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CHAPTER SEVENTH.: ITALIAN REPUBLICS. PISTOIA. - John Adams, The Works of John Adams, vol. 5 (Defence of the Constitutions Vols. II and III) 
The Works of John Adams, Second President of the United States: with a Life of the Author, Notes and Illustrations, by his Grandson Charles Francis Adams (Boston: Little, Brown and Co., 1856). 10 volumes. Vol. 5.
Part of: The Works of John Adams, 10 vols.
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“The Roman republic, according to its custom* of putting judges in all places under its dominion, sent to Pistoia a pretor, who had the whole jurisdiction, civil and criminal, over the city; reserving always, according to the tenor of the Roman laws, obedience to the magistrates of that commonwealth. This jurisdiction, acquired by the Roman republic over the city of Pistoia, passed to the Roman emperors, and from these, into the power of the Goths and the Lombards, and successively of those who, from time to time, were lords (signore) of Tuscany; and it has continued, down to our times, under the same tie and obligation of dependence. It is very true, that the province being liberated from the government of foreign nations, and its governors (dominatori) having permitted the people to make laws and create magistrates, the authority became divided; hence, when the concession was made to the Pistoians to create magistrates, to take the name of consuls, and to form the general council of the people, they were permitted to expedite, by the authority of these, many things in their city; reserving always, nevertheless, the sovereignty to their lords.
“This concession of governing themselves by their own laws, obtained by the provinces of Italy, was the pure liberality of Charlemagne,* at a time when, having delivered them entirely from the government of the barbarians, he placed them under the command of one of his royal ministers, with the title of marquis, or of duke. Under this system of government Tuscany was comprehended, which had its dukes and marquises, who governed it. But as it was the custom of Charlemagne, and, long after him, of his successors, to send to the cities of this province two subaltern ministers, one with the name of castaldo, or governor, and the other with that of count, which is as much as to say, judge of the city, who held his courts of justice either alone, or in conjunction with the castaldo, and very often with the bishop of the place, as the bishops were assessors and officers, deputed as vassals of the king or the emperor; so the city of Pistoia was a long time ruled and governed by this order of castaldi and counts.
“Otho II., having ascended the imperial throne, and having conducted the affairs of Italy with little good fortune, the people began to think it lawful to lose their respect, and to fail in their veneration for the imperial commands, and the cities advancing in their inclination for liberty, many of them began to reassume the title of consuls, which had been extinct under the Lombards; and if these had somewhat of a greater authority, nevertheless, they were not exempt from the jurisdiction of the dukes and marquises, or from the sovereignty of the kings and emperors.
“A greater spirit of independence arising in the minds of the Italians, in the time of those great discords between the empire and the church, diminished to such a degree the esteem of the people towards the emperors, solemnly excommunicated by the pontiffs, that a great part of the cities of Italy, estranging themselves by little and little from their obedience, began to conduct themselves like independent states, in entire freedom. This happened in the time of Henry IV. and V.; and the disobedience increased still more, when all the German forces were engaged to sustain, in Germany, the competition between Lothario II. and Conrad the Suabian, for the throne of Cæsar. Then the cities, taking advantage of the distance of those who had power to bridle their arrogance, began to be insolent;* then they began to lift up their heads, and to do whatever seemed good in their own eyes; then they thought it lawful to appropriate to themselves many of the rights of royalty due to their sovereign; and believing themselves able to shake off the yoke of superiority, they attended to nothing but to their present advantage, and to extend the limits of their usurped liberty. But with all this, they were never able to extinguish the nature of their subjection, nor the obligation of dependence; for Frederick I. passed over to establish and regulate their privileges, in the convention of Constance, and the rights of royalty which had been then usurped. And the people were held to an annual census,† and obliged to perform certain royal and personal services.
In the twelfth century, the cities, after the similitude of ancient Rome, all reassumed the title of consuls, and began, some sooner and others later, to make their proper statutes, and establish their popular government. Though it is not possible to ascertain the precise time when the institution of consuls was first made in Pistoia, they are, nevertheless, found named in the statutes of 1107; and of these there were two, called the Consul of the Soldiers, and the Consul of Justice, taken from the nobility of the place, and were called the Greater Consuls, to distinguish them from the plebeian consuls of the second class, called the Lesser Consuls, or Consuls of the Merchants, taken from the common people. Their authority, and sometimes their number varied; but there was ever to be one more of the popular than of the greater consuls.‡ The election of these magistrates was made every year by the people, with the intervention of all the governors (rettori) of the arts of the city; and they governed, with a council of a hundred of the better sort of citizens, administering justice both to the laity and the ecclesiastics. This council, besides its extraordinary assemblies, was obliged to meet in the months of March, May, July, and September, after a previous intimation, given by the consuls, of the business to be done; and for the result of this assembly, all determinations upon things of most importance must wait; and all laws, resolutions, and deliberations, first proposed and digested in the smaller council by the few, must be here confirmed or rejected.”
Here again is a constitution of all authority in one assembly. The council of a hundred was sovereign. The consuls, though they had the command of the army, and the judgment of causes, could do nothing in administration by themselves, or with advice of their little council. They had no negative upon any deliberation or resolution of the great council; and, on the other hand, the people had no negative, not even the poor protection of a tribunitian veto. Accordingly we read, in the next paragraph, that
“The power of the people having greatly increased, by means of their usurped liberty,1 the factions had become numerous, and so much the more intractable and seditious, as the incentive of power was become the greater. In 1155, the emperor Frederick I., after having reduced Milan to his obedience, and received the oaths of fidelity from all the other cities of Italy, and, among the rest, from those of Tuscany, in order to obviate the continual tumults which arose, judged it necessary to institute the office and dignity of podestà, and to send to the government of those cities gentlemen from among the foreign nobility, with that title. This commission of podestà operated to the damage and diminution of the influence of the consuls, because in this magistrate was vested the whole judicial power, both in private and civil causes, and in those which were public and criminal; and therefore the podestà was the ordinary judge in the city,* with full power, dominion, and authority to govern, command, and chastise, granted to him by the emperor, to whom, as their legitimate sovereign, the people had recourse in cases of appeal, and in all denials of justice.
“From its subjection to this minister, in the earliest times of the institution of his office, the city of Pistoia was again oppressed; and, as the nomination was reserved directly to the sovereign, so the officer was changed as often as the times seemed to him to require. The discords and dissensions having become softened by length of time, Pistoia acquired the right of election of this minister, who obliged himself, in many things, to follow the various ordinances and resolutions of the consuls. This election of the podestà was made by the Pistoians in virtue of a municipal law consented to by the sovereign; the person elected remained in office only six months, and was chosen by the council of the people, as it was called, that is, the council of a hundred, with the intervention of all the rettori of the chapels, and of the arts. The podestà was bound to carry with him judges skilful in the laws, notaries, two companies of militia, horses, and servants, and other followers; and these officers were obliged in all things to render their accounts. It was customary to confer this dignity of podestà upon the chief citizens. The consuls or the podestà, jointly or severally, had no authority to impose taxes, to consent to war, peace, truce, or alliance, without the council of the people, which consisted of a hundred citizens, elected in the proportion of five and twenty for each of the four gates or quarters of the city, with the addition of all the rettori of the chapels, and of the arts.”
In other words, the podestà, consuls, council of a hundred, and rectors of the chapels and arts, were all collected in one assembly, to determine on grants for money, peace, war, truce, alliance, &c., and all questions were determined by the vote of the majority, which necessarily made that tempestuous and capricious government in one centre, against which we contend.
“And to the podestà, for his regulation in the exercise of his office, were given by the city fourteen counsellors, and two judges; one de lege, that is to say, doctor of laws; the other ex usu or de usu, which they interpreted, a protector of the commons; and two advocates for arguing each cause. With the opinion of all these, he decided upon those things which affected the honor or utility of the public, as, after having made his election of these attendants, he was obliged to stand by their advice.* This podestà, in early times, superintended not only the secular, but the ecclesiastical government; but in process of time the city became governed by three, namely,—the consuls, the podestà, and the bishop; for the bishop had profited of the violent dissensions that prevailed in the city, to draw to himself various rights and jurisdictions, as has happened in other nations.
“The lordship of the podestà, therefore, having preponderated over the authority of the consuls, these were gone, when the office of captain of the people was created. This institution happened in Pistoia, when the Guelph party, by an increase of their numbers and strength, acquired the superiority of the Ghibellines; at which time, the lordship was taken from the podestà with a great concourse and tumult of the people, and nothing was left him but the charge of hearing and determining civil causes. Twelve anziani of the people were then instituted, and the authority of the consuls was transferred to them.
“The last appearance of the consuls in the records of Pistoia, is in 1248, and the first of the captain of the people, in 1267; when it is said in the statute, that the captain of the people was the first ruler of the city, and the primary defender of its rights, and that he ought chiefly to watch over the conservation of the peace; that he was the judge of appeals, and of all causes in the second instance; that he had cognizance of crimes; that he governed with supreme authority, united with that of the anziani; that he kept a court, of the same kind as that of the podestà, but more numerous; and that the city gave him, for ornament and defence, three hundred of the best and ablest men, who, taking an oath of fidelity to him, stood continually in his service.† The election of this ruler was to be made by the anziani, in the person of some foreigner, and not of any citizen of Pistoia, notwithstanding, some of the primary citizens did in fact obtain this office, as appears by the records. Yet the anziani were sworn not to elect any man of Tuscany, or of the city of Pistoia, of its district, or other place adjoining to the city or its bishopric. The words of the law, in the twelfth rubric of 1267, are, ‘Nos anthiani populi Pistoriensis, juramus, sine aliquo intellectu nobis dato, vel dando eligi, vel eligi facere nobis, et Pist. unum bonum et virum prudentem majorem XXX. ann. in nostrum capitaneum populi devotum, et fidelem ecclesiæ, qui non sit de civitate Pistorii, vel districtu, et qui non sit de Tuscia . . . vel de aliqua terra, quæ confinet cum civitate, vel episcopatu, vel districtu Pistorii.’ And this dignity of captain of the people was in such reputation, that, in some places, princes were chosen, and sometimes even the pontiffs; and such personages, by means of their vicars, often exercised it.
“The captain of the people, therefore, being the conservator of the peace, and the defender of the rights of the city, the Pistoians, to give him a strong arm to bridle those who had unquiet and restless brains, thought it necessary to create certain companies of armed men, who, at the sound of a bell, should be obliged to assemble in the piazza, in order to execute the orders which should be given them by this officer and the anziani, without whose permission they were not allowed to depart. These companies were called by the name of the Equestrian and Pedestrian Orders, because they were composed of both horse and footmen. They were afterwards augmented to twelve, in the proportion of three for each quarter, which embraced an infinite number of people; and every company had two captains, one gonfalonier, whose office was to carry the standard of his company, and four counsellors; and it was the duty of the captain of the people to procure the election of these officers, as is asserted in the statute of 1267, rubric 19: ‘Teneatur capitaneus del popolo, primo mense sui regiminis, eligi facere duos capitaneos, unum gonfalonerium, et quatuor consiliarios pro qualibet compagnia civit. Pist. pro factis ipsius compagniæ.’ And in the additional laws of 1286, eight priors were added to these companies, two for each quarter; and other orders were made for the good regulation of this militia.
“The twelve anziani were created with the same authority and full power which the consuls had held; but the precise year cannot be ascertained. The number of members of which the new magistrature was composed, appears by a law of 1267: ‘Ordinamus quod duodecim anthiani populi civit. Pist. sint et esse debeant in civitate Pistoria.’ These twelve magistrates were renewed every two months; and afterwards, as appears by a law of 1277, it was established, that the anzianate should not continue longer than one month; and this magistracy of the anziani was elected by a council of the people of two hundred, by the rettori of the arts and their counsellors, and by the captains, gonfaloniers, and counsellors of the companies of the people, and by the anziani pro tempore. The head of the anziani was, in the primitive times, called prior, and not gonfalonier. The prior being the first dignity among the anziani, each member enjoyed it in rotation for an equal number of days, (as the president’s chair of the States General is filled by all the members in turn, for one week, at the Hague.) This prior had great authority, as appears by a law of 1267, written in the thirty-seventh rubric: ‘Anthiani teneantur facere, et faciant inter se, unum priorem de ipsis anthianis adjectum ipsis, sicut eis videbitur de tempore, cui cæteri anthiani pareant, et parere debeant, et obedire; et qui contrafecerit puniatur a priore anthianorum.’ Although the name of gonfalonier appears in the records of some of these years, yet certainly he was not the head of the anziani, but of the arts; thus, in the law of 1283: ‘Item capitaneus debeat spendere et assignare gonfalonem gonfaloneriis electis, vel eligendis, ab unaquaque arte et populo . . . ita quod unaquæque ars suos gonfalonerios et officiales habeat.’ From this it clearly appears, that these gonfaloniers were the heads of the arts, and not of the supreme magistrature of the anziani; which gonfaloniers were elected by the council of the people of two hundred, by the rettori of the arts, and their counsellors, and by the captains, gonfaloniers, and counsellors of the companies of the people, and by the anziani for the time being. These anziani, sitting together with the captain of the people, and the general council of the people, promulgated laws and statutes, gave execution to all the laws, civil and criminal, performed and conducted all the most important affairs relating to the government, and restrained the nobles and plebeians with the fear of punishment within the limits of respect and obedience.”*
That is to say, all authority, legislative, executive, and judicial, was collected together in one single assembly. But how they restrained the nobles and plebeians to obedience, we shall soon see.
“In the year 1329, these anziani are called in the records Imperial Counsellors, (Consiglieri Imperiali,) a remarkable title, obtained probably from the Emperor Louis, of Bavaria, when, after the death of Castruccio, he placed one of his imperial vicars over the custody of the city of Pistoia. The dignity of gonfalonier of justice was probably instituted in the year 1295, because in the next year, 1296, in the acts of council it is recorded, ‘De consilio et consensu et auctoritate dominorum anthianorum et vexilliferi justitiæ populi, et auctoritate ducentorum consiliarorum.’
“The new law of 1330, names a gonfalonier of justice, and eight anziani. ‘It is resolved, that the anziani of the commons, and people of the city of Pistoia, be, and ought to be, eight only, namely,—two for each gate or quarter, and one gonfalonier or justice for the whole city. . . . . The said lords, the anziani, and the gonfalonier of justice, and their notaries, shall be and ought to be of the best popular men and artificers of the city, and not of any house of the grandees.’* And the authority of the gonfalonier of justice was placed upon an equality with that of the anziani. The law ordained, that, ‘wherever, in the statutes of the commons and people, mention is made of the anziani, the same shall be understood of the gonfalonier of justice, although it be not written; and in all things, and everywhere, he shall have the same authority, and full power (balìa) as has one of the anziani, besides his proper office.’ And to show that the gonfalonier of justice was not, in the beginning, superior to the anziani, it appears that, after the introduction of that office, they continued to appoint, in the usual manner, a prior of the anziani, with the same authority and preëminence before described. The law of 1330 says, ‘And the anziani and gonfalonier of justice, after they shall be congregated in their palace, and shall have taken their usual oaths, shall constitute one prior from among themselves, for such time as they please, to whom all the others shall obey, under the penalty, &c. So that each of the anziani and gonfaloniers of justice shall be prior, according to the proportion of time they shall be in office.’
“The gonfalonier, by the duty of his office, was bound to send out, with the consent and participation of the anziani, the standard of justice, to assemble the armed militia, and go out to execute process against any of the grandees (magnati); ‘which gonfalonier of justice,’ says the law, ‘shall be bound by the obligation of an oath, and under the penalty of five hundred pounds, upon the commission of any homicide, to draw forth the standard of justice, and, together with the captain of the people, to go to the house of the grandee committing such homicide, or causing it to be committed, and to cause his goods to be destroyed, and not to suffer the said standard to repose, until all the property of such delinquent shall be totally destroyed and laid waste, both in the city and the country; and to cause the bell of the people to be rung, if it shall seem expedient to the lords, the anziani, and the gonfalonier of justice, or the major part of them; and all the shops, stores, and warehouses, shall be shut immediately upon the commission of such homicide, and shall not be opened till execution shall be done as aforesaid. But in all other offences perpetrated against the person of any man of the people by any grandee, it shall be in the discretion of the said lords, the anziani, and the gonfalonier of justice, or the major part of them, to draw out the said standard or not.’ Such a rigorous kind of justice, as it regarded the grandees, who gave themselves a license to commit excessive disorders against those of the commonalty, was thought to be best adapted to their insolence. And to undeceive those who may imagine that in Pistoia, at that time, the title of grandee was a respectable title, and distinctive of the true nobility of the place, it is necessary to have recourse to the common municipal law, which says, that the magnati (grandees) were all those, of whatever condition, who, abandoned to an ill life, offended the commonalty, and held the city and country in inquietude; they for this reason were called Magnates, became separated from public affairs, and excluded entirely from all magistracies and offices, and subjected to very rigorous penalties. By the laws of the years 1330 and 1344, to be declared a grandee was rather an infamy than an honor. The words of the law are these: ‘But if it shall happen that men of any race, or noble house, or any one of them from such a a noble house or stock, born of the male line, or any others, live wickedly and flagitiously against the people, hurt the men of the people, and terrify and disturb their peaceful state, or shall endeavor to do so by themselves or by others, and this shall be made known by public fame to the captain of the people and the anziani and gonfalonier of justice for the time being; these magistrates, at the petition of any of the people of Pistoia, shall be obliged to propose to the council of the people, that such a noble house or progeny, such a man or number of men, thus defamed, be written and placed in the number of grandees, and be accounted as such.’* And as the Pistoians were driven to great perplexities to maintain in peace and quiet, their popular government, and in order to punish severely all those who should take the license to disturb the pacific state of their city, they proclaimed this penalty on all delinquents, by a law of the year 1418, rubric 9. ‘But if it shall happen that any one of any noble house or race, or any one of any other condition, shall live wickedly and profligately, or shall commit or attempt to commit any such crime or misdemeanor against the people, and the pacific state of the people of the city of Pistoia, they shall be recorded in the number of grandees, and accounted as such.’ ”1
To such extremes of caprice and violence, destructive of all liberty and safety, are such governments naturally and necessarily reduced.†
“The city of Pistoia had also in its regimen a syndic. This was an officer who was called an Elder, or Syndic-General, who must be forty years of age, and live forty miles from the city. His duty was to look over the accounts of the podestà, the captain of the people, the anziani, and all the magistrates and officers of the city and its district, when they resigned or were dismissed from their charges. There were, moreover, according to the law of 1402, judges of appeals in all causes, civil, criminal, and mixed; and to them belonged the cognizance of all disputes and regulations concerning provisions; they also superintended the sumptuary laws, against all luxurious excesses in the dress and ornaments of the ladies; and they entertained a number of notaries, and a numerous family and court, for the execution of all services appertaining to their offices.
“The city of Pistoia being in this state of government, in 1355, the Emperor Charles IV. arrived at Pisa, and the citizens appeared before his imperial majesty, and gave him the demonstrations of vassalage and obedience due to the sovereignty which he held over their city. The emperor confirmed to them all the privileges granted by his august predecessors; and desirous of fixing the reputation and reverence for the dignity of the gonfaloniers of justice, he enlarged their authority, as well as that of the anziani; and wishing to make the Pistoians enjoy, quietly, a sort of liberty, he gave them, by a diploma of the twenty-sixth of May, the faculty of living and governing themselves, according to their laws and laudable customs, in a free, popular state, under the regency of the anziani and the gonfaloniers of justice, declaring both the anziani and the gonfaloniers, for the affairs of Pistoia and its dominion, his vicars, and vicars of the empire, for the whole term of his own life. “The anziani,” says the diploma, “and the gonfalonier of justice of the people, and commons of Pistoia, who now are, and for the time to come shall be, in office, and no others, we constitute our general and irrevocable vicars, for the whole term of our life, with the full administration in the city, country, and district of Pistoia, and in all its lands, castles, and places. Pistoia maintained itself in this state of a republic as long as Charles IV. lived; and, taking advantage of the distance and negligence of his successors, it persevered in the same government until the year 1401, when the Emperor Robert, by his charter, declared the gonfalonier and priors of the arts of the city of Florence his vicars, and vicars of the empire, and gave them the government of Arezzo, Volterra, Pistoia, and the other places of Tuscany.”
But in the interval between these periods, the Pistoians were never quiet; for, governing themselves in what they called a free popular state, they were for reducing all to a level, and thought, or pretended, to make all the citizens enjoy equally the public honors and offices of their city.
“In this state of things, the rebellion of Sambuca was fomented by some of the citizens of Pistoia, at the head of whom was Riccardo Cancellieri, who had made himself master of several castles in the mountains; from whence he made inroads on the whole territory of Pistoia, and kept the inhabitants in continual alarms, with the design of delivering his country into the hands of John Galeazzo Visconti, Duke of Milan. Upon this occasion the imperial vicars in Florence sent, for the protection of Pistoia, two thousand infantry, some cavalry, and three commissaries, who, calling together the general council, imposed upon the counsellors the necessity of doing whatever was required of them, that they might not incur still greater miseries. In the first place, they required that every resolution and statute of liberty, and every condition, article, and confederation, which the city had, should be annulled; and then, by another resolution, that they should subject themselves to the people of Florence, with liberal authority to govern Pistoia at their discretion. This proposition of the Florentines was ill relished by the Pistoians; and while the council was debating on it, the soldiery took possession of the piazza and palace of the anziani; and having understood that no resolution had passed, they began with drawn swords in their hands to cry, “Florence for ever!” (Viva Firenze!) and to threaten the counsellors. Thus intimidated, they by an ample resolution suddenly surrendered the liberty of their city to the Florentines, from that day, the tenth of September, 1401, to the calends of January, 1402, to the end that they might apply a summary remedy to the evils with which they were agitated and oppressed. Thus say the books of reformations in Florence; and then were painted the lions, the ensigns of Florence, upon the palace of the syndic of the city of Pistoia.
“It was not long before these imperial vicars, availing themselves of the authority given them by the emperor, and of that given them by the Pistoians themselves, sent to Pistoia four commissaries to reform the public offices. These, desirous, as they said, of smoothing the passions of the chiefs which had disturbed the quiet of the city of Pistoia, proposed that the forms and orders of the city of Florence should, as much as possible, be imitated; and that the twelve buoni homini should be called the Twelve of the College; and that the supreme magistracy of the anziani should be no longer denominated the Anziani of the People, but the Priors of the People; and, not making any innovation in the gonfalonier of justice, that he should retain the same name. The prior of the anziani was to be called Proposto or President of the Priori, according to the words of the reform, ‘And the priors shall have among themselves one president continually, who shall continue three days in this manner. After the oaths of office shall be taken, they shall cause nine votes, with their names, to be put into a purse by a notary, one of which shall be drawn out for a president, and so successively during the term of their office.’
“The Florentines having thus limited and restrained the privileges of the Pistoians, or made the election of the anziani, and given them the name of priors, they made eight purses, in the proportion of two for each gate, and regulated themselves according to the plan in 1376; in which year, to take away the scandalous names of the two factions of Bianchi and Neri, Whites and Blacks, two companies were instituted, one called the Company of St. John, and the other of St. Paul, and one prior was drawn for the gate of one company, and another for the other; and the gonfalonier of justice was drawn, at one time from the company of St. John, and at another from that of St. Paul. This manner of drawing the magistracy of the priori was changed in 1427, when they began to be drawn from two different purses, the first and the second.
“In 1417, the Pistoians, considering that in so great a change of affairs they ought to make some advancement of the dignity of the gonfalonier of justice, ordained that the first place in rank should no longer be held by the president and rector of the city, but by the gonfalonier. Thus says the law, ‘That the gonfalonier of justice shall always hold the more dignified place, and after him the president; and in like manner, in going out, with the rector and other officers of the city of Pistoia.’ This law was ratified by the law of 1437; and from this it followed, that in 1463 they began to make for the president, who was to continue in that office, a purse by itself; as it was determined, in 1471, that for the future two should be drawn from that purse, and the oldest man of them should be the first to occupy the president’s place, unless the younger were a doctor of laws; and this was called the purse of the president; the first of whom had the power of speaking and answering first in all meetings; which power however ceased, in the first president, in the year 1492, when it was determined, that the right of sitting and speaking first should, in all occurrences, be enjoyed by the gonfalonier of justice; and thus this office of gonfalonier of justice, rising continually in dignity, began by little and little to be desired by the nobles; and, by common consent and a public decree, it became confined to the nobles alone.
“The supreme magistracy of the priori becoming a little civilized, the purse of the president got to be considered as the first after that of the gonfalonier of justice, and that of the priors which was the first became the second; but, because four subjects were drawn from this, it was called the Purse of Four; and the other, which was called the Second of the Priori, became the third, and was called, from this time, the Common Purse, in which all citizens qualified for offices should remain, at least for the period of one renewal, although by his condition of birth, merit, and age, he might be qualified for a purse of higher rank. When it was afterwards established, that the descendants by the male line, of men of rank, and of presidents, should no longer enter upon the office of prior through that purse, but through that of four, the same was called no longer the Common Purse, but the Third; whence, by virtue of this new order of magistrature, we read, in 1475, of one gonfalonier of justice, two presidents, four of the first, and two of the second purse, and one notary, with the preference to the gonfalonier of sitting first, given him by the law of 1474, which says, ‘The gonfalonier shall obtain the first and most dignified place.’
By the few memorials that remain in the archives of Pistoia it appears, that there have been many and various councils of citizens, for the regulation of the public affairs of the city, in which councils the supreme authority of government resided; and before the construction of the public palace, all these councils were assembled in a church, at the election of the head of the supreme magistracy of the anziani. The council of the people, from the year in which the anziani were instituted, until 1477, had the privilege to make the renewals of the magistrates and public officers of the city; in which year it was ordained, that such renewal should be made by those who had been drawn gonfaloniers of justice, and workmen of St. James. These riformatori began to be called men of rank (graduati) for being arrived at the first two grades and honors of the city, which at that time were the offices of gonfalonier of justice, and of a workman of St. James; and, for the first time, they are found thus named in the reform of 1483; from which time it was established by law, that two of each family should assist, to make the renewal of public offices, and that the number of thirty-three should be sufficient to make the renewal with validity. And this order of the graduati, or men of distinction, is that by which, at this day, the nobility of the city of Pistoia is most clearly distinguished. In the year 1521, the assigned number of the graduati to make the renewal of the public officers failing, there were elected certain citizens, of the other noble and popular families, to whom was given the name of Arruoti; and it was established as the duty of these to assist in making the renewal; and this lasted till 1580.
“In the times of the consuls we read, that there was a council of a hundred citizens, who were chosen by four men of good fame, twenty-five for each of the four gates of the city; without this council, neither the consuls nor the podestà could determine any thing; and when there arose a question of peace, war, or taxes, besides the council of a hundred, all the rettori of the chapels and arts assisted.”
And as upon these occasions the consuls, podestà, counsellors of the hundred, and rectors of chapels and arts, all met in one assembly, and determined all things by a majority of votes, which, as has been before observed, made it a government in one centre (an aristocracy in reality, though a popular state in name) and consequently some two or three families must always be at the head of it, and constantly contending for the superiority, this kept the people in perpetual contention.
“There was another council, as appears by the records, formed of fourteen citizens, and of all the doctors and advocates, which was destined to counsel the podestà; as he himself, after having made his election of them, was obliged to regulate himself by their advice. Such was his oath; ‘And I will consult my counsellors, through the whole time of my government, in things which shall appear to me to regard the common honor and utility of our city of Pistoia.’ ”
As neither the podestà nor this council had any negative on the legislative council of a hundred, yet, since the podestà had the choice of the members of the smaller body, that was no doubt composed of his friends in the council of a hundred, in which case it is plain that the same persons and families must have had the chief influence and direction of affairs in both; so that this executive council had the same centre with the legislative council.
“It is further found, that in the first times of the government of the twelve anziani, namely, in 1267, there were two councils, one of forty counsellors of the captain of the people and of the anziani who were required to be of an age above forty years, and their office continued six months; and they resolved upon all propositions which were proposed to them by the captain of the people and the anziani, provided they were not contrary to the laws and regulations of the commons and people. The other council was called the Council of Two Hundred Counsellors of the people; and in the assemblies of this council assisted all the aforesaid forty, and, moreover, all the captains, gonfaloniers, and counsellors of the companies of the people, and all the rettori and counsellors of the arts, and all those who had been anziani.”
The fabric of this government, and its spirit, was the same with the former, only the name of captain of the people was substituted for that of podestà, and a council of forty was substituted to that of fourteen, and a council of two hundred to that of one. The alteration therefore was not at all for the better.
“After 1330, there was one council, called the General Council; this was formed of a hundred citizens, namely, fifty popular1 men, and fifty grandees (magnati). In this council assisted all the members of the council of the people, all the gentry, all the doctors of laws, and all the physicians of Pistoia, matriculated in the college of physicians. But this council had of itself no authority, and could do nothing without the council of the people. In like manner, after the same year, 1330, the principal council of Pistoia was that of the people, in which assisted all the anziani, gonfaloniers of justice, and their notaries, and two hundred popular citizens; and none of the grandees could be of this council. They were elected fifty for each gate. The authority of this council was supreme and sovereign, to make and repeal laws, impose and take off taxes, &c. In more ancient times, as appears by the rubric 62, of the law of 1267, the council of the people had consisted of six hundred citizens; but because such a multitude generated confusion, it was reduced to two hundred in 1270.
“But the government of longest duration in Pistoia was that of the eight priors of the people, and one gonfalonier of justice; and this body was called the Supreme Magistracy of the City, and was renewed every two months, from the four purses, in the palace of its residence. When they proceeded to draw these magistrates, with solemn pomp, the box was taken from the treasury of St. James, within which were locked up, with four keys, all the votes of the magistrates of the city, and it was carried in procession, accompanied by the magistrates of all the colleges, with trumpets sounding, into the public palace. Here the gonfalonier of justice was drawn from the first purse, who was the head of this magistracy, and not only enjoyed the supreme dignity, and the preëminence in place, robes, habitation, and in all other respects, but answered in the name of the public; and although in public affairs he could not rule alone, there was always allowed him a right of freely entering when he would into the greater council, and into all other councils and colleges where any matters of importance were under deliberation, and there give his opinion, his reasons, and his vote. This gonfalonier was a man of gravity, from his age; and that he might be respectable in all points, it was required that he should be of an ancient family;* and he who enjoyed this supreme post enjoyed a jewel, held in veneration by the people, and in great esteem by the nobility. There were then drawn from the other purse two persons, who were called presidents; and these were sometimes of a middle age, and sometimes old men, and for the most part, after giving proofs of their wisdom in this station, they ascended, either by means of their birth or their merit, to the rank of gonfalonier. From the other purse, called the purse of four, were successively drawn four subjects of the prime nobility, or at least of middling condition, who, for the most part, were in younger age; and from this purse, some by their birth, and some by their merit and their age, passed up to the more dignified purse of the presidents, and sometimes to the rank of graduati, or men of distinction. In the last place were drawn two persons from the third purse, in which were contained the names of all the citizens who had not made any advancement in the other purses, or had been of families worthy only of the purse of four, and among these were found those who exercised civil and liberal arts; and these did not diminish the dignity of the magistracy, but rather gave occasion to maintain the union between the plebeians and the nobility; for with this compensation, the former remained long quiet, without any insurrection. This magistracy had in the service of its ministry a chancellor, who was a notary public, and was drawn from a purse destined for that purpose. This magistracy began their offices on the morning of the first day of the month, in their senatorial robes. Each of the priors wore a robe of scarlet lined with red damask, vulgarly called a gown (lucco), with a hat or bonnet lined with a cloth of black silk, with its ribbon and tassel of black crape, and upon the left shoulder a large knot of crimson satin, which was commonly called becca; and the chancellor wore a gown of black cloth, lined with red cloth, without the knot upon the shoulder, but with a hat similar to those of the priori, whose duty it is to draw up and sign the acts of this magistracy; but the gonfalonier of justice was clothed with a robe of red velvet, with a similar shoulder-knot, and his head was covered with a broad hat, of a noble appearance, the name of which is tocco.1
“This magistracy, thus clothed and ornamented, after the discharge of the old magistracy, took the oaths of office, in the public view of the people, in the larger piazza, and under the ample covering of it, built in 1332 with the revenues of the excise, or gabelles, of the four quarters of the city; and, after having taken the oaths, they went in procession, with the standard of justice, to the chapel of St. James the apostle, protector of the city, and thence to the palace of their residence, which was spacious enough to receive, in the year 1536, the Emperor Charles V., in all the forms of majesty. None of the component members of that magistracy could go out privately; but only when in some determined function was it permitted to the whole body of the magistracy to go out of their palace with solemn pomp. This magistracy resided with its chancellor, night and day, in the palace, to the end that all public business might be despatched with the greater vigilance, for the good government of the city; and they drew from the commons a sufficient appointment, both for the maintenance of their tables, and of six and twenty persons destined to their service, and for the honorable management of the furniture of their palace, the linen for their persons and households, and of their plate, and all other things necessary for their use in the time of the government. This magistracy also entertained a chaplain, with a handsome salary.”
We may pass over the tedious description of feasts and public processions, and say,—
“That the gonfalonier of justice was the head, not only of the supreme magistracy, but also of all other subaltern magistracies which were in the commonwealth, and without him there could not be convened any council of the citizens, to engage in any public deliberation. This magistrate, while the public residence continued, was attended, whenever he went out of the palace, by a retinue consisting of one person, who, with the title of fiscal, resided in Pistoia, of one assessor, versed in the profession of the law, of the captain of infantry, of two architects of the palace, of the steward of provisions, of the chancellor del danno dato, of the master of the house, and of six and twenty servants; and in the performance of religious ceremonies, and in some of the principal assemblies, this magistrate had a retinue of magistrates and nobility, which gave him more splendor than a crown.
“The magistrates, upon whom depended the right government of the city of Pistoia, are, besides those already named, all these which follow; some determine upon public affairs, others preside in judicature, others superintend the common, others private interests; these watch over health, those over plenty; some attend to the preservation of the peace, and others to politics.1 These magistrates are the twelve collegi; six for petitions; two for the works in the palace of the supreme magistrates; the two companions; the captain of infantry, who in ancient times was called by the name of captain of the families of the anziani, and who, in primitive times, was called by the name of votalarche, the institution of which office was most ancient. The six laborers of St. James, besides other commissions, held the care of the markets, and were, exclusively of all other magistrates and lawgivers of Pistoia, the judges and overseers of all offences touching provisions, and constituted the first magistracy of the nobles; because he who is denominated a laborer of St. James enjoys the noble rank of the graduati, a dignity and charge of equal nobility, although of different function and command, with that of gonfalonier of justice, as this office confers the character and distinction of nobility both upon the person and the family. There are also the four officers of the pious house of wisdom; the four operai of the holy virgin of humility; the magistrate over the rivers and roads; the laborers of St. John and St. Zeno; the magistracy of buoni homini over the prisons; the ministers of the Monte di Pietà; the ministers of salt; the ministers of pledges deposited; the approvers of the excises; the purveyor for the commons; the four over civil suits; the two over the restitution of taxes; the two over the public schools; the deputies superintending the poor; the deputies for the assessment of taxes; the magistrates of abundance; the magistrates of health; the judges of controversies relative to beasts; the four peace-makers; the ministers of the trumpet; the eight reformers; the ministers of the commons; the ministers of the customhouse; the syndics of the rettori; the deputies over the workhouse of the poor; the auditors; the college of judges; the notaries; the rettori of the arts; the tribunal of damages done; the clerks who assist in civil suits; the magistracy of three judges, who are foreigners; but at present, as the public revenues are farmed out, these are suspended, and in their place the treasurer of the city is introduced to decide the controversies of the people, with the liberty of appeal to the grand ducal chamber at Florence, in cases of denial of justice. The appeal from civil causes, determined by these magistrates, is sometimes to the supreme magistracy of the priori and the gonfalonier of justice of the city, in the name of whom, and under the impression of whose seal, the public decrees are despatched.
“There is, moreover, a council general of the people, formed of sixty citizens, and their office continues six months; at this council the priors of the people, the gonfalonier of justice, the twelve collegi, and the six for petitions assist. This council holds the supreme authority of the city, and has jurisdiction over all the magistrates who transgress their offices, and has the faculty to treat and despatch the most important affairs of the state of Pistoia, to make and repeal laws, name ambassadors, dispense offices, lay on and take off taxes, and to give all assistance to the other magistrates, who have their peculiar duties; and each member may oppose a decision on any question under deliberation, that it may be referred to another session, to be approved or rejected on mature consideration.
“For the most weighty business of the government, there is a council composed of the old and new council of the people, the priors of the people, the gonfalonier of justice, the twelve of the college, the six of petitions, all the graduati, the resident officers of the pious house of wisdom, and all the resident gonfaloniers, who decide as to the majority appears most useful and advantageous for the public good. Here all the most momentous affairs and causes most interesting to the public are digested.
“There is also a council of graduati, which had its beginning in 1483, and is composed of two persons for each family, of those persons, however, who actually enjoy the dignity of the graduati, which is the first of the honors of the city; and three and thirty members are sufficient to form a valid council, to which it belongs to promote persons and families to the citizenship of Pistoia, and to public offices and honors. Every five years, this council, together with the gonfalonier of justice, and the eight reformers, put to a secret vote all the persons who enjoy the citizenship of Pistoia, and reward or condemn them, as justice requires. They renew the imborsations of public offices and honors, and give or take away from all as they please; examining well the grades of citizenship, of nobility, of antiquity, merits and demerits in all persons and families, over whom they keep a watchful eye, in order to prevent all occasion of confusion, disorder, and disturbance, which might happen through the discordant pretensions of the citizens; and thus guarded and established, they come from time to time to the distribution of those offices for which there is occasion.
“Pistoia has also its dispenser of laws, (giusdicente,) the duty of whom is to take care of the peace and tranquillity of the citizens, and to distribute justice, both according to the municipal laws, and conformably to the will of the sovereign; and from ancient times his post was occupied by the podestà, introduced by the emperors into all the cities of Italy; and because that, in the league that was called the confederation of Tuscany, concluded in 1197 between many places and cities of that province, for their common defence against the rights, or at least claims, of the emperor, in order to stretch the limits of their liberty,1 Pistoia had her place, and elected, according to the tenor of the association, her head, with the title of captain, to whom were confided, as the law required, all her affairs and pretensions, therefore, in 1200, it is said that Pistoia had for her captain one by the name of Gualdaccio; from which year, until 1529, there was always elected by the Pistoians, and by those who had the government of Pistoia, a governor, (rettore,) together with the podestà, for the good direction of the affairs of that city.
“Afterwards it happened, that in the great tumults between the factions of the Panchiatici and the Cancellieri, there were elected by the Florentines thirteen commissaries, to establish the peace between them; and among the multitude of things which they did in 1502, they annulled the office of captain, and created that of commissary; and thus in some years the officer was called commissary, and in others captain commissary, and in others they returned to the old name of captain. In 1529, the Pistoians, finding themselves in great difficulties, doubtful whether they should be able to govern themselves, and dreading the devastations of the army of the Emperor Charles V., which was near their confines, sent ambassadors to Bologna, to supplicate Clement VII., who was then in that city, that he would condescend to defend their city from the imminent danger, and take it under his protection; and they delivered him the keys of it; which the pontiff, in his own name, and in the name of the emperor, who fought for the obedience of the Florentines, and the other cities of Tuscany, with great alacrity accepted, and immediately sent Alexander di Gerardo Corsini for the government and custody of Pistoia, with the title of commissary; and therefore it followed that a podestà or captain was not elected afterwards, with the exception of three years, but one magistrate alone, with the title of commissary-general, as was ever after the custom.
“The Emperor Charles V., having, in 1530, reduced the Florentines and their confederates, by force, to submission to the empire, and restored in Florence the house of Medici, who had been banished by their fellow-citizens, consigned to them the government and dominion of Tuscany. Pistoia did not hesitate a moment in its obedience to the new regent of the province, by which ready submission they obtained from him the privilege of continuing to govern themselves according to their own laws and laudable customs; and they continued to receive, in place of a podestà and captain, a commissary-general for their defender and governor; for all the time that the government of the house of Medici lasted, in order to maintain the charge with suitable dignity, it was their custom always to confer it on some senator of Florence.
“The government of the house of Medici terminating in the year 1737, by failure of the succession, it was conferred, by the Emperor Charles VI., on Francis III., Duke of Lorraine and Bar. This new lord of Tuscany, pursuing the same system of government of the house of Medici, has continued to furnish the city of Pistoia with a commissary-general, if not a senator, respectable at least for his nobility, who, regulating the government by the laws of the city, has always enabled it to enjoy a perfect tranquillity.
“Francis II., grand duke of Tuscany, in 1749, conceiving a good opinion of Pistoia, as a city of merit, and in all things respectable, and wishing to raise its dignity and honor, annulled the office of commissary-general, and confided the government to a minister, with the title of governor.”*
In a city, where every interest seemed to be guarded by particular magistrates, where so many changes were made in their form of government in order to find one which would please and satisfy the people, one might expect to find happiness, if it were possible that it should exist where legislative and executive powers were confounded together in one assembly. But if we go over again the several periods of the history of Pistoia, we shall find that similar causes had the same effects.
“At the end of the eleventh and beginning of the twelfth century,1 civil discords in Pistoia generated much misery; and many families, fearing that they should have still greater evils to suffer, determined to abandon their country; and, as a lesson to their mad and cruel fellow-citizens whom they left behind them, they caused an inscription to be engraved on the inside, on the gates, ‘Habbi pazienzia,’ (have patience,)” a motto that ought to be written over the door, and engraven on the heart, of every citizen in such a government, “and went to inhabit other countries.
“Italy beginning, in 1112, to be infected with the contagious disease of the factions of the Guelphs and Ghibellines, destructive insurrections and tumults were raised in Pistoia; and the citizens, infected with a spirit of cruelty against each other, without fear of human or divine chastisement, attended to nothing but party quarrels, and mutual slaughter and murder;” and these contests involved the city in continual wars, foreign and domestic, till the year 1235, when “the podestà, a wise man and a nobleman of high rank, exerted all his prudence, vigilance, and solicitude, to repress and compose the tumults of the nobles and popular party, who, on account of the government, were grown unusually fierce and insolent; but not being able to reconcile differences so inveterate, nor prevent the cruelties which both parties, regardless of his menaces and punishments, daily committed, the city was thought to be in evident danger of total desolation. As some of the citizens had given assistance to the Conte Guido de’ Conti Guidi, who was become odious to other citizens as a supporter of Ghibellines, tumults were multiplied, till the city was at length divided in two, and they came to a fierce battle. As one party would not mix with or depend upon the other, each one elected its podestà and consuls, as if they had been separate cities; and a war was maintained between them for years with such fury, as set all laws, human and divine, at defiance, till, exhausted and humbled on both sides, they were forced to have recourse to Rubaconte, podestà of Florence, under whose mediation a peace between them was concluded, with a detail of articles, to the performance of which Florence became guarantee. In consequence of this mediation and peace, Pistoia returned, for a short time, to her flourishing condition; so that not only the greater powers admired her felicity, but the most formidable of the other cities stood in awe of her. But, oh miserable vicissitudes of ill constituted governments!* to the confusion of the citizens of Pistoia, the other cities, by some intervals of peace and union, grew powerful. Pistoia alone, by the continuance of quarrels, factions, and civil wars, was reduced to weakness in command, honor, and fortune.”
It was not long before the old disputes revived, and continued till 1251, when the pope was obliged to interpose, and negotiate a new peace between the parties in Pistoia. But this peace could not be effected till long wars, a great destruction of lives, and a general desolation of the lands and cities, by the various leagues and alternate confiscations of the rich and the poor, the nobles and commons, Guelphs and Ghibellines, had fatigued and exhausted all parties.
“In 1260, the Ghibellines of Pistoia, Florence, Volterra, and Prato, could no longer bear the insolence and impertinence of the contrary faction. They therefore formed a union with their friends in the other cities, raised armies, and renewed the wars; and, after many sharp conflicts, and at length the sanguinary battle of Monte-aperto, they turned the tide of fortune and the torrent of popular passions in their favor, till all Tuscany became Ghibelline, excepting Lucca and the Florentine exiles. At the instigation of the Conte Novello, vicar of King Manfred, Pistoia, Florence, Siena, Pisa, Volterra, Saminiato, Colle, Prato, and Poggibonzi, raised a standing army to make war upon Lucca, because this city was the asylum of their fugitives.” This army was maintained only by the imposition of general and very heavy taxes, did infinite damage in the country, and at last, in 1267, obtained a peace between Pistoia and Lucca, upon conditions, one of which was, that each city should pardon the other all the injuries, molestations, discords, offences, damages, rapines, homicides, devastations, and conflagrations, that had been committed.
“In 1268,1 the Guelphs in Pistoia were much displeased that the heads of the Ghibellines, banished and driven out from their city, should, under Astancollo Panciatichi, have fortified themselves at Lucciano, a castle under the eyes of Pistoia; therefore they ordered Cialdo Cancellieri, their podestà, to go out with an armed force and dislodge them. Panciatichi, having penetrated the designs of the Guelphs in Pistoia, fearing that he could not resist the assault of his enemies, because he was inferior in force, and without hopes of succor, abandoned the post, and went to Pisa, where he united himself with his confederates; so that Cancellieri, finding the castle empty of inhabitants, plundered and demolished it, and caused the Panciatichi to be banished as the heads of that faction, whose estates were all confiscated.
“The party spirit of the citizens of Pistoia having, in 1270, in some measure subsided, by means of the government of the Universal Pacificator of Tuscany,2 they set about a reformation of their magistrates; and considering that a multitude always generate confusion, they reduced to two hundred their general council, which had been composed before of six hundred members, and created many new magistrates and jurisdictions, to bring into order the affairs of their government. But in 1284, there arose again most grievous disorders, by reason of the ill administration of justice; and the general council elected the wisest citizens, to make another reformation and new laws, and to bring about a reconciliation among the principal citizens who disturbed the public tranquillity. But all their regulations were ineffectual; for in the next year, 1285, fresh disturbances were perceived in the city of Pistoia, occasioned by certain families, who, by means of copious wealth, and the adherence of numerous friends, followers, and relations, aspired to govern the city at pleasure; but as the wisest men exerted themselves, that their public affairs should depend only on law and justice, not upon the passions and caprice of individuals, they called together the general council. These endeavored to render those families odious and unpopular, as well as the title by which they were distinguished; and to this end ordered, that they should be declared “grandees,” (magnati,) who by their influence and power disturbed the public tranquillity; and to be declared a grandee became equivalent to being declared a seditious person, impertinent, and separated from the public government of the city.
“The dominant party ruled the Guelphs so arbitrarily, committed so many robberies upon them, and burned and destroyed so much of their property, that these became desperate, and joining the exiles from many cities, raised an army, which obliged the Pistoians, and the governors of other cities, to raise another to oppose it, at an expense of a general imposition of taxes upon all the necessaries of life. The two armies met in the plain of Campaldino, and a memorable victory was gained by the Guelphs; and fire and sword were again scattered wide in consequence of this.
“In 1290, another fierce tumult arose in Pistoia, between the most illustrious families, occasioned by a sword cut, given by Mone Sinibaldi, upon the face of Gio. Vergiolesi. Upon this signal there was a general insurrection; and it cost all the art and resolution of the government, to do justice, to prevent another general battle; for civil discords were beyond measure increased, and the people, without any bridle, were in the utmost danger of desolating the city, and leaving it empty of inhabitants. The exiles in the mean time took their stations among the mountains, where they fortified themselves, and made incursions from time to time, robbing, plundering, burning, and murdering, without control.
“Another insurrection, in 1296, came very near accomplishing the final ruin of Pistoia; it ended in a bloody battle, in which many persons lost their lives, and the parties remained as inveterate and cruel after as they had been before it. Insurrections and tumults continued so frequent, that the bishop fled for fear, the merchants could do no business, and revolutions, insolence, robberies, assassinations, daily happened;* and such distrust was fixed in the minds of all men, that all lived in continual fear and suspicion. These apprehensions were carried to such a length, that each one shut himself up in his house, with the friends he could collect, where he fortified himself; and those who had not towers to their habitations erected them.* Sixty towers were erected in this single city, some of which still remain elevated above the houses, some are now covered with roofs, others since included in the buildings as they have been enlarged, and others, from time to time, have been ruined and destroyed in the subsequent wars. It is to be noted, that, by law or by custom, towers might not be erected but by the nobility, and these had their measure; so that, to avoid envy, they could not exceed a limited height. But at this time the insurrections of the citizens and of the people of the castles in the high lands increasing, seditious and perverse people were found everywhere, which gave occasion and motives to all the citizens to think of their houses; and they began, through the whole state, to proceed to exemplary punishments, without regard to the age, condition, or sex of the persons, and thus, in a short time, they remedied so many evils and tumults; and besides the quiet that resulted to the city, the stimulus had an effect on the castles, in the mountains,—namely, Cavinano, Lizzano, Popillio, Piteglio, S. Marcello, Mammiano, and others,—to make that universal peace which is mentioned in the archives of the city.”
But the disorder was not confined to the common citizens in town and country, it originated in the divisions among the men of birth, fortune, and abilities, in the government.
“The contests for superiority among the anziani themselves, in 1298, arose to such a degree, that from argument, intrigue, and oratory, they proceeded to blows, and, after a rude encounter, the weaker party fled to the public archives, and shut and secured the door in the faces of their pursuers. Those without, finding it impossible to pursue the affray, determined to take their vengeance by fire; accordingly, setting fire to the archives, those within remained, together with all the papers, files, and records, a prey and a triumph to devouring flames.”
This terrible event, as may well be believed, produced still greater tumults and confusions, which were terminated at last by a calamity of another kind, more terrible, if not more destructive, a continuance of earthquakes for eight days together, which shook down houses and towers more effectually than the inhabitants were able to do. This event, which was believed by some to be a judgment of Heaven for the animosities of the citizens, it was hoped would promote peace and benevolence among them; but they soon revived, with more wickedness than ever, their ancient dissensions.1
The family of Cancellieri, at this time having most influence, both by the riches they possessed, and by their great numbers, amounting to a hundred men in arms, as brave as they were haughty, were become formidable to all the other families in Pistoia, to such a degree that all, both in the city and country, stood in fear of them. It happened that Carlino di Gualfredi, and Dore, or Amadore, the son of William Cancellieri, being together in a cellar, where they had drank too freely, fell into a squabble, in which Dore was beaten and insulted with outrageous language, which offended him so highly that he meditated a cruel revenge. Going out of the wine cellar in this temper of mind, Dore went, late as it was at night, and laid himself down in a corner of the street by which Carlino was used to pass, and there happening to see Vanni, the brother of Carlino, on horseback, without thinking of his innocence, gashed him in the face by a blow with a target, and by another stroke cut off part of his left hand. In this deplorable condition Vanni was carried to his father, who, seeing his son thus barbarously treated, was so inflamed with resentment, that, disregarding all laws divine and human, he began to meditate his revenge. At this moment the extravagance of his son was reported to William, and affected him with such grief and disgust, that he thought of averting any unfortunate consequences by an act of submission; and he sent his guilty son to the father and brothers of the man he had injured, to ask their pardon in his own name and in that of his afflicted father. But all in vain; for scarcely had Gualfredi cast his eyes on Dore, when he seized him, and, without regard to the goodness of his father, cut off one of his hands upon a horse manger, and gashed him in the face, in the same manner as had been done to Vanni his son. By this atrocious deed, done in cool blood and a sober hour, the father and brothers of Dore were so exasperated, that in order to obtain some signal revenge, they united the force of their friends and relations, filled the city with brawls, discord, and murder, and divided not only the family of Cancellieri, but the whole city, into two parties.
“The Cancellieri were at that time very numerous, very rich, and in near degrees of blood related and allied; some of them were derived from the lady Nera, and others from the lady Bianca, both of them wives of M. Cancelliero, the first author of the surname of this family; but now, no longer regarding their consanguinity, they became so perverse as to attend to nothing but the destruction of each other; and reviving the memory of the ladies, from whom the ancestors of Carlino and Dore had their original, the followers of Carlino took the name of Bianchi, and the followers of Dore, that of Neri; and the people being already infected with diabolical passions, the Ghibellines took the part of the Bianchi, and the Guelphs that of the Neri; and from this time the two factions of the city began to be called Bianchi and Neri, and frequent bloody battles were fought in the city between them.
“* The whole people in the city and country became divided into Bianchi and Neri, and the mutual slaughters of men, and burnings of houses, came very near to ruin the country. There was not a person who was not obliged to assume one of these names, and side with one of the parties. Recourse at last was had to Florence, to assist the magistrates in controlling these parties; and the heads of the parties were banished, all except Bertacca, far advanced in age, and one of the knights of St. Mary, an order which had been instituted by Urban IV. to pacify the factions. It was confined to the nobility, invested with white robes with a red cross, and two red stars in a white field; but with all its pomp and sanctity, had very little influence to correct the errors of an imperfect government.
“The Cancellieri took refuge in Florence, those of the Neri in the house of the Donati, and those of the Bianchi in that of the Cerchi; and thus infected Florence at last to such a degree, that those party distinctions became as common and as mischievous in that city as in Pistoia. At this time the Tuscans, holding themselves free from all subjection to the empire,1 and regulating all things according to the caprice of parties unbalanced in their governments, the pestiferous venom of faction spread wider every day in the minds of the people. Each side aiming at nothing less than the other’s total destruction,2 had for its object the ambition of domineering without control. With this maxim, which is characteristic of the seditious, these factions joined in the city of Florence to trample on the laws; and the Bianchi party succeeded in driving out by force the Neri, and assumed the mastery of the city.”
But before the end of the year, another revolution was effected both in Florence and Pistoia, and the houses of many of the principal people levelled with the ground.
“The Florentines, among whom the Neri governed, in 1302, suspecting that the Bianchi, now banished from their city, would, with the assistance of the Bianchi who ruled in Pistoia, rise again with new force, entered into a combination with Lucca for the total destruction of Pistoia; and a war succeeded, which lasted many years, and extended to all the cities of Tuscany, introducing the distinctions of Neri and Bianchi, and several revolutions in all of them.”
But the war against Pistoia was maintained by Florence and Lucca in concert, till Pistoia was taken, its country divided, and its people persecuted and oppressed, until, finally, they refused to receive a podestà from Lucca and Florence. This occasioned another army to be sent against them.
“The1 Pistoians then called in the mediation of Siena; by whose decision it was ordained, that the podestà and captain of the people for Pistoia should not be chosen by the Lucchese and Florentines, but by the Pistoians themselves, provided that the election should always fall upon some citizen of Florence or Lucca. This award was supported by the Tedici, Ricciardi, Rossi, Lazzari, and Sinibaldi, and others, their followers, against the will of the Taviani, Ughi, and Cancellieri, and their adherents, both among the grandees and people. This difference of opinion occasioned quarrels and dissensions. The three families could not bear that the five families should * lord it over the city; each of these parties, therefore, striving to drive out the other, without regarding the expense or inconvenience, assembled their friends and forces, marched through the country, laid waste, combated, and assassinated, in defiance of all government. But in the end, the Taviani having fallen into an ambuscade in the midst of their enemies, near a river, some were killed, others made prisoners, and the rest dispersed as fugitives; and their fortress, della Pieve di Montecuccoli, now called Valdibura, and the church of St. Simon, where they had been used to retreat, were sacked and burnt.
“In 1316, the Pistoians conceived a jealousy of the prosperous fortune of Uguccione, not only on account of a signal victory he had obtained against the Guelphs, but because he had been made lord of Pisa and Lucca, and had it in contemplation to reduce Pistoia to his power. But dissimulating their fears, and to make him friendly and benevolent to their city, the Pistoians chose him for their podestà. Coming to Pistoia, he restored the Cancellieri, the Taviani, the Ughi, and Sinibaldi.
“In 1317, the Pistoians, by reason of the turbulence in Tuscany, put themselves under the protection of Robert, King of Naples. Castruccio Antelminelli, captain-general of the wars of the Lucchese, having conducted to a happy issue many enterprises for that community, thought of reducing to its dominion the city of Pistoia, by the means of its Bianchi exiles; but after many skirmishes and mutual ravages of each other’s territory, a battle fought between him and Giulione, who commanded the Pistoian forces against him, in which a decisive victory was obtained by the latter, produced a treaty of peace between them, one article of which was, that the exiles should be restored; the Neri consenting to this rather than risk a renewal of the war.
“In 1321, Uberto Cancellieri executed the office of podestà in the city of Padua, to the greatest satisfaction of that people. And the same year, Matteo Panciatichi gave clear proofs of fidelity and courage in the office of commissary of Romagna, under Clement V. and the people of Florence.”
From 1321 to 1330, the history of this republic is filled with wars, seditions, and intrigues, all set on foot by the different contending parties, in order to elevate some individual, a favorite, or a tool of their own, for the sovereign of the state. The simple heads of the story must suffice.
“Castruccio commences a destructive war upon the frontiers, to obtain the sovereignty of Pistoia for himself. The people of Pitteccio betray their castle into his hands to favor his designs, being probably inclined to that party; the leaders, however, were beheaded for treason by the Pistoians. Amidst these calamities, Ormanno Tedici conceives the design of making himself the sovereign of Pistoia. The want of rain for eight months, and the devastations of war, had occasioned a famine in Pisa, Lucca, and Pistoia. Upon this occasion, Tedici, and Vanni Lazzari, both rich and powerful, as well as proud and ambitious men, and consequently jealous of each other as rivals, appear upon the stage; their intrigues are full of all that duplicity and hypocrisy, which is universal on such occasions.* Tedici persuades the Pistoians to a truce with Castruccio, and seizes the piazza and palace of the anziani with his partisans; is made lord of Pistoia, reforms the magistrates of the city, and concludes the truce with Castruccio, much against the will of the other party. Having gone through all the ceremonies of a revolution, that is to say, reversed every thing, recalled exiles, &c., and governed the city fourteen months, his nephew, Philip di Fortebraccio Tedici, a youth full of ambition, conspired to take away the sovereignty from his uncle, and assume it to himself. To this end, he began by corresponding with the Guelphs in exile, and by infusing into them a belief that his uncle entertained a secret correspondence with Castruccio, to deliver Pistoia into his hands. The nephew, by other artificial discourses and simulated manners, exerted himself with the Guelphs to depose his uncle, and restore all the banished and scattered members of the Guelph party. His fictions were credited, the resolution was taken with alacrity, they united themselves with the impostor, and, the better to obtain their desires, communicated their intentions to Neruccio Conte de Sarteano, a Guelph gentleman of prudence and sagacity, and requested his counsel and assistance; who, deceived by the relation of facts, so well invented and colored by Philip, acknowledged, that if remedy was not immediately provided, Pistoia would fall into the hands of Castruccio; and offered them his cavalry, and promised to exert all his force to obtain the ends they desired. The uncle discovering the conspiracy, complained to his nephew, who roundly asserted it to be a fiction of malice; and went immediately to the heads of the plot, told them that the abbé his uncle was informed of all, held a short consultation with them, in which it was resolved to rise at once, and carry into execution what they had intended. The conspirators assembling in the morning, and taking arms in season, rushed with Philip to the piazza, scattered the guards, by putting to death all who resisted, took the place, ran through the city, assaulted the palace of the anziani, occupied the gates, and garnished the walls with their people, and Philip remained lord and sovereign of Pistoia. This done, Philip called together the council of the people, obtained the title of captain, and taking the sovereignty of the city on himself, reformed it with new anziani and magistrates, and, governing severely, made himself feared by all men.
“The Abbé Tedici, having lost the lordship of Pistoia, and eager to regain the possession of it, machinated with his other nephews and adherents to throw out of the window of the public palace his nephew Philip; and going with his followers to the palace, he was introduced alone to a conference with the artful Philip, by his express order, who immediately ordered the gates to be shut against the other conspirators, and with a very few words again imposed on his uncle, and made him prisoner. Philip, thus liberated from the snares of his uncle, suddenly renewed the truce with Castruccio. He conducted his negotiations, both with Florence and Castruccio, with so much duplicity, that he deceived both; there are few examples of deeper simulation, more exquisite address, or of selfish knavery of a blacker dye, than he practised with his uncle, with the Florentines, and Castruccio. After obtaining of the Florentines the creation of his son a knight of the golden spur, three thousand golden florins for himself, and noble matches and rich dowries for his two daughters, of the Florentines, he married himself to Dialta, the daughter of Castruccio, and delivered Pistoia into his hands. Castruccio immediately informs the Emperor Louis of Bavaria of his new acquisition; and Louis sends to this great man, so faithful and ardent in his service, a commission to govern Pistoia as his imperial vicar. Florence makes war to recover the city; but is beaten by Castruccio, who receives the emperor afterwards in Pistoia, and is made by him duke both of Lucca and Pistoia, and soon after dies.”
If he had lived, the example would probably have here been complete; the continual altercations of the principal families having completely overturned the constitution, and introduced an absolute monarchy. But his death opened a door for still further contentions. “M. Vinciguerra di Astancollo Panciatichi, prefect of the royal militia of France, and a general in the wars of Normandy, came into the service of the Florentines at this time, with the character of general, and rendered himself memorable to posterity, and most grateful to his family, by building in four years, his superb palace in Pistoia, in the parish of St. Matthew. The sons of the deceased Castruccio thought,1 by the favor of the Vergiolesi, Chiarenti, Tedici, and other powerful families in Pistoia, to get themselves acknowledged as sovereigns of that city; and to this end procured an armed force to take possession of the piazza and palace of the anziani; but the imperial vicar, with his four hundred German guards, and by the favor of the Muli, Gualfreducci, and Panciatichi, families sufficiently powerful, gave battle to the sons of Castruccio, and drove them out of Pistoia, into the mountains of Lucca.
“The Florentines, taking advantage of the divisions and confusions in Pistoia, excited their people suddenly to war, and went and laid siege to Carmignano; and after many fierce battles for fifteen days it surrendered, which made the Florentines, with the Guelph exiles, very insolent, ravaging the country, preventing the farmers from sowing their grounds, and threatening even the walls of Pistoia.
“In this state of things, there arose in Pistoia two potent factions; one originated in the house of Vergiolesi, and the other in that of Panciatichi. The Vergiolesi adhering to the government of the imperial vicar, through fear of the four hundred Germans who were in Pistoia, induced a good part of the people to refuse their consent to a peace with the Florentines and Guelphs. The Panciatichi, with their followers, not judging the sentiment of the Vergiolesi good and useful for the city, esteemed it more advantageous to make peace, than to maintain the country in subjection to the avidity of the Bavarian and his ministers. But the other party determined to interrupt the treaty, by exciting the city to an uproar, and by parading the streets with their Germans, by whom many of the people were assassinated. Finding themselves thus ill-treated, the people, collecting together, fell upon these Germans. A skirmish followed, so serious that many were killed, many surrendered prisoners, and those who escaped were obliged to fly with their vicar to Lucca. In the mean time Ricciardo di Lazzaro Cancellieri, a Guelph exile from Pistoia, secretly assisted by the Florentines, and rendered powerful both by the money and the bravery of his Guelphs, understanding the disunion in Pistoia, marched into the mountains of Pistoia with great terror, to acquire possession of some confiscated castles of his party. This occasioned great disgust and alarm to all the city, and roused Giovanni Panciatichi to go out with his faction to oppose him; who attacking his enemy with great spirit, prevented him from making himself the lord of that extensive country. The Panciatichi, then, the Muli, and the Gualfreducci, pushing the advantage they had gained, and suspecting some treason from the Vergiolesi applied themselves at once to cut off the means to such designs. With all diligence they procured from the anziani an assembly of the general council, by whom all the sons and relations of Castruccio, Philip Tedici, Charles his son, with all their families, were banished and imprisoned out of Pistoia, and all their goods and estates confiscated; and to make sure of the imprisonment or the death of the Tedici, a reward was offered of five hundred florins of gold. This done, they made peace with Florence, and four knights of the golden spur were made by the Florentines, two of the family of Panciatichi, one of the family of Muli, and one of the Gualfreducci, in gratitude for their important services; and both cities submitted to the church, and banished the emperor.”
The common people about this time began to be weary of the cabals of the principal families, but were too ignorant to contrive any method to restrain them, but that which always renders them still more desperate and destructive to the community, an attempt to bring all upon a level.
“The fashion at funerals had become so expensive, that every one exceeded his proper abilities in making a show; and the Pistoians, not without giving occasion for ridicule, attempted to regulate the expense upon such occasions, by decreeing a uniform moderation for all. At the same time, considering the blessings and advantages of equal and clear laws, and that the people by the means of them are rendered tractable, and less haughty and audacious, they prepared certain statutes and provisions for the good government of their city. And as it appeared to them, that some of the principal families arrogated an undue share in the management of public affairs, and were disposed by force to oppress the commonalty, they determined that all offences against the latter should be severely punished, and that the next noble relation of any grandee should be obliged to pay any pecuniary mulct which should be inflicted, in case his estate was not sufficient to discharge it; and in case the delinquent was sentenced to a capital punishment, and escaped by any means from justice, his next relation among the grandees should be held to pay a thousand pounds.”
Although nothing can be conceived more inconsistent with liberty, equity, or humanity, than these laws, yet the terror of them is said to have procured a momentary tranquillity; especially as certain companies of armed militia of the popular party were instituted in the four quarters of the city, to force them, arbitrary, oppressive, and cruel as they were, into execution. But this militia was not long able to control the spirit of disorder, and it became necessary to provide a stronger bridle for unquiet and seditious spirits, and a new and most rigorous law to beat down their arrogance and insolence.
“The plebeians at this time feeling themselves the true and real grandees, and at the highest summit of power, ordained by a law, that all those, of whatever condition they might be, who should give themselves up to an evil life, and give offence to the commonalty, and disturb the quiet of the city or country, should be, as a punishment for their actions, denominated “grandees,” (grandi, e magnati,) and excluded from the magistracies, and all management of public affairs, and be subjected to more severe punishments. It is true that the nobles had still some share in the government, because the plebeians, that they might not make too many enemies at once, did not seek to exclude all from public offices, but selected from the number divers houses of the most pacific, and the greatest lovers of justice, and placed them among the popular men, to take away their power from the others, and secure it to themselves. No nobleman, however, adopted by the commonalty was permitted to make any ostentation of his nobility; so that if any one of the popular men was made a knight by any prince or republic, he was suddenly deprived of his office; whence many of the nobles, who wished to enjoy all the benefits of the commonalty, were obliged, by a simulated respect to the plebeians, to lay aside their arms and surnames, to distinguish themselves from their connections remaining among the grandees. Other nobles there were, who chose rather to be excluded from all public offices, and live exposed to the rigorous laws of the grandees, than to lay aside their arms or surnames, jealous of obscuring the ancient hereditary splendor of their ancestors. In this, however, they were deceived, for the principal popular men took care to preserve their distinction, by a law, “That if by a statute nobles were made plebeian, they do not lose by that their nobility;” that the advantage of being of the people accrues to them besides; and by another law, declaring many to be magnati, it is subjoined, “the rest we understand to be of the people, although born of noble race and progeny.” From this it was contended, that those were deceived who measured the antiquity and nobility of their own or other families by the rule of the enjoyment of the principal magistracies.
“In 1332, several of the most powerful families, arrogating too much authority in public affairs,” or, in other words, being found by the plebeians to have too much influence for them to be able to control, “such dissensions and disturbances arose, that it was thought necessary to declare them in the number of the grandees; and accordingly, it appears by the records, that the Cancellieri, Gualfreducci, Muli, Ughi, Panciatichi, Taviani, Ricciardi, Tedici, Sinibaldi, Tebertelli, Vergiolesi, Rossi, Lazzari, Forteguerri, Visconti, Foresi, and others, that is, all the principal families in the nation, were declared to be magnati, stigmatized with that odious appellation, and excluded from all share in public offices.
“In this year severe sumptuary laws against effeminate luxury were made by the council, the solemnities and expenses of weddings were regulated, and the clothing of men. Extravagant fashions in these things had tempted most people to exceed their revenues, had multiplied debtors, and rendered dubious and difficult the credit of merchants. Certain wise citizens were authorized to prepare regulations of this kind; and they succeeded in making such wise laws, that frauds and abuses became less common.
“Yet the caprice and instability of this government appears very remarkable at this time; for although the Cancellieri were the year before recorded for grandees, yet in 1333, Ricciardo Cancellieri was declared a knight by the council of the people of Pistoia, and was feasted at the public expense. When any one was made a knight by any sovereign, or any city, he became suddenly noble, although he had not been so by birth; for birth, at that time, was neither necessary to nobility nor to knighthood. The ceremony of arming the knight was made with great solemnity, receiving the military girdle from the other knights.”*
In 1336, the Pistoians lamented the death of their most beloved citizen Cino, their greatest lawyer and judge, the master of Bartolo and Petrarch.
In 1342, Pistoia was obliged to capitulate with the Duke of Athens, who held the government of it three years, and ruled it as tyrannically as he did Florence.
In 1344, the government was recovered from the Duke of Athens; and,
“To remedy the infinite tumults which were daily excited by the power of the families of the magnates, who, by their riches and adherents made their authority and influence prevail, it was ordained, that in time of any tumult or uproar it should not be lawful for any man of the people to enter the house of any grandee, and if by chance any one should be in such a house at such a time, he should immediately quit it, that he might not be under the temptation to assist the grandee, upon pain of the loss of all public offices, and confiscation of all his goods. And no one of these powerful families, whom they branded with the name of grandees, could go into the service of any prince, city, or republic, if he had not first obtained the permission of the general council, on pain of being declared a rebel; and that the families of the grandees might be known to all, the following description and declaration of them was made and published by thority, namely,—‘Omnes de domo Cancellariorum, omnes de domo Gualfreducciorum, Tediciorum, Lazarorum, Viscontorum, Panciaticorum, Ugorum, Mulorum, Tavianorum, Sinibuldorum, Vergiolensium, Rubeorum, Ricciardorum;’ which grandees, in time of any tumult or strife, must not go out of their houses, unless called by the captain, or the gonfalonier, and anziani.
“The Pistoians, informed of the robberies, assassinations, and havoc, which were daily committed by certain rebels in the above mountain, and of the treasons plotting by those of Serravalle against the peace and quiet of the commons of Pistoia, did not neglect to use the necessary expedition to chastise the insolence of the former, and to divert the malignity of the latter; against the former they sent out a body of soldiers, who put the rebels to flight, and pulled down their houses; against the latter, they promulgated severe laws, with a promise of a thousand pounds reward to any one who would accuse an accomplice of treason.”
To show the inefficacy of all such democratical despotism, as the declarations of grandeeism against the principal families in a community, Frederick Cancellieri, surnamed for his great valor Barbarossa, had influence enough to obtain so great a distinction, and so popular and honorable a post as the command of the troops raised and paid by Pistoia, to go upon the expedition for the conquest of the Holy Land; Angiolo Cancellieri was made a bishop, and rose fast in the church; and Niccolò Cancellieri, as captain of the Florentines, acquired immortal glory by besieging in his own palace, and deposing from the government of Florence, Walter, Duke of Athens; and Marcello Cancellieri also made himself illustrious as a divine, and obtained the place of auditor of the chief court of judicature at Rome.”
So much of the time of the husbandman, the artisan, and the people in general, was taken up in war at home and abroad, and the fields were so often laid waste, that it was impossible to obtain a constant and certain supply of provisions for the people. The consequence of this was famine and the plague, two other evils in those days springing, with innumerable others, from their imperfect government.
“The plague and famine, which, in the course of the past year, had nearly deprived Pistoia of inhabitants, at length ceasing, the few that remained were so grieved and astonished at such a calamity, that one would have thought their minds too much softened and humbled to engage again for some time in their nefarious tumults; but the few surviving citizens found as much disunion and animosity among them as ever. Fresh disorders arose, and there was no possibility of restraining the indignation and fury of the two families of Panciatichi and Cancellieri, who, upon some dissatisfaction arising among them, fell into such quarrels, that, as each party had many adherents, many murders and much slaughter followed; and much greater would have ensued, if the people had not gathered to separate the combatants, and compelled them to retire to their houses.1 To prevent the prevalence and increase of these disorders, the citizens called together the general council, by whom it was ordered that diligent inquisition should be made after the heads of the tumult, and a rigorous prosecution was commenced against Richard Cancellieri, and Gio. Panciatichi, the heads of the two families; who, although they humbled themselves, and asked pardon for the error they had committed, and made an entire reconciliation with each other, were condemned in a fine of five hundred lire each, to be paid to the commons of Pistoia, and were obliged to ratify by an oath, in full council, the peace they had made between them. But notwithstanding all this, neither of the families really laid aside their bad temper towards the other; for their principals having, rather from the fear of justice than a desire of tranquillity, made the peace between them, they daily applied themselves to provide arms and men, and finally proclaimed themselves openly to be mortal enemies to each other. This gave rise to the factions of the Panciatichi and Cancellieri, from whence arose such actions and events as brought final ruin on themselves, their relations, their friends, and the city itself.
“I reflect with astonishment and stupefaction,” says Fioravanti, “that the Pistoians, abandoning, without cause or reason, their native sagacity, and becoming factionaries, should have fomented the passions of these two particular families; have set the boasting of preëminence over one another before the public peace; and have employed all their forces against the tranquillity of liberty in that city, celebrated through the whole world for men illustrious in arms, in letters, in sanctity, and wisdom; prudent in her laws and in her government to such a degree, that foreign republics had made a model of her laws. Nevertheless, thus it was; giving themselves up a prey to their griefs and afflictions, they deprived themselves of all repose, and making the passions of a few common to them all, lost their liberty and their government; blessings, which till this time had been preserved, not without the envy of their rival cities!”
This writer needed not, however, have been so much surprised, if he had considered the nature of man, and compared it with the nature of a government in which all authority is collected into one centre. An attentive reader will be surprised at the boast of that tranquillity and liberty hitherto enjoyed; and will be at a loss to find one moment in the whole history where there could have been any degree of either.
Arbitrary laws of exclusion and disqualification, and awkward attempts to expose to popular odium the principal families, made without the least modesty or equity by a popular majority, will never have weight enough with the people to answer the design of them. Those families will still retain an influence with the people, and have a party at their command very nearly equal to that of the majority; and being justly irritated and provoked at the injustice done them, will never want a disposition to attempt dangerous enterprises.
“The family of the Cancellieri, though stigmatized and disqualified as grandees, were still held in great esteem, among all ranks, for their riches and numerous adherents. Richard, the head of the family, stimulated by his own resentment and ambition, and no doubt excited by his partisans, had the presumption to entertain thoughts of making himself sovereign lord of his country. Courting the people to this end by his liberality, affability, and courtesy, he waited only for a favorable opportunity to acquire it. Having filled his house with a large number of persons, his countrymen and foreigners, he suddenly marched out with these and his relations to assault the piazza and the palace of the anziani; but being met by the captain of the company of the anziani, with his men, and with these many of the grandees, and a multitude of the common people, adherents of the Panciatichi, the Cancellieri were repulsed with great spirit, and perceiving their lives in great danger, they fled and shut themselves up in the house of the Bondacchi, their friends. Their faction, seeing themselves left without a head, in disorder and defeated, fled in despair out of the city by the gate of St. Mark. The Panciatichi, having thus conquered Richard, proceeded with great violence to burn the houses of the Cancellieri. Richard was outrageous at the destruction of his houses and the flight of his followers; but being informed that they were waiting for him in the country, he scaled the walls in the night, went out to meet them, took the castle of Marliana, and there fortified himself.
“With the Cancellieri on their flank, and Gio. Visconti, Archbishop of Milan, and Lord of Bologna and all Lombardy, in their neighborhood, both with parties desirous of making them lords of Pistoia, the Pistoians were obliged to put themselves under the protection of Florence, upon certain conditions. Richard Cancellieri, hearing of this, went to Florence, and with plausible reasons made it there believed that the Panciatichi held a secret correspondence with Visconti, to deliver Pistoia into his hands. The Florentines thought they might as well govern Pistoia themselves, and have it wholly at their devotion, and immediately gave Richard the command of horse and foot, to go and subdue it. The attack was made in the night, and would probably have succeeded, if the ensigns of Florence had not been imprudently displayed, which so enraged the Pistoians, that resolving to die rather than submit, they repulsed their invaders.”
The Florentines sent a formidable reinforcement; but the Pistoians defended themselves with intrepidity till they assembled their general council; and although Gio. Panciatichi was infamous as a grandee, he was still the soul of the republic, and no other man had enough of the confidence of his fellow-citizens to be sent ambassador, and entrusted with their salvation. He executed his commission, convinced the Florentines that they had been deceived by Cancellieri, and made an honorable peace; and in 1352, the Pistoians effectually assisted Florence in defending itself against the army of Visconti of Milan.
“In 1353, the attention of all parties was turned to peace, to put an end, once for all, to the troubles of Italy, and it was finally concluded between all the Guelph cities of Tuscany, namely, Florence, Siena, Pistoia, Perugia, Arezzo, city of Castello, and others, of one side, and Gio. Visconti on the other, with certain pacts and conditions; among which Visconti freely released into the hands of Pistoia the castles and fortresses of Piteccio, Torri, Treppio, Fossato, Monticelli, and Sambuca; and on all sides all the exiles were released. By virtue of which article, the families of the Ammanati, Tedici, Vergiolesi, Gualfreducci, and others, were restored to Pistoia, and all their property was restored to them.
“Richard Cancellieri, nevertheless, in 1354, being still obnoxious to the Panciatichi, did not cease to strengthen his party, by soliciting the friendship of those who might be useful to his views. To this end he formed an intimate friendship with the captain of the Florentine guards, of whom he expected to make an essential use in all occurrences. But the Panciatichi, jealous of this intimacy, complained of it bitterly to the Florentines, who, to please them, dismissed their officer, but at the same time exhorted the complainants to live quietly, and lay down their arms; for that at all events, and at any expense, as authors of the peace between the two families, they were determined to maintain it. At this time, some disquiet arose between the different members of the Cancellieri family, one of whom, Pievano, joined the Panciatichi, and brought an accusation before the Florentines against Richard, that he meditated some great treachery against them. A rigorous investigation was instituted, Richard being found innocent, the accuser and the heads of the insurrection were severely punished, while he was honorably acquitted.”
The emperor Charles IV. made a grant to the Pistoians to govern themselves by their own laws and laudable customs, in a free popular state, under the guidance of the anziani and gonfalonier of justice, whom he made perpetual vicars of the holy Roman empire. That this sketch may not be protracted to an immeasurable length, we may pass over the rebellions and wars between 1355 and 1376, at which time,
“The dissatisfactions among the citizens of Pistoia were so increased, by the renewal of officers in 1373, that tumults arose, and to such a height were they carried, that the Florentines, who desired no more than to become lords of Pistoia, or to see it destroyed, because it was rich, noble, and powerful, thought it a favorable opportunity to strike in with their meditated designs. Under the specious color of peace and quiet, they annulled the late renewal; and by new laws, under pretence of taking away the scandalous names of the two factions of the Panciatichi and Cancellieri, divided the officers into two orders, calling one the company of St. John, and the other the company of St. Paul; so that a moiety of the citizens, exclusively of the grandees, who had not enjoyed the benefit of the imborsation, was now imborsed in the purse of the company of St. John, and the other moiety in the purse of the company of St. Paul; and to obtain the supreme magistrate four were drawn, one for each quarter, from the purse of St. John, and four, in the proportion of one for each quarter, from the purse of St. Paul; and the gonfalonier was to be drawn alternately, once from one purse, and another time from the other. And because the company of St. John was protected by the Cancellieri, it immediately followed that it declared itself of that faction; and that of St. Paul, protected by the Panciatichi, declared itself openly of the faction of Panciatichi; and in this manner, instead of extinguishing the fire, it increased to such a degree, that it spread not only in the city, but through all its territory; and Pistoia was reduced to a condition so deplorable, as to be obliged to abandon all domestic society and familiarity, every one being suspicious not only of his neighbors and relations, but of his bosom friends.”
In 1383, all ranks of people exceeded their abilities in expenses at funerals, and in other effeminate luxury; sumptuary laws were made against extravagant expenses; but the historian confesses, that although he thought there was reason for them, yet, as he could not read them himself without laughing, he feared he should do no good by relating them.
“The Pistoians having bestowed all their endeavors and studies to obtain a peace with Bologna, with whom they had long been at war on account of boundaries, now hoped to live happily; but they were again tormented with insurrections, attended with rapine, burnings, and murders innumerable.
“The news arrived in Pistoia, in 1390, that John Galeazzo Visconti had sent against the Florentines an army of twenty thousand men, under the command of Jacopo del Verme.”
This war lasted several years, and was brought upon the city by its divisions.
“The Pistoians had now been eight and forty years in some sense dependent on Florence; for in 1350, after the great commotions, they had entered into a stipulation, by Richard Cancellieri their fellow-citizen, with the people of Florence, to keep forever a purse of six Florentines taken from among the popular party, out of which should be drawn their captain of the people. In this year, 1398, for the sake of a more intimate connection and familiarity with the commons of Florence, it was farther stipulated, that for the future the podestà of Pistoia should be a Florentine.”
Continual animosities had occasioned in the minds of the citizens such weariness, grief, and compunction, that it is impossible to read, without commiseration, their awkward attempts to reconcile themselves with one another, and to extirpate the civil discords, with which Pistoia was furiously agitated. The whole people, of every age, sex, and condition, were persuaded to go in procession through the city, clothed in white sacks, to ask mutually each other’s pardon, and to cry “Misericordia e pace!” (mercy and peace) and there can be no doubt that a momentary benevolence, and many acts of Christian charity, must have been produced by a pilgrimage so solemn and affecting; but the defects in the constitution of their government were not amended by it, and the troubles of the people soon revived.
The jealousies of the Cancellieri and Panciatichi1 revived, and proceeded to such lengths, that in 1401, Richard Cancellieri, to revenge himself, began a secret treaty with Visconti Duke of Milan, to deliver the city of Pistoia into his hands, that he might govern it with his absolute power, and exterminate the faction of the Panciatichi. The plot was discovered, and Richard and all his children declared rebels, and their houses reduced to ashes. Richard in the country joined with other exiles, and burned the houses of Panciatichi. The Pistoians were now so alarmed with the danger, from the Visconti and Cancellieri in concert, that they were obliged to put themselves into the hands of the Florentines. The Cancellieri carried on the war, however, with so much spirit and success, that, although the Duke of Milan died in 1402, Richard was able, in 1403, to obtain a peace, by which the state of Pistoia was obliged to restore his family to all their estates, and make good all their losses. The Panciatichi agreed to this, that the consent of all the leaders might be obtained to lay this burden on the people, by whom the damages done to the Panciatichi too were to be repaired.
“In 1420, it was ordained,2 that in the renewal of magistrates and public offices, the families who had been stigmatized with the opprobrious name of grandees should be restored to the rights of citizens, and share in the management of public affairs. But these, beginning with their usual impertinence to labor that every thing should be done as they would have it, and all offices disposed by their influence, quarrels and dissensions among the citizens arose, by which the whole city fell into the greatest agitation; whence it was necessary, for the maintenance of the public peace, to exclude them afresh from public affairs. These families were the Panciatichi, Rossi, Sinibuldi, Ughi, Taviani, Vergiolesi, Lazari, Cancellieri, Ricciardi, Visconti, Gualfreducci, and Tedici.
“The ladies indulged in great expenses in the furniture of their houses, and in the superfluous ornaments of their persons and families. The general council thought it necessary to interpose, and prohibit all clothes to be lined with foreign furs, or to be embroidered with pearls, gold, or silver, or other expensive and superfluous decorations; and because all former laws for the same purpose had been found ineffectual, they were now renewed with most rigorous penalties.”
In 1455, a civil war broke out in the territory of Pistoia, called Alliana, between the Cancellieri and Panciatichi, which spread into the city, and went to such furious lengths that the ladies themselves took arms, and fought with as much bravery as the gentlemen, to revenge the slaughter of their relations; and before this commotion was ended, the slaves, or what they call the the vassals or villeins, took arms. And no method to restore peace could be devised, till Florence was requested to send four commissaries, who compelled the Cancellieri and Panciatichi to take an oath to be peaceable. Yet insurrections, tumults, and civil wars, continued in 1476, and indeed, with very little intermission, till 1485.
“In that year1 Baldinotto Baldinotti, foreseeing that Lorenzo de’ Medici might possibly arrive at the sovereignty of Pistoia, considering the great reputation, influence, and authority, which he enjoyed in that city, laid a plot to take him off. As a lover of the liberty of his country, he thought it just and honorable to go with his own son, and lie in wait in the way between Poggio and Cajano, by which he knew Lorenzo was to pass, in his journey to Pistoia, to the feast of St. James. But the confidants of Lorenzo having discovered the design, the conspirators were without delay apprehended, carried prisoners to Florence, and there punished with death.”
Another civil war between the Cancellieri and Panciatichi, attended with its customary cruelty and devastation, occurred, and was not composed till the Florentines summoned four of each party, and compelled them to give security, that for the future no quarrels, murders, burnings, or robberies, should be committed in Pistoia. But this answered the end only in part, for the parties went out of the limits of the state, and there committed all sorts of cruelties on one another; and in 1490, the civil war was renewed in the city.
“On the death of the Emperor Frederick III., Maximilian, his son, succeeded to the throne of the empire; but delaying his entry into Italy, he gave occasion to Louis Sforza, tutor of the Duke of Milan, to invite Charles VIII., King of France, to come to the conquest of Naples. Upon this occasion the Pistoians threw off their subjection to Florence, or rather broke off the connection. But this acquisition of liberty and independence had a short duration; for the Pistoians knew they could enjoy no tranquillity under their own government, and with their own parties; after two years negotiation, they agreed to a new convention in 1496.
“The families of the grandees, or impertinents, as they were called, revived their pretensions to be admitted to the honors and public offices of the commonwealth; but as this was contrary to the popular will, and the passions and interest of their leaders, tumults ensued.1 The pretensions of these families were countenanced by the Florentines; but the popular men in the plenitude of their power, opposed it with so much resolution, that nothing new was effected.
“Plague and famine raged in Pistoia to such a degree, that some were in hopes the citizens would put an end to discord and sedition, and at least endeavor to enjoy peace; but the people, trampling under foot all laws, human and divine, began to renew, both in the city and the country, their oppositions and enmities, which proceeded to such feats of arms and mutual slaughter, that they were again obliged to have recourse to the Imperial vicars in Florence, to interpose and put an end to those strange accidents which threatened the total destruction of the country.
“The dissensions of parties in the city and its territory being somewhat abated, the citizens began to flatter themselves with the hopes of quiet;2 but neglecting to provide a remedy against the emulations of private interest, in individuals and families, by separating the executive power from the legislative, rivalries arose, which produced such ruin, both to the country and the contending families, as has been deplored by all subsequent generations. The fact was, that by the death of Buonaccorsi, a director of a hospital of St. Gregory, it was necessary to proceed to the election of a successor. On the tenth of October, 1499, four subjects or persons, had been balloted for, and approved as suitable, by the general council, among whom the one, who should be confirmed and approved by the bishop of Pistoia according to the law, was to obtain the office. The council having discharged their duty in the nomination of the four, the ordinary proceeded to reject two of them, one after another, and left the competition undecided between Piero Terchio and Bernardo Nutini, each of whom endeavored to interest his friends in his favor. Terchio was protected by the Panciatichi, and Nutini by the Cancellieri. The bishop was at Florence, whence it happened that Salimbene Panciatichi caused his friend Terchio, to be confirmed, as director of the hospital, by the Canon Jacob Panciatichi, under color of his being the apostolical legate; and sending to Florence for the approbation of the bishop, the good prelate promised to comply. The Cancellieri hearing of this, went also to Florence to supplicate the bishop not to approve the election; but the bishop, who wished to keep his word, would not listen to them. Seeing that they could not move him from his promise, they applied themselves to obtain solicitations of his friends and relations, with such assiduity and importunity, that the irresolute1 prelate was at last induced to comply with their request. The Panciatichi, understanding the strange resolution of the prelate, had recourse to the priori of the people and the gonfalonier of justice of their country, and obtained an order, that the possession of the hospital should not be given to Nutini, who had the smaller number of votes, but to Terchio, who by right ought to have it; and Terchio, accompanied by some of the Panciatichi, was placed in the government of the hospital.
The Cancellieri, returning from Florence with the confirmation of the bishop in the person of Nutini, carried him to the hospital to give him possession, but found the place occupied; whereupon, returning to Florence, they carried their complaint to the rettori; and, after much altercation between the parties, it was determined that the affair should be decided in a court of justice, and the cause committed to two lawyers. The judges determined that Nutini had been elected and canonically confirmed, and he was accordingly put into the office, against all that could be said or done by the Panciatichi, who, upon pain of being declared rebels, were obliged to abandon the hospital, which they had held well guarded, and give way to the execution of the sentence. The Cancellieri were made insolent by their victory, and, sometimes by words, sometimes by actions, assumed a haughty superiority over the contrary party; who, considering themselves derided and insulted not only by the Cancellieri but by the bishop, went about venting their passions among the people; whence it happened, that hostilities beginning between these two families, they never ceased till they ruined the city of Pistoia.
“The Panciatichi could not erase from their minds the many and great injuries they had received from the Cancellieri, and now meditated a cruel revenge. On the fifth of February, 1500, they unexpectedly assaulted, under the greater piazza, Baccino Nutini and others, and having mortally wounded Giorgio Tonti, they set to running through the whole city, and murdering all the Cancellieri, excepting some who had taken refuge in the palace of the lords priors. The Cancellieri who survived were not at all intimidated, because, having many adherents, it was easy for them to rouse the plebeians against the Panciatichi; quick at their instigation, these showed themselves fierce persecutors of that faction, for, arming themselves, all shouted ‘Vengeance! vengeance!’ and in the tumult a multitude of the Panciatichi and their adherents were killed upon the spot. Matters became so exasperated, that both parties thought of nothing but mustering as many followers as they could. In May the Panciatichi assembled a great body of men, and seized the piazza, and more than half the city fortified themselves in the balconies, steeples, and towers, and devoted their whole time and attention to preparations for war. The Cancellieri on their part, with followers equally numerous, fortified themselves in the other side of the city, and were assisted by such numbers of men, who came in from the mountains and plains in the country, that they composed a large army. In such a scene of turbulence, suspicions were so frequent and dangerous, that it became necessary for every man to declare himself; for both parties adopted the same maxim towards the moderate men and neutrals, ‘If you don’t show yourself our friend, we will show ourselves your enemy.’1 There was not a man, finally, who did not take a share in all the injuries and insolence of a party; and frequent battles, sometimes in one street, and sometimes in another, both by night and by day, disturbed the whole city so, that there was no time for the people to take any repose.
“In this state of things there arrived at Pistoia two commissaries, with five hundred men, sent by the Imperial vicars in Florence to put a check to the impetuosity of faction, who entered by the gate of Caldatica, and, taking possession of the most important and advantageous posts, gave orders to all to retreat and abandon their arms. These orders were scarcely promulgated, when there unexpectedly appeared a large body of armed men to the assistance of the Cancellieri, which had been sent by their adherents in Bologna; and, on the other side, a number of men from St. Marcello, and other neighboring countries, came to the succor of the Panciatichi. And neither party choosing to give way to the other, they began, in the face of the Florentine guards, to strike each other so cruelly, that the faster their forces increased, the more were multiplied the insults, arsons, murders, and slaughter.
“The commissaries seeing all things rushing to destruction, ordered the heads of both parties to appear at Florence, and that the soldiers, both foreign and domestic, should leave the city upon pain of being declared rebels, and they extended the same threat to all who should entertain them in their houses. The Panciatichi were disposed to obey; but the Cancellieri, who were favored by one of the commissaries, continued insolent, and those who had been summoned made a jest of the orders, and refused to move; whence those ministers, seeing themselves little respected, and less obeyed, returned to Florence. The soldiers had left the city, and the heads of the factions, seeing themselves deprived of their strength, set themselves to enlisting the plebeians on their side, and a great body of people eager for slaughter stood ready to begin a new affray. As the death of Giorgio Tonti had been displeasing to the Cancellieri, they could not forget it, nor conquer their desire of a bitter revenge; with this view they occupied, with all their people, the piazza della Sala, and leaving a number to guard it, went with the rest to the little square of the Trinity, to pull down the houses of the Cellesi, and then that of one of the Panciatichi; after which they laid siege to the palace of Gualtieri Panciatichi, which they briskly beat down; then running through the city, they killed Francis Nutini, and plundered his house, with that of Gabriel Visconti, Bernard Cellesi, Matthew Cellesi, and setting fire to all of them, they ran to attack the house of Astorre Panciatichi, from whence those of its faction fled, and this house remained in the power of its enemies, who stripped and robbed it. They then burned the houses of the Centi, those of Gio. di Francesco, and Thomas Balducci, and that of Gori, archdeacon of St. Zeno, and auditor of the bishop Pandolfini. After so many pillages, burnings, and demolitions, they returned to the piazza, and rifled all the shops and stores of the Panciatichi, with whom they engaged in a bitter conflict, and a large number on both sides perished. At this instant a powerful reinforcement of men arrived to the Panciatichi, who without loss of time renewed the attack upon the Cancellieri, and both parties fought in the parish of Our Lady of the Lily, and in that of St. Michael, with such desperation, that a great number on both sides were killed and wounded, and if a great rain had not parted the combatants, it seemed as if the whole race would have been here exterminated. But upon this occasion a truce was concluded. The heads of these factions were now summoned to Florence; thirty of them went, and were immediately thrown into prison. A rigorous prosecution,” as it is called, “was commenced against them. Some were acquitted without any conditions of peace or truce; others were punished by imprisonment; some by sequestration of their property, and some were banished.”
“This decision extinguished no part of the flames of revenge; on the contrary, the rigor practised against some, and the lenity to others, gave rise to still greater insolence; and in the face of the Florentines themselves, and in their own city, some of the acquitted Cancellieri committed excesses as outrageous as before. Introduced by some of the malignant into Florence, secretly, at the shutting of the gates, they set themselves to search for Andrew and Salimbè Panciatichi, to assassinate them; and favored by the obscurity of a foggy air, after two o’clock at night, they found it easy to put Salimbè to death, though Andrew had the good fortune to escape, by hiding himself in a joiner’s shop. For this atrocious crime seven were outlawed; but they having been reinstated in Pistoia, in defiance of justice, the factionaries soon came to another rupture; they confounded all things in such a manner, that there no longer remained any who dreaded the divine, much less human justice; but scattering their strife through the plains and mountains, nothing was heard of but quarrels, treachery, conflagration, and murder. The two factions were at length weary of such inconveniences and fatigues, and, to prepare themselves to combat with greater vigor, they made for a short time, and with common consent, a truce; each party increased its supply of arms, men, and provisions; and the Panciatichi, desirous of victory, invented several new instruments and machines of war, and fortifying themselves with these, thought themselves invincible.
“The Cancellieri, as well as the Panciatichi fortified themselves with forts and bastions of timber, and machines of war, and stood well upon their guard in their posts. The Panciatichi, no longer able to restrain themselves, set in order all their people, made Palamidesse Panciatichi, and Bartolomeo Cellesi, their leaders, and arranged all their posts, officers, and soldiers. But while they were occupied in these dispositions, they unexpectedly found the opposite faction ready to meet them; the battle was fought, and the Cancellieri obtained a bloody victory, because the Panciatichi were abandoned by a large body of Lombards, whom they had hired for their defence. They did not, however, lose courage, but reassembling their partisans, and rallying their soldiers, they appeared again in a short time, with greater numbers and ferocity than ever; and the engagement being renewed, for the short time that it lasted, was so terrible and fatiguing, that both parties, exhausted and faint, were constrained to retire with their wounded men to their posts.
“The Cancellieri having taken some repose, and, considering that they had the countenance of the new Florentine commissaries, by whose advice those of their associates had been restored to Pistoia, who had been banished from Florence for the murder of Salimbè Panciatichi, assumed fresh courage to attempt every means for the destruction of the Panciatichi. On the ninth of August they scoured all the streets and squares of the city, and wherever they found a Panciatichi they murdered him. They put to death also Bernardino Gai, and mortally wounded the Conte di Rigolo Bisconti; but many of the Panciatichi, thinking it their duty to avenge themselves, fell with such impetuosity upon the rear of the Cancellieri, as obliged them to retire. In this state of things the Florentine commissaries cited to appear before them ten persons of each party; who, though they made their appearance, were detained in the palace of justice, and exhorted to peace, or at least to a temporary truce, would not accept of any of these proposals; therefore the commissaries, not knowing what to do with them, dismissed them. Animated rather than terrified by this weakness of authority and the judicial power, they recalled all their followers confined in various places, and providing themselves again with arms and assistants, renewed the war. Such was the ardor, violence, and force of the Cancellieri and their party, that they excited great terror, not only in the country parts, but in all the city. Not content to have taken possession of all the councils, and assembled them to govern as they pleased, and rendered their people disobedient to all law, but they also sent them, with the utmost license, through the country, to ravage, plunder, and burn the villages and habitations. The men of prudence and reflection, seeing such destruction and so much ruin, and foreseeing more, exerted themselves to obtain an election of eight citizens, to whom were given the whole authority of the general council,” or, in other words, they were made dictators, “that they might find a remedy for so great confusions, and do whatever should be necessary or convenient for restoring the public tranquillity.
“In the meanwhile the clergy were aroused, and with uncommon zeal exhorted the people in private, and fulminated from the pulpit against all this ungodliness and unrighteousness of men; but all this apostolical benevolence, added to the unlimited power of the eight dictators, were insufficient; men’s ears were deaf, and their eyes blind, to every thing but the malignity of their own passions, and every one continued to do whatever seemed right in his own eyes. They recalled into Pistoia all the banished men, with numerous troops of their adherents; these filling the city with bad men, and bringing fresh force and vigor to the respective parties, they prepared to commit new excesses. The Panciatichi, finding themselves at liberty, and loosened from all restraint, went, on the thirteenth of August, unexpectedly, to batter down the houses of Giuliano Fioravanti, that of Jacob Peri, that of Antonio Popoleschi, and many others, upon which occasion many were wounded; Francis Panciatichi, and John Astesi, with many others of inferior condition, were killed. On the fifteenth of August they went to batter down the house of Biagio Odaldi, but these making a resolute resistance, many were wounded, and the rest obliged to retreat; but returning the next day, to attack it, they labored to such purpose, that partly with force, and partly with fire, they took possession of the house. They went next to the palace of Neri and Thomas Fioravanti, and finding no resistance they took it and filled it with their men. They assaulted too the houses of the Celate, Salincorni, and Curradi, and not being able to take them, set fire to them, and burnt five warehouses of Antonio Ambrogi; they entered into the house of Lorenzo Gatteschi, but there they were obliged to fight a long time, and the engagement became general, so that it was impossible to ascertain the number of the killed and wounded of the two factions, but there was not a street in the city which was not incumbered with dead bodies, and polluted with human blood.
“Intelligence of the strength of the Panciatichi had been communicated by the Cancellieri to their friends, who, on the morning of the seventeenth of August, with a hundred cavalry, and two hundred infantry, appeared suddenly at the houses of the Cellesi, by whom so brave a defence was made, that they were repulsed; but after taking a short repose, they returned to the assault, took the house, plundered it, and set it on fire. They went next to the houses of Antonio Ambrogi, to the two houses of the Cioci, to that of Vincenzo Mati, and burned them, with many others, and retook those which had been hitherto occupied by the Panciatichi, who finding themselves obliged to abandon the houses of Andrea Fioravanti, and Antonio Popoleschi, consigned them, in desperation, to the flames. But while the party of the Cancellieri were busy in this mischief, they were attacked, in two places at once, by the Panciatichi; and scarcely was the action begun, when, perceiving their disadvantage, they retreated behind the church of St. Anthony, and set fire to the house of Nicholas Godemini; from thence they went to the Old Gate, and attacked the houses of the Bracciolini in the piazza, where, meeting with a bold resistance, they went with great anxiety to find the commissaries, and demanded of them the possession of the hospital del Ceppo, which was then governed by one of the Panciatichi, otherwise they would set fire to it. The Panciatichi had already two hundred countrymen of the Plain, under the command of Michelino Jozzeli, and that of Lisca, who, posted for the guard of the hospital, were determined to perish rather than abandon it. The commissaries seeing so many people assisting the Panciatichi, would not openly espouse the request and attempt of the Cancellieri, but pacifying them with soothing words, they gave orders to M. Criaco, the captain, who, in behalf of the Florentine Imperial vicars, with five hundred soldiers guarded the piazza, in their name to take possession of the hospital, under the pretence of preserving it from so much fury. The captain, with one hundred of his soldiers, marched to the hospital, and employed all his art to obtain possession of it, but was answered by the Panciatichi, that they would not go out of the place alive. Upon this the commissaries in person went to the hospital, and acknowledging that it must require great feats of arms to take it, talked so fair to the Panciatichi, that these delivered it up to them. It was, however, unexpectedly pillaged by the Cancellieri, and then placed by the orders of the commissaries, in the power of the supreme magistrate of the city, by whom possession being taken, regulations were made for the good government of it, and the administration given to four prudent citizens.
“A little afterwards the commissaries and the bishop undertook to persuade the party of the Panciatichi not only not to seek the control of the hospital, but also to absent themselves some time from the city, and in that manner to remove the cause of so many disorders, and endless evils which threatened to succeed. These orders, or this recommendation, were given to Bastiano and Vincenzo Bracciolini, of that faction, who immediately held a conference with Andrew and Antonio Panciatichi, their leaders. These thought fit to obey, first demanding security for their houses and other property, which was promised them by the commissaries. They made haste to communicate these particulars to all their factionaries, who, adhering to the opinions of their principals, collected together all their property of value, and carried it towards the church of St. Paul, and there filled up the whole street which leads to the gate Caldatica, and stood well upon their guard. The Cancellieri were in the contiguous street, with four hundred soldiers from Bologna; but fearing to risk a battle, the Panciatichi marched out of Pistoia without receiving injury, followed by the Cellesi, Rossi, Franchini, Forteguerri, Fabroni, Bisconti, Bracciolini, Brunozzi, and many others of equal rank and condition. The gates were instantly shut, and the walls lined with men by the Cancellieri, who from that eminence, scoffed at the retreating faction, with impunity and without danger.
“The Cancellieri remained in Pistoia, and it is not possible to relate the abominable iniquities and cruelties committed by them in the height of their triumph, insolence, and power; ranging the whole city without control, they attended to no other business or amusement but to ruin, burn, plunder, and ravish, whatever of the Panciatichi they could find, and he who could commit the most atrocious deeds was the most esteemed, admired, and applauded. In this manner was the public faith, and the solemn promise made to the Panciatichi, fulfilled and performed! To the principal palace of the Panciatichi they set fire; the houses of the Brunozzi, Cellesi, and many others contiguous to them, were dismantled; the beautiful habitations of John, Oliver, and Virgil Panciatichi, with many other places and houses filled with grain, corn, wine, oil, and timber, were burned; and all the summer-houses, shops, and stores, and every other building which belonged to the Panciatichi; in one of which was found in bed the Count di Rigolo Bisconti, ill of the wounds he had received in some of the late engagements; the Count was without ceremony, thrown out of the window into the street,” not by a common rabble, but by Ceccone Beccano and Gio. Taviani, men of distinction and consequence. “They afterwards made search in all the steeples and towers, as well as through all the churches, for refugees of the other faction, and, wherever they found any, they drove them out, robbed them, and sent them to their houses; and so enormous was the evil committed by the Cancellieri factionaries, that by the end of the twentieth of August they had burned more than two hundred houses and stores, and all of the principal sort, contrary to the promises and solemn faith passed to the Panciatichi by the commissaries; and thus a beautiful and charming city was become a receptacle of assassins, of robbers, of murderers, and of men of every evil deed.”
While the faction of the Cancellieri thus tyrannically domineered in Pistoia, that of the Panciatichi would have done the same if they had been in the city, equally without control. “In their state of banishment, they still meditated the oppression and destruction of their rivals, and to this purpose collected men, and fortified themselves on the plains in the country. Not being able to obtain the countenance and assistance of the Florentines, but rather being threatened by them with their displeasure and chastisement, they set themselves, with all their forces, to maltreat the country with their robberies, arsons, homicides, and imprisonments, in such a manner, that making frequent excursions into the mountains, they soon reduced all the territory of the Pistoians to a miserable and deplorable state. At the same time the Cancellieri, no longer knowing what to steal, or whom to rob, went on inventing new affronts for the Panciatichi, or those whom they suspected to favor that party, who remained in Pistoia. As the city was full of malicious people, who could not contain themselves, they went frequently out of the gates, and stole cattle and other property from the Panciatichi in the country, till all the Panciatichi, who were near the bounds of the city, were obliged to retreat into the plain, and unite with their associates; here they began to think of checking the power of their enemies; and all being eager to return to their houses, they thought it a duty by force to put a bridle on the arrogance of their adversaries, and reduce them, once for all, to subjection. To this purpose they erected a strong bastion near the bridge of Bonelle, and another in the neighborhood of the bridge alla Pergola, and fortified themselves at St. Angiolo, at St. Bastiano, at the great house of the Forteguerri, at Tenuta, at Magia, at St. Nuovo, at Tizzana, and made other fortifications, with preparations of munitions of arms, provisions, and men, from the mountains and from Lucca, who came to lend them assistance; and by these means they held all the country in subjection, and all the contrary faction in terror.
“The Cancellieri seeing the preparations made by the Panciatichi, and apprehending some unexpected assault, without delay, made preparations necessary to remove these factionaries effectually from the country. Collecting together a body of four thousand men, of their own and the Bolognese, they went out to attack, at the same time, the two bastions near the bridges. The Panciatichi were astonished and panic-struck at the sight of so many men, and giving themselves up most shamefully to flight, the assailants, in less than one hour, had complete possession of both bridges, and dismantled both the bastions. Proceeding to St. Angiolo, which was guarded by Bartolomeo Cellesi, an intrepid officer, and experienced in arms, they fought a most bloody battle, in which Cellesi himself was killed; for this brave commander falling from his horse, was assassinated, and his head, severed from his body, was fixed on the bow of a saddle, and carried to Pistoia, there to be exposed to mockery and insult; at the sound of the trumpets it was placed upon the architrave of the well of the great market, that the people might demonstrate their joy and triumph over it, and there it was kept three days. This inhuman exultation was the beginning of ill fortune to the Cancellieri; the indignation of the Panciatichi was so excited by the scoffs and taunts offered to Cellesi, and by the shameful repulse in an assault of an enemy’s bastion near the river Brana, that, whilst the Cancellieri were shouting ‘Victory!’ and returning without order, and with a great booty to Pistoia, the Panciatichi, making a commander of Franco di Meo Gori, a man of a very numerous family in Terruccia, proud and fearful, but fortunate, and accompanied by four of his brothers, and other relations, in all about a hundred persons, followed in the rear of those who thought themselves victorious, to the grove of elms, and there retaking the plunder routed the party. Many were slain, more made prisoners, and the rest, scattered in various places, returned late and in disorder to Pistoia. The Panciatichi having obtained so signal a victory, proceeded, under their captain, Franco, to Tizzana and Magia, and there summoned all the people of the party to arms, and stood night and day in good order and well guarded. The Cancellieri, seeing the increasing force of the Panciatichi, despaired of dispossessing them of the plain, and therefore employed all their craft to effect a separation between the Panciatichi in the country, and the Panciatichi in the city, in order to weaken the faction; in the course of two months they accomplished their design, and a truce was concluded between the Panciatichi in the country and the Cancellieri in the country, which occasioned great feasts and rejoicings in Pistoia.
“This truce, however, had but a short duration; parties began again to rage, and mutual slaughters were renewed; and although the Florentines knew that the territory of the Pistoians was no longer manageable, on account of the continual murders and assassinations committed in it by night and by day, yet they would not, or knew not how to put their hands to any effectual remedy; and although they ordered into confinement for three years, upon pain of rebellion for returning to Pistoia, all the families of Bisconti, Panciatichi, Cellesi (except that of Bernardo,) Fabbroni, Matteo Brunozzi, Rossi, Forteguerri, Bracciolini, Cioci, and Gherardi, and many others specified, to the number of two hundred, yet it was not possible that this banishment should have any effect; because many Florentines, their friends, besides favoring and assisting them with money and other effects, obstructed the execution of it, which was the principal cause that the Panciatichi consolidated themselves on the plain, with the firm resolution not to depart from it. The Panciatichi, nevertheless, were not a little anxious, when they knew that the commons of Florence were against them; and the Cancellieri were not less disturbed with fears when they saw their enemies in possession of the dominion of the country; so that they were obliged to consider themselves as besieged in Pistoia, rather than as lords of it; wherefore, reflecting that there was no blessing more necessary than peace, it was determined by the general council, that they ought to have recourse to the Most High with pious and holy works, and to this end orders were given to the laborers of St. James the apostle, that adequate alms should be given to all the religious orders, that they might by their prayers supplicate Heaven to send peace and union among the citizens.”
All this was very commendable and proper; but to depend upon these prayers alone, without changing their constitution, was as irrational and presumptuous, as for the crew of a sinking ship to pray for preservation, without working the pumps or stopping the leaks.
Accordingly, in 1501, they were found to have been inefficacious;1 “for the execrable factions, in a still greater effervescence of cruelty, made use of every cunning stratagem, and attempted every means to destroy themselves and their country. The Cancellieri, dreading that the Panciatichi might return to Pistoia, determined not only to hold them at a distance from the city, but to drive them, with all the force they could possibly assemble, quite out of the country; and to this purpose, having taken into their pay three thousand foot, drawn from the country, the mountains, from Valdinievole, from Prato, and other places, and fifty cavalry, early in the morning of the fifth of February, they sallied out with these forces, well armed, from the gate Caldatica, and went, one thousand men towards Montemagno, and two thousand towards St. Angiolo. These last arrived at St. Angiolo, entered the church, spoiled it of every thing valuable, and set it on fire; and because thirty of the Panciatichi, who were posted as guards in the steeple, knew it was impossible in any manner to defend it, they gave the signal of their being besieged by a flag, as had been previously concerted with their friends in the neighborhood. Suddenly three hundred Panciatichi, compacted together in the form of a squadron, under the command of their captain, Franco Gori, using every artifice to avoid being discovered by the enemy, threw themselves by surprise into the middle of the Cancellieri, and in a short time broke and defeated to the number of two thousand persons. This victory was so advantageous to the Panciatichi, that three of them only were wounded, and one killed, while the Cancellieri lost more than three hundred and fifty killed, a proportionable number wounded, and many were made prisoners; and those few who escaped, threw down their arms, and in small numbers and great disorder fled towards Pistoia. This splendid victory, with the acquisition of a great booty, obtained by the Panciatichi, animated them not to shrink from any inconvenience or fatigue to prosecute the abasement of their enemies; wherefore, without loss of time, taking, to deceive their antagonists, a pair of colors which had been seized in the last battle, they paraded with this on their march, and went to attack the other Cancellieri, who, at Santo Nuovo, had besieged their associates the Panciatichi, then guarding it; but the Cancellieri, advertised, by means of a lady, of the artifice, fled, with the enemy almost at their heels; and hastily coasting round the cliffs of Casale, took the road towards Collina and Fontana, and in confusion, disbanded, and covered over with mire, reached Pistoia. This retreat took up the whole night. This flight of the Cancellieri occasioned no small damage to the innocent Panciatichi who had remained in security in Pistoia; because, such fugitive Cancellieri as returned to their country, had no other thoughts than to revenge themselves wherever they could, by scouring the city, with arms in their hands, and falling upon those unhappy people; they assassinated in the piazza a countryman, and Felice di Marco, who were of the Panciatic faction, and the others, wounded and beaten, by flying into the fortresses and palace of the rettori, escaped their fury, and saved their lives.
“The Panciatichi upon the plain in the country, having been informed of the treachery committed upon their companions in Pistoia by the Cancellieri, conceived against that faction an indignation beyond all credibility greater than ordinary; so that, after a little repose from the fatigues lately suffered, they prepared to persecute their enemies with greater ferocity. Hearing that some of them had built a strong bastion in the township of Casale, from which fortification they daily made inroads among the inhabitants, and committed much mischief, they went, on the twenty-fourth of March, and took the bastion, the Cancellieri who guarded it shamefully flying. Others of the Cancellieri, in Casale itself, taking post in the church and in the belfry, after a sharp conflict, were overcome by Michelino Jozzelli and Charles Nicolai, many of them cut to pieces, many others wounded, and the rest pursued over the mountains, where they left their arms, and fled with precipitation. Others, in the meadows of Vignole and of Agliana, were stripped and totally dispersed; others, at the bridge of Bonelle, suffered a perfect defeat, in which many were slain, and the rest fled in disorder. The Panciatichi, seeing their affairs succeed so happily, prepared themselves for greater enterprises, and calling together all their people, they went against the castle of Momigno, took it, and set it on fire. They then took Vinacciano, and burnt all the houses of the Cancellieri; and the houses of the Panciatichi having been a little before burnt by the Cancellieri, this place by the last conflagration became entirely desolate and destroyed. Nor was the damage less that was done at Montegastoli, in the country of Fontana, of Collina, and of Gabbiano. The Panciatichi then fortified themselves at Montebuono, and did infinite damage from thence to the party of the Cancellieri, who, taking Giaccherino, built by the families of the Panciatichi, made a stand against their enemies, and there followed in this neighborhood burnings of houses and murders of people. At length the two factions descended towards the long bridge, and came to battle, which was continued for some time with obstinacy; but the Cancellieri, having the worst of it, at last fled.
“The few good and wise men who remained, considering the miseries and destruction which resulted to the city of Pistoia and its territory from the two unbridled factions, exerted themselves to assemble the general council, by whom two citizens were elected, to see that all malefactors should be chastised and punished. But a provision of this sort could never be sufficient to intimidate a number of factionaries so powerful; it accordingly only animated them to greater fury; for the persons elected being poorly attended, and provided with little power or force, how could they be able to restrain a desperate people, who required extraordinary rigor, and much greater energy, to render them quiet, pacific, and obedient? This was so well known to those ungovernable people, that it rendered them more fierce, proud, and insatiable of revenge, so that the Cancellieri, seeing themselves overcome in battle, determined to accumulate a great quantity of money, in order to provide men to conquer the force of their enemies. To this end, they burthened the city of Pistoia with the payment of twenty thousand ducats of gold; they sold the effects of St. James, to the amount of four thousand crowns; they pawned, for eighteen thousand crowns more, at Bologna, the chalice of gold of the chapel of St. James, which weighed twenty-two pounds; they sold two angels of silver, a fathom and an half in height, and a pair of candlesticks which were worth five hundred crowns; they took a most beautiful basin, and an ewer of silver, of the value of four hundred crowns; moreover, they coined into money other silver basins, and an image of the Virgin, and another of St. John, of pure silver, which were of St. Zeno, and all the dishes and basins of silver which were in the palace of the supreme magistrate; they took from the Monte di Pietà six thousand ducats, and one thousand five hundred from the House of Wisdom, and made up a sum of forty thousand crowns.”
In the age and country where these things were done, this robbery of churches, of saints, and angels, this plunder of holy relics, was sacrilege and impiety of the deepest dye, enough to have shocked and revolted the city in any other circumstances; but the spirit of party made it all lawful to the Cancellieri and their followers.
“They made Mancino of Bologna their captain, one of the bravest soldiers of those times, hired fifteen hundred foreigners, of infantry and cavalry, and called in all their friends from the mountains and country, so that Pistoia was so full of soldiers, that all the houses could scarcely hold them.
“In the mean time, the Panciatichi party neglected nothing to procure all the advantages in their power; encouraged by one Pazzaglino, of Serravalle, they attempted to take that castle, in which by means of that traitor they succeeded, and they fortified themselves in the post which guarded Valdinievole and in the steeples of the churches of St. Stephen and St. Michael. Both parties being in want of provisions, made excursions to the adjacent country, reaped the grain, pillaged cattle, and sometimes burnt houses and killed inhabitants, till they reduced the places to a most miserable and deplorable state. Having in this manner provided themselves on both sides with men, arms, and provisions, the Cancellieri were anxious to undertake some enterprise with the body which they had hitherto kept in pay at so great an expense and with so little effect. After a consultation, part remained as a guard in the city, and part went out to the mountain. Six hundred infantry and fifty cavalry went out, well armed and in good order, and attempted an assault, in two divisions, upon Brandeglio and Castellaccio, but were discouraged by a brave defence. They then turned towards Cireglio, and making a fierce attack, they easily carried it, plundered it of all that was valuable, and utterly destroyed it by fire. They then went to the church, which, with its steeple, was full of people and of property; they laid siege to it in such a manner, that those who guarded it became irresolute about defending it; but, encouraged by the women who had taken refuge there, who, like generous amazons, took arms and repulsed the enemy, they placed in security the goods, and in a short time regained the post, which the men alone would have abandoned. The Cancellieri, filled with shame and disgrace, returned to their main body, and advised their companions to return to Pistoia; but when they began their march, they were so persecuted by the Panciatichi, that the killed and wounded exceeded by far those who in confusion returned to the city. Then it was that the Panciatichi hastened to Berrignardo, Borghetto, and Piazza, and burnt all the houses of the Cancellieri; and such were the damages done that day by the factionaries, that more than one hundred and fifty houses of both parties were burned down.
“Those of the party Panciatichi, who had entered into the castle of Serravalle, thinking themselves in security, stood negligently on their guard in that post; intelligence of which being sent to the contrary party, they sent, with great haste, six hundred soldiers upon an enterprise against the place. Two hundred took post around it, and the four hundred others, introduced by some in the place into the castle, began to rush everywhere without control, so that the Panciatichi, taken by surprise, retired to other strong posts in the neighborhood. Early in the morning, the Cancellieri approached the steeple of St. Michael, and took it by a vigorous assault. They afterwards battered that of the church of St. Stephen; but perceiving that it was not to be carried without some delay, they set fire to the church, from whence the flames ascending to the balcony, soon burnt those who held it. They intended, moreover, to have attempted the acquisition of the citadel, in which the greater part of the Panciatichi were shut up; but a reinforcement of five hundred infantry, and one hundred cavalry, arriving to those in the fort, and reinforced farther with three hundred men from the mountain, and two hundred from Lucca, conducted by Michael Jozzelli, who had taken the most important posts without the walls, the castle was besieged in such a formidable manner, that the Cancellieri lost all hopes of expelling the contrary faction from that place The Cancellieri in Pistoia, however, hearing the situation of their companions in the castle of Serravalle, sent, at the approach of evening, three hundred infantry and fifty cavalry, with plenty of provisions, to reinforce and refresh them; but scarcely had these soldiers met the others at the foot of the mountain, when, repulsed and pursued by the Panciatichi as far as the long bridge, they were obliged to submit to the loss of twenty persons, many arms, and all their provisions.
“In the mean time there came to the assistance of the Panciatichi, Martino Ciuti with two hundred men, the Captain Franco Gori with three hundred, and many others, who, uniting with those already there, amounted to three thousand, who attacked that castle on the side of the citadel, in which the companies had taken refuge; but seeing all their attempts were rendered vain, one hundred of the most alert approached to the gate with such impetuosity, that they made a breach, and let four hundred men into the castle, who attacking the Cancellieri in the rear, in less than an hour killed more than three hundred, and made more than one hundred prisoners, and permitting the foreigners to escape by a shameful flight, gained a large booty of goods, money, arms, and horses. The Panciatichi having obtained this noble victory, the citizens of that faction began to think of endeavoring to return to Pistoia; but were dissuaded by their friends of the country, who would not consent. They all went therefore together to their usual posts upon the plain, with their prisoners and rich plunder. If they had attempted to return to Pistoia, they would not have been opposed, for the factionaries in the city were so impoverished, that many had gone out of the place; and although the bells of the people were rung that day, not one person appeared in the piazza.
“There succeeded many more affrays and slaughters, burnings and depredations, to relate all of which in detail would be endless. Great were the damages done the same day by the Panciatichi in Alliana; but by the treacherous misconduct of their captain, Martino Francese, they were disgracefully repulsed, had many killed and many wounded; and, what was more to be dreaded, the Cancellieri carried thirteen of their heads in triumph to Pistoia, and by that means revived the courage of their companions, almost sunk in terror and despair. Great was the slaughter of their enemies, and numerous the burnings of houses committed by the Panciatichi of Montagnana, the seventh of July, at Momigno. The tenth of July, the Panciatichi of Brandeglio collected a large number of men from the plain and the mountain, and burnt all the houses of the Cancellieri which were at Satornana, and at St. Felice, and plundered the property and the cattle. The twentieth of July the Cancellieri burnt in Pistoia eight houses and six shops of the Bracciolini, and set fire to three houses of Gio. di Franco, and demolished the house of Francisco Cellesi, near St. Prospero. The twenty-eighth of July, the Cancellieri went to Montebuono, a town of the Panciatichi, took it by treachery, and burnt it, after having made twelve prisoners; whom they conducted to Pistoia, led into the hall of a house inhabited by Giuliano Dragucci, where they strangled them, and threw them out of the window. This, which they called justice, they compelled a priest to execute, who was in the number of the prisoners, and then they put the priest to death in the same manner. Much destruction was made by fire on the thirtieth of July, in the commons belonging to the house of the bishop, and in other places, by the Panciatichi; but no less were the evils committed the same day by fire by the Cancellieri in the township of Bonelle; and in so many other places were such excesses committed by the two factions, that they reduced Pistoia to be the most unhappy among all the miserable cities of Italy; its whole territory was one scene of burnings, murders, and captivity of men, and the citizens themselves were become the talk and the scorn of the whole world. The Florentines, who, as imperial vicars, had some pretensions to interfere in the government of Pistoia, derived from the Emperor Robert, had neglected till they reproached themselves, to attempt any salutary remedy to so many evils.
“In the beginning of August, the Cancellieri, the faction which had now the dominion in Pistoia, considering that the Panciatichi were masters of the country, and were well furnished with provisions, while the city was in danger of famine, assembled in the public palace to deliberate; and they concluded it would be for the advantage of their country, and of both parties, to make peace with the Panciatichi. This resolution was soon communicated to the Panciatichi, who suddenly consented to treat. At this time the Florentines offered their mediation, proposed articles, and sent troops to keep order, &c.”
The particulars of this negotiation were curious enough, but this essay is already too long. The wisest and most prudent men in the city held secret communications, sometimes with one party, sometimes with the other, and then with the Florentines, till at last they prevailed to have a general council called. This consisted wholly of Cancellieri, for the Panciatichi were still in the country, and consequently the demands of the latter were thought too considerable. Such controversies arose, even among the Cancellieri, that it was feared nothing would ever be concluded. Some juggling monkish trick at last succeeded; a dove, white and black, (bianca e nera,) after the similitude of the arms of the Panciatichi family, flew down upon the seat of the supreme magistrate, and gave manifest signs that the Most High was in favor of peace; the hard hearts of the Cancellieri relented, and peace was made. The great affair of the appointment of a director of the hospital was settled, by giving each party alternately the appointment. The Panciatichi were restored to the city; all crimes and atrocities were pardoned, and to be forgotten. Eight citizens were to reform the government in such a manner, that the gonfalonier, and all the other officers, should be equally drawn from each faction; and the families enlisted under the Panciatichi on one side, and under the Cancellieri on the other, were all named and recorded.
“Seditions and tumults had ceased; the two factions enjoyed in Pistoia a tranquillity that they believed would be lasting; but the habits of discord were not eradicated, passions were not extinguished, and the parties were not balanced. Accordingly, in 1502, the symptoms were discovered of a hidden gangrene; the Cancellieri pretended to have been exempted by the general council, from accounting for what they had taken from the commons and from pious places; and the Panciatichi demanded to be refunded in part, if not in the whole, of the damages done by fire to their houses; but as the general council, and the other offices of the city, were composed of an equal number of subjects of the two factions, one party refused to approve of the petition of the other. This exasperated their minds to such a degree, that the usual factions arose, and proceeded to blows and to arms. They were soon separated by the Florentine troops of cavalry and infantry, who were posted as guards in Pistoia, and obliged, without laying down their hatred, indignation, and rancor, to return to their houses; there they prepared to give a fresh scope to their passions; and the Cancellieri, as the most powerful, causing to be taken out of the hands of the Panciatichi the fortresses they held, began anew to prepare for driving them altogether out of the state of Pistoia.
“The Panciatichi, penetrating the designs of the Cancellieri, made no delay in providing men, and each party introducing them by night, stood waiting the chance to execute their ill designs. On the twenty-fourth of February, the Cancellieri, in three divisions, fortified themselves, with three hundred men at the gate of Guidi, with two hundred and fifty on the hill in the street of St. John, and with two hundred and fifty in the street near St. Dominic. A party of the Panciatichi coming in from the country, occasioned the battle to begin; but the Panciatichi outnumbered, and almost surrounded by their enemies, were compelled again to abandon the town with precipitation and disorder.
“The Panciatichi, thus expelled a second time from the city, dispersed in divers places on the plain; and the Cancellieri remaining lords of Pistoia, suddenly shut the gates, and went with unbridled rage to plundering, burning, and destroying all the remaining houses and substance of the Panciatichi. They robbed and burned the houses of the Rossi, Forteguerri, Cellesi, Radda, Bambolino, Doffo, Gualfreducci, as well as the Panciatichi, and many others. Meditating still greater cruelties, they ran in great fury to the public palace, and all those of the magistracy who were of the party of the Panciatichi, whom they could find, they most cruelly put to death. In this state of things, those who presided over the administration of justice, supported by the Florentines, attempted to provide a remedy against new combinations, and made the disturbers lay down their arms. To make an example, they hanged Puccino Puccini, whom they found guilty of the murder of the supreme magistrates; and declared thirteen others outlaws, whom they condemned for high treason, for the contempt shown to the supreme authority; these were driven out of Pistoia, and fled to Montale.
“This rigor of justice, however, instead of restoring quiet to Pistoia, served rather to hasten its ruin; because the Panciatichi fortified themselves with bastions of wood, well furnished with arms and men, near the bridge di Bonelle, by means of which they controlled the whole city, and kept the minds of the Cancellieri in constant agitation, till the pride and ferocity of the two parties suffered not a day to pass in the city or the country without rencounters, burnings, and slaughter.
“The Panciatichi, being thus fortified at Bonelle, and other places of the plain, concluded to make an exertion of all their possible strength totally to destroy the contrary party; to this purpose, early one morning, they separated into several divisions, traversed that extensive country by different routes, and after a few hours all met together to assault sixteen houses belonging to the Tesi, Mati, and other Cancellieri families; these they stripped of the most valuable effects, and burnt to the ground. The Cancellieri hastened in great numbers to prevent so great a misfortune; but the fury and the strength of the Panciatichi were such, that, after having killed and wounded many, they obliged the rest to fly. Their flight animated the Panciatichi to set fire without delay to all the houses in that vast plain, and produced a conflagration, which the historian could compare to nothing better than the opening of one of the mouths of hell.*
“Pistoia, being in this deplorable condition, and deprived of all succor and assistance, was filled with people given up to a licentious way of living, without fear of divine, and much less of human justice, who committed continual insolence and wickedness of every kind. Wherefore many, knowing the great damage which resulted to their country, instigated the general council to elect one of the wisest and most learned citizens, with supreme authority, to administer full and summary justice, in order to find a remedy for so great disorders, and extinguish so great a fire by punishing every fault, and reducing the people to the necessity of embracing peace and tranquillity. The council complied with the petition of the principal citizens of the place, and taking all authority from the podestà and captain, conferred the title of doge upon Mariotto di Peraccino del Guida, a doctor of laws living at Porta Guidi, and gave him all the authority of the council itself. Mariotto assumed the government of the city, acted with so much rectitude, that no man could complain of his partiality, and introduced so much tranquillity into the city, as to excite the jealousy of Florence, which feared that it might thereby be defeated in the end it was aiming at.
“But the Cancellieri, as being those who had been the occasion of the exaltation of Mariotto, desirous of demonstrating their superiority in all matters, soon gave occasion to the general council to apprehend fresh evils. They therefore appointed for the doge three of the wisest and most prudent citizens for his counsellors, that, amidst such dangers, he might be animated and assisted to relax nothing in repressing the pride of restless spirits, and that he might be more ardent in reducing the people to order and quiet. All these endeavors, however, availed little; for Jacopo Savello coming to Pistoia with a hundred men in arms, on foot and on horseback, in aid of the Cancellieri, these determined to go out to the attack of the Panciatichi. Uniting three hundred men to the soldiers of Savello, they issued out of the city in two squadrons, one of which went to assault the houses of the Giacomelli, and the other went towards the abbey of Pacciana, where, having routed a hundred cavalry of the Panciatichi, they returned to unite with the other division, and both went to work to rob the houses of every thing valuable, and then to set them on fire, and put the inhabitants to the sword. In the mean time the party of the Panciatichi, numerous in armed men, marching suddenly in front of the enemy, thought to revenge themselves for their past defeat, by the total extermination of the Cancellieri. But, because the river Ombrone, which lay between, hindered the two parties from coming to a fierce battle, frequent skirmishes ensued on its banks, which after a long time appearing about to terminate to the disadvantage of the Cancellieri, this was the reason that, intimidated by the force of the contrary party, they hastily retired, with Jacopo Savello, towards Alliana; and in the confusion they abandoned the greatest part of their arms. This general depredation ruined the crops, and the country was afflicted with a severe famine, which obliged Savello to leave Pistoia.
“The Cancellieri of Cavinana, desirous of restoring to Igno the Cancellieri, their companions, who had been banished from thence, assembled a body of men, who, joining with two hundred and sixty persons, on horseback and on foot, that came out to their assistance from the city, advanced to make trial of their strength; but, meeting with their fellow factionaries from the mountain, and making up five hundred foot, and one hundred horse, they all directed their march towards Pitellio, and encamped near the old parish church, where they waited two days the arrival of other forces, to make a united assault upon that castle. Not seeing them arrive, and fearing that succor might come to the Pitellians from their friends in St. Marcello, they laid aside their meditated enterprise, and returned to their homes.
“The Panciatichi of the mountain, finding themselves disturbed by the Cancellieri, thought it a duty to revenge themselves; and collecting for that purpose one hundred and fifty men at Cutigliano, began to scour the country and commit depredations. They were encountered with a great booty, and a sharp engagement ensued, and, after three hours, the Panciatichi thought it convenient to leave their prey, and retreat, to save their lives, to Lizzano. The Cancellieri, having recovered their property, and observing the retreat of the Panciatichi into certain houses of Lizzano, marched into it. Then the Panciatichi of Lizzano, for fear of the contrary party, who were increased to five hundred persons, and thinking to save their property and the furniture of their houses, deposited them in the church and its steeple, to which also the women and the men retired. The Cancellieri arriving in Lizzano, and finding all the houses abandoned, pillaged all that was left in them, and then burnt them. They then laid siege to the church and steeple in so close a manner, that there was no space left for the Panciatichi to escape. The Cancellieri sent notice to their fellows in the city, country, and mountains, to send them immediate succor, that they might have dead, or prisoners, their confined enemies. One thousand five hundred men appeared, and took away from the besieged all hope of assistance. In this desperate situation there was no proposal of surrender or capitulation. The Cancellieri repeatedly assaulted their enemy; but they obstinately defended themselves, and often wounded the assailants. These at length renewed the enterprise by fire, and attacked both the church and steeple in that manner. Those in the church could no longer endure the raging flames, and all retired into the steeple. This place not being capacious enough for all, many were suffocated with the heat and smoke. The Panciatichi, reduced to this state of misery, were by some of the Cancellieri promised their lives if they would surrender. Eighteen of the besieged took advantage of these fair words; but scarcely were they in the power of their enemies, when they were perfidiously put to death; none of the rest would surrender, but resolved to perish in the balcony. The besiegers, seeing this courageous resolution, increased the fire under the balcony in such a degree, that the flames arising around and above it, many of the poor wretches within it, tormented with smoke, and heat, and pain, sunk under their misery; and the more they deafened the square below with their cries, the more their inhuman enemies exerted themselves to distress them.
“The party of the Panciatichi of the plain, advised of these miseries in which their friends of the mountains were involved, and not able to endure the horrid excesses which were committed, expedited, under the command of Toso, the brother of the Captain Franco Gori, at once to Pupillio four hundred infantry, and one hundred cavalry, who giving notice to all the factionaries of the mountains, that they might come to the relief of their friends, in a short time had an army of a thousand men and more, besides a large number of cavalry. Taking possession of proper posts, and making suitable fortifications, Toso, by a great shout, gave a signal of the succor arrived to the poor victims besieged in the balcony. The Cancellieri, when they discovered this reinforcement, sent parties suddenly to repulse them, who found them so well fortified, that any attempt against them must be ineffectual. Succors from all parts arriving to the Panciatichi, the Cancellieri found it necessary to raise the siege, and retire without risking a battle. The besieged who survived the pain, hunger, and other miseries, came out of that steeple and balcony, where more than one hundred and twenty were found dead by the heat, thirst, and hunger; and their liberators, not caring to pursue their fugitive enemies, only set fire to their houses, by which new conflagration there was not a house left in these two beautiful villages.
“The Panciatichi having avenged the wrongs done to their friends, took the road of St. Marcello, to return to the plain; but one hundred and fifty of them deviating without military order, were unexpectedly attacked by the people of Calamecca; and not being able to defend themselves, they found it convenient to save their lives by taking their flight in the night. This event instigated the Panciatichi to increase their forces, to destroy entirely the contrary party; and hiring to this end, troops from Ferrara, Modena, and Lucca, they brought together four hundred infantry, and one hundred cavalry, who, continually increasing, gave cause to the Cancellieri to prepare for new battles; the whole country was so excited, that from the great preparations of both parties for war, nothing remained to be expected but to see the utter ruin of those places.
“In this miserable state of things, Louis, King of France, excited the Florentines to interpose. They elected thirteen commissaries, and gave them full power. These prohibited all to wear arms, and cited the heads of the factions, both of the Panciatichi and Cancellieri, in the city, country, and mountain, to appear at Florence on the twentieth of August. Of the heads of the Panciatic faction who appeared at Florence in obedience to the order, were six of the principal men of the Panciatichi family, four of the Cellesi, four of the Bisconti, seven of the Brunozzi, three of the Gherardi, and four of the Rossi. Bartolomeo Panciatichi, M. Goro Ghieri, and Captain Giuliano Gherardi, with seven others, refused to come, and incurred the penalty of banishment as rebels. Of the heads of the Cancellieri party, there appeared in Florence in obedience to the citation, two of the Cancellieri, three of the Gatteschi, three of the Ambrogi, two of Perraccino, three of the Melocchi, three of the Tonti, and two of the Odaldi; nine refused to go, and were declared rebels. Six of the heads of the Panciatichi on the plain appeared, and four of those on the mountain, and an equal number of the Cancellieri from each. As soon as they appeared in Florence, seven of the Cancellieri, and six of the Panciatichi, were committed to prison, and all the rest forbidden to leave Florence on pain of banishment as rebels.
“The Florentine commissaries then took all public offices, and the public revenue, out of the hands of the Pistoians, and imposed heavy fines on the leaders for breaking the peace. Upon examination it was found, that more than four hundred houses had been burnt in the city, and more than sixteen hundred in the country.”
The rigor of the Florentines1 preserved the peace but a short time, for in the next year the two factions of the Cancellieri and Panciatichi broke out into another civil war, as violent and destructive as ever. But let us pass over the particulars, and mention only a few circumstances.
“The Florentines again made peace in Pistoia by their commissaries, imprisonments, fines, and other severities, which the Pistoians were too much exhausted to resist. In 1505, the Pistoians petitioned Florence to be restored to the honors, offices, and revenues of the city; and it was granted.
“The Pistoians were such friends of the house of Medici, that they had the address to escape, at the time when the Spanish army invaded Prato, and committed such cruelties and devastations there.
“John de’ Medici was made pope, and assumed the name of Leo X., and the Pistoians made such rejoicings upon this occasion, and sent such congratulations by their ambassadors to the pope, and to Julian his brother, and Lorenzo his nephew, as recommended them to favor.
“In 1514, the families of Panciatichi, Cancellieri, Ricciardi, Gualfreducci and Vergiolesi, who in 1369, had been forbidden to have, obtain, or exercise the offices and dignities of the city of Pistoia, its country, or mountains, supplicated, with others, to be admitted to public offices and honors. Their petition was repeatedly rejected by the council; but at length, by the influence and intercession of the pope, Leo X., they, their children, and descendants, were restored and admitted to all the honors demanded.”
Is there in history a more curious fact? These families were, by an obstinate, arbitrary, and stupid law, excluded from all offices and share in government; yet it was impossible to establish a government that could control them, and they disposed of all offices, and the whole government, divided as they were into two parties, struggling for the whole time, and butchering each other, that one of them might rule the whole.
One spark of malignity remained concealed in the minds of the factionaries, the Panciatichi and Cancellieri, and in 1515 broke out in a furious flame, extending into the plain and the mountains. From tumults and murders both parties proceeded to make preparations of men and arms, to revive the civil wars in all their horrors. But the Florentines, that is to say the Medici family, interposed with such energy, as restored the public tranquillity; in order to preserve which they drew off many of the turbulent spirits, by taking them into their service as guards, &c.
“After the death1 of the Emperor Maximilian, Charles of Austria, King of Spain, was elevated to the throne of Cæsar, and was called Charles V. Upon this event the Pistoians expected some innovations, but the emperor was prevailed upon by Leo X. to make no change in the government of Tuscany; on the contrary the emperor confirmed to the Florentines the privileges of the state, authority, and lands, of which they were in possession.
“Giulio de’ Medici was seated on the pontifical throne, and called Clement VII. The Pistoians did honor to his elevation by great rejoicings, and by an embassy of congratulation; which produced a letter from the pope full of paternal affection for the city of Pistoia, and abounding in praises of the citizens who composed it.”
The ascendency of the Medici family was not, however, sufficiently established to prevent a civil war from breaking out again in Pistoia between the Cancellieri and Panciatichi.
“An obstinate battle was fought between them, which lasted seven hours, and the Panciatichi were again obliged to leave the city, and go into the country to their usual mischief. They returned in a short time with additional force, fought the Cancellieri again, and obtained a victory, not without a multitude of killed and wounded on both sides. After this new tumult many prayers were appointed in Pistoia, to obtain the extirpation of civil discord. The insurrection was soon heard of in Florence, and Niccolò Capponi, whose prudence was esteemed equal to his valor, was sent as commissary, with an army, to suppress it. With great difficulty, and much severity, he succeeded in making a peace, or a truce, between the two parties.”
In 1527, the same factions revived their hostilities, but the leaders were seized and sent to Florence, and imprisoned, and mulcted in fines so severe as intimidated others. Charles, Duke of Bourbon, with a large army of Spaniards and Germans, approached the Alps of Tuscany, and threw the Pistoians into an uncommon agitation; but a great fall of snow obliged him to divert his course from Pistoia to Rome.
“The Florentines having, in 1527, banished the Medici, and taken down, with great impetuosity, the arms of that family from every place in the city, Charles V., in 1529, took upon himself the obligation of entirely reëstablishing that family in that city; and to this end he commissioned Philibert, Prince of Orange, to lay siege to Florence with a large army of Italians and Germans. The Florentines made great preparations for defence, not only of their city, but also of Pistoia. They sent into it five companies of infantry, and placed each gate of the city under a company, and the piazza under the fifth, all under commanders in whom they had confidence. But all these exertions of the Florentines for the security of the city of Pistoia, and to maintain it at their devotion, appeared, even to themselves, to be vain and of little moment, if the good-will of the two factions of the Panciatichi and Cancellieri could not be obtained; and as the Cancellieri were already naturally inclined to their views, they courted and complimented the Panciatichi as the most powerful, and as the adherents to the Medici; and to accomplish their purpose they called to Florence some of the heads of that party, and, admitting them into their council of war, affected a great esteem for their judgments and opinions in things of the greatest importance.
“The Pistoians, however, placed little confidence in those who at this time had the sway in Florence; they therefore created a new magistrate over all affairs of the war, and gave him ample authority to do every thing for the advantage of the city. This magistrate esteemed the five companies insufficient for the defence of the city, and sent to Florence for more; but he was answered, that the troops of Charles V. were approaching to lay siege to Florence, and that the forces of their enemies increased every day, so that they had enough to think and to do for their own defence; that the Pistoians must therefore make use of the means they had for their own salvation; and to this end they gave orders to their commissary, who resided in Pistoia in behalf of the commons of Florence, that he should release freely into the hands of the Pistoians the balìa of their city, that they might both govern and defend themselves; and to their soldiers, posted as guards, to return with all possible expedition to Florence. These orders of their principals were suddenly executed by the commissary and podestà. Pistoia remained free from the yoke of the Imperial vicars, provided itself with men, arms, and provisions; but dreading the army of Charles V. on one side, and the Panciatichi being known to favor the Medici, they sent four ambassadors of that party to offer the keys of the city to the pope, and pray his intercession with the emperor that his army might not enter their territory. Many of the citizens, intimidated by the uncertainty of the times, absented themselves. “Not being able to foresee the end of the war, the advising council adopted another measure, the appointment of ambassadors to Florence to obtain a reconsideration of their resolution. This produced such a rage in the Panciatichi party, that one of the ambassadors, Tonti, was assassinated, and a riot instantly ensued, in which eighteen of the Cancellieri lost their lives, and the whole party was driven out of the city, and their houses plundered and burnt, particularly the celebrated palace of that family near St. Luke’s. The principal actors in this mischief having made a rich booty of money and jewels, fled to Bologna, where they were most graciously received and pardoned by the pope.
“At this time the real extinction of the faction of the Cancellieri followed; because the Panciatichi, favorites of the pontiff, as adherents of the house of Medici, assumed such vigor, that enraged not only against the Cancellieri of the city, but of the country, both on the plain and in the mountains, they sacked, burnt, and destroyed, the greater part of their houses, spreading ruin and devastation as they went, in Cavinana, Lanciole, Cutigliano, Spignano, and all the other castles and possessions of the Cancellieri. The people of Serra, followers of the Panciatichi, burnt the castle of Calamecca, which held for the party of the Cancellieri; these were so inflamed with resentment, that, with the help of some companies of Lombards, they compelled their enemy to fly, some of whom retreating for safety into the church of Crespole, were there besieged, and all put to death; others retired to the belfry, and there fortified themselves, so as to hope to escape the fury of their persecutors, but in vain, for the assailants, disappointed of their vengeance by the sword, resolved to obtain it by famine. The Panciatichi being reduced to this state, one of their most daring soldiers, named Appollonio di Dante, to deliver his companions from the hands of their enemies, precipitated himself from the tower, and his cloak taking the wind, he descended with no other injury than a slight hurt in one of his arms. Running first to Serra, and then to Pistoia, he roused one of the Cellesi to march, with a good body of soldiers, to the relief of the besieged. After this, Pitellio, Pupillio, and Mammiano, by turning to the party of the Panciatichi, suffered no other damage than the loss of a multitude of their inhabitants, who were driven from their habitations as adherents to the Cancellieri.”
The pope, Clement VII., accepted the gift of the city, and by a letter or charter, directed to his beloved sons, the priors, gonfalonier, and people of the city of Pistoia, sent his pontifical commissary to take possession. The Panciatichi had now exterminated the Cancellieri, and obtained the power of governing; but it was at the expense of subjecting both themselves and their country to a foreign power and another rival family.
Charles V., the twenty-eighth of October, 1530, constituted Alexander de’ Medici governor, not only of Florence, but of all Tuscany, to the extreme joy and satisfaction of Clement VII. Thus pope and emperor, Guelphs and Ghibellines, Bianchi and Neri, Panciatichi and Cancellieri, were at last all brought to unite, as all such constitutions of government ever have united, at last, in a government of all authority in one centre, but that centre a worthless, however artful, despot.
“The Pistoians were in hopes, that at least under an absolute prince they might enjoy a little tranquillity; but in 1531 the usual disgusts between the two factions of Panciatichi and Cancellieri began to spring up. Although the former, by the partiality of the house of Medici, were indulged in all their caprices, yet finding themselves now increasing in strength, nothing would satisfy them but the total expulsion from the city, and the complete destruction, of all that belonged to the Cancellieri. Tumults and slaughter arose, and no man had the knowledge or the will to provide a remedy.
“Alexander de’ Medici took possession of his principality in Florence; great rejoicings were made in Pistoia, and four ambassadors sent to present the congratulations of their city, and recommend it as having been always faithful lovers of his family. The forty-eight senators, instituted in Florence this year under Alexander, pacified the two factions of Panciatichi and Cancellieri, and those persons and families who remained of the latter faction returned to the city, to the joy of all.
“Alexander distinguished Pistoia from all other places under his dominion, for its great affection and sweet love to his family, by giving orders that all the business of Pistoia should be addressed immediately to himself in person.
“Charles V., having ascertained the untruth of the accusations of tyranny brought against Alexander de’ Medici by the Florentine exiles, made a visit to Pistoia, where he was received and entertained in the public palace.
“Alexander took it into his head that commissaries and governors were destructive to a state, and therefore abolishing the office, he disarmed the inhabitants as inclined to tumults, and appointed ten noble Pistoians to govern their city. On the sixth of January, 1536, Alexander was assassinated by Lorenzo, and Cosimo succeeded. When the news of this assassination arrived in Pistoia, the heads of the Panciatichi party assembled, and, after mature deliberation, concluded that the present was a convenient opportunity for destroying totally all remnants of the Cancellieri party. To this purpose they excited an insurrection of all their factionaries, under color of maintaining the city of Pistoia in its devotion to the house of Medici. They made leaders of Gio. Cellesi and some others, and with a great multitude scoured the city, and in a very short time assassinated fifteen. Many others, hoping to secure themselves, took post in the fortresses, but, betrayed by the commanders, who let in the Panciatichi, they were miserably deprived of their lives. The partisans of the Cancellieri, seeing that they could not resist the fierce assaults of the contrary faction, went to hide themselves, some in the towns, some in the monasteries, and others in subterraneous places; others went out of the city, found a leader, and hazarded a battle with their enemies, in which many were killed, and others afterwards burnt in steeples. Many, who had foreseen such an event, had before retired to Montale and Montemurlo, places of their faction; so that the Panciatichi remaining masters without control in Pistoia, sacked, burnt, and destroyed all the houses, shops, and stores, which remained of the contrary party in the city.
Cosimo I. had ascended the throne of Tuscany, and ambassadors were sent from Pistoia to congratulate him. At the same time the factionaries of the Cancellieri, who had taken refuge in Montale, constituting as their leader the Captain Guidotto Pazzaglia, their compatriot, and a head of the Cancellieri faction, who, now aged and weakened by many military fatigues, had retired to his estate called the House in the Wood,* fortified by a thick and high wall, and defended by a high and strong tower, entreated him to engage in their defence, and obstruct the approaches of the Panciatichi. Pazzaglia took under his command all the factionaries of his party, and, by a secret correspondence which he had with Philip Strozzi, increased his numbers to four hundred men, whom he quartered in his own habitation. From this post they took the license to go out frequently to the annoyance of the Panciatichi, and gave them much disturbance and many apprehensions. The Panciatichi, to make a diversion and a division of the forces of the opposite party, which every day increased in power, went and commenced a cruel warfare with the Cancellieri of Cavinana. These were made uneasy, and retired to their steeples, where they made a brave defence. At this time the commissary took the resolution of bridling the parties by authority and with rigor; but the Panciatichi, who were more than a thousand men in number, in contempt of justice, and sparing neither age, nor condition, nor sex, executed in a short time a cruel vengeance on their adversaries by fire and sword; and going on every day increasing in ferocity, they increased their murders, rapines, and fires, till they reduced Cavinana, St. Marcello, Crespole, Calamecca, Lanciole, Pupillio, and other places, to spectacles of desolation. Many of the Cancellieri, perceiving that fortune was not favorable to them, retired to the parish church of Cutigliano, and there fortified, stood upon their defence, without losing their presence of mind, waiting from the brave Captain Luca Giacomelli some convenient succor, by which they might once more attempt an attack upon the rear of the Panciatichi, who, to increase their power both in numbers and situation, had taken a post very near them. These disorders were very displeasing to the Duke Cosimo de’ Medici, and he took great pains, by means of his commissary, to restore quiet to the Cancellieri, to which the Panciatichi at length consented. Nevertheless the church was scarcely opened, when they burst into such a furious rage, that they fell upon every one of the Cancellieri, and cut them to pieces. Cosimo was not discouraged, even by this outrage, from using other means to restore quiet to Pistoia, and at last reduced some part of it to good order. But the faction of the Panciatichi, having no longer any of the Cancellieri on whom to vent their rage, turned all their hatred and indignation against one another. The faction became divided into two, which rushed into such persecutions of each other, that innumerable quarrels and murders succeeded. The example was followed among their connections in Florence, which gave occasion to the rettori of that city, who dreaded greater disorders, to draw the two parties to a truce.
“At the same time the Duke Cosimo was exactly informed, that the Captain Pazzaglia received daily additions to the numbers in his house; and that by the assistance of Philip Strozzi, and the other exiles, many were induced daily to go into his service, and the terror had of this great captain was thus increased. Desirous of providing against every sinister event, which he foresaw might occur, not only from the great number of men who were assembled at the House in the Wood, but from the thousands of men which Pazzaglia at the sound of a bell was able to raise, the duke, after having in vain attempted to gain him by means of some friends, sent Otto da Montauto, with a thousand infantry, to attack the House in the Wood, and make prisoners of its garrison.
Montauto by forced marches sat down before the place, but he was early discovered by Pazzaglia, who, always vigilant, saw every thing and thought of every danger, and was fiercely repulsed. Montauto, perceiving the enterprise to be difficult which he had thought so easy, sent to his brother Frederick, who commanded the guards in Pistoia, for immediate succor. The prompt arrival of this aid alarmed Pazzaglia, who, finding himself besieged by a great number of soldiers, and not hearing the bell of Montale, which he had ordered one of his officers to ring, to assemble the assistance he expected from that and other places, ventured out of his habitation, clothed and armed like a soldier, and with a joyful countenance went to meet his besieger, and demanding safety for himself and his soldiers, put himself into his hands. Montauto received Pazzaglia with a smiling countenance, and knowing him to be humane, generous, and polite, he knew not how to refuse his demand. They both entered the House in the Wood, where they refreshed themselves so splendidly, that Montauto, admiring still more the greatness of soul of Pazzaglia, could not without tears conduct him to the presence of the duke. Cosimo had enough of policy as well as generosity to receive him like an intimate and confidential friend. He took him to his most private consultations, and decided on no affair of state without his advice. The duke, perceiving that the ten noble Pistoians, assigned to govern the city, had not fulfilled the obligations enjoined upon them, or preserved good order, restored the use of the ancient offices of podestà and commissary. He promoted to these offices men of moderation as well as of spirit, and thought by their means to remedy all disorders; but there still remained enough of the citizens inclined to quarrel, to keep the city in tumults, and to degrade all justice.
“Niccolò Bracciolini had insinuated himself into favor with the duke, by having revealed to him a conspiracy of the Salviati, Ridolfi, Strozzi, and Valori, and was appointed to the command of certain companies of infantry which were in garrison there. This officer, recollecting that Francesco Brunozzi had been averse to include him in the last truce made between the factions by the mediation of the Florentines, conceived the design of taking bitter revenge of all the Brunozzi family. For this purpose he put himself at the head of his adherents, collected a considerable body of armed men, besides those which Gio. Cellesi held concealed in his house, ready for any orders, went through the city in search of Brunozzi, and having found him, deprived him of his life. He proceeded to set fire to his house, and all the other houses of the family, but was obliged to get possession of them at the point of the sword. The Brunozzi made a brave defence, but were inferior in numbers, and three sons of Francesco were left dead, and the rest fled to some obscure place. Not satisfied with this, Bracciolini proceeded to the country houses of the family, with a soldiery as tyrannical as himself, and there committed all imaginable cruelty, burning and destroying every thing. For this cruel revenge he was afterwards condemned to pay to the surviving Brunozzi only two thousand five hundred ducats for damages.
“At the same time many exiles from Florence, desirous of deposing from the throne of Tuscany the Duke Cosimo de’ Medici, in order, as they pretended, to set their country at liberty, collected together at Mirandola four thousand infantry, and three hundred cavalry, and gave the command of them to Piero Strozzi, who took for his colleague Baccio Valori, and came with one division towards Pistoia, and halting at Montemurlo, waited for the rest of the army. The party of the Cancellieri, who there expected them, received them with transports of joy; and having repaired the citadel, and furnished the castle with every necessary, they all, being fifteen hundred men in number, thought of nothing else but doing infinite mischief to the party of the Panciatichi. They burned Satornana, Valdibura, Uzzo, and Capo di Strada, carrying off from all a rich booty. Taking no account of the government of Florence, the Cancellieri made every effort to reënter Pistoia, and the exiles from Florence had no other view than to deliver their country from the government of the Medici; so that all were agreed to assemble men, provide arms, and collect money, that they might be able by force to wrest the command from the Duke Cosimo. That sovereign, informed of this, and that those in rebellion against him were fortified with much care, every day increased in force, and did great damage, ordered Alexander Vitelli, Otto da Montauto, and Piero Pipicciano, that they should depart in the night from Florence with their troops, three thousand Spaniards, and two regiments of Germans, and go to the assault of Montemurlo; and that the force of the enemy might be diverted and disunited, he ordered the captain Frederick da Montauto, then in Pistoia, to unite the force of his companies with those of the party of the Panciatichi; and the same night, with cries and fires, spread terror in the neighborhood of Montemurlo, that the party of the Cancellieri might be necessitated to abandon it. The party of the Panciatichi, adhering in all things to the will of the duke, united with the forces of Frederick da Montauto, and in a dark night set in an uproar the country of Alliana, and from thence went to burn the houses of the abbey of Pacciana. Setting fire to a multitude of ricks of hay and stacks of corn belonging to the common people, they constrained the Captain Bati Rospigliosi, the Captain Francesco Gatteschi, the Captain Francesco Arferuoli, the Captain Luca Giacomelli, with many others of the exiles, to abandon Montemurlo and the neighboring places, to go and succor their factionaries of the abbey at Pacciana. A severe and obstinate battle ensued, in which, in the end, the Panciatichi were superior, with the death of sixty persons of both parties, among whom were numbered the Captain Mattana, with five soldiers of Cutigliano, who were enough to put in doubt the victory. The head of Mattana was carried to Pistoia, and, amidst the exultations and rejoicings of his adversaries, carried to the piazza as a spectacle to all. This detachment of the exiles being at break of day, the first of August, 1537, defeated, Vitelli and Montauto, knowing that the principal heads of the rebels were in the citadel, went to the attack of Montemurlo, and finding it in all parts ill manned, they animated their people, and assaulted the fortress, which, after a resistance of five hours, was carried. Pietro Strozzi, attempting to make his escape, fell into the hands of the besiegers; a thousand men of both parties were slain, and Philip Strozzi, Baccio Valori, Francesco degli Albizzi, and many others, were conducted prisoners to Florence, where, as rebels both to the state and the empire, they were put to death. This was the establishment and the basis of the grandeur of Cosimo I. de’ Medici, who afterwards, on the thirtieth of September, obtained a most ample diploma from the Emperor Charles V.
“Upon this memorable victory the Pistoians congratulated the duke with an excess of joy by their ambassadors; and the party of the Panciatichi, who had rendered all possible assistance, recollecting that the Cancellieri of the House in the Wood had taken refuge in the parish church of Cutigliano, when that place was sacked by the Captain Vincenzo di Poggio, and the proud towers which were there were ruined to the foundation, now hastened with such ferocity to the assault of that church, that, after a long and good defence, the besieged, without hope of succor, surrendered at discretion to their enemies, who, uniting with those of Valdibura, of Cireglio, and of Uzzo, their adherents burned more than thirteen hundred houses of the Cancellieri, in the towns of Bigiano, the abbey of Pacciana, Chiazzano, Satornana, Calamecca, Crespole, and Lanciole.
“The emperor preparing in Lombardy for battle against Francis I. King of France, and relying on the valor of Pietro Strozzi, general of the Italian infantry, the Pistoians were agitated with fears, and made great preparations for defence.
“The controversy between Pistoia and Lucca, about the boundary between them near Pupillio, being adjusted, the Duke Cosimo was desirous of establishing the peace of the city; and for this object, with menaces and efficacious admonitions, he did not cease to press the obstinate citizens to submit to a regular life, and reduce their affairs for once to good order and a state of tranquillity; but as the Pistoians, in their unbalanced state, had no other consolation than to stand immersed in dissensions, quarrels, and discords, they paid no attention to the sovereign councils, but went on, more and more boisterous, wicked, and seditious, destroying the good order of government, reducing every thing, without control, to the advantage of their private interests and the wantonness of their wild caprices.* The indignation of the duke was at last excited against these obstinate brains, whom he thought it his duty to tame, by taking from them all the honors, public offices, and revenues of the city, as well as the institutions of charity, and to shut up the palace, the residence of the supreme magistrates. With this view he elected four commissaries for the affairs of Pistoia, and gave them full authority to fulfil his determination. All this was ordained and established at the instigation of certain citizens of Pistoia, and all the efforts of the people were made idle; since, by the tenor of the sovereign command, all the magistracies and offices of the city were suppressed, and the administration of the entire revenues and institutions of charity was consigned to Taddeo Guiducci and Christopher Ranieri, with the title of Proveditors General, who received into their possession all the movables of the public palace; and the supreme magistrates who had resided in it were dismissed. Six citizens were deputed, with the title of Proveditors of the Commons, to whom the palace was committed; these, with the resident commissaries, and not otherwise, assembled to treat of the affairs of their city. These having held the office a certain time, it was permitted to the Pistoians to draw six subjects from a purse destined to that use.
“But the duke1 apprehending that these new regulations would excite insurrections, sent a body of soldiers, only three hundred and fifty in number, to disarm the citizens, and rein in the seditious and the wicked; amplified the fortifications, and furnished them with every necessary. Many of the Pistoians now considered themselves as slaves, and thought their nobility debased by the privation of all the honors, public offices, and revenues; they thought it inconsistent with the dignity of their blood to lead a life so obscure and inglorious; they therefore retired from the city, and went to inhabit in other places; hence the city was in danger of depopulation, became defective in many arts of convenience and necessity, and nothing was heard but sighs, groans, and lamentations. The few inhabitants who remained, knowing the great damage which had resulted to their country from this resolution of the duke, were never satisfied with venting their reproaches and curses against those who had advised it;” and they would have attempted more such great things as compose the whole history of their country, if many had not been disheartened by the rigor of the new government.
“All the soldiers in garrison at Pistoia being, in obedience to the orders of the sovereign, gone, with all other persons of note, to Florence, to make their honors and acclamations on the happy marriage of the Duke Cosimo with Leonora, the daughter of don Peter of Toledo, Marquis of Villa Franca, and Viceroy of Naples, the Cancellieri esteemed the opportunity convenient to rise and take vengeance on the Panciatichi. As all the soldiers were gone, and everybody was turned to Florence, the Cancellieri resolved to enter the city in the night, and kill all the Panciatichi, without pardoning or sparing one, that there might not remain the least memorial of them. They hired people from various places, of every quality, and some of the most brave, intrepid, and desperate; and having gained over to their party many in the city, that they might, at a critical moment, open the gates, they introduced, in small numbers at a time, many of their most desperate men, and quartered them, in perfect secrecy, in the houses of their adherents and partisans. They elected for their Captain Giovanni Tonti, who entered the service in the night of the fifteenth of June, put in order more than four hundred soldiers, and marched with them to the gate of St. Mark, at Pistoia, where the walls were lowest, there giving the concerted signal to those within, that with their knowledge he might enter the city unknown to their enemies. At the signal of Tonti, those who were upon the walls suddenly let down one of their men, with orders to say to those without, that they had waited four hours, and because day approached, many had retired to their houses for fear of a discovery; and that therefore it would be advisable to delay the enterprise till the next night. Hearing this, Tonti sent immediately one of his aids to desire those upon the walls not to depart, and instantly consulting his colleagues, he found but one for waiting till the next night. Transported with impatience, Tonti at once cried out to his soldiers, ‘Follow me; now is the time to show our courage!’ and placing a ladder against the wall, mounted to the top, from whence, whilst grasping at a stone, in order to climb over the wall, he fell with it headlong into the ditch. His people, hearing the noise of his fall, but not seeing, by reason of the darkness, what had happened, suspected that they were discovered, and that Tonti had been repulsed by the contrary party. Those, therefore, who had ascended on other ladders turned back, and gave themselves to flight, very few remaining for the defence of Tonti; among these, the most spirited and the most faithful pressed to see what had happened, and discovered Tonti, with one thigh broken, half dead in the ditch; understanding the truth from him, they placed him on a ladder, and, with the assistance of his brother, carried him to a house in the neighborhood as a place of security. In this state of things, Simon Gatteschi, and Philip Ghelardini, persons of great zeal and activity, prepared to carry on the enterprise. Confiding much in the assistance of those in the city, they hastened early, with thirty followers, to the gate of St. Mark, and finding it open, entered the city, and marched to the piazza. As many of the Panciatichi as they found they killed, which raised a great uproar in the city, and intimidated the people so much, that all retired to their habitations. The heads of the Panciatichi observing that the rioters were very few, and that none in the city gave them assistance, took courage, and making, by order of the commissary, a hasty collection of men, they began with these to pursue the others with so much spirit, that some of them fled out of the city, went towards Cireglio and Cavinana, there made a rich prey, and escaped into Lombardy. Others were taken and severely punished, and afterwards all the accomplices of the conspiracy were by a public proclamation declared rebels; thus ended the tumult. The commissary afterwards ordered many of the Cancellieri party to be arrested, who were about fifty in number, held them three months in prison, put some of them to the torture, by which he discovered the truth of the fact, and then set all at liberty, without condemning any.
“All contradiction and opposition being suppressed, and the harvest being plentiful, the Pistoians thought no felicity superior to theirs, and they held it lawful to forget the past by immersing themselves in a sea of pleasures, by the allurements of which they were seduced into a very vicious and expensive life.
“Cosimo perceiving that the privation of honors and offices had decreased the population of the city, and diminished commerce and the revenue, esteemed it his interest, as well as that of the public, that the city should be restored to its primitive state. On the thirtieth of March, 1547, he made a concession forever in favor of the Pistoians, of all the honors and public offices, and all the privileges, which were established in the year 1496, in the convention with the Florentines. The purses were soon formed of the usual magistrates, and all the persons worthy of that preëminence and those honors had their names imborsed, and the individuals were drawn with universal rejoicings.
“The representation of the faction of Cancellieri, under the name of Dormentoni, and that of the Panciatichi, under that of Risoluti, made by some, among the sports and shows of the Carnival, with habits and ornaments proper to that age, through some injurious words thrown out in jest among them, occasioned disorders of so serious a nature, that there was great danger of reviving the ancient animosities and insurrections; but the Duke Cosimo caused to be arrested the inventors of those masquerades, intimidated their followers, and restored the public tranquillity; and, to make the greater impression on the people, and secure their quiet for the future, he punished the prisoners in an exemplary manner.
“The government continued absolute1 in the family of Medici till the year 1737, when, upon the death of John Gaston I., the last grand duke of that family, without issue, the family became extinct. Don Carlos, King of Naples, in his own name, and Philip V. King of Spain, not only in his own name, but also in the name of the infant don Philip, and don Louis, and the other sons whom he might have by the Queen of Spain, renounced all right and pretence, which they or their descendants might have to the succession of the grand dukedom of Tuscany, and transferred all such rights, actions, or pretences, to Francesco di Leopoldo, Duke of Lorraine and Bar, his heirs and successors; and Pistoia soon swore allegiance to the new sovereign.”
And here ends another most splendid example of the blessings and felicities of a republic without three orders forming a mutual balance! It is quite unnecessary to excite the resentment, or flatter the vanity, of any individuals or families in America, by mentioning their names; but if you begin at New Hampshire, and proceed through all the States to Georgia, you will at once be able to fix your thoughts upon some five or six families in each state, some two of whom will, in the course of fifty years, perhaps of five (unless they are restrained by an independent executive power, three independent branches in the legislature, and an independent judicial department,) be able to divide the state into two parties, one generally at the head of the gentlemen, the other of the simplemen, tear one another to pieces, and rend the vitals of their country with as ferocious animosity, as unrelenting rancor and cruelty, as ever actuated the Cancellieri and the Panciatichi in Pistoia. And it will not be the fault of these individuals or families; they will not be able to avoid it, let their talents or virtues be what they may; their friends, connections, and dependents, will stimulate and urge them forward, by every provocation of flattery, ridicule, and menaces, until they plunge them into an abyss, out of which they can never rise. It will be entirely the fault of the constitution, and of the people who will not now adopt a good one; it will be the misfortune of those individuals and families as much as of the public; for what consolation can it be to a man, to think that his whole life, and that of his son and grandson, must be spent in unceasing misery and warfare, for the sake only of a possibility that his great grandson may become a despot!1
[* ]Memorie Storiche della città di Pistoia, raccolte da Jacopo Maria Fioravanti, nobile Patrizio Pistoiese. Edit. Lucca, 1758, cap. ii. p. 15.
[* ]Sigonius, De Regno Italiæ, lib. iv.
[* ]His diebus, propter absentiam regis, Italiæ urbibus in insolentiam decedentibus . . . Otho of Frisingen.
[† ]Sigonius, De Regno Italiæ, lib. xiii.
[‡ ]Unus plus de popularibus quam de majoribus.
[1 ]The historian seems to have had little notion of natural rights.
[* ]Con tutta la balià, impero, e potestà di governare, comandare, e castigare. Fioravanti, p. 18.
[* ]His oath was, Et petam a consiliariis toto tempore mei dominii de rebus, quæ mihi videbuntur expectare ad communem honorem, et utilitatem nostræ civitatis Pistorii. Fioravanti, pp. 18, 19.
[† ]Volumus quod eligantur trecenti boni homines de populo Pistoriense, de melioribus et potentioribus, pro manutentione et defensione Capitanei. Rubrica cento della Legge del 1274.
[* ]Fioravanti, p. 21.
[* ]Dicti domini anthiani, et vexillifer justitiæ, et eorum notarii, sint et esse debeant de melioribus popularibus et artificibus dictæ civitatis, et non de aliqua domo magnata. Fioravanti, p. 21.
[* ]Scribantur et ponantur in numero magnatum et potentum, et pro magnatibus et potentibus habeantur. Fioravanti, p. 22.
[1 ]“A peine l’indépendance des cités avoit été reconnue par l’empereur, que le peuple crut qu’il étoit temps de se faire rendre compte du pouvoir des gentilshommes, qui jusque alors avoient administré ses affaires avec autant de patriotisme que de bravoure et de talent. Cette défiance nouvelle se dirigeoit contre des hommes qui auparavant avoient bien mérité des républiques; toutefois il ne faut point l’attribuer uniquement au développement de l’ambition et à la vanité des plébéiens, ni les taxer d’ingratitude. Dès que le danger qui menaçoit les villes avoit été écarté, les intérêts des nobles et ceux du peuple avoient cessé d’être communs. Les premiers, n’ayant plus en vue la défense publique, s’étoient livrés de nouveau à leur projets d’agrandissement et à leur ambition de famille. Une indépendance solitaire leur convenoit mieux encore qu’une liberté partagée avec des bourgeois; et s’il falloit rechercher la faveur d’une puissance à laquelle ils ne vouloient point obéir, ils aimoient mieux faire leur cour aux empereurs qu’au peuple.” Sismondi, Hist. des Rép. Ital. tom. 2, p. 236.
[† ]The devices on the standards, seals, and coins of the republic, as well as all other antiquities, are not within the design of this essay; but there was on one of their standards an idea that contained the truest emblem of their government; a lamb pursued by a wolf, with the motto, Pace, richezza, superbia; guerra, povertà, umiltà; Peace, riches, and pride; war, poverty, and humility. If the wolf is construed to signify the majority, and the lamb the minority, as there was neither a shepherd nor shepherd’s dog to interpose between them, the resemblance is perfect.
[1 ]“Popolari,” the common people as distinguished from the nobles.
[* ]Si richiede lunga, e continovata chiarezza di sangue.
[1 ]In the original work, the author deems the hat of importance enough to justify an engraved representation of its form.
[1 ]“alla politica,” the general policy.
[1 ]“per dilatare i limiti della loro usurpata libertà.”
[* ]Fioravanti, p. 38.
[1 ]Fioravanti, cap. x. p. 164.
[* ]“Ma oh misere vicende del mondo!” Fioravanti, p. 219.
[1 ]Fioravanti, c. xv. p. 229.
[2 ]Charles of Anjou, King of Naples.
[* ]Le rivoluzioni, le insolenze, le rubberie, li assassinamenti, che giornalmente accadevano, &c. Fioravanti, p. 243.
[* ]Fioravanti, p. 244.
[1 ]“A vingt milles de Florence, sur la route de Lucques, au pied des Appenins qui séparent la Toscane d’avec le Modénois, est bâtie la ville de Pistoia. Malgré la fertilité de son territoire et sa riante situation, cette cité n’a point acquis d’illustration par sa population, sa richesse, son commerce, ou sa puissance; mais en revanche la violence de ses révolutions, et la haine profonde des partis qui la divisèrent, répandirent un levain de discorde sur le reste de la Toscane et presque de l’Italie, et suscitèrent pour une offense privée et une querelle de famille, une guerre universelle. Le peuple de Pistoia est peut-être le peuple le plus violent, le plus emporté, le plus factieux dont l’histoire nous ait conservé le souvenir. C’est un peuple qui semble avoir eu soif de guerres civiles; il ne fut point désaltéré de sang même après avoir réduit sa patrie à n’avoir qu’un rang obscur parmi les villes d’Italie; il ne se reposa point sous le joug du despotisme qui, étouffant toutes les passions, détruisant tous les intérêts, endort presque toujours les peuples dans le repos de la mort; il continua de combattre après que la liberté, le gouvernement, la gloire, ne pouvoient plus exister pour lui; tel qu’un des géans de l’Arioste, dans la chaleur de ses batailles, il oublioit qu’il étoit mort. Exemple à jamais mémorable de la fureur insensée que les noms seuls peuvent encore inspirer aux hommes, lorsqu’il ne subsiste plus aucune des causes qui avoient excité leur discorde. Sismondi, Rép. Ital. tome iv. p. 94.
[* ]Ferretus Vicentinus, lib. ii. apud Muratori, tom. ix, Rerum Italicarum Scriptores. Muratori Annal. tom. viii. pp. 2, 3. Cosi le maledette Sette si andavano dilatando per tutta la Toscana.
[1 ]The Italian author is at least consistent in his views of the nature of popular rights. He says,—
[2 ]There was a refinement in the degree of their malignity which deserves notice in a history of ill-balanced governments.
[1 ]Fioravanti, c. xviii. p. 260.
[* ]Signoreggiassero la città.
[* ]Fioravanti, lib. xix.
[1 ]Fioravanti, chap. xx. p. 286.
[* ]Fioravanti, p. 301.
[1 ]Fioravanti, chap. xxii. p. 314.
[1 ]Fioravanti, cap. xxiv. p. 342.
[2 ]Chap. xxv. p. 351.
[1 ]Fioravanti, p. 367.
[1 ]The original meaning of Fioravanti seems not to be accurately adhered to in this place.
[2 ]Chap. xxvii. p. 376.
[1 ]“Dolce,” amiable, frequently signifying the same with the word used in the text.
[1 ]“Se tu non ti mostri nostro amico, dunque tu sei nostro nemico.”
[1 ]Chap. xxviii. p. 385.
[* ]Sembrava essersi aperta in quelle parti, una bocca di inferno. p. 394.
[1 ]Chap. xxix. p. 401.
[1 ]Chap. xxx. p. 410.
[* ]La Casa al Bosco.
[* ]Sempre più tumultuanti, e facinorosi, e sediziosi, guastando il buon ordine del governo, riducevano quello, senza freno ai vantaggi dei propri interessi, e disordinati capricci.
[1 ]Chap. xxxii. p. 432.
[1 ]Chap. xxxviii. p. 494.
[1 ]It is scarcely necessary to point out the mistake which has been here committed by the author as to the probable course of things in the United States. Neither does the escape from the danger here referred to seem to have been so much due to the establishment of the form which he advocates, as to that radical equality of condition which the law and custom of equal distribution of inheritances everywhere establishes. Sixty years have passed away, and such a thing as family influence has not as yet produced the smallest perceptible effect upon the political movements of state or nation.