Front Page Titles (by Subject) To the most Reverend and most Illustrious Cardinale Giulio de' Medici. - The Historical, Political, and Diplomatic Writings, vol. 4 (Diplomatic Missions 1506-1527)
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To the most Reverend and most Illustrious Cardinale Giulio de’ Medici. - 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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To the most Reverend and most Illustrious Cardinale Giulio de’ Medici.
Most Reverend Father: —
As these friars did not begin their chapter until Saturday, I could not execute my commission sooner. On that day they named for their Minister-General the Soncino, who had previously been their Vicar-General. On the Sunday following, they appointed twelve Assessors, who were so called this time because the brothers from across the mountains did not want that, according to the old custom of the Italians, they should create Diffinitori, with authority to determine and define questions of religion. By this change these Assessors are elected, and these together with the Minister-General have authority to hear and examine matters, and then to report them to the chapter, which body then has power to terminate them.
I therefore presented myself yesterday morning before the Minister and the Italian Assessor. I handed them my letters, and explained to them my commission in such manner and with such remarks as I thought best calculated to persuade them to the desired course of action; and I neglected no argument which your most reverend Lordship suggested to me verbally at my departure, and which were subsequently recalled to me by Brother Hilarion. Thereupon, the reverend fathers held a long consultation amongst themselves, and then had me called in and expressed to me first the great obligations which they owed to our republic, to your illustrious house, and finally to your most reverend Lordship; that they wanted not only in thought, but in fact, to do what would be most agreeable to all; and that they knew full well that the motives of the Magistracy of the Eight and the desires of your most reverend Lordship were good, and inspired by the most just and most reasonable considerations. But what was asked of them was in itself of such importance as no other question that the order had been called upon to treat for two hundred years; and therefore it was necessary to give it the most careful examination, together with the advice and opinion of the other fathers of the chapter, as they had no authority to act without them. That they would endeavor before the dissolution of the chapter to arrive at some definite conclusion, that would be satisfactory to the illustrious Magistracy of the Eight, as well as to your most reverend Lordship. But as the question was a knotty and difficult one, and could not be so readily disposed of, and at the same time to prove their good disposition to the illustrious Signori of the Eight and to your most reverend Lordship, and so that I should not be obliged to wait here several days in vain, they would write to the illustrious Signori and to your most reverend Lordship the same as they had told me, and that I could carry their reply away with me. And thus in all they said they showed on the one hand the desire they had to oblige those who had requested them, and on the other hand the importance and difficulty of the subject; alleging the same reasons which your most reverend Lordship may have heard on former occasions.
I did not fail to reply to them in the warmest manner possible, and urged them to leave these difficulties aside, and frankly to come to a definite result; telling them particularly that I had not been sent by the illustrious magistracy to dispute about this matter, which they had themselves most carefully examined and discussed, but to make known their wishes to the reverend fathers, and to beg them to satisfy the same, which could only be done by complying with their request. I said, furthermore, that I saw two points in their answer calculated to displease the illustrious Signori; the one was the prolixity of their resolution, and the other, their attempt to negotiate about it, and remit the question to the chapter. For they well knew that, when a few persons do not want to do a thing and wish to make difficulties, they remit it to the multitude. But that this point had been thought of, and provided against in such manner that not only their reverences united, but the Minister-General by himself, had authority from the Pope to conclude such a separation, without having to submit it to the chapter; and that, moreover, the briefs themselves imposed this upon them, saying, “habito prius maturo examine, et super hoc onerando conscientias vestras.” But that we must not think ill of them, as they would really do everything in their power to satisfy us. And thus, after many words on both sides, no other conclusion was reached.
Before speaking to all the fathers together, I had a special conversation with Father Potenza, and presented to him your most reverend Lordship’s letter, and pressed him hard, on your part, to show himself favorable to your wishes in this matter, intimating to him dexterously that it was wisdom on the part of men to know how to give that which they could neither sell nor keep. It is impossible to evince greater warmth in desiring to favor the matter than he did, protesting that he was the slave of your most reverend Lordship, whose slightest indications were commands for him. After that I spoke with all the others, one at a time, employing more ardent and pressing language than I had done in speaking to them all in a body, as your reverend Lordship had suggested to me. All pointed out the difficulty of carrying the matter through, and the disorder that would result from it if done; but all of them protested that your most reverend Lordship should be satisfied. From the expressions used by some of them, I am inclined to believe that they will commit the matter to their Minister-General, who, accompanied by three or four of the other fathers, will come to Tuscany to discuss and settle the matter there. If this course is taken, then Brother Hilarion feels sure that it will be concluded to our satisfaction.
Having thus done all that I have reported to your most reverend Lordship, and having the letters which the reverend fathers have charged me with, Brother Hilarion thought that I had better mount and use all diligence to reach Florence on Wednesday evening in time to enable the Eight of Practice to write another letter that would reach them before the dissolution of the chapter, which is fixed for Saturday or Sunday next. That letter should say to them that the Eight are not at all satisfied with the delay of the fathers in coming to a decision, and should conclude, in few but earnest words, that no other decision would satisfy them except such as would effectually make the desired division.
I arrived this evening here in Modena with that commission and order, but find that riding in such haste does not at all agree with me, owing to my being quite indisposed. I remember, also, that by order of your most reverend Lordship I was to remain here one or two days; and therefore thought it well to write to your most reverend Lordship, and give you information upon all points, which will answer the same as my coming in person, especially as it will be there quicker, in case you should conclude to write to them again before the dissolution of the chapter.
Messer Gismondi dei Sali, business agent of the Signor Alberto, has rendered very great service in this affair, of which I wished to bear testimony to your most reverend Lordship; for in words and in acts he shows himself most devoted to your most reverend Lordship, to whom I recommend myself.
MISSION TO VENICE.