Venice: 1481-1485

Pages 141-159

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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1481. Feb. 27. Archives Venice, Library. 474. Edward IV. to Pope Sixtus IV.
As it is advantageous to the Christian religion that wealth and other things precious from their natural excellence should be drawn into its power from the hands of the Infidels, he willingly permits his subjects to pass over to any part of Africa for traffic, and the exchange of baser merchandise for nobler, provided this be sanctioned by the Pope's authority.
He therefore prays his Holiness that no suspicion may attach to this voyage, and to grant letters for the aforesaid purpose, to date from the 1st of November last.
London, the 27th day of February.
[Original, parchment, Latin, 8 lines.]
20 May. Archives Venice, Library 475. Edward IV. to Pope Sixtus IV.
Are compelled at this stormy period, when we should have preferred using all endeavours in aid of Christendom, to provide both for the future events of our kingdom, and to complain that we are thwarted in our better purpose by the proceedings of our perfidious neighbours; also to take necessary measures, on account of the fickle movements of the Scots, who have availed themselves of the opportunity, lest while abroad from the common weal we should seem to have neglected our own at home.
After long truces with them to which we had been accustomed, and which they should have observed for many years; after the royal marriage, and contracts stipulated and agreed to in fulfilment of truces; and after the considerable sums of money paid annually to their King, on account of the marriage of our children which remains for consummation,—regardless of all faith, courtesy, and honor,—they have drawn their hostile swords on us and our realm. We cannot abstain from asserting our primeval right, left dormant for awhile for the sake of foreign affairs, and we must defend and avenge ourselves, rather than with extreme disgrace and mortification suffer outrage from a race ungrateful and oblivious of benefits.
For these reasons, we lead in person into Scotland, in the course of this summer, our army lately raised and so immensely burdensome to ourselves and to our subjects. Would infinitely have preferred being associated with the other sovereigns of Christendom in an expedition against the Turk, instead of thus perilling the lives of Christians by strife amongst each other. You will comprehend the struggle in our breast, we having taken much pains to seek peace between Christian powers both here and beyond sea; and perceive that we longed for nothing so much as that we should all rise up hand in hand in aid of the Catholic faith—which trust through perfidy having been impeded, it behoves you to urge the King of Scots to mend his malicious ways, and to enjoin him to acknowledge the indubitable right of supremacy which we assert over him, and give security that we be not defrauded of the marriage of his eldest son, nor of the moneys disbursed by us on that account for our daughter, according to contract, so that by reason of his outages against us and his misdeeds, the service of the Christian commonwealth be no longer delayed. For, if after the jubilee and the many indulgences for the need of the Knights of Rhodes and of your most holy see, of which such immense multitudes availed themselves that an infinite amount of money went out of the country, your Holiness did not receive a satisfactory answer concerning the tithe on our clergy,—this did not proceed from irreverence, or arrogant impulse, but because we and the clergy and laity of our realm in a body are at this present so engaged against domestic enemies that we are unable to attend to both our own and foreign affairs.
Bear with us under our present necessities, give gracious hearing to our procurator, and speedily gratify our just wish on account of the need of the present times; and our internal affairs being adjusted by the see apostolic, we may turn our whole might to the assistance of the Roman church.
From London, 13th kalends of June, the year of our Lord 1481.
Signed: “Edward R”
Endorsed: “2 July 1481.”
[Original, parchment, 22 lines.]
Aug. 9. Senato Mar. v. xi. p. 120. 476. Decree of the Senate. Concerning payment by the London factory of damages claimed by Don Diego de Aunza, Lord of “El Ferrol,” on account of a ship captured off Majorca by the captain of the Flanders galleys, Hieronimo Molin, apparently in the year 1466.
[Latin. 18 lines.]
Nov. 15. In the Library of the Venetian Archives, Miscell. No. 51. 477. Protest of a Bill of Exchange for 2,000 ducats.
Drawn in Venice, at usance, plus 15 days, on the 31st July 1481, by Giacomo Usuagi on Girolamo Tiepolo in London, payable to Pancratio Justinian and Marino Mocenigo, at the exchange of 54¾ sterlings per ducat. Registered by Thomas Kyffyn, citizen of London, notary public, at his house in Lombard Street.
Certified that in London the Venetian ducat was then worth fifty-one pence sterling and three quarters.
[The bill in Italian, the rest of the document in Latin, 26 lines, parchment]
1482. Jan. 12. Archives Venice, Library. 478. Edward IV. to Pope Stxtus IV.
The Lord Frederick de Clugnyac, Cardinal of Tournai, my very dear friend, is about to proceed to the Roman court; and by reason of his eminent virtues and our old acquaintance, and his most faithful services rendered to me, both in the marriage contract of my sister the Lady Margaret with my cousin Duke Charles of happy memory (Charles the Bold), and in other frequent employments, I love him most extremely.
Be your Holiness pleased to understand it is my intention that my own and my subjects' affairs be directed with his advice and assistance, under favour of your Holiness, whom I beseech to hold the said Cardinal of Tournai in all business recommended for my sake.
From my Castle of Wyndsore, the 12th day of January.
Signed: “Edward Rex.”
[Original parchment, Latin, 12 lines.]
Jan. 22. Senato Mar. v. xi. p. 127. 479. Doge Giovanni Mocenigo to King Edward IV.
Have heard lately that, contrary to practice and the ancient custom of your kingdom, it has been forbidden and prohibited to load wool for conveyance to Venice on board the galleys commanded by the nobleman Nicolo Capello. This prohibition is so injurious to the galleys and so irksome to ourselves, that we are of opinion it must be unknown to your Royal highness, or has been made at the suggestion of some one misinformed, as the whole world is sufficiently acquainted with your royal clemency and justice. The matter is for many reasons held by us in great account, and we much wish the ancient custom to be observed towards our galleys, and that your Majesty do not permit the introduction of this new custom, to the evident detriment and disadvantage of our galleys and merchants. On these accounts we have determined to write to beseech you to maintain the ancient custom.
[Latin, 27½ lines.]
Jan. 22. Senato Mar. v. xi. p. 127. 480. Doge Giovanni Mocenigo and the Senate to Nicolo Capello, Captain of the Flanders galleys.
Have heard with surprise and displeasure of the prohibition announced to him by the King of England, that the galleys may not load wools for Venice, but only such as belong to Florentines for Pisa. Regret this matter by reason of its importance and novelty, and much more so if it proceeded, as has been said, from the suggestion and art of Venetian subjects, which, if proved, would induce such a demonstration against the delinquents, that for the future others would have an example for the avoidance of such misdemeanours. Have therefore written to the King, as by copy enclosed, praying him not to permit this innovation, but to allow the shipment of wools on board the galleys.
In the meanwhile the captain, by such means as shall seem fit to him, is to obtain the King's consent for the shipment of the wools, which, with all other merchandise included in the prohibition, the captain is to load, notwithstanding the expiration of the term assigned by his commission, and by the auction of said galleys.
The captain to ascertain the origin of this prohibition, to take the depositions in writing, in legal form, so that they may not be falsified; and to bring these documents to Venice.
[Italian, 31 lines.]
April 25. Deliberazioni Senato Secreta. vol. xxx. p. 76. 481. The Doge and Senate to the Captain of the Flanders Galleys.
As owing to our present disputes with the Duke of Ferrara it is credible and may be supposed that his confederates will attack us, we therefore give you notice to quit England as soon as possible.
And as by the form of your commission, and according to the auction, contract of the galleys, you are bound to touch certain ports of Majorca and Sicily, we give you liberty not to go to such ports as you shall consider perilous.
Ayes, 124. Noes, 4. Neutrals, 6.
[Italian, 12 lines.]
May 22. Sforza Archives, Milan. 482. Edward IV. to Gian Galeazzo Visconti, Duke of Milan.
Alludes to the agreeable, upright, courageous, and faithful service received by him these many years from Sir Robert Chamberlayne, knight, whom he most earnestly recommends to the Duke, as it is his intention to visit the Milanese to see its marvels and princely palaces. Says that Sir Robert Chamberlayne is noble by ancient descent, a valiant knight skilled in military science, and beyond measure pleasing to him, so that any favours he may receive the King will consider personal.
London, 22 May 1482.
[Latin, 28 lines.]
Aug. 25. Archives Venice, Library. 483. Edward IV. to Pope Sixtus IV.
Have resolved to state what was achieved this summer in Scotland, that the truth may be known.
Thank God, the giver of all good gifts, for the support received from our most loving brother, whose success is so proven that he alone would suffice to chastise the whole kingdom of Scotland. This year we appointed our very dear brother Richard Duke of Gloucester to command the same army which we ourselves intended to have led last year, had not adverse turmoil hindered us.
Wrote to your Holiness heretofore about James King of Scots; how he set at nought peace, truces, matrimonial alliances and other agreements made between the kingdoms, without provocation. When, as customary with borderers upon the rapture of truces, excursions were made last year by the troops on either side, the enemy was not satisfied with having been both the first and second cause of the disourbance, but impudently boasted in his letters, even to the Apostolic see, of having destroyed certain strongholds of ours, and put an army, 200,000 strong, to shameful flight. In fact the army which our brother lately led into Scotland, traversing the heart of that kingdom without hindrance, arrived at the royal city of Edinburgh, and found the King with the other chief lords of the kingdom shut up in a most strongly fortified castle, nowise thinking of arms, of war, of resistance, hut giving up that right fair and opulent city into the power of the English, who, had not their compassion exceeded all human cupidity, would have instantly doomed the same to plunder and the flames. The noble band of victors, however, spared the supplicant and prostrate citizens, the churches, and not only the widows, orphans, and minors, but all persons found there unarmed. To this favour there contributed the intercession of the Duke of Albany, who of late years having been undeservedly banished by his brother the King of Scots, and now by the power of our army restored to his estates and titles, was of opinion that his return would be the more welcome if our soldiers, for his sake, modified the contributions levied by them on the country.
The chief advantage of the whole expedition is the reconquest of the town and castle of Berwick, which one and twenty years ago, before our coronation, went over to the Scots; but previously it was in the uninterrupted possession of our forefathers, whose just title having descended to us, we were bound to recover what was ours. A small chosen band therefore received the surrender of the town immediately on sitting down before it, though the same was entirely surrounded with impregnable walls. The citadel, however, because of its well chosen position and state of defence, was not taken until the rest of the army had returned; when, not without some slaughter and bloodshed, it was reduced.
It now remains for your Holiness to complete the work by monitions; for we would that these two nations should be as united in heart and soul as they are by neighbourhood, soil, and language; which end, should it be sought by our adversaries, we shall always be found prone and placable, and now especially as the Duke of Albany so influences their policy, that the Scots will henceforth, we hope, observe treaties with us more steadily than is their wont.
From London, 8th kalends of September.
Signed: “Your devoted son, Edward R.”
[Original, 27 lines, parchment.]
1483. July 9. Deliberazioni Senato Secreta. vol. xxxi. p. 40. 484. Decree of the Senate.
Put to the ballot that by a scrutiny of this Council an ambassador be elected to the King of England with a retinue; terms, conditions, penalties, and all the restrictions as contained in the election of the ambassador destined for the Duke of Burgundy,. The ambassador elect bound to depart whenever ordered by the Signory, with the selfsame commission, mutatis mutandis, as was given to our ambassador sent to the King of the French, and as is now given to the ambassador on his way to Burgundy, so far as relates (fn. 1) to justifying ourselves, and to soliciting a council; besides making which justification and suit he must, in the first place, condole with the King of England on the death of his father, and congratulate him on his pacific accession to the paternal kingdom and dominions, as we have already done “by letter.
Ayes, 119. Noes, 2. Neutrals, 2.
Ambassador elected, “Ser” Bernardo Bembo, doctor and knight.
[Latin, 19 lines.]
July 13. Senato Terra. vol ix. p. 14. 485. Decree of the Senate.
Authorizing Bernardo Bembo, LL.D. and knight, elected ambassador to the King of England, and Domenico Zorzi, in like manner elected ambassador to the Duke of Austria—in order that they may go more instructed and informed concerning all matters relating to their legations—to sit in the Senate until their departure, but without balloting.
Ayes, 118. Noes, 0. Neutrals, 0.
[Latin, 6 lines.]
1484 March 10. Sforza Archives, Milan. 486. Richard III. to Gian Galeazzo Sforza, Duke of Milan.
Mindful of the friendship and good will which had ever prevailed between the Duke's most illustrious family and the Kings of England, his predecessors. Recommends to him the bearer Thomas (Langton), Bishop of St. David's, his counsellor and ambassador, whom he is sending to the Apostolic see for certain business of his, relying on the Duke's showing him all favour on his passage through his territories; promising to do anything in his power for the Duke in England, &c. &c.
Cambridge University, 10 March 1484.
Signed: Ricardus Rex (manu propria).
[Latin, 36 lines.]
March 31. Senato Mar. vol. xii. p. 3. 487. Decree of the Senate.
Caused by letters from the Venetian Consul in London, complaining of grievances to which the Venetian merchants in England are subjected, and also of the infringement of the safeconducts conceded to the Republic.
Act passed by the Senate authorizing the College to write to Richard III. and other lords of England, claiming indemnity for the merchants and observance of the safeconducts.
[Latin, 7 lines.]
Oct. 15. Archives Venice, Library. 488. Richard III. to Pope Innocent VIII.
Lately received letters from our ambassador in the court (of Rome), the Rev. Father the Lord John (Sherwood) of Durham, wherebv he assured us of the elevation of your Holiness to the Apostolic dignity. Rejoice that the Church of God has been provided with so worthy a pastor. Shall soon send your Holiness other letters; and certain ambassadors, amongst whom the said Lord of Durham will be the chief, or one (of the chief), charged to tender our faithful obedience and devotion.
Strongly recommend to your Holiness our said ambassador, the Lord of Durham, and our affairs; and earnestly pray you to raise him to the Cardinaate, not so much in consideration of our prayers as of his own learning and virtues. Wrote on this subject frequently to the Lord Sixtus, the immediate predecessor of your Holiness, who would, we doubt not, have promoted him if God had granted him a longer life, inasmuch as he knew him to be most faithful to the Apostolic see; for whilst employed nearly nine years at the Roman court, he always notified such things to King Edward our brother, to us, and to other peers (proceribus) of this realm, as would tend to maintain the grandeur of the holy see. Again and again, therefore, we humbly supplicate your Holiness to deign before his return to us, which we believe will soon take place, to honour him with the dignity of Cardinal.
From the Castle of Nottingham, the very ides of October 1484.
Signed: “Richard.”
[Original, parchment, 23 lines.]
Nov. 4. St. Mark's Library. 489. The Grand Master of Rhodes, Pierre Daubusson, to Innocent VIII.
Accredits as his ambassadors, to tender obedience on the Pope's accession, the venerable religious brothers, Edward de Carmedino, preceptor of Langon, and John Kendal, turcopolier of the order and procurator general at the Roman court, and the notable man the Grand Master's secretary, Guilliaume Caoursin.
From Rhodes, the 4th of November 1484.
[Original, paper, Latin, 6 lines.]
Dec. 16. Archives Venice, Library. 490. Richard III. to Pope Innocent VIII.
Has constituted certain persons, ambassadors and procurators, to tender in his name to his Holiness devout and faithful obedience, as contained in other letters patent sent therewith.
From London, 16th day of December.
Signed: “Richard.”
[Original, parchment. Latin, 12 lines.]
Dec. 22. “Lettere Collegio,” vol. iv. p. 49. 491. To the Consul in London.
He is immediately to despatch a trustworthy messenger with the enclosed letters, in the form of briefs, to the captain of the Flanders Galleys.
[Italian, 9 lines.]
1485. April 12. MS. penes me. 492. Commission from Doge Giovanni Mocenigo to the Noble Bortolomeo Minio, appointing him Captain of the Flanders Galleys.
Salary for the voyage 600 golden ducats, with which, besides servants, he is to keep a clerk, priest, notary, an admiral—for whose board, and not his pay, he is alone responsible—and two physicians. The salaries of the captain, admiral, musicians, physicians and others to be paid as usual by the masters. For the present year, each galley to have (at the cost of the galleys) 30 good arbalast men from 20 to 50 years of age, with a monthly salary of 19 livres—each livre containing four light “soldi”—and galley rations as usual, like the oarsmen; with the understanding moreover, that amongst the said arbalast men there be included four noble youths for each galley, and no more; the which noblemen to be boarded by the masters of the galleys, who are also to pay them their full salaries going and returning, according to the act passed in this matter. Amongst the aforesaid stipendiaries, the masters to take with them one competent adviser for each galley, with a monthly salary of 10 ducats in money, to be paid by the masters who are to board them; the said adviser to be in lieu of one of the arbalast men appointed to each galley.
On the day of his arrival at Sluys the captain to engage a courier for Venice, and inform all the merchants that they may write if they please, dispatching him on the morrow at the farthest, with news of the date of his entry into port, to send a second courier in like manner after a fortnight's interval.
On the homeward voyage each galley to bring 120,000 weight of light goods, under penalty, &c.; and the masters in Flanders or England to obtain from the merchants 80,000 weight of copper and tin for each galley and no more. The merchant shippers of the said tin and copper to be paid four ducats for each 1,000 weight avoirdupois.
With the first freight money received by the captain, he is to purchase “in the west” four pieces of ordnance for each galley; to be given to the arsenal on the return.
The masters to be at liberty to remain one month and half more than usual between Bruges and London, and to touch on the outward voyage at Palermo and Messina.
On his departure from Flanders and return to England, the captain to remain either at Sandwich or Southampton for 90 days. To be at liberty to touch at Alicant or not; and on the homeward voyage he has also the option of touching at Pisa and Talamone, and of sending thither one or more galleys.
The masters, before being confirmed by the Senate, to deposit at the Accountant's Office one half of the money required for the usual presents made in the Signory's name to the King of England and the Duke of Burgundy; the other half to be disbursed on their return, under penalty, &c.
Should the galleys be detained at Sluys by the ice beyond the term assigned them, the extra days to be deducted from those appointed for the stay in Hampton, provided always that the merchandise be disposed of within the said term.
On the voyage toward Venice, the galleys to touch at the usual ports; and on the way, both out and home, should the masters deem it advantageous, they are allowed to go to Malaga and Almeria; though should the country be at all in a disturbed state, the captain alone to decide thereon: if they go, they may remain three days in each of those places. When in the waters of Almeria, the captain to dismiss the galley which is to return by the Barbary ports, touching at One, Oran, Tunis, and the other places for which it may have goods, remaining but three days at each; shipping all goods along the coast, either from port to port, or for Venice, exacting the same freight money as the Barbary galleys, and receiving it at the same date.
The master of the aforesaid galley forbidden to take from any Venetian subject more than 25 ducats freight money for each thousand weight of cloth. The goods of Venetians to be shipped before those of foreigners; and first of all the galley to load for Barbary. If unable to obtain a. full cargo for that district, she may then take the entire surplus freight of the other galleys bound for Venice; and after touching at the Barbary ports she is then to go to Syracuse.
Term of payment for the freights of cloths and wools, 16 months from the day of the arrival of the galleys at Venice; for tin and wrought pewter, 8 months; for all goods loaded in Malaga, Majorca, and Sicily, 6 months.
On making the island of England, the captain to dismiss the two galleys bound to London; and should there be more spices for Sluys than contained in the two galleys destined for that port, in that case one of the two London galleys, namely, the one which does not carry the [vice]captain, to go to Sluys, and after landing the spices return to London as customary of late years. The galleys, on going to any place in England, not to load or unload any thing soever under penalty of 500 ducats, &c.; and under the like penalty the captain is bound to go to Sluys, for the avoidance of such peril as incurred by the galleys of late years.
The London galleys being dismissed, the captain is then to go with the others to Sluys, there to remain for 60 days, those of arrival and departure not included; and on their expiration, he is to proceed either to Sandwich or Hampton, as shall seem best to him; and in the port thus selected he is to remain and load for 60 (sic) days, and then return to Venice. Ten days before departure from England, the masters to unship the windlasses, and no longer load anything, under penalty of 500 ducats; and in like manner the sailing masters and “comlti,” and all the other stipendiaries [of the Sluys galleys] are prohibited from going to London, with the exception of the admiral when directed by the captain for matters concerning the galleys, under penalty, &c.
Of the two London galleys, one, to be chosen either by agreement or lot, to return by the coast of Barbary; shipping first of all in England fine cloths and merchandise, save that neither copper nor tin, nor vessels of those metals, are to be imported into Barbary, under penalty of 500 ducats, &c. &c.
The masters both in Flanders and England, and also at all intermediate ports, on their return, to load all such goods as shall be brought them for Venice, until the very last hour of their departure (sic); which goods, if left behind for the sake of taking others for the intermediate ports, or on any other account, they to make good the loss incurred by such rejection, and pay the arsenal the freight which will be deducted from their “bounty.” The consuls both in London and Bruges to keep account of all merchandise presented for Venice; and on the homeward voyage, the captain, in Flanders, England, and all other places, is to keep account, with the “writer's assistant” and his chaplain, of all goods presented for Venice, whether shipped or not; and this note he is to consign to the Signory on his arrival.
After the departure from Flanders of these present galleys, all merchandise, of which the conveyance is conceded to them exclusively, and which shall be sent to Venice (by other means) within two months from that time, either by land or water (in case the galleys have not their full cargo), to pay full freight to the Signory, for the benefit of the arsenal, whose masters to receive one “soldo” per “livre,” for all sums thus collected by them. All goods from England likewise brought by land or sea to pay the like freight to the said galleys until the departure of the next galleys for England.
The physician not to receive more than seven ducats per month.
On the outward voyage, the masters not to stay in any place beyond the limited number of days, and on the homeward voyage less, under penalty of 100 golden ducats for each day, to be deducted from the bounty; the captain keeping account of these days under oath.
Notice to be given of all these clauses to the consuls at Bruges and in London, that they may endeavour to obtain the payment of full freight to the Signory for all merchandise.
Prohibition against shipment in the holds, or in their berths by the masters, officials, or oarsmen, of cloths called Verui (sic) Santone, Lowestoft, Bastards, Serges, and Furs (varij-vairs). The cloths called “Bastards,” Lowestoft, white “Gotifaldi,” wools, and block tin, to be loaded for Venice alone, and not for intermediate ports.
The masters to give the crews, arbalast men, and comrades three months' pay in England, at the rate of 38 pence per ducat. One month's loan to be made at the same rate; and any further advance to be charged at the exchange of the day. On payment of these moneys in England, the “writers” of the galleys forbidden to receive more than one penny from each man.
Prohibition against stowing on deck either chests or wrought pewter; nor may currants or molasses be stowed in the hold.
Gross spice to pay freight at the rate of four ducats; small spice and Levant sugar, five ducats; cottons, raw and spun, 12 ducats, currants,—lambskins, and undressed hides, 18 ducats; wax of every sort, 10 ducats; dressed hides, 10 ducats for every 1,000; paper, one ducat and a half for every bale containing 12 reams; silks of every sort, 20 ducats per thousand-weight Troy (mier sotil). Foreign fustians may be imported under the usual restrictions. Cloths valued at 25 ducats and under, half a ducat per piece, and of higher value, one ducat; household utensils, half a ducat per 100; and should any one smuggle raw silk, or cloth of silk, or pass them as spices, substituting one sort of merchandise for another, the goods to be forfeited.
The freights of merchandise and goods loaded for the intermediate ports to belong to the masters; but all goods loaded in Flanders, Malaga, England, and Sicily, whether on deck or below, to pay freight to the Signory.
Each of the masters on his safe return to Venice to receive from the Signory a bounty of 3,500 golden ducats of the unappropriated moneys of the Jews, which, the debentures being liquidated, may not be dispersed or employed for any other purpose than that bounty, under penalty of 1,000 ducats to any one acting otherwise; he paying the sum from his own purse, and being proclaimed a thief in the hall of Grand Council. Each of the masters is at liberty to proceed against those who shall make any motion to the contrary. The masters to receive also for the aforesaid bounty 3,500 ducats of the three and two per cents. from the Signory, and all the freights (on goods loaded for the immediate ports) on the homeward voyage.
Each of the masters to disburse 400 ducats as a loan eight days after receiving the galleys from the masters of the arsenal, under penalty of 1,000 ducats. This loan to be repaid them from the proceeds of the auction and the emendations (emendi); and, should the price paid by them at the auction exceed the loan, they may deduct it from the bounty derived from the two and three per cents.; the masters of the arsenal being bound, under penalty, to expend the loan on nothing but the outfit of the galleys, and the captain or the majority of the masters being present when the moneys are disbursed, and keeping careful and particular account of their application that they be not employed for any other purpose.
On the opening of the bank of the Flanders galleys the masters to deposit the instalments of pay required for the crews, arbalast men, and stipendiaries. The masters forbidden to engage men for the voyage, instead of by the month, or to compound with them in any way, under penalty, but the crews to be paid like those of the galleys bound to Syria. No vessel at Venice to load for Flanders, or be “put up” for that voyage from the clay of the decree (28 April 1484) until two months after the period assigned to the galleys for their departure (15 July 1484); ships bound to Candia or from Candia to Flanders or England to be at liberty to continue their voyages, but not to load currants or others goods of which the Flanders galleys had the monopoly. Should the captain incur expense for the reception of personages of rank or others, he is to give a note of it in writing to the masters, and should he not do so, its payment to be optional with them, provided the captain allege no just impediment. The galleys to convey the Republic's ambassadors and envoys, and ammunition, and all other things belonging to the Signory to any ports made on the voyage, free of passage money or freight.
Each of the masters to give the arsenal 50 ducats for the dry docks, and 10 ducats for the purchase of houses; also 200 lbs. of white-wrought wax, on their return, to the Procurators of St. Mark's Church. The presents for the King of England (Richard III), and the Duke of Burgundy (Philip the Handsome), to be paid with the first moneys derived from the averages on goods, one half on going, the other on returning; and as Sluys and Bruges were blockaded by the Archduke Maximilian, by land and sea, the inhabitants of those places being in revolt against him, the Senate authorized the captain of the Flanders galleys, Bortolomeo Minio, on the 29th April 1485, to take them either to Antwerp or Middleburg; the masters being forbidden to claim any indemnity on this account.
Ducal Palace, 12 April 1485.
[MS. illuminated volume of 163 pages, on parchment, part in Latin and part in Italian, being the original commission drawn up by order of the Doge and Senate.]
April 19. Deliberazioni Senato Secreta. v. xxxii. p. 141. 493. Decree of the Senate concerning Sir John Kendal. (fn. 2)
Some two months ago the Reverend Prior (sic) of England arrived here as ambassador from the Grand Master of Rhodes. Stated that whilst the Turks were besieging Rhodes he had loaded a ship with oil, wine, and other things destined lor that island. He and the ship were detained at Modon, by Costantino Loredano, our naval commander there; and although, when notice of this seizure was given to Vettor Soranzo, our captain-general on the sea, orders were given for the Prior's immediate release, he suffered great loss from the detention of the ship, because the oil and wine were not delivered in due time and were plundered, and because he lost a most capital horse on board worth 80 ducats.
His excellent qualities and great friendship for our nation are demonstrated by the fact that, when the bulls of the interdict were brought to England with the Pope's letters, he exerted himself in such wise with the King, enjoying much favour and power with His Majesty, that not only were those bulls not published nor observed, but with his own hand he tore them up, which doubtless was vastly to the repute of our State and to the advantage of our noblemen and citizens trading in England.
Put to the ballot, that besides the costs already paid to the Reverend Prior for the time during which he has remained in the our city, there be in like manner paid to him the costs of the horses which he kept and keeps at Padua; and moreover, as amends for the loss aforesaid, be there given him by our Signory 200 golden ducats in ready money.
Ayes, 130. Noes, 5. Neutrals, 1.
[Latin, 26 lines.]
April 23. Senato Terra. v. ix., p. 136. 494. Decree of the Senate made at the suit of Sir John Kendal.
As owing to the recent death of the Knight of St. John's of Jerusalem, Dom. Nicolo de Ovatarijs, a benefice of that order fell vacant in our Polesine of Rovigo, and the Right Reverend Lord Prior (sic) of England, the great and devoted friend of our State, has requested that the said benefice be conferred on the Knight of St. John's, Dom. Francesco de Arcano, of the Friuli—this is promised by the whole College; but as the revenue of this benefice exceeds 115 ducats, the authority of this Council is necessary.
Put to the ballot, that our bailiff of Rovigo and captain of the Polesine be charged to put Dom. Francesco Arcano in possession of the aforesaid benefice.
Ayes, 77. Noes, 20. Neutrals, 22.
[Latin, 12 lines.]
April 30. Senato Mar. v. xii., p. 42. 495. Decree of the Senate concerning recent Regulations in England prejudicial to the Venetian merchants there.
As by letters from our merchants it is understood that the King of England recently made, and daily continues making, many new regulations against our nation and merchants trading in those parts, which regulations arc not only grievous and unbearable, but likewise impossible of observance, so that unless provision be made for their suppression, it will be absolutely necessary for our merchants now there to come away, no others going thither any more,—Put to the ballot, that for the suppression of the innovations aforesaid the King be written to in opportune and earnest form, as shall seem fit to the College.
Ayes, 132. Noes, 2. Neutrals, 2.
[Latin, 8 lines.]
May 2. Lettere Collegio. p. 104. 496. Doge Agostino Barbarigo and the Senate to Richard III.
A few days ago received the sad news that Queen Anne (Nevill), your beloved consort, had deceased. We, together with our Senate, mourned greatly, for we bear your Majesty such love and good will, that as we rejoice at any prosperous event that befalls you, so are we partakers of your sorrows. We exhort your Majesty, endowed with consummate equanimity and marvellous virtues, of your wisdom and grandeur of mind to bear the disaster calmly and resign yourself to the divine will; and be it your Majesty's consolation, that your consort led so religious and catholic a life, and was so adorned with goodness, prudence, and excellent morality, as to leave a name immortal.
Three months ago there came hither the ambassador of the Holy Order of Rhodes, the Reverend Lord Prior (sic) of St. John's, your counsellor, a man indeed we have cordially loved. After expressing to him our sorrow for the demise of the Queen, we narrated certain innovations to which it seems that our citizens trading in London have been subjected, contrary to the public promise, or to what they term the “safeconduct” conceded them, as you may clearly comprehend through the said Reverend Lord Prior.
Request you, on learning and understanding these innovations, that our citizens and merchants may not lose the benefit of their safeconducts, and may not be subjected to inconvenience and loss.
[Latin, 37 lines.]
May 2. Lettere Collegio. p. 103. 497. Circular from the Doge and Senate to the Venetian Governors of Padua, Vicenza, Verona, and Brescia.
The Reverend Lord Prior (sic) of England, ambassador from the Right Reverend the Lord Grand Master of Rhodes is about to come to Padua. Watch for his arrival—meet him on the way, well accompanied—receive him with every mark of love and respect—and accompany him to his lodging, where you will have his expenses paid and those of his retinue from the moneys of our Signory.
On his departure in like manner, you will accompany him with tokens of honour, making the usual offers, and in such bland form of speech as of your prudence you will know how to do.
[Latin, 11 lines.]
Sept. 18. Deliberazioni Senato Secreta. v. xxxii., p. 170. 498. The Doge and Senate to the Ambassador at Milan, Hieronimo Zorzi.
Acquaint him with the capture on the 21st August, off Cape St. Vincent, of the Flanders galleys by six ships under the French flag, commanded by the son of Columbus and Giovanni Grego. (fn. 3) Have determined to send an embassy to France, being convinced that the capture was made unknown to the King and contrary to his wishes. As the mission requires dispatch, and relying on the extreme prudence, circumspection, and diligence of Zorzi, have appointed him to perform it. He is to present himself to the Duke of Milan and to his uncle the Regent, the Lord Ludovic Sforza, to explain the circumstance; then take leave of them and proceed immediately with all speed to the French court, there to present his credentials, and remonstrate as aforesaid. Enclose copy of existing treaties between France and Venice, and demand the release of the galleys, and all the crews, effects, merchandise and goods on board of them.
[Latin, 51 lines.]
Sept. 18. Marin Sanuto, MS. Lives of the Doges. Vol. ii., p. 254. (St. Mark's Library). 499. Account of the Capture of the Flanders Galleys.
On the 18th of September news came how on the 22nd of August our four Flanders galleys, Bortolomeo Minio captain, having left Cadiz, fell in with Colombo, that is to say, Nicolo Griego (sic), captain of seven armed ships, under the flag of King Charles of France, and it was night, off Cape St. Vincent; then at day break they came to blows; three hundred men of the galleys' crews were killed, with “Ser” Lorenzo Michiel, master of one galley, and “Ser” Giacomo Dolfin, master of another, besides other noblemen. The battle lasted from the first hour of the day to the twentieth. At length Colombo was victorious, and captured the said galleys and took them into Lisbon, a town belonging to the King of Portugal; and the captain, the two masters, and the merchants were left by the corsair with scarcely clothes to their backs.
They unloaded the galleys, and having stowed the merchandise in their own ships left them empty and departed thence. But the King of Portugal—remembering that one of the Kings, his predecessors, came to Venice on his way to Jerusalem, as also subsequently did a son of that King, both being much honoured by the Venetians—clad the captain, Minio, the two masters, and the other noblemen and crews who had been stripped, and gave them money; so they set out on their way home, by land, and arrived here thus.
This bad news was brought by Antonio Todeschin, the clerk of “Ser” Marco Antonio Loredan, master of one of the lost galleys. The catastrophe occurred on the 20th of August. The fourth master was “Ser”—.
On hearing this sad intelligence, it was earned in the Senate forthwith to send an ambassador to the King of France, to complain that our galleys had been captured under his flag, and to try and recover what was possible. That the ambassador might arrive speedily, it was carried that Hironimo Zorzi, whoa few days since had assumed the embassy at Milan, should go immediately to France; and he set out forthwith, so
This capture of the Flanders galleys, including their own loss and that of the duties, cost our subjects and the State two hundred thousand ducats.
[Extract, Italian.]
Sept. 19. Deliberazioni Senato Secreta. v. xxxii., p. 170. 500. The Doge and Senate to the Ambassador Barbaro, at Milan.
Have heard of the announcement made to the Lord Ludovic Sforza by the Secretary, Gasparo della Vedova; how much he regretted the loss of the Flanders galleys, and what offers he made for their recovery, considering the loss greater perhaps than it really is. Praise the ambassador for endeavouring to represent the mischief as less than had been stated by the Secretary. Desire him to return thanks to the Lord Ludovic, and to say that not only is the damage less than the secretary reported, but that even his own statement was exaggerated. Will therefore not trouble his lordship to send an ambassador, especially being assured that the galleys were to be taken to Lisbon, which would give hopes of an agreement between the masters and the captors, in which case the trouble would be unnecessary; and the State reserves the acceptance of his offers for greater exigencies.
Ayes, 41.
[Latin, 16 lines.]
Oct. 20. Original letters in St. Mark's Library, MS. clxxvii., letter No. 21. 501. The Bishop of Imola to Pope Innocent VIII.
According to common report as heard by me on my way, the King of England (Richard III.) has been killed in battle. Here, some people tell me he is alive and reigning, but others deny it.
Mayence, 20 October 1485.
[Extract, Latin, 29 lines.]
Nov. 3. Deliberazioni Senato Secreta. v. xxxii, p. 132. 502. Motion made in the Senate concerning the Capture of the Flanders Galleys.
Put to the ballot, that “Ser” Melchior Trivisano, our vicecaptain general on the sea, be written to, that as it is our intention to provide for the indemnity of our subjects, being assured that a galeass belonging to the King of France is at Alexandria, we command you to watch the aforesaid galeass, and in such waters as shall be most fitting to you, by fair means or by force, get possession of this galeass, giving express orders that no one do take or even touch any thing on board, and in like manner no molestation be offered to the crew, beyond that of the seizure, as may chance at the first commotion, when it will perhaps be requisite to employ force; and of the result you will forthwith give us notice by letter. In order that you may execute this our resolve, we send you by the galley commanded by “Ser” Hieronimo Bon 5,000 ducats in bags, that you may give aid to our crews, and that you may hire more men as needed.
Moreover, as from what we hear the galeass is large, we are of opinion you will require to have ships near you, and therefore give you full liberty to dispose of all our galleys, ships, and vessels at your option, with the exception of the galleys of the Beyrout, Alexandria, and Traffuk voyages. Keep this order secretly to yourself, not communicating it to any save the captain of our armed ships.
Ayes, 60. Noes, 37. Neutrals, 16.
[Italian, 46 lines.]
Nov. 26. Senato Mar. v. xii., p. 62. 503. Decree of the Senate.
On the 14th March 1478 it was carried, that all Frankish wools brought hither from the island of England by land or sea by other vessels than by our Flanders-traffic galleys should pay freight to said galleys. Thus decreed, to facilitate the navigation of those galleys, they being calculated to keep this city sufficiently supplied with the wools aforesaid.
At this present however, by reason of the adverse and unexpected catastrophe of the interception of our galleys bound on the aforesaid Flanders voyage, we cannot hope to have wools this year from the island aforesaid, and as those brought by the last galleys are few and not sufficient for the need of this city; and on this account little work can be put in hand by the drapers who have come into the presence of the Signory, earnestly requesting that proper provision may be made, and setting forth the great detriment incurred both from the lack of purchasers exporting Venetian cloths for the whole of Italy and even for foreign parts; as also because a great part of the poor of this city was maintained by the manufacture of woollens, which manufacture failing, their supply of food fails, and they perish by hunger, to the offence of God, and to the disparagement and detriment of our Signory, whose chief end has been to provide that all the poor may live and maintain themselves.
Put to the ballot, in lieu of the wools which should have been brought by the intercepted galleys, all persons, natives as well as aliens, to be authorized until the middle of next June to export from England, Flanders, and Brabant, wools for this city, either by land or water, by any ships and vessels soever, even foreign, without obligation to pay any freight to the said galleys, with liberty to effect insurances as if on board Venetian vessels.
Consuls in London and Bruges to keep a distinct account of all wools exported from all the above written places within the above written period.
Ayes, 107. Noes, 0. Neutrals, 0.
[Latin, 26 lines.]
Dec. 2. Deliberazioni Senato Secreta. v. xxxii., p. 184. 504. Decree of the Senate addressed to the Consul in London, concerning the Capture of the Flanders Galleys.
As Hieronino Zorzi, whom we have sent as ambassador to the King of France to recover our Flanders galleys captured by Columbus' son and by Zorzi Griego, may require you to effect something for this recovery, through the King of England or by other means, we command you to execute whatsoever shall be written to you by the aforesaid ambassador, precisely as if you had received the letters from ourselves.
[Italian, 7½ lines.]
Dec. 2. Deliberazioni Senato Secreta. v. xxxii., p. 184. 505. The Doge and Senate to Hieronimo Zorzi, Ambassador in France.
Have received his letter of the 5th December, announcing the fair promises of the King of France touching the recovery of the Flanders galleys. Consider it certain that immediate restitution will be made in full. Do not yet know for certain what course they steered; some say that they made for England, relying that they should be safe and secure under the protection of that King. Conjecture that should the corsair be within the jurisdiction of the King (of France), the State and justice would obtain ample satisfaction. Hope that the like would take place should the corsair have proceeded to the territories of the King of England or of the Duke of Burgundy, to whom, besides the enclosures of which copies are sent, they doubt not but that he has already obtained from his most Christian Majesty and transmitted very full letters. In order that he may take such steps as shall seem most advantageous, have by the accompanying letters charged the consuls in London and Bruges to do whatever he may enjoin them, &c.
Ayes, 137. Noes, 0. Neutrals, 1.
[Latin, 40 lines.]
Dec. 6. MS. in S. Mark's Library, No. 178. 506. Giovanni de Giglis, Collector of Peter's Pence in England, to Pope Innocent VIII.
Since the last letters he wrote concerning the state of these affairs, nothing fresh occurred. A public assembly of the realm, called by them a parliament, is being held for its reformation, in which some acts have been passed, and first of all, a general amnesty for all offences against the King. The Earl of Northumberland (Henry Percy), who was captured and imprisoned, has been set at liberty, but on security from all the prelates, the temporal lords, and likewise from the commons. The Earl of Surrey (Thomas Howard), is still under arrest, but De Giglis hears he will be released. The first-born daughter of King Edward has been declared Duchess of York; it is positively asserted that the King is about to marry her, which everybody considers advantageous for the kingdom. The King himself is deemed most prudent and element: all things appear disposed towards peace.
Commends himself to his Holiness, and requests the grant of certain small privileges conceded to former collectors here, without which (papal) authority suffers, and the business of the treasury cannot be transacted profitably.
London, 6 December 1485.
Signed: “Jo. de Giglis, collector in England.”
Postscript.—Has heard that the Bishops of Bath and Salisbury are released together with all their property: they are both fully pardoned or acquitted, and not undeservedly. There are envoys here from the King of France, and from the Dukes of Austria and Britanny. It is believed that there will be peace with these powers.
[Latin, 29 lines.]
Dec. 15. Deliberazioni Senato Secreta. v. xxxii., p. 185. 507. The Doge and Senate to Hieronimo Zorzi, Ambassador in France.
Have received his letters of the 20th and 22nd November. Are most thoroughly satisfied with his exertions, and consider him worthy of praise and commendation.
Are pleased first of all with the constant perseverance of the King in taking all possible steps to indemnify the State and her merchants for the no less iniquitous than audacious capture of the galleys, by the commanders of his Majesty's fleet; and for that due and signal punishment will be inflicted on the perpetrators of so heinous an offence, who, not content with having committed the first outrage, have added bad to bad, and most cruelly murdered Rossetti, the ambassador's messenger, or more truly the messenger of the King, whose letters he was conveying.
Repeat the order for him to seek the assistance of the King of England and the Duke of Burgundy. Anxious for the good result of the business, are sending the presents demanded by the ambassador, according to the accompanying list, with letters of thanks, in anticipation, for the King and the Duke of Lorraine, and others; adding also four letters of the like tenor, without any address, which the ambassador is to add in such form as may be requisite. Moreover, enclose an estimate of the value of the galleys.
Vote proposed of 1,200 ducats for the presents, and that the letters be drawn up in such form as shall seem fit to the College.
Ayes, 87.
Proposed amendment.—That instead of sending the presents, 1,200 ducats be remitted to the ambassador for him to purchase them in France, should he perceive that any good result can be anticipated; but if of opinion that the case is hopeless and the presents useless, be they then not made, nor the remittance used.
Ayes, 31. Noes, 30. Neutrals, 6.
[Latin, 44 lines.]


  • 1. “Il Papa vedendo riuscir vane tutte le sue esortazioni, pronuuziò il 22. Giugno 1483 l'interdetto contro la Repubblica.”—Romanin, vol. iv., p. 413.
  • 2. Many valuable documents connected with the career of the English soldier, statesman and diplomatist, some of them holograph, are preserved in St. Mark's Library and the Archives. Though relating to an historical Englishman, famous and eminent in his times, and of whom his countrymen know so little at the present day, yet can these documents be but slightly noticed, as they relate to foreign negotiations. He is the earliest English subject of a contemporary medal, dated 1480, though probably cast a few years later, in Venice.
  • 3. An account of this capture of the Flanders galleys has been printed by Count Agostino Sagredo in the Malipiero Annals, part 2, pp. 620–621. (Italian.)