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Joseph Avery was an Englishman who was resident in Hamburg most of his life. By 1612 he worked as secretary for the English Court (Merchant Adventurers) in the city. In March 1627 he received 1000 dalers from Anders Svensson, the Swedish agent in Hamburg for some support. He also worked in a diplomatic capacity with Denmark-Norway in 1631, 1632, 1636, 1637 and 1641 and also with Sweden from 1633-1636. From 1633 he was British Resident. Certainly in April 1635 Avery received instructions from King Charles I regarding negotiations he was to undertake with Chancellor Axel Oxenstierna once he had finished his mission to Christian IV of Denmark-Norway. In June 1636 Oxenstierna corresponded with both Avery and Charles, indicating that he was also in negotiation with the Emperor, Saxony and Brandenburg. That same month Avery warned Charles through Sir John Coke, secretary of state, that without British levies and funding, the Swedes might well make peace with the Emperor. In the specific section relating to Sweden in his book, Bell simply relates that during Avery's time as agent in Hamburg he had cause to travel to Sweden repeatedly, but is not specific as to when. Bell also says that when Anstruther was not in Hamburg, Avery acted as Charge D' Affairs. During the Covenanting period, Avery became English resident and Court Master for the Adventurers. He lost this position when the English Parliament gained the upper hand as he was a fierce Royalist. This was rewarded when Avery acted as an agent to the Hanse towns for Restoration Britain, 1660-1663 and was again probably based in Hamburg. On 29 November 1639, Averie signed a discharge to Count Warnke [Warneken] of Bremen for 500 rixdaler which Warnke had been ordered to pay Averie him by Sir George Sinclair and Andrew Smith and that this should be remitted to him in Scotland to Mr William Stirling. On 18 March 1640, Warneken [Warnke] wrote from Bremen to William Stirling intimating he had received 500 rixdaler from John Sinclair in Rapnes, Orkney and paid that money to Averie in Hamburg on that date in the previous November. It is not clear if this had anything to do with the Royalist faction of General James King, then in Hamburg, or simply a business transaction to do with trade. Avery's activity as a diplomat reached their height in 1641 when he was accredited to negotiate with Christian IV on behalf of Charles I. In December that year he delivered 2 propositions to Christian. The first asked that Christian take on the role of mediator with the Emperor in the issue of the Palatinate and the restoration of Charles's nephew and that that cause be included in the Imperial negotiations about to commence in Vienna. Further he proposed that the Danish king should conscript soldiers and have them ready should the war spread to Danish territory. In his reply Christian stated that he would indulge in both universal and particular negotiations regarding the palatinate issue. The second proposition was to do with the re-establishment of better trading relations between Denmark and the British parliaments and the new treaty of the Sound. Christian responded that he did not want ratification of any new treaty to be with the parliaments but with Charles I and scolded Sir Thomas Roe for daring to question the rights of the Danish king which, Christian pointed out, was the concern of no man, but only God. To his credit, Avery continued to negotiate despite a certain hostility from Christian IV. After the Restoration of Charles II, Averie undertook negotiations in London on behalf of Bremen, Lubeck and Hamburg and was appointed as agent to those cities on 27 August 1660. Avery was married twice. His second wife was Elizabeth, daughter of Sir John Ogles, who resided in the United Provinces, probably in Utrecht. The Scottish theologian John Durie, who was an acquaintance of Avery, acquainted her to Hamburg in June 1643. 


Sources: National Archives of Scotland, GD 190/3/151 and 234 (1629-1659), Commercial papers and accounts relating to Patrick Smyth of Braco, Discharge of Averie, November 1639 and Warkenen to Stirling, 18 March 1640; Public Records Office, SP75/12 & 14, SP81/56, SP95/4; Hamburg Staatsarchiv, 177/2b 'Diplomatenlisten' I, p.42; C.F. Bricka and J.A. Fredericia, Kong Christian den Fjerdes Egenhaendige Breve, (8 vols., Copenhagen, 1878-1947), passim; Swedish Riksarkiv, 'Svenske Sandebuds till Utlandske Hof och Deras Sandebud till Sverige', (1841), p.83; Rikskansleren Axel Oxenstiernas skrifter och brefvexling, first series, III, p.767; Rikskansleren Axel Oxenstiernas skrifter och brefvexling, first series, vol.15, pp.283-5, 302, 305, 351, 451, 518-23, 524, 528, 530, 532, 567, 570, 573; Hartlib Papers [HP], HP 45/3/18A - 18B, 1 October 1641; HP 45/3/19A-19B, 1 December 1641 - '1st Proposition to the King of Denmark'; HP 45/3/21A-21B, 2 December 1641 - '2nd Proposition to the King of Denmark'; Hartlib Papers; L. Bittner and L. Gross, Reportorium der diplomatischen vertreter aller lander, vol. 1, 1648-1715 (Oldenburg and Berlin, 1936), pp.183, 190-191; G. M. Bell, A Handlist of British Diplomatic Representatives 1509-1688 (London, 1990); Steve Murdoch, Network North: Scottish Kin, Commercial and Covert Associations in Northern Europe, 1603-1746 (Brill, Leiden, 2006), pp.68, 155.

English Civil War, British Civil Wars

Service record

Arrived 1626-02-01
Departed 1635-12-31
Capacity RESIDENT, purpose DIPLOMACY
Arrived 1631-01-01
Departed 1631-12-31
Capacity AGENT, purpose DIPLOMACY
Arrived 1632-10-01
Departed 1632-10-30
Capacity AGENT, purpose DIPLOMACY
Arrived 1636-01-01
Departed 1636-01-31
Capacity AGENT, purpose DIPLOMACY
Arrived 1636-06-01
Departed 1636-06-30
Capacity AGENT, purpose DIPLOMACY
Arrived 1636-07-01
Departed 1636-12-31
Capacity AGENT, purpose DIPLOMACY
Arrived 1636-08-31
Departed 1637-06-29
Capacity AGENT, purpose DIPLOMACY
Arrived 1636-08-31
Departed 1637-06-29
Capacity AGENT, purpose DIPLOMACY
Arrived 1637-07-01
Departed 1637-07-31
Capacity AGENT, purpose DIPLOMACY
Arrived 1641-01-01
Departed 1641-12-31
Capacity AGENT, purpose DIPLOMACY
Arrived 1660-08-27
Departed 1663-12-31
Capacity AGENT, purpose DIPLOMACY