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LETTER VII. - 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 last, dated yesterday at the seventeenth hour, I communicated to your Lordships the replies made to me by Pandolfo, and afterwards in his name by Messer Antonio da Venafro, to the proposition made by Messer Michele Ricci, as stated in your Lordships’ letter of the 21st. You will have seen from my letter that we have to give up this negotiation for an agreement, or to conclude it in the manner suggested in my first letter to your Lordships. Yesterday evening at about the twenty-fourth hour Pandolfo had me called, and informed me that he had received letters from Rome of the 22d, and from the camp of the same date. He read me the letter from Rome written in cipher, which, however, had been deciphered between the lines as is customary. The agent whom he keeps in that city informs him that the Cardinal Santa Croce had received a reply from Naples to the inquiry which he had made of Gonsalvo, as to whether Bartolommeo had started this movement with his knowledge or not; and that this reply stated that it was contrary to the wishes of Gonsalvo; and that he had sent a special messenger to Bartolommeo ordering him not to interfere in the affairs of either Tuscany or Pisa; and that the Cardinal de’ Medici had received the same information from the agent whom he keeps near Gonsalvo. Of the letter from the camp Pandolfo read me only that portion which referred to the Vitelli; and which says that an answer had been received from Messer Giulio and their brother Giovanni, who are both entirely satisfied to comply with Pandolfo’s wishes, offering at the same time to do whatever may seem best to him, and expressing in the most ample and earnest terms their anxious desire to do whatever may be agreeable to him. He told me furthermore, that this letter informed him that the troops had not yet started from Selva, as had been lately reported; but that they were to start this morning for Capo di Monte by the road of the Maremma, and that Gianpaolo had met Bartolommeo, who had asked his support, which the former, however, had neither promised nor refused.
I thanked Pandolfo for this information, but passed over that part relating to the Vitelli, not having as yet a reply from your Lordships to what I had written upon that point; it seemed to me, moreover, best to do so, as Pandolfo himself said nothing more about it, except what he had read from the letter. I told him that I was not pleased with the conduct of Gianpaolo; that it would have been more proper for him to refuse Bartolommeo absolutely; and that he, Pandolfo, ought to do everything in his power to make Gianpaolo refuse his support to Bartolommeo, which I believed would be easy for him to do, inasmuch as Gianpaolo had all confidence in him, and was in fact in his pay. He replied, that he had ordered him on returning towards Perugia to approach as near as he could to this place, so that he might go to meet him; or to come even as far as Sienna, as he wished to confer with him in person upon this business. I asked him what he believed of Bartolommeo, and whether he thought that he would advance notwithstanding Gonsalvo’s orders to the contrary, supposing the information from Rome to be true. He replied, that he could not judge; but that reason should counsel D’ Alviano not to advance in opposition to Gonsalvo’s will, he being in his service until October, but that he was not yet clear upon this point; although it would seem to him clear enough, if it were true that the Abate d’ Alviano had gone to Naples for money, as had been written to him. But that, nevertheless, even if reason counselled D’ Alviano not to advance, desperation might cause him to do so; and for that reason he advised your Lordships not to fail in making suitable preparations. And that although three out of four who act from desperation generally end badly, yet it would be well not to allow Bartolommeo to be thus driven on by desperation, as we cannot move any one thing without stirring a thousand others, and events are very uncertain. And then he enlarged again upon the point that it behooved your Lordships to put your foot upon this first spark of a conflagration, and that you could become masters of Tuscany by uniting it; and that this union would combine such forces that it could defend itself against whoever might attempt to assail it, and would be respected by everybody. And that if you suspected the Orsini, you could detach the Vitelli and the Baglioni from their faction, which it would be easy to do, inasmuch as they would feel themselves more secure under the protection of united Tuscany than under that of the Orsini; that in truth this matter seemed to him so easy, and offered such security, that he really believed the only reason why it was not done was because it was God’s will that this fair province of Italy should be ruined. In the course of his remarks he said that there was another means by which Bartolommeo could be rendered harmless, and that was to make him suspect to the Pisans, which might be done in a thousand ways. He did not want to enter into particulars upon this point; but respecting the other matters he said many things, to which I replied fully; but I abstain from writing them all to your Lordships, so as not to weary you fruitlessly.
I shall send this letter to the post so that it will be forwarded by the first courier that leaves; I would have sent it by an express, but that would leave me only one single scudo, and I am indebted at my hostelry. I beg your Lordships will either recall me, which would be most agreeable to me, or that you will provide me with the necessary means.
I recommend myself to your Lordships.
SECOND MISSION TO THE ARMY BEFORE PISA.*
[* ]After the defeat of Bartolommeo d’ Alviano, mentioned in the note to the preceding Mission, the Florentines imagined that they ought to take advantage of the ardor created by that victory, and attempt the conquest of Pisa. Great preparations were made for this purpose, and pressing orders were sent to Antonio Giacomini, the Commissioner at the camp, to lead the army immediately before the walls of that city. Machiavelli was sent to the camp to concert with Giacomini all necessary preparations and provisions for this enterprise, which, however, proved a failure, in consequence of the cowardice of the troops, as related by Buonaccorsi, p. 115. We give some of the letters that speak of the measures taken by the republic of Florence, and of the orders given; as also of the mission of Machiavelli.