Monday, May 01, 2006

Day 18 - 30th April 1483

"On the 30th and last day of April we heard Mass in our inn, because a great lord from Austria, not a pilgrim, was lodging there, and his chaplain said Mass in the house. After Mass we twelve all assembled together to consider with which of the two shipmasters we should sail, and what terms we should make with them. My lords decided that they would go with Master Peter Lando in his treble-banked galley. For my own part I should have liked the other shipmaster, Augustine, better; but I shrank from his double-banked galley, because of the great hardships which I had endured on board of her. We decided therefore to go with Master Peter; moreover, we drew up twenty articles by which we defined the limits of our contract, and stated what the captain was bound to do for us.

First Article.-That the captain shall take us pilgrims from Venice to Joppa, a port in the Holy Land, and shall bring us back again from thence to Venice, for which purpose he shall be ready in fourteen days at the outside, and shall not stay here more than fourteen days after this day.

Second.-That he shall well and properly provide a galley with experienced mariners who understand the art of sailing with whatever wind may blow, and shall have on board a sufficient armament for the defence of the galley from the attacks of pirates and enemies, if need be.

Third.-That the captain beware of putting into unusual or strange ports on his way, but that he shall touch only at those in which he is wont to obtain provision for his galley, and that as far as may be he shall avoid putting into harbours, but shall go on his way. We especially desire him to avoid the kingdom of Cyprus, and not to touch there, or if he does so, not to remain in harbour there for more than three days, because we have a traditional belief that the air of Cyprus is unwholesome for Germans. If, however, any of our company should desire to pay his respects to the Queen of Cyprus and wait on her at Nichosia and receive from her the ensigns of her Order, the captain shall be bound to wait for his return, seeing that this was an ancient custom among all noblemen as long as there was a king in that kingdom.

Fourth.-That the captain shall give the pilgrims two meals of food and drink every day without fail. If for any reason any one of us shall not wish to attend the captain's table, or to come to supper in the evening, or if all of us choose to stay in our own berths, nevertheless the captain shall be bound to send food and drink to us without making any dispute.

Fifth.-That the captain shall be bound to provide the pilgrims, during their voyage from Venice to the Holy Land, and from thence back to Venice, with a sufficiency of good bread and biscuit, good wine and sweet water, freshly put on board, with meat, eggs, and other eatables of the same sort.

Sixth.-That every morning before we eat our food he shall give to each of us a bicker or small glass of Malvoisie wine, as is the custom on shipboard.

Seventh.-If the pilgrims shall ask to be put ashore at any port near which the galley may be, but which it does not desire to enter, for any reasonable purpose, such as to obtain water, or medicines, or other necessaries, the captain shall be bound to give us a boat and boat's crew to carry us into that port.

Eighth.-If the captain shall touch at any uninhabited harbour, where the pilgrims will not be able to obtain necessaries for themselves, he shall be bound to supply them with food just as though they were not in harbour; on the other hand, if he shall put into a good port, then they shall be bound to provide their own meals.

Ninth.-The captain shall be bound to protect the pilgrims, both in the galley and out of it, from being attacked or ill-used by the galley-slaves, or from being thrown off the galley-slaves' benches, should the pilgrims wish to sit upon them with the slaves. He shall also be bound to prevent the slaves from molesting them on land, as far as he is able, and he shall not place any article in the pilgrims' berths.

Tenth.-The captain shall let the pilgrims remain in the Holy Land for the due length of time, and shall not hurry them through it too fast, and shall lead them to the usual places and go with them in person. We especially wish him to raise no objections to leading them to the Jordan, which pilgrims always find a difficulty in doing, and he shall save them from all troubles with the infidels.

Eleventh.-All dues, all money for safe-conducts, and for asses and other expenses, in whatever names they may be charged, or in whatever place they have to be paid, shall be paid in full by the captain alone on behalf of all the pilgrims without their being charged anything, and he shall likewise pay the great fees; the smaller fees we will see to ourselves.

Twelfth.-In return for all these expenses to be incurred and things to be done by the captain, each pilgrim shall be bound to pay him forty ducats of the kind called de Recta, that is, newly minted. On condition, however, that the pilgrim shall pay one-half of this sum in Venice, and the remainder at Joppa.

Thirteenth.-Should any one of the pilgrims happen to die, the captain shall in no wise interfere with the goods which he leaves, but shall leave them all untouched in the possession of that person or persons to whom the deceased left them by will.

Fourteenth.-Should any one of the pilgrims die before reaching the Holy Land the captain shall be bound to restore one-half of the money which he had previously received, to be dealt with by the executors according to the instructions of the deceased.

Fifteenth.-Should any pilgrim die on board the galley, the captain shall not straightway order his body to be cast into the sea, but shall cause it to be taken ashore and buried in some graveyard. If, however, the galley be at a distance from the land, then the body of the deceased may be kept on board until either some port is reached or the comrades of the deceased agree to have it cast into the sea.

Sixteenth.-If any of the pilgrims wish to go to St. Catharine's, on Mount Sinai, the captain shall be bound to deliver over to every person expressing such a wish ten ducats of the money previously paid to him.

Seventeenth.-That the captain before leaving Jerusalem with the pilgrims shall loyally help those pilgrims who are setting out to St. Catharine's, and shall draw up a friendly agreement between them and their dragoman.

Eighteenth-That the captain shall assign to the pilgrims some convenient place on board of the galley for keeping chickens or fowls, and that his cooks shall permit the pilgrims' cook to use their fire for cooking for the pilgrims at their pleasure.

Nineteenth.-Should any pilgrim on board of the galley happen to fall so ill as not to be able to remain in the stench of the cabin, the captain shall be bound to give such a person some place to rest in on the upper deck, either in the castle, the poop, or one of the rowers' benches.

Twentieth.-That if in this instrument of contract anything has been left out or insufficiently expressed and provided for, which, nevertheless, by law and custom it is the captain's duty to do, then it shall be held to be expressed in this instrument, and shall be held to have been written down therein.

Having drawn up these articles and written them out, we sent for Master Peter the captain to wait upon us in the inn, and read to him the articles as thus drawn up, telling him that if he was willing to act towards us in the spirit of them, and would swear an oath to do so, we were ready to enter into a contract and agreement with him as aforesaid. On hearing this, the captain took the schedule of articles and read them over one by one with great attention. As to the first article, he said that as far as the first clause went he was willing to accept it, and would take us to Joppa and bring us back again; but that as for the second part of the article, he could not agree to it, and alleged many reasons on account of which it is impossible to sail during the month of May. Therefore he could not set out with us in fourteen days, nor yet in twenty-six days; but when twenty-six days were past, he would start at any hour when he had a fair wind. With regard to the twelfth article, he said that he would not take less than forty-five ducats for each pilgrim, for which he alleged many reasons. With regard to the fifteenth article, he said that he was willing to suffer a dead man to remain on board the galley, but he declared that the sea would not allow it, and that it would hinder our voyage. But the reader may see how much truth there is in this later. With all the other articles he declared himself content, So at last, after a long talk, we made a contract with him. When we had made our contract, he took us all to St. Mark's, to the Doge's palace, and brought us before the protonotaries of the city, who, when they heard the reason for which we were presented to them, wrote down our names and stations in life in a great book, on which my name had been written before, when I went on my former pilgrimage; and so our contract and agreement was ratified. When this was done, we went in a boat with the captain to the galley, and chose a space for twelve persons on the lefthand side, which space the captain divided into twelve berths or cots, and wrote each man's name upon his berth with chalk, so that no one else should take those places. In this I had a stroke of good luck, and got a better berth or cot than any one of our company. A berth or cot is a place for one man, reaching in length from his head to his feet, which is assigned to him for sleeping, sitting, and living in, whether he be sick or well. So, having arranged these matters, we rowed home to our inn, very well satisfied with everything, except that we should be obliged to stay so much longer and so many more days in Venice, which was very grievous to us.

Here endeth the first chapter."

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