Front Page Titles (by Subject) LETTER XLII. - The Historical, Political, and Diplomatic Writings, vol. 3 (Diplomatic Missions 1498-1505)
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LETTER XLII. - 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 wrote your Lordships last on the 23d by way of Bagno, and as I then gave you full account of the departure of the French troops, and what is said here about it, I have nothing else of importance to report on that subject.
The son of the courier Ardingo arrived here yesterday, and brought me two of your Lordships’ letters, of the 20th and 22d; and although I have made every effort since their receipt to have an audience of the Duke, yet I have not succeeded. Yesterday, when I expected to have seen his Excellency, he was occupied in reviewing his infantry, and in his Christmas pleasures, so that it was impossible for me to see him; and this morning he left at an early hour with his whole army for San Arcangelo, fifteen miles from here, and five miles from Rimini. To-morrow I shall start for the latter place, for I cannot go nearer to the court on account of the difficulty of finding lodgings; although they say that the Duke is not going to stay here, but will move by long marches towards Pesaro. No one knows what he is going to do; some think that he will make an attack upon Sinigaglia, others say Ancona. As regards his forces, he has, besides the troops of which I sent you a list not long since, about thirty newly enlisted Albanese Stradiotes; then he has some twenty-five hundred infantry from the other side of the mountains, and about as many other Italians whom he passed in review yesterday and the day before. And you may count for every thousand infantry about fifty mounted men. The artillery, with a full supply of ammunition, has taken the same route. Upon how many troops the Orsini and the Vitelli may count is not known; but we shall be better informed upon that point when they shall be nearer to each other. As I have mentioned to you before, the Duke is so secret in all he does that he never communicates his designs to any one. His first secretaries have repeatedly assured me that he never makes his plans until the moment of his giving orders for their execution, and he gives these orders only when forced by necessity, and on the spur of the moment, and never otherwise.
I beg your Lordships therefore to excuse me, and not to impute it to negligence on my part, if my information is not satisfactory to you, for I am not satisfied with it myself. We hear nothing more of San Leo and the negotiations with the Duke Guido.
On a former occasion I wrote to your Lordships what the Duke had told me of Camerino, which remained at his disposal; and I wrote you subsequently what I had learned from the secretary of the Cardinal Farnese, who told me that he had but little hope, especially in consequence of the departure of the French troops. The Bishop of Euna told me yesterday that the affair was as good as arranged. Meanwhile we must wait events, so as not to be led into more errors.
Messer Ramiro was found to-day cut into two pieces in the public square, and his body still remains there, so that the whole population has been able to see it. The cause of his death is not precisely known, other than that it was the pleasure of his Excellency thus to show that he has the power to make and unmake men at his will, and according to their merits.
Your above-named courier brought me twenty-five gold ducats and sixteen yards of black damask, for both of which I thank your Lordships very much. As the court is about to break up, they have not yet sent for the three mares which your Lordships inform me are at Poppi. I have only been told to request you to direct them to be well cared for until orders shall have been given to bring them here.
Messer Bartolommeo Marcelli of Borgo, on whose account the Baron de Bierra wrote lately to your Lordships, asks merely that time may be allowed for him to appear until he shall be able to come to Florence. He has himself written to Piero di Braccio, who manages his case; and I beg now to recommend him to your Lordships, quæbene valeant.
Cesena, 26 December, 1502, 22d hour.