Front Page Titles (by Subject) DEDICATION. - The Historical, Political, and Diplomatic Writings, vol. 1 (Life of Machiavelli, History of Florence)
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DEDICATION. - Niccolo Machiavelli, The Historical, Political, and Diplomatic Writings, vol. 1 (Life of Machiavelli, History of Florence) 
The Historical, Political, and Diplomatic Writings of Niccolo Machiavelli, tr. from the Italian, by Christian E. Detmold (Boston, J. R. Osgood and company, 1882). Vol. 1. History of Florence.
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to our most holy and blessed father and lord, CLEMENT VII. his humble servant,
Most Holy and Blessed Father, — Since your Holiness, before attaining your present exalted position, commissioned me to write an account of the things done by the Florentine people, I have used all the diligence and skill given me by nature and experience to satisfy your command. Having now in the course of my writing arrived at the period when the death of the Magnificent Lorenzo de’ Medici caused a change in the government of Italy, and having to describe the events that followed with a greater and loftier spirit, they being of a greater and more elevated character, I have deemed it well to reduce all I have written up to that epoch into one volume, and to present it to your Holiness, so that you may begin in some measure to enjoy the fruits of your sowing and of my labors.
In reading this your Holiness will see first, after the beginning of the decline of the power of the Roman Empire in the West, how many changes the states of Italy underwent during several centuries, and how many disasters they experienced under so many princes. You will see how the Pope, the Venetians, the Kingdom of Naples, and the Dukedom of Milan took the first rank and power in that province. You will see how your country raised itself by its very division from subjection to the Emperors, and remained divided until it began to govern itself under the protecting shadow of your house.
And being particularly charged and commanded by your Holiness to write the doings of your ancestors in such manner that it might be seen that I was free from all adulation, (the true praises of men being agreeable to hear, whilst such as are feigned and written by favor are displeasing,) I have hesitated much in describing the goodness of Giovanni, the wisdom of Cosimo, the humanity of Piero, and the magnificence of Lorenzo; so that it might not seem to your Holiness that I had transgressed your commands. For this I excuse myself to you, and for any similar descriptions that might displease as being little faithful; for finding the recollections of those who have at various time written of them full of praise, it became me to write of them such as I found them, or to pass them over with invidious silence. And if under their distinguished acts there was concealed an ambition common to usefulness, or (as some say) contrary to it, I, who do not know it, am not bound to describe it; for in all my narrative I have never attempted to cover a dishonest act with honest reasons, nor have I ever dimmed a praiseworthy act by representing it as having been done for a contrary purpose. But it may be seen in all parts of my history how far I am from adulation, and especially in the private discourses and public speeches, direct or indirect, which I have preserved with the very sentences, order, manner, and disposition of the person that spoke them, and without any reserve. I avoid in all instances odious expressions, as being wholly unnecessary to the dignity and truth of history. No one, therefore, who considers my writings rightly, can charge me with being a flatterer, particularly seeing that I have not said much of the memory of the father of your Holiness, — the reason of which was the shortness of his life, during which he could not make himself known; nor could I by my writings have made him illustrious. Nevertheless the merit of having been the father of your Holiness is an ample equivalent of all those of his ancestors, and will insure him more centuries of fame than his evil fortune took years from his life.
I have endeavored then, Most Holy Father, in my descriptions, whilst not tarnishing the truth, to satisfy everybody; and yet I may have failed to satisfy any. Nor should I wonder if this were the case, for I judge it to be impossible to describe the events of one’s own times without offending many. Nevertheless I enter the field cheerfully, hoping that inasmuch as I am honored and supported by the benevolence of your Holiness, so shall I be aided and defended by the armed legions of your most holy judgment; and with the same courage and confidence with which I have written till now, I shall continue my undertaking so long as life is left me, and your Holiness does not abandon me.