Front Page Titles (by Subject) LETTER VII. - The Historical, Political, and Diplomatic Writings, vol. 4 (Diplomatic Missions 1506-1527)
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LETTER VII. - 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 you last on the 26th and sent it to Giovanni Borromei at Mantua, with instructions to forward it with his first despatches, and I shall do the same with this. Since my last some two hundred men-at-arms arrived here, part French and part Italian, and sent here by Chaumont; amongst them is Tarlatino with his company. Every one here now is full of curiosity to know what so considerable a force is going to do here. The Emperor and the Grand Master were to have met at Obsolengo; the latter had been already for three days at Peschiera. After uniting their forces, they are to decide as to the manner in which this war is to be carried on. I have made every effort to find out whether the king of France claims any compensation from the Emperor for carrying on this war, or whether he really does it without compensation, deeming it sufficient gain to keep the enemy at a distance from his frontiers, and thus deprive the population, which is anyhow not very loyal, of the opportunity to rebel. But I have not yet been able to obtain any information upon this point satisfactory to myself, for I do not believe that there is any one here that knows anything about it; and those with whom I have talked on the subject take very high ground, and say that the Emperor Maximilian will not give the king of France a single battlement of all that belongs to him; and that he ought to be satisfied to have the states of the Emperor as a shield to his possessions, and allow himself to be trampled under foot first; and that the king of France is obliged to undertake this defence, inasmuch as he thereby defends his own state more advantageously and more securely in keeping the enemy at a distance than by waiting until he is on his frontiers. They seem to think that France is necessarily obliged to take this course. We must wait now to see how the King himself views the matter. All I can say to your Lordships is, that this country cannot long remain in the present condition; for the longer these sovereigns protract this war, the more ardent will the desire of these country people become to return under the dominion of their original masters; for the inhabitants of the city are devoured by the troops quartered in their houses, whilst those who live outside of the city are plundered and killed. The Venetians, who are aware of all this, act just in the contrary way, causing everything to be respected both within and without the city, to a degree that is almost incredible on the part of such an armed multitude; thus, if these two sovereigns trifle with each other, and do not make a prompt and vigorous war, it may give rise to events that will cause these cities to return to their former allegiance with more alacrity than they broke from it.
Two days ago the Emperor was at the place which I mentioned to your Lordships in my last letter. Fracassa came here yesterday; and it is said that the Emperor will make him commander of the Italian troops in place of the Signor Costantino, who is reported as returning to Rome in consequence of having had a dispute with Monseigneur de la Palisse, of such a nature that the latter sent him a challenge. Thus, to avoid having anything to do with the French, Constantino returns to Rome, not leaving a very high opinion of himself behind.
The Venetians have scattered their troops over a distance of some twelve miles, and their Stradiotes often come within a couple of miles of this city. It was only yesterday that they took more than a hundred horses from the enemy’s teamsters, so that to-day these teamsters did not venture out into the country without an escort of more than five hundred cavalry. There are now here 4,500 infantry, and 2,500 horse, of which some 200 are French; 4,000 German infantry are expected here to-morrow, and the Emperor is also looked for, after he shall have met and conferred with the Grand Master.
I have no further news to commuicate, but recommend myself to your Lordships, quæ bene valeant.
Verona, 29 November, 1509.