Front Page Titles (by Subject) LETTER XVI. - The Historical, Political, and Diplomatic Writings, vol. 3 (Diplomatic Missions 1498-1505)
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LETTER XVI. - 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 preceding letter I wrote you all that I had been able to learn up to that morning of the state of things here. Since then I have been obliged to wait until the twenty-fourth hour before I could have an audience of the Duke, which has never happened to me before, even if his Excellency was prevented by some good reason. Having presented myself before him, I told him, in accordance with your Lordships’ instructions, of your continued friendly disposition towards him, and that you were awaiting the return of the envoys sent to Rome, etc., etc. I then spoke of the treaty reported to have been concluded, and his Excellency told me that the terms had been fully agreed upon. When I asked him the particulars, he replied: “In the first instance, the Pope generously grants them a free pardon. Next, I renew to the Orsini and the Vitelli their military engagements, but neither his Holiness nor myself give them any security. On the contrary, they are to place their children and nephews or others as hostages in my hands, according to the choice of the Pope. They further obligate themselves to aid me in the recovery of the duchy of Urbino, and of any other state that has revolted, or that may hereafter revolt.”
To my question whether there was anything in the treaty touching Florence, he replied, “No.” And then he said in relation to the affairs of Bologna, that “these would be left to the arbitration of himself and the Cardinal Orsino and Pandolfo Petrucci.” He reiterated to me that there was no mention of Florence in the treaty, and promised to give me a copy of it; which I shall endeavor to obtain anyhow by to-morrow, provided he keeps his word. To the assurances of friendship and good will on your part, with which your Lordships have charged me, his Excellency replied in few but kindly words, and passed it over lightly.
Before seeing the Duke I had a conversation with an individual who habitually professes an affectionate regard for your Lordships, and who is in a position to be well informed. As I pressed him upon every point, he gave me the same statement that the Duke had done. Another person, who is also to a considerable extent in the Duke’s secrets, confirmed these statements. And without my having manifested any doubt upon the subject, all have attested to me that the Duke had always taken the part of your Lordships whenever there was a question relating to our republic. Your Lordships will now in your wisdom judge of the offences and of the agreement, respecting which I could learn no more. I shall do my utmost promptly to send you the articles of the agreement, if I obtain the promised copy. Your Lordships will understand that, if there be anything in the treaty adverse to you, I could not be informed of it, as it is not reasonable to suppose that it would come to light so quickly; your own good judgment must determine whether there be any such thing or not.
This evening the quartermasters of the French lances arrived, and they will be here themselves by to-morrow. The Duke does not cease to press the starting of all the other forces which he expects from Lombardy; namely, the Signor della Mirandola, and the son or nephew of the Milanese General, who have been joined by the Signor Fracassa and one of the Pallavicini whom he has enlisted in his pay; and it is said here that the Duke has sent them money so as to enable them to arm and mount every one of their men. Large sums of money have been received here by way of Venice, the greater part of which has been sent into Lombardy. Moreover, all the malcontents of Perugia, Castello, and Sienna are here, together with one of the Savelli. Yesterday one of them told me that they had asked to be allowed to depart when they heard of the treaty, but that the Duke had refused to release them, and will not permit any of their leaders to leave the place; but Signor Paolo Orsino left this evening, and has gone in the direction of Urbino.
Apart from the negotiations with the whole body of the confederates, Messer Giovanni Bentivogli has carried on one in particular with the Duke through the intervention of Tommaso Spinelli, who has repeatedly gone to and fro between them. According to what the latter has told me, Messer Giovanni would be willing to abandon the Orsini entirely, should opportunity present itself, if he could be assured by the Duke of his safety; but he wants also the guaranty of his Majesty the king of France. Amongst other points of the negotiations it is said that the Protonotario Bentivogli would readily leave the Church, and marry a sister of the Cardinal Borgia. For the purpose of facilitating these negotiations the said Spinelli came here eight days ago to obtain a safe-conduct for the Protonotario Bentivogli; but as it had expired, he returned here yesterday morning for another, with which he departed this evening. If these things are really so, we may judge of the good faith between them, and of their former differences, and their subsequent agreement.
I have no further news at present, unless it be the confirmation of the revolt of Camerino, of which I have already advised your Lordships by your own courier, who will anyhow be at Florence to-morrow. I understand that you complain that my letters are not frequent enough, which I regret, and the more as I do not think I can do better, having written you on the 7th, 9th, 11th, 12th, 13th, 14th, 15th, 16th, 17th, 20th, 23d, 27th, and the present, which is of the 29th and 30th.
I recommend myself to your Lordships.
October 30, 1502.
P. S. — I have forgotten to tell your Lordships that, whilst conversing with Messer Alessandro, I sought to obtain from him the words he had made use of, and which I mentioned in my last. He replied that he did not intend to say anything more than that you had missed the opportunity of settling matters in your own way with his Excellency the Duke; because, the Orsini having by this treaty become his friends again, he is now obliged to have some regard to them, which before then he would not have had to do; and that further delay only made matters worse. More than this I was not able to obtain from him. I beg your Lordships most respectfully to have some consideration for the party who made these communications to me, so that it may not come to their ears that I have written them to you.