Venice: 1451-1460

Pages 74-92

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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1451. March 11. Senate Mar. v. iv. p. 36. 299. Decree of the Senate for fitting out three galleys for the Flanders and London voyage.
General regulations as formerly; and be a copy of the following clause sent to the viceconsul in London—That on the arrival there of the galley, the Council of Twelve (fn. 1) be assembled, and do elect two of the noble arbalast men of the galley, all six being balloted for. (fn. 2)
After the election, the viceconsul with the [two] arbalast men, to make careful inquiry as to all goods loaded in the galley after the term of 90 days, keeping a regular account of them, a copy of which shall be sent by the consul to the State attorneys under penalty of privation of all governorships for ten years. The arbalast men thus elected to be bound on the morrow of their arrival at Venice, to give up the said copy. The clerk of the galley is to enter in its register all the goods loaded after the 90 days, that the State attorneys may know against whom they have to enforce this clause. In default the clerk shall be fined 100 golden ducats, imprisoned for two years, and be ineligible to clerkships on board vessels. Goods loaded after the 90 days, when landed at Venice, to be put under seal in the warehouse, and not removed until the return of the galleys from their next voyage.
When off Hampton, should the third galley not have a rate for Sluys, the captain to dismiss it for Hampton; but should it have a rate for Sluys—the London galley being dismissed in the Downs—the captain is then to proceed to Sluys; and, after unloading the spices and merchandise there, the master of the [third] galley shall depart for Hampton, from which place he is to forward the goods consigned to him for Venetian merchants in London.
[Latin, 230 lines.]
March 27. Senato Terra, v. ii. p. 178. 300. Decree of the Senate exempting spices conveyed overland from Venice to England, by way of Treviso, from a duty of 2½ per cent.
[Latin, 7 lines.]
March 30. Senato Mar. v. iv. p. 43. 301. Decree of the Senate for letters to the captain of the Flanders galleys and to the consuls in Bruges and London, relative to the mode of levying 350 ducats damages paid by the galleys for an outrage attempted in a convent at Lisbon.
[Latin, 12 lines.]
Dec. 7. Senato Mar. v. iv. p. 96. 302. Decree of the Senate concerning the Debt of the London Factory.
As on 21st March, 1449, this Council made regulations for the affair of the London factory, and there are many in London who do not pay their quota, it is put to the ballot, that the customhouse officers do not release the merchandise brought by the Flanders galleys and exported from England without a certificate from the officials for the Old Accounts. Money so levied to be remitted to London in diminution of the factory's debt, to be thus paid by the vicecaptain of the galleys, the consul, and the merchants.
The clause in the decree of 1449 concerning the effects of the galley oarsmen is to remain in force. And as by the said decree it is enacted that an extra one per cent. be paid by goods brought from England for the benefit of the factory, the customhouse officers to be charged to exact this quota, as a good sum remains for payment.
[Latin, 23 lines.]
Dec. 9. Senato Mar. v. iv. p. 96. 303. Decree of the Senate.
By a letter from Jacopo Barbarigo, captain of the Flanders galleys, he announces the presence of a fleet of men-of-war in the Channel, which would render it perilous for a single gailey to go to Hampton, and recommends the Senate to leave it at his option to take the galleys to Hampton or to Sandwich together or separately, and to provide for the safety of the galley bound from Sluys to London. Permission given accordingly; but no indemnity to be demanded of the state.
[Latin, 13 lines.]
Dec. 20. Senato Mar. v. iv. p. 97. 304. Decree of the Senate concerning the debt of the London factory, and cancelling the regulations enacted on 21st March, 1449, and 7ih December, 1451.
In accordance with an Act passed in 1440, securing to the commonwcalth its due, it is put to the ballot, that all moneys raised by means of the one per cent. either on deck or below deck be paid to the state under penalty of 1,000 ducats, until repayment of the 5,250 ducats advanced to the London factory.
[Latin, 23 lines.]
1452. Jan. 20. Senato Mar. v. iv. p. 100. 305. Decree of the Senate for fitting out three galleys for the Flanders and London voyage.
[Latin, 203 lines.]
May 3. Senato Mar. v. iv. p. 116. 306. Decree of the Senate.
Enforcing payment of the duty of one per cent. on merchandise brought from England by the galleys commanded by “Ser” Benetto Victim, to be consigned to the masters of the arsenal, according to the Act of the 20th December ; the arsenal being in great need.
[Latin, 13 lines.]
Sept. 18. Senato Mar. v. vi. p. 151. 307. Decree of the Senate concerning the daily increase of the debt of the London factory. The customhouse officers are desired not to release the goods expected from England by the Flanders galleys without payment of the quotas, whose amount is to be remitted to the viceconsul in London.
[Latin, 23 lines.]
Nov. 18. Senato Mar. v. iv. p. 161. 308. Decree of the Senate.
Granting a request made by Jacopo Barbarigo for time to send to London for receipts from the consul there, and guaranteeing the payment made by him of duties on four bales containing 130 pieces of English cloth.
[Latin, 12 lines.]
1453. Feb. 19. Senato Mar. v iv. p. 170. 309. Decree of the Senate.
For restitution to “Ser” Benetto Victuri of 89 ducats, that sum having been twice paid on account of the London factory, first in London and then at Venice.
Order for a similar restitution of 20 ducats unduly exacted from “Ser” Arsenio Duodo.
[Latin, 10 lines.]
March 3. Senato Mar. v. iv. p. 173. 310. Decree of the Senate for fitting out three galleys for the Flanders and London voyage.
The captain to dismiss the London galley in the Downs; and the master forbidden to remain in London more than 110 days. The captain to go with the other two galleys to Hampton or Sandwich, there to unload the spices destined for London, but not to remain more than eight days, when the two galleys shall go to Sluys or Antwerp.
The master of the Sandwich or Hampton galley to be bound to pay an instalment of wages to the crew within 40 days after the return of the captain; and as the spices shipped for London, but unloaded and consigned at Hampton, must incur costs for conveyance thence to London, it is enacted that gross spice pay three ducats per thousand-weight, and small spice four ducats per thousand-weight.
[Latin, 7 pages.]
March 5. Senato Mar v. iv. p. 177. 311. The Senate to Stefano Trivisano, Captain of the Flanders Galleys.
Are displeased at his long stay in those parts. Command him to remain there no longer, with disadvantage to that voyage and other voyages dependent on it. He is under penalty of 300 golden ducats, in addition to the other penalties enumerated in the auction contract, to depart thence with the galleys for England. On his arrival he shall send his admiral at the cost of the galleys to London, desiring them to depart thence within ten days under penalty of 500 ducats.
[Italian, 12 lines.]
May 24. Senato Mar. v. iv. p. 190. 312. The Senate to the Consul in London.
Are informed that when the galleys in those parts were on the eve of departure, certain Venetian merchants detained them under pretence of a law, never enforced, that the exports of the galleys must be equal to their imports. By these means the trade with England is totally ruined, for the personal profit of a few individuals. Charge him to assemble all the Venetian merchants and announce the Senate's displeasure, and their resolve that the galleys shall proceed on their voyage forthwith. No excuse will be accepted under any pretext, they being aware that the offence proceeds from their own subjects. Order him to desire the merchants to complete their shipments within one month from the receipt of this missive; goods loaded subsequently to be considered contraband; nor will agreements between the merchants and the masters contrary to the terms of the auction be acknowledged. Charge the captain to depart within one month under penalty of 500 ducats.
[Italian, 21 lines.]
June 25. Senato Mar. v. iv. p. 196. 313. Decree of the Senate
For many years the Flanders galleys have remained a long while on the voyage, chiefly from their being detained in London; and, above all, a good part of the crews remains behind and is ruined. As the captain and masters bound on this voyage hope to remedy these abuses, if not compelled to go beyond Gravesend or Greenwich, it is put to the ballot, that they be left at liberty to go to Gravesend or Greenwich, and forward thence, at the expense and risk of the said masters, the goods destined for London; and then they shall go to Sandwich, loading according to the auction contract, and remaining there for the period [originally] assigned for their stay in London.
If the factors to whom spices are addressed desire to have them weighed, it must be done, the masters making good any deficit.
Ayes, 105. Noes, 17. Neutrals, 10.
[Latin, 11 lines.]
July 4. Senato Mar. v. iv. p. 199. 314. Decree of the Senate concerning Presents for Henry VI.
As it must not be allowed that the presents usually sent to the King of England remain on shore, nor that the galleys go without them, it is put to the ballot, that a messenger be sent to the master of the English galley, desiring him carefully to keep them on board under penalty of 500 golden ducats, to be levied by the Accountant's Office, which sends the presents. If the galley have no room for them, the master, at the expense of all three galleys, to unload from his store cabins and put on board the other galleys as much merchandise as may enable him to ship them.
[Latin, 8 lines.]
July 5. Senato Mar. v. iv. p. 199. 315. Second Decree of the Senate concerning Presents for Henry VI.
Eight butts of wine and certain cases have been ordered for transmission on board the London galley, on account of the presents to be made as usual. If the London galley cannot take the presents without transhipping the spices and sending them with risk in lighters, be the presents shipped ratewise, and, on the arrival of the galley at Sandwich, be the wine and cases sent by lighters to London like the spices.
[Latin, 4 lines.]
Nov. 2. Senato Mar. v. v. p. 9. 316. Decree of the Senate.
Enforcing payment of the duty of two per cent. on merchandise passing to and fro between Venice and England.
[Latin, 5 lines.]
Dec. 4. In the Library of the Venetian Archives. Miscellany, No. 51. 317. Protest of a Bill of Exchange for 200 ducats.
Drawn at Venice on 4th September 1453 by Antonio d'Alberto of Brescia, at usance, in favour of Felipo Priuli and Andrea Grazianni, on Sebastiano and Girolamo Badovari in London, at the exchange of 44¼d. per ducat.
On 4th December 1453, accompanied by William Styfford, clerk, citizen of London and notary public, and by the witnesses Dardo Justiniano and Donato Raymondo, Venetians, Andrea Grazianni went to the dwelling of Girolamo Badoaro in the parish of St. Martin's Oteswych, London, who, after hearing the bill read, said that Sebastian and he refused payment. Thereupon Grazianni inquired whether Girolamo or any one resident within that house or without would pay the bill, expressing his readiness to receive the sum and give letters of quittance; and nobody answering, he protested against the said Sebastian, Girolamo, Antonio, and all others bound; the bill broker Delzemetera certifying to the notary that on that day, in London, the ducat was worth 39¾d.
[Latin, parchment, 28 lines. The bill in Italian.]
1454. March 18. Senato Mar. v. v. p. 26. 318. Decree of the Senate for fitting out three galleys for the Flanders and London voyage.
Spices gross and small loaded for England to pay freight at the rate of oneducat per thousand weight.
[Latin, 204 lines.]
June 13. Senato Mar. v. v. p. 39. 319. Decree of the Senate.
As the Flanders galleys remain in those parts beyond the period assigned them,—put to the ballot, that the captain of the Flanders galleys be written to that the Senate is displeased with this delay, and commands him to quit England under penalty of 500 ducats.
Ayes, 118. Noes, 5. Neutrals, 1.
[Decree in Latin, letter in Italian, 10 lines.]
Oct. 19. Senato Mar. v. v. p. 61. 320. Decree of the Senate.
As on the last voyage all three of the galleys went to Sluys, for which port all the merchandise was loaded to evade the duty of two per cent. on goods passing between Venice and England,—the captain of the Flanders galleys, “Ser” Marco Zeno, knight, is ordered to make inquiries as to goods of Venetian subjects unloaded in England, and to exact the two per cent.
[Latin, 16 lines.]
1455. Jan. 2. In the Library of the Venetian Archives. Miscell. No. 51. 321. Protest of a Bill of Exchange for 100 ducats.
Drawn at Venice on 2nd October 1454 by Ziliano de' Stagani, of Lonado, at usance, in favour of Lodovico de li Strozi, on Marco Justiniano, son of the late Missier Marino, at the exchange of 45d. per ducat.
On 2nd January 1455, accompanied by William Styfford, notary, Giovanni de Bardi and Alessandro Rinuccini, Florentines, Antonio de Lutiano, factor of Lodovico dei Strozi and Co., went to Dardo Justinian, factor of Marco Justinian; Dardo being then in front of Styfford's dwelling in Lombard Sreet, in the parish of St. Nicholas Acon, in London. Lutiano having presented the bill on behalf of Strozi to Dardo, he refused payment on behalf of Marco. Thereupon, Lutiano inquired if Dardo himself or any one else, then in front of Styfford's dwelling, would honour the bill, and nobody answering, the bill was protested; the bill broker Beligardo de Bardi certifying that the ducat was worth 40¾d. in London.
[Latin, parchment, 21 lines. The bill in Italian.]
Feb. 26. Senato Mar. v. v. p. 19. 322. Decree of the Senate for fitting out three galleys for the Flanders and London voyage.
[Latin, 239 lines.]
1455. Feb. 28. Senato Mar. v. v. p. 82. 323. Decree of the Senate concerning the Flanders Voyage.
The London galley not to remain in London more than 70 days; and should the captain and masters not quit Flanders, London, and Hampton or Sandwich, at the periods assigned them, they shall pay the penalties lately enacted.
[Latin, 11 lines.]
Aug. 21. Senato Mar. v. v. p. 109. 324. Decree of the Senate.
Rendering the masters of the galleys responsible to freighters for deficiencies in butts or pipes of wine shipped for Flanders or England.
[Latin, 27 lines.]
Nov. 7. Giustizia Nova Register. p. xiv. 325. Decree of the Senate.
Charging the officials extraordinary to exact the quotas of one and two per cent. due to the London factory from many debtors, who are also debtors to the “Ten Offices” for duties on goods brought by the Flanders galleys on the last voyage out and home, so that the masters of the arsenal cannot obtain the sums due from them.
Down to 8th December 1455 the officials of the “Ten Offices” to levy arrears without any fine; but after that period to exact the fine, under penalty to themselves of 200 golden ducats.
[Italian, 14 lines.]
1456. Jan. 26. Senato Mar. v. v. p. 128. 326. The Senate to the Captain of the Flanders Galleys.
Heard from him of his arrival in England. Order him to pay the crews and facilitate his departure from Flanders and England.
Similar letter to the vicecaptain and masters of the London galley.
[Italian, 16 lines.]
Feb. 23. Senato Mar. v. v. p. 132. 327. Decree of the Senate.
Reciting an Act passed in 1440, imposing a duty of two per cent. on all goods imported to England or exported thence until the extinction of a debt of 5,250 ducats due from the London factory to the State.
Order for the clerk of the officials extraordinary, Marco Venier, to make out a balance sheet of the sums levied on this account.
[Latin, 18 lines.]
March 6. Senato Mar. v. v. p. 134. 328. Decree of the Senate for fitting out three galleys for the Flanders and London voyage.
Prohibition against shipping, for intermediate ports between Flanders and Venice, cloths of the following denominations:—Loesti (? western or Lowestoft) cloths, bastard cloths, Santon and Consualdi (? Cotswold) cloths, white Guilford cloths, wools, block tin, and madder.
[Latin, 272 lines.]
1456. April 26. Senato Mar. v.v. p. 144. 329. Doge Francesco Foscari to the Captain of the Flanders Galleys.
Learns, by two of his letters from England, his exertions to expedite his departure thence and his order to “Ser” Luca Griti, vicecaptain in London, to join him. Has determined to write to Griti, as the captain will perceive by the enclosed copy. Commands him to send the letters to Griti. The captain must depart at the period assigned by the auction [contract].
[Italian, 8 lines.]
April 26. Senato Mar. v.v. p. 144. 330. Doge Francesco Foscari to “Ser” Luca Griti, Vicecaptain of the London Galleys.
Charged him to quit London with or without a cargo and join the captain. The captain, however, has stated that, notwithstanding the command he gave him through the admiral and by his own letters, the vicecaptain has not quitted London and does not intend to do so till next Ascensiontide. Is much surprised at this conduct, and commands him to join his captain on the receipt of this present.
[Italian, 14 lines.]
June 14. Senato Mar. v. v. p. 153. 331. Decree of the Senate.
As by reason of the extraordinary insult perpetrated by the citizens of London on Italian merchants, provision must be made to free the London factory so that Venetian merchants may depart or remain, without any ties on the part of the factory,—it is put to the ballot, that for release of the factory a deposit of 8,000 ducats be made at the office of the officials extraordinary. Persons making such deposits during the present month to be credited for the amount and for one half in addition, being allowed to deduct their credits in two or three per cents., and in customs for merchandise due since last September. These deposits to be noted in a separate book. The officials not to raise more than 8,000 ducats, nor receive deposits after this month under penalty of 1,000 ducats. Moneys thus raised to be remitted to the consul in London with the approval of two merchants, conversant with the western regions, to be elected by the College, with orders for him to acquit all the debts of the factory.
Prohibition against raising quotas in England for factory: instead of which six per cent. duty to be levied in Venice on goods brought from England by galleys or ships; half this duty to be taken off on liquidation of the deposits now made. Goods exported from England for intermediate ports, and goods conveyed to England to be liable to the duty. Merchandise brought to Venice on the return to pay three per cent. additional. The consul in London forbidden to exempt any one from these payments.
Henceforth, all expenses required for the factory to be defrayed thus:—The merchants, masters of the ships, and all others to contribute in proportion to the value of their goods, to be notified by them to the consul or viceconsul, under oath, and according to the customs' tariff in those parts. If money be needed instantly, the merchants shall be bound to pay it on demand from the consul; and for repayment, the costs shall be divided equally. If any refuse to take oath the consul to fine them, as if he were State attorney, and enforce payment of such sum as shall seem fit.
By the next galleys the.consul to send the account books of the factory from the year 1440 down to the present day to the officials for Old Accounts; and should any acts of extortion be discovered, the property of the delinquents to be made responsible.
To free the factory entirely from the said acts of extortion, if the deposits now made do not amount to 8,000 ducats, all the London merchants are bound to supply the deficit by a loan, at the rate of from 15 to 20 livres gross each individual, according to the value of their merchandise, the sum to be repaid by the additional three per cent. beyond the usual duty. Should any of the merchants on their departure from London remain creditors for this loan it shall be repaid by the other merchants arriving there, as customary at Bruges.
Moneys recovered from debtors to be applied to the liquidation of the deposits. This is to be announced to the consul in London, he being desired to enforce it, under penalty of 1,000 ducats and perpetual privation of all offices and benefices.
[Latin, 66 lines.]
June 14. Senato Mar. v. v. p. 154. 332. Decree of the Senate in conformity with the foregoing, alluding to the Act of 21st March 1449, and desiring all debtors to the London factory to make their deposits in the course of the present month, after which period the officials are forbidden to receive them.
[Latin, 23 lines.]
Aug. 3. Senato Mar. v. v. p. 167. 333. Decree of the Senate alleging the necessity for examining the old accounts of the London factory, in order to make due provision. Wherefore it is put to the ballot that the consul in London, Bertucio Contarini, be charged under penalty of 1,000 ducats to send to the Signory, on the return of the present galleys, by their captain, Mapheo Contarini, all the account books of the factory from 1449 downwards, including those of his own time.
[Latin, 23 lines.]
Nov. 20. Senato Mar. v. v. p. 174. 334. Decree of the Senate concerning the London Factory.
For many years there have been great abuses in its administration. The necessary expenditure does not exceed 300 ducats per annum, and is payable by quotas of two per cent., yielding upwards of 11,000 ducats; yet by the fault of former consuls, factors and merchants, the factory's debt has increased to upwards, of 9,000 ducats, paying interest Some 6,000 ducats are needed for this account, which must be provided within three months.
It is put to the ballot, that all those who have merchandise coming with the galleys commanded by “Ser” Maphio Contarini, before a billet be made out for any one, or anything be passed by the customhouse officers, must deposit at the office for the Old Accounts—
For each bag of wool, 4 golden ducats.
For each piece of fine cloth, 1 ducat.
For each bastard cloth, 12 gross.
For every piece of Lowestoft (Lowesto), 8 gross.
For every piece of kersey, 6 gross.
For every other straight cloth, 3 gross per piece.
Cloths of other sorts to be rated at the option of the officials for the Old Accounts, and in like manner all other merchandise from London; for each piece of tin, one ducat.
For the future expenses of the factory, commencing with 1st March, 1457, the consuls to balance the accounts of the quotas annually, and to send the books to Venice.
“And as the (? foreign) nations have to make loans to the King, should such loans be needed hereafter, the merchants to make them by rates, and not the factory. Nor may they borrow money of the King, as this they do for their own benefit, and not for that of the trade.”
Regulation for the guarantee of the factory's creditors, &c.
Amendment desiring the consul, Bertucio Contarini, to draw on Yenice for 6,000 ducats instead of 6,500.
[Motion in Italian, amendment in Latin, 80 lines.]
Nov. 20, Senato Mar. v. v. p. 187. 335. Second Decree of the Senate concerning the Debts of the London Factory.
The consul Bertuccio Contarini announces that at Christmas the factory has to pay 5,500 ducats, and 3,348 ducats in August 1457.
Measures proposed for a thorough comprehension of the factory's accounts, for the extinction of the debt, and guarantee of the creditors. Repetition of the clause concerning loans from foreign merchants to Edward IV.
The consul's salary and other expenses to be rated by the Council of Twelve, that thus the amount be borrowed from all the Venetian merchants in proportion to the merchandise imported or exported by them.
On the departure from England of the first galleys, the consul to divide all expenses incurred during their stay, in rates, in pence and pounds, according to the value of the imports and exports; exacting from all their quota, and repaying those who have advanced loans; the like being observed on each voyage.
The factory not to be debited with any expense on account of banquets made; nor may more than two pounds sterling be expended in celebrating St. Mark's festival. The factory not to be burdened with more than the usual 20l. given to the customers for putting a low price on the goods; and the consul not to incur any expense for the factory exceeding ten shillings without the Council of Twelve's sanction.
[Italian, 161 lines.]
1456. Dec. 7. Senato Mar v. v. p. 176. 336. The Senate to Bertucio Contarini, Consul in London.
Desire him to draw on Venice rather than on Bruges for the 860l. required for the payment of the London factory's debts, and confirming him in the post of consul for six months beyond the term assigned him, on account of his good administration of the business.
[Italian, 20 lines.]
1457. March 14. Senato Mar. 337. Decree of the Senate charging the officials for the Old Accounts to enforce the act passed on 20th November 1456, touching the debts of the London factory. The money levied for their payment to be remitted from time to time to the consul in London, under penalty of 100 ducats; and Toma de Montorio to be ordered to make out the factory's balance sheet.
Moreover, they are charged, under penalty of 200 ducats, to purchase the usual presents for conveyance by the consul to the King of Tunis.
[Latin, 13 lines.]
April 5. Senato Mar. v. vi. p. 13. 338. Decree of the Senate for fitting out three galleys for the voyage to Flanders and London. General regulations as in former years.
Prohibition against the shipment for intermediate ports, of the cloths called Loesti (Lowestoff or Western ?) Bastards, Santoue, Cotisualde (Cotswold ?), and White Gilforti (Guilford ?); and block tin and madder.
[Latin, 271 lines.]
Aug. 23. Senato Mar. v. vi. p. 33. 339. Decree of the Senate.
By reason of the insult perpetrated by certain artificers and shopkeepers of London against the Italian nation, to the risk of their lives and property, the merchants of the Italian nation, namely, the Venetians, Genoese, Florentines, and Lucchese, met together, and after consultation, determined it was necessary to quit London, for personal safety and security of their property; and for their asylum they selected Winchester, stipulating amongst themselves that no individual of the nations aforesaid might go to London or trade there ; as appears by the clauses read to this Council. For the observance of these clauses, the merchants wrote to their Lords to provide accordingly. It is therefore put to the ballot, that all the articles now read be confirmed, and that all persons disobeying them be subjected to penalties and censures, provided the governments of the other three nations also confirm the said clauses.
Moreover, it is ordained that, if any man of the Venetian ships bound to England go to London as long as the merchants remain absent, the consul shall levy a fine from him of 500 light livres, the state attorneys having their share. Should any one going to London buy or sell, in addition to this penalty, the whole of what he has bought or sold shall be forfeited; and under these penalties, be they debarred from going to England for ten years.
All who shall go to London during the period aforesaid shall be subjected to the penalties contained in the clauses, and the state attorneys shall proceed against them for disobedience; but with regard to these words contained in the sixth clause at the close.—“but the said merchants will be bound to hold those who shall act contrary to these present orders as their personal enemies,”—be these cancelled throughout to the end of the paragraph, for the security of Venetian subjects navigating in the regions of the nations aforesaid. To the clauses be there also added, that the merchants must insist on having in Winchester a judge appointed by the King for all lawsuits and causes arising between Englishmen and Italians, and amongst Italians, that they may not have to go to the law courts of London.
A separate letter is to be written to the consul desiring him to urge the merchants of the other three states to reform the first clause concerning the division of the fines, &c, as it is very inordinate and contradictory.
[Latin, 30 lines.]
Sept. 19. Senato Mar. 340. Decree of the Senate alluding to an act passed for the formation of a deposit of 4,000 ducats for the payment of the debts of the London factory. As certain masters, merchants, and others, when the galleys were commanded by Lorenzo Moro, did not pay their quotas—and as the viceconsul writes from London that unless provided with 1,200l. payable in the present month, the factory will be in a worse plight than before,—be it enacted that the officials for Old Accounts do carefully examine the accounts of the quotas commencing with those payable on merchandise loaded in the galleys commanded by Marco Zeno, knight, (fn. 3) down to the present day, exacting the payment of all arrears.
Be it also decreed that the sea-customers, under penalty of 500 golden ducats, do not release any merchandise until after payment of the quotas.
[Latin, 22 lines.]
Oct. 11. Senato Mar. 341. Decree of the Senate concerning the debts of the London factory.
As, in virtue of the act passed on the 20th November 1456, only some 3,300 ducats have been levied, the officials for Old Accounts, and the Masters of the Arsenal, or one of them, shall most diligently ascertain through registers, and by all other means, what goods were loaded in the galleys of which Mafio Contarini was captain, and exact the quotas.
The owners of goods brought by the present galleys under the command of Lorenzo Moro, who have not paid in London to the viceconsul the quota of five pence in the pound and the deposit of 3,348 ducats, to be held responsible in the merchandise loaded by them; and as these moneys will not suffice for the payment of the bills of exchange, be a deposit made thus—
For every sack of wool, one ducat.
For cloths, one-third of the sum deposited for those brought by the galleys under the command of “Ser” Maphio Contarini.
For copper, one ducat the 1,000 weight. (fn. 4)
All other things one-third less than last year's rate.
Other regulations to secure payment of arrears due to the London factory.
[Italian, 55 lines.]
Nov. 8. Senato Mar. v. vi. p. 42. 342. Decree of the Senate.
As Bertucio Contarini, consul in London, has borne himself prudently in the affair of the London factory, it is put to the ballot, that he be confirmed in his consulate till the measures decreed for the relief of the factory be carried out.
Ayes, 140. Noes, 2. Neutrals, 3.
[Latin, 5 lines.]
Dec. 1. Senato Mar. v. vi. p. 44. 343. Decree of the Senate, ordering the payment of all arrears due to the London factory on account of duties on merchandise conveyed by the Flanders galleys under the command of Mapheo Contarini and Lorenzo Moro.
[Latin, 10 lines.]
1458. Feb. 2. Senato Terra. v. iv. p. 66. 344. Motion made in the Senate for the admission into Venice of all foreign cloths, on payment of one ducat a piece; from which duty the cloths of Flanders and England are to be exempted.
[Latin, 48 lines.]
March 3. Senato Mar. v. vi. p. 57. 345. Decree of the Senate for fitting out three galleys for the Flanders voyage.
[Latin, 300 lines.]
April 14. Senato Terra. v. iv. p. 70. 346. Decree of the Senate, prohibiting the importation into Venice of certain counterfeit cloths ordered in Flanders and England, called Panni Garbi, wrought in the Florentine fashion. Such cloths whether garbi or fini, shall pay an extra duty of 10 ducats per piece.
[Latin, 15 lines.]
1458. July 11. Senato Mar. v. vi. p. 77. 347. Decree of the Senate.
The merchants trading with Flanders and England are subjected to inconvenience for lack of a courier, so that occasionally during the past months no letters were received thence, nor could be sent thither. It is therefore put to the ballot, that the State proveditors do write to the consul at Bruges, desiring him to keep a courier for the mail as of yore.
Ayes, 109. Noes, 5. Neutrals, 9.
[Latin, 5 lines.]
Sept. 25. Senato Mar. v. vi. p. 91. 348. Decree of the Senate concerning the transit trade.
As much merchandise is conveyed from England and Bruges into the Levant, which, if brought first to Venice and then exported thither, would yield very great profit, it is put to the ballot that no Venetian citizen convey from western parts (that is to say, Sicily and below Sicily,) English or French cloths, serges, amber, furs (varos, ? minever), and tin into the regions of the Levant, (by which is meant Corfu and above Corfu,) until they have brought the said goods first of all to Venice, whence they may afterwards be exported in conformity with the Senate's other regulations.
Enumeration of penalties. The decree to be communicated to the captain of the Flanders galleys, to the Venetian consuls in Damascus and Alexandria, and to the Venetian governors in the Levant, namely, of Corfu, Modon, Coron, Napoli di Romani, and Negropont.
[Latin, 29 lines.]
1459. Jan. 27. Senato Mar. v. vi. p. 106. 349. Decree of the Senate for fitting out three galleys for the Flanders voyage.
[Latin, 350 lines.]
April 19. Senato Mar. v. vi. p. 119. 350. Decree of the Senate.
Permitting Bortolomeo Floriano and Brothers to bring back to Venice, on payment of the usual duties, five pieces of English white cloth, shipped on board the Alexandrian galleys, for which no purchasers could be found.
[Latin, 4 lines.]
June 30. Senato Mar. v. vi. p. 132. 351. Decree of the Senate concerning the creditors of the London factory, who are unable to obtain their due because the Venetian merchants in London will neither pay import or export quotas.
Regulations and fines imposed for the remedy of this abuse.
Gratuity of 30 ducats voted to the scribe in the office for Old Accounts, Tomaso Montorio, for having made out the balance sheet of the London factory.
[Italian, 24 lines.]
1460. March 11. Senato Mar. v. vi. p. 157. 352. Decree of the Senate for fitting out three galleys for the Flanders voyage. General regulations as informer years.
Amendment, ordering both the English galleys to go to London.
[Latin, 260 lines]
1460. March 29. Senato Mar. 353. Decree of the Senate concerning the Consulate in London.
Our viceconsuls in London used annually to send the balance sheet of the factory to our officials for the Old Accounts, and every one understood it; but for the last three years this has not been done.
Be it put to the ballot, that the viceconsul in London be written to, and sent to express, to transmit, within one month at the farthest after the receipt of this mandate, a written statement of all the reckonings, debtors, creditors, and ledgers of the factory. Be the same done and continued by him and his successors annually, so that all may understand their affairs.
It was formerly enacted that the present viceconsul should exercise the consular office until the end of the aforesaid factory's debts could be seen, this consummation being hoped for within 18 months or two years; but this has not been the case. As it is not fitting that one single individual should enjoy this profit and honour, be the viceconsul charged by express to have a viceconsul his successor elected in the usual manner, who shall remain in that office one year; and thus from year to year be a new election made, so that all may share the emolument.
As there is a report of a project for incurring fresh expenses, especially about a new courier, be the viceconsul desired not to spend money for the courier, or in anything else unusual. If expenditure have been incurred he shall cancel it.
Ayes, 134. Noes, 7. Neutrals, 4.
[Latin, 19 lines.]
April 17. In the Library of the Venetian Archives. Miscell. No. 51. 354. Protest of a Bill of Exchange for 200 ducats, drawn at Venice on 11th January 1460, by Fortin Dandolo, at usance, in favour of Lunardo Bondumier, on Nicolo da Pesaro, at the exchange of 47 pence per ducat. Protested in the presence of William Styfford, citizen of London and notary public, in front of the dwelling of Humphrey Hayford, citizen and goldsmith of London, in Lombard Street, where merchants of divers nations are wont daily to congregate.
[Latin, 22 lines. The bill in Italian.]
May 16. Senato Mar. v. vi. p. 171. 355. Decree of the Senate.
By reason of the departure of their galleys from England, the King was indignant as he wanted to employ them on his own service, and arrested their merchants; who, if they wished to free themselves from prison, were compelled to give security for 36,000 ducats. Very great caution should be used in this matter, their release being sought in all suitable wavs. If it come to the King's knowledge that, after the arrival here of this intelligence they did not abstain from having a bank opened for the galleys bound to those parts, nor from dispatching them, much inconvenience might result to the said merchants. Be it therefore put to the ballot, that the said galleys put up for the Flanders voyage do delay opening their banks till the Council decide further; and be the King and others written to for the release of the merchants.
Ayes, 88. Noes, 2. Neutrals, 12.
Proposed amendment—
That the Flanders galleys do open their bank on Sunday next, the 18th instant, according to the Signory's order and their auction contract.
Ayes, 43.
[Latin, 13 lines.]
May 29. Senato Mar. v. vi. p. 177. 356. Decree of the Senate.
Granting permission to Andrea Trono to bring back to Venice, on payment of the usual duties, a certain quantity of peppergarbage conveyed by him to London with the present Flanders galleys, and which he had been unable to sell on account of the disturbances and customs' regulations in those parts; the Senate considering it humane to do by him as had been done by several others.
Ayes, 116. Noes, 5. Neutrals, 6.
[Latin, 4 lines.]
July 4. Sforza Archives, Milan. 357. Francesco Coppini, Bishop of Teramo, the Papal Legate, to King Henry VI.
Many days ago I wrote to your Serenity from Bruges and Calais that the lords of Calais had called me, requesting me to mediate for the conclusion of peace and extinction of civil discord in your realm, having heard that such was the Pope's commission and mandate, and assuring me by their letters, of which I transmitted a copy to your Majesty, and another to the Lord Chancellor, in order that, through him, the rest of the lords might learn their disposition towards such conditions of peace as they hoped would please you through my intervention. I wrote to you accordingly that, bound by this fair request, I was going to them to hear the terms of the peace, and besought you piously to ponder these matters.
Subsequently, on arriving at Calais, I found everything in confusion, in consequence of a new state of things and fresh accidents, and that the lords were on the point of crossing over to England, saying they could wait no longer by reason of emergencies. I found them disposed to be devoted and obedient to your Majesty, and desirous to maintain and augment the commonweal of the kingdom, but they wished to come to your Majesty and to be restored to favour and their former position, whence they declared themselves ousted and expelled by the envy of their rivals. They besought me to cross the sea with them, and mediate for the settlement of these affairs to avoid bloodshed; they offered to do and accept whatever was fair and just; and they drew up in writing certain articles, to which they pledged themselves under their seals and by oath. I firmly believe these articles will be agreeable to you, when examined calmly and dispassionately, as they are honourable to the Crown and advantageous to the princes and lords. Again I repeat that, had a safe place been appointed for a conference, I hoped it would be possible to suppress half the mischief I then anticipated, and which is now evidently imminent; and, seeing danger in delay, I came across with them. Their business, coming and progress were more rapid and sudden than they themselves expected; for they found a concourse of people marvellously anxious for their coming and reinstatement, and for the union of the whole kingdom. On these accounts and from lack of time I was prevented hastening to your Serenity; and was moreover impeded by the dangers of the roads from the concourse of a mixed population. The lords crossed the sea on Thursday and proceeded to London without stopping. I wished to proceed thence to your Majesty in fulfilment of my duties as pastor, envoy, and mediator, but many perils threatened my safety on the way, chiefly by reason of the barking murmurs and ambushes of certain persons who profess themselves devoted to you and are not. These men in many ways speak against God and the truth, and against your dignity; and they blame me and my holy and pious qualities and operations because they are enemies of peace. I hope that, ere long, your Highness will have proof of my fidelity, on perceiving your State reformed; God effecting this on account of your pure and holy intent, my faith, and the pious disposition of the Pope. As I am therefore unable to come in person, I write these letters, and beseech you, out of the compassion which you owe to your subjects, to prevent such bloodshed as is now at hand, against which you may provide if you will. Be pleased, therefore, before proceeding to hostilities, to contrive that I may be enabled to communicate with you concerning the forms and conditions to be observed for the avoidance of these misfortunes, and for effecting a union which is certainly not impossible nor very difficult, if your Highness, of your own free will and judgment, will allow yourself to be besought and to receive information. Should you not hearken, no one can say you are justified in fighting against your subjects now advancing. You may, if you choose, do everything that is just and fair without giving battle as you could after a victory, which however you could not count upon.
The lords tender obedience and fealty on condition that they be allowed to state their case in security and safety. This they allege to be impossible, unless they come with a strong force, as is notorious; yet they are willing to abstain from using arms if the means of having a safe and secure audience be conceded them: and Scripture says that recourse must be had to arms when justice cannot otherwise be obtained from adversaries. Let, therefore, a safe mode be devised for a conference between your Highness and those who are not partial or distrusted touching the truth and justice of the case; nor do I doubt but a complete adjustment will be effected, with safety for all the Lords: but if, after this experiment, you find it otherwise, you may then take up arms, which you could not justly do before it. Now this mode of conferring in safety will be discovered, if you put aside those who are held in suspicion by both parties, and if you listen to moderate and impartial men in your own person, wherein every one places trust. All this must be done quickly, as the matter admits of no delay: strife and bloodshed are at hand. That there may be no excuse for it before God or man, I repeat that the lords who came from Calais are ready to do and ratify whatever appears fair to me; and I offer to propose and accept whatever your Majesty deems just, provided you act of free will and remove suspected persons. Thus the matter is safe, and rests in the hands of your Highness and me, if we choose. Now I do choose, and offer myself, if you please. If not, I will hold myself guiltless before God, the apostolic chair and the people of England, and will send a copy of these letters to all nations in proof of my not having failed to fulfil my office. You have long known me, and I call your conscience to witness to my faithfulness and sincerity, although certain cursed slanderers say I am a suspicious character, as I was at Calais and in communication with these lords. Your Highness knows that I lived nearly a year and a half in England by commission of the Pope, while I remained but a short period with these lords. Besides, it is my duty to communicate with both parties. Indeed, your Majesty ought to open your eyes to the fact that these evil speakers are the clerks and ministers of the devil, who wish not the welfare and unity of your realm. I have often reminded you of the words of the Gospel: “A kingdom divided against itself shall be laid waste.” The Pope has repeatedly done the like, on account of the perils of the state and realm. I do not seek my own advantage, as your Majesty and your whole Council have been long aware. My devotion to the Crown entitles me to attention. If that is not given me, I will clear myself before the Pope, and before the entire convocation of clergy and people, in which I have had these letters published. I send them by a trusty messenger, a sworn serjeant-at-arms of your Majesty's household, that by this or by other means they may reach your notice. I shall thus be guiltless if any blood be shed. I expect a speedy answer. London, 4 July, 1460.
In the margin:—“1460, 4th day of July. Published in full convocation of the Anglican clergy and at St. Paul's Cross, and transmitted forthwith to the King by a messenger of his household.
“This letter was sent by the Legate when he determined on crossing over to England with the Earl of Warwick and other lords who were in Calais; and although the document be of old date, nevertheless, for comprehension of the said Legate's proceedings in this matter and of his fair dealing, the said copy is sent in reply to such calumnies as may be alleged against him by his adversaries; and, if read with attention, it will explain many things.”
[Copy, Latin, pp. 13.]
Aug. 16. Sforza Archives, Milan. 358. Francesco Coppini, Bishop of Teramo, Papal legate, to Francesco Sforza Duke of Milan.
The bearer is Messer Antonio della Torre, esquire and servant of the King of England, and his envoy to the Pope (Pius II.) He is likewise sent by the prelates and lords of England on business pertaining to the republic of this noble realm and good state newly reformed by me. He is most devoted to you, and a trusty friend of mine, I have therefore commissioned him to acquaint you with several things concerning your duchy, about which we have often conferred together. Please give him credence If you think fit to write to the papal court, or give him any commission there about my business, I shall esteem it an especial favour. Your Excellency however must decide on acting or not, as you deem advantageous. Canterbury, 15 Aug., 1460.
Signed: “F. Bishop of Teramo, Legate of the Apostolic chair in England.”
P.S.—A few days ago, Master John Lax, this King's envoy, wrote of the honour done him by you. When I mentioned this to the King, he was much satisfied; and we talked together of you and your rare qualities. I think the King would do anything to please you. I also thank you on my own account for giving Lax a good reception for my sake.
Addressed:—“To the most Illustrious Prince and most Excellent Lord Francesco Sforza Visconti, Count of Pavia and Angleria, &c., Duke of Milan, my noble lord and most especial benefactor in Milan.”
[Copy, Italian, 82 lines.]
Dec 10. Sforza Archives, Milan. 359. King Henry VI. to Pope Pius II.
Our envoy, Antonio della Torre, sent lately to the Pope, has returned and rejoiced us with news of your singular affection towards us and our realm. We thank you for your gracious reception of the ambassador, and pray you to continue your goodwill. As there daily arises cases for reference to you, we send Antonio back with fullest information concerning our intentions and passing events, and beg credence for him, especially in what he will relate concerning the Bishop of Teramo, your Legate, on account of whose fidelity and eminent deserts, the good will borne him here augments incessantly; he has effected much good, and may effect more if assisted. We again recommend him for preferment. Have done our part, notwithstanding the customs of the realm, by qualifying the Legate, with the will and counsel of the lords, as Antonio will certify. London, 10 Dec., 1460.
[Copy, Latin, 51 lines.]


  • 1. Twelve Venetian merchants who together with the consul formed the presidency of the London factory.
  • 2. The first proposal made in the Grand Council for the appointment of young Venetian patricians as arbalast officers on hoard the merchant galleys dates from 26 February 1357. The motion was then lost; but on the 19th January 1359 the Senate decreed that four noble arbalast men were to be appointed to each galley ; we here see that in 1450 there were six on board the London galley. On the 9th July 1458 the Grand Council again legislated for the young patrician bowmen, and by the statute book of Andrea Priuli, captain of the Flanders galleys in 1518, it is seen that they then carried four noble archers whose pay was 70 ducats each. The last patrician arbalast men in the Venetian navy, of whom we hear auything in England, were a Dandolo and two Veniers, on board the Giustiniana and Vergi, captured by the Huguenots of La Rochelle, much to the disparagement of the English flag, January 1570.
  • 3. According to the Farsetti MSS. in St. Mark's Library, Marco Zeno commanded the Flanders galleys in the year 1447.
  • 4. As these duties were decreed for the debts of the London factory, it is evident that the merchandise thus taxed came from England, and not from intermediate ports; so we learn, that copper may be classed amongst our exports in 1457,—a fact which does not seem generally known, it being stated in Haydn's Dictionary of Dates, that “in England copper-mines were discovered in 1561.” In the statute book of Andrea Priuli, who was captain of the Flanders galleys in 1518, there is mention of tin and copper to be loaded by them in Flanders and England; and as both tin and copper might have been procured from Germany and Sweden by the Flemings, the notice of the duty on copper, for payment of the debts of the Venetian factory in London, is valuable.