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LETTER X. - 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, etc.: —
By the enclosed of the 11th instant, your Lordships will have been informed of all that has occurred up to that day. I have since then been with the Legate this morning, who, so soon as he perceived me enter his room, called me to him and said to me that things were going on well, and that he hoped they would be going on still better; and that the Venetian ambassador had been with him, and had made numerous offers on the part of his Signoria, showing how anxious they were to please his Most Christian Majesty. Whereupon the Legate told me that he said to him, that, if the Venetians wished to be friends of the king, they ought to show proper regard for his friends in Italy, and especially mentioned your Lordships to him; for that if you were wronged, it was the same as if his Majesty himself had been injured directly. To which, he said, the ambassador replied, with an oath, that his Signoria had never so much as thought of wronging anybody, and that he might make himself easy on that score, for they had no intention of injuring any one, neither the Florentines nor any other friends of his Majesty.
I thanked his Eminence for what he had done, but showed him that that did not suffice, as it was only a temporary relief; and that it was necessary to think of means of placing the Venetians in such a position that they should not be able at their pleasure to assail any one, so that at no time either the king or his friends should be at their discretion. I think that the Legate told me the above of the Venetians for the purpose of allaying all suspicions which have been manifested here of late; for they have always had two great fears, the one of Gonsalvo, and the other of the Venetians. And as they seem to think that by means of this truce they have secured you against the Spaniards, so they wished to show that you had equally nothing to fear from the Venetians. His Eminence continued his remarks, and urged earnestly that you should look to the matter of Pisa, and that you ought to give it your attention now, whilst there is still time, so as to prevent the occurrence of anything that would be unsatisfactory to the king and your Lordships. And here he added, that his cousin Monseigneur de Bayeux, who had some influence in Pisa, had initiated certain negotiations, and drawn up certain articles to which the Pisans would consent, and which he would send to me, charging me to forward them to your Lordships, so that you might carefully consider them; and if these articles met your approval, then they would serve to put an end to those evils which for so long a time had kept Tuscany and all Italy feeble. I replied to all this the same as I had done before; namely, that I would communicate it all to your Lordships, and then await your instructions, without which I could not discuss the matter. I shall wait and see what these proposed articles amount to, and so soon as received I will forward them to your Lordships, and you will judge of them with your habitual wisdom. I have no further particulars of the truce to communicate to your Lordships, but am waiting to get a copy of it, which I certainly shall have so soon as it is published and proclaimed, and will then send it at once to your Lordships.
After leaving the Cardinal Legate, and knowing that Monseigneur de Trans had returned here from his embassy to Rome, and was confined at home by a slight indisposition, I went to call upon him, so as to learn something from him about the Pope and the affairs of Italy, as also to show him a courtesy which I did not think ought to be omitted. He seemed delighted at my visit, and talked to me much and for a long time of the affairs of Italy; and his remarks were in my opinion very judicious. He observed that things were at this moment in such condition that every one could revenge himself on the Venetians, and assure himself of them; but if the present opportunity were allowed to pass, and some prince should happen to die, there would be danger of being obliged to submit to their domination. After that he observed how reasonable it was, and how easily it could be done. And first he said, that Spain, having declined to have the king of France as copartner in the possession of the kingdom of Naples, would still less want the Venetians there; and that the Pope would naturally wish to recover his own, and to avenge the Church of the old wrongs done to her, as well as of the recent ones. And in the same way the Emperor ought to desire to put his foot into Italy on their territory, and to recover the possessions which the Venetians had taken from the empire. And that the king of France ought also gladly to concur in all this, not so much for the sake of restoring to the duchy of Milan what the Venetians had taken possession of, as for the purpose of securing himself against their power and malevolence. And if he were not stirred by these two motives, he ought to be moved by the satisfaction which it would give to his entire realm, and by the desire of every lord and every subject to make war upon the Venetians. But for the accomplishment of all this it was necessary to do everything that possibly could be done to prevent the Venetians from being named in the truce by either of the kings as allies or adherents.* And believing it certain that they would not be named under any circumstances by the king of France, all efforts should be made to prevent their being named by the king of Spain; and that for this purpose he saw no surer means than the intervention of the Pope. He told me that he purposed writing very fully on the subject, and that he had held the same language to the Cardinal Legate D’Amboise, who had seemed pleased at it; and that he intended also to speak to the king about it so soon as he should be able to go out. He spoke on this subject with a degree of vivacity and earnestness which I cannot possibly describe to your Lordships. And as the mode of proceeding urged by him seemed to me quite in your interest, I encouraged him with all the arguments of which I was master. He told me furthermore, that he should also write to his Eminence the Cardinal Volterra about it, so that he might remind his Holiness of what ought to be done, and to urge him to do it; and requested me to write also in the same sense to his Eminence. I did not think it amiss to do so, but in my letter I have been careful to speak as it were by the mouth of Monseigneur de Trans.
I write all these particulars to your Lordships so that, should you deem it advisable to urge this matter, you can instruct your ambassador at Rome accordingly, for his Eminence of Volterra can do a great deal towards it; and the consequence will be that either the king of Spain will abstain from naming the Venetians in the truce from fear of offending the Pope, or, if he persists in doing it, the French here will make greater efforts to win his Holiness over to their side, and perhaps, seeing the king of Spain’s disposition in the matter, they may resort to measures other than the truce. For his Majesty of France has said, with his own mouth, that if the king of Spain were not satisfied with what was reasonable, the Emperor and the Archduke would in less than three months be more hostile to him than he was himself; intimating thereby that to comprise the Venetians within the terms of the truce, or in any way to tie the hands of the Emperor, would be food for fresh quarrels, inasmuch as the Empire could not otherwise be satisfied.
This morning, whilst at church, I was assailed by those generals on account of the money of which your Lordships know; they told me that it must be provided anyhow. Since then the Cardinal Legate has twice sent to me for the same purpose, and was with difficulty put off, although I replied sharply, and alleged all the reasons and justifications that occurred to me at the moment. They say that this does not satisfy them; and that, as they are preparing for the defence of the duchy of Milan, we may rest perfectly secure on all sides; and therefore they press me for the money in such manner that it becomes necessary for me to have instructions as to what I am to do in the matter. I have omitted to tell your Lordships that the Cardinal Legate and Robertet request that the negotiations with Pisa may be kept secret, and the king desires the same of me as regards his frank remarks touching the Venetians.
It is said that at the farthest within a couple of days the other envoy of the Archduke, Monseigneur de Veri by name, will be here; and that on his arrival the treaty between his Majesty the king and the Emperor and the Archduke will be concluded, the conditions having been all agreed upon. This is all I have to communicate, except humbly to recommend myself to your Lordships, quæ felicissime valeant.
Lyons, 13 February, 1504.
[* ]The Venetians were proposed by the king of Spain, but the French refused to accept them, because of their hostility to the Church; and thus they were not named.