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LETTER XXIX. - 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: —
My last of the 26th was sent by a messenger whom the Guglianos despatched for their private account. I had previously written on the 22d, and sent the letter by Ugolino Martelli, who was returning to Florence. Supposing that both these letters reached you safely, I shall not repeat their contents. By the present I desire to inform you that the Signor Paolo Orsino arrived here yesterday; and from what I hear he brought the treaty ratified and signed by Vitellozzo and the other confederates. He endeavors all he can to persuade the Duke that they are greatly indebted and entirely faithful to him, and willing to serve him in any enterprise on the same footing as any one else. His Excellency in return shows himself satisfied with it. Vitellozzo particularly has addressed most submissive letters to him, full of thanks and excuses and offers of service, saying that, if ever he has the chance of speaking to him face to face, he feels confident of being able to justify himself entirely, and to prove to him that what had occurred had never been done for the purpose of offending him, etc., etc.
His Excellency seems to accept it all, but no one knows what course he is going to take, for it is difficult to penetrate his designs and to know him. If we are to judge by the facts themselves, and by what the Duke himself or his first minister says, we cannot but augur ill for his adversaries; for the wrong done him has been great, and his language as well as that of others is full of indignation against the said Vitellozzo. It was only yesterday, whilst conversing on this subject with the first personage of the Duke’s court, this person said to me, “This traitor has given us a stab, and now thinks to heal the wound with words.” And as I was going on trying to find out which way the Duke inclined in this matter, and questioning this individual about it, who, as I have said, is one of the first personages of the court, he said to me: “We shall first march with this army towards Urbino, where we shall, however, not remain long, for we are fully persuaded that that city will put itself into our hands. Nor shall we go to Rimini, but shall move either to Perugia or Castello, according as may seem best. We shall demand quarters for our troops in that city, the Duke being Gonfalonier of the Holy Church, and the city belonging to the Church; for the treaty does not specify that we are not to lodge with the army of the Pope wherever the Duke may choose. We shall then see what answer they will make to our demand, and govern ourselves accordingly.” Giving me to understand that upon this point an opportunity will not be wanting to judge that neither Vitellozzo nor Gianpaolo is to be trusted, these being the persons against whom the Duke is more incensed than against all the others.
Two days ago there came here the President of the chief court of judicature which the Duke has established in this state. His name is Messer Antonio del Monte a San Savino, and he is a most learned and virtuous man; his residence is at Cesena. On his arrival it was said that the Duke had caused him to come here for the purpose of sending him to Urbino as representative of the Holy Father to offer a pardon to the inhabitants of that city, and of all the other places, which is quite likely; for to-day his Excellency the Duke, the Signor Paolo, the said Messer Antonio, and Messer Agapito have been in conference together during the greater part of the day, for the purpose, it is said, of preparing the patents and the instructions according to which Messer Antonio is to proceed.
The Signor Paolo is to accompany him, for the purpose of withdrawing the men-at-arms that are in the territory of Fano, and to direct them towards Urbino. It is confidently expected that this reoccupation will be effected without the necessity of drawing a sword; it is moreover believed that Jacopo di Rossetto, who commands in San Leo, as I have mentioned in a former letter to your Lordships, and who, as everybody knows, is wholly devoted to Vitellozzo, has been placed there by the latter for no other purpose than to reconcile the Duke to him by the surrender of the place to his Excellency. It is furthermore said, that separate negotiations are being carried on with the Duke Guidobaldi to induce him to accept a cardinal’s hat, or some other equivalent compensation. The Signor Paolo demands money for himself, and for the other confederates, in consideration of the removal of the troops from Fano, and has been promised five thousand ducats within eight days from now.
The recovery of Camerino during the winter is considered, not as difficult, but as impossible. Nor is it believed that any time will be wasted in attempting it, if it cannot be effected by negotiation. And as with all these agreements and hopes, or rather certainties, of recovering these states without recourse to arms, none of the French troops are seen to return whence they came, but as it seems to be rather the Duke’s intention to go forward with the entire body of his troops as far as Rome, it is believed that the Duke’s object is either to settle a good many matters on the way, of which I have some corroborative proof, or perhaps that these French troops intend to pass into the kingdom of Naples to support their countrymen there. And although this idea has prevailed ever since the French have come here, yet it is regarded much more probable now, since it has become known that the Spaniards have received considerable reinforcements by way of Sicily. Upon this point, however, your Lordships will be able to have more certain information from Rome.
Yesterday the Duke concluded an arrangement with Bologna; the annual payment of nine thousand ducats, which was the cause of difference, has been reduced to five years; and the agreement would have been signed at once, but that the Bolognese had not the authority to do it. This authorization, however, has come this morning; but nothing has been done owing to the Duke’s being occupied with Signor Paolo and Messer Antonio del Monte in the matter mentioned above. I have been told that, after the arrival of Messer Romolino at Rome, the Pope had written to the Duke urging him to conclude the treaty with Bologna, with which he professed to be well pleased and satisfied. I will endeavor, so soon as it shall have been perfected, to have a copy of it, which I will send to your Lordships.
Those blessed Swiss that were to have been here have not yet made their appearance, which is all I have to tell your Lordships; though I must not omit mentioning that it is understood here, that if the Duke marches to Rome with his army, as it is supposed he will do, in such case he will follow his old practice of making the towns belonging to the Church that fall into his hands pay all his expenses; and that, amongst others, Ancona is particularly aimed at. It is said that the Florentine merchants have a large amount of goods there; and as I do not know at what moment this army may appear before that city, which it is feared may be given up to pillage when the army does come, and be exposed to all sorts of other ills, I deem it my duty to bring this at once to your Lordships’ notice. I had a long conversation this morning on that subject with Messer Alessandro; and on asking him how we might secure any goods that our merchants may have in Ancona, he replied, that the only way would be to embark them at once and send them to Cesena or Rimini, and that when once the goods were in either of those places he would himself be responsible for their safety.
I have nothing more to say except to recommend myself ever so often to your Lordships, quæ bene valeant.
Imola, 28 November, 1502.
Morning of the 29th. —
A servant of the courier Carlo has just arrived, with your Lordships’ letter of the 26th. I note what you say respecting the ambassador who is to leave for Rome, and that I am to remain here; and the hopes which your Lordships entertain that the Duke will abandon his fixed views respecting his engagement. In relation to all these matters I shall conform strictly to your Lordships’ views; still it seems to me that, as I have nothing new to communicate to his Excellency, it would be better not to seek another audience of him, but to try and mature the matter with some of the influential persons around him, and to persuade and make them understand that they may in all respects rely upon your Lordships, provided they do not go beyond what is possible and reasonable. I shall wait, therefore, until some new proposition is made to me by them, and am firmly resolved not to act otherwise in this matter, unless your Lordships should give me special orders on this point. I note, moreover, what your Lordships tell me that you hear from Rome relative to the passage of the Duke into the kingdom of Naples. To this I reply, that I never heard that the Duke was to go in person, although a good deal has been said about the French going there, as I have stated in my preceding letter. For I endeavor as far as possible to learn the truth, and to inform your Lordships accordingly. I will detain your messenger no longer, so as not to keep your Lordships in suspense as to information from here. But in my next you shall know all; in fact, I would write you every day, were it not for the difficulty of passing the mountains in consequence of the bad weather. On the other hand, unless some change takes place in the state of things, it would seem to me superfluous to incur an expense merely for the purpose of repeating the same thing to your Lordships.
It is now the eighteenth hour, and the Signor Paolo Orsini has just left with Messer Antonio del Monte, for the purpose which I have mentioned above. The Signor Paolo has received thirty-six hundred ducats.
Valete iterum, etc.
Respecting the Duke’s departure from here, it is said that he will leave some time this week, as I have before stated, and that he will go to Furli.