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LETTER III. - 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 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 The Savelli have withdrawn into their own places, and Giovanpaolo will lodge to-night at Ruosi, a place about fifteen miles from here on the road to Tuscany; his entire force, not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.