Venice: June 1594

Calendar of State Papers Relating To English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 9, 1592-1603. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1897.

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'Venice: June 1594', in Calendar of State Papers Relating To English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 9, 1592-1603, (London, 1897) pp. 132-141. British History Online [accessed 29 February 2024]

June 1594

June 1. Copy of Original Despatch, Venetian Archive. 285. Tomaso Contarini, Venetian Ambassador in Germany, to the Doge and Senate.
The French and English Ambassadors at the Porte are pursuing a policy hostile to his Imperial Majesty.
Prague, 1st June 1594.
June 6. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 286. Francesco Vendramin, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
The West India fleet which is expected, will most certainly bring to his Majesty about seven millions of gold in bars. Half of this sum has been received from the Indies as a donation towards a war against the heretics; just as on the same pretext in recent years, large sums have been raised in Spain; some of the rich gentlemen in the West Indies were so ready in response—be it from charity, be it from ambition—that at a single coup they subscribed fifty thousand ducats in gold.
His Majesty has further published an edict in which he announces the alienation in perpetuity of many fiefs which have hitherto been let out for one life only. The consequence is that a large sum of money will be raised, and Treasury bonds will go up, not down as many expected.
Madrid, 6th June 1594.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
June 6. Original Despatch, Veuetian Archives. 287. Marco Venier, Venetian Ambassador in Constantinople, to the Doge and Senate.
Almost from the. beginning of my Embassy I have been without a secretary and without a coadjutor, owing to the serious illness of both. Now I am quite alone. The coadjutor has sailed for Candia; the secretary, there being no more oil in the lamp, went out quite suddenly on the evening of the 2nd.
Dalle Vigne di Pera, 6th June 1594.
June 17. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 288. Francesco Vendramin, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
Eight ships of Biscay are said to have captured six Englishmen; while on the other hand from Portugal one hears that six Portuguese ships have fallen a prey to the English who are growing daily more numerous in those waters.
The Adelantado of Castile has arrived at Lisbon with fifteen galleys for the protection of the coast.
Madrid, 17th June 1594.
June 20. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 289. Marco Venier, Venetian Ambassador in Constantinople, to the Doge and Senate.
The difficulty in the case of the heirs of the late William Elman, which your Serenity instructed me to keep in my own hands unless arbitrators were accepted, has been settled thus.
Charles Elman sold to Aaron, Prince of Bogdanía, a girdle, of the kind called here a Mastul, composed of ten emeralds in a jewelled crystal case, for 25 sums (somme) of money, amounting to twenty-five thousand crowns; he received a declaration from the agents of the Prince. The sale was effected on the request of the English Ambassador and on his surety and that of Paul Mariani, who placed in Elman's hands, as guarantee, a crystal casket, containing emeralds, a jewelled sword and a jewelled dagger, such as is here called a chankiar, and further they formally made themselves sureties and debtors in chief to the said Elman till the complete satisfaction of the said sum, which was to be effected within six months. All these conditions were set forth in a deed executed by the Ambassador and by Paul Mariani. Various questions have arisen over this deed. The agent of Charles Elman claims that the Ambassador and Paul Mariani are bound to the full satisfaction of their obligation. The Ambassador and Mariani claim the return of the securities and the cancelling of the deed without coming to payment in full. I did all I could to induce the parties to accept arbitration, and the agent of Mr. Elman agreed to the appointment of one arbitrator on each side with power to elect a third, in case of disagreement. The Ambassador would not accept this proposal and insisted on the appointment of a sole arbitrator, and named first the Patriarch Miletio, and then the French Ambassador; it was impossible to bring the parties to an accord on this point.
The English Ambassador then had recourse to the Turkish Courts; and twice Ibraim Pasha has sent a cavass to me at the Embassy, to ask me to send him Mr. James Mahew (Sr. Giacomo Mahiu), who is Mr. Elman's agent. I openly and vigorously refused to do anything of the kind. The Ambassador then endeavoured to affix seals on the house of Mr. Mahew, but he, by the use of certain gratifications, provided against this attempt. Mahew, seeing himself attacked thus, in his turn had recourse to the Turkish Courts, and pressed the Ambassador so hard that he, finding himself in a difficult position, came to me to beg that I would use my influence to induce Mr. Mahew to refer the matter to Christian Courts only. But the original difficulty about the selection of arbitrators rose again; and the Ambassador sent the Consul in Algiers, an intimate of his, to me, begging me most earnestly to act, not as arbiter, but as judge in the case. This I declined to do, on the ground that the Ambassador had on other occasions, spoken harshly and slightingly of the quality of Venetian judges. But the Ambassador and Mr. Mahew proceeded both of them to sign a paper abundantly witnessed, in which they declared that as Mr. Charles Elman was a Venetian subject, both parties agreed to submit to the jurisdiction of the Venetian Ambassador, and to accept his judgment without appeal. Then came your Serenity's instructions as above, and so I have been forced to drain this bitter cup, more bitter than any I have ever known.
The English Ambassador put in the first demand, which was, that the Court, in his interest and in that of the Prince of Bogdania, for whom he said he was acting, should cancel the contract on the ground that it was illegal and usurious, and declare it null and void for other reasons.
Over this arose a great struggle. The Ambassador rested his request chiefly on the usurious nature of the contract; Mr. Mahew said that if the Ambassador claimed to act for the Prince of Bogdania, he must show his power of attorney, or produce the Prince's agent, who is resident in Constantinople on purpose to attend to the Prince's affairs, and who is called the Ban. Elman also insisted that Mariani should be heard in Court, as he was an interested party.
I ruled that the demand could not take effect without the presence of all parties mentioned in it, or of their legal representatives This decision gave great offence to the Ambassador, and to Mariani, who is the steersman of that ship, as they had taken great pains to say nothing on this subject to the agent of the Prince, because they had given the Prince and his agent to understand that the price of the girdle was forty thousand crowns, and because the Prince appeared as debtor for that sum in the declarations, whereas the agreement with Elman was for twenty-five thousand crowns, and that sum and no more Elman was to receive as payment in full; the balance, therefore, would go into the pockets of the Ambassador and of Mariani. And so, in order that this fraud should not be brought to light, they withdrew at double quick time from their first demand and asked me to hand it back to them, though I had already given my ruling on the point. Mr. Mahew opposed the restitution of the document, and I, in the interests of justice, refused to allow it to leave the Chancery.
The next step was that Mariani caused the English Ambassador to be entered as his legal representative and attorney before this Court. The Ambassador presented a fresh demand and statement of his case; which, unless I am mistaken, is full of quibbles and inventions, framed with a view to avoid payment of the debt as required by the deed.
The case was opened and discussed in two addresses on each side. Mariani spoke at great length. When the moment came that I should deliver judgment, Mariani insisted on making a third address, and after the reply of the other party, which was very long, he called for the production of certain documents, and asked for an order from the Court that they should be put in. After reading his adversary's reply and seeing quite well that he had no ground, he abandoned that position, and came forward with the offer of a composition, which the other party refused with contempt. In an immensely long memorandum he proposed another composition. I patiently endured all his outrageous conduct in silence so as to avoid affording to the Ambassador the smallest grounds for complaint. He was present in person at each hearing.
Finally, after the reply to Mariani's third address, he wished to deliver a fourth in the midst of indescribable uproar and of opposition on all sides. I will only quote one episode in the case, which will, however, allow your Serenity to judge of the whole.
Among the papers is a certain affidavit sworn by the Ambassador and given to Mahew, which throws great light on the case in favour of Elman. Well, Mariani, while arguing the case, frequently declared, and the Ambassador confirmed him, that although he had made the affidavit, it was falsely sworn. They told how the affidavit had been made in order that Mahew might use it in another suit, but not against the Ambassador. I was amazed at such a confession; and I thought to myself: “How my judgment and perhaps my person, will be torn to bits by a man, who, while Ambassador of a crowned head, is yet capable of coming into Court and entering himself as Attorney for Mariani, and then publicly admitting that he is a forger, unless the sentence be to his liking.”
Nevertheless, I did not fail to administer strict justice; calling on the name of God, I delivered judgment, with some comments which were rendered necessary by the papers put in and the evidence given, and by the general nature of the case. Seeing, however, that a large sum of money was at stake, and to avoid all malicious criticism in this country, alas too free, I declared that from my judgment, which both parties had agreed to accept as final, an appeal should lie to the Court of the Forty (in Venice), Not even so did I escape slander. For on the pretext of entering his appeal the Ambassador sent me a most scurrilous document, quite incompatible with the position of Representative of the Serene Republic which I hold, and demanding that I should register this document in the Chancery, and give him a copy.
I was determined that the fault of others should not lead me into error; so I contented myself with forbidding the registration, on the ground that the document contained libellous expressions, and refusing to return the same to the Ambassador. He tried to get it out of my hands by a lying trick, declaring that it was written by Pietro Mariani, nephew of Paulo Mariani, the man who had the effrontery to unroll it before my face. This Pietro, also holds six thousand sequins, the property of your Serenity, as my predecessor will explain.
I enclose a copy of the documents as requested by Mr. James Mahew, so that your Serenity may be fully informed of the whole state of the case and may procure some help for Mr. Charles Elman towards the recovery of his debt.
I, who would naturally have been brief over such an affair, have written at some length. Mr. Charles Elman will appear in person before the College, and he may be interrogated more fully and clearly if these papers are to hand.
Dalle Vigne di Pera, 20th June 1594.
March 28. Orignal in the Archives of the Venetian Ambassador's Court at Constantinople. Documents relating to the Suit of Edward Barton.
290. Rule in the suit between James Mahew and George Sanguinazzo re a contract between the Prince of Moldavia and the said Mahew of the one part and the English Ambassador of the other.
A question having arisen between Signor Antonio Timone, representing Mr. James Mahew, agent for Charles Helleman (sic), of the one part, and of the other Signor George Sanguinazzo representing the illustrious gentleman Edward Barton, Ambassador of the Queen of England, as to the persons who shall be allowed to appear in the case which is pending between the said parties:
The Venetian Ambassador having seen and read the contents of a document which passed between the illustrious Aaron, Vaivode and Prince of Moldavia and Mr. Mahew, dated April 23rd, 1592—made in Arapacmat—having also seen the petition lodged on the 18th of this month by the afore-named Ambassador, having heard what both parties have to say, rules as follows;
That the said petition shall have no effect in the present case unless all parties named in that petition are either present in person, or represented by a duly qualified agent; principals and guarantors alike, whose interests may be affected by the consideration of the above-named petition, and so let it be registered (et sic annotari juisit.)
April 1. Original in the Archives of the Venetian Ambassador's Court at Constantinople. 291. Petition of Paulo Mariani that the English Ambassador may be allowed to appear on his behalf in the Suit between him, Mr. James Mahew, re certain Securities.
Signor Paulo Mariani appeared in the Chancery of the Ambassador of Venice and petitioned that in the suit between the Ambassador of England and Mr. James Mahew, which arose out of a guarantee, made by deed of April 23, 1592, the said Ambassador might be allowed to act for and to appear for the petitioner in the said suit; without prejudice to any other claims he may have against the said James Mahew.
Last day of May. Original in the Archives of the Venetian Ambassador in Constantinople, 292. Document registered at request of Mr. James Mahew.
Mr. James Mahew presented himself at the Chancery of the Venetian Ambassador, and prayed that the following document might be registered:—
In view of certain differences between the illustrious gentleman Edward Barton, English Ambassador, and James Mahew acting for Charles Helleman, and seeing that the said Helleman is a Venetian subject, both parties agree to submit themselves to the jurisdiction of the illustrious Ambassador of Venice, and bind themselves to abide by his judgment which shall be final; in pledge of which the said parties have signed the present document before the witnesses herein-after named on the 12th of March 1594.
I, Edwin Barton, English Ambassador, affirm what is here written.
I, James Mahew, affirm what is here written.
Witness: William Fuc.
Witness: James Guitard.
Witness: Marc' Antonio Vidali.
June 14. [n.s.] Original in the Archives of the Venetian Ambassador at Constantinople 293. Sentence in favour of James Helleman against the illustrious Edward Barton, English Ambassador.
The illustrious Ambassador of Venice:—
Having heard the illustrious gentleman Edward Barton, Ambassador of England, on the one hand, suing (in his own name and in that of Signor Paulo Mariani,) Mr. James Mahew for the restitution of the pledges and goods by them consigned to him before they had knowledge of the last contract made between Mr. Mahew and the agents of the illustrious Aaron, Vaivode of Moldavia, and also suing that he and Signor Paulo Mariani may be released from their obligation contracted by deed of April 23rd, 1572, as is fully set forth in the petition :—
And having also heard, on the other hand, Mr. James Mahew, on behalf of those he represents, pleading that he should be absolved from an unjust claim :—
Having also heard what the advocates of both parties have to plead :—
Having heard and seen all that they have to say, produce, or allege;—
Having seen all the papers put in by one side and by the other :—
Having seen the document, dated April 23,1592; also the affidavit of Niciforo Parasio, dated Constantinople, July 10, 1593; also the affidavit of the Ambassador of England, dated June 16,1593, dated in Arapacmat; also a schedule of goods, put in by the said Ambassador; also copies of various documents alleged to be taken from the originals in the possession of the Vaivode of Moldavia; also a letter of Lodo-vico Vidali to Mr. James Mahew, dated Giassa, May 20, 1593; also the copies of several letters from Signor Paulo Mariani to Mr. James Mahew; also the copy of an affidavit sworn in Pera, July 1593; also a letter of Signor Paulo Mariani to M. de Breves, Ambassador of France; also the copy of a letter from the English Ambassador to Mr. James Mahew; also a memorandum, dated Pera, May 20, 1594, and signed by various merchants setting forth the terms of the documents held by the creditors of the Princes of Moldavia; also the order of May 2, 1594, and a reply thereto made by the English Ambassador on June 1 and June 10, 1594 :—
Having, finally, studied the case from every side, and invoking the name of God from whom all just judgments come we pronounce sentence as follows:
That Mr. James Mahew and those for whom he appears, shall be and are absolved from the claim of the English Ambassador, on this condition that should the English Ambassador, within a period to be determined, prove to the satisfaction of the Court that Mr. Mahew has received the 25 thousand crowns due on the purchase of the girdle in the crystal casket, on the surety of the said Ambassador and of Paulo Mariani, then the said Mr. James Mahew shall restore to the Ambassador all the securities named in the deed of April 23, 1592, with all that he has subsequently received from the said Ambassador or Signor Paulo Mariani in regard of their surety, and such restitution shall cancel the deed of April 23, 1592 :—
To the credit of the English Ambassador shall be placed all the acknowledgments of debt for the girdle and casket, which may have been made by the Vaivode of Moldavia :—
But if within the term assigned to him the Ambassador does not produce proof of such payment as aforesaid and in the manner aforesaid, then Mr. James Mahew is at liberty to proceed against him and against Signor Paulo Mariani for the entire payment of the sum due:—
The plaintiff in this suit (the Ambassador) is cast in costs. And though by a contract between the parties, registered in this Chancery, the sentence of the illustrious Ambassador of Venice is accepted as without appeal, nevertheless the Ambassador grants leave to appeal to the High Court of the Quarantia in the noble City of Venice, which shall decide the case, but the appeal must be lodged in the Chancery of the Embassy within three days after the publication of the sentence; and within a second term of three days the appeal must be recovered from the Chancery and sent to Venice by the first post which the Ambassador despatches for Venice. Notice of this shall be served on both parties, and eight days after the appeal has safely reached Venice the parties must present themselves at the proper place to carry out the appeal; otherwise the present sentence remains final, as agreed to by both parties.
And so let it be registered.
1594. On the 17th June in the Vineyards of Pera, the present sentence was published in the presence of Signor Demosthenes Carerio, the Reverend Bernardin Brunori, Signor Nicolò d'Elia of Venice, and of many others in the open Chancery of the illustrious Ambassador.
1594. 20th June. At the instance of Mr. James Mahew, we inform you Giorgio Sanguinazzo, attorney for the Ambassador of England and also representing Signor Paulo Mariani, that within to day you must have paid or secured the costs of the trial, and lodged your appeal, if you intend to make one, against the sentence of the 17th inst., in favour of Mr. James Mahew, otherwise execution will be granted.
The above notice was served on Signor Giorgio Sanguinazzo in the presence of the English Ambassador, who declined to receive it until the Ambassador of Venice shall have registered his appeal and given him a copy; the Ambassador of England declared that as for the costs he declined to pay them as the sentence was arbitrary.
Enclosed in Despatch of June 20. 294. My Lord Ambassador,
Your Lordship and your Lordship's predecessor, Zane, are both well aware of all that the illustrious gentleman, Edward Barton, English Ambassador, and his favourite Paulo Mariani, have done at the Porte in order to rob me, James Mahew, agent for Charles Helman (sic), of the property which was deposited as security for a diamond ring presented to the Sultan, and an emerald girdle in a jewelled case presented to the Sultana Isachi, by the said Ambassador in the name of Aaron, Prince of Moldavia, whose agent the Ambassador was, as the person by whose favour the Prince was first placed and then replaced in his principality. I repeat your Lordship knows well what the said Ambassador has attempted in the Turkish Courts to his own disgrace, and so does the French Ambassador, and in fact all Constantinople. And when I thought that your most equitable judgment of the 14th instant would have put an end to all these persecutions, the said Ambassador, instead of entering an appeal, as you have allowed him to do in spite of an agreement entered into on March 12th, by which both parties voluntarily bound themselves to accept your judgment as final, has presented to you through Pietro Mariani, nephew of this avano (fn. 1) Paulo, a memorandum, or rather, I should say, a libel attacking your Lordship: and threatening to continue the suit in the Turkish Courts. As your Lordship will understand, I cannot take any steps here against the Ambassador on account of his office, nor can I exact my legitimate debt. I, therefore, as a Venetian subject, appeal to your Lordship for protection and for defence against these vexatious proceedings, should the Ambassador carry out his threat of suing me in the Turkish Courts.
I further beg your Lordship to report the whole state of the case, and how matters really stand, to his Serenity, in order that my principal, Charles Helman, may present himself in all humility to his sublimity and humbly sue for a just representation to be made to the Queen of England for the recovery of his debt; for these jewels, the Ambassador says, were required in order to facilitate and consummate the policy of the English Crown at the Porte.
To your good graces I recommend myself.
Enclosed in Despatch of June 20. 295. In the Name of God, 20th June 1594, at the Vineyards of Pera.
Giorgio Sanguinazzo, in the name of the Illustrious Edward Barton, Ambassador of the Queen of England in Constantinople, appeared at the Chancery of the Illustrious Ambassador of Venice.
Be it known that the Illustrious Ambassador of England and Mr. James Mahew submitted themselves to the judgment of the Venetian Ambassador upon the differences existing between them; as appears from the agreement dated March 12th, and registered in the Chancery of the Venetian Embassy. The English Ambassador sought to cancel a certain bond of security dated 23rd April 1892, relating to a girdle of emeralds and a jewelled crystal casket, sold to Aaron, Vaivode of Moldavia, for twenty-five purses of gold, on three grounds:—
First. Because the said contract was changed by Mr. James Mahew and the agent of the Prince; the words “thirty-eight” being substituted for “twenty-five” as is proved from the authentic registers of the Prince, who has never denied it, and also by the papers put in by James Mahew himself.
Second. Because he has been already part paid by the Prince, his debtor in chief, as can be proved, if denied, which it is not.
Third. Because the registers of the Prince show that the declarations in the contract of April 23, 1592, were cancelled.
It seems then that justice requires the restitution of the objects deposited as security. But James Mahew, in order to avoid having to do this, has invented a calumny and declared that the declarations of the contract were altered by the Ambassador with a view to putting the difference in his pocket.
In order to close the case and to free the securities, the English Ambassador demanded that the declarations of April 23rd, 1592, and the others to which Mahew referred should be put in. The Ambassador based his demand on the law of September 9, 1280, (fn. 2) Maggior Consiglio.
The Venetian Ambassador then ordered Mahew to present the declarations. But Mahew has not done so, and the Ambassador has taken no steps. The cause is unknown. No one can doubt the good faith of the Emglish Ambassador in his dealings with Mahew; and to remove any suspicion he has offered two compositions, on the 1st and on the 10th, each so ample that they ought not to be refused.
If Mahew can prove the contrary in the case of the three points raised above he will meet with no opposition from the Ambassador in the recovery of his money up to twenty-five purses, as the Ambassador stated in his offer of composition, dated the first of this month.
The Venetian Ambassador pronounced sentence on the 17th (sic) instant, and notwithstanding the agreement reached by the parties, he announced that appeal from his judgment might lie. His conscience was evidently uneasy, as is shown in the passage of the judgment where he declares “that for just causes which move him,” &c.
It was in order to avoid taking the oath as arbiter that he declared his judgment to be open to appeal. The whole of this judgment shows a partial spirit and is defective in all its clauses; especially in the three reasons alleged for the cancelling of the contract of 23rd April 1592. Of these he makes no mention, but absolves Mahew without declaring his innocence, and wishes to compel the English Ambassador to prove what is already partly proved. The English Ambassador has recently received letters from Signor William Alduich (?) in Moldavia, declaring that James Mahew has been paid in full by the Prince.
Moreover the judgment does not compel Mahew to produce the declarations, although it is certain that no one else but himself has had them in his keeping. James Mahew has never claimed payment directly from the English Ambassador, for it was to his interest to keep such excellent securities in his own hands; and indeed in some of his letters he has enquired where he is to go for the full payment of his debt, even perhaps to England. Yet the Venetian Ambassador has condemned the English Ambassador to the payment of the full twenty-five purses. There has always been a suspicion that this cause of Mahew's has been recommended to the Venetian Ambassador from Venice, for from the very first the Ambassador would not allow the English Ambassador to proceed against Mahew on the ground of the usurious nature of the contract.
Therefore on the ground that the judgment is faulty in form, and contrary to the agreement made between the two parties, the English Ambassador appeals from it to the competent Court in the noble city of Venice; on condition that this appeal shall not prejudice any claims for damage on the score of an illegal judgment which the Ambassador may be able to make good. The Ambassador will submit to the judgment of the Venetian Court. But as that Court has no jurisdiction over the Prince of Bogdania, the Ambassador will appeal to the Sultan in all that regards his claims against the Prince; provided always that whatever is established here in Turkey shall not be the prejudice of any judgment issued in the Courts of Venice.


  • 1. See English Historical Review, Oct. 1890, No. xx., pp. 660, 661, and North, Life of Sir Dudley North. London, 1744. pp. 71 et seq.
  • 2. Cf. Statuta Veneta, Venetiis, 1665, p. 142, verso. “Judices Palatii possint cogere quemcunque ad exhibendum omnes scripturas pertinentes causæ.”