Front Page Titles (by Subject) LETTER X. - The Historical, Political, and Diplomatic Writings, vol. 4 (Diplomatic Missions 1506-1527)
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LETTER X. - 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 Signori, etc.: —
I wrote yesterday at length to your Lordships, and informed you that the bad weather had prevented the enemy from breaking up. This storm commenced on Saturday night, and up to now, the twenty-fourth hour, it has rained and snowed incessantly, so that the snow lies three spans deep in every part of the city, and it still continues to snow. Thus the obstacle which we could not have opposed to the enemy’s movements has been sent by the Almighty.
We have not been able to obtain any news of the enemy, for our trumpeter could not cross the river, nor could theirs come to our side, but we rather think they are faring badly; and if the Almighty had really wished to do us a service, he would have delayed this storm until after the enemy had passed the Sasso, and had got fairly into the mountains. Perhaps this weather would have overtaken them there if they had started at the time they intended; but the mutinous movements of their infantry, which at the time seemed so dangerous, caused them to delay their starting, and thus saved them from the consequences of this storm. Nevertheless, we believe that they are badly off, for they are on low ground, which was formerly boggy, and has been made habitable by cultivation and industry. We have endeavored to increase their troubles by breaking the dikes of the Samoggia, and turning the water upon them, and yesterday we sent off men for that purpose; but they had scarcely gone two or three miles, when they could get no farther, and returned here reporting that the whole country was under water. We have nevertheless attempted it again, and have written to the men at Castelfranco, and have also sent men by other routes with great promises of reward; we shall see what the result will be. We have no further news of the illness of George Frondsberg, owing to the above causes; but if fortune should change and favor us, he would die anyhow, and that would be the real beginning of our salvation and the enemy’s ruin.
I would furthermore say to your Lordships, that if this trouble had come upon the enemy before he laid in his large store of provisions, he would assuredly have been ruined. But the great amount of supplies which they have gathered for their movement upon Tuscany will save them. Had they been obliged to procure their provisions from day to day, it would not have been possible for them to live. And if the Duke of Ferrara could get back a little brains into his skull, and this weather were to continue a couple of days longer, he might terminate this war in sitting down or in sleeping; every effort should therefore be made to induce him to do so.
I wrote you yesterday evening that, if you wished to profit by this trouble and inconvenience of the enemy, it would be necessary to make the most of the time which fortune gives us; for if fair weather should return, we should find ourselves where we were before, and the delay which the enemy experienced in going to Tuscany would have been injurious to us rather than advantageous. And if it be desired that we should be better prepared, then the Venetians ought to pay their troops and make their whole army join ours; otherwise, things will go badly. For it is the general opinion that if the Imperialists pass into Tuscany, even if they do not ravage the country, but merely pass through into the Siennese territory, we could never hope to be successful in this war unless we should be victorious in a battle, which it would be just as easy for us to lose. The Lord-Lieutenant received letters this morning from the Pope’s Nuncio and ambassador at Venice, which could not possibly be more full of good promises or greater hopes; for they say amongst other things that the Duke affirms that the success of our enterprise is as good as assured, and that he will under any circumstances destroy the enemy’s army. But the Lord Lieutenant, seeing how much these letters differ from the facts, has written them a letter of two sheets, in which he reviews all their former errors, points out how greatly their actions have differed from the words spoken at Venice, and shows them exactly what they ought to do, if they intend to speak the truth with regard to their plans as well as with regard to the Duke’s hopes of victory. It is impossible to say what the result of this letter will be; still we shall have the satisfaction of having brought the matter to their notice, and it will serve to show them that we shall not be taken in by their outcries, and that fair words alone do not satisfy us.
Your Lordships must not cease to importune them, as I wrote you yesterday; and to give them no rest until their troops are actually paid and have joined ours, or until they are forced to declare that they do not mean to do it. Valete!
Bologna, 18 March, 1527.