Front Page Titles (by Subject) LETTER XXXV. - The Historical, Political, and Diplomatic Writings, vol. 3 (Diplomatic Missions 1498-1505)
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LETTER XXXV. - 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: —
After having despatched per confidential express my letters of the 28th, 29th, and 30th, I received your Lordships’ letter of the28th per express. I presented myself this morning at the feet of the Holy Father, and read to him your Lordships’ letters in the presence of his Eminence of Volterra. His Holiness listened as usual, and manifested the greatest displeasure at the news; he repeated to me that he would not rest nor leave anything undone that was in his power to do for the honor of the Church and the security of her friends; that until now he had done the greater part of what your Lordships had required him to do, that the briefs to the Venetians had been written and sent, and that the Bishop of Ragusa ought by this time to be at Sienna. Moreover, that as he had no troops he would ask the Cardinal d’Amboise to consent to his employing Gianpaolo Baglioni himself, and that he would to some extent endeavor to raise troops, and that thus he would do as much as he possibly could, and with such good will that nobody in reason could ask more of him. I replied to all this as seemed to me proper, and Cardinal Volterra did his duty, as ever is his wont, for he remained to-day, as on many previous occasions, to dine with his Holiness; and made it a point to remind and urge him to take the necessary steps for our security and for the honor of the Church. The Pope seemed to his Eminence in great agitation, for whilst on the one hand he is anxious to act, he feels on the other hand that he lacks the power. There is no doubt that, if the Pope can be kept in this mood, he will in course of time put those who now attempt to dishonor the Church in great peril. His Eminence also seems to think that your Lordships should urge the departure of the ambassadors, and that you should be liberal in those things that cost nothing, and bestow and distribute them according to circumstances.
When his Holiness was informed, according to what you write, that Ramazotto had entered the castle of Imola, he said that this captain was devoted to him, but that, if the report was true, it must have been done by order of the Cardinal San Giorgio, and that we could learn from him whether he knew anything about it. More than this I have not been able to get from his Holiness; but your Lordships will be able to judge and decide from these conclusions and resolutions what ought to be done. For, as has been said a thousand times, for the present there is nothing to be hoped for from here in the way of aid either of troops or of money, unless D’Amboise should consent that the Pope should engage the services of Gianpaolo, and every effort will be made to induce him to do so. There is no indication that those who influence his Holiness have had the least idea that the acts of aggression of the Venetians have been done with his consent, for they do not believe him capable of such duplicity, having never before known him such, and looking upon him rather as an impulsive man who acts regardless of all considerations. His Holiness says that his briefs have been sent off in duplicate to the Venetians; and as none have been presented to your Lordships, it is natural to conclude that he has abstained from sending you any, for the reason which he himself intimated to me yesterday evening when I spoke to him on the subject, as I wrote your Lordships in my letter of yesterday.
Whilst at the feet of his Holiness news came that Don Michele was taken prisoner, and that his company had been stripped by Gianpaolo Baglioni on the frontier between Tuscany and Perugia. His Holiness manifested great satisfaction at this, as the affair seemed to have succeeded entirely according to his wishes. His Eminence of Volterra remained with his Holiness, and went with him to dine in the Belvedere; whence he returned in the evening at about the twenty-fourth hour, and related to me that after my having left the Pope the Duke of Urbino sent him a letter, which Gianpaolo Baglioni had written to some one in his confidence, to the effect that the inhabitants of Castiglione and Cortona, aided by his troops, had stripped the men under Don Michele, and that he himself and Carlo Baglioni were prisoners at Castiglione Aretino, in the hands of your Lordships’ rectors. This news delighted the Pope in the highest degree, for it seemed to him as if the capture of this individual would afford the opportunity for discovering all the cruel robberies, murders, sacrilege, and endless other crimes that had been committed during the past eleven years in Rome, against God and mankind. And his Holiness said to Cardinal Volterra that he hoped that, since your Lordships had done so well in allowing your subjects to assist in stripping Don Michele and his troops, you would also render him the further service of delivering Don Michele into his hands. He immediately directed a brief to be written to your Lordships, demanding the said Don Michele, which brief will be forwarded at same time with this letter. His Eminence encouraged the Pope to hope that it would be done, and he counsels your Lordships most earnestly to surrender this individual, as being an enemy and despoiler of the Church. You will thus give his Holiness a proof of your devotion, which will be greatly prized by him, and will cost you nothing. His Eminence also told me that the condition of Romagna had formed the principal topic of their conversation all day, and that he had recognized in the Pope an earnest desire and great eagerness to remedy that state of things; that he intended to take troops into his pay, and to do all other things to enable him to show his teeth to everybody. And if these things are not immediately carried into effect it will be owing to the causes which I have explained in my letter of the 11th of last month, which keep him embarrassed; besides these he naturally perplexes himself a little, which another, who had more resources, would not do. But his great mind and the love of honor which his Holiness has always manifested will overcome all this.
The Bishop of Ragusa ought by this time to have arrived in Florence, and according to what the Cardinal Volterra tells me the Pope’s brief will be presented by him to your Lordships, unless it should have been previously sent to you; he also tells me that the Pope has written twice to Venice. So far as I am aware, there is nothing new from the French camp.
I recommend myself to your Lordships, quæ bene valeant.
Rome, 1 December, 1503.
P. S. — I had forgotten to tell your Lordships that the Duke Valentino is at the palace, where he was brought this morning, and is lodged in the chamber of the treasurer. I must also inform you that the Pope wishes your Lordships to send Don Michele under a strong guard as far as Acquapendente, where his Holiness will have ordered that he shall be received. His Eminence of Volterra seems to think that, if your Lordships wish to avoid the expense of sending him so far, you might have him taken to Perugia, and send immediate information of it here, so that the Pope may make arrangements to have him sent for there.