Front Page Titles (by Subject) LETTER VIII. - The Historical, Political, and Diplomatic Writings, vol. 4 (Diplomatic Missions 1506-1527)
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LETTER VIII. - 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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Magnificent Signori, etc.: —
To-day is the 6th, and my letter of the 5th herewith enclosed informs your Lordships of the state of things here, and especially as to the affair of Gianpaolo, and what is generally thought of it. I hear since then that the Duke of Urbino and the Legate of Perugia, who arrived here yesterday, are shaping things in the way it was hoped for, namely, to save Gianpaolo; and that they have brought the Pope to be satisfied with availing himself of the services of Gianpaolo and his troops in this expedition against Bologna. Not that he takes him regularly as his Condottiere, or that he otherwise engages him; but he will give him a subvention for himself and his troops so long as they serve in this enterprise. Gianpaolo is to come here himself to render homage to the Pope, and he may arrive at any moment, so soon as an agreement upon this basis is definitely concluded. It is believed that the Pope will not change from this, as he will have men around him who will hold his hands behind his back, and will not permit him to change in matters that are for their advantage. It is said that Gianpaolo has one hundred and fifty light-horse and one hundred men-at-arms in fine condition.
Seeing the course which the affairs of Gianpaolo are taking, it is believed, if they go on as I have indicated above, that those of Messer Giovanni Bentivogli are likely to go the same way; and that the composition with Gianpaolo, made for the purpose of facilitating the enterprise against Messer Giovanni, may also lead to an arrangement with the latter; for the supporters of the former will be equally those of Messer Giovanni, as they anticipate no less advantages from it. And Messer Giovanni knows well that the Condottieri of the Pope will be no less serviceable to him than those of Bologna. Messer Giovanni has made the offer of four of his sons to the Pope; and there seems to be no doubt that, if he were to agree to come himself, the affair would be settled at once; nor will there be lacking persons here who will support him.
I know that it is somewhat presumptuous to judge of matters in advance, particularly of such as vary every hour; nevertheless, it seems to me that I can never be wrong in communicating to your Lordships the opinions of those who are experienced in these affairs, so that with your wonted wisdom you may yourselves form a better judgment.
We have no news from Naples; but there are letters here this morning from Venice of the 31st ultimo, written by Lascari to one of the prelates here, by which he informs him that four ambassadors from the Emperor have arrived there, who came all armed to the shore and demanded of the Senate free passage and provisions for the army of their master, and for himself, to Rome; and that they reported the army of their sovereign on the frontiers, but that the Emperor himself is still some six days’ journey from Venice. Your Lordships will be able to learn the truth of all this by way of Ferrara.
His Holiness is to leave here within the present week, but I do not know the precise day; he will make one or two stops between here and Perugia, and will stay some days at the latter place to await the answer of D’Aix from Milan, and of Messer Antonio de Montibus from Bologna.
I recommend myself to your Lordships, quæ bene valeant.
Orvieto, 6 September, 1506.
I had forgotten to inform your Lordships that the Bolognese Ambassador told me this morning that the Venetian Ambassador continued to urge the offer upon the Pope, in behalf of his Signoria, that, if he would cede to them Faenza and Rimini, they would, without the aid of any one, place Bologna and Messer Giovanni in his hands. I cannot say whether this be true, and how they can on the one hand be willing to attempt such an undertaking, whilst on the other hand they have the Emperor upon their frontiers.
P. S. — As I have the opportunity of sending you a copy of this letter which came from Venice on the 31st of August, I transcribe it below.
The King of the Romans intends doubtless to come into Italy, and takes all measures for that purpose with energy and diligence; for he has already started his artillery in the direction of Italy, and a part of his forces have reached Villach, and some detachments of infantry are even nearer to the confines of this republic. But these forces are insufficient to enable him to remodel Italy, which this prince boasts of intending to do; for they hardly number nine thousand men. And although they are, so to say, upon the very confines of the country, yet he says himself that he wants the Imperial army to enter Italy first under another commander, after which he will enter with the troops referred to above, which he will himself command in person. We have not heard yet whether the Imperial army has really started, nor even whether it is fully assembled, and yet he can do nothing without this army, and cannot control it at his pleasure, as he does that which he has collected and put on foot so promptly in Hungary. It is no wonder, therefore, that here they should regard with doubts what there they look upon as most certain. With all this they do not cease here to make preparations, and to a greater extent even than they are willing to divulge.
According to news received here by post, the King of the Romans was four of five days ago at Gratz, a place about two hundred miles distant from the frontiers of the republic. On Saturday evening there arrived here three ambassadors of the aforesaid king; the fourth has remained sick in the Friuli. They had an audience to-day, and according to what we hear they ask for free passage and provisions for their army; we shall know more after they shall have received their answer, in the course of three days. They and their servants came fully armed to the very shore, seemingly wishing to say, If the ambassadors are so valiant, what will you think of their troops?
Venice, 31 August, 1506.