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Medieval Sourcebook:
Partnership Agreements:
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.

Witnesses, etc.


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. 187-188.

Scanned by Jerome S. Arkenberg, Cal. State Fullerton. The text has been modernized by Prof. Arkenberg.

This text is part of the Internet Medieval Source Book. The Sourcebook is a collection of public domain and copy-permitted texts related to medieval and Byzantine history.

Unless otherwise indicated the specific electronic form of the document is copyright.Permission is granted for electronic copying, distribution in print form for educational purposes and personal use. If you do reduplicate the document, indicate the source. No permission is granted for commercial use.

© Paul Halsall, September 1998
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