37. Matthäus Schwarz calculates Fugger claims towards the Spanish fleets of 1557

Fugger Archive
FA 43.1
SENDER: Matthäus Schwarz
GENERAL INFORMATION: Paper booklet consisting of two double sheets. H: 43.5 cm, W: 59.2 cm. Dated 1557.

In 1557, two Spanish fleets brought the king and for merchants silver from the New World. A promise of 400,000 ducats was made to the Fuggers alone as compensation for earlier loans. Philip II of Spain had Fugger’s funds in the Netherlands confiscated because of the threat of national bankruptcy. Anton Fugger’s protests against this were of little avail, especially since his factor in Antwerp had failed to follow his instructions due to pressure from the Spanish. Hence, he sent a mining specialist called Sebastian Kurz to Brussels to enter negotiations with Erasso, the crown’s financier. In the meantime, debts of 600,000 ducats had accumulated, and Kurz’s aim was to achieve repayment and secure loans, possibly by leasing American mines. However, the Spanish side did not accept the proposal. In 1558, Matthäus Schwarz, the Fuggers’ chief accountant, converted Kurz’s results and data, supplemented by those he had procured himself, into his own set of figures.
In the document on display from 1558, Schwarz uses four different rows to calculate the amounts that the Fuggers received from Spain. In the first two rows he lists the money from the fleets of 1 July and 26 September 1557 in seven columns (cols 1–7). This money is due, in ducats (col. 2), to Anton Fugger, his nephew Hans Jakob and the Fuggers’ ‘common trade’ (col. 1). After deducting the costs (col. 3), their interest-free shares (col. 4) are shown in ducats. On the right side of the page, Schwarz converts the ducats into kroner (col. 5). With an interest rate of 14 per cent as well as the term from 1 July 1557 to 25 May 1559 (col. 6), the sum of capital and interest is given in column 7. The third row registers the shares from both fleets: 234,987 for Anton Fugger, 205,176 for Hans Jakob and lastly 126,850 ducats for the Fuggers’ ‘common trade’. In the fourth row, which is crossed out, Schwarz converts this total of 567,013 guilders (col. 2) into kroner (col. 3), as he had done above. With the interest (col. 4), the result comes to 762,267 crowns, which he further converts (cols 6-7). The document concludes with Schwarz’s own signature.

(Franz Karg)