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LETTER V. - 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 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,
[* ]Barile, a piece of money so called formerly in consequence of its being levied as a tax on each barrel of wine.