Front Page Titles (by Subject) LETTER XX. - The Historical, Political, and Diplomatic Writings, vol. 3 (Diplomatic Missions 1498-1505)
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LETTER XX. - 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.: —
My last was of the 2d instant, and was sent by the agent of the Prefect; and although I have at this moment nothing special to communicate to your Lordships, beyond what I have urged upon you in every despatch, and have actually persuaded myself that your ambassadors are on the way here, nevertheless their coming seems to me of such supreme importance that I do not hesitate to weary your Lordships with the same story by every messenger that leaves here. And what makes me do so with even increased energy is, to see your enemies every day inventing some new schemes for their own advantage. Not more than a couple of days since, a report was spread at court that your Lordships had recalled, under heavy penalties, all the Florentine merchants that are in France; and this report was confirmed by some Frenchmen just up from Lyons. And although such things carry their justification with them so far as you are concerned, nevertheless they are heard, and together with other rumors that are set afloat every day they produce a bad impression. Until now we have kept these rumors in check by assuring the court of the near arrival of the ambassadors, through whom his Majesty will learn the good spirit that animates you in all things possible and reasonable for your Lordships. This has in part satisfied them, but if the actual departure of the ambassadors from Florence does not become known here very soon, I cannot foresee the consequences, but doubt much whether it will be anything to your advantage. On the other hand, however, if they do come, then I shall hope for good results, if anything good can be hoped for from here; for his Majesty the king has been very much annoyed for the last few days by the German affairs; for the embassy that was expected from there with so much solemnity will either not come at all, or will be reduced to a simple herald, or some other personage of similar rank. Since then we see manifest signs of doubts and suspicions; such as the ordering of three hundred lances into Lombardy again; the drawing closer to the Pope, and attaching more importance to it than usual; and where, as I stated in my last, Giovanni Bentivogli had been directed to act like a good relation with regard to Faenza, he has now been written to just the contrary, with special injunctions not to render any assistance whatever to that city. Moreover, they greatly favor the requests made by the Pope of the Venetians, namely, that they confer upon his son the Duke Valentino the title of Captain-General of their armies and the rank of gentleman, and give him a palace in Venice; all of which they hope to obtain. His Majesty’s conduct towards the Venetians is very much in the same style; he promises them more decidedly than he has ever done before to render them assistance against the Turk. And therefore I believe that the same causes will also place your Lordships upon a more favorable footing with his Majesty, provided that your ambassadors arrive here promptly; for the above-mentioned apprehensions with regard to Germany will not fail in their effects, nor are they likely to be removed, provided you will take advantage of this chance, as seems to me most reasonable. But if it does not very soon become known that your ambassadors are really coming, then his Majesty will be more inclined to believe the calumnies of your enemies than our justifications. Everything depends upon the faith which his Majesty may have as to their coming or not; and should he once think that you are his enemies, then he will take care that you shall not be able to injure him. I therefore pray your Lordships, with the utmost respect, that you will not fail of your duty to our republic in this matter; and that you will not be satisfied to have the ambassadors come in the ordinary way, but that they come by post at least as far as Lyons, for the importance of the matter merits every possible effort.
For the past three or four days it has been rumored that his Majesty will leave here to go to Nantes, — not to remain there however very long, his intention being to proceed to Lyons; but I cannot say anything positive upon this or many other subjects, because the plans and resolutions are changed almost every hour. Your Lordships will therefore pardon me if you should find some contradictions in my letters.
I shall not write at length about relieving my own necessities, for your Lordships know that on my leaving Florence I had but eighty ducats, of which I spent thirty to come here by post. At Lyons I had to renew my entire outfit, and have to keep here three horses at the hostelry; and without money nothing can be done.
I recommend myself most humbly to your Lordships, quæ bene valeant.
Blois, October 8, 1500.