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AS TO THE [MUNGER] NAME.
"Monger; Anglo-Saxon Manegere. Originally a merchant of the highest class. Aelfric's Manegere is represented as trading in purple and silk; gold, wine, oil, &c. The Manegere (merchant) of Saxon times was a much more important personage than those who, in our day, bear the name. He was the prototype of the merchant princes of the nineteenth century; he was a dealer in many things which the ships-men brought from many lands." (From English Surnames.)
THE HANSEATIC LEAGUE.
"The word 'hansa,' when we find it first in the Gothic Bible of Ulfila, signifies a military assemblage or troop. From this comes the general sense of union, and especially in the Middle Ages, of union for mercantile purposes. "The Hansa, the league which ultimately overshadowed all rivals and usurped the name for itself, was no international creation, and we can fix no exact date for its origin. It arose gradually from two elements; the union of German merchants abroad and the union of German towns at home. "The first impulse to mercantile union came from the dangers of travelling in the early Middle Ages. In those days mariners had neither chart or compass to guide their course, and were forced to creep timidly along the shore and to avoid as much as possible the open sea. The merchants had also to dread more positive dangers than those of storm and wreck. The coasts of northern Germany harbored numbers of rovers and pirates, who regarded the peaceful trader as their natural prey. To increase their power of resistance it was usual for merchants to undertake their voyages in more or less numerous companies. The union thus began on sea, was still further cemented on land. In those days law was personal, and not territorial. The foreign merchant had no share in the law of the land in which he sojourned; he brought with him his own law and administered it as best he could. The legal customs of northern Germany were substantially alike; and this similarity strengthened the bonds of union among the merchants, who found themselves for a time settled in a foreign land. "The most important German mercantile settlements were founded in Wisby, the capital of Gothland; in London, Novgorod, Bergen and Bruges. Wisby was the central point of the Baltic trade; the other towns represented the four extremes of northern German commerce. Wisby differed from the other settlements in the fact that the Germans there were not merchants making a temporary visit, but were real settlers living side by side with the native population. Novgorod was a mere colony of the German settlement [page x] in Wisby, and Bergen was comparatively unimportant, and the German 'counter' in Bruges was not formed until some amount of union had been attained at home. But in the German colony in London, the majority of the members were merely passing traders who remained citizens of their native towns. It was therefore the London Hansa which exercised the greatest influence on the growth of the town league. In the reign of Edgar, we find the 'people of the Emperor' occupying a prominent position in London trade and joined in a lasting league.
"Waldemar III, king of Denmark (1340-1377), devoted the early part of his reign to recovery of lands lost to Denmark while it had been without a king and a prey to the wildest anarchy. To carry out this policy he had to spend large sums of money. To enrich himself he decided on the plunder of German commerce. In 1361 he sailed to Gothland and surprised and captured the town of Wisby. The news of this act reached the representatives of the Hansa as they were assembled at Griefswald. They at once resolved on war and in 1362 their fleet stormed and captured Copenhagen. But while they were besieging the strong fortress of Helsingborg, Waldemar attacked and destroyed their defenseless fleet. This defeat was followed by a truce which recognized the Danish possession of Gotland. In 1367 a Hanseatic assembly at Stralsund was informed that Waldemar had laid new duties on the fishing stations, and that he had robbed German merchants in the Sound and the Belts. Another war followed and the results were different. Waldemar did not await the arrival of the hostile fleet but fled in 1368 to Brandenburg, and Denmark fell entirely into the hands of the League. In 1370, Waldemar was compelled, as the price of his return to his throne, to sign the treaty of Stralsund. By this treaty the Hansa obtained for five years all fortresses on the coast of Schonen, and as compensation for their losses, were to receive for fifteen years, two-thirds of the Danish revenues. It was also stipulated that henceforth no king should ascend the throne of Denmark without the consent of the Hanse towns and that their privileges should be expressly confirmed at each coronation. The treaty of Stralsund marks the zenith of the power and prosperity of the Hanseatic League.
"After this war the League adopted a federal constitution. From 1361 can be dated the regular meetings of the general assemblies whose acts have been preserved in the archives of Luebeck. These assemblies met once a year in mid-summer, usually, but not exclusively, at Luebeck. They were attended by representatives of the various towns, but no one below the rank of councellor could act as representative. The League always endeavored to maintain its aristocratic character. The assemblies busied themselves with all the details of foreign policy as well as of internal management. The penalty of non-observance of their decrees was expulsion from the Verhansung (League). The chief offence which brought this punishment on a town, was the admission of democratic tendencies. The struggle between the artisans and the old burger families, which is so important a [page xi] feature of European history in the 13th and 14th centuries, affected the Hanse towns. It was for admitting artisans to the council that Brunswick was expelled from the League in 1375, and was not re-admitted until 1380 when the old constitution was restored. "Besides the central constitution of the Hansa, there are also traces of internal groupings. At Bruges the German merchants are divided according as they came from (i) the Wendish and Saxon towns-(2) Westphalia and Prussia, (3) Gothland, Livonia and Sweden. This division is supposed to refer to a real division of the League, each third being gathered around one of the three chief towns; Luebeck, Cologne, and Wisby." (From Encyclopadia Britannica.)
THE ANCIENT CITY OF WISBY.
A dead city of the Baltic Sea. "The wonderful ruins at Wisby cause it to be regarded as the most remarkable monument of the Middle Ages in all Europe. The Island of Gotland on which Wisby is situated is in the Baltic, midway between Sweden and Russia, 130 miles southeast of Stockholm, and its commanding position has caused it to be termed 'The eye of the Baltic.' "Wisby is the capital of Gotland and lies on the west coast at about its middle. It was a city of merchants, and during the 12, 13, and 14 centuries, attained great importance, and accumulated vast wealth. The trade of Northern Europe with the East passed through Wisby, which was a free port, and was trans-shipped thence to Russia, and went overland by caravan, and the goods of India, Persia and China, came down the great rivers of Russia, and were passed on through this town. Merchants settled here in large numbers; so numerous were the ships that came to this port, that a code of maritime laws was framed, known to the legal profession to this day as the 'Laws of Wisby.' "It was an age of church building; the different guilds and nations built churches, and built them well-to last. At Wisby there arose three Convents, two houses of The Holy Ghost, and eighteen great churches. The town was surrounded by walls two and one-half miles in length and thirty feet high. Among the churches built at Wisby were the Church of St. Nicholas, The Holy Ghost, St. Clernent, St. Olaf,, St. Hans, St. Lawrence, Holy Trinity, St. Mary (the Cathedral), St. Catherine, St. George, the latter outside the wall, the church of the lepers. "The subsequent decay of Wisby was due to the Danish invasion, the discovery of the cape of Good Hope, which opened a new route to the East, and the influence of the Reformation. Wisby is now an almost unknown city. It lies without the beaten route, and is seldom visited. Of its 18 churches, four are wholly lost; even their sites are no longer certain, but the walls of the town are still standing, one church is in use, and the ruins of nine others, some of them very extensive, are still visible." (Dr. H. Derby.)
[page xii] "The object of this association (Hanseatic League) was . . . commercial monopoly to be gained by acquiring the exclusive control of the carrying trade of the North of Europe. Its leaders wished to secure for it on a grand scale in the commercial affairs of Europe, the same exclusive privileges which the members of the guild or trade corporations possessed in the towns. We may form some idea of its power when we consider what it proposed to do, and what in the course of time it actually accomplished. It undertook to protect its members from oppression while engaged in carrying on their trade, to guarantee by armed force if necessary, the security of all commercial routes which the members might pass over, to enforce the observance, both by its own members and by the strangers with whom they traded, of wise commercial regulations, and to extend the commerce of the association as widely as possible, both by sea and by land. For these purposes the League raised armies, equipped vessels of war, made treaties and alliances with foreign powers, and in short, for nearly five centuries exercised all the functions of a regular government in carrying out its plans. All this time be it remembered, it was entirely independent of any government or country of Europe, and held them all in such subjection by virtue of its monopoly of the trade of their subjects that it became a power of the first magnitude in the settlement of the general European policy." (Mediaeval Hist.: by C. J. Stille, LL.D.)
From these German merchants (Manegeres) we have received the legacy of a name. Surnames seem to have originated with the Romans, who attempted to introduce them among the Northern tribes. "But with the overthrow of the Western Empire, the system was lost, and the Barbarians, who settled upon its ruins, brought back the simple appellative once more. Ammus, the chief hero, was content with that title. Alaric, the brave king of the Goths, is only so known." "Surnames were derived from a man's occupation, or from the locality in which he dwelt." John was a smith of some sort; he was known as "John the smith," and eventually as John Smith. Peter lived on the moor; in distinction from some other Peter, he was designated as, "Pete o' the moor." Moore eventually became the family surname. Can the average reader interpret "Bill o' jack's"? Simply that "Bill" was the son of "Jack." Had "Bill" been asked to give his lineage he would have given it thus, if at all: "Bill o' jack's, o' Tom's, o' Pete's, o' Sam's." "Bill" had no "trimming."
"It is certain that the practice of making the second name of an individual stationary, and transmitting it to descendants, came gradually into common use during the 11th, 12th, 13th and 14th centuries, by a silent and unpremeditated movement over the whole of the more populated and civilized European societies. Nomenclature then began to assume a solid and lasting basis. It was the result of an insensibly growing necessity."
"As a general rule all names terminating in ER indicate some employment or profession, unquestionably derived from the Anglo-Saxon "wer" or [page xiii] "were," a man. Miller, a mill-man. Monger or Manegere, a merchantman." (Prof. M. A. Lower.)
The name Munger in its various spellings is found among English people, Germans and Dutch. It was at "Munger's drift" that the English General Buller met his first defeat at the hands of the Boers. The Swedes have the name Mungerson. A gentleman, who at the time of the settlement of the "Alabama Claims" was secretary to one of the United States commissioners, states that at the hotel in Geneva, Switzerland, when registering, the clerk, noticing the name said: "Your name is German, and should be written Muenger." We learn from reliable authority that the characters over the letter U give it the sound of "e," or "ew," and that the "g" has the sound as of "g" in singer, a vocalist. The late John E. Munger of Chicago once stated that at Hot Springs, Ark., he met an educated German who was connected with the diplomatic service at Washington, who invariably addressed him as "Mr. Meng-er." Doubtless this is the correct pronunciation; at least it appears to be the nearest approach to the original "Manegere."
We have never attempted researches on the "other side," but have confined our labors to this country. We know the first arrival came from England; that he spelled his name MUNGER, as did his children and grandchildren, and following generations, and as it is yet spelled by his descendants in the territory where he first established himself in AMERICA as a "Freeman."
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