Front Page Titles (by Subject) LETTER IX. - The Historical, Political, and Diplomatic Writings, vol. 3 (Diplomatic Missions 1498-1505)
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LETTER IX. - 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: —
By my last, which I sent yesterday with the courier, your Lordships will have been informed of the state of things here, and of what I had to say in reply to yours of the 13th, to which I expect your answer. By the present I have to inform you that to-day at about the eighteenth hour his Excellency the Duke sent for me, and on my arrival said: “I desire to carry out my intention of communicating to you whatever I hear concerning the interests of your Signori, or our common interests. To-day I have received this letter from Sienna from an agent of mine whom I have sent there.” And then he read me a passage from that letter, saying, “that the Orsini had marched their troops in the direction of Cagli; not as enemies, but under pretence that the Chevalier Orsino had told them on the part of the Duke that, if they would withdraw with their troops towards the duchy of Urbino, the Duke would look upon them as his friends. Moreover, that the Florentines had sought their alliance, and had offered them honorable conditions.” After that the writer of the letter added, “that the Orsini would really be good friends of his Excellency provided he would give up his attempt upon Bologna, and enter either into the states of Florence or of Venice.” After reading to me that passage from the letter, his Excellency said: “You see that I act in good faith towards you, believing that your Signoria will cheerfully come to be my friends, and will not deceive me. And really they ought to have more confidence in me now than ever; nor shall I for my part fail to do my duty.”
I thanked the Duke first on behalf of your Lordships, for his frankness in communicating to me that letter, and then said to him that, if I had to speak to him according to the instructions given me by your Lordships on leaving Florence, and according to the letters received since, I could not but bear witness to the excellent disposition of your Lordships towards him. And I enlarged upon this subject as far as I thought proper in accordance with your Lordships’ instructions. After that, whilst conversing together about the Orsini, as to their whereabouts with their troops, and as to their intentions, the Duke told me that he had information from another source that they were at Cagli, and that upon their arrival there the people of Cagli wanted to attack the citadel, but that the Orsini would not agree to it. And when the people of Cagli had asked the Orsini whether they intended to injure them, they replied, “No, but that they had not come to defend them either.” And thus they go on temporizing in the matter.
Such was my interview with the Duke, and to judge by what he said, and the general tenor of his remarks, which it would be too long to write, I found him to-day even more desirous of closing an alliance with your Lordships than he was the last time that I spoke to him.
I must not omit communicating to your Lordships what one of the Duke’s principal officers told me, whose name I will not mention, having been specially requested by him to that effect. Having conversed with him about the affairs of the day, he began to censure the tardiness of both your Lordships and the Duke in coming to an understanding; and whilst upon this point he said to me: “Only two days ago I told the Duke the same thing that I tell you now, that it is high time to finish the matter, which seems to me easy enough, for both the Florentines and his Excellency the Duke are equally well disposed for it. Both one and the other have enemies, and each has to maintain an armed force to defend themselves, and therefore it is the easiest thing in the world to agree upon all points.” To which the Duke had replied: “Why then do these Signori put off so long making me some proposition? Nothing else makes me doubtful of them except the fact that they do not declare or explain themselves. The only reason why I desire that the first proposition should come from them is to give greater stability to whatever may be concluded between us.” It is not worth while to tell you what I said in reply; I merely wanted to give your Lordships this information, so that you may the better understand the Duke’s intentions, or rather be better able to conjecture them.
I have forgotten to write to your Lordships that in my conversation with his Excellency this morning he said to me: “That agent of mine who writes me from Sienna says that your Signori have sent an envoy there to negotiate the conclusion of some sort of truce.” I replied that it was altogether news to me that there were any negotiations pending between your Lordships and the people of Sienna; nor did I know what truce there could be in question, unless it be the one which was made in 1498 for five years, and which would expire in six or eight months; and that they possibly might wish to renew it. He then asked me what the conditions of that truce were, to which I replied, they were simply that the parties should not injure one another, nor give support to any hostile force that might attempt to assail the territory of either; which the Duke seemed to believe.
We have news from the direction of Urbino, that the Duke’s army which had orders to approach that town have not passed Fossombrone; some say on account of the weather, and others say that it was because a company of Vitellozzo’s infantry had entered into Urbino; or perhaps because of the arrival of the Orsini at Cagli, which I have mentioned above.
There are one thousand infantry here, who are in the Duke’s pay; and I believe this has prevented him from raising more. However, a large sum of money is expected from Rome by way of Florence. The execution of the orders which I have mentioned to you for the French troops, and for the raising of both mounted men and infantry, are urgently pressed forward, and all day messengers are arriving and departing for Lombardy.
The Chevalier Orsino, whom I have mentioned before, returned yesterday evening from Perugia. What news he brings I know not; I conjecture, the same as what the Duke’s agent has written from Sienna, of which I informed you above. I have nothing more to write to your Lordships, unless it be that, if I were asked for my opinion of all these movements, I should answer, with your permission, that so long as the present Pope lives, and so long as the Duke preserves the friendship of the king of France, he will not be abandoned by that good fortune which until now has steadily increased. For those who have given indications of being hostile to him are too late to do him much harm, and will be still more unable to-morrow than they are to-day.
Imola, 17 October, 1502.