Front Page Titles (by Subject) LETTER XV. - The Historical, Political, and Diplomatic Writings, vol. 3 (Diplomatic Missions 1498-1505)
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LETTER XV. - 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: —
In my last of the 27th, I communicated to you what I had learned of the state of things here. Sincethen Signor Paolo Orsino has been to Bologna, whence he returned this evening. It is openly said that a treaty has been concluded between the confederates and the Duke Valentino, and that they are only waiting for the consent of the Cardinal Orsino before ratifying it.
I have not been able to learn anything satisfactory as to the particular conditions of that treaty; but it is said that all the old compacts that existed between the Duke and Messer Giovanni and the Vitelli and the Orsini are renewed by this treaty; that the Duke is to be reinstated in the duchy of Urbino, and that the Duke of Ferrara becomes surety for both parties. Other things are talked about, but I do not mention them, as they seem less credible than the above. Whether such a treaty has really been concluded, and whether its conditions are such as I have mentioned above, I dare not affirm. But besides all these negotiations about the treaty, I see the Duke expending large sums in warlike preparations; it was only yesterday that he despatched a Messer Arcolano into Lombardy with several thousand ducats, to hasten the departure of the remainder of the French troops that are expected, and the other mounted men, whom he caused to be collected under the command of the son of the General of Milan, which I mentioned in one of my letters a few days ago. I hear, moreover, the Duke’s principal officers speak in secret very ill of the Orsini, and call them traitors; and in conversing this morning with Messer Agapito about this treaty, he laughed at it, saying that it was a mere trick to gain time. The Duke’s own remarks have always made me conclude that he was anxious thus to temporize, until he should have completed all his preparations. Nor can I believe that the others should not be aware of this, so that I am really perplexed; and being unable to learn anything from his ministers, I would ere this have addressed myself to the Duke himself, but have not had an opportunity since then. To-morrow, however, unless I should receive letters from you, I shall endeavor to speak to him, and see how he expresses himself with regard to this treaty. For when I think whether they may not have concluded some arrangement prejudicial to our republic, I become uneasy at the secrecy in which this matter is involved; for the Duke’s secretaries have become almost rude to me, rather than otherwise, and even the Duke of Ferrara’s envoy, who used to take pleasure in conversing with me actually avoids me now. This evening, after supper, Messer Alessandro Spannochi made use of certain expressions that did not please me, hinting that your Lordships had had the opportunity of treating with his Excellency the Duke, but that the chance was now lost. I have thought proper to mention all these indications and goings on to your Lordships, as they came under my observation, so that you may yourselves judge of their meaning, and take such measures as may prevent any one from successfully plotting against you.
It is now the sixth hour of the night, and some one has just come in to tell me that the Duke had at that moment received the news of the revolt of Camerino. We shall know better to-morrow morning whether this be true, and if so, it may render the conclusion of the treaty more difficult, unless the Duke of his own accord makes greater concessions to the confederates, for fear of worse.
Imola, 29 October, 1502.
P. S. — To-day is the 30th, and Zerino has just arrived with your letters of the 28th, respecting which I shall speak with the Duke, and will then write you fully this evening concerning matters here. I send this letter by Branchino, who is just about to leave, it being now the twentieth hour; he goes to Florence to buy horses, etc., etc. Respecting affairs at Camerino, which I mentioned above, nothing is openly said at court this morning, but the individual who told me of it yesterday evening confirms the news, and says he has seen letters on the subject directed to Signor Paolo Orsino; but that the Duke has requested him not to make the information public. I mention this just as I haveheard it, and recommend myself again to your Lordships.