
I have the honor of your letter of the 25th past that addresses certain calf hides. The belt-maker believed he received 157 but I found one less. Perhaps I was wrong. I wasn't able to do a recount since they had been immediately mixed up with the others. There are some that had been heated too much. These should be retained and advise those unfortunate butchers not to cut them up. Please don't send me the first ones you have until there are at least 60 otherwise it wouldn't be worth the trouble. I'll send you the leather as soon as I can, but I can't say when that might be. Several people have been anxiously asking for the biggest pieces.
I'm sending you today 1 roll of thread for sewing that my wife spun by order of mademoiselle your wife. I am well pleased to see that my lace is going little by little. I hope in this way that you will soon see the end of it. Please also take care of the ones which you received from Rotterdam...
I am authorized to sell them. Once again there are many to deal with.
Please forward the enclosures to their respective addresses. Le Blanc returns me no justice for the orphans. I pressed him strongly again to remit monies for what he sold and to return the unsold effects via postal stage to the address of Mr. Tobie Amsincq. Since I know you aren't on good terms with the aforementioned Le Blanc, I chose this address. That's why when you see the aforementioned Amsincq please convey my appreciation and tell him that I took the liberty to have you reimburse him for the freight cost. However, I think nothing will come of it since I don't think Le Blanc will return me justice, at least not without pressure. This indeed bothers me and the whole family, for my nieces have great need of all that belongs to them.
I hope that I will be paid this year. The vessels are preparing to go out fishing. I also wish your wife a happy pregnancy as did my wife who delivered a baby girl this morning. I greet her very humbly and you as well.[This girl, Marie de Coninck, born on 7 July 1691 died, age 50, on 5 December 1741 at The Hague. Her Last Will and Testament was made in 1733.]
P.S. - I'm pleased that you agree that the bulk of our trade is quite inexpensive. Incidentally, you forgot to return my first tally of calf hides.
12 July 1691
Madame Caterine Crommelin
My wife delivered on the 7th of this month a girl who was presented for baptism the next day by Mr. Camin and my aunt du Chemin and has been named Marie. The mother is doing very well, and thank God she is a wet nurse. The baby is also doing well enough.
My sister received this past week one of your letters that informs us that you are at Rouen with the intention of doing a trip further away without saying when it will be. I pray God that He watches over you on your trip and causes you to succeed in all your legitimate plans.
I am most surprised that you say that the children of my late brother are best to stay where they are since brother Robert protests as hard as he can and absolutely insists that he wants nothing to do with their care. If there were means to maintain them, he wouldn't complain so much. Thus you see the necessity that the said children have what belongs to them or at least the revenue derived from it. However, I see him only in a state of doing nothing. To add to the misfortune, Mr. Le Blanc of Hamburg has about f600 worth of merchandise in his hands that belongs to the deceased. I cannot reason with him and believe that all that is lost for this man is worth nothing. It's quite a big loss. While it may not be a big thing, this income would be sufficient to maintain one of the granddaughters for nearly 6 months. However, the good Lord will provide.
Besides, I will do all I can to be of service to them without being taken advantage of because it looks to me that with the growth in my family I will need more than ever all that belongs to me. I await for this to happen with more patience than he [Robert Oursel Sr.] can possibly achieve in rendering me justice. I can't understand one who likes better to vex me and make me languish rather than selling some barrels of oil when it could fetch a good price. This would have been more than sufficient to satisfy me entirely in one stroke. I just can't comprehend anything about such conduct which everybody finds unfair. I always seem to go back to this. I must have patience in spite of myself. I pray only that by chance he might show some goodwill toward me, and treats my interests with a bit more respect. He wouldn't have been able to remit the last letter of credit on Amsterdam if there were any problem. I know that through a certain acquaintance. I didn't hear any mention about ships, so I don't know what it's about. I believe it's some caper at Dunkirk. If it is, I doubt strongly that God will bless such an enterprise.
I greet my brother [Francois] and my sisters affectionately and embrace you, my dear mother, with all my heart...
13 July 1691
Mister Robert Oursel Jr.
I reply to your last letter of the 12th past. It conflicts with a letter from my mother that my sister received last week in which she maintains that the children are quite well where they are and that they should stay there pending new instructions. She is now at Rouen and is about to leave for St. Quentin, apparently for some legal proceeding. In other words, my mother has abandoned the said children and they want to put nothing toward their maintenance.
I can see they won't be any happier than me after so many years of vexation to me to finish up this legal matter. However nobody listened to me. I find this conduct irritating. I was offered a certain political settlement that is good only for maintaining a horrible dissention in the family. Again a blow that isn't Christian. If you were to come away empty-handed it's because you are thought to be well positioned, or soon you too will be offered the same political settlement because I know something about that. For 2 years I've been told that the oil hasn't been sold. I'll be told the same thing 10 years from now. But this has much to do with you too because I don't doubt that you also have a veritable dismay in this way of acting.
Getting back to the children, I see that you no longer want to take responsibility for their care. It's your fear of the future that compels you to do that. Nevertheless to keep them where they are, it will be necessary to put them in a boarding home. This wouldn't be a problem if there were the means to maintain them through revenue from their estate. The problem is that there's barely enough to support one so it would be necessary to consume their capital. If all that you still have in your hands were spent, it would allow them to subsist only 3 or 4 years. I hope that between now and then we will have peace [between France and the Anglo-Dutch] at which time you would be able to send them straight to my mother. So think about it. If in spite of all this you persist in not wanting to keep them, my sister said that Mr. Camin finally consented that you can send them to his address but he doesn't want to mix up in any way the accounts or the monies which you have.
Meanwhile if you decide to send over the children, you'll have to find an occasion when it is safe and secure. It would also be quite necessary at the same time for them to generally have everything that belongs to them. This is why I advise you to prepare an exact accounting, sending it over and remitting the net proceeds which seems fair to you. That's about all I can say on this matter. For my part, I will return to the children the whole service that I'm capable of since it's impossible for me to take advantage of them.
I have written strongly to Mr. Le Blanc but I don't expect a response. I learned from several sources that this man is a lost cause who is most devious.
My wife delivered on the 7th of this month a girl who was baptized the next day and named Marie. The child is doing well and the mother also. She greets you affectionately. I too embrace you with all my heart...
31 July 1691 - Received Letter #131 from Mother at St. Quentin. Replied 22 November.
Mother: 23 July 1691 - St. Quentin
Received: 31 July
Replied: 22 November
My very dear son
Your uncle Jacob* met me upon my arrival which was last Saturday. I received yours of the 12th current under cover of your sister, by which I happily learned of the delivery by your wife of a baby girl named Marie and her baptism by Mr. Camin and your aunt du Chemin. [Likely a sister of Pierre du Chemin, husband of Esther Crommelin - Jacob, Catherine and Daniel's younger sister.] I pray profoundly with all my heart that God may bless her and give you the grace to raise her in the fear of God along with my dear little Frederic who I'm told is very sweet.
God gave me the grace to arrive here after an endless trip. I passed through Chaulny where the house is occupied but where so much has been demolished following the accident [ie, the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes]. Here there is only plenty of tears since the death of my mother [Rachel Tacquelet]. Again I had a few tears myself. There was still some small debt left behind that an aunt had asked for. This angered me so much that I decided to come here. I didn't do that well on my trip because it looks like nothing but it's farther than one thinks it is. Oh well, there's no use crying about it.
Regarding the two little orphans, it is indeed a pity that Le Blanc causes them to lose f600. Here there is a guardian who is so fearful of assuming responsibility that he takes things a little at a time, something which Mr. Oursel would also like to know about. If you find this proposition to send for them can be delayed for the better, it would mean a saving.
My son, if we had had vendors we could have sold the oil by now. It's regrettable that we still have it. The ship was sold a year ago but we still haven't got anything for it yet. The sale was made quickly by him to get money which he needed to pay for it. Therefore there's nothing left but I assure you that I am aware of your plight and that each request regarding the 2 children will have first priority. I don't know how much he thinks about it but I heartily hope to get this behind us.
I embrace you and my daughter, your wife, heartily. Your affectionate mother...*[While Catherine's brother, Jacob, was living and working in St. Quentin, his wife, Elisabeth Testart, was living in Rotterdam, Holland, where she had fled following the Revocation of Nantes in 1685. Jacob, a banker in Paris, returned to his hometown of St. Quentin and took up the linen trade again after having lost a lot of money in banking. He could easily go back to St. Quentin because he owned the linen business which he received from his mother, Rachel Tacquelet, as a wedding present when he married Elisabeth Testart. However, Jacob abjured while Elisabeth didn't, and they lived apart until 1708 when Jacob retired to Rotterdam and rejoined his wife there. When this meeting took place in St. Quentin, 3 of the 4 surviving siblings were together: Jacob, Catherine and Esther. Meanwhile brother Daniel was in England, likely at Greenway Court, Kent.]
23 August 1691
Monsieur Jeremie Le Blanc
This letter is being sent under cover of Mr. Gossen in which I can't help bringing up the differences I have with you and the little satisfaction which you have given me. He surprised me and promised to write you so that this matter might be soon resolved. Perhaps it might bring about something good and that you will pay heed to his solicitations which can finally cause you to provide the satisfaction which I asked of you for such a long time.
I implore you once again, monsieur, I would regret to be rid of your friendship or to take forceful action which I'm constrained to do because I'm still mindful of our former cordial relationship. Therefore please render me justice in accordance with what I said in my last letter of the 8th past. It is the shortest route. After that I promise that I won't interrupt your life again with similar things. I await the fairness that you will render and also justice regarding the error you made on my lace amounting to some f5:5 as per the receipt I gave you written in your own hand and enclosed in my last letter. I greet you and am...
4 September 1691
Monsieur Robert Oursel
In your last letter of 31 July you didn't respond in any way pertinent to what I said. Instead you interpret things in a spirit which I never intended. If I said to reflect on what I had written, it was by no means an obligation to have you assume the guardianship. If you did, it would be entirely at your own volition. However, I said this for several reasons, namely because I believe you have enough of their estate to maintain the children until there is peace after which time they can be sent straight to my mother. Also it would avoid the risks of their passage, and principally because it would cost a lot more to maintain them in this country than in England. Here they ask so much for board it scares me, but I also said that if you want absolutely nothing to do with keeping them that my sister said that Mr. Camin has given his consent so that you could send them over there. I reiterate the same thing. If after this you still keep them for a long time you would do well and you wouldn't have cause to complain. You are always of the opinion that if you've gotten nothing from Le Havre it's because you're powerless. I'm of the opposite opinion. It's simply because they don't want to, and they won't assume any of the pain for what happens besides.
I'm convinced that oil will rise in value while I'm told that fish is worth nothing. I still don't have a response from Le Blanc. I wrote him another strong letter under cover of Mr. Gossen who promised me to also write forcefully. I fear that it will have no effect but in the meantime I can't do anything else. I don't know anyone else to whom I could send a power of attorney or who would be willing to take on this affair. I also don't know what he owes exactly. To further mix up the misfortune he wouldn't sell the lace. Before he sold them for 5 or f600 in a tally. The rest which remains there is extremely expensive or of a bad assortment. Our brother carried on a trade in which he didn't consider taste. They include fashions that are out-dated so there will be a lot to lose.
If Mr. Guilpin doesn't pay what he owed to the deceased, it seems to me there is f28:15 to be paid if you please. It was needed to pay Miss Carteaux here.
My wife greets you and I wish you all manner of prosperity and am...
P.S. - Please buy me 4 knives when convenient. You can't find good ones in this country. One calls these rusty things knives which I wish could be used at least twice. In other words, they shouldn't be too heavy or too light. They should weigh about 3,5 each. I need them to cut cow and calf hides so I'd like them to be fairly long but not too wide. They should be well beaten and have a good temper, in other words, of good quality because if they arrive badly forged, they wouldn't stand up and the money would be wasted.
I'm told that you will be able to get good ones for 7-8 or 9 each but since you aren't familiar with this item you would need someone who would be pleased to buy them who can test and try them out. Here's the address of someone in the business who perhaps can help: Mr. Menanteau or Mr. Couroyen in Kings Street, St Gilles, London. This address was given to me by a trader who works for us. He knows the said Mr. Menanteau well. Please convey my regards to him. Please send the knives as soon as possible since I need them badly. And please send the freight bill to the account of Mr. Camin. I would be most obliged for this. Remember, they must be quite long...
9 November 1691 - Received Letter #132 from Mother at Le Havre. Replied 22 November.
Mother: 3 November 1691 - Le Havre
Received: 9 November
Replied: 22 November
My very dear son and very dear daughter,
It's been a long time since I've written you and longer still since I've heard anything from you. However, I haven't left you out of my heart and pray God that He blesses you and keeps you from all evil. Fifteen days ago Mr. Durand paid me the honor of having dinner with us. I took the opportunity to speak to him, my dear daughter, about you and the estate that you have near Abbeville, and asking him about Madame Locquin en Jeussort. He said that he didn't know her and that all he had was 2 papers you left with him when you left Rouen. He complained that you had written both quite angrily and that he didn't know why you protested to me so much and that he never had any thought of misappropriation. About that, I asked him if he wanted to give them to me so I can return them to you. So here they are enclosed but not in their entirety since your signature had been ripped off, but he gave me the pieces.
I believe, my dear son, that monsieur, his son, would return to you what you had loaned him when he got good employment which he still hadn't been able to find. So I asked if he wouldn't mind paying a portion of it if he couldn't pay all of it. Presently, my dear son, I wrote three times to Rouen to have a letter of exchange on Rotterdam or Amsterdam in the amount of 200# to be remitted to you. Thus I saved two hundred livres on this little commercial transaction. Write me if you don't like the idea, or let me know who else I should give it to at Rouen. I will remit it to him soon enough. I know you've been grumbling against me lately and I would like to do something to make you stop. Alas, by God's grace this is quite wrong. Dear Lord Jesus come quickly to our deliverance. You know what burdens I bear.
Your poor brother is upset that you treated him like he didn't exist because you didn't bother to write him or your sister about the death of your poor brother Jean. Nor did you talk to him in any way about the orphans and how they're doing. There are quite a few other things bothering me. I don't know how things will go; to whom they will be sent; or who their administrator is. Lord willing they will be quite strong enough to come...
and that they will arrive swiftly and safely.
I have been to St. Quentin and back without much having changed. Your aunt [Esther Crommelin, born 3 June 1648, next younger sibling of Daniel] has the best part [of the inheritance left by Rachel Tacquelet]. She would have more if I hadn't written, and I could have stretched my claim but it would cost me a lot of money while only obtaining a little more. Meanwhile Mr. du Chemin thinks that I received the biggest share of the estate. That's all I did about that. I still have God's mercy and peace, and it wasn't my intention to argue with him.
They easily recognized me and one quickly sees by their beautiful expressions the affection they have for me. Have patience in God, my dear children. May God bless and keep you and your two dear children. Your very affectionate mother...
PS - Your brother [Francois] left for Rouen 4 days ago. Mr. Oursel and your sisters send their greetings.
Notes regarding Esther Crommelin, the youngest surviving sibling of Catherine, Jacob and Daniel.
Born at St. Quentin 3 June 1648
Died at Rotterdam 8 August 1729 age 81
(1) When she was 17 years old she married Jean Torin in June 1665. He was born in Rouen and died in 1669.
(2) When she was 22 years old she married medical doctor Dr. Pierre du Chemin in 1670 [according to Jacob Crommelin] likely in France. He died 13 March 1725.
(3) When she was 33 years old she re-married Dr. Pierre du Chemin in England, perhaps to satisfy some legal requirement there as per the following:
See Also:Allegations for Marriage Licences issued by Vicar-General - Canterbury Vol. 30 Harleian Society - 1890.
Marriage allegations in the Registry P. 78 Nov. 7, 1681
Pierre du Chemin of Rouan in Normandy, now dwelling in St. Paul, Covent Garden, Midd., Mercht. Bachr. about 29 & Esther Crommelin of Rouan but now dwelling in St. Paul, Covent Garden, wid. abt 31 [actually 33] at St. Mary Magdalen, Old Fish Street, London.
St. Mary Magdalen on Old Fish Street was demolished in 1870's. It's interesting to note that they got married here and not at the French church. Perhaps there was some legal formality involved in doing this.
While Esther Crommelin and Pierre du Chemin were married and living in England in 1681 (before the 'Revocation') they must have returned to live at St. Quentin. Since she was now in France in 1691, not England, this would explain why Esther's name never came up with regard to another possible foster parent for the two orphans. Of Rachel Tacquelet's 15 children, only Catherine, Jacob, Daniel and Esther were still alive at this time, most having died young.
Reference: (children from two marriages)
Source: "Revue Historique, Scientfique & litteraire du departement du Tarn" Vol. 27 1910
Title of Chapter: "LeS REFUGIES DU PAYS CASTRAIS" (seen spelled 'Castres' also). This is a listing of refugies and religionnaires in alphabetical order.
The family to look at is d' Amalvy. Isaac d' Amalvy married Marie Du Chemin. (Isaac [died sign of cross] ep 1709 Marie Duchemin fille de Pierre dr eu med a Rouen puis a Rotterdam et des Esther Crommelin.)
Translation: Isaac d'Amalvy married Marie du Chemin. Marie du Chemin was the daughter of Pierre (doctor of medicine) at Rouen, then at Rotterdam, and Esther Crommelin
Here is a rough interpretation of Esther Crommelin's chronology:
1648 - June 3, Esther Crommelin born at St. Quentin
1665 - June, marries Jean Torin, a merchant at Rouen. She is 17 years old.
1666-1669 - The couple has 3 children: Esther, Isaac, Abraham
1669 - Husband Jean Torin dies
1670 - Marries Pierre du Chemin of Rotterdam, perhaps in France. She is 22 years old. He is about 19 years old.
1671-1675(?) - The couple have 2 more children: Marie, Catherine
1680(?) - The couple relocates to London.
1681 - November 7, the couple get re-married in London perhaps to satisfy some legal requirement. She is 33 years old, he is about 30.
1683(?) - The family of 7 return to France.
1685 - The family flees to Rotterdam following the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes. He becomes a doctor several years after his return to Rotterdam and practices this profession with great success, adding pharmacy in its infancy to this science.
1691 - November, she and husband Dr. Pierre du Chemin are in St. Quentin, either living there or just visiting in order to settle the estate of her late mother Rachel Tacquelet. This was at a time when a state of war existed between England and France, so travel was restricted. Therefore they could have been living in France at the time.
1692(?) - Their son, Abraham Torin, dies single at Rotterdam while studying a course in medicine, aged 24 years.
1704 - Their daughter, Esther Torin, marries her cousin, Jacob Crommelin.
1705 - Their son, Isaac Torin, marries his cousin, Madelaine Crommelin.
1709 - Their daughter, Marie du Chemin, married Isaac d'Amalvy (Damaluy).
1725 - March 13, Dr. Pierre du Chemin dies
1729 - August 8, Esther Crommelin dies at Rotterdam, age 81.
9 November 1691
Monsieur Jeremie Le Blanc
It's been about 6 weeks or two months that Mr. Gassen spoke to me on your behalf that I be patient, and that you had resolved to reply to me in a little while, but seeing that it continues to drag on for a long time and that, besides, this delay carries a big handicap for the affairs of my late brother since nothing has been resolved or would be concluded unless I finish this matter with you, I am obliged to write you this letter bidding you insistently that you hasten so as not to make me languish or to take advantage of me.
If you had followed the instructions I gave you in my previous letters, this matter would be over and I wouldn't have had to inconvenience you now. However, it seems this is what you wanted which serves only to extend the time and give me more grief than you can imagine. In truth this is unfair. Therefore I give you notice once more, dear sir, to render promptly the satisfaction that I've been asking from you for so long and to expedite matters as soon as possible. Mr. Gossen said that he would write you again. Hopefully this at last will produce a good effect and this letter will be the last one that I'll have to write you on this subject. This I wish with all my heart. Meanwhile I greet you and am...
PS - Please do not forget the error regarding my lace which I mentioned in my previous letters.
9 November 1691
Mister Robert Oursel Jr.
I received with joy your letter of 23 September with the 4 steel knives that I find are very good and exactly what I wanted. Many thanks for taking the trouble to do this. I believe you will have passed the amount of the cost to Mr. Camin.
I saw Mr. Godefroy upon his return from London. He assured me that you are taking care of our small nieces and of the affection that you have for them which makes me extremely happy. I had assembled our people to take this to a final resolution, but there's nothing to report yet. They simply don't want to hear about it or be bothered with this matter in any way. Therefore it would be a waste of time to talk meaningfully to them about it. In other words, only you and I have any charity for the children and we'll have to act jointly for their future well-being. I've said it before and I'll say it again that if my business succeeds, I would take the children into my home and willingly assume the guardianship but considering our present situation it wouldn't be wise to assume this responsibility. It wouldn't be good for the children but perhaps in the future God will bless me and then I could do all the good that I'm capable of. Meanwhile all I can do is assist them by way of care and goodwill. So, my dear brother, in order that your kindness doesn't cool down because of the difficulties that have arisen, please continue to be as good to them as you have begun. I will be as much obliged to you as though you had done it to me personally.
I wish with all my heart that the entire estate of our late brother be brought together and that the net income gets placed well-secured in England. I'm told the interest on that amount could maintain the children. I wouldn't be careless about that. I've sent a part of the lace to Mr. Godefroy but he hasn't been able to sell anything unless there's been a change or two since my last letter. They are so expensive that nobody wants them, although someone made an offer which would involve a loss to us. Perhaps accepting it would make you happier but I strongly doubt it. What is particularly displeasing is their long length. They happen to be the biggest pieces which I don't think could ever be sold here. Furthermore, I see that you're of the opinion that they shouldn't be sent to your quarters either because of the risks...
so I really don't know what must be done.
It's been some time since Le Blanc told me via Mr. Gassen that he would render me justice, nevertheless since I fear that his involvement won't save me any time, I wrote him again today to hurry up. If that doesn't work, I'll try to get Mr. Godefroy to mediate.
Miss Carteaux has been paid with regard to the f28:15 that Mr. Guilpin owed. I asked someone in Rotterdam for a receipt to be sent to you but she lost it. However, I swear that I saw it several times. Besides that she is registered by a notary to have the effects and papers of the deceased that are in this country. Mr. Guilpin is also. If Miss Missant has received the said invoices by his instructions, I would indeed have liked to see the said lady have another receipt but I'm told that she is married and living in Amsterdam. I conclude from all this that the said Mr. Guilpin now owes nothing and that he appears to be an honest man who will pay you what he owes if you'll give him a written receipt.
There are many people in this country who are preparing to go and live in Ireland. Since they are being given privileges, and you have some relatives over there, please tell me when the occasion permits what you think of the idea. My wife greets you affectionately and I do too...
22 November 1691
Madam Caterine Crommelin
I received with joy your last letter of the 3rd of this month with 2 pieces of paper that you had the kindness to withdraw from the hands of Mr. Durand. I thank you so much the more because he is a dangerous man who used them to trick his niece [Marie Camin, Frederic's wife]. I'm surprised that he complains that we wrote him in a cavalier manner. That's absolute nonsense. I wrote him quite civilly on the subject of my marriage to which he didn't bother to reply. We have written him since relative to the said papers. It's true that I pressed him a bit in my last letter but I didn't exceed the bounds of honesty. All this to no avail. The truth is this man is unbelievably arrogant if he claims to have taken steps to remove his niece from the convent. She paid plenty. I say this only in passing. His son is another arrogant individual who I don't believe has twice the money that he cheated out of me. I wrote him several times but without results.
Madam Locquin is a woman with more or less the same traits. She'll be your friend as long as you don't ask anything from her, and so long as you do everything that she wants. She is possessed of little good that her niece at Abbeville and I have heard mentioned in any way. Unfortunately I'm beset on all sides. Lord willing, He will provide. There are plenty of people who would be most displeased if there's a recovery.
As for what you say about me complaining, this is true, but don't let it upset you. There are others besides myself who also complain. If I grumbled I assure you that it wasn't against you at all. Until my last breath I'll have an unshakeable respect for your dear person. You don't know who I'm complaining about, but I'll tell you sometime later on.
Touching the f200 that you plan to get for me and which you note that you saved through your little transaction, if that's it, then I don't want anything. I'd be afraid it would inconvenience you and then I'd always have to reproach myself. But if I dare explain myself, I declare that I've thought about it and I'm persuaded that it would get you moving. It's a sad outcome of this unfortunate political affair to always appear poor in order to buy time for plans and affairs to improve. For example, I know there's a huge profit to made on oil, and I'm quite comfortable with that, but at the same time you don't want to finish entirely with me. The outstanding bill isn't so big. Is it possible that I'm being deliberately worn down only to have to keep writing you in a complaining tone? You settled well with my older brother [Francois], so why not with me? Then it would be a done deal and I wouldn't have to mention it again.
It seems to me that if you had had more conscience you would not have been so harsh to all overtures, even though you could have given what you liked to Mr. Etienne Eudelin, merchant at Rouen, who would have been careful to hold it in this country. You said plenty when you said that you'd like me to keep quiet.
Undoubtedly this attitude affects the things which you casually dismiss, and the equity which wasn't rendered.
For some time we've been nearby on the frontiers without receiving any news from you. It occurred to me that perhaps some strong movement was afoot that would give you freedom at last but, alas, I was fooled. God willing it may be so soon.
It remains for me to talk to you about the children in England. The matters regarding them are just as before which is to say that nobody wants to assume their guardianship. As for me, I continue to do the best I can for them. I didn't stop writing to Le Blanc so as to keep reminding him, but I don't know what he'll do about it. The lace won't sell because of its excessive length and cost. In the end I did my best but what I find extraordinary is that you told me that you'd make known when there would be a guardian. Why then hasn't there been one here for years because that should have happened by now? Besides, the said children don't have a sol [penny]. Must the children die of starvation while waiting for something to happen? You have to admit this isn't fair. If Robert can't get hold of some of their parents' money for their maintenance because of some excuse, then he should at least be able to access the interest that is owed them. Brother Robert is the happiest one of all. If he continues doing this he'll become rich provided that he also continues to remain honest, and above all, that he doesn't become devious. Apparently he is very kind to my little nieces for which I am indeed grateful.
My two little children are doing well and my wife also. She greets you and my sisters most humbly. I am with deep respect...
22 November 1691
Monsieur Francois de Coninck
Although it's been a long time since I've written you, and longer still since I've received any letter from you, I am, however, always quite concerned about how you're doing. The affection and friendship which I have for you hasn't diminished in any way so be persuaded, please, and believe me sincerely that I've hardly ever written to mother without asking how you're doing and what you're up to. I think the same applies to you with regard to me. I think you still regard me as a good brother and I wish ardently that it were in my power that we could soon express it verbally and renew our former friendship. God willing that we'll have better days than those in the past.
I'm still a peasant in this town where I've come to be of little significance. There are many refugees who are preparing on all sides to travel to Ireland to put down stakes. I'm much tempted to do the same thing but my affairs haven't succeeded so I don't find myself in a position to be able to do that, and it causes me to worry in a way I can't express.
No doubt you're aware of the situation regarding the affairs of our late brother. Apparently he had anticipated the misfortune that happened to him because a last will and testament was found that had been made just prior to his leaving for this country. In it he declared your brother-in-law and our sister [Jean Camin and Catherine de Coninck] to be the guardians of his children to the exclusion of all others. Unfortunately they strongly rejected this responsibility so now nobody wants to assume the guardianship.
There are ramifications this affair could have because of the few assets that the deceased left behind which consists of some lace that was left here and which nobody knows how to sell, and an outstanding debt at Hamburg. Besides this there was a little income from the sale of his furnishings. So that's his whole estate which I can't see going very far. It bothers me enough that I'm doing all I can for the children, which isn't much, but it's the only contribution to their care they're getting. No doubt you feel the same way. We are all obligated to them for conscience' sake. Furthermore if I haven't written you about this matter sooner it's because I'm so perplexed I really don't know what steps to take. It will always be a comfort to have your friendship through this ordeal. It's good that you're one of the more interested parties.
My family now consists of 2 children - a boy and a girl. I ask for your kindness toward them, as well as for my wife who greets you affectionately. I embrace you and am always...
11 December 1691 - Received Letter #133 from Mother at Le Havre. Replied 31 December.
Mother: 5 December 1691 - Le Havre
Received: 11 December
Replied: 31 December
My very dear son
I received your letter of the 22nd past with an enclosure for your brother that I'll forward to him since he's been in Rouen for more than a month. Before leaving he said that he wouldn't be there too long. When he's here he doesn't do anything. It's a great pity. It's too late to save him. He stays with Avril over at the 'Jardin' where he serves as the proprietor when I'm at Rouen. I don't go over there, not wanting to see that poor house. Avril charges only 125#. He pays rent. All the 'Jardin' cottages beyond the bridge are rented out. It's what I leave for Avril to do.
Rouen in 1655. Click to enlarge.
Note the pontoon bridge next to the remnants of the old Roman bridge that had fallen into disrepair.
I'm annoyed that Mr. Durand Jr. seems so trustworthy. I'm told he has a good record, though not always brilliant. He appears to be a prosperous gentleman but really isn't - just like us who you say have made big profits on oil. I still haven't sold much. I don't know if everything can still be sold at Rouen.
If only Mr. Oursel hadn't bought his part of the vessel for 67#. He was too hasty. The others sold their shares for only 55#. It would have been a bargain. Although stupid on our part, we had to find the money to pay them. The interest eats up our capital. The money has to come from the small boats and meanwhile it's difficult to sell the rest. Everybody is poor. With regard to ships, I believe it's still a quagmire and we don't have much interest in it anymore. God be merciful. I swear in truth that we aren't being duplicitous. We don't have more than a quarter share. Mr. Houssay has the other part having assumed the biggest share.
'Maison du Jardin' - a bed and breakfast place at Rouen
with a few rental cottages owned by Catherine Crommelin but managed by Avril
and, occasionally, by Francois de Coninck.
We wouldn't have mentioned the business at Dunkirk for some time. It isn't good, my dear son, and what I said about the money was strictly voluntary. I said that the 200# I wished to give you was from my savings, but I would have found it some other way too. It's been bothering me for a long time that we haven't paid you back, and I wanted to save something for you. I distribute to all my children. I don't have big capital but I remitted to Mr. Eudelin 300# to give to you. It went under a covering letter to him.
It's necessary to do something for the poor orphans, therefore Mr. Oursel must authorize it. My dear son, I have enough concerns on my heart which always cause me to languish. You mentioned there are some who do not wish any recovery. Alas...
they are the most miserable.
We had Demelle with the sisters of Mr. Oursel. If he had been here he wouldn't have recognized them. Because of them your brother de Coninck wouldn't come. He must be left to his own devices. The good man is now staying at Cantien which is fine with me.
God gives us his peace and the solace of our friends. We never speak haughtily. Our opposition has greatly diminished. There are people who remain closed-minded but the good Lord will come to our relief. God did me the grace to find consolation at Rouen and Paris which was a big relief to me. So I close with a kiss to you and my daughter, your wife, and the two dear children. God bless you. I am your very affectionate mother...
PS - Mr. Oursel and your sisters greet you. I'm told that Miss Aubering isn't doing well. I don't know how much longer she'll be in the world.
24 December 1691
Monsieur Jean le Charpentier
I received the honor of your letter of the 24th Current by which you gave me notice that you have an order from Mr. Eudelin to pay me the 100# that my mother put in his hands. I've been waiting for this news for some time. Kindly please pay the said sum to our friend Mr. Pierre Godefroy since you don't want to remit the money on Rotterdam when the occasion permits. I am most obliged for the service which you have rendered. Please know that I am entirely at your service should ever the need arise. Incidentally, I'm surprised that Mr. Eudelin gave you an order to withdraw 200#, money which he had in his possession for some time.
31 December (?) 1691 - Received Letter #134 from Mother at Le Havre.
Mother: 26 December 1691 - Le Havre
Received: 31 December (?)
My dear son,
I wrote you on the 5th of this month and anxiously remitted via a friend in Rouen 300# to give to you for the merchandise that you sent me and I hope that he will have done it. Since then I received an enclosure from your brother who is still at Rouen. He said that he is suffering from a serious ear ache which causes him some deafness and a low fever which he can't get rid of. What bothers me is that he rarely gets sick so I'd be obliged to go to Rouen in this cold time of the year. I told him if he could endure the coach ride to come here instead so that I can attend to him next Saturday. It will be better for me.
Some days ago I received the enclosure which he asked me to forward and which mentions that you had some plans to go to Ireland. My dear boy, may God put on your heart what is necessary. Also attached is a letter of recommendation for one of my friends asking that you consider hiring a friend, namely Mr. de Chombert. Those with strong recommendations will get the best positions. I don't intend to interfere in your business before I know something about who I'm referring to you. Then there's a trip to be made which is not without some expected risks. My son, don't take any risks lightly.
I'm told that my brother [Daniel] is now away from his farm having given it up. I believe that he also has some notion to come to this country. Alas, my poor family is so unsettled! [For about 10 years Daniel and Anne Testart and children, Charles and Isaac, had been living on a leased property at Greenway Court, Kent, England.]
If things go as expected, your brother would be a help because he's been managing the camp. The friend who sent me the enclosure asked me to tell you before delivering it that you will assess their quality and put that in a letter. You would only know what's at London. Your brother [Robert Oursel Jr.] will be able to tell you. I had planned to write your sister also but it's so cold I can barely hold my quill pen.
As the present year fades into a new year by the grace of God, I pray...
that He gives you lots of prosperity with the blessings of heaven and earth, and the health to enable you to comfortably succeed in your business. I pray ardently for the peace of Jerusalem. Lord Eternel, your compassions are infinite. Have pity on the condition of your poor children in this country who thirst for the peace of our friends. Lord Jesus, bring conviction upon those who do wrong and deliverance to all the poor prisoners. Amen.
I don't know the condition of Mademoiselle Aubourg. I embrace you together with your wife and my two dear little ones. May God give you joy. The whole family greets you in God my dear ones. I am your very affectionate mother...
PS - If you decide to make a trip, then send the enclosure before worries overtake you. However, if misfortune sets in, or you change your mind, then burn it.
31 December 1691
Madam Caterine Crommelin
I received the letter that it pleased you to write me on the 5th of this month in which you mention that you gave to Mr. Etienne Eudelin a goodly sum of what is owed me in the amount of 100#. I am greatly obliged and thank you very humbly. I haven't received any news about it for some days which makes me hope that I can get my hands on it by way of Amsterdam. I had hoped strongly that it didn't have to be done twice. The remainder would hardly be worth the trouble. If you had done it, then you would have rid me of the need to address this affair again, and it would have been a done deal which no longer would have to be considered. However, I must be satisfied with what I've been given for the present time.
I'm greatly surprised by the lazy life that my brother leads and that he doesn't have enough initiative to do anything. He must have more heart and push himself on one side or the other. I've expressed my thoughts on this before, and I don't mean to speak loftily about it, but I fear that the 'Maison du Jardin' needs so much repair that it would have been better to sell it when you had the chance a few years ago. I'm afraid that my brother will find himself too late in acquiring the bounties of life which attract him, and that he doesn't give anything back, believing he has great excuses for not doing so.
I have plenty of things to say to you but I would prefer to do it verbally. Alas! When I have this opportunity and when it takes place, I won't have to embarrass you any more with my letters, but more importantly, you will see not only from my mouth but also my heart, how dear a person you are to me. May it be God's will to bring this about by giving us true peace, both spiritual and temporal.
The children of my late brother are still very much on my mind. You are their refuge and their only hope in this world, but while waiting for the opportune time to be able to send them to you, it's necessary to arrange to have them hold at least some of the interest on what is owed them to pay for their maintenance. Simple charity and justice demands that.
Since tomorrow we enter into a new year, I pray God that you will be happy and that He showers you with His graces and most precious blessings; that He keeps you and gives you a long life full of joy and contentment. But especially that He gives you the necessary contentment of spirit and consolation for the trying time in which we live. I wish the same for all your family and all those who belong to you. I also ask for the continuation of your affection for me and mine, praying you to believe that we will always have for for you an inviolable respect that I will hold throughout my life...