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LETTER I. - Niccolo Machiavelli, The Historical, Political, and Diplomatic Writings, vol. 3 (Diplomatic Missions 1498-1505) 
The Historical, Political, and Diplomatic Writings of Niccolo Machiavelli, tr. from the Italian, by Christian E. Detmold (Boston, J. R. Osgood and company, 1882). Vol. 3.
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Magnificent Signori: —
I wrote 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.
[* ]This first despatch is missing.