Front Page Titles (by Subject) LETTER II. - The Historical, Political, and Diplomatic Writings, vol. 4 (Diplomatic Missions 1506-1527)
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LETTER II. - 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.: —
Immediately on my arrival here at Sienna, on the day before yesterday, I wrote to your Lordships all I had learned respecting the Legate, and how they had decided here to do him honor. Hoping that my letter reached you safely, I shall not repeat what I then wrote. As mentioned to your Lordships, the Legate lodged last night at Paglia, but instead of going there I went to San Quirico, thinking that I should see the Legate’s retinue better when they arrive in the evening than when they start in the morning. I passed the night at San Quirico, where the Cardinal’s retinue would have to pass if they were to go to Buonconvento according to the original intention, or in case they were to stop here. But the Cardinal had changed the order of things, going himself with a portion of his suite from Paglia to Pienza, where he was entertained by the Piccolomini, and sending the remainder on to San Quirico. As I wished to know exactly the number of cavaliers which the Legate has with him, and seeing this division arrive here, I sent my courier at daybreak to Pienza to count the number of cavaliers that had gone with the Legate, whilst I remained at San Quirico to count the rest. In fine, my courier returned and reported thirty-nine horse, and that he had remained there ten hours after the arrival of the Cardinal and suite. At San Quirico there arrived fifty-seven, and some ten had passed on towards Sienna, so that putting them all together there may be in all one hundred and ten cavaliers in his suite. I remained at San Quirico until the twenty-second hour to make sure that all had passed, and unless others should have come from Rome, he has no more than the above-stated number of one hundred and ten; although his chamberlains and master of the household say that he has one hundred and fifty, which they do, thinking the greater number more honorable. Besides the above-mentioned number of horse, there are thirty-two sumpter mules which I have counted myself, although the Cardinal’s own people say there are forty; but so far from there being so many, the number is rather less, as I have said. He has about fifty grooms and valets, and as to his courtiers, the most of them look as if they had just come from the Stinche prisons.* These are all the facts I have been able to learn about the Cardinal’s domestic establishment; and believing that I have fulfilled my mission in this respect, I took the post at the twenty-second hour, and came from San Quirico here to Sienna, so as to be able to inform your Lordships of the honors shown to the Cardinal, and of the time when he will leave here.
Finding himself still twenty-three miles from here, the Cardinal will not come to-morrow to Sienna, but defers his entry here until Saturday. The authorities have ordered him to be received with all the ceremony due to a Legate. He will be lodged at the episcopal palace, and all his gentlemen, to the number of about fifty, will be distributed amongst the citizens in such manner as the six deputies may deem best; whilst the whole crowd of menials will go to the hostelries, where their expenses will be paid; although nothing has as yet been said to the landlords upon this point, showing either that but a few will go to the hostelries, or that it will only be persons of low quality. Throughout the entire dominion the Cardinal has paid all expenses, except at Pienza, where he was the guest of the Piccolomini; but he paid the expenses of all who went to Paglia and San Quirico, and will do the same to-morrow, unless he should go with a select few to some private place, of which I am not aware. I shall remain all Sunday here at Sienna to witness their holiday-making. On Monday, or at the latest on Tuesday, the Cardinal goes to Poggibonsi; and if I knew exactly when he leaves here I should have returned and made my report to your Lordships in person; but as I have not been able to find out, I shall remain here until I can give you positive information on that point. And should anything else occur to your Lordships to charge me with, you can still do so. I can only report what I have already said, namely, that at the earliest on Monday, and at latest on Tuesday, the Cardinal will be at Poggibonsi.
I recommend myself to your Lordships, quæ bene valeant.
Sienna, 12 August, 1507.
I have deferred sending off my express this morning, this being the 13th, to see whether I could forward it without expense; but unable to do so, I have now determined to send him. He will leave at the eleventh hour, and promises to be in Florence at the seventeenth hour.
[* ]The prisons at Florence were familiarly called “Stinche,” after a castle by that name in the Val di Greve in Tuscany, the inhabitants of which had rebelled. The Florentines surrounded this castle with a line of palisades, thus converting it into a prison in which all the inhabitants were shut up. By assimilation the new prisons in Florence were afterwards called the Stinche.