Wolff, R. L.; Hazard, H. W. (ed.) / The later Crusades, 1189-1311
V: The Fourth Crusade, pp. 152-185 PDF (13.5 MB)
Ch.V THE FOURTH CRUSADE 163 were to put the transports at the service of the crusaders for a year from the time of departure, which was set for the day of Sts. Peter and Paul of the following year (June 29, 1202), unless that date should be changed by common consent. As their own contribution, the Venetians were to furnish fifty war galleys fully manned and equipped for the same length of service, on condition that Venice should share equally with the crusaders in any conquests or gains made on the campaign. The envoys accepted the proposal, which the doge then submitted for ratification first to the "large council" of forty, and then to larger bodies of one hundred, two hundred, and a thousand, and finally to the people as a whole, before whom the envoys knelt weeping to loud cries of "We grant it" from more than 10,000 assembled in St. Mark's for mass. After the terms had been accepted by both sides, the covenant was drawn up and signed, on the one hand by the six envoys in the names of the three counts who had accredited them, and on the other by the doge and his council of state and council of forty. <26> The negotiators also agreed secretly that the attack should be directed against Egypt, "because more harm could be inflicted on the Turks there than in any other land." But they would keep up the pretense that the expedition would go direct to Palestine, no doubt to conceal their true intentions from the enemy and to prevent discontent from arising among the rank and file of the crusaders, who naturally expected to be led to Jerusalem. It was stipulated in the covenant that a copy of it should be transmitted to pope Innocent to secure his confirmation. This joint expedition of a French army and a Venetian fleet, however, arranged for on their own initiative by the French leaders and the government of Venice, was something quite different from the general crusade of western Europe under papal auspices envisaged by the pope. Nevertheless, he felt constrained to accept it as a partial realization of his own project. Not only did he confirm the covenant when it was presented to him at Rome, <27> but he went further and undertook to make the plan his own. In May, a few weeks after receiving a copy of the treaty, he wrote to the clergy in England, instructing them to see to it that those who had taken the cross in that land 26 Text of the treaty in Tafel and Thomas, Urkunden, I, 363 ff. 27 "Mult volentiers," says Geoffrey of Villehardouin (Conquete, chap. XXXI). The Gesta, on the other hand (chap. lxxxiii; FL, CCXIV, col. 131) asserts that Innocent answered "caute" and made his confirmation conditional on the crusaders' future consultation with the holy see. This author, however, writing after the event, was evidently intent on demonstrating the extraordinary foresight of Innocent (quod futurorum esset presagiens). Innocent must surely have welcomed this evidence that some military action was at last preparing.
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