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LETTER II. - 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: —
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.