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LETTER I. - 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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Magnificent and Illustrious Signori, etc., etc.: —
I arrived here yesterday evening about the twenty-second hour, and reported myself immediately to his Magnificence the Captain-General, and communicated to him your Lordships’ wishes in relation to the powder, balls, and saltpetre. He replied that all the iron balls here, both large and small, had been sent last year to be employed in the siege of Vico; and that the powder that had been left here by the French, amounting only to about fifteen or twenty pounds, had been destroyed two years ago, having been set on fire by a stroke of lightning, and that the explosion had shattered that part of the citadel where the powder had been stored. I then sent for Farragano to obtain information respecting the saltpetre, in accordance with the instructions given me by your Lordships’ purveyor. He told me that he had only one hundred pounds, but that he had a friend in the country who had about six hundred pounds of powder; and although this is but a small quantity, yet I send it to your Lordships by the bearer of this, so that this trip shall not have been entirely in vain; and I beg that you will have him paid promptly at the rate of forty florins per one thousand pounds, which I have promised him. Upon weighing this powder we found it to be five hundred and eighty-seven pounds; the teamster who brings it to you is called Tommaso di Mazolo, to whom you will please pay the value of the powder according to my promise to him; I have paid him for carrying it to you the sum of eight florins and three soldi.
In regard to what has passed between Ser Guerrino del Bello and our commander touching the attempt of the latter to arrest Marchione Golferelli, as well as the other occurrences here, I have learned the following from persons of different conditions, so that I believe it to be true; namely, that your Lordships’ predecessors having written to the commander here that they had some apprehensions lest Dionigio Naldi should enter the place during the night for the purpose of doing some mischief to the Corbizo family, and that a certain Marchione Golferelli was to aid him in this, the commander resolved to lay his hands upon this Marchione; but having been brought by the sergeants almost within the palace courtyard, he was rescued by two of his relatives, who carried him away with them to Furli. And as they believed that this attempted arrest of Marchione’s had been suggested by the Corbizzo family, they cancelled the truce that had for years subsisted between the two families.
Respecting this matter of Ser Guerrino, I called on his father, Bello, who does not attempt to excuse the disobedience of his son, but complains of the inhumanity of the captain in requiring him to send away out of his house in the night four of his friends and relatives. For he believed that his loyalty was so well known that no one could have a doubt upon that point; and that at the time when the enemy was all around them he had received at different times thirty of his friends in his house, and had never been blamed, but rather commended for it by the commissioner, and therefore he recommended himself and his son to your Lordships. This Bello, according to what I learn from the chief priest Farragano, and from a number of other inhabitants of this place, is a worthy and peaceful man, who has never openly taken sides with either party, but has always been rather a peace-maker than a fomenter of troubles. Taking now a general view of things in this country, it seems to me that the people are very united, and that there is no open enmity between any of its inhabitants.
Since the death of Corbizzo some little jealousy appears to have sprung up amongst them, as each desires to exercise the same influence which he had; but unless this feeling is purposely stimulated by some one, it is not likely to produce any bad results. The only thing is a very strong feeling of apprehension lest this Dionigio Naldi, with the aid of the Lady Catharine, should do them some mischief. For although this lady is on terms of friendship with your Lordships, yet they cannot rely upon nor trust her, and thus the inhabitants of the place as well as the country are kept in a constant state of anxiety. It was only yesterday that some fifteen or twenty crossbowmen of the Lady Catharine’s went to a place about a mile from here, called Salutare, belonging to your Lordships, and wounded three men and carried one away with them after having robbed his house. Similar outrages are committed every day, and it was only yesterday that a number of country people complained to me, saying, “Our lords have abandoned us; they have too many other things on their hands.” Your Lordships will doubtless, with your great prudence, take such measuresin this matter as the honor of our republic demands, and as will give satisfaction to these your most faithful subjects.
There is nothing else of interest to communicate. I shall leave immediately for Furli to execute the commission given me by your Lordships, to whom I commend myself most humbly. Quæ feliciter valeant.
Castrocaro, 16 July, 1499.