Front Page Titles (by Subject) LETTER XII. - The Historical, Political, and Diplomatic Writings, vol. 4 (Diplomatic Missions 1506-1527)
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LETTER XII. - 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.: —
Besides my other letters, I have written to your Lordships on the 2d, 7th, and 8th, and as these have not yet been forwarded by Giovanni Borromei, they will now be sent together with this one. The agent whom the Bishop had sent to Valleggio returned here on the 9th, and reports having handed that place over to the French, with the promise on their part to restore it at any moment on demand of the Emperor. He has made two inventories of the artillery and the munitions in the place, of which one copy has been left with the French and the other he has brought here with him. The French are now urged to march, but they reply that they are waiting for their infantry and for certain necessaries for the transport of the artillery. I hear also from a good source that, with the view of leaving this city in the rear with the greater safety, they demand one of the forts to be placed in their hands, and that the Bishop will hand the citadel over to them.
Now to enable your Lordships more fully to understand when you hear this city spoken of at any time hereafter, you must know that Verona bears some resemblance to Florence. For the city walls take in a portion of the hill, and the river Adige, which takes its rise in the mountains of Germany and runs near and parallel to the Lago di Garda, does not spread into the plain, but turns to the left, and, skirting close along the mountains, divides the city of Verona in such wise that, looking towards Germany, a portion of the plain and the entire hill slope are on the other side of the Adige; and all the rest of the city, that looks towards Mantua, is on this side of the river. But very soon after leaving Verona the river turns from the mountains and takes its course through the plain. On the height, and as it were near the gate of San Giorgio, is the fort called San Piero; and somewhat higher up and about two bowshots’ length from this fort, and on the very summit of the hill, there is another fort, called San Felice. These two forts are guarded by the Germans, and if they were lost the city would be almost defenceless; but they are very strong, owing to their situation rather than to the strength of the walls. On this side of the Adige looking towards Mantua, where the country becomes level, as has been said, there are two other forts, one towards Peschiera, which is called the old castle, and the other towards Vicenza, which is called the citadel; these are about three bowshots distant from each other, and the outer wall of the city, running from one to the other, forms a half-circle. Besides this there is an inner wall running straight from the old castle to the citadel, and having a deep ditch on each side. In the space between the two walls and the two forts there are a number of houses, constituting the quarter of the Borgo di San Zeno. In this Borgo, or suburb, a portion of the French troops are quartered; but not satisfied with this, they also wanted the citadel, in which the Spanish troops are quartered. This explanation shows your Lordships of what portion of Verona the French are masters. The gentlemen continue to manifest the same disposition which I have mentioned in a former letter to your Lordships; their actual situation is bad, and they apprehend worse, seeing the unstable and changeable character of the Emperor, and that the Venetians are acting with renewed vigor, and that the whole country is favorable to the latter. They are consequently occupying themselves with great solicitude in removing their goods and chattels and their wives and children to Mantua. They still look hopefully, however, for the coming of Chaumont, who, as I have said above, is only waiting for his infantry and artillery to arrive, after which he will immediately come here.
I have mentioned to your Lordships that I had heard that the Emperor had left Botzen for Innspruck. Since then we have positive news of his being at Augsburg, where he has convoked a Diet, so as to have everything in order to enable him to act with vigor in the spring. At this news all the followers of the court that were at Verona, and had remained here only because they were in doubt where to find the Emperor, or what they ought to do, have left here suddenly for that city. Thus, when I perceived this, I thought it well to come as far as here, where I arrived yesterday, and to send an express to your Lordships. And to do this without involving your Lordships in any extra expense I have chosen Marcone, my steward, for that purpose, so that you may inform me through him what you wish me to do now. Your Lordships’ predecessors had told me orally, that whenever the Emperor returned to Germany I should come back to Florence; nevertheless, I desire to have your Lordships’ special instructions upon this point, and beg you will be pleased to give me leave to return; for there seems to me no necessity for my going to Augsburg to learn the decisions of the Diet, which will not differ from those of the previous Diets. Moreover, the Emperor, unlike other princes, is averse to having the envoys of other sovereigns about him, and either dismisses those that come, or confines them to some special locality which he does not permit them to leave without his orders. Thus we see that he has ordered all those who were with him at Trent to remain there, and not to leave without his permission. As to my staying here for the purpose of learning what is going on, that seems to me equally unnecessary, for, as everything will have to pass through the hands of Chaumont, Francesco Pandolfini will always be able to give you earlier and better information than any one else. I therefore reiterate my request to be recalled, for you have it always in your power, in the event of the Emperor’s return here, or for any other reason, to send me back here. Should, however, your Lordships decide differently, then I pray that you will send back with my steward Marcone, who is the bearer of this, the courier Ardingo; for I require some one here who knows the country, and whom I can despatch to you so soon as the decisions of the Diet are known, which you could not expect otherwise, nor could you receive my letters, unless your Lordships are willing to incur the expense of keeping couriers passing regularly to and fro, as was done in the time of Francesco Vettori.
I must beg your Lordships also to send me money enough to pay my expenses for at least two or three months, including my servants and three horses, and to enable me, in case of need, to buy or change a horse, for in these places there is no one willing to help another with a sou. I again recommend myself to your Lordships, and beg you will send back Marcone with a prompt reply. I had forgotten to say, that of the fifty ducats which I received at Florence I have only eight left, which is all the money I have. Valete!
Mantua, 12 December, 1509.