Front Page Titles (by Subject) LETTER XX. - The Historical, Political, and Diplomatic Writings, vol. 3 (Diplomatic Missions 1498-1505)
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LETTER XX. - 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 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.