Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/La Motte, John

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search

LA MOTTE, JOHN (1570?–1665), merchant of London, born about 1570, was the son of Francis La Motte of Ypres in Flanders, who come over to England about 1562, took up his residence at Colchester, and died in London. La Motte was sent to a school in Ghent under the Dutch protestant church. His master, Jacobus Reginus (Jan de Konink), in a letter dated 11 July 1583 to Wingius, the minister of the Dutch Church at London, mentions him as a very promising pupil, excelling his schoolfellows in talent and diligence (Ecclesiæ Londino-Batavæ Archivum, ed. Hessels, ii. 754–6). He appears to have finished his education at the university of Heidelberg (ib. i. 372).

La Motte was a successful merchant. On 7 Dec. 1611 he wrote to the Earl of Salisbury, 'desiring an audience, to disclose some secrets be heard beyond the seas,' and suggested a tax upon black and brown thread, that the English poor might be employed in its manufacture. At the same time he solicited a warrant to seize all thread imported from such foreign countries as banished English cloth, and the form of the tax of that manufacture is England (Cal. of State Papers, Dom. 1611-18, p. 98). In April 1616 La , Motte, with three others, petitioned the king for permission to export and import merchandise, paying only such customs as English merchants pay, on the ground that he was born in England, though of foreign parents, and that be submitted to law, church, and government taxes (ib. p. 363).

La Motte afterwards became a permanent member of the Reformed Dutch Church in Austinfriars, and his name appears in the list of elders for 1620 (Mohns, Registers of the Dutch Church, p. 209). On 24 March 1636 the king granted a license to La Motte and five others, including Sir William Courten [q, v.] and Alderman Campbell, to establish a foreign church at Saadtoft for celebrating divine service either in the English or Dutch tongues, according to the rites of the established church of England (Huguenot Soc. Proc. ii. 293–4). He resided within the parish of St. Bartholomew by the Exchange, in one of the largest houses in that parish, standing due east of the eastern entrance to the Royal Exchange, and in the middle of the broad pavement which now extends from Threadneedle Street to Cornhill. He paid 3l. 9s. 4d. to the poor-rate, so that his house must have been assessed at about 104l. a year (Vestry Minute Books of the Parish of St. Bartholomew, edited by Edwin Freshfield, p. xl). His name first occurs in the books of the parish in May 1615. He served the chief parish offices, viz. constable in 1019, and churchwarden in 1621. La Motte died in July 1655, and was buried on the 24th of that month in the church of St. Bartholomew by the Exchange (Smyth, Obituary, p. 40).

He married Anne Tivelyn of Canterbury. By her he had two daughters, who were baptised at the Dutch church in Austinfriars, via. Hester, married to John Manyng and (according to La Motte's will) to Sir Thomas Honywood, and Elisabeth, who married Maurice Abbot, second son of Sir Maurice Abbot, lord mayor of London (Visitation of London, Hart. Soc., ii. 42). Only the elder survived her father (Moens, Registers of the Dutch Church, 1884, p. 43). William King (1663–1712) [q. v.] claims La Motte as his great-grandfather (Adversaria). His will, dated 23 Mar 1655, was proved in the P. C. C. 8 Aug. 1655 (86, Aylett). One half of his estate was bequeathed to his grandchild, Maurice Abbot; the other half was distributed in numerous legacies to relatives and friends, and in bequests of a charitable nature. Twenty-five pounds were left to the parish of St. Bartholomew, the interest to be employed in providing a lecture to be delivered in the church every Sunday afternoon. Other bequeats were made to the poor of Bridewell Hospital (of which he was a governor), and of Christ's Hospital; endowments towards the ministers' stipend, a parsonage-houae, and relief of the poor of the Dutch church of London. The following also were legatees: the three ministers of the Dutch church; the poor of St. James's, Colchester; the poor of Foulmer in Cambridge; the Dutch congregations and their ministers and poor at Colchester, Sandwich, and Canterbury; the clerk and beadle of the Weavers' Company, of which he appears to have been a member; and a very large number of apprentices, servants, and other dependents. He was possessed at the time of his death of various properties in Essex and Cambridgeshire, including the manors of Ramsey and Brudwell in the former county, and an estate at Foulmer in the latter. Administration of his will was granted to his executors, James Houblon and Maurice Abbot.

A portrait of La Motte by Faithome is prefixed to Fulk Bellers's 'Life' and funeral sermon, 1656.

[Authorities above cited; Fulk Bellers's Life of La Motte, 1656, 4to; Granger's Biog. Hist. ii. 276; Clark's Lives of Eminent Men.]

C. W-h.