Barton, Edward (DNB00)

BARTON, EDWARD (1562?–1597), the second English ambassador sent to Constantinople, was probably the second son of Edward Barton of Whenby, Yorkshire, who died in 1610 (Glover's Visitation of Yorkshire, ed. Foster, p. 5). Barton was born about 1562. and appears to have succeeded William Harborne as English ambassador at Constantinople in 1590. As was the case with his predecessor, his chief duty was at first to protect the interests of the Turkey Company, which had been established in 1579. Although he bore the title of 'agent for her majesty with the grand seignior' and received a payment of 500l. from the exchequer (10 Oct. 1590), the company was, as a rule, held responsible for his salary, and seems to have failed to remit it regularly. In 1591 Lord Burghley addressed a series of questions to the officials of the Turkey Company as to 'what entertainment has been made to Mr. Barton in certainty, and whether he has been allowed the four per cent. promised; what allowance he has had from the beginning of his service, when he has had any, and what it was for, as he complains of great want and unkind answers, and that Collins and Salter, the consul and vice-consul at Tripoli, deny him relief' (State Paper Calendars. 14 Aug. 1591). In 1594 Barton received 2,000 gold 'chequins,' equivalent to 600l., 'for the queen's special service in Constantinople,' and early in 1596 he received a formal commission as ambassador under the great seal, thus removing him from his dependence on the Turkey Company. Barton was popular among the Turks and fought under their flag. Mustapha, the first Turkish envoy in England, told at court in 1607 how many years previously 'Mr. Barton was in the army . . . when Raab alias Suverin was won from the christians,' and the sultan, Mahomet III, when informing (February 1595-6) Queen Elizabeth of the taking of the fort Agria in Hungary from the forces of the archduke Maximilian in 1595, wrote: 'As to your highness's well-beloved nmbassador at our blessed Porte, Edward Barton, one in the nation of the Messiah, he having been enjoined by us to follow our imperial camp without having been enabled previously to obtain your highness's permission to go with my imperial staff, has well acquitted himself of his duties in the campaign, so that we have reason to be satisfied, and to hope that also your highness will know how to appreciate the services he has thus rendered to us in our imperial camp.' Soon after his return from this campaign the plague raged in Constantinople, and in 1597 Barton took refuge in the little island of Halke (Χάλκη), where he fell a victim to the scourge on 15 Dec. He was buried there, outside the principal door of the church attached to the convent of the Virgin. The inscription on the slab above his grave was as follows: 'Eduardo Barton, Illustrissimo Serenissimæ Anglorum Reginæ Oratori, viro præstantissimo, qui post reditum a bello Ungarico, quo cum invicto Turcor, imperatore profectus fuerat, diem obiit pietatis ergo, ætatis anno xxxv., Sal. vero mdxcvii. xviii. Kal. Januar.'

In a letter to Barton from Thomas Humphreys, preserved among the State Papers (20 Aug. 1591); complaint is made of the conduct of Barton's elder brother, to whom he appears to have given large sums of money, and he is asked to bestow his bounty for the future on his sister and her children. A copy of Calvin's' Institutes' accompanied the letter as a gift from the writer.

[Ellis's Orig. Letters, (1st series) iii. 84-8, (3rd series) iv. 147; Notes and Queries (3rd series), xii. 459; Cal. of Domest. State Papers, 1590-6.]

S. L. L.