Front Page Titles (by Subject) COMMISSION TO NICCOLO MACHIAVELLI, RESOLVED UPON BY THE MAGISTRACY OF THE TEN ON THE 10 th OF MARCH, 1509. * - The Historical, Political, and Diplomatic Writings, vol. 4 (Diplomatic Missions 1506-1527)
Return to Title Page for The Historical, Political, and Diplomatic Writings, vol. 4 (Diplomatic Missions 1506-1527)
The Online Library of Liberty
A project of Liberty Fund, Inc.
Search this Title:
Also in the Library:
COMMISSION TO NICCOLO MACHIAVELLI, RESOLVED UPON BY THE MAGISTRACY OF THE TEN ON THE 10 th OF MARCH, 1509. * - 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.
About Liberty Fund:
The text is in the public domain.
Fair use statement:
COMMISSION TO NICCOLO MACHIAVELLI,
We desire you on receipt of this to leave the camp and to proceed to Piombino; we have written at the same time to the commissaries to provide some one in your place with the army, either by selecting one of their own number, or in such other way as they may think best. Our object in sending you to Piombino is as follows. You have probably heard that the lord of Piombino sent to us a certain Giovanni Cola, one of his officers of the court, to inform us that the Pisans had manifested to him a disposition to settle their difficulties with us; and therefore he wished us to grant to some of them a safe-conduct that would enable them to come there for the purpose of negotiating, etc., and that we should send some one there with power to negotiate and conclude an arrangement with them. We have granted the desired safe-conduct, with which three of their citizens left Pisa, whose names we append hereto. The said Giovanni Cola returned here yesterday, and as his safe-conduct was nearly expired he urgently requested us to prolong it for the whole month, and we have reluctantly extended it until the 20th instant. He moreover urged us with great earnestness to send some confidential man, alleging that the Pisans would not explain themselves, nor come to any particulars upon any point unless some confidential person were present on our part. Now, as all these demonstrations seemed to us mere pretexts for gaining time, we have decided, for the purpose of finding out once for all the real truth of this matter, to send some discreet person there, who will manage to do it with the least possible display; and therefore we desire you to go there with all possible despatch, and when you have arrived near the lord of Piombino with our letters of credence, which you will receive herewith, you will state to him that you have been sent there in accordance with his own request, and to learn whether the Pisans who are there have orders and sufficient authority to enable them to conclude an arrangement. You will ask his Lordship whether he has seen these powers, and request him to show them to you, and if there are none, then you are instructed to return immediately; and in that case, you will leave without entering upon any discussion respecting this negotiation. But if his Lordship of Piombino should be of the opinion that the Pisans are really in earnest about this negotiation, and you come to the same conclusion, then you may open yourself further to his Lordship and inquire most particularly of him what it is that the Pisans want; and you will endeavor to learn all the particulars that you possibly can. Also point out to his Lordship that it is only necessary for him to hear the Pisans, as on our part we demand but one thing, and that is Pisa free, with all its territory and jurisdiction, the same as before the rebellion. According as you may find things, you will advance step by step, giving us immediate advice of all that occurs. In short, our intention is to try this expedient, so as not to miss any occasion that might prove of advantage to us. On the other hand, however, we are not willing to compromise our dignity or honor, nor encourage the Pisans by showing ourselves too anxious; for in truth we apprehend that this whole affair is nothing but an artifice on the part of the Pisans to gain time, and to employ this delay in some way to their own advantage.
Apart from the list which we send you, you will endeavor to find out whether all the Pisans who have left their city with a safe-conduct are at Piombino; for if they are not, it would be a sign that they wanted to leave for the purpose of going elsewhere; and you may make this observation to his Lordship, as an indication that the Pisans have really no intention to come to terms. Should you be asked for a further extension of the safe-conduct, you will make them understand clearly that they will not obtain any extension, not even for two hours.
Decemviri Libertatis et Baliæ Republ. Flor.
[* ]Whilst Machiavelli was in camp with the besieging army, the Pisans applied to the lord of Piombino to act as mediator in bringing about a peace with the Florentines; either because they really wished to negotiate a peace, or, as seemed most likely, because they hoped in this way to gain time and a relaxation of the rigors of the war. Jacopo d’ Appiano sent a confidential agent (Giovanni Cola) to Florence to make this known to the Signoria, and to beg them to send ambassadors to Piombino. But suspecting some fraud, the Ten, before engaging in any negotiations, wished Machiavelli to go there and find out what foundation there really was for the proposed negotiations. Machiavelli accordingly went to Piombino, and very quickly ascertained the real state of things, of which he gives full account to the Ten in his letter of the 15th of March, from Piombino.