Front Page Titles (by Subject) LETTER XLIV. - The Historical, Political, and Diplomatic Writings, vol. 3 (Diplomatic Missions 1498-1505)
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LETTER XLIV. - 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: —
Yesterday I received your letters of the 4th and 7th; as they contain nothing but the acknowledgment of my many letters up to that day, and the arrival of Messer Pietro d’ Oviedo and the Bishop of Ragusa, and a reference to what you intend to write in other letters, I have nothing to say in reply. I write the present for the sake of keeping up the habit of writing, and, as it will contain nothing of special importance, I shall send it by the regular courier. I have already written, on the 6th and 7th, respecting the departure of the Cardinal d’Amboise; and as those letters were sent by a courier from Lyons, despatched in haste by the Del Bene, I doubt not but what they have reached you by this time.
The Cardinal d’Amboise did leave yesterday, but did not go as far as Bracciano; in point of fact, he went no farther than about two miles from here. He will lodge at Bracciano to-night, and will then go on to Florence to proceed from there into Lombardy. I do not repeat what I have several times written, about sending some one with him into Germany, assuming that your Lordships have already decided these matters.
The Duke Valentino continues to occupy a portion of the apartment which the Cardinal d’Amboise had in the palace, and was guarded to-night by some of the Pope’s men. It is believed that, for the purpose of avoiding this inconvenience, the Pope will have him shut up in the castle, although many things are rumored amongst the people, such as that the Pope has promised the Cardinal d’Amboise to release the Duke so soon as he shall have obtained those fortresses from him; and that the Duke’s daughter is to marry the Little Prefect, and that she is to have Romagna for her dower, etc., etc.
Your Lordships charge me to write you what the French and the Spaniards are doing, and what their condition, where they are, and what is said and believed about them. In reply, I say that I wrote fully on this subject on the 21st ultimo, and that both armies are in the same condition as then, only worse in proportion, as they have been suffering from want so much longer. To sum up the whole, I say, that several weeks ago the French threw a bridge over the Garigliano which enabled them to make themselves masters of the opposite side of the river, where they threw up a redoubt, which they still hold. But there are no more French on that side of the river than those who guard the redoubt, which amount to about two hundred men. All the rest of the French army is on this side of the Garigliano; about one fourth is near the bridge, the other three fourths are scattered in quarters, some five, six, and ten miles off. The Spaniards are on the other side of the Garigliano, where they have cut a trench about a mile’s distance from the French redoubt, and above this trench they have thrown up two bastions, which are provided with a guard. A good part of their army is near by, the rest is dispersed in quarters. Such is the relative position of the two armies; they can neither attack nor force each other, being prevented by the river, and the rain that has fallen and continues to fall. Both are suffering the greatest discomforts, and it is believed that the one that can endure it longest will be victorious; but which of the two is likely to endure it longest is impossible to say at this moment, for here, as well as elsewhere, people are influenced in what they say by their passions only. And even those who come from the camp vary in their opinions, so that we can do nothing but quietly await the result. It is true that within the past few days the Spanish have made several attempts to destroy the bridge and drive the French out of their redoubt, but thus far they have not succeeded. Such is the state of things with regard to the armies; and so I wrote you on the 21st, since which the aspect of matters has not changed, and I should not know how to describe it differently to your Lordships. Should any change occur I will advise you of it, but if there is no change I should not know what to write you, wishing to tell you the truth about the matter.
In one of my previous letters I informed your Lordships that, in accordance with your instructions, I had spoken with Antonio Segni. To-day the said Antonio called to see me, and told me that he had spoken with Mottino, and learned from him, in substance, that his engagement with the French had expired on the last day of San Andrea, and that he would not renew it at any price. True, he says that he is not able to get his discharge from them, although he has been constantly after San Severino to obtain it. He expresses himself well disposed to serve your Lordships, but says that he is in no hurry. He has two galleys, but will not serve with only one, wishing to have both engaged, for which he would be satisfied to receive nine hundred ducats per month, and would give any security that your Lordships might require. He says furthermore, that, besides his own galleys, a brother of his has three brigantines, and that for three hundred florins per month he would immediately enter your Lordships’ service with all three. Your Lordships willnow consider what is best to be done in the matter, and send a reply.
I recommend myself to your Lordships.
Rome, 9 December, 1503.