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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.: —
With the exception of Paolo Paranno and two hundred infantry, who were left to guard the camp, we moved on Monday morning with all the rest of the troops to the Figuretta, and began to work immediately with three small barges, which the Signor Francesco, supported by about one hundred infantry, had taken the night before from the Pisans under their very gates. Subsequently, at about noon, Antonio da Certaldo arrived; but as it was already late and the piles and other necessaries were still on the beach, we could do nothing that day towards making the palisade, and therefore put it off until yesterday morning, when we returned there with the same men, and during the day we succeeded, with the help of God, in completing the stockade and placing the obstructions below the Figuretta, about one mile towards the mouth of the river. We have driven three rows of piles, fifteen in each row, binding them together with bands of iron, so that the Pisans can neither cut nor undo them. The bands of iron are all below the surface of the water, so that we think the Pisans will hardly attempt to destroy this stockade, for they could not remain there at their ease. True, they might transport some boats over land, but that would take so long that any one knowing it could easily prevent it. The obstructions are so placed that the Signor Jacopo passed twice quite easily from one side to the other, with eight of his mounted men; and whenever it is necessary to pass them the troops will need only to take fifty fascines with them, and then the army of King Xerxes himself would be able to pass. The Pisans might damage our works by cutting them, but that would require time, which they cannot safely afford, with two hostile armies after them. We shall see what course they will take.
We have met with nothing in the mountains here, although we have used our best efforts to search them thoroughly, and shall continue to do so. I do not remind your Lordships of Giovanni Battista, being persuaded that he is already on the way; and in truth we need him very much. As to the infantry, I can say that the companies are really splendid, and as to their willingness to remain, neither Antonio’s nor Morgante’s have given me the slightest trouble. From the Pescia company only there are frequent applications for some of the men to visit their families, which I believe is in consequence of their being so near their homes. I have granted such leave to a few of the men, and these have in every instance returned on the day promised. I have reduced the companies from five hundred to three hundred, and shall be able to keep them so for two pay-days longer, as but few men are obliged to return home sooner; but after that I shall be obliged to reduce them to eighty or one hundred men, as it will then be the time for attending to the silkworms (il tempo dei bigatti), and the men cannot remain. I should propose then to disband them altogether, were it not that it would be a wrong to their colonel, who is a worthy man, as well as to the men themselves, if, in this enterprise against Pisa, in which they count upon gaining some reputation, neither he nor his banners were permitted to be seen. When that time comes, we may keep those who wish to remain, as they would then have no ground for complaining that they were either forced to remain or be disbanded; although it would be desirable if we could keep all the men, for it is a good and handsome company. These men have already earned eight days’ pay, and on the 11th of this month, which comes on Sunday next, they will be entitled to full pay, so that we must give them their money on Monday. I beg your Lordships, therefore, to arrange to have the money here, for the reasons explained in my previous letter, and now renew the request most earnestly.
A certain Bastiano, son of Ser Jacopo Orlandi, corporal of the Pescia company, asked for his discharge at the end of his term, on the ground of ill health. I gave him his discharge, as I had anyhow to dismiss two hundred men; and thereupon he went off to Pescia, and enlisted some ten or twelve men, with whom he entered the service of the Venetians, in contravention of your orders and proclamations. I have learned since then that he came near stirring up the whole company, and attempted to seduce four or six officers, promising them each four ducats here and four more at Faenza. I mention this to your Lordships so that you may manifest your displeasure by retaining him as prisoner, and take such other proceedings as will keep your troops here in proper obedience; otherwise your orders will be derided by everybody, and everything here will end in confusion.
Messer Bandino has returned the cattle some days ago.
As previously reported to your Lordships, there was remitted to Tommaso Baldovini three hundred ducats to pay the first troops from Pescia, of which sum one hundred and eighty-three ducats were lost. The daily supply of straw has been regularly paid, amounting to more than forty ducats; the pioneers from Pistoja have been paid, with exception of their first three days. Picks and shovels have been bought: the iron bands had to be made and paid for. More than ten ducats have been expended in having the wounded gunners cared for, and to send them home. A portion of the bread purchased at Lucca has been lost; and thus we are without money, and yet we have to live. It is absolutely necessary, therefore, that your Lordships send at least two hundred ducats to the said Tommaso; for, besides the extraordinary expenses that occur daily, we have to pay every day four ducats gold, of which three are for straw for the men, and one for the twenty pioneers which we have kept out of the one hundred that came from Pistoja.
To-day there came to see me Messer Agostino Bernardi, a citizen of Lucca, sent by the Signoria of that city to represent to me that your Lordships had written them a rather severe letter, founded upon statements made by me; and therefore they wished to assure me that they would in future take all proper measures to prevent the Pisans from obtaining provisions; and that, if they had not done so hitherto, it was due to the fact that they supposed that your Lordships had taken all necessary precautions yourselves, and had so guarded every point as to prevent the Pisans from coming and going; and that in future they wished me to write to your Lordships in such manner as would tend to maintain the good understanding between the two republics, instead of destroying it. I replied, that your Lordships in coming to an agreement with Lucca had two objects in view; the first, to facilitate the conquest of Pisa, and secondly, to live in security and peace with your neighbors; and if, after concluding that agreement, it became necessary for your Lordships alone to see to it that the Pisans did not avail themselves of the resources of the dominion of Lucca, then the first object of the treaty was done away with, and the agreement might as well not have been made, for that then it would have sufficed merely to don a cuirass to settle any trouble that might arise; and that therefore your Lordships would not be satisfied unless the Signoria of Lucca took the matter earnestly in hand, — that is to say, to prevent the Pisans from making their city an asylum, and to punish those who received them in the country, or who furnished them help or sold them any supplies, — all which things it was impossible for your Lordships to do; that this was the only way to put a stop to it, for as their subjects had nothing to apprehend from our troops in consequence of the existing treaty, and at the same time had no fear of being punished by their own magistrates, all other means were uncertain and useless, owing to the great extent of country which we would have to guard. And therefore it was absolutely necessary that they should send their commissaries to the frontiers and drive the Pisans off their territory, and chastise those who gave them asylum. If they would do this, your Lordships would be satisfied; and that then whoever might be there could only make good report of them, for the good or the bad that was written about them depended entirely on their own conduct. Messer Bernardi promised that his Signoria would do wonders, and that whatever inconvenience we had suffered in the past was caused by some indiscreet or evil-disposed official; that magistrates could bestow office upon individuals, but could not endow them with goodness or discretion, and that they had already appointed commissaries to correct the difficulty; and finally he begged me, in case of any complaints coming to my ears, to write to his Signoria before reporting it to your Lordships, so as to prevent any unfavorable impressions, and to afford them the opportunity of remedying the evil more promptly, and without causing any ill feeling. I promised to do so, and thereupon he left me.
I recommend myself to your Lordships, quæ bene valeant.
From the Camp at Quosi, 7 March, 1509.