Manuel Levy Duarte (1631-1714): An Amsterdam
Merchant Jeweller and His Trade With London
The toleration of Judaism in 17th-century Amster-
dam encouraged increasing numbers of Portuguese
Jews to settle there, and among these were several
wholesale jewellers and diamond polishers from
Antwerp and Lisbon.1 They helped to establish the
gemstone trade and the diamond polishing industry
in the city.2 Portuguese Jews were an important
element among the wholesale-or merchant-
jewellers of Amsterdam, who financed the industry
and distributed its output to the cities of Europe. It is
therefore particularly interesting to find the per-
sonal and business papers of one of these men,
Manuel Levy Duarte, preserved among the records
of the Portuguese Jewish Community in the
Amsterdam City Archives. Such material is very
rare and this copious collection enables us to see
how he lived and conducted his business, including
his trade with London.
Manuel Levy Mendes do Valle was born in 1631,
probably in Amsterdam, into a family with good
connections in the jewellery trade.3 His father,
Gabriel Levy, came from Trancoso in northern
Portugal and his mother, Leonor de Pas, was born
in Rouen.4 His brother, David Levy Mendes was a
not very successful merchant in Curacao.5 Manuel
had a sound commercial education. He was good at
arithmetic, kept his books well and wrote legible
letters in Portuguese, Spanish, French and Dutch-
in that order of frequency. By the time he joined
forces with his friend and contemporary, Jacob
Athias, both men were aged 30 and were experi-
enced in the jewellery trade and in business
methods. Manuel was the more dynamic of the two
and the more expert in appraising unpolished
diamonds. Jacob Athias had been born in Recife,
Brazil, during the Dutch occupation6 and his father
had been a warden of the synagogue there.7 In
1660, they married two sisters of an established
Amsterdam jeweller named Manuel Duarte (see
pedigree), and, aided by their dowries, set up a joint
household and merchant jewellers' business, in a
house on the Oude Schans in the Jewish quarter.8
When Manuel Duarte died in 1661 they inherited
the goodwill of his old-established business. This is
probably the reason why Manuel decided to add his
wife's surname to his own, which was quite a usual
Portuguese custom. Henceforth he called himself
'Manuel Levy Duarte'. The partnership traded
under the name of 'Athias and Levy' and continued
until the death of Jacob Athias in 1690.9
The two wives, Gracia and Constantia Duarte,
were very well connected in the jewellery trade, as
well as being first cousins of Manuel, on his
mother's side. In her letters to him, Constantia
addresses Manuel as 'My beloved and dear cousin',
the tie of blood being regarded as more important
than that of marriage.
Gracia and Constantia's grandfather, Diego
Duarte (1544-1626), had migrated from Lisbon to
Antwerp at some date before 1591, when he
appears as a member of the Portuguese Nation
there.10 His son, their uncle, Gaspar Duarte
(1588-1653), lived in Antwerp in great style,11
and built up a very successful business there as a
picture dealer and court jeweller. For example, in
1641, he supplied Prince Frederick Henry of
Orange with a diamond jewel needed as a wedding
present for his daughter-in-law, Princess Mary of
England.12 Gaspar's sons Diego, or Jacques, and
Gaspar settled in London and were endenizened
there in 1632 and 1634.13 Diego was Jeweller in
Ordinary to King Charles I during the years
1632-8.14 However, he returned to Antwerp and
eventually succeeded to his father's business. The
family were crypto-Jews and outwardly conformed
to Roman Catholic practice in order to remain and
trade in Antwerp.
Gracia and Constantia's father, Manuel Duarte I,
was, it seems, a brother of the older Gaspar,15 who
settled in Amsterdam as a practising Jew, but died
young. The Jewish name of the Duarte family was
In 1660, the year of his marriage, Manuel Levy
Duarte paid a short visit to London on business.
Apparently he wrote to two Amsterdam friends
who had recently settled in London and asked if it
would be worth his while to make a trip there. He
received interesting answers from both men. David
Gabay sent him a market report, which I presented
to this Society on a previous occasion.16 He stated
that London was a poor place to buy pearls, because
the demand for them was brisk and the price was
too high, but it was a good place to sell finished
jewels of value, because the nobility and gentry
were all coming to town, after a long absence on
their estates, and the ladies wanted jewels to wear
at Court. However, in England, unlike the Nether-
lands, middle-class women did not wear jewellery of
any kind, so the demand was for expensive pieces,
especially pearl necklaces.17 David Gabay sent two
further letters explaining that it was far more
difficult to buy rough-or unpolished-diamonds in
England than in the Netherlands, because the East
India Company did not allow its servants to import
them and the vendors of smuggled stones were
nervous of discovery. Englishmen were not willing
to fall in with the Dutch system of diamond buying,
by which the buyers' agents located the stones and
paid a deposit for an option to purchase the stones
on a second visit. English vendors were too afraid of
the Customs and of the Company to come back
twice. They expected to sell for cash at the first
The second correspondent, Moise Pereira, wrote
that he would be interested in importing pearls from
Amsterdam and exporting rough diamonds on a
partnership basis. If he could have a quarter or a
sixth share in Manuel Levy's sales, he would offer
him half of his purchases.19 After his friends had
thus prepared the ground, Manuel Levy paid a short
visit to London in October 1660. He advertised the
trip in the trade, and several other jewellers20 gave
him jewels to sell on joint account. No doubt he also
brought some pearl necklaces and other jewels of
value belonging to himself and his partner. In
return he presumably acquired some of the rough
diamonds, imported illegally on the August East
India fleet and bought in London by Moise Pereira
at below the Amsterdam price.
Manuel Levy Duarte made further business trips
of the same kind to London in December 1677,
December 1678, February 1679 and December
1679.21 The first of these was paid for by Antonio
Lopes Suasso, reputedly the richest Portuguese Jew
in the Netherlands, and the Spanish financial
agent there. Suasso also lent Athias and Levy first
fl 15,000 and then fl 30,000 in 1675 and 1676.
The 1678 trip was for Athias and Levy's own
account. Those of 1679 were on joint account with
another Amsterdam firm of merchant jewellers,
Joseph and Abraham Felix.22 On each trip to
London, Manuel Levy Duarte engaged in a profi-
table two-way trade with established Portuguese
Jewish merchant jewellers, who supplied the Lon-
don goldsmiths with polished gemstones. He
bought rough diamonds imported from India and
sold pearls, finished jewels and polished gemstones
manufactured in Amsterdam. Of course he also
traded with London by post and kept a share in
some of the more expensive pieces, including one
jewel which was sold in London to the Duchess of
Athias and Levy received their rough diamonds
from three sources. First, they bought them from
the passengers and crews of the various East India
Companys' fleets. Secondly, they bought diamonds,
imported from Goa by way of Lisbon, from the
importers in Amsterdam. Thirdly, on one or two
occasions, after the English Company allowed
Jewish buyers to settle at Fort St George in 1684,
they invested money in a syndicate in London
which sent agents out to Madras to buy stones for
them at the Golconda mines. They also invested in
another such enterprise which sent agents out to
the Dutch East India Company's factory at Surat.
The business of buying rough diamonds directly
from the returning 'Indians', as the dealers called
them, is discussed in the correspondence, but even
more light is shed on these transactions by an
unsigned copy of an agreement dated 2 August
1676 in Jacob Athias' handwriting, between
Athias and Levy and two other Amsterdam Portu-
guese Jewish jewellery firms.24 The agreement sets
up a buying cartel which is to last for six months
unless extended. All purchases made by Moses and
Aaron Pereira, Jacob and Solomon de Lima, and
Athias and Levy in any country are to be for joint
account and to be divided equally between them.
The partnership is not to be disclosed to outsiders.
The discoverer of any quantity of stones for sale is to
receive an overriding 12½% share in the purchase
by way of commission. The precise wording of the
agreement suggests that it was the product of
experience and that such short-term buying cartels,
in anticipation of the Dutch East India fleet, had
been formed on previous occasions. Of course this
cartel did not have a monopoly of purchases. It
merely gave three small firms the buying advan-
tages of one large one, but it certainly reduced
The buying procedure seems to have been in two
stages. First a price is agreed with the vendor and
the stones are delivered to the purchaser against a
down payment on account. Then the stones are
examined more closely and either the balance is
paid over on a second visit, or the deal is cancelled
and the stones are returned to the vendor, who
keeps the deposit. The purpose of this procedure can
be inferred. Before making a purchase a profes-
sional buyer would want to scrub the stones clean
of soil, examine them dry, in good daylight, weigh
them and test the material by trying to scratch it
with a sapphire. In the case of large, irregularly
shaped diamonds, it was the practice in the trade to
take a lead cast of the stone and estimate the
percentage loss of weight by cutting the lead down
to the desired shape and size.25 These tests were best
done in the vendor's absence, and they took time.
So did raising the money needed for a major
The second method of buying is illustrated by
three bills of lading dated 1686. One is for a bisalho
or purse of rough diamonds shipped by Joäo
Machado of Goa in the Capitanha of the Portuguese
East India fleet to Lisbon 'at the cost and risk of
Raphael Peres del Monte, householder of Amster-
dam'.26 The second is for a bisalho consigned in the
same ship to Joseph Pimienta, 'at the cost and risk of
Gabriel de Medina, householder of Livorno', but the
name of the consignor is omitted.27 The third bill of
lading is for two bisalhos consigned by Gonzalo da
Cruz of Goa, one in the Capitanha and the other in
the Almirante 'for the account and risk of Gil and
Manuel Vennboglio, inhabitants of Amsterdam'
and of 'Manuel and George Perebom, inhabitants of
Livorno'. These bills were presumably bought,
together with the sealed packets they describe, in
Amsterdam from the importers. Vennboglio-or
more correctly Bentivoglio-was a trading alias
used either by Jerónimo Nunes da Costa or by
Antonio Lopes Suasso.28 'Perebom' is a Dutch
translation of Pereira. It therefore seems that by the
1680s it had become dangerous for Amsterdam
Jews to use their own names in trading to Goa. This
may have been because of the enforcement of the
Dutch East India Company's monopoly, because of
the risk of goods being confiscated should war break
out between Portugal and the Netherlands, or
because the activities of the Inquisition made
shipments to Jewish customers dangerous for their
correspondents in Goa and Lisbon. This was not the
case in the 1660s, when the names of consignees
were usually stated quite frankly.
Manuel Levy Duarte's papers cover the whole
53-year period he was in business, from just before
his marriage in 1660, until his death in 1714. The
coverage is not complete. His journals are missing.
Only one of his three or four ledgers survives and
one of his copybooks of outgoing letters, together
with some loose outgoing letters written from the
Hague in 1696; but taken as a whole the archive is
remarkably full and informative. It consists of
hundreds of incoming letters, receipts, dividend
warrants, a few notarial deeds, engagement diaries
and notebooks,29 enabling the student to construct
a full picture of a well-managed, medium-sized
merchant-jewellers' business of the period, which
must have been similar to many others.
For the first 15 years of Athias and Levy's
30-year partnership, no account books survive,
and the correspondence, though copious, is limited
to incoming letters and one or two from Jacob
Athias to Manuel Levy, when he was abroad on
business. These give a general idea of the nature of
the business, but not of its size or profitability. The
1675-85 ledger30 gives a much fuller picture, for it
includes an opening balance sheet, profit and loss
accounts, household expenses, commodity
accounts and cash and banking accounts, as well as
accounts for all major customers and suppliers. It
therefore presents a clear picture of the size, nature
and profitability of the business during these ten
The balance sheet of 1675, which opens the
ledger, shows net assets of fl 102,714 (£9415
sterling). However, the profit and loss accounts
were only used to record stray transactions, such as
deals on joint account with other jewellers, which
the partners found difficult to keep track of. The
main trade of the business is to be found in the
accounts for diamonds, pearls and manufacture,31
most of which are not even totalled, and whose
Manuel Levy Duarte (1631-1714)
profits are not entered into the profit and loss
These trading accounts give copious informa-
tion, but not quite enough to calculate the trading
profit, because no figure is given for the stock-in-
trade at the end of the period. This would have been
entered in the next ledger, which has not survived.
However, even if it is not possible to calculate the
figure accurately, it is still possible to make an
The initial stock of diamonds and coloured stones
equalled about nine months' sales. If we compare
the average annual sales of the first 2⅓ years with
those of the last 2½, and if we assume that the
stock-in-trade at the close of the period bore the
same relationship to the annual turnover as at the
beginning, we can calculate a likely figure for the
Notional closing stock =x Opening stock.
Average of first 2⅓ years' sales = = fl 57,201.849
Average of last 2½ years sales == fl 51,768.388
Notional closing stock =xfl 44,124.5=fi039,933.29
Given the figure of fl 39,933.29 for the closing
stock, we can then calculate a set of notional profit
figures, which are not likely to be very far from the truth
Manuel Levy Duarte (1631-1714)
Diamond purchases in most years fluctuated
roughly with the level of sales. However, in 1680,
the partners bought a single consignment of rough
diamonds from the captain of an East Indiaman for
A 40,557,33 which shows that, when necessary,
they could be bold.
In the case of the pearl account, where the
opening stock is equivalent to five years' sales and
the turnover is small but erratic, one can do no
more than make a wild guess. The Fact that the
pearls were accounted for separately, whereas
rubies, emeralds and sapphires were bundled into
the diamond account, suggests that the rate of
profit on them was different. Since pearls are
usually sold in matched and graded strings or, at
the very least, in pairs, the dealer must carry a
larger stock than with the other gemstones, and
this hints that a higher profit margin would have
been necessary to finance it. However one looks at
the pearl account, it is quite clear that in 1675 the
partners were overstocked and that they must have
run down their stock of pearls during the following
years. Their trade was dependent on the demand
from Paris and only flourished in the years of peace
after 1679. In order to obtain some sort of figures I
have arbitrarily set the profit margin on pearls at
16%, which is a little higher than the average of
10% shown on four transactions in pearls held in
partnership, though the sample is too small to rely
on, especially since the profits range from 2.7% to
Athias and levy-Pearl Account 1675-S5
Notional closing stock
The accounts for manufacturing show consider-
able craft specialization and hint at the structure of
the industry. It is also interesting to see that only a
minority of the diamond polishers employed by
Athias and Levy were Jews. They used fourteen-
different goldsmiths, all with Dutch or Walloon
names, for Jews were excluded from the goldsmiths'
trade, as from all crafts in Amsterdam which had
Manuel Levy Duarte (1631-1714)
that the partners and their wives survived and
worked continuously in the business and that their
children did not survive, so that only one daughter
lived to require a dowry.
The household accounts and the profit and loss
accounts show that the years covered by the ledger
were years of expansion and consolidation. At the
beginning of the period the wives were given fl 100
(£9) per month for housekeeping and they seldom
exceeded this allowance. The family ate meat very
sparingly, probably only on Sabbaths and Festivals,
and seldom bought clothes. As time went on the
family clearly became more prosperous. The
butcher's bills increase dramatically. The monthly
housekeeping allowance not only goes up to fl 120,
but it is supplemented with increasing regularity by
extraordinary payments 'to the lady wives'.43 The
family buys small luxuries. Two canaries,44 eleven
inexpensive paintings,45 and some leather uphol-
stered chairs.46 The wives are given presents of
jewellery.47 Suits, skirts and hats are purchased less
infrequently, and the family buys a considerable
quantity of plate;48 by the end of the decade they
are clearly able to live comfortably without con-
tinual financial anxiety. Clearly also this prosperity
was only attained by frugality and continuous
effort. Manuel Levy was always careful with money
and, though he regularly gave to charity49 and
helped to dower his brother David's daughters in
Curaçao,50 and on one occasion in his later years
presented a handsome ewer and laver to the
synagogue (see Plate I),51 one feels that this owed
more to a sense of responsibility and to adherence to
convention than to an open-handed nature.52
Athias and Levy traded with a large number of
other jewellers, including men in Brussels,
Antwerp, London and Paris. Most of their trade was
wholesale, but on occasion they would deal directly
with members of the nobility or of the Amsterdam
patriciate. But one fact which the ledger discloses is
the extent to which their prosperity depended on
two customers, Luis Alvares of Paris and Olympe
Mancini, Countess of Soissons, who lived in Brus-
sels. Luis Alvares was a cousin of Gracia and
Constantia Duarte who had married a Frenchwo-
man named Anne Dubois. He and his family appear
to have conformed to Roman Catholic practice,
which enabled him to remain in Paris and enjoy the
King's favour. He was a successful court jeweller. In
French legal documents he is described as a
'banker'. He held the office of 'Treasurer to the
Hundred Swiss of the King's Guard'.53
In the 1670s and thereafter Athias and Levy
acted as Luis Alvares' Amsterdam correspondents.
Their main business was to supply him with
gemstones, and he was by far their largest cus-
tomer. This they did on normal commercial terms,
though in view of his importance, they seem to
have been careful to keep their charges on the low
side. In addition to this they also carried out various
unprofitable transactions on a commission basis to
oblige his customers, such as buying and shipping
him Delft tiles, Chinese porcelain and silks. They
also paid letters of credit issued by him to French
gentlemen visiting Amsterdam.54
This reliance on one large wholesale customer
partly explains how Athias and Levy were able to
trade successfully on a low profit margin: by
keeping their selling expenses low. However, sus-
taining the delicate relationship must have required
continuous tact and skill.
In 1682-3 Athias and Levy made a considerable
profit in brokerage by supervising Luis Alvares'
frenetic dealings, on credit, in Dutch East India
Company shares. In 1682 the turnover came to
fl 746,945. Since buying on margin in a rising
market is profitable, Alvares made fl 24,550.
However, in 1683, the shares started to drift
downwards. In the course of twelve months the
turnover amounted to fl 1,693,102 and Alvares
lost fl 8239, at which point he seems to have called
a halt.55 The accounts of these transactions vividly
confirm the picture drawn in Joseph Penso de la
Vega's Confusion de confusiones of the sophisticated
Amsterdam share market and of the active role in it
of the Portuguese Jewish dealers.
As well as acting as suppliers, correspondents
and stockbrokers for Luis Alvares, Athias and Levy
performed similar services for one or two other
customers abroad. They did a certain amount of
business for Diego Duarte, Luis Henriques da
Costa56 and for the widow of Jorge Dias Brandäo57
(who was the daughter of the famous Duarte da
Silva),58 all of Antwerp. However, their most
important customer was the Countess of Soissons,
who lived in Brussels. Olympe Mancini, Countess of
Soissons, was the niece of Cardinal Mazarin, a
former favourite of Louis XIV and the mother of
Prince Eugene of Savoy. Athias and Levy acted as
her financial agents in Amsterdam, which in
practice meant that they were her stockbrokers.
Probably it was Luis Alvares who had recom-
mended them to her.
In 1680-1, they invested fl 219,810 for her in
two stocks: £6500 Flemish in the Amsterdam
Chamber of the East India Company and £2000
Flemish in the Zealand Chamber of the Company,
which was less actively traded, but gave a better
yield.59 To finance this purchase, they lent the
Countess fl 100,000 at 5% per annum and received
her cash payment for the rest. They then borrowed
fl 50,000 on the security of the shares at 3%, so
that, in effect, they were lending her fl 50,000 at a
concealed rate of 7%. In 1685 they liquidated most
of the loan by buying £2500 Flemish of the
Amsterdam Chamber stock from her, at the market
price off! 71,887.10, which showed her a capital
profit of 7.2%.60 Of course, Athias and Levy made
far more than that on the brokerage and interest,
but they gave the Countess good service and she
had little occasion to grumble. They also traded her
holdings to a certain extent, but these deals were in
the nature of prudent switching in and out of the
Amsterdam stock, and were quite unlike their
frenetic dealings for Luis Alvares. One gets the
impression that they only dealt when it was in their
client's interest, though they earned a good broker-
The profits earned from the management of Luis
Alvares' and the Countess of Soissons' investments
were a real help to the growth of the business, but
the partners were in the odd situation of having
only two such customers. However, in 1682 they
lent fl 30,000 at 5% to their London correspondent,
Antonio Gomes Serra,61 though the reason for the
loan is not clear.
The partners also held some East India stock on
their own account as a long-term investment and
they gambled fairly actively in its options and stock.
However, this was only an enjoyable pastime and
they took care not to hazard their hard-won capital.
In 1683 they also invested fl 12,900 in a house
which they repaired and let to one of their lapi-
daries, Isaac Mussaphia for six months, after which
Manuel Levy Duarte took over the lease himself.62
Athias and Levy's business was market-oriented,
frugally managed and adequately financed out of its
accumulated profits. As with all 17th-century
businesses, one is continually surprised to find the
partners doing odd deals in other trades, shipping
three pieces of cloth to Smyrna,63 investing in a
voyage to Algiers,64 disposing of cocoa shipped by
Manuel's brother David in Curaçao.65 However,
this was a professionally managed, small wholesale
jewellery concern, able to make good profits in a
intensely active and competitive trade despite low
profit margins. This was only possible with ade-
quate capital, expertise and good personal connec-
tions, and of the three, the personal connections
were the most important. Athias and Levy's strong
dependence on one customer, Luis Alvares, was
probably fairly typical of the period. Most mer-
chants relied on one or two key correspondents to
whom they were closely related. What is surprising
though, is to find a banker with only two cus-
tomers, and a jeweller doubling as a stockbroker.
On reflection this may not really be as strange as it
seems. In London, and probably in Paris and other
cities, retail goldsmiths and jewellers provided their
customers with a current-account banking service,
and it was only logical that they should expect their
foreign correspondents to provide similar facilities.
However, in Amsterdam, the Exchange Bank
reduced the need for private current-account bank-
ing, and the assignable shares in the great joint-
stock East India Company created an active stock
market. The fact that Joseph Pensó de la Vega, the
author of the first objective treatise on the stock
exchange, was an Amsterdam merchant jeweller66
like Manuel Levy Duarte, suggests that he too was
accustomed to provide such services for his cus-
tomers. Amsterdam's excellent banking facilities
greatly reduced the danger that a few insolvencies
would cause a chain reaction. The low interest rates
prevailing there made it possible for dealers in
high-value commodities such as gemstones to
survive and prosper with profit margins which
would have been totally uneconomic in most other
cities. This, together with its well organized and
specialized gemstone-working industry, ensured
that Amsterdam remained the main centre of the
European gemstone trade.
Manuel Levy Duarte's papers show that the
Amsterdam Portuguese Jewish community was a
small, close-knit society in which all the more
prosperous families knew each other very well
Manuel Levy Duarte (1631-1714)
indeed, spent time in each other's company and
traded with each other. He had three overlapping
spheres of interest and activity; the synagogue,
which was the social and charitable focus of his
community as well as its house of prayer, his family
and his business. Jacob Athias served his year as
pamas, or warden, of the Portuguese Synagogue in
1679 and Manuel Levy his in 1688.67 In 1677 the
Amsterdam goldsmiths' guild also appointed Jacob
Athias as an arbitrator (or goede man)68 of trade
Jacob and Gracia Athias had no surviving
children and Manuel and Constantia Levy Duarte
had only one, their daughter Rachel. In 1684,
when she was aged 19, she married Abraham
Salvador aged 35, of Amsterdam,69 with a very
large dowry of fl 40,00o.70 As was always the case
with such a wedding, the occasion was marked by a
Spanish epithalamium by Miguel Levy de Barrios,
the Amsterdam Portuguese Jewish Community's
professional poet. Abraham Salvador and his
brothers were in the jewellery trade and must have
been very well established. The primary purpose of
the marriage was to ensure Rachel Levy Duarte's
economic security, but it also had the effect of
bringing Athias and Levy into closer commercial
cooperation with the Salvadors.
Gracia Athias died in 1682 and Jacob Athias in
1690.71 They left an estate of some fl 70,000 and
bequeathed half of it to their niece Rachel Salvador
Levy Duarte.72 This money remained invested in
the business.73 After the death of his partner,
Manuel Levy settled in Antwerp for six years. The
reason for this was that Constantia's cousin, Diego
Duarte of Antwerp had also died in 169074 and he
had appointed Manuel as his executor. The stock
and goodwill of Diego Duarte's business were
obviously valuable and they had to be realized for
the benefit of his daughters and of Constantia, who
had an interest in it. Part of Manuel's task was to
dispose of a magnificent collection of 128 paintings
by some forty artists, including such masters as
Raphael, Andrea del Sarto, Titian, Rubens, the
Bruegels and Van Dyck.75 In addition to this he
actively ran the Antwerp jewellery business.76
In 1696, during his stay in Antwerp, Manuel
Levy Duarte was to reckon up his assets on an odd
page in an account book.77 At that time, his share
holdings amounted to fl 35,000 divided into two
lots of fl 24,000 and fl 11,000. The first, apparently
£1000 Flemish nominal stock in the Amsterdam
Chamber, and the second, the £500 Flemish stock
in the Zealand Chamber of the East India Company.
In addition to these, Manuel Levy notes he had
fl 9000 invested in 'papers', which were various
Netherlands government loans. His assets in 1696
amounted to fl 172,000 in all.
During his sojourn in Antwerp, Manuel Levy
Duarte kept an investment of about £1900 sterling
in England, which was divided between East India
Company and Royal Africa Company shares, inter-
est-bearing banknotes and the various Government
investments-Exchequer tallies on the Land Tax,
lottery tickets, and Treasury annuities.78 Indeed, he
found the 14% Annuities such an attractive stock
that he persuaded other people in Antwerp to buy
them through his agency.79 Most of these invest-
ments in London were held in the name of his
London investment agent Pedro Henriques
Junior,80 except for his East India stock which was
held in the name of Alvaro da Costa.81 The reason
for investing by way of nominees was probably that
arrangements for enabling dividends to be collected
and for stocks to be transferred by proxy were still
cumbersome and expensive and it was simpler to
use nominees than to go to the trouble and expense
of getting notarized powers of attorney, with certi-
fied translations attached, every time a dividend
had to be collected or stock was sold. Manuel Levy
Duarte also reported in one letter to Pedro Henri-
ques that there was no notary in Antwerp who
could issue a document in English82 (the glory had
departed!). This use of the London nominee holders
of stock by their Dutch clients explains why Pedro
Henriques Junior came to hold the colossal amount
of £50,000 Bank of England stock by 1712.83
Manuel Levy's correspondence shows that he was a
shrewd and cautious investor, who did not change
his holdings very frequently but kept a keen eye on
the market and invested when it was depressed. His
purchases of annuities on his own account are also
interesting, for he bought one for a mature adult
and the other for a child, as later became the
18th-century custom, but in each case the purpose
was to provide a female relation with a regular
income for the rest of her life, in one case for his
wife's niece and housekeeper, Gracia Alvares, to
whom he bequeathed the annuity, and in the other
for his grandaughter Constantia Salvador Levy
Manuel Levy Duarte's business in the Nether-
lands was with men of many nations and faiths, but
in England his correspondents were necessarily
Portuguese Jews, both because he had to choose
men he knew and trusted, and because Portuguese
was his native language and he knew no English.85
His correspondence includes a series of letters
written to him in 1686-7 by Antonio Rodrigues
Marques concerning a box of rough diamonds
consigned to Athias and Levy from Madras, and the
dispatch of a fresh shipment of bullion to their
agent, Jacques de Paiva, to buy more at the mines. It
is interesting on several accounts: Marques was an
experienced Lisbon merchant, accustomed to trade
with Goa, and he brought his particularly Portu-
guese style of trading to London. One feature of the
correspondence is the inordinate care he takes not
to risk the build-up of any grievance on the part of
his principal in Amsterdam. Every step in the
transaction - the price paid for the Spanish coin, the
rate of exchange charged, the price of insurance-
however reasonable, is explained and apologized for
in great detail. His own charge for his services
appears to have been of the order of 1%. It was
sufficient reward apparently to find investors who
were prepared to send commissions to the agent in
India, for their participation made the venture
possible and they were prepared to return the
favour by offering a decent price for one's own
purchases. He concludes by inviting Manuel Levy
to invest with him in a licensed private voyage to
India in which he is to participate.86
Manuel Levy Duarte's main correspondent in
England was Antonio Gomes Serra, who was a
native of Peyehorade, near Bayonne,87 a substan-
tial trader to the West Indies88 and a major wine
importer.89 In 1686, Antonio Rodrigues Marques
had shipped f 1000 worth of Spanish pieces of eight
out to India on Athias and Levy's account, con-
signed to Elihu Yale, Governor of Madras, for
delivery to Jacques de Paiva. By the time the ship
arrived, de Paiva was dead. Elihu Yale impounded
this money in order to value his estate.90
The next thing we read is a report that another
diamond buyer at Fort St George, Salvador Rodri-
gues, gave Jacques de Paiva's widow Jeronima half
the diamonds he had bought at the Golconda mines
to enable her to continue her late husband's
business,91 and then that Yale had given some of
the money to Jeronima's brother, Joseph Almanza,
to enable him to buy diamonds at the mines.92
Almanza seems to have embezzled the money,93
but the matter is complicated by the fact that
Jeronima de Paiva had become Elihu Yale's mistress
and in 1690 had borne him a son,94 and that Yale
himself was a major trader in diamonds. What is
certain is that the diamonds given to Jeronima
never reached the investors in the Rodrigues
Marques syndicate and nor did those bought by
Apart from his disappointment at getting no
return in diamonds on his investment, Manuel Levy
Duarte started to get anxious about the security of
his capital, especially after Antonio Rodrigues
Marques' death in 1688. He therefore wrote to
Elihu Yale, and receiving no response he wrote to
him again in January 1692, as well as to Jeronima
de Paiva. He asked them to invest his money in
good-quality diamonds or, if these were not to be
had, in Bengal cotton cloth, or else to ship his silver
home to him, divided equally between two ships'
bottoms to spread the risk.95
The Paris firm of Narcisse and Masson, which
had also invested in the Marques syndicate and
received no return, sent a member of their family,
Claude Masson, out to Fort St George to collect their
money. He, however, forbore to sue Jeronima de
Paiva in the Madras Courts, since she was the
Governor's mistress and he could not expect to
receive a just judgment.96 He was then arrested as a
suspected French spy.97
Gaspar Francisco Bernai of London was another
investor in the Marques syndicate. His will, of
1695, records that he had received no return for a
shipment of 2000 pieces of eight which had fallen
into Governor Yale's hands because of Jacques de
In 1697, Pedro Henriques Junior, writing to him
from London in his capacity as administrator of the
Marques estate, advised him that he had sold a
£1000 East India Company bond for him at a 10%
discount.99 This was the same money which Athias
and Levy had sent out to Fort St George in 1686.100
Jeronima de Paiva was her husband's heiress and
successor in business and Elihu Yale was the
consignee; one of them must have been legally
Manuel Levy Duarte (1631-1714)
liable for the debt, even if Joseph Almanza had
embezzled the money. It looks as though Elihu Yale
yielded to pressure after being deposed of his
Governorship and had remitted the money to
London by way of the Company's Cash at Fort St
George. If so, the transaction shows two things. It
shows that a foreigner with money invested in
private trade at an English factory in India could
recover his debts eventually. This security was the
consequence of high legal standards, and these
offered an encouragement to trade. On the other
hand, it was not easy for him to hold a senior official
such as the President of Madras accountable. It is
not possible to tell from Athias and Levy's ledger
how much money they had invested in the Indian
rough-diamond trade, for such transactions stand
in the names of the individual merchants con-
cerned and their purpose is not explained.
In addition to their trade with the English factory
at Fort St George, Athias and Levy also traded with
the Portuguese Jewish agents at the Dutch East
India Company's factory at Surat: Pedro Pereira,101
Antonio do Porto and Fernào Mendes Henriques.
They sent them finished jewels for sale at the
Moghul's court and sent them money to buy
diamonds.102 This trade was, however, seriously
impeded by a dispute between do Porto and Pereira
and the break-up of their partnership.103
In 1686 Manuel Levy acted for Antonio Gomes
Serra in recovering a debt of 6300 Spanish pieces of
eight from an Amsterdam merchant named Jan
Janson Verschuylen (but whom Gomes Serra invar-
iably called 'Verscuren'). Verschuylen's wife was
living with her father in the Canaries and acting as
her husband's factor there. Verschuylen had
accepted an order from Antonio Gomes Serra to sell
some English goods in the Canaries and return the
proceeds in Spanish coin which Gomes Serra
needed to send out to India on the summer fleet to
buy diamonds. Owing to domestic difficulties in the
Verschuylen family, the bullion never arrived and
Gomes Serra was left to buy his silver at famine
prices in London.
Gomes Serra's method of collecting the debt was
to keep the whole matter a secret, so as to preserve
Verschuylen's credit and to finance a joint venture
with him for exporting cloth to the Canaries on very
hard terms, secured by a bottomry bond on Ver-
schuylen's ship, repayable to his own agent in
Oratava, because this was the one form of security
which could be rigorously enforced in the
Canaries.104 It is fascinating to see how this
experienced and successful merchant used his
expertise and knowledge of men to turn a hopeless
situation to advantage and reduce his loss.
When, in his turn, Manuel Levy sought to collect
an old debt owing to Diego Duarte in respect of a
pearl necklace worth £300 which had been deli-
vered sixteen years before to a London jeweller
named Loo, but not paid for, Gomes Serra solidly
refused to sue the recalcitrant, because he reckoned
that he was insolvent and that going to court would
be expensive and ineffective, for the defendant could
take sanctuary in one of the liberties in London.
Oddly he makes no mention of the 1623 Statute of
Another leading Portuguese Jewish merchant
who figures in the correspondence is Alvaro da
Costa. Here the interest is a negative one, for
although da Costa was an experienced diamond
trader, Athias and Levy were not related to him and
they were not members of his syndicate. Only two of
Alvaro da Costa's beautifully written and elegant
letters relate to business, when he consented to buy
£500 stock in the East India Company for Rachel
Levy's account;106 all the others are letters of
congratulations or condolence, on births, engage-
ments or bereavements, or acknowledgments for
the same.107 Nothing could show more clearly how
the tie of blood determined commercial relation-
Francis (alias Jacob) Salvador was another inter-
mittent correspondent with whom Manuel had
cordial relations, particularly after his daughter's
marriage to his brother, Abraham Salvador. In
1696 Francis Salvador offered Manuel Levy some
surprisingly large polished diamonds and sent him
a fifteen-carat brilliant on approval.108 It seems
likely that this came from one of the parcels of
diamonds polished by Joseph Cope in London and
that by this time the supply of diamonds to London
and lower prices there made it possible for large
stones polished in London to sell competitively with
those worked in Amsterdam.
The last person whose letters appear in the
correspondence is Francisco de Liz, son of a major
London merchant of the same name, who had
settled at the Hague. The correspondence consists
of four letters exchanged at the time of Manuel Levy
Duarte's visit to London in 1692. It is purely social,
but interesting. Manuel Levy had come to London
in the train of Francisco Lopes Suasso, second
Baron Avernas le Gras, probably to sell jewels to the
king or to leading courtiers. He was accommodated
in lodgings in Lincoln's Inn Fields together with a
'Mr. Cassires'. The letters report a visit to the king
and to the Lord Mayor's show and mention the
'Circes' about the Court, to which de Liz replies that
he had no fear of Circes since Manuel Levy is a
faithful Ulysses, who will overcome their enchant-
ments and return safely to his faithful Penelope, to
which Manuel responded with some laboured
comments about Fortune and her fickle feminine
favours.109 Even in this Baroque period, it is difficult
to imagine a correspondence between two German
Jews taking such a classic turn!
Three other documents arising from Manuel
Levy's 1692 trip to London are to be found among
his papers, which throw light on the conditions
then prevailing. One is a judgement of an arbit-
ration court in which he and one Pedro Henriques
Lafereira were appointed as judge arbitrators by
two other Portuguese Jews who had a dispute over
no guineas.110 It says something for Manuel
Levy's reputation among his fellows that he should
be appointed to such an office in London.
Another document is a letter from one Cavendish
Weedon, of Lincoln's Inn, Counsel to his landlady in
Lincoln's Inn Fields, addressed to Baron Suasso and
attempting to extort money by threat of legal
action, on the basis of a fictitious claim of a breach
of contract. Very appropriately, learned counsel
refers to his profession as 'Lawfareing'. Barristers
were evidently well accustomed to speculative
privateering ventures, and what riper prize than a
Jew baron of great reputed wealth.111 Clearly it was
a mistake to have taken lodgings so close to the Inns
The third document is a letter from Antonio
Gomes Serra, asking him to use his good offices to
solicit a substantial contribution from Baron Suasso
towards dowering an orphan girl, the daughter of
Dr Galvâo, ¡ate physician to the Synagogue's poor,
whose mother had negotiated her marriage with a
dowry of £150 without having the money. Gomes
Serra stresses the urgency of the case and promises
not to ask again.112 Since the girl was married in
the next month with a dowry of £275113 perhaps
Baron Suasso and Manuel Levy had contributed to
this worthy cause.
Between 1690 and 1713, the incoming corres-
pondence is supplemented by a copybook of outgo-
ing business letters114 and by loose copies of
outgoing social and business letters. As well as
these, there is a book of accounts kept by Manuel
Levy during his sojourn in Antwerp in 1690-6,115
which includes such domestic details as the ser-
vants' salaries and expenditure on corn for the
dovecote. At this stage the family employed a
coachman who, according to one of Constantia's
letters, unexpectedly died of apoplexy while Manuel
was away on business.116 So by this time they
evidently lived in some style.
For the period after 1696 no journal or ledger
appears to have survived and all one has is copious
correspondence both incoming and outgoing.
Before Constantia Duarte died in 1698, she and
Manuel Levy decided to appoint the wardens of the
Amsterdam Portuguese Jewish Community as their
executors and to leave their estate to them, in trust
for their grandchildren. This decision has ensured
the survival of their business papers and correspon-
The final phase of Manuel Levy Duarte's life was
spent at the Hague, where he lived from 1696 to
1713. One can only guess at the reasons for his
move. He must have foreseen the end of the Nine
Years War, which would be likely severely to
restrict the residence of professing Jews such as
himself on Spanish territory, and he was not likely
to be willing to conform to Catholic practice as the
Antwerp Duartes had done. His business was very
largely with allied army officers and contractors
who would no longer live in the southern Nether-
lands in time of peace. He probably also felt that
there would be opportunities at Court.
During his later years he seems to have been very
friendly with Francisco Lopes Suasso, second Baron
Avernas le Gras, whom he accompanied to England
in 1692. He was also closely associated with one
Judah Senior Henriques, who acted as the Hague
agent of Joseph Cortissos, providor general to the
forces of the Grand Alliance in Spain during the
War of the Spanish Succession. There is even a draft
debtor's ledger of Cortissos', for biscuits supplied to
various British regiments in Spain in the years
Manuel Levy Duarte (1631-1714)
1705-9 among Manuel Levy's papers.117 The
accounts rendered by Cortissos show that Manuel
supplied him with £230 worth of gold and silver
watches, presumably required as gifts to men of
influence in the army in Spain,118 and also that he
approached his customer, the Countess of Soissons
to invoke her aid in soliciting the payments due to
Cortissos. Since she was the mother of Prince
Eugene of Savoy, one of the principal allied com-
manders, and was also a friend of King William III,
her intervention would have carried considerable
weight at the Hague.
One has to bear in mind that in the early modern
period, army provisioning and the jewellery trade were
very closely linked. This was partly because army
provisioning only flourished in wartime and the
jewellery trade did best in times of peace, so such
diversification made sense. The financing of army
contracts also demanded techniques which were the
speciality of the jewellery trade. Raising money quickly
by organizing syndicates of investors, remitting it to
remote places and, most useful of all, soliciting the
great men about the Court for the payment of
government debts ahead of other contenders. The
main victuallers to the Austrian and Dutch armies
from 1674 to 1700, Samuel Oppenheimer of
Vienna119 and Jacob Pereira of the Hague,120 were
also jewellers. It would not, therefore, be surprising to
find that Manuel Levy Duarte invested some of his
money in wartime army victualling contracts during
the war of the Spanish Succession.
The involvement of Jews in the diamond trade and
industry during the last 400 years has been
surprisingly close and long-lasting. When the Por-
tuguese opened up the sea-trade with India at the
dawn of the 16th century it so happened that most
of the merchants121 and jewellers122 of Lisbon were
drawn from its large crypto-Jewish population.
Since Lisbon enjoyed a monopoly of trade with
India it is not surprising to find that Portuguese
merchants, in the course of the 16th century,
tended to replace the Italians in the diamond trade.
The Portuguese staple in northern Europe was at
Antwerp, which had succeeded Bruges as a centre
of diamond polishing. The routing of Indian rough
diamonds to Antwerp, instead of to Venice and
Genoa, made it the main centre of the polishing
industry, until the Treaty of Munster of 1648 closed
its port and gave Amsterdam the advantage. The
reason why the diamond trade remained a Jewish
speciality is the strange compatibility of the com-
mercial needs of the gemstone trade with the
structure of Jewish communities.
Large gemstones cannot be sold by sample and
take considerable time to sell to advantage. The
trade, therefore, calls for much mutual trust and
long-term credit. It is essential for a wholesale
diamond merchant to know whom it is unsafe to
trust. Not only must he be able to appraise the
reliability of each other man in the trade but, if he is
to survive, he must be aware of any decline in his
reliability or solvency as soon as it occurs. This can
only be done efficiently with the close social contact
and ample gossip which characterize village
society. Yet the diamond trade and industry cannot
function in a village. They require a trained urban
labour force, good financial and insurance facilities,
a just and efficient judicial system and regular and
reliable postal and transport services.
The ideal unit for the conduct of the international
gemstone trade is an ethnic minority living within a
major trading city and connected by language and
kinship with similar communities in other major
cities. These qualifications were held not only by
Jews. The Italian merchants of Antwerp who
dominated the diamond trade in the early 16th
century had these characteristics; so, to some
extent, did the Antwerp Walloons, the 17th-
century Nouveaux Catholiques of Paris and their
Huguenot cousins in London, Hamburg, Frankfurt
and Amsterdam, many of whom became very
successful diamond merchants.
In the late 17th century, the Portuguese Jews of
Amsterdam constituted an inward-looking Portu-
guese-speaking village of some 3000 people in a
Dutch-speaking city of some 200,000 people.123
They were linked with similar communities in
Venice, Livorno, Hamburg and London and with
individual jewellers in Paris and at other courts.
Their community was ideally adapted to ply the
gemstone trade. But although the Portuguese Jews
were a very important element among the merchant
jewellers of 17th-century Amsterdam they were, as
we have seen, in a minority among the diamond
cutters and polishers. How then did it happen that,
by 1900, Jewish entrepreneurs and operatives
dominated the Amsterdam diamond industry?
I think this dominance is the consequence of two
accidents of history. The first is the persecution of
the Jews of Portugal in the 1720s that preceded the
discovery of new diamond mines in Brazil. Before
Brazilian diamonds glutted the market, Amsterdam
had been filled with destitute Jewish refugees from
Portugal. This meant that, as the price of diamonds
dropped and the market expanded, the Jewish
merchant jewellers were under strong social and
economic pressure to prefer Jewish workers, and
their sector of the trade had the necessary pool of
cheap labour to be able to expand rapidly. When the
boom was followed by recession, the Jewish dia-
mond polishers were better able to survive than the
so-called 'Christian' operatives.124 The diamond
industry is labour-intensive (except for the small
sector engaged in finishing large gemstones) and
competes on a world market, and refugee labour is
tractable and cheap. Exactly the same thing
recurred in the 19th century. The persecution of
the Jews of Russia under Alexander III filled
Amsterdam with destitute Jewish refugees just
before the discovery of new diamond mines in
South Africa glutted the market. Once again, the
Jewish-owned diamond factories were able to
expand rapidly and were better able to survive
when recession set in. Diamond entrepreneurs and
merchants have always been recruited from the
ranks of the diamond polishers and cleavers. This
fact, together with these historical coincidences and
with the social structure of Jewish communities,
seems to me to explain the long but puzzling Jewish
link with the diamond trade and industry.
The value of Manuel Levy Duarte's papers is that
they enable us to examine the business career of a
fairly typical medium-sized diamond merchant in
an important period, just after Amsterdam had
succeeded Antwerp as the main European centre of
the gemstone trade and industry and at a time of
their expansion. His papers enable us to see just
how a 17th-century merchant-jeweller's business
was conducted in a trade which contained many
other firms both smaller and larger.
I should like to express my appreciation to the following:
Dr Peter Earle, Reader in Economic History at the London
School of Economics, for his continuous help and encour-
agement in supervising the University of London M.Phil
thesis on 'The Diamond Trade in the late 17th century,
with special reference to London' upon which this paper is
My wife for her tolerance, support and help.
The university of London Central Research Fund for a
grant towards the cost of a visit to Amsterdam and the
purchase of a microfilm of Athias and Levy's T675-85
ledger and Manuel Levy Duarte's correspondence with
Dr W. Chr. Pieterse, Director of the Gemeentelijk Archief-
dienst van Amsterdam, for her help in making the best use
of the archives.
Mr Karel Citroen for useful biographical details about
17th-century Amsterdam jewellers and for procuring for
me two pictures of the silver laver which Manuel Levy
Duarte gave to the Amsterdam Portuguese synagogue.
Professor Raphael Loewe for procuring another photo-
graph of the laver.
Dr Gedaliah Yogev for kindly allowing me to read his book
in manuscript before it had been published, and for the
first inspiration in choosing this topic for study.
Mr Karlos Van Rijn, for valuable genealogical contribu-
1 E. M. Koen, 'Notarial Records relating to the Portuguese Jews
in Amsterdam up to 1639', Studia Rosenthaliana (Assen) VlIl-XIV
contains numerous references to immigrant diamond polishers
and jewellers in early 17th-century Amsterdam.
2 Herbert I. Bloom, The Economic Activities of the Jews of
Amsterdam in the 17th and 18th centuries (Williamsburg 1939)
Chap. HD pp.40-4.
3 gaa (i.e. Cernéente Archief van Amsterdam) Puiboek (26
4 Ibid. (25 Jan. 1649) 155/77.
5 GAA PA334/683/10.
6 GAA Puiboek (19 Aug. 1660) 684/339.
7 Arnold Wiznitser, The Records of the Earliest Jewish Community
in the New World (New York 1954) p.81.
8 GAA Puiboek (13 Oct. 1684) 694/199.
9 Jacob Meijer, Encyclopedia Sefardica Nccrlandica (Amsterdam
1949 I P.183.
10 Revue des Etudes Juives (Paris 1963) CXXII p.i39.
11 E. S. de Beer (ed.), The Diary of John Evelyn (Oxford 1955) II
12 J. A. Worp (ed.), De Briefwisseling van Constantijn Huygens
1608-87 (The Hague 1914) III p. 160.
13 W.A. Shaw (ed.), Letters of Denization and Acts of Naturaliza-
lion for Aliens In England and Ireland 1603-1900 (Lymington
14 H. D. W. Sitwell, 'The Jewel House and the Royal Gold-
smiths', Archaeological Journal CXVII pp. 131-55.
15 His son, Manuel Duarte, referred to Gaspar Duarte II as 'my
cousin', GAA PA 334/677/613.
16 Trans .JHSE XXV pp.38-42.
17 GAA PA 334/677/606-7.
18 Ibid., 677/620, 617.
19 Ibid., 677/566.
20 Jerónimo Nunes da Costa (alias Moseh Curiel), Jacob
Delmonte, Aaron Alvares da Costa and Benjamin Mussaphia. Ibid,
677/613, 615, 595.
Manuel Levy Duarte (1631-1714)
21 GAA PA334/858/59, 60, 89, 90, I28
22 Ibid., 255.
23 Ibid., 150.
24 GAA PA334/677/746. Appendix 2.
25 John Fryer, 'A new account of East India and Persia, being
nine years' travels (1672-1681)', Hakluyt Society XX p.144.
26 GAA PA334/677/746.
27 Ibid., 855.
28 Ibid., 856. There is some doubt as to whether the trading
name 'Giuglio Bentivoglio' was used by Jerónimo Nunes da Costa
or Antonio Lopes Suasso, or both. The former seems to me the
more probable. See Jonathan I. Israel, 'Spain and the Dutch
Sephardim (1609-1660)', Studia Rosenthalia (Assen, July 1978)
29 W.Chr. Pieterse, Inventaos van de archieven der Portugees-
Isräelietische Cernéente te Amsterdam 1614-1870 (Amsterdam
1964) PP.49, 55.
30 GAA PA334/858.
31 Diamantes gérais, Perolas de nossa conta and Feitios.
33 GAA PA334/858/305.
34 Ibid., 8, 274, 276, 302.
35 Mr Karel Citroen suggests that this is Cornelis van Switen, a
ruby cutter who was married in Amsterdam in 1680.
36 Feitios accounts, GAA PA334/858/25, 71, 137, 244.
37 Appendix I.
38 gaa PA334/858/29, 116.
39 Joseph Salvador, Samuel Salom, Isaac Mussaphia, Sander
Kopernol and Isaac Samuels.
40 Adam Smith, An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the
Wealth of Nations, IV Chap. III.
41 The accounts are kept in guilders, stuivers and pennings.
However, the smallest sum accounted for is 8 pennings ( 1 groot).
42 gaa PA334/858/36, 131.
43 as senhoras mulheres.
44 GAA PA334/858/96 (26 Jan. 1677).
45 Ibid., 133 (25 May 1680), 351 (29 July 1681), 492 (6 Jan.
46 Ibid., 627(6 Feb. 1685).
47 Ibid., 95 (3 June 1677) fl 25 in diamonds. 133 (17 Mar.
1678) fl 7.10 in pearls.
48 Ibid., 187 (7 July 1679) fl 285:15 for six silver plates. (7
Dec. 1679) fl 40:4 for a porringer and lid. 133 (6 Mar. 1680) fl
650:10 for plate. 351 (2 Apr. 1681)fl 360 fora large silver plate.
(9 July 1681) fl 607:13 for twelve silver plates. 441 (14 Apr.
1682)fl 110:1 for two very curious silver goblets. (3 Sep. 1683)fl
35 for a silver sugar caster.
49 He subscribed regularly to the Portuguese Jewish
orphanage. In August 1685 he gave fl 60 to a synagogue
subscription to help the French Huguenot refugees (Ibid., 627,
nedaba para os desterados de Fransa).
50 gaa PA334/683/10.
51 J. S. Da Silva Rosa, Geschiedenis der Portugeesche ¡oden te
Amsterdam 1593-1925 (Amsterdam 1925) p. 96.
52 Miguel de Barrios says that he 'enjoyed riches with
temperance'. Triumpho del Covierno Popular en la Casa de Jacob
(Amsterdam 1683) p.34:
Al muy Noble y discreto Manuel Levi, en ocasión de presidio en
Lo primeroso y cuerdo siempre alcanca
en ti (Manuel) tan rara competancia
que atraes a ti los Nobles con prudencia
y gozas las riquezas con templanca
Oy te da la Iusticia su balança
por verte de juizio, y de sentencia
tu sombra a la Academia aliança
Manuel, en el sagrada idioma, vale
Dios com nosotros, como Ayuantamiento
Levy Yo assi Le-vi en sapiente Junta
AI coro de las Musas da saliento
por tomar los aplausos que te junta
el de memoria; y, tu entendimiento.
53 Zosa Szajkowski, Franco-¡udaica-An analytical bibliography
of books, pamphlets, decrees, briefs and other printed documents
pertaining to Jews in France 1500-1788 (New York 1962) p. 1023.
54 GAAPA334/858 597, 633.
55 gaa PA334/688/1-4.
56 GAA PA334/858/42 7.
57 ibid., 194, 199,359,579.
58 Antonio Baiäo, Episodios dramáticos da Inquisicâo Portugesa
(Lisbon 1972) II p. 295.
59 Herman Kellenbenz (ed.), Confusion de Confusiones by Joseph
Pensó de la Vega 1688-portions descriptive of the Amsterdam Stock
Exchange, No. 13 The Kress Library of Business and Economics
(Harvard University, Boston, Mass. 1957).
60 gaa PA334/858/325, 339, 347, 485, 629.
61 ibid., 391.
62 Ibid., 325-6.
63 ibid., 107, 184.
64 Ibid., 128.
65 Ibid., 213, 369.
66 See note 59. Manuel Levy Duarte's business trip to London
in 16 79 was a joint venture with Abraham and Joseph Penso, gaa
67 Jacob Meijer op. cit. pp. 104-5. This statement should be
corrected. Dr Jonathan Israel has pointed out to me that Jacob
Meijer's list is of the parnassim of the Talmud Torah school, and not,
as I had thought, of the Talmud Torah synagogue. In fact, Jacob
Athias served as Gabay (Treasurer) for one year commencing in
the autumn of 1661 (Tishri 5421) and Manuel Levy was never
elected to the Amsterdam Mahamad.
68 Information from Mr Karel Citroen.
69 gaa Puiboek (13 Oct. 1684) 694/199.
70 According to Manuel Levy Duarte's will (pro Prob.
11/564/141). Athias and Levy's ledger records a payment of only
fl 35,000, but not all of the dowry necessarily came from the
71 Jacob Meijer op. cit. p.183.
73 GAA PA334/685b/293.
74 Dora Schlugleit, Geschiedenis van het Antwerpsche diamants-
lijpersambacht (75S2-1797J (Antwerp 1935) p.45, note 2.
75 E. R. Samuel, 'The disposal of Diego Duarte's stock of
paintings 1692-1697', ¡aerboek 1976-Koninklijk Museum voor
Schone Künsten-Antwerpen (Antwerp 1976) pp.305-24.
76 gaa PA334/683 (Antwerp ledger).
77 gaa PA334/658a/400.
79 gaa PA3 34/683/402. In January 1694 he invested £300
sterling for Donna Luiza de Castro of Antwerp in an annuity on the
life of her son Juan Duarte da Silva. In March 1694 he bought a
similar annuity on the life of her niece, Micaela de Silva, daughter
of Don Francisco de Silva. Luiza de Castro was the wife of Duarte da
Suva's younger son, Joäo da Silva. Her name suggests that she was
a sister of Joseph Cortissos.
80 Not to be confused with Pieter and Pierre Henriques, who
were also substantial London merchants.
81 GAA PA334/683/44.
82 Ibid., 34. 10 Dec. 1693.
83 JHSE Misc. VIp.167.
84 GAA PA334/677/454.
85 GAA PA334/684/61.
86 Appendix 3.
87 W. A. Shaw op. cit. p. 108.
88 RRO E 190/53-4.
89 D. W. Jones, London overseas merchant groups at the end of the
17th century, and the move against the Hast India Company
(Unpublished Oxford D.Phil, thesis), Appendix B. List of wine
importers in 1696.
90 Antonio Gomes Serra to Manuel Levy Duarte, July 1689.
91 Ibid., 635. 'Salvador, segundo dizem, mandou metade do
que esteve nas Minas a Va de Paiva'. Salvador Rodrigues (alias
Ishac Salvador) was a brother of Francis Salvador of London and of
Abraham and Joseph Salvador of Amsterdam.
92 Ibid., 638.
93 pro ci 14/180. Daniel Chardin to Bose, père et fils et
Dusault, Paris, 16 Oct. 1692: '. . . vous marques d'êtres si mal
satisfait de Mr. Almança et avec beaucoup de raison. Bien des
personnes d'Angleterre en ont écrit les plaintes au Gouverneur
d'icy qui je veux croire ne peut aporter aucun remède de sa
Ibid. Daniel Chardin, Port St George to Philip Martins, London,
1694: 'Almans na pas jouey longtemps de largfenjt quil a porté en
Europe. S'il avoit doné a ce quil apartient il n'en serait pas plus
malheureux car se qu'il a laissé ses parents ne luy fera aucun bien
dans lautre monde.'
94 Hiram Bingham, Blihu Yale-the American Nabob of Queen
Square (New York 1939) p.237. He was christened 'Charles
95 GAA PA334/678/666-7.
96 Record of Fort St George-Diary and Consultation Book
(Madras 1912-23) p.26, 27 Feb. 1695/6.
97 Not without cause, for he had written to Luis Alvares in
Paris, who had ready access to King Louis XIV, that a fleet of
twenty men-of-war would suffice to conquer all India. Ibid.
98 pro Prob. 11/589/1.
99 GAA PA334/677/844, 852, 854.
100 GAA PA334/683/129.
101 Otherwise Mosseh Pereira de Paiva. He was a son of Jacob
Pereira of the Hague, the army contractor, and a brother of Isaac
Pereira, the army contractor for the Boyne campaign.
102 GAA PA334/683/13.
103 W. Ph. Coolhaas (ed.), Generale Missive» van Gouverneurs
Generalen en Raden aan Heren XVII der Vcrenígc Oostindische
Compagnie (The Hague i960) IV p.245.
104 GAA PA334/679/603-21.
105 Ibid., 624-39.
106 GAA PA334/ 68ia/596, 651.
107 Ibid., 70, 651; 677/931; 680/276, 355, 364, 366, 1097.
108 Ibid., 68 ia/16, 56.
109 GAA PA334/684/61; 680/582.
110 Appendix 4.
111 GAA PA334/680/655.
112 Ibid., 548.
113 JHSE Misc. II p. 77, Item 18.
114 GAA PA334/683.
115 GAA PA334/69I.
116 GAA PA334/680/258.
117 GAA PA334/69O.
118 GAA PA334/685b/l05 postscript.
119 Selma Stern, The Court Jew - a contribution to the history of
the period of absolutism in central Europe (Philadelphia 1950) Chap.
120 William Ill's chosen army vitualler was Antonio Alvarez
Machando. Jacob Pereira became his partner. (N. Japikse (ed.),
Correspondentie van Willem HI en van Hans Willem Bentinck eersten
Graaf van Portland (Hague 1955) II pp.37, 43-4.) Jacob Pereira
was a regular trader in jewellery (gaa PA334/858/79, 589) and
his brothers Mosseh and Aaron Pereira were active Amsterdam
merchant jewellers (Appendix 2).
121 In 1617 Martini Gonzales Celorico wrote: 'En todo Portu-
gal no ay hombre de negocios que deixe de ser desta nación'-'In
all Portugal there is no important merchant outside this com-
munity', Revue des Etudes Juives (Paris 1963) p.390.
122 Virgilio Correa (ed.), Livro de Regimenlos dos Officines
Mecánicos da mui nobre e sempre leal eidade de Llxboa (1572)
(Coimbra 1926) p.I. It is clear from the regulation of the
goldsmiths' guild of Lisbon that the majority of members were New
Christians. The 1572 statutes provided that half of the guild's
electors of their judges must be New Christians and half Old
Christians. In this period of heavy discrimination against the New
Christians, it is plain that the Old Christians had petitioned for
representation (although in a minority in the guild) as was later
done by the lapidaries, with a similar outcome.
123 H. I. Bloom op, cit. pp.203-4.
124 This is clear from the petition of the 'Christian' diamond
polishers of 1748 requesting that Jews be excluded from the trade,
which also complains of the higher productivity of the Jewish
workers who ran two mills per fly-wheel. Summarized in E. E.
Denekamp, Die Amsterdammer Diamantindustrie (Heidelberg
These extracts from the papers of Manuel Levy
Duarte in the Gemeentelijk Archief van Amsterdam
(PA334) are translated from the Portuguese ori-
ginal texts. They are all intended to demonstrate the
business methods of the period. Appendices 1-3
deal with buying rough diamonds.
1. A Purchase at Middelburg in 1672
Manuel Levy Duarte, Antwerp to Luis Alvares,
Paris 27 Oct. 1672
Tired of waiting in Middelburg and finding little
likelihood of doing more business than that of
which you have had notice, I decided to pass on to
Antwerp, where I am at your service and I will stay
here only for a short while. There is no news to
report concerning my intention to bring my people
to Amsterdam. The two diamonds bought in Zea-
land for the account of our partnership I brought
with me and they seem better at each inspection.
In order to inform you of what they are like, I
should say that they weigh just under 19 carats
together, namely one is just short of 9f carats and is
of good water to saw from point to point. It seems to
me that the larger part will emerge crystalline and
clear, of large appearance. The other will lose more,
Manuel Levy Duarte (1631-1714)
in that it has a yellow fault on one corner, most of
which will come out, but not all.
The other stone is of a rock suitable for sawing to
the largest size. It is crystalline of firey appearance.
It weighs 9¼K clean; even if it loses a little more than
usual, they are marvellous stones for their weight
. . . Your pearls, which I leave here, I was not able to
sell. I expect occasion will offer in Amsterdam. I
leave them here with Diego Duarte until you cause
them to be sent to Amsterdam by some friend who
offers himself. . .
2. The 1676 Buyers' Cartel Agreement
In the name of the Blessed God.
The undersigned, having considered the great
benefit to us which would follow, if, on the occasion
of the arrival of ships from India, we were to act in
unison by buying the consignments of diamonds
and pearls in the hands of the Indians, which they
are able to offer for sale, or whatever else we know
to have come from the said Indians, in partnership,
and that, on the contrary, we would be greatly
prejudiced by buying the consignments in competi-
tion and opposition to each other. We resolve to
establish a Partnership between us for a period of
six months from the date of this [agreement], which
can be prolonged for a greater period, if it seems
desirable to us, and in the following form:
That everything which is bought will be for a
joint account divided in three equal shares, namely,
one third for Mosseh and Aron Pereira, one third for
Jacob and Selomoh de Lima and the other third for
Athias and Levy. Having bought one or more
consignments, we shall each of us be obliged to
furnish the money for our share, within forty-eight
hours after being informed of the purchase, so that
the buyer can remain with the reputation of having
received the consignments which have been
That each of us who buys one or more consign-
ments, will be obliged to sustain the price of the
purchase by offering some advance, and in case the
partnership abandons the purchase, the buyer will
be obliged to restore the money which the partners
have paid him within forty-eight hours.
And, in so far as each of us should go soliciting
the discovery of consignments, we agree that the
discoverer of a consignment, having had sight of it,
and given an account of it to his partners, shall, on
the conclusion of the purchase on behalf of the
partners, be entitled to an agency fee of 12½% in the
said purchase and he will share in the advance,
which is obtained for the consignment, in the same
proportion, which sum will be taken from the
proceeds first of all, and the balance remaining will
be divided into thirds in accordance with the terms
stated above, and it is understood that the same will
apply to consignments which are seen outside this
country, even if the purchase should happen to be
made by one of the other partners.
That, if some of the partners give notice to the
partnership of some consignments outside the
country, without having seen them, being consign-
ments bought by some of the other partners, in such
a case, they shall not have the preference of I2½%.
That the goods purchased should be examined to
see if they can be divided and when possible should
be disposed of among ourselves, and if there should
be a large stone or other items which it is agreed will
be of mutual benefit to buy for the partnership
account, it should be with the approval of all.
That if any person outside, of whatsoever quality
he may be, should happen to come to sell some
consignment to one of us, he must buy out the
vendor as far as he can, so that the partnership
share becomes the majority one, and such a
purchaser shall be entitled to I2½% of the partner-
That if there should be some question or differ-
ence between us concerning any matter relating to
the business of this partnership, we will submit it to
the opinion of the others.
That we cannot speak or discuss matters in a way
which might possibly be of prejudice to this partner-
ship, in the presence of neutral persons outside our
All the good faith without fraud or deceit and
with a solemn oath to the God of Israel to comply,
observe inviolably everything contained in this
contract, of which we make three copies of the same
tenor, and we sign, in Amsterdam, 2 August 1676.
3. Imports From Fort St George
A summary of Antonio Rodrigues Marques
letters to Athias and Levy
(a) London 28/7 August 1687
Three ships arrived today from the coast and
docked. One of them named the George has arrived
with letters, including the enclosed one from Jac-
ques de Payva (at Fort St George). He tells me that
your parcel of diamonds is in the cargo and I will
send it on to you by whatever route is available.
Festival greetings. No more letters are expected. The
bills of lading have not yet been received.
(b) 13/23 Sept. 1687
[Letters of 16th and 19th acknowledged, opened at
the close of the Festival, so he is writing this at 8.00
The diamonds arriving on the three ships were
transferred to the Company's warehouse at night
on Friday. The parcel of diamonds is expected
tomorrow and will be sent on either by a yacht or by
a Rotterdam ship with a known master. You say
you wish to send out some patacas to Jacques de
Paiva next month. It is recommended that this be
sent on the Princess of Denmark, 600 tons, Captain,
Joseph Haddock which is due, by its charter party,
to be in the Downs, ready for sailing, on 10 October.
Patacas were 62½d. a fortnight ago, last week they
were 63d. in Cadiz. If more come from Spain the
price might even fall a little.
Insurance on these ships has been placed in
recent years at 3%. I therefore recommend insuring
the whole quantitiy with good men, but only for the
outward voyage, because during the last two years
the Company's ships have been employed in trading
voyages from Fort St George and it is not possible to
predict when the returns will come or on which
ships. When Jacques de Paiva went out, we placed
insurance, for our friends in Paris, for both the
outward and return voyages, but this time I would
recommend placing the return insurance at a later
date when we know when and on what ship
Paiva is likely to consign the goods.
(c) 20/30 Sept. 1687
Acknowledges letters of 23 and 26 Sept.
The Company has decided not to send a ship for a
month. No news has been received of the two ships
which were expected to leave Cadiz. On Friday
Abraham Cohen (Gonzales) bought some patacas
at 63½d. Tomorrow, 'now that we are free of
festivals' I will start searching for 4300 'realguas'
for you. Festival greetings. Your parcel of diamonds
has been sent to my cousin Raphael Henriques with
instructions to deliver it carriage free, as instructed
by de Paiva, together with the account for the
freight from India, which I have paid.
(d) London 23/3 Sept. 1687
Acknowledges letters of 23 and 26 Sept. with
instructions to buy 4300 patacas.
Has bought 10,300 at 63¾. The price has risen,
because letters from Spain advise that the two ships
are still held at Cadiz and the 'buyers of our nation'
are buying speculatively and raising the price,
because they know we have to buy. The Company
has issued an order that we foreigners are to pay the
same rate as adventurers in the Company 2%
freight on exports and 3% on the returns instead of
3% on the outward voyage and 4% on the return. I
will pack the 4300 patacas in two boxes and retain
them until the 8th or 10th of next month, because
the Company has granted the Captain an exten-
sion. I shall draw on you shortly for the cost of the
(e) 27/7 Sept. 1687
Acknowledges letters of 28 Sept. and 3 Oct.
£1100 insured in the Princess of Denmark at 3%,
with a maximum discount of 10% in the event of a
loss of the cargo, underwritten by some of the best
men on the Exchange, for the outward voyage only.
This should be covered by a fresh policy in a year's
time on whatever ship Jacques de Paiva consigns
de the return. The patacas were brought at 635a,
weigh 3774¾ oz. and cost £1002 13s. 4d. They
have been packed in two boxes, as shown in the
annexed copy of the bill of lading, and will be sent
on the nth or 12th when the Company loads its
own silver. I sent a box to my cousin Raphael
Henriques containing your parcel of rough dia-
monds with instructions to deliver it free of carriage
Manuel Levy Duarte (1631-1714)
in accordance with Jacques de Paiva's instruction.
Have drawn on you for £200, at two days sight, at
35:7. If you send me letters for India they can be
forwarded, providing they arrive before the 20th.
Copy of Bill of lading of patacas annexed.
(f) 30/10 Sept. 1687
I will shortly draw two bills on you, at two days
sight, for £500 and £300 at 35:7. When the
patacas are loaded I shall send you a further
account for the freight and insurance as instructed.
(g) 11/2l Oct.
Patacas have now risen to 64d. because the two
ships from Cadiz have not arrived and orders are
increasing. As far as the insurance for the return
voyage goes, I think it sufficient to make it 'in
January 1689 for diamonds coming on a ship or
ships'. You will, by now, have received and paid the
two bills drawn on you. Please write to Jacques de
Paiva, who merits some rebuke for his brashness,
and let me see what you write. His saying that you
will make 70% to 75% and some Englishmen too,
has upset Pedro and Peter Henriques, sons in law to
Rodrigo Nunes (Henriques). They told me that they
would only make 25% and wanted to cancel the
deal. I thought they had repented, but today they
say they will make only 8% profit. It is not my office
to remedy this and I have nothing to offer fellows
who make less noise. The good price you gave me
for the stone you have bought, makes me wish you
had seen their parcel. As to the price you gave
Rodrigo Nunes for his 22½ carat diamond, rest
assured, I shall not tell anyone.
(h) 18/28 Oct. 1687
Letter of 21st acknowledged and the settlement of
the three bills of exchange.
Today the patacas should be despatched, but I find it
to be a national holiday and will send them
tomorrow, two days ahead of the Company's silver.
I will send an account for the despatch of these
patacas. The letter to Jacques de Paiva is excellent
and the courtesy of sending it open is appreciated. It
will go with mine.
(i) 3/13 Jan. 1687/8
Letter of Friday acknowledged.
Have drawn on you for £70-5-8 for the rest of the
account sent. With £8 brokerage only £10 remains
unsettled to close the account. The Princess of
Denmark left on a good wind. Another ship,
belonging to a private syndicate, has been given
permission by the Company to trade in India,
paying 12% on its sales there. 'I will have a small
investment in her. It will breach the Company's
defenses.' Patacas are scarce and rising in price.
You may take advantage of me if you wish to place
any further order.
4. The Arbitration of a Commercial Dispute
We, Manuel Levy and Pedro Henriques Lafereira,
having been named as Judge-arbitrators by Fran-
cisco de Casseres and Francisco de Cordova, for us
to decide, by sentence arrived at in accordance with
our consciences, certain questions arising between
the said Casires and Cordova above named, con-
cerning no guineas in gold which Senhora Cor-
dova wife of Francisco de Cordova had delivered to
the said Casires and thus, after we had heard the
parties and thoroughly examined their actions and
explanations, we order and sentence by this:
That Francisco de Casires must pay no guineas in
gold, forthwith and without delay, to Senhora
Cordova, wife of Francisco de Cordova, with which
payment he will remain free; Francisco de Casires
having received the no guineas in gold from the
said Senhora Cordova-and, in case of difficulty, the
interpretation of this sentence shall be left to
ourselves. We sign this sentence in London, 2