Front Page Titles (by Subject) MISSION TO THE ARMY OF THE LEAGUE, ENGAGED IN THE SIEGE OF CREMONA. * - The Historical, Political, and Diplomatic Writings, vol. 4 (Diplomatic Missions 1506-1527)
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MISSION TO THE ARMY OF THE LEAGUE, ENGAGED IN THE SIEGE OF CREMONA. * - 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 THE ARMY OF THE LEAGUE, ENGAGED IN THE SIEGE OF CREMONA.*
There are two reasons for my sending you to Cremona; the first is, to know with the greatest possible certainty what the chances are for the success of that enterprise; and the second is, to make every effort to have the attempt abandoned, if within five or six days the city does not surrender. Therefore, besides the other efforts which you will make to inform yourself thoroughly upon the first point, you will have a letter of credence from me to the Venetian Proveditore, to whom you will communicate the first cause of your mission, begging him earnestly to tell you what he thinks of matters, and what the Duke’s* opinion is; giving him to understand that he may talk as freely with you as with myself.
As to the second object, taking your cue from the answer of the Proveditore, you will ask him on my part what he thinks of doing in case the place is not taken within five or six days. You can tell him that his Holiness, and the most illustrious Signoria of Venice, as well as the captains of the army, are of the opinion that to lose more time before Cremona would be pernicious, because it involves the loss of the opportunity for taking Genoa, which is the important object of the whole enterprise; and that, so long as the army remains before Cremona, Genoa cannot be taken, as the fleet alone is insufficient to do it; and the four thousand men of the Marquis of Saluzzo are but a feeble resource, particularly now, since the Spaniards that were at Alessandria are known to have entered Genoa; moreover, we do not believe that the Marquis would attempt to go there with so small a force.
Remind him that we have brought a large force of Swiss together, and are obliged to have two thousand Grisons come. And to see so great an accumulation of troops would be regarded by us as a great loss, and would create irreparable disorder, especially with regard to the Swiss, who when together in great number indulge every day in some act of sedition. A great many of them leave, but the expenses remain the same, and rather increase every day, whilst the number of troops diminishes. Presently we shall have winter upon us; and then we shall have the Spanish reinforcements on our back, which, according to the last news, are to set sail within a day or two. If these things come to pass before we shall have taken Genoa, or driven the enemy out of Milan, then our enterprise will remain in terrible disorder. You must therefore urge his Lordship to do his utmost to have the siege raised, in case the town cannot be taken within five or six days. Should his Lordship deem it proper that you should speak to the Doge, then you will do so; but you must do it with great caution, and not let him know my opinion, nor that of the captains. Tell him merely that the Holy Father has written to me that for the above-stated reasons it seems to him that no more time should be lost; but that anyhow this resolve must be left to the wisdom of his Excellency; that on my part, however, I thought it proper to let him know the views of his Holiness.
Of all this you will say nothing to the Doge except under advice of the Proveditore, and in such manner as not to give him cause to get vexed.
Write by post, giving the letters to the Proveditore.
[* ]The war which desolated Italy at this time, and in which the Pope, the Venetians, and the French were leagued together against Charles V., had the most disastrous termination for the League. It forms one of the most interesting subjects of history, and was most fruitful in events; amongst which the most noteworthy are the sack of Rome, the captivity of the Pope, and the change in the government of Florence from a republic to a monarchy. The famous historian Guicciardini was commissioner of the Pope with the army, and Machiavelli had been sent to be near him by the Florentine government. The correspondence between Guicciardini, Machiavelli, and Francesco Vettori, official as well as private, gives most precious accounts of the most secret intrigues in the affairs of the time.
[* ]Francesco Maria della Rovere, Duke of Urbino, and Captain-General of the Venetian forces.