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LETTER L. - 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 was of the 8th, from Ascesi. Yesterday we came here to Torsiano, a place about four miles from Perugia, but shall leave to-morrow and go to Spedaletto, twelve miles from here, on the road to Sienna. Having written you in my last all I had of interest to communicate, and having received no reply to my many letters since the 28th ultimo, I should not have written you now but that the Duke sent for me to-day and asked me whether I had received any letters from your Lordships. When I told him that I had not, he expressed great surprise, whereupon, of course, I made all reasonable excuses for this delay. Then, leaving this subject, the Duke said to me: “You know, secretary, how well I am disposed towards your government, which I look upon as one of the principal supports of my power in Italy; and for that reason my acts and proceedings with regard to internal as well as external affairs must not be concealed from your Signoria. You see how I stand with those who were the common enemies of your government and of mine: some of them are dead, some prisoners, and some are fugitives, or are besieged in their homes; such as Pandolfo Petrucci, to destroy whom will be the last effort I shall have to make for our mutual security. It is absolutely necessary to drive him from Sienna; for his well-known ability, the amount of money he has at his command, and the strength of the place where he is, would, if he were allowed to remain there, have to be feared like a spark that may cause a great conflagration. So far from going to sleep over this matter, we shall have to attack him with all our power. I should not find it difficult to drive him out of Sienna, but I want to have him in my hands. For this reason the Pope tries to lull him into security with briefs, persuading him that it will be enough for him to show himself the enemy of the Pope’s enemies; and meantime I advance upon him with my army. But it is well to deceive those who themselves have been masters in treachery. The deputies from Sienna who came to me in the name of their government have promised me well, and I have made it clear to them that I have no desire of depriving the people of Sienna of their liberties, but that all I ask of them is that they shall expel Pandolfo. I have written a letter to the municipality of Sienna, explaining to them my intentions, of the honesty of which they have ample proof in the case of Perugia and Castello, which I handed over to the Church, not wishing to keep them for myself. Moreover, our common master, the king of France, would not be satisfied were I to take Sienna for myself; and I am not sufficiently reckless to attempt anything of the kind. The people of Sienna therefore should believe my assurances that I want nothing more of them than the expulsion of Pandolfo. And I desire that your masters should publish and testify that I have no other intentions than to make sure of this tyrant Petruccio; and I trust that the government of Sienna will believe me. But if not, then I am resolved to advance upon their city and plant my artillery before its gates, and shall do my utmost to drive Petruccio from there. I wished to communicate this to you so that your masters may be fully informed of my intentions; and so that, if they should hear that the Pope has written a brief to Pandolfo, they may know for what purpose he has done so. For after having taken their arms from my enemies I am resolved also to deprive them of their brains, which consist in Pandolfo and his intrigues. I would moreover entreat that in case I should require any assistance in this matter, you should ask your masters to furnish it to me in my efforts against the said Pandolfo. And I truly believe that, if any one had promised to your Signoria a year ago to kill Vitellozzo and Oliverotto, to destroy the Orsini, and to expel Gianpaolo and Pandolfo, and had asked them one hundred thousand ducats for doing it, they would have rushed to give it to him. But now, since all this has been so thoroughly done without any expense, or effort, or care, on the part of your government, it seems to me that, although there was no written obligation, yet there is a tacit one. And therefore it is well that they should begin to pay it, so that it may not seem to me, nor to others, that the republic of Florence is beyond her custom and character ungrateful. And should the Signoria object on account of the protection of France, you must write to them that the king gives his protection to Sienna, and not to Pandolfo Petrucci. And even if Pandolfo did enjoy that protection, which he does not, he has forfeited it by leaguing himself with others against myself and against his Majesty. Your government therefore will have no excuse, if it fails to come with alacrity to share in this enterprise. And your Signoria ought to come the more gladly, as it will be an advantage to them, as well as a satisfaction to their revenge, and a benefit to the king of France. The advantage will be the destruction of the eternal enemy of their republic, the prompter of all their enemies, and the resort of all those who desire to injure you. And their revenge will be gratified, because Pandolfo has been the head and front of all the ills which their republic has had to bear for the past year; for it was he who furnished the money and the assistance, as well as the plans for assailing them. And in what? In their entire dominions as well as in their own liberty. And whoever does not desire to revenge such things, and does not avail himself of an occasion like the present one, shows himself insensible to everything, and deserves the insults of everybody. Wherein it would be an advantage to the king of France is manifest to every one; for Pandolfo once crushed, I and your Signoria are freed from all apprehensions for our states, and can go with our troops into the kingdom of Naples, or into Lombardy, or wherever the king of France may have need of us. But so long as Pandolfo remains in Sienna, we can never feel secure of our states. All these things are well known and understood by the king of France, and therefore will the destruction of Pandolfo give him great pleasure, and he will feel under obligations to whoever has been instrumental in it. And if I knew that my own interests only were to be advanced by it, I would make greater efforts to persuade your Signoria, but as it is for our mutual interest, let what I have said suffice. Neither have I said all this because I doubt my ability to accomplish it alone, but because I desire that all Italy shall be assured of our alliance, which will add to the reputation of each of us.”
Thereupon the Duke charged me to write to your Lordships on the subject, and to request a prompt reply, and for that reason have I communicated to you as it were his own words.
In speaking of the affairs of the kingdom of Naples the Duke told me that the Spaniards had killed some thirty French men-at-arms in an ambuscade, which was however a matter of little importance; and that there was no sign of any movement from the direction of Germany. Also, that the king had been much dissatisfied with M. de Chaumont for having recalled his troops; and he repeated that it had been the result of a private resentment on the part of M. de Chaumont against his Excellency.
I recommend myself to your Lordships, quæ bene valeant.
Torsiano, 10 January, 1503.
P. S. — Your Lordships will please pay the bearer of this ten lire; also, to reimburse Biagio the five ducats which I have paid for my three despatches of last month, provided it has not already been done.
Don Michele, a Spanish captain in the Duke’s service, was as angry as a devil with me to-day, saying that the letter which he had written at Piombino, as well as those that had been directed to him, had been opened; and that the customs officials at the gates of Florence had taken some small change from certain of his foot-soldiers who were going to Piombino. I beg your Lordships to relieve me of these reclamations by remedying the one and justifying the other.
P. S. — I had forgotten to mention to your Lordships that with my second letter of the 31st of December I sent you a letter written by his Excellency announcing, and at the same time justifying, the event that had taken place. I think it would be well for your Lordships to reply to that letter, whether it has made its appearance or not.