Front Page Titles (by Subject) LETTER XXXIV. - 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 XXXIV. - 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:
The text is in the public domain.
Fair use statement:
Magnificent Signori: —
The enclosed letters of yesterday and the day before will inform your Lordships of what has taken place here since my letters of the 26th and 27th. This morning his Eminence of Volterra told me that he had again been with the Pope, and that, in speaking of the affairs of Romagna, his Holiness said: “This Venetian ambassador makes a great outcry about what I said in the consistory, and goes about complaining to the whole world on the subject.” His Eminence replied that his Holiness ought to learn from this how much noise these Venetians made about his words, whilst they themselves were unwilling to be reproached for their acts. And that his Holiness ought to be the more incensed by their acts, as they were committed against the Church, etc., etc. The Pope having thereupon asked him whether he had any new measures to suggest, his Eminence replied, that it seemed to him that his Holiness ought to request the Cardinal d’Amboise, before leaving Rome, to order some lances into the province of Parma; and moreover he ought to leave Gianpaolo in Tuscany, so that he could readily be sent to the frontiers of Romagna, and could be made use of either in reality or by way of demonstration, according to circumstances. These two things he thought would not be difficult for D’Amboise to do, for the troops would anyhow have to go into winter quarters, and therefore it ought to be immaterial to him whether they were at Parma or elsewhere. That Gianpaolo was not needed in camp, as there was already too much cavalry there, and that perchance, if a truce were concluded, as was hoped for, he would also have to go into winter quarters. His Eminence of Volterra furthermore reminded his Holiness that he ought promptly to engage those Condottieri whom he intended to take into his pay, in addition to the Duke of Urbino, who seemed disposed to take some of the Colonnese into his own pay. He related to him also, that there had been some negotiations during the past year, through the intervention of the king of France, to effect a union between your Lordships and the cities of Sienna, Bologna, and Ferrara, but that Pope Alexander VI. in his unlimited desire for domination had always opposed it, lest such an alliance might be directed against him; that it would be well, however, for his Holiness to resume these negotiations, and that, if he were to take them in hand, he would doubtless succeed, and that very soon. His Eminence pointed out to the Pope what good would result from it, and how such an alliance would insure peace and quiet to all those states as well as to the Church, and add greatly to the consideration of his Holiness. His Eminence told me that the Pope listened quietly, and with seeming pleasure, to all his arguments, and said that he would endeavor to have D’Amboise do what his Eminence had suggested, and that he would engage the Condottieri as soon as possible. His Holiness said, moreover, that the proposed alliance pleased him much, and that he would promote it to the extent of his power; in fact, that, so far as he was concerned, he was ready to do anything to bring it about. After that they talked of the Duke Valentino, from which it appeared that the Pope does not yet treat the Duke as a prisoner for life. He has sent him to Magliana, seven miles from here, where he is guarded; and in this way the Pope is trying to make him pliable, and to get his countersign from him by agreement, so that it may not be said of him that he had obtained it by force, lest the governors of those fortresses, under such an impression, should undo the whole by giving those places into the hands of some one else instead of the Pope; and therefore he wanted the Duke’s countersign by agreement, as I have said. The agreement will certainly contain the conditions that the Pope is to have those fortresses, and that then the Duke will be allowed to go free. Perhaps there may be a question as to some compensation, or it may even contain a promise of their being restored after a while to the Duke. What the result of all this will be, I cannot say; nor is it easy to form a judgment in the matter, for the Duke’s affairs have undergone a thousand mutations since I have been here, though in truth these changes have always been downward.
To-day at dinner-time I received your letter of the 27th, in reply to mine of the 25th, and announcing the arrival of Messer Ennio, together with the news of Imola, etc., etc. I applied immediately for an audience of his Holiness, and, presenting myself at his feet, I communicated to him the contents of your letters. In reply his Holiness referred, the same as on former occasions, to his intentions against the Venetians; and as to Messer Ennio, the Pope expressed himself pleased to have the information and the particulars of the way in which the affair had passed off; adding merely that your Lordships should take care to withdraw your troops. To which I replied, that your Lordships had thought of all this, and would act in such manner as not to set a bad example to the Venetians; and that, on the other hand, you would do your utmost to prevent any inconvenience arising from it. His Holiness told me that he had heard of the news from Tosignano, which he regretted greatly, and thanked your Lordships for your offer.
For information respecting the French and Spanish armies I must refer you to what I have said in my previous letters on the subject. The Cardinal d’Amboise will leave here without fail next week. In conversing three or four days since with the most Reverend Monsignore Capaccio, he told me that he had received a benefice in Mugello, and was about to send the Bull and his executive letters; and he requested me to write to your Lordships to be pleased promptly to expedite them; reminding me that he had never asked for anything of you, but had on every occasion served you like a good Florentine. I replied to him in a suitable way.
His Eminence of Volterra, as I have repeatedly observed in my letters, never fails to do his duty to his country; but he would wish to avoid committing any error, and would not like that his too great desire to do what is right and good should mislead him. It would be very agreeable to him, therefore, if, besides your instructions with regard to Romagna, you would indicate to him what, in your Lordships’ judgment, would be the best thing for the Pope to do, so that his Eminence may act with less hesitation and more wisdom.
I recommend myself to your Lordships, quæ bene valeant.
Rome, 30 November, 1503.
The present letters are sent by a confidential express, for which your Lordships will pay to Giovanni Pandolfini the usual price. This express will leave at the fourth hour of the night.