Front Page Titles (by Subject) LETTER XXXV. - The Historical, Political, and Diplomatic Writings, vol. 3 (Diplomatic Missions 1498-1505)
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LETTER XXXV. - 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 letters were of the 2d and 6th, sent per post at a charge of one florin for each; and although I have as yet no reply, still I cannot doubt but they have safely reached you. By the present I am enabled to inform your Lordships that we had the news yesterday evening that Paolo Orsino had settled the Urbino business, and that the entire duchy had placed itself voluntarily in the hands of his Excellency the Duke. Also that the Duke Guido had gone to Castello, and was trying to have some allowance made to him by his Excellency. For this reason San Leo has not yet come to terms, but remains waiting at the instance of the said Duke Guido. I understand that they want him to renounce the marriage and accept a cardinal’s hat instead, which he declines, saying that he will be satisfied with a pension that will enable him to live. A number of troops have left this morning and have gone in the direction of Furli, and to-morrow, it is said, the Duke will set out, taking with him all the French and his other troops. We shall see what will happen.
The same friend to whom I have several times referred in my letters has repeatedly expressed his surprise to me, within the past few days, that your Lordships do not come to some arrangement with the Duke, the present being as favorable a moment for it perhaps as you could possibly desire. I told him in reply that I was myself better disposed to do so now than I had been, for it had seemed to me that at the last conversation I had with the Duke he was less determined with regard to a military engagement by our republic; and that if this be really so and he was disposed to have as much regard for the interests of Florence as for his own, he would always be met half-way by your Lordships, as I had already told his Excellency ever so often. To this my friend answered, “I have told you on former occasions that in such an engagement there was both honor and profit for the Duke; yet that he cared nothing for the profit, but attached much importance to the honor of it; and that, if you could gratify him on that point, an arrangement could very readily be concluded.” He told me furthermore that an envoy had arrived from Pisa and had sought to have an audience of the Duke, who at first determined not to grant it, but that, upon reflection, he had concluded that there could be no harm in hearing this envoy, and that he would inform me of the result. It is three days now since my friend told me this, and although I have asked him several times on the subject, he has always answered that he had not yet spoken to the Duke, and that his occupations had prevented him from finding out what this envoy wanted of the Duke. I asked him again this evening, and he said that the envoy had been sent back without having spoken to the Duke. From another source, however, I learn that this envoy was Lorenzo d’ Acconcio, that he has had two interviews with his Excellency, and that the object of his mission was to inform the Duke that the king of Spain had sent a messenger to offer his assistance to the Pisans, and that these were disposed to accept the offer unless they could find a defender nearer by, as they could no longer remain in the position in which they were, and that therefore they had offered themselves to the Duke; that his Excellency replied to this proposition in general terms, and told the Pisan envoy to follow him to Cesena, etc., etc.
Now I do not know which of these two stories to believe, and submit the matter to your Lordships’ own good judgment. This much I do know, that both one and the other of the persons from whom I have this information are in a position most easily to know the truth. It is reported here that Cascina has been taken from you by surprise some ten days ago; and yesterday I was told by one of my friends that when this news was received at the house of Bianchino of Pisa, where the Pisans generally congregate, one of them immediately said that he believed it to be true, because orders had been given one day to the Pisan horse to show themselves near Cascina. And when the garrison of the place made a sortie to encounter the Pisan horse, there being but a feeble guard left within, the peasants and their women had risen and taken the place. I mention this to your Lordships, so that even if it were true you might advise the commissary of it.
I recommend myself to your Lordships.
December 9, 1502.