Venice: 1441-1450

Pages 65-74

Calendar of State Papers Relating To English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 1, 1202-1509. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1864.

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1441. Feb. 17. Senato Mar. v. i. p. 16. 263. Decree of the Senate for fitting out four galleys two to go to Bruges or Antwerp, and two to London. Purchasers in Venice of English cloths brought by these galleys to and, as usual, weight Troy. The masters not to receive any freight money; and, in London, such to be paid to the vicecaptain, who is to keep a ledger and consign it to the state within a fortnight after his return.
Regulations for publication at Poole and Sandwich; and if the majority of the captain and masters think it more desirable for the galleys to go to Hampton than to Sandwich, they can do so. No vessel to load for Flanders and London until two months after their departure; but vessels loading in Candia may proceed to Flanders and England, where vessels are forbidden to load wool or cloths for Venice until two months after the departure of the galleys, unless they leave any surplus cargo. The clerks on board the galleys to keep two ledgers; one to be consigned to the viceconsul in London, for transmission, closed, by land, to the officials extraordinary in Venice, the other to be consigned to the captain of the galleys for delivery to the State Proveditors.
In London, the masters to give six weeks' pay to the crews at the rate of thirty-nine pence per ducat. Should the crews require a further loan it must be made thus—the pay of one month for oarsmen, sailors, and arbalastmen, and the pay of six weeks for pilots; to be deducted from their pay at the rate of thirty-six pence per ducat. Should further loans be required, the masters may concede them at such rate as they please, down to one-third less per ducat than the current exchange. Both wages and loans are to be disbursed by the viceconsul in London.
The galleys to remain in London 90 days; at Sandwich they may take in goods during five days. Should they load after the periods assigned, all merchandise thus shipped below deck to pay one-fourth extra freight. The viceconsul in London to be bound under oath to enter in a book all the goods loaded in the galleys during the 90 days.
[Latin, 218 lines.]
Feb. 18. Sen a to Mar. v.i. p. 19. 264. Decree of the Senate alluding to a former decree of the year 1438 that purchasers of English cloths brought to Venice by land were to pay a bounty of 30 ducats for every thousand weight Troy, for the benefit of the Flanders galleys annually bound on that voyage. As it has recently become the custom with those who bring such cloths overland to Venice, and with others who purchase them of the carriers, to make a compromise with the masters of the galleys for a much less sum than 30 ducats, and as it is necessary to prevent the iniquity of counterfeiters—it is put to the ballot, that henceforth all cloths from England brought to the German warehouse by land be weighed and sealed as they arrive, before being unpacked, their weight to be registered by the vicelords, who are to exact 30 ducats per thousand weight Troy from the purchasers before they remove them from the warehouse ; of which bounty one-third to go to the State and two-thirds to the Flanders galleys. Moreover, the purchasers of such cloths to pay two ducats per thousand weight to the State Proveditors. Should they be brought by way of Rialto, the Proveditors to enforce the same regulations. But as English cloths for dyeing are brought in other packages as if they were not English cloths, be the vicelords or proveditors charged to have them examined ; goods counterfeited to be forfeited.
[Latin, 23 lines.]
May 16. Senato Mar. v. i. p. 37. 265. Decree of the Senate.
That as the Flanders voyage was originally instituted for the general profit of Venetian citizens, spices and cottons belonging to them be shipped before similar goods belonging to aliens, under penalty of 25 per cent., to be levied on the goods of the aliens; whose charges for freight being the same as those of Venetians, they are bound to pay the same factory quota on goods taken in the galleys to London and Bruges as paid by Venetians ; the captain and vicecaptain in those places to exact it before landing the goods.
[Latin, 11 lines.]
1442. Feb. 20. Senato Mar. v. i. p. 79. 266. Decree of the Senate for fitting out four galleys for the Flanders voyage, namely, two new ones now building in the arsenal, the galley “Mora” which went to Modon last year, and the galley now on its voyage from Trebizond; two to go to Bruges or Antwerp, and two to London. The two masters appointed to London to have the first choice of the four galleys. The pilots not to take more than four “soldi” for each package addressed to London, and three “soldi” for those bound to Bruges.
[Latin, 32 lines.]
1443. March 8. Senato Mar. v. i. p. 155. 267. Decree of the Senate for fitting out four galleys for the Flanders and London voyage. General regulations.
[Latin, 213 lines.]
July 30. Senato Mar. v. i. p. 158. 268. Appointment of Hieronimo de Molino by the Senate to be vicecaptain of the London galleys.
[Latin, 2 lines.]
1444. Feb. 7. Senato Mar. v. i. p. 21. 269. Decree of the Senate for fitting out three galleys for the Flanders voyage; two to go to London, and the captain with the other to go to Sluys or Antwerp.
On arriving in the Downs, where the Bruges galleys part company with those of London, the spices and other merchandise destined for Bruges, to be put on board the Bruges galley. Should they be more than the galley can take, one of the London galleys to accompany the captain to Sluys, and then go to London, where the galleys are forbidden to load during more than 90 days, under penalty to each master disobeying, of 1,000 golden ducats, ineligibility to the mastership of any galley for 10 years, with forfeiture of the freight of all goods stowed below deck.
The captain not to remain at Sluys more than 60 days under penalty of 1,000 golden ducats; and on departing thence he is to go to Hampton or Sandwich, whence he is to dispatch his chaplain or any other person, remaining there until the arrival of the London galleys, and making inquiries about goods shipped after the 90 days; the informer to receive 100 ducats from the State attorneys.
After the expiration of the 90 days, the galleys may not remain in London more than 15 days for their clearance through the custom-house under penalty to the masters of privation of office for 10 years, and a fine of 500 ducats. Should the delay proceed from nonpayment of the customs by the merchants, the master to raise money by bill of exchange on the goods of the defaulters, for acquittal of the duties.
[Latin, 35 lines.]
May 7. Senato Mar. v. i. p. 210. 270. Appointment of “Ser” Marino Contarini, son of “Ser” Pietro, by the Senate to be vicecaptain of the London galleys.
[Latin, 1 line.]
Dec. 17. Senato Terra. v. i. p. 144. 271. Decree of the Senate concerning the Cloth Trade in Venice.
Cloths of Flanders and England brought by Venetian galleys to Venice are exempted from an export duty of one per cent. levied on other foreign cloths.
And as it has become the fashion to bring from the parts of Flanders and London to Venice incomplete cloths, which are subsequently completed here (fn. 1) in the Venetian manner, and as thereby Venetian cloths are defrauded of their fame—be it decreed, that, under penalty of confiscation, no incomplete cloths may be brought to Venice.
Moreover, as of late there have been brought from the parts of Flanders and England unshorn cloths—resembling Venetian cloths —which are prepared here and do much damage to our Venetian cloths,—be it carried that henceforth no unshorn cloths may be brought to Venice from any place, under penalty of confiscation, and of a fine of 500 livres for each piece of cloth thus brought.
[Latin, 24 lines.]
1445. Jan. 27. Senato Mar. v. ii. p. 52. 272. Decree of the Senate for fitting out four galleys for the Flanders and London voyage. General regulations. The freight of goods both on the outward and homeward voyage to be levied by the officials extraordinary in Venice, and not by the masters. The captain to be at liberty to go either to Hampton or Sandwich.
[Latin, 220 lines.]
Oct. 19. Register. Senato Mar. v. ii. p. 107. 273. Decree of the Senate. Acknowledged act that of late, owing to maladministration, many abuses have been practised in the London factory, so that it is debtor for 14,000 ducats.
Letter to be written to the viceconsul in London as follows:—
For remedy of these abuses, the Senate orders him to confer with his predecessor, Andrea Cornaro, and all others having funds belonging to the factory, or deposits or other property appertaining thereto. Within one month from the receipt of the mandate payment of one half to be made, the other half in the course of the following month, under penalty of five “solidi” per livre, to be levied by the State Attorneys. As the moneys of the said quotas and the deposits are considered public property, the fines to be levied on all effects whether at Venice or elsewhere, but the sums recovered by the viceconsul to be employed by him first of all for the benefit of the factory's creditors, to the advantage as much as possible of the factory. The viceconsul to exact “those 2,500 ducats more or less assigned him for the King's tallies,” which are also to be applied to the extinction of the debt of the factory. Approves of a proposal made by him that, for the extinction of the factory's debt, a duty of 5d. per livre should be levied on all Venetian exports and imports in England, stipulating however that foreigners shipping goods for intermediate ports or receiving such thence be exempt from this duty. On the other hand, foreigners exporting goods direct or importing them to pay like Venetian subjects. The consul is desired, if he have in his hands moneys belonging to the factory, or be its debtor, to pay them. The merchants to pay within eight days the last import duty of 5d. per pound sterling; and within a fortnight from the day of the mandate exporters to deposit at the consulate 5d. per pound on all goods destined by them for exportation. Should the deposits exceed the value of the goods, the surplus to be returned; should it fall short, a penalty of 2d, per pound to be exacted.
Moreover, the Signory, wishing to examine the registers and accounts of viceconsuls prior to the year 1132, charges the actual viceconsul to transcribe those accounts with the aid of two intelligent assistants. These documents to be transmitted to Venice after being collated with the originals in the presence of two Venetian merchants. Finally, the Senate decrees that the State Attorneys be commissioned under oath to enforce the above regulations.
[Latin, 49 lines.]
Dec. 17. Senato Mar. v. ii. p. 114. 274. Decree of the Senate.
Concerning a missive dispatched to the Consul in London on 18 Sept. 1445, about a claim for 400l. sterling made by Tomaso Contarini on Andrea Cornaro. Order for the Consul to enforce payment from Cornaro, under penalty of five “solidi” per pound sterling if not disbursed before the end of April 1446.
Within 15 days after the receipt of the order “Ser” Andrea Cornaro to give the consul Walsingham's security for payment of the sum, so that the English creditors of the factory may consider themselves secure of that amount. Any loss incurred by this delay to be passed to the account of the factory.
[Latin, 14 lines.]
1446. Feb. 17. Senato Mar. v. ii. p. 124. 275. Decree of the Senate for fitting out three galleys for the Flanders and London voyage.
[Latin, 222 lines.]
March 21. Senato Mar. v. ii. p. 127. 276. Appointment of Bernardo Capello by the Senate to be vicecaptain of the two London galleys.
[Latin, 2 lines.]
March 26. Senato Mar. v. ii. p. 137. 277. The Senate to the Consul in London.
Acknowledge his letter of 28th February concerning the affairs of the Venetian factory. Express great dissatisfaction at the statement. Enclose letters for those whom it mentioned, with copies for the consul, that he may enforce their execution. Desire him to enforce payment of the “quota” from the merchants, the masters of the galleys, and every other Venetian subject. Anticipating disobedience, request him, on the departure of the galleys, to send a list of the delinquents to the office for Old Accounts, informing them that a corresponding amount will be levied by the officials on their property at Venice.
[Italian, 13 lines.]
May 2. Senato Mar. v. ii. p. 142. 278. Decree of the Senate concerning a Debt of about 8,000 ducats due from the London Factory.
For its liquidation, all goods shipped on board the Flanders galleys commanded by “Ser” Triadan Gritti, and other Venetian ships, or which shall be sent by land to England, are subjected in the present year to a duty of 5d. sterling per pound sterling, to be deposited with the officials extraordinary as payment of the quota on the merchandise sent by them, according to the Act passed on the 18th October 1445.
Shippers omitting to make their deposits before the departure of the present galleys to pay 7d. sterling per pound sterling to the Venetian consul in London. Should he he unable to exact the sum he is to send a note to the officials for Old Accounts that they may levy the said 7d. with an additional 2d. in the pound penalty for their own benefit. This decree to be proclaimed on the steps at Rialto; to take effect on all aliens loading merchandise for England, and to remain in force for the coming year 1447 with regard to the galleys and ships bound thither.
[Venetian, 12 lines.]
May 2. Senato Mar. v. ii. p. 142. 279. Decree of the Senate.
In 1444, when “Ser” Marco Morosini was captain of the Flanders galleys, the cost of “hostlers” in London was dispensed with, at which time permission was obtained at great expense for the sale of goods brought by the said vessels after the term of eight months, to which the permit had until then been limited; and whereas, on account of the “hostlers,” the merchants heretofore paid 1d. sterling in the pound, and in that year paid nothing at all,—it is put to the ballot, that the clerk in the office of the officials extraordinary who keeps the accounts of the three per cents, do make out a list of all shippers on that voyage, out and home, of their goods, and the value of them; they to pay ½ per cent. on the entire amount, having paid the rest in London, and those who shipped goods on the return to pay ½ per cent. before the departure of the galleys; it being understood that the shippers of wines [for London] in vessels from Candia or Modon are in the same plight. From such as do not pay the officials for Old Accounts shall levy the amount, with a fine of 2d. in the pound for their own benefit. All goods to be stowed between the “stacij” and the decks; and the said clerk must inspect the registers of the galleys to see this done.
[Venetian, 11 lives.]
May 6. Senato Mar. v. ii. p. 142. 280. Decree of the Senate.
The College to elect a committee of two or three merchants to examine the accounts of the London factory, having for colleagues the officials of the Accountants' Office.
[Venetian, 6 lines.]
June 2. Senato Mar. v. ii. p. 142. 281. Decree of the Senate.
The viceconsul in London to draw bills of exchange on Venice for all arrears of quotas due from Venetians in London; and to pay what is due from defaulters.
[Venetian, 3 lines.]
July 21. Senato Mar v. ii. p. 167. 282. Decree of the Senate.
Alludes to an Act passed in November 1445 concerning the London factory and payment of 5d. in the pound. All defaulters who shall not have paid in full by Wednesday next to be charged 7d. in the pound.
[Latin, 9 lines.]
1446. July 28. Senato Mar. v. ii, p. 168. 283. Decree of the Senate concerning former Acts passed for the payment of quotas due to the London factory, and authorizing the officials for Old Accounts to exact fines from defaulters.
[Latin, 12 lines.]
Aug. 11. Senato Mar. v. ii. p. 171. 284. Decree of the Senate.
Forbidding Venetian citizens resident in London and Bruges to have recourse to the local courts of judicature for the settlement of disputes amongst themselves; any Venetian suing a fellow countryman in any such court to incur a fine of 500 golden ducats.
[Latin, 17 lines.]
Dec. 16. Senato Mar. v. ii. p. 183. 285. Decree of the Senate.
The Act passed on 2d May (concerning the quotas on goods shipped to and from London), has not been observed. Defaulters summoned to pay by the middle of next January, and after that period the officials to exact one fourth additional.
[Latin, 10 lines.]
1447. March 6. Senato Mar. v. iii. p. 2. 286. Decree of the Senate for fitting out three galleys for the Flanders and London voyage. General regulations as in 1444.
[Latin, 9½ pages.]
June 16. Senato Mar. v. iii. p. 8. 287. Appointment of “Ser” Alexander Duodo by the Senate to be vicecaptain of the London galleys.
[Latin, 3 lines.]
1448. Feb. 13. Senato Mar. v. iii. p. 41. 288. Decree of the Senate for fitting out three galleys for the Flanders and London voyage. General regulations as in 1447.
[Latin, 75 lines.]
1449. Feb. 15. Senato Mar. v. iii. p. 99. 289. Decree of the Senate.
The Venetian merchants in London agreed as to the liabilities to be incurred for the factory, and two alone refuse to bind themselves for the factory, namely, Ambrosio Taverna, called “de Mercato Novo,” who passes himself off there for a Milanese, and Giovanni de Ponte.
Venetian consul in London to inform the said Ambrosio and Giovanni, that unless they bind themselves for the factory they will no longer be considered Venetians, and incur the penalty of 500 ducats.
[Latin, 10 lines.]
March 21. Senato Mar. v. iii. p. 107. 290. Decree of the Senate concerning the London Factory.
The London factory is debtor, especially to Englishmen, for about 1,000l. sterling.
To reform the London voyage, which is so profitable to Venice, deposits to be received of two and three per cent., to be repaid by goods arriving after 1450. The officials for Old Accounts, with two merchants conversant with English affairs to be elected by the College, to levy 8,500 ducats, and to remit 3,000 ducats to London to the consul and to the vicecaptain, informing them that this and any additional sum sent bevea iter are to be paid to the Englishmen from whom deposits shall have, been received, and they must recover jointly the bonds given by the Venetian consuls and merchants. The quotas due from Venetian merchants for the imports of the present Flanders galleys and of the wine ships to be paid to the consul and vicecaptain, that they may liquidate the debt due to Englishmen.
The consul and vicecaptain to be written to about the tallies (le taie) for 200l. sterling. Three years ago that sum was lent to the King, to be repaid by duties on wools exported by Venetian merchants; the tallies being imposed accordingly. From that time no merchant of Venice has exported wool in his own name, but in that of Englishmen, to benefit himself. It is therefore enacted, that the said merchants do liquidate these tallies, through their wools, by instalments. Should the merchants not export wool the tallies to be transferred to cloth.
Regulations for the repayment of 5,250 ducats lent to the factory by the state.
The London viceconsul to send a note of all the accounts of the factory from 1445 downwards; and all its creditors, both in London and Venice, to prove their debts at the office for Old Accounts before the two merchants appointed by the College.
No loan may be made for the King of England, or any one else, without licence from the Signory. If a request for such be made, time to be taken for writing, and if any consul make such a motion it shall be considered null, and the merchants dispensed from paying anything.
Goods brought on deck, with the exception of those that belong to poor men, of the value of 10 ducats and under, as have not paid their due quota in London to the consul, to pay at the sea customhouse in Venice. These goods to pay 5d. per pound sterling; goods carried below deck paying at the same rate.
Ayes, 97. Noes, 1. Neutrals, 9.
[Latin, 69 lines.]
March 28. Senato Mar. v. iii. p. 108. 291. Decree of the Senate concerning the debt of the London Factory, amending the Act with reference to the mode of raising the loan of 3,500 ducats.
[Latin, 12 lines.]
April 28. Senato Mar. v. iii. p. 112. 292. Decree of the Sexate for fitting out three galleys for the Flanders and London voyage. General regulations.
It is forbidden to stow cloths or other merchandise on deck.
Masters forbidden to engage men “for the voyage,” as they do, in England and Flanders, under penalty of 200 ducats; but to pay the men by the month.
For Flanders and England one [loaded] to go with the captain to Sluys or Antwerp, and thence to Gravesend; not, to proceed to London, but send merchandise for that place in one or two lighters. Then it shall go to Hampton or Sandwich, load there, and await the captain and the other galleys. The King of England to be written to, and requested not to detain the galleys.
[Latin, 165 lines.]
Dec. 11. Senato Mar. v. iii. p. 154. 293. The Senate to the Venetian Consul in London.
Alludes to the orders of 21st March for payment of the English creditors of the factory. If the money remitted to him and other sums, have not been applied to the liquidation of the debts due to English subjects, he will be held accountable. Is surprised at his not having sent the note of the factory's debtors from the year 1445 downwards, as desired. Desires him to state how he employed the remittance of 3,000 ducats, and the amount of the factory's debts, after the payments made to the English creditors. Should he be unable for the moment to transmit the accounts of his predecessors, he is to send these formed during his own tenure of office.
[Italian, 17 lines.]
1450. Feb. 14. Senato Mar. v. iii. p. 165. 294. Decree of the Senate for fitting out four galleys for the Flanders and London voyage. General regulations as in 1449.
[Latin, 165 lines.]
July 8. Senato Mar. v. iii. p. 197. 295. Decree of the Senate.
Enforcing payment of a quota of one-third per cent. on all merchandise received from London by sea in good condition ; the duty being imposed for the payment of certain bills of exchange drawn by the viceconsul in London.
[Latin, 9 lines.]
Sept. 21. Senato Mar. v. iv. p. 5. 296. The Venetian College to the Captain of the Flanders Galleys.
Have been informed that the Duke of Burgundy (Philip the Good), after licensing the usual safeconducts and privileges, has made a difficulty about granting them. If the safeconducts be not obtained, the captain to go to London, and dispose of the spices and merchandise.
[Lines, 17 lines.]
Sept. 23. Senato Mar. v. iv. p. 5. 297. The Venetian College to the Consul at Bruges.
By the accompanying letters, give him many orders. Also command him, in the course of conversation with that most illustrious Lord (the Duke of Burgundy), with Madame (Isabella of Portugal, third wife of Duke Philip), and with those [Burghers] of Bruoes and Antwerp, to say that though they prefer their galleys going to his ports, in preference to others, yet, as the Duke will not grant the safeconducts, the galleys must dispose of their merchandise elsewhere. The captain is commissioned, if unable to obtain the safe-conducts, to proceed with all the galleys to London; and if when the consul hears of his arrival in England he has not received the safeconducts, he is to transmit the accompanying letters to his address, through two separate chanels. The bearer is Anichino of Collogna, who has promised to reach the consul in 15 days from tomorrow. Should he arrive to the time, he is to receive 20 ducats, 10 of which have been already paid. The consul is to pay the rest, and send his reply by Anichino. That he may make a more honourable appearance in the presence of the Duke of Burgundy he is to take with him two Venetian merchants; the expense incurred to be liquidated by a quota or average on merchandise.
[Italian, 16 lines.]
Oct. 6. Senato Mar. v. iv. p. 10. 298. Decrees of the Senate concerning Safeconducts and Disturbances in England caused by Jack Cade.
As the sum of 000 ducats, authorized to be paid by the consul at at Bruges for safeconducts, is too small, it is now increased to 1,000 ducats, to be disbursed by the officials for Old Accounts, and recovered by them through an average on merchandise shipped in the Bruges galleys. By authority of the Senate, the College ordered the captain, if unable to obtain safeconducts, to take the galleys to London; but as that city and the whole island ofEngland is understood to be in great combustion, the galleys willrun manifest risk. Be the captain therefore written to as follows:
On the 21st of September last, commanded him, in case the consul at Bruges should be unable to obtain the safeconducts, to go with the two Bruges galleys to London. Have subsequently been informed that the disturbances in England continue, and that London is in very great confusion. Command him, if these disturbances last, to steer the London galleys to a place of safety. Leave him at liberty however to take what course seems preferable.
[Decree in Latin, letter in Italian, 24 lines.]


  • 1. Raw cloth not fulled, or untoked and unfulled. See Statutes of the Reahn, A. D. 1467, 7 Edward IV., vol. ii. p. 422.