Front Page Titles (by Subject) COMMISSION TO PISA AT THE TIME OF THE COUNCIL. * - The Historical, Political, and Diplomatic Writings, vol. 4 (Diplomatic Missions 1506-1527)
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COMMISSION TO PISA AT THE TIME OF THE COUNCIL. * - 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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COMMISSION TO PISA AT THE TIME OF THE COUNCIL.*
THE TEN TO THE CARDINALS THAT WERE AT PISA.
Reverendissimi in Christo Patres, etc.: —
Mittimus ad reverendissimas dominationes vestras Nicolaum Machiavellum civem et Secretarium nostrum; mandavimusque illi multa quæ referat coram reverendissimis dominationibus vestris: quibus placeat super eis nostra de causa fidem illi habere certissimam. Quæ bene valeant.
THE TEN TO THE SEIGNEUR DE LAUTREC.
Illustrious Seigneur: —
We send to your Lordship our citizen and Secretary, Niccolo Machiavelli, to whom we have entrusted certain matters which we desire your Lordship should know; and we therefore beg your Lordship to give him the most entire credence.
THE TEN TO NICCOLO MACHIAVELLI.
We have nothing to communicate to you by this letter except that since your departure from here we have heard from Rosso Ridolfi and Antonio Portinari that matters are going on quietly enough at Pisa; and therefore it seems to us proper to say to you that, unless some special necessity should occur for the three hundred infantry, you will not raise them. But should you see that they are necessary, then you will act according to the original order given you on the subject. We have nothing else to say, for whatever is new here we write to Rosso Ridolfi, from whom you will learn all we communicate to him.
Magnificent Signori, etc.: —
You will have learned through the letters from the Lords Commissioners how matters are going on here. By these presents I have thought to make known to you that I went this morning to make a visit to the Cardinal Santa Croce, with whom I had a long interview, my sole object being to point out to him the difficulties which this locality and the times bring with them, and which will constantly increase, the longer the cardinals remain, and the more people come here, and therefore your Lordships begged him to excuse them, etc., etc. To this the Cardinal replied, that although there was no abundance, yet the scarcity was supportable, and that therefore they did not complain. That they were fully aware that the palaces were not equal to those of Milan, nor life so agreeable as in France; still, if either on their own account, or on account of your Lordships, it was deemed advisable to change the locality, it might be done.
I told him that I should speak upon this point only according to my own opinion, and that I believed it would be a wise thing to go from here; for, first, they would be relieved of the anxiety respecting lodgings; and secondly, the removal of the Council from his immediate neighborhood would make the Pope cool down, and render him less active in opposing it by arms and other means; and thirdly, by the transfer of the Council to some place, either in France or Germany, the people there would be found more disposed to obey than what the people of Tuscany are, because the Emperor and the King can control their people more easily than what your Lordships ever could do. And as the opportunity seemed to me favorable, I entreated him not to consent to have your Lordships constrained to do what you neither could nor should do; and that I believed that the coming of one man voluntarily to this Council would give it more reputation than twenty that were forced to come against their will. I went on trying to persuade him to the best of my ability, and finally concluded by coming back to the proposition to remove the Council from here, but as coming entirely from myself; demonstrating to him that it would be a wise and most useful thing to do, and calculated to produce the best effects.
The Cardinal replied to me that he would speak with his colleagues about it, but that it would be necessary to write to France and to the Emperor; whereupon I reminded him that at San Donnino he and the other cardinals had told me that, after two or three sessions of the Council at Pisa, it should be transferred to another place. He admitted the truth of this, and said that he would think of what they ought to do; and that I might rest assured that nothing unbecoming would be asked of your Lordships. “In fact,” added he, “your Signori will not be satisfied that we should dismiss those priests who will not obey us.” To which I replied, that I did not know what support your Lordships could render them, but as to dismissing the priests, you had nothing whatever to do with it; and that that was a matter which they must settle amongst themselves.
His Eminence said nothing further on that point, but it seems to me that it will not be long before some new demand will be made of your Lordships, and of a sort that will not be very much to your mind. I have communicated all this to the Lords Commissioners, and they have thoroughly looked into the matter, and will make a report to your Lordships, to whom I recommend myself. Valete!*
Pisa, 6 November, 1511.
Magnificent Signori, etc.: —
Our last letter to your Lordships was of yesterday, and we gave you therein full account of everything that had occurred. This morning the third session of the Council was held, with the usual ceremonies and sermons. After that two of the cardinals and four of the bishops were named as Commissioners of the Council; and without letters from them, or at least signed by two thirds of them, no prelate could leave the Council. And then it was announced that after the ceremonies of to-day’s session every one was free to leave, at their convenience; with the obligation, however, to be on the 10th of next month at Milan, where, on the 13th, the day of Santa Lucia, the fourth session of the Council was to be held in the cathedral; and that in the interim they were to ask for a safe-conduct from the Pope, so as to enable them to send an ambassador to his Holiness to arrange for the transfer of the Council to some neutral place that would offer security to both parties.
This is the sum and substance of what was done this morning. At the twentieth hour a general meeting is to be held at the house of the Cardinale di Santa Croce; and this morning they have ordered Rosso to notify the Rectors to be there, so as to take leave of them. We know of nothing else that they would wish to say to them.
Rosso Ridolfi et Antonio Portinari,
Pisa, 12 November, 1511.
COMMISSION FOR RAISING TROOPS.
Make known to all who may see these our letters patent, that the bearer of the same is Niccolo Machiavelli, son of Messer Bernardo Machiavelli, Secretary of our Illustrious Signori, and who is sent by us into the province of Romagna to select and enroll men capable of bearing arms, to serve on foot in our militia organization, under such banners as we shall assign to that province. And therefore we command all our subjects in the said province of Romagna to render him all obedience; and you Rectors and officials are to give him all the aid and support he may need in selecting and enrolling these men.
Dat. inPalatio Florentino, 2 December, 1511.
Magnificent Signori, etc.: —
To-day I have given the advance to one hundred new men to serve in the cavalry, and have distributed them under the same banners; namely, Val d’ Arno, Val di Chiana, and Casentino. I found the two hundred infantry of the first levy in the best order; and these new ones will be fully equipped during this month, after which your Lordships can employ these three hundred cavalry wherever you may wish. I leave here to-day for Val di Bagno, to execute the order of the Nine, and commend myself to your Lordships, quæ bene valeant.
Bibbiena, 5 December, 1511.
[* ]The two preceding legations and the present commission to Pisa relate to the celebrated differences between Pope Julius II and Louis XII., king of France, at whose instigation a General Ecclesiastical Council had been convoked at Pisa, for the purpose of deposing Pope Julius II., who had contemptuously rejected all offers of peace, and had carried his violence so far as to have the French ambassador arrested, and had launched interdicts and excommunications against his enemies. The Emperor of Germany, Maximilian I., had joined the king of France in the project of deposing Pope Julius II. by a General Council; having himself the extraordinary idea of assuming the papal tiara with his imperial crown, in the event of Pope Julius’s deposition by the Council. The Florentines at the request of the king of France had consented to allow the Council to be held at Pisa; but they soon became alarmed at the dangers threatened in consequence by the vengeance and violence of the Pope, with the Venetian army at the north, and that of the Spaniards at the south. The Signoria saw no other way to avert these dangers than to endeavor to persuade the king of France to dissolve the Council and make peace with the Pope. It was for this purpose that Machiavelli had been sent on these missions to the court of France, where Roberto Acciaiuoli was at the time the accredited ambassador.
[* ]It may not be amiss to give here the relation of the sessions of the Council held at Pisa, at which Machiavelli was present, and which were reported by the Commissioners, who, in writing to the Signoria at Florence, say that with regard to these reports they refer to the wisdom of Machiavelli himself, he having greater experience in these matters than themselves.
[* ]The Nine of Ordinance was a magistracy instituted when the national militia was established, in which Machiavelli had taken so prominent a part.