Front Page Titles (by Subject) LETTER LI. - The Historical, Political, and Diplomatic Writings, vol. 3 (Diplomatic Missions 1498-1505)
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LETTER LI. - 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: —
Having lodged last night at Spedale, I was joined on the road this morning by one of the bowmen of Antonio Giacomino, who handed me a letter from your Lordships of the 5th, from which I learned with much regret that you have not received any of my reports upon the events that have taken place. After arriving at this place, Labbro Tesso brought letters from your Lordships that filled me with equal regret, for they inform me that you have received but two of my letters of the 1st and 2d instant. It would really seem as though my efforts failed at the very moment when they were most needed, and when they ought to have procured me your greater esteem. And yet wise men like yourselves know that it is not enough for a man to do his duty, but that he must also have good luck. I would gladly send your Lordships copies of all the letters I have written, if I had them near me; but not having them, owing to the circumstances and places in which I have been, I will briefly recapitulate their contents.
On the 1st of December I wrote you two letters; one a short one, at the twenty-third hour of the night, containing an account of the arrest of the Vitelli and the Orsini; the other a long one, giving full details of the event, and the conversations I had with the Duke, in which he manifested such an affection for our republic, and expressed himself with so much kindness and discretion that I could not have wished for anything more. He showed that he well knew how necessary it was that our republic should be free and powerful, to enable the surrounding states to preserve their power; and that he was ready to undertake anything for that purpose, provided he could count upon your support. He then wanted me to urge your Lordships to aid him with your troops in his attempt against Castello and Perugia, and to take and keep the Duke of Urbino prisoner, in case he should take refuge on Florentine soil; but he said he should be satisfied to have the Duke of Urbino remain in your hands. I wrote you next on the 2d instant from Conrinaldo, reiterating the same details, and adding an account of what had subsequently occurred, as your Lordships will have seen, for that letter was received by you, according to what you write. After that I wrote you from Sassoferrato on the 4th, and from Gualdo on the 6th, giving an account of the surrender of Castello and Perugia; also about the deputation that had come to the Duke from Sienna. On the 8th I wrote you from Ascesi respecting that deputation, and what I had heard in relation to it. And my last was from Torsiano, on the 10th, in which I reported what the Duke has said to me respecting his intentions with regard to Sienna; namely, that he counted chiefly upon our republic as the principal support of his power, and that for that reason he wished to communicate to me all his intentions, both with regard to internal and external affairs. That after having had Oliverotto and Vitellozzo put to death, crushed the Orsini and driven out Gianpaolo, there remained but one more obstacle in the way of insuring his own and your Lordships’ tranquillity, and that was Pandolfo Petrucci, whom he intended to expel from Sienna. And as he thought that this would be for your advantage as well as for his own, he deemed it necessary that your Lordships should lend a hand in doing it; for if Pandolfo remained there, it was to be feared from the character of the man and from the amount of money he had at command, and from the nature of the place in which he was, lest he should erelong light a conflagration that might destroy more than one place; and that he would ever serve as a refuge for all those violent lords who know no restraints. And as such a state of things would prove more injurious to you than to others, he judged that you ought to feel more interested in it. That there were also various other reasons that should influence you to move in the matter; namely, first, to recognize the advantages derived by your Lordships from the death of Vitellozzo, etc., etc.; secondly, your own special interests: and thirdly, the wishes of the king of France. And as regards the recognition of your obligations to him, if a year ago any one had proposed to your Lordships to kill Vitellozzo and overthrow the Orsini and their adherents, you would readily have obligated yourselves to pay one hundred thousand ducats. But that inasmuch as all this had been done without any expense, labor, or charge to you, your Lordships were under a tacit obligation to him, even if there was no written one; and that it would be well, therefore, if your Lordships would begin to acquit yourselves of that obligation, and not to manifest an ingratitude so contrary to your habits. As to the advantage which you would derive from it, that was great; for if Pandolfo remained in Sienna he would prove a refuge and a support for all your enemies. As for the pleasure of revenge, he said that Pandolfo had instigated the war against your Lordships during the past summer in the affair of Arezzo, both by his talents and with his money, and that it was in the nature of things that you should seek an opportunity to revenge yourselves upon him on that account; and that if you allowed the occasion to pass without resenting it, you would deserve similar injuries at all times. And as to the advantage that would result from it to his Majesty the king of France, it consisted in this: that Pandolfo once expelled from Sienna, he, the Duke, would be relieved from all apprehensions, and could then hasten freely with all his troops to the support of the king, either in Lombardy or in the kingdom of Naples. His Excellency said, furthermore, that your Lordships ought not to hesitate on account of the protection which France had promised to Sienna, because that was to the city, and not to Pandolfo; and that he was making war upon Pandolfo, and not upon the city of Sienna. That he had so given the people of Sienna to understand, and had requested me to write to the same effect to your Lordships, so that you might publish it and testify to all the world that, if the city of Sienna expelled Pandolfo, he, the Duke, would not set foot upon Siennese territory; but that if they refused to do so, then he would direct his artillery against their walls; and he requested me anew to write to your Lordships, and to beg you to assist him with your troops in this undertaking. The substance of all this was contained in my letter of the 10th, from Torsiano, which I have now repeated, fearing that letter may not have reached your Lordships’ hands, as well as my others. I hope your Lordships will decide this matter soon, by a reply to this.
After receipt of yours of the 9th, I called upon the Duke and made known to him that your Lordships were ready to send your troops towards Castello whenever it should be necessary. I also told him of the satisfaction which your Lordships felt at this late event, and of the appointment of Jacopo Salviati as a special ambassador to him, who would shortly be here. The Duke was greatly pleased at all this, saying that he felt convinced that your Lordships would not fail in their duty to aid him in his attempt against Pandolfo; and begged me anew to urge your Lordships to that effect. He expressed pleasure at the selection of Salviati, whose arrival he looked forward to with impatience. We then conversed upon many points touching this undertaking against Pandolfo, which he declared himself resolved to prosecute anyhow, and in relation to which he manifests the utmost earnestness, saying that he will not want for either money or support. On the other hand Messer Romolino left yesterday per post for Rome, and I learn from good authority that the object of this mission is to consult the Pope upon this enterprise, and to ask him whether, in case it were possible to treat with Pandolfo on advantageous terms, it might not be well to do so. For the Duke seems to think that it might be too much for him if he had at the same time to take care of Sienna and the Orsini business; whilst by disposing of the one first, the other would be much easier, and he might afterwards take up the first again at a suitable moment. It is possible that my information may not be correct; nevertheless the thing is not unreasonable, although it is quite contrary to the Duke’s own words; for he protested to me that he would carry out his enterprise against Pandolfo at all hazards, and that if the Pope negotiated with Pandolfo, it was for the purpose of getting him into his own hands, and that the hopes which such negotiations held out to Pandolfo would prevent his taking to flight. I think it well to hear all things, and then to await the result.
The whole of this day has been devoted to making scaling-ladders, for the first siege works will be thrown up on the other side of the Chiana on Siennese territory, but the precise spot is not known.
The Duke has given a most gracious reception to a secretary of the Bentivogli who has arrived here, and has assured him of his friendly disposition towards his master. He has ordered that the treaty of peace concluded between himself and the said Bentivogli shall be published in all his dominions, as well as in his camp here, so that it may be known to everybody. His Excellency has demanded from the Bentivogli one hundred men-at-arms, and two hundred light cavalry, which they are bound to furnish him. And he has this day requested me to write to your Lordships, and to beg you in his name to accord free passage and provisions, at their own expense, to these troops of Messer Giovanni Bentivogli, who are coming to his support.
Of the Duke of Urbino not a word has been said either by his Excellency or myself, for it did not seem proper for me to open that subject. The Duke being here in Castello della Pieve it seemed to me opportune to recommend to him Messer Bandino, who is in your Lordships’ pay, having heard that certain of his enemies had returned here. His Excellency replied to me that he held Messer Bandino in great esteem, and felt a great interest in his affair, especially as he was in your service; and he assured me that no harm shall be done either to his person or his property.
With this there will be a letter for Piombino, which has been recommended to me by Messer Alessandro Spannochi. I have promised him that your Lordships will have it forwarded by express, and I beg that it may be done.
I have expended five ducats for the sending of my first three despatches after the events at Sinigaglia, and I beg your Lordships to have them reimbursed to me, and that they may be paid for my account to Biagio Buonaccorsi, provided it seems fit to your Lordships that I shall not suffer where I have not been at fault.
I recommend myself most humbly.
Castello della Pieve, 12 January, 1503.