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LETTER IV. - 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 my despatches of yesterday your Lordships will have learned what is passing here. Respecting the plan of detaching the Vitelli from D’ Alviano, which Pandolfo proposes as the best and really necessary means for getting rid of D’ Alviano, he says that he has given me only his own opinion without knowing what the Vitelli may intend; and therefore he must wait for a reply to the letter which he wrote them on my arrival here, in which he sounded them in a general way as to whether they were disposed to leave D’ Alviano. Since then the Chancellor of the Balia came to me yesterday evening at the second hour of night, and told me that Pandolfo had received letters in relation to that matter from Cornelio Galanti and from the Vitelli; and although they contained nothing that could not be deferred until to-morrow, nevertheless in compliance with his promise to let me know immediately what he might hear from the camp, he informed me that he had been advised that, according to orders, the troops had reached Selva, and that Bartolommeo intended going as far as Alviano, and that his resolve to advance was fixed and absolutely irrevocable; that he was waiting for the receipt of certain moneys to move, but did not know exactly when. He said moreover with regard to Gianliso and Vitello Vitelli that they were ready to do whatever his Magnificence wished, although they would first have to write to Messer Giulio, their uncle, and to their other brother, who were at Castello, for they were accustomed to do nothing without mutual consent. He said also that he had heard from Rome that the Abate d’ Alviano had gone to Naples, after having first conferred with the Pope. After this communication the Chancellor left me, with the request that I would call in the morning upon Pandolfo. Accordingly, I was with him this morning, and he repeated to me the same that he had sent the Chancellor to tell me yesterday evening; and furthermore, that the army would move on Tuesday next, and would advance in this direction by short marches, so that he believed that within three days they would enter the Siennese territory; and that Bartolommeo had sent him word that when he should come within his dominions he would publish an order that no one should touch anything provided that he could purchase with his money whatever he might need, and that he ought now to make up his mind whether he would have him pass as a friend or as an enemy.
Respecting the Vitelli he told me that he had received a general reply from them, as he had written to them in the same general way to know whether they were disposed to leave Bartolommeo in case he should want them himself, and that he had not mentioned the Florentines nor any one else. And although they placed themselves entirely in his hands, yet as he did not altogether know their views, he did not know what to say. Still, to enable me to write something definite, he would say that he thought the Vitelli would be satisfied with an engagement for sixty men-at-arms, which is the number they have with Signor Bartolommeo; and that an engagement for one year, with the usual pay and provisions, would probably content them; and that he would manage to have the state of Sienna contribute one third of the pay. After that he started a doubt, saying that he did not know whether the Vitelli would be willing to serve within your territory; still he believed that the difficulty might be solved by stipulating in the engagement that, if you should require them to serve in any enterprise specially your own, you should not be able to compel them to serve you in person, but that in such case it should suffice that they should supply only forty men-at-arms under some other captain; and that this would be the best plan for you to adopt. Pandolfo added however, afterwards, that such an engagement could not be made with the Vitelli without first concluding an arrangement with him, for the reasons which he had already explained to me; for he did not want to make an enemy of Bartolommeo without securing at the same time your friendship. I said that your Lordships were well satisfied with his having pointed out the evil, but not so with the remedies; for if the danger was so near, as he had repeatedly declared, and likely to injure him as well as yourselves, as he professed to fear, then it behooved himself as much as you not to stand upon difficulties in obviating it. And if the best remedy was to detach the Vitelli from Bartolommeo, then it should be done in a shorter and more direct way than that he was taking, and should not be managed like discussing an engagement in January that was to go into effect the following May. And that it seemed to me that fortune had now placed before him an opportunity for recovering your Lordships’ confidence, which he had lost by his former conduct; and that if he succeeded, by whatever means he could, in inducing the Vitelli to leave D’ Alviano, thus giving you a proof of his friendly disposition, he would not fail in concluding an agreement with you, either for a Condotta or anything else he might desire that was consistent with honor. To which he replied, that by acting thus he would at once make D’ Alviano his enemy, and that you might afterwards abandon him, and therefore he would not act differently from what he proposed. He did not believe, however, that there would be a lack of time, if you should be willing, because he did not think Bartolommeo would move as promptly as he had said, owing to the Abate’s having gone to Naples for the purpose probably of obtaining the money which Bartolommeo wants to pay out. He added, that he thought the Pope urged Bartolommeo to this movement, so as to give occasion for the French to come into Tuscany and thus produce some disturbances; for he feared lest this Pope should some day become another Alexander VI. I told him that this was an additional reason for promptly crushing out this spark, and whenever I have spoken to him I have urged him to think well of the consequences which this movement of D’ Alviano’s might produce, and that your Lordships were ready to take any course and to employ all your power to save your state, as well as to take vengeance upon any one who attempted to injure it. But all I said seemed of no use, and I believe that his resolution is definitely taken. It would indeed be a good thing if we could get at the real truth of this affair.
Your Lordships will observe that all the information I have respecting Bartolommeo comes from Pandolfo, and whenever he tells me anything he conjures me to request your Lordships never to quote him; he also desires that the negotiations with the Vitelli may be kept secret. He declined to write them again to-day, or to go any further with them at present, hoping to have some reply from you upon which to base further negotiations with them.
To come back again to the information I have obtained respecting D’ Alviano, I would say that your Lordships should not rely upon it more than necessary, and that it would be well to try and obtain some information about him from some other quarter. Thus you could learn from Borgo and from Cortona whether any infantry are being raised at Castello or Perugia, and also whether Gianpaolo has passed the Chiane with his troops; for although Pandolfo says that he may arrive at any moment, yet we do not hear that he has really started. And this morning Pandolfo informed me that Gianpaolo would not go to meet Bartolommeo at Graffignani, as he had told me yesterday, because he had sent Ser Pepo to look for him at Alviano, where Bartolommeo was reported to have gone.
I must not omit to repeat to your Lordships that Pandolfo has affirmed to me a thousand times that without the Vitelli D’Alviano would have to abandon his enterprise, as he could not move one step forward without them. The reasons which he alleges for this are, that the force of the Vitelli is large, and that if they were to leave him they would turn against him; and such a sudden defection would disconcert the other troops, so as to produce the results which he predicts.Your Lordships will now form your own judgment of these matters.
I recommend myself, etc.
20 July, at the 15th hour of the day.
Your Lordships will please reimburse Francesco del Nero fifteen carlini for the present express.