Front Page Titles (by Subject) LETTER XIII. - The Historical, Political, and Diplomatic Writings, vol. 3 (Diplomatic Missions 1498-1505)
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LETTER XIII. - 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.: —
The want of couriers is the cause of the delay in the arrival of my despatches, and compels me to allow my letters to your Lordships to accumulate here, which would be much more disagreeable to me still, were it not that I see that you are constrained to do the same; for it is only to-day that I have received yours of the 2d, 3d, 5th, 8th, 10th, and 12th instant, with copies of advices from Rome and the Romagna, which are very full and to the point. We called immediately with your letters upon his Majesty, informing him of the conduct of the Venetians, which is so contrary to their pledges; mentioning at the same time all such other matters as seemed to us proper; and we begged his Majesty that, inasmuch as the Secretary has to return to Florence, to be pleased to enable him to carry some good resolution back with him to your Lordships. I also availed myself of the occasion to tell and repeat to his Majesty all those matters with which your Lordships have charged me; which was not a difficult task, as his Majesty allows every one to speak to him at length. It would be well if it were so with the Cardinal Legate, where things are discussed drop by drop, and then decided. His Majesty replied, that, if this treaty with the Emperor should be concluded, it would surround you with a beautiful garland; and that we ought to wait, and we should soon hear of a matter that would please us greatly; and that he intended to send an envoy to Florence and to Rome, through whom your Lordships would be informed of certain orders and measures that were intended to be beneficial to your Lordships and to all Italy, referring us at the same time for particulars to the Cardinal Legate.
In relation to the treaty with the Emperor, his Majesty said that it was near its conclusion; but what gave him particular pleasure was that he had the signature of the Swiss in his hands, by which they bound themselves to furnish him upon his requisition twelve to sixteen thousand men, and that he felt perfectly sure of them. And here he enlarged considerably upon your Lordships’ matters, not omitting the orders given and provisions made for his kingdom and for the duchy of Milan, which are the same that I have communicated to your Lordships in former despatches. We did not omit to urge him again to take into his pay also some Italian captain, pointing out to him the good effects that would result from it, asking him at the same time, with proper tact, which one he judged to be the best. Upon this point his Majesty replied that he certainly intended to take some one of the Italian captains into his pay, but that it was necessary that the Pope and your Lordships should first make the beginning. And as he said nothing as to any preference, I resumed the subject, saying that your Lordships purposed doing so, for seeing what turn matters were taking you could not remain unarmed; and that it seemed to you of advantage, both for the sake of securing their good will, as well as for the purpose of taking them from others, to try and secure some of the best captains, either of the house of Colonna, or of the Orsini, or even Gianpaolo Baglioni. His Majesty urged us by all means to speak to the Cardinal Legate about it. For the purpose, therefore, of seeing whether I could learn anything special from him, I called upon the Cardinal Legate, and having first informed him of the news I had from your Lordships, and of the recent doings of the Venetians, and of the present state of things in the Romagna, which until now was safe rather by the providence of God, seeing the death of the Signor . . . . . etc., than by the help of man, I told his Eminence that the king had referred us to him. He replied that there were at this moment too many witnesses present to enter upon a discussion of these matters, but that he would at another time give me a long audience, on which occasion he would like to have the Marquis de Final present; and then he called Monseigneur de Trans and the aforesaid Marquis, and in presence of all the government officials who were there, he said: “You see that Imola and Furli are not lost, as Monseigneur de Trans has stated.” And when I repeated to him that, in view of these events, your Lordships felt constrained to arm yourselves; and that there was no more effective way of depriving the enemy of his arms than to try and engage one of the best captains, either of the house of Orsini or Colonna, or Gianpaolo, and that his Majesty the king ought to do the same; his Eminence replied that these men were all impostors, but that if we would be governed by his advice all would go well; and thereupon, seeing the number of persons present, our interview terminated.
Before seeing the Cardinal Legate again it seemed to me advisable to see the Pope’s ambassador; and having called at his house, I informed him of the arrival of Messer Pietro Paolo at Florence, and of your Lordships’ instructions, using such terms as I judged best for facilitating my object, which was to learn from him as far as possible the intentions of the court of Rome, before seeing the Cardinal Legate again. His Lordship made me read a number of letters which he had received from Rome, amongst others one from Capaccio, full of wisdom, and really very much to the point as regards Italian affairs. He suggests to him many things in the name of the Sovereign Pontiff, and advises the ambassador to urge the French to take such measures against the Venetians that the Church may not fall a prey to them, as all that has been done hitherto has been ineffectual; adding that his Majesty’s ambassador at Venice goes so far as to inform the Venetians by simulated letters of all that is to happen, so that, under a dissembled ignorance, they may openly engage in their various enterprises. Thus your Lordships see how these French people act; for although they know that the Venetians have won over their ambassador, as I have before written to your Lordships, yet they do not attempt to remedy it. Afterwards he communicated to me that he hoped to induce his Majesty to write to the Venetian Senate that, if they did not desist from troubling the possessions of the Church, he would have to give them proofs of his displeasure; and that, in consequence of the conduct of the present French ambassador at Venice, another would probably be sent, and who would be furnished with special letters from his Majesty. Two or three persons are spoken of for that post, but I cannot tell your Lordships anything positive about this. The individual likely to be sent to urge the union of all Tuscany will, I think, be Messer Francesco da Narni, with whom, seeing the disposition of the people here, I have done my best to place myself on a friendly footing; but according to what Robertet tells me, it is uncertain whether he will leave here soon; the envoy to Venice, however, will start within a day or two.
I learn that the Spanish ambassadors have told the ambassador of the Pope that if the aforesaid Venetians are named by their most Catholic king, it will be with the condition that they shall give satisfaction to his Holiness the Pope; and in that case they would also be named by the French. This matter depends now entirely upon the agreement with the Emperor; for if these people here do not arrange this difference after their experience with the Spaniards, it is not likely that they would want also to embroil themselves with the Venetians. When this treaty is concluded, in the way they desire here, I shall certainly hope for some good results from it; and as all this has to be judged of by the actions of the Legate, I have his movements as carefully watched as I can with the means at my disposal. The late news from Furli has disconcerted him very much, and your Lordships may believe me if I tell you that, if the Pope does what he can, there is still some hope that we may get well out of the affair.
I have arranged with the Pope’s ambassador that he shall remain present at my appointed audience with the Cardinal Legate, which I would gladly have deferred longer, for I believe I shall not be able to learn anything more from him, unless it be that he would press me again in relation to his wish that your Lordships should engage some of those Neapolitan barons, in reference to which I would like to have some light and instructions from your Lordships. As already stated in one of my previous letters, Turpin has undertaken to send to your Lordships for the money due to the king. I neither advised him to take this course nor did I dissuade him; as to myself personally they cannot cause me the least annoyance, no matter what sinister measures they may employ; but I would not have them make the slightest demonstration that might be discreditable to our city, which I believe these men of the Bailli’s capable of, for they are desperate and utterly ruined; and it is a bad thing to have to do with men of that sort. One of the first men of the government has complained that theking speaks so freely of the Venetians, which has produced a bad effect, and we come in for a share of the blame. The Venetian ambassador attends to nothing else but trying to justify himself, and to think of means for giving effect to his protestations. I continue under all circumstances to write you freely all I hear, and for which you will make such allowance as your Lordships’ wisdom may suggest.
I recommend myself to your Lordships, quæ bene valeant.
Lyons, 19 February, 1504.
P. S. — Monseigneur de Nemours* was also much pleased at the good news of the truce, and begs to remind you of his David, which he is very desirous to have, and wishes it could be sent to Livorno. Your Lordships will I hope deign to instruct me what I am to say to him on the subject.
[* ]This was Pierre de Rohan, Maréchal di Gié, to whom the Florentine Signoria had promised a bronze statue of David, which had been ordered of Michel Angelo, 12th August, 1502. The Maréchal, however, having fallen into disgrace with the king, the David was sent as a present to the treasurer, Florimonde de Robertet, who placed it in the court-yard of his palace at Blois. The palace still exists, but the bronze David is no longer there.