Front Page Titles (by Subject) LETTER XXII. - 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:
LETTER XXII. - 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:
Liberty Fund, Inc. is a private, educational foundation established to encourage the study of the ideal of a society of free and responsible individuals.
The text is in the public domain.
Fair use statement:
This material is put online to further the educational goals of Liberty Fund, Inc. Unless otherwise stated in the Copyright Information section above, this material may be used freely for educational and academic purposes. It may not be used in any way for profit.
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.
[* ]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.