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LETTER III. - 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 enclosed I wrote to your Lordships yesterday, so that you might make such use of the information contained therein as may be of advantage; I shall continue in the same way to write what I see and hear. This morning came your Lordships’ letter in answer to mine; I went immediately to Pandolfo, and communicated to him your Lordships’ reply. Respecting the proposed truce or league he said, that difficult things should be left alone, and that very often the wisdom of men did not suffice to oppose the will of Heaven, which chooses to conceal its designs as it has done hitherto. As to the Vitelli and the other Condottieri, he says that that was an idea and plan of his own, as he thought that there would be no more effectual way to repress the audacity of D’ Alviano; but he could not say on what terms and conditions they could be engaged, unless he should hear from them, as he had written them for the purpose with the view of sounding them; and that he should have a reply from them to-day, which he would immediately communicate to me; and that he believed he would be able to get them, unless they had formed some fresh engagement with D’ Alviano, of which he said he knew nothing. As to the others, he had not approached them, fearing lest Bartolommeo should find it out; for he was very reluctant to offend him, unless he had first closed an arrangement with you, as he did not want to make an enemy for himself without at the same time gaining a friend. And having opened himself freely and told you his mind frankly respecting the truce, and being willing to agree to everything that was reasonable, it ought to be an easy matter to come to an agreement, if you really wished it; but if you did not wish it, then indeed everything became difficult. And if the question was now as to fifty men, it arose from the fact that Montepulciano was not conceded to them entirely free, as was the case when they consented to one hundred men-at-arms. And here he enlarged much upon this point, showing that we must look to such an agreement as the true means for securing the tranquillity of Tuscany; but if your Lordships would frankly declare that under no circumstances would you make such a treaty, and that you regarded it for the common good not to light a new conflagration, he would be much better satisfied than to keep matters in uncertain suspense as at present. And as in all my replies to his arguments I insisted mainly upon the shortness of the time, as in fact I had done from the beginning, and as your Lordships advise in your letter, he answered that to conclude such an agreement would require only hours, and not days; and that possibly Bartolommeo might remain some days in the place where he now is, as he had written to Gianpaolo to the effect that he wished to confer with him at Graffignano, and that the latter must now be on his way there; that perchance the money with which Bartolommeo intended to pay his men at Selva might not have arrived; and therefore, he said, that to avoid having him unexpectedly upon his back he had sent the Podestas into their several Podesterias on the confines of the Maremma, to have the harvest brought into the towns and places, and to make provision of flour; but that he believed he would most likely have to wait awhile, and that thus there would be abundance of time. He added, that he did not know what Bartolommeo could want from Gianpaolo.
Not wishing to weary your Lordships, I do not repeat the answers I made to Pandolfo’s arguments, but shall only report his conclusions, which are as follows. By making an arrangement with him you secure yourselves by such expedients as you together may employ, one of which is to dismember the forces of Bartolommeo. But if no agreement is concluded then, he says, he will not be able to exert himself in a manner that would be manifestly hostile to Bartolommeo. But nevertheless he would oppose him, and do all in his power to that effect.
Your Lordships must judge now from all I have written what Pandolfo’s object really is, for there is little or nothing to be gained from being face to face with him. He professes not to know what this enterprise of Bartolommeo’s is founded upon, but that it may nevertheless have very solid foundations; and he swears that Bartolommeo shall have neither the troops nor the subjects of this state at his disposal. He says that he does not believe that Gianpaolo will support him with his infantry, nor does he know whether the Vitelli will serve him with theirs; but that he will know of it if they do; for he keeps a confidential person near Bartolommeo, who informs him of all his movements, which he is thus enabled to make known to us. He also tells me that he has written to Rome to ascertain what this whole affair is really based upon, and that he will inform you so soon as he has a reply. I am told that on hearing of the death of the Cardinal Ascanio, Pandolfo was quite gloomy for a while, but that he is now quite cheerful again and full of hope. One sees no great preparations going on here. In a long conversation which I had yesterday with Messer Antonio da Venafro, who is as it were the very soul of Pandolfo, and without equal amongst the other men here, he talked of nothing else but this agreement, which, he said, ought to be made for mutual safety, as then it would be easy to destroy any support that D’ Alviano might have. And one of the first steps which he suggested was to disarm Bartolommeo, but that for this the agreement ought first to be concluded. Your Lordships will now take all I have written into consideration, and will in your high wisdom decide what course will be the best.
Pandolfo has asked me several times whether the Marquis of Mantua has received his pay; I have invariably answered, that at the time of my departure from Florence it was about to be sent to him. And this morning he told me that he had heard from Lombardy that this engagement would not be carried out, because the Marquis saw that difficulties were being made, and he had not received any money. I replied the same as before, but felt inclined to tell him that I had news from your Lordships that you had paid him; but that you had to keep it secret, so as to enable you to lay a new impost, under the general impression that this money had yet to be paid. I did not say it, however, not knowing whether it would be proper. It will be time enough, however, whenever your Lordships wish it to be known.
Were it not that I am aware of your Lordships’ anxiety to have my letters, I should have waited until evening to despatch this, so that I might have given you whatever news Pandolfo may receive from D’ Alviano’s camp. But not to keep your Lordships in suspense, I send this now, it being the seventeenth hour, and you will please have Francesco del Nero reimbursed fifteen carlini.
That Bastiano of Cortona, Pandolfo’s barber, whom I have recommended to your Lordships by the enclosed, has returned here, having most probably made his escape. Pandolfo tells me that he fears lest proceedings may be taken against this man’s property, and begs me to ask your Lordships to prevent it, offering to have him appear whenever you may require it. I urge this matter on Pandolfo’s behalf, and beg you will favor me with a reply that I may show him.
I recommend myself to your Lordships.
19 July, 1505, at the 17th hour.
I have forgotten to tell your Lordships that Pandolfo has begged me a great many times to request you not to mention him in connection with the information which he gives respecting Bartolommeo d’ Alviano, as he should be obliged to deny it; and therefore he wishes you to keep all his dealings with your Lordships secret.