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LETTER I. - 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 Illustrious Signori, etc.: —
I arrived here to-day at an early hour, and immediately called on his Lordship the Lieutenant, and presented your Lordships’ letters, and explained to him in detail the reasons of my coming. His Lordship said to me: “For the satisfaction of your Signori I will tell you first where our troops are, as well as those of the enemy; after that, I will tell you what is to be feared on the part of the enemy, and to be hoped for on the part of friends; and, lastly, what I think ought to be done in case we have to negotiate. The Lansquenets were yesterday at Quistello, a place in the Mantuan territory this side of the Lecchia; they have crossed the river to-day, and have taken the road towards Rizuolo and Gonzaga, which would indicate that they are taking the road towards Milan to join the Spaniards. These Germans number some fifteen or sixteen thousand, according to what we hear from various quarters, although one of my own men has written from Mantua that they do not number more than ten thousand. The Spaniards of Milan are still in that city, but begin to give indications of their intention to leave, having agreed with the Milanese to accept thirty thousand florins and depart; which accords with the route which the Lansquenets are taking. The Duke of Urbino finds himself, with all the troops he had brought with him, in the Mantuan territory, being quartered with the Germans, and shows no sign of moving from there, although I have several times solicited him to leave. True, he sends one of his captains to Piacenza with one thousand infantry, who will be there to-morrow. The Marquis of Saluzzo is at Vaure, a little place in the Bergamasque territory, fourteen miles from Milan and sixteen from Bergamo; he has all his troops with him, more than three hundred Venetian men-at-arms, and about one thousand infantry. The infantry of the Signor Giovanni, about three thousand in number, will be posted at Parma to-morrow. Besides these there are some four thousand troops there. So that, taking them all together, the League has over twenty thousand men in this province.
“If the Pope does not let them suffer for want of money, and they can all be brought together, we may perhaps continue to be safe; but if they lack the subsidies of his Holiness, the others will become lukewarm, and we shall have much to fear. Beyond doubt, if all these troops are kept together and are well paid, the enemy, whether they remain quiet or advance, will not be able to achieve any great results, without which, from lack of money, they will not be able to maintain themselves. For, remaining thus separated, and not agreeing amongst themselves nor having confidence in each other, little good can be expected from them. Since the enemy has shown signs of wishing to unite, he will in my opinion give us some days of quiet to think of peace or war; but when once he has united all his forces it is not reasonable to expect that he will lose any time, but will attack either the Venetian possessions, or those of the Church, or he will move into Tuscany. In the first two cases, you will have time to think of your affairs. In the third, I cannot for certain promise you other assistance than the six or seven thousand troops which the Church has here; because, with my knowledge of the Venetian character, you cannot count upon them for anything under similar circumstances. As to the French, I cannot say whether they will rather follow the advice of the Venetians, or that which will remind them of your necessities, and I will therefore express no opinion on the subject, but shall abide events. Therefore write to your Signori all I have told you, and assure them that I shall not fail to make every effort to unite our troops, and to solicit Venice and Rome not to abandon us, but to do what I have said to you above.”
Respecting the negotiating of a peace here, the lieutenant said to me: “It seems a useless thing to me, and of no advantage; for any attempt to corrupt the Germans, or to make terms with them, would not succeed, as they and the Spaniards form the same corps. Peace negotiations should therefore be carried on with those who are authorized thereto by the Emperor, and I do not believe that the Constable de Bourbon, or any other of the commanders on this side, is so authorized. But I believe the Viceroy and Don Hugo, who are on your side, have the authority; for we hear that the Viceroy with a portion of the fleet has landed at San Stefano, a port belonging to the republic of Sienna. Peace negotiations can therefore be initiated much better at Florence; and I believe the Pope has already moved in the matter, which is likely to have a good effect. In short, we see that these movements on this side will give us time to think of remedies, either by peace or by other means, and it will be well for you to make this known to your Signori.”
This is the substance of what I have been able to learn from the Lord Lieutenant, and I deem it proper to advise you of it by these presents, so that your Lordships may understand the whole matter. I shall remain here a couple of days longer, to see whether anything special occurs, so that I may return more fully informed about the state of things here.
I recommend myself to your Lordships, quæ bene valeant.
P. S. — Your Lordships will have heard of the death of the Signor Giovanni, whose loss is regretted by everybody.*
Modena, 2 December, 1526.
[* ]This was Giovanni de’ Medici, Capitano delle Bande Nere, who died on the 24th of November, 1526. He was the son of the famous Catharine Sforza and another Giovanni de’ Medici.