Front Page Titles (by Subject) INSTRUCTIONS GIVEN TO NICCOLO MACHIAVELLI, SENT TO ROME. - The Historical, Political, and Diplomatic Writings, vol. 4 (Diplomatic Missions 1506-1527)
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INSTRUCTIONS GIVEN TO NICCOLO MACHIAVELLI, SENT TO ROME. - Niccolo Machiavelli, The Historical, Political, and Diplomatic Writings, vol. 4 (Diplomatic Missions 1506-1527) 
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. 4.
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25 August, 1506.*
You will proceed by post to Rome, there to see his Holiness the Pope, or wherever else you may learn that he is to be found, and reply to the demands which the Protonotary Merino has addressed to us in his behalf, respecting the enterprise against Bologna, and the desire of his Holiness that we should yield to him the services of Marc Antonio Colonna, our Condottiere. Our determination in this matter and the sense in which you are to reply to him are as follows. In the first instance, if time and place permit, you will praise the good and holy resolve of his Holiness, by showing how agreeable it is to us, and how much good we anticipate from it. And then, if you think proper, you will excuse with such reasons as are known to you the few days’ delay that has occurred in making this reply. And lastly, as to the request of his Holiness for our Condottiere and his company, you will say that such a request was so new and unexpected that it kept us for some time in suspense, because we have since last March dismissed our other Condottieri with about two hundred men-at-arms; having kept only what was necessary for our own wants; and having to keep the field for two months longer, we do not see how we can with safety deprive ourselves of any more troops. We say this, because, if we had known the wishes of his Holiness sooner, we should either not have dismissed those we did, or we should have engaged others in their place, so as to have been able to comply with the request of his Holiness, although it would have been very onerous for us, and we should with difficulty have borne the expense.
We do not mean to say by this, however, that we intend to withhold our assistance, or decline to lend our hand to so holy an enterprise; but are resolved to do most willingly all that is in our power to please his Holiness; not only to be personally agreeable to him, but also because of the great good which we hope will flow from this beginning. And being firmly resolved to concede to his Holiness the troops he asks for, we pray his Holiness that, until the actual execution of his enterprise, and until all other things are provided according to the statement submitted to us by the said Protonotary, he will allow us to make use ourselves of these troops; especially as the Signor Marc Antonio is at this moment the general-in-chief of our troops, and if he should leave the confines of Pisa that country and the troops that remain there would find themselves without a competent commander, and with an insufficient guard. But whilst the other supplies are being prepared, the winter season will be approaching, and we shall also have been able to provide some additional troops for that guard. And in fact you can explain to and assure his Holiness that, when once his enterprise is fairly under way, and his troops and those of his allies begin to assemble and to march, and have received all the other support which the Protonotary has told us of, he may depend upon it that our troops will not be the last, and more especially so as they are in the neighborhood. You will add, that we have sent you to be near his Holiness throughout this whole expedition, and until we can replace you by our Ambassador, which will be soon; so that his Holiness may have some one whom he can direct to advise us at what time and where he may wish us to send our troops, or of anything else that may occur. And whilst following the court you will keep us constantly and carefully informed of everything that takes place, and that may seem to you to be noteworthy.
J. Marcellus, etc., etc.
[* ]The peace concluded at Blois between the kings of France and Spain relieved Pope Julius II. of the fear of having to cope with a powerful enemy when he should take up arms for the purpose, as he called it, of purging the states of the Church of the tyrants, and bringing them back to their obedience to him, so that he thought the opportune moment had come for carrying his design into effect. Assured of the French alliance, at ease with regard to the Venetians, whom he allowed, so long as he deemed it convenient, to hold Faenza and Rimini; having already recovered Imola, Cesena, and Furli from them, he resolved to begin the war by attacking the most feeble; namely, Gianpaolo Baglioni and Giovanni Bentivogli, with the intention of driving the one out of Perugia and the other out of Bologna. To make his success the more sure, he asked for help from the king of France, from the Duke of Ferrara, from Pandolfo Petrucci, from the Venetians, and from the Florentines. To the latter he sent his Protonotario Merino with the request to send him one hundred men-at-arms under command of Marc Antonio Colonna, who was at the time in the service of the Florentine republic. At the Council held for the purpose of deciding upon the reply to be made to the Pope’s request, all present were not of the same mind; but the opinion of Piero Soderini prevailed, supported as it was by Giovanbattista Ridolfi and Piero de Guicciardini, namely, that they should consent to furnish the desired help, delaying it however as long as possible. Niccolo Machiavelli was charged to carry this reply to the Pope, and to accompany him in his expedition until he should be replaced by an ambassador. Having left Florence on the 25th of August, Machiavelli found Julius II. already on the way at Nepi; and from there he followed him until the 1st of November, when he returned to Florence by way of Imola, having yielded his place to the new Ambassador, Messer Francesco Pepi. The following letters contain the history of Machiavelli’s mission, and of the events that occurred during that period.