Frederic de Coninck Letters
Death of Frederic de Coninck; Death of Elisabeth Testart, wife of Jacob Crommelin; Letters to son, Jean de Coninck, in Batavia; Crommelin-Torin Cousins' Assistance to Marie Camin; Storms at sea; Dutch East Indies Company
DSC_2133.JPG - 1722-04 -10-ToSonJean DSC_2134.JPG - 1722-04 -10-ToSonJean Mary Camin in Schiedam, Holland, to her son Jean de Coninck in Batavia (Djakarta, Indonesia)
10 April 1722 - [This important letter was received on 23 January 1723. Therefore it was in transit for a little more than 9 months. Note: March 27, 1722 in the Gregorian calendar is Friday. ]
What you have always anticipated, my dear son, has come to pass. It is today that you will learn the sad and distressing news of the parting we made of your dear father following three days of the illness of pleurisy. My God, to be healthy on Monday and dead on Friday which was on March 27 of this year! Alas, it's good that death for him was no surprise. He upheld the Spirit and the Word up to the last moment of his life with the hope of his eternal well-being. He gave to you and all his blessing. You are very far away, my dear child, and you can't be expected to catch the disease or to come and visit, but your brother who is nearby was no more fortunate. He arrived a half hour after his death because he had hardly left [for the Hague] when your father became ill. And then he had to come back in a hurry. He left at 4 o'clock in the morning and despite his noble effort he wasn't able to arrive in time to receive his blessing and exhortation which he made to one and all. He appealed for harmony and that we help one another because he was leaving us in quite a sorry state.
The tannery being behind in its expenses, your sisters and I will be destitute unless God by his grace wills to have mercy on us and gives us the means to earn a living. But now I'm old and even feeble for my age, and your dear father was aware of our delicate position in the world. First, his parting was their loss, and for me, I have the pain and regret that I can no longer work as I have always done before. I also worry, knowing of your tender sensitivity, that this troubling news doesn't grieve you too much and that you won't become ill because it's said that in the country where you are, grief kills. That's why, my dear son, do not let it afflict you beyond measure. Leave it to the will of God. Pray also that I might have the grace to submit to that, and that He might give me consolation.
Almost all the ships left 15 days ago which is sad because it didn't permit us to write you or even to think about your accounts. Now I'll have to find out if there's still time to send you 100 ducatons via Rotterdam to pay you for the commission that you gave to M. Reignier and your sister Mayon. Please work out their accounts and all that you find pertaining to this. I'll leave it up to you because your father never got involved in their affairs, and I also can't do it. I can't say when he last wrote you. I hope that you'll receive everything. My sad situation doesn't permit me to pay off everyone satisfactorily.
Your sisters embrace you and send their love. Your brother has a small business in the Hague. May God bless him and cause him to succeed. He has to write you. He was nearby but had to return. Goodbye, my dear son. May God keep you and bless you, and if it is his will, that he enables us to see you again. But since you are well established and earn your living there, my wish to see you again doesn't mean that I want you to leave your situation to become miserable here. But if God blesses you so that you can establish yourself here with honour, do so. I would be most happy for that if it were the will of God. I'm addressing this letter in care of monsieur Bosset so that you won't be too surprised. I embrace you, my dear child, and am your affectionate and grieving mother, Marie Camin
14 September 1722 - Death of Elisabeth Testart, wife of Jacob Crommelin, in Rotterdam.
"Waere affbeeldinge Wegens het Casteel ende Stadt BATAVIA gelegen opt groot Eylant JAVA Anno 1681" by Jan Janssonius
- TU Delft. Licensed under Public Domain via Commons
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From sister [likely Marie de Coninck, who did the bookkeeping] to brother, Jean de Coninck, in Batavia.
26 September 1722
My very dear brother,
No doubt you have already heard the sad news of the death of our dear father. What a blow for all of us, my very dear brother, to lose such a good and kind father whom we all loved deeply. I still can't express the extent of our sadness and am convinced that you are no less sorrowful. May God give us the grace to submit to his will. He remains with us every day.
Mother mentioned to you our situation which is very sad. I hope, however, that God by his grace will enable us to earn our living and that he won't abandon us as our dear father assured us. He also exhorted us a short time before his death to be in harmony, and that we all love one another. Although you didn't hear these words, I still hope, my dear brother, that they will leave the same impression on you, and that you will always have for us a kinship like the tender love and friendship that we have for you. And if God blesses you, please don't abandon us. This is what we pray for, and that God by his grace might keep you and enable us to have the joy of embracing you again some day.
Enclosed are the accounts of all that you have sent. I had quite a bit of trouble preparing them because they were all mixed up. You will see that I achieved that of my brother-in-law [Camin] and that he owes approximately f400 to f500. Mother mentioned to you their situation thus he can't repay this sum. I hope that if you suffer loss on the one hand that God will bless you on the other. What bothers us only is the account of Mr. Bosset. The trunk of Farras, my brother-in-law, has made the value of it as per what you will see on the account which is in your handwriting, and it redebits him for a sum of f309 which he's in no position to pay, nor we anymore either. However we believe that since Mr. Bosset had addressed the trunk to us, that the bill will come to us. However, I hope that he will be more reasonable and see that it wasn't us who received this money.
We are most grateful, my very dear brother, for the nice cups and folding door that you sent us, and we thank you with all our heart. We would like to be in a position to return something. Our intentions are good if our ability to do so would permit. We are sending you the account of the rough diamonds that you sent by way of the safe of the Company. You will see that they have been sold, one and another for more than you would believe. That's why by all appearances these are the best things that you can send over, and the things that give us the least trouble because we don't have to give anything in exchange.
I hope that you received alright the 211 ducatons carried by Adrianus van Rottum, first surgeon of the Chambre de Rotterdam which left on 22 April 1721. In addition Anthonie ... has money for fabric for which my brother sent you on account f320 for what he received. Then on November 29, 1721, sent by Ardemburg, first surgeon, House of Rotterdam, 300 ducatons which Mr. Regnier sent you, and since then for some other things, but we don't know by who. What remains here we'll send you by way of the earliest vessels that we can find. The ship de Rotte won't leave until Christmas. I believe that de Wys will be returning on this ship. We'll give him something, and also the surgeon of the vessel. As for Mr. Noortdorft, he won't be going back until Easter if he can get a good job there.
A 'Silver Rider' ducaton, 1733, minted in The Netherlands.
1 silver rider ducaton was worth 3 guilders (florins)
Enlarge "A" and "B"[In 1659 the Dutch states started production of the 'silver rider' ducaton, featuring a mounted knight on horseback. This design weighing 32.779 grams of 0.941 silver also featured the crowned arms of the United Netherlands on the reverse, with a shield below the knight indicating the province of minting. Rider ducatons were minted until 1798. In the period 1726-1751 ducatons were minted bearing the monogram of the Dutch East India Company.
Source: Wikipedia ]
I won't mention some news that mother will tell you about [i.e., the upcoming marriage of their brother, Frans]. So I'll close for now, my dear brother, by bidding the blessings of heaven on your protection and that God may shower his precious blessings upon you, and praying that we may be granted the continuation of your dear affection. Be assured of ours that will last throughout our lives. We are, my very dear brother, your very humble and affectionate sisters, Marie and Esther de Coninck
P.S. - Mother thought she'd have time to write to Mr. Bosset, but it's impossible for her. She'll do it at the first opportunity. In the meantime she asks that you thank him very humbly for the gift that he sent, and to convey her regards and ours.
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Letter to her son, Jean de Coninck in Batavia (Djakarta, Indonesia) from Marie Camin. (Jean is now nearly 30 years old - born 2 December 1692.]
26 September 1722 [Marie Camin is now nearly 63 years old. She was born 14 November 1659, Abbeville, and died 16 April 1724, Schiedam.]
I well received, my dear son, the two letters that you wrote me - one on 21 September, and the other on 29 November 1721. They renewed my grief seeing that you wrote to your dear father, still believing him to be in the world. No, he is no more, God having taken him from us on 27 March of this year after three days of illness without much anxiety, having known beforehand. Up to his last breath he gave to you and all his blessing as I mentioned before. I think that in the month of April I addressed my letters in care of Mr Bosset because I know of your sensitivity with regards to us, and what impact this news might have on you. But, my dear son, it is the will of God. We must submit to that as your dear father said that this great God would not abandon me or you either. If we live in his reverential fear, he will give us all his grace. These were almost his last words along with the exhortation to have harmony between us, and for the good sisters to love you as a good brother. You weren't able to hear these words verbally, and neither did your brother because he had the misfortune to arrive a half hour after his death. Thus he didn't hear both his counsel and exhortations which were to love and support one another, and that in the event God gave you the grace to return to Europe, that he might cause you to love your sisters, and to be a help unto them because their situation is sad. He looked to you for support because you would know what to do.
I told you that the tannery was in arrears. It is quite a lot, but we owed only to Madam Godefroy and Company. He handed me a large sum but they want it repaid. We are completing the hides which are for their account, but since your sisters and I could barely live if I did nothing, your cousins Crommelin and Torin gave me an interest-free loan for two years in order to see if I can survive. Having considered all the options, I thought it best to go on running the tannery because, although the profit is very small, once you begin something else there's no guarantee of success.
Crommelin-Torin Cousins' Assistance to Marie Camin
Esther Crommelin whose profile appears elsewhere in these pages, seems to have been a benevolent, spry, and fashionable lady. She was the youngest child of Jean Crommelin and Rachel Tacquelet, thus the younger sibling of Catherine, Jacob and Daniel. In 1722 she would have been 74 years old. She died in 1729, age 81. She regularly ordered cravattes and tea from Marie Camin; she held get-acquainted parties for the younger generation; she billeted Frederic's children (grand-nieces); and her children made an interest-free loan to Marie Camin to help her maintain Frederic's leather tanneries after his death in 1722.
Esther's first husband, Jean Torin left her with 3 children when he died in 1669. Her second husband, Pierre Duchemin, was a Dutch national from Rotterdam, therefore he and Esther had no problem leaving France following the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685. Duchemin was a successful doctor and a 'nice man' according to one of Frederic's letters. They would have been fairly wealthy because Esther would have been the beneficiary of her first husband's estate, and she would have had a share of the revenue derived from the liquidation of the large Crommelin Linen Works in St. Quentin which her brother, Jacob Crommelin, undertook.
Esther Crommelin had the following children by her first husband:
Abraham Torin who died single, age 24, while studying medicine at Rotterdam. Esther Torin married her cousin, Jacob Crommelin. Isaac Torin married his cousin, Madelaine Crommelin, both cousins being the children of Jacob Crommelin and Elisabeth Testart.
These 'Crommelin-Torin cousins' referred to by Marie Camin were likely the ones who helped save her two tanneries. At this time, 1722, Esther Torin and Isaac Torin would be in their late-40's or early-50's; Jacob Crommelin Jr. age 55; Madelaine Crommelin age 48. Marie Camin would be age 63.
The tanneries that vexed Frederic de Coninck for more than 20 years, but which provided a meager living for him and his large family, remained in the family for at least another 10 years after his death, and perhaps longer, because they are mentioned again in the will of his daughter Marie de Coninck which was drawn up in 1733. They were bequeathed to her brother Jean de Coninck who, in 1733, was still in Batavia. Later he returned to Holland and in 1736 was married in the Hague to Suzanne Esther de Rapin-Thoyras, daughter of the historian Paul de Rapin, Seigneur de Thoyras, and Marie Anne Testart. Perhaps by this time the demand for leather had made it a more lucrative business than it ever was in the difficult years when Frederic was alive.
May God by his grace bless us and guard my health, if it be his will, because my health isn't the best, and I would never have believed that your dear father would die before me; or that I might have the joy, my dear child, of ever seeing you again. But that's what I must brace myself for because it should not be my desire to have you leave your establishment, or to return if you're not in a position to live here in tranquility after all the fatigue and work that you've gone through, and all the sorrows that you experienced. However you would do me a great pleasure to let me know if you plan to remain many more years in the country where you are. May God by his grace bless you and give you good health, and cause you to prosper, my dear son. I urge you to have the
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fear of God because without it, even if you had all the wealth in the world, you would still be the most miserable person on Earth. Please let me know if you have any further plans to get married. This would be good, and if God blessed you and enabled you to return some year soon, you would still be young enough to find some pretty girl in this country who knows and fears God - someone with whom you can spend your days happily. This is what I wish for with all my heart.
We received alright the two small strong-boxes that you sent in the safe of the Company [Dutch East Indies Company] via the vessels which arrived for the House of Rotterdam [Chambre de Rotterdam]. I thank you, my dear son, for your gifts - the tea and the beautiful piece of fabric that you sent me. My intention is not to wear it because, since your father has left the world, I won't be able to [because of her vow to wear mourning clothes for the rest of her life.] That's why I hope to sell it for a good price because it is unusual and because there isn't much of this kind of fabric in this country. The tea is excellent and since the one who accompanied it drank it the same as we do, we hope to sell it before it quickly disappears.
The two small packets No. 3 and No. 2 are sold as you will see by the accounting of messieurs Godefroy. Mr. Noordoft has paid his obligations to the aforementioned, and your sister Ester has received at Rotterdam f192:10 from Willem de Wys. He claims, and it's true, that he wasn't able to make as much money on his trunk on the return trip. He told us that he would discharge his obligation by carrying it back while on his return trip to Batavia and a better position. He said this would be satisfactory to you, and I believe him to be an honest man. As for the others from whom we had to receive as much, we sent this sum to messieurs Godefroy so that the order to pay which you sent us could be receipted, and this was done. I will keep it.[Payment for commodities from Batavia sold in Holland was often made in diamonds. The word 'carat' comes from the Carob tree whose seed was used for centuries as the standard of weighing precious stones. One carat weighs 200 milligrams and is divided into 100 points, so that 50 points is described as half a carat or 0.50 carats. Today the value of low-grade diamonds is about $3000 per carat.]
In total they weighed just 1/2 carats, but I'm returning to you 4 or 5 small stones which aren't diamonds. These gentlemen didn't want to give anything for them and recommended that they be sent back so that you could see for yourself. It was via Mr. Reignier that they were sold but the said gentlemen aren't sure about his integrity. They were told that he had been to Ostend where apparently they sold well. If you could send them over like this, this kind of trade is no problem for us, and we can have them sold without having to handle bags in which there's nothing of great value. It would cost you 4 percent because Mr. Regnier, who sold them as conversion currency, doesn't want to do it on this scale except on commission. He did his best to sell them advantageously to those whom he was told are still arriving in this country. [Apparently Huguenots still coming into Holland were willing to trade their French currency for any kind of precious stones as a bartering medium which might be more lucrative than the prevailing rate of exchange between French and Dutch currency.]
You wrote him a letter that bothered him so much that he doesn't want to complete the rest of the job that you gave him. So he sent you only a portion. I don't know by which vessel, or by who. I'll have to ask him. Don't get upset about one thing or another. It serves no purpose, and he's happy to be earning something.
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You know that he's been sick for a long time. His illness is more one of the spirit than the body - the depression that results sometimes when misfortune puts us in a sad state. He's much better now and is busy again with his trading, but that's why, without having regard for the past, one must stir up charitableness because he's so sensitive. Do it out of kindness and because he was once your boss. I think that's only right in all good conscience. At least it appears that he's sold stuff to my cousins Crommelin and Torin. They have married off their niece, a daughter of my cousin Blaquiere, to my cousin Crommelin in Ireland who is associated with them.[This 'niece' refers to Esther Blaquiere who married Jean Crommelin, son of Samuel Louis Crommelin and Judith Truffet. He was born in 1689 and became preceptor (instructor) of Lord Droghead in Ireland. Esther Blaquiere, born in the Hague in 1703, died, age 78, in 1781. Jean Crommelin also died age 78, and was buried in the Waalsche kerk in Rotterdam, 1767, grave #172.]
With regard to the No. 1 packet containing 120 stones weighing 16 carats, I don't need anyone to assess their size. You know that a nephew of my uncle Meusnier named Avon Vallery knows how to size diamonds. He is now established and is capable. I have sent them to my brother Meusnier which he gave to him to evaluate.['Uncle Meusnier' is likely the father of Philippe Meusnier. Marie Camin also makes frequent reference to 'my brother' Meusnier. This would be Philippe Meusnier who married Esther Oursel, the half-sister of Frederic de Coninck, Marie Camin's husband. Thus Philippe Meusnier is Marie Camin's 'brother-in-law' by marriage. Esther Oursel and Philippe Meusnier lived in Amsterdam. They had no children. When Marie Camin operated a shop in Amsterdam for several years this couple apparently played an important part in her life.]
I wanted to know how much this will cost. He told me around f200 which is quite close to the price that you mentioned. This is good because now we know roughly what one must give, and how much one must sell for, in order for a sale to be concluded quickly. This week I received a letter from my said brother who mentioned having 18 paste diamonds and then he received some small fancy boxes from Mr. Rougemons in Neufchatel for Mr. Bosset. He is a Dane from Metore Tourorens(?). With the 18 diamonds inside they seemed out of place so I asked him to find something more suitable for paste diamonds. Mr. Noordoft may not be going this year. He also told me that since there were some large stones in which he would lose because of their size and brilliance, he cut these up to make more stones. This accounts for the larger number that he reported. You can be sure that they, myself, and your sisters are doing our best on your behalf.
Your sisters must write to thank you for the gifts that you sent them. Your sister [Marie de Coninck] likes to work on the accounts that I'm sending you. Also I'll try to send the money that I have here on the vessel which leaves Rotterdam via the the first surgeon, since we've already done that several times on the advice of the senior medical officer who examines them.
You can arrange things with Mr. Bosset, and please satisfy him so that he won't be upon us when he comes to Europe. With regard to what Camin owes you, since you have his effects, don't send it. You mentioned that you can send him some of his things, but if you do that we won't be able to go there to receive it. He has to pay duty of 15 per cent on it, and he says that he owes you some f600 or 700. I was obliged to sign his account for you. These are young people who are quite pitiful - 4 boys and a wife who is pregnant again and in very
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delicate condition. Apparently she's been afflicted with several terrible diseases for a year caused in part by grief and anxiety. May God have pity on them and us too because our situation is also very sad.
Your brother, Francois de Coninck, is rather annoyed because since you've been in Batavia you've never bothered to write him once. However, when it comes to having to act on your trunks, he does it with all his heart. He's written you several times, so please write him too! He received some money from a tapestry. He sent you a watch with a gold coat-of-arms and a roll of fabric. He says that he has rendered a full accounting on everything and if it pleases God that he still owes you anything, he'll make it good. He's a young man who will take the trouble no matter how audacious. He is perhaps on the verge of marrying a Dutch damsel who is well off. If this succeeds, he will be well out of difficulty. If it takes place, it will be soon and you will know it perhaps via the same vessel that carries this letter.
You were indeed fortunate in not having lost anything following the disaster that befell the whole fleet. Mr. de Larrey who came from Rotterdam said that three of the five vessels coming from the Indies were believed to be lost. My brother Mr. Meusnier told me that Mr. Bosset had sent two trunks addressed to Mr. Isaac Bolenger of which one was lost despite the man and Mr. d'Indre who were at the House of India to take care of the Indien and the Zilvercopp [Silver Cup] when they were being unloaded. I must admit that sending trunks is a miserable business. It gave in this country a lot of trouble and grief, and cost a lot in freight, because most of them were scoundrels who were left on the unfortunate Zilvercopp [Silver Cup]. When it comes to honest people, it's much better to give them money and then they have an obligation, as you did this year. It's unfortunate that Willem de Wys suffered because without this he would have paid for everything - the tea and the merchandise from the Indies. I was able to reimburse him a bit. I offered him f60 for each large dish. I will give it to him because Mr. Bosset, who wrote me, told me to give him that for the ones that came from Africa. It's most unfortunate because last year he again lost some others. He also tells me that he can't see himself prospering in this trade, and also that he's coming back here in a little while. You will lose a good friend.
You've never mentioned Augier who lived at your place. He didn't like the country any more than you do, and he's no longer in Batavia. Please let me know where he's gone - no doubt to some some good position in order to make his fortune very quickly because I believe he aspired to return, like you, if his fortune permitted it. The state of his father is quite sad but it's his fault. He's killing his mother too with worry because he hasn't written to them. He has to return once more as the Secretary of the Fleet. His poor behaviour will save them because he was
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on the Amiral [Admiral] which perished and from which only one man was saved. It must be quite a disappointment when God gives us the ability to do evil rather than good because this young man has great potential and would have attained it if he had been an honorable man. The family Pesser also perished. The brother who had a good occupation is dead also. His mother and sisters are in a sad situation.
With regard to Quinche, it is certain that he had wealth. I don't know where he is now but he's a scoundrel since he owed 200 ecu to my widow but didn't bother to send it when he was able to. Furthermore, since the death of your father we no longer look at the Gazette, therefore we've heard nothing more about his brother, Juivy. We knew that the brothers of Quinche had to leave their country because of some trade that they were engaged in, and which earned them a lot of profit. As for messieurs de Fendu, they came to this country with a lot of fanfare, but I don't know what's become of them.
The trading in shares has been a curse of God on Europe. So many people have been ruined that it's causing people to tremble. Their insatiable lust for wealth is the cause. Thank God we haven't been ruined because the few shares we were given at Schiedam haven't gone anywhere. Of those that we sold, and on which we did win something, nothing has been received. People are getting back only one percent of what they had invested. Also we are doubtful of our prospects. If we do get something, you will get a portion because it was a favour involving everyone, therefore I'd like you to have a share.
Enclosed is the receipt from mademoiselle d'Angeau. I'm surprised that your father already sent one to you. Anyway, this one makes known again that the lady has paid us.
We told you that my uncle Jacob Crommelin died about 13 or 14 months ago. My aunt, his wife [Elisabeth Testart], just died about 15 days ago. A large inheritance will come down from this family which will be divided amongst them all. I suspect that each will get about f10,000 because I think these good people were worth over f80.000. Please write my cousins Crommelin and Torin to thank them for what they are doing for me, and to bid them to continue their protection and kindness. Tell them that I informed you about what they have done for me. My cousin Torin gave your brother, Frans, a gift of one hundred pistoles because he is his godson, and he wishes to help him set up his business and to congratulate him on his upcoming marriage. Please thank him for this also. They are good relatives. May God bless them and cause them to prosper.[The beneficiaries of the Jacob Crommelin/Elisabeth Testart estate would likely be their eight surviving children:
Camille who married Daniel Jannot. Her age in 1722 would be about 58 years old. Jacob who married Esther Torin. Age 55 Elisabeth Catharina who married Andre le Conte. Age 52. Daniel who remained single and died in Ireland. Age 51. Marianne who married Jacques Alexandre Courtonne. Age 50. Madeleine who married Isaac Torin. Age 48. Catherine who married Elie Blaquiere Desomiers. Age 45. Susanne Marie who married Olivier Domergue. Age 42. Of their 12 children, only 1 son was married (Jacob + Esther Torin) but they had no children. They had 6 surviving daughters, all of whom were married. One son, Daniel, didn't marry. Three sons (Cyprien, Francois, Jean Baptiste) died young. Cyprien was about 30 when he died in Colombo in 1696. One daughter, Elisabeth, died young. ]
Please convey my greetings to the daughters of Besnagere. He reproached me for not paying my respects - something I did specifically when you wrote me mentioning them. The father of de Larrey died. I think I told you that about a month before your dear father's death. The son [Marie's pastor] remains here with his family. That household also gives us a lot of friendship and Mr. de Larrey has kindly offered to be of service which I will gladly take advantage of should the occasion arise. Madam du Hamel, their aunt, lives here with the elder Madam de Larrey. She also promised to be of service to me.
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Also thank all the people for their friendship and support because, my God, without them I don't know in what state I would find myself. The thought of growing old, poor, and infirm makes me tremble. I hope that by the grace of God it won't happen to me. Please write the dear Godefroy gentlemen on the subject of that debt which you had them take over. In thanking them, please also express appreciation for what they are doing for me, and ask for their continued support and friendship. They promised to take care of the butchers without expecting any return for the trouble and time that Madam Godefroy will incur.
This is the first letter that I write to you. I'm sending it to my brother Meusnier at Amsterdam to have it forwarded to you. If you send anything, either letters or trunks via the House of Amsterdam [Chambre d'Amsterdam], please address it to him. He will do a good job. But for that which goes via Rotterdam, Delft, or some other place, your sisters will take care of it, and look after their sale, and do all that's necessary to obtain the greatest benefit. We had no problem getting the small strong boxes from the Company [Dutch East Indies Company].
VOC: Emblem of the Dutch East India Company
(Vereenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie)
I hope to write you again, my dear son, and I will finish this letter assuring you of my love and to thank you again for the gifts that you sent me - the tea that you gave me and that which Mr. Bosset sent. Indeed, we drink it amply because it doesn't cost us anything, thus saving us a lot of money, and it gives me great pleasure. I'd like to be in a position to acknowledge my appreciation by something other than my best wishes for your prosperity, but since it isn't God's will to have me in a position where I can provide well for my dear childen, I'll simply have to submit to what He finds appropos. May God by his grace bestow upon you his most precious blessings, spiritual and temporal, and give you his love and reverential fear for him. And when he should find it appropos, that he might give us the grace to see you again, if not in this world then sometime in eternity. I embrace you, my dear son, as a good mother who loves you always, and will do so until my last breath. Your loving mother, Marie Camin.
Schiedam, 26 September 1722
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From Marie Camin in Schiedam, Holland, to her son, Jean de Coninck, in Batavia (Djakarta, Indonesia)
October 16, 1722
My dear son, I've just received a letter from Miss du Long who gives me notice that they will give 100 ducatons to Mr. Arais which bothered your uncle Meusnier immensely. He says that he had given a second box (marked #B) to Jacob Tooren, skipper on the vessel Assenberg for the Chambre d'Amsterdam. This box is addressed to Mr. Bosset, but he had placed in it a sealed letter. The plain box and the wooden one addressed to you contain 25 diamonds weighing 2 1/2 carats, and the letter informs you and Mr. Bosset about them.
He also said that he had sent to messieurs Godefroy for the ducatons which the said Tooren would be able to take with him if he were able to get them. That's why I don't doubt that it was by the captain that these men sent you the said ducatons. She also said that if I would like to write you, that my letter would have to be in Amsterdam by tomorrow. Therefore, my dear son, I'm writing you in great haste to say that I received your letter of 20 January of this year, and that I'm anxiously awaiting the one which you will be sending me via the tea ship. [Apparently Jean de Coninck's letter was in transit 9 months from Batavia.]
I also rejoice that your brother, sisters and your whole family are in good health. May God by his grace will to have you continue in good health, bless and protect you, and cause you to overcome the affliction that you will have had over the sad news of the loss of your dear father. Who would have thought that he would die before me, and that for more than a year I would be in such poor health that by all appearances I too would not have long to live? It would seem that this loss and affliction caused by bad fortune would crush me, but this isn't so. God by his grace strengthens me and my health is much better despite the occupation and work that your sisters and I must face because we continue the tanneries with the help of our friends.
I mentioned this to you when I sent the accounting which went via Mr. d'Orville, junior merchant. I don't know the name of the vessel, but it is for the House of Amsterdam. My brother [Philippe Meusnier] informed him that he sent a Box "A" on this vessel for Mr. Bosset in which he also placed 18 small diamonds weighing 1 5/8 carats for you. It went by Jan Rozier Ziek, trusser on the vessel Purmerlust. He gave you notice by the same vessel and also by another which left at the same time which is called Schip de Myn. Both are for the House of Amsterdam. Your brother Frans also wrote you via Mr. d'Orville.
Jan Freesk arrived safely and immediately Mr. Robert Godefroy informed me that he didn't receive a letter from you. I don't know who you gave it to, but he did receive the box of tea that you gave him. He wrote me a very nice letter regarding your gift. He told me that Jan Freske has some claim on us because of the separate ducatons which I believe to be 45. He hadn't heard that you paid them having taken
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their value at Batavia. Meanwhile I always thought this was a condition that I cannot quite confirm because it was your father who gave it to him himself at Amsterdam, I believe. My dear son, I told Mr. Godefroy to do something for him and to accommodate this matter by giving some token thing to Jan Freesk for these claims because it wasn't by trickery, as Mr. Godefroy asserts, but by an honest mistake which often happens in business. He understood the situation like this and believed this was still owing to him.
I still don't have any news from Mr. Robert Godefroy but meanwhile I think that the thing is settled because I have it from reliable people that he had the money to pay to the widow Godefroy and du Long, and Godefroy's brother that he will make good on the obligations of the said Freesk, and I asked these gentlemen to convert this money with that which he gives for the large dishes that they purchased for f180 in total, and to convert [an amount] of this money into ducatons, and to send you what is required since he told me that he already sent you 100 ducatons.
There will still be a balance owing and I have about 250 that I will send you via the House of Rotterdam if I can find, as usual, the first surgeon. Otherwise I will send it to him at Amsterdam. We are gathering together everything that will be for you because we hope to sell the tea, which you sent via the chest of the company, at a good price because it is very good. Thank you also for what you gave to us. I thank Mr. Bosset also. I will write him at the first opportunity.
I hope, God willing, that via the vessels that leave at Christmas you will find that everything was handled properly and that almost everything was sold. As for the situation facing the Camins, we were able to do something. They are much to be pitied with four small children and possibly soon a fifth. He owes Vallery more than f200. This is a small loan. As you say, he'll have to account for it.
If all that you sent isn't worth more than the trouble it took this year, I would be pleased to see that everything gets well managed and sold without fee, trickery or extortion. God willing you recover the returning stuff the same way. I mentioned that the debt you had with your father was well paid as per the receipt attached above.
As for the gentlemen du Long and Godefroy, you would do well to keep doing business with them. These people are friends to whom we have many obligations as well as to their relatives in Rotterdam. If you still have any stuff to be sent or to be done, if you could send it as you have done before, we will receive it the same way. We will ship stuff via Peterson who has accommodated the letter that I wrote you about - the one by Mr. d'Orville dated 26 September.
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I hope to succeed with all the accounting that has given us plenty of trouble to do, but there are a number of things that have to be resolved before we consider it to be final. You may be sure that your sister and I would not like to make a mistake regarding a debt.
Mr. Bosset wrote me about a trunk that he had addressed to us and which Camin received and sold. I thought he had rendered an accounting of it and had returned the proceeds. But Mr. Bosset informed me that he hadn't received anything of what was on the accounting, a copy of which we had examined and had in our possession. I understand by it that he owed another f300 to the said Bosset, and I see by his letter that it is we who are now liable for what is owing to him. I declare, my dear child, that it never arrived here and it is therefore a matter between him and Mr. Bosset. He must make good the balance of his account. Camin had reduced from it the effects that you owed him valued at some f700 to 800 but we find that he only charged you about f400. Therefore the f300 of Bosset is to be found amongst that sum. He agreed to pay 15%. We will do our best for them and make them pay, and we combine this sum with the effects that we have for you. May God by his grace desire to recompence you another way, and that through charity and piety you compassionately bear this loss with patience.
Apparently you had a very good year last year judging from the large number of trunks that you sent over and which have borne fruit. Only a few of these trunks encountered any disappointing return. However, I'm happy that you didn't send any this year. I'm sending you my obligation from Willem de Wys because he paid us only f192:10 of what he owes, having lost on these goods. But he expects to return to the Indies soon and a more lucrative posting. Therefore he told us to re-send to you his bill and that he will make satisfaction at Batavia. He paid no more to all the others who had given him money.
Noordoft will pay all as soon as Jan Freesk gets paid for all the stuff that you sent and which arrived safely. You were very fortunate because 5 vessels were lost. We're told that Mr. Bosset lost a trunk addressed to Mr. Boulenger. He has a lot of woe. You mentioned nothing about Petit. Is he still a soldier? He has given no news to his mother who is in a great affliction.
I will write you again via the House of Rotterdam. We are all well, thank God. God willing we might continue in good health because we are very much in need of it considering our sad state with respect to our financial situation. I continue to run the tannery operation. My best wishes and prayers are for you, my dear son. May it please God that he blesses you in every way and that he might give you his love and reverential fear. May the love of riches not cause you to do anything contrary to what you should do. Your sisters and I embrace you and thank you for all the gifts that you have sent them. They have written you via Mr. d'Orville.
Goodbye, my dear son. I am your dear and affectionate mother, Marie Camin.
In Marie Camin's letters of 1722, frequent mention is made of the 'Chambre d'Amsterdam' and 'Chambre de Rotterdam' which were branch offices in Holland of the VOC - the Dutch East Indies Company. These terms have been variously translated as the 'House of Amsterdam' and 'House of Rotterdam', etc. The organizational structure of the VOC with its different 'Chambres' or 'Houses' is fully explained in a detailed page published in "Atlas Historique" around 1719. (This original document was purchased in 2015 by Govert Deketh and Miff Crommelin.)
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From Marie Camin in Schiedam, Holland, to her son, Jean de Coninck, in Batavia (Jakarta, Indonesia)
1 December 1722
My very dear son, we are in great anxiety over not having received any news from you via the tea ships Naas and Chep which arrived more than 3 weeks ago. However you promised me in your last letter of 20 January of this year that you would write me without fail. I hope therefore that you are in good health and that the one who carries your letter simply wasn't able to deliver it to me yet. God willing I'll receive it soon to put me out of my misery.
We learned from the last vessels about a huge tempest which surprised the ships that left here last Easter and which caused six to go down around the Cape [of Good Hope]. This is indeed bad news, but God saw fit that we didn't send you anything this season. It is true that the cause which prevented us from sending you anything is sad and hurtful for me, you, and your brother and sisters, namely the death of your dear father. It was all I could do simply to write you this sad news via the House of Amsterdam but I don't know by who or by what vessel the letter went. If it went via one of the ships that sank, you will not know yet that you have lost a good father who loved you and all of us dearly. If fortune had been more favorable you would have experienced his love more deeply. But favourable fortune always eluded him and, being contrary, left me in a great desolation. However he said only a moment before his death that God would not abandon me. This is my hope, and that God will take pity on me and all of us. He gave to you and all his blessing and exhorted us to have the reverential fear of God and the piety to love the reformed Christian religion which he loved since his youth, and which is so beautiful and reasonable that it astounded him that anyone could believe in any other. He died, this dear and beloved father, on March 27 after three times 24 hours of the illness without pain, and conscious until the last moment. In dying he bade his final farewells so gently that all these reflections and everything that I say to you, my dear son, renews my pain and reminds me of my plight which is quite serious. I have mentioned that I continue to do work at the tannery with the help of my cousins Crommelin and Torin. May God bless me.
We have received what you have sent namely the two small crates by the Company and you will see from the accounting what may be missing. Noordoft has paid his obligation in full but de Wys has paid only f192 as I told you, while Jean Freesk reduced his bill for some reason and which Mr. Robert Godefroy settled amicably. He paid f323:3 with money from the large dishes. I am sending what was owed to repay 200 ducatons which were loaned to you from the dear gentlemen of the widow Godefroy and du Long.
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The Godefroy brothers sent you 100 ducatons, and from Mr. Rooselaars, junior buyer on the vessel Amsterdam, I received the other 100. I do not yet know by who it went because they have not left yet.
We sent via the House of Rotterdam (I don't know the name of the ship) by someone named Duyf, first surgeon, 241 ducatons. It hasn't left yet. We will let you know about all this when possible. I'm writing you this via someone named Antonis van Wiek [Antonis van Weick on the vessel the Delft Lant, House of Rotterdam.] who carries for you a small box in which there is a scarf (or sash) from my cousin Esther Blaquiere, now married to Jean Crommelin of Ireland, our close relative. The said cousin requests that you sell it to see what it will produce. She would like to have some porcelain placed on a cupboard or cabinet depending on what return she gets from the scarf, and for which she is most obliged to you. She sends you her regards and for the whole family.
My cousin Jacob Crommelin wrote you and we put his letter inside the box in which there are 241 ducatons, and one for Quenel. The said Antonis van Wiek is the brother of a servant of Mr. de Larrey [pastor of Mary Camin] who has been there for a long time. His family consists of noble and honest folks. This man has made the journey several times to the Indies. I believe that you can risk sending things by him. Check him out, and according to your assessment you can render him service. His sister recommends him to you since his voyages are extensive. I hope to receive news about you verbally from him.
Mr. Reignier came here a while ago. He seemed a little agitated by the way in which you had written him. He assured me that everything that he had sent you he believed would be useful, and with regard to commissions, he had done his best. I really think there was a mistake between the two figures because the one which he mentioned by letter declared a greater loss than what he told me in conversation. That is why there should be no more talk about what happened, and if you can arrange for him to earn something from this, you must do it. He was once your boss, and fortune has not been favorable to him. However he has begun to do something again. As I told you messieurs Godefroy and du Long were guarantors since I think you told him this provides security for whatever you may wish to send us as you did via the strong-box of the Company. We will do our best as you will see by the accounting that your sister has sent you. Mr. Reignier did not know that the portion he sold came from you. I told you that the transfer that you had drawn up was discharged and that we have received the receipt.
I have sent you the invoice for de Wys' obligation so that if he goes to the Indies you can settle things with him there. Enclosed are the small stones I mentioned to you earlier that are not diamonds. I wrote you on 26 September via Mr. d'Orville, Junior Purchaser on the vessel (?) for the House of Amsterdam, and the accountings are in the packet. Your brother also wrote you by the same person being acquainted with him. I suspect that you never wrote him
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about your challenges since he believes that you are scorning him because you are in the process of making a fortune while he is a poor devil who has plenty of difficulties. I mentioned to you that I believed that he is in pursuit of marriage to a person who has substantial wealth so I doubt there is much need for luck.
Thank you, my dear son, for all the good tea that you have sent us as a gift. That which was with the three small packets we hope to sell for 7 or 8 guilders at least because it is very good. We will do our best to sell it profitably. I also wish to thank you for the piece of fabric that you sent me. Your sister Esther is at the Hague to try and sell it because you know that I would never wear this material [because of her vow to wear only widow's clothes following the death of her husband]. Your sisters are writing you via the said d'Orville to thank you also for what you sent to them. I commend them to you, my dear son, because if God comes to take me out of the world, they will be in much need of support, as well as your brother. Finally, my dear child, I hope that God will keep you in a state of being a father to your brother and sisters, and that according to the exortation of your dear father, that you will love and be a support to one another, and accord each other good friendship.
I don't think that Noordoft will return soon because he has found a good position here. Mr. Reigner told me that he had missed buying the cornelians which a Jew had gotten sooner. The said Noordoft mentioned that he had bought them from you. He said that he had sold them cheap. Regnier was quite annoyed for having lost out on the deal. To find someone to sell them like that, it would be better that they be sold by someone on a list of names that you will send me. I haven't received anything like that from you, however, I can't express the pleasure that it gave me when I was told that someone knew you and had talked to you. It was mainly Augustus of Bilboa who spoke to me most, and it's he who told me that a person where you worked was a young girl who could perhaps become my daughter. This could only be a rumour because no one should believe all that one hears, but what he said about you was sufficient to give me joy. Not everything can be a falsehood.
I wrote Mr. Bosset to thank him for the tea that he sent me. I said to him that I have sent you the accounts and that you will settle things with him. This is what I pray you do, my dear son, also because by his letter I note that Camin owes him for something from a trunk that we were obliged to send him to sell since we didn't have the opportunity here. I always believed that Camin had sent him the proceeds of sale but there is a shortage in something and Camin is is no position to pay him. I fear that because the trunk was sent to your father, the loss might fall back on me, one who is able to provide even less satisfaction. I have already appealed to you to settle things with him so that this man has no further claim on me because what can I do if he prosecutes me? I can't pay it because I'm also in arrears with you. You can judge from my situation. Not comprehending where things have gone, in future if you send anything I'll have it collected for you
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as soon as the sale takes place.
My brother Meusnier has sent two boxes to Mr. Bosset. In one marked No. A, sent via Jan Rozier, Liektroots on the vessel Purmerlust for the House of Amsterdam, there are 18 small diamonds, weighing 1 5/8 carats. In the second, No. B, there are 25 brilliant stones weighing 2 1/16 carats sent by Jacob Tooren, skipper on the vessel Assenberg, also House of Amsterdam. I hope that everything arrives in good order. I don't think that anyone sent you anything at Easter but Mr. Reigner told me that he did send you the f465:8 that we had paid him. He didn't give me the name of the vessel, but he knew that it wasn't amongst the number of those that perished. God willing that it be so by his grace so that you won't have suffered in this loss.
The resolution that you made not to marry in that country pleases me, but if it would have improved your situation I would not oppose it. However I would prefer less wealth and more happiness.
My cousin, Jacob Crommelin, told me that he had exhorted you not to return so soon on my account. I haven't heard you say anything about the above. You'll have to review your own situation and consider when to resolve to return. Then you'll have enough wealth to live, or to trade with pleasure and satisfaction. I only wish the best for your well-being and prosperity. Goodbye, my dear son. God bless you with his most precious blessings, spiritual and temporal. May he give you his love and reverential fear, being mindful of your estate.
You have never mentioned to me the Mr. Augier who stayed with you. Is he gone? It appeared from his letters that he didn't like the country anymore than you do, and that when he had made a sizeable fortune he planned to return. It's true that he has already made a sizeable amount because one can deduce his fortune to be a little less than two hundred thousand guilders.
Your sisters embrace you, and so do I. Your loving and affectionate mother, Mary Camin
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From Marie Camin in Schiedam, Holland, to her son, Jean de Coninck, in Batavia (Jakarta, Indonesia)[This letter, written only 4 days after the one above, suggests that Jean de Coninck's letter of 30 March 1722 had just arrived in the last day or two, and this new letter was Marie Camin's response to points raised in Jean's latest letter. Transit time was 9 months.]
5 December 1722
I well received all your letters, my dear son - those of 21 September 1721, 28 November 1721, 20 January 1722, and the last one of 30 March 1722. Receiving all your dear letters has given me joy since they give me news about you even though they may renew my pain, especially the last one which you wrote precisely at the time that your dear father was no longer alive. His dear body was buried on 31 March, being dead on the 27th as I have mentioned earlier. No, it was a great loss and I am devastated. May God by his grace have pity on me and give me the grace to face without murmuring all the trials that have been handed to me by his providence. It must be, therefore, my dear son, that I answer you in place of your beloved father.
You are quite correct to say that you were to him equally as dear as your brother and your sisters, and that you were the only one in whom he had hopes that God would bestow the grace to revive the family. He gave to you his blessing, as he did to the others, but he was of the opinion that, seeing your good conduct and your capability, your fortune would be most favorable. Often, when he thought about work, he would reflect that he shouldn't have tumbled as he did because he was quite aware that he didn't have any capacity for commerce. He strongly urged your brother to acquire it but young people don't want to benefit from exhortations. That's why I was sorry that he did not see your dear father in the last hours of his life because it may be that the exhortations that he would have made to your brother would have made an impression on his spirit as it did to all the people who saw him.
You are quite right in saying that ignorance and pride causes one to fly before having steady wings, and isn't content with one's fate and the hardship that faces all young people because if you had chosen to believe me you wouldn't have gone to the Indies, and perhaps you would have established yourself at Amsterdam with less trouble and grief. However, these reflections serve no purpose. It must always come back to the will of God who allows certain things to happen. We don't know for what reason, but only that it pleases him and that all things will turn out for your good and well-being - something that I will always impress upon you because of what use is all your hard work if in gaining the whole world you lose your own soul? You are in a country where piety and the fear of God is scarcely known, however I can see by your letters the character of an honest man which pleases me, and I hope that by the grace of God that he will bless your work and efforts, and that he will give you his love and reverential fear.
Your father and I have had plenty of grief over the conduct of your cousin [Camin] with regard to Miss Thins. If we had known that he would default, your father would have dealt with his debts to the lady. He owed many times more to the widow Godefroy and others whom we mentioned, therefore had we gotten involved in the debts owed to Miss Thins, we would have lost much
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money, and he didn't want to be the cause of losses to your father. You are right to say that your father believed that you could soon support this loss but we feared that it would cause yet another one to perish. However, this did not prevent him from perishing, and God knows what will become of his dear little family that consists of four small boys, bright as buttons, and soon to be a fifth. His wife, your poor cousin, has a right to complain because she is very delicate. May God protect the oldest child who is 5 years old and very nice. He has an exceptional memory and speaks Flemish and French perfectly with good pronunciation. If fortune were not so contrary, he has all the makings of a minister. Now he's beginning to spell very nicely.
We have always thought, my dear son, that you had quite enough troubles of your own. Especially me who knows by experience what it's like to labour with one's hands, so I can imagine in a hot country what difficulties you must have in your profession. I seem to be preaching but, my dear child, if God blesses you and the fruits of your labour, you will be able to support these troubles with less grief. But as for me, when I consider that I have worked all my life until I'm as old as I am now, I find myself still having to work to earn a few sols since it didn't please God to bless our labours. You can evaluate my situation. However I hope that God will not forsake me, and so far he's never left me lacking for anything. The past points to my future, so my hope remains in the goodness of God.
To be sure, my grief is sharper than the condition of your brother and sisters. Your brother has a lot of problems, however his business would go very well if he had some capital. He isn't lazy, and is quite alert in earning some sols. Your father was genuinely grieved over the hundred ducatons that he owed you. I think he'll write you when he comes here. I'll also give him your letter for Camin. His situation is worsening. People say that he could be going to Estestin which belongs to the king of Pausse. [This could be referring to Stettin, Poland, a city that once was a part of Germany.] He's making it advantageous for those who settle there. I don't know if he'll do it.
Your two sisters are with me because without them, I wouldn't be able to run the tannery. They also work at making cravattes like the ones that were sent to you which I hope arrived alright because you didn't mention them. However they were with the cloth that your father sent you. I'm quite annoyed that it was spoiled in transit. It was a small token of appreciation for the tea which you gave us and for which I thank you again. This makes us very happy because we don't have to buy it. I also thank Mr. Bosset for what he has given us. I received his letters of 29 November 1721. I answered him via Antonis van Weyk. I also wrote you by the same individual and sent a scarf (or sash) to be sold so that the proceeds of sale might purchase a nice porcelain surface for a cabinet. This is for my cousin Jean Crommelin at Rotterdam.
I mentioned that I still hadn't received your letters via the tea ship. I wrote you that in my letter of the first of the month which left at 7 o'clock in the morning, but then at 11 o'clock I received your letter!
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You were assured that the rascal [Adrianus] van Rottum was an honest man. You were fooled by all those people and risk much by handing your stuff over to them. I hope that you will have paid him if he returns to Europe. It might be safer to send it via a person named .... Ardemburg, first surgeon on the ship Groen Svoatt, House of Rotterdam, the one we used to send over 300 ducatons. I hope that this will have had a better outcome than by van Rottum. It seems the appearance of those who carry this can be quite misleading! On 29 November 1721 he was given at the home of the widow Godefroy and du Long 100 ducatons that we sent to you. It went via the House of Amsterdam by one named Rooselars, junior buyer on the vessel Amsterdam. We are sending yet another 100 ducatons, but I still don't know by whom it will leave.
My brother Meusnier who received the trunk of Mr. Bosset which was addressed to Camin and who has carried out the orders of the said Bosset, sent to him by one named Jan Rosier, Ziektvoort on the vessel Purmerluts, a box marked "A" that he received from Neufchatel and in which he sent to Bosset 18 small diamonds for you weighing 1 5/8 carats. He has given him notice, and you also, by another ship named Schip de Myn. He sent another box No. "B" to Bosset by a man named Jacob Tooren, skipper on the vessel Assenberg for the House of Amsterdam. In this box are 25 gems weighing 2 1/16 carats for you. My said brother gave you notice of both by several persons. It's quite a miracle that you received the diamonds! We still wouldn't have them yet!
As for the packet which contained the paste diamonds, we put them inside because the young man who carried this packet is an honest man, the brother of a servant at the home of my cousins Crommelin and Torin. We re-sent them to Amsterdam and Mr. Reigner removed them from the small box and put them in a letter, telling us that he had given them to an honest man - so honest that he didn't want to bother returning them to us.
Antonie van Wieck promised that if he returns, that he will verbally convey news about the one whom you know because he lived with you. As for cousin Rochefort, he arrived safely because he had gone to Batavia in the same vessel, also with other people who will not be unknown to you. The widow de Rochefort is quite happy to be in Batavia. She wouldn't have been here. I suspect that we share an expectation that she might get married. I wish this also, but not to someone who is closely related. I don't have much respect for her so if you are thinking about marriage I would never give my approval. I consider you too noble a man and that you know who you are. It is enough that she had married one of our close relatives and so became his sister. We're told that she was a servant when she married.
The status of Mr. Petit is very sad. This unfortunate is quite destitute. His aunt, the widow Godefroy, bought him the place to which he departed for f800. Madam du Long and the two Godefroys each gave him 100 ducatons. My cousin Testard paid f500 for him to buy a bed since he was without the one his mother had given him. Furthermore, he doesn't write. For the sake of charity you should exhort him to be an honest man such as yourself. He will die because
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I foresee the worst. May God have mercy on his soul. I won't mention to his mother what you said to me.
Norgereuf is a wretch. Here he was a thief. Did he work for you? Did he steal anything? If he left on the ship "Anglois" he might have died because two or three ships coming from Batavia perished at the Cape of Good Hope. There were also five or six that sank of those that left here last Easter. The tea ship carried the news and the names of the ships that perished but Mr. Reignier told me that the one by which he had sent you the clock and other stuff for the sum of f465 according to his accounting which he sent you, and which we paid, wasn't among those that were lost. Thankfully we received everything that you sent us. God willing it sold sell well and that the proceeds of sale will return safely, as well as the payment for your bill made as per the accounting which your oldest sister prepared and sent inside the box with the scarf (sash) carried by Antonis van Weack.
A 1711 'Silver Rider' ducaton salvaged from a sunken ship,
turned into a pendant and sold on the internet.
You want to know if Camin runs his business alone. His mother is involved in everything, and she's made no small contribution to the huge expenditures they have made. The duchess doesn't live like a prince in England just because she had a chamber maid. No, the ruin of Camin doesn't come from new affairs but from old times. Opposition to his marriage caused us to hide from his situation because we would never have approved. Thus he associated himself with his mother which caused great indebtedness by this unfortunate partnership. The two thousand florins which they had from my cousins, and all that Camin's sister had, passed through them without one being able to demand a sol in return. The sister was the chief partner in this association, and because she wished that the business favored Pallot and herself, she did so well that Pigou, who was supporting them, no longer sent them anything. On the contrary, he demanded him to repay. This stripped him of his money. So this is what a daughter was able to do while the mother and son perished. But she isn't much better off, and I don't know what Pallot did after that. As for your aunt, she is on a pension at the home of this duchess where she is quite feeble. I believe relatives will now pay her the pension because up to now Camin apparently was paying it, but he's no longer in a position to do that. What a downfall in our family!
I'm not able to say anything about the canes [or walking sticks] that he sold, but as for the ones that we sold from the trunk of Gautois, I swear that we didn't make a profit on them. You can see by the accounting. I don't know if we sold enough or if you lost anything on this, but we did our best. As for all the rest, you are quite right to consider giving the trade for our country to another person. It's a sad thing to be poor and dependent on the good pleasure of those who may be useful. I can speak from experience that patience is the best remedy for everything that happens. Setbacks must not
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overwhelm you. It's true that death pulls the final curtain on everything, but when God puts us in a certain situation in the world we must consider our vocation and believe that it's not for us alone that we must live. Don't think that death for me wouldn't draw me out of plenty of troubles, but if I were dead what would your sisters do? Besides, I submit to the will of God and try to do my duty which is what we all must do.
I wrote to Mr Masse to try to get an explanation. I'm waiting for his reply. We were told that this man was the most trustworthy jeweller in Amsterdam. My brother Meusnier is quite right, at least in that jewellers generally aren't honest in all their assayers. Neither does he have much faith in the conscience of an assayer who may switch stones. With him you are assured of getting back the same diamonds. No doubt he will try to offer you his services. He is quite proper and worthy of your commissions. His nephew is Vallery the elder who still lives with him. He is big and robust and may happily run everything together with the niece.
My sister Oursel [half-sister of Marie's husband, Frederic de Coninck] has removed a part of the effects of Obeem, the bookseller, who died a month ago. If his associates would pay like he did, my said sister would be able to remove all of his assets. She lives at the Hague and charged me to let you know that she loves you a lot, as we do too. She embraces you, and if she manages to acquire his belongings, she will let us take a portion. God knows what will transpire.
As for news, there isn't much to say. No doubt you are already aware that a great conspiracy was uncovered in England which did not succeed and that all were executed.
The little king of France [Louis XV] has been crowned and the Jesuits are the masters of everything. We're told that the little king was made to swear that only one religion would be allowed in France. Also that the persecution would recommence, and that he was forced to go to Mass or leave the kingdom. I don't know what will happen.
It's quite fortunate that the conspiracy in Batavia was discovered. My God, what a mess there would have been! I think there is good security right now. The Company had quite a lot of misfortune this year, both in vessels lost and buildings burnt. This sharply lowered its actions (share prices).
May God recompense the Company of Ostend soon. We doubt this company is well managed because we're told that it has suffered huge losses and that it's the fault of those who compose it. Things aren't as secure as it is here [with the Dutch East India Company].
I have just received the reply from Mr. Masse. This man is quite forthright. He assumes lofty airs since he didn't send you the f2000 in ducatons by the vessels that left on time at Christmas [many of which sank in a storm] and he wants to know if what you send arrives alright before deciding what he'll do. I told him candidly that this isn't your intention and that what you had sent is for his account alone and that if he wishes to make some transaction with you then he'll have to take the risk of the sea
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at the same time that you do. And should it succeed, you will share in the profit and loss equally and that he'll have to find his benefits in the same way that you do. In truth, my brother Meusnier or Messieurs Godefroy, will do better in handling your commissions because I'm not happy with this man.
We are doing quite well, thank God. I continue to make prayers for you that it pleases him to mightily bless the fruit of your labour. As always, your dear and affectionate mother, Marie Camin