Family ben David, 1718

Protocol of Benjamin ben David , Son of Moses ben David II, notary public for the city of Alexandria , kept for the purpose of accounts , personal business, and all other details related to the job of a notary public within the jurisdiction of Alexandria. Kept for the purpose of providing evidence and facts when disputes arise.

The year is 1718, the last Ottoman-Venetian war has come to an end. However a great misdeed has been done to me and my family. I have gone to see the French Consul today . I shall retell my story here for my own records as I did for the French Consul.

“Five months ago I invested in a Christian ship that was going to the island of Morea. I joined the ship to make sure that the goods were delivered and that I and my family that invested with me in the goods would receive the profits on the voyage. We are all Christian people, my father having converted in 1678. As such we believed that our goods would be safe. The ship and its crew were also Christian owned and operated. This we hoped would ensure the safety of the ship from corsairs of the Knights of Malta. This, however, did not, alas, offer us any safety from the greedy Maltese corsairs who came upon us a mere 70 miles out in our venture. On the horizon to the south of us came a ship with the Maltese flag , it was upon us in an instant. The Maltese pirate captain ordered us to stop. He and his crew then came aboard the ship and ordered us to tell them where the Turks were and to admit that the ship as well as its goods was also owned by Turks. We argued vehemently that we were not Turks and no Turks were to be had on the ship. They ignored our pleas and took command of the ship. I and the captain along with the crew were put on a skiff and set adrift. We soon made it ashore here and immediately set about gathering evidence and character witnesses. Today we present to you, Your Excellency, the clear set evidence and witnesses that I and the captain have gathered for ourselves in order to gain your aid in retrieving our goods.”

After I, the captain and the witnesses for our Christianity presented our cases, the Consulate agreed to aid us. The consul’s scribe made a copy of our and the witnesses testimonials.  He also made his own statement of belief and request for aid and safe passage through the waters of all Christian rulers that we should come across. Now I and the captain will be making our trip to plead our case at Tribunale degli Armamenti on Malta to regain our goods.

This piracy has greatly affected my family. As I said previously myself and many of my family invested in this ship and its goods, and it was no small sum. If we do not get them back we will most likely be destitute. We invested almost all our savings and money into this venture hoping for riches.