Front Page Titles (by Subject) LETTER XVII. - The Historical, Political, and Diplomatic Writings, vol. 3 (Diplomatic Missions 1498-1505)
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LETTER XVII. - 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 of the 29th and 30th, which I sent by Zerino, your courier, you will have learned what I had to say in reply to yours of the 28th, and what I have learned from the Duke as well as from others respecting the movements of Paolo Orsino, and of the terms of the agreement concluded between his Excellency the Duke and the confederates. And as the Duke had promised to have me furnished with a copy of the same, I went to-day to ask his secretary, Messer Agapito, for it, who finally said to me: “I will tell you the truth, this treaty has not yet been definitely settled. A draft of it has been prepared, which has been approved by the Duke and Signor Paolo, who has taken it away with him to submit it to the confederates; and if they approve of it also, then he is authorized by the Duke to ratify it on his behalf. But no sooner had Signor Paolo gone than the Duke, on more carefully examining the articles of agreement, thought that a clause was wanting in it referring to the crown and honor of France. An additional article to that effect was immediately drawn up, and the Duke sent me in all haste with it after Signor Paolo, with instructions to explain to him that without that additional article nothing would be concluded. When I had overtaken Signor Paolo, he refused to accept it, but after a while said that he would submit it to the confederates, but did not believe that they would agree to it. In consequence of this the Duke does not wish any copies of the treaty to be given, and neither the Chancellor of Ferrara nor any one else has received one.” Messer Agapito afterwards added: “This supplementary clause will either be accepted or rejected; if it is accepted, a window will be opened for the Duke to get out of the obligations of this treaty at his pleasure. If it be rejected, then it will open the door wide for him. But even the children must laugh at such a treaty, which is so injurious and dangerous for the Duke, and wholly the result of violence.” Messer Agapito spoke with much warmth upon the matter. All this has been confided to me in secret. I have nevertheless deemed it my duty to communicate it to your Lordships; and putting this together with what I wrote yesterday, you will in your wisdom draw a suitable conclusion from it. I will only add that Messer Agapito is a Colonnese, and much devoted to that party.
Your Lordships point out to me in your postscript to your letter of the 28th, that the succor which the Duke expects is small in numbers, and slow in coming; and therefore you apprehend that his Excellency, finding himself weak and closely pressed by his enemies, may conclude some arrangement with them disadvantageous to himself and prejudicial to his neighbors. I believe your Lordships have reliable advices from Milan, and from France, respecting the men of the other side; nevertheless I will tell you what I hear here, so that your Lordships may be able the better to weigh and judge the matter. Yesterday evening there returned here Guglielmo di Buonaccorso, a citizen of Florence, whom I have mentioned to you as having gone to accompany the French lances that have come into Italy, and all of which the Duke has ordered into the territory of Faenza. Guglielmo tells me that these lances consist of five companies, namely those of Montison, Miolens, Foix, Dunois, and the Marquis of Saluces; and that when he saw them all together, only seven were missing out of the whole complement. But he believes that by this time these will have been more than made up by the accession of volunteers; so, as I have already said, these lances are here in reality. Yesterday, also, there returned here a Spaniard named Piero Guardarbo, who had been sent by the Duke into France. Guglielmo told me that he had a long conversation with this Piero on the road, who had told him that it had been arranged with his Majesty the king of France that he is to send three additional companies; and that when he left Milan, one under command of Monseigneur de Ligny had already started, but that Monseigneur de Chaumont had not yet decided as to the other two that are to come.
In one of my letters of the 9th to your Lordships, you will remember my having mentioned that amongst other preparations which the Duke had made, in consequence of the defection of the Orsini, he had sent the son of the General of Milan into Lombardy, with orders to raise fifteen hundred Swiss, and, moreover, to re-enlist fifty or one hundred mounted men, the pick of those that had already been in the service of the Duke of Milan, and to bring them here under his own command. And it is said that the expense of raising them will be borne by the General of Milan himself, in the hope of thereby having one of his sons made a cardinal. This same Guglielmo also told me that he had heard that the Swiss were already at Pavia, and that the mounted men were merely waiting orders to march. It is said, moreover, that the son of Monseigneur d’Albret has come again into Italy with one hundred lances, in support of his brother-in-law; which, if true, although rather late, yet is of some importance. This Guglielmo, from whom I have this information, seems to me, from what I have seen of him, a sensible and reliable man. As regards the Italian troops, the engagement of the Conte della Mirandola is true, and he received his pay some days ago. It is also said that he has received money to furnish men-at-arms to Fracassa and to one of the Pallavicini, a gentleman in his service; in fact, he enlists all the scattered men that present themselves. Two days ago there came a certain Piero Balzano, a deserter from Giovanni Bentivogli, with forty mounted crossbowmen, and money was paid to him immediately on his arrival.
I cannot at this moment give your Lordships any more information, for since the revolt of Camerino we have no news either from there or from the neighborhood of Bologna. The Protonotario Bentivogli has not come back either, as was expected, and as I had written to your Lordships.
Two words will explain the state of things here: on the one hand they talk of a treaty of amity, and on the other hand they make preparations for war. Your Lordships, having information from all parts, will be able to form a better judgment as to what the Duke will or can do, and whether he will have to yield to the confederates or not, than he who sees only the one side. I have kept your Lordships fully advised up to the 31st. To-day is the 1st of November, and being very desirous of sending you the articles of agreement, and to verify the accounts given me by that friend of mine, I have since writing to you conferred with another individual who is also in the Duke’s secrets; and what he tells me fully confirms what my friend had reported to me. But I have not been able to learn anything from him respecting the supplementary clause, except that it relates to the honor of France; but this person assured me again that no reference is made in it to Florence. It is true, he told me, that there is one clause in the agreement that the Orsini and Vitellozzo were not obliged to serve the Duke simultaneously, but only one at a time. “You see,” said he, laughing, “what sort of an agreement this is.” I shall not leave this matter without trying to learn something more on the subject; and so as not to keep your Lordships in suspense, I send this by a courier named Giovanni Antonio da Milano, who has promised me to deliver it by to-morrow; and your Lordships will please have him paid the sum of one florin gold.
P. S. — At the moment of closing this letter, Tommaso Spinelli arrives and tells me that he left the Protonotario Bentivogli at Castel San Piero, and that he will be here to-morrow.
Imola, November 1, 1502.