Front Page Titles (by Subject) LETTER IV. - 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 IV. - 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: —
Your Lordships will learn from the enclosed the news which I heard yesterday at court. Since then, at about the fifth hour of the night, your courier Baccino arrived with your Lordships’ letters of the 10th, in reply to mine of the 8th. Having thoroughly examined them and informed myself of their contents, I went at the Duke’s audience time, which is about the twenty-second hour, and presented myself before his Excellency, who said to me, “We have good news from all quarters.” And then he related to me the offers made to him by the Venetians, precisely as I have written to your Lordships, and also what Don Hugo and Don Michele have done in Pergola and Fossombrone, saying gayly, “An evil star reigns this year for those who rebel.” After that he told me that he had news from Perugia through the Pope’s envoy, who on his arrival there found Vitellozzo ill with fever, and the Signor Paolo Orsino covered with scurvy; and that no sooner had he arrived than the Orsini threw themselves into his arms, saying they were soldiers of the Church and did not wish to deviate in the least from the will of the Sovereign Pontiff; and that their leaving Rome was caused solely by their being short of provisions; and that they had implored his Holiness to be pleased to receive them again and afford them quarters as he had formerly done, as they could no longer exist where they were. Of Vitellozzo his Excellency did not tell me anything more; but I have learnt from another source that he had sent word to the Duke that, if he could be assured of his safety, he would come to his Excellency; but if not, then he would go away to a distance, and would thus show him that he was still devoted to him.
After some conversation about the professions of the Orsini, I communicated to his Excellency what your Lordships reply in your letter of the 10th, which I explained to him paragraph by paragraph, as also the reasons that would have caused you to withhold the assistance in case his Excellency should at this time have need of it; and also those considerations that prevented you from being able at the present moment to declare yourselves his friends; making him understand that, as you had written to France on the subject, you would necessarily have to await an answer from there. After that I informed him of the engagement of the Marquis of Mantua, adding, as a suggestion of my own, that I was persuaded his Majesty the king of France had caused your Lordships to do it; for having given a prominent position to one of his friends, for such the Marquis had now become, and wishing at the same time to furnish our republic, which had ever been his most faithful ally, with a reliable armed force, of which both they and their friends might avail themselves, and as it was at the same time the interest of Florence to keep an instrument of such importance from those who were jealous of his Excellency’s power, his Majesty had thought that he could not make your Lordships do a wiser and more advantageous thing than to engage the Marquis of Mantua, at which his Excellency the Duke would also have reason to rejoice. I did not fail on this point, as well as upon many others, to impress his Excellency with your friendly disposition, as requested in your letter. He answered me most graciously as to the first part, showing that he believed in reality what your Lordships say with regard to the troops and the alliance; nor did he insist much upon these points, or solicit them as he had formerly done. He spoke of the Marquis of Mantua in an honorable manner, saying that he was an honest man and his friend, and that he would show me letters from him in which he had quite recently offered to come to him with troops to aid him in any of his undertakings; and that he was very glad to have him in his neighborhood; to all which I replied in a suitable manner. Afterwards, in fulfilment of your instructions, I brought the conversation back to the subject of the Vitelli and the Orsini, of whom the Duke showed that he had a bad opinion, confessing freely that he could not trust them, but would bide his time, etc., etc.
I suggested that in their despair they might perhaps make incursions into our territory, and, although we had no fear as to any of our towns, yet it would tend to disturb the country. I asked what his Excellency would do if such a thing were to occur before the troops which your Lordship had organized could be on the spot. His Excellency replied, that he could not for the world believe that they would attempt anything of the kind, and gave some reasons for it; but if they should, nevertheless, make any movement, and he should know in what direction they were and what troops they had, he certainly would not fail in his duty as a good friend to do all he could in case you should need help. More than that I could not get from his Excellency in this conversation. On taking my leave I asked him again for a general safe-conduct for all our people, which he again promised most freely, telling me to speak with Messer Alessandro about it. I told him that I had done so, but that Messer Alessandro had put me off for two or three days. To this the Duke replied that this delay was caused by Messer Alessandro’s manifold occupations just at this moment; but that I must speak to him again on the subject. This I have done since, and he has again given me fair words, but as yet without any result; the reason of which I do not know.
I recommend myself to your Lordships, quæ bene valeant.
Imola, 12 October, 1502.