Front Page Titles (by Subject) LETTER XXIII. - The Historical, Political, and Diplomatic Writings, vol. 3 (Diplomatic Missions 1498-1505)
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LETTER XXIII. - 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: —
Having written to your Lordships on the 11th instant, and stated at length all that his Eminence the Cardinal had said to me respecting the money they claim that your Lordships ought to pay, etc.; and having since then repeated the same in my despatch of the 14th, sent by the hands of Odoardo Bugliotto, who was sent to Florence by the king for a similar purpose, I should not have had occasion to write again to your Lordships, were it not that your despatch of the 3d instant had been received, which informs me of the nomination of Pier Francesco Tosinghi, and that he is to start on the 10th or 12th instant. Nothing could have given me more pleasure to learn, for the reasons which I have so repeatedly written to your Lordships, as well as on account of the distinguished character of the man, from whom we may hope for such fruit as it may still be possible to gather on this soil. And although since it was decided to send Odoardo to Florence I have not been so harassed every day about the delay in the arrival of the ambassadors, yet it seemed to me well to inform his Eminence the Cardinal what your Lordships have written me, namely, that the ambassador was to start, and must at the present moment be near Lyons; adding such words of my own as seemed to me suited to calm his feelings. His Eminence replied to me, in a few words, that it was well, and that the ambassador ought to hasten his journey. He asked me why there was only one ambassador, which I readily explained, although I do not know but what they may take umbrage at it; for your Lordships’ enemies here will not fail to comment upon it in a dozen different ways. But I shall continue to be on my guard, and shall spare no efforts to justify your Lordships, if need be. His Eminence subsequently asked me again to write and urge you to come to a good resolution with regard to the money due to his Majesty, and to prove it by acts; assuring me that they had no longer any faith in fair words or promises, and that they should clearly know what to expect, so soon as they should hear from Bugliotto. I replied that I would do so with the utmost diligence, although it seemed to me unnecessary to urge your Lordships to do what was proper, or what you possibly could do in the interest of the king; to which his Eminence replied, that it would have to be proved by facts.
Your Lordships requestme to ascertain the condition of Messer Giovanni Bentivogli’s affairs here. Now, as all doubts as to the preservation of his state arise from the enterprise which the Pope is carrying on against the Romagna, I will begin my explanations with that. Your Lordships will remember that, soon after our first arrival here, we informed you how the Pope pressed the king to aid him in this attempt against the Romagna, and how the king procrastinated and kept the Pope along with promises. For being at that time still more hopeful as to the affairs of Germany, his Majesty wanted the Pope to employ his power against the Colonnesi, as was then generally believed, for the reasons which we wrote you in some of our former communications. And the king had given his consent that, if the Pope should nevertheless attempt this attack upon theRomagna, Messer Giovanni Bentivogli should act the part of a relative, inasmuch as his Majesty had not yet charged the Venetians, as he has done since, to give up the protection of the Romagna. But as since then the ambassadors of the German Emperor have not arrived, and as his Majesty is in daily apprehension of being attacked, he was, as it were, forced to consent to the Pope’s carrying out his plans against the Romagna. For inall the possible events that may occur in Italy, his Majesty counts more upon the Pope than upon any of the other Italian potentates; partly because the Pontiff has always proved himself better armed than any other, and has suffered less from wars hitherto, and has fewer obstacles to surmount, and is moreover head of the Church, etc., etc. The Cardinal d’Amboise aims also at the same mark; for he, beingreally the man that governs, has drawn upon himself the envy and enmity of all the other powerful lords, and therefore hopes through the Pope’s influence so to increase his own credit as to be able the better to resist the envy of the others. It is said, even, that in the creation of the new legates on account of the Turkish affairs the Pope will name the Cardinal his legate for France.
The Venetians also, being afraid of the Turk, and advised by the king to give up the protection of the towns of the Romagna, have done so readily; hoping that the Pope would move all Christian potentates in their favor. They judge moreover, that they will not lose much if those towns were to fall into the hands of the Duke Valentino, as they have taken him under their protection, and have adopted him as their son, and, as is generally supposed, will make him Captain-General of their forces.
Now the well-known insatiable rapacity of the Pope makes everybody here suppose that the same reasons that have made his Majesty and the Venetians yield their consent to the Pope’s attempt upon the Romagna will also cause them to consent to his attempt uponMesser Giovanni Bentivogli. And fearing this, Messer Giovanni, together with the Duke of Ferrara, have made the greatest efforts to induce his Majesty to consent to their rendering assistance to their friends of the Romagna; and it is only quite lately that Monseigneur d’Aubigny, at their request, sent one of his men here expressly for that purpose; who, however, could obtain no further answerfrom his Majesty, than that he could not interfere, as it was a matter of the Church, and that he could not consent to his allies making any opposition to her. And quite lately, when the envoy of Messer Giovanni spoke to his Majesty on the subject, and pointed out to him the danger to which his lord would be exposed, unless he could depend upon his Majesty’s protection in the event of the Pope’s succeeding in his present under-taking, he obtained, after much talking, the following reply: “That when it had come to the point that the Pontiff was actuallyabout to attack Messer Giovanni, that then hisMajesty would hear the reasons of the Pope and of Messer Giovanni, and would then decide against whoever was in the wrong.” This is in fact all that can be learnt here in relation to Messer Giovanni’s affairs; and as I have it from the best authority, I believe it to be the truth.
I have notyet said anything to your Lordships about Agostino Semenza, for the reason that several days ago Giulio Scurcigliati received letters from Messer Antonio Cola, an agent of the Prefect of Rome, informing him of the coming of this envoy, but giving at the same time much more importance to his mission, and a reply highly favorable to affairs here. But as I reported that information fully in a former communication, it seems to me not worth while to bring it up again now.
I stated to Messer Giulio your Lordships’ favorable disposition towards him, on account of the good services which he has rendered, etc. He thanks your Lordships, and entreats you again to expedite his business. He has never himself written to your Lordships, but has always made every occurrence of interest here promptlyknown to his particular friends in Florence.
Since his Majesty’s arrival here a number of high personages have come here, amongst them Monseigneur de Ligny, Monseigneur de la Tremouille, the Prince of Orange, etc., but not a word has been said about German affairs; nevertheless, there are great apprehensions upon that point; and so soon as the Ogni Santi (All Saints) is over, the court will at once move from here to Lyons.
The ambassadors from Naples are supposed to have arrived at Lyons, and the marriage between the Princess, daughter of King Frederick, and Monsignor della Roccia, is regarded as definitely arranged. The Cardinale di San Severino is expected here.* Beyond this I have nothing to write, but to recommend myself to the good graces of your Lordships, quæ bene valeant.
From Nantes in Brittany, 25 October, 1500.
P. S. — I was just about to seal this despatch when Ugolino Martelli received a letter from Lyons, informing him, amongst other things, that the thirty-five scudi, which he had to pay for expediting my despatch of the 3d September from Melun, had not yet been refunded to him; and that Giovanni Martelli had written that he had as much as given it up. He complains very much to me about it, and I can only say in reply, that he is entirely right, and that I would write to your Lordships about it. I entreat you, therefore, so to arrange this matter that I may not have to pay it myself; and that, should occasion arise, I may not be compelled to do as it happened to me once at Blois, where I was obliged to send an important despatch by the king’s post as far as Lyons. Valete!
[* ]Federigo di San Severino of Milan, with the title of Cardinale di San Teodore.