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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It was yesterday, and not the day before, that I left Mantua, and arrived here. I made the payment of the thousand ducats, and left the acquittance together with the power of attorney and the notarial act of the transaction with Luigi Guicciardini, with instructions to deliver them to your Lordships on his return to Florence unless he received different orders from your Lordships. The Emperor is at present at Acci, a few miles the other side of Roveredo; and it is reported that he has ordered a levy of one man per hearth in the Tyrol, with which he intends to come to the assistance of this city. His Majesty is expected here from day to day, and therefore I did not go any farther; moreover, the roads are not by any means safe, for only to-day the Venetians captured ten horsemen on the road leading to Chiusi, who were going to join the Emperor. I intend to wait for him here, where it is likely he will remain during the whole of this war. The state of things in this city is as follows: the gentlemen, feeling themselves guilty, are not adherents of St. Mark, but the citizens and the populace are altogether Venetian; and yet with all this, the day when the Venetians retook Vicenza things looked quite favorable; for at the very moment when the loss of that city became known, a fight occurred amongst some Spaniards in the public square which caused the whole city to take to arms, and reports were spread that the Venetians had entered the city. Nevertheless, none of the citizens left their houses, and no ugly demonstrations were made. There are within the city several posts that are garrisoned, which, if properly supplied, are strong enough to make a long resistance. The garrison consists of German infantry, but altogether does not amount to a thousand men. There are, moreover, some 3,500 other infantry, partly Spanish and partly Italian, and about 1,000 to 1,200 cavalry. You must bear in mind that all the German infantry and cavalry have left here, except a small force that is with the Bishop; there remain here some 1,000 or 1,200 Burgundian cavalry, and those Italians whom the Bishop had in his pay. There are, moreover, some 400 French horse here, that were sent here by the Grand Master on the loss of Vicenza; and to-day there arrived some 150 cavalry under command of a certain Count Giovan Francesco da Bergamo, also sent here by the Grand Master.
The Venetians have established their camp at San Martino, some five miles from here, where they are reported to have some five thousand paid infantry, and a large number of enraged peasants, besides all their cavalry. These have scoured the country all day to-day, and have destroyed the roads, so that I was most fortunate in having come here yesterday instead of to-day. It is supposed that the Venetians will have to make great efforts to obtain possession of this town; they are roving through the neighborhood to sound the disposition of the people, and watching to see whether some disturbances may not arise in the town that will afford them a chance to get inside. It is supposed that when they see that all this is of no use, they will come with their artillery, for they know that they will have to fight the soldiers that are in the place; although the people, if they have not shown themselves friendly to them, have at the same time shown no sign of being hostile. If they do not attack the place this evening, they will not delay it beyond Sunday, inasmuch as they cannot afford to lose any time; and unless they take this place, it will be of little advantage to them to take Vicenza; but having Verona would enable them at the same time to close the pass to the French and to the Germans, which Vicenza would not enable them to do. It is said, moreover, that the latter city is so feeble that they can retake it with the same facility with which it was taken by the Venetians. The inhabitants of the place, who have no desire to change masters, and the Germans, have placed all their hopes upon the French, and say nothing more about help from Germany. But they say that the Grand Master is coming here in person, and that he has given orders to Messer Jacopo to advance with all the men-at-arms which the King has in Lombardy, and that he has raised a body of volunteers and engaged ten thousand Swiss to come down from their mountains, and that with all these forces he will promptly retake Vicenza, and push the Venetian army back into the Gulf. Your Lordships can learn through Francesco Pandolfini whether all these preparations are really true.
I have been told here that the Grand Master has sent these few troops here merely to give the inhabitants the hope of assistance; and that he has at the same time despatched a messenger to the King (who ought to be back in nine days) to learn how his Majesty wanted him to act under the circumstances. It is not known what course the King may intend to take, and whether he may not prefer to recover what has been lost for himself, rather than defend the possessions of others. But this pass is of the greatest importance and value to any one that wants to carry on a foreign war.
This morning I had an audience of the Bishop, and explained to him the object of my coming here, and that I should remain here some time, etc. He expressed himself much pleased to see me, and praised highly your Lordships’ fidelity to your engagements in making the payments, etc. I have been told privately by a trustworthy person, that, if Verona is this day in the possession of the Emperor, it is due to the nine thousand ducats, and that he will always acknowledge it. I hope your Lordships will take note of this, so that you may be able to remind him of it in future times, in case circumstances should change; for it is really true, as I have been told, and as I now write to you.
I do not send Zerino, for I do not think it well for me to remain here with only Marcone. True, I spend more than the one ducat per day that is allowed me as salary; nevertheless, as in the past, so shall I be in the future always satisfied with whatever your Lordships may be disposed to do for me. I recommend myself to your Lordships.
Verona, 22 November, 1509.