Front Page Titles (by Subject) LETTER III. - The Historical, Political, and Diplomatic Writings, vol. 3 (Diplomatic Missions 1498-1505)
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LETTER III. - 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 Signori: —
I wrote to your Lordships yesterday at length, by the courier Ardingo, what I had done in execution of the commission intrusted to me, and await your reply with impatience. This morning I received through Tommaso Totti, a letter from your Lordships urging me in relation to the powder and saltpetre which I was to obtain at Castrocaro. Having reported fully on this subject on the 16th instant, I shall not enlarge upon it any further; but as your Lordships had charged me also to ask her Excellency for powder and men, I presented myself immediately before her and communicated again to her Ladyship your wishes and the pleasure which her compliance with your request would give you. She replied that she had no saltpetre at all, and but little powder; but that by way of not failing to do what was possible she would be glad to give you ten thousand out of the twenty thousand pounds of saltpetre which Leonardo Strozzi had purchased for her account at Pesaro, and she charged Risorbolo to write to the said Leonardo what she wished done in the matter. I spared no efforts to dispose her Excellency favorably to your requests, but could obtain nothing more from her. Your Lordships will therefore have to see Leonardo Strozzi, and can arrange with him so that you may send your teams at once to Pesaro to bring the saltpetre away. Or if you prefer, you can write and send me an order from Leonardo to have the saltpetre delivered to my order; and I will arrange to have it transported to Castrocaro, where your Lordships’ teamsters can come and take it. This was the course adopted last year, as is well known to your minister, Guaspare Pasgni.
Respecting the troops, her Excellency told me that she was quite willing to permit her subjects to engage in your Lordships’ service, but that it was notpossible to make them march without money. Your Lordships must, therefore, send means to raise the troops, whilst her Excellency will endeavor to send you only picked men, well armed and loyal, and will expedite them promptly. If, therefore, your Lordships are in want of troops, you must at once send five hundred ducats, so that one may be given to each man; and I believe that within two weeks from now they would be on Pisan territory, but not sooner. Your Lordships will decide what arrangement will suit you best, and advise me accordingly, and I shall execute your commands with the utmost diligence.
When I communicated your Lordship’s letters to the illustrious Countess this morning, and before I had time to add a word, she said: “I have good news this morning, for I see that your Signoria are going to make earnest of it; they are collecting troops, for which I commend them, and am the more pleased at it as I was before dissatisfied by their tardiness, and the seemingly irreparable loss of time.” I thanked her Excellency most sincerely, and then assured her that this tardiness had been caused altogether by necessity. Her Excellency readily admitted this, adding that she wished that her states were so situated that she could stir up all her troops and subjects in your favor, as that would show to the whole world that in espousing your cause she had been influenced solely by her affection for and entire faith in your Lordships. But she desired some acknowledgment for this, and that she should not be wounded in her honor, which she prized above all else. This she thought would be becoming in your Lordships, not so much on her own account as for the example which you would thereby give to your other adherents of your not being ungrateful for services received. I replied to the best of my ability, but could not help observing that mere words and arguments will not go far in satisfying her Excellency, unless supported, in part at least, by acts. And I truly believe that if your Lordships were to make some acknowledgment to the Countess for past services, or increase the compensation under the new engagement, you will be sure to preserve her Ladyship’s friendship. For she could not be better disposed towards our republic than what she is, of which I have every day the most striking indications. It has seemed to me proper to write all these particulars so that your Lordships may the better judge what I wrote you yesterday.
Quæ feliciter valeant.
Furli, 18 July, 1499.
P. S. — Enclosed is the letter which her Excellency had written to Leonardo Strozzi about the saltpetre.
P. S. — One of the secretaries of the Countess has been to see me, and informed me on the part of her Excellency that two kinds of troops may be raised in her dominions. The one is a corps of fifteen hundred men, which she has armed for her own service as may be needed. Of these she cannot send any to your Lordships, unless they are paid a whole month in advance. Her Excellency would pay them herself, or hold herself responsible for such as do not serve the full time of a month. She wants eighteen lire per man; so if your Lordships want any of them you will have to send fifteen hundred ducats for five hundred men, which her Excellency promises shall be good men and well armed, and shall be sent at once. The other kind of troops are such as are in the habit of engaging with any one for pay, but are not enrolled by her Excellency. Of these the Countess leaves you to hire at your pleasure, and at such rates of pay as you can agree with them for. Your Lordships will in your high wisdom take such as you may deem most suited for your purpose. I am ready with all diligence to execute whatever commission your Lordships may charge me with.
Iterum valeant, die qua in literis.