Front Page Titles (by Subject) LETTER XXIII. - The Historical, Political, and Diplomatic Writings, vol. 4 (Diplomatic Missions 1506-1527)
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LETTER XXIII. - 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: —
My last to your Lordships was of yesterday, when I wrote you such unimportant matters as had occurred here, and which were mainly an account of the Pope’s journey, and that he was to leave to-morrow for Cesena, which he will do unless he changes his mind. He will take three days to reach Cesena, and will not go by Montefiore,* but will go to-morrow to Macerata, and so move on from castle to castle until he reaches Cesena, where he may remain some days and come to a definite conclusion respecting this enterprise; for by that time he must have received the final resolve of the king of France. Yesterday the Pope held a long conference, at which were present the Duke of Urbino, the Venetian ambassador, and Monsignore di Pavia. It has not transpired what subjects were discussed, but it is supposed that it related mainly to this enterprise, and to the guaranty of security which the Venetians ask of the Pope through the king of France. His Holiness promises not to attack them, which corresponds with the information which your Lordships have received from France, according to which the king advises the Pope to satisfy the Venetians in some way upon this point, as your Lordships state in your letter before the last, of the 24th instant. It is said that the Pope is willing to give his verbal promise to the effect that during his lifetime he will in no way disturb them. But it seems that this does not satisfy the Venetians, who desire to have a formal and authentic obligation; and thus they are working at this matter. The more the Pope advances, the deeper he becomes involved in this enterprise; and they, that is to say the Venetians and the king of France, are watching for him to get into some strait, so as to bring him to bow to their will; and if the king holds firm to the Venetians, they may possibly succeed. But I have been told by one who is quite familiar with these intrigues, that, although the king hopes to humble the Pope in this way, yet the Pope will most assuredly humble the king, and will drive the spurs into his flank, if this resolution as to the troops does not come at the Pope’s convenience. What spurs the Holy Father may be able to apply for this object I know not, but your Lordships can form your own judgment of the matter.
From your Lordships’ last letters, of the 24th and 26th, I have learned the agreement between Gonsalvo and the king of Naples, which was already known here through some other source. Nevertheless I have communicated all the information contained in your letters to his Holiness, who was glad to receive it, and thanks your Lordships; he wishes me to make known to him whatever news I may receive from Florence, as he has much faith in whatever your Lordships write.
I have heard the agreement between Gonsalvo and the king much discussed, and every one wonders that Gonsalvo has faith in it; and the more liberal the king shows himself towards him, the more every one suspects the agreement, thinking that the king does it only for the purpose of reassuring Gonsalvo, so that under the guise of this security he may be the better able to dispose of him. Many other reasons are alleged which I do not mention, as the whole subject has no great interest for your Lordships, and because matters of this sort are difficult to be judged of, as are all other things that depend upon the arbitrary will and pleasure of men.
I recommend myself to your Lordships.
Urbino, 28 September, 1506.
[* ]In the previous letter Machiavelli called this place Santa Fiore, which shows how uncertain and variable proper names then were.