Front Page Titles (by Subject) LETTER XVI. - The Historical, Political, and Diplomatic Writings, vol. 4 (Diplomatic Missions 1506-1527)
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LETTER XVI. - 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.: —
My last was of the 30th ultimo, but was forwarded on the 31st. I sent it in duplicate, one through Bartolommeo Panciatichi at Lyons, and the other by the royal post to care of Francesco Pandolfini. The substance of that letter was, that after considerable delay I have obtained from the king that your troops are to remain in Tuscany, but that you are to keep them on foot the same as the infantry which you have at Lunigiana, so that they may at any moment go to help Genoa, whenever it might become necessary. Girolami arrived yesterday, and brought me your Lordships’ letters of the 22d, and repeated to me verbally what your Lordships had written me respecting the negotiations with Rome, and about the troops. The matter of the troops being settled, there is no occasion to say anything more on that subject.
As to the negotiations with Rome, I repeated to Robertet what I had already told him according to your previous letters, and he made me the same answer, namely, that we must wait and see what will come of it. This morning I spoke with his Majesty the king, and told him that troops were being raised at Perugia and at Sienna, and that the Pope’s army was being increased. I also pointed out to his Majesty that by the capture of Modena his Holiness still more completely surrounded your dominions, and became daily more threatening; and that your Lordships desired to have his Majesty informed of this for the sake of having his Majesty’s advice and assistance when you should stand in need of it. His Majesty replied, that I should write you on every occasion unhesitatingly to help yourselves, and that he should not fail you, as he had already said several times. He told me also, that he had at this moment fifteen thousand infantry in his pay; that he had to render help at many points, but that all would be settled at one blow; that he wished me to see Robertet, and make him show me what he had directed him to write to Chaumont. Thereupon I went to see Robertet, who showed me that the king had written formally to Chaumont as follows: “The governor of Genoa informs us that the Pope desires to change the government of Florence, and therefore, as we have already written, we do not want you to call for any troops from the Florentine government, as we wish that they should employ them for their own defence; and write to their Lordships boldly to prepare for anything that may happen, and that in case of need you will not fail them.”
I did not neglect to do my duty with Robertet, and to remind him that we wanted facts at the proper time; and that even now it was necessary to take active measures against the Pope, or things would not go well; and that if Ferrara was lost, it would involve other losses, that would bring shame to the king and injury to his friends. Robertet answered that the Pope needed a good thrashing; and at these words he laughed and slapped me on the shoulder, as much as to say, and he will get it very soon. More than that I could not get out of him; although he said that he would be glad to see a couple of hundred more of French lances pass the Apennines, but that they would have to get them together first, and see what the Swiss were going to do.
Your Lordships wish to know the intentions of the king of France; I think my letters must have pretty well informed you upon that point. However, his Majesty is waiting for the spring, and meantime he is negotiating with the Emperor, and is making all other necessary preparations for his enterprise. He would like to temporize until spring, and spend as little money as possible, for all these little expenditures put him in a bad humor. This reason, and the belief that the Duke of Ferrara is able to defend himself, have caused the troubles at Modena; and the same reasons may cause other similar troubles, to his own detriment and that of a third party; for he hopes that by his mere coming he will at once settle all troubles, and looks upon all money spent before that as good as thrown out of the window. It is true, he could very well send two hundred more lances to Ferrara, which might save it and would not involve any extra expense. It is not his Majesty’s fault that this is not done, but it is the fault of those who manage the details of the king’s business here and in Lombardy. God grant that time may not show how great a loss the death of the Cardinal d’Amboise has been to the king as well as to others; for were he living now, Ferrara would never have suffered so much. For the king is not accustomed to attend to the details of all these things and neglects them, whilst those whose duty it is to attend to them take no authority upon themselves either to act or to remind the king what he ought to do; and so, whilst the physician gives no thought to the sick man, and the servant forgets him, the patient dies.
During my interview with Robertet, a painter brought a portrait of the late Cardinal d’Amboise, which caused Robertet to exclaim with a sigh, “O, my master, if thou wert living, we should now be with our army at Rome!” This exclamation confirms me more fully in all I have said above.
I had written thus far when Robertet suggested that it would be well that Giovanni Girolami should report in person to his Majesty what your Lordships had done with regard to the negotiations with Rome after his arrival at Florence. Accordingly he did so, and his Majesty was well satisfied with all the measures you have taken; so that as his Majesty manifests his views in relation to this negotiation more clearly than before, the subject might now be treated more openly here as well as at Rome. God grant that some good beginning may be made in this matter, before they change their opinion or disposition here!
I have nothing new to communicate to your Lordships, and can only confirm all I have written before. As to the Swiss, everything is being done to try and effect some arrangement with them, and I learn from good authority that they have already secured eight of the Cantons. If the king’s troops with the Grand Master withdraw from the Swiss frontier, it may be taken as an indication that terms have been made with them; but if they remain there, then we may conclude that some apprehension as regards the Swiss still prevails. But whenever they do withdraw, then your Lordships will be able to get more prompt and reliable information about it through Pandolfini.
I have told your Lordships in a former letter as to what measures had been taken with regard to Ferrara, and shall therefore not repeat it now. The reported loss of the city cannot be true, for we have no news of it here, and there seems to be no apprehension of it here.
The king leaves to-morrow for Tours, where the council is to meet. God grant that all may go for the best! Valete!
Blois, 2 September, 1510.