Front Page Titles (by Subject) LETTER VII. - The Historical, Political, and Diplomatic Writings, vol. 3 (Diplomatic Missions 1498-1505)
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LETTER VII. - 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, etc., etc.: —
[The beginning of this letter is a copy of the preceding one, after which it continues: —]
To here is a copy of our last letter of the 7th, which we could not send until the 10th from Montargis. In the execution of so much of your Lordships’ orders as had not already been attended to, we called upon the Cardinal d’Amboise, and were fortunate in having a good long audience from him. We had translated the intercepted letter of Piero da Poggio of Lucca into French, and begged his Eminence to read and examine it, as he would find in it many particulars that would prove to him in the most evident manner that the Lucchese had manifestly acted adversely to his Majesty the king. Seeing that the Cardinal did not care to read it, we began to relate to him some of the main points of the letter, but his Eminence promptly objected, and said that a report from Beaumont and the other captains proved that the Lucchese had never acted adversely to his Majesty, but had served him more effectually, and with a better will, than the Florentines, and more especially in the matter of provisions. To this we replied, that it seemed very strange to us that the Lucchese, with a show of fair words and by the influence of some friends, should prevail over truth itself; that in fact we had always striven to uphold the honor of the king, whilst the conduct of the Lucchese had been directly the reverse, and more especially in the affair of Pisa. We wanted again to submit to his Eminence the translation of the letter mentioned above, but he declined; and when we offered to leave it with him, he cared not to accept it.
On our observing to the Cardinal that we had learnt that the Lucchese ambassadors had been called back to the court, he answered promptly that, not having found them at fault in any way, he deemed it proper to have them recalled. His Eminence then began to tell us that, when Corcou was at Florence, he had made known to your Lordships how favorably the king was disposed towards our republic, and most particularly in relation to the matter of Pisa; and then he complained that your Lordships had been reluctant to take any measures for the success of that enterprise; and, further, that you had been unwilling, or cared not, to have his Majesty’s troops in garrison within the Florentine territory; and, moreover, that you had refused to pay what was due to the Swiss, although it was provided in their engagement that they should have pay for their return home; and, finally, his Eminence charged the ill success of the expedition against Pisa entirely to our short-comings. To these charges we replied, first, that our republic was exhausted by the many protracted wars, and, moreover, that the people of Florence could not and ought not to have any confidence in such ill-disciplined troops, who had shown themselves so ill disposed towards our republic. His Eminence answered the same as he had done on a former occasion, that, besides the insufficient measures taken by the Florentines, they were not even united amongst themselves. We expressed our astonishment that he should hold such an opinion, which was altogether erroneous. The Cardinal said that he had been so informed by all the Frenchmen who had been at Florence. We assured him that they could not have heard or known anything of the kind, as our republic was perfectly united upon all important matters, and most particularly in the desire to recover Pisa, as was proved by the energetic measures adopted in raising and sending the money required for that purpose, and which could only be obtained by the concurrence of two thirds of all the citizens of Florence. We begged his Eminence to reflect well upon the character of the individuals who had made such statements to him, as also upon the nature of the things reported to him. As to the pay of the Swiss, we observed that your Lordships were not bound to pay them, for they had not performed the service required of them, and had refused to mount guard or stand sentinel, and, moreover, had nearly all disbanded. To which the Cardinal replied that your Lordships ought to pay them; for if you did not, the king would have to do it with his own means, which would make him greatly dissatisfied with your conduct. Respecting the complaint that the enterprise failed in consequence of your short-comings, we recalled to him very briefly the disorders that had broken out in camp, and closed by saying that, if his Majesty had not been informed that a great part of the wagons had been stolen, and the remainder badly distributed, then the truth had been studiously withheld from him. We urged again that we had come here prepared to submit to the strictest investigation, for the purpose of proving the truth that your Lordships had always supplied abundance of everything that was needed. His Eminence answered by declaring any further discussion useless, and that he was astonished at your Lordships’ unwillingness to do anything to recommence the enterprise, and at the proposition that the king should restore Pisa to you at his own expense. We expressed at once our conviction that your Lordships intended to do your duty in the matter to the utmost extent of your ability; but since the late attempt had resulted in the manner known to his Eminence, it was not to be wondered at that the republic of Florence, fed so long with vain hopes, should mistrust the future, and that consequently she lacked men and money to undertake a fresh enterprise; but that it was a small matter for his Majesty the king to make so inconsiderable a war at his own expense, provided only that in the end he was victorious, which could not fail to be the case, especially when it became known that the enterprise was carried on absolutely in his Majesty’s name and at his expense; for that would keep any of our neighbors or enemies from venturing to interfere at the risk of offending his Majesty. We concluded by saying to his Eminence, that, if the king would assume the enterprise from the beginning as his own, it would not only be more easy, but most certain of success; that it would redound more to the honor of his Majesty, and would give greater satisfaction to your Lordships, and really without any burden of expense to his Majesty, as it was always your intention to reimburse the king, in strict accordance with the treaty stipulations, immediately upon the restitution to them of the city of Pisa.
All these arguments produced no effect upon his Eminence, who constantly replied that the king would never agree to such a proposition. Robertet also told us, that such a proposition on the part of your Lordships seemed almost as if made in derision of the king, and that his Majesty was so dissatisfied and ill content with your disposition that really he did not see any person at court who, under the circumstances, could remain your friends, or could support your interests. Subsequently we stated to his Eminence that, in addition to the other causes that discouraged the people of Florence, was the non-restitution of Pietrasanta, which was now in his Majesty’s possession. To which he replied, that he had informed Pietro Soderini that the reason of this non-restitution was a promise made to the Lucchese not to restore Pietrasanta to your Lordships until after the taking of Pisa. We said that of all others that was precisely the reason that induced the Lucchese to put every obstacle in the way of our recovering Pisa; and, moreover, that his Majesty the king had obligated himself to restore Pietrasanta to your hands before ever he made any promise to the Lucchese, and that the first pledge and obligation ought to have precedence. His Eminence assured us that all of his Majesty’s obligations would be fulfilled, provided your Lordships would do their duty in recovering Pisa; but if you would not, then the king would hold you responsible.
We asked his Eminence to obtain from the king the authorization and letters to Messer Giovanni Bentivogli, so that he may come to your aid with his men-at-arms and infantry, as requested by your Lordships. He said that he would do it with pleasure, and has ordered the letters asked for to be written; and so soon as we receive them we will forward them to your Lordships, to whom we humbly recommend ourselves.
Francesco della Casa,
Montargis, 11 August, 1500.