26 November 2012

The Flanders Galleys, 1485: Part One


An earlier entry told about Bartolomeo Minio's disastrous voyage to Flanders with the trade muda, fleet, for 1485.  This entry and the next print Minio's commissione from Doge Giovanni Mocenigo of 12 April 1485, with the details of his appointment as captain.


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Salary for the voyage 600 golden ducats, with which, besides servants, he is to keep a clerk, priest, notary, an admiral -- for which board, and not his pay, he is alone responsible -- and two physicians. The salaries of the captain, musicians,1 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 men2 from 20 to 50 years of age, with a monthly salary of 19 livres -- each livre containing for light "solidi" -- 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 he 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 England3 and the Duke of Burgundy4; the other half to be disbursed on their return, under penalty.
 
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 receiv­mg 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 lauding 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 "comiti," 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. 
 
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 ether places; is to keep account, with the "writer's assistant" and his chaplain, of all goods preeented for Venice, whether, shipped or not; and this note he is to consign to the Signory on his arrival. 
(to be continued)

1Musicians: probably the trumpeters by whom movements and orders were signalled.
2Arbalast men: crossbowmen.
3Richard III.
4Philip the Handsome.


Text taken from Rawdon Brown, Calendar of State Papers and Manuscripts (London, 1864) , Vol. 1: #492. The translation and editing within the text is his. Rawdon Brown owned the original commission, but it is not now listed in the Rawdon Brown papers in the British Library.

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