Front Page Titles (by Subject) LETTER XXXVII. - The Historical, Political, and Diplomatic Writings, vol. 3 (Diplomatic Missions 1498-1505)
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LETTER XXXVII. - 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 written you the enclosed I left the palace with the intention of seeing San Giorgio, for the object known to your Lordships. Having waited a long while without being able to see him, because of his occupations, I returned to the palace where I found his Eminence of Volterra, who had been with the Pope in relation to the affairs of the Duke Valentino. His Holiness had obtained the countersign for the fortresses from the Duke, and had ordered that Messer Pietro d’ Oviedo, as the Duke’s representative, and some other person as representing his Holiness, should leave this evening or early to-morrow for Florence on their way to Romagna. And as his Eminence had written a letter to your Lordships in my absence, which these commissioners should present to you, I must refer to that letter for all that has been agreed upon with the Pope, and for all that his Eminence thinks your Lordships ought to do in this matter. I will only say, by direction of his Eminence, that nothing should be left undone by your Lordships to enable the Pope to succeed in obtaining possession of these fortresses; and to reassure their castellans by becoming surety for the Pope’s promises, and even to expend some of your own money for that purpose; and altogether to act in such manner as to assure and dispose their inhabitants favorably, and to inspire them with the hope that the Pope will deal with those lords that have returned to him in the way they could wish; and in fact to employ all your skill to carry the matter through. For if the Pope succeeds in getting possession of the castles of Furli and Cesena, apart from the advantage that would result to Florence from such an impediment being placed in the way of the Venetians, his Holiness would also acknowledge himself under the greatest obligations to your Lordships.
The Duke Valentino has been removed from the apartment of the treasurer, and is now lodged in that of the Cardinal d’Amboise; he is trying to accompany that Cardinal to Florence, where he will go immediately after the coronation in St. John Lateran.
“D’Amboise received the Duke most unwillingly in his apartment, and is still more reluctant to take him with him. In the matter of receiving the Duke in his apartment, the Cardinal submitted for the sake of gratifying the Pope; but as to taking him with him to Florence, the Cardinal may perhaps not agree to that. And then if the Pope wants possession of those fortresses before the Duke leaves Rome, they could not be turned over to him in time, inasmuch as D’Amboise is on the point of starting. It is not easy therefore to form an opinion as to what the end of the Duke may be; but many conjecture that it will be a bad one.”
The Cardinal d’Amboise will leave immediately after the Pope shall have gone to St. John Lateran, which is to be on Monday or Tuesday next. The Emperor of Germany’s ambassador will accompany D’Amboise, who will endeavor to have an interview with the Emperor before proceeding on to France, in the hope of bringing about an agreement between those two sovereigns. His Eminence of Volterra thinks it would be well that your Lordships should at once send some one of experience and position as your representative to go with the Cardinal d’Amboise, who should meet him this side of Sienna, so that in passing through that city he might see whether some good arrangement might not be effected with Pandolfo. Our Cardinal seems to think it desirable that your Lordships should send some one with the Cardinal d’Amboise, who should be present at the interview with the Emperor, so as to remind him of the interests of our republic, and to find out whether anything is proposed to its detriment, and if so, to counteract it as far as possible, and promptly to advise your Lordships of it. Such a person should be a man of experience, and agreeable to the Cardinal d’Amboise, as well as devoted to our republic. When his Eminence of Volterra related to the Cardinal d’Amboise the message he had received that morning from Messer Luca Savello, which I have mentioned in the enclosed, D’Amboise shook his head and said that the fellow must be a fool; assuring his Eminence of Volterra, at the same time, that he had letters of the 29th of November, saying that the enemy was much worse off than the French, for they were up to their middle in water, and were less sheltered and suffered more from want, having less money to spend. And that the French were still of the same mind as heretofore with regard to an advance, if only the waters of heaven and earth would let them. Since then I have conversed this evening with a citizen of Florence who had talked with Salvalago of Pistoja, who came a couple of days ago from the camp, and relates that he has been several times within the past three weeks in the French and Spanish camps for the purpose of receiving certain prisoners, and that the statements of this Salvalago correspond more with what the Cardinal d’Amboise says than with the reports brought by the messenger from Savello. The end will explain all, and we must abide it in patience.
The Marquis of Mantua left here yesterday for Florence; he is ill of a quartan ague.
I recommend myself to your Lordships, quæ bene valeant.
Rome, 2 December, 1503.
P. S. — After having written the above, and whilst in the act of sealing it, your letter per express arrived, informing me of the capture of Don Michele. We had this news already yesterday morning, and I wrote you yesterday evening at length what the Pope wanted done in the matter, as you will also learn from the brief of his Holiness, which was sent with our letters. And as Giovanni Pandolfini has told me that they were safely sent last night, I do not repeat it now. And although your Lordships’ instructions had been fulfilled, I nevertheless sent the letters to his Eminence of Volterra at the palace; for it being now the third hour of night, persons in my position cannot with safety pass through the streets of Rome.
I recommend myself to your Lordships.