Front Page Titles (by Subject) INSTRUCTIONS GIVEN TO NICCOLO MACHIAVELLI ON BEING SENT TO FURLI, TO THEIR EXCELLENCIES THE COUNTESS SFORZA AND HER ELDEST SON, SIGNOR OTTAVIANO. - The Historical, Political, and Diplomatic Writings, vol. 3 (Diplomatic Missions 1498-1505)
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INSTRUCTIONS GIVEN TO NICCOLO MACHIAVELLI ON BEING SENT TO FURLI, TO THEIR EXCELLENCIES THE COUNTESS SFORZA AND HER ELDEST SON, SIGNOR OTTAVIANO. - Niccolo Machiavelli, The Historical, Political, and Diplomatic Writings, vol. 3 (Diplomatic Missions 1498-1505) 
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. 3.
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Resolved on, 12 July, 1499.
You will proceed to Furli and present yourself to the illustrious Lady Catharine and to his Excellency the Signor Ottaviano, her eldest son, and after having offered your homage to them, and presented our letters of credence, with which you will be furnished, to both of them jointly and to each separately, you will state the object of your mission; which you will explain has been resolved upon in consequence of their agent’s having asked of us a renewal for this year of the Signor Ottaviano’s engagement. Upon this subject you will point out to them that we do not consider ourselves bound to do so, having at the proper time, through our commissioner, Andrea de’ Pazzi, made their Excellencies understand the reasons which we believed would readily justify our refusal.
You will also recall the fact, that when, on the last day of January, our commissioner urged the Signor Ottaviano to give his consent to such a renewal, his Excellency replied, “Non teneri, nec obligatum esse, cum pro parte Magistratus Decemvirorum, etc., non fuerint sibi servata capitula conductæ suæ.” This refusal on his part was formally drawn up by a certain Ser Spinucci of Furli; and was moreover confirmed on the same day by letters from the said Signor Ottaviano, and by several letters from Andrea de’ Pazzi, in which he wrote in behalf of the illustrious Lady Catharine that she would on no account give her consent to such an engagement. Whence we concluded that his Excellency was under no obligations to us, nor we to him; it seeming to us that the efforts we had made, and the written replies thereto, were sufficient evidence that their Excellencies would on no account accept a renewal of the engagement. Added to this is the fact that our ambassadors at Milan had written several times that her Excellency the Countess had written to that most illustrious prince, in reply to his letters in which he advised her to accept the engagement, that she would under no consideration give her consent; alleging that she was badly compensated, etc., and that she hoped, in the event of her obtaining more favorable conditions elsewhere, his Excellency would not deprive her of that advantage.
All these circumstances constrain us to think that both by words and by acts their Excellencies will not continue their engagement any longer. And moreover, that, even if all these reasons did not exist, the fact that his Excellency did not accept within four months the conditions which we offered makes it impossible for us now, after a lapse of so much time, to come back to the terms of an engagement which has absolutely expired. In this wise you will clearly justify our course, so that his Excellency may understand that we have acted with good reason in this matter, as the above argument will show. And you will immediately add that, notwithstanding all this, we have an earnest desire to meet the wishes of his Excellency, and to satisfy him as far as we possibly can at this time; and with the view to showing him our gratitude for all he has done for our republic, we have determined to accord to their Excellencies such an engagement at the expiration of the present term. But owing to the present state of things, and the great number of men-at-arms which we have still in our service, we desire that such an engagement should be on a peace footing, and for one year, at a compensation of ten thousand ducats. And we think that such an engagement ought to satisfy his Excellency, if not by its importance, at least by its stability, for in this way it may last longer than if we maintained it at the same rate of compensation and the same number of men-at-arms as heretofore. And moreover we believe that, in accepting our proposition, his Excellency will be influenced less by a desire to advance his own interests than to gratify our republic, and by the wish to secure our affection more and more by adding to his past services this new proof of his liberality.
You will also point out to his Excellency, that, if such an engagement is not altogether in accordance with his wishes, yet it will not be without dignity nor without the prospect of improvement, when once our republic shall have recovered all her territory and is restored to her proper state and power. And should his Excellency refer to the increase of compensation conceded by us to some of our other Condottieri, you will have ample reasons for explaining to him that the circumstances at the time demanded this, assuring him at the same time that, if we had to do so now, it would not be on so large a scale, nor should we have the same considerations for these Condottieri now as we were obliged to have at the time, when our affairs were in the condition in which they were then. And should reference be made by his Excellency to the loss of rations, you will in reply observe that two months of such an engagement have already expired, which is clear gain to his Excellency, and that we could easily compensate him for such loss.
Upon these several points you will enlarge in the most effective language and in the best terms that may suggest themselves to you; so as to convince his Excellency of our sincere desire for an opportunity to benefit him, and to acknowledge the services which he has rendered to our republic, as also of our entire confidence in him. At the same time, you will point out the necessity of the union of our states, employing the most acceptable language in your endeavor to persuade him to that effect.
You will not omit to write to us promptly an account of your proceedings, so that we may reply at once and remove any difficulties that may arise. And you must shape your proceedings so that his Excellency will not take it amiss if we do not at all times meet our payments at the moment they are due. For this purpose you will explain to him, that we propose to make this engagement with him from no necessity of our own, but merely to gratify his desire; and that, weighed down as we are with such heavy charges, we may find ourselves obliged occasionally to defer our payments, in respect to which you will make our excuses in such terms as will be acceptable to his Excellency.