Front Page Titles (by Subject) LETTER XXXVII. - The Historical, Political, and Diplomatic Writings, vol. 3 (Diplomatic Missions 1498-1505)
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LETTER XXXVII. - 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: —
I left Imola on the morning of the 11th, and passed the night at Castrocaro, where I remained the whole of the 12th. The next morning I left there, and arrived here at Cesena the same evening, thinking it best to delay one day joining the court, so as to have a better chance for lodgings. Although I have nothing new to communicate by the present letter, having written on the 9th and 10th, yet I thought it best to write, so as not to keep your Lordships in suspense as to matters here. In my last I informed you that the entire duchy of Urbino, with the exception of San Leo, had placed itself voluntarily in the hands of the Duke. The Duke Guido, who retains San Leo, has gone to Citta di Castello, in the expectation of being able in this way to obtain better terms for himself from his Excellency. I have heard nothing further on the subject, but negotiations are going on in relation to it; but how and on what terms matters will be settled, I know not, but shall endeavor to find out, and will then fully advise your Lordships. Negotiations for an arrangement with the people of Camerino are also being carried on, and I hear from a good source that an understanding has been arrived at.
His Excellency the Duke, as I have said, is here with all the French troops and his own, excepting those who have been the whole year at Pesaro, and who have not moved from there. The Duke and the troops are lodged in the city and its vicinity, and live at discretion; that is to say, according to their own pleasure, and not according to that of the persons who lodge them. Your Lordships may imagine how things go on here, and how they went on at Imola, where the court remained three months, and the whole army two months, and where they consumed everything to the very stones. Certainly that city and the whole country have given proof of their patience, and of how much they are able to bear. I mention this to your Lordships, so that you may know that the French as well as the other troops do not act any differently in Romagna from what they did in Tuscany; and that there is neither more order nor less confusion here than there has been wherever these troops have been, etc.
As I have written before to your Lordships, all those who reason on the subject know not what to think of the Duke’s intentions, he having come here with his troops, and, notwithstanding all the treaties of peace and the recovery of his possessions, not having dismissed a single one of the French troops. After looking at the matter from all sides, they come to the conclusion that the Duke can have no other object than to make sure of those who have subjected him to these wrongs, and who have come within a hair of depriving him of his states. And although the treaties of peace would seem to oppose this conclusion, yet the example of the past would make those of less consequence. I am myself much inclined to this opinion, from the evidence which I have constantly had, and which your Lordships will remember in my letters. And this is still further corroborated by what I wrote you in my letter of the 10th respecting the Savelli.
Nevertheless, there are some who say the Duke is going to Ravenna or Cervia. The Venetians are in great apprehension on that account, and those who come from there say that the Rectors personally visit the guards at night, which are posted the same as if an enemy were at the very gates. With all this, no one believes it, judging that the Duke would not attempt anything against the Venetians unless the king of France were at the same time to attack them in Lombardy; and as no orders of that kind have been heard of there, the other is not believed. And thus, after indulging in a variety of speculations, people here have generally concluded to leave the development of the matter to time, rather than weary themselves with idle conjectures.
I have written to your Lordships what is said on the subject of the Duke’s taking his troops to the kingdom of Naples or otherwise, and I repeat now that the matter is no longer much talked about here. It is true the Duke’s courtiers say that, when he shall have re-established order in Urbino and in Camerino, he intends going to Rome; and that he will start from here after Christmas. But those who are of the opinion that he means anyhow to assure himself of his enemies say that it is very likely that he will start for Rome, but stop on the way to settle matters in his own fashion. We shall see what will come of it. Meantime I shall do my duty in keeping your Lordships advised whilst I remain here, which, however, I do not believe will be much longer; first, because I have only four ducats left in my purse, as my steward knows, who is bearer of this letter, and will give your Lordships full account of my condition and my expenditures; and secondly, because my remaining here is of no further use. And I beg to tell your Lordships, in the same spirit of loyalty with which I have ever served you, that it will be much more advantageous for the conclusion of whatever arrangement you may have to make with the Duke, to send some one of distinguished reputation here rather than to Rome. The reason is this. In the proposed alliance you have to satisfy the Duke, and not the Pope; for whatever terms might be concluded with the latter may be rejected by the former. But whatever may be concluded with the Duke will never be refused by the Pope, unless the Duke himself should see that some advantage could be gained by it; as in the case of the Bolognese treaty. And as it is hazardous to negotiate on the same subject in two places at once, it will be better to have this matter negotiated here rather than at Rome.
I have neither been charged with that mission, nor am I well qualified for it. It should be a man of more eloquence and greater reputation, and one who understands the world better than I do. And therefore I have always been of the opinion that it would be well to send an ambassador here, which would have more influence with the Duke in all matters that have to be negotiated with him than any other means that could be employed. Everybody here is of the same opinion. It is true he should not come here with incomplete notions, but rather with resolute views upon certain points; and thus matters would doubtless be arranged, and that promptly. I have until now ever done my duty to the utmost of my ability, and shall not fail to continue to do so; for even if much time has been wasted in the past, yet all is not lost.
Your Lordships, I trust, will receive this in the spirit in which I write it, and I beg most humbly that you will provide me with funds, and grant my recall.
Cesena, 14 December, 1502.
P. S. — One of the first gentlemen of the Duke’s court has requested me, on behalf of his Excellency, to recommend to your Lordships Messer Bartolommeo Marcelli of the Borgo San Sepolcro, who is one of those who, by summons of the Five Deputies, were to appear before them from the 1st to the 10th instant. He says that he received the notification only on the 8th. He is a man of seventy-two years of age, and being here would have had to make seventy miles in two days, which it was impossible for him to do, the mountains being covered with snow, and with daylight only during seven hours; and therefore he claims indulgence. He is ready to obey the summons and prove his innocence if time be allowed him. I have been requested, therefore, to solicit your Lordships to grant him a delay, and to give him at least five or six days’ notice to appear, and he will promptly obey. I add my prayers to your Lordships, who are most urgently requested to that effect by his Excellency the Duke; and believing it proper to bring this matter to your notice, I hope for a favorable reply.
Your Lordships will please have the bearer of this paid one gold florin for his trouble.