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Wolff, R. L.; Hazard, H. W. (ed.) / Volume II: The later Crusades, 1189-1311

V: The Fourth Crusade,   pp. 152-185 PDF (11.7 MB)

Page 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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