Purchase of Shares in a Ship, 1248
In the middle of the thirteenth century the practice of financing the construction
of ships, and dividing the risk of loss by sale of shares was still in vogue at
Marseilles. With the accumulation of capital and greater safety on seagoing voyages, the
need for resorting to joint ownership by sale of shares was diminished. In this type of
organization, occasioned by the use of larger vessels, there was a departure from the
simple partnership, and an approach to the corporate form of organization.
July seventeenth, in the year of the Incarnation 1248.
I, James Lavagne, acknowledge and confess to you, William Cadenet, citizen of
Marseilles, that I have bought for you under your name, at Genoa, a sixth part in a
certain ship which is called the Saint Leonard, at a price of forty-one pounds and
two solidi and six denarii (Genoese currency) in which Hugh Quillan and William Sansier
are partners with me. And I have bought a thirty-third part in a ship called the Saint
Agnes, at a price of fifty pounds (Genoese currency), in which ship Bonvassal Castel
and his associates are partners. And I bought the said sixth of the Saint Leonard and
the thirty-third of the Saint Agnes from the order of 125 pounds in mixed money
current at Marseilles, which you gave me at Marseilles, for the voyage I was about to make
to Genoa, and by a certain deed concerning that order made by the hand of Berengar
Mercier, notary of Marseilles, wherein the arrangement is fully contained. I also
acknowledge and confess to you that you have, by occasion of the said order made by you to
me, a sixth in the said ship and a share in the Saint Agnes; and I acknowledge that
I have deducted my quarter profit for what I ought to have by reason of the said order. I
grant and concede to you and your servants all rights, etc., which I have in the said
sixth and in the said thirty-third. I also declare that I have possession of the said
shares under your name.
From: L. Blancard, ed., Documents Inédits sur le Commerce de Marseille au Moyen Age,
(Marseilles: Barlatier-Feissat, Pere et Fils, 1884), Vol. II, p. 290, reprinted in Roy C.
Cave & Herbert H. Coulson, A Source Book for Medieval Economic History, (Milwaukee:
The Bruce Publishing Co., 1936; reprint ed., New York: Biblo & Tannen, 1965), pp.
Scanned by Jerome S. Arkenberg, Cal. State Fullerton. The text has been modernized by
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