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LETTER XI. - 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.: —
In my lines to your Lordships of yesterday, which I sent by the ambassador of the Marquis of Mantua, I stated briefly that I had been a considerable time with the king and Robertet after receipt of yours of the 28th in reply to mine of the 18th. “I communicated to them the contents of your letter, which seemed very satisfactory to them; and his Majesty said to me, ‘You will see my chancellor, Robertet, and my other ministers, who will acquaint you with my wishes.’ ”
I had hardly left the king when your Lordships’ letter of the 13th came, informing me of the neglect and delay to which your Lordships’ letters as well as mine have been subjected in Lombardy. I went at once back to Robertet, and communicated to him the information contained in your letter, and complained to him, etc., etc. I told him also of the dangers to which our merchants had been exposed in consequence of the Pope’s having merely heard of the demands which the king had made on my arrival. He manifested surprise at the first, and said he would again give instructions about forwarding the letters; but as to the second, he said that he did not know where the Pope could have heard of it; he would, however, remind the king to be more cautious hereafter.
“His Majesty returned here to-day; and after dinner Monseigneur de l’Oratellis and the other five members of the council had me called, and the Chancellor, after a long exordium upon the services rendered by France to Florence, beginning from the time of Charlemagne and coming down to the present King Louis, said that his Majesty had understood that the Pope, moved by a diabolical spirit that had taken possession of his mind, wanted to renew his attempt against Genoa, in which case it might well be that Monseigneur de Chaumont would have need of your troops to defend his Majesty’s possessions. He therefore desired that your Lordships should keep your troops on foot, so that they might be ready for active service at any moment that Monseigneur de Chaumont should call for them. And that his Majesty also wished you to keep a few thousand regular infantry on the frontier ready for service; and that in this wise you would lay the king and the house of France under eternal obligations to you. I replied to all this in accordance with what your Lordships had written me in your letter of the 28th in answer to mine of the 18th, that they ought to bear in mind that your dominion was entirely surrounded by the states of the Pope, who upon the least suspicion had threatened to have our merchants plundered, and would certainly do so upon the slightest demonstration on the part of your Lordships, and that moreover he would leave every other war for the purpose of combating you. And that therefore, inasmuch as his Majesty could do very well without our being mixed up in the matter, he ought to have some little consideration for your Lordships. And as regards troops, we had but very few on the frontier, and that these would have to be paid whenever ordered to be ready to march, and any expenditure in addition to what we were already burdened with would be actually insupportable by our city. They answered nearly all at the same moment to my remarks, saying that the troops would be wanted only for a few days to repel an attack, and that your Lordships ought to remember that the king was as solicitous about your honor and interests as about his own. That his Majesty’s preparations were on such a scale that he would make cœlum novum et terram novam in Italy, to the detriment of his enemies and the exaltation of his friends; and that I ought for these reasons to write to your Lordships and hand the letter to Robertet to be forwarded, which he promised to do.”
I wrote to your Lordships on the 9th, giving full account of the state of things here; if time permits, I will enclose a copy of it with this letter, for I see that things are going in the way I said they would; “that is to say, these people here want to involve you irretrievably in this war, and for that reason you should ponder well what I have written before, and bethink yourselves as to what advantages you may be able to gain; for according to their proposition we should be much exposed to loss.”
The Emperor has sent a herald to the army of the Church to warn the Duke of Urbino and the other commanders not to molest Ferrara, “at which the generals laughed.” According to what we hear from there the Pope’s affairs are prospering, for he has taken Cotignola and Luco. Monseigneur de Gurck has not yet arrived, but is expected daily.
I have written to your Lordships on the 18th, 21st, 22d, 26th, and 30th ultimo, and the 3d, 9th, and 12th instant. Your Lordships will see now that my letters have been stopped somewhere on the road. The French are taking the course which I indicated in my letter of the 3d; it is evident that they are not disposed to reject the treaty of peace, whilst on the other hand they are making great preparations for war, as I have mentioned already in former letters. Valete!
Blois, 13 August, 1510.
Nothing more is said about the horses restored to Marc Antonio, and I keep quiet about it.
I send copy of my letter of the 9th hereto appended, or rather herewith enclosed.