Front Page Titles (by Subject) LETTER IV. - The Historical, Political, and Diplomatic Writings, vol. 4 (Diplomatic Missions 1506-1527)
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LETTER IV. - 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.: —
I wrote to your Lordships yesterday, and reported all that had taken place here till then. This morning there arrived from Pisa Finichietto di Casentino, one of those who were made prisoners with Canaccio; he came here on behalf of all these to recommend themselves, and to inform me that they had heard in Pisa the resolution which your Lordships had taken with regard to the brother of Alfonso,* and that they had been assured that, if Rafaello were hung, they would all be put to death. They begged me, moreover, to send them some money to enable them to live, as they were utterly without any resources. I sent him back to Pisa, and gave him money enough to support him and his companions for some days; and as to their apprehensions I reassured him the best way I knew how. Since then the priest who has officiated in Pisa during Lent left that city, accompanied by a number of monks. On arriving at the barriers I made them all return to Pisa, excepting the priest, whom I kept for good reasons. I have gathered from him a full account of everything that has occurred there from the time of his going to preach there, which in substance amounts to this: that the Pisans cannot hold out any longer, that their sufferings are much greater than what they avow, and that they are far from being united in coming to any good resolution, for the reason that the government is in the hands of the bad; whilst the better-disposed portion of the inhabitants are very desirous of coming to terms with the Florentines. This priest furthermore states, that at his departure from Pisa four of the citizens, whose names will be given below, have charged him to see whether it be not possible to arrive at some arrangement; and that they claim the following as the main conditions, viz.: 1st, full amnesty for the past; 2d, security for the observance of the same; and 3d, the assurance that, if they deliver the city and all its territory freely into our hands, and swear perpetual fealty, which they say was never done by their ancestors, they want to have the same privileges as some other cities in your Lordships’ dominions; and that if any hopes of this were held out to them, they would within a few days send envoys to present themselves at your Lordships’ feet. He said that he would like to be able to write to the Pisans what I thought of their project; but this I refused him, because the Pisans had refused to accept your Lordships’ grace at the time when you were willing to accord it to them, and by their wicked proceedings had added evil to evil, and that therefore they must not think of anything except that your Lordships are resolved to have Pisa either by consent or by force, and that they would very soon see the proof of this.
After hearing my reply, the priest said: “Since your Signori have decided upon this course, let them at least act so that the Pisans may soon see the beginning of it; for they are reduced to that point that their endurance can go no further. Only yesterday, a body of over three hundred went to the Palace of the Ancients, crying aloud, ‘We are dying of hunger; the help which you told us you were expecting has not come, and we cannot have patience any longer!’ They were dismissed with fine words, and promises that within four days some definite action should be taken, and that they must content themselves until then; and that orders would be issued this morning that there should be bread and grain in the marketplace; but there was none yesterday, and the price of corn rose to twelve lire per bushel.”
I wanted to make this state of things known to your Lordships; and so far as I have been able to learn from others, the Pisans can hold out no longer. If we continue to press them as we have begun, and they begin to see that we can reach them with our artillery, then there will be no occasion to resort to any other means, and your Lordships will have brought this long war to an end in a manner most honorable to our Republic. If I hear nothing more from the Pisans, I shall cut short all further parleying, unless your Lordships instruct me otherwise. I have learned that no grain has come into Pisa for four days; it is this that drives them to desperation, whilst we, on our part, shall continue, with the aid of our infantry and cavalry, to do everything to prevent any provisions from entering the city.
To-day we have heard of the death of Paolo da Paranno;* may God receive his soul! for he gave his body to your Lordships. I recommend his children to your Lordships, which I promised him I would do in case the Almighty should dispose of him; his goodness and loyalty make this whole camp deplore his loss.
Niccolo Machiavelli left here to-day, and has gone to inspect the infantry at the other camps. I have charged him to come back here afterwards, in accordance with your Lordships’ instructions; indeed, nothing could be more agreeable to me than to have him here with me.
I have nothing more to communicate to your Lordships to-day, but to recommend myself to your Lordships, quæ bene valeant.
Antonius de Filicaja,*
From the Camp near St. Jacobus, 14 April, 1509.
[* ]This Alfonso del Mutulo was a Pisan, and being made prisoner by the Florentines he agreed fraudulently with them to deliver Pisa into their hands if they would liberate him. He was consequently exchanged for a Florentine prisoner. And having returned to Pisa he caused at a given signal a company of Florentine soldiers to approach the walls, and began to introduce them one by one into the city by hoisting them up on to the walls by means of a rope. The twentieth man had hardly been drawn up when, casting his eyes into the city as he reached the top of the wall, he saw that of his comrades who had been hoisted over before him some had been killed and others bound. On perceiving this he uttered a cry, and made known the treason of Alfonso. The Pisans at once opened a general fire of artillery, by which Paolo da Paranno, who is mentioned in this letter, was mortally wounded. They attempted at the same time a sortie and an attack upon the remainder of the Florentine troops, but were repulsed.
[* ]Paolo da Paranno was mortally wounded on the occasion of the treason of Alfonso del Mutulo.
[* ]Machiavelli, having been called to Florence by the Ten to receive special and important instructions, was sent by them to inspect and report upon the condition of the several camps of the forces engaged in the siege of Pisa. He returned within a couple of days to his post. During his absence this letter was written by Antonio de Filicaja; and in the following letter Machiavelli makes his report to the Ten on the strength and condition of the forces at the different camps.