Front Page Titles (by Subject) MISSION TO THE COURT OF ROME. October 24, 1503. - The Historical, Political, and Diplomatic Writings, vol. 3 (Diplomatic Missions 1498-1505)
Return to Title Page for The Historical, Political, and Diplomatic Writings, vol. 3 (Diplomatic Missions 1498-1505)
The Online Library of Liberty
A project of Liberty Fund, Inc.
Search this Title:
Also in the Library:
MISSION TO THE COURT OF ROME. October 24, 1503. - 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.
About Liberty Fund:
The text is in the public domain.
Fair use statement:
MISSION TO THE COURT OF ROME.
The object of this mission of Machiavelli to Rome was nominally to present to the Florentine Ambassador at Rome, Francesco Soderini, Cardinale di Volterra, certain modifications in the engagement of Gianpaolo Baglioni to serve the king of France in his contest with the Spaniards under the famous Captain Gonsalvo de Cordova in the kingdom of Naples. This engagement of Baglioni had been negotiated by the Cardinal Volterra, and was to be paid for by the Florentine government, and was to be credited to the Florentines on their indebtedness to the king of France, and at the same time was to secure to the Florentines the aid and support of King Louis XII. against the aggressions of the Venetians. If the proposed modifications were accepted, then Machiavelli was to ratify the agreement; but if not, then he was to leave the agreement unratified, etc.; in all of which, however, he was to be governed by the advice of the Cardinal Volterra. At the same time Machiavelli was specially instructed to keep the Signoria of Florence diligently informed from day to day of all that occurred worthy of note. The events then transpiring at Rome were of the utmost interest and importance. After the death of Pius III., who had occupied the Papal chair but twenty-six days, Giuliano della Rovere, Cardinal of San Pietro in Vincola, was elected Pope. Cesare Borgia had supported the candidacy of Giuliano della Rovere, and induced his friends the Spanish cardinals to vote for him in the conclave, expecting that in return the new Pope would not only support his claims to the Romagna, but would also give him the appointment of Captain-General of the Papal forces, which he claimed to have been promised to him by Giuliano prior to his election. As we have seen in Machiavelli’s despatches during his mission to the Duke of Valentinois, the military successes and the rapid rise of Cesare Borgia, so we see in his despatches during this mission to Rome the equally rapid decline of the Borgia’s fortune. He had come to Rome to aid in the election of Julius II., not thinking that he thereby placed himself in the power of a man of greater duplicity and craftiness than himself. For besides his implacable enmity and personal hatred of Cesare Borgia, Julius II. considered the Romagna as the legitimate property of the Church, which he was resolved to recover for the Church at any cost; and therefore he not only disregarded the promises made to Cesare Borgia before his elevation to the pontificate, but actually had him arrested and imprisoned in the Castel San Angelo because Cesare Borgia refused to give up the passwords for entering into the several strongholds which he still held in the Romagna, and which the Pope had demanded of him. Meantime the Venetians, ever eager to extend their dominion over the Romagna, took advantage of the absence of the Duke of Valentinois to seize Faenza and some other smaller towns in the Romagna, and at the same time threatened the adjoining possessions of the Florentine republic. It was one of the objects of Machiavelli’s mission to endeavor through the Cardinal d’Amboise, then at Rome, to obtain the aid and support of the king of France in their efforts to resist the aggressions of the Venetians; and at the same time, in conjunction with the Florentine Ambassador, the Cardinal Volterra, to urge the Pope to active measures against the Venetians.
COMMISSION AND INSTRUCTIONS
You will proceed with all diligence to Rome, bearing with you our several letters of credence to those most reverend Cardinals whose good will it is most important to conciliate, such as Rouen, San Giorgio, Santo Severino, Ascanio, San Pietro in Vincola, and Santa Prassede.† You will present yourself to these Cardinals in our name, and make known to each of them, that we had within the last few days appointed ambassadors,* who were all ready to start when we heard of the death of Pope Pius III., which greatly afflicted our whole city. And that although these ambassadors will not go now, yet we did not wish to fail in our duty, and have sent you to express to them our deep grief at this event, and our desire that they may give to the late Pontiff a successor such as the needs of Christendom and of Italy require; and that, knowing such to be also their desire, we offer them all the assistance in our power to that end.
You will regulate your language as you may deem best to suit each of these Cardinals, and according to the information which you will receive from our most reverend Cardinal,† with whom you will confer before anything else, and according to whose suggestions you will regulate your conduct. You will take with you also a copy of the military engagement of the Baglioni, concluded within the past few days in our name by his Eminence; and a minute of our declaration, which we desire to be added to it. In all this you will observe the following order; namely, you will first confer on the subject with our said most reverend Cardinal, and you will make him understand our wishes that he should explain, in accordance with that minute, that clause of the engagement relative to our being relieved of the expenses and the damages, etc., etc., and that we shall have the right, whenever we may have need of them, to claim the services of the four hundred lances provided for in the engagement. And that his Eminence will speak of it to the Cardinal d’Amboise, either in your presence or in private, and in such manner as he may deem best, so that the latter may understand it the same as we do; which should present no difficulty, as it appears plainly in the written instrument. And if our declaration is agreed to according to the said minute, then you will ratify the same, for which purpose we have given you our power; and you will bring back with you an authenticated copy of that ratification.
Should his Eminence Cardinal d’Amboise, however, make any difficulty on the subject, then you will not ratify the engagement, but will write to us immediately and await our further instructions. And in case difficulty is made, then it will be your business to terminate this affair in accordance with the terms of our declaration. Should it be objected that perhaps we will not pay, and that thus the king would not be served, you will reply that, if the agreement is not concluded within a certain number of days, we would be willing, Gianpaolo also consenting, to fall back upon the old agreement, in so far as we may have failed to fulfil our obligations. It being understood, nevertheless, that one payment to the king or to Gianpaolo shall be deemed sufficient.
In the same way, should either the Cardinal d’Amboise or Gianpaolo make any difficulty, and object to a mere oral ratification in that form, you may offer and promise them a ratification by your government in due form, which would be sent as required, after our first having received notice from you to that effect.
Beyond this we have no further particular instructions to give you, save that during your stay in Rome you will keep us diligently informed from day to day of all that may occur worthy of notice.
Magnificent Signori: —
I wrote yesterday to inform your Lordships of my arrival here.* By the present I desire to communicate to you what has been done in relation to the first part of your instructions, and what I have since learned of the state of things here. Your Lordships will bear in mind that, after having decided that the engagement of Gianpaolo Baglioni should be ratified with suitable reserves, you so notified the Cardinal Volterra. His Eminence fully comprehended your intentions as communicated to him by your letter; but as the time for ratifying the convention was passing, and the Cardinal being ignorant of the fact that I was about to be sent here for that purpose, he prepared a letter which he intended the Cardinal d’Amboise should send you signed with his own hand. This letter in substance contained no more than the form of the declaration which your Lordships had given me, and to which I was to conform in my proceedings.
His Eminence was occupied with this matter when I arrived and submitted to him my commission. He was pleased to find that your views corresponded with his own, and, ceasing further efforts to have the aforesaid letter signed by the Cardinal d’Amboise, he informed him and the President, who was charged with this matter, that an envoy had been sent by your Lordships for the express purpose of ratifying the agreement. His Eminence afterwards directed me to confer with the Cardinal d’Amboise, but owing to his many occupations I could not see him until this evening at the fourth hour. In view of the times and circumstances, our Cardinal had directed me to say to the Cardinal d’Amboise, in substance, that your Lordships felt no less solicitude for the interests of the king than for your own; and as, much to their regret, they had heard many things unfavorable to his Majesty, they felt it to be their duty as faithful friends to mention them to him with all respect, so that he might give them such attention as they deserved. I thereupon told the Cardinal d’Amboise that it was reported in Florence that the French army had turned back, that the troops that were in Lombardy had in great part returned to France, and that the Venetians were in force in Romagna, and intended to make themselves masters of that province. Also that it was feared the Germans, either of their own accord or at the instigation of others, were about to make an incursion into Lombardy; and that all these things caused the greatest uneasiness to your Lordships, who desired to suggest to his Eminence that it was time to increase the French forces in Italy, and rather to abandon other enterprises, etc., etc. I told him, furthermore, that I had been sent to ratify the engagement of Gianpaolo Baglioni, with full authority for that purpose, whenever the agreement was so drawn that the republic of Florence should be at no greater charges and should have no less advantages than under the convention made with his Majesty. To all of which the Cardinal d’Amboise replied, that he thanked your Lordships for the suggestions; that he had seriously thought of it all, and was here for no other purpose, etc., etc.; and that as to the engagement of Gianpaolo Baglioni, he would co-operate with the Cardinal Volterra, and that everything should be settled in due form.
I then reported to our Cardinal all that D’Amboise had said in reply to the one and the other point; and in relation to the engagement of Baglioni we came to the conclusion that, having done our duty on our part, we would wait for the others to do theirs, and thus we shall act.
I think this letter will be brought to you by M. de Mellon, who is sent by the Cardinal d’Amboise to your Lordships at Florence, and then to Bologna and Ferrara; and afterwards to Urbino, to complain of the damage done to the Duke Valentino in his state of Romagna. The entrance of Ordelaffo into Furli, which everybody here lays to your charge, has filled the Cardinal San Giorgio with indignation on account of his nephews, and has also to some extent angered the Cardinal d’Amboise on account of the Duke Valentino. This morning M. de Trans and the President expressed their displeasure about this affair to his Eminence of Volterra. The latter had me called to him, and I justified your Lordships in regard to all these proceedings in Romagna, of which, as your Lordships know, I am thoroughly informed. And then, by way of pacifying the Duke and making him some reparation, it was decided to send M. Mellon or some one else to him. His Excellency is at this moment at Castello, and is more confident than ever of accomplishing his great projects, in the expectation that the election of the new Pope will be in accordance with the desires of his partisans. As the obsequies of Pius III. will terminate to-day, the Cardinals should go into conclave to-morrow; but it is said that they will not do so until Bartolommeo d’ Alviano and the Orsini shall have withdrawn from Rome; they being here, the one, as some say, with three hundred men-at-arms, and the other with two hundred, or a less number as is said by some. They have had money wherewith to raise one thousand infantry, but we have no evidence of their having put many on foot.
Gianpaolo is in quarters in the suburbs; his friends say that he has one hundred men-at-arms, and he has already received five thousand ducats on account of his engagement, and three thousand ducats for every one thousand infantry, but which no one has as yet seen. I have not yet been able to speak with him, and in truth I have spoken with but few others, excepting our Cardinal, so that I am not able to give you such information about matters here as I would like. But I shall use all diligence and make every effort to do my duty.
All I have learned respecting the French army is that they presented themselves before San Germano, and offered battle to the Spanish commander Gonsalvo de Cordova, who declined it. And as the French doubted their ability to take the place, they concluded to return and to attempt a passage somewhere else. It is said that they are at Ponte Coneo, and that they are marching in the direction of Gaeta for the purpose of passing the Garigliano.
Opinions differ as to the election of the new Pope, and yet I can only say to your Lordships that it is supposed that San Pietro in Vincola will not have more than thirty-two votes, and Santa Prassede twenty-two.
I recommend myself to your Lordships.
Rome, 28 October, 1503.
Magnificent Signori: —
Yesterday I had a discussion with the President, to whom the Cardinal d’Amboise has committed the negotiations respecting the matter of Gianpaolo Baglioni. Taking all the arguments together, I do not see that we shall be able to obtain from the Cardinal d’Amboise any declaration in accordance with the instructions which you have given me, until he shall have come out of the conclave; for the election of the Pope keeps him so much occupied that he has real grounds for being excused. And as the Cardinals insist that the foreign troops shall leave Rome upon their going into conclave, and as on the other hand Gianpaolo will not leave until he has the remainder of his pay, I believe it will have to come to this, that the Cardinal d’Amboise will give to your Lordships an acquittance for six thousand ducats, which sum you will pay to Gianpaolo for the remainder of his pay, and which will be credited to you on account of the ten thousand ducats which you have to pay to his Majesty on All Saints’ Day. And according to what Domenico Martello tells me, you will have all the month of November to settle it in. Thus I believe that the affair of Gianpaolo can best be arranged for the present, and in truth, seeing how overwhelmed the Cardinal d’Amboise is with his many occupations, we cannot expect anything more.
According to report, Bartolommeo Alviano leaves to-morrow to rejoin the Spaniards. Gianpaolo tells me that he has not more than two hundred men-at-arms and three hundred infantry. In examining well the object of these new engagements made by the Spaniards as well as the French, it is evident that the object is more to increase their reputation than the number of their troops; for in consequence of the great enmities which these Condottieri have stirred up in the different Roman towns, they are looked upon more as brigands than as soldiers. And being entirely controlled by their own passions, they cannot well serve a third party; and the treaties of peace which they conclude amongst themselves only last until a fresh occasion presents itself for injuring each other. Whoever is here on the spot has the daily experience of this; and those who know them only temporize with them until they can do without them.
Gianpaolo is to take the route through Tuscany; for he wanted to do so, saying that he must form his company at home; and altogether the Cardinal d’Amboise cares little about it. I believe, as I have mentioned above, that he will come with an order upon your Lordships for his pay, which payment will go on account of what we owe the king, according to the authentic acquittances.
To-day whilst in the apartment of the Cardinal Volterra, the President and M. de Trans called there, and showed the Cardinal a letter which M. d’Allegri had written to the Marquis of Mantua, dated at Trani on the 24th instant; saying that he was there with three hundred men-at-arms and two thousand infantry, and that he had sent for the Viceroy to come and join him with three thousand infantry and with the artillery; and that so soon as the Viceroy should have arrived he would promptly cross the Garigliano, which presented no difficulty; and therefore he urged the Marquis to join him with all the remainder of his army. He informed him also that he had just received news of the fleet; that it had gone to Naples, which city had revolted against the Spaniards, and had opened its gates to the king’s troops. This letter, as I have said, was written by M. d’Allegri to the Marquis of Mantua, who sent the original to the Cardinal d’Amboise, and wrote him on the 25th that he would start the following day with the army to join M. d’Allegri. I communicate this news to your Lordships as I have heard it read, and you will judge of it as it deserves, and wait for its confirmation.
Having received this morning your Lordships’ letter of the 24th, containing the excuses which I am to make to the Cardinal San Giorgio on account of the entrance of Ordelaffo into Furli, I called at once upon his Eminence, and after some preliminary remarks I read him your Lordships’ letter, which seemed to cover the ground and calculated to produce a good effect. His Eminence observed to me that in all matters men looked more to the result than to the means; and that the result of this affair was that Ordelaffo had entered Furli, and that his own nephews found themselves driven out of it; that he readily believed that your Lordships could not have acted otherwise in this matter, for the reasons which you alleged, and which he was willing to admit. Still he assured your Lordships that, since you had been constrained by force not to sustain his nephews, they had been obliged in their turn to throw themselves into the arms of the Venetians, and seek support wherever they could find it for the protection of their interests. But with all this, he makes the most liberal offers of service to your Lordships.
The Cardinal San Pietro in Vincola seems to be so generally supported for the Papacy, that according to the opinion of every one that speaks on the subject, assuming that we may accept this universal opinion, one is bound to believe that he will be chosen. But as most frequently the Cardinals are of an entirely different opinion when they are outside of the conclave than when they are shut up, it is said by those who best understand matters here, that it is quite impossible to form any reliable judgment, and therefore we must patiently abide the result.
Having written to your Lordships yesterday evening a full account of the conversation which I had with the Cardinal d’Amboise, I can think at present of nothing else of interest to communicate. I recommend myself to your Lordships, quæ feliciter valeant.
Rome, 29 October, 1503.
Magnificent Signori: —
I wrote to your Lordships on the 28th, by M. de Mellon, and yesterday again I wrote at length and gave the letter to Giovanni Pandolfini, so that he might send it by the first opportunity. It remains for me now to inform your Lordships by the present that the Cardinals, having determined to go into conclave to-morrow, have compelled the troops that are here for account of Spain and France to leave Rome. Bartolommeo d’ Alviano left this morning, and will halt this evening about twelve miles from here on the road to Naples. It is not positively known whether he will go any farther; his whole force, including that of the other Orsini, does not exceed two hundred men-at-arms. The Savelli have withdrawn into their own places, and Giovanpaolo will lodge to-night at Ruosi, a place about fifteen miles from here on the road to Tuscany; his entire force, not counting the company of Messer Brandino, does not amount to more than sixty men-at-arms. True he says that he intends completing his company when he shall have received his pay. I believe that he will go into cantonments in the Perugian territory; for he has expressed that intention, and the authorities of Perugia will permit him to do so, unless something unforeseen should occur. As to the ratification of the engagement I can tell you nothing more than what I wrote yesterday, for the Cardinal d’Amboise is so exceedingly occupied with going into the conclave that he cannot give that matter any attention now. But I believe that to-morrow, before entering into the conclave, those who are acting here for Giovanpaolo will endeavor to obtain a letter from the Cardinal drawn up in the way which I mentioned in my despatch of yesterday, according to which your Lordships will be authorized, out of the ten thousand ducats which we owe to the king of France, to pay six thousand to Giovanpaolo for his compensation in full; the Cardinal d’Amboise guaranteeing by his letter that such payment shall be accounted the same as though made by you to the king direct. When Giovanpaolo shall have received this sum of six thousand ducats, he will have been paid somewhat in advance of what is due him; and if he goes to Tuscany, as it seems likely he will, your Lordships may perhaps have occasion to avail of his services there. I have talked at length with him upon this point, and found him so well disposed, and even eager to render you any service, that it is more than could have been expected of him, even had he been a native Florentine. Your Lordships will bear this in mind, so that in case of need you may claim his services, if you see that it will be of advantage for the internal affairs of Florence.
The Cardinals, as I have said before, will go into conclave to-morrow, unless something unexpected should occur; and the opinion that the Cardinal San Pietro in Vincola will be elected has gained ground to that extent that there are persons here who admit that he will have sixty per cent of the votes. And in truth he is largely supported, and knows how to win the Cardinals by all the means that can be employed for that purpose. The Duke Valentino is made much of by those who are anxious to be elected to the Papacy, on account of the Spanish Cardinals, who are in his interest, and many Cardinals call upon him daily at the castle, so that it is generally thought that whoever may be elected Pope will be under great obligations to the Duke; whilst he lives in the hope of being in turn supported by the new Pope.
The Cardinal d’Amboise is very active in the matter, and the greater part of the Cardinals that come to the palace confer much with him. But it is not known whether he favors the election of the Cardinal San Pietro in Vincola; if he does, then there can be no question as to his success; but we must patiently await the result. The news I wrote you yesterday respecting Naples, and that the French were about to cross the Garigliano, has not been confirmed since then. It is true we have no accounts to the contrary, and, as the roads between the camp and here are destroyed, letters reach here only with the greatest difficulty. By way of not omitting anything to obtain information, I have written in duplicate to Luca Savello, requesting him to keep me informed from time to time as to the state of things there. It is reported that the Italian men-at-arms that were with the French have in great part deserted. Some ascribe it to the dangers to which they were exposed; others, to the treatment they had experienced; others again attribute it to their natural cowardice. I have myself seen some twenty men-at-arms arrive here who had been with the Duke Valentino, and whom he had sent into the kingdom of Naples to serve the king of France. They have taken quarters here in Rome, some say at the instance of the Sacred College; others maintain that they have stopped by order of the Duke himself, in the hope of availing of their services after the election of the Pope.
I have written and shall continue to write daily, and shall send my letters to Giovanni Pandolfini to forward them to your Lordships; for having no instructions from you on this point I have no other means of sending my letters. If your Lordships desire immediate news of the result of the election of the new Pope, you must advise me, and give me authority to incur the necessary expenses; and if not, then I must endeavor to send my letters by other opportunities, which, however, are not to be relied upon. And so I recommend myself to your Lordships, quæ bene valeant.
Rome, 30 October, 1503.
P. S. — It is now the third hour of the night, and after having written all the above I receive your letter of the 26th, informing me of the loss of Faenza to the Duke. Having returned to my lodgings, and it not being safe for me to be out at night, I have sent the information to the Cardinal Volterra by a simple note, and shall talk the matter over with him to-morrow in person. I can really say nothing on this subject unless that, with regard to the dangers which your Lordships indicate, I see no remedy here; for the French, at whose hands help was expected, have quite enough to occupy them. The only hope that remains is that the Duke may succeed in obtaining the support of the new Pope, as it is generally believed that he will; and that the governor of the citadel may hold out until the Duke can come to his assistance.
I recommend myself to your Lordships.
Magnificent Signori: —
My last was of the 30th of October, and was sent through the Del Bene; amongst other things, I wrote you what the general opinion here is respecting the new Pope, and that the Cardinals were to go into conclave on the following day. The belief that San Pietro in Vincola will be chosen has grown to that degree, that before the closing of the conclave they conceded to him ninety per cent of the votes; for it had become known that his two most influential opponents, who were likely to prevent his election, had become reconciled to him. These were the Cardinal d’Amboise and the Spanish Cardinals, friends of the Duke, who have all changed in his favor. The reason why the Cardinal d’Amboise has thus changed is said to be that his suspicions were excited against the Cardinal Ascanio, and because it had been demonstrated to him that they could not make a Pope who would more effectually deprive Ascanio of all influence than San Pietro in Vincola, who had always looked upon Ascanio as an enemy. But as to the Spanish Cardinals and the Duke Valentino, it is easy to conjecture the influences to which they have yielded; which are that the latter needs to be re-established, and the former want to be enriched. If this has really been the way, then we shall know it better in the course of the day. In short, San Pietro in Vincola will have known how to employ the means of persuasion better than the others, if he should be made Pope, which may now be looked upon as certain. For at this very moment, it being the eighth hour of the night, at the very turn of the 1st of November, a servant of the Cardinal San Pietro in Vincola comes into my chamber, just from the palace, and tells me that the conclavist of that Cardinal had received five notes, one after the other, from the Cardinal San Pietro, informing him of the unanimity of the Cardinals to make him Pope; notwithstanding that at the beginning it was understood that there were seven Cardinals in favor of Santa Prassede, and that foremost amongst these was Ascanio. He told me further that the last of these notes directed him to despatch this news to Savona and to Sinigaglia, and that the new Pope had taken the name of Julius II., and that couriers had been despatched with the news. These events, and many others that succeed each other from one moment to another, well merit being communicated to you by express; but I have no orders to that effect from your Lordships, nor am I authorized to incur such an expense; and during the night I can neither send nor go myself to inquire whether any one else is despatching a courier to Florence, for it is not safe to venture out at night here. The individual that came here from the palace was escorted by twenty armed men. I shall therefore wait for daylight, and if I then find any one who will take my letter I shall send it, and shall then also be able to give you more certain information. And by way of excusing myself once for all, I would say that your Lordships will observe that I write daily; but as to sending off my letters, I must avail myself of such opportunities as others afford me.
Rome, at the 8th hour of night, between the last day of October
Magnificent Signori: —
Under favor of God, I inform your Lordships that the Cardinal San Pietro in Vincola was this morning proclaimed Pope. May Heaven make him a useful pastor for all Christendom!
Rome, 1 November, 1503.
Magnificent Signori: —
I wrote to your Lordships last night, and repeated this morning, the news of the election of the new Pope in the person of the Cardinal San Pietro in Vincola, who has taken the name of Julius II. I write the present with the view of sending it by another opportunity, as I was not in time to send it with the courier whom the Del Bene despatched this morning at one o’clock. The creation and proclamation of this new Pope has really been quite extraordinary, for the election took place in open conclave. So soon as the Cardinals came together, which was about midnight, they caused it to be published abroad; and it was upon this publication that the letters were written; and although we are now at the fifteenth hour, yet the customary formalities for the publication of the election have not yet been complied with. When we reflect well upon the support which the new Pope received in his election, we cannot but look upon it as almost miraculous; for the many parties into which the Sacred College is divided have all given him their support. The king of France as well as the king of Spain had written to the College in his favor, and even the barons of the opposite faction had given him their support. San Giorgio favored him, and so did the Duke Valentino, to that extent that he was enabled to attain this exalted post. Our countrymen were greatly delighted at it, and found great hopes upon his election, both on their own account as well as on account of the public. And yesterday morning a person in high position told me that if Pietro in Vincola succeeded in being chosen Pope, we might hope great advantages from it for our republic, for he has already made greater promises than customary.
This is all I have at present to communicate, excepting to recommend myself to your Lordships, quæ bene valeant.
Rome, 1 November, 1503.
Magnificent Signori: —
This is the fourth letter I have written to your Lordships on the election of the Cardinal San Pietro in Vincola to the new Pontificate under the name of Julius II. I should not have written the present one were it not that in conversing to-day, after the conclusion of the ceremonies, with his Eminence the Cardinal Volterra, he told me that “they had to-night, after the election of the new Pope, distributed by lot the charge of the different fortresses belonging to the Church. That San Giorgio had drawn Citerna, and that he, Volterra, had drawn certain others; and that in his opinion, unless some measures were taken, you would not be able to retain Citerna. And therefore he advised your Lordships that with your approval he would endeavor to effect an exchange with San Giorgio; so that he would keep Citerna and give to San Giorgio one of the fortresses that had fallen to his lot. That in this way the matter would be facilitated, as in fact it would not then be looked at so closely.” His Eminence charged me to write to you on the subject, and to solicit a prompt reply.
I have nothing further to communicate to your Lordships respecting matters here, having sent you a long letter this morning about the election of Giuliano della Rovere to the Pontificate. He will have enough to do to fulfil all the promises he has made, for many of them are contradictory; but he is Pope now, and we shall soon see what course he is going to take, and which are the parties to whom he has promised in good earnest. At any rate it is evident that he has had very zealous friends in the College, which is attributed to the fact that he himself has always been a true and devoted friend, and that therefore he found good friends when he needed them. Our countrymen are all rejoiced at his election, for there are many Florentines here who are very intimate with him; and his Eminence of Volterra told me to-day that there had not been a Pope for many years from whom our republic had reason to hope so much as from Julius II., provided they knew how to accommodate themselves to the times. A number of Florentines have begged me to write to you that the appointing of only five deputies to congratulate Pius III. on his election had caused everybody to believe that Florence was not well pleased at his election to the Pontificate; and therefore they suggested most humbly to your Lordships to revise the appointment and to send six, as in the case of Alexander VI. and Sixtus IV.
From the French camp and from the Spaniards nothing more has been heard than what I have written to your Lordships; and as the camp is broken up, we shall have no further advices from there. Giovanpaolo and Bartolommeo d’ Alviano must be a little beyond where they were to have passed the first night after leaving Rome. Nothing further has been done with regard to the engagement of Giovanpaolo; nor was that letter of exchange ever drawn upon your Lordships which his friends wanted for his payment. From which I draw the favorable inference that the Cardinal d’Amboise no longer fears Giovanpaolo as much as when he engaged him.
It is thought that the Orsini will cause your Archbishop to be made Cardinal, and that his archbishopric will fall into the hands of some Florentine prelate. I have heard more than one name suggested, and therefore do not mention any. I recommend myself to your Lordships, and think it would be apropos that you should with the utmost promptitude cause a letter to be sent to the newly elected Pontiff, so that I may present myself to him with due ceremony; and that, if such a letter is sent, I may be furnished with a copy, so that my address to him may correspond with your letter.
Rome, 1 November, 1503.
Magnificent Signori: —
My last letters were of the 1st, on which day I wrote four letters to your Lordships and sent them by the Martelli and the Del Bene, and therefore assume their safe arrival. Since then nothing new of any moment has occurred; and yet, as Carlo Martelli is going by post to Florence, I would not have him go without sending you this letter by him. Since the creation of the new Pope everything has been very quiet in this city; the troops of the Orsini have left, although we have not yet heard of their having passed Monte Ritondo, where they were to make their first halt; nor are they very numerous. In the same way, Gianpaolo Baglioni had also gone; it was in fact these troops who it was feared might sack the city. As I have already stated in my previous letters to your Lordships, the election of this Pope was almost unanimous; for with the exception of three or four Cardinals who themselves aspired to the Papacy, all the others supported him, and D’Amboise favored him without stint. It is said that the reason of this general support was that he had promised to each whatever they asked, and consequently it is thought that the difficulty will be in the fulfilling of these promises. To the Duke Valentino, who has been of more service than any one else, it is said, he has promised to reinstate him in all his possessions in Romagna, and that he has given him Ostia as security, where the Duke keeps Mottino with two vessels of war. The Duke is lodged in that part of the papal palace called “the new rooms,” where he has some fifty of his retainers with him; it is not known whether he will depart or remain. Some say that he will go to Genoa, where he has most friends, and that from there he will go into Lombardy to raise troops, and that then he will move to Romagna. And this is very probable, for he has some two hundred thousand ducats or more in the hands of the Genoese merchants. Others say that he has no intentions of leaving Rome, and will await the coronation of the Pope, so as to be made Gonfalonier of the Church, in accordance with the promises made to him by Julius II.; and that by means of the reputation which this will give him he hopes to recover his states. Others again, who are no less sagacious, think that, inasmuch as the Pontiff had need of the Duke in his election, and having made him great promises therefor, he finds it advisable now to feed the Duke on hope; and they fear that, if the latter should not decide upon any other course than to remain in Rome, he may be kept there longer than may be agreeable to him; for the Pope’s innate hatred of him is notorious. And it is not to be supposed that Julius II. will so quickly have forgotten the ten years of exile which he had to endure under Pope Alexander VI. The Duke meantime allows himself to be carried away by his sanguine confidence, believing that the word of others is more to be relied upon than his own; and that the promise of a family alliance ought to be of some avail, for it is said that the marriage of Fabio Orsino with the sister of Borgia is definitely agreed upon; and also that the Duke’s daughter is to be married to the Little Prefect.*
I cannot tell your Lordships anything more of the Duke’s affairs, nor can I make up my mind to any definite conclusions in relation to them; we must bide the time, which is the father of truth. I shall not attempt to tell your Lordships of all the engagements and promises made to the barons and cardinals, for they are just what each one asked for. Romolino is to have the Chancellorship of Justice, and Borgia that of Prisons; but it is not yet known whether they will really take possession of these offices. And as I have said above, it seems as though the Pope would be obliged to temporize with them all; but he cannot delay much longer to declare and make known whose friend he really means to be. Gianpaolo, as I anticipated from the first, is taking the route to Perugia with the consent of the Cardinal d’Amboise, and will ask permission of your Lordships to quarter a portion of his forces at Cortona; and the Cardinal d’Amboise has requested me to write to your Lordships to be pleased to grant the request. Up to the present moment the agreement with Gianpaolo is not ratified, as it has been impossible to transact any business with the Cardinal d’Amboise. By way of enabling him to pay the remainder of his obligation to Gianpaolo, that Cardinal has written a letter to your Lordships, asking you to pay him, and promising that the amount shall be credited you on your indebtedness to the king of France. D’Amboise justifies his course at length in that letter, which is signed and sealed by his own hand. Should your Lordships deem it prudent to make this payment to Baglioni, then you will be able to avail of his services, even if his engagement should not be concluded, which is quite possible, as he will have received six months’ pay at the expense of others; but we do not by any means despair of concluding his engagement.
The French troops are all encamped on the upper side of the Garigliano, and although they have captured certain towers in that direction held for the Spaniards, they are now occupied in constructing a bridge over the river. And although the enemy is on the opposite side of the river, yet they say that with the aid of their fleet they cannot be prevented from crossing the river. The letter that brings this news is of the 30th ultimo, and says that the French talk very confidently. Certain Pisan envoys have arrived here for the purpose of felicitating the new Pope upon his election; and his Eminence of Volterra has arranged with the Pope that, when these envoys present themselves to address him, his Holiness is to say to them that it is his office to pacify Italy, and that inasmuch as Pisa by its revolt was the cause of the war, so he intends now to make her the means of peace by uniting her with Florence; and the Pope has promised to say this.
In my previous letter I wrote to your Lordships in relation to Citerna, and that the Cardinal Volterra had proposed that you should allow him to arrange with the Cardinal San Giorgio to obtain Citerna from him, so as to conceal in some way your possession of that fortress. I await your reply to that proposition. I think I shall present myself to his Holiness either to-day, or at the latest by to-morrow, and will inform your Lordships of the result.
Rome, 4 November, 1503.
Magnificent Signori: —
I sent my last of the 4th to your Lordships by Carlo Martelli, and, believing that it must have reached you safely, I did not write again by the courier. Having informed you in that letter of all that has been done with regard to the engagement of Gianpaolo, and that the Cardinal d’Amboise had written a letter to your Lordships requesting you to pay the remainder of his obligation to Baglioni, I shall say no more on that subject, as nothing new has occurred since; and I shall wait here until called upon, when I shall reply in accordance with your instructions. I have now to inform your Lordships that I presented myself yesterday at the feet of the Pontiff and expressed to him in your name the pleasure which his promotion to the Pontificate had given you; and having explained the reasons of this satisfaction on your part, I offered to his Holiness all that the power of your republic could do for the glory and prosperity of his Pontificate. His Holiness seemed pleased at this offer, and showed himself most grateful for all that I had said to him; saying in reply, that he had always counted upon our republic, but now that his power and authority had been so much increased, he desired to show his affection for her in every possible way, especially as being under the greatest obligations to his Eminence of Volterra, who had been in great measure instrumental in his election to the exalted dignity of the Pontificate. And thus after these customary ceremonies I took my leave. After that I received your Lordships’ letter of the 2d instant, in which you state that you have received the news of the election of the new Pope, and express surprise at not having had any letters from me. I think that you must have received immediately after writing to me four of my letters. It is not my fault that they have not reached you sooner, for the Del Bene gave me no notice of their despatching a courier on the night of the election. And I do not blame them, for they told me the next morning that they were under the impression that the letters which I had previously given them to forward contained the result of the election. Be that as it may, I think that your Lordships will be satisfied with my subsequent letters.
As yours of the 2d gave an account of the ruin of Romagna and of the disposition of the Venetians, as well as of the condition of things generally in that direction, his Eminence of Volterra was of the opinion that I ought immediately to communicate this information to the Pope, and the Cardinal d’Amboise was of the same opinion when he heard it. I therefore went to his Holiness and read him your letter. He said that Dionisio di Naldo, chief of the Valle di Lamona, rather supported the cause of the Duke Valentino than that of the Venetians, and that these matters would take a different shape when once his election to the Papacy was known; and that they had gone on thus because they had been ignorant of his election; but that he would speak to D’Amboise on the subject. After leaving his Holiness I spoke to their Eminences Ascanio, San Giorgio, and San Severino about it, and reminded them that it was not a question of the liberty of Tuscany, but of that of the Church; and that, if the Venetians were permitted to increase their power beyond what it was already, the Pope would end by being nothing more than the chaplain of the Venetians; and that it was their business to look to this matter, inasmuch as they might become heirs to the papal dignity; that we on our part had called their attention to it in time, and offered them what little assistance it was in our power to render.
These Cardinals showed that they felt the importance of the matter, and promised to do all that was possible. I also spoke to the Duke, and communicated the news to him, which seemed to me proper for the purpose of finding out how he felt on the subject, and whether there was anything to fear or to hope from him. When he heard of the affair of the Castellan of Imola and the attack of the Venetians upon Faenza, he became greatly excited and began to complain bitterly of your Lordships, saying that you had always been his enemies, and that it was of you and not of the Venetians that he had cause to complain. For with a hundred men you might have secured those states, but that you did not want to do it; but that he would manage so that you should be the first to repent of it. And now that Imola was lost to him, he would raise no more troops, nor risk losing what he had left for the sake of trying to recover what he had lost. That he would no longer be deluded by you, but would with his own hands turn over all that was left to him to the Venetians; and he believed that he would very soon see our republic ruined, and that then it would be his turn to laugh. As to the French, they would either lose the kingdom of Naples, or they would have their hands so full that they would not be able to render you any assistance. And then he went on speaking with great animosity and vehemence. I lacked neither matter nor words to answer him, and yet I thought it best to soothe him, and managed as adroitly as I could to break off the interview, which seemed to me to have lasted a thousand years.
I went again to see the Cardinals Volterra and Amboise, who were at table, and as they had been expecting me with the answer, I related to them precisely everything as it had occurred. D’Amboise was incensed at the language used by the Duke, and said: “God has never yet allowed any sin to go unpunished, and he certainly will not allow those of Cesar Borgia to pass.” In my letter of the 4th I mentioned to your Lordships the whereabouts of the Duke at the time, and the conjectures that were being made with regard to him. Since then we have seen that he has been gathering troops; and such of his ministers as I am acquainted with tell me that he intends going to Romagna at any rate, with all the troops he can collect. Now that the fortress of Imola is lost, and having seen the consequent anger of the Duke, I cannot say whether he may not change his purpose; at any rate, I can give your Lordships no further information respecting him. His Eminence of Amboise and the other Cardinals who watch the affairs of Italy think that with regard to Romagna one of two things will have to be done; namely, either to restore that province to the Church, or to hand it over to the king of France. Whether or not they will succeed in this I cannot tell, but I believe they will leave nothing undone to bring it about; and I really see no other remedy myself.
Of the French and Spanish troops I have at this moment nothing else to tell you but what I have already said in my letter of the 4th, no further news having been received here in relation to them. The French here are very hopeful that their army has passed the Garigliano, for the river being narrow their artillery is able to damage the enemy on the opposite shore, and having command of the sea they would be able to send some armed vessels up the river, so that the Spaniards will not be able to show themselves and prevent the French from crossing to the other side; and once having accomplished the passage of the river, they think that all else will be easy for them. This seems to me quite probable, for Gonsalvo has always kept himself behind his intrenchments, and has never shown himself in the open field. More than this I cannot write to your Lordships, but the end will show all. For once the French are not in want of money, for the Del Bene tell me that they have still fifty thousand ducats in sacks in their house, and there is no other money in circulation here but ducats.
The Pope will assume the tiara on Sunday, the 8th; that is, two weeks from to-day.
Magnificent Signori: —
I wrote the enclosed to your Lordships yesterday, but the post to Ferrara was despatched this morning without any notice to me, which I could not foresee. I shall remind these merchants again that they must perform their duty; I shall certainly not fail in mine. After my interview with the Duke yesterday, when I left him in the state of excitement of which I have given an account to your Lordships, he sent for his Eminence of Volterra; and to-day he sent for him again, and in both interviews, and more particularly in the last, the Duke told him, after the usual complaints, that he had letters of the 4th according to which the Castellan of Imola had not been killed, but was prisoner, and that the citadel and the place still held out for him; that the Signor Ottaviano (da Campo Fregoso) had appeared before Imola with a large force, but had been repulsed. He said further that Dionisio di Naldo sustained his party, and that the Venetians had no troops of any account. His Eminence seemed to think that this news had somewhat revived the hopes of the Duke that he might yet be able to recover his states. He complains of the French and of everybody else, and yet he expects to be made General of the forces of the Church, and believes that he will be so nominated by the consistory that is to be held to-morrow. His Eminence told him that despair was idle, as it most frequently turns to the disadvantage of him who yields to it; and on the other hand he encouraged him and made him fair promises on the part of your Lordships. We must wait now and see what the consistory will do to-morrow, and whether the Duke will succeed in getting that command, and if not, what his next plans will be; of all which your Lordships shall be duly informed. I should be glad to be instructed how I am to bear myself towards the Duke in any event, and whether I am to keep him in hopes, and how. There is no other news stirring here.
I recommend myself to your Lordships.
Rome, 7 November, 1503.
Magnificent Signori: —
My last, under cover to Rucellai, were of the 6th and 7th, and were forwarded by a courier despatched by the Bolognese. I gave you therein full account of the condition of the Duke’s affairs, and of his expectations to be named General of the Holy Church at the first meeting of the consistory. This meeting took place yesterday, but according to what I hear, the subject of the Duke’s affairs was not touched, and the consistory confined itself exclusively to ecclesiastical affairs, and to the regulations that are usually made at the beginning of every new Pontificate. The war between France and Spain was also discussed, and the advantage which it would be for all Christendom if they could settle their differences; and it appears that the new Pope is disposed to aid in bringing about such a settlement, if he has it in his power. The Duke’s concerns therefore remain in the same uncertainty, and wise persons augur most unfavorably lest he should come to a bad end, although the new Pope has always been regarded as a man of entire good faith. The Duke has been raising men-at-arms here, and according to what some people have told me he has also sent into Lombardy to raise infantry, hoping to recover his states by means of these troops, and by the help of the reputation which he would derive from being Gonfalonier and General of the Holy Church. But having been disappointed in his hopes of being made Gonfalonier at the first consistory, I do not know whether he will change his plans, or whether he will persist in his efforts to obtain that appointment anyhow. I desire much to receive instructions from your Lordships as to what course I shall pursue with regard to the Duke. Here it is thought advisable to induce him to go to Florence, and to give him some guaranties for that purpose; but I know not whether your Lordships are of the same opinion.
His Eminence of Volterra and several other Cardinals have spoken to his Holiness in relation to the affairs of Romagna, and they think the Pope well disposed to prevent that province from falling into the hands of the Venetians; for after a good deal of discussion he said to them: “I have ever been the friend of the Venetians, and am so still, provided they make no unjust pretensions. But if they attempt to take what belongs to the Church I shall do the utmost in my power to prevent them, and will stir up all the princes of Christendom against them.” Our Cardinal thus feels assured that, so far as it depends on his Holiness, matters will go no further.
Letters from the French army inform the Cardinal d’Amboise that, having thrown a bridge over the Garigliano, a portion of their forces crossed the river under protection of the artillery which they had on the bank of the river and on board of their vessels, and that the enemy had retreated with a portion of his artillery. The French intend now throwing two more bridges over the river, so as to secure their communications more effectually, by having both sides of the river occupied by the French. Sandricourt was the first to pass, and the Bailli d’Occan followed in the evening. Gonsalvo is about a mile distant, where he has thrown up some intrenchments. The French are resolved to fight and conquer, or to pursue him in case he should attempt to retreat. There is great rejoicing here amongst the French at this news; they seem to think that victory is theirs already. May God so direct things that all will be for the best!
Messer Bartolommeo d’ Alviano and the Orsini are at Alagna, and it is said that they are busy completing their companies there. The Cardinal d’Amboise, on receiving the news of the passage of the Garigliano, has requested his Eminence of Volterra to write to Gianpaolo Baglioni to start immediately with what forces he may have, and to proceed in the direction of the Abruzzi. He has ordered the Savelli to do the same; and has begged our Cardinal to write to your Lordships to have the remainder of the sum due to Baglioni ready, so that he may not be delayed on that account.
A messenger has arrived here from Messer Ambrogio di Landriano, saying that the great expenses of the camp have entirely exhausted his means, and although the time for further payments has not yet arrived, yet he demands money. We have given him fair words, but await your instructions as to what course we are to follow with regard to him. He represents the army to be thoroughly united and in the best spirits, and that they have twice offered battle to the Spaniards, who each time declined it. In addition to the other measures which the Cardinal d’Amboise has taken on the receipt of the above news, he has written to the commanders to make publicly known to those Sicilian lords who adhere to the Spanish side, that they will be pardoned if even now they will join the French.
D’Amboise has news this morning that several places in the Abruzzi have revolted, which makes him the more anxious that the Savelli and Baglioni should go there; and he renews his request that I should write to your Lordships to take such measures that there shall be no delay on account of the nonpayment of the remainder of what is due to Gianpaolo. I believe that the ratification of his engagement, which should have been concluded ere this, will be promptly attended to. Nothing else of any interest.
I recommend myself to your Lordships.
Rome, 10 November, 1503.
Magnificent Signori: —
I wrote to your Lordships this morning, and sent the letter under cover of his Eminence of Volterra; and it is quite possible that the bearer of this may also bring my previous one. I shall not repeat what I have written respecting the news from the Garigliano, nor shall I say anything touching the Duke, unless it be that I have understood from his people that he is much in earnest with his preparations to go to Romagna. It is quite possible he may take the route through Florence; and whilst I was making a visit to our Cardinal this evening, one of the Duke’s men came to ask his Eminence for a letter in his favor to your Lordships, so as to permit him to pass securely through Florence. We shall be on the lookout, and you shall be advised of his movements. To-day, at noon, I received your Lordships’ letters of the 3d, 4th, and 6th, the latter being the most important, as it contains the latest news respecting the condition of things in Romagna. I went immediately to the palace and found that his Eminence of Volterra was with the Pope; but as that letter seemed to me altogether such as might be communicated, and calculated to produce an impression, I sent it to the Cardinal by the hands of Messer Francesco del Castel del Rio, one of the Pope’s chief officers. After a little while the Cardinal came out and told me that the news had greatly moved the Pope, who would anyhow send a deputy to the Venetians; and desired me to speak with his Holiness to-morrow morning to the same effect. Having returned to my lodgings about the twenty-fourth hour, I received your letter per express of the 8th, which contained the particulars respecting Faenza. It was too late to go to the Pope, and the Cardinal did not deem it well to speak to his Holiness so many times on the same day of the same thing. But we shall present ourselves early to-morrow morning before his Holiness to execute the commission with which your letter charges me, and to find out as far as possible his intentions; which, so far as we can judge, make us believe that he is so far from favoring the Venetians that they will have to desist from their attempt if the authority of the Pope or of those who represent him can suffice for the purpose. But which of the lords who have possessions in that province he will favor, it is believed, he has not yet determined upon; and that he is somewhat undecided in his own mind upon this point, for the reasons which I have on a former occasion explained to your Lordships; particularly as the Pope is said to be a man who at the beginning of his Pontificate would think more of making a great display at his coronation than of taking any extraordinary trouble about other matters. Nevertheless, we shall not fail to sound him in every possible way; both for the purpose of arousing him against the usurpers of other people’s possessions, and also for the purpose of more fully understanding his designs, so that your Lordships may the better know what course to adopt in the events that may occur.
I commend myself to your Lordships, quæ bene valeant.
Rome, 10 November, 1530.
Magnificent Signori: —
By my two letters of to-day I have informed your Lordships that the Duke is putting his troops in order for his departure to Romagna; and how he has obtained letters from his Eminence the Cardinal Volterra, from the Cardinal d’Amboise, and from the Pope, in his favor, and directed to your Lordships. I write the present at the suggestion of the Duke, to let your Lordships know that he has sent one of his own officers to you for the purpose of obtaining a safe-conduct from your Lordships, in accordance with the form herewith enclosed. I have been requested to recommend this matter to your Lordships, and to beg you to expedite it promptly. The person who has spoken in the Duke’s name says that his Excellency is in good spirits, and hopes, provided your Lordships do not become discouraged, very soon to recover his places from the hands of the Venetians, and to prevent them from executing their designs; as he has still a considerable amount of money left.
Rome, 10 November, 1503.
Magnificent Signori: —
By my last of yesterday I notified your Lordships of the receipt of your letter of the 8th, per express, and stated the reasons why I had delayed until this morning to communicate it to the Pope. His Holiness being indisposed, it was with difficulty that I could explain everything to him; nevertheless, he manifested great displeasure at the conduct of the Venetians, and if he had at this moment a strong force at his command, he would perhaps take things differently; for the present, he intends sending a deputy to Venice. His Holiness will not decide upon the matter by himself, nor will he consult the whole College, but only a few of the Cardinals of each order; for he considers such a decision as a grave matter, because of the consequences that may result from it. He says he will have to deliberate upon this through to-morrow. But so far as seemed to him well, he would now make show to believe that the Venetians in their conduct have been actuated by hatred of the Duke, or by some other special reason, and not by a desire to seize upon the states of the Church, of which his Holiness, as their immediate lord, intends always to keep the control in his own hands, so that he may dispose of them according to his judgment and the dictates of justice. And if such be the case, then it will be well indeed; but if not, then his Holiness will resort to the strongest measures, and will call upon all the other princes for aid against them, for he is determined not to let this matter pass lightly. His Holiness says that he intends also to write to Ferrara and Bologna, and will here speak with the Cardinal of Este and the Protonotario Bentivogli on the subject. And by way of an immediate remedy for the state of things made known to him by your letter of the 6th, he has despatched a brother of Messer Francesco da Castel del Rio, and a Messer Baldassare Biascia, who are to seek Dionisio di Naldo, and are to endeavor, by even the largest promises, to bring him back to his allegiance to the Church. They are also to try and influence the other populations of that province to place themselves in the hands of the Pope, if they wish to escape from imminent perils, and put an end to all factions. And having been informed that the mere credit of his election had saved Fano, it seemed to him that he had already done not a little, and was therefore the more hopeful as to the rest. He told me also that the Venetians had already sent troops and banners into Fano, although they pretended that their object was to preserve it for the Church.
The Pope, moreover, urges your Lordships to do your utmost to save these states from falling into any other hands, no matter whose; and to advise and to labor to induce them to submit themselves to the Sovereign Pontiff, so that he may dispose of them according to the will of God and justice. It has been represented to his Holiness what you have already done up to the present time, and how honestly and frankly you have acted; but that the condition of your republic would not permit you to do more, and that it was necessary for his Holiness himself to oppose the attempts of the Venetians, etc., etc. This was the only conclusion we could arrive at.
I shall endeavor to urge the sending of this deputy to Venice, and we shall then see what results have been achieved by the mission to Dionisio di Naldo. No efforts are spared here to try and stir up his Holiness against the Venetians, in accordance with your Lordships’ views, “and his Eminence of Volterra does his duty to his country without reserve,”* and does not cease to press D’Amboise and all the other Cardinals who have any influence with his Holiness; they all yield readily to his requests, both with an eye to their own interests and to those of the Church. The Cardinal d’Amboise particularly is most zealous, but promises for the present neither men nor any other assistance except letters. He hopes for the success of the French, or that possibly some arrangement may be effected with the Emperor and the Archduke, that may shape matters according to his views, and more especially this affair of Venice.
Your Lordships will see from the above what effect has been produced by the information given in your letters of the 6th and 8th, and repeated afterwards on the 9th, of which I received the copy to-day. And to enable your Lordships the better to understand what course the Pope is likely to take, or what assistance you may count upon receiving from him against the projects of the Venetians, I will repeat what I have already written in several previous despatches to your Lordships. Whoever examines the present state of things at Rome will find that all the important affairs of the day centre here. The first and most important of these is the difference between France and Spain; the second is the affair of Romagna; after that come those of the factions of the Roman barons, and of the Duke Valentino. The Pope finds himself in the midst of these broils, and although he was elected to this dignity by great favor and by his reputation, yet as he has occupied the papal chair but for a short time, and having as yet neither troops nor money, and being under obligations to everybody for his election and for the general support he has received, he cannot as yet take a decided part in anything; and therefore he is obliged rather to pretend neutrality until the changes of time and things oblige him to declare himself, or until he is so firm in his seat that he may favor one or the other party, and engage in any enterprise he may please.
The facts prove the truth of this; for to begin with the most important affair, his Holiness passes for being French by natural affection, yet in his dealings with Spain he bears himself in such wise that they have no reason to complain of him. Still he does not go so far in this that France could take umbrage at it, and circumstances cause both parties to excuse him. In the affair of Romagna, the Venetians on the one hand aggravate him, and on the other hand you cry out; so that it is natural that his Holiness should be harassed by it, for he is a man of spirit, who desires that the Church shall increase and not diminish under his Pontificate. And yet your Lordships have seen above how he controls himself, and how on the one hand he accepts the excuses of the Venetians, feigning to believe that they are influenced in their conduct by their hatred of the Duke, and not by any desire to injure the Church, whilst on the other hand he manifests to your Lordships his dissatisfaction with the conduct of the Venetians, and takes all the precautions and measures which in reality he is able to do at present. As to the barons, it is easy for the Pope to manage them, as the chiefs of the factions are not here; the Orsini being represented here by the Archbishop of Florence and by the Signor Giulio, and the Colonnese by their own Cardinal and certain individuals of no importance. There only remains then the Duke Valentino, for whom it is believed that his Holiness has a natural aversion; and yet he manages him for two reasons. The first, because he wishes to keep his word with him, of which it is claimed that the Pope is the most tenacious observer; and because of his obligations to him on account of his election, which he owes in great part to the Duke. The other is because, the Pope being still without troops, the Duke is better able than any one else to offer resistance to the Venetians; and for that reason the Pope urges his departure, and has addressed briefs to your Lordships, soliciting free passage and safe-conduct for the Duke, and also favors his cause in other ways. Although I have indicated all this in my previous despatches, yet it seems to me necessary to explain it more fully at this time, for I feel the importance that you should know the Pope’s intentions, and what he would and could do, and what he desires that you should do; so that your Lordships may fully understand him, and not hope for anything more from here. And that it behooves your Lordships to bethink yourselves of other means, either by supporting the Duke, or by such measures as you may have in your power. You may assume that the Pope will have to be satisfied with things as they are, and with whatever course the affairs of Romagna may take, provided that that promise does not slip from the hands of the Church or its vicars.
The Duke sent for me to-day, and I found him in a very different mood from what he was the last time, as I wrote you in my letters of the 6th and 7th. He said many things to me, which being reduced to one amount to this: that we must think no more of the past, but only of the common good, and strive to prevent the Venetians from making themselves masters of Romagna. He told me that the Pope had promised to aid him, and had written briefs for that purpose; and that your Lordships should also think of giving him your support, and that you might in return count upon him for anything. I answered in a general way, and assured him that he might rely upon your Lordships.
After that I had a long conversation with Messer Alessandro di Francia, who told me that they would probably despatch a courier to-night, with the Pope’s brief and other letters that have been written by the Cardinal Volterra and myself to your Lordships in relation to the safe-conduct, which they were confident of obtaining. He told me further that the Duke hesitated as to the course he should take, and did not know whether he should go by land with his troops, which number about four hundred horse and about as many infantry, or whether he should let his troops go by land whilst he would go by sea to Livorno, and then join his troops on Florentine territory, where he could meet some of your citizens and conclude his arrangements with you; but that he did not want to be delayed, and therefore desired to find the articles of agreement all duly prepared, so that he might have nothing to do but merely to sign them. He desired that you should write to Livorno, so as to insure him a proper reception in case he should take that route. I replied that I would write to your Lordships, and gave him good hope. Your Lordships can now think of all this, and consult and resolve and prepare yourselves as to the manner in which you will act with regard to the Duke. Messer Alessandro told me that the Duke would send some one to Florence to digest and draw up the agreement with you, and that he would not like to send any one of little authority; at the same time he could not with safety send a personage of great authority, but so soon as he should be in position to do so, he would send such a person.
The letters which your Lordships have sent for the Pope have been presented to him, and he offers his thanks, etc., etc. I again beg to refer to my despatch of yesterday.
Rome, 11 November, 1503.
Magnificent Signori: —
The enclosed was written yesterday, but not having up to the present moment found an opportunity of sending it by the extra courier, I deem it proper, by way of not keeping your Lordships waiting any longer for a reply to yours of the 8th, and because it contains many things of importance respecting the Duke, to send this express by the hands of Giovanni Pandolfini. Your Lordships will please pay him the usual price, as I have so promised him.
Rome, 12 November, 1503.
Magnificent Signori: —
Yesterday I wrote to your Lordships per express, and despatched it with my letter of the 11th through the hands of the Pandolfini, in reply to yours of the 8th, which came also per express. You will have seen from mine the determination of the Pope on the subject of the affairs of Romagna, and all that can be said of his Holiness at this moment. You will also have learned from it the projects of the Duke, who is occupied meanwhile in raising both infantry and cavalry with which to pursue his march into Romagna; and I believe that he delays in great part for the purpose of knowing your decision. For here we can neither treat with him nor do anything else, because we do not know what your Lordships’ disposition or determination in the matter may be. I have several times asked you for your views, but being still without any reply we are completely at a loss what to do.
As I have explained in former letters to your Lordships, the Pope for the moment favors the Duke, for he feels himself bound by the promises which he has made to him, and also from his desire not to let those places fall into the hands of the Venetians. His Holiness seems resolved to do everything in his power to prevent them from being swallowed up by the Venetians. I believe he is conferring to-day with some eight or ten of those Cardinals who have the honor of the Church most at heart, to determine about sending an envoy to Venice, to which I have referred in my letter of the 11th. It seems that his Holiness has no doubts as to getting those places back that have been taken by the Venetians, who, he thinks, will consent to anything. His advisers urge him by all means to try and get possession of them, demonstrating to him that he can afterwards dispose of them according to the demands of honesty and justice, etc., etc.
I have conferred to-day with his Eminence of Volterra respecting your Lordships’ reply on the subject of Citerna. He is constantly after San Giorgio, trying to bring the matter to a conclusion; our Cardinal thought that he would be able to effect an even exchange with San Giorgio, by giving him one of his fortresses for Citerna, but San Giorgio declines such an exchange, and demands two hundred ducats, saying that he has such an offer from some one else. Our Cardinal would not like that such an expense should be incurred, and yet he does not know how it can be avoided, if it is really desired by your Lordships to have Citerna, for we may lose the chance altogether. San Giorgio has given him to understand that, unless we decide to-day or to-morrow to take it on those terms, he will go to the feet of his Holiness, and make known to him that Citerna, which fell to him by lot, has been occupied by the Florentines, and make this a subject of complaint. The negotiations are therefore continued, and we shall take such a course as his Eminence may deem best so as to quiet the matter. For, having to reprove others for attempting to take what does not belong to them, it behooves us to avoid all occasions for incurring reproof for the same thing in our turn.
Yesterday evening, Pope Julius II. took formal possession of the Castel San Angelo with all due solemnity, and has appointed the Bishop of Sinigaglia as his Castellan. The former Castellan has left according to report, with the promise of being made Cardinal.
By my letter of the 10th, I informed your Lordships of the report of the passage of the Garigliano by the French; but since then we have no particulars. True, letters were received last night by some of the Colonnese here, that some four thousand French had crossed the river, and that Gonsalvo, who was about a mile distant with his army, could not prevent them, owing to the swollen state of certain water-courses between himself and the French. But that, the waters having subsided, Gonsalvo charged upon the French, who, having no cavalry, were dislodged from a bastion which they had constructed, and were completely routed. A portion of them were killed, and a portion driven into the river and drowned. This news was spread by the Colonnese, and although it is now the twenty-third hour, yet up to the present it is not confirmed. The French here do not believe it, and say that their infantry which had crossed the Garigliano was protected by their artillery, which they had placed on the river-bank and on board of vessels, so that the Spaniards could not attack them. We must wait for time to clear up this matter, and when the truth is known your Lordships shall be advised.
It is now one o’clock at night, and up to this moment the above news has neither been confirmed nor contradicted. The Cardinals did not meet with the Pope to-day to discuss the affairs of Romagna, but I believe they will do so to-morrow. I send this through the hands of P. del Bene, who tells me that he may possibly despatch a courier to night.
Rome, 13 November, 1503.
Magnificent Signori: —
I reported to you yesterday all that had taken place here up to that time, and sent my letter this morning through the hands of P. del Bene. I must now inform your Lordships “that yesterday and to-day the Pope has conferred with the Cardinals Amboise and Volterra, the Spanish Cardinals, the Cardinal of Ferrara, and the Duke Valentino, in relation to the departure of the last. It was definitely concluded that he is to go in two or three days by water to Porto Venere or to Spezzia, and from there by the Garfagnana to Ferrara; and that his troops, which are said to amount to three hundred light cavalry, one hundred men-at-arms, and four hundred infantry, are to go by land to Romagna through Tuscany. They are to unite at Imola, which place, it is said, still holds for the Duke, and where he will join them; and then the Duke will attempt from there to recover his states by means of his own troops, and those which he counts upon receiving from your Lordships, from the Cardinal d’Amboise, from Ferrara, and from the Pope. And speaking of these auxiliaries, the Cardinal Volterra told me that the Pope supplied the Duke with briefs and patents at discretion, but with nothing more. The Cardinal d’Amboise has promised that Montison shall come to him with at least fifty lances; it is, however, not yet known whether they are of those who have already been in the Duke’s service. The Cardinal of Este says that he believes that the Duke’s father will not fail him.” Volterra says that he would have been glad to have been informed of your views and intentions as regards this matter, and wonders that you have never written to him how he is to bear himself towards the Duke.
Being obliged to say something in the name of your Lordships, he represented that you were ready to do anything in your power to prevent those cities from falling into the hands of the Venetians, and that, if you were of opinion that the way to do so would be to help the Duke, he had not the least doubt that you would lend him every assistance. But that, before coming to that point, it was necessary for them to see whether the aid of your Lordships added to the Duke’s forces would suffice for the desired object; and that therefore it would be well for the Duke to send some one to Florence for the purpose of explaining these things, and to have a full understanding. “What causes the Cardinal Volterra to be in doubt as to the affairs of the Duke, besides not knowing the views of your Lordships, is, that he is not clear himself whether it would be desirable for our republic to have the Duke for a neighbor, and master of those three or four cities. For if we could always be sure of him as a friend, and not have reason to doubt and mistrust him, it might be of the greatest advantage to reinstate him in his possessions. But knowing the Duke’s dangerous character, he doubted much whether you would be able to keep him your friend, which would expose us to the same risk of having the Venetians become masters of those cities. His Eminence, moreover, sees that your Lordships are under some obligations to those who hold those places, and that their populations have declared themselves the enemies of the Duke, so that there is reason to fear lest by supporting the Duke the Venetians may be enabled the sooner to attain the object of their desires. All these things keep the Cardinal Volterra in a state of indecision.” It has seemed to me proper to report the substance of this conversation to your Lordships, so that you may appreciate the merits of the case with your habitual sagacity. “At the conference between the Pope and the Cardinals there was no one to represent the Bentivogli of Bologna; but the Duke confidently expects every assistance from them. The conference separated with the understanding that the Duke should take the route indicated, that the Cardinal Este should write to Ferrara to solicit aid, that the Cardinal d’Amboise should write to Montison in accordance with the above decision, and that the Cardinal Volterra should explain everything to your Lordships. Thus the matter rests, and according to the above understanding the Duke is to leave immediately. But already Volterra begins to doubt whether the Duke will start, for he seems to have perceived a change in him, and seems to think him irresolute, suspicious, and unstable in all his conclusions.” This may be the result of his natural character, or because the blows of fortune, which he is not accustomed to bear, have stunned and confounded him. Two evenings ago, whilst in that part of the palace where the Duke Valentino is lodged, the deputies from Bologna arrived, and with them the Protonotario Bentivogli. They all went into the Duke’s apartment, where they remained more than an hour.
Thinking that they might possibly have formed some agreement together, I went to-day to see the Protonotario Bentivogli under pretence of making him a visit; and having, after some general conversation, broached the subject of the Duke’s affairs, he said to me that they had come to see the Duke at his special request, who had told them that he would relieve them of the obligations they had entered into with him the year before. Having come to that point, and having called a notary to draw up the agreement, the Duke asked in return for the cancelling of these obligations certain specified assistance in his affairs of Romagna. The Bolognese deputies would not agree to this, having no authority to that effect, whereupon the Duke also declined to annul their obligations, and thus the matter remained in suspense.
The Protonotario added, that the Duke had not acted fairly in the matter, and that, instead of standing upon his rights, he should have shown himself liberal in cancelling these obligations, on account of which he would anyhow never receive a single penny from them. He told me furthermore that, having conversed with the Cardinal Herina on the subject, the latter had said to him that the Duke seemed to him to have lost his wits, for he appeared not to know himself what he wanted, and that he was confused and irresolute. To my question whether he would sustain the Duke in any way, the Protonotario answered, that the entrance of the Venetians into Romagna was of such importance, that, if the only way of preventing it was to support the Duke, he believed that his father and his government would give him their support, and do whatever else they could in the matter. More than this I did not learn from him, but I have deemed it not amiss to communicate this conversation to your Lordships.
From the armies we hear that the Spaniards in full force attacked such of the French as had crossed the river, but that the latter under protection of their artillery defended themselves bravely, and that although both sides had lost a good many men, yet the French remained masters of their position and of the entire river; that they were busy constructing two more bridges, so as to pass the river with the bulk of their forces, under God’s favor.
There is nothing else of interest to communicate from here, unless it be that the Pope will assume the tiara next Sunday in St. Peter’s, and on the following Sunday in St. John Lateran, and that it will be a triumphant solemnity.
With all this the plague is on the increase, for the weather and the neglect of all precautions favor its development, so that Rome has become a most melancholy residence.
I recommend myself to God and to your Lordships, quæ bene valeant.
Rome, 14 November, 1503.
Magnificent Signori: —
The enclosed was written yesterday, but as no courier has been despatched since then, I could not send it, nor do I know now when it will go, as there is no regular postal service. I have to inform your Lordships that it was not until to-day that the Pope assembled the Cardinals of Naples, Amboise, Capaccio, Lisbon, Aragon, San Giorgio, Volterra, and three or four others of the oldest Cardinals, who have the honor of the Church and ecclesiastical liberty most at heart. They deliberated a long while on the affairs of Romagna, and resolved to depute some one to Venice. Their choice fell upon Angelo Leonino, Bishop of Tivoli, who will leave immediately with instructions to induce the government of Venice to disarm, and to restore to the hands of the Pope what they have wrongfully taken from him. They have decided also to send another deputy into Romagna, who should be some person of distinction. They wanted to appoint the Bishop of Ragusa to this mission, but, as they could not agree about it, the appointment was conferred on the Cardinal Volterra. He has gone this evening to have another conference with his Holiness; but it is too late for me to wait and learn the result. His instructions will be to do all he can to quiet these disturbances, to try to restore tranquillity, and to re-establish things as far as possible for the advantage of the Church. Everything tends to show that Julius II. is most anxious to save these states for the Church, and there is no lack of persons here who encourage him incessantly in this desire. His Eminence of Volterra is wide awake on this subject, as well as on all other matters that concern the general welfare of our republic. He does not cease being at the feet of his Holiness to maintain and dispose him still more favorably to Florence, to which he is already well inclined. He also solicits the other Cardinals, pointing out to them the ambition of the Venetians, the dangers to which their own liberties are exposed, and in fact he does all that your Lordships could suggest or ask of him. I deem it but right to bear witness to this, so that your Lordships may know how zealous and distinguished an advocate you have at this court, and that you may appreciate deservingly the great virtues of his Eminence, and his love and entire devotion to his country.
I must not omit to inform your Lordships that I have understood that the Pope complained bitterly to the Venetian ambassador of the proceedings of his government, telling him that he never could have believed that they had so little regard for the affection which he had always shown their country as to seek to dishonor and dismember the Church under his Pontificate; and that, if they persevered in that conduct, he would break all bonds of friendship, and submit to general ruin rather than suffer the Church to be dishonored and dismembered, and that he would arouse the whole world against them. To all which, it is said, the Venetian ambassador replied in the mildest manner, etc., etc.
I learn from Monsignor di Bentivogli, who says that he has it direct from the Venetian envoy, that the Senate had appointed eight ambassadors who were to come here and make their submission to his Holiness. He thinks the Venetian Senate did this, knowing that such incense and demonstrations of honor are an article greatly prized by Julius II., which they ought not to omit to employ. I have deemed it well to mention this to your Lordships, so that, if true, you may not allow yourselves to be outdone in these sort of demonstrations. And the sooner you send such ambassadors the more welcome will they be, and the more advantages you will derive from it; for his Eminence of Volterra cannot play two parts at once, except at the cost of one or the other, and therefore it will be well to anticipate the others.
The news from the French camp is that they are entirely masters of the Garigliano, and have no fears of being driven from their positions; but they have not advanced beyond that, owing to the inundations that extend over many miles of country. Gonsalvo is said to have retreated to a position between Sessa and Capua.
Gianpaolo Baglioni writes that he cannot start with his troops because he has not yet received the money from Florence, and says that he has sent some one to you on that account. It is said that the Cardinal d’Amboise is a little vexed at this, and that it has caused him to change the destination of Baglioni, whom he intends now to send into camp, and not to the Abruzzi, as had been decided the other day. It is also said that, inasmuch as Bartolommeo di Alviano was to have joined the Spaniards, the French also desire to have the credit of receiving fresh troops; although according to report Bartolommeo and the Orsini have taken but few troops there, and are enlisting men all the time. I learn that the said Bartolommeo has twenty-five men-at-arms at Viterbo, who are waiting for money before moving forward. And thus on both sides the attack and the defence proceed but slowly.
Of the Duke Valentino I have nothing more to report, except that his troops are still here, nor has he started himself, and thus the matter remains just as it was two days ago; but they still give out that they will start in two or three days. The report has been spread throughout all Rome that the Duke is going to Florence to be your general. Similar stories are constantly put in circulation here.
I recommend myself to your Lordships, quæ bene valeant.
Rome, 16 November, 1503.
P. S. — I have forgotten to say that the last letters I have from your Lordships are of the 8th. The plague is doing its duty well, and spares neither the houses of the Cardinals nor any others where it can find victims, and yet no one here makes any account of it. Iterum valete!
Magnificent Signori: —
Not having been able to send the two enclosures of the 14th and 16th sooner, they will now go at same time with this. I cannot oblige the merchants to do other than what they please, and cannot therefore promise you more regular advices from here; but whenever there is any danger of my letters being delayed too long, I shall do as in the present case, and send them in some other way by paying for them. Yesterday at an early hour came your Lordships’ letters of the 13th and 14th; those of the 10th and 11th having reached me some four hours sooner. The last two require no reply, having been written when your Lordships were still uncertain as to an answer to yours of the 8th; and in response to the other two, I have also but little to say, as you have received mine of the 12th, per express, which fully informs you of the state of things here, and what you may hope for in the way of assistance. I refer again to that letter, and more especially to what I have written in the enclosed. His Eminence of Volterra is nevertheless of opinion that I should present myself again at the feet of the Pope, and read to him your instructions, so as to learn what his Holiness may now have to say; and also to communicate to him your views in relation to the Duke’s affairs, and to sound him as regards his opinion of the whole business.
Efforts were made to procure me an audience, which, however, I did not get until three o’clock yesterday evening, when I read to the Holy Father those parts of your letters which it was proper he should know. When I came to that part where you say that Messer Ottaviano da Campo Fregoso had taken the field with cavalry and infantry sent by the Duke of Urbino, his Holiness became very angry, and said, “The Duke will be here in a couple of days, when I will shut him up in the Castel San Angelo.” He then listened with great attention to the remainder of your letter; and after having heard it all he said that he felt obliged to your Lordships for reminding him of what was for the honor of the Church, and for your efforts, etc., etc.; and that for his part he had done and would continue to do his utmost, as was well known to his Eminence of Volterra; that he had sent some one to Venice to let them know his intentions, and that he would also send some one of distinction to Romagna to reanimate the lords and the people of that province, and to induce those who had strayed from their allegiance to him to return. I replied to his Holiness in what I thought suitable terms, but obtained no further information from him; it is evident, however, that he does all he can, as I have mentioned in my previous letters. I then touched upon the affairs of the Duke Valentino, “and explained to his Holiness why your Lordships had not granted the desired safe-conduct to the Duke; to which he replied that it was well, and that he agreed with you entirely,” and lifted up his head in a very significant manner. From this it will be seen what before may have been doubted, that his Holiness thought it an eternity before he could get rid of the Duke; and yet he wanted him to go away satisfied, and so as not to afford him grounds for complaining of the non-observance of the pledges on the part of the Pope; as it might still happen that he might wish to avail himself of the Duke for his own purposes in the affairs of Romagna; and thus he would not close the door to his being able to make use of the Duke. But that he cared nothing about what you or any third party might do against the Duke.
“Looking now at all the Pope’s actions as I have explained to your Lordships in previous letters, we see that he intends getting those cities into his hands, and that by sending an envoy to the Venetians he hopes to obtain their consent, etc., etc. And if that plan does not succeed, he will try and get possession of them through some one else, who will hold them for the time. And perhaps he thinks that the Duke, upon finding himself abandoned by you, will cede to him that part of Romagna which he still retains; and that, once having possession of those towns, the others will easily follow.” Such I believe to be the Pontiff’s conduct and intentions, as your Lordships will see; and whatever resistance you make to the Venetians will naturally be most welcome to his Holiness.
Your Lordships will learn from the enclosed of the 14th what has been decided upon by the Pope and the Duke, and those other Cardinals; all of which was agreed upon and arranged, as the result has shown since then, “to feed the Duke with hopes and to urge his departure, which the Pope evidently desires.”
When the Duke learned through letters from Florence that your Lordships had not granted the desired safe-conduct for him, he sent for me; and after my audience with the Pope I went to him. His Excellency complained of your refusing him the safe-conduct, and said that he had already sent his cavalry, supposing that they would be admitted on Florentine territory, and that he intended to start himself in the expectation that the safe-conduct would be sent to him anyhow, as he could not have anticipated a refusal, and could not understand your fearing on the one hand lest those towns should fall into the hands of the Venetians, and on the other hand your closing the way to all succor; that perchance he might take a different course, which might be injurious to your Lordships; and that although he was aware of the danger of his coming to an arrangement with the Venetians, yet the force of circumstances might cause him to do so; for he would obtain great advantages from them, which he was disposed to accept to some extent, and which would be a mortal injury to you. I replied to the Duke, that the safe-conduct was not absolutely refused, and that he had been given to understand that your Lordships wanted to know on what footing you really were with him, and to settle that point first, and then to establish such relations of friendship as should properly exist between two states that desire to be on good terms and to act in good faith towards each other; that your Lordships were not in the habit of rashly or hastily entering into anything, and did not intend to begin doing so now, and therefore it would be well for him to send some experienced person, who was fully informed as to his intentions, to Florence, and I doubted not that your Lordships would do what was for the advantage of our republic and her friends. The Duke replied that he had sent his troops forward, and was himself on the point of going by water, and that he had wished before his departure to have a clear understanding of what he might hope for from your Lordships. To which I answered, that I would at once write to your Lordships this morning and give you notice of his Excellency’s having started his troops, and of his having sent an envoy to you to ask you to admit his troops on Florentine territory; that this envoy would meantime arrive in Florence, and would negotiate direct with your Lordships; and that I had not a doubt but that some satisfactory arrangement would be effected, of which his envoy might advise his Excellency wherever he might be. The Duke seemed in a measure satisfied, but answered that if your Lordships hesitated or dealt unfairly with him, which would become manifest within four or five days, the time necessary for his envoy to come to Florence and write, he would make terms with the Venetians and with the Devil himself; or he would go and join the Pisans, and would devote all his money, his power, and what allies remained to him to injure our republic. The person whom the Duke has selected for the mission to your Lordships is a certain Messer Vanno, the Duke’s fosterbrother, who was to have started this morning; but it is now the eighteenth hour, and I have not yet heard of his departure; it is possible that the Duke may have changed his purpose. His Excellency agreed also with the Cardinal d’Amboise to leave this morning for Spezzia, according to the original plan. He intended to take with him on board, and in vessels of his own, some five hundred men selected from amongst his gentlemen followers and his infantry; but up to the present moment nothing has been heard of his departure. Possibly he may wish to wait until he is in some measure assured of your Lordships’ intentions.
“Your Lordships will observe that my answers to the Duke were only intended to give some little encouragement to his hopes, so that he might have no excuse for remaining here any longer, and so that the Pope, in his desire to get rid of him, might not oblige you to give the Duke the asked for safe-conduct. When the Duke’s envoy arrives in Florence, your Lordships need not pay much attention to him, and may act in the matter as may seem best to you; reflecting whether it be more important to break off or to conclude the negotiation. The Duke’s cavalry that have gone towards Florence, under command of Carlo Baglioni, number one hundred men-at-arms and two hundred and fifty light-horse. Your Lordships will take measures to find out their whereabouts, and should you deem it well that they should in a measure be disarmed, you can do so whenever you think proper; and when informed of your Lordships’ intentions, I shall act towards the Duke accordingly. I beg your Lordships will not fail to write me in case anything else should occur.”
Your letters are communicated to the Cardinal d’Amboise and the other Cardinals; and his Eminence of Volterra does all that is possible to stir up everybody, and to keep them on the lookout,as I have already mentioned in my enclosure of the 16th. And if everything here does not go on as you could wish, it will be the fault of circumstances, and not because the thing is not thought of or not urged.
“Respecting the security demanded by the Duke, D’Amboise says that you must act as best suits yourselves”; in relation to other matters, he complains much and shrugs his shoulders. Your Lordships’ letter of the 15th was received this morning, in reply to which nothing else occurs to me. The Citerna business is still delayed, for the reasons given in my letter of the 13th. I will endeavor to bring it to a speedy termination, and with the greatest possible advantage. Of the French army we have no further news, nor can we expect any so long as this weather continues. In consequence of the inundations around the Garigliano, the Spaniards cannot attack the French, and the latter cannot advance.
The assumption of the tiara by the Pope is postponed until Sunday week. Pagolo Rucellai has given me to understand that the privilege of extracting saltpetre is within his control, and that if your Lordships desire any particular conditions in this matter, which he will be able to manage, he desires to be informed.
We are now at the twenty-first hour, and an hour and a half since I received your letter of the 15th, in which your Lordships point out to me the extremely difficult condition of the affairs of Romagna. But as I had a long interview with his Holiness on that subject yesterday, and as his Eminence of Volterra saw him also to-day, it has seemed to me best to defer until to-morrow to communicate to him the contents of your letter, so as not to weary his Holiness with that subject; the more so, as we do not believe that we shall obtain anything more from him. The Pope can do no more than to write and send agents, and all this he has done. I believe the Bishop of Ragusa will be sent to Romagna, and that he will start immediately.
I recommend myself to your Lordships.
Rome, 18 November, 1503.
P. S. — I send this by the hands of Giovanni Pandolfini, who leaves at the twenty-second hour. Your Lordships will please pay him the customary compensation.
Magnificent Signori: —
I wrote yesterday and sent my letter per express, together with my others of the 14th and 16th, which will have informed your Lordships of all that has occurred here in connection with the Duke, who left here this evening. He has gone to Ostia to embark if the weather permits. It promises fair this morning, and may serve him as well as the French, who have been kept on the Garigliano only by the high water. These inundations have obliged their army, as well as that of the Spaniards, to disperse and seek shelter in the neighboring hamlets and villages, leaving only guards in certain bastions which they have on the boundary of the territory occupied by them respectively. And if the weather clears, as it promises this morning, both sides will be able to take the field and pursue their object, — the one to try to advance, and the other to resist; of all of which your Lordships will be duly advised when we receive the news.
Butto return to the Duke Valentino. He is really gone, by the help of God, and to the great satisfaction of the whole country. He has gone to Ostia, as I have said above, having started his troops by land towards Florence, some two or three days ago. According to the Duke’s own account, these forces consist of about seven hundred horse; and when the weather suits he will embark with four hundred or five hundred more for Spezzia, as was agreed upon here, intending from there to follow the route indicated in my letter of the 14th. It is to be feared lest, being offended with your Lordships, the Duke may throw himself with his troops into Pisa, as he threatened to do at our last interview, of which I gave an account in my letter of yesterday. And what makes me apprehensive of this is, that the individual whom it was understood he was to send to Florence has never said one word to me about his passport for his safety, which I was to give him according to our understanding. And thence I fear that the Duke contemplates not to co-operate with your Lordships any longer. I shall try and find out thetruth of the matter, and will then advise you.
I informed your Lordships yesterday of the receipt of yours of the 15th, per express; and to-day I have received the copies forwarded on the 16th. With all my best efforts, however, it was not possible for me to see the Pope to-day; to-morrow, however, shall not pass without my seeing him anyhow; and I shall do what I can for the advantage of our republic, as well as for that of the Church, which is equally interested in the matter. Your Lordships’ letter was read to the Cardinal d’Amboise, and I noticed that these things afflict him very much. Nevertheless, he shrugs his shoulders and excuses himself, saying that there is no help for it at present. He promises, however, whether the result be peace or victory, and he counts confidently upon one or the other, to restore things to their former condition, and that your interests shall under all circumstances be secured; more than this we cannot hope for from him. He understands the affairs of Romagna so well himself, that it offends him if any one attempts to recall them to his mind. And yet two days ago M. de Chaumont, Governor of Lombardy, sent him a letter which the French envoy at Venice had written to inform him of the disposition of the Venetians, and of their preparations against Romagna, and of their plans, which aimed at nothing less than, after having seized Romagna, to attack Florence, under pretence of recovering the one hundred and eighty thousand florins which they claim to be due them. By this aggression they hope to weaken and diminish the reputation of the king of France, by depriving him of the men and money which you supply him, and at the same time to humble Tuscany and increase their own territory. The Cardinal d’Amboise sent this letter to his Eminence of Volterra, who seemed pleased to have it, and appeared to take the matter seriously; but the only conclusion arrived at was, that we must wait to see what their fleet will do, upon which they count so largely, if the weather and the state of the sea do not hinder its advance.
I recommend myself to your Lordships, quæ bene valeant.
Rome, 19 November, 1503.
Magnificent Signori: —
I shall write briefly to-day what has occurred since my despatch of the 18th, reserving further details for my next. And I do this so that your Lordships may, on the arrival of Messer Ennio, the Duke’s envoy and bearer of this, be more immediately informed of the state of things here. The Duke, as I have already informed you, left here yesterday morning for Ostia, and will embark there with some four or five hundred men for Spezzia. As the weather has improved, I believe he will sail to-night. His cavalry, consisting, according to his own account, of about seven hundred horse, he sent forward three days ago on the road to Tuscany. Now having done all this without any definite reply from your Lordships for our instruction, on account of which I wrote you on the 18th, the Duke has sent the bearer of this, Messer Ennio, to your Lordships, who also brings a letter to you from the Cardinal Volterra “merely for the purpose of satisfying the Duke; for both the Pope and the Cardinal d’Amboise would take it ill if you were really to concede a safe-conduct to the Duke.” According to what they say, and the hints which they have thrown out, your Lordships may, if it suits you, act in accordance with their intentions and spirit, and may do so without any hesitation. And if circumstances have caused you to change your decision “the coming of the Duke’s envoy will afford you an excellent opportunity, of which your Lordships will avail with your habitual sagacity.” Your letter of the 15th and a similar one to the Pope of the 16th were submitted to his Holiness this morning. He was greatly affected by them, and said in a few words that, inasmuch as he had occupied the papal chair but a short time, he could not regulate this matter as he would desire; that for the present he would do what he could, but that hereafter he hoped to do a great deal more; that he would start the Bishop of Tivoli for Venice to-morrow, and within a couple of days he would send the Bishop of Ragusa to Romagna, who should take the route through Florence, with instructions to confer with your Lordships. Although his Holiness had resolved to await the answer of the Bishop, yet he intended to send an envoy to Venice before taking any other steps against them; but seeing their insolence now, he had resolved to convoke the ambassadors of all the nations, and to arouse them to the facts, and make his sentiments known to them, and lay before them his complaints of the outrages of the Venetians. And, in short, that he would leave nothing undone, and therefore he hoped your Lordships would continue your preparations for defence, and meantime he thanked you for what you had done thus far. His Eminence of Volterra replied with his habitual prudence, and I added such remarks as seemed to me proper; but more than the above we did not get from him. We shall not fail, as we have done hitherto, to remind his Holiness and the Cardinals of this business, as our duty demands, and shall continue to keep your Lordships fully advised of whatever takes place.
The Duke of Urbino came to Rome to-day. From the French army we have no further news; it is to be hoped that the weather may continue clear, as it has begun yesterday and to-day, so that the army may continue its operations with greater ease.
Rome, 20 November, 1503.
Magnificent Signori: —
By the enclosed of yesterday I informed your Lordships of what had taken place here since my last of the 18th, and that I could not possibly present myself at the feet of his Holiness yesterday to communicate to him your confidential letter of the 15th, received on the 16th. I did so, however, this morning, in the presence of his Eminence of Volterra, and read your letter to his Holiness. After that the Cardinal added what he deemed proper, and by order of his Eminence I also said what the occasion required. His Holiness manifested great displeasure at the state of things, saying that he would leave nothing undone for the honor of the Church; that he had already sent a deputy to Romagna, but that he would send another of still higher authority, and had designated the Bishop of Ragusa to go there, and the Bishop of Tivoli to Venice, and that he would urge their prompt departure; and that although he had determined before going further to await the reply of the Venetians, so as to be more fully justified in his proceedings and more clearly informed as to their intentions, yet with the information which your Lordships’ letter gave him he felt justified in going somewhat further, and would address a circular to the princes and protest to their ambassadors here, and would no longer stand upon ceremonies with the Venetians. He then called his Eminence of Volterra, who was present, to witness as to his intentions, and charged me to encourage your Lordships by telling you that his Holiness would leave nothing undone for the liberty of the Church and the security of her friends, and of such as desired to live righteously; and that he ought to be excused if, in the beginning of his Pontificate, he did not show himself more active, but that it was because he was constrained by necessity to act contrary to his nature, having neither troops nor money. He said further, that the Duke of Urbino would arrive in Rome this evening, and that he would take measures that the Venetians should not avail themselves of either his person or his name, nor of his territory or his troops.
We replied to his Holiness in a becoming manner, but obtained nothing more from him; nor can we hope for anything else at present, no matter what may occur. There is but one thing upon which any hopes can be founded, and that is the Pope’s choleric temper and his honorable character; for whilst the one will inflame him, the other will impel him to act against whoever attempts anything adverse to the honor of the Church under his Pontificate. Thus we see that the Venetians, knowing him, think to deceive him with fine promises, and to satisfy his natural character by pretending to desire to be faithful children to the Church; and that they want not only Romagna, but all their own dominions, to show obedience to the Holy Father. For we see that they have appointed eight ambassadors to present their submission to the Pontiff, which is a new thing for the Venetians to do, andwhich they have done from no other motive than the above. We see also that they were delighted at the election of Julius II., and that the embassy had been appointed to do him honor, and that they desire to have him for their father, protector, anddefender. In this way the Venetians endeavor to soothe him and to incline him favorably to their purpose; and are not ashamed to make demonstrations as though they were really the very slaves of the Pope, so as to be able afterwards to command all the others. It is thus these things are judged of here; and I desire to acquaint your Lordships with it, so that you may provide what remedies you can against all eventualities; and that you may consider whether it might not bewell for younot to allow yourselves to be outdone in humility and politeness, since in material force you cannot keep pace with these Venetians.
Messer Agapito and Messer Romolino, formerly officers of the Duke Valentino, but who have remained here, being unwilling to share the Duke’s ill fortune, have informed me that on his departure from Rome for Ostia the Duke directed Messer Ennio, Bishop of Veroli, and entirely devoted to the Duke, to proceed to Florence and to negotiate and conclude some favorable arrangement with your Lordships, in accordance with the conversation which he had lately with me; and that for the security of Messer Ennio he wanted letters from me and a passport from the Cardinal Volterra. Having failed to find me yesterday, they wanted me now to see his Eminence, and to prepare such letters and passport as, when received, would permit Messer Ennio to start.
I called upon our Cardinal accordingly, and as it seemed desirable to us that this envoy should go to Florence, for the reasons given in my letter of the 18th, his Eminence wrote a letter to your Lordships,* and gave a passport to Messer Ennio addressed to all the subjects and allies of your Lordships. And I also gave him a letter for you, containing in brief the same that I had said in my former letter and in this one, so that in case Messer Ennio should arrive before this reaches you, your Lordships may knowhow things are here; and may deliberate on the matter fully informed by what I have said in this as well as in my letter of the 18th. “All the favors that have been shown to the Duke by the Pope, the Cardinal d’Amboise, and by others here, had no other object than to have him go from here with God, and the sooner the better.”
Thus your Lordships are entirely free to decide, without regard, whatever may suit you best. And I repeat again, that if your Lordships should judge from some fresh reasons that it would be well to favor the Duke, etc., you may take that course, although the Pope would rather that you should give him a kick. In short, the Duke’s situation is this. The disposition of the people here towards him is as I have just explained; he is himself at Ostia, waiting for suitable wind and weather to sail for Spezzia; he will have five vessels, and take some five hundred persons with him; and if he has not already left, he will probably leave to-night, wind and weather permitting. He has sent his troops by land towards Florence, but from the Siennese and Gianpaolo Baglioni he has no more pledges than he has from your Lordships, so that everybody here laughs at him. We shall see whither the winds will carry him, and where his troops will bring up, and then we shall also know what your Lordships will decide upon. The Duke of Urbino entered Rome this evening in great state; the Pope’s household and all the Cardinals went out to meet him; some persons here say that he will be made General of the forces of the Holy Church.
Of the French army I have nothing to report, but refer your Lordships to the enclosed letters; and as the weather still continues fair, it is believed that they will advance, and that they will not be checked in their progress.
I recommend myself to your Lordships, quæ bene valeant.
Rome, 20 November, 1503.
Magnificent Signori: —
The accompanying letters of yesterday and the day before will inform your Lordships of all that has occurred here since my last of the 18th, sent to you per express through the Pandolfini. I repeated the whole briefly in a letter which I have given to Messer Ennio, envoy of the Duke Valentino, who has sent him to your Lordships for the reasons given in mine of the 18th. I sent that letter by Messer Ennio, so that, in case he should arrive in Florence before the present letter, your Lordships may fully understand how matters are here, and may be able the better to decide the questions in relation to which he comes. Yesterday, at the twenty-second hour, I received your letter of the 17th, from which we learn that Faenza is at the last extremity. And not to fail of his duty, his Eminence of Volterra sent your letters to the Pope, who was greatly agitated by the intelligence, according to what the Secretary of his Holiness reports. So soon as day dawned this morning, the Pope sent for his Eminence; and, complaining to him of the conduct of the Venetians, asked what remedies he could suggest. His Eminence replied, that, seeing these evils steadily progressing, it seemed to him that the remedies contemplated by his Holiness were insufficient, and that it was necessary to resort to stronger measures; that he ought immediately to make the Legato della Marca move forward with his cavalry, and that he must appoint another Legate in Romagna, who ought to be a cardinal, and a man of good character and reputation, who has the honor of the Church at heart, and whose duty it should be to keep those in obedience who are faithful to the Church, and bring back to their obedience, by force if necessary, those who have strayed from it; and that then he ought to call together the ambassadors of all the nations, amongst whom there should be the Venetian envoy, and that in his presence he ought to complain of the wrongs done to the Church, and ask for counsel and assistance; and that, moreover, he ought to send briefs everywhere, conforming to the language he had held to the assembled ambassadors. His Eminence reminded his Holiness that Pope Clement V. had rescued Ferrara from the hands of the Venetians, who had seized that town; and that Pope Sixtus IV., his predecessor and father, had stirred up all Italy against them. He added, that, notwithstanding these new measures, he thought his Holiness should not neglect the old ones, and should start the Bishops of Tivoli and of Ragusa to hold and maintain the other towns, supposing that Faenza was lost.
The Pope approved the suggestions of his Eminence as good and true; nevertheless he would not decide to avail of them as yet, saying that the circumstances seemed to him not to warrant the employment of measures that would at once irritate the Venetians; and that he preferred to carry out his first idea of sending the Bishops of Tivoli and of Ragusa, to see whether the Venetians would not by agreement restore to his hands what they had taken from him by violence. His Holiness seemed not altogether far from believing that the Venetians would do so, and that there was good reason to hope for it; although it was only yesterday that he declared that he would call all the ambassadors together, and protest to them against the acts of the Venetians. Now his Holiness wants to wait for an answer from the deputies whom he has sent to Dionisio di Naldo, from whom as yet nothing has been heard. His Eminence could not induce the Pope to any other course; and whilst his Holiness seems to him, on the one hand, dissatisfied and disposed to remedy the evil when, in his opinion, the proper time shall have come, he finds him on the other hand more circumspect and lukewarm in the measures he proposes than what he ought to be; and therefore he could not induce him to come to any other conclusion.
Later, at the seventeenth hour, the Pope sent again for his Eminence, and told him that he had not been able to sleep on account of the state of things at Faenza and in Romagna, and that he had thought it might be well to sound the Duke Valentino again in regard to placing in the hands of his Holiness the castle of Furli and the other fortresses or places which he still held in Romagna, with the promise to restore them again to the Duke at a later moment, deeming it preferable that the Duke shouldoccupy them rather than the Venetians. He therefore begged his Eminence of Volterra to take the trouble of going as far as Ostia to see the Duke, and try to conclude such an arrangement with him. His Eminence agreed to do whatever might be agreeable to his Holiness, who in return promised to let him know if he should finally decide upon this course; charging him, meanwhile, to confer with the Cardinal d’Amboise, and to find out how he was disposed in this matter. This plan, that the Duke Valentino should hand these places over to the Pope, with the understanding that they shall be restored to him later, was proposed some days ago. The Duke consented to it, but then the Pope objected, saying that he did not want to break faith with any one; and being unwilling that any one should be master there, he refused to entertain the proposition. Now, however, he is willing to adopt this plan, unless he changes his mind again, being constrained by that necessity of which you are aware. He thinks that this is the most efficacious and excusable proceeding that he can adopt towards the Venetians, deeming it well not as yet to declare himself openly their enemy.
At dinner-time his Eminence was again sent for by the Pope, who made him stay to dinner and detained him until near the twenty-fourth hour. His Eminence informed me that the Pope had sent to Ostia to ascertain whether the Duke had left, and if not, to make him delay his departure; as in that case the Cardinal will go early to-morrow to see him, and on the Cardinal’s return we shall know what conclusion has been arrived at. But if the Duke has left, then it would be useless to entertain the project any further. His Eminence told me also that they had talked of the mission of the Bishop of Ragusa, who has been named Governor of Bologna and of the entire Romagna, with instructions to do all he possibly can to rescue those places from the hands of the Venetians, and bring them back to their obedience to the Holy Church. This Bishop has orders to stop at Florence and thank your Lordships on behalf of the Pope for the efforts you have made thus far, and to confer with you as to whether it be best to go to Faenza or Furli, or to enter Romagna from some other direction. He is to act according to your suggestions, and to avail himself in all other respects of your Lordships’ good offices. He will leave to-morrow or next day.
“As to Citerna and the two hundred ducats, etc., about which I have written, your Lordships wish to know the grounds for such a payment, and the advantages that would result from it. In explanation of this I reply that these fortresses are distributed amongst the Cardinals by lot, and whoever receives one of them has to keep twenty men there as a garrison, for which he is paid by the treasury. But instead of twenty men they keep only ten, and the difference is their profit. These gains enable the Cardinals to find persons who purchase these fortresses from them; and as San Giorgio has found some one who offers him two hundred ducats for Citerna, he will not part with it for less to any one else, and I believe we shall have to pay him that sum if we wish to effect the proposed exchange. As to the advantages to be gained thereby, it seems to me necessary that, inasmuch as we claim to be the defenders of the Church, we should not prove ourselves her despoilers. Nor is there any other more suitable way; for if San Giorgio is content, the matter will remain quiet for at least one year, and within that period we shall find some other expedient. This is the plan proposed here, and we shall endeavor to carry it through, although San Giorgio has drawn back and will not explain himself. But I shall not cease to keep an eye on him, and beg your Lordships meantime to reply upon this point.”
Your Lordships desire further information as to how matters are going on here, and what the opinions and conjectures in relation to them are. I imagined that up to the present time I had written in such manner that, if your Lordships take my letters in hand, you will find in them a complete history of all that has taken place here. To recapitulate them briefly I must, as regards the Pope, refer again to what I have written about him in my letter of the 11th; for his Holiness seems to me still bound by the same obligations and considerations which I then communicated. As to the Duke Valentino, you will have seen what I wrote subsequently, and more especially what I said in my three letters on the subject of his affairs; from which your Lordships, with your habitual sagacity, will be able to judge how his affairs will probably terminate, and what his own end is likely to be. Respecting Romagna I cannot yet tell your Lordships more than I have already done in my previous letters as to what is generally said here on the subject. From these your Lordships will also have learnt the attitude of the Pope and of the Cardinal d’Amboise, and the doings of the Venetians, real as well as pretended; how fate prevents the French from being able to resent them, and how the Pope finds it convenient to feign to believe them. Thus your Lordships cannot in this state of things hope that either the French or the Pope will aid you against the Venetians with either men or money; and that you will have to rely upon anything else rather than upon the men and money of others.
As regards the Spanish and French armies, the latter have so entirely obtained the control of the Garigliano, that the Spaniards could not prevent their crossing the river, nor afterwards drive them from the positions which they hold there. As to their respective forces, I can but repeat what I have said before on that point, and what is generally admitted; namely, that the Spaniards, being inferior in numbers, cannot venture to give battle, and therefore withdraw behind difficult passes and strong places; as was seen first at San Germano and now on the Garigliano, where, having been driven from the river-bank, they have retreated about a mile, and by means of intrenchments and redoubts present fresh obstacles to the advance of the French. The bad weather also hinders the French from moving forward; for the country being low and swampy and the rain incessant, both French and Spaniards are obliged to confine their operations to guarding the redoubts which they have thrown up in front of each other, leaving the rest of their armies to disperse and seek shelter in the neighboring hamlets and places, being mutually protected against each other by the water and the weather. Yesterday the sky cleared a little, but to-day it rains again, and it is feared that the wet weather may continue for some time yet. Both armies suffer from want of forage and provisions; but the French suffer most, as the country around their camp is wasted to a greater degree. This exposes them to some disaster unless they can advance; on the other hand, the power of money, of which the French have abundance, may give them the best of the game, and may cause the Spaniards, who are short of money, to lose. It is believed that Bartolommeo d’ Alviano has joined the Spaniards, but only with a small force. The Cardinal d’Amboise, on the other hand, sent the Savelli and the troops of Giovan Giordano to the French army, who consider themselves as having been badly served by Gianpaolo Baglioni in not having moved with his cavalry when he was ordered, and when they urged him to march. Taking all things together, I am really at a loss what conclusion to come to as to the possible issue. Your Lordships can form your own conclusions better than any one else. I will only say this, that the general opinion is that, considering all things, the French have more money and better troops, but the Spaniards have more good fortune and a better commander.
I recommend myself to your Lordships.
Rome, 21 November, 1503.
Magnificent Signori: —
This morning, at the twentieth hour, his Eminence of Volterra left for Ostia for the purpose explained in the accompanying letter. The Cardinal Romolino has gone with him, and they will not return until to-morrow evening. Your Lordships will be promptly informed of the result of their mission. I shall endeavor to send this by an express that is to leave; but should I not be able to do so, I will send it anyhow by a special messenger.
Rome, 22 November, 1503.
Magnificent Signori: —
I write these few lines for the purpose of recommending myself especially to your Lordships, knowing that I may do so with entire confidence. On leaving Florence I received thirty-three ducats, of which I have expended about thirteen for postage as per account sent to your colleague Niccolo d’Alessandro Machiavelli. Eighteen ducats I had to pay for a mule, and for a velvet suit eighteen more. For a Spanish cloak I paid eleven ducats, and for an overcoat ten, making in all seventy ducats. I am living at an hostelry which costs daily for myself and two servants and the mule ten carlini. True, your Lordships have given me the salary I asked for; and I asked for what I supposed would be sufficient, not knowing how dear everything is here. I have therefore to thank your Lordships, and to complain only of myself. But having learned to know the cost of living here better, I would now beg your Lordships to remedy the matter, if it can be done. If my salary cannot be increased, at least have me reimbursed for the postage expenses, as has always been done to every envoy. Niccolo d’Alessandro Machiavelli knows my circumstances, and can tell you whether I am able to bear such a loss; and even if I could, your Lordships know that in this age men labor to get ahead, and not to go behindhand.
I recommend myself to your Lordships, quæ feliciter valeant.
Rome, 22 November, 1503.
Magnificent Signori: —
Yesterday I sent to your Lordships through Giovanni Pandolfini, and free of charge, four letters of the 19th, 20th, 21st, and 22d. The last informs you of the departure of the Cardinal Volterra for Ostia, for the purpose explained to your Lordships in mine of the 21st. Since then I received last night yours of the 20th, giving the news of the loss of Faenza. So soon as it was light this morning I went to the chamber of Messer Francesco di Castel del Rio, the person nearest to the Pope, and read him your Lordships’ letter. He told me that his Holiness had nothing so much at heart as the affairs of Romagna, and for that reason the news would be most painful to him. Still, as it was necessary that his Holiness should know it, he thought it best to avail of some favorable occasion to communicate it to him, and made me leave the letter, which I did most willingly, for it seemed to me in all respects proper that the Pope should know the facts. Deeming it well also to give the news to those Cardinals who have shown themselves most devoted to the Church in this matter, I spoke to Ascanio and Capaccio. Ascanio told me that he had also received the news, and that he was for doing everything possible for the good of the Church, etc., etc. Capaccio expressed himself in the most acceptable manner towards your Lordships, but added that he thought you had made a mistake in this Romagna business, in having supported those lords who have taken possession of these places again; that you ought to have abstained from interfering, or, if you wanted to do it, you should have done so in the name and under cover of the Church, and not in the name of any one else. Thus you would not have afforded the Venetians an occasion to oppose you, and to take to arms. These Venetians excuse themselves to the Pope on no other ground than this, and pretend to have taken arms against the cities of the Church, not for the purpose of holding them, but merely to prevent the Florentines from taking possession of them under cover of the Church.
Your Lordships know that I have ample ground for justifying your conduct in this matter, having been personally present at all the discussions and decisions come to by your Lordships on the subject, all of which I explained very fully to his Eminence the Cardinal Capaccio. He seemed satisfied, but remarked nevertheless that it would have been well not to have afforded the Venetians such a pretext. Under the circumstances, however, he said it was necessary to think of the remedies; and so far as he was concerned, he was for leaving nothing undone, and he thought that his Holiness was animated by the same feelings; and then he told me of the steps taken in sending the Bishops of Tivoli and Ragusa, etc., etc. After that I had a conversation with the Cardinal d’Amboise, who told me that I ought to communicate the news to the Pope; and that as for himself he would do all that was possible for the security of your Lordships and for the liberty and honor of the Church. At that moment Castel del Rio sent for me and informed me that he had shown your letter to the Pope, who was as much grieved at the events as could be imagined, and was resolved to leave nothing undone, as was well known to his Eminence of Volterra, who had gone on horseback to Ostia for no other purpose, and that on his return he would decide whether some more effective measures could not be taken, and that then all would be done. I did what I thought my duty with Castel del Rio, as well as with the other Cardinals; still I judge that my offices are the less needed in this matter, as the Cardinal Volterra neglects nothing that ought to be said or done by any one who has the welfare of his country and the general good at heart, as I have already written several times to your Lordships. And if the measures and remedies do not conform to his suggestions, and are not such as the necessities of the occasion demand, or as your Lordships might desire, you must only blame the malignity of the times and the ill fortune of the feeble. We must then await the return of our Cardinal from Ostia, and see what arrangements he may have concluded, and whether thereupon the Pope or the Cardinal d’Amboise will decide upon moving more promptly.
It is now the twenty-fourth hour, and, as his Eminence has not yet returned, I judge that he will not come back until to-morrow. I must not omit to tell your Lordships that it is publicly said here, (and I write it because I have heard it from a man of serious character, and who is in a position readily to know the truth,) that early this morning a messenger came to his Holiness from those Cardinals who went to Ostia to see the Duke Valentino, signifying that the Duke refused to place the fortresses of Romagna in the hands of the Pope; and that his Holiness, enraged at this news, has sent orders to have the Duke arrested, and that he is now held as prisoner. And further, that the Pope has immediately written to Sienna and Perugia, ordering such of the Duke’s troops as might come there to be immediately disarmed.
I do not know whether all this be true, but shall inform myself on the subject the moment our Cardinal returns, and will then at once write to your Lordships, quæ bene valeant.
Rome, 23 November, 1503.
Magnificent Signori: —
By my enclosed of yesterday, in reply to your Lordships’ letter of the 20th, you will be informed of the events of that day. Since then I have received yours of the 21st, with a copy of the convention concluded between the people of Faenza and the Venetians. Having at the same time heard of the return of his Eminence of Volterra, I called upon him immediately and read him the letters and the articles of the convention. After carefully noting their contents, and particularly the postscript where your Lordships show that you had foreseen that the attack of the Venetians upon Romagna was made “with the consent of the Pope, he told me that he had conferred several times with the Cardinal d’Amboise about it, and that he had also had his suspicions on the subject, seeing the tardiness of the Pope’s measures,” but that having afterwards talked with his Holiness, and seeing how keenly he felt the conduct of the Venetians, he could no longer believe it. And thus with regard to the information which you give respecting those who had gone to Imola, our Cardinal said that your Lordships were either misinformed, or that the Pope had been deceived by his envoys, as they had no authority to speak for any one but for the Church. We shall nevertheless watch these things closely, and if we learn anything of moment your Lordships shall be promptly advised. Your letter was subsequently read to the Cardinal d’Amboise, and the articles of the convention were also shown him; and as the ambassador of the Emperor of Germany, who has repeatedly visited the Cardinal within the past few days, happened to be in his chamber at the time, the Cardinal called him to listen to the letter and the articles of the convention. Both the Cardinal and the ambassador manifested much resentment, and expressed themselves in the gravest and bitterest manner against the Venetians, intimating that this act of theirs might easily prove their ruin. In truth, there is such a general hatred manifested here against the Venetians, that we may hope that, if an occasion were to present itself, some harm would be done to them; for everybody cries out against them, not only those who hold their states from them, but all those lords and gentlemen of Lombardy who are subjects to the king of France (and these are not a few) cry into the ears of the Cardinal d’Amboise. And if he has not yet taken any action against them in the matter, it arises from the considerations which your Lordships understand, and which may cease either in consequence of a peace or a truce, or some other means, by which their condition would be improved. In short, the general opinion is that this attack of the Venetians upon Faenza will serve them as a door that will either open all Italy to them, or that will lead to their own ruin.
His Eminence of Volterra, with that prudence which he manifests on all occasions, enlarged upon the dangers to which our republic is exposed, and the inconvenience which she suffered from not having her troops within reach; and that the well-known ambition of the Venetians might easily give rise to a state of things that would not only make our own troops necessary, but also those of the king, to defend us against that inordinate desire for conquest of the Venetians, which, whilst it made them usurp the possessions of the Church, at the same time threatened those of Florence. D’Amboise became terribly excited at these words, and swore by God and on his soul, that if the Venetians committed such an outrage the king of France would leave all his other occupations, no matter how important, to come to our defence, and that upon that point your Lordships might be of good cheer, etc., etc. His Eminence of Volterra did not deem it proper to say anything more, judging that it was enough for the present to have warned D’Amboise of what might happen. I went afterwards to present myself at the feet of the Holy Father, where I found his Eminence of Volterra, and read your Lordships’ letter to him, as also the articles of the convention, his Eminence adding what he thought to the purpose. His Holiness repeated what he had already said to me on another occasion, that he was fully resolved not to suffer such a wrong done to the Church; and that, besides having sent the Bishop of Tivoli, he would also send the Bishop of Ragusa to make his intentions known in Romagna and to the Venetians; that he had caused the Duke of Urbino to withdraw his troops, and had written to order Vitelli to do the same. He said further, that, for the purpose of depriving the Venetians of every excuse for this attempt, which they pretended to be against the Duke Valentino and the Florentines, he had written to your Lordships, requesting you to withdraw your troops, and had ordered the Venetians to do the same; “and that with regard to the Duke Valentino he had taken measures that were known to Volterra;” that he would wait now to see what the Venetians would do after all this, and if they did not desist from their attempt, and did not make restitution of what they had taken, he would unite with France and the Emperor for no other purpose than the destruction of the Venetians, for which these sovereigns were well disposed. When his Eminence of Volterra replied that the Venetians said that they intended to hold those places and pay the same dues as the other lords, which they thought his Holiness would readily agree to, the Pope replied that he had no such intentions, for he wanted those cities in the hands of men of whom he could dispose at his pleasure.
Your Lordships will judge of the intentions of the Pope by what he says, and by the measures he has taken, and what is likely to be the result of this affair. You will also have received the Pope’s brief directing you to withdraw your troops from these places; for he has written to the Venetians to the same effect, for the reasons above explained. What the Venetians will do on receipt of this brief is not known; but your Lordships can watch them, and govern your actions according to your habitual prudence. And to conclude, as regards the intentions of his Holiness, your Lordships will see, as I have several times said, that he wants to keep all those places in his own hands and under his own control, and it is for this purpose that he has sent those Cardinals to Ostia, “the result of which was that, as the Duke refused to give up those places which he still held, the Pope had him arrested, as I have related in the enclosed. It seems to be the Pope’s determination to have those places, and to assure himself of the Duke’s person, who is actually now in the Pope’s power, being on board of one of the king’s galleys, under command of Mottino. It is not supposed that he will do him any other harm for the moment; nor is it known for certain that the Pope has ordered such of the Duke’s troops to be disarmed as have gone by land. But it is believed that this will naturally be done, as they come without a safe-conduct from any one.”
His Holiness will assume the tiara on Sunday next. Your Lordships can therefore start the ambassadors at your entire convenience; but his Eminence of Volterra suggests that the sooner the better, considering the Pope’s character, for he says that his Holiness seems to desire their coming, and would not be displeased at their arrival before the Genoese ambassadors, and that the first come will be the first despatched. His Eminence has charged me to advise your Lordships to urge their departure, for by doing so you will greatly advance yourselves in the Pope’s good graces without any inconvenience to yourselves.
From the camp I have nothing else to tell you but what I have already said in my letter of the 21st, for the weather continues most unfavorable, and, if this goes on so, the troops will be obliged to retire into quarters somewhere. Perhaps they may be able by means of some agreement to withdraw from each other’s front, for which the six months’ truce concluded at Perpignan gives some hopes. Your Lordships will be kept fully advised in relation to all this.
Rome, 24 November, 1503.
Magnificent Signori: —
To prevent your Lordships from having to wait for my letters, and at the same time to keep you informed of the various phases through which the Duke Valentino’s affairs have passed, and of their present condition, I hasten to send you the enclosed through the agency of Giovanni Pandolfini, who, seeing how irregularly the service of the couriers is performed, has resolved to send a messenger of his own. He is to leave at the twenty-second hour, and your Lordships will please pay him according to the advice of Giovanni.
Having written every day, or at least once every two days, I regret that, despite of many discomforts and dangers and my utmost diligence, as well as heavy expense, which neither the salary allowed me by your Lordships nor my own means can afford, I should be blamed for negligence. Henceforth, therefore, no three days shall pass, unless something extraordinary occurs, without my despatching a special courier to your Lordships; although the wretched roads and the fatigues of the couriers cause others to be served quite as badly as your Lordships. There is nothing new here but what I have already written. The Pope assumes the tiara to-morrow morning, as I have already mentioned.
I recommend myself to your Lordships.
Rome, 25 November, 1503.
Magnificent Signori: —
Through the agency of Giovanni Pandolfini, who despatched an express, I sent yesterday three letters to your Lordships of the 23d, 24th, and 25th, which contained full report of all that had occurred here during those three days, and of what we learn here in relation to matters at present in preparation here. I have told you “that the Duke has finished his rôle here forever, that he is at the Pope’s mercy, who wants by all means to obtain possession of those fortresses that are still held by the Duke, and at the same time wants to assure himself of the Duke’s person. It is not exactly known whether the Duke is still on board of a vessel at Ostia, or whether he has been brought here. Different rumors are current here on the subject to-day; in truth, some one has told me that yesterday at the second hour, whilst in the Pope’s chamber, two persons arrived from Ostia, whereupon every one was immediately requested to leave the chamber. But having remained in the adjoining room this individual overheard that these persons brought the news that the Duke had been thrown into the Tiber by order of the Pope. I can neither confirm nor deny this statement, but I believe that, even if it be not true now, it certainly will be erelong. And we now see how honorably this Pope begins to pay his debts, and how he wipes them out as with a sponge. Nevertheless everybody blesses his hands, and will do so still more the more decidedly he goes ahead. But since the Duke is taken, whether dead or alive, we can now act regardless of him. So soon as I learn anything positive about it, your Lordships shall be informed.”
To-day, with the help of God, our Holy Father, Pope Julius II., assumed the tiara, and gave his benediction to the people in the most edifying manner, and great festivity prevailed throughout all Rome. On Thursday, God willing, he will go to St. John Lateran; but should the weather not be favorable, then he will postpone it until the first fair day. The Bishop of Ragusa, who was to have gone to Romagna, wanted to witness the coronation; but it is not known whether he will delay his departure so as to enable him also to assist at this other solemnity. As to urging his departure, your Lordships may be assured, as I have before written, that nothing will be left undone upon that point, and that, as you are aware, by a personage of higher authority than myself.
The French and the Spaniards remain in the same condition as stated in my letter to your Lordships of the 21st, and we have the same hopes now as then; for the bad weather having continued, they could do nothing. True, yesterday a man arrived here from the camp who had left there two days before, having been sent by the French commander to inform the Cardinal d’Amboise that they intended anyhow to advance within eight days, and to have a battle or ravage the country, even if they had to wade through mud and water up to their throats. They are very hopeful of victory, and I understand that Cardinal d’Amboise has given them free rein and commended them to God. We shall see what will come of it, and will pray God to grant victory to those who shall bring peace and welfare to Christendom and to our republic. The opinion prevails that this attempt will result unfavorably for the French; for they are weak in infantry, and if the mud is not dried by the north wind, or any other winds that may blow, their cavalry, in which they are strongest, will not be able to manœuvre, and thus the best part of their forces will be embarrassed, whilst the infantry of the Spaniards, in which they are strongest, will be able to act freely. Still we must suppose that so many men of ability as are on the side of the French value their lives and know what they are about.
This morning the duplicates of your letters of the 20th and 21st came to hand, and this evening I received those of the 22d and 24th. D’Amboise shall be informed of the payment made to Gianpaolo Baglioni; I will also communicate to him your letters touching the affairs of Romagna. But this cannot be done until to-morrow; to-day being a holiday, it would seem to me not proper to trouble him with business matters. I am really astonished that on the 24th your Lordships had not yet received my letters of the 19th, 20th, 21st, and 22d, which I sent on the 22d by a courier who was despatched to France; but I think that by this time he must have arrived at Florence anyhow. By the series of letters which I have written from the 16th until to-day, your Lordships will understand what steps the Pope and the Cardinal d’Amboise are taking with regard to the proceedings of the Venetians. And in fact the Pope believes that he will be able to recover those places from them in an amicable way; and D’Amboise hopes to be able to check their insolence with briefs. But up to the present we do not see that either of them is for expending anything but admonitions and menaces, either by letter or by word of mouth, and your Lordships know with what energy they dispense these. I have told your Lordships, in my letter of the 24th, what his Eminence of Volterra said to me about the suggestion of your Lordships, “whether the Pope might not have consented to the acts of the Venetians; that he had several times talked with the Cardinal d’Amboise about it, and had concluded that it could not be; and that this conclusion was based upon the language held by the Pope whenever he had spoken to him on the subject. And not believing the Pope to be a man of double dealing, but rather abrupt and impetuous, they had no misgivings upon that point. His Eminence of Volterra has since then told me again, that one day, the same as on other occasions, the Cardinal d’Amboise had pressed the Pope upon this point, showing him that he desired to understand his intentions, so as to know what course the king of France would have to take, and that thereupon the Pope became greatly excited, and affirmed with the gravest oaths that the acts of the Venetians were entirely contrary to his will; that everybody understood this fully, and that he wanted to remedy the matter, etc., etc.; and that the Pope’s language was such that he could not have shown himself more dissatisfied. These two cardinals seem to believe him in part, and feel themselves in great measure secure, notwithstanding that there are others of equally high position who doubt whether amongst other promises for the purpose of gaining the Papacy, Julius II. may not have promised this to the Venetians,” etc., etc.
I recommend myself to your Lordships, quæ bene valeant.
Rome, 26 November, 1503.
Magnificent Signori: —
I wrote the enclosed yesterday, giving an account of what had occurred here during the day. It remains for me to inform your Lordships that your letters of the 24th were communicated to his Holiness through Castel del Rio; but that on the whole nothing can be drawn from the Pope except that he is firmly resolved to have things restored to their places, and that he is busily occupied trying to get the fortresses which the Duke still holds out of his hands. Respecting the Duke I cannot confirm altogether what I had written in the accompanying; the only thing positive is that he is at Ostia in the power of the Pope. But I was told yesterday that Messer Gabriello had returned from Fano, and Messer Romolino from Ostia, and that they had arranged matters with the Duke; that is to say, he places the fortresses by agreement in the hands of the Pope, for which his Holiness gives him certain compensation; also that Romolino had prostrated himself at the feet of his Holiness, and with tears in his eyes had recommended the Duke to his consideration. We shall know erelong what will come of all this. The Pope thinks that, once in possession of those fortresses, he will be better able to face the Venetians, and that the population of Romagna will be more disposed to adhere to him when once they see the standard of the Church floating from those fortresses. Of the French army I can report only what I have said in the enclosed; the weather seems settled, but we cannot know whether it will last.
I recommend myself to your Lordships.
Rome, 27 November, 1503.
Magnificent Signori: —
I wrote to your Lordships yesterday and the day previous, and both letters were sent through Giovanni Pandolfini free of charge. It remains for me now to inform your Lordships that last night the whole of the Pope’s guard went to Ostia to bring the Duke Valentino here, according to the report of some, whilst others say that it is not only to bring him here, but also to make more sure of his person. For yesterday evening the Pope received information that the Duke had withdrawn with his followers on board of one of his own galleys, and that he would escape unless sufficient force were sent down at once to prevent it. The guard was consequently ordered down, and early this morning Castel del Rio also went down to Ostia; but up to the present twenty-fourth hour they have not returned. It was rumored this morning that the Duke had fled; but this evening it is stated that they have him in hand. However this may be, we shall know better by to-morrow; and we see now that the Pope is going to make a clean business of it with the Duke, and perhaps all I wrote in my letter of the 26th may in every respect be verified. We see now that the Duke’s sins have little by little brought him to expiation. May God guide things for the best!
The Cardinal Ragusa left here yesterday and will pass through Florence, as I have already informed you, “and in fact he will govern his conduct according as you may direct him; his instructions were drawn up by the Cardinal Volterra. The Pope particularly recommended him to conduct himself in Florence with such prudence that he may not give cause to the Venetians to suspect him of being in your interest.” I have deemed it well to mention this to your Lordships, so that you may use due caution and prudence in dealing with him. One of the persons whom the Pope in the beginning sent into Romagna returned here yesterday, and reports that the Church has but few adherents amongst the inhabitants of Imola and Furli; because the latter fear that they may not again be placed under the government of the Countess of Furli, whilst those of Imola desire the return of the Duke. He also states that the Castellan of Furli is resolved upon making a vigorous resistance, and to remain faithful to the Duke so long as he knows him to be alive. This report displeases the Pope very much; still he relies upon the mission of the Bishop of Ragusa, and will await the result.
Nothing more from the camp than what I have lately written. Gianpaolo Baglioni is expected here within a week.
I recommend myself to your Lordships, quæ bene valeant.
Rome, 28 November, 1503.
Magnificent Signori: —
“Volterra communicated to me to-day, that yesterday, whilst conversing with D’Amboise about the things that are going on here, he touched upon the treaty that is on foot between the three sovereigns of France, Germany, and Spain. D’Amboise seemed very anxious that it should be carried into effect, because France has been much exhausted during the past year; and he hoped that with a little repose she would soon be in condition to engage in any important enterprise. He spoke so earnestly on the subject, as to make one believe that he would be in favor of accepting such a peace, even if it were disadvantageous for France. His Eminence told me further, that D’Amboise had given him to understand that in the event of such a peace the Emperor would come any way into Italy. Volterra having observed, in reply to him, that, as on the occasion of similar treaties and descents of the Emperor into Italy, it would be necessary for France to remember her allies and to protect them, D’Amboise answered that this would under any circumstances be the first thing to be done, as they would on no account allow Tuscany to be dismembered. True, the Emperor being poor, and wishing to travel in a becoming manner, it would be necessary for Florence to contribute and serve him with a sum of money, which however need not be considerable; but that it was important for your Lordships not to fail in doing this. In the course of the conversation D’Amboise allowed it to escape from his lips that the aforesaid three sovereigns intended under the treaty to divide Italy amongst themselves; but he affirmed at the same time that under the protection of France Florence would be saved and her situation even improved. During this conversation Volterra never lost sight of the duties of his office; in short, he obtained from D’Amboise all the above information, and if this treaty is concluded, it will not be until after D’Amboise shall have conferred with the Emperor on his way back to France. It has seemed to me proper to communicate to your Lordships all the information I have had on the subject, so that when D’Amboise passes through Florence, as he will, you may place some citizen near him who will advocate your interests and will know on what subjects to sound him.
“You must also know that the Emperor’s ambassador was this morning with Volterra, and told him that the Venetian ambassador had been to see him the day before, and had endeavored to persuade him on the part of his government of their devotion to the Emperor, and how anxious they were that he should come into Italy, so that they might together with him settle the affairs of Italy, which were in such a bad condition; that the Venetian ambassador touched several times upon the affairs of Romagna, in the hope that the Emperor’s ambassador would enter upon a discussion of that subject; but as he did not, the Venetian himself opened the matter, and began about the disorders in Italy, showing that Romagna had been devastated for two centuries on account of the Popes, who wanted to establish first one and then another as master of that province; so that its population was wearied, and in their desire for repose had thrown itself into the arms of the Venetians, who had received them, but that henceforth they wished to pay to the Church the revenues due to her. And as to the other lords, they were ready to submit themselves to their sense of justice. The German ambassador said that he had replied in a suitable manner, and, without noticing the arguments of the Venetian, he began again to say that the Emperor would without fail come into Italy very soon, and that his intentions with regard to Pisa were twofold; first, to give possession of that city to whoever gave him the most money for it; and secondly, that under all circumstances he wanted an annual revenue from it, as though it were his own property bestowed upon some one as his feudatory. To all this Volterra replied in a suitable manner, whereupon the German ambassador left. I write all this to your Lordships for the reason above stated, and confidently, so that this information may not reach any party where it might give rise to unfavorable reflections, etc., etc.”
“By your letter of the 25th I have your instructions respecting Citerna, and shall follow the matter up with all possible economy; but the Cardinal San Giorgio says that he has a secret offer. Still the negotiation will not be given up, and your Lordships shall be advised of the result.
“Die quo in literis.”
Magnificent Signori: —
The enclosed will inform your Lordships of what occurred here yesterday. Since then your letter of the 25th has arrived, and although there was a consistory to-day, nevertheless measures were taken early this morning to communicate the news contained in your letter to the Pope. Yours of the 24th was communicated to him at the same time, giving an account of the preparations of the Venetians for the purpose of making themselves masters of the remainder of Romagna. In short, his Holiness was reassured by the course of French affairs, and takes hope from the treaty between the two kings referred to in my letter of the 25th. But he was greatly irritated against the Venetians, so that, if any reliance can be placed upon words, gesticulations, and other indications, we must believe that these things really vex him, and that they have been done without his consent. Nevertheless, we do not see that he contemplates taking any other measures than such as he has ordered up to the present; but he seems altogether resolved to wait and see the result of the missions he has sent into Romagna and to Venice. Nothing is left undone to stir up the zeal of his Holiness, for in truth, besides his Eminence of Volterra, who acts in the matter with courage and and earnestness, and regardless of all other considerations, there are other Cardinals who give his Holiness no rest, and D’Amboise is one of those who promise him troops and all other aid, in case he should take fresh measures for resenting the acts of the Venetians. And that things are tending that way is proved by the language which his Holiness held this morning at the consistory before all the Cardinals. For when he came to declare the four Cardinals whom he created to-day, his Holiness said that one of the reasons that influenced him in the creation of those Cardinals was to give the Church more supporters for her defence against those who sought to usurp what belonged to her, and so as to be able the easier to recover from the hands of the Venetians the places which they had wrongfully seized; notwithstanding which he believed that they wished to act like faithful children of the Church, and were willing to restore those places to her, as he had been repeatedly assured by their ambassadors. In saying this his Holiness softened his language; although the first part of his address was such as I have stated above.
The guard returned from Ostia to-day at the twenty-second hour, and the Duke Valentino was brought at the same time on a galley to San Paolo (fuori le Mura), about two miles from here; and it is believed that he will be brought up to Rome to-night. What will be done with him after that will be known erelong. For the present your Lordships need not trouble yourselves as to where the Duke may possibly disembark. The infantry which he had taken into his pay come straggling back, and the gentlemen whom he had taken with him will have to return to their homes; and Don Michele with the other troops who are coming to Florence will not get much good by it. For the present I know nothing more of them; but your Lordships will have better information on the subject from Perugia or the neighboring places. Of the French and the Spaniards we hear nothing new; they retain their former positions, where they are kept by the same causes that I have mentioned in previous letters. Nor is it known what determination the French have come to with regard to their intended advance under any circumstances, as they had given us to understand. Perhaps they have been stopped by the same considerations which I have mentioned in a former letter. Anyhow it is said that both the armies cannot well be in worse positions, nor in greater want. The weather does not improve; although it was fair for two days, yet to-day it has begun to rain again without cessation, and thus the poor soldiers have to contend against the waters of the earth and of the heavens.
The newly created Cardinals are the following: —
I recommend myself to your Lordships, quæ bene valeant.
Rome, 29 November, 1503.
P. S. — I had omitted to tell your Lordships that the Pope does not go to St. John Lateran to-morrow, for fear of the weather. The solemnity has been postponed until Sunday.
Magnificent Signori: —
The enclosed letters of yesterday and the day before will inform your Lordships of what has taken place here since my letters of the 26th and 27th. This morning his Eminence of Volterra told me that he had again been with the Pope, and that, in speaking of the affairs of Romagna, his Holiness said: “This Venetian ambassador makes a great outcry about what I said in the consistory, and goes about complaining to the whole world on the subject.” His Eminence replied that his Holiness ought to learn from this how much noise these Venetians made about his words, whilst they themselves were unwilling to be reproached for their acts. And that his Holiness ought to be the more incensed by their acts, as they were committed against the Church, etc., etc. The Pope having thereupon asked him whether he had any new measures to suggest, his Eminence replied, that it seemed to him that his Holiness ought to request the Cardinal d’Amboise, before leaving Rome, to order some lances into the province of Parma; and moreover he ought to leave Gianpaolo in Tuscany, so that he could readily be sent to the frontiers of Romagna, and could be made use of either in reality or by way of demonstration, according to circumstances. These two things he thought would not be difficult for D’Amboise to do, for the troops would anyhow have to go into winter quarters, and therefore it ought to be immaterial to him whether they were at Parma or elsewhere. That Gianpaolo was not needed in camp, as there was already too much cavalry there, and that perchance, if a truce were concluded, as was hoped for, he would also have to go into winter quarters. His Eminence of Volterra furthermore reminded his Holiness that he ought promptly to engage those Condottieri whom he intended to take into his pay, in addition to the Duke of Urbino, who seemed disposed to take some of the Colonnese into his own pay. He related to him also, that there had been some negotiations during the past year, through the intervention of the king of France, to effect a union between your Lordships and the cities of Sienna, Bologna, and Ferrara, but that Pope Alexander VI. in his unlimited desire for domination had always opposed it, lest such an alliance might be directed against him; that it would be well, however, for his Holiness to resume these negotiations, and that, if he were to take them in hand, he would doubtless succeed, and that very soon. His Eminence pointed out to the Pope what good would result from it, and how such an alliance would insure peace and quiet to all those states as well as to the Church, and add greatly to the consideration of his Holiness. His Eminence told me that the Pope listened quietly, and with seeming pleasure, to all his arguments, and said that he would endeavor to have D’Amboise do what his Eminence had suggested, and that he would engage the Condottieri as soon as possible. His Holiness said, moreover, that the proposed alliance pleased him much, and that he would promote it to the extent of his power; in fact, that, so far as he was concerned, he was ready to do anything to bring it about. After that they talked of the Duke Valentino, from which it appeared that the Pope does not yet treat the Duke as a prisoner for life. He has sent him to Magliana, seven miles from here, where he is guarded; and in this way the Pope is trying to make him pliable, and to get his countersign from him by agreement, so that it may not be said of him that he had obtained it by force, lest the governors of those fortresses, under such an impression, should undo the whole by giving those places into the hands of some one else instead of the Pope; and therefore he wanted the Duke’s countersign by agreement, as I have said. The agreement will certainly contain the conditions that the Pope is to have those fortresses, and that then the Duke will be allowed to go free. Perhaps there may be a question as to some compensation, or it may even contain a promise of their being restored after a while to the Duke. What the result of all this will be, I cannot say; nor is it easy to form a judgment in the matter, for the Duke’s affairs have undergone a thousand mutations since I have been here, though in truth these changes have always been downward.
To-day at dinner-time I received your letter of the 27th, in reply to mine of the 25th, and announcing the arrival of Messer Ennio, together with the news of Imola, etc., etc. I applied immediately for an audience of his Holiness, and, presenting myself at his feet, I communicated to him the contents of your letters. In reply his Holiness referred, the same as on former occasions, to his intentions against the Venetians; and as to Messer Ennio, the Pope expressed himself pleased to have the information and the particulars of the way in which the affair had passed off; adding merely that your Lordships should take care to withdraw your troops. To which I replied, that your Lordships had thought of all this, and would act in such manner as not to set a bad example to the Venetians; and that, on the other hand, you would do your utmost to prevent any inconvenience arising from it. His Holiness told me that he had heard of the news from Tosignano, which he regretted greatly, and thanked your Lordships for your offer.
For information respecting the French and Spanish armies I must refer you to what I have said in my previous letters on the subject. The Cardinal d’Amboise will leave here without fail next week. In conversing three or four days since with the most Reverend Monsignore Capaccio, he told me that he had received a benefice in Mugello, and was about to send the Bull and his executive letters; and he requested me to write to your Lordships to be pleased promptly to expedite them; reminding me that he had never asked for anything of you, but had on every occasion served you like a good Florentine. I replied to him in a suitable way.
His Eminence of Volterra, as I have repeatedly observed in my letters, never fails to do his duty to his country; but he would wish to avoid committing any error, and would not like that his too great desire to do what is right and good should mislead him. It would be very agreeable to him, therefore, if, besides your instructions with regard to Romagna, you would indicate to him what, in your Lordships’ judgment, would be the best thing for the Pope to do, so that his Eminence may act with less hesitation and more wisdom.
I recommend myself to your Lordships, quæ bene valeant.
Rome, 30 November, 1503.
The present letters are sent by a confidential express, for which your Lordships will pay to Giovanni Pandolfini the usual price. This express will leave at the fourth hour of the night.
Magnificent Signori: —
After having despatched per confidential express my letters of the 28th, 29th, and 30th, I received your Lordships’ letter of the28th per express. I presented myself this morning at the feet of the Holy Father, and read to him your Lordships’ letters in the presence of his Eminence of Volterra. His Holiness listened as usual, and manifested the greatest displeasure at the news; he repeated to me that he would not rest nor leave anything undone that was in his power to do for the honor of the Church and the security of her friends; that until now he had done the greater part of what your Lordships had required him to do, that the briefs to the Venetians had been written and sent, and that the Bishop of Ragusa ought by this time to be at Sienna. Moreover, that as he had no troops he would ask the Cardinal d’Amboise to consent to his employing Gianpaolo Baglioni himself, and that he would to some extent endeavor to raise troops, and that thus he would do as much as he possibly could, and with such good will that nobody in reason could ask more of him. I replied to all this as seemed to me proper, and Cardinal Volterra did his duty, as ever is his wont, for he remained to-day, as on many previous occasions, to dine with his Holiness; and made it a point to remind and urge him to take the necessary steps for our security and for the honor of the Church. The Pope seemed to his Eminence in great agitation, for whilst on the one hand he is anxious to act, he feels on the other hand that he lacks the power. There is no doubt that, if the Pope can be kept in this mood, he will in course of time put those who now attempt to dishonor the Church in great peril. His Eminence also seems to think that your Lordships should urge the departure of the ambassadors, and that you should be liberal in those things that cost nothing, and bestow and distribute them according to circumstances.
When his Holiness was informed, according to what you write, that Ramazotto had entered the castle of Imola, he said that this captain was devoted to him, but that, if the report was true, it must have been done by order of the Cardinal San Giorgio, and that we could learn from him whether he knew anything about it. More than this I have not been able to get from his Holiness; but your Lordships will be able to judge and decide from these conclusions and resolutions what ought to be done. For, as has been said a thousand times, for the present there is nothing to be hoped for from here in the way of aid either of troops or of money, unless D’Amboise should consent that the Pope should engage the services of Gianpaolo, and every effort will be made to induce him to do so. There is no indication that those who influence his Holiness have had the least idea that the acts of aggression of the Venetians have been done with his consent, for they do not believe him capable of such duplicity, having never before known him such, and looking upon him rather as an impulsive man who acts regardless of all considerations. His Holiness says that his briefs have been sent off in duplicate to the Venetians; and as none have been presented to your Lordships, it is natural to conclude that he has abstained from sending you any, for the reason which he himself intimated to me yesterday evening when I spoke to him on the subject, as I wrote your Lordships in my letter of yesterday.
Whilst at the feet of his Holiness news came that Don Michele was taken prisoner, and that his company had been stripped by Gianpaolo Baglioni on the frontier between Tuscany and Perugia. His Holiness manifested great satisfaction at this, as the affair seemed to have succeeded entirely according to his wishes. His Eminence of Volterra remained with his Holiness, and went with him to dine in the Belvedere; whence he returned in the evening at about the twenty-fourth hour, and related to me that after my having left the Pope the Duke of Urbino sent him a letter, which Gianpaolo Baglioni had written to some one in his confidence, to the effect that the inhabitants of Castiglione and Cortona, aided by his troops, had stripped the men under Don Michele, and that he himself and Carlo Baglioni were prisoners at Castiglione Aretino, in the hands of your Lordships’ rectors. This news delighted the Pope in the highest degree, for it seemed to him as if the capture of this individual would afford the opportunity for discovering all the cruel robberies, murders, sacrilege, and endless other crimes that had been committed during the past eleven years in Rome, against God and mankind. And his Holiness said to Cardinal Volterra that he hoped that, since your Lordships had done so well in allowing your subjects to assist in stripping Don Michele and his troops, you would also render him the further service of delivering Don Michele into his hands. He immediately directed a brief to be written to your Lordships, demanding the said Don Michele, which brief will be forwarded at same time with this letter. His Eminence encouraged the Pope to hope that it would be done, and he counsels your Lordships most earnestly to surrender this individual, as being an enemy and despoiler of the Church. You will thus give his Holiness a proof of your devotion, which will be greatly prized by him, and will cost you nothing. His Eminence also told me that the condition of Romagna had formed the principal topic of their conversation all day, and that he had recognized in the Pope an earnest desire and great eagerness to remedy that state of things; that he intended to take troops into his pay, and to do all other things to enable him to show his teeth to everybody. And if these things are not immediately carried into effect it will be owing to the causes which I have explained in my letter of the 11th of last month, which keep him embarrassed; besides these he naturally perplexes himself a little, which another, who had more resources, would not do. But his great mind and the love of honor which his Holiness has always manifested will overcome all this.
The Bishop of Ragusa ought by this time to have arrived in Florence, and according to what the Cardinal Volterra tells me the Pope’s brief will be presented by him to your Lordships, unless it should have been previously sent to you; he also tells me that the Pope has written twice to Venice. So far as I am aware, there is nothing new from the French camp.
I recommend myself to your Lordships, quæ bene valeant.
Rome, 1 December, 1503.
P. S. — I had forgotten to tell your Lordships that the Duke Valentino is at the palace, where he was brought this morning, and is lodged in the chamber of the treasurer. I must also inform you that the Pope wishes your Lordships to send Don Michele under a strong guard as far as Acquapendente, where his Holiness will have ordered that he shall be received. His Eminence of Volterra seems to think that, if your Lordships wish to avoid the expense of sending him so far, you might have him taken to Perugia, and send immediate information of it here, so that the Pope may make arrangements to have him sent for there.
Magnificent Signori: —
I wrote you yesterday all that had occurred here; perchance that letter may reach you at the same time with this one. I must now inform your Lordships that one of Signor Luca Savello’s men-at-arms called this morning upon his Eminence of Volterra and myself, having been sent expressly to the Cardinal to tell him that it was impossible for Signor Luca to subsist any longer without money, and that he desired a small payment on account, and that if this were not promptly made he would be constrained to disband his company and return home, which for the honor of your Lordships and his own hewould not wish to be obliged to do. His Eminence gave him fair words, and promised him that your Lordships should be written to on the subject; and he directed me to write and reassure Signor Luca, and also to bring the matter to your notice, so that you may reply and provide the means. This messenger left the camp four days ago; he reported also that the greater part of the army was on the Garigliano, where the bridge had been thrown over the river, and that the rest were dispersed in the vicinity within ten miles. He reported many disorders and much difficulty in crossing the river; he also stated that it was reported in camp that Gonsalvo had a number of boats brought by land, which he intended to place upon the river for the purpose of crossing to the other side, for the arrival of the Orsini made him suppose himself superior in number to the French. We asked the messenger what the French intended to do under the circumstances; but he could not tell, nor was he able to give any explanations upon many other points. I can say nothing more on this subject; we must await the issue, and pray God that it may be favorable.
“San Giorgio does not wish that any one should receive the appointment of constable who is a Florentine, or a subject of that republic; and therefore you might name any one to that office whom you thought suitable, and the sooner the better, so that we may get this matter off our hands. But it will not cost you less than two hundred ducats, for it is the money he wants, and not the exchange.”
I recommend myself to your Lordships.
Rome, 2 December, 1503.
Magnificent Signori: —
After having written you the enclosed I left the palace with the intention of seeing San Giorgio, for the object known to your Lordships. Having waited a long while without being able to see him, because of his occupations, I returned to the palace where I found his Eminence of Volterra, who had been with the Pope in relation to the affairs of the Duke Valentino. His Holiness had obtained the countersign for the fortresses from the Duke, and had ordered that Messer Pietro d’ Oviedo, as the Duke’s representative, and some other person as representing his Holiness, should leave this evening or early to-morrow for Florence on their way to Romagna. And as his Eminence had written a letter to your Lordships in my absence, which these commissioners should present to you, I must refer to that letter for all that has been agreed upon with the Pope, and for all that his Eminence thinks your Lordships ought to do in this matter. I will only say, by direction of his Eminence, that nothing should be left undone by your Lordships to enable the Pope to succeed in obtaining possession of these fortresses; and to reassure their castellans by becoming surety for the Pope’s promises, and even to expend some of your own money for that purpose; and altogether to act in such manner as to assure and dispose their inhabitants favorably, and to inspire them with the hope that the Pope will deal with those lords that have returned to him in the way they could wish; and in fact to employ all your skill to carry the matter through. For if the Pope succeeds in getting possession of the castles of Furli and Cesena, apart from the advantage that would result to Florence from such an impediment being placed in the way of the Venetians, his Holiness would also acknowledge himself under the greatest obligations to your Lordships.
The Duke Valentino has been removed from the apartment of the treasurer, and is now lodged in that of the Cardinal d’Amboise; he is trying to accompany that Cardinal to Florence, where he will go immediately after the coronation in St. John Lateran.
“D’Amboise received the Duke most unwillingly in his apartment, and is still more reluctant to take him with him. In the matter of receiving the Duke in his apartment, the Cardinal submitted for the sake of gratifying the Pope; but as to taking him with him to Florence, the Cardinal may perhaps not agree to that. And then if the Pope wants possession of those fortresses before the Duke leaves Rome, they could not be turned over to him in time, inasmuch as D’Amboise is on the point of starting. It is not easy therefore to form an opinion as to what the end of the Duke may be; but many conjecture that it will be a bad one.”
The Cardinal d’Amboise will leave immediately after the Pope shall have gone to St. John Lateran, which is to be on Monday or Tuesday next. The Emperor of Germany’s ambassador will accompany D’Amboise, who will endeavor to have an interview with the Emperor before proceeding on to France, in the hope of bringing about an agreement between those two sovereigns. His Eminence of Volterra thinks it would be well that your Lordships should at once send some one of experience and position as your representative to go with the Cardinal d’Amboise, who should meet him this side of Sienna, so that in passing through that city he might see whether some good arrangement might not be effected with Pandolfo. Our Cardinal seems to think it desirable that your Lordships should send some one with the Cardinal d’Amboise, who should be present at the interview with the Emperor, so as to remind him of the interests of our republic, and to find out whether anything is proposed to its detriment, and if so, to counteract it as far as possible, and promptly to advise your Lordships of it. Such a person should be a man of experience, and agreeable to the Cardinal d’Amboise, as well as devoted to our republic. When his Eminence of Volterra related to the Cardinal d’Amboise the message he had received that morning from Messer Luca Savello, which I have mentioned in the enclosed, D’Amboise shook his head and said that the fellow must be a fool; assuring his Eminence of Volterra, at the same time, that he had letters of the 29th of November, saying that the enemy was much worse off than the French, for they were up to their middle in water, and were less sheltered and suffered more from want, having less money to spend. And that the French were still of the same mind as heretofore with regard to an advance, if only the waters of heaven and earth would let them. Since then I have conversed this evening with a citizen of Florence who had talked with Salvalago of Pistoja, who came a couple of days ago from the camp, and relates that he has been several times within the past three weeks in the French and Spanish camps for the purpose of receiving certain prisoners, and that the statements of this Salvalago correspond more with what the Cardinal d’Amboise says than with the reports brought by the messenger from Savello. The end will explain all, and we must abide it in patience.
The Marquis of Mantua left here yesterday for Florence; he is ill of a quartan ague.
I recommend myself to your Lordships, quæ bene valeant.
Rome, 2 December, 1503.
P. S. — After having written the above, and whilst in the act of sealing it, your letter per express arrived, informing me of the capture of Don Michele. We had this news already yesterday morning, and I wrote you yesterday evening at length what the Pope wanted done in the matter, as you will also learn from the brief of his Holiness, which was sent with our letters. And as Giovanni Pandolfini has told me that they were safely sent last night, I do not repeat it now. And although your Lordships’ instructions had been fulfilled, I nevertheless sent the letters to his Eminence of Volterra at the palace; for it being now the third hour of night, persons in my position cannot with safety pass through the streets of Rome.
I recommend myself to your Lordships.
Magnificent Signori: —
I wrote two letters to your Lordships yesterday, which will be brought to you by the same courier, whose departure has been delayed until this evening, and who, according to what I hear, will not start for Florence until the third hour of night. I acknowledged in my last the receipt of your private despatch per express, containing the news of the capture of Don Michele. But as this news had already reached the Pope, as mentioned in my letter, and as his Holiness had already written to you, there was no occasion to do anything more in the matter. Nevertheless your Lordships’ letter was communicated to the Pope, and produced the same effect as mentioned in my letter of the 1st; that is to say, his Holiness manifested much pleasure, and then demanded with great earnestness to have Don Michele delivered to him. And he seemed confident that this request would not be refused, and to-day he said, smiling, that he wanted to talk with Don Michele and to learn some tricks from him, so as to enable him the better to govern the Church.
I have told your Lordships in my last of yesterday, that Pietro d’ Oviedo, together with an envoy of the Pope, was to have left this morning for Florence with the countersigns of the fortresses. Your Lordships must know that they have not yet started, for the reason that, as the Pope was negotiating for the amicable transfer of these fortresses, the Duke held back and wanted guarantees, and stood upon other trifles, and at the same time the Pope did not yet want to force him. The guarantees demanded by the Duke are that the Cardinal d’Amboise shall pledge himself in his own handwriting that all the Pope’s promises shall be carried out; in other words, that D’Amboise shall become surety for the good faith of the Pope. The Cardinal d’Amboise has until now refused to do this, and no one believes that he will be induced to consent to it in any way or at any price. And thus this matter has been discussed all day, and the final impression is that without any other pledges on the part of the Cardinal d’Amboise, Messer Pietro d’ Oviedo will start to-morrow morning with the countersigns, “and thus the Duke is little by little slipping into his grave.”
Certain young Roman gentlemen, followers of the Duke, came to-day to his Eminence of Volterra and complained that, whilst the Florentine merchants were well received at Rome, their own men and their effects that were with Don Michele had been seized and taken from them, in consequence of which they made these complaints, and even threats. His Eminence answered them sharply, saying that the Florentine merchants came to Rome unarmed and for a useful purpose, and not with the intent to do harm to any one; and that, if their men and things had been seized and spoliated, it was because of the injuries which they had in the past inflicted upon the inhabitants of the country, and because they had now come amongst them again without any guaranty or assurance not to do them fresh harm. These young men finally went away as they had come. His Eminence thinks, nevertheless, it would be well for you to gather all the facts and proofs of the case, and proceed the same as others who have been despoiled by the Duke. These have made public declaration of their grievances, and have proceeded against the Duke in the regular legal way, and their petitions have already been filed. Amongst these figure the Duke of Urbino, who claims two hundred thousand ducats, and the Cardinal San Giorgio, who claims fifty thousand ducats for account of his nephews. By adopting the same course yourselves, you would always be able to justify this late incident by proving the damages which you have suffered at the hands of the Duke.
The engagement of Gianpaolo Baglioni remains suspended, so far as your Lordships are concerned, for the reasons mentioned before, that the Cardinal d’Amboise is dissatisfied with him; for after having given Gianpaolo permission to go to Perugia, he ordered him to do several things, none of which he has done; and also because, despite of all the letters written and all the money paid him, he has never yet come here. His Eminence fears that, unless measures be taken to remedy this in some way, all the money paid by the king of France and D’Amboise to enable Baglioni to mount his troops may after all have been expended only for the benefit of some one else. And his Eminence of Volterra sees no other remedy than to have this business ratified by your guaranty, — which he thinks can be concluded here if Gianpaolo arrives here with his company before the departure of the Cardinal d’Amboise, so that he may talk and demonstrate to him that everything is in order. His Eminence furthermore is of the opinion, that, if D’Amboise should have left before Gianpaolo arrives here, you should do your utmost to bring this matter to a conclusion before the Cardinal shall have left Tuscany; otherwise he fears the result may be such as has been indicated above.
Rome, 3 December, 1503.
Magnificent Signori: —
I write to-day more for the sake of keeping up my habit of writing to your Lordships daily, than from necessity; and for news I must refer you to my letters of yesterday and the day before, which were sent by a courier from Lyons, who was despatched this evening. The only thing of interest here is that a public consistory was held yesterday, and the names of those Cardinals were published whose nominations had been contemplated, as I had communicated to your Lordships in a previous letter. I must also inform you that the French have received intelligence through a man sent here on purpose, and who arrived two hours since, that the Spaniards had some boats that had been brought by land, and which they placed upon the Garigliano, intending to run them against the bridge constructed by the French, and some of these barges were filled with combustibles and lighted, so as to try and burn the bridge. At a given signal these barges were launched upon the river, and at the same moment a land attack was made upon the redoubt which is held by the French on the other side of the river. Both these assaults were gallantly repulsed by the French, some three hundred Spaniards were killed, and the barges were captured and sunk. Thus the story is related by a Frenchman.
His Holiness goes to-morrow to St. John Lateran; a splendid solemnity has been arranged for the occasion, and unless the weather interferes it will be a brilliant festivity.
It is now the eighteenth hour, and should anything else occur to-day, it will be communicated to you to-morrow.
I recommend myself to your Lordships.
Rome, 14 December, 1503.
Magnificent Signori: —
My last to your Lordships was of day before yesterday, in which I gave you the news up to that time. But I had scarcely written it when Pietro d’ Oviedo left, together with the Pope’s representatives, and having the countersigns, etc., etc. As they were to travel by post, they ought to be in Florence by this time, and your Lordships will have seen them in person. The Bishop of Ragusa must also have arrived, and you will likewise have spoken with him, and agreed with him as to the nature of the assistance which he is to furnish you, according as circumstances shall require. Since then nothing is thought of here but festivities.
The Pope went yesterday with great solemnity to St. John Lateran, whence he did not return until the fourth hour of night. On Sunday he goes to San Paolo, and he has ordered that the tabernacles, the triumphal arches, and the temples that have been erected in the streets shall remain, for he wants to show himself on Sunday with the same pomp. I have received a letter from your Lordships of the 2d, and although the news of the arrival of the Count Pittigliano in Romagna would have been of interest, yet all the above circumstances have prevented me from doing anything in the matter. The Pope and all Rome look forward to the arrival of Don Michele as a great occasion, and would like to have it happen on Sunday, so that they might make use of him in the triumphal procession; but the Pope will be glad to have him whenever he may come.
We have no further news from the French and the Spaniards. The Cardinal d’Amboise and the Spanish ambassador have commenced their conferences. It is said that the Pope has sent a commissioner to Gonsalvo to try and bring about a truce between them, and there is fair prospect of success unless some mishap occurs meantime.
In a previous letter I informed your Lordships that his Eminence of Amboise was dissatisfied with Gianpaolo, and that it was to be feared that, after having mounted his company by means of French money, some one else might have the benefit of it. There seems to be no way of preventing this except to induce Gianpaolo to have an interview with the Cardinal d’Amboise, either here in Rome or somewhere on the road, and to make him protest to the Cardinal that he wished to serve him, and declare himself ready to obey his orders; and that then you should endeavor to complete his engagement, from which you would derive great advantages. But if Gianpaolo should not have such an interview with D’Amboise, the difficulty could not be remedied, for the Cardinal has become terribly embittered against Gianpaolo, and has repeatedly sworn as a soldier, that, if Gianpaolo does not return him his money, he would, if he could not injure him in any other way, hand him over as a prey to any one with whom he could come to an understanding about it, no matter whether Italian or Ultramontane. The Cardinal d’Amboise says that he has heard that Baglioni has pledged himself to Bartolommeo d’ Alviano never to enter the kingdom of Naples against the Spaniards; and certain indications which he has noted since make the Cardinal believe that this is undoubtedly true. To prevent such an evil, his Eminence of Volterra and myself have written this evening to Gianpaolo, each one separately, in plain language, enjoining him to endeavor to have an interview with the Cardinal d’Amboise on the road, if he desired to avoid being blamed as an enemy of France, and no friend of your Lordships. I have given you this information so that you may know how the matter stands, and that you may reflect upon it and take such steps as you may judge to be most conducive to the common interest. The Cardinal d’Amboise leaves, as I have said, either on Friday or Saturday next, and the Imperial ambassador will accompany him. D’Amboise has been confirmed Legate of France.
His Eminence of Volterra desires to remind your Lordships to send two or three deputies to meet him at least one day’s journey this side of Sienna, so as to be able to confer with him in relation to the interests of our republic, and especially about Montepulciano and Pisa. He also suggests that you should send some one to accompany him, and who should be present at his interview with the Emperor. His Eminence thinks that this would in every respect be most useful.
The Duke Valentino remains in the apartment of the Cardinal d’Amboise, but is treated very ceremoniously. Yesterday, on account of the festivities, he was placed under the guard and surveillance of Castel del Rio, who took him to dine at the Belvedere, and treated him with great respect all day. It is believed that after the departure of D’Amboise the Duke will be confined for good in the Castel San Angelo.
I recommend myself to your Lordships, quæ felices valeant.
Rome, 6 December, 1503.
Magnificent Signori: —
Your Lordships will bear in mind what I wrote you on the 28th ultimo. The Imperial ambassador has again been with the Cardinal Volterra, and said to him: “Your Eminence does not seem to think of what I have told you several times, nor have you ever given me an answer. And yet it would be well to think of it and answer me. And I tell you again now that the Emperor will come into Italy, and intends to obtain two advantages from Pisa; namely, a certain amount of money at once, and a regular revenue for the future; and that he will give the possession of that city to whoever makes him the highest offer for it.” Our Cardinal replied that he could not give him an answer upon these points; but as he was going himself with the Cardinal d’Amboise to Florence, he could there confer with your Lordships and get an answer from you direct. The ambassador agreed to wait until then; and in speaking afterwards of the proposed treaty between the Emperor and the king of France, he said that treaty would certainly be concluded in the course of a month, and that amongst other conditions it would contain one to the effect that the parties would protect the interests of each other’s allies, except in cases where either of the sovereigns had special claims, even though adverse to the ally of the other. The ambassador added, that the Venetians sought to make such a treaty a ground for claiming to be allowed to keep what they had taken. Cardinal Volterra replied, that such a proceeding would deprive the Emperor Maximilian and King Louis XII. of a most favorable opportunity for increasing their power in Italy, and to hold their own states securely, as it would make a formidable state like Venice still more powerful, and would make a feeble state like Florence weaker than before. And therefore he could not help saying, even though his words were insufficient to prove it, that it was evident to him that your Lordships were disposed to come to an arrangement with the Venetians before any one else had thought of it. And that you would only look to the interests of Florence at the least suspicion that your republic was to be dismembered and left to the mercy of others.
His Eminence of Volterra seemed to think that these words checked the ambassador in some measure, and caused him to reflect, and that he went away in a less arrogant mood.
The ambassador will pass through Florence with D’Amboise, and meanwhile your Lordships will have reflected as to how to treat him in relation to the interests of our republic, etc., etc.*
Magnificent Signor: —
I have received your letter of the 21st, and although I could not make out the signature I thought I recognized the handwriting and the style. But even if I were mistaken, the reply which I address to you will neither be out of place nor from the purpose. You point out the danger to which the rest of Romagna is exposed by the loss of Faenza, and you intimate that the Florentines have need to think of their own interests, because others who could and should do so pay no attention to them. You fear lest the Pope had given his consent to the proceedings of the Venetians, and you make yourself illusions as to the final result of French affairs, and urge me to renew my instances and solicitations. Although all this had already been officially written to me, and although I have replied to it as fully as you could possibly desire, and so that you could have formed a definite opinion on reading my letters, yet I will not fail in my duty to you; and in accordance with your request I will answer your questions in very plain language, if my communications to the government have been too diplomatic, which, however, I do not believe to be the case.
You express the wish that for once the Pope and the Cardinal d’Amboise should, inthe Romagna business, employ other means than mere words, which you deem insufficient remedies for what the Venetians have done and continue to do; and you have caused both Pope and Cardinal to be solicited upon that point in a way that you know. The results of this have been those resolutions which have been communicated to you; for the Pope hopes that the Venetians will have to act in a manner that will be satisfactory to him; and the Cardinal d’Amboise believes that he will still be in time to remedy matters, either by a peace, a truce, or a victory. And both Pope and Cardinal are so fixed in their opinions, that they will not listen to any one who suggests anything different from their own views. We may conclude, therefore, that you need not expect either troops or money from here, but only briefs, letters, or monitory embassies, which may be more or less vigorous according to the considerations which the Pope and the king of France may have to observe. And what these may or should be you will be best able to judge yourselves, keeping in view the condition of Italy, and then in thinking of your own interests after having seen and examined what may be done by others for your security, and after having seen and examined what you may expect from here. As to what may be hoped for from this latter point, I cannot write more fully than what I have done already. I will add merely, that if the Cardinal d’Amboise asks for anything else, such as the services of Gianpaolo, or for your troops, you must let him know that you cannot spare either, as you want them yourselves for the defence of your republic. . . . . But you cannot reason with him on this subject without his getting as mad as the devil, and calling God and men to witness that he would take up arms himself if any one but touched a hair of your head, or that he would lend his help, so that Romagna should not be exposed to greater dangers; and for this he thinks he will always be in time, as has been said. This is the substance of what I am able to write respecting the state of things here; and I do not believe that any one could write you anything else, if he wished to tell you the truth.
Magnificent Signori: —
I wrote the enclosed yesterday, and by the present I desire to inform your Lordships that the Cardinal d’Amboise leaves to-morrow without fail, and will pass to-morrow night at Bracciano. All the other Cardinals of this court have called upon him to-day, and he is really in great favor with everybody; for he has always been found easy of access and more affable than what was anticipated, he being a grand seigneur and a Frenchman. According to what I have been told confidentially, the Duke Valentino will remain here, although it is publicly said that he will accompany the Cardinal. I would remind your Lordships once more to send some one to meet him, for the reasons given in a previous letter.
I have spoken with Antonio Segni about the case of Mottino, and he said to me this evening that by to-morrow he would have something to tell me. I beg to remind your Lordships about the plundering of Don Michele, so that those Roman gentlemen may not act as Paolo Orsino has done. In a former letter I have written to your Lordships as to what should be done in this matter, and I refer to it again now.
Rome, 7 December, 1503.
Magnificent Signori: —
Yesterday I received your letters of the 4th and 7th; as they contain nothing but the acknowledgment of my many letters up to that day, and the arrival of Messer Pietro d’ Oviedo and the Bishop of Ragusa, and a reference to what you intend to write in other letters, I have nothing to say in reply. I write the present for the sake of keeping up the habit of writing, and, as it will contain nothing of special importance, I shall send it by the regular courier. I have already written, on the 6th and 7th, respecting the departure of the Cardinal d’Amboise; and as those letters were sent by a courier from Lyons, despatched in haste by the Del Bene, I doubt not but what they have reached you by this time.
The Cardinal d’Amboise did leave yesterday, but did not go as far as Bracciano; in point of fact, he went no farther than about two miles from here. He will lodge at Bracciano to-night, and will then go on to Florence to proceed from there into Lombardy. I do not repeat what I have several times written, about sending some one with him into Germany, assuming that your Lordships have already decided these matters.
The Duke Valentino continues to occupy a portion of the apartment which the Cardinal d’Amboise had in the palace, and was guarded to-night by some of the Pope’s men. It is believed that, for the purpose of avoiding this inconvenience, the Pope will have him shut up in the castle, although many things are rumored amongst the people, such as that the Pope has promised the Cardinal d’Amboise to release the Duke so soon as he shall have obtained those fortresses from him; and that the Duke’s daughter is to marry the Little Prefect, and that she is to have Romagna for her dower, etc., etc.
Your Lordships charge me to write you what the French and the Spaniards are doing, and what their condition, where they are, and what is said and believed about them. In reply, I say that I wrote fully on this subject on the 21st ultimo, and that both armies are in the same condition as then, only worse in proportion, as they have been suffering from want so much longer. To sum up the whole, I say, that several weeks ago the French threw a bridge over the Garigliano which enabled them to make themselves masters of the opposite side of the river, where they threw up a redoubt, which they still hold. But there are no more French on that side of the river than those who guard the redoubt, which amount to about two hundred men. All the rest of the French army is on this side of the Garigliano; about one fourth is near the bridge, the other three fourths are scattered in quarters, some five, six, and ten miles off. The Spaniards are on the other side of the Garigliano, where they have cut a trench about a mile’s distance from the French redoubt, and above this trench they have thrown up two bastions, which are provided with a guard. A good part of their army is near by, the rest is dispersed in quarters. Such is the relative position of the two armies; they can neither attack nor force each other, being prevented by the river, and the rain that has fallen and continues to fall. Both are suffering the greatest discomforts, and it is believed that the one that can endure it longest will be victorious; but which of the two is likely to endure it longest is impossible to say at this moment, for here, as well as elsewhere, people are influenced in what they say by their passions only. And even those who come from the camp vary in their opinions, so that we can do nothing but quietly await the result. It is true that within the past few days the Spanish have made several attempts to destroy the bridge and drive the French out of their redoubt, but thus far they have not succeeded. Such is the state of things with regard to the armies; and so I wrote you on the 21st, since which the aspect of matters has not changed, and I should not know how to describe it differently to your Lordships. Should any change occur I will advise you of it, but if there is no change I should not know what to write you, wishing to tell you the truth about the matter.
In one of my previous letters I informed your Lordships that, in accordance with your instructions, I had spoken with Antonio Segni. To-day the said Antonio called to see me, and told me that he had spoken with Mottino, and learned from him, in substance, that his engagement with the French had expired on the last day of San Andrea, and that he would not renew it at any price. True, he says that he is not able to get his discharge from them, although he has been constantly after San Severino to obtain it. He expresses himself well disposed to serve your Lordships, but says that he is in no hurry. He has two galleys, but will not serve with only one, wishing to have both engaged, for which he would be satisfied to receive nine hundred ducats per month, and would give any security that your Lordships might require. He says furthermore, that, besides his own galleys, a brother of his has three brigantines, and that for three hundred florins per month he would immediately enter your Lordships’ service with all three. Your Lordships willnow consider what is best to be done in the matter, and send a reply.
I recommend myself to your Lordships.
Rome, 9 December, 1503.
Magnificent Signori: —
My last of the 9th, which I sent by the regular courier, will reach you probably at the same time with this one, which will go by an extra courier that is to be despatched this evening. I informed you in my last of the departure of the Cardinal d’Amboise, and of what I had learnt from Antonio Segni with regard to Mottino’s disposition. Since then I have received your last of the 8th, and have conferred with Castel del Rio respecting what you write about the Bishop of Ragusa and the two envoys with the countersigns. He showed himself fully informed on these subjects, and said that the Pope could not be better satisfied with your Lordships than he was. San Giorgio, to whom I also communicated your advices, assured me of the same thing. It is evident therefore that the Bishop of Ragusa has written favorably to the Pope, and given him an account of what your Lordships have done. Both Castel del Rio and San Giorgio showed that they knew the coming of the deputies from Furli; and when they arrive, his Eminence of Volterra or myself will carry out your Lordships’ instructions. Not having heard anything further of Don Michele, I have nothing to tell your Lordships respecting him; but should anything come to my knowledge, I will at once adviseyou of it. I would most respectfully remind your Lordships to reply to the Pope’s brief, and in such manner as will tend to confirm his Holiness still more in his benevolent disposition towards our republic.
I note what you write touching Citerna, and his Eminence tells me that in places of that kind it is usual to send only a Castellan to guard and take care of them. Your Lordships should therefore decide upon this matter, and send the name of the Castellan, provided you conclude to take that course; and let us know at the same time where we are to obtain the money for the expenses.
As to your grievances against the Duke Valentino, it is necessary that whoever may be charged by your Lordships to attend to this matter should have a power of attorney from you for that purpose. You should therefore appoint some one here to attend to the matter, or perhaps it would be still better if you were to place it in the hands of one of the ambassadors whom you are going to send here.
The Duke Valentino remains in the same place where he was when I wrote you on the 9th, and we are waiting to see what the states of Romagna will do with regard to him. We have no further news from the French than what I have given you in my former letters; it is believed that, if the weather continues as at present, the two armies may be able one way or another to attempt some movement against each other.
Your Lordships direct me to leave with the Cardinal d’Amboise for Florence, and in case he should have left already, that I should come per post so as to arrive before him. Your letter came only yesterday, and D’Amboise left on Saturday, so that I should have to come by post, which would be painful and difficult for me, being afflicted with a malady that is very prevalent here at Rome, namely, cough and catarrh, which affect the head and the chest, so that the violent jolting of the diligence would do me serious injury. Anxious always to obey your Lordships’ orders, I should nevertheless have taken the risk, but his Eminence of Volterra would not consent to my leaving; for it seemed to him that, inasmuch as your ambassadors will not be here before twenty days, according to what you write, it would be very onerous for his Eminence, and injurious to the interests of Florence, if he had to remain here without some one of whose services he might avail in public matters. His Eminence was so decided upon this point, that, in the hope that your Lordships may not disapprove of it, I yielded readily to the authority of his Eminence, and influenced by his devotion to our republic, and by the confidence which all Florence reposes in him, and which he so deservedly enjoys. Nevertheless I shall conform strictly to your Lordships’ further orders.
Rome, 12 December, 1503.
P. S. — I have forgotten to tell you that certain Roman gentlemen have handed the enclosed list of things which they have lost to the Cardinal Volterra, who promised them that this list shall be forwarded to your Lordships, and their case commended to you. Your Lordships will please send us what reply you may think proper.
Magnificent Signori: —
As this courier leaves unexpectedly I write in all haste to inform you of the latest events here. Yesterday evening news came to the French that the infantry of Gonsalvo, unable any longer to endure the privations they are suffering, mainly in consequence of want of money, have suddenly broken up their camp; so that Gonsalvo with his cavalry was obliged to withdraw to Sessa, where there is much sickness. This retreat was effected with so much noise and confusion that the French heard it, and sent a body of some twenty horse across the river to reconnoitre. These found that the Spaniards had broken up their camp, and had abandoned all their heavy baggage and things of little value. This detachment of French cavalry attacked the Spanish rear, and captured the baggage of Signor Prospero Colonna. This is the account which the French give of this affair, and they have exhibited letters to that effect. It is supposed that if this be true, and the weather permits, the French will be able to advance. Your Lordships shall be advised of whatever happens. I have some few other matters to mention, which I will do in my next, as this courier can wait no longer.
14 December, 1503.
Magnificent Signori: —
I wrote your Lordships briefly to-day, and sent the letter by a courier despatched by the French here, which did not afford me the time to write more fully. Still I informed you of the news which the French here had from their army on the Garigliano; namely, that the Spaniards’ infantry, from want of necessaries, and not being regularly paid, broke up their camp contrary to the will of Gonsalvo, who was in consequence obliged also to retreat with his cavalry to Sessa, where a great many of his troops are reported to be dying. It is also stated that the French, on hearing the noise of this retreat, sent some twenty horse to reconnoitre, who found the Spanish camp broken up as though in flight, and much of their heavy baggage, especially their cooking utensils, abandoned; and that these twenty horsemen had captured a portion of Signor Prospero Colonna’s baggage. This is all I have heard; should I learn anything more, I will report it to your Lordships. I have heard from Paolo Rucellai, who is on very friendly terms with the Orsini, that they have not yet received their quarter’s pay, according to promise, and that they had announced to Gonsalvo their intention to withdraw. We hear from all sides that there is great scarcity of money amongst the Spanish forces.
In a former letter I made known to your Lordships that the Signor Luca Savello had sent one of his men here to recommend himself, and to declare that he could no longer submit to the privations he was experiencing for want of money. Your Lordships have not yet replied to this, and Signor Luca’s messenger is in despair, and I know not what to say to him. Besides this Messer Ambrogio da Landriano came here yesterday in person with a letter of credit from the Bailli to the Cardinal, and complained bitterly to his Eminence and myself of the privations and misery which himself and his company are suffering; and he protests that, if the French had not supplied him with money, they would have died of hunger; and as he could not ask them for any more, he would be obliged to leave with his company, to the great discredit of your Lordships. That he was most unwilling to do this, having until now maintained his company as well as any other captain; and that out of his five hundred men, there were forty mounted and ten crossbowmen. He wants pay for at least one quarter and a half, besides the one hundred ducats due him on his former engagement.
I have promised him to write and recommend his case to your Lordships, which I do herewith, and beg you will send an answer which is so eagerly looked for. Messer Ambrogio left the camp eight days ago, and reports great scarcity of forage, bread, and shelter, and that there are not nine hundred good men-at-arms and only six thousand infantry left in camp, whilst the Spanish have received reinforcements of infantry. Nevertheless he thinks that the news of the retreat of the Spanish forces, which he learned here, is most likely to be true; for he affirms that they were not able to pay for provisions, and that for several weeks they had forced the people of the country to bring them supplies. But as they probably cannot force them any more, they have themselves been compelled to go and seek supplies wherever they can be had. He reports three causes that until now have prevented the French from being victorious. The first and most important is, that they have lost so much time under the walls of Rome, — the very time that would have been most suitable for advancing without being impeded either by the river or by rain, for Gonsalvo was not then prepared to encounter them. The second cause was, that they had not sufficient horses for their artillery, which prevented them from making more than two miles per day. And the third was the severe winter, which still continues; and Messer Ambrogio affirms that whenever they had attempted any movement the weather had become twice as bad as before.
With all this he avers that, even if Gonsalvo had not beaten a retreat, he would not have ventured to attack the French, on account of their being in a very strong position and ready to give battle to whoever might attack them. When asked as to the chances of an advance, he said, that although Gonsalvo had retreated, yet if the ground did not dry up, and when dry, if they were not provided with more oxen, buffaloes, or carthorses, it would be impossible for them to move their artillery. He reports that the Bailli d’Occan is greatly dissatisfied at not being paid; and his Eminence of Volterra suggests that, if your Lordships think that you can relieve yourselves of that expense, you should lose no time in doing it.
Your Lordships’ letters of the 10th and 11th, directed to his Eminence of Volterra, under the supposition that I was on the road to Florence, were received to-day. The reason of my not having left was explained in my previous letter; it was that the Cardinal deemed my presence here necessary, and objected to my departure. We learn from your letters the reason why we have no news from Pietro, or Messer Carlo, or from the Bishop of Perugia. It will all be explained in the quarter where it is required; and the same with regard to what you say respecting Don Michele and the news from France. All this will be most gratifying to his Holiness, and particularly the news of Don Michele; and we shall see to it that he is sent for at such place as your Lordships may indicate as most convenient to yourselves.
I recommend myself to your Lordships, quæ bene valeant.
Rome, 14 December, 1503.
P. S. — I must not omit to tell your Lordships that some days ago a former secretary of the Cardinal San Angelo has been arrested for the purpose of learning the particulars of the death of that Cardinal.* And it is reported that he confessed two days since that he had poisoned him by order of Pope Alexander VI., and that he will be publicly burnt, and that the Cardinal’s cook and one of his butlers have fled. They are beginning here to take these matters up again. The Duke Valentino remains in the same situation which I have explained several times before. I beg to remind your Lordships that if you intend to proceed against him you must send a mandate to whomever you think proper, with power to substitute a procurator, etc., etc.
Magnificent Signori: —
My last despatches were of the 14th; the first, together with a short letter, was sent by a courier despatched by the French here; and the second I intrusted to Giovanni Pandolfini, who told me he had sent it by the Ferrara post. This Giovanni complains that he has not been reimbursed for the expense of sending it, and has begged me to remind your Lordships of the fact. I do so now constrained by necessity, for if anything were to occur of which it would be important to give you immediate information, I should be without the means of doing so unless the claims of Giovanni had been satisfied. He also tells me that some one has written him, that, apart from the other matter, his services in forwarding despatches are not appreciated, which has increased his dissatisfaction.
In my last letter I wrote you what I had learned about the Spaniards, and what had been told me by Messer Ambrogio da Landriano, who sends one of his men to Florence with letters from the Cardinal Volterra and myself, recommending him to your Lordships. I have nothing else to say of Messer Ambrogio, except that I await your reply with impatience, so that I may know what to say to him. The news respecting the Spaniards is confirmed, as you will see from the tenor of an extract from a letter written at Gaeta which I enclose.* We are waiting to see what will come next; there are many who think that this affair will facilitate the conclusion of peace, unless some greater disaster should follow. Your Lordships will be promptly advised of whatever happens. Your last letters of the 11th, directed to Cardinal Volterra, have been communicated by him to the Pope, who was in the highest degree pleased at the surrender to him of Don Michele. It has not yet been decided when and how he is to be brought here. Our Cardinal thinks it will all be settled to-morrow. His Holiness was also much pleased with the news from France, but regretted that his envoys had been delayed by the snow; he bears it patiently, however, as the cause of it is a power higher than himself, and thus he remains in suspense as to the results of the mission of his envoys. The Venetian ambassador is trying to placate his Holiness, but as yet he has not found the way of doing it. He is most assiduous in paying court to San Giorgio. Some persons here fear that he is endeavoring by his intervention to induce the Pope to acquiesce in the Venetians retaining Faenza and Rimini, and that in return they will favor the restoration of Furli and Imola to the nephews of San Giorgio. It is believed, however, that the Pope will not consent to this, nor are there wanting persons who are endeavoring to find out and thwart this intrigue. We are awaiting your final decision respecting Citerna, and your mandate in the matter of the Duke Valentino.
I recommend myself to your Lordships, quæ bene valeant.
Rome, 16 December, 1503.
Magnificent Signori: —
The bearer of this is one of the men of Messer Ambrogio da Landriano, who sends him to Florence to remind your Lordships of his necessities; and as I wrote you at length on the 14th upon this subject, I shall not enlarge upon it any further now; but refer to what I then said, and which will be fully explained by the present messenger to your Lordships, to whom I recommend him and Messer Ambrogio, as well as myself.
Rome, 16 December, 1503.
[* ]Pope Alexander VI. died August 18th, 1503, and on the 22d of September of the same year Francesco Piccolomini was chosen his successor, who took the name of Pius III. He died on the 18th of October, after having held the Pontificate only twenty-six days.On the 1st of November of the same year Giuliano della Rovere, Cardinal of San Pietro in Vincola, was elected Pope, taking the name of Julius II. In the interval whilst the Papal chair was vacant in consequence of the death of Pius III., Machiavelli was sent to Rome, chiefly to the Cardinal Francesco Soderini, to whom he presented the following credentials, in the original on parchment: —
“Ex Palatio Nostro die 23 Octobris MDIII.
“Priores Libertatiset Vexillifer Iustitiæ Populi Florentini.
[† ]The Cardinal Rouen was Georges d’Amboise, Archbishop of Rouen; the Cardinal San Giorgio was Raffaello Riario di Savona; San Severino was the Cardinal Federigo San Severino of Milan, with the title of San Teodoro; the Cardinal Ascanio was Maria Sforza, son of the Duke of Milan, with the title of Cardinale dei SS. Tito e Modesto Martiri; Cardinale Giuliano della Rovere had the title of San Pietro in Vincola; Antonio Pallavicini of Genoa was Cardinale di Santa Prassede.
[* ]The ambassadors appointed on the election of Pius III. were Messer Cosimo de’ Pazzi, Bishop of Arezzo; Messer Antonio Maligonella, Messer Francesco Pepi, Matteo di Lorenzo Strozzi, and Tommaso Paolo Antonio Soderini.
[† ]This was the Cardinal Francesco Soderini of Florence, Bishop of Volterra, with the title of Santa Susanna.
[* ]This first despatch is missing.
[* ]This “Little Prefect” (Prefettino) was Maria della Rovere, son of Giovanni, Duke of Urbino, and Joanna Montefeltro. Immediately on his father’s death at Sinigaglia, in 1501, he succeeded at the age of eleven years, under the guardianship of his mother and his uncles, the then Cardinal Giuliano (now Pope Julius II.) and the Duke Guido, not only to the lordship of Sinigaglia and to that of other states, but also to the Prefecture of Rome. He married Eleanor, the daughter of the Marquis Francesco Gonzaga; he was general in the service of the Church, of the Florentines, and of the Venetians, and died in the year 1558.
[* ]This passage, and others in the subsequent letters included within quotation marks, are supposed to have been written in cipher.
[* ]The following is the letter of recommendation addressed by the Cardinal Soderini in favor of Messer Ennio to the Illustrious Signoria of the Republic of Florence: —
Magnificent Signori: —
The bearer of this is Messer Ennio, Bishop of Veroli, and ambassador of his Excellency the Duke Valentino, who sends him to you to negotiate and conclude an arrangement with your Lordships, for which purpose he has been furnished with the most ample powers. I have deemed it my duty to give him this letter, not only because of his own personal qualities, but also because his Excellency the Duke has again requested me to beg you to concede free passage through your territory for his men-at-arms, who have started three days ago on the road to Florence; and that your Lordships will also send a safe-conduct for his Excellency’s own person. The Duke is at this moment at Ostia, but as the weather is favorable this morning, it is possible that he may have sailed for Spezzia; but Messer Ennio will be able to give you more particular information upon this point.
I recommend myself to your Lordships, quæ bene valeant.
F. de Soderini,Cardinal of Volterra.Bome, 20 November, 1508.
[* ]The above letter and the following one were taken from a manuscript of Giuliano de’ Ricci, who says that he copied them thus imperfectly because they were written on a piece of paper that was all torn and spoiled. The next letter, No. XLII., was directed to one of the principal citizens of Florence, probably the Gonfaloniere Pietro Soderini.
[* ]This Cardinal was Giovanni Michele, from Venice, nephew of Paul II. It was said that Pope Alexander VI. had him poisoned by his cook, Ezzelino da Furli.
[* ]The following is the letter referred to: —
Copy of an extract from a letter dated at Gaeta, 10 December, 1503, and written by Vincenzo di Laudato to Piero Cavalcanti at Rome.
[* ]After this letter, Machiavelli returned to Florence, as appears from the following letter from the Cardinal of Volterra, Soderini: —
Magnificent Signori: —
My last was of the 15th, and to-day I have yours of the 14th, which demands but a brief reply, seeing that I have attended to all that your Lordships have directed me to do.
You will also have the verbal report of Niccolo Machiavelli, who goes to Florence per post, in obedience to your orders, anxious to do his utmost, notwithstanding his indisposition, and contrary to my wishes. For, as I have several times written to your Lordships, I was desirous that there should be some accredited agent here, there being many matters here which it is not suitable for me to attend to or to speak about; nor can I go to many places where a minister can go with entire propriety. I beg your Lordships therefore to provide for this, as it is greatly needed in this place.
Niccolo will report particularly upon all other matters; and your Lordships ought to hold him very dear, for his fidelity, zeal, and prudence leave nothing to wish for in him. You will hear fully about Citerna matters, and about the business of those Roman gentlemen, which ought to be attended to and provided for. They are of importance now, and may be much more so hereafter, as similar instances have proved. Et bene valete DD. VV. quibus me commendo.
V. tanquam F. F. de SoderinisCardinalis Vulterranus.