The King of Prussia had demanded that the magistrates of Dantzic should deliver me up; but this could not be done without offending the Imperial court, I being a commissioned officer in that service, with proper passports; it was therefore probable that this negotiation required letters should pass and repass; and for this reason Abramson was employed to detain me some days longer, till, by the last letters from Berlin, the magistrates of Dantzic were induced to violate public safety and the laws of nations.
Our only acquaintance in Dantzic was the Austrian resident, M. Abramson, to whom I brought letters of recommendation from Vicuna, and whose reception of us was polite even to extravagance.
"Abramson's olfactories are not those of a courtier," said Balby, "or he would have fainted at the odor of royalty. But truly, this Mr. Abramson is a disgraceful person, and I beg your majesty to avenge Mr. Zoller." "I shall do so. The Jew heard afterward that it was the king whom he had treated so disrespectfully, and here could never obtain his forgiveness.
At four in the afternoon he told me he had himself spoken to the captain, who said he would not sail till the next day; adding that he, Abramson, would expect me to breakfast, and would then accompany me to the vessel. I felt a secret inquietude which made me desirous of leaving Dantzic, and immediately to send all my luggage, and to sleep on board.
But, alas! the effects and money they have robbed me of have never been restored; and for the miseries they have brought upon me, they could not be recompensed by the wealth of any or all the monarchs on earth. Estates they may, but truth they cannot confiscate; and of the villainy of Abramson and Weingarten I have documents and proofs that no court of justice could disannul.
"I mean that my museum is closed, and " A carriage rolled thunderingly to the door; the outer doors of the hall were hastily opened, a liveried servant entered, and stepping immediately to Mr. Abramson, he said: "Lord Middlestone, of Loudon, asks the honor of seeing your gallery." The countenance of the Jewish banker beamed with delight. "Will his excellency have the graciousness to enter?
Come, Balby, we have bought pictures enough; now we will only admire them, enjoy without appropriating them. The rich banker, Abramson, is said to have a beautiful collection; we will examine them, and then have our draft cashed."
Abramson, who had in reality entered no protest whatever, but rather excited the magistracy, and acted in concert with Reimer, advised me to put my writings and other valuable effects into his hands, otherwise they would be seized.
He returned in a few moments, and announced that his master would come himself to receive them. The door opened immediately, and Mr. Abramson stepped into the hall; his face, bright and friendly, darkened when his black eyes fell upon the two strangers standing in the hall.
About noon Abramson came to visit me, affected to be infinitely concerned and enraged, and affirmed he had strongly protested against the illegality of this proceeding to the magistracy, as I was actually in the Austrian service; but that they had answered him the court of Vienna had afforded them a precedent, for that, in 1742, they had done the same by the two sons of the burgomaster Rutenberg, of Dantzic, and that, therefore, they were justified in making reprisal; and likewise, they durst not refuse the most earnest request accompanied with threats, of the King of Prussia.