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COMMISSIONS TO PISA AND OTHER PLACES WITHIN AND WITHOUT THE FLORENTINE DOMINION. - 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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COMMISSIONS TO PISA
Magnificent Signori, etc.: —
I arrived here yesterday evening, having written to your Lordships from Poggibonsi that I would do so. I found here your Lordships’ letters in which you inform me that you would send me the money to-morrow; which is very necessary, so that the citadel may not remain bare. I had an interview this morning with the constables of the citadel, together with the captain; and after much discussion we have agreed to retain of their old companies some eighty men, all of which have served a considerable time in the wars of Pisa; they are reliable and of good quality. To fill up their number I have sent to Pescia for forty men; and to raise these I have sent them forty ducats out of the money which I had with me from the horses. They will be here to-morrow evening, and by day after to-morrow I believe I shall have everything organized. Your Lordships may perhaps think that I have allowed too many of the old men to remain; but I thought it necessary, first because it seemed to me cruel to discharge these men who have served so long; and then the constables declared that they should not know what to say or do without this half of their old companies. And furthermore I believe that, when one commits a place of so much importance as this to the charge of any one, it is advisable to keep him as far as possible satisfied, so as to afford him, in any event, as little ground as possible for excuse.
But let it suffice your Lordships, that with the old and the new men a good garrison will be organized, and that you will not be defrauded; for I shall order that the pay shall always be made according to the old list, and that you shall have a duplicate of it; and that they shall neither diminish nor increase the number without the express order of your Lordships, to whom I recommend myself.
Pisa, 7 May, 1512.
P. S. — The money ordered will be enough for the number of men decided upon, and will rather exceed what is required.
Magnificent Signori, etc.: —
From your Lordships’ letter of yesterday I note again your wishes respecting the garrison of the new citadel of Pisa, and of the gates. Your Lordships had already told me verbally of this, and wishing to be in a measure prepared when your instructions should come to hand, I have enlisted fifty men in the vicariate of San Miniato, and fifty in that of Pescia. These men will make good soldiers, and are satisfied to be paid for forty-five days; but it will be necessary that the Chamberlain of Pisa should pay them, and that they shall not have to look to Florence for their money, as in that case the forty-five days would probably become fifty, and some fair day the citadel would be left without a soldier; it is necessary, therefore, to think of this and provide for it.
I am now here at Fucecchio and have finished to-day all I had to do in this vicariate, and should have gone to-morrow to Pisa to carry out your Lordships’ instructions if you had sent me the money to pay these new troops. But as you have not sent it, my going to Pisa would do harm rather than good; for I should not be able to say anything until the money arrived, and thus my time would be lost. And were I to make this fact known without being prepared to put other men in their place, the posts would be left without any garrison. I shall therefore go to-morrow to Pescia, and remain three or four days in that vicariate, where your Lordships will please send me the money for raising troops there, and to pay the others; and I shall then go to execute the orders you have given me. But as your Lordships have told me in your verbal instructions that, if amongst the thirty old troops that are to remain there be any that deserved less pay than Daccio and Gianetto, and yet more than ordinary men, I should give them thirty lire; and as you do not refer to this in your letter, I know not whether you may not have changed your mind, and therefore I beg you kindly to repeat your instructions upon that point.
I have nothing further to say other than to recommend myself to your Lordships.
Fucecchio, 29 May, 1512.
Magnificent Signori, etc.: —
I came to Sienna* in accordance with your Lordships’ instructions, but could not obtain an audience from the Balia before Friday morning, when I communicated to them all that your Lordships had charged me with; after which I thought it proper to go and see Borghese.† I was most kindly received by all, who showed that this demonstration towards them by your Lordships was most grateful to them. Borghese in particular told me that your Lordships might count upon the republic of Sienna as upon one of your own cities; and that they wished in all respects to share the fortunes of your republic; and he thanked your Lordships infinitely for the kind interest you had taken in him. The Cardinal,‡ according to what I hear, will not be in Sienna before next Wednesday, and as you have not told me, I do not think I shall stay here for any other purpose except what your Lordships have specially charged me with.
The city of Sienna is very tranquil, and the only thing that agitates it is the murder of the Bargello some days since under the very eyes of Borghese; the murderers being all his relations and friends. To leave this murder unpunished would seem to allow too much authority to Borghese; whilst to avenge it might give rise to disturbances. I have conversed with some of the first citizens, who tell me that so long as they had your Lordships’ friendship there would be no disturbances in their city; and being assured of that, you could depend upon their good will. These persons also told me that they would desire your Lordships to write to the Rectors nearest to Sienna, if they heard of any gathering of their banished or any other persons, to prohibit the same, and to advise your Lordships of it. I promised to mention this to your Lordships, to whom I recommend myself.
I am now here in Poggibonsi, but shall be at Pisa to-morrow evening. Valete!
Poggibonsi, 5 June, 1512.
Magnificent Signori, etc.: —
Day before yesterday your courier Domenico arrived with the money to pay the garrisons of the citadel and gates. They were all paid yesterday, in such manner as I shall report verbally and in detail to your Lordships on my return to Florence, which will be in six or eight days after I shall have done what the Illustrious Nine have instructed me to do in relation to the organization of the cavalry. I recommend myself to your Lordships, quæ bene valeant.
Pisa, 10 June, 1512.
Make known to all who may see these letters patent that the bearer thereof is Niccolo Machiavelli, son of Messer Bernardo, our citizen and Secretary, whom we send as our Commissioner for the whole of the Val di Chiana to execute the orders we have given him.
And to that effect we command all of you Condottieri of men-at-arms, and whoever is in command of the light cavalry of the Ordinance, that you render obedience to the said Niccolo in all he may direct you to do, the same as you would to our magistracy, if they were themselves to give you orders.
And to you, Commissioners, Rectors, officials, and subjects of ours, in whatever place of the said province you may be established, we command to give him all aid and support in all that he may ask of you; for it will be with our consent, and by our order, if you attach any value to the satisfaction of our magistrature.
Ex Palatio Florentino, 23 June, 1512.
Magnificent and Most Illustrious Signori, etc.: —
By our last of the 25th, we informed your Lordships what we had learned and ordered up to the present. It seemed to us proper by every consideration, and more especially on account of those persons here who claim to be friendly to us, and most of all on account of those of the country who were greatly afraid lest they should in some way be injured, to send for Aurelio da Castello with 300 of his infantry, who came very promptly with a portion of his troop. During the night some 600 more came, although not ordered by us. Nevertheless, I judge their coming was very opportune, because, first, whoever was disposed to make trouble has seen that it would be a difficult matter; and those who wish to live quietly have taken fresh courage, seeing that your Lordships were not disposed to abandon them.
The coming of Niccolo Machiavelli was also most opportune, and immediately upon his arrival I deemed it proper for him to speak to the Priors, and these wanted the council to be present. As you may well imagine, Machiavelli exhorted them with great wisdom, and assured them, with most excellent and efficient reasons, that they had nothing to fear, either on this occasion or under more difficult circumstances, inasmuch as your Lordships had such an affection for them that you would never abandon them; to which he added other good words, etc., etc. So that, thanks to these two circumstances, everything seems settled for the present; and, with a view not to incur too much expense, we have sent back all the troops, retaining only about 150 of the best. Of these we send 50 this morning to Valiano, where there is still the company of Malatesta; and where some intrenchments are to be thrown up, as I stated in a previous letter. We have given ten barili* to each chief of a banner and captain of a squadron that we have kept; and to those whom we have sent back, we have given each one barile; although both Machiavelli and the Count thought I ought to keep more of them. But we held to this because I did not want to occasion any greater expense, and because I thought the number kept were sufficient for the present. Should, however, your Lordships think differently, you will please advise me of your wishes in the matter.
The Papal troops that were at Pienza and at the Val d’ Orchia started yesterday morning and came to Torrita, Asinalunga and Rigomagno, and Lucignano, where they intend to stop to-day. They are in all 238 horse, having been counted by Ricafolo, captain of the Count’s light-horse. At an early hour we sent this officer off with a squad of 25 horse, and he has been close at the enemy’s heels until they were past, so that they should not debauch our troops, as they had done in the Siennese territory; and thus they dared not halt on our territory. Subsequently, the Signor Count also went off with 25 men-at-arms, to take up his quarters on the frontier, where the Signor Giovanni Corrado came to meet him; and, as I am informed, they had a long conference together. But it seems to me, and to the Signor Count likewise, that he did not get the whole truth from Corrado respecting the Pope’s intentions, and as to what he was about to do. But he urged the Count to make terms with his Holiness; to which the Count replied in suitable manner, and afterwards requested me to write to your Lordships about it, and ask you kindly to advise him what to do in the matter, as he would ten times rather lose his state than to take such a step without your approval. In truth, the Signor Count manifests the greatest affection for our republic, both in words and acts, and regards neither trouble nor expense to render us service.
The troops that were at Orvieto went yesterday evening to Ponte a Centino, and up to this morning we have no information whether they have left there or not; we believe they have, but shall know definitely in a few hours. It is only the company of the Signor Julio, and consists of 250 horse. Since then we learn that at this moment there are at Acquapendente Piero and Antonio Santa Croce, and Orsino da Mugnano, with some 200 horse more. The Count Alessandro da Marzano with only four cavaliers arrived yesterday evening at Orvieto, and had a conference with the Pope’s commissioner. It is supposed that he will advance with his company, which has remained behind, and consists of 25 men-at-arms; the same with regard to the Conte dell’ Anguillara, who has 60 men-at-arms.
This is all I have learned up to the present moment. These captains have said that they sent two days ago to your Lordships for a free passage; but they have said to some persons in great secrecy that they have come for the purpose of carrying into effect what I wrote to your Lordships in my last.
Niccolo Machiavelli left here yesterday morning for Valiano to inspect the intrenchments there; and after that he is to go to Monte San Savino to establish a point of defence between there and Fojano, as I stated in my former letter.
Here we are diligently engaged in establishing a good guard, and shall be very vigilant; and we have no apprehensions but what, with the provisions made, and the good judgment and activity of the Signor Count, we shall be safe from all harm. Should we hear differently, we shall immediately notify your Lordships, to whom I do not cease to recommend myself. Nec plura.
Montepulciano, 27 June, 1512.
P. S. — At this moment, it being near the tenth hour, I receive your Lordships’ letter of the 25th, to which we have no further reply to make beyond what I have said above. I am glad to learn that they have sent to ask free passage, and hope your Lordships have granted that request. At the risk of seeming presumptuous, I would humbly suggest that they should be obliged to take another route from that through the Mugello, so as to deprive them of all opportunity of doing mischief. And if I speak too openly, it is my love and affection for my country that makes me do so, and I trust your Lordships will pardon it.
Io. Battista di Nobile,
Magnificent and most Illustrious Signori: —
At this moment, it being the eighteenth hour, Niccolo Machiavelli has left for Firenzuola; he has arranged for the money to pay all the troops of this valley and those of Marradi, with instructions to move them all in the least possible time to Firenzuola. Notice of this has been given to Pier Francesco Tosinghi at Barberino, on the supposition that he is there; of all this you will be informed by Machiavelli, in his letter to your Lordships.
Since my last, I have nothing to communicate, unless I were to repeat the same things. The bearer of this, who was yesterday at Bologna, will give you a full verbal report. Two notices in writing will be enclosed with this. Nec alia.
Scarperia, 21 August, 1512.
Magnificent Signori, etc.: —
This morning at the fourteenth hour I wrote to your Lordships all that I had learned in relation to matters here. Since then Lamberto Cambi arrived, whom I informed of all my proceedings and designs; and as he is writing at length to your Lordships, I have nothing further to report about matters here.
By the hands of the courier Cecotto I have received fifteen hundred ducats, according to what Quaratesi writes me, for I have not counted them myself. To-morrow we shall pay the troops, giving to each one third pay; and after that I shall return to Florence, so that I may serve your Lordships in some other way.
Firenzuola, 22 August, 1512.
Magnificent Signori, etc.: —
This evening at half-past one of the night we arrived here, by the grace of God, safe and sound. Upon asking his Lordship the Commissioner and N. Machiavelli in what condition and place the Spanish army and his Lordship the Viceroy might be found, they replied that they had received various information, but had reported all fully to your Lordships, as they showed me by the registers. I will not, therefore, repeat all the details of the reports I have had, but shall confine myself to giving you the substance of what I have gathered from them; namely, that if they received soon from your Lordships an order to collect as large a force of infantry and cavalry as could be got together for the purpose of making a decided stand, they could readily do it; although they might not be able to prevent the enemy’s passage. Nevertheless, you would be able with the troops which Machiavelli will take from here, to the number of more than two thousand choice men, to unite with that force of infantry and cavalry raised for the purpose of making a stand. And assuming that everything remains quiet in your city, as we confidently believe that it will, your Lordships may hope that matters may result successfully, and according to your desire. And may God in his grace cause it to turn out so.
To-morrow morning I shall, God willing, leave in time to go to Lojano. This route is not considered free from danger, on account of the troops from Sassatello, and other Italians, who are on this route to join the Spanish forces in the direction of Bruscoli. I shall make every effort to obtain from his Lordship the Commissioner, and from Niccolo Machiavelli, an escort that will go in advance to examine the road and see whether it is obstructed or not so far as it leads to that place, where I hope to obtain positive information as to the whereabouts of the Viceroy. So soon as I have ascertained this, I shall at once seek an interview with him, and, with all the security which his Lordship can procure for me, make a beginning at the execution of the commission with which your Lordships have intrusted me.
May God in his grace grant us a favorable issue! Bene atque feliciter vestræ valeant Dominationes.
Firenzuola, 22 August, 1512.
Magnificent Signori, etc.: —
At this moment, it being the fourteenth hour and a half, a letter has been received from Niccolo Machiavelli, which is sent herewith enclosed. In relation to what he says of Alessandro del Nero, you may take it for certain that full information has been received. The same with regard to the artillery; and I have ascertained, by persons whom I have sent for the purpose, that all that is contained in his letter is correct. But it seems to me that matters move a little more slowly than what they pretend; so that, if you hasten, you may yet retain them on the other side of the state; although you will hear the truth more fully from Francesco Tosinghi.
This morning, seeing that the men of this place complain that they are unprovided with any means of defence, I had them all called together, and exhorted them to guard their own village. Should they therefore apply to your Lordships for some artillery and ammunition for the defence of this place, I beg your Lordships to let them have it. And moreover I have offered myself, as is in fact my duty, to share their fate with them. I recommend myself to your Lordships, and may God guard you! Nec alia.
Scarperia, 22 August, 1512.
Magnificent Signori, etc.: —
My last letter to your Lordships was written yesterday evening; I therein told you all I had heard of the enemy up to that time; and that not a single man remains here. Since then, two of your Lordships’ letters of yesterday have been received; one at the twentieth hour, and the other at night. In the latter, you commission me to send and have the roads cut over which the enemy has to pass. But your Lordships must know that it would be impossible to have this done, or to have any other order executed; for, as I have already said above, there is not a single man left here whom I could send from one place to another, and to-night even we had to do without escorts, and with no protection but what nature gave us; and therefore it is impossible for us to make any provision for defence, and the enemy has it in his power to scour the country wherever he pleases. This place is entirely abandoned, and, according to what I hear, the Podesta and the customs officer intend to leave here. But even if we had the men to do the work, it would be of no use to cut the passes; for the mountain on this side is so open, that artillery could easily pass over it at this season; and, furthermore, the enemy is in such force here, that the inhabitants cannot go where their business calls them. In fact, those who have their property and dwellings on the mountain are all flying from here. I am informed that at Bruscoli, which is but a few miles from here, some hundred and fifty Spanish horse are quartered, who go about everywhere robbing, and have captured some of the men of Bruscoli. It is necessary, therefore, to think of other measures. I must govern myself according to the information I receive from hour to hour.
To-night there came here three men, sent by the communes of Ronta and Pulciano, to inform me that there was on the borders of Marradi a large body of infantry under the command of Vicenzio di Naldo of Berzighella, who purposed to pass from there by the Marradi road. These men asked me for a supply of artillery and munitions, showing me that they were admirably disposed towards your Lordships; but they had been robbed of everything, and were unable to offer any resistance to the enemy. I advised them to be of good cheer, and told them that I would write to your Lordships. I could not do otherwise, and now give you notice of it. Yesterday I wrote to Machiavelli at Firenzuola, urging him to gather a strong body of infantry at Firenzuola and at the Stale, so as to make the enemy less confident in their advance. But I have no reply from him; I had, however, to-night a letter from Lamberto Cambi of that place, who does not tell me either whether Machiavelli is there, or whether the infantry that was there had left, in which case it would be in the power of a few of the enemy’s horse to scour the whole country. But if there were a good body of troops there, then the enemy would be obliged to have some respect for them.
The said Lamberto informs me in his letter of the substance of two messages which he had received from Machiavelli respecting the enemy; and so that your Lordships may also be fully informed on the subject, I send you the said letter herewith enclosed. Bene valete.
Piero Francesco de Tosinghi,
Barberino Mugellana, 23 August, 1512.
Magnificent Signori, etc.: —
Yesterday evening at the twenty-third hour I wrote to your Lordships all that I had been able to gather from all sides respecting the enemy. Since then two of our men returned, to-night, and report matters to be unchanged, and that the enemy has not advanced any farther. They may, however, change their mind and make an advance; but your Lordships shall be informed from hour to hour of whatever news I hear.
This morning I examined the place, and afterwards went to the palace and ordered everything that can possibly be done for the present. His Lordship the Vicar and Niccolo Machiavelli and myself are in perfect harmony as to what is necessary to be done, and in providing for it. We assembled a portion of the infantry this morning, and gave to each man a ducat; and we are now calling the remainder together for the same purpose. We do not as yet know the precise number, but we agree in estimating it to be over a thousand; so soon as they are all together, we will inform your Lordships.
The ambassador, Messer Baldassare, left this morning at an early hour. In accordance with your Lordships’ orders, we provided him with an escort, so that he may travel with more security.
If we could have had for the defence of this place some three or four more artillerists, we should have been very glad; nevertheless, we are of good cheer and consider ourselves quite safe. May it please our Lord God that it prove so in reality! I have nothing more to say except to recommend myself to the good graces of your Lordships, and may the Almighty bestow happiness on you!
Lamberto di Cambi,
Firenzuola, 23 August, 1512.
[* ]Machiavelli was sent to Sienna to condole with the Signoria of that republic on the death of Pandolfo Petrucci, which occurred at San Quirico on the 21st of May, on his return from the baths of San Filippo. Tizio, in his manuscript history of Sienna, speaking of this mission of Machiavelli to Sienna, says: “Die interea quarta anni 1512, Niccolo Machiavellus orator a Florentinis Senam destinatus est ad condolendam Pandulphi mortem, obtulit quidquid per Florentinos agi poterat.”
[† ]Borghese Petrucci, oldest son of Pandolfo, succeeded his father in authority.
[‡ ]Alfonso, brother of Borghese.
[* ]Barile, a piece of money so called formerly in consequence of its being levied as a tax on each barrel of wine.
[* ]This and the other letters that follow are relative to the measures taken by the republic to oppose the Spaniards, who were advancing for the purpose of changing the government of Florence, and to re-establish the Medici there, as in fact was afterwards done.
[* ]Balthasar Carducci was one of the persons sent to the Viceroy of Naples Generalissimo of the Spanish forces, for the purpose of negotiating a peace.