Front Page Titles (by Subject) LETTER XXVII. - The Historical, Political, and Diplomatic Writings, vol. 3 (Diplomatic Missions 1498-1505)
Return to Title Page for The Historical, Political, and Diplomatic Writings, vol. 3 (Diplomatic Missions 1498-1505)
The Online Library of Liberty
A project of Liberty Fund, Inc.
Search this Title:
Also in the Library:
LETTER XXVII. - 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.
About Liberty Fund:
Liberty Fund, Inc. is a private, educational foundation established to encourage the study of the ideal of a society of free and responsible individuals.
The text is in the public domain.
Fair use statement:
This material is put online to further the educational goals of Liberty Fund, Inc. Unless otherwise stated in the Copyright Information section above, this material may be used freely for educational and academic purposes. It may not be used in any way for profit.
Magnificent Signori: —
On the 21st instant I replied to your Lordships’ letter, and informed you fully of what his Majesty and the Cardinal d’Amboise had told me about the answer given by the Illustrious Signoria of Florence to Odoardo. I also wrote you about the intrigues set on foot by the Pope and the Venetians for the purpose of making your Lordships suspected to his Majesty, and what D’Amboise had said to me on the subject. Although I have nothing of special interest to say, yet I will not lose the opportunity of some one’s going to Italy to inform your Lordships of what has occurred here since my last.
Not being altogether satisfied with the answer made me by the resolution which your Lordships have recently taken with regard to the sum claimed by his Majesty; and news having reached here that the Duke Valentino had seized the Val di Lamona, and that he counted upon obtaining possession of Faenza erelong, and then hearing that Piero de’ Medici was at Pisa, and moreover that a new ambassador had arrived from Lucca, with instructions, it is said, to pay at once ten thousand ducats to his Majesty on condition that Pietrasanta should be given up to them; and in addition to all this that Messrs. de la Palisse and de Chatillon had been sent by the queen to Pisa as governors; — in view of all this, I say, I determined to present myself once more before his Majesty. I pointed out to him again, that if the answer given by our illustrious Signoria to Odoardo was not exactly according to his Majesty’s wishes, it was owing to the absolute impossibility of doing better, in consequence of the heavy expenses to which you had been and continued to be subjected, having the victorious army of the Duke Valentino on your borders, who constantly threatened to assail your Lordships, not so much with his own forces as with those of his Majesty, and who constantly boasts of being thus supported, which is calculated to produce very bad effects unless his Majesty promptly put a stop to it. To all this his Majesty replied at once: “Why, we have written in duplicate to our lieutenants in Italy, that, if the Duke Valentino should attempt anything against the Florentines or the Bolognese, they should instantly march against the Duke Valentino, so that upon this point you may rest in perfect security.”
And then his Majesty began his usual complaints; and as to the other matters that I had touched upon, namely, the queen’s having sent governors to Pisa, and the proposition of the Lucchese with regard to Pietrasanta, his Majesty replied, in general terms, that we had broken our agreements with him in not having at the very first made payment of the money due him, and that even now we were not willing to do so in a way that he might avail himself of. And to all I could say or allege, (and I talked to him so long that I feared to abuse his patience,) I could obtain no further reply. And when I finally said to him that your ambassador would be here within two days, he answered, “Perhaps he may come too late.”
Thereupon I left his Majesty and went to seek Robertet, and in discussing with him all I have written above, he told me there was no truth in the story of Monseigneur de la Palisse having been sent to Pisa; and that if Piero de’ Medici was really at Pisa, he was not there by order of the king, but because he had been called there by the Duke Valentino, to see whether his presence there could in any way advance the Duke’s projects. And that it was perfectly true that his Majesty had written three times, or even oftener, to his lieutenants in favor of your Lordships and of the Bolognese; adding, under a pledge of secrecy, “That the success of the Duke Valentino had become very distasteful to his Majesty.” And as to the Lucchese, he told me that they were making every possible effort to get Pietrasanta back again, offering ten thousand ducats, and even more, for it, and that there was danger of their success owing to the king’s dissatisfaction with your tardiness in paying his claims. And when I had replied to all this in a becoming manner, he stated as his general conclusion, that according to his own judgment, as well as what he had heard others say to his Majesty the king and to the Cardinal d’Amboise respecting your Lordships’ interests, it seemed to him certain that, if your Lordships would endeavor not to injure yourselves, when it came to the proof, you need never apprehend anything that was not for your advantage. And with this assurance I took my leave of his Lordship. I now await the arrival of the ambassador with the greatest impatience, so as to see what turn your affairs will take, and to be able to judge of them more correctly.
I will only now remind your Lordships, with the utmost respect, of a matter that we wrote about very fully on our first coming here, but which we have not touched upon since, partly because we did not wish to appear presumptuous, and also because you have in Florence some extremely prudent citizens, who are much more experienced than ourselves in the ways of this court; namely, that your Lordships should arrange to have some one here who will act as your friend, and who will defend and protect your interests, the same as is done by all others who have any business with this court; and indeed I cannot but think that the ambassador who is coming here is fully prepared upon this point. And I can assure your Lordships that, if your ambassador cannot at least give some proofs of gratitude to Robertet, he will find himself completely at a loss here, to such an extent and degree that he will hardly be able to expedite an ordinary letter.
The embassy from Germany, which consists of a M. Philip de Nanso (Nassau) and two other gentlemen, had yesterday its first audience of his Majesty the king. There were present the Cardinal d’Amboise, Monseigneurs de la Tremouille and d’Aubigny, the Grand Chancellor, the Maréchal de Gié, the Prince of Orange, the Marquis de Rothelin, and Monseigneur de Clary, together with the ambassadors of the Pope, of Spain, and of Venice, and three or four Italian gentlemen. The address of the ambassadors was in ordinary and general terms, to the effect that the Empire deemed it necessary that all Christendom should arm for the purpose of putting a stop to the violence of the infidels; and that, unless this were done, the Christian republic would with difficulty be able to maintain itself against the daily spoliations of the Turk. And as it was impossible for all Christendom to arm, unless peace prevailed between the Empire and his most Christian Majesty, as chiefs of Christendom, they had been sent here for no other purpose than to promote such a peace. The ambassador touched upon no other point in his address, and employed only such words and phrases as are customary on similar ceremonious occasions. After the audience his Majesty appointed four commissioners to negotiate this treaty of peace. This commission consists of his Eminence the Cardinal, the Grand Chancellor, Monseigneur de Bourbon, and the Maréchal de Gié; and the whole is to be completed this week, after which, it is said, his Majesty will leave for Blois; and nothing more is said about Lyons.
I recommend myself to the good graces of your Lordships, quæ bene valeant.
Tours, 24 November, 1500.