Front Page Titles (by Subject) LETTER I. - The Historical, Political, and Diplomatic Writings, vol. 3 (Diplomatic Missions 1498-1505)
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LETTER I. - 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 and Illustrious Signori, etc.: —
I arrived here this morning at about the twenty-second hour, and have had an interview with Monseigneur de Chaumont. I explained to him the object of my mission to the king, and that I had come by way of Milan, so that his Lordship might hear from me direct what I had to communicate to the king, and that he might write to his Majesty, and recommend to him the interests of his friends and of his own states, and point out to him the dangers with which they are threatened, and the remedies that should be employed. After that I communicated to him all I was instructed to say, and endeavored to make him sensible of the necessity that we should have assistance; but that such assistance should be real, as indeed the dangers were that threatened us. For if your Lordships should be abandoned, you would inevitably expect to see your city pillaged, and witness her total ruin; or you would have to make terms with those who aim to force you to do so, even if the conditions were anything but good. I spoke of the Venetians according to my instructions, as also of your Lordships’ neighbors, and of the confusion into which they had been thrown, and how necessary it was for the king to preserve them as friends, as well as to win back again those whom he had lost. In fact, I did my best not to omit saying anything that was essential for him to know in relation to this matter, without transgressing your Lordships’ instructions.
Respecting the dangers with which you are threatened, and the remedies to be applied, his Lordship answered in a general way, first, that he did not believe that Gonsalvo intended to advance, and then that, even if he should, the king would take good care of his friends, as well as of his own states; and that you need have no apprehensions on that score, as his Majesty would not fail in his promises. And when I observed that these assurances did not suffice for those who had the enemy, so to say, on their backs, and related to him the evidence which we had of Gonsalvo’s intention to follow up his enterprise, his Lordship said, “When Gonsalvo sees his Majesty’s fleet increased to double its strength, and learns that there is a large force in Lombardy, he certainly will not advance.” I replied, that neither the fleet nor the troops in Lombardy could defend Tuscany. To which he rejoined that the Pope would be a good Frenchman, and that Giovanpaolo was in their pay, and that the Siennese would be able to make a stout resistance. I answered him by saying that both the Pope and the Siennese would want to see with their own eyes the assistance promised by the king, as neither of them had any forces of their own; that it was a good thing to have Gianpaolo Baglioni in one’s pay, but that his engagement ought to be definitely concluded. And I demonstrated to him how necessary it was to close this engagement, and not only to have Baglioni in their pay, but to bind him to serve the state.
I did my best to convince Monseigneur de Chaumont that there was no city in that part of Italy more suitable for being made a point of resistance than Perugia, by quartering there some four or five thousand infantry and four or five hundred men-at-arms; that its situation was one of the strongest, and that with such a number of troops it would be truly impregnable, and could not with safety be left in the rear. I persuaded him, so far as I was able, of the importance for them to preserve that city, and thus to acquire other Italian troops. After that we touched upon the subject of the alliances that should be concluded between your Lordships and the scattered little states of Italy, but to effect which would require the interposition of the king’s authority. His Lordship concluded to write to the king on that subject, as well as about the other matters which we had discussed. I begged him to send one of his own men to come with me, to which he replied that he would cause the post to run, and advised me to lose no time in finding the king, who, he believed, would give me a reply that would reassure your Lordships. And as I took my leave, he said in a voice loud enough for all around to hear, “Ne doutez de rien.” I have forgotten to tell your Lordships that the Lieutenant said nothing respecting the Venetians, except that he would make them attend to their fishing, and that they were sure of the Swiss.
This is all I have been able to get out of Monseigneur de Chaumont, and I have endeavored to give you his very words. Since then I have talked with one who is a friend of our city, and who recognized me, having been at court when I was there before; and having drawn me aside, he said to me, with great show of regret, that he augured ill of the king’s affairs, for he knew that he could not raise any more money; that he had but few men-at-arms here, who were dispersed in different places, that he had no infantry, and that it would require a long time to provide both, but that there were no indications of their taking any steps about it; that on the other hand the enemy were ready in their saddles, fresh, and with all the prestige of victory and good fortune; so that he really knew not what help there was, not alone for his Majesty’s friends, but for his own states even. All this my friend said to me lamentingly, like one who feared these things, but not desired them. At another time I will give you the name of this individual, when I can do so without danger to him in case my letter should miscarry. Beyond the above, I can say nothing to your Lordships about matters here, not having been able in so short a time to learn more. I leave to-morrow about noon for Lyons; and recommend myself to your Lordships.
Milan, 22 January, 1504.