, the son of a tailor at Menin, was one of many who experienced the
, the son of a tailor at Menin, was one of many who experienced the oppression of Olivarez duke of Alva, who, being appointed by Philip II. governor of the seventeen provinces, endeavoured, with execrable policy, to establish over all the Netherlands an irreligious and horrible court of judicature, on the model of the Spanish inquisition. By consequence, in 1567, great numbers of industrious, thriving, and worthy people were imprisoned by the rigorous orders of this petty tyrant, and treated with great injustice and cruelty. Courten had the good fortune to escape from prison; and in the year following, 1568, arrived safe in London, with his wife Margaret Casiere, a daughter named Margaret, her husband, son of a mercantile broker at Antwerp of the name of Boudean, and as much property as they could hastily collect under such disadvantages. Soon after their arrival, they took a house in Abchurch-lane, where they lived together, following for some time the business of making what were commonly called French hoods, much worn in those days and long after, which they vended in wholesale to the shopkeepers who sold them in retail. Encouraged by great success in this employment, they soon removed to a larger house in Pudding-lane or Love-lane, in the parish of St. Mary Hill, where they entered on a partnership trade, in silks, fine linens, and such articles as they had dealt in before when in Flanders. Michael Boudean, the daughter Margaret’s husband, died first, leaving behind him, unfortunately for the family, a son and only child, named Peter, after an uncle certainly not much older than himself. The widow married John Money, a merchant in London, who instantly became an inmate with the family, which was moreover increased by the parents themselves, with two sons, William, born in 1572, and Peter, born in 1581. The young men, being instructed in reading, writing, and arithmetic, were early initiated in business, and soon after sent abroad as factors for the family: William to Haerlem, Peter to Cologne, and Peter Boudean the grandchild to Middleburg. At what time William Courten and Margaret Casiere died is at present uncertain most probably their deaths happened about the end of queen Elizabeth’s, or in the beginning of king James’s reign; but it seems certain, that they left their descendants not only in easy, but even in affluent circumstances. At the following aera of this little history it does not appear clearly, whether the old people were actually dead, or had only declined all farther active, responsible concern in business: but, in 1606, William and Peter Courtens entered into partnership with John Money, their sister Margaret’s second husband, to trade in silks and fine linen. Two parts, or the moiety of the joint stock, belonged to William Courten, and to each of the others, Peter Courten and John Money, a fourth share. As for Peter Boudean, the son of Margaret Courten by her first husband, he seems to have been employed to negotiate for the partnership at Middleburg on some stipulated or discretionary salary; for it does not appear that he had any certain or determinate share in the trade, which was carried on prosperously till 1631, with a return, it is said, one year with another, of 150,000l. During the course of this copartnership, there is nothing upon record unfavourable to the character of John Money. The characters too of William and Peter Courtens appear unexceptionable, fair, and illustrious. They prospered, it seems, remarkably in all their undertakings, for twenty years and more; in the course of which time they were both dignified with the honours of knighthood.