Frederic de Coninck Letters
1724 - Daniel Crommelin's grandson, Daniel, who was born in New York, emigrated to Holland in 1724 at age 17. He later became a successful entrepreneur by setting up the merchant bank and trading company Daniel Crommelin & Sons in Holland.
Nearing death, Marie Camin wrote this last letter to her son, Jean in Batavia, by dictating it to her sister-in-law, Marie Oursel. This effectively ends the correspondence in the Frederic de Coninck translation project except for the wills and testaments that follow. Here we summarize the relationships between the principal characters that we met along the way from 1676 to 1725.
[Note: The letters from 1676 to 1684 are still to be translated. Additional letters may also be forthcoming because a quantity of letters from Jean de Coninck in Batavia and Marie Oursel at the SHPF archives in Paris have not yet been digitally reproduced, and thus are not available for translation.]
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[Marie Camin, born 1659-11-14 Abbeville, France, died 1724-04-16 Schiedam, Holland - age 64]
Mr. Jean de Coninck at Batavia
March 29, 1724
My very dear and beloved son,
I wrote you in my own hand last November and I told you of the poor state of my health. Since that time it didn't please God to make me any better. On the contrary. Wearied by the weight of my infirmities, I am currently confined to bed waiting with resignation the hour that the Lord has set for my deliverance by taking me home and ushering me into his sacred rest according to my hope. I know, my very dear son, that this final separation will be for you a distressing blow because I know your tenderness, your attachment, and the ardent desire you always held that we might see each other, and embrace one another, one more time in this world if it were possible. The climax comes with the death of one who is filled with an unspeakable joy. Since it didn't please God to favor us to continue enjoying the joys of this Earth, he instead called me to participate in the joys of Heaven and it seems my departure is imminent. In my present weakness, I give thanks to God, asking that he might preserve my soundness of mind and protect my judgment until the end.
To express my perfect love for you I am borrowing the hand of my dear sister Oursel to write you this. I do so, my very dear son, for my satisfaction and for your consolation. I urge you to submit without a murmur to the will of the Lord who is our sovereign Creator and our master who deals with us as he sees fit. I pray with all my heart that any bitterness you will feel over my loss will be tempered by an abundant effusion of his precious blessings.
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May he conserve your person and cause you to succeed in your enterprises, filling them with prosperity. May he protect you in the trials of this world and cause you to stand honorably before him and before men. My dear son, you were so good to me that, with no more need for your generosity, I'm sure that you would like to extend this to your sisters. They are good girls who serve me affectionately in my helpless condition. They have been constantly attentive to me, giving me all the care imaginable. I commend them to you so that you might be a father figure to them, and I implore you to serve as their support. May God reward you one hundredfold.
My dear son, you wrote me in good faith that you would look after my outstanding obligations. I find myself a little in arrears because of the little trade I did this year, not having sufficient hides to maintain my tannery, and because of the extraordinary expenses that my illness has caused, not to mention my upcoming funeral. According to your permission I drew today, 29 March, five hundred florins on my brother Philipe Meusnier at Amsterdam - a draft valid for 30 days and payable upon demand at Messrs. the widow Godfroy, du Long, and Godefroy brothers, and earmarked at the same time to have this sum passed to the account of brother Meusnier. I'm sure you'll be pleased that I made use of them, however to tell you the truth, in the absence of these circumstances I wouldn't have taken these extraordinary measures. I would have been happy to get these f500 from you. Until now I have certainly been battling against my bad fortune. Hoping for success in a better year always rewarded me a little from the barreness of the previous one, but now that I'm leaving this world I have no
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further expectation. Apart from the honor of a good reputation and my attempt to live in the fear of God, my race ends with a salutary death. Farewell, my very dear and beloved son. Unceasingly I commend you to the Divine Comforter, and I kiss you again affectionately, in spirit, and am up to my last breath your good and loving mother, Marie Camin, widow of Frederic de Coninck
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Mr. Jean de Coninck a coopman in juutier (jute dealer) at Batavia
(Received 10 February 1725 - This letter from Jean's aunt, Marie Oursel, took 11 months to arrive in Batavia!
Replied 26 March 1725]
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April 11, 1724 [Written 5 days before Marie Camin's death.]
The illness that it pleased God to visit upon my good and dear sister, your mother, caused me to come [from The Hague] and be near her, my dear nephew, and to have the consolation of seeing her once more and receiving her blessing - a good Christian whom the Lord has sanctified and one who expects her salvation only from him.
By all appearances we cannot help but think that we will be losing her soon considering the extent of her affliction. However since there is no problem that requires isolation, I'm happy to say that I am writing you next to the patient in her room to assure you of my esteem and love. I am charmed to learn of your news. I was communicated a few letters that you wrote to my sister, your beloved mother. What struck me in particular was that you possess the worthy qualities that constitute a good man;
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that you are happy, my dear nephew; and born to be a consolation to your family which you have amply confirmed. May God continue to spread his holy blessings on your enterprises and cause you to prosper abundantly. In this I am overjoyed, there being no other person who can take more interest in whatever touches you.
I don't know if you were aware that after living 7 years at Utrecht, a pleasant place where I was very happy, I returned two years ago to live at The Hague for various reasons. Thankfully this has not been disadvantageous, and I have reason to be content with my new location. Now I'm a little nearer to my dear nephew Urspace who slipped away since my departure from France. Upon my arrival in Holland, I saw you for only a very short time. You left [for Batavia] immediately thereafter, so I'm flattered that you haven't forgotten me.[Apparently about 9 years ago Marie Oursel's arrival in Holland from France coincided with Jean de Coninck's departure for Batavia. Since Frederic mentions Jean's arrival at Batavia in a letter dated 9 August 1716, Jean would have arrived there around mid-1715. His first impressions of Batavia were not very favorable. Thus his departure from Holland and Marie Oursel's arrival in Holland from France would have been around mid-1714. In 1714 Jean would have been about 22 years old, and Marie Oursel would have been 46. Now, in 1724, they were ten years older.]
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As for me, you remained fixed in my heart and affection, and I'm glad that by your wise conduct you give me reason to say that I could never love you as much as I do now. Indeed, you are praiseworthy. My sister Camin [Catherine de Coninck, widow of Jean Camin] who is here now charges me to tell you that she is as interested as I am in everything that pertains to you. She wishes you abundant prosperity and says that she will love you always.
I am with all my love...
Sir, my dear nephew,
Your very humble servant, Marie Oursel
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[Note appended by one of Jean's sisters...]
I'm sending you the letter that our dear mother wrote with the help of our dear aunt Oursel. She could only sign her name with a great deal of difficulty. She wished there to be a copy since it would bring you joy and for us to know of the tender affection that she always had for you, made verbally and through her blessings which she asked God to ratify in heaven.
She commends us to you, my dear brother, as she did in the last letter which she wrote in her own hand, asking that God might bless us and appealing that you, my dear brother, don't abandon us and that you continue your dear friendship and protection. Be assured of the sincere love and friendship that we always had for you, and will have all the days of our life. 'Chretin'
[Perhaps the youngest daughter, Catherine de Coninck.]
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Marie Camin Testament-1
In the name of God to whom I commend my soul, and my body to the ground which my children will be careful to bury at the least expense possible, and since my age and feeble health will not enable my life, by the will of God, to go on much longer, today on 8 December of the year of our Lord 1723, being of sound mind and body I voluntarily declare, in order to prevent any quarrels or disputes amongst my children, my last will to be executed in accordance with what I have set forth here in writing.
First I declare that the executrixes of the
Marie Camin Testament-2
testament be my two daughters, Marie and Ester de Coninck, being convinced of their good nature and good conscience.
I would like that my son Jean obtains the library of his father consisting of books that are in the catalog that I have signed, and also his watch and a medal of Gustave, and the little portraits of his father and me; that my two daughters, Marie and Ester, each have a bed with two blankets on each, a quilt and bedspread for each bed, and the wood frame; I also bequeath to them all linen tablecloths and napkins and all my linen which is in my use. I also give them both the six silver knives and forks and to each three spoons and three small forks; I bequeath to my daughter Ester my gold armband that I wear on my left arm; As for the rest of the furniture my desire is that it be shared amongst the five namely, Marie, Jean, Catherine, Ester, Francois de Coninck, either by estimating their worth or amicably sharing without having to sell them; and in the event that God withdraws my daughter Camin [Catherine de Coninck who married Abraham Camin, son of Jean Camin] before me, I exclude with all the respect that is due them the orphans' rooms of which the children of my said daughter will be able to find in the administration of property which may be found after my death which established their guardians to be their father Abraham Camin together with my daughter Marie, and in their default, my sister Ester, because I find myself in debt to my daughter Marie the sum of eight hundred guilders that Messrs. Crommelin and Torin gave to him as a gift and for which she has the proof;[Apparently Catherine de Coninck was seriously ill at this time which made Marie Camin think her daughter might die before her. She obviously recovered because she was present when the will was proved in April 1725. She and her husband, Abraham Camin, both died around 1741 in Surinam.
The orphans aren't mentioned in the will because the younger one, Marie, had already died in 1713 in Amsterdam and 'Catin' [Catherine] who had married Nicolas Caron was in Barbados where she and her husband died poverty-stricken in 1725.
Jean de Coninck was still in Batavia when his mother died. He didn't return to Holland until 1733. On 1 October 1736 he married at The Hague, Suzanne Esther de Rapin-Thoyras, daughter of Paul de Rapin, Seigneur de Thoyras, the notable historian and Marie Anne Testart. Jean and Suzanne Esther de Rapin-Thoyras had children, one of whom was a boy named Frederic de Coninck (1740-1811) who became the famous shipping magnate in Denmark.]
My daughter Marie must receive this sum before the division of furniture and property takes place which is found at the time of my death, appealing to all my said children for harmony and fraternity befitting what true brothers who fear God must display so that they might win the blessings of God on them and on their descendents, praying the great God to ratify the blessing which I bestow upon all so that they might live in his reverential fear and die in his grace, so that we might all be able to say as their dear father and I will do on the last day, 'Behold, Lord, the children that you gave us in your grace.' Amen.
(signed) Maria Camin, widow of Frederic de Coninck
Will proved 25 April 1724 at Schiedam, Holland, in the presence of Marie Oursel, Isaac Torin, Abraham Camin, Francois de Coninck, Marie de Coninck, Catherine de Coninck [wife of Abraham Camin], Ester de Coninck, Jan Crommelin
Notaries Public: Niclaas van Crimpen, Jan van Lycken
[Jan Crommelin may be Jean Crommelin (1689-1767; son of Samuel Louis Crommelin and Judith Truffet) who married Esther Blaquiere. They lived in Rotterdam. He may even be one who assisted Mary Camin financially. Isaac Torin is the husband of Madeleine Crommelin (daughter of Jacob Crommelin and Elisabeth Testart) who lived in The Hague. Isaac died in 1736. He also helped Marie Camin financially in her latter days.]