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LETTER V. - 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. —
Immediately on receipt of your Lordships’ letter of yesterday, dated at the sixteenth hour, I called again on Pandolfo, and had a long conversation with him, so far as seemed to me proper, on the subject contained in your Lordships’ letter. His Magnificence found no difficulty in replying, having clearly in his mind all that he had said to me in answer to your first letter, and assuring me again that this movement was altogether displeasing to him, in proof of which he said that he had opposed it whenever he could, by informing you of it, and at the same time dissuading D’ Alviano. And moreover, that for the purpose of getting at the truth of the matter, and the better to understand the condition of this whole business,he said that he had written to his agent at Rome, directing him to see the Cardinal Santa Croce, and ascertain whether Bartolommeo had undertaken this movement by order of Spain; for if he had done so at the suggestion of that king, he would have to adopt a different course from that which he would have to follow if done without such direction; that he had received a reply to that inquiry this morning, from which it appeared that Santa Croce had said that he knew nothing about it, but believed that Bartolommeo did not have the approval of Spain. To make quite sure, however, he would write to Gonsalvo, and communicate to him thereply he might receive; but that he believed that Gonsalvo had ordered D’Alviano to desist altogether from this attempt. It is thusthat Pandolfo pretends to have done all that was possible for him, both by way of negotiation and stratagem. But that if it should become necessary to act openly and employ force, then he would need your Lordships’ concurrence and support, which he could not rely upon without a full understanding, and therefore he had always told me that it was necessary to conclude an agreement, and then to provide more powerful remedies. And that it had never been true that in this affair he had both the bridle and the spurs; that as to the spurs he had never had any, but as to the bridle he drew that as much as he could. But as he doubted his own ability to do all that was necessary, he asked the co-operation of your Lordships, but wanted it in such wise as would prove of advantage to each party, and not to one only.
I have endeavored to give to your Lordships the exact words of Pandolfo, so that you may the better judge of his intentions, and decide what course it will be best to follow for the interests of our republic. I do not write all the replies I made to Pandolfo, not wishing to consume your Lordships’ time; but I said all that my experience and judgment suggested; although it was of but little avail, for Pandolfo is a man who has all his plans definitely made, and is resolved to carry through whatever he desires. And therefore I said to him, in one of my answers, that I did not understand how Gonsalvo could order Bartolommeo not to march, as his Condotta expired on the 20th of this month; to which he replied, that it was himself who had stated that Bartolommeo’s engagement with the Spaniards ran only to July 20, because the last time that he was with Bartolommeo, and when speaking to him about engaging with the French or with you in consequence of the negotiations opened by Rucellaio, Bartolommeo said that he should be free to do so after July 20; whence he had concluded that Bartolommeo’s engagement with the Spaniards terminated on that day. But that he had understood since then that it continued in force till the end of October, which was most likely to be true, for it had commenced in October, and such engagements are usually made for an entire year; it might possibly, however, contain a clause that permitted D’Alviano to engage two or three months in advance with some other party. Pandolfo told me furthermore, that he had heard from Rome that the Pope was urging Bartolommeo to leave the territory of the Church, and that, for fear lest he should attack and plunder his troops who are at Otri, he had sent there such infantry and horse as he had at Rome. I observed further to Pandolfo,that inasmuch as Gonsalvo was not in accord with Bartolommeo, the latter could not avail himself of the infantry from Piombino, or of such as might come there. He replied to this that I was correct, but that he believed D’ Alviano would obtain infantry from elsewhere, and that it was for this reason that Bartolommeohad sought an interview with Gianpaolo to ask him for his infantry, and that Gianpaolo had gone to meet him, as he had previously told me, and had not sent Ser Pepo there, as he had subsequently stated. But that he did not believe that Gianpaolo would aid him, and that he would so advisehim; and that he had given orders to Cornelio to intervene in their negotiations so as to know all about it, and that so soon as he should hear in reply he would inform me.
After all this long discussion and dispute about this whole business, I said to Pandolfo, so that he might see that others understood all these natural or accidental subterfuges and evasions, that all these intrigues confused me to that degree that I feared it would turn my head before I could return home; for at one moment I was told that Bartolommeo was advancing with infantry and money furnished him by Spain, and then again that he was without either, and that Gonsalvo would order him to remain quiet; and again I hear that he will move in two or three days, which would show that he had received all the assistance he needs; and now I am told that he has been begging for infantry from Gianpaolo. One day I hear that the Pope depends greatly upon him, and the next that he is afraid of him. At one moment it is said that there is the best possible understanding between him and the state of Sienna, and the next moment that his soldiers are plundering the Siennese; and therefore I begged his Magnificence to explain to me all these contradictions. Pandolfo replied: “I will answer you as King Frederick answered a similar question asked by one of my envoys; namely, that to avoid falling into error we must shape our course according to events from day to day, and must judge of things from one hour to another, for time and circumstances are more powerful than human intelligence.” He said also that the present times were influenced by the spirit of D’ Alviano, a man who at the same moment inspired his neighbors with hope and fear whilst he was thus armed. Thereupon I told him of the measures which your Lordships have taken with regard to Mantua and Milan, so that others may the less look to them for support.
Nothing more was said about the Vitelli, as Pandolfo had not yet received a reply to the letter which he wrote yesterday, in which he enlarged a little more upon this affair. Nor has it been possible as yet for me to have a reply from your Lordships to what I wrote you about in my despatch of yesterday. No further news from the camp of D’ Alviano.
I recommend myself to your Lordships.
Sienna, 21 July, 1505, at the 19th hour.
Pandolfo has again spoken to me about his man from Cortona, and offers to have him appear before your Lordships if any unfavorable report is made respecting him.