Front Page Titles (by Subject) MISSION TO VENICE. - The Historical, Political, and Diplomatic Writings, vol. 4 (Diplomatic Missions 1506-1527)
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MISSION TO VENICE. - 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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MISSION TO VENICE.
Most Serene Prince and Most Excellent Lord: —
We send to your Serene Highness our citizen Niccolo Machiavelli, who will relate to you in our name the extortion and violence beyond all expectation, and done in contempt of what is due to the friendship existing between your illustrious republic and ours, by a man in a port and town of your most illustrious dominion, against three of our young men who were coming from Ragusa with a sum of money which they brought from the Levant as is usual.
We beg your Serene Highness to put full faith in all that our envoy will explain to you in our name. And most earnestly do we entreat you to receive his reclamation favorably, and to cause restitution to be made to our merchants of what has so violently been taken from them. This is what we hope from the integrity and consummate justice of your most illustrious Serene Highness, to whom we recommend ourselves most humbly, and whom we pray the Almighty most happily to preserve.
Consules Artis Lanæ et Cons. Reip. Florentinæ in Romania } Civitatis Florentiæ.
Dat. Florentiæ ex officio nostro die 19 mensis Augusti 1525.
Resolved upon by us,19 August, 1525.
Very Dear Niccolo: —
We use but few words with you, because we know your prudence and the great experience you have so often shown in affairs of much greater difficulty than the present, and because you have fully understood our object in sending you to Venice. But so as not to fail in the responsibility which rests upon every one who sends another on a mission, we have prepared these few lines relative to what we intend you to do in our name on your mission to Venice. You will proceed then as promptly and as conveniently as you can to Venice, whither may our Lord God guide you safely. The first thing you are to do after your arrival will be to call upon the Bishop of Feltre, Papal Nuncio to that republic, for whom you have letters from Rome; and after having delivered these to him, we wish you to try, with all the skill you can command, to possess yourself of a letter that is enclosed in the letter to him. That letter is one of those which Benedetto Inghirami has written to us from Ancona, and in it he relates at length the whole affair. We had sent the letter to Rome, for the purpose of more fully elucidating the case; and at Rome they have enclosed it in the letter to the Nuncio which you are taking with you. We tell you this because that letter varies in some respects from the deposition of the witnesses, which might give umbrage and perhaps create difficulties rather than serve our cause.
After the Nuncio has read that letter, you must take it from his hands, saying that it is superfluous, as the young men who have written it are here in person, and can state their case better and with greater brevity verbally. Coming then to discuss as to what course to take, you will follow his Lordship’s advice, and then you will go with his Lordship, presuming that he will want to accompany you, or alone, and present yourself before the most illustrious Doge and the Venetian lords, for whom you have a brief from his Holiness, and a letter from our Magnificent Signori, which you will present to them with the customary ceremonies. When you shall have obtained an audience and permission to speak, you will expose to their Lordships, on our behalf, the extortion and robbery beyond all expectation and what is due to the sincere friendship existing between their republic and ours, in their port and by a Venetian, upon three of our young men, who were coming from Ragusa with money brought from the Levant in the usual way. You will demand the restitution of what has been taken from them, in the strongest and most efficacious terms that you can employ, and which, with your habitual prudence, you will deem most suitable for obtaining the result we so much desire, and to get back what has been violently taken and stolen.
You will also take with you the deposition of the witnesses taken at Ancona and elsewhere, which you will use at such time and on such occasion as you may judge most to the purpose. You will also have with you two of those young men from whom the money was taken, so that you may daily make known the precise facts, and avail yourself of them on every occasion, and may boldly face any one who attempts to deny the facts.
This is all that occurs to us to tell you at this moment, and even this may be said to have been superfluous, for we feel persuaded that you fully understand our wishes, and will know better how to carry them into effect than we have told you above. We have every confidence in you and hope, as well from what we have heard, that his most illustrious Lordship the Doge, moved by his extreme sense of justice, and having heard the case, has already had the delinquent incarcerated, as by your efforts, that you will return promptly with the satisfaction which we ask.
The Consuls of the Wool Guild of the
Serenissime, etc.: —
Certain of our citizens and merchants who have lately come from Constantinople have reported an occurrence the outrageous nature of which has caused us great displeasure; and we hope that your Serene Highness in your benevolence towards us, as well as by your innate sense of justice, will be no less displeased. The following is a statement of the occurrence.
A brigantine coming from Ragusa, and having on board the aforesaid merchants with a considerable sum of money, arrived at Lesina, a port belonging to your illustrious dominion; there they found the brigantine commanded by Giovan Battista Donati, a Venetian citizen, who accompanied the Turkish ambassador. This Giovan Battista had the said merchants brought before him, and on certain iniquitous pretexts threatened them with loss of their lives, although without the least offence on their part. And after having subjected them to indignities which we should blush to repeat, he finally compelled them to ransom themselves with fifteen hundred gold ducats, which he extorted from them by the most frivolous pretexts. This outrage seems to us the greater and the more grave, as it has been inflicted upon us by a person whom we have never offended, so far as we are aware, and within the jurisdiction of those whose good will we have ever endeavored to merit by every kind of good offices. How deeply we have felt this outrage, and in what light it must be regarded by whoever hears of it, we do not think necessary to demonstrate by a lengthy discourse, well knowing the supreme wisdom and justice of your Serene Highness.
We wished to bring this occurrence to the notice of your Serene Highness by this present representation, persuaded that you will not forget what is due to our friendship, nor what is expected from your most illustrious republic, when we beg you to have some regard for a city which is so much attached to you as ours is; and to see to the indemnification of these our merchants, who, not to use a harsher expression, have not been treated as friends, and have been subjected to a villanous outrage beyond all reason. Our most dear fellow-citizen, Niccolo Machiavelli, goes for this purpose to Venice, and will, in our name and on behalf of our merchants, explain the whole affair to you by word of mouth, relating to you precisely how the occurrences took place.
We desire above all things that your Serene Highness should be convinced that you cannot at this moment do anything that would be more agreeable to us than to order the restitution to these our merchants of the money so unjustly taken from them, — a restitution required by duty, so that every one may know that this villany was perpetrated in direct contravention of your will. If the habitual equity of your Serene Highness, as well as your ancient good will towards us, accords this grace, you will do what is really worthy of you, and most agreeable to ourselves; and which we shall receive as a benefit, and if occasion should ever present itself, we shall not fail to remember it at all times. Quæ bene valeat.