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Niccolo Machiavelli, The Historical, Political, and Diplomatic Writings, vol. 3 (Diplomatic Missions 1498-1505) 
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. 3.
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Table of Contents
[Back to Table of Contents]
Duke of Valentino and the Romagna
From the portrait by Raphael in the Borghese Gallery Rome
MISSIONS.[Back to Table of Contents]
MISSION TO THE LORD OF PIOMBINO.*[Back to Table of Contents]
LETTER OF THE MAGISTRACY OF THE TEN TO THE LORD OF PIOMBINO.
The entire faith and the very high estimation in which we hold your illustrious Lordship, induce us confidently to ask you to consent to do what our commissioners will ask of you, namely: — Having to withdraw our Captain-General with his troops from the neighborhood of Pisa, for the purpose of sending him to Arezzo, and desiring to replace these troops by others, and in the absence of our general to have a chief capable of properly commanding them, and not knowing to whom we could better confide this responsibility, we have concluded to commit it to your charge, feeling assured that the affection which you bear us will induce you to accept it willingly, and that you will with the utmost possible promptitude proceed with your troops to the Pisan territory. And we feel convinced that, when you are once on the spot with your troops, our interests there will be fully protected.
And so that you may have some one to guide you there, we send you our most valued citizen, Niccolo Machiavelli, to accompany and guide you by the most convenient route. And we beg you most earnestly to comply with our request and expectations with your accustomed promptitude and prudence, feeling assured that you will do so cheerfully, as the charge which we ask you to accept is a most honorable one, etc., etc.[Back to Table of Contents]
MISSION OF MACHIAVELLI TO THE SAME.
You will proceed to Pontedera, where you will present yourself to the illustrious Lord of Piombino; and after having presented our letters of credence, you will explain to him that you have been sent by us because we had been informed by his chancellor, who is here, and through our ambassadors at Milan, that it is his Lordship’s desire to receive from us, besides the sum stipulated in the contract for his engagement, the additional sum of five thousand ducats; alleging that this was promised him, and that it would be no more than proper inasmuch as his lordship is in no way inferior to the Count Rinuccio. In relation to which demand we have judged that you could better explain by your personal presence what we have to say on the subject; which in fact amounts to this, that we are sincerely desirous of satisfying his Lordship generally in every respect, because of the good faith and affection which he has manifested towards our republic, and which we appreciate highly. You will enlarge upon this in the most effective manner, so as to show our favorable disposition towards his Lordship, but you will do it in vague and general terms, so as not to commit us to any positive obligation whatever.
As regards this demand for an increase of compensation, you will say that, so soon as we received notice of it, we examined the register of our military engagements, where we found in the second chapter that his Lordship had agreed with his Excellency the Duke of Milan and our magistracy that his compensation for the engagement was to be 2,400 ducats, and as much more as our magistracy might deem proper. And that upon this point we beg his Lordship to content himself with what at one time had been satisfactory to him. And although this matter was left to our discretion yet we trust that his Lordship will take into consideration the circumstances in which we find ourselves, but that he may count upon our good will; and that he will excuse us on account of the many considerations which we are obliged to have in this matter. And thus you will offer to his Lordship for another time all that is due to his valor and good conduct, and to the love we bear him; keeping however in your language always within the limits of friendly expressions, from which he may know our good feelings towards him and may hope to realize them. But above all you must have patience if he should threaten a rupture, and let him run on, and then reply and use your best efforts to induce him also to have patience.
It may also happen that his Lordship will claim from you the additional forty men-at-arms provided for in the third clause of his engagement. To which you will reply that, as his engagement was in common between us and his Excellency the Duke of Milan, it would not seem proper for us to make any alterations or additions to it without the concurrence of his Excellency, because of his interest in the matter. But that we will write to Milan about it and await a reply, which we doubt not will be in accordance with his Lordship’s desire. And so far as we are concerned in this matter you will assure his Lordship that we shall strive in every way to meet his wishes; and you will excuse this delay on account of the necessity above stated of having the concurrence of the Duke of Milan, because of his interest in the matter.
With these considerations you will carry out the first and second part of your commission; and you will do so in such manner as at the moment may seem most suitable to you.
Decemviri Libertates et Ballæ
|Dionigi di Naldo||500|
|Maestro di Sala||500|
|Lo Sgallo da Sienna||300|
|Salzato, the Spaniard||300|
|Marc Autonio di Fano||500|
|Giannetto di Siviglia||150|
|Gascons and Germans||600|
These Gascons and Germans are here; all the others are scattered throughout the neighboring places, as far as Fano, and the greater part of them have already consumed their pay for four or six days. The Swiss that are expected are said to number three thousand lances.
|Don Hugo, the Spaniard||50|
|Monsignore d’Allegri, a Spaniard||50|
|Don Giovanni di Cardona||50|
These three companies had already been reduced in numbers before the rout of Fossombrone, and, having since then received another check, must be still less in number.
|Gathered from the Duke’s own states||50|
|Conte Lodovico della Mirandola is said to have 60, but I have heard since that he has only about||40|
The latter is with his company at present about six miles from here. The son of the General of Milan is reported to have orders to raise one hundred men-at-arms; he is still in Lombardy, and I know positively that twelve days ago a large sum of money was sent to him. Messer Galeazzo Pallavicini is said to have orders to raise fifty men-at-arms; he too is still in Lombardy.
One hundred men-at-arms, composed of the Duke’s household, are here. Fifty French lances are in the territory of Faenza. Others are said to be on the way, and are expected here from day to day.
|Maestro Francesco da Luna||50|
|Messer Rinieri della Sassetta and Gio. Paolo da Toppa, crossbowmen||100|
|Conte Lodovico della Mirandola||40|
Besides the other men-at-arms there are: —
|Giovanni da Sassatello||40|
Messer Baldassara da Sienna has been sent to Florence to enlist others.
|Deserters from the Bentivogli, crossbowmen||40|
The Fracassa is here, having been taken into the Duke’s pay, as also his men-at-arms.[Back to Table of Contents]
Magnificent Signori: —
In my preceding letter I wrote you all that I had been able to learn up to that morning of the state of things here. Since then I have been obliged to wait until the twenty-fourth hour before I could have an audience of the Duke, which has never happened to me before, even if his Excellency was prevented by some good reason. Having presented myself before him, I told him, in accordance with your Lordships’ instructions, of your continued friendly disposition towards him, and that you were awaiting the return of the envoys sent to Rome, etc., etc. I then spoke of the treaty reported to have been concluded, and his Excellency told me that the terms had been fully agreed upon. When I asked him the particulars, he replied: “In the first instance, the Pope generously grants them a free pardon. Next, I renew to the Orsini and the Vitelli their military engagements, but neither his Holiness nor myself give them any security. On the contrary, they are to place their children and nephews or others as hostages in my hands, according to the choice of the Pope. They further obligate themselves to aid me in the recovery of the duchy of Urbino, and of any other state that has revolted, or that may hereafter revolt.”
To my question whether there was anything in the treaty touching Florence, he replied, “No.” And then he said in relation to the affairs of Bologna, that “these would be left to the arbitration of himself and the Cardinal Orsino and Pandolfo Petrucci.” He reiterated to me that there was no mention of Florence in the treaty, and promised to give me a copy of it; which I shall endeavor to obtain anyhow by to-morrow, provided he keeps his word. To the assurances of friendship and good will on your part, with which your Lordships have charged me, his Excellency replied in few but kindly words, and passed it over lightly.
Before seeing the Duke I had a conversation with an individual who habitually professes an affectionate regard for your Lordships, and who is in a position to be well informed. As I pressed him upon every point, he gave me the same statement that the Duke had done. Another person, who is also to a considerable extent in the Duke’s secrets, confirmed these statements. And without my having manifested any doubt upon the subject, all have attested to me that the Duke had always taken the part of your Lordships whenever there was a question relating to our republic. Your Lordships will now in your wisdom judge of the offences and of the agreement, respecting which I could learn no more. I shall do my utmost promptly to send you the articles of the agreement, if I obtain the promised copy. Your Lordships will understand that, if there be anything in the treaty adverse to you, I could not be informed of it, as it is not reasonable to suppose that it would come to light so quickly; your own good judgment must determine whether there be any such thing or not.
This evening the quartermasters of the French lances arrived, and they will be here themselves by to-morrow. The Duke does not cease to press the starting of all the other forces which he expects from Lombardy; namely, the Signor della Mirandola, and the son or nephew of the Milanese General, who have been joined by the Signor Fracassa and one of the Pallavicini whom he has enlisted in his pay; and it is said here that the Duke has sent them money so as to enable them to arm and mount every one of their men. Large sums of money have been received here by way of Venice, the greater part of which has been sent into Lombardy. Moreover, all the malcontents of Perugia, Castello, and Sienna are here, together with one of the Savelli. Yesterday one of them told me that they had asked to be allowed to depart when they heard of the treaty, but that the Duke had refused to release them, and will not permit any of their leaders to leave the place; but Signor Paolo Orsino left this evening, and has gone in the direction of Urbino.
Apart from the negotiations with the whole body of the confederates, Messer Giovanni Bentivogli has carried on one in particular with the Duke through the intervention of Tommaso Spinelli, who has repeatedly gone to and fro between them. According to what the latter has told me, Messer Giovanni would be willing to abandon the Orsini entirely, should opportunity present itself, if he could be assured by the Duke of his safety; but he wants also the guaranty of his Majesty the king of France. Amongst other points of the negotiations it is said that the Protonotario Bentivogli would readily leave the Church, and marry a sister of the Cardinal Borgia. For the purpose of facilitating these negotiations the said Spinelli came here eight days ago to obtain a safe-conduct for the Protonotario Bentivogli; but as it had expired, he returned here yesterday morning for another, with which he departed this evening. If these things are really so, we may judge of the good faith between them, and of their former differences, and their subsequent agreement.
I have no further news at present, unless it be the confirmation of the revolt of Camerino, of which I have already advised your Lordships by your own courier, who will anyhow be at Florence to-morrow. I understand that you complain that my letters are not frequent enough, which I regret, and the more as I do not think I can do better, having written you on the 7th, 9th, 11th, 12th, 13th, 14th, 15th, 16th, 17th, 20th, 23d, 27th, and the present, which is of the 29th and 30th.
I recommend myself to your Lordships.
October 30, 1502.
P. S. — I have forgotten to tell your Lordships that, whilst conversing with Messer Alessandro, I sought to obtain from him the words he had made use of, and which I mentioned in my last. He replied that he did not intend to say anything more than that you had missed the opportunity of settling matters in your own way with his Excellency the Duke; because, the Orsini having by this treaty become his friends again, he is now obliged to have some regard to them, which before then he would not have had to do; and that further delay only made matters worse. More than this I was not able to obtain from him. I beg your Lordships most respectfully to have some consideration for the party who made these communications to me, so that it may not come to their ears that I have written them to you.
Iterum valete![Back to Table of Contents]
Magnificent Signori: —
By my last of the 29th and 30th, which I sent by Zerino, your courier, you will have learned what I had to say in reply to yours of the 28th, and what I have learned from the Duke as well as from others respecting the movements of Paolo Orsino, and of the terms of the agreement concluded between his Excellency the Duke and the confederates. And as the Duke had promised to have me furnished with a copy of the same, I went to-day to ask his secretary, Messer Agapito, for it, who finally said to me: “I will tell you the truth, this treaty has not yet been definitely settled. A draft of it has been prepared, which has been approved by the Duke and Signor Paolo, who has taken it away with him to submit it to the confederates; and if they approve of it also, then he is authorized by the Duke to ratify it on his behalf. But no sooner had Signor Paolo gone than the Duke, on more carefully examining the articles of agreement, thought that a clause was wanting in it referring to the crown and honor of France. An additional article to that effect was immediately drawn up, and the Duke sent me in all haste with it after Signor Paolo, with instructions to explain to him that without that additional article nothing would be concluded. When I had overtaken Signor Paolo, he refused to accept it, but after a while said that he would submit it to the confederates, but did not believe that they would agree to it. In consequence of this the Duke does not wish any copies of the treaty to be given, and neither the Chancellor of Ferrara nor any one else has received one.” Messer Agapito afterwards added: “This supplementary clause will either be accepted or rejected; if it is accepted, a window will be opened for the Duke to get out of the obligations of this treaty at his pleasure. If it be rejected, then it will open the door wide for him. But even the children must laugh at such a treaty, which is so injurious and dangerous for the Duke, and wholly the result of violence.” Messer Agapito spoke with much warmth upon the matter. All this has been confided to me in secret. I have nevertheless deemed it my duty to communicate it to your Lordships; and putting this together with what I wrote yesterday, you will in your wisdom draw a suitable conclusion from it. I will only add that Messer Agapito is a Colonnese, and much devoted to that party.
Your Lordships point out to me in your postscript to your letter of the 28th, that the succor which the Duke expects is small in numbers, and slow in coming; and therefore you apprehend that his Excellency, finding himself weak and closely pressed by his enemies, may conclude some arrangement with them disadvantageous to himself and prejudicial to his neighbors. I believe your Lordships have reliable advices from Milan, and from France, respecting the men of the other side; nevertheless I will tell you what I hear here, so that your Lordships may be able the better to weigh and judge the matter. Yesterday evening there returned here Guglielmo di Buonaccorso, a citizen of Florence, whom I have mentioned to you as having gone to accompany the French lances that have come into Italy, and all of which the Duke has ordered into the territory of Faenza. Guglielmo tells me that these lances consist of five companies, namely those of Montison, Miolens, Foix, Dunois, and the Marquis of Saluces; and that when he saw them all together, only seven were missing out of the whole complement. But he believes that by this time these will have been more than made up by the accession of volunteers; so, as I have already said, these lances are here in reality. Yesterday, also, there returned here a Spaniard named Piero Guardarbo, who had been sent by the Duke into France. Guglielmo told me that he had a long conversation with this Piero on the road, who had told him that it had been arranged with his Majesty the king of France that he is to send three additional companies; and that when he left Milan, one under command of Monseigneur de Ligny had already started, but that Monseigneur de Chaumont had not yet decided as to the other two that are to come.
In one of my letters of the 9th to your Lordships, you will remember my having mentioned that amongst other preparations which the Duke had made, in consequence of the defection of the Orsini, he had sent the son of the General of Milan into Lombardy, with orders to raise fifteen hundred Swiss, and, moreover, to re-enlist fifty or one hundred mounted men, the pick of those that had already been in the service of the Duke of Milan, and to bring them here under his own command. And it is said that the expense of raising them will be borne by the General of Milan himself, in the hope of thereby having one of his sons made a cardinal. This same Guglielmo also told me that he had heard that the Swiss were already at Pavia, and that the mounted men were merely waiting orders to march. It is said, moreover, that the son of Monseigneur d’Albret has come again into Italy with one hundred lances, in support of his brother-in-law; which, if true, although rather late, yet is of some importance. This Guglielmo, from whom I have this information, seems to me, from what I have seen of him, a sensible and reliable man. As regards the Italian troops, the engagement of the Conte della Mirandola is true, and he received his pay some days ago. It is also said that he has received money to furnish men-at-arms to Fracassa and to one of the Pallavicini, a gentleman in his service; in fact, he enlists all the scattered men that present themselves. Two days ago there came a certain Piero Balzano, a deserter from Giovanni Bentivogli, with forty mounted crossbowmen, and money was paid to him immediately on his arrival.
I cannot at this moment give your Lordships any more information, for since the revolt of Camerino we have no news either from there or from the neighborhood of Bologna. The Protonotario Bentivogli has not come back either, as was expected, and as I had written to your Lordships.
Two words will explain the state of things here: on the one hand they talk of a treaty of amity, and on the other hand they make preparations for war. Your Lordships, having information from all parts, will be able to form a better judgment as to what the Duke will or can do, and whether he will have to yield to the confederates or not, than he who sees only the one side. I have kept your Lordships fully advised up to the 31st. To-day is the 1st of November, and being very desirous of sending you the articles of agreement, and to verify the accounts given me by that friend of mine, I have since writing to you conferred with another individual who is also in the Duke’s secrets; and what he tells me fully confirms what my friend had reported to me. But I have not been able to learn anything from him respecting the supplementary clause, except that it relates to the honor of France; but this person assured me again that no reference is made in it to Florence. It is true, he told me, that there is one clause in the agreement that the Orsini and Vitellozzo were not obliged to serve the Duke simultaneously, but only one at a time. “You see,” said he, laughing, “what sort of an agreement this is.” I shall not leave this matter without trying to learn something more on the subject; and so as not to keep your Lordships in suspense, I send this by a courier named Giovanni Antonio da Milano, who has promised me to deliver it by to-morrow; and your Lordships will please have him paid the sum of one florin gold.
P. S. — At the moment of closing this letter, Tommaso Spinelli arrives and tells me that he left the Protonotario Bentivogli at Castel San Piero, and that he will be here to-morrow.
Imola, November 1, 1502.[Back to Table of Contents]
Magnificent Signori: —
In my last letters of the 30th ultimo and the 1st instant, I informed you of what I had been able to learn respecting the terms of the treaty, and of the reasons why I had not been able to obtain a copy of it. To-day I had a long conversation with one of the Duke’s first secretaries, who confirmed all I had written you. “The return of the Chevalier Orsino is expected,” said he to me, “and according to his report they will either give the treaty to the public or not.” And he has promised me that no one shall have a copy of it without my having one also. In this matter I am obliged to depend upon others; and yet I have heard nothing that makes me suspect that it contains anything contrary to the interests of your Lordships; I have only heard you blamed for having missed the opportunity of concluding an alliance with the Duke. I have written you at length, and without reserve, all I have learned in relation to matters here; and as nothing new has occurred, I have nothing to write except to repeat that, if words and negotiations indicate an agreement, the orders given and the preparations are manifest indications of war. In accordance with what I have already written, five companies of French lances were quartered four days ago in the territory of Faenza, and their captains came here yesterday to visit the Duke and remained quite a while conferring with him. After they had gone I called in your Lordships’ name on Monseigneur de Montison, the commander-in-chief of the whole. He was pleased to see me, and seemed favorably disposed towards your Lordships; and desired me to remind him, when occasion should offer, of whatever he could do in favor of our republic. I also called upon the Baron di Biera, Monseigneur Le Grafis, and Monseigneur de Borsu, lieutenants of Messieurs de Foix, Miolens, and Dunois. I made myself known to them, and they recognized me as having on a former occasion had some negotiations with them. All seemed pleased to see me, and all offered me their services; and so far as I have been able to judge, they are all your friends, and praised your Lordships highly, which is no trifle. If there be anything special that I can do with these gentlemen, I beg your Lordships to instruct me. About three hundred Gascons arrived here to-day; the Swiss are expected within the next few days, and on their arrival it is believed that active operations will be begun.
I told your Lordships in my last, of the 1st instant, that the Protonotario Bentivogli was to arrive here with a safe-conduct, and in fact he did come at the nineteenth hour. He breakfasted with the Duke, and remained afterwards about half an hour with his Excellency, and then left in the direction of Bologna. I have not been able to learn anything of their conversation, because the person that is in the habit of informing me on these sort of intrigues has gone off with him. True, I have learned from one who is familiar with the affairs of the Duke, that the Protonotario is to return here very soon; and that the Duke is willing to make peace with Giovanni Bentivogli and give him ample security, provided he will obligate himself to sustain the Duke against the Orsini and the Vitelli. And when I remarked to him how the Duke could do so with regard to the other confederates, he replied, that his Excellency would arrange it so that he should be ordered to do it by the king of France. And speaking of the advantages that would result from such an arrangement to the Duke, to the republic of Florence, and to Messer Giovanni Bentivogli, supposing that it could be accomplished, he added, that the Duke desired it very much, as it had been demonstrated to him that it would give more stability to his state to sustain Messer Giovanni, and to have him for a friend, than to drive him out of Bologna and take possession of a place which he could not hold, and which in the end would prove the chief cause of his ruin. And then he went on to say that the Duke of Ferrara had always refused to promise any assistance to his Excellency, and would not do so now unless the Duke first made peace with Bologna.
I endeavored to confirm this individual in that opinion by all the arguments that presented themselves to me. It seems to me certain that such a negotiation is going on, and that both his Excellency and the Duke of Ferrara are desirous of concluding it, of which I deem it proper to advise your Lordships, because it would be so desirable. Although this ought to be communicated to you in cipher, yet as I send it by your own courier I thought I would save myself as well as your Lordships that trouble, and hope you will be satisfied and give me credit therefor.
A person who was formerly master of the horse in your Lordships’ service, and who is now one of the Duke’s bodyguard, told me that, happening to be yesterday evening at the fifth hour at the quarters of the Count Alessandro da Marciano, brother to the Count Rinuccio, the Duke, who was passing by there at the time, had the Count Alessandro called out, and kept him for an hour in conversation. After the Count returned he told this person that the Duke had talked with him about many things, all of which, taken together, indicated on the part of the Duke a desire of revenge rather against those who had imperilled his state than a desire or disposition for peace.
Nothing beyond what I have written above occurs to me in reply to your Lordships’ letter of the 1st; nor have I tried to see the Duke, having nothing new to communicate to him, it being tiresome for him always to hear the same things. I should moreover observe to your Lordships that his Excellency is not accessible except to two or three of his ministers, and to such strangers as may have important business to transact with him. And he never passes out of his antechamber until about the fifth or sixth hour in the evening, and for that reason there is no chance to speak to him except at a specially appointed audience, which he does not grant to any one whom he knows to have nothing but words to offer. I mention this to your Lordships so that you may not be surprised by my resolve not to speak to the Duke, so as not to be obliged hereafter to communicate to you that I have not been able to obtain an audience.
Imola, 3 November, 1502.[Back to Table of Contents]
Magnificent Signori: —
Messer Baldassare Scipione, a gentleman from Sienna, already favorably known to your Lordships by his merits, has recently entered the service of his Excellency the Duke, as captain of a corps of lances formed by him. He is sent by his Excellency to Florence on some business of special interest to the Duke. His Excellency’s treasurer, Messer Alessandro, has begged me to recommend Messer Baldassare to your Lordships, and to solicit, in the name of his Excellency and in his own, your aid and good offices for Messer Baldassare, for which the Duke and himself will ever remain under obligations to you. I beg to add my own humble prayer to that effect, and commend myself to your Lordships.
Imola, 3 November, 1502.[Back to Table of Contents]
Magnificent Signori: —
Your Lordships will have learned from my letter of the 5th that the Duke had gone to Salarolo to confer with those French gentlemen. During his absence I received yours of the 5th. His Excellency returned late yesterday evening, and to-day, after having reviewed the Swiss, who begin to arrive, he could not give me an audience until the first hour of the night. I informed him of the mission of Monsignore Volterra to France, and enlarged as far as was suitable upon the favorable character of the instructions given him as regards his Excellency and his states. And then I added that your Lordships had written me that you had been informed by your envoy at Rome that his Holiness the Pope manifested the same favorable disposition towards the Florentine republic as his Excellency; but that your Lordships nevertheless desired his influence with his Holiness whenever there might be occasion for it. Thereupon his Excellency asked me “what possible occasion could occur.” To which I answered, that “it might be in reference to the remission of some tithes.” He replied that he would do what was necessary, and desired me to thank your Lordships for the instructions given to your envoy to France, the Bishop of Volterra. He also asked me whether the Marquis of Mantua had accepted his military engagement, to which I answered that your Lordships had written me a few days ago that the matter was still in doubt. Thereupon his Excellency asked me, “And what military engagement does your government propose to offer me?” My reply was, that “I did not know your Lordships’ intentions, but that up to that moment I had been under the impression that his Excellency intended rather to take others into his service and pay.” To which the Duke answered, “Being by profession a soldier, and being a friend of your Signoria, would it be honorable for me not to be engaged by them? Nor do I believe that I deceive myself in thinking that I would serve them as well as any other captain.”
He then asked me how many men-at-arms your Lordships intended to keep on foot? To which I made answer, that I did not know your Lordships’ views upon that point, but I believed that you intended to keep at least four hundred. Thereupon he asked me how many the Marquis of Mantua had actually of his own, and how many our republic; and when I told him, he arose, saying, “That is no place for me then,” and withdrew to speak to a French gentleman, whereupon I took my leave. Before entering upon this discussion respecting his being engaged by your Lordships, and the number of men-at-arms, etc., etc., his Excellency said to me, speaking of the Orsini, that the ratification of the treaty had not yet been received, either because those who had to sign it were at some distance from each other, or because some of them were reluctant to sign, in consequence of Giovanni Bentivogli being vexed at being made of so little account as to have his interests referred to arbitration. But the Duke added that these difficulties caused him less embarrassment than they would have done at a former period, as he was better prepared now. He further observed to me, that it would be well in the mean time if your Lordships were to make some special arrangement with him, so that he might not be entirely dependent upon the other parties; assuring me at the same time that, if he should finally conclude the treaty with the Orsini, it would be done in good faith. And then he added, “Secretary, I beg you to tell me whether your Signoria will go further in sustaining me than by a mere general friendship?” And when I replied to him in accordance with your letters, he said, “I asked you this because, if such a general friendship suffices them, I shall be content with it also, and would not like to indulge the hope of any special engagement, which, if it be afterwards not concluded, would give rise to irritation between us. I desire to be dealt with in entire frankness, etc., etc.” It was after this that he entered upon the discussion which I have related above.
About two hours after this conversation with the Duke an agent of the Bentivogli came to me and told me that he had just had an audience from the Duke, and that shortly after my leaving the court the ratification of the treaty arrived; but that the Duke was nevertheless anxious to conclude a separate treaty with Bologna, and that he had commissioned him at once to send a messenger to the Protonotario to have him come here immediately. He has not yet arrived, having injured one of his toes. Moreover it is reported to-day that the castle of Pergola had surrendered to the troops of the Orsini, which things agitate the minds of a good many persons, but I cannot write differently to your Lordships from what I hear. It is said that the Swiss and the remainder of the French lances will reach here in the course of this week. Conversing with one of the Duke’s secretaries about the coming of these French, he told me that his Excellency had given orders for a part of them to stop at Parma, and not to approach any nearer here. Whereupon I said to him, “The Duke then does not wish to protect himself against his enemies?” He answered, “You are the cause of this, because your Signoria did not seize the opportunity to secure the Duke and themselves.” To which I observed, “that the means of so doing had not been indicated to us; but that your Lordships had never failed to do your utmost in behalf of your friends.”
I have spoken to the Duke about the Gaddi affair, and he told me to make his secretary remind him of it. For the present I think of nothing more, but shall go to court to-morrow to see whether I can learn anything respecting the articles of the treaty, and will advise your Lordships of whatever I may hear.
Imola, 8 November, 1502.[Back to Table of Contents]
Magnificent Signori: —
Apart from what I have written in the enclosed, I must communicate to your Lordships a conversation I had with that friend of mine, who, as I have mentioned to you, told me within the past few days that it was not well for you to remain on general good terms with the Duke; and that it would be an easy matter for you to form a close alliance with him, each desiring it and having both the same enemies. That individual, having appointed an interview with me yesterday evening, said to me: “Secretary, I have on a former occasion intimated to you that for your Signoria to remain on mere general good terms with the Duke was of little advantage to him, and still less to you; for this reason, that the Duke, seeing that all remains in uncertainty with regard to your Signoria, will form an alliance with others. I wish to talk this over with you at length this evening, and although I speak only for myself, yet I have good grounds for what I am about to say to you. The Duke knows very well that the Pope may die any day, and that, if he desires to preserve the states which he has, it behooves him to think of basing his power upon some other foundation before the death of the Pope. His first reliance will be upon the king of France, the next upon his own armed forces; and we see that he has already brought together nearly five hundred men-at-arms, and as many light cavalry, which will be in effective condition within a few days. But as he foresees that in time these two reliances might not suffice him, he thinks of making his neighbors his allies and friends; and those who of necessity must defend him, if they wish to defend themselves, are the Florentines, the Bolognese, and Mantua and Ferrara. To begin with the last, you see what an alliance he has formed with Ferrara; for besides the marriage of his sister with so large a dowry, he has already bestowed and continues to shower favors upon the Ferrarese Cardinal.* With Mantua the Duke is negotiating two matters; the one is a cardinal’s hat for the brother of the Marquis, and the other a marriage between the Duke’s daughter and the son of the Marquis. As compensation for the hat, the Marquis and his brother are to deposit forty thousand ducats, which sum is afterwards to constitute the dowry of the Duke’s daughter. These things are to be carried into effect anyhow, and are obligations calculated to preserve friendships. With Bologna he is also negotiating some arrangement separate from the other confederates; and so far as I see, it is in a fair way of accomplishment, for the Duke of Ferrara desires it very much. His Excellency Duke Valentino is well disposed for it and the terms are favorable for the Bentivogli. And in fact the Duke was never as anxious for the possession of Bologna as he has been to assure himself of Romagna, and whenever he succeeds in that he will be satisfied. Thus, if those four states which adjoin each other become united and well armed, they are not to be disregarded. And the king of France, knowing that he can rely upon them, is disposed even to increase their power. As to your Florentine Signoria, it is less than three days since that I heard the Duke argue that he wished they would make free use of his territory, as he would of theirs, they being both friends of the king of France and himself; and that he had no intention of acting adversely to them in any way, even if no definite treaty were concluded between them; but should it really come to such a treaty, then they would find out the difference between his friendship and that of others. But to come back to the main point, I tell you that to remain on mere general good terms would be a greater disadvantage for your Signoria than for the Duke; for his Excellency having the good will of the king and of the aforementioned princes, whilst your Signoria have no other support than that of the king, they will find that they have more need of the Duke than the Duke of them. However, I do not by any means wish to say that the Duke is not disposed to render them any service; but should it happen that they really have need of him, and he being under no obligations to them, he would be free to aid them or not, as might seem good to him. Now were you to ask me what they ought to do, and that I should specify some particulars, I would reply, that you for your part have two sores, which, if you do not heal them, will enfeeble you and perhaps cause your death. The one is Pisa, and the other is Vitellozzo. If now you were to recover the former, and if the latter were crushed, would not that be a great advantage for your republic? And so far as the Duke is concerned, I tell you that his Excellency would be satisfied with the honor of having his former engagement renewed by your Signoria, which he would value more than money or anything else; so that if you were to find means for bringing this about, everything would be satisfactorily settled. And if you were to tell me with regard to Vitellozzo, that the Duke has made a compact with him and the Orsini, I should reply that the ratification of it has not yet been received, and that the Duke would give the best town he possesses that that ratification should not come; or that such a compact had never been talked about. Still, if the ratification should come, I would say, ‘Where there are men there are means’; and it is better to come to an understanding, and that orally rather than by writing. You must understand, furthermore, that it is necessary for the Duke to save a portion of the Orsini; for in case of the Pope’s death it is important for the Duke to have some friends in Rome. But he cannot bear to hear the name of Vitellozzo as much as mentioned; for he regards him as a venomous serpent, and as a firebrand for Tuscany and for all Italy, who has done and continues to do all he can to prevent the Orsini from ratifying the treaty, as they ought to do. I desire, therefore, that you should write to the Gonfalonier, or to the Ten, what I have said to you, although it comes altogether from me. Remind them also of another thing, namely, that it might easily happen that the king of France should direct your Signoria to maintain the engagement of the Duke, and to place their troops at his service, which they would in that case be obliged to do without receiving any credit for it. And therefore you should remind your Signoria that, when a service has to be rendered, it is better to perform it of one’s own free will, and so as to have it appreciated rather than otherwise.”
And finally he begged me to treat with the utmost discretion what he had said against Vitellozzo, as well as other important matters. The argument of this friend of mine was quite lengthy, and of a character that will be appreciated by your Lordships. I replied briefly, and only to those points that seemed specially to require it. In the first instance, I told him that his Excellency the Duke had acted wisely in arming himself and in securing allies; and secondly, I confessed to him that it was our earnest desire to recover Pisa, and to secure ourselves against Vitellozzo, although we did not regard him as of much account. Thirdly, with regard to the engagement of the Duke I told him, speaking all the while, however, only for myself, that the power of his Excellency the Duke was not to be measured in the same way as that of the other lords, who so far as their states were concerned had nothing to show but simply their carriages, whilst the Duke must be looked upon as a new power in Italy, with which it was better to conclude a friendship and alliance rather than a military engagement. And I added, that, as alliances between princes are maintained only by arms, inasmuch as the power of arms alone could enforce their observance, your Lordships would not be able to see what security they could have for their part when three fourths or three fifths of their troops were under the control of the Duke. But I wanted him to know that I did not say this because I doubted the good faith of the Duke, but because I knew your Lordships to be prudent men; that it was the duty of governments to be circumspect, and never to expose themselves by their acts to be deceived. As to what he had said with regard to the possibility of the king of France’s commanding your Lordships to do certain things, I said that there was not a doubt but what his Majesty might dispose of the Florentine republic as of his own property; but neither the king nor any one else could make your Lordships do what was not possible. My friend replied only to that part of my remarks which related to the Duke’s engagement, saying that I had spoken frankly and loyally, which was very gratifying to him; suggesting at the same time that the three hundred men might really be reduced to two hundred, whilst nominally the number of three hundred might be maintained; and to facilitate this, one tenth of the difference might be conceded to your Lordships, or two thirds to the priests. As my friend could not continue the conversation any longer, owing to his other important occupations, he left me, urging me, however, to make the substance of his argument known in the proper place; but with an injunction of secrecy. This I have done herewith, as your Lordships will observe.
I cannot say whether these suggestions were inspired by the Duke, or whether they originate with my friend; all I can tell you is, that the latter is one of the Duke’s chief ministers; and if all this is merely the result of his own imagination, it is quite possible that he deceives himself, for he is a man of the best and most benevolent disposition. I beg your Lordships will examine the whole subject, and let me have your reply.
Imola, 8 November, 1502.[Back to Table of Contents]
Magnificent Signori: —
I replied to your Lordships’ letters of the 3d and 5th by mine of the 8th, which I sent by the son of Francesco Totti, and hope it has reached you safely, for I deem it of some importance, and await your reply. By this I desire to inform your Lordships that the Protonotario Bentivogli arrived here to-day. I had a conversation with him before he saw the Duke, and found him entirely devoted to your Lordships. The object of his coming here is, as I have stated in a former letter, to conclude a treaty of amity between Bologna and his Excellency the Duke, and to avoid the arbitration provided for in the articles of agreement with the confederates.
It is believed that matters will be arranged between them in some way, for the Duke desires it, and it would be advantageous for the Bentivogli. Those who doubt it on account of the league between the Bentivogli and the Orsini must bear in mind that the former consider themselves unfairly treated in the agreement concluded with the Signor Paolo, because their differences are referred to an arbitration.
To enable your Lordships the better to understand these intrigues, I stated in my last communication that after my last conversation with the Duke the ratification of the treaty had arrived. It has indeed been ratified by all the confederates except Messer Giovanni Bentivogli, who did not feel himself secure whilst his affairs were subject to an arbitration, and therefore protested from the first against the terms of the treaty. There is another matter which your Lordships must know, namely, that the validity of this treaty also requires the ratification of it by the Sovereign Pontiff, who, as will be seen from a brief address to Signor Trocces, of which I send a copy, consents that Trocces should ratify it in his name, provided the same shall have first been ratified by the Cardinal Orsino, Pandolfo Petrucci, and Messer Giovanni Bentivogli. Two things are therefore wanting to give effect to this treaty; one, the ratification by the Pope, and the other, that of Messer Giovanni. The refusal of the latter necessarily involves that of the Pontiff, and it is believed that Alexander VI. has given his power to ratify the treaty in his name with the above condition, knowing that Messer Giovanni will save himself by forming a close alliance with the Duke, and that his Excellency the Duke will afterwards make sure of a good part of his adversaries. In reading attentively the articles of this treaty, of which I enclose copy herewith, your Lordships will see that they are full of mistrusts and suspicions; and if you will at the same time bear in mind what is thought of it here, your habitual wisdom will enable you to judge what may be expected from it. I have not obtained the copy of said treaty and brief of the Pope from the Duke’s chancelry, as had been promised me, but have it from another source.
I have nothing further to communicate to your Lordships at present, except that two things only are wanting before marching the army towards Pesaro; namely, the arrival of the remainder of the French lances and of the Swiss, and the conclusion of this treaty with Messer Giovanni; and both are expected very shortly.
I commend myself to your Lordships, quæ bene valeant.
Imola, 10 November, 1502.[Back to Table of Contents]
Copy of the Treaty between the Duke of Valentinois of the one part, and the Orsini and their adherents of the other, sent by Niccolo Machiavelli to the Decemvirs of Liberty of the Republic of Florence.
Be it made known and manifest to the parties hereto subscribing, and to all others to whom these presents shall come, that inasmuch as there have arisen between the most illustrious Duke of Romagna and the Orsini and their confederates certain controversies, enmities, misunderstandings, and suspicions, and both parties being desirous to allay these suspicions and animosities, and to terminate all their differences, they hereby conclude: —
1. A true and perpetual peace, concord, and union, with a complete remission of all claims for damages or injuries mutually done up to the present day, and on account of which they promise each other to bear no resentment. And in conformity with such peace and union, the aforesaid most illustrious Duke of Romagna receives into his confederation, league, and perpetual alliance all the aforementioned Signori, and each one of them, and promises to defend their states collectively and separately against whatever power attempts to molest or attack them, for any cause whatever. Excepting, nevertheless, always his Holiness Pope Alexander VI. and his Most Christian Majesty King Louis XII. of France. And on the other hand the aforementioned Signori promise in the same manner to aid in the defence of the person and of the states of his Excellency, as well as of the illustrious Signori Don Zofre Borgia, Prince of Squillaci, Don Roderigo Borgia, Duke of Sermoneta and Biselli, and Don Giovanni Borgia, Duke of Camerino and Neppe, brothers and nephews of the most illustrious Duke of Romagna; and each and all of the aforementioned Signori will aid and contribute to that effect.
Item. Inasmuch as during the existence of the aforementioned differences, controversies, and dissensions, the rebellion and occupation of the states of Urbino and Camerino have occurred, therefore the aforementioned confederates jointly and each one separately obligate themselves to assist with all their forces in the recovery of the above-named states, cities, and other places that may have rebelled or may have been occupied.
Item. The aforementioned most illustrious Duke of Romagna agrees to continue to the Orsini and the Vitelli their former military engagements and compensation.
Item. His Excellency aforesaid wills and promises that the aforementioned Condottieri shall not be obliged to render personal service to his Excellency in camp, except one at a time, and that according to their own pleasure.
Item. The aforesaid illustrious Duke promises also to have the present articles of agreement ratified and confirmed by the Sovereign Pontiff, who will not oblige his Eminence the Signor Cardinal Orsino to go and remain in Rome, excepting so far as it may be the pleasure of his Eminence.
Item. Inasmuch as certain differences exist between his Holiness the Pope and Messer Giovanni Bentivogli, the aforementioned confederate Signori agree that all these differences shall be referred to his Eminence the Cardinal Orsino, his Excellency the Duke of Romagna, and the Magnificent Pandolfo Petrucci, from whose judgment there shall be no recourse or appeal.
Item. The aforementioned Signori collectively, and each of them separately, obligate themselves and promise, whenever required by his Excellency the Duke of Romagna, to place in his hands as hostages one of the legitimate sons of each of them, at such time and in such place as it may please his Excellency the Duke to indicate.
Item. The aforementioned confederate Signori obligate themselves collectively and separately, whenever any plot or machination against any one of them shall come to their knowledge, immediately to inform the one against whom it is intended of the same, as well as all the others reciprocally.
Item. It is agreed between the aforesaid Duke of Romagna and the above-mentioned Signori to regard and treat as a common enemy whoever fails to observe the stipulations of this agreement; and all to unite in the destruction of the state of the party that fails to conform to these presents.
Given at Imola, 28 October, 1502.
I, Paolo Orsino, have subscribed.
[Back to Table of Contents]
Copy of a Brief from the Pope to Messer Troccio.
To our beloved son, Francesco Troccio, our Protonatorio and Camerino, greeting and Apostolic benediction!
We have taken cognizance of the treaty concluded and confirmed between our beloved son, Don Cesare Borgia, Duke of Romagna, and our beloved son, Paolo Orsino, of the house and family of the Orsini and their confederates, whereof thou hast sent me a copy with thy letters. And considering that the articles of agreement made and concluded have been made regularly, and believing them to have been made with good intentions, and that the parties thereto will observe them resolutely and honestly: —
Therefore, having particular confidence in thy fidelity and prudence, we order and enjoin thee, by the tenor of these presents, that after the said treaty shall have been accepted and ratified by our beloved son, the Cardinal Orsino, and Pandolfo Petrucci of Sienna, and Giovanni Bentivogli of Bologna in the name of the other confederates, thou approve and confirm the same in our name; to which end we give thee full and entire authority.
Given in Rome, at St. Peter’s, under the seal of the fisherman, 4 November, 1502, and in the eleventh year of our Pontificate.[Back to Table of Contents]
Magnificent Signori: —
Humbly commending myself to your Lordships, I beg to say that, if you are surprised at not having received any letters from me, I regret it exceedingly for my part, but it has been from no fault of mine. Instead of Tommaso Totti, there came here a man on foot, who with very little practical knowledge of the country was but little accustomed to walking. On the 8th I gave him my letters in reply to yours, which were of as much importance as any that I have written since my being here. I would send your Lordships a duplicate of them if your courier had not told me that before leaving Florence he had met the bearer of my first despatches of the 5th. Although I happened to write privately to the Gonfaloniere upon public events, which was not much, I wrote nevertheless to your Lordships first on the 3d instant; and my last was of the 10th, which I sent you by the hands of Jacopo, a carrier of Monticelli, together with a copy of the treaty, and all the news from here, which letter ought to reach you to-day. I therefore beg your Lordships to hold me excused, and to bear in mind that matters here cannot be guessed at. And you must understand that we have to do here with a prince who governs by himself. To avoid writing mere fancies and reveries, one must study matters well, and in so doing time passes, and I endeavor to spend mine advantageously, and not to throw it away.
I shall not repeat what I have written in mine of the 8th and 10th, hoping that they are safely in your hands, although somewhat late. Your Lordships will have seen from those letters the turn that matters are taking here; and you will also have learned from them, at least in part, the disposition of the Duke, as well as what he told me in the conversations I had with him and with that friend of mine, who insists every day that he who temporizes seeks for better bread than can be made of wheat, and misses the opportunity when it presents itself. To which I reply that the delay is owing, first, to the desire of learning the wishes of the king of France; and next, by that of sending to Rome to ascertain the views of the Pope, which now depends on the going of the Bishop of Volterra to France, and upon the coming of the Archdeacon of Celon here, all which is construed into intentional delay.
People are not wanting here who say that it is the custom of your Lordships to act thus, and I am reproached every day that ever since 1499 your Lordships, from not having taken sides with the French or the Duke, were first badly served by the Duke, and afterwards crushed by the king of France. I defend and maintain the honor of the republic as best I can, adducing all the arguments in my power, and they are plenty, but they are not admitted. I did not wish to write all this to your Lordships until to-day, lest I should be accused of presumption. However, seeing things go as I had anticipated, I prefer to complain of misrepresentations, rather than repent later of not having informed you of what is passing here. Your Lordships ask many explanations of me, and I believe that up to the present you will find that I have complied with your requirements, provided that all my letters have been read. In the first instance, your Lordships desire to hear whether people here believe in peace rather than in war. To this I have replied that they talk of peace and make preparations for war. And as regards peace I have written what has been done here by the Signor Paolo Orsino, and since then I have sent you a copy of the articles of agreement with my letter of the 10th, and pointed out the difficulties that have arisen because Messer Giovanni Bentivogli had refused to ratify that agreement, and because of the instructions from the Pope to Trocces. So that pending the ratification of Messer Giovanni and of the Pope, the treaty itself remains in suspense. On the 30th of the last month, I informed you of the conjectures made here as to the manner in which this peace might be effected, and of the difficulties that stand in the way. In view of the character of the Duke and that of the others, it was deemed impossible that any agreement could be brought about between them; but that most likely the Duke would be able to detach some of the confederates from their league. We now see things going that way because, as I have written before, the Protonotario Bentivogli is here, and is negotiating a separate convention with the Duke, which is as good as concluded. The Bentivogli may be able to justify this course to the other confederates, because in the general treaty the affairs of Bologna have been left to arbitration, whilst their security is the guaranty of the king of France of the observance of that treaty. And this evening whilst conversing with the Protonotario, he asked me whether your Lordships would also guarantee this treaty to both parties, the same as the king of France? To which I replied that your Lordships would not hesitate to unite in any engagement with his Majesty the king of France. Of the conditions of this treaty I can say nothing, not having heard anything on the subject satisfactory to myself. Should it be argued that it may be difficult for the Duke to give up the idea of not taking Bologna, then I reply the same as I have written before, that it has been demonstrated to him that it will be better to establish a durable friendship than to take a city which he would not be able to hold. However, the Orsini and the Vitelli have given him cause for acting with prudence, and have shown him that it behooves him to think more of what he has acquired than to strive to acquire more. And the means of so preferring his state is to be armed with troops of his own, to treat his subjects kindly, and to make his neighbors his friends. This it seems it is his intention to do, according to what my friend tells me, and as I have stated to your Lordships in my letter of the 8th.
As to the treaty with the confederates, the ratification of which came as I have written you, his Excellency has sent some one to the Orsini to try and settle the difficulty made by Messer Giovanni, and thus he gains time. The Orsini, meanwhile, remain in the territory of Fano, without moving a step forwards or backwards; and thus this part of the general peace remains in uncertainty. The party that knows best how to impose upon the others will carry the day; and he will best impose upon the others who is strongest in troops and in allies. So much for the question of peace or of war.
I have already advised your Lordships of the preparations making here; these are steadily continued and urged, although they are later than what it was thought they should have been made. For the better information of your Lordships as to the troops and mounted men here now, and what are expected, I enclose a list of the same, made up from what I have gathered from several persons; not having actually seen them myself, I am obliged to depend for my information upon others. The Duke is here, and will not leave until after the arrival of the Swiss, who are looked for this week; and the remainder of the French lances are expected daily. The Duke, as I have mentioned several times, receives all the enemies of Pandolfo, Gianpaolo, Vitellozzo, and of the Orsini.
I have nothing else of interest to communicate at this time, but beg your Lordships to excuse me if my communications are not satisfactory; and commend myself most humbly.
Imola, 13 November, 1502.[Back to Table of Contents]
Magnificent Signori: —
After writing you on the 13th by the courier Carlo, in reply to yours of the 11th, there arrived here on the same day the Conte Lodovico della Mirandola with his troops. I can now give you an exact account of these forces, having myself counted thirty-four men-at-arms and seventy light-horse; they are quartered at Doccia, three miles from here, in the direction of Bologna. I also wrote to your Lordships in my last as well as in previous letters, that the negotiations with the Bentivogli were being much pressed; and that the Protonotario was here, and was receiving the most friendly attentions at the hands of the Duke. Yesterday morning I conversed quite a while with his Reverence; he spoke of the great advantage which the Duke’s friendship would be for them, if they could rely upon it, and how much the Duke, if well advised, ought to desire their good will. In short, I gathered from what the Protonotario said, that the treaty between them would have been already concluded, but for the fact that the Duke wanted the Pope to be a principal party to the agreement; it having always been the ambition of the Pope to bring Bologna back to her obedience to the Church, which other pontiffs had not succeeded in doing. And therefore the Duke wanted the Pope to make this treaty, for which purpose Messer Romolino, his Excellency’s secretary, has been sent on horseback to Rome. I learn that the convention between them contains two principal items. First, an alliance between the Bishop of Euna or the Cardinal Borgia and these Bentivogli, which is to be effected in one of two ways: either the Protonotario quits the Church, and marries the sister of the Cardinal, or Messer Hermes Bentivogli marries her, after having first broken off his engagement with one of the ladies of the Orsino family. The other is, that the Bentivogli are bound to sustain the Duke with a certain number of men-at-arms against whoever may attack him. It is said that some differences have arisen in consequence of the Duke’s claiming to have that service performed by the Bentivogli without any compensation to them, whilst they demand to be paid for it in full, or at least in part. There are also some old accounts to be settled by this treaty; and something is said about a Cardinal’s hat for the Protonotario, in case he does not leave the Church. Of all this I have no particulars, nor can I vouch for all I have written above.
Messer Romolino started this morning, and went in company with the Protonotario in the direction of Bologna, for the purpose of conferring with Messer Giovanni about the treaty. Messer Romolino will continue on from there towards Rome. I therefore write you this so that, inasmuch as he does not travel by post, your Lordships may show him some honor when he reaches Florence, and learn something from him concerning these matters. It is said at court that the Duke will leave here on Tuesday, and will go to Cesena, where he will halt with his troops. As the messenger that was sent a few days ago by his Excellency to the Orsini has not yet returned, we are without news from Fano; but I was told to-day that a difference had arisen between Vitellozzo and Gianpaolo in relation to the conditions of the treaty, with which the former is exceedingly dissatisfied.
Of the Swiss and the men-at-arms that are yet to arrive here, I know nothing more than what I have written in my last. Money is expected from Florence to enable the troops here to take the field; and eight days ago the same Guglielmo Buonaccorsi whom I have mentioned in former letters was sent there. To return to the treaty with the confederates, the opinion here is that they will never be able to make it general, so as to embrace every one, unless they should agree amongst themselves to attack some third party; and therefore let those who fear this think of it betimes, and take the necessary steps to prevent such an arrangement.
I recommend myself to your Lordships.
Imola, 14 November, 1502.
P. S. The messenger that brings this is to leave here to-morrow at noon; I was obliged to employ one of my own servants for this purpose, as there was no other opportunity of sending it. Your Lordships will please pay him six lire.
N. M.[Back to Table of Contents]
Magnificent Signori: —
Yesterday morning I sent to your Lordships, by my servant Antonio, my letter of the 14th, which must have been received by this time. I write now to communicate what I have learned since then respecting the condition of the treaty that has been so long in course of negotiation between the confederates and the Duke; which amounts in fact to this, that the Signor Paolo left here with a draft of the treaty, which was afterwards retouched in some particulars by the other parties, and reduced to what I sent a copy of to your Lordships. They then sent it back to the Duke signed and ratified by them. But having been retouched, as I said, his Excellency thought proper also to add some things and strike out others, according to his own views; and then he sent it by one of his men to the other parties, with instructions to let them understand that, if they would accept it thus, it was well; if not, he would go no further in the matter. His messenger left here on the 8th or 9th, and yesterday evening one of the Duke’s secretaries showed me a letter which that messenger had written to his Excellency, dated the 13th instant, from Sienna. It ran thus: — “I found Signor Paolo Orsino here; he expresses surprise that your Excellency has sent him neither answer nor instructions in relation to the matter submitted to you by him in the name of the other confederates. And in fact, after explaining to him and to Pandolfo Petrucci the instructions of your illustrious Lordship, after some discussion, everything was concluded in good shape and settled in accordance with your Excellency’s orders. Signor Paolo and Pandolfo have duly ratified the agreement. Messer Antonio Venafro has ratified it for the Cardinal Orsino, who had given him full powers to that effect. There being no one here who had power to sign for Vitellozzo nor for Gianpaolo and Messer Liverotto, Pandolfo and Signor Paolo have pledged themselves that they shall ratify it, as you will learn more particularly from said Signor Paolo, who is coming to see your Excellency.” These are in substance the words of that letter. Signor Paolo is expected here this evening, and should I learn any further particulars in relation to this matter, you shall be duly advised.
The Duke of Urbino sent here two daysago to request a safe-conduct from his Excellency for a citizen of Urbino, through whom he desired to communicate some matters to his Excellency. The safe-conduct was sent in blank; and when this individual arrives, I will endeavor to find out the objectof his coming, and advise your Lordships of it.
Yesterday, according to report, orders were given to provide quarters for one hundred and fifty French lances; these come from Tosignano, Fontana, and Condriono, which places are at the foot of themountains on the Bolognese borders. Of the Swiss I have heardnothing more; nor have we any intelligence from the direction of Fano, except that a certain Giovan Battista Mancino, captain of four hundred infantry who are in cantonments near Montefeltro, some eight miles from Rimini, was robbed by some citizens of Montefeltro, and arrived here to-day with nothing but his doublet on. In relation to Bolognese matters we are waiting to hear what will be done at Rome by Messer Romolino, who left Bologna yesterday morning. The Duke’s departure from here seems postponed until probably Sunday, and other matters remain as I wrote you last.
The price of grain here is forty soldi a bushel of our measure; and a certain Messer Jacopo of Borgo, governor of the place, told me that it was found that every city is short of grain, some one and some two months’ supply. The presence of the foreign troops willincrease this deficiency, and evidently this country cannot offer very comfortable quarters for them, notwithstanding that the Duke draws supplies from elsewhere. I bring this to your Lordships’ notice, so that none may be drawn from the Florentine territory.
There is a Messer Gabriello of Bergamo here, who brings money from Venice, and does much business here. He showed me a letter yesterday that came from Venice, and gives the news that four caravels had returned from Calcutta to Portugal laden with spices; which has caused a great decline in the price of spices at Venice, and does great injury to that city.
I recommend myself to your Lordships, quæ bene valeant.
Imola, 16 November, 1502.
The bearer of this leaves at the twenty-second hour, and has promised to be at Florence to-morrow evening, for which I have promised him a gold florin; which your Lordships will kindly have paid to him.[Back to Table of Contents]
Magnificent Signori: —
Your Lordships have seen from my letters of the 8th, 10th, and 13th, how I have gathered from different persons the intentions of his Excellency the Duke; and although all point very much in the same direction, yet his Excellency has not fully explained himself, nor has he entered into the many particulars given me by my friend. But neither my friend nor the Duke has furnished me those rather questionable examples which another person has given me, with whom I have had occasion to talk upon this subject. Although in your letter of the 15th your Lordships reply only in a general manner to what I have written, nevertheless I know that I have done my duty in replying to each according to his communications. I did this the more readily as your Lordships had recommended to me to conduct myself in this matter with as much reserve as I might deem suitable. Yesterday evening I had a long interview with the Duke, and began my remarks by referring to the mistrust which his Excellency had manifested with regard to your Lordships in asking me, at our last interview, whether I really believed that your Lordships intended to contract a close alliance with him, or not. I told his Excellency that I had informed your Lordships of this mistrust, and that it had caused you much regret and displeasure. And then, in conformity with the suggestions made by you at the beginning of your letter, I enlarged upon the many proofs which you had given, without reserve or fear, of your good will towards him. Having touched upon this sufficiently, I came to the question of his engagement, and observed to him that this matter had caused you much pain, partly because it was an impossible thing for you to do, and partly also because it had seemed to me that, in his first conversation upon this point, he had manifested more regard for his private interests than for the common benefit; and that your Lordships could not see any way in which they could with propriety meet his wishes; for an engagement of importance they could not contract with him, and an inconsiderable one they dared not offer him. And finally I made him understand that provided these difficulties could be removed, and if his Excellency would limit himself to what was possible and safe for your Lordships, having, however, always due regard to the king of France, you were disposed from the present moment to form the closest alliance with him. I enlarged very much upon this point, keeping, however, always two important considerations in view: the one, not to deviate from your Lordships’ instructions, and the other, not to make use of any words or expressions that could wound his Excellency. The Duke seemed to listen to me with pleasure, and gave no sign of dissatisfaction, and on closing my remarks he said to me: “See now, all this amounts to nothing, and, as I told you the last time, the question between us is either of a general friendship or a special alliance. If we are to remain on terms of a mere general friendship, then there is nothing more to be said on the subject; for I have always told you, and shall be as good as my word, that I shall not permit a single hair of your Signoria to be touched, that I shall ever be ready to render them any service in my power, and that the citizens of your republic shall enjoy every convenience within my dominions. But if the question be as to a special alliance, and your Signoria refuse me the engagement, then there is nothing more for me to do, because they reject the very foundation of such a special alliance.”
I did not fail to reply to all this, saying that mere general friendships impose no obligations, and are readily changed by time, that good and ill fortune do not remain always on the same side, that every day alliances are contracted where there is no question of an engagement, and that the most durable friendships are those in which each party finds its advantage. I added many other reflections, which at the time seemed to me to the purpose, but which it would be superfluous to repeat here. It will suffice for your Lordships’ intelligence to know that the Duke remarked, in conclusion, that if your Lordships were content with a general friendship, so was he; adding, with many obliging words, that if at any time you wished to draw the friendship closer, you were now in possession of his views and intentions in the matter.
More than this I could not by any further remarksof mine obtain from him. After this discussion the Duke spoke to me of the events taking place here; that he looked uponthe Bologna matter as settled; and respecting the Orsini and the Vitelli he said that he was expecting the Signor Paolo here. I on my part spoke of the safe-conduct whichwe had obtained, and of the circumstances that had given rise to it. Of Vitellozzo and Gianpaolo he spoke in the most sinister manner; whereupon I said to him that I had always felt convinced that he would be victorious, and that if on the first day of my arrival I had written down my view of these matters, and he were to read it now, it would seem to him like prophecy; and that one of the reasons that had made me think thus was that he was alone, and had to deal with a combination of several adversaries; but that it was easy for him to break the ties that united them. To which the Duke replied, that virtually he had already broken them, and that he had already disembarrassed himself of more than four of them. Inspeaking of Gianpaolo he said that he had boasted of being on such good terms with your Lordships; in answer to which I said that Gianpaolo had formerly been our friend, having been in our pay, and that he was a man of courage; but that inhis late transactions he had rendered us a very bad service. Thereupon the Duke said: “I want to tell you this, which your Signoria do not know as yet. Before Gianpaolo left Perugia to join Vitellozzo he wrote me a letter, saying, ‘You know how thoroughly I detest Vitellozzo, and yet I want to unite with him for the purpose of re-establishing the Medici in Florence; but I do not wish to have it appear as though I was doing it for the love of Vitellozzo, and therefore I beg you will write me a letter ordering me to undertake this enterprise.’ And I did write him such a letter, but do not know now whether he has not made use of it to do me an injury.” To which I replied that Ihad never heard of this.
Afterwards coming back again to the case of Vitellozzo, the Duke said to me, among other things: “I will tell you of another act of perfidy on his part, which he attempted to practise against me, and which has come to my knowledge within the last few days. You will remember when we first entered upon the Florentine territory with our troops; well, Vitellozzo, seeing that he did not succeed in what he aimed at, and supposing that I would never suspect him, thought, without my knowing anything about it, to make terms with theOrsini, to take Prato by surprise during the night, and to leave me defenceless in the midst of your country. He communicated his project to some one, who told me of it only two days ago; and when this individual asked Vitellozzo upon what basis he had founded his scheme, and how he would maintain himself in Prato, he answered, that all things required at the beginning an impulse to be given them, but that then the middle and the end would follow of necessity. This, however, did not happen in his case; for having gone to reconnoitre Prato, he found the walls higher and better guarded than he had supposed.” The Duke added, “And now his only talent is to plot treason; and every day proves that the Florentines proceeded justly against his brother.”* I made a suitable reply, but from all the Duke’s conversation I have only gained the conviction of his deep hatred of Vitellozzo, without being able to gather how he is going to proceed against him.
Since then I have had a conversation with my friend, and according to your Lordships’ instructions I put the Duke’s engagement entirely aside, and with regard to Pisa and Vitellozzo I employed almost the very words which your Lordships have written; adding such other observations as would bear upon the proposed alliance. Respecting Vitellozzo I could learn nothing except that the Duke is animated by a most bitter hatred against him. As to Pisa he said: “At first the Duke’s forces will move towards Urbino; after that they may go further, towards Perugia, Castello, and Sienna; and once in that neighborhood it will be easy suddenly to throw them upon Pisa; and if they find that city unprepared, it would be an easy matter to take it. But it will be necessary to manage it with great secrecy; I do not know whether this can be done at present, since the creation of this perpetual Gonfalonier, and whether your Signoria will be able to dispose of some twentyfive or thirty thousand ducats which will be needed, without being obliged to render an account of them to any one.”
I shall not repeat what I answered, as I do not wish to weary your Lordships; allI will say is, that I have endeavored to do my duty. Respecting the engagement of the Duke, this friend said that the honor of the Duke did not require that this matter should not be spoken of. And after a little reflection he added, that theengagement might be changed into a subsidy, and that your Lordships ought to give it to him. I replied, that that would be changing the name, but not the thing itself; and that if it was desired that I should enter into communication with your Lordships in reference to such a subsidy,it would be necessary that I should be able to point out to you the reciprocal advantages of it, and that such advantage must be clear and immediate. All this I said as coming only from myself. My friend said that he would think of the matter, and thus the conversation ended. I have nothing else to write to your Lordships in answer to your letter of the 15th. As for those others who talk to me every day of these matters, I always have answered and shall continue to answer them as seems to me proper.
The remainder of the French that were expected here have arrived; they are lodged where I have before mentioned to your Lordships that quarters had been ordered for them; and according to what I was told by a certain Messer Federigo, a confidential person of the Cardinal San Giorgio, who came here two days ago, all the French that left Parma to come here to the support of the Duke, counting in those who came first as well as those last arrived, amount to four hundred and fifty lances. I do not know whether this is the exact truth, but it accords with what they say themselves; and this Messer Federigo comes direct from Parma, where he has been for many days.
The Swiss have not yet come, nor have I heard where they are; but their arrival here will not be long delayed.
The conclusion of the agreement on the part of the Orsini awaits the arrival of Signor Paolo, who has not yet made his appearance; and on the part of the Bentivogli it depends on Messer Romolino, who, as I have already written, has gone to Rome; but we hear of no movement on his part.
His Excellency the Duke is still here, and when I asked Messer Alessandro the treasurer, yesterday, when he would leave, he said that they were waiting for a reply from a certain Messer Ercolano, who had been sent to Milan several days ago. No one knows what to think of the warlike preparations of the Duke in the midst of all these peace negotiations, particularly in view of his good faith, which may be relied upon. Messer Giovanni is full of apprehensions, notwithstanding all the honors shown to his Protonotario, and the earnestness with which the agreements are being urged forward. For he sees the Duke’s forces constantly increasing; and that so far from leaving, the Duke remains here to the great discomfort of the inhabitants of the place, as well as his own. Moreover, he sees the Conte Lodovico della Mirandola arrive and go into quarters at Doccia; and the French that have lately come here by way of Ferrara, and who were to go from here to Rimini by way of Faenza, have been made to retrace their steps by the Duke’s orders, and are quartered in three small castles, which, as I have lately written to your Lordships, are situated on the confines of the Bolognese territory in the direction of Piancaldoli, where they are not only uncomfortable, but entirely away from their route. Some companies of infantry are also returning here, being a portion of those who have lately been sent in the direction of this city; which has given rise to various conjectures. Nevertheless, it is not believed that he will fail of his word where he has once given it.
The Venetians seeing the clouds gathering here, have sent the Conte di Pitigliano with one thousand horse to Ravenna, so as not to be taken unawares. They feel no apprehensions for your Lordships, as the main forces of the Duke consist of French troops, who it is supposed will not be inclined to attack or injure you; were it otherwise, then nobody would answer for your safety. As to what the Vitelli and the Orsini have to fear, your Lordships are better able to discern it than can be done from here; in fact, there is no head sufficiently secure to dare to form any definite idea upon that point.
About twenty Pisan cavaliers have come here in search of an engagement for pay; I do not know whether they will be accepted, and have taken no steps either in their favor or against them, for I really know not which would be best.
There was a report here this morning that Bologna had risen in revolt, under the apprehension that had gained ground there that Messer Giovanni was about to sell the city to the Duke. It is believed that these are mere popular lies, for they lack all confirmation.
I recommend myself to your Lordships.
20 November, 1502, 20th hour.
P. S. — At last I have obtained the safe-conduct conformable to that of your Lordships, and send it herewith enclosed. I have had much difficulty in obtaining it without paying the chancelry, for they are not all like that of your Lordships. It is pretended that yours has been obtained gratis. Nevertheless it has been agreed . . . . . . Messer Alessandro Spannochi. If he decides that we ought to pay something, then the merchants of Florence must provide the means.
Magnificent Signori: —
I wrote at length to your Lordships on the 20th, by the courier Carlo, in reply to yours of the 15th; and as matters here continue very much the same as when I last wrote, I shall be very brief in my present. The sum and substance of it is that the Duke is still here, and no one knows precisely when he is to leave. The troops are not marching towards Faenza, but there is no lack of the usual warlike preparations. The Swiss troops have not yet arrived, nor has the Signor Paolo Orsino made his appearance, and it is said that he is not coming by way of Florence, because he has not received the safe-conduct which he has asked for twenty-five crossbowmen. The treaty with Bologna has also not yet been definitely concluded, although Messer Giovanni here thought that it was. There always remains the difference of the old treaty, according to which the said Messer Giovanni is obliged to pay annually the sum of nine thousand ducats to the Duke. Messer Giovanni believed that this obligation had been cancelled by the new treaty, but the Duke claims to understand that the clause remains in force; and thus the matter has been in suspense for three days past. Messer Giovanni Mino di Rossi arrived here this evening for the purpose of concluding the treaty according to the views of the Duke, if he cannot do so according to his own; how it will end I know not.
To-day I received your Lordships’ letter of the 19th in reply to mine of the 14th and 16th; I understand all you say respecting the obligation, etc., etc. I shall wait until I am spoken to on the subject, and will then advise you fully; nor have I sought another audience of the Duke, to explain to him again the reasons why your Lordships cannot entertain the idea of engaging him. For as I think that I know his character pretty well, I do not wish to weary him with a subject which he seems to understand, and which is calculated to exasperate rather than soothe him. And therefore I shall wait until I am spoken to in relation to these matters, which will be according as time may shape events, which are judged of here from day to day as they occur, rather than in any other way. I do not know yet whether it will be easy for me to obtain audience of the Duke, for he lives only to advance his own interests, or what seem to him such, and without placing confidence in any one else. I shall not therefore attempt to force matters unless I am obliged to do so; and after trying once or twice, I shall not try again. And although up to the present I have had no cause to complain, yet I do not wish to have occasion for doing so. Thus, taking all things into account, I desire much that your Lordships would recall me; for apart from my seeing that I can be of no use to our republic here, my bodily health has suffered very much. For two days I had a violent fever, and feel altogether very unwell. Moreover I have no one to look after my affairs at home, so that I lose on all sides. Thus taking everything into consideration I trust your Lordships will not refuse my request. A messenger from the Duke of Urbino has arrived here; it is said that he has come to ask for terms, but no one knows particulars.
Imola, 22 November, 1502.[Back to Table of Contents]
Magnificent Signori: —
My last of the 22d was sent by Ugolino Martelli, having previously written you on the 20th in reply to your Lordships’ letter of the 15th. Since then I have nothing of interest to communicate, matters here remaining very much in the same condition as when I last wrote. For the Duke is still here, the Signor Paolo has not yet arrived, and various opinions prevail as to his coming. The treaty with Messer Giovanni Bentivogli is not yet concluded, owing to the difficulty about the old account of nine thousand ducats which Messer Giovanni was to pay the Duke within a given time. His Excellency wanted to convert this into a perpetual obligation, or into one single payment of forty thousand ducats, to be made within a few months. But Messer Giovanni will not listen to such a proposition, and wishes to terminate the annual payments in six or eight years. This dispute has been going on for four days, Messer Mino de Rossi being here as representative of Messer Giovanni, and I think from what I have heard this evening the Protonotario is expected here to-morrow. Some say that all this delay is caused by the Duke, who wishes to await the reply of Messer Romolino, whom he had sent to Rome with instructions to act in this matter only in accordance with the will of the Pope. Others give a much more sinister interpretation to the matter, notwithstanding that the most amicable relations seem to prevail between his Excellency the Duke and the Bolognese, and that there is a constant interchange of presents between them.
Many reasons are assigned for the delay in the Duke’s departure; some say that he does not wish to leave until he has concluded the agreement with the Bentivogli; others say that he is utterly without means, and is waiting for money from Rome. Others again say that it is because the Swiss have not yet arrived; although three days ago it was reported that they had passed Ferrara. But nothing certain is publicly known, though there are persons who claim to be well informed and who maintain that the Duke wants to be perfectly clear whether in going forward it will be either as the friend or the enemy of the Orsini, which, however, cannot be known until after the arrival of the Signor Paolo. Nor are there wanting persons who say that the Duke leaves for the reasons which I have indicated to your Lordships in one of my previous letters.
I have informed your Lordships that an application has been made to the Duke for a safe-conduct for one of the Duke of Urbino’s confidential persons to come here. This personage arrived here four days ago, and has suddenly left again. It is publicly reported that the object of his coming was to negotiate the exchange of certain prisoners, which is all I have heard on the subject. A couple of days since an individual returned here from Urbino, who had been made prisoner at the time when that city was in revolt, and who left there on the 19th instant. This person reports that there is a good deal of alarm felt by the people of Urbino, notwithstanding their obstiuacy; and that the cause of their alarm is the treaty now being negotiated between the Duke and the Orsini. He relates, that, two days prior to his leaving Urbino, the Duke Guidobaldi called together first the citizens and afterwards the troops, of which there were not more than some four hundred infantry under the command of Giovanni di Rossetto and two other constables; that the Duke Guidobaldi had spoken to each of them in a different manner, although the same in substance, telling them that the treaty between the Orsini and the Duke Valentino was a sure thing, and that the negotiations between that Duke and Vitellozzo were also being urged forward, and that he feared a treaty would be concluded between them, upon which matters he wanted their advice. The citizens replied that they would die with him; the soldiers, after having examined what forces the Duke of Urbino could muster, assured him that they would hold Urbino and San Leo for him during the entire winter, even though the whole world should be against them. An order was accordingly published for the evacuation of all the castles and places in the duchy; and for all the garrisons to withdraw into the cities of Urbino and San Leo. Giovanni di Rossetto had sent one of his brothers with his wife and children to San Leo. The same person from Urbino spoke also of the readiness with which the Vitelleschi had declared themselves at first against the Duke Valentino, and how much harm they would have done him if the Signor Paolo Orsino had not held them back; and how six hundred of Vitellozzo’s infantry had routed the Duke’s forces at Fossombrone, which forces consisted of one hundred men-at-arms and two hundred light cavalry, who all took to flight without having as much as put a lance in rest; — and that during the many days that they were in camp they had never seen a single penny in circulation. His Excellency the Duke has spent since the calends of October until now more than sixty thousand ducats, according to what his treasurer Alessandro has assured me not more than two days since. I take pleasure in writing this to your Lordships, so that you may see that, when others are in trouble, they spend no less than you do, nor are they any better served by their soldiers than what your Lordships are; whilst, on the contrary, he who is well armed with troops of his own will always have the same advantages whichever way things may turn.
That friend of mine whom I have mentioned before has said nothing to me touching the treaty that is about to be concluded between your Lordships and the Duke. I believe they are waiting to know the character of the instructions with which Messer Giovanni Vittorio proceeds to Rome; or rather they are awaiting the time when you shall have more need of them than at present; which I am sure your Lordships will make every effort to avoid.
I continue to pretend not to see anything, both because I have fulfilled your commission in opening the road you desired to follow, and because, not having any new propositions to make to them on your part, without which it would be difficult to accomplish anything here or at Rome. For having once made known their intentions, to which your Lordships did not agree, there is no way of making these people recede from them, except by presenting some new proposition to them; for to decline and then to remain silent would not suit men of this kind.
Your Lordships, I trust, will not charge me with presumption for having given you my opinion, seeing that in your letter of the 15th you inform me of your intention to contract an alliance with the Duke without delay. For had I not given you my views of matters as I understand them, particularly with my knowledge of the Duke’s character, I should feel that I had not done my duty.
Imola, 26 November, 1502.[Back to Table of Contents]
Magnificent Signori: —
My last of the 26th was sent by a messenger whom the Guglianos despatched for their private account. I had previously written on the 22d, and sent the letter by Ugolino Martelli, who was returning to Florence. Supposing that both these letters reached you safely, I shall not repeat their contents. By the present I desire to inform you that the Signor Paolo Orsino arrived here yesterday; and from what I hear he brought the treaty ratified and signed by Vitellozzo and the other confederates. He endeavors all he can to persuade the Duke that they are greatly indebted and entirely faithful to him, and willing to serve him in any enterprise on the same footing as any one else. His Excellency in return shows himself satisfied with it. Vitellozzo particularly has addressed most submissive letters to him, full of thanks and excuses and offers of service, saying that, if ever he has the chance of speaking to him face to face, he feels confident of being able to justify himself entirely, and to prove to him that what had occurred had never been done for the purpose of offending him, etc., etc.
His Excellency seems to accept it all, but no one knows what course he is going to take, for it is difficult to penetrate his designs and to know him. If we are to judge by the facts themselves, and by what the Duke himself or his first minister says, we cannot but augur ill for his adversaries; for the wrong done him has been great, and his language as well as that of others is full of indignation against the said Vitellozzo. It was only yesterday, whilst conversing on this subject with the first personage of the Duke’s court, this person said to me, “This traitor has given us a stab, and now thinks to heal the wound with words.” And as I was going on trying to find out which way the Duke inclined in this matter, and questioning this individual about it, who, as I have said, is one of the first personages of the court, he said to me: “We shall first march with this army towards Urbino, where we shall, however, not remain long, for we are fully persuaded that that city will put itself into our hands. Nor shall we go to Rimini, but shall move either to Perugia or Castello, according as may seem best. We shall demand quarters for our troops in that city, the Duke being Gonfalonier of the Holy Church, and the city belonging to the Church; for the treaty does not specify that we are not to lodge with the army of the Pope wherever the Duke may choose. We shall then see what answer they will make to our demand, and govern ourselves accordingly.” Giving me to understand that upon this point an opportunity will not be wanting to judge that neither Vitellozzo nor Gianpaolo is to be trusted, these being the persons against whom the Duke is more incensed than against all the others.
Two days ago there came here the President of the chief court of judicature which the Duke has established in this state. His name is Messer Antonio del Monte a San Savino, and he is a most learned and virtuous man; his residence is at Cesena. On his arrival it was said that the Duke had caused him to come here for the purpose of sending him to Urbino as representative of the Holy Father to offer a pardon to the inhabitants of that city, and of all the other places, which is quite likely; for to-day his Excellency the Duke, the Signor Paolo, the said Messer Antonio, and Messer Agapito have been in conference together during the greater part of the day, for the purpose, it is said, of preparing the patents and the instructions according to which Messer Antonio is to proceed.
The Signor Paolo is to accompany him, for the purpose of withdrawing the men-at-arms that are in the territory of Fano, and to direct them towards Urbino. It is confidently expected that this reoccupation will be effected without the necessity of drawing a sword; it is moreover believed that Jacopo di Rossetto, who commands in San Leo, as I have mentioned in a former letter to your Lordships, and who, as everybody knows, is wholly devoted to Vitellozzo, has been placed there by the latter for no other purpose than to reconcile the Duke to him by the surrender of the place to his Excellency. It is furthermore said, that separate negotiations are being carried on with the Duke Guidobaldi to induce him to accept a cardinal’s hat, or some other equivalent compensation. The Signor Paolo demands money for himself, and for the other confederates, in consideration of the removal of the troops from Fano, and has been promised five thousand ducats within eight days from now.
The recovery of Camerino during the winter is considered, not as difficult, but as impossible. Nor is it believed that any time will be wasted in attempting it, if it cannot be effected by negotiation. And as with all these agreements and hopes, or rather certainties, of recovering these states without recourse to arms, none of the French troops are seen to return whence they came, but as it seems to be rather the Duke’s intention to go forward with the entire body of his troops as far as Rome, it is believed that the Duke’s object is either to settle a good many matters on the way, of which I have some corroborative proof, or perhaps that these French troops intend to pass into the kingdom of Naples to support their countrymen there. And although this idea has prevailed ever since the French have come here, yet it is regarded much more probable now, since it has become known that the Spaniards have received considerable reinforcements by way of Sicily. Upon this point, however, your Lordships will be able to have more certain information from Rome.
Yesterday the Duke concluded an arrangement with Bologna; the annual payment of nine thousand ducats, which was the cause of difference, has been reduced to five years; and the agreement would have been signed at once, but that the Bolognese had not the authority to do it. This authorization, however, has come this morning; but nothing has been done owing to the Duke’s being occupied with Signor Paolo and Messer Antonio del Monte in the matter mentioned above. I have been told that, after the arrival of Messer Romolino at Rome, the Pope had written to the Duke urging him to conclude the treaty with Bologna, with which he professed to be well pleased and satisfied. I will endeavor, so soon as it shall have been perfected, to have a copy of it, which I will send to your Lordships.
Those blessed Swiss that were to have been here have not yet made their appearance, which is all I have to tell your Lordships; though I must not omit mentioning that it is understood here, that if the Duke marches to Rome with his army, as it is supposed he will do, in such case he will follow his old practice of making the towns belonging to the Church that fall into his hands pay all his expenses; and that, amongst others, Ancona is particularly aimed at. It is said that the Florentine merchants have a large amount of goods there; and as I do not know at what moment this army may appear before that city, which it is feared may be given up to pillage when the army does come, and be exposed to all sorts of other ills, I deem it my duty to bring this at once to your Lordships’ notice. I had a long conversation this morning on that subject with Messer Alessandro; and on asking him how we might secure any goods that our merchants may have in Ancona, he replied, that the only way would be to embark them at once and send them to Cesena or Rimini, and that when once the goods were in either of those places he would himself be responsible for their safety.
I have nothing more to say except to recommend myself ever so often to your Lordships, quæ bene valeant.
Imola, 28 November, 1502.
Morning of the 29th. —
A servant of the courier Carlo has just arrived, with your Lordships’ letter of the 26th. I note what you say respecting the ambassador who is to leave for Rome, and that I am to remain here; and the hopes which your Lordships entertain that the Duke will abandon his fixed views respecting his engagement. In relation to all these matters I shall conform strictly to your Lordships’ views; still it seems to me that, as I have nothing new to communicate to his Excellency, it would be better not to seek another audience of him, but to try and mature the matter with some of the influential persons around him, and to persuade and make them understand that they may in all respects rely upon your Lordships, provided they do not go beyond what is possible and reasonable. I shall wait, therefore, until some new proposition is made to me by them, and am firmly resolved not to act otherwise in this matter, unless your Lordships should give me special orders on this point. I note, moreover, what your Lordships tell me that you hear from Rome relative to the passage of the Duke into the kingdom of Naples. To this I reply, that I never heard that the Duke was to go in person, although a good deal has been said about the French going there, as I have stated in my preceding letter. For I endeavor as far as possible to learn the truth, and to inform your Lordships accordingly. I will detain your messenger no longer, so as not to keep your Lordships in suspense as to information from here. But in my next you shall know all; in fact, I would write you every day, were it not for the difficulty of passing the mountains in consequence of the bad weather. On the other hand, unless some change takes place in the state of things, it would seem to me superfluous to incur an expense merely for the purpose of repeating the same thing to your Lordships.
It is now the eighteenth hour, and the Signor Paolo Orsini has just left with Messer Antonio del Monte, for the purpose which I have mentioned above. The Signor Paolo has received thirty-six hundred ducats.
Valete iterum, etc.
Respecting the Duke’s departure from here, it is said that he will leave some time this week, as I have before stated, and that he will go to Furli.[Back to Table of Contents]
Magnificent Signori: —
I wrote you yesterday by a son of your courier Carlo, and although I have not much to say now, yet having the opportunity of sending by a son of Messer Alessandro, treasurer, I would not miss this chance of giving you information of what is occurring here. Your Lordships will have learned from my letter of yesterday that Signor Paolo Orsino and Messer Antonio del Monte went yesterday to Urbino; but as yet we have no news of them, and are awaiting the results of their efforts. Those nearest the Duke say that he will not move from here until he shall know how to act with regard to Urbino; that is to say, whether he shall be obliged to employ force or not. All I know on this subject is that the Bishop of Cagli some days ago applied for a safe-conduct to come here. It was refused at first; but two days later it was granted, and he is expected here shortly.
I told your Lordships in my last that the treaty between Bologna and the Duke had been concluded, and that his Excellency was to receive a subsidy of nine thousand ducats for five years; and that nothing now was wanting but an order to the Bolognese. But since then letters have come from Rome, brought by some one in the service of the Bentivogli, informing the Duke that it had been agreed between the Pope and the representative of Messer Giovanni Bentivogli, that the subvention was to continue for eight years, and was to be ten thousand ducats per annum.
It is said now that the Duke, seeing that the Pope had made a more advantageous arrangement both as to time and money, insists upon the terms made by the Pope, whilst Messer Giovanni claims to adhere to the terms made directly between him and the Duke. And thus matters become embroiled and delayed. No one knows whether this is accidental or intentional; all we can do is to wait and judge by the result; although the Bentivogli seem to think that matters are taking their natural course, and they are satisfied. I have in various ways endeavored to find out whether the Duke has any intention of going with his troops into the kingdom of Naples; but have not been able to learn anything certain on the subject. The opinion at court, however, has been, ever since the arrival of the French, that they would go to Naples after having finished matters here. I shall continue my efforts to ascertain the truth, and will keep you advised. All other matters here remain the same as when I last wrote; I have therefore nothing more to say, but recommend myself to your Lordships, quæ bene valeant.
Imola, 30 November, 1502.[Back to Table of Contents]
Magnificent Signori: —
My last was of the 30th ultimo, and before that I had written on the 28th and 29th. I have now to communicate to your Lordships that the articles of agreement between his Excellency the Duke and Messer Giovanni Bentivogli were, with the help of God, finally settled and concluded. I send this intelligence by an express messenger, believing it to be of great interest to your Lordships. For besides the other advantages which our republic will derive from it, there is one that is not to be esteemed lightly; namely, that the Duke begins to show himself less disposed to follow his own caprices, and recognizes that everything will not yield to his good fortune. This will dispose him to listen more readily to any proposals your Lordships may choose to make to him. Although it was my duty to have sent you a copy of this treaty, yet it was impossible to obtain it this evening; and I therefore preferred to send you this information at once, rather than delay by waiting for a copy of the treaty. Various opinions prevail here as to the course which the Duke will now pursue in his affairs. For the matter with Bologna as well as that with the Orsini being settled, and there being hope also of terminating the Urbino business favorably, as we shall know by to-morrow what the Signor Paolo has effected by his visit there, nothing now remains in uncertainty except what the Duke is going to do with all the troops he has collected here; and whether the French in whole or in part will have to return to Lombardy or go to Naples; or indeed whether his Excellency, despite of all treaties, will have to keep them here for his security, especially against the Vitelli and the Baglioni. Upon this latter point I have never learned anything more than what I have several times written to your Lordships; namely, that on the one hand the Duke manifests an evil disposition towards them, and on the other hand I have heard from that same friend of mine, that, if the Duke were to go to Rome and remain there, he would find out the difference between the Jews and the Samaritans, as I have written you more in detail in my last.
As to the other point, whether the French are to go to Naples either with or without the Duke, I have done my utmost to find out something, but can learn nothing positive. From what I have heard, however, I am more inclined to say not than otherwise; for on my speaking to-day on that subject with the friend to whom I have several times referred, he told me that one of these Frenchmen had shown him a letter from Naples, from which it appears that the French have the upper hand there, and that consequently the presence of these troops was not needed there. Drawing that letter from his pocket, he gave it to me, and your Lordships will find a copy of it herewith enclosed. I can say nothing further on this subject; but by Tuesday we shall see which way this water will run, and which conjecture may prove to be the most correct; for I judge from many indications that the Duke will leave here with all his troops within three or four days.
It is said that the first halt will be at Furli, and that then they will advance promptly from there. You will be better able to judge of this than from the reports that are now circulating here. And by way of giving your Lordships a better idea of the spirit that animates the Duke towards his late enemies, you must know that for the last eight days there has been a messenger here from Pandolfo Petrucci, and one from Gianpaolo Baglione, but neither of them has been able to obtain an audience from his Excellency, or has really any hope of it. A friend of mine told me that he had heard one of these gentlemen allege in justification of their case against the Duke, that they had wanted to make him king of Tuscany, but that he had not only declined the offer, but went and denounced it to his Majesty the king of France; and that this is the only thing that Vitellozzo complains of on the part of his Excellency.
I have again to inform your Lordships that there is no news from Urbino since the departure of the Signor Paolo Orsino and Messer Antonio del Monte; but by to-morrow something is expected from there, as I have already advised you. To-day it is reported at court that the people of Camerino have destroyed a castle in their neighborhood, belonging to the Church, and called San Severino.
I recommend myself to your Lordships, quæ bene valeant.
Imola, 2 December, 1502.
Please pay the bearer of this six lire. This letter should reach you at least by the 4th instant.[Back to Table of Contents]
Copy of a letter from the Duc de Nemours to M. de Chaumont, dated 19 November, 1502, from the Kingdom of Naples, six leagues from Barletta.
My Lord Grand Master: —
I desire to inform you hereby that we are here within six leagues from Barletta, and that our friends have withdrawn compactly into the city, where they are fortifying themselves without any seeming intention of leaving it. Know further that Alfonso da San Severo with one hundred men-at-arms which he had in the city in the service of Monsignore Gonsalvo Ferrante, has come and surrendered to us with his whole troop. It is true that the army of the king of Spain has effected a landing in Calabria, and has joined the other Spanish forces.
With all this our friends have not yet lost a single place or town that they had once taken. I have sent them fifty lances and six hundred infantry, and doubt not that when these reinforcements shall have joined them the enemy will retreat. I hope our king will appreciate how well his rights here have been guarded and defended by us, and that he will shortly see things go from good to better. You may communicate this good news to all subjects and servants of the king, and may God guard you, my Lord Grand Master, etc., etc.[Back to Table of Contents]
Magnificent Signori: —
Since the information given in my accompanying letter, I have learned some particulars of the treaty concluded between the Bentivogli and his Excellency, which I think proper to communicate to you privately, having been so requested. The individual from whom I have them was willing that I should read the treaty, but would not allow me to take a copy. I can therefore give your Lordships only what I have been able to retain in my memory. Your Lordships know from my previous letters that one agreement was concluded here and another at Rome, which latter was more advantageous for the Duke than the other. The Roman agreement contains the following clauses, viz.: —
Between his Excellency the Duke of Romagna, Prince of Squillacci and Biselli, of the one part, and the magnificent Regency of Bologna and Messer Giovanni Bentivogli and his sons of the other part, there has been concluded a true and perpetual peace. The contracting parties to have the same friends and the same enemies; and both parties obligate themselves mutually to sustain each other with arms and with all the powers of their respective states, against all other powers, excepting the Pope Alexander VI. and the king of France.
Item. Messer Giovanni Bentivogli obligates himself to serve his Excellency the Duke of Romagna with one hundred men-at-arms and one hundred mounted bowmen for a term of six months within the year, to commence from the date of the final conclusion of this agreement, in such enterprises as the Duke may choose to engage in.
Item. The oldest son of Messer Annibale Bentivogli shall take for his wife the sister of the Bishop of Euna.
Item. The Pope promises to confirm to the city of Bologna and to Messer Giovanni Bentivogli all the conditions and privileges that have heretofore been granted to them by any of his predecessors.
Item. The Pope and the Duke promise that his Majesty the king of France, the Magnificient Signoria of Florence, and his Excellency the Duke of Ferrara, will guarantee the execution of this agreement on the part of the Duke of Romagna.
Item. The aforesaid Duke of Romagna engages to serve the city of Bologna with one hundred men-at-arms for a period of eight years consecutively, for which he is to be paid annually the sum of twelve thousand gold florins.
Such are in substance the conditions of this treaty, so far as I have been able to remember them from a single reading.
The terms agreed upon this evening conform in all respects to these, except that the pay for the one hundred men-at-arms for the period of eight years has been reduced by them to five years. The amount of pay for the other three years is to constitute the dowry of the Bishop of Euna’s sister; and Messer Giovanni hypothecates as security for this dowry all his possessions, in which the Duke insisted that his possessions in the Florentine states should be comprised. There is one article in that treaty which I had forgotten, namely, that the treaty itself should be kept entirely secret during the next three months, on account of the affairs of Urbino and Camerino. This is the reason why I could not have a copy of it, and why I write you this privately, in accordance with the request of him who showed it to me.
I recommend myself to your Lordships, quæ bene valeant.
Imola, 2 December, 1502.[Back to Table of Contents]
Magnificent Signori: —
Day before yesterday I received a letter from your Lordships in reply to several of mine. Having in my last, of the 2d, given your Lordships full account of the state of things here, and nothing new having occurred here since then, I have really nothing to write about. Nevertheless, so as not to keep your Lordships in suspense for want of letters, I deem it well to write the present. Having been ten days without attempting to speak with his Excellency the Duke, and the treaty between him and the Bentivogli having been concluded, I thought it well yesterday to seek an occasion to see the Duke, who promptly granted me an audience. Before I could say a word to his Excellency, he said to me: “I had the desire to speak to you some five or six days ago, for during his last visit here the Signor Paolo Orsino told me that your Signoria had sent two envoys to him at Urbino, to propose to him that, if he or his son would engage to serve the republic of Florence, they would make terms with him, provided he should accomplish some results to their advantage in the affair of Pisa. But that he had declined the proposition, although there was nothing to hinder him from accepting your Lordships’ offer of an engagement even to acting against his Excellency.”
I asked him whether the Signor Paolo had given him the names of the two envoys, and whether he had not shown him their letters of credence; or whether the said Signor Paolo had never in the past told him any lies. His Excellency replied that the letters had not been shown him, nor had the Signor Paolo told him who the two were; but as to lies, Signor Paolo had told him plenty. And thus the matter ended in a laugh, although at first the Duke spoke in an angry manner, showing that he believed what Signor Paolo had told him, and regretted it. It seems to me that it would not be amiss if your Lordships were to write me something on the subject, so that I might show it to his Excellency. We conversed afterwards for a full hour on various matters, which it would be superfluous to report to you, as they were of no importance. I will only mention that I infer in substance from what his Excellency said, that he is still of the same mind as to contracting an alliance with your Lordships and maintaining it; and that he would never himself do anything adverse to you, nor permit others to do so. For he regarded any weakness or diminution of your power the same as a diminution of his own. At the same time, he intimated to me that he was disposed to a certain extent to accept your propositions, if you declined to agree to his. He did not say this clearly in so many words, but I thought I could gather as much from his remarks. And although I tried to find out his real sentiments, yet I did not succeed, as I could not answer him except in general terms. We then spoke of the conduct of the Venetians, and how they had kept up intelligence with Rimini through a citizen of Venice, who lived there, and whom he had caused to be hanged to save their honor. He told me of the fears they had conceived on seeing his army collected there, and of the honors they had shown to an agent of his whom he had sent to Venice to buy some guns, honors such as were entirely unusual on their part, and undeserved on the part of the agent. He then spoke of the affairs of Pisa, and of the vigorous attack which your Lordships had made upon that city, and he expressed the opinion that its capture would be the most glorious achievement that any captain could accomplish. From that the Duke suddenly turned the conversation upon Lucca, saying that it was a rich city, and a fine morsel for a gormand; and thus we passed considerable time with similar conversation.
His Excellency said, furthermore, that he had been very glad to conclude the treaty with the Bentivogli; that he wanted to act towards them as a brother, and that God himself had had a hand in bringing about that treaty; for at the beginning he had entered upon that negotiation not at all as a serious matter, but that afterwards all at once the Pope had disposed him favorably to it, and that he then consented to it with as much satisfaction as possible. He added, that if your Lordships, Ferrara, and Bologna, and himself, were to go together, then he would have nothing to fear from anybody: first, because the king of France is the common friend of all the parties, and so long as he remained in Italy he would protect them or increase their power; and secondly, because even if the king should experience some reverses, his alliance with them would afford him such support at all times that no one would presume to raise a hand against it.
The Duke told me that the stipulations of the treaty provided that his Majesty the king, your Lordships, and the Duke of Ferrara guaranteed the faithful observance of the treaty by each of the contracting parties; and that he believed your Lordships would not refuse. I replied, that I could not speak positively, but I believed that, whenever it was a question of peace and tranquillity, your Lordships would always lend your ready concurrence; and more especially when associated in the matter with the king of France.
I asked his Excellency whether there was anything new from Urbino, and what he intended to do with his army, and whether it was his purpose to dismiss the French lances. He replied, that he had letters yesterday informing him that the Signor Paolo and Messer Antonio del Monte were at a castle about five miles from Urbino, and had requested the Duke Guido to join them there; which, however, he had not done as yet, having been prevented by an attack of gout, and that they had therefore resolved to go to him; also, that the inhabitants of Penna a San Marino had sent a deputation to the said Signor Paolo to make terms with him; and that as regards himself he contemplated withdrawing within three days from here, and moving as far as Cesena with all his army, and he would then act as circumstances might require. He said further, that for the present he would not dismiss a single Frenchman; but that when once he had settled his affairs he would retain no more than two hundred to two hundred and fifty lances, for these troops were really insupportable and destructive to the country; adding, that where he had intended to have only about four hundred and fifty French lances, he had more than six hundred, because all those that Monseigneur de Chaumont had with him at Parma had come to him in small detachments, having understood, as they said, that here “we lived by the grace of God.” After some further conversation of this sort I took my leave of his Excellency, and have really nothing further to write to your Lordships about the state of things here; for, as I said at the beginning of my letter, matters remain here much as when I last wrote you. We have the same troops here, and still expect to start from one day to another; and your Lordships see what the Duke himself has told me as to the course he intends to pursue. I hear nothing different from private sources, and to guess is difficult.
Not knowing when the goods of our merchants are to leave Ancona, or where they are to go, I can think of no way of facilitating the matter. I recommend myself to your Lordships, and beg you will grant my recall, and thus at the same time save the public treasury the expense, and myself the discomforts which I experience. For since the last twelve days I find myself really sick; and if I go on thus, I fear I shall be brought home in my coffin.
Have the goodness to direct the bearer of this to be paid one gold scudo, for he has promised to be in Florence to-morrow before three o’clock.
Imola, 6 December, 1502.[Back to Table of Contents]
Magnificent Signori: —
Since writing you at length, the Duke’s master of horse came to me and complained very much that a number of horses belonging to the Duke had been stolen in the mountains of San Benedetto. I cannot tell you how much, he said, the Duke felt aggrieved at this, which has incensed him more than if he had lost one of his towns. He has requested me to write to your Lordships to take measures to have these horses restored to him, and to ask you to send some one into these mountains to make a demonstration against those who committed this wrong. I have done my best to excuse this affair, but cannot placate the Duke, it being a matter to which he attaches much importance. I therefore beg your Lordships again to take measures for the prompt restitution of these horses, and to endeavor to justify the whole, so that your merchants may not have to suffer in consequence, even if no other damage should result from it.
I recommend myself to your Lordships, etc., etc.
Imola, 6 December, 1502.[Back to Table of Contents]
Magnificent Signori: —
My last letters were of the 2d and 6th, sent per post at a charge of one florin for each; and although I have as yet no reply, still I cannot doubt but they have safely reached you. By the present I am enabled to inform your Lordships that we had the news yesterday evening that Paolo Orsino had settled the Urbino business, and that the entire duchy had placed itself voluntarily in the hands of his Excellency the Duke. Also that the Duke Guido had gone to Castello, and was trying to have some allowance made to him by his Excellency. For this reason San Leo has not yet come to terms, but remains waiting at the instance of the said Duke Guido. I understand that they want him to renounce the marriage and accept a cardinal’s hat instead, which he declines, saying that he will be satisfied with a pension that will enable him to live. A number of troops have left this morning and have gone in the direction of Furli, and to-morrow, it is said, the Duke will set out, taking with him all the French and his other troops. We shall see what will happen.
The same friend to whom I have several times referred in my letters has repeatedly expressed his surprise to me, within the past few days, that your Lordships do not come to some arrangement with the Duke, the present being as favorable a moment for it perhaps as you could possibly desire. I told him in reply that I was myself better disposed to do so now than I had been, for it had seemed to me that at the last conversation I had with the Duke he was less determined with regard to a military engagement by our republic; and that if this be really so and he was disposed to have as much regard for the interests of Florence as for his own, he would always be met half-way by your Lordships, as I had already told his Excellency ever so often. To this my friend answered, “I have told you on former occasions that in such an engagement there was both honor and profit for the Duke; yet that he cared nothing for the profit, but attached much importance to the honor of it; and that, if you could gratify him on that point, an arrangement could very readily be concluded.” He told me furthermore that an envoy had arrived from Pisa and had sought to have an audience of the Duke, who at first determined not to grant it, but that, upon reflection, he had concluded that there could be no harm in hearing this envoy, and that he would inform me of the result. It is three days now since my friend told me this, and although I have asked him several times on the subject, he has always answered that he had not yet spoken to the Duke, and that his occupations had prevented him from finding out what this envoy wanted of the Duke. I asked him again this evening, and he said that the envoy had been sent back without having spoken to the Duke. From another source, however, I learn that this envoy was Lorenzo d’ Acconcio, that he has had two interviews with his Excellency, and that the object of his mission was to inform the Duke that the king of Spain had sent a messenger to offer his assistance to the Pisans, and that these were disposed to accept the offer unless they could find a defender nearer by, as they could no longer remain in the position in which they were, and that therefore they had offered themselves to the Duke; that his Excellency replied to this proposition in general terms, and told the Pisan envoy to follow him to Cesena, etc., etc.
Now I do not know which of these two stories to believe, and submit the matter to your Lordships’ own good judgment. This much I do know, that both one and the other of the persons from whom I have this information are in a position most easily to know the truth. It is reported here that Cascina has been taken from you by surprise some ten days ago; and yesterday I was told by one of my friends that when this news was received at the house of Bianchino of Pisa, where the Pisans generally congregate, one of them immediately said that he believed it to be true, because orders had been given one day to the Pisan horse to show themselves near Cascina. And when the garrison of the place made a sortie to encounter the Pisan horse, there being but a feeble guard left within, the peasants and their women had risen and taken the place. I mention this to your Lordships, so that even if it were true you might advise the commissary of it.
I recommend myself to your Lordships.
December 9, 1502.[Back to Table of Contents]
Magnificent Signori: —
I wrote the accompanying yesterday, and being anxious to send it off to your Lordships I offered a reward of two ducats, but could find no one to take it owing to the extremely bad weather. For the last four days it has snowed incessantly, and for that reason no one can be found willing to attempt to cross the Apennines. I beg your Lordships therefore to hold me excused, for despite of my unremitting efforts I cannot find any one to carry these letters. It remains for me to inform your Lordships that the Duke set out this morning with all his forces, and has taken the direction of Furli. He will stop this evening at Oriolo Secco, and to-morrow night at Cesena. What the Duke will do after that is not known, nor does any one here venture to guess at it; for the Urbino business is settled, and the agreement between the Orsini and the Bentivogli concluded. And yet the Duke does not dismiss a single French lance, but they all march with him in the direction I have indicated to your Lordships.
Large sums of money arrived here yesterday from Milan, having been sent by the king to pay the French lances. I do not know the amount, but they say there are six loads of silver coin. Francesco della Casa will be able to give your Lordships more correct accounts. Besides this, his Excellency expects twelve thousand ducats from Florence, ten thousand from Bologna, and three thousand from Venice. And a certain Messer Gabriello of Bergamo, who is here, tells me that he has orders to pay the Duke in addition ten thousand ducats within ten days. I leave these matters for the interpretation of your Lordships, who, having information from all parts, will be able to form the best judgment.
I purpose leaving here to-morrow to follow his Excellency’s court, but I do not go with a good will, for I am by no means well, and, apart from my indisposition, I have but seven ducats left in my purse; and when I shall have expended these, then I shall be reduced to necessity. I have received in all from your Lordships fifty-five ducats, and have already expended sixty-two; I therefore beg your Lordships to supply me with funds.
Imola, 10 December, 1502.[Back to Table of Contents]
Magnificent Signori: —
I left Imola on the morning of the 11th, and passed the night at Castrocaro, where I remained the whole of the 12th. The next morning I left there, and arrived here at Cesena the same evening, thinking it best to delay one day joining the court, so as to have a better chance for lodgings. Although I have nothing new to communicate by the present letter, having written on the 9th and 10th, yet I thought it best to write, so as not to keep your Lordships in suspense as to matters here. In my last I informed you that the entire duchy of Urbino, with the exception of San Leo, had placed itself voluntarily in the hands of the Duke. The Duke Guido, who retains San Leo, has gone to Citta di Castello, in the expectation of being able in this way to obtain better terms for himself from his Excellency. I have heard nothing further on the subject, but negotiations are going on in relation to it; but how and on what terms matters will be settled, I know not, but shall endeavor to find out, and will then fully advise your Lordships. Negotiations for an arrangement with the people of Camerino are also being carried on, and I hear from a good source that an understanding has been arrived at.
His Excellency the Duke, as I have said, is here with all the French troops and his own, excepting those who have been the whole year at Pesaro, and who have not moved from there. The Duke and the troops are lodged in the city and its vicinity, and live at discretion; that is to say, according to their own pleasure, and not according to that of the persons who lodge them. Your Lordships may imagine how things go on here, and how they went on at Imola, where the court remained three months, and the whole army two months, and where they consumed everything to the very stones. Certainly that city and the whole country have given proof of their patience, and of how much they are able to bear. I mention this to your Lordships, so that you may know that the French as well as the other troops do not act any differently in Romagna from what they did in Tuscany; and that there is neither more order nor less confusion here than there has been wherever these troops have been, etc.
As I have written before to your Lordships, all those who reason on the subject know not what to think of the Duke’s intentions, he having come here with his troops, and, notwithstanding all the treaties of peace and the recovery of his possessions, not having dismissed a single one of the French troops. After looking at the matter from all sides, they come to the conclusion that the Duke can have no other object than to make sure of those who have subjected him to these wrongs, and who have come within a hair of depriving him of his states. And although the treaties of peace would seem to oppose this conclusion, yet the example of the past would make those of less consequence. I am myself much inclined to this opinion, from the evidence which I have constantly had, and which your Lordships will remember in my letters. And this is still further corroborated by what I wrote you in my letter of the 10th respecting the Savelli.
Nevertheless, there are some who say the Duke is going to Ravenna or Cervia. The Venetians are in great apprehension on that account, and those who come from there say that the Rectors personally visit the guards at night, which are posted the same as if an enemy were at the very gates. With all this, no one believes it, judging that the Duke would not attempt anything against the Venetians unless the king of France were at the same time to attack them in Lombardy; and as no orders of that kind have been heard of there, the other is not believed. And thus, after indulging in a variety of speculations, people here have generally concluded to leave the development of the matter to time, rather than weary themselves with idle conjectures.
I have written to your Lordships what is said on the subject of the Duke’s taking his troops to the kingdom of Naples or otherwise, and I repeat now that the matter is no longer much talked about here. It is true the Duke’s courtiers say that, when he shall have re-established order in Urbino and in Camerino, he intends going to Rome; and that he will start from here after Christmas. But those who are of the opinion that he means anyhow to assure himself of his enemies say that it is very likely that he will start for Rome, but stop on the way to settle matters in his own fashion. We shall see what will come of it. Meantime I shall do my duty in keeping your Lordships advised whilst I remain here, which, however, I do not believe will be much longer; first, because I have only four ducats left in my purse, as my steward knows, who is bearer of this letter, and will give your Lordships full account of my condition and my expenditures; and secondly, because my remaining here is of no further use. And I beg to tell your Lordships, in the same spirit of loyalty with which I have ever served you, that it will be much more advantageous for the conclusion of whatever arrangement you may have to make with the Duke, to send some one of distinguished reputation here rather than to Rome. The reason is this. In the proposed alliance you have to satisfy the Duke, and not the Pope; for whatever terms might be concluded with the latter may be rejected by the former. But whatever may be concluded with the Duke will never be refused by the Pope, unless the Duke himself should see that some advantage could be gained by it; as in the case of the Bolognese treaty. And as it is hazardous to negotiate on the same subject in two places at once, it will be better to have this matter negotiated here rather than at Rome.
I have neither been charged with that mission, nor am I well qualified for it. It should be a man of more eloquence and greater reputation, and one who understands the world better than I do. And therefore I have always been of the opinion that it would be well to send an ambassador here, which would have more influence with the Duke in all matters that have to be negotiated with him than any other means that could be employed. Everybody here is of the same opinion. It is true he should not come here with incomplete notions, but rather with resolute views upon certain points; and thus matters would doubtless be arranged, and that promptly. I have until now ever done my duty to the utmost of my ability, and shall not fail to continue to do so; for even if much time has been wasted in the past, yet all is not lost.
Your Lordships, I trust, will receive this in the spirit in which I write it, and I beg most humbly that you will provide me with funds, and grant my recall.
Cesena, 14 December, 1502.
P. S. — One of the first gentlemen of the Duke’s court has requested me, on behalf of his Excellency, to recommend to your Lordships Messer Bartolommeo Marcelli of the Borgo San Sepolcro, who is one of those who, by summons of the Five Deputies, were to appear before them from the 1st to the 10th instant. He says that he received the notification only on the 8th. He is a man of seventy-two years of age, and being here would have had to make seventy miles in two days, which it was impossible for him to do, the mountains being covered with snow, and with daylight only during seven hours; and therefore he claims indulgence. He is ready to obey the summons and prove his innocence if time be allowed him. I have been requested, therefore, to solicit your Lordships to grant him a delay, and to give him at least five or six days’ notice to appear, and he will promptly obey. I add my prayers to your Lordships, who are most urgently requested to that effect by his Excellency the Duke; and believing it proper to bring this matter to your notice, I hope for a favorable reply.
Your Lordships will please have the bearer of this paid one gold florin for his trouble.[Back to Table of Contents]
Magnificent Signori: —
I write to acknowledge your three letters of the 8th, 10th, and 13th instant, although I have not much to say in reply, your Lordships’ letters having been mainly replies to several of mine. But as your letters contain an explanation of what I had written you that Paolo Orsino had said to his Excellency the Duke, and as you manifest therein your good intentions of forming a closer alliance with his Excellency, and tell at the same time how much the Pope was pleased at your having sent an embassy to him; and as you moreover enter into some particulars, etc., etc.; it seemed to me well to ask for an audience of his Excellency, which, however, I could not obtain until yesterday evening at the fourth hour.
Deeming it advisable to communicate to his Excellency a portion of your letters, I read to him all those parts that relate to the above-named subjects. His Excellency listened very cheerfully to it all, and then expressed himself in the highest degree satisfied with what your Lordships write respecting Paolo Orsino. And upon the other points he repeated what he had already told me several times; namely, that he was anxious for an alliance with your Lordships, and that the closer it was, the more importance he attached to it, and the more agreeable would it be to him; and that he was the more ready to treat with you as he saw that his Holiness the Pope was most favorably disposed towards your Lordships; saying that he had lately had letters from his Holiness, in which he manifested not only a great desire to have the matter closed, but also such an affection for your Lordships that you could not wish it greater yourselves. His Excellency added, that he was more than ever pleased at this, for he saw in it the means for giving the strongest possible foundation to his power; and that with such a union between your Lordships, himself, and Ferrara, Mantua, and Bologna, neither himself nor any of the others would or could have anything to fear. That he entered into such a union with the more readiness, as it seemed to him to be his own act; and that he did it with all the frankness and sincerity that could be asked of a royal prince. That he remembered having told me that, when he was able to do but little, he had neither boasted nor promised anything, but had reserved his action until his state should be securely established; and that then he had made large offers to your Lordships. And that now since he had recovered Urbino, and that Camerino was at his disposal, and that without the Vitelli and the Orsini he found himself with ten thousand horse at his orders, he thought he could afford to promise largely; that therefore he placed all his forces at your service in case it should happen that you were assailed, and that he should not wait to be called, but would then prove by his acts what he to-day promised in words.
I fear, O Magnificent Signori, lest your Lordships may think that I put these words into the mouth of the Duke; for I myself, who heard him, and noted his very words and the terms which his Excellency employed in saying these things, and observed the gesticulations with which he accompanied them, can scarcely believe it. But I deem it my duty to write these things to your Lordships, as it is yours to judge of them and to think it well that I should tell you of it, but that it will be still better not to have occasion to put him to the proof. I thanked his Excellency on behalf of your Lordships in such terms as seemed to me proper, telling him how much importance your Lordships attached to his friendship and to his offers, etc., etc.
Turning suddenly to another subject, the Duke said to me: “You are not aware that a citizen of Pisa has arrived here, and has for several days past solicited an audience of me, which I have not yet granted him. In my endeavors to find out what he wants, I learn that he has come to inform me that the king of Spain had offered them his assistance, and that they were for accepting it, unless others were willing to aid them. I purpose giving this emissary an audience now, and he is for that purpose in the adjoining room. I do not want you to leave, for so soon as I shall have heard what he has to say, I will report it all to you.” After thanking his Excellency I withdrew, and thereupon the Pisan entered, and remained with the Duke about a quarter of an hour. When the Duke had dismissed him, he called me back and told me that “the Pisan had informed him that he had come on behalf of ‘The Ancients’ of Pisa; that the king of Spain had sent them word that hewas ready to supply them whatever quantity of grain they might want, and as much infantry and cavalry as they might need for their defence, on condition that they would promise to place themselves at his disposal and be his friends; that they would be obliged to accept these conditions unless they could be assured that help would come to them from some other quarter. And therefore they had sent him to his Excellency to make their excuse to him for whatever course they might take.” The Duke told me that he had replied by advising them to consider well what they did, and upon what course they entered. For they must see that the Italians were all French in sentiment; that the king of France was all powerful in Italy, and an enemy of the king of Spain; so that, if they were to ally themselves with Spain, they would find that they made enemies of all those who until now had sustained them. That all at once they would have the knife at their throat; for one of these fine mornings the king of France and his adherents would be under their walls, and that he himself would fly to besiege them, at the slightest word from the king.And therefore he advised them as a friend to remain as they were, and to preserve the friendship of the king of France, and to conform to his will, as he was the only one from whom they had anything to hope.
The Duke said that the Pisan envoy remained confounded, and could make no answer, except that they could exist no longer in the condition in which they were. His Excellency told me further, that he had replied to the Pisan envoy in the manner he did because he thought it would be believed by the Pisans, and would be of advantage to your Lordships. For in advising them to rely upon France, which was your friend, it was the same thing as advising them to rely upon you, without naming you, so as not to exasperate them still more. Moreover, he thought it would be beneficial to you to remove from your vicinity a war such as this might become. And in fact he thought that he ought to do anything to prevent the Pisans from committing such a folly, although he had some doubts whether he should succeed, seeing the state of desperation the Pisans were in. To all this the Duke added, that for the present he had answered them in this wise, but that in future he would shape his replies according to your Lordships’ instructions. I thanked his Excellency for this communication, saying that his reply to the Pisans seemed to me in all respects most prudent and well considered; that it was not for me to tell his Excellency how to act in this matter, for he well knew how much your Lordships had Pisa at heart; and that he knew also the condition of the other Italian affairs, which he would have to weigh in all his replies and in the negotiations which his Excellency might have occasion to have with the Pisans. I also told the Duke that I would write to your Lordships, and in case of my receiving any instructions on the subject I would at once communicate them to him.
Your Lordships will remember my having told you in a former letter that I had received different accounts of this negotiation, and how according to the one version the Pisan envoy had not yet spoken to the Duke, whilst according to the other he had had two interviews with him. For this reason I wished, before closing this letter, to speak again with both theparties who had made these statements to me, so as to see what I could learn from one and the other. I have, however, not yet been able to do so, but will endeavor to supply this deficiency in my next.
The affairs of Urbino remain in the same condition as when I last wrote; and of Camerino I know nothing but what the Duke told me, and which I have already mentioned to you; and which amounts to this, that the city is at the Duke’s disposal. His Excellency has sent orders for the artillery, which is at Furli, to be brought here. He gives money freely to the infantry and to the men-at-arms; and it is said that within a week he will break up his camp here and move by slow marches to Sinigaglia. Four days ago it was reported here that the French had experienced a complete rout in the kingdom of Naples; but the Duke told me yesterday that it had been merely an unimportant affair. Your Lordships are in a position to have more reliable intelligence.
I have endeavored to ascertain how the obligation should be drawn which your Lordships have to execute to the king of France and the Duke of Ferrara with regard to the treaty concluded with Bologna. A certain Messer Giovanpaolo, secretary of the Bentivogli, has told me that the treaty provided that his Excellency the Duke obligates himself, within two months after the ratification of the treaty, to bring about that his Majesty the king of France, the Duke of Ferrara, and the Illustrious Signoria of Florence shall guarantee the strict observance of the peace. And it seems that, as the Duke has to ask for this guaranty, the obligation has to be given for the Duke only. The above-named secretary seems to be of the same opinion; still, if the words of the treaty are as above stated, then they are liable to a different interpretation. But as yet the demand has not been made upon your Lordships; for since the ratification of the treaty, the question as to the dowry which the sister of Monseigneur d’Euna is to have has not yet been settled; this matter, however, is to be taken in hand to-day.
By your letter of the 8th your Lordships recommend to me again the case of Salvetto di Buosi, and I mentioned it to the Duke yesterday evening. After a good deal of discussion he came to the conclusion that he would save Salvetto’s life, contrary to the will of the Naldi family; but that he will not liberate him in opposition to them, for it did not seem to him wise for the benefit of one person to offend four; and that it would be a great satisfaction to him if Dionisio would content himself with that, as he could not do any more.
I recommend myself to your Lordships, and beg again that you will furnish me the means of support; I have here at my charge three servants and three horses, and cannot live upon promises. I began yesterday to run into debt; having spent seventy ducats up to the present time. You may ask the bailiff Niccolo Grillo about it, as he has been here with me. I might have my expenses paid by the court here, and may still have it done, but I do not wish that; and have not availed myself of that privilege hitherto, for it seemed to me for your Lordships’ honor and my own not to do it. But your Lordships must know whether I can with a good will go about asking for three ducats here, and for four of some one else.
Cesena, 18 December, 1502.
P. S. — Your Lordships know that when I obtained the safe-conduct from his Excellency, a few weeks ago, I had to promise to give to the Chancelry whatever Messer Alessandro Spannochi might deem proper; and it is certainly no pleasure for me to allege anything against the fulfilment of that promise. Now the clerks of the Chancelry are every day at my heels, and I owe them yet sixteen yards of damask. I beg your Lordships will have this provided for me through the merchants; for if I do not satisfy these clerks of the Chancelry, I shall nevermore be able to expedite anything through them, and especially confidential matters; for they manage all these things without any reference to the Duke. And, moreover, by sending this damask, your Lordships will relieve me of an obligation which I have contracted here. And thus I recommend myself specially in this matter to your Lordships.
Iterum valete![Back to Table of Contents]
Magnificent Signori: —
Yesterday, whilst conversing with his Excellency the Duke, Messer Agapito, his first secretary, came up to me and begged me to write to your Lordships, and ask you to be pleased to bring it about that Messer Lodovico Archilegio da Amelia should be chosen as judge of the wool guild. His Excellency the Duke added that your doing so would give him particular pleasure; that, however, he did not wish to write you specially about it, but relied entirely upon me; and that if the election had already been made, then he could wish that at the next election the choice might fall upon Messer Lodovico. I could not tell your Lordships with what warmth I have been urged in this matter both by the Duke and his secretary. I await your reply.
The Baron de Bierra, at his departure from here, has recommended to me the father of Camillo del Borgo, who is one of the number that have been summoned to appear before the five magistrates, saying that he will appear, provided they will allow him the time necessary to come, seeing that he is seventy-two years old and is here at Cesena. The said Baron has written the enclosed to your Lordships in relation to this matter, and I recommend him on his behalf to your Lordships, and myself likewise.
Cesena, 19 December, 1502.[Back to Table of Contents]
Magnificent Signori: —
I wrote to your Lordships day before yesterday, and sent it by a servant of Antonio da Sesto. By the present I desire to inform you that, whilst at court this evening, I saw all the French captains come in a body to his Excellency the Duke. Before entering, they held a council amongst themselves; and in observing their movements and gesticulations, they seemed to me to be much excited. And thinking that there might possibly be some news of importance, I went, so soon as they had left, to the Baron de Bierra for the purpose of learning the facts; pretending that I came to see him on behalf of your Lordships, and saying that I had received particular instructions to do so. After thanking me, the Baron drew me aside and said: “We are to leave here in two or three days to return to the duchy of Milan, having received orders to that effect to-day.” And when I asked him for what object, he said, “That he did not know, but that all the French had to leave, and had to retrace their steps; and that they would certainly start on the day after to-morrow.” I then asked him whether Monseigneur de Vanne, son of Monseigneur de Lebret,* would also leave with his troops. To which he replied, “That he did not know what this gentleman would do, but that all the others with all their companies would leave without fail.” He told me that I might communicate this to your Lordships as positive, and also that sufficient money had been received at Milan to pay the fifteen thousand infantry that would be collected there within a month’s time. This unexpected order, so far as I could judge by their gesticulations, has turned the heads of all the court. When it shall become publicly known, I shall be able to write you more in detail as to what is going on here; but at present, knowing neither the cause nor the origin of the movement, I am not able to form a correct judgment of it. Your Lordships, however, will have obtained information from other sources, and will therefore be better able to appreciate it. And although I believe that your Lordships will have heard from Lombardy, yet I deem it well to send you this by an express, who will, however, not start until to-morrow morning, owing to the insecurity of the country, but has promised to be at Florence by day after to-morrow.
Monseigneur de Bierra told me in a conversation I had with him, that he and the other captains of the French mounted forces had resolved not to march anywhere unless they have the infantry with them, as otherwise it would not be safe for them to go. The reason for this, I think, is that they have received some offence from the people of the country, which they have not been able to resent as they could have wished. I would not omit mentioning this to your Lordships, as Monseigneur de Bierra’s remark seemed to me worthy of notice.
The artillery, which previous to this news had been ordered to Fano, has all been brought here. I know not what may happen next, for this new move will necessarily give rise to new plans. Since these troops have come here certain castles of the Bishop of Ravenna have been sacked; in all temporal matters, however, these castles are subject to Cesena. This act has been attributed to the fact that the Bishop had encouraged the revolt of Urbino.
I have nothing else to write, except to recommend myself to your Lordships.
Cesena, 20 December, 1502, at the
4th hour of night.
Please have the bearer of this paid one gold florin.[Back to Table of Contents]
Magnificent Signori: —
Yesterday morning I received your last letter of the 17th by way of Bagno, and fully comprehend your instructions. There seems to me to be no reason for apprehendinginjury to either one or the other place belonging to Florence on account of those who have taken refuge there; for in my opinion it would require causes of greater gravity to warrant an attack on our territory. I should regard it, nevertheless, as an act of prudence that these people should withdraw further into the interior of our dominions, and have written to that effect to the captain. Should anything come to my knowledge that would cause me any doubts upon that point, I shall advise your Lordships, but more than that I do not believe I can do.
I presume your Lordships to have received all the letters I have written since coming to Cesena; the first was of the 14th, sent by the courier Grillo; the other, of the 18th, I sent by a son of Antonio d’ Assetto, who was returning to Florence; and the last, of the 20th, was sent express by one of the shoemakers’ guild. By the first two I wrote to your Lordships what I had learned of the condition of things here; also, the conversation I had with the Duke, chiefly in relation to Pisan affairs. In mine of the 20th, I informed you of the unexpected departure of the French. They left yesterday in the direction of Bologna, halting about three miles from here, and passing the night at Castello Bolognese, so as to reach the Bolognese territory the next evening. There are in all about 450 lances. This sudden and unexpected departure has been the subject of general conversation, and every one forms his own conjectures about it. I have done my best to find out the truth of the matter, but it is impossible to obtain any correct information. I have written you what the Baron de Bierra told me; and since then have conversed with M. de Montison, who told me that the French troops had left out of regard for the country and the Duke, who had no further occasion for them; and that the country was becoming hostile to him on account of being overburdened by so many troops. The principal personages of the court tell me that the Duke could no longer support these troops, and that the further retaining them would cause him more annoyance from his friends than from his enemies; and that even without them the Duke would still have troops enough to enable him to undertake anything he might be disposed to.
Not wishing to leave anything undone to obtain correct information, I went to see that friend of mine, whom I have several times mentioned to your Lordships, so soon as the news of the departure of the French became known. I told him that, having heard of that departure, which seemed to me very sudden, and not knowing whether it was by order of the Duke or contrary to his wishes, I deemed it my duty to let his Excellency understand that I was ready to conform to his desires as to the manner in which he might wish me to present this matter to your Lordships. He replied that he would very cheerfully undertake that commission. When I saw him again, he told me that he had spoken to the Duke about the matter, and that he was much pleased at my having suggested this to him, and that, after a few moments of reflection, his Excellency had said to him: “Tell the secretary we thank him, but that for the present there is no occasion for his doing anything in the matter; but whenever there is, we will send for him.” And thus I lost the desired opportunity of speaking with his Excellency, and learning from him something more positive in relation to this matter. And this is all I am able to tell you. I am sure your Lordships’ wisdom, and the advices you have from other sources of which I am ignorant, will enable you to form a correct judgment of this affair. Those who speak of it here say, that the departure of the French troops is due to one of two causes; namely, either because the king of France has need of them himself in Lombardy, or because his Majesty is dissatisfied with the Pope, as some cloud has arisen between them. Be this as it may, the French troops have gone from here, neither well satisfied nor well disposed towards the Duke; but in view of their character, this is of little consequence.
What the Duke may now intend or be able to do, no one knows; but thus far there is no change in his plans. The artillery has gone in advance, and yesterday there arrived here six hundred infantry from the Val di Lamona, and one thousand Swiss, part of those that have been so long expected, are at Faenza. Previous to this the Duke had already fifteen hundred Swiss, Germans, and Gascons in all.
It is still said that after the holidays he will start for Pisa. On the other hand, he has lost more than half of his forces and two thirds of his reputation; and the opinion prevails that he will not be able to do much of what he at first boasted he would do, and which it was believed he could accomplish. San Leo is in the hands of the Duke Guido, and the other fortresses in the duchy of Urbino are razed to the ground. Camerino, which the Duke said was at his disposal, will change its purpose when it hears this news. A secretary of the Cardinal Farnese, who is Legate of La Marca, and who arrived here yesterday, assured me that Camerino was very obstinate in its opposition to the Duke. Your Lordships will judge now what course matters may take, and will not fail to bear in mind that the straits in which the Duke may be placed may cause him to throw himself into the arms of your natural enemies, against which your Lordships will know how to provide, with your habitual wisdom.
I have not heard since of the Pisan negotiations, which I have mentioned to your Lordships as a matter of great moment. In speaking on the subject with such persons as I have referred to in former letters, one of them evaded my questions and referred me to what the Duke had told me; and the other told me that Lorenzo d’ Acconcio had left for the purpose of arranging the sending here of three Pisan deputies, two from the city and one from the country; and that the Duke is disposed to see whether by way of agreement he might accomplish something particularly agreeable to your Lordships, and that his first effort will be to get Tarlatino out of the hands of the Pisans, and to induce them to break off their friendly relations with Vitellozzo. Next, he hopes to win the confidence of the Pisans by giving money to their soldiers, and by taking them into his pay. And having thus gained their friendship, he will endeavor, through the intervention of the king of France, to bring about some arrangement between them and your Lordships which he will offer to guarantee. He pretends to be able to succeed easily in this; but if he fails, it will be because the Pisans are obstinate, and simply because they have no confidence that the promises made to them will be fulfilled. Now whether all this is true or not, I do not know; I give it to you as I have it from an individual who is in the way of knowing the truth of the matter. I beg your Lordships will on all accounts make careful use of it, which I suggest with all due deference.
Messer Ramiro, one of the Duke’s first officers, returned yesterday from Pesaro, and was immediately confined at the bottom of the tower by order of his Excellency. It is feared that he will be sacrificed to the populace, who are very desirous that he should be.
I beg your Lordships with all my heart to be pleased to send me wherewith to live; for if I have to follow the Duke, I shall not know how to do it without money. I shall remain here or return to Castrocaro until your Lordships shall have decided with regard to myself.
23 December, 1502.
P. S. — It is said for certain that the Duke will leave here on Monday, and will go to Rimini. I shall await your Lordships’ reply, and shall not leave without orders; and beg your Lordships to excuse me, for I can go no further.[Back to Table of Contents]
Magnificent Signori: —
I wrote your Lordships last on the 23d by way of Bagno, and as I then gave you full account of the departure of the French troops, and what is said here about it, I have nothing else of importance to report on that subject.
The son of the courier Ardingo arrived here yesterday, and brought me two of your Lordships’ letters, of the 20th and 22d; and although I have made every effort since their receipt to have an audience of the Duke, yet I have not succeeded. Yesterday, when I expected to have seen his Excellency, he was occupied in reviewing his infantry, and in his Christmas pleasures, so that it was impossible for me to see him; and this morning he left at an early hour with his whole army for San Arcangelo, fifteen miles from here, and five miles from Rimini. To-morrow I shall start for the latter place, for I cannot go nearer to the court on account of the difficulty of finding lodgings; although they say that the Duke is not going to stay here, but will move by long marches towards Pesaro. No one knows what he is going to do; some think that he will make an attack upon Sinigaglia, others say Ancona. As regards his forces, he has, besides the troops of which I sent you a list not long since, about thirty newly enlisted Albanese Stradiotes; then he has some twenty-five hundred infantry from the other side of the mountains, and about as many other Italians whom he passed in review yesterday and the day before. And you may count for every thousand infantry about fifty mounted men. The artillery, with a full supply of ammunition, has taken the same route. Upon how many troops the Orsini and the Vitelli may count is not known; but we shall be better informed upon that point when they shall be nearer to each other. As I have mentioned to you before, the Duke is so secret in all he does that he never communicates his designs to any one. His first secretaries have repeatedly assured me that he never makes his plans until the moment of his giving orders for their execution, and he gives these orders only when forced by necessity, and on the spur of the moment, and never otherwise.
I beg your Lordships therefore to excuse me, and not to impute it to negligence on my part, if my information is not satisfactory to you, for I am not satisfied with it myself. We hear nothing more of San Leo and the negotiations with the Duke Guido.
On a former occasion I wrote to your Lordships what the Duke had told me of Camerino, which remained at his disposal; and I wrote you subsequently what I had learned from the secretary of the Cardinal Farnese, who told me that he had but little hope, especially in consequence of the departure of the French troops. The Bishop of Euna told me yesterday that the affair was as good as arranged. Meanwhile we must wait events, so as not to be led into more errors.
Messer Ramiro was found to-day cut into two pieces in the public square, and his body still remains there, so that the whole population has been able to see it. The cause of his death is not precisely known, other than that it was the pleasure of his Excellency thus to show that he has the power to make and unmake men at his will, and according to their merits.
Your above-named courier brought me twenty-five gold ducats and sixteen yards of black damask, for both of which I thank your Lordships very much. As the court is about to break up, they have not yet sent for the three mares which your Lordships inform me are at Poppi. I have only been told to request you to direct them to be well cared for until orders shall have been given to bring them here.
Messer Bartolommeo Marcelli of Borgo, on whose account the Baron de Bierra wrote lately to your Lordships, asks merely that time may be allowed for him to appear until he shall be able to come to Florence. He has himself written to Piero di Braccio, who manages his case; and I beg now to recommend him to your Lordships, quæbene valeant.
Cesena, 26 December, 1502, 22d hour.[Back to Table of Contents]
Magnificent Signori: —
Day before yesterday I wrote to your Lordships from Pesaro* what I had heard from Sinigaglia. Yesterday I went to Fano, and at an early hour this morning his Excellency the Duke started with his entire army and came here to Sinigaglia, where all the Orsini and Vitellozzo are, who, as I have already informed you, had won this city for him. They met his Excellency on his arrival, and escorted him; but so soon as he had entered the place with them at his side, he suddenly turned to his guard and ordered them to seize these men; and having thus made them all prisoners, the place was given up to pillage.
It is now the 23d hour, and the greatest turmoil prevails, so that I really do not know whether I shall be able to despatch this letter, having no one whom I can send. I shall write more fully in my next, but according to my judgment the prisoners will not be alive to-morrow.
Sinigaglia, this last day of December.
P. S. — All the troops of the Orsini and Vitellozzo are also taken, and the manifestoes that are published everywhere say that “The traitors are captured,” etc., etc. I have paid the bearer of this three ducats, and your Lordships will please pay him three more, and reimburse those which I have paid to Biagio.
Niccolo Machiavelli.[Back to Table of Contents]
Magnificent Signori: —
I wrote you two letters yesterday in relation to the events that have taken place here since the Duke’s arrival in Sinigaglia; how he had Signor Paolo and the Duke di Gravina Orsini, and Vitellozzo, and Oliverotto, arrested. In my first I simply announced the event, but in the second I gave you all the particular details, and moreover what the Duke had said to me, and the opinion expressed here as to the Duke’s proceedings. I should repeat all this at length, if I did not suppose that these letters have reached you safely. Having sent these two despatches by express messengers, the first by a Florentine at an expense of six ducats, and the other by a man from Urbino at a cost of three ducats, I feel confident of their arrival. Yet by way of extra care I will summarily repeat the whole. His Excellency left Fano yesterday morning with his entire army for Sinigaglia, which town with the exception of the citadel had been occupied by the Orsini and Messer Oliverotto da Fermo. Vitellozzo had arrived there the evening before from Castello. One after the other these persons came out to meet the Duke, and then accompanied him into the town and into his house. As they entered his apartment, the Duke had them seized as prisoners; he then had their infantry disarmed, which was in the suburbs outside of the city; and the Duke sent half of his forces to disarm also the men-at-arms who were quartered in certain castles some six or seven miles from Sinigaglia. At two o’clock in the night the Duke had me called, and with the most serene air in the world expressed to me his delight at his success; saying that he had spoken to me of this matter the day before, but had not then told me the whole. He then spoke in a most suitable and affectionate manner as to his conduct towards our republic, adducing all the motives that made him desire your friendship, provided these feelings were reciprocated by your Lordships, so that I was quite astonished. I do not repeat all he said, having already written it in my letter of yesterday evening.
Finally he concluded by requesting me to write to your Lordships upon three points. The first, that you rejoice with him at his having destroyed the chief enemies of the king of France, of himself, and of the republic of Florence; and at his having thus removed all seeds of trouble and dissension calculated to ruin Italy, for which your Lordships ought to be under great obligations to him. The next is, that I should request and beg your Lordships on his behalf to be pleased to give to the whole world a proof of your friendship for him, by ordering your cavalry towards Borgo, and to collect infantry there, so that they might march together with his forces upon Castello or Perugia, as might be required; saying that he intended at once to take that route, and that he would have started the evening before, if he had not feared that his departure would have exposed Sinigaglia to being sacked. His Excellency then reiterated to me his request that I should write and ask you to make every demonstration of friendship for him, saying that at present there was no occasion for your being restrained by any fear or mistrust of him, seeing that he was well provided with troops, and that your enemies were prisoners. And, lastly, he begged me to write to your Lordships that it was his particular desire that you should have the Duke Guido, who is at Castello, arrested, in case he should take refuge on Florentine territory upon learning that Vitellozzo was prisoner. Upon my replying to him that it would not comport with the dignity of our republic to deliver the Duke Guido to him, and that you would never do it, he answered, that “he approved of my remarks, and that it would suffice that you should detain the Duke Guido, and not set him at liberty without his consent.” I promised to write you all this, and his Excellency awaits your reply.
In my letter of yesterday I wrote you also that a certain number of well-informed persons and friends of our republic have suggested to me that the present is a most favorable opportunity for your Lordships to do something for the readjustment of the affairs of Florence. They all think that you can rely upon France, and that it would be most opportune to send here one of your most distinguished citizens as an ambassador on the occasion of this event, and that you should not delay in doing so. For if a personage of high position were to come here with orders to establish friendly relations with the Duke, he would he met half-way. This has been suggested to me again and again by those who are well-wishers to our republic; and I communicate it to your Lordships in the same spirit of devotion with which I have ever served you. This is in brief what I wrote you more fully in my despatch of yesterday. Since then the Duke has had Vitellozzo and Oliverotto da Fermo put to death at the tenth hour of the night. The others are still alive; and it is supposed that the Duke is only waiting to know whether the Pope has the Cardinal Orsino, and the others who were in Rome, safely in his hands, and that, if so, he will dispose of the whole band at the same time.*
The citadel of Sinigaglia surrendered to the Duke at an early hour this morning, and is now in his possession. His Excellency left there this same morning, and has come here with his army. It is certain that they will go in the direction of Perugia and Castello, and possibly to Sienna. The Duke will then move to Rome, and according to popular opinion will settle the Orsini castles there. He also intends taking Bracciano by force, and then all the rest will be as easy as to burn straw. We shall remain here all to-morrow and next day, and then go into quarters at Sassoferrato, the season being as unfavorable for war as can possibly be imagined. You would not believe it were I to describe the condition of the army and its followers; for a man who has the chance of sleeping under cover is deemed fortunate.
Messer Goro da Pistoja, a rebel and enemy of our republic, was with Vitellozzo, and is now prisoner here in the hands of certain Spaniards. I believe that, with a couple of hundred ducats, should your Lordships feel disposed to spend that much, it could be managed that he should be delivered to one of your Rectors. Be pleased to think of this matter, and advise me whether you think it worth while to do anything in the matter.
I recommend myself to your Lordships, quæ bene valeant.
Conrinaldo, 1 January, 1503.[Back to Table of Contents]
Magnificent Signori: —
I wrote the enclosed to your Lordships yesterday and repeated what I had communicated in my two letters of the day before, and dated at Sinigaglia, and which I sent by express, hoping that they have come safely and in time to your hands. I am sure that, if your Lordships consider the place in which I am, and the confusion existing here, you will excuse the delay if my letters are behind time. For the peasants conceal themselves; no soldier is willing to absent himself, not wishing to forego his chances of plunder; and my own domestics are unwilling to separate themselves from me for fear of being robbed. All these things cause such difficulties that since my first two despatches, which I sent through the influence of friends and by the promise of large rewards, deeming the news of great importance, I cannot find any one willing to go. And thus it comes that the letter which I wrote yesterday evening is still in my hands, and I know not what day I may be able to send it. But I have not much news to communicate to-day. His Excellency the Duke is still here in Conrinaldo; he attended to-day to paying his infantry, which is about three miles from here, and organizing his artillery, which he has directed to move towards Agobbio by way of Fossombrone, and from there it is to go towards Castello or Perugia, as may seem best to him.
I had a long conversation to-day with one of the Duke’s first officers, and he tells me much the same as what the Duke had told me of his good disposition towards your Lordships. And in conversing with him as to the course which his Excellency intended to pursue, he said that having caused Vitellozzo and Oliverotto to be put to death as tyrants, assassins, and traitors, the Duke intended to carry Signor Paolo and the Duca di Gravina to Rome, confidently hoping that by this time the Cardinal Orsino and Signor Julio were in the hands of the Pope; and that he would then commence legal proceedings against them, and have them condemned by process of law. He told me furthermore that his Excellency intended to free all the states of the Church from factions and tyrants, and restore them to the Pope, keeping for himself only Romagna; and that he expected thereby to place the new Pope under obligations, who would no longer be the slave of the Orsini or the Colonna, as all his predecessors hitherto had been. And this same gentleman assured me anew that the Duke had never had any other thought but to tranquillize Romagna and Tuscany; and that he believed he had now accomplished it by the capture and death of those who had been the chief cause of all the troubles; and that he regarded the rest but as a spark of fire that could be quenched by a single drop of water. And, finally, he told me that your Lordships could now settle their own matters by sending an ambassador to the Duke, with some proposition that would be alike honorable and advantageous for both sides; and who should also give his Excellency every assurance of friendship on your part, leaving aside all formalities and temporizing.
I have deemed it proper to communicate this conversation just as it occurred, and your Lordships will draw your own conclusions from it.
I recommend myself to your Lordships, quæ bene valeant.
Conrinaldo, 2 January, 1503.[Back to Table of Contents]
Magnificent Signori: —
It was with difficulty that I found the bearer of this, whose name is Tornese da Santa Maria Imprunta; and to whom I have paid a gold ducat, and promised him that your Lordships will pay him two more ducats.
The ducat which I have paid him you will please reimburse to Biagio, as also the other four which I have paid for my two previous despatches.
Conrinaldo, 2 January, 1503.
When paid, please give the Captain a certificate of it.[Back to Table of Contents]
Magnificent Signori: —
Day before yesterday I wrote my last to your Lordships, which was, as it were, a repetition of what I had written in my two other letters of the last day of the past month, which should have been received by this time; so that your Lordships will have been informed of the taking of Paolo and the Duca di Gravina Orsini, and of the death of Vitellozzo and Messer Oliverotto; as also of what his Excellency told me, and commissioned me to write to your Lordships, and to which I await your reply. Since then there is nothing new, for we left Conrinaldo yesterday morning and came here to Sassoferrato, where we are still at this time. But to-morrow the Duke will go to Gualdo, to take such measures against his enemies as the occasion will permit. That portion of his forces which he sent in pursuit of the cavalry of the Orsini and the Vitelli returned to-day, having failed to overtake them, as they had all fled in the direction of Perugia. They lost, however, a good many horses, owing to the bad condition of the roads, and because they travelled in great haste. I have nothing more of interest to communicate at present; besides, your Lordships can judge best of the state of things here, being better informed as to the present condition of Perugia and Castello, upon which all matters here depend. This evening I received yours of the 28th ultimo, and understand your instructions as to the course which I am to follow in the matter of Pisa, as also what your Lordships say in relation to the Duke’s mares; and what you learn from France; and how I am to thank his Excellency therefor, which I shall do on the first occasion.
I thank your Lordships especially for the advices from France, and recommend myself most humbly. Valete!
Sassoferrato, 4 January, 1503.[Back to Table of Contents]
Magnificent Signori: —
I wrote you on the 4th from Sassoferrato, and by a postscript* informed your Lordships of the news from Castello, of the arrival of the ambassador, and of the flight of the Bishop of the place, and of all the Vitelli. On our subsequent arrival here in Gualdo yesterday, and where we still are for the purpose of giving the army some rest, we found deputies from Castello who have come to offer the place to the Duke, and to express their satisfaction, etc., etc.
The Duke accepted the place as Gonfalonier of the Church, and not otherwise, and immediately directed the deputies to despatch some one to Castello to have the artillery of the place put in order. At the same time he ordered his own artillery, which he had directed to advance towards Agobbio, to halt and proceed no further, deeming the guns that are in Castello sufficient for his further enterprises. Some one arrived yesterday evening at the fourth hour to inform the Duke that Gianpaolo Baglioni, with the Orsini and the Vitelli, and all their men-at-arms, and such as had taken refuge with them, had left Perugia and gone towards Sienna; and that immediately after their departure the population had arisen and shouted for the Duke. Two deputies from Perugia have also arrived this morning, and have confirmed this news; but up to the present moment these deputies have not had an interview with the Duke. The principal officers of the Duke say that he neither wants Perugia nor Castello for himself, but that he merely wishes to deliver them from their tyrants, and to restore them to the possession of the Church; the same as I have already written your Lordships from Conrinaldo. His Excellency will leave here to-morrow with his army for the purpose of establishing a government there according to his own views. Upon the point whether Pandolfo Petrucci, together with the troops that have taken refuge there, will await the Duke’s coming or not, opinions differ. Messer Baldassare Scipione of Sienna, who commands the detached lances here, and whose sagacity is well known to your Lordships, is of opinion that they will wait for the Duke’s arrival; many others think differently, and each give their reasons for their belief. We shall soon know. I have not spoken with his Excellency once since he asked me to request your Lordships to send your troops towards the Borgo. But there is no longer any occasion for your doing so, as both Perugia and Castello have surrendered. I believe you will now be requested to send them to Sienna. It will be well for your Lordships to think of this, so that either your support shall be welcome to the Duke, or that your excuse may be a good one. I have nothing else to write to your Lordships, for your own wisdom will best enable you to appreciate the circumstances and the course which it will be best for you to adopt.
Gualdo, 6 January, 1503.[Back to Table of Contents]
Magnificent Signori: —
I wrote last from Gualdo on the 6th, having previously written from Sassoferrato on the 4th, and on the 2d from Conrinaldo, besides two letters from Sinigaglia on the last of December, and one from Pesaro on the 28th; and I look anxiously for your acknowledgment of them all. People here wonder that you have not written, or in some way sent your congratulations to the Duke upon what he has lately done for your advantage; for he is persuaded that our whole republic should feel under great obligations to him. He says that the killing of Vitellozzo and the destruction of the power of the Orsini would have cost you two hundred thousand ducats, and, moreover, that you would never have done it so effectually yourselves as it was done by him.
Since my last letter little of importance has taken place, but what you will have heard of much sooner from another quarter. Now that Castello and Perugia have made their submission, there remains nothing for the Duke except his enterprise against Sienna. The Duke did not accept those places for himself, nor will he make terms with them, but has referred them to Rome, saying that all he aimed at was to have them return to their obedience to the Church, and to suppress the factions in those places, and to deliver them from their tyrants. And to give more color to these professions, he has refused until now permission to the banished to return to Perugia. It seems even that he has promised to the deputies who came to him from Perugia that the banished shall not return there, telling them that his intention had not been to deliver them from one tyrant for the purpose of replacing him by ten others.
Yesterday evening we reached Ascesi, and remain here to-day; and to-morrow morning the army, without baggage trains, for so it is ordered, is to march to Torsiano, seven miles from here. This being but a small place, those who cannot be lodged within will be quartered in the vicinity. After that, it is said, the next halt will be at Chiusi in the Siennese territory, provided he can first cross the Chiana, and then enter the town, which it seems he intends doing either by consent or by force. Yesterday evening the city of Sienna sent deputies here, who had a long interview with the Duke. I understand the object of their mission is to learn the reasons that have induced his Excellency to threaten that city with war, as it is publicly said that he has the intention of doing. The deputies say they are prepared to justify the conduct of the city of Sienna, etc.
The Duke is reported to have replied to them, that he has ever regarded the city of Sienna as his good friend, and does so still; that it never was his intention to make war upon her, but that he has an intense hatred against Pandolfo Petrucci, who is his mortal enemy since he conspired to drive him from his states. That whenever the city of Sienna shall take ways and means to expel Pandolfo, peace would instantly be made; but in the contrary case, he had come with his army for the purpose of doing it. The Duke added, that he should be sorry to be obliged to injure others, but he felt that he would be excused by God and by men, and even by the Siennese themselves, as being forced to it by necessity and a just anger against a man who, not content to tyrannize over one of the finest cities of Italy, wanted to ruin others, for the sake of dictating laws to all his neighbors. And without any other conclusion, as I understand, the interview was broken off; the ambassadors agreeing to write to their government.
Thus matters remain undecided, and no one can venture to foretell the result. For on the one hand there is the Duke with his unheard of good fortune, with a courage and confidence almost superhuman, and believing himself capable of accomplishing whatever he undertakes; and on the other hand there is a man at the head of a state of great reputation, which he governs with great sagacity, and without an enemy either foreign or domestic, having either conciliated or put them to death, and having plenty of good troops, — if it is true, as reported, that Gianpaolo Baglioni has withdrawn and joined him in Sienna. And even if for the moment they are without any hope of help, yet time is apt to bring it. There is nothing else to be done but to wait and see the end, which cannot be delayed many days. Should this matter lead to open hostilities, then your Lordships will assuredly be called on by the Duke for assistance, and he will demand that you attack from your side. Indeed, I wonder that he has not already done so, but I believe the reason is that the Duke hopes that this affair of Sienna will take the same course as those of Castello and Perugia, and therefore he is not disposed to place himself under obligations to your Lordships.
I have nothing more to write respecting matters here, and must refer your Lordships to my former letters, both as regards the Duke’s forces and his disposition. But to sum up the whole in two words, as to his forces he has some five hundred men-at-arms, eight hundred light cavalry, and about six thousand infantry. As to his disposition and intentions towards your Lordships, his language always has been and continues to be full of affection, as I have written you several times; and he spoke on the subject so reasonably, and with so much animation, that, if one could believe him to be sincere, we might rest assured without any uneasiness. But the experience of others makes one fear for one’s self; and the manner in which he acted towards your Lordships when there was a question of an arrangement with you deserves serious consideration. For it is evident that his Excellency had the desire to renew his former engagement with our republic; and when he found there was no chance for that, he avoided the subject, and passed it over lightly, saying that a general alliance was sufficient for him, as though he saw clearly that he could not force you to it now, and wanted to bide his time, when he should be able to do so. He seemed to think that he could temporize with perfect convenience, it being quite clear to him that your Lordships would do nothing against him out of regard for France, and in view of the character of his enemies, as well as of your own weakness; and thus he sees only advantage in delay. What I infer from all this, and wish to call specially to your Lordships’ attention, is that when the Duke shall have carried his enterprise against Sienna to a successful conclusion, the time for which is drawing near, he will think that the opportunity which he has planned and expected has at last come. And I submit humbly to your Lordships, that, if I judge this matter wrongly, it is owing partly to my want of experience and partly to the fact that I see only the things that are passing here, and from these I can form no other conclusions than those given above. And now I leave the whole to the wisdom of your Lordships, to whom I recommend myself.
I have learned this evening that certain plenipotentiaries have come here secretly; I shall try to find out further particulars, which I will communicate to your Lordships.
Ascesi, 8 January, 1503.
P. S. — I have already mentioned to your Lordships that Messer Goro of Pistoja is prisoner here, and that he might be redeemed for two hundred ducats, or even less, and delivered into your hands. I await your Lordships’ reply in relation to this matter.[Back to Table of Contents]
Magnificent Signori: —
My last was of the 8th, from Ascesi. Yesterday we came here to Torsiano, a place about four miles from Perugia, but shall leave to-morrow and go to Spedaletto, twelve miles from here, on the road to Sienna. Having written you in my last all I had of interest to communicate, and having received no reply to my many letters since the 28th ultimo, I should not have written you now but that the Duke sent for me to-day and asked me whether I had received any letters from your Lordships. When I told him that I had not, he expressed great surprise, whereupon, of course, I made all reasonable excuses for this delay. Then, leaving this subject, the Duke said to me: “You know, secretary, how well I am disposed towards your government, which I look upon as one of the principal supports of my power in Italy; and for that reason my acts and proceedings with regard to internal as well as external affairs must not be concealed from your Signoria. You see how I stand with those who were the common enemies of your government and of mine: some of them are dead, some prisoners, and some are fugitives, or are besieged in their homes; such as Pandolfo Petrucci, to destroy whom will be the last effort I shall have to make for our mutual security. It is absolutely necessary to drive him from Sienna; for his well-known ability, the amount of money he has at his command, and the strength of the place where he is, would, if he were allowed to remain there, have to be feared like a spark that may cause a great conflagration. So far from going to sleep over this matter, we shall have to attack him with all our power. I should not find it difficult to drive him out of Sienna, but I want to have him in my hands. For this reason the Pope tries to lull him into security with briefs, persuading him that it will be enough for him to show himself the enemy of the Pope’s enemies; and meantime I advance upon him with my army. But it is well to deceive those who themselves have been masters in treachery. The deputies from Sienna who came to me in the name of their government have promised me well, and I have made it clear to them that I have no desire of depriving the people of Sienna of their liberties, but that all I ask of them is that they shall expel Pandolfo. I have written a letter to the municipality of Sienna, explaining to them my intentions, of the honesty of which they have ample proof in the case of Perugia and Castello, which I handed over to the Church, not wishing to keep them for myself. Moreover, our common master, the king of France, would not be satisfied were I to take Sienna for myself; and I am not sufficiently reckless to attempt anything of the kind. The people of Sienna therefore should believe my assurances that I want nothing more of them than the expulsion of Pandolfo. And I desire that your masters should publish and testify that I have no other intentions than to make sure of this tyrant Petruccio; and I trust that the government of Sienna will believe me. But if not, then I am resolved to advance upon their city and plant my artillery before its gates, and shall do my utmost to drive Petruccio from there. I wished to communicate this to you so that your masters may be fully informed of my intentions; and so that, if they should hear that the Pope has written a brief to Pandolfo, they may know for what purpose he has done so. For after having taken their arms from my enemies I am resolved also to deprive them of their brains, which consist in Pandolfo and his intrigues. I would moreover entreat that in case I should require any assistance in this matter, you should ask your masters to furnish it to me in my efforts against the said Pandolfo. And I truly believe that, if any one had promised to your Signoria a year ago to kill Vitellozzo and Oliverotto, to destroy the Orsini, and to expel Gianpaolo and Pandolfo, and had asked them one hundred thousand ducats for doing it, they would have rushed to give it to him. But now, since all this has been so thoroughly done without any expense, or effort, or care, on the part of your government, it seems to me that, although there was no written obligation, yet there is a tacit one. And therefore it is well that they should begin to pay it, so that it may not seem to me, nor to others, that the republic of Florence is beyond her custom and character ungrateful. And should the Signoria object on account of the protection of France, you must write to them that the king gives his protection to Sienna, and not to Pandolfo Petrucci. And even if Pandolfo did enjoy that protection, which he does not, he has forfeited it by leaguing himself with others against myself and against his Majesty. Your government therefore will have no excuse, if it fails to come with alacrity to share in this enterprise. And your Signoria ought to come the more gladly, as it will be an advantage to them, as well as a satisfaction to their revenge, and a benefit to the king of France. The advantage will be the destruction of the eternal enemy of their republic, the prompter of all their enemies, and the resort of all those who desire to injure you. And their revenge will be gratified, because Pandolfo has been the head and front of all the ills which their republic has had to bear for the past year; for it was he who furnished the money and the assistance, as well as the plans for assailing them. And in what? In their entire dominions as well as in their own liberty. And whoever does not desire to revenge such things, and does not avail himself of an occasion like the present one, shows himself insensible to everything, and deserves the insults of everybody. Wherein it would be an advantage to the king of France is manifest to every one; for Pandolfo once crushed, I and your Signoria are freed from all apprehensions for our states, and can go with our troops into the kingdom of Naples, or into Lombardy, or wherever the king of France may have need of us. But so long as Pandolfo remains in Sienna, we can never feel secure of our states. All these things are well known and understood by the king of France, and therefore will the destruction of Pandolfo give him great pleasure, and he will feel under obligations to whoever has been instrumental in it. And if I knew that my own interests only were to be advanced by it, I would make greater efforts to persuade your Signoria, but as it is for our mutual interest, let what I have said suffice. Neither have I said all this because I doubt my ability to accomplish it alone, but because I desire that all Italy shall be assured of our alliance, which will add to the reputation of each of us.”
Thereupon the Duke charged me to write to your Lordships on the subject, and to request a prompt reply, and for that reason have I communicated to you as it were his own words.
In speaking of the affairs of the kingdom of Naples the Duke told me that the Spaniards had killed some thirty French men-at-arms in an ambuscade, which was however a matter of little importance; and that there was no sign of any movement from the direction of Germany. Also, that the king had been much dissatisfied with M. de Chaumont for having recalled his troops; and he repeated that it had been the result of a private resentment on the part of M. de Chaumont against his Excellency.
I recommend myself to your Lordships, quæ bene valeant.
Torsiano, 10 January, 1503.
P. S. — Your Lordships will please pay the bearer of this ten lire; also, to reimburse Biagio the five ducats which I have paid for my three despatches of last month, provided it has not already been done.
Don Michele, a Spanish captain in the Duke’s service, was as angry as a devil with me to-day, saying that the letter which he had written at Piombino, as well as those that had been directed to him, had been opened; and that the customs officials at the gates of Florence had taken some small change from certain of his foot-soldiers who were going to Piombino. I beg your Lordships to relieve me of these reclamations by remedying the one and justifying the other.
P. S. — I had forgotten to mention to your Lordships that with my second letter of the 31st of December I sent you a letter written by his Excellency announcing, and at the same time justifying, the event that had taken place. I think it would be well for your Lordships to reply to that letter, whether it has made its appearance or not.[Back to Table of Contents]
Magnificent Signori: —
Having lodged last night at Spedale, I was joined on the road this morning by one of the bowmen of Antonio Giacomino, who handed me a letter from your Lordships of the 5th, from which I learned with much regret that you have not received any of my reports upon the events that have taken place. After arriving at this place, Labbro Tesso brought letters from your Lordships that filled me with equal regret, for they inform me that you have received but two of my letters of the 1st and 2d instant. It would really seem as though my efforts failed at the very moment when they were most needed, and when they ought to have procured me your greater esteem. And yet wise men like yourselves know that it is not enough for a man to do his duty, but that he must also have good luck. I would gladly send your Lordships copies of all the letters I have written, if I had them near me; but not having them, owing to the circumstances and places in which I have been, I will briefly recapitulate their contents.
On the 1st of December I wrote you two letters; one a short one, at the twenty-third hour of the night, containing an account of the arrest of the Vitelli and the Orsini; the other a long one, giving full details of the event, and the conversations I had with the Duke, in which he manifested such an affection for our republic, and expressed himself with so much kindness and discretion that I could not have wished for anything more. He showed that he well knew how necessary it was that our republic should be free and powerful, to enable the surrounding states to preserve their power; and that he was ready to undertake anything for that purpose, provided he could count upon your support. He then wanted me to urge your Lordships to aid him with your troops in his attempt against Castello and Perugia, and to take and keep the Duke of Urbino prisoner, in case he should take refuge on Florentine soil; but he said he should be satisfied to have the Duke of Urbino remain in your hands. I wrote you next on the 2d instant from Conrinaldo, reiterating the same details, and adding an account of what had subsequently occurred, as your Lordships will have seen, for that letter was received by you, according to what you write. After that I wrote you from Sassoferrato on the 4th, and from Gualdo on the 6th, giving an account of the surrender of Castello and Perugia; also about the deputation that had come to the Duke from Sienna. On the 8th I wrote you from Ascesi respecting that deputation, and what I had heard in relation to it. And my last was from Torsiano, on the 10th, in which I reported what the Duke has said to me respecting his intentions with regard to Sienna; namely, that he counted chiefly upon our republic as the principal support of his power, and that for that reason he wished to communicate to me all his intentions, both with regard to internal and external affairs. That after having had Oliverotto and Vitellozzo put to death, crushed the Orsini and driven out Gianpaolo, there remained but one more obstacle in the way of insuring his own and your Lordships’ tranquillity, and that was Pandolfo Petrucci, whom he intended to expel from Sienna. And as he thought that this would be for your advantage as well as for his own, he deemed it necessary that your Lordships should lend a hand in doing it; for if Pandolfo remained there, it was to be feared from the character of the man and from the amount of money he had at command, and from the nature of the place in which he was, lest he should erelong light a conflagration that might destroy more than one place; and that he would ever serve as a refuge for all those violent lords who know no restraints. And as such a state of things would prove more injurious to you than to others, he judged that you ought to feel more interested in it. That there were also various other reasons that should influence you to move in the matter; namely, first, to recognize the advantages derived by your Lordships from the death of Vitellozzo, etc., etc.; secondly, your own special interests: and thirdly, the wishes of the king of France. And as regards the recognition of your obligations to him, if a year ago any one had proposed to your Lordships to kill Vitellozzo and overthrow the Orsini and their adherents, you would readily have obligated yourselves to pay one hundred thousand ducats. But that inasmuch as all this had been done without any expense, labor, or charge to you, your Lordships were under a tacit obligation to him, even if there was no written one; and that it would be well, therefore, if your Lordships would begin to acquit yourselves of that obligation, and not to manifest an ingratitude so contrary to your habits. As to the advantage which you would derive from it, that was great; for if Pandolfo remained in Sienna he would prove a refuge and a support for all your enemies. As for the pleasure of revenge, he said that Pandolfo had instigated the war against your Lordships during the past summer in the affair of Arezzo, both by his talents and with his money, and that it was in the nature of things that you should seek an opportunity to revenge yourselves upon him on that account; and that if you allowed the occasion to pass without resenting it, you would deserve similar injuries at all times. And as to the advantage that would result from it to his Majesty the king of France, it consisted in this: that Pandolfo once expelled from Sienna, he, the Duke, would be relieved from all apprehensions, and could then hasten freely with all his troops to the support of the king, either in Lombardy or in the kingdom of Naples. His Excellency said, furthermore, that your Lordships ought not to hesitate on account of the protection which France had promised to Sienna, because that was to the city, and not to Pandolfo; and that he was making war upon Pandolfo, and not upon the city of Sienna. That he had so given the people of Sienna to understand, and had requested me to write to the same effect to your Lordships, so that you might publish it and testify to all the world that, if the city of Sienna expelled Pandolfo, he, the Duke, would not set foot upon Siennese territory; but that if they refused to do so, then he would direct his artillery against their walls; and he requested me anew to write to your Lordships, and to beg you to assist him with your troops in this undertaking. The substance of all this was contained in my letter of the 10th, from Torsiano, which I have now repeated, fearing that letter may not have reached your Lordships’ hands, as well as my others. I hope your Lordships will decide this matter soon, by a reply to this.
After receipt of yours of the 9th, I called upon the Duke and made known to him that your Lordships were ready to send your troops towards Castello whenever it should be necessary. I also told him of the satisfaction which your Lordships felt at this late event, and of the appointment of Jacopo Salviati as a special ambassador to him, who would shortly be here. The Duke was greatly pleased at all this, saying that he felt convinced that your Lordships would not fail in their duty to aid him in his attempt against Pandolfo; and begged me anew to urge your Lordships to that effect. He expressed pleasure at the selection of Salviati, whose arrival he looked forward to with impatience. We then conversed upon many points touching this undertaking against Pandolfo, which he declared himself resolved to prosecute anyhow, and in relation to which he manifests the utmost earnestness, saying that he will not want for either money or support. On the other hand Messer Romolino left yesterday per post for Rome, and I learn from good authority that the object of this mission is to consult the Pope upon this enterprise, and to ask him whether, in case it were possible to treat with Pandolfo on advantageous terms, it might not be well to do so. For the Duke seems to think that it might be too much for him if he had at the same time to take care of Sienna and the Orsini business; whilst by disposing of the one first, the other would be much easier, and he might afterwards take up the first again at a suitable moment. It is possible that my information may not be correct; nevertheless the thing is not unreasonable, although it is quite contrary to the Duke’s own words; for he protested to me that he would carry out his enterprise against Pandolfo at all hazards, and that if the Pope negotiated with Pandolfo, it was for the purpose of getting him into his own hands, and that the hopes which such negotiations held out to Pandolfo would prevent his taking to flight. I think it well to hear all things, and then to await the result.
The whole of this day has been devoted to making scaling-ladders, for the first siege works will be thrown up on the other side of the Chiana on Siennese territory, but the precise spot is not known.
The Duke has given a most gracious reception to a secretary of the Bentivogli who has arrived here, and has assured him of his friendly disposition towards his master. He has ordered that the treaty of peace concluded between himself and the said Bentivogli shall be published in all his dominions, as well as in his camp here, so that it may be known to everybody. His Excellency has demanded from the Bentivogli one hundred men-at-arms, and two hundred light cavalry, which they are bound to furnish him. And he has this day requested me to write to your Lordships, and to beg you in his name to accord free passage and provisions, at their own expense, to these troops of Messer Giovanni Bentivogli, who are coming to his support.
Of the Duke of Urbino not a word has been said either by his Excellency or myself, for it did not seem proper for me to open that subject. The Duke being here in Castello della Pieve it seemed to me opportune to recommend to him Messer Bandino, who is in your Lordships’ pay, having heard that certain of his enemies had returned here. His Excellency replied to me that he held Messer Bandino in great esteem, and felt a great interest in his affair, especially as he was in your service; and he assured me that no harm shall be done either to his person or his property.
With this there will be a letter for Piombino, which has been recommended to me by Messer Alessandro Spannochi. I have promised him that your Lordships will have it forwarded by express, and I beg that it may be done.
I have expended five ducats for the sending of my first three despatches after the events at Sinigaglia, and I beg your Lordships to have them reimbursed to me, and that they may be paid for my account to Biagio Buonaccorsi, provided it seems fit to your Lordships that I shall not suffer where I have not been at fault.
I recommend myself most humbly.
Castello della Pieve, 12 January, 1503.[Back to Table of Contents]
Magnificent Signori: —
Yesterday I left the ambassador Jacopo Salviati to return to Florence, for the reasons which your Lordships will learn from the ambassador’s letter herewith enclosed. Before my departure it was said at court that an arrangement had been concluded between the Duke and the Siennese. Having been obliged by the state of the river Chiana to return to Castello della Pieve for the night, I found here Don Hugo, one of the Duke’s Spanish captains, who is here with his troops. He had received a letter this evening ordering him to break up in the morning and march towards Orvieto, as the Duke was also going to take that direction with all his forces. And as I was about mounting my horse this morning, the said Don Hugo and his troops were also just about to start;* and he told me that the treaty with Sienna was really concluded, and that Pandolfo was to have left Sienna with a safe-conduct from the Duke;† but further particulars I did not get. Having brought this news here with me, I thought it well to anticipate my return and to send it to you by an express. For further details I must refer you to what the ambassador will write you; but knowing that his letter will reach you with difficulty, I would not miss giving your Lordships this brief notice, and recommend myself most humbly.
21 January, 1503, at the 3d hour of the night.
I have promised the bearer of this three lire.[Back to Table of Contents]
MISSION TO SIENNA.[Back to Table of Contents]
COMMISSION AND INSTRUCTIONS
TO NICCOLO MACHIAVELLI, SENT TO SIENNA BY THE TEN OF LIBERTY AND PEACE.
Resolved 26 April, 1503.
You will proceed by post to Sienna with all possible speed, and before anything else you will present yourself to the Magnificent Pandolfo, for whom you will have letters of credence. And after the customary and necessary formalities due to the friendship existing between us, and respecting which we need not give you any special instructions, you will make known to his Magnificence that the object of your mission is to inform him of what is taking place, and mainly of those matters that are of importance to him; and that it is proper at present to let him know that for some time past we have been urged by his Holiness the Pope and the Duke Valentino to conclude an alliance with them, and to form a league with all the other members of the house of Borgia; and that they are pressing it at this moment with more warmth and urgency than ever. As it may happen therefore that such an alliance is concluded, inasmuch as his Majesty the king of France has some interest in the matter, it seems necessary to us that his Magnificence should be informed of it, so that he may in return communicate to us his views with regard to it; and that it is for that purpose that we have sent you to perform this office of good friends.
You will also have letters of credence to the Balia of the city of Sienna, which you will present or not according as may seem fit to the Magnificent Pandolfo; and in all matters connected with this mission you will act in such manner as he may deem best. You will likewise have a letter for Messer Francesco da Narni, to whom you will explain the object of your mission. You will tell him of the confidence which we have in his Lordship, and of our hopes of obtaining through him the object respecting which we have spoken with him. You will urge him to do all he can, and to lose no opportunity of doing it; and you will communicate to him all the preparations and provisions we have made, and you will tell him of our relations with France and with Rome, so far as may seem to you to be advisable. The conditions of the league which it has been proposed to form with the above-named parties for the common defence of the states which they have in Italy, are the following, viz.: — That we are to keep five hundred men-at-arms, and they six hundred men; but until we shall have recovered the places which we have lost we shall not have to furnish more than three hundred men-at-arms, and they likewise, so that the obligation shall be equal on both sides. But after recovering what we have lost, both parties will have to furnish their full quota. The friends and enemies of both shall be common friends and enemies, without in any way derogating from any other special treaties which any of the parties may have with his Majesty the king of France. And if any of the contracting parties acts adversely to his Majesty, then the league becomes thereby null and void. Within the period of one month, the parties must make known their adherents and clients; but neither party can protect rebels or banish persons. And any difficulties that may arise shall be subject to the decision of the king, whose consent to the treaty is an indispensable condition.
And so soon as you shall have executed and carried into effect the above instructions, you will immediately return, unless there should be some special reason why you should write to us and await our answer.*
From the Florentine Palace on the day and date above written.
Decem Viri Libertatis et Baliæ
Marcellus.[Back to Table of Contents]
MISSION TO THE COURT OF ROME.
October 24, 1503.
The object of this mission of Machiavelli to Rome was nominally to present to the Florentine Ambassador at Rome, Francesco Soderini, Cardinale di Volterra, certain modifications in the engagement of Gianpaolo Baglioni to serve the king of France in his contest with the Spaniards under the famous Captain Gonsalvo de Cordova in the kingdom of Naples. This engagement of Baglioni had been negotiated by the Cardinal Volterra, and was to be paid for by the Florentine government, and was to be credited to the Florentines on their indebtedness to the king of France, and at the same time was to secure to the Florentines the aid and support of King Louis XII. against the aggressions of the Venetians. If the proposed modifications were accepted, then Machiavelli was to ratify the agreement; but if not, then he was to leave the agreement unratified, etc.; in all of which, however, he was to be governed by the advice of the Cardinal Volterra. At the same time Machiavelli was specially instructed to keep the Signoria of Florence diligently informed from day to day of all that occurred worthy of note. The events then transpiring at Rome were of the utmost interest and importance. After the death of Pius III., who had occupied the Papal chair but twenty-six days, Giuliano della Rovere, Cardinal of San Pietro in Vincola, was elected Pope. Cesare Borgia had supported the candidacy of Giuliano della Rovere, and induced his friends the Spanish cardinals to vote for him in the conclave, expecting that in return the new Pope would not only support his claims to the Romagna, but would also give him the appointment of Captain-General of the Papal forces, which he claimed to have been promised to him by Giuliano prior to his election. As we have seen in Machiavelli’s despatches during his mission to the Duke of Valentinois, the military successes and the rapid rise of Cesare Borgia, so we see in his despatches during this mission to Rome the equally rapid decline of the Borgia’s fortune. He had come to Rome to aid in the election of Julius II., not thinking that he thereby placed himself in the power of a man of greater duplicity and craftiness than himself. For besides his implacable enmity and personal hatred of Cesare Borgia, Julius II. considered the Romagna as the legitimate property of the Church, which he was resolved to recover for the Church at any cost; and therefore he not only disregarded the promises made to Cesare Borgia before his elevation to the pontificate, but actually had him arrested and imprisoned in the Castel San Angelo because Cesare Borgia refused to give up the passwords for entering into the several strongholds which he still held in the Romagna, and which the Pope had demanded of him. Meantime the Venetians, ever eager to extend their dominion over the Romagna, took advantage of the absence of the Duke of Valentinois to seize Faenza and some other smaller towns in the Romagna, and at the same time threatened the adjoining possessions of the Florentine republic. It was one of the objects of Machiavelli’s mission to endeavor through the Cardinal d’Amboise, then at Rome, to obtain the aid and support of the king of France in their efforts to resist the aggressions of the Venetians; and at the same time, in conjunction with the Florentine Ambassador, the Cardinal Volterra, to urge the Pope to active measures against the Venetians.[Back to Table of Contents]
COMMISSION AND INSTRUCTIONS
GIVEN TO NICCOLO MACHIAVELLI, SENT TO ROME BY THE TEN OF LIBERTY, ETC., 24 OCTOBER, 1503.*
You will proceed with all diligence to Rome, bearing with you our several letters of credence to those most reverend Cardinals whose good will it is most important to conciliate, such as Rouen, San Giorgio, Santo Severino, Ascanio, San Pietro in Vincola, and Santa Prassede.† You will present yourself to these Cardinals in our name, and make known to each of them, that we had within the last few days appointed ambassadors,* who were all ready to start when we heard of the death of Pope Pius III., which greatly afflicted our whole city. And that although these ambassadors will not go now, yet we did not wish to fail in our duty, and have sent you to express to them our deep grief at this event, and our desire that they may give to the late Pontiff a successor such as the needs of Christendom and of Italy require; and that, knowing such to be also their desire, we offer them all the assistance in our power to that end.
You will regulate your language as you may deem best to suit each of these Cardinals, and according to the information which you will receive from our most reverend Cardinal,† with whom you will confer before anything else, and according to whose suggestions you will regulate your conduct. You will take with you also a copy of the military engagement of the Baglioni, concluded within the past few days in our name by his Eminence; and a minute of our declaration, which we desire to be added to it. In all this you will observe the following order; namely, you will first confer on the subject with our said most reverend Cardinal, and you will make him understand our wishes that he should explain, in accordance with that minute, that clause of the engagement relative to our being relieved of the expenses and the damages, etc., etc., and that we shall have the right, whenever we may have need of them, to claim the services of the four hundred lances provided for in the engagement. And that his Eminence will speak of it to the Cardinal d’Amboise, either in your presence or in private, and in such manner as he may deem best, so that the latter may understand it the same as we do; which should present no difficulty, as it appears plainly in the written instrument. And if our declaration is agreed to according to the said minute, then you will ratify the same, for which purpose we have given you our power; and you will bring back with you an authenticated copy of that ratification.
Should his Eminence Cardinal d’Amboise, however, make any difficulty on the subject, then you will not ratify the engagement, but will write to us immediately and await our further instructions. And in case difficulty is made, then it will be your business to terminate this affair in accordance with the terms of our declaration. Should it be objected that perhaps we will not pay, and that thus the king would not be served, you will reply that, if the agreement is not concluded within a certain number of days, we would be willing, Gianpaolo also consenting, to fall back upon the old agreement, in so far as we may have failed to fulfil our obligations. It being understood, nevertheless, that one payment to the king or to Gianpaolo shall be deemed sufficient.
In the same way, should either the Cardinal d’Amboise or Gianpaolo make any difficulty, and object to a mere oral ratification in that form, you may offer and promise them a ratification by your government in due form, which would be sent as required, after our first having received notice from you to that effect.
Beyond this we have no further particular instructions to give you, save that during your stay in Rome you will keep us diligently informed from day to day of all that may occur worthy of notice.[Back to Table of Contents]
Magnificent Signori: —
I wrote yesterday to inform your Lordships of my arrival here.* By the present I desire to communicate to you what has been done in relation to the first part of your instructions, and what I have since learned of the state of things here. Your Lordships will bear in mind that, after having decided that the engagement of Gianpaolo Baglioni should be ratified with suitable reserves, you so notified the Cardinal Volterra. His Eminence fully comprehended your intentions as communicated to him by your letter; but as the time for ratifying the convention was passing, and the Cardinal being ignorant of the fact that I was about to be sent here for that purpose, he prepared a letter which he intended the Cardinal d’Amboise should send you signed with his own hand. This letter in substance contained no more than the form of the declaration which your Lordships had given me, and to which I was to conform in my proceedings.
His Eminence was occupied with this matter when I arrived and submitted to him my commission. He was pleased to find that your views corresponded with his own, and, ceasing further efforts to have the aforesaid letter signed by the Cardinal d’Amboise, he informed him and the President, who was charged with this matter, that an envoy had been sent by your Lordships for the express purpose of ratifying the agreement. His Eminence afterwards directed me to confer with the Cardinal d’Amboise, but owing to his many occupations I could not see him until this evening at the fourth hour. In view of the times and circumstances, our Cardinal had directed me to say to the Cardinal d’Amboise, in substance, that your Lordships felt no less solicitude for the interests of the king than for your own; and as, much to their regret, they had heard many things unfavorable to his Majesty, they felt it to be their duty as faithful friends to mention them to him with all respect, so that he might give them such attention as they deserved. I thereupon told the Cardinal d’Amboise that it was reported in Florence that the French army had turned back, that the troops that were in Lombardy had in great part returned to France, and that the Venetians were in force in Romagna, and intended to make themselves masters of that province. Also that it was feared the Germans, either of their own accord or at the instigation of others, were about to make an incursion into Lombardy; and that all these things caused the greatest uneasiness to your Lordships, who desired to suggest to his Eminence that it was time to increase the French forces in Italy, and rather to abandon other enterprises, etc., etc. I told him, furthermore, that I had been sent to ratify the engagement of Gianpaolo Baglioni, with full authority for that purpose, whenever the agreement was so drawn that the republic of Florence should be at no greater charges and should have no less advantages than under the convention made with his Majesty. To all of which the Cardinal d’Amboise replied, that he thanked your Lordships for the suggestions; that he had seriously thought of it all, and was here for no other purpose, etc., etc.; and that as to the engagement of Gianpaolo Baglioni, he would co-operate with the Cardinal Volterra, and that everything should be settled in due form.
I then reported to our Cardinal all that D’Amboise had said in reply to the one and the other point; and in relation to the engagement of Baglioni we came to the conclusion that, having done our duty on our part, we would wait for the others to do theirs, and thus we shall act.
I think this letter will be brought to you by M. de Mellon, who is sent by the Cardinal d’Amboise to your Lordships at Florence, and then to Bologna and Ferrara; and afterwards to Urbino, to complain of the damage done to the Duke Valentino in his state of Romagna. The entrance of Ordelaffo into Furli, which everybody here lays to your charge, has filled the Cardinal San Giorgio with indignation on account of his nephews, and has also to some extent angered the Cardinal d’Amboise on account of the Duke Valentino. This morning M. de Trans and the President expressed their displeasure about this affair to his Eminence of Volterra. The latter had me called to him, and I justified your Lordships in regard to all these proceedings in Romagna, of which, as your Lordships know, I am thoroughly informed. And then, by way of pacifying the Duke and making him some reparation, it was decided to send M. Mellon or some one else to him. His Excellency is at this moment at Castello, and is more confident than ever of accomplishing his great projects, in the expectation that the election of the new Pope will be in accordance with the desires of his partisans. As the obsequies of Pius III. will terminate to-day, the Cardinals should go into conclave to-morrow; but it is said that they will not do so until Bartolommeo d’ Alviano and the Orsini shall have withdrawn from Rome; they being here, the one, as some say, with three hundred men-at-arms, and the other with two hundred, or a less number as is said by some. They have had money wherewith to raise one thousand infantry, but we have no evidence of their having put many on foot.
Gianpaolo is in quarters in the suburbs; his friends say that he has one hundred men-at-arms, and he has already received five thousand ducats on account of his engagement, and three thousand ducats for every one thousand infantry, but which no one has as yet seen. I have not yet been able to speak with him, and in truth I have spoken with but few others, excepting our Cardinal, so that I am not able to give you such information about matters here as I would like. But I shall use all diligence and make every effort to do my duty.
All I have learned respecting the French army is that they presented themselves before San Germano, and offered battle to the Spanish commander Gonsalvo de Cordova, who declined it. And as the French doubted their ability to take the place, they concluded to return and to attempt a passage somewhere else. It is said that they are at Ponte Coneo, and that they are marching in the direction of Gaeta for the purpose of passing the Garigliano.
Opinions differ as to the election of the new Pope, and yet I can only say to your Lordships that it is supposed that San Pietro in Vincola will not have more than thirty-two votes, and Santa Prassede twenty-two.
I recommend myself to your Lordships.
Rome, 28 October, 1503.[Back to Table of Contents]
Magnificent Signori: —
Yesterday I had a discussion with the President, to whom the Cardinal d’Amboise has committed the negotiations respecting the matter of Gianpaolo Baglioni. Taking all the arguments together, I do not see that we shall be able to obtain from the Cardinal d’Amboise any declaration in accordance with the instructions which you have given me, until he shall have come out of the conclave; for the election of the Pope keeps him so much occupied that he has real grounds for being excused. And as the Cardinals insist that the foreign troops shall leave Rome upon their going into conclave, and as on the other hand Gianpaolo will not leave until he has the remainder of his pay, I believe it will have to come to this, that the Cardinal d’Amboise will give to your Lordships an acquittance for six thousand ducats, which sum you will pay to Gianpaolo for the remainder of his pay, and which will be credited to you on account of the ten thousand ducats which you have to pay to his Majesty on All Saints’ Day. And according to what Domenico Martello tells me, you will have all the month of November to settle it in. Thus I believe that the affair of Gianpaolo can best be arranged for the present, and in truth, seeing how overwhelmed the Cardinal d’Amboise is with his many occupations, we cannot expect anything more.
According to report, Bartolommeo Alviano leaves to-morrow to rejoin the Spaniards. Gianpaolo tells me that he has not more than two hundred men-at-arms and three hundred infantry. In examining well the object of these new engagements made by the Spaniards as well as the French, it is evident that the object is more to increase their reputation than the number of their troops; for in consequence of the great enmities which these Condottieri have stirred up in the different Roman towns, they are looked upon more as brigands than as soldiers. And being entirely controlled by their own passions, they cannot well serve a third party; and the treaties of peace which they conclude amongst themselves only last until a fresh occasion presents itself for injuring each other. Whoever is here on the spot has the daily experience of this; and those who know them only temporize with them until they can do without them.
Gianpaolo is to take the route through Tuscany; for he wanted to do so, saying that he must form his company at home; and altogether the Cardinal d’Amboise cares little about it. I believe, as I have mentioned above, that he will come with an order upon your Lordships for his pay, which payment will go on account of what we owe the king, according to the authentic acquittances.
To-day whilst in the apartment of the Cardinal Volterra, the President and M. de Trans called there, and showed the Cardinal a letter which M. d’Allegri had written to the Marquis of Mantua, dated at Trani on the 24th instant; saying that he was there with three hundred men-at-arms and two thousand infantry, and that he had sent for the Viceroy to come and join him with three thousand infantry and with the artillery; and that so soon as the Viceroy should have arrived he would promptly cross the Garigliano, which presented no difficulty; and therefore he urged the Marquis to join him with all the remainder of his army. He informed him also that he had just received news of the fleet; that it had gone to Naples, which city had revolted against the Spaniards, and had opened its gates to the king’s troops. This letter, as I have said, was written by M. d’Allegri to the Marquis of Mantua, who sent the original to the Cardinal d’Amboise, and wrote him on the 25th that he would start the following day with the army to join M. d’Allegri. I communicate this news to your Lordships as I have heard it read, and you will judge of it as it deserves, and wait for its confirmation.
Having received this morning your Lordships’ letter of the 24th, containing the excuses which I am to make to the Cardinal San Giorgio on account of the entrance of Ordelaffo into Furli, I called at once upon his Eminence, and after some preliminary remarks I read him your Lordships’ letter, which seemed to cover the ground and calculated to produce a good effect. His Eminence observed to me that in all matters men looked more to the result than to the means; and that the result of this affair was that Ordelaffo had entered Furli, and that his own nephews found themselves driven out of it; that he readily believed that your Lordships could not have acted otherwise in this matter, for the reasons which you alleged, and which he was willing to admit. Still he assured your Lordships that, since you had been constrained by force not to sustain his nephews, they had been obliged in their turn to throw themselves into the arms of the Venetians, and seek support wherever they could find it for the protection of their interests. But with all this, he makes the most liberal offers of service to your Lordships.
The Cardinal San Pietro in Vincola seems to be so generally supported for the Papacy, that according to the opinion of every one that speaks on the subject, assuming that we may accept this universal opinion, one is bound to believe that he will be chosen. But as most frequently the Cardinals are of an entirely different opinion when they are outside of the conclave than when they are shut up, it is said by those who best understand matters here, that it is quite impossible to form any reliable judgment, and therefore we must patiently abide the result.
Having written to your Lordships yesterday evening a full account of the conversation which I had with the Cardinal d’Amboise, I can think at present of nothing else of interest to communicate. I recommend myself to your Lordships, quæ feliciter valeant.
Rome, 29 October, 1503.[Back to Table of Contents]
Magnificent Signori: —
I wrote to your Lordships on the 28th, by M. de Mellon, and yesterday again I wrote at length and gave the letter to Giovanni Pandolfini, so that he might send it by the first opportunity. It remains for me now to inform your Lordships by the present that the Cardinals, having determined to go into conclave to-morrow, have compelled the troops that are here for account of Spain and France to leave Rome. Bartolommeo d’ Alviano left this morning, and will halt this evening about twelve miles from here on the road to Naples. It is not positively known whether he will go any farther; his whole force, including that of the other Orsini, does not exceed two hundred men-at-arms. The Savelli have withdrawn into their own places, and Giovanpaolo will lodge to-night at Ruosi, a place about fifteen miles from here on the road to Tuscany; his entire force, not counting the company of Messer Brandino, does not amount to more than sixty men-at-arms. True he says that he intends completing his company when he shall have received his pay. I believe that he will go into cantonments in the Perugian territory; for he has expressed that intention, and the authorities of Perugia will permit him to do so, unless something unforeseen should occur. As to the ratification of the engagement I can tell you nothing more than what I wrote yesterday, for the Cardinal d’Amboise is so exceedingly occupied with going into the conclave that he cannot give that matter any attention now. But I believe that to-morrow, before entering into the conclave, those who are acting here for Giovanpaolo will endeavor to obtain a letter from the Cardinal drawn up in the way which I mentioned in my despatch of yesterday, according to which your Lordships will be authorized, out of the ten thousand ducats which we owe to the king of France, to pay six thousand to Giovanpaolo for his compensation in full; the Cardinal d’Amboise guaranteeing by his letter that such payment shall be accounted the same as though made by you to the king direct. When Giovanpaolo shall have received this sum of six thousand ducats, he will have been paid somewhat in advance of what is due him; and if he goes to Tuscany, as it seems likely he will, your Lordships may perhaps have occasion to avail of his services there. I have talked at length with him upon this point, and found him so well disposed, and even eager to render you any service, that it is more than could have been expected of him, even had he been a native Florentine. Your Lordships will bear this in mind, so that in case of need you may claim his services, if you see that it will be of advantage for the internal affairs of Florence.
The Cardinals, as I have said before, will go into conclave to-morrow, unless something unexpected should occur; and the opinion that the Cardinal San Pietro in Vincola will be elected has gained ground to that extent that there are persons here who admit that he will have sixty per cent of the votes. And in truth he is largely supported, and knows how to win the Cardinals by all the means that can be employed for that purpose. The Duke Valentino is made much of by those who are anxious to be elected to the Papacy, on account of the Spanish Cardinals, who are in his interest, and many Cardinals call upon him daily at the castle, so that it is generally thought that whoever may be elected Pope will be under great obligations to the Duke; whilst he lives in the hope of being in turn supported by the new Pope.
The Cardinal d’Amboise is very active in the matter, and the greater part of the Cardinals that come to the palace confer much with him. But it is not known whether he favors the election of the Cardinal San Pietro in Vincola; if he does, then there can be no question as to his success; but we must patiently await the result. The news I wrote you yesterday respecting Naples, and that the French were about to cross the Garigliano, has not been confirmed since then. It is true we have no accounts to the contrary, and, as the roads between the camp and here are destroyed, letters reach here only with the greatest difficulty. By way of not omitting anything to obtain information, I have written in duplicate to Luca Savello, requesting him to keep me informed from time to time as to the state of things there. It is reported that the Italian men-at-arms that were with the French have in great part deserted. Some ascribe it to the dangers to which they were exposed; others, to the treatment they had experienced; others again attribute it to their natural cowardice. I have myself seen some twenty men-at-arms arrive here who had been with the Duke Valentino, and whom he had sent into the kingdom of Naples to serve the king of France. They have taken quarters here in Rome, some say at the instance of the Sacred College; others maintain that they have stopped by order of the Duke himself, in the hope of availing of their services after the election of the Pope.
I have written and shall continue to write daily, and shall send my letters to Giovanni Pandolfini to forward them to your Lordships; for having no instructions from you on this point I have no other means of sending my letters. If your Lordships desire immediate news of the result of the election of the new Pope, you must advise me, and give me authority to incur the necessary expenses; and if not, then I must endeavor to send my letters by other opportunities, which, however, are not to be relied upon. And so I recommend myself to your Lordships, quæ bene valeant.
Rome, 30 October, 1503.
P. S. — It is now the third hour of the night, and after having written all the above I receive your letter of the 26th, informing me of the loss of Faenza to the Duke. Having returned to my lodgings, and it not being safe for me to be out at night, I have sent the information to the Cardinal Volterra by a simple note, and shall talk the matter over with him to-morrow in person. I can really say nothing on this subject unless that, with regard to the dangers which your Lordships indicate, I see no remedy here; for the French, at whose hands help was expected, have quite enough to occupy them. The only hope that remains is that the Duke may succeed in obtaining the support of the new Pope, as it is generally believed that he will; and that the governor of the citadel may hold out until the Duke can come to his assistance.
I recommend myself to your Lordships.
Niccolo Machiavelli.[Back to Table of Contents]
Magnificent Signori: —
My last was of the 30th of October, and was sent through the Del Bene; amongst other things, I wrote you what the general opinion here is respecting the new Pope, and that the Cardinals were to go into conclave on the following day. The belief that San Pietro in Vincola will be chosen has grown to that degree, that before the closing of the conclave they conceded to him ninety per cent of the votes; for it had become known that his two most influential opponents, who were likely to prevent his election, had become reconciled to him. These were the Cardinal d’Amboise and the Spanish Cardinals, friends of the Duke, who have all changed in his favor. The reason why the Cardinal d’Amboise has thus changed is said to be that his suspicions were excited against the Cardinal Ascanio, and because it had been demonstrated to him that they could not make a Pope who would more effectually deprive Ascanio of all influence than San Pietro in Vincola, who had always looked upon Ascanio as an enemy. But as to the Spanish Cardinals and the Duke Valentino, it is easy to conjecture the influences to which they have yielded; which are that the latter needs to be re-established, and the former want to be enriched. If this has really been the way, then we shall know it better in the course of the day. In short, San Pietro in Vincola will have known how to employ the means of persuasion better than the others, if he should be made Pope, which may now be looked upon as certain. For at this very moment, it being the eighth hour of the night, at the very turn of the 1st of November, a servant of the Cardinal San Pietro in Vincola comes into my chamber, just from the palace, and tells me that the conclavist of that Cardinal had received five notes, one after the other, from the Cardinal San Pietro, informing him of the unanimity of the Cardinals to make him Pope; notwithstanding that at the beginning it was understood that there were seven Cardinals in favor of Santa Prassede, and that foremost amongst these was Ascanio. He told me further that the last of these notes directed him to despatch this news to Savona and to Sinigaglia, and that the new Pope had taken the name of Julius II., and that couriers had been despatched with the news. These events, and many others that succeed each other from one moment to another, well merit being communicated to you by express; but I have no orders to that effect from your Lordships, nor am I authorized to incur such an expense; and during the night I can neither send nor go myself to inquire whether any one else is despatching a courier to Florence, for it is not safe to venture out at night here. The individual that came here from the palace was escorted by twenty armed men. I shall therefore wait for daylight, and if I then find any one who will take my letter I shall send it, and shall then also be able to give you more certain information. And by way of excusing myself once for all, I would say that your Lordships will observe that I write daily; but as to sending off my letters, I must avail myself of such opportunities as others afford me.
Rome, at the 8th hour of night, between the last day of October
and the first day of November.
Magnificent Signori: —
Under favor of God, I inform your Lordships that the Cardinal San Pietro in Vincola was this morning proclaimed Pope. May Heaven make him a useful pastor for all Christendom!
Rome, 1 November, 1503.[Back to Table of Contents]
Magnificent Signori: —
I wrote to your Lordships last night, and repeated this morning, the news of the election of the new Pope in the person of the Cardinal San Pietro in Vincola, who has taken the name of Julius II. I write the present with the view of sending it by another opportunity, as I was not in time to send it with the courier whom the Del Bene despatched this morning at one o’clock. The creation and proclamation of this new Pope has really been quite extraordinary, for the election took place in open conclave. So soon as the Cardinals came together, which was about midnight, they caused it to be published abroad; and it was upon this publication that the letters were written; and although we are now at the fifteenth hour, yet the customary formalities for the publication of the election have not yet been complied with. When we reflect well upon the support which the new Pope received in his election, we cannot but look upon it as almost miraculous; for the many parties into which the Sacred College is divided have all given him their support. The king of France as well as the king of Spain had written to the College in his favor, and even the barons of the opposite faction had given him their support. San Giorgio favored him, and so did the Duke Valentino, to that extent that he was enabled to attain this exalted post. Our countrymen were greatly delighted at it, and found great hopes upon his election, both on their own account as well as on account of the public. And yesterday morning a person in high position told me that if Pietro in Vincola succeeded in being chosen Pope, we might hope great advantages from it for our republic, for he has already made greater promises than customary.
This is all I have at present to communicate, excepting to recommend myself to your Lordships, quæ bene valeant.
Rome, 1 November, 1503.[Back to Table of Contents]
Magnificent Signori: —
This is the fourth letter I have written to your Lordships on the election of the Cardinal San Pietro in Vincola to the new Pontificate under the name of Julius II. I should not have written the present one were it not that in conversing to-day, after the conclusion of the ceremonies, with his Eminence the Cardinal Volterra, he told me that “they had to-night, after the election of the new Pope, distributed by lot the charge of the different fortresses belonging to the Church. That San Giorgio had drawn Citerna, and that he, Volterra, had drawn certain others; and that in his opinion, unless some measures were taken, you would not be able to retain Citerna. And therefore he advised your Lordships that with your approval he would endeavor to effect an exchange with San Giorgio; so that he would keep Citerna and give to San Giorgio one of the fortresses that had fallen to his lot. That in this way the matter would be facilitated, as in fact it would not then be looked at so closely.” His Eminence charged me to write to you on the subject, and to solicit a prompt reply.
I have nothing further to communicate to your Lordships respecting matters here, having sent you a long letter this morning about the election of Giuliano della Rovere to the Pontificate. He will have enough to do to fulfil all the promises he has made, for many of them are contradictory; but he is Pope now, and we shall soon see what course he is going to take, and which are the parties to whom he has promised in good earnest. At any rate it is evident that he has had very zealous friends in the College, which is attributed to the fact that he himself has always been a true and devoted friend, and that therefore he found good friends when he needed them. Our countrymen are all rejoiced at his election, for there are many Florentines here who are very intimate with him; and his Eminence of Volterra told me to-day that there had not been a Pope for many years from whom our republic had reason to hope so much as from Julius II., provided they knew how to accommodate themselves to the times. A number of Florentines have begged me to write to you that the appointing of only five deputies to congratulate Pius III. on his election had caused everybody to believe that Florence was not well pleased at his election to the Pontificate; and therefore they suggested most humbly to your Lordships to revise the appointment and to send six, as in the case of Alexander VI. and Sixtus IV.
From the French camp and from the Spaniards nothing more has been heard than what I have written to your Lordships; and as the camp is broken up, we shall have no further advices from there. Giovanpaolo and Bartolommeo d’ Alviano must be a little beyond where they were to have passed the first night after leaving Rome. Nothing further has been done with regard to the engagement of Giovanpaolo; nor was that letter of exchange ever drawn upon your Lordships which his friends wanted for his payment. From which I draw the favorable inference that the Cardinal d’Amboise no longer fears Giovanpaolo as much as when he engaged him.
It is thought that the Orsini will cause your Archbishop to be made Cardinal, and that his archbishopric will fall into the hands of some Florentine prelate. I have heard more than one name suggested, and therefore do not mention any. I recommend myself to your Lordships, and think it would be apropos that you should with the utmost promptitude cause a letter to be sent to the newly elected Pontiff, so that I may present myself to him with due ceremony; and that, if such a letter is sent, I may be furnished with a copy, so that my address to him may correspond with your letter.
Rome, 1 November, 1503.[Back to Table of Contents]
Magnificent Signori: —
My last letters were of the 1st, on which day I wrote four letters to your Lordships and sent them by the Martelli and the Del Bene, and therefore assume their safe arrival. Since then nothing new of any moment has occurred; and yet, as Carlo Martelli is going by post to Florence, I would not have him go without sending you this letter by him. Since the creation of the new Pope everything has been very quiet in this city; the troops of the Orsini have left, although we have not yet heard of their having passed Monte Ritondo, where they were to make their first halt; nor are they very numerous. In the same way, Gianpaolo Baglioni had also gone; it was in fact these troops who it was feared might sack the city. As I have already stated in my previous letters to your Lordships, the election of this Pope was almost unanimous; for with the exception of three or four Cardinals who themselves aspired to the Papacy, all the others supported him, and D’Amboise favored him without stint. It is said that the reason of this general support was that he had promised to each whatever they asked, and consequently it is thought that the difficulty will be in the fulfilling of these promises. To the Duke Valentino, who has been of more service than any one else, it is said, he has promised to reinstate him in all his possessions in Romagna, and that he has given him Ostia as security, where the Duke keeps Mottino with two vessels of war. The Duke is lodged in that part of the papal palace called “the new rooms,” where he has some fifty of his retainers with him; it is not known whether he will depart or remain. Some say that he will go to Genoa, where he has most friends, and that from there he will go into Lombardy to raise troops, and that then he will move to Romagna. And this is very probable, for he has some two hundred thousand ducats or more in the hands of the Genoese merchants. Others say that he has no intentions of leaving Rome, and will await the coronation of the Pope, so as to be made Gonfalonier of the Church, in accordance with the promises made to him by Julius II.; and that by means of the reputation which this will give him he hopes to recover his states. Others again, who are no less sagacious, think that, inasmuch as the Pontiff had need of the Duke in his election, and having made him great promises therefor, he finds it advisable now to feed the Duke on hope; and they fear that, if the latter should not decide upon any other course than to remain in Rome, he may be kept there longer than may be agreeable to him; for the Pope’s innate hatred of him is notorious. And it is not to be supposed that Julius II. will so quickly have forgotten the ten years of exile which he had to endure under Pope Alexander VI. The Duke meantime allows himself to be carried away by his sanguine confidence, believing that the word of others is more to be relied upon than his own; and that the promise of a family alliance ought to be of some avail, for it is said that the marriage of Fabio Orsino with the sister of Borgia is definitely agreed upon; and also that the Duke’s daughter is to be married to the Little Prefect.*
I cannot tell your Lordships anything more of the Duke’s affairs, nor can I make up my mind to any definite conclusions in relation to them; we must bide the time, which is the father of truth. I shall not attempt to tell your Lordships of all the engagements and promises made to the barons and cardinals, for they are just what each one asked for. Romolino is to have the Chancellorship of Justice, and Borgia that of Prisons; but it is not yet known whether they will really take possession of these offices. And as I have said above, it seems as though the Pope would be obliged to temporize with them all; but he cannot delay much longer to declare and make known whose friend he really means to be. Gianpaolo, as I anticipated from the first, is taking the route to Perugia with the consent of the Cardinal d’Amboise, and will ask permission of your Lordships to quarter a portion of his forces at Cortona; and the Cardinal d’Amboise has requested me to write to your Lordships to be pleased to grant the request. Up to the present moment the agreement with Gianpaolo is not ratified, as it has been impossible to transact any business with the Cardinal d’Amboise. By way of enabling him to pay the remainder of his obligation to Gianpaolo, that Cardinal has written a letter to your Lordships, asking you to pay him, and promising that the amount shall be credited you on your indebtedness to the king of France. D’Amboise justifies his course at length in that letter, which is signed and sealed by his own hand. Should your Lordships deem it prudent to make this payment to Baglioni, then you will be able to avail of his services, even if his engagement should not be concluded, which is quite possible, as he will have received six months’ pay at the expense of others; but we do not by any means despair of concluding his engagement.
The French troops are all encamped on the upper side of the Garigliano, and although they have captured certain towers in that direction held for the Spaniards, they are now occupied in constructing a bridge over the river. And although the enemy is on the opposite side of the river, yet they say that with the aid of their fleet they cannot be prevented from crossing the river. The letter that brings this news is of the 30th ultimo, and says that the French talk very confidently. Certain Pisan envoys have arrived here for the purpose of felicitating the new Pope upon his election; and his Eminence of Volterra has arranged with the Pope that, when these envoys present themselves to address him, his Holiness is to say to them that it is his office to pacify Italy, and that inasmuch as Pisa by its revolt was the cause of the war, so he intends now to make her the means of peace by uniting her with Florence; and the Pope has promised to say this.
In my previous letter I wrote to your Lordships in relation to Citerna, and that the Cardinal Volterra had proposed that you should allow him to arrange with the Cardinal San Giorgio to obtain Citerna from him, so as to conceal in some way your possession of that fortress. I await your reply to that proposition. I think I shall present myself to his Holiness either to-day, or at the latest by to-morrow, and will inform your Lordships of the result.
Rome, 4 November, 1503.[Back to Table of Contents]
Magnificent Signori: —
I sent my last of the 4th to your Lordships by Carlo Martelli, and, believing that it must have reached you safely, I did not write again by the courier. Having informed you in that letter of all that has been done with regard to the engagement of Gianpaolo, and that the Cardinal d’Amboise had written a letter to your Lordships requesting you to pay the remainder of his obligation to Baglioni, I shall say no more on that subject, as nothing new has occurred since; and I shall wait here until called upon, when I shall reply in accordance with your instructions. I have now to inform your Lordships that I presented myself yesterday at the feet of the Pontiff and expressed to him in your name the pleasure which his promotion to the Pontificate had given you; and having explained the reasons of this satisfaction on your part, I offered to his Holiness all that the power of your republic could do for the glory and prosperity of his Pontificate. His Holiness seemed pleased at this offer, and showed himself most grateful for all that I had said to him; saying in reply, that he had always counted upon our republic, but now that his power and authority had been so much increased, he desired to show his affection for her in every possible way, especially as being under the greatest obligations to his Eminence of Volterra, who had been in great measure instrumental in his election to the exalted dignity of the Pontificate. And thus after these customary ceremonies I took my leave. After that I received your Lordships’ letter of the 2d instant, in which you state that you have received the news of the election of the new Pope, and express surprise at not having had any letters from me. I think that you must have received immediately after writing to me four of my letters. It is not my fault that they have not reached you sooner, for the Del Bene gave me no notice of their despatching a courier on the night of the election. And I do not blame them, for they told me the next morning that they were under the impression that the letters which I had previously given them to forward contained the result of the election. Be that as it may, I think that your Lordships will be satisfied with my subsequent letters.
As yours of the 2d gave an account of the ruin of Romagna and of the disposition of the Venetians, as well as of the condition of things generally in that direction, his Eminence of Volterra was of the opinion that I ought immediately to communicate this information to the Pope, and the Cardinal d’Amboise was of the same opinion when he heard it. I therefore went to his Holiness and read him your letter. He said that Dionisio di Naldo, chief of the Valle di Lamona, rather supported the cause of the Duke Valentino than that of the Venetians, and that these matters would take a different shape when once his election to the Papacy was known; and that they had gone on thus because they had been ignorant of his election; but that he would speak to D’Amboise on the subject. After leaving his Holiness I spoke to their Eminences Ascanio, San Giorgio, and San Severino about it, and reminded them that it was not a question of the liberty of Tuscany, but of that of the Church; and that, if the Venetians were permitted to increase their power beyond what it was already, the Pope would end by being nothing more than the chaplain of the Venetians; and that it was their business to look to this matter, inasmuch as they might become heirs to the papal dignity; that we on our part had called their attention to it in time, and offered them what little assistance it was in our power to render.
These Cardinals showed that they felt the importance of the matter, and promised to do all that was possible. I also spoke to the Duke, and communicated the news to him, which seemed to me proper for the purpose of finding out how he felt on the subject, and whether there was anything to fear or to hope from him. When he heard of the affair of the Castellan of Imola and the attack of the Venetians upon Faenza, he became greatly excited and began to complain bitterly of your Lordships, saying that you had always been his enemies, and that it was of you and not of the Venetians that he had cause to complain. For with a hundred men you might have secured those states, but that you did not want to do it; but that he would manage so that you should be the first to repent of it. And now that Imola was lost to him, he would raise no more troops, nor risk losing what he had left for the sake of trying to recover what he had lost. That he would no longer be deluded by you, but would with his own hands turn over all that was left to him to the Venetians; and he believed that he would very soon see our republic ruined, and that then it would be his turn to laugh. As to the French, they would either lose the kingdom of Naples, or they would have their hands so full that they would not be able to render you any assistance. And then he went on speaking with great animosity and vehemence. I lacked neither matter nor words to answer him, and yet I thought it best to soothe him, and managed as adroitly as I could to break off the interview, which seemed to me to have lasted a thousand years.
I went again to see the Cardinals Volterra and Amboise, who were at table, and as they had been expecting me with the answer, I related to them precisely everything as it had occurred. D’Amboise was incensed at the language used by the Duke, and said: “God has never yet allowed any sin to go unpunished, and he certainly will not allow those of Cesar Borgia to pass.” In my letter of the 4th I mentioned to your Lordships the whereabouts of the Duke at the time, and the conjectures that were being made with regard to him. Since then we have seen that he has been gathering troops; and such of his ministers as I am acquainted with tell me that he intends going to Romagna at any rate, with all the troops he can collect. Now that the fortress of Imola is lost, and having seen the consequent anger of the Duke, I cannot say whether he may not change his purpose; at any rate, I can give your Lordships no further information respecting him. His Eminence of Amboise and the other Cardinals who watch the affairs of Italy think that with regard to Romagna one of two things will have to be done; namely, either to restore that province to the Church, or to hand it over to the king of France. Whether or not they will succeed in this I cannot tell, but I believe they will leave nothing undone to bring it about; and I really see no other remedy myself.
Of the French and Spanish troops I have at this moment nothing else to tell you but what I have already said in my letter of the 4th, no further news having been received here in relation to them. The French here are very hopeful that their army has passed the Garigliano, for the river being narrow their artillery is able to damage the enemy on the opposite shore, and having command of the sea they would be able to send some armed vessels up the river, so that the Spaniards will not be able to show themselves and prevent the French from crossing to the other side; and once having accomplished the passage of the river, they think that all else will be easy for them. This seems to me quite probable, for Gonsalvo has always kept himself behind his intrenchments, and has never shown himself in the open field. More than this I cannot write to your Lordships, but the end will show all. For once the French are not in want of money, for the Del Bene tell me that they have still fifty thousand ducats in sacks in their house, and there is no other money in circulation here but ducats.
The Pope will assume the tiara on Sunday, the 8th; that is, two weeks from to-day.
Niccolo Machiavelli.[Back to Table of Contents]
Magnificent Signori: —
I wrote the enclosed to your Lordships yesterday, but the post to Ferrara was despatched this morning without any notice to me, which I could not foresee. I shall remind these merchants again that they must perform their duty; I shall certainly not fail in mine. After my interview with the Duke yesterday, when I left him in the state of excitement of which I have given an account to your Lordships, he sent for his Eminence of Volterra; and to-day he sent for him again, and in both interviews, and more particularly in the last, the Duke told him, after the usual complaints, that he had letters of the 4th according to which the Castellan of Imola had not been killed, but was prisoner, and that the citadel and the place still held out for him; that the Signor Ottaviano (da Campo Fregoso) had appeared before Imola with a large force, but had been repulsed. He said further that Dionisio di Naldo sustained his party, and that the Venetians had no troops of any account. His Eminence seemed to think that this news had somewhat revived the hopes of the Duke that he might yet be able to recover his states. He complains of the French and of everybody else, and yet he expects to be made General of the forces of the Church, and believes that he will be so nominated by the consistory that is to be held to-morrow. His Eminence told him that despair was idle, as it most frequently turns to the disadvantage of him who yields to it; and on the other hand he encouraged him and made him fair promises on the part of your Lordships. We must wait now and see what the consistory will do to-morrow, and whether the Duke will succeed in getting that command, and if not, what his next plans will be; of all which your Lordships shall be duly informed. I should be glad to be instructed how I am to bear myself towards the Duke in any event, and whether I am to keep him in hopes, and how. There is no other news stirring here.
I recommend myself to your Lordships.
Rome, 7 November, 1503.[Back to Table of Contents]
Magnificent Signori: —
My last, under cover to Rucellai, were of the 6th and 7th, and were forwarded by a courier despatched by the Bolognese. I gave you therein full account of the condition of the Duke’s affairs, and of his expectations to be named General of the Holy Church at the first meeting of the consistory. This meeting took place yesterday, but according to what I hear, the subject of the Duke’s affairs was not touched, and the consistory confined itself exclusively to ecclesiastical affairs, and to the regulations that are usually made at the beginning of every new Pontificate. The war between France and Spain was also discussed, and the advantage which it would be for all Christendom if they could settle their differences; and it appears that the new Pope is disposed to aid in bringing about such a settlement, if he has it in his power. The Duke’s concerns therefore remain in the same uncertainty, and wise persons augur most unfavorably lest he should come to a bad end, although the new Pope has always been regarded as a man of entire good faith. The Duke has been raising men-at-arms here, and according to what some people have told me he has also sent into Lombardy to raise infantry, hoping to recover his states by means of these troops, and by the help of the reputation which he would derive from being Gonfalonier and General of the Holy Church. But having been disappointed in his hopes of being made Gonfalonier at the first consistory, I do not know whether he will change his plans, or whether he will persist in his efforts to obtain that appointment anyhow. I desire much to receive instructions from your Lordships as to what course I shall pursue with regard to the Duke. Here it is thought advisable to induce him to go to Florence, and to give him some guaranties for that purpose; but I know not whether your Lordships are of the same opinion.
His Eminence of Volterra and several other Cardinals have spoken to his Holiness in relation to the affairs of Romagna, and they think the Pope well disposed to prevent that province from falling into the hands of the Venetians; for after a good deal of discussion he said to them: “I have ever been the friend of the Venetians, and am so still, provided they make no unjust pretensions. But if they attempt to take what belongs to the Church I shall do the utmost in my power to prevent them, and will stir up all the princes of Christendom against them.” Our Cardinal thus feels assured that, so far as it depends on his Holiness, matters will go no further.
Letters from the French army inform the Cardinal d’Amboise that, having thrown a bridge over the Garigliano, a portion of their forces crossed the river under protection of the artillery which they had on the bank of the river and on board of their vessels, and that the enemy had retreated with a portion of his artillery. The French intend now throwing two more bridges over the river, so as to secure their communications more effectually, by having both sides of the river occupied by the French. Sandricourt was the first to pass, and the Bailli d’Occan followed in the evening. Gonsalvo is about a mile distant, where he has thrown up some intrenchments. The French are resolved to fight and conquer, or to pursue him in case he should attempt to retreat. There is great rejoicing here amongst the French at this news; they seem to think that victory is theirs already. May God so direct things that all will be for the best!
Messer Bartolommeo d’ Alviano and the Orsini are at Alagna, and it is said that they are busy completing their companies there. The Cardinal d’Amboise, on receiving the news of the passage of the Garigliano, has requested his Eminence of Volterra to write to Gianpaolo Baglioni to start immediately with what forces he may have, and to proceed in the direction of the Abruzzi. He has ordered the Savelli to do the same; and has begged our Cardinal to write to your Lordships to have the remainder of the sum due to Baglioni ready, so that he may not be delayed on that account.
A messenger has arrived here from Messer Ambrogio di Landriano, saying that the great expenses of the camp have entirely exhausted his means, and although the time for further payments has not yet arrived, yet he demands money. We have given him fair words, but await your instructions as to what course we are to follow with regard to him. He represents the army to be thoroughly united and in the best spirits, and that they have twice offered battle to the Spaniards, who each time declined it. In addition to the other measures which the Cardinal d’Amboise has taken on the receipt of the above news, he has written to the commanders to make publicly known to those Sicilian lords who adhere to the Spanish side, that they will be pardoned if even now they will join the French.
D’Amboise has news this morning that several places in the Abruzzi have revolted, which makes him the more anxious that the Savelli and Baglioni should go there; and he renews his request that I should write to your Lordships to take such measures that there shall be no delay on account of the nonpayment of the remainder of what is due to Gianpaolo. I believe that the ratification of his engagement, which should have been concluded ere this, will be promptly attended to. Nothing else of any interest.
I recommend myself to your Lordships.
Rome, 10 November, 1503.[Back to Table of Contents]
Magnificent Signori: —
I wrote to your Lordships this morning, and sent the letter under cover of his Eminence of Volterra; and it is quite possible that the bearer of this may also bring my previous one. I shall not repeat what I have written respecting the news from the Garigliano, nor shall I say anything touching the Duke, unless it be that I have understood from his people that he is much in earnest with his preparations to go to Romagna. It is quite possible he may take the route through Florence; and whilst I was making a visit to our Cardinal this evening, one of the Duke’s men came to ask his Eminence for a letter in his favor to your Lordships, so as to permit him to pass securely through Florence. We shall be on the lookout, and you shall be advised of his movements. To-day, at noon, I received your Lordships’ letters of the 3d, 4th, and 6th, the latter being the most important, as it contains the latest news respecting the condition of things in Romagna. I went immediately to the palace and found that his Eminence of Volterra was with the Pope; but as that letter seemed to me altogether such as might be communicated, and calculated to produce an impression, I sent it to the Cardinal by the hands of Messer Francesco del Castel del Rio, one of the Pope’s chief officers. After a little while the Cardinal came out and told me that the news had greatly moved the Pope, who would anyhow send a deputy to the Venetians; and desired me to speak with his Holiness to-morrow morning to the same effect. Having returned to my lodgings about the twenty-fourth hour, I received your letter per express of the 8th, which contained the particulars respecting Faenza. It was too late to go to the Pope, and the Cardinal did not deem it well to speak to his Holiness so many times on the same day of the same thing. But we shall present ourselves early to-morrow morning before his Holiness to execute the commission with which your letter charges me, and to find out as far as possible his intentions; which, so far as we can judge, make us believe that he is so far from favoring the Venetians that they will have to desist from their attempt if the authority of the Pope or of those who represent him can suffice for the purpose. But which of the lords who have possessions in that province he will favor, it is believed, he has not yet determined upon; and that he is somewhat undecided in his own mind upon this point, for the reasons which I have on a former occasion explained to your Lordships; particularly as the Pope is said to be a man who at the beginning of his Pontificate would think more of making a great display at his coronation than of taking any extraordinary trouble about other matters. Nevertheless, we shall not fail to sound him in every possible way; both for the purpose of arousing him against the usurpers of other people’s possessions, and also for the purpose of more fully understanding his designs, so that your Lordships may the better know what course to adopt in the events that may occur.
I commend myself to your Lordships, quæ bene valeant.
Rome, 10 November, 1530.[Back to Table of Contents]
Magnificent Signori: —
By my two letters of to-day I have informed your Lordships that the Duke is putting his troops in order for his departure to Romagna; and how he has obtained letters from his Eminence the Cardinal Volterra, from the Cardinal d’Amboise, and from the Pope, in his favor, and directed to your Lordships. I write the present at the suggestion of the Duke, to let your Lordships know that he has sent one of his own officers to you for the purpose of obtaining a safe-conduct from your Lordships, in accordance with the form herewith enclosed. I have been requested to recommend this matter to your Lordships, and to beg you to expedite it promptly. The person who has spoken in the Duke’s name says that his Excellency is in good spirits, and hopes, provided your Lordships do not become discouraged, very soon to recover his places from the hands of the Venetians, and to prevent them from executing their designs; as he has still a considerable amount of money left.
Rome, 10 November, 1503.[Back to Table of Contents]
Magnificent Signori: —
By my last of yesterday I notified your Lordships of the receipt of your letter of the 8th, per express, and stated the reasons why I had delayed until this morning to communicate it to the Pope. His Holiness being indisposed, it was with difficulty that I could explain everything to him; nevertheless, he manifested great displeasure at the conduct of the Venetians, and if he had at this moment a strong force at his command, he would perhaps take things differently; for the present, he intends sending a deputy to Venice. His Holiness will not decide upon the matter by himself, nor will he consult the whole College, but only a few of the Cardinals of each order; for he considers such a decision as a grave matter, because of the consequences that may result from it. He says he will have to deliberate upon this through to-morrow. But so far as seemed to him well, he would now make show to believe that the Venetians in their conduct have been actuated by hatred of the Duke, or by some other special reason, and not by a desire to seize upon the states of the Church, of which his Holiness, as their immediate lord, intends always to keep the control in his own hands, so that he may dispose of them according to his judgment and the dictates of justice. And if such be the case, then it will be well indeed; but if not, then his Holiness will resort to the strongest measures, and will call upon all the other princes for aid against them, for he is determined not to let this matter pass lightly. His Holiness says that he intends also to write to Ferrara and Bologna, and will here speak with the Cardinal of Este and the Protonotario Bentivogli on the subject. And by way of an immediate remedy for the state of things made known to him by your letter of the 6th, he has despatched a brother of Messer Francesco da Castel del Rio, and a Messer Baldassare Biascia, who are to seek Dionisio di Naldo, and are to endeavor, by even the largest promises, to bring him back to his allegiance to the Church. They are also to try and influence the other populations of that province to place themselves in the hands of the Pope, if they wish to escape from imminent perils, and put an end to all factions. And having been informed that the mere credit of his election had saved Fano, it seemed to him that he had already done not a little, and was therefore the more hopeful as to the rest. He told me also that the Venetians had already sent troops and banners into Fano, although they pretended that their object was to preserve it for the Church.
The Pope, moreover, urges your Lordships to do your utmost to save these states from falling into any other hands, no matter whose; and to advise and to labor to induce them to submit themselves to the Sovereign Pontiff, so that he may dispose of them according to the will of God and justice. It has been represented to his Holiness what you have already done up to the present time, and how honestly and frankly you have acted; but that the condition of your republic would not permit you to do more, and that it was necessary for his Holiness himself to oppose the attempts of the Venetians, etc., etc. This was the only conclusion we could arrive at.
I shall endeavor to urge the sending of this deputy to Venice, and we shall then see what results have been achieved by the mission to Dionisio di Naldo. No efforts are spared here to try and stir up his Holiness against the Venetians, in accordance with your Lordships’ views, “and his Eminence of Volterra does his duty to his country without reserve,”* and does not cease to press D’Amboise and all the other Cardinals who have any influence with his Holiness; they all yield readily to his requests, both with an eye to their own interests and to those of the Church. The Cardinal d’Amboise particularly is most zealous, but promises for the present neither men nor any other assistance except letters. He hopes for the success of the French, or that possibly some arrangement may be effected with the Emperor and the Archduke, that may shape matters according to his views, and more especially this affair of Venice.
Your Lordships will see from the above what effect has been produced by the information given in your letters of the 6th and 8th, and repeated afterwards on the 9th, of which I received the copy to-day. And to enable your Lordships the better to understand what course the Pope is likely to take, or what assistance you may count upon receiving from him against the projects of the Venetians, I will repeat what I have already written in several previous despatches to your Lordships. Whoever examines the present state of things at Rome will find that all the important affairs of the day centre here. The first and most important of these is the difference between France and Spain; the second is the affair of Romagna; after that come those of the factions of the Roman barons, and of the Duke Valentino. The Pope finds himself in the midst of these broils, and although he was elected to this dignity by great favor and by his reputation, yet as he has occupied the papal chair but for a short time, and having as yet neither troops nor money, and being under obligations to everybody for his election and for the general support he has received, he cannot as yet take a decided part in anything; and therefore he is obliged rather to pretend neutrality until the changes of time and things oblige him to declare himself, or until he is so firm in his seat that he may favor one or the other party, and engage in any enterprise he may please.
The facts prove the truth of this; for to begin with the most important affair, his Holiness passes for being French by natural affection, yet in his dealings with Spain he bears himself in such wise that they have no reason to complain of him. Still he does not go so far in this that France could take umbrage at it, and circumstances cause both parties to excuse him. In the affair of Romagna, the Venetians on the one hand aggravate him, and on the other hand you cry out; so that it is natural that his Holiness should be harassed by it, for he is a man of spirit, who desires that the Church shall increase and not diminish under his Pontificate. And yet your Lordships have seen above how he controls himself, and how on the one hand he accepts the excuses of the Venetians, feigning to believe that they are influenced in their conduct by their hatred of the Duke, and not by any desire to injure the Church, whilst on the other hand he manifests to your Lordships his dissatisfaction with the conduct of the Venetians, and takes all the precautions and measures which in reality he is able to do at present. As to the barons, it is easy for the Pope to manage them, as the chiefs of the factions are not here; the Orsini being represented here by the Archbishop of Florence and by the Signor Giulio, and the Colonnese by their own Cardinal and certain individuals of no importance. There only remains then the Duke Valentino, for whom it is believed that his Holiness has a natural aversion; and yet he manages him for two reasons. The first, because he wishes to keep his word with him, of which it is claimed that the Pope is the most tenacious observer; and because of his obligations to him on account of his election, which he owes in great part to the Duke. The other is because, the Pope being still without troops, the Duke is better able than any one else to offer resistance to the Venetians; and for that reason the Pope urges his departure, and has addressed briefs to your Lordships, soliciting free passage and safe-conduct for the Duke, and also favors his cause in other ways. Although I have indicated all this in my previous despatches, yet it seems to me necessary to explain it more fully at this time, for I feel the importance that you should know the Pope’s intentions, and what he would and could do, and what he desires that you should do; so that your Lordships may fully understand him, and not hope for anything more from here. And that it behooves your Lordships to bethink yourselves of other means, either by supporting the Duke, or by such measures as you may have in your power. You may assume that the Pope will have to be satisfied with things as they are, and with whatever course the affairs of Romagna may take, provided that that promise does not slip from the hands of the Church or its vicars.
The Duke sent for me to-day, and I found him in a very different mood from what he was the last time, as I wrote you in my letters of the 6th and 7th. He said many things to me, which being reduced to one amount to this: that we must think no more of the past, but only of the common good, and strive to prevent the Venetians from making themselves masters of Romagna. He told me that the Pope had promised to aid him, and had written briefs for that purpose; and that your Lordships should also think of giving him your support, and that you might in return count upon him for anything. I answered in a general way, and assured him that he might rely upon your Lordships.
After that I had a long conversation with Messer Alessandro di Francia, who told me that they would probably despatch a courier to-night, with the Pope’s brief and other letters that have been written by the Cardinal Volterra and myself to your Lordships in relation to the safe-conduct, which they were confident of obtaining. He told me further that the Duke hesitated as to the course he should take, and did not know whether he should go by land with his troops, which number about four hundred horse and about as many infantry, or whether he should let his troops go by land whilst he would go by sea to Livorno, and then join his troops on Florentine territory, where he could meet some of your citizens and conclude his arrangements with you; but that he did not want to be delayed, and therefore desired to find the articles of agreement all duly prepared, so that he might have nothing to do but merely to sign them. He desired that you should write to Livorno, so as to insure him a proper reception in case he should take that route. I replied that I would write to your Lordships, and gave him good hope. Your Lordships can now think of all this, and consult and resolve and prepare yourselves as to the manner in which you will act with regard to the Duke. Messer Alessandro told me that the Duke would send some one to Florence to digest and draw up the agreement with you, and that he would not like to send any one of little authority; at the same time he could not with safety send a personage of great authority, but so soon as he should be in position to do so, he would send such a person.
The letters which your Lordships have sent for the Pope have been presented to him, and he offers his thanks, etc., etc. I again beg to refer to my despatch of yesterday.
Rome, 11 November, 1503.[Back to Table of Contents]
Magnificent Signori: —
The enclosed was written yesterday, but not having up to the present moment found an opportunity of sending it by the extra courier, I deem it proper, by way of not keeping your Lordships waiting any longer for a reply to yours of the 8th, and because it contains many things of importance respecting the Duke, to send this express by the hands of Giovanni Pandolfini. Your Lordships will please pay him the usual price, as I have so promised him.
Rome, 12 November, 1503.[Back to Table of Contents]
Magnificent Signori: —
Yesterday I wrote to your Lordships per express, and despatched it with my letter of the 11th through the hands of the Pandolfini, in reply to yours of the 8th, which came also per express. You will have seen from mine the determination of the Pope on the subject of the affairs of Romagna, and all that can be said of his Holiness at this moment. You will also have learned from it the projects of the Duke, who is occupied meanwhile in raising both infantry and cavalry with which to pursue his march into Romagna; and I believe that he delays in great part for the purpose of knowing your decision. For here we can neither treat with him nor do anything else, because we do not know what your Lordships’ disposition or determination in the matter may be. I have several times asked you for your views, but being still without any reply we are completely at a loss what to do.
As I have explained in former letters to your Lordships, the Pope for the moment favors the Duke, for he feels himself bound by the promises which he has made to him, and also from his desire not to let those places fall into the hands of the Venetians. His Holiness seems resolved to do everything in his power to prevent them from being swallowed up by the Venetians. I believe he is conferring to-day with some eight or ten of those Cardinals who have the honor of the Church most at heart, to determine about sending an envoy to Venice, to which I have referred in my letter of the 11th. It seems that his Holiness has no doubts as to getting those places back that have been taken by the Venetians, who, he thinks, will consent to anything. His advisers urge him by all means to try and get possession of them, demonstrating to him that he can afterwards dispose of them according to the demands of honesty and justice, etc., etc.
I have conferred to-day with his Eminence of Volterra respecting your Lordships’ reply on the subject of Citerna. He is constantly after San Giorgio, trying to bring the matter to a conclusion; our Cardinal thought that he would be able to effect an even exchange with San Giorgio, by giving him one of his fortresses for Citerna, but San Giorgio declines such an exchange, and demands two hundred ducats, saying that he has such an offer from some one else. Our Cardinal would not like that such an expense should be incurred, and yet he does not know how it can be avoided, if it is really desired by your Lordships to have Citerna, for we may lose the chance altogether. San Giorgio has given him to understand that, unless we decide to-day or to-morrow to take it on those terms, he will go to the feet of his Holiness, and make known to him that Citerna, which fell to him by lot, has been occupied by the Florentines, and make this a subject of complaint. The negotiations are therefore continued, and we shall take such a course as his Eminence may deem best so as to quiet the matter. For, having to reprove others for attempting to take what does not belong to them, it behooves us to avoid all occasions for incurring reproof for the same thing in our turn.
Yesterday evening, Pope Julius II. took formal possession of the Castel San Angelo with all due solemnity, and has appointed the Bishop of Sinigaglia as his Castellan. The former Castellan has left according to report, with the promise of being made Cardinal.
By my letter of the 10th, I informed your Lordships of the report of the passage of the Garigliano by the French; but since then we have no particulars. True, letters were received last night by some of the Colonnese here, that some four thousand French had crossed the river, and that Gonsalvo, who was about a mile distant with his army, could not prevent them, owing to the swollen state of certain water-courses between himself and the French. But that, the waters having subsided, Gonsalvo charged upon the French, who, having no cavalry, were dislodged from a bastion which they had constructed, and were completely routed. A portion of them were killed, and a portion driven into the river and drowned. This news was spread by the Colonnese, and although it is now the twenty-third hour, yet up to the present it is not confirmed. The French here do not believe it, and say that their infantry which had crossed the Garigliano was protected by their artillery, which they had placed on the river-bank and on board of vessels, so that the Spaniards could not attack them. We must wait for time to clear up this matter, and when the truth is known your Lordships shall be advised.
It is now one o’clock at night, and up to this moment the above news has neither been confirmed nor contradicted. The Cardinals did not meet with the Pope to-day to discuss the affairs of Romagna, but I believe they will do so to-morrow. I send this through the hands of P. del Bene, who tells me that he may possibly despatch a courier to night.
Rome, 13 November, 1503.[Back to Table of Contents]
Magnificent Signori: —
I reported to you yesterday all that had taken place here up to that time, and sent my letter this morning through the hands of P. del Bene. I must now inform your Lordships “that yesterday and to-day the Pope has conferred with the Cardinals Amboise and Volterra, the Spanish Cardinals, the Cardinal of Ferrara, and the Duke Valentino, in relation to the departure of the last. It was definitely concluded that he is to go in two or three days by water to Porto Venere or to Spezzia, and from there by the Garfagnana to Ferrara; and that his troops, which are said to amount to three hundred light cavalry, one hundred men-at-arms, and four hundred infantry, are to go by land to Romagna through Tuscany. They are to unite at Imola, which place, it is said, still holds for the Duke, and where he will join them; and then the Duke will attempt from there to recover his states by means of his own troops, and those which he counts upon receiving from your Lordships, from the Cardinal d’Amboise, from Ferrara, and from the Pope. And speaking of these auxiliaries, the Cardinal Volterra told me that the Pope supplied the Duke with briefs and patents at discretion, but with nothing more. The Cardinal d’Amboise has promised that Montison shall come to him with at least fifty lances; it is, however, not yet known whether they are of those who have already been in the Duke’s service. The Cardinal of Este says that he believes that the Duke’s father will not fail him.” Volterra says that he would have been glad to have been informed of your views and intentions as regards this matter, and wonders that you have never written to him how he is to bear himself towards the Duke.
Being obliged to say something in the name of your Lordships, he represented that you were ready to do anything in your power to prevent those cities from falling into the hands of the Venetians, and that, if you were of opinion that the way to do so would be to help the Duke, he had not the least doubt that you would lend him every assistance. But that, before coming to that point, it was necessary for them to see whether the aid of your Lordships added to the Duke’s forces would suffice for the desired object; and that therefore it would be well for the Duke to send some one to Florence for the purpose of explaining these things, and to have a full understanding. “What causes the Cardinal Volterra to be in doubt as to the affairs of the Duke, besides not knowing the views of your Lordships, is, that he is not clear himself whether it would be desirable for our republic to have the Duke for a neighbor, and master of those three or four cities. For if we could always be sure of him as a friend, and not have reason to doubt and mistrust him, it might be of the greatest advantage to reinstate him in his possessions. But knowing the Duke’s dangerous character, he doubted much whether you would be able to keep him your friend, which would expose us to the same risk of having the Venetians become masters of those cities. His Eminence, moreover, sees that your Lordships are under some obligations to those who hold those places, and that their populations have declared themselves the enemies of the Duke, so that there is reason to fear lest by supporting the Duke the Venetians may be enabled the sooner to attain the object of their desires. All these things keep the Cardinal Volterra in a state of indecision.” It has seemed to me proper to report the substance of this conversation to your Lordships, so that you may appreciate the merits of the case with your habitual sagacity. “At the conference between the Pope and the Cardinals there was no one to represent the Bentivogli of Bologna; but the Duke confidently expects every assistance from them. The conference separated with the understanding that the Duke should take the route indicated, that the Cardinal Este should write to Ferrara to solicit aid, that the Cardinal d’Amboise should write to Montison in accordance with the above decision, and that the Cardinal Volterra should explain everything to your Lordships. Thus the matter rests, and according to the above understanding the Duke is to leave immediately. But already Volterra begins to doubt whether the Duke will start, for he seems to have perceived a change in him, and seems to think him irresolute, suspicious, and unstable in all his conclusions.” This may be the result of his natural character, or because the blows of fortune, which he is not accustomed to bear, have stunned and confounded him. Two evenings ago, whilst in that part of the palace where the Duke Valentino is lodged, the deputies from Bologna arrived, and with them the Protonotario Bentivogli. They all went into the Duke’s apartment, where they remained more than an hour.
Thinking that they might possibly have formed some agreement together, I went to-day to see the Protonotario Bentivogli under pretence of making him a visit; and having, after some general conversation, broached the subject of the Duke’s affairs, he said to me that they had come to see the Duke at his special request, who had told them that he would relieve them of the obligations they had entered into with him the year before. Having come to that point, and having called a notary to draw up the agreement, the Duke asked in return for the cancelling of these obligations certain specified assistance in his affairs of Romagna. The Bolognese deputies would not agree to this, having no authority to that effect, whereupon the Duke also declined to annul their obligations, and thus the matter remained in suspense.
The Protonotario added, that the Duke had not acted fairly in the matter, and that, instead of standing upon his rights, he should have shown himself liberal in cancelling these obligations, on account of which he would anyhow never receive a single penny from them. He told me furthermore that, having conversed with the Cardinal Herina on the subject, the latter had said to him that the Duke seemed to him to have lost his wits, for he appeared not to know himself what he wanted, and that he was confused and irresolute. To my question whether he would sustain the Duke in any way, the Protonotario answered, that the entrance of the Venetians into Romagna was of such importance, that, if the only way of preventing it was to support the Duke, he believed that his father and his government would give him their support, and do whatever else they could in the matter. More than this I did not learn from him, but I have deemed it not amiss to communicate this conversation to your Lordships.
From the armies we hear that the Spaniards in full force attacked such of the French as had crossed the river, but that the latter under protection of their artillery defended themselves bravely, and that although both sides had lost a good many men, yet the French remained masters of their position and of the entire river; that they were busy constructing two more bridges, so as to pass the river with the bulk of their forces, under God’s favor.
There is nothing else of interest to communicate from here, unless it be that the Pope will assume the tiara next Sunday in St. Peter’s, and on the following Sunday in St. John Lateran, and that it will be a triumphant solemnity.
With all this the plague is on the increase, for the weather and the neglect of all precautions favor its development, so that Rome has become a most melancholy residence.
I recommend myself to God and to your Lordships, quæ bene valeant.
Rome, 14 November, 1503.[Back to Table of Contents]
Magnificent Signori: —
The enclosed was written yesterday, but as no courier has been despatched since then, I could not send it, nor do I know now when it will go, as there is no regular postal service. I have to inform your Lordships that it was not until to-day that the Pope assembled the Cardinals of Naples, Amboise, Capaccio, Lisbon, Aragon, San Giorgio, Volterra, and three or four others of the oldest Cardinals, who have the honor of the Church and ecclesiastical liberty most at heart. They deliberated a long while on the affairs of Romagna, and resolved to depute some one to Venice. Their choice fell upon Angelo Leonino, Bishop of Tivoli, who will leave immediately with instructions to induce the government of Venice to disarm, and to restore to the hands of the Pope what they have wrongfully taken from him. They have decided also to send another deputy into Romagna, who should be some person of distinction. They wanted to appoint the Bishop of Ragusa to this mission, but, as they could not agree about it, the appointment was conferred on the Cardinal Volterra. He has gone this evening to have another conference with his Holiness; but it is too late for me to wait and learn the result. His instructions will be to do all he can to quiet these disturbances, to try to restore tranquillity, and to re-establish things as far as possible for the advantage of the Church. Everything tends to show that Julius II. is most anxious to save these states for the Church, and there is no lack of persons here who encourage him incessantly in this desire. His Eminence of Volterra is wide awake on this subject, as well as on all other matters that concern the general welfare of our republic. He does not cease being at the feet of his Holiness to maintain and dispose him still more favorably to Florence, to which he is already well inclined. He also solicits the other Cardinals, pointing out to them the ambition of the Venetians, the dangers to which their own liberties are exposed, and in fact he does all that your Lordships could suggest or ask of him. I deem it but right to bear witness to this, so that your Lordships may know how zealous and distinguished an advocate you have at this court, and that you may appreciate deservingly the great virtues of his Eminence, and his love and entire devotion to his country.
I must not omit to inform your Lordships that I have understood that the Pope complained bitterly to the Venetian ambassador of the proceedings of his government, telling him that he never could have believed that they had so little regard for the affection which he had always shown their country as to seek to dishonor and dismember the Church under his Pontificate; and that, if they persevered in that conduct, he would break all bonds of friendship, and submit to general ruin rather than suffer the Church to be dishonored and dismembered, and that he would arouse the whole world against them. To all which, it is said, the Venetian ambassador replied in the mildest manner, etc., etc.
I learn from Monsignor di Bentivogli, who says that he has it direct from the Venetian envoy, that the Senate had appointed eight ambassadors who were to come here and make their submission to his Holiness. He thinks the Venetian Senate did this, knowing that such incense and demonstrations of honor are an article greatly prized by Julius II., which they ought not to omit to employ. I have deemed it well to mention this to your Lordships, so that, if true, you may not allow yourselves to be outdone in these sort of demonstrations. And the sooner you send such ambassadors the more welcome will they be, and the more advantages you will derive from it; for his Eminence of Volterra cannot play two parts at once, except at the cost of one or the other, and therefore it will be well to anticipate the others.
The news from the French camp is that they are entirely masters of the Garigliano, and have no fears of being driven from their positions; but they have not advanced beyond that, owing to the inundations that extend over many miles of country. Gonsalvo is said to have retreated to a position between Sessa and Capua.
Gianpaolo Baglioni writes that he cannot start with his troops because he has not yet received the money from Florence, and says that he has sent some one to you on that account. It is said that the Cardinal d’Amboise is a little vexed at this, and that it has caused him to change the destination of Baglioni, whom he intends now to send into camp, and not to the Abruzzi, as had been decided the other day. It is also said that, inasmuch as Bartolommeo di Alviano was to have joined the Spaniards, the French also desire to have the credit of receiving fresh troops; although according to report Bartolommeo and the Orsini have taken but few troops there, and are enlisting men all the time. I learn that the said Bartolommeo has twenty-five men-at-arms at Viterbo, who are waiting for money before moving forward. And thus on both sides the attack and the defence proceed but slowly.
Of the Duke Valentino I have nothing more to report, except that his troops are still here, nor has he started himself, and thus the matter remains just as it was two days ago; but they still give out that they will start in two or three days. The report has been spread throughout all Rome that the Duke is going to Florence to be your general. Similar stories are constantly put in circulation here.
I recommend myself to your Lordships, quæ bene valeant.
Rome, 16 November, 1503.
P. S. — I have forgotten to say that the last letters I have from your Lordships are of the 8th. The plague is doing its duty well, and spares neither the houses of the Cardinals nor any others where it can find victims, and yet no one here makes any account of it. Iterum valete![Back to Table of Contents]
Magnificent Signori: —
Not having been able to send the two enclosures of the 14th and 16th sooner, they will now go at same time with this. I cannot oblige the merchants to do other than what they please, and cannot therefore promise you more regular advices from here; but whenever there is any danger of my letters being delayed too long, I shall do as in the present case, and send them in some other way by paying for them. Yesterday at an early hour came your Lordships’ letters of the 13th and 14th; those of the 10th and 11th having reached me some four hours sooner. The last two require no reply, having been written when your Lordships were still uncertain as to an answer to yours of the 8th; and in response to the other two, I have also but little to say, as you have received mine of the 12th, per express, which fully informs you of the state of things here, and what you may hope for in the way of assistance. I refer again to that letter, and more especially to what I have written in the enclosed. His Eminence of Volterra is nevertheless of opinion that I should present myself again at the feet of the Pope, and read to him your instructions, so as to learn what his Holiness may now have to say; and also to communicate to him your views in relation to the Duke’s affairs, and to sound him as regards his opinion of the whole business.
Efforts were made to procure me an audience, which, however, I did not get until three o’clock yesterday evening, when I read to the Holy Father those parts of your letters which it was proper he should know. When I came to that part where you say that Messer Ottaviano da Campo Fregoso had taken the field with cavalry and infantry sent by the Duke of Urbino, his Holiness became very angry, and said, “The Duke will be here in a couple of days, when I will shut him up in the Castel San Angelo.” He then listened with great attention to the remainder of your letter; and after having heard it all he said that he felt obliged to your Lordships for reminding him of what was for the honor of the Church, and for your efforts, etc., etc.; and that for his part he had done and would continue to do his utmost, as was well known to his Eminence of Volterra; that he had sent some one to Venice to let them know his intentions, and that he would also send some one of distinction to Romagna to reanimate the lords and the people of that province, and to induce those who had strayed from their allegiance to him to return. I replied to his Holiness in what I thought suitable terms, but obtained no further information from him; it is evident, however, that he does all he can, as I have mentioned in my previous letters. I then touched upon the affairs of the Duke Valentino, “and explained to his Holiness why your Lordships had not granted the desired safe-conduct to the Duke; to which he replied that it was well, and that he agreed with you entirely,” and lifted up his head in a very significant manner. From this it will be seen what before may have been doubted, that his Holiness thought it an eternity before he could get rid of the Duke; and yet he wanted him to go away satisfied, and so as not to afford him grounds for complaining of the non-observance of the pledges on the part of the Pope; as it might still happen that he might wish to avail himself of the Duke for his own purposes in the affairs of Romagna; and thus he would not close the door to his being able to make use of the Duke. But that he cared nothing about what you or any third party might do against the Duke.
“Looking now at all the Pope’s actions as I have explained to your Lordships in previous letters, we see that he intends getting those cities into his hands, and that by sending an envoy to the Venetians he hopes to obtain their consent, etc., etc. And if that plan does not succeed, he will try and get possession of them through some one else, who will hold them for the time. And perhaps he thinks that the Duke, upon finding himself abandoned by you, will cede to him that part of Romagna which he still retains; and that, once having possession of those towns, the others will easily follow.” Such I believe to be the Pontiff’s conduct and intentions, as your Lordships will see; and whatever resistance you make to the Venetians will naturally be most welcome to his Holiness.
Your Lordships will learn from the enclosed of the 14th what has been decided upon by the Pope and the Duke, and those other Cardinals; all of which was agreed upon and arranged, as the result has shown since then, “to feed the Duke with hopes and to urge his departure, which the Pope evidently desires.”
When the Duke learned through letters from Florence that your Lordships had not granted the desired safe-conduct for him, he sent for me; and after my audience with the Pope I went to him. His Excellency complained of your refusing him the safe-conduct, and said that he had already sent his cavalry, supposing that they would be admitted on Florentine territory, and that he intended to start himself in the expectation that the safe-conduct would be sent to him anyhow, as he could not have anticipated a refusal, and could not understand your fearing on the one hand lest those towns should fall into the hands of the Venetians, and on the other hand your closing the way to all succor; that perchance he might take a different course, which might be injurious to your Lordships; and that although he was aware of the danger of his coming to an arrangement with the Venetians, yet the force of circumstances might cause him to do so; for he would obtain great advantages from them, which he was disposed to accept to some extent, and which would be a mortal injury to you. I replied to the Duke, that the safe-conduct was not absolutely refused, and that he had been given to understand that your Lordships wanted to know on what footing you really were with him, and to settle that point first, and then to establish such relations of friendship as should properly exist between two states that desire to be on good terms and to act in good faith towards each other; that your Lordships were not in the habit of rashly or hastily entering into anything, and did not intend to begin doing so now, and therefore it would be well for him to send some experienced person, who was fully informed as to his intentions, to Florence, and I doubted not that your Lordships would do what was for the advantage of our republic and her friends. The Duke replied that he had sent his troops forward, and was himself on the point of going by water, and that he had wished before his departure to have a clear understanding of what he might hope for from your Lordships. To which I answered, that I would at once write to your Lordships this morning and give you notice of his Excellency’s having started his troops, and of his having sent an envoy to you to ask you to admit his troops on Florentine territory; that this envoy would meantime arrive in Florence, and would negotiate direct with your Lordships; and that I had not a doubt but that some satisfactory arrangement would be effected, of which his envoy might advise his Excellency wherever he might be. The Duke seemed in a measure satisfied, but answered that if your Lordships hesitated or dealt unfairly with him, which would become manifest within four or five days, the time necessary for his envoy to come to Florence and write, he would make terms with the Venetians and with the Devil himself; or he would go and join the Pisans, and would devote all his money, his power, and what allies remained to him to injure our republic. The person whom the Duke has selected for the mission to your Lordships is a certain Messer Vanno, the Duke’s fosterbrother, who was to have started this morning; but it is now the eighteenth hour, and I have not yet heard of his departure; it is possible that the Duke may have changed his purpose. His Excellency agreed also with the Cardinal d’Amboise to leave this morning for Spezzia, according to the original plan. He intended to take with him on board, and in vessels of his own, some five hundred men selected from amongst his gentlemen followers and his infantry; but up to the present moment nothing has been heard of his departure. Possibly he may wish to wait until he is in some measure assured of your Lordships’ intentions.
“Your Lordships will observe that my answers to the Duke were only intended to give some little encouragement to his hopes, so that he might have no excuse for remaining here any longer, and so that the Pope, in his desire to get rid of him, might not oblige you to give the Duke the asked for safe-conduct. When the Duke’s envoy arrives in Florence, your Lordships need not pay much attention to him, and may act in the matter as may seem best to you; reflecting whether it be more important to break off or to conclude the negotiation. The Duke’s cavalry that have gone towards Florence, under command of Carlo Baglioni, number one hundred men-at-arms and two hundred and fifty light-horse. Your Lordships will take measures to find out their whereabouts, and should you deem it well that they should in a measure be disarmed, you can do so whenever you think proper; and when informed of your Lordships’ intentions, I shall act towards the Duke accordingly. I beg your Lordships will not fail to write me in case anything else should occur.”
Your letters are communicated to the Cardinal d’Amboise and the other Cardinals; and his Eminence of Volterra does all that is possible to stir up everybody, and to keep them on the lookout,as I have already mentioned in my enclosure of the 16th. And if everything here does not go on as you could wish, it will be the fault of circumstances, and not because the thing is not thought of or not urged.
“Respecting the security demanded by the Duke, D’Amboise says that you must act as best suits yourselves”; in relation to other matters, he complains much and shrugs his shoulders. Your Lordships’ letter of the 15th was received this morning, in reply to which nothing else occurs to me. The Citerna business is still delayed, for the reasons given in my letter of the 13th. I will endeavor to bring it to a speedy termination, and with the greatest possible advantage. Of the French army we have no further news, nor can we expect any so long as this weather continues. In consequence of the inundations around the Garigliano, the Spaniards cannot attack the French, and the latter cannot advance.
The assumption of the tiara by the Pope is postponed until Sunday week. Pagolo Rucellai has given me to understand that the privilege of extracting saltpetre is within his control, and that if your Lordships desire any particular conditions in this matter, which he will be able to manage, he desires to be informed.
We are now at the twenty-first hour, and an hour and a half since I received your letter of the 15th, in which your Lordships point out to me the extremely difficult condition of the affairs of Romagna. But as I had a long interview with his Holiness on that subject yesterday, and as his Eminence of Volterra saw him also to-day, it has seemed to me best to defer until to-morrow to communicate to him the contents of your letter, so as not to weary his Holiness with that subject; the more so, as we do not believe that we shall obtain anything more from him. The Pope can do no more than to write and send agents, and all this he has done. I believe the Bishop of Ragusa will be sent to Romagna, and that he will start immediately.
I recommend myself to your Lordships.
Rome, 18 November, 1503.
P. S. — I send this by the hands of Giovanni Pandolfini, who leaves at the twenty-second hour. Your Lordships will please pay him the customary compensation.[Back to Table of Contents]
Magnificent Signori: —
I wrote yesterday and sent my letter per express, together with my others of the 14th and 16th, which will have informed your Lordships of all that has occurred here in connection with the Duke, who left here this evening. He has gone to Ostia to embark if the weather permits. It promises fair this morning, and may serve him as well as the French, who have been kept on the Garigliano only by the high water. These inundations have obliged their army, as well as that of the Spaniards, to disperse and seek shelter in the neighboring hamlets and villages, leaving only guards in certain bastions which they have on the boundary of the territory occupied by them respectively. And if the weather clears, as it promises this morning, both sides will be able to take the field and pursue their object, — the one to try to advance, and the other to resist; of all of which your Lordships will be duly advised when we receive the news.
Butto return to the Duke Valentino. He is really gone, by the help of God, and to the great satisfaction of the whole country. He has gone to Ostia, as I have said above, having started his troops by land towards Florence, some two or three days ago. According to the Duke’s own account, these forces consist of about seven hundred horse; and when the weather suits he will embark with four hundred or five hundred more for Spezzia, as was agreed upon here, intending from there to follow the route indicated in my letter of the 14th. It is to be feared lest, being offended with your Lordships, the Duke may throw himself with his troops into Pisa, as he threatened to do at our last interview, of which I gave an account in my letter of yesterday. And what makes me apprehensive of this is, that the individual whom it was understood he was to send to Florence has never said one word to me about his passport for his safety, which I was to give him according to our understanding. And thence I fear that the Duke contemplates not to co-operate with your Lordships any longer. I shall try and find out thetruth of the matter, and will then advise you.
I informed your Lordships yesterday of the receipt of yours of the 15th, per express; and to-day I have received the copies forwarded on the 16th. With all my best efforts, however, it was not possible for me to see the Pope to-day; to-morrow, however, shall not pass without my seeing him anyhow; and I shall do what I can for the advantage of our republic, as well as for that of the Church, which is equally interested in the matter. Your Lordships’ letter was read to the Cardinal d’Amboise, and I noticed that these things afflict him very much. Nevertheless, he shrugs his shoulders and excuses himself, saying that there is no help for it at present. He promises, however, whether the result be peace or victory, and he counts confidently upon one or the other, to restore things to their former condition, and that your interests shall under all circumstances be secured; more than this we cannot hope for from him. He understands the affairs of Romagna so well himself, that it offends him if any one attempts to recall them to his mind. And yet two days ago M. de Chaumont, Governor of Lombardy, sent him a letter which the French envoy at Venice had written to inform him of the disposition of the Venetians, and of their preparations against Romagna, and of their plans, which aimed at nothing less than, after having seized Romagna, to attack Florence, under pretence of recovering the one hundred and eighty thousand florins which they claim to be due them. By this aggression they hope to weaken and diminish the reputation of the king of France, by depriving him of the men and money which you supply him, and at the same time to humble Tuscany and increase their own territory. The Cardinal d’Amboise sent this letter to his Eminence of Volterra, who seemed pleased to have it, and appeared to take the matter seriously; but the only conclusion arrived at was, that we must wait to see what their fleet will do, upon which they count so largely, if the weather and the state of the sea do not hinder its advance.
I recommend myself to your Lordships, quæ bene valeant.
Rome, 19 November, 1503.[Back to Table of Contents]
Magnificent Signori: —
I shall write briefly to-day what has occurred since my despatch of the 18th, reserving further details for my next. And I do this so that your Lordships may, on the arrival of Messer Ennio, the Duke’s envoy and bearer of this, be more immediately informed of the state of things here. The Duke, as I have already informed you, left here yesterday morning for Ostia, and will embark there with some four or five hundred men for Spezzia. As the weather has improved, I believe he will sail to-night. His cavalry, consisting, according to his own account, of about seven hundred horse, he sent forward three days ago on the road to Tuscany. Now having done all this without any definite reply from your Lordships for our instruction, on account of which I wrote you on the 18th, the Duke has sent the bearer of this, Messer Ennio, to your Lordships, who also brings a letter to you from the Cardinal Volterra “merely for the purpose of satisfying the Duke; for both the Pope and the Cardinal d’Amboise would take it ill if you were really to concede a safe-conduct to the Duke.” According to what they say, and the hints which they have thrown out, your Lordships may, if it suits you, act in accordance with their intentions and spirit, and may do so without any hesitation. And if circumstances have caused you to change your decision “the coming of the Duke’s envoy will afford you an excellent opportunity, of which your Lordships will avail with your habitual sagacity.” Your letter of the 15th and a similar one to the Pope of the 16th were submitted to his Holiness this morning. He was greatly affected by them, and said in a few words that, inasmuch as he had occupied the papal chair but a short time, he could not regulate this matter as he would desire; that for the present he would do what he could, but that hereafter he hoped to do a great deal more; that he would start the Bishop of Tivoli for Venice to-morrow, and within a couple of days he would send the Bishop of Ragusa to Romagna, who should take the route through Florence, with instructions to confer with your Lordships. Although his Holiness had resolved to await the answer of the Bishop, yet he intended to send an envoy to Venice before taking any other steps against them; but seeing their insolence now, he had resolved to convoke the ambassadors of all the nations, and to arouse them to the facts, and make his sentiments known to them, and lay before them his complaints of the outrages of the Venetians. And, in short, that he would leave nothing undone, and therefore he hoped your Lordships would continue your preparations for defence, and meantime he thanked you for what you had done thus far. His Eminence of Volterra replied with his habitual prudence, and I added such remarks as seemed to me proper; but more than the above we did not get from him. We shall not fail, as we have done hitherto, to remind his Holiness and the Cardinals of this business, as our duty demands, and shall continue to keep your Lordships fully advised of whatever takes place.
The Duke of Urbino came to Rome to-day. From the French army we have no further news; it is to be hoped that the weather may continue clear, as it has begun yesterday and to-day, so that the army may continue its operations with greater ease.
Rome, 20 November, 1503.[Back to Table of Contents]
Magnificent Signori: —
By the enclosed of yesterday I informed your Lordships of what had taken place here since my last of the 18th, and that I could not possibly present myself at the feet of his Holiness yesterday to communicate to him your confidential letter of the 15th, received on the 16th. I did so, however, this morning, in the presence of his Eminence of Volterra, and read your letter to his Holiness. After that the Cardinal added what he deemed proper, and by order of his Eminence I also said what the occasion required. His Holiness manifested great displeasure at the state of things, saying that he would leave nothing undone for the honor of the Church; that he had already sent a deputy to Romagna, but that he would send another of still higher authority, and had designated the Bishop of Ragusa to go there, and the Bishop of Tivoli to Venice, and that he would urge their prompt departure; and that although he had determined before going further to await the reply of the Venetians, so as to be more fully justified in his proceedings and more clearly informed as to their intentions, yet with the information which your Lordships’ letter gave him he felt justified in going somewhat further, and would address a circular to the princes and protest to their ambassadors here, and would no longer stand upon ceremonies with the Venetians. He then called his Eminence of Volterra, who was present, to witness as to his intentions, and charged me to encourage your Lordships by telling you that his Holiness would leave nothing undone for the liberty of the Church and the security of her friends, and of such as desired to live righteously; and that he ought to be excused if, in the beginning of his Pontificate, he did not show himself more active, but that it was because he was constrained by necessity to act contrary to his nature, having neither troops nor money. He said further, that the Duke of Urbino would arrive in Rome this evening, and that he would take measures that the Venetians should not avail themselves of either his person or his name, nor of his territory or his troops.
We replied to his Holiness in a becoming manner, but obtained nothing more from him; nor can we hope for anything else at present, no matter what may occur. There is but one thing upon which any hopes can be founded, and that is the Pope’s choleric temper and his honorable character; for whilst the one will inflame him, the other will impel him to act against whoever attempts anything adverse to the honor of the Church under his Pontificate. Thus we see that the Venetians, knowing him, think to deceive him with fine promises, and to satisfy his natural character by pretending to desire to be faithful children to the Church; and that they want not only Romagna, but all their own dominions, to show obedience to the Holy Father. For we see that they have appointed eight ambassadors to present their submission to the Pontiff, which is a new thing for the Venetians to do, andwhich they have done from no other motive than the above. We see also that they were delighted at the election of Julius II., and that the embassy had been appointed to do him honor, and that they desire to have him for their father, protector, anddefender. In this way the Venetians endeavor to soothe him and to incline him favorably to their purpose; and are not ashamed to make demonstrations as though they were really the very slaves of the Pope, so as to be able afterwards to command all the others. It is thus these things are judged of here; and I desire to acquaint your Lordships with it, so that you may provide what remedies you can against all eventualities; and that you may consider whether it might not bewell for younot to allow yourselves to be outdone in humility and politeness, since in material force you cannot keep pace with these Venetians.
Messer Agapito and Messer Romolino, formerly officers of the Duke Valentino, but who have remained here, being unwilling to share the Duke’s ill fortune, have informed me that on his departure from Rome for Ostia the Duke directed Messer Ennio, Bishop of Veroli, and entirely devoted to the Duke, to proceed to Florence and to negotiate and conclude some favorable arrangement with your Lordships, in accordance with the conversation which he had lately with me; and that for the security of Messer Ennio he wanted letters from me and a passport from the Cardinal Volterra. Having failed to find me yesterday, they wanted me now to see his Eminence, and to prepare such letters and passport as, when received, would permit Messer Ennio to start.
I called upon our Cardinal accordingly, and as it seemed desirable to us that this envoy should go to Florence, for the reasons given in my letter of the 18th, his Eminence wrote a letter to your Lordships,* and gave a passport to Messer Ennio addressed to all the subjects and allies of your Lordships. And I also gave him a letter for you, containing in brief the same that I had said in my former letter and in this one, so that in case Messer Ennio should arrive before this reaches you, your Lordships may knowhow things are here; and may deliberate on the matter fully informed by what I have said in this as well as in my letter of the 18th. “All the favors that have been shown to the Duke by the Pope, the Cardinal d’Amboise, and by others here, had no other object than to have him go from here with God, and the sooner the better.”
Thus your Lordships are entirely free to decide, without regard, whatever may suit you best. And I repeat again, that if your Lordships should judge from some fresh reasons that it would be well to favor the Duke, etc., you may take that course, although the Pope would rather that you should give him a kick. In short, the Duke’s situation is this. The disposition of the people here towards him is as I have just explained; he is himself at Ostia, waiting for suitable wind and weather to sail for Spezzia; he will have five vessels, and take some five hundred persons with him; and if he has not already left, he will probably leave to-night, wind and weather permitting. He has sent his troops by land towards Florence, but from the Siennese and Gianpaolo Baglioni he has no more pledges than he has from your Lordships, so that everybody here laughs at him. We shall see whither the winds will carry him, and where his troops will bring up, and then we shall also know what your Lordships will decide upon. The Duke of Urbino entered Rome this evening in great state; the Pope’s household and all the Cardinals went out to meet him; some persons here say that he will be made General of the forces of the Holy Church.
Of the French army I have nothing to report, but refer your Lordships to the enclosed letters; and as the weather still continues fair, it is believed that they will advance, and that they will not be checked in their progress.
I recommend myself to your Lordships, quæ bene valeant.
Rome, 20 November, 1503.[Back to Table of Contents]
Magnificent Signori: —
The accompanying letters of yesterday and the day before will inform your Lordships of all that has occurred here since my last of the 18th, sent to you per express through the Pandolfini. I repeated the whole briefly in a letter which I have given to Messer Ennio, envoy of the Duke Valentino, who has sent him to your Lordships for the reasons given in mine of the 18th. I sent that letter by Messer Ennio, so that, in case he should arrive in Florence before the present letter, your Lordships may fully understand how matters are here, and may be able the better to decide the questions in relation to which he comes. Yesterday, at the twenty-second hour, I received your letter of the 17th, from which we learn that Faenza is at the last extremity. And not to fail of his duty, his Eminence of Volterra sent your letters to the Pope, who was greatly agitated by the intelligence, according to what the Secretary of his Holiness reports. So soon as day dawned this morning, the Pope sent for his Eminence; and, complaining to him of the conduct of the Venetians, asked what remedies he could suggest. His Eminence replied, that, seeing these evils steadily progressing, it seemed to him that the remedies contemplated by his Holiness were insufficient, and that it was necessary to resort to stronger measures; that he ought immediately to make the Legato della Marca move forward with his cavalry, and that he must appoint another Legate in Romagna, who ought to be a cardinal, and a man of good character and reputation, who has the honor of the Church at heart, and whose duty it should be to keep those in obedience who are faithful to the Church, and bring back to their obedience, by force if necessary, those who have strayed from it; and that then he ought to call together the ambassadors of all the nations, amongst whom there should be the Venetian envoy, and that in his presence he ought to complain of the wrongs done to the Church, and ask for counsel and assistance; and that, moreover, he ought to send briefs everywhere, conforming to the language he had held to the assembled ambassadors. His Eminence reminded his Holiness that Pope Clement V. had rescued Ferrara from the hands of the Venetians, who had seized that town; and that Pope Sixtus IV., his predecessor and father, had stirred up all Italy against them. He added, that, notwithstanding these new measures, he thought his Holiness should not neglect the old ones, and should start the Bishops of Tivoli and of Ragusa to hold and maintain the other towns, supposing that Faenza was lost.
The Pope approved the suggestions of his Eminence as good and true; nevertheless he would not decide to avail of them as yet, saying that the circumstances seemed to him not to warrant the employment of measures that would at once irritate the Venetians; and that he preferred to carry out his first idea of sending the Bishops of Tivoli and of Ragusa, to see whether the Venetians would not by agreement restore to his hands what they had taken from him by violence. His Holiness seemed not altogether far from believing that the Venetians would do so, and that there was good reason to hope for it; although it was only yesterday that he declared that he would call all the ambassadors together, and protest to them against the acts of the Venetians. Now his Holiness wants to wait for an answer from the deputies whom he has sent to Dionisio di Naldo, from whom as yet nothing has been heard. His Eminence could not induce the Pope to any other course; and whilst his Holiness seems to him, on the one hand, dissatisfied and disposed to remedy the evil when, in his opinion, the proper time shall have come, he finds him on the other hand more circumspect and lukewarm in the measures he proposes than what he ought to be; and therefore he could not induce him to come to any other conclusion.
Later, at the seventeenth hour, the Pope sent again for his Eminence, and told him that he had not been able to sleep on account of the state of things at Faenza and in Romagna, and that he had thought it might be well to sound the Duke Valentino again in regard to placing in the hands of his Holiness the castle of Furli and the other fortresses or places which he still held in Romagna, with the promise to restore them again to the Duke at a later moment, deeming it preferable that the Duke shouldoccupy them rather than the Venetians. He therefore begged his Eminence of Volterra to take the trouble of going as far as Ostia to see the Duke, and try to conclude such an arrangement with him. His Eminence agreed to do whatever might be agreeable to his Holiness, who in return promised to let him know if he should finally decide upon this course; charging him, meanwhile, to confer with the Cardinal d’Amboise, and to find out how he was disposed in this matter. This plan, that the Duke Valentino should hand these places over to the Pope, with the understanding that they shall be restored to him later, was proposed some days ago. The Duke consented to it, but then the Pope objected, saying that he did not want to break faith with any one; and being unwilling that any one should be master there, he refused to entertain the proposition. Now, however, he is willing to adopt this plan, unless he changes his mind again, being constrained by that necessity of which you are aware. He thinks that this is the most efficacious and excusable proceeding that he can adopt towards the Venetians, deeming it well not as yet to declare himself openly their enemy.
At dinner-time his Eminence was again sent for by the Pope, who made him stay to dinner and detained him until near the twenty-fourth hour. His Eminence informed me that the Pope had sent to Ostia to ascertain whether the Duke had left, and if not, to make him delay his departure; as in that case the Cardinal will go early to-morrow to see him, and on the Cardinal’s return we shall know what conclusion has been arrived at. But if the Duke has left, then it would be useless to entertain the project any further. His Eminence told me also that they had talked of the mission of the Bishop of Ragusa, who has been named Governor of Bologna and of the entire Romagna, with instructions to do all he possibly can to rescue those places from the hands of the Venetians, and bring them back to their obedience to the Holy Church. This Bishop has orders to stop at Florence and thank your Lordships on behalf of the Pope for the efforts you have made thus far, and to confer with you as to whether it be best to go to Faenza or Furli, or to enter Romagna from some other direction. He is to act according to your suggestions, and to avail himself in all other respects of your Lordships’ good offices. He will leave to-morrow or next day.
“As to Citerna and the two hundred ducats, etc., about which I have written, your Lordships wish to know the grounds for such a payment, and the advantages that would result from it. In explanation of this I reply that these fortresses are distributed amongst the Cardinals by lot, and whoever receives one of them has to keep twenty men there as a garrison, for which he is paid by the treasury. But instead of twenty men they keep only ten, and the difference is their profit. These gains enable the Cardinals to find persons who purchase these fortresses from them; and as San Giorgio has found some one who offers him two hundred ducats for Citerna, he will not part with it for less to any one else, and I believe we shall have to pay him that sum if we wish to effect the proposed exchange. As to the advantages to be gained thereby, it seems to me necessary that, inasmuch as we claim to be the defenders of the Church, we should not prove ourselves her despoilers. Nor is there any other more suitable way; for if San Giorgio is content, the matter will remain quiet for at least one year, and within that period we shall find some other expedient. This is the plan proposed here, and we shall endeavor to carry it through, although San Giorgio has drawn back and will not explain himself. But I shall not cease to keep an eye on him, and beg your Lordships meantime to reply upon this point.”
Your Lordships desire further information as to how matters are going on here, and what the opinions and conjectures in relation to them are. I imagined that up to the present time I had written in such manner that, if your Lordships take my letters in hand, you will find in them a complete history of all that has taken place here. To recapitulate them briefly I must, as regards the Pope, refer again to what I have written about him in my letter of the 11th; for his Holiness seems to me still bound by the same obligations and considerations which I then communicated. As to the Duke Valentino, you will have seen what I wrote subsequently, and more especially what I said in my three letters on the subject of his affairs; from which your Lordships, with your habitual sagacity, will be able to judge how his affairs will probably terminate, and what his own end is likely to be. Respecting Romagna I cannot yet tell your Lordships more than I have already done in my previous letters as to what is generally said here on the subject. From these your Lordships will also have learnt the attitude of the Pope and of the Cardinal d’Amboise, and the doings of the Venetians, real as well as pretended; how fate prevents the French from being able to resent them, and how the Pope finds it convenient to feign to believe them. Thus your Lordships cannot in this state of things hope that either the French or the Pope will aid you against the Venetians with either men or money; and that you will have to rely upon anything else rather than upon the men and money of others.
As regards the Spanish and French armies, the latter have so entirely obtained the control of the Garigliano, that the Spaniards could not prevent their crossing the river, nor afterwards drive them from the positions which they hold there. As to their respective forces, I can but repeat what I have said before on that point, and what is generally admitted; namely, that the Spaniards, being inferior in numbers, cannot venture to give battle, and therefore withdraw behind difficult passes and strong places; as was seen first at San Germano and now on the Garigliano, where, having been driven from the river-bank, they have retreated about a mile, and by means of intrenchments and redoubts present fresh obstacles to the advance of the French. The bad weather also hinders the French from moving forward; for the country being low and swampy and the rain incessant, both French and Spaniards are obliged to confine their operations to guarding the redoubts which they have thrown up in front of each other, leaving the rest of their armies to disperse and seek shelter in the neighboring hamlets and places, being mutually protected against each other by the water and the weather. Yesterday the sky cleared a little, but to-day it rains again, and it is feared that the wet weather may continue for some time yet. Both armies suffer from want of forage and provisions; but the French suffer most, as the country around their camp is wasted to a greater degree. This exposes them to some disaster unless they can advance; on the other hand, the power of money, of which the French have abundance, may give them the best of the game, and may cause the Spaniards, who are short of money, to lose. It is believed that Bartolommeo d’ Alviano has joined the Spaniards, but only with a small force. The Cardinal d’Amboise, on the other hand, sent the Savelli and the troops of Giovan Giordano to the French army, who consider themselves as having been badly served by Gianpaolo Baglioni in not having moved with his cavalry when he was ordered, and when they urged him to march. Taking all things together, I am really at a loss what conclusion to come to as to the possible issue. Your Lordships can form your own conclusions better than any one else. I will only say this, that the general opinion is that, considering all things, the French have more money and better troops, but the Spaniards have more good fortune and a better commander.
I recommend myself to your Lordships.
Rome, 21 November, 1503.[Back to Table of Contents]
Magnificent Signori: —
This morning, at the twentieth hour, his Eminence of Volterra left for Ostia for the purpose explained in the accompanying letter. The Cardinal Romolino has gone with him, and they will not return until to-morrow evening. Your Lordships will be promptly informed of the result of their mission. I shall endeavor to send this by an express that is to leave; but should I not be able to do so, I will send it anyhow by a special messenger.
Rome, 22 November, 1503.[Back to Table of Contents]
Magnificent Signori: —
I write these few lines for the purpose of recommending myself especially to your Lordships, knowing that I may do so with entire confidence. On leaving Florence I received thirty-three ducats, of which I have expended about thirteen for postage as per account sent to your colleague Niccolo d’Alessandro Machiavelli. Eighteen ducats I had to pay for a mule, and for a velvet suit eighteen more. For a Spanish cloak I paid eleven ducats, and for an overcoat ten, making in all seventy ducats. I am living at an hostelry which costs daily for myself and two servants and the mule ten carlini. True, your Lordships have given me the salary I asked for; and I asked for what I supposed would be sufficient, not knowing how dear everything is here. I have therefore to thank your Lordships, and to complain only of myself. But having learned to know the cost of living here better, I would now beg your Lordships to remedy the matter, if it can be done. If my salary cannot be increased, at least have me reimbursed for the postage expenses, as has always been done to every envoy. Niccolo d’Alessandro Machiavelli knows my circumstances, and can tell you whether I am able to bear such a loss; and even if I could, your Lordships know that in this age men labor to get ahead, and not to go behindhand.
I recommend myself to your Lordships, quæ feliciter valeant.
Rome, 22 November, 1503.[Back to Table of Contents]
Magnificent Signori: —
Yesterday I sent to your Lordships through Giovanni Pandolfini, and free of charge, four letters of the 19th, 20th, 21st, and 22d. The last informs you of the departure of the Cardinal Volterra for Ostia, for the purpose explained to your Lordships in mine of the 21st. Since then I received last night yours of the 20th, giving the news of the loss of Faenza. So soon as it was light this morning I went to the chamber of Messer Francesco di Castel del Rio, the person nearest to the Pope, and read him your Lordships’ letter. He told me that his Holiness had nothing so much at heart as the affairs of Romagna, and for that reason the news would be most painful to him. Still, as it was necessary that his Holiness should know it, he thought it best to avail of some favorable occasion to communicate it to him, and made me leave the letter, which I did most willingly, for it seemed to me in all respects proper that the Pope should know the facts. Deeming it well also to give the news to those Cardinals who have shown themselves most devoted to the Church in this matter, I spoke to Ascanio and Capaccio. Ascanio told me that he had also received the news, and that he was for doing everything possible for the good of the Church, etc., etc. Capaccio expressed himself in the most acceptable manner towards your Lordships, but added that he thought you had made a mistake in this Romagna business, in having supported those lords who have taken possession of these places again; that you ought to have abstained from interfering, or, if you wanted to do it, you should have done so in the name and under cover of the Church, and not in the name of any one else. Thus you would not have afforded the Venetians an occasion to oppose you, and to take to arms. These Venetians excuse themselves to the Pope on no other ground than this, and pretend to have taken arms against the cities of the Church, not for the purpose of holding them, but merely to prevent the Florentines from taking possession of them under cover of the Church.
Your Lordships know that I have ample ground for justifying your conduct in this matter, having been personally present at all the discussions and decisions come to by your Lordships on the subject, all of which I explained very fully to his Eminence the Cardinal Capaccio. He seemed satisfied, but remarked nevertheless that it would have been well not to have afforded the Venetians such a pretext. Under the circumstances, however, he said it was necessary to think of the remedies; and so far as he was concerned, he was for leaving nothing undone, and he thought that his Holiness was animated by the same feelings; and then he told me of the steps taken in sending the Bishops of Tivoli and Ragusa, etc., etc. After that I had a conversation with the Cardinal d’Amboise, who told me that I ought to communicate the news to the Pope; and that as for himself he would do all that was possible for the security of your Lordships and for the liberty and honor of the Church. At that moment Castel del Rio sent for me and informed me that he had shown your letter to the Pope, who was as much grieved at the events as could be imagined, and was resolved to leave nothing undone, as was well known to his Eminence of Volterra, who had gone on horseback to Ostia for no other purpose, and that on his return he would decide whether some more effective measures could not be taken, and that then all would be done. I did what I thought my duty with Castel del Rio, as well as with the other Cardinals; still I judge that my offices are the less needed in this matter, as the Cardinal Volterra neglects nothing that ought to be said or done by any one who has the welfare of his country and the general good at heart, as I have already written several times to your Lordships. And if the measures and remedies do not conform to his suggestions, and are not such as the necessities of the occasion demand, or as your Lordships might desire, you must only blame the malignity of the times and the ill fortune of the feeble. We must then await the return of our Cardinal from Ostia, and see what arrangements he may have concluded, and whether thereupon the Pope or the Cardinal d’Amboise will decide upon moving more promptly.
It is now the twenty-fourth hour, and, as his Eminence has not yet returned, I judge that he will not come back until to-morrow. I must not omit to tell your Lordships that it is publicly said here, (and I write it because I have heard it from a man of serious character, and who is in a position readily to know the truth,) that early this morning a messenger came to his Holiness from those Cardinals who went to Ostia to see the Duke Valentino, signifying that the Duke refused to place the fortresses of Romagna in the hands of the Pope; and that his Holiness, enraged at this news, has sent orders to have the Duke arrested, and that he is now held as prisoner. And further, that the Pope has immediately written to Sienna and Perugia, ordering such of the Duke’s troops as might come there to be immediately disarmed.
I do not know whether all this be true, but shall inform myself on the subject the moment our Cardinal returns, and will then at once write to your Lordships, quæ bene valeant.
Rome, 23 November, 1503.[Back to Table of Contents]
Magnificent Signori: —
By my enclosed of yesterday, in reply to your Lordships’ letter of the 20th, you will be informed of the events of that day. Since then I have received yours of the 21st, with a copy of the convention concluded between the people of Faenza and the Venetians. Having at the same time heard of the return of his Eminence of Volterra, I called upon him immediately and read him the letters and the articles of the convention. After carefully noting their contents, and particularly the postscript where your Lordships show that you had foreseen that the attack of the Venetians upon Romagna was made “with the consent of the Pope, he told me that he had conferred several times with the Cardinal d’Amboise about it, and that he had also had his suspicions on the subject, seeing the tardiness of the Pope’s measures,” but that having afterwards talked with his Holiness, and seeing how keenly he felt the conduct of the Venetians, he could no longer believe it. And thus with regard to the information which you give respecting those who had gone to Imola, our Cardinal said that your Lordships were either misinformed, or that the Pope had been deceived by his envoys, as they had no authority to speak for any one but for the Church. We shall nevertheless watch these things closely, and if we learn anything of moment your Lordships shall be promptly advised. Your letter was subsequently read to the Cardinal d’Amboise, and the articles of the convention were also shown him; and as the ambassador of the Emperor of Germany, who has repeatedly visited the Cardinal within the past few days, happened to be in his chamber at the time, the Cardinal called him to listen to the letter and the articles of the convention. Both the Cardinal and the ambassador manifested much resentment, and expressed themselves in the gravest and bitterest manner against the Venetians, intimating that this act of theirs might easily prove their ruin. In truth, there is such a general hatred manifested here against the Venetians, that we may hope that, if an occasion were to present itself, some harm would be done to them; for everybody cries out against them, not only those who hold their states from them, but all those lords and gentlemen of Lombardy who are subjects to the king of France (and these are not a few) cry into the ears of the Cardinal d’Amboise. And if he has not yet taken any action against them in the matter, it arises from the considerations which your Lordships understand, and which may cease either in consequence of a peace or a truce, or some other means, by which their condition would be improved. In short, the general opinion is that this attack of the Venetians upon Faenza will serve them as a door that will either open all Italy to them, or that will lead to their own ruin.
His Eminence of Volterra, with that prudence which he manifests on all occasions, enlarged upon the dangers to which our republic is exposed, and the inconvenience which she suffered from not having her troops within reach; and that the well-known ambition of the Venetians might easily give rise to a state of things that would not only make our own troops necessary, but also those of the king, to defend us against that inordinate desire for conquest of the Venetians, which, whilst it made them usurp the possessions of the Church, at the same time threatened those of Florence. D’Amboise became terribly excited at these words, and swore by God and on his soul, that if the Venetians committed such an outrage the king of France would leave all his other occupations, no matter how important, to come to our defence, and that upon that point your Lordships might be of good cheer, etc., etc. His Eminence of Volterra did not deem it proper to say anything more, judging that it was enough for the present to have warned D’Amboise of what might happen. I went afterwards to present myself at the feet of the Holy Father, where I found his Eminence of Volterra, and read your Lordships’ letter to him, as also the articles of the convention, his Eminence adding what he thought to the purpose. His Holiness repeated what he had already said to me on another occasion, that he was fully resolved not to suffer such a wrong done to the Church; and that, besides having sent the Bishop of Tivoli, he would also send the Bishop of Ragusa to make his intentions known in Romagna and to the Venetians; that he had caused the Duke of Urbino to withdraw his troops, and had written to order Vitelli to do the same. He said further, that, for the purpose of depriving the Venetians of every excuse for this attempt, which they pretended to be against the Duke Valentino and the Florentines, he had written to your Lordships, requesting you to withdraw your troops, and had ordered the Venetians to do the same; “and that with regard to the Duke Valentino he had taken measures that were known to Volterra;” that he would wait now to see what the Venetians would do after all this, and if they did not desist from their attempt, and did not make restitution of what they had taken, he would unite with France and the Emperor for no other purpose than the destruction of the Venetians, for which these sovereigns were well disposed. When his Eminence of Volterra replied that the Venetians said that they intended to hold those places and pay the same dues as the other lords, which they thought his Holiness would readily agree to, the Pope replied that he had no such intentions, for he wanted those cities in the hands of men of whom he could dispose at his pleasure.
Your Lordships will judge of the intentions of the Pope by what he says, and by the measures he has taken, and what is likely to be the result of this affair. You will also have received the Pope’s brief directing you to withdraw your troops from these places; for he has written to the Venetians to the same effect, for the reasons above explained. What the Venetians will do on receipt of this brief is not known; but your Lordships can watch them, and govern your actions according to your habitual prudence. And to conclude, as regards the intentions of his Holiness, your Lordships will see, as I have several times said, that he wants to keep all those places in his own hands and under his own control, and it is for this purpose that he has sent those Cardinals to Ostia, “the result of which was that, as the Duke refused to give up those places which he still held, the Pope had him arrested, as I have related in the enclosed. It seems to be the Pope’s determination to have those places, and to assure himself of the Duke’s person, who is actually now in the Pope’s power, being on board of one of the king’s galleys, under command of Mottino. It is not supposed that he will do him any other harm for the moment; nor is it known for certain that the Pope has ordered such of the Duke’s troops to be disarmed as have gone by land. But it is believed that this will naturally be done, as they come without a safe-conduct from any one.”
His Holiness will assume the tiara on Sunday next. Your Lordships can therefore start the ambassadors at your entire convenience; but his Eminence of Volterra suggests that the sooner the better, considering the Pope’s character, for he says that his Holiness seems to desire their coming, and would not be displeased at their arrival before the Genoese ambassadors, and that the first come will be the first despatched. His Eminence has charged me to advise your Lordships to urge their departure, for by doing so you will greatly advance yourselves in the Pope’s good graces without any inconvenience to yourselves.
From the camp I have nothing else to tell you but what I have already said in my letter of the 21st, for the weather continues most unfavorable, and, if this goes on so, the troops will be obliged to retire into quarters somewhere. Perhaps they may be able by means of some agreement to withdraw from each other’s front, for which the six months’ truce concluded at Perpignan gives some hopes. Your Lordships will be kept fully advised in relation to all this.
Rome, 24 November, 1503.[Back to Table of Contents]
Magnificent Signori: —
To prevent your Lordships from having to wait for my letters, and at the same time to keep you informed of the various phases through which the Duke Valentino’s affairs have passed, and of their present condition, I hasten to send you the enclosed through the agency of Giovanni Pandolfini, who, seeing how irregularly the service of the couriers is performed, has resolved to send a messenger of his own. He is to leave at the twenty-second hour, and your Lordships will please pay him according to the advice of Giovanni.
Having written every day, or at least once every two days, I regret that, despite of many discomforts and dangers and my utmost diligence, as well as heavy expense, which neither the salary allowed me by your Lordships nor my own means can afford, I should be blamed for negligence. Henceforth, therefore, no three days shall pass, unless something extraordinary occurs, without my despatching a special courier to your Lordships; although the wretched roads and the fatigues of the couriers cause others to be served quite as badly as your Lordships. There is nothing new here but what I have already written. The Pope assumes the tiara to-morrow morning, as I have already mentioned.
I recommend myself to your Lordships.
Rome, 25 November, 1503.[Back to Table of Contents]
Magnificent Signori: —
Through the agency of Giovanni Pandolfini, who despatched an express, I sent yesterday three letters to your Lordships of the 23d, 24th, and 25th, which contained full report of all that had occurred here during those three days, and of what we learn here in relation to matters at present in preparation here. I have told you “that the Duke has finished his rôle here forever, that he is at the Pope’s mercy, who wants by all means to obtain possession of those fortresses that are still held by the Duke, and at the same time wants to assure himself of the Duke’s person. It is not exactly known whether the Duke is still on board of a vessel at Ostia, or whether he has been brought here. Different rumors are current here on the subject to-day; in truth, some one has told me that yesterday at the second hour, whilst in the Pope’s chamber, two persons arrived from Ostia, whereupon every one was immediately requested to leave the chamber. But having remained in the adjoining room this individual overheard that these persons brought the news that the Duke had been thrown into the Tiber by order of the Pope. I can neither confirm nor deny this statement, but I believe that, even if it be not true now, it certainly will be erelong. And we now see how honorably this Pope begins to pay his debts, and how he wipes them out as with a sponge. Nevertheless everybody blesses his hands, and will do so still more the more decidedly he goes ahead. But since the Duke is taken, whether dead or alive, we can now act regardless of him. So soon as I learn anything positive about it, your Lordships shall be informed.”
To-day, with the help of God, our Holy Father, Pope Julius II., assumed the tiara, and gave his benediction to the people in the most edifying manner, and great festivity prevailed throughout all Rome. On Thursday, God willing, he will go to St. John Lateran; but should the weather not be favorable, then he will postpone it until the first fair day. The Bishop of Ragusa, who was to have gone to Romagna, wanted to witness the coronation; but it is not known whether he will delay his departure so as to enable him also to assist at this other solemnity. As to urging his departure, your Lordships may be assured, as I have before written, that nothing will be left undone upon that point, and that, as you are aware, by a personage of higher authority than myself.
The French and the Spaniards remain in the same condition as stated in my letter to your Lordships of the 21st, and we have the same hopes now as then; for the bad weather having continued, they could do nothing. True, yesterday a man arrived here from the camp who had left there two days before, having been sent by the French commander to inform the Cardinal d’Amboise that they intended anyhow to advance within eight days, and to have a battle or ravage the country, even if they had to wade through mud and water up to their throats. They are very hopeful of victory, and I understand that Cardinal d’Amboise has given them free rein and commended them to God. We shall see what will come of it, and will pray God to grant victory to those who shall bring peace and welfare to Christendom and to our republic. The opinion prevails that this attempt will result unfavorably for the French; for they are weak in infantry, and if the mud is not dried by the north wind, or any other winds that may blow, their cavalry, in which they are strongest, will not be able to manœuvre, and thus the best part of their forces will be embarrassed, whilst the infantry of the Spaniards, in which they are strongest, will be able to act freely. Still we must suppose that so many men of ability as are on the side of the French value their lives and know what they are about.
This morning the duplicates of your letters of the 20th and 21st came to hand, and this evening I received those of the 22d and 24th. D’Amboise shall be informed of the payment made to Gianpaolo Baglioni; I will also communicate to him your letters touching the affairs of Romagna. But this cannot be done until to-morrow; to-day being a holiday, it would seem to me not proper to trouble him with business matters. I am really astonished that on the 24th your Lordships had not yet received my letters of the 19th, 20th, 21st, and 22d, which I sent on the 22d by a courier who was despatched to France; but I think that by this time he must have arrived at Florence anyhow. By the series of letters which I have written from the 16th until to-day, your Lordships will understand what steps the Pope and the Cardinal d’Amboise are taking with regard to the proceedings of the Venetians. And in fact the Pope believes that he will be able to recover those places from them in an amicable way; and D’Amboise hopes to be able to check their insolence with briefs. But up to the present we do not see that either of them is for expending anything but admonitions and menaces, either by letter or by word of mouth, and your Lordships know with what energy they dispense these. I have told your Lordships, in my letter of the 24th, what his Eminence of Volterra said to me about the suggestion of your Lordships, “whether the Pope might not have consented to the acts of the Venetians; that he had several times talked with the Cardinal d’Amboise about it, and had concluded that it could not be; and that this conclusion was based upon the language held by the Pope whenever he had spoken to him on the subject. And not believing the Pope to be a man of double dealing, but rather abrupt and impetuous, they had no misgivings upon that point. His Eminence of Volterra has since then told me again, that one day, the same as on other occasions, the Cardinal d’Amboise had pressed the Pope upon this point, showing him that he desired to understand his intentions, so as to know what course the king of France would have to take, and that thereupon the Pope became greatly excited, and affirmed with the gravest oaths that the acts of the Venetians were entirely contrary to his will; that everybody understood this fully, and that he wanted to remedy the matter, etc., etc.; and that the Pope’s language was such that he could not have shown himself more dissatisfied. These two cardinals seem to believe him in part, and feel themselves in great measure secure, notwithstanding that there are others of equally high position who doubt whether amongst other promises for the purpose of gaining the Papacy, Julius II. may not have promised this to the Venetians,” etc., etc.
I recommend myself to your Lordships, quæ bene valeant.
Rome, 26 November, 1503.[Back to Table of Contents]
Magnificent Signori: —
I wrote the enclosed yesterday, giving an account of what had occurred here during the day. It remains for me to inform your Lordships that your letters of the 24th were communicated to his Holiness through Castel del Rio; but that on the whole nothing can be drawn from the Pope except that he is firmly resolved to have things restored to their places, and that he is busily occupied trying to get the fortresses which the Duke still holds out of his hands. Respecting the Duke I cannot confirm altogether what I had written in the accompanying; the only thing positive is that he is at Ostia in the power of the Pope. But I was told yesterday that Messer Gabriello had returned from Fano, and Messer Romolino from Ostia, and that they had arranged matters with the Duke; that is to say, he places the fortresses by agreement in the hands of the Pope, for which his Holiness gives him certain compensation; also that Romolino had prostrated himself at the feet of his Holiness, and with tears in his eyes had recommended the Duke to his consideration. We shall know erelong what will come of all this. The Pope thinks that, once in possession of those fortresses, he will be better able to face the Venetians, and that the population of Romagna will be more disposed to adhere to him when once they see the standard of the Church floating from those fortresses. Of the French army I can report only what I have said in the enclosed; the weather seems settled, but we cannot know whether it will last.
I recommend myself to your Lordships.
Rome, 27 November, 1503.[Back to Table of Contents]
Magnificent Signori: —
I wrote to your Lordships yesterday and the day previous, and both letters were sent through Giovanni Pandolfini free of charge. It remains for me now to inform your Lordships that last night the whole of the Pope’s guard went to Ostia to bring the Duke Valentino here, according to the report of some, whilst others say that it is not only to bring him here, but also to make more sure of his person. For yesterday evening the Pope received information that the Duke had withdrawn with his followers on board of one of his own galleys, and that he would escape unless sufficient force were sent down at once to prevent it. The guard was consequently ordered down, and early this morning Castel del Rio also went down to Ostia; but up to the present twenty-fourth hour they have not returned. It was rumored this morning that the Duke had fled; but this evening it is stated that they have him in hand. However this may be, we shall know better by to-morrow; and we see now that the Pope is going to make a clean business of it with the Duke, and perhaps all I wrote in my letter of the 26th may in every respect be verified. We see now that the Duke’s sins have little by little brought him to expiation. May God guide things for the best!
The Cardinal Ragusa left here yesterday and will pass through Florence, as I have already informed you, “and in fact he will govern his conduct according as you may direct him; his instructions were drawn up by the Cardinal Volterra. The Pope particularly recommended him to conduct himself in Florence with such prudence that he may not give cause to the Venetians to suspect him of being in your interest.” I have deemed it well to mention this to your Lordships, so that you may use due caution and prudence in dealing with him. One of the persons whom the Pope in the beginning sent into Romagna returned here yesterday, and reports that the Church has but few adherents amongst the inhabitants of Imola and Furli; because the latter fear that they may not again be placed under the government of the Countess of Furli, whilst those of Imola desire the return of the Duke. He also states that the Castellan of Furli is resolved upon making a vigorous resistance, and to remain faithful to the Duke so long as he knows him to be alive. This report displeases the Pope very much; still he relies upon the mission of the Bishop of Ragusa, and will await the result.
Nothing more from the camp than what I have lately written. Gianpaolo Baglioni is expected here within a week.
I recommend myself to your Lordships, quæ bene valeant.
Rome, 28 November, 1503.[Back to Table of Contents]
Magnificent Signori: —
“Volterra communicated to me to-day, that yesterday, whilst conversing with D’Amboise about the things that are going on here, he touched upon the treaty that is on foot between the three sovereigns of France, Germany, and Spain. D’Amboise seemed very anxious that it should be carried into effect, because France has been much exhausted during the past year; and he hoped that with a little repose she would soon be in condition to engage in any important enterprise. He spoke so earnestly on the subject, as to make one believe that he would be in favor of accepting such a peace, even if it were disadvantageous for France. His Eminence told me further, that D’Amboise had given him to understand that in the event of such a peace the Emperor would come any way into Italy. Volterra having observed, in reply to him, that, as on the occasion of similar treaties and descents of the Emperor into Italy, it would be necessary for France to remember her allies and to protect them, D’Amboise answered that this would under any circumstances be the first thing to be done, as they would on no account allow Tuscany to be dismembered. True, the Emperor being poor, and wishing to travel in a becoming manner, it would be necessary for Florence to contribute and serve him with a sum of money, which however need not be considerable; but that it was important for your Lordships not to fail in doing this. In the course of the conversation D’Amboise allowed it to escape from his lips that the aforesaid three sovereigns intended under the treaty to divide Italy amongst themselves; but he affirmed at the same time that under the protection of France Florence would be saved and her situation even improved. During this conversation Volterra never lost sight of the duties of his office; in short, he obtained from D’Amboise all the above information, and if this treaty is concluded, it will not be until after D’Amboise shall have conferred with the Emperor on his way back to France. It has seemed to me proper to communicate to your Lordships all the information I have had on the subject, so that when D’Amboise passes through Florence, as he will, you may place some citizen near him who will advocate your interests and will know on what subjects to sound him.
“You must also know that the Emperor’s ambassador was this morning with Volterra, and told him that the Venetian ambassador had been to see him the day before, and had endeavored to persuade him on the part of his government of their devotion to the Emperor, and how anxious they were that he should come into Italy, so that they might together with him settle the affairs of Italy, which were in such a bad condition; that the Venetian ambassador touched several times upon the affairs of Romagna, in the hope that the Emperor’s ambassador would enter upon a discussion of that subject; but as he did not, the Venetian himself opened the matter, and began about the disorders in Italy, showing that Romagna had been devastated for two centuries on account of the Popes, who wanted to establish first one and then another as master of that province; so that its population was wearied, and in their desire for repose had thrown itself into the arms of the Venetians, who had received them, but that henceforth they wished to pay to the Church the revenues due to her. And as to the other lords, they were ready to submit themselves to their sense of justice. The German ambassador said that he had replied in a suitable manner, and, without noticing the arguments of the Venetian, he began again to say that the Emperor would without fail come into Italy very soon, and that his intentions with regard to Pisa were twofold; first, to give possession of that city to whoever gave him the most money for it; and secondly, that under all circumstances he wanted an annual revenue from it, as though it were his own property bestowed upon some one as his feudatory. To all this Volterra replied in a suitable manner, whereupon the German ambassador left. I write all this to your Lordships for the reason above stated, and confidently, so that this information may not reach any party where it might give rise to unfavorable reflections, etc., etc.”
“By your letter of the 25th I have your instructions respecting Citerna, and shall follow the matter up with all possible economy; but the Cardinal San Giorgio says that he has a secret offer. Still the negotiation will not be given up, and your Lordships shall be advised of the result.
“Die quo in literis.”
IdemNiccolo.[Back to Table of Contents]
Magnificent Signori: —
The enclosed will inform your Lordships of what occurred here yesterday. Since then your letter of the 25th has arrived, and although there was a consistory to-day, nevertheless measures were taken early this morning to communicate the news contained in your letter to the Pope. Yours of the 24th was communicated to him at the same time, giving an account of the preparations of the Venetians for the purpose of making themselves masters of the remainder of Romagna. In short, his Holiness was reassured by the course of French affairs, and takes hope from the treaty between the two kings referred to in my letter of the 25th. But he was greatly irritated against the Venetians, so that, if any reliance can be placed upon words, gesticulations, and other indications, we must believe that these things really vex him, and that they have been done without his consent. Nevertheless, we do not see that he contemplates taking any other measures than such as he has ordered up to the present; but he seems altogether resolved to wait and see the result of the missions he has sent into Romagna and to Venice. Nothing is left undone to stir up the zeal of his Holiness, for in truth, besides his Eminence of Volterra, who acts in the matter with courage and and earnestness, and regardless of all other considerations, there are other Cardinals who give his Holiness no rest, and D’Amboise is one of those who promise him troops and all other aid, in case he should take fresh measures for resenting the acts of the Venetians. And that things are tending that way is proved by the language which his Holiness held this morning at the consistory before all the Cardinals. For when he came to declare the four Cardinals whom he created to-day, his Holiness said that one of the reasons that influenced him in the creation of those Cardinals was to give the Church more supporters for her defence against those who sought to usurp what belonged to her, and so as to be able the easier to recover from the hands of the Venetians the places which they had wrongfully seized; notwithstanding which he believed that they wished to act like faithful children of the Church, and were willing to restore those places to her, as he had been repeatedly assured by their ambassadors. In saying this his Holiness softened his language; although the first part of his address was such as I have stated above.
The guard returned from Ostia to-day at the twenty-second hour, and the Duke Valentino was brought at the same time on a galley to San Paolo (fuori le Mura), about two miles from here; and it is believed that he will be brought up to Rome to-night. What will be done with him after that will be known erelong. For the present your Lordships need not trouble yourselves as to where the Duke may possibly disembark. The infantry which he had taken into his pay come straggling back, and the gentlemen whom he had taken with him will have to return to their homes; and Don Michele with the other troops who are coming to Florence will not get much good by it. For the present I know nothing more of them; but your Lordships will have better information on the subject from Perugia or the neighboring places. Of the French and the Spaniards we hear nothing new; they retain their former positions, where they are kept by the same causes that I have mentioned in previous letters. Nor is it known what determination the French have come to with regard to their intended advance under any circumstances, as they had given us to understand. Perhaps they have been stopped by the same considerations which I have mentioned in a former letter. Anyhow it is said that both the armies cannot well be in worse positions, nor in greater want. The weather does not improve; although it was fair for two days, yet to-day it has begun to rain again without cessation, and thus the poor soldiers have to contend against the waters of the earth and of the heavens.
The newly created Cardinals are the following: —
- 1. The Archbishop of Narbonne, nephew of D’Amboise.
- 2. The Bishop of Lucca.
- 3. The Bishop of Mende, in France.
- 4. The Bishop of Sibilia.
I recommend myself to your Lordships, quæ bene valeant.
Rome, 29 November, 1503.
P. S. — I had omitted to tell your Lordships that the Pope does not go to St. John Lateran to-morrow, for fear of the weather. The solemnity has been postponed until Sunday.
Niccolo Machiavelli.[Back to Table of Contents]
Magnificent Signori: —
The enclosed letters of yesterday and the day before will inform your Lordships of what has taken place here since my letters of the 26th and 27th. This morning his Eminence of Volterra told me that he had again been with the Pope, and that, in speaking of the affairs of Romagna, his Holiness said: “This Venetian ambassador makes a great outcry about what I said in the consistory, and goes about complaining to the whole world on the subject.” His Eminence replied that his Holiness ought to learn from this how much noise these Venetians made about his words, whilst they themselves were unwilling to be reproached for their acts. And that his Holiness ought to be the more incensed by their acts, as they were committed against the Church, etc., etc. The Pope having thereupon asked him whether he had any new measures to suggest, his Eminence replied, that it seemed to him that his Holiness ought to request the Cardinal d’Amboise, before leaving Rome, to order some lances into the province of Parma; and moreover he ought to leave Gianpaolo in Tuscany, so that he could readily be sent to the frontiers of Romagna, and could be made use of either in reality or by way of demonstration, according to circumstances. These two things he thought would not be difficult for D’Amboise to do, for the troops would anyhow have to go into winter quarters, and therefore it ought to be immaterial to him whether they were at Parma or elsewhere. That Gianpaolo was not needed in camp, as there was already too much cavalry there, and that perchance, if a truce were concluded, as was hoped for, he would also have to go into winter quarters. His Eminence of Volterra furthermore reminded his Holiness that he ought promptly to engage those Condottieri whom he intended to take into his pay, in addition to the Duke of Urbino, who seemed disposed to take some of the Colonnese into his own pay. He related to him also, that there had been some negotiations during the past year, through the intervention of the king of France, to effect a union between your Lordships and the cities of Sienna, Bologna, and Ferrara, but that Pope Alexander VI. in his unlimited desire for domination had always opposed it, lest such an alliance might be directed against him; that it would be well, however, for his Holiness to resume these negotiations, and that, if he were to take them in hand, he would doubtless succeed, and that very soon. His Eminence pointed out to the Pope what good would result from it, and how such an alliance would insure peace and quiet to all those states as well as to the Church, and add greatly to the consideration of his Holiness. His Eminence told me that the Pope listened quietly, and with seeming pleasure, to all his arguments, and said that he would endeavor to have D’Amboise do what his Eminence had suggested, and that he would engage the Condottieri as soon as possible. His Holiness said, moreover, that the proposed alliance pleased him much, and that he would promote it to the extent of his power; in fact, that, so far as he was concerned, he was ready to do anything to bring it about. After that they talked of the Duke Valentino, from which it appeared that the Pope does not yet treat the Duke as a prisoner for life. He has sent him to Magliana, seven miles from here, where he is guarded; and in this way the Pope is trying to make him pliable, and to get his countersign from him by agreement, so that it may not be said of him that he had obtained it by force, lest the governors of those fortresses, under such an impression, should undo the whole by giving those places into the hands of some one else instead of the Pope; and therefore he wanted the Duke’s countersign by agreement, as I have said. The agreement will certainly contain the conditions that the Pope is to have those fortresses, and that then the Duke will be allowed to go free. Perhaps there may be a question as to some compensation, or it may even contain a promise of their being restored after a while to the Duke. What the result of all this will be, I cannot say; nor is it easy to form a judgment in the matter, for the Duke’s affairs have undergone a thousand mutations since I have been here, though in truth these changes have always been downward.
To-day at dinner-time I received your letter of the 27th, in reply to mine of the 25th, and announcing the arrival of Messer Ennio, together with the news of Imola, etc., etc. I applied immediately for an audience of his Holiness, and, presenting myself at his feet, I communicated to him the contents of your letters. In reply his Holiness referred, the same as on former occasions, to his intentions against the Venetians; and as to Messer Ennio, the Pope expressed himself pleased to have the information and the particulars of the way in which the affair had passed off; adding merely that your Lordships should take care to withdraw your troops. To which I replied, that your Lordships had thought of all this, and would act in such manner as not to set a bad example to the Venetians; and that, on the other hand, you would do your utmost to prevent any inconvenience arising from it. His Holiness told me that he had heard of the news from Tosignano, which he regretted greatly, and thanked your Lordships for your offer.
For information respecting the French and Spanish armies I must refer you to what I have said in my previous letters on the subject. The Cardinal d’Amboise will leave here without fail next week. In conversing three or four days since with the most Reverend Monsignore Capaccio, he told me that he had received a benefice in Mugello, and was about to send the Bull and his executive letters; and he requested me to write to your Lordships to be pleased promptly to expedite them; reminding me that he had never asked for anything of you, but had on every occasion served you like a good Florentine. I replied to him in a suitable way.
His Eminence of Volterra, as I have repeatedly observed in my letters, never fails to do his duty to his country; but he would wish to avoid committing any error, and would not like that his too great desire to do what is right and good should mislead him. It would be very agreeable to him, therefore, if, besides your instructions with regard to Romagna, you would indicate to him what, in your Lordships’ judgment, would be the best thing for the Pope to do, so that his Eminence may act with less hesitation and more wisdom.
I recommend myself to your Lordships, quæ bene valeant.
Rome, 30 November, 1503.
The present letters are sent by a confidential express, for which your Lordships will pay to Giovanni Pandolfini the usual price. This express will leave at the fourth hour of the night.[Back to Table of Contents]
Magnificent Signori: —
After having despatched per confidential express my letters of the 28th, 29th, and 30th, I received your Lordships’ letter of the28th per express. I presented myself this morning at the feet of the Holy Father, and read to him your Lordships’ letters in the presence of his Eminence of Volterra. His Holiness listened as usual, and manifested the greatest displeasure at the news; he repeated to me that he would not rest nor leave anything undone that was in his power to do for the honor of the Church and the security of her friends; that until now he had done the greater part of what your Lordships had required him to do, that the briefs to the Venetians had been written and sent, and that the Bishop of Ragusa ought by this time to be at Sienna. Moreover, that as he had no troops he would ask the Cardinal d’Amboise to consent to his employing Gianpaolo Baglioni himself, and that he would to some extent endeavor to raise troops, and that thus he would do as much as he possibly could, and with such good will that nobody in reason could ask more of him. I replied to all this as seemed to me proper, and Cardinal Volterra did his duty, as ever is his wont, for he remained to-day, as on many previous occasions, to dine with his Holiness; and made it a point to remind and urge him to take the necessary steps for our security and for the honor of the Church. The Pope seemed to his Eminence in great agitation, for whilst on the one hand he is anxious to act, he feels on the other hand that he lacks the power. There is no doubt that, if the Pope can be kept in this mood, he will in course of time put those who now attempt to dishonor the Church in great peril. His Eminence also seems to think that your Lordships should urge the departure of the ambassadors, and that you should be liberal in those things that cost nothing, and bestow and distribute them according to circumstances.
When his Holiness was informed, according to what you write, that Ramazotto had entered the castle of Imola, he said that this captain was devoted to him, but that, if the report was true, it must have been done by order of the Cardinal San Giorgio, and that we could learn from him whether he knew anything about it. More than this I have not been able to get from his Holiness; but your Lordships will be able to judge and decide from these conclusions and resolutions what ought to be done. For, as has been said a thousand times, for the present there is nothing to be hoped for from here in the way of aid either of troops or of money, unless D’Amboise should consent that the Pope should engage the services of Gianpaolo, and every effort will be made to induce him to do so. There is no indication that those who influence his Holiness have had the least idea that the acts of aggression of the Venetians have been done with his consent, for they do not believe him capable of such duplicity, having never before known him such, and looking upon him rather as an impulsive man who acts regardless of all considerations. His Holiness says that his briefs have been sent off in duplicate to the Venetians; and as none have been presented to your Lordships, it is natural to conclude that he has abstained from sending you any, for the reason which he himself intimated to me yesterday evening when I spoke to him on the subject, as I wrote your Lordships in my letter of yesterday.
Whilst at the feet of his Holiness news came that Don Michele was taken prisoner, and that his company had been stripped by Gianpaolo Baglioni on the frontier between Tuscany and Perugia. His Holiness manifested great satisfaction at this, as the affair seemed to have succeeded entirely according to his wishes. His Eminence of Volterra remained with his Holiness, and went with him to dine in the Belvedere; whence he returned in the evening at about the twenty-fourth hour, and related to me that after my having left the Pope the Duke of Urbino sent him a letter, which Gianpaolo Baglioni had written to some one in his confidence, to the effect that the inhabitants of Castiglione and Cortona, aided by his troops, had stripped the men under Don Michele, and that he himself and Carlo Baglioni were prisoners at Castiglione Aretino, in the hands of your Lordships’ rectors. This news delighted the Pope in the highest degree, for it seemed to him as if the capture of this individual would afford the opportunity for discovering all the cruel robberies, murders, sacrilege, and endless other crimes that had been committed during the past eleven years in Rome, against God and mankind. And his Holiness said to Cardinal Volterra that he hoped that, since your Lordships had done so well in allowing your subjects to assist in stripping Don Michele and his troops, you would also render him the further service of delivering Don Michele into his hands. He immediately directed a brief to be written to your Lordships, demanding the said Don Michele, which brief will be forwarded at same time with this letter. His Eminence encouraged the Pope to hope that it would be done, and he counsels your Lordships most earnestly to surrender this individual, as being an enemy and despoiler of the Church. You will thus give his Holiness a proof of your devotion, which will be greatly prized by him, and will cost you nothing. His Eminence also told me that the condition of Romagna had formed the principal topic of their conversation all day, and that he had recognized in the Pope an earnest desire and great eagerness to remedy that state of things; that he intended to take troops into his pay, and to do all other things to enable him to show his teeth to everybody. And if these things are not immediately carried into effect it will be owing to the causes which I have explained in my letter of the 11th of last month, which keep him embarrassed; besides these he naturally perplexes himself a little, which another, who had more resources, would not do. But his great mind and the love of honor which his Holiness has always manifested will overcome all this.
The Bishop of Ragusa ought by this time to have arrived in Florence, and according to what the Cardinal Volterra tells me the Pope’s brief will be presented by him to your Lordships, unless it should have been previously sent to you; he also tells me that the Pope has written twice to Venice. So far as I am aware, there is nothing new from the French camp.
I recommend myself to your Lordships, quæ bene valeant.
Rome, 1 December, 1503.
P. S. — I had forgotten to tell your Lordships that the Duke Valentino is at the palace, where he was brought this morning, and is lodged in the chamber of the treasurer. I must also inform you that the Pope wishes your Lordships to send Don Michele under a strong guard as far as Acquapendente, where his Holiness will have ordered that he shall be received. His Eminence of Volterra seems to think that, if your Lordships wish to avoid the expense of sending him so far, you might have him taken to Perugia, and send immediate information of it here, so that the Pope may make arrangements to have him sent for there.[Back to Table of Contents]
Magnificent Signori: —
I wrote you yesterday all that had occurred here; perchance that letter may reach you at the same time with this one. I must now inform your Lordships that one of Signor Luca Savello’s men-at-arms called this morning upon his Eminence of Volterra and myself, having been sent expressly to the Cardinal to tell him that it was impossible for Signor Luca to subsist any longer without money, and that he desired a small payment on account, and that if this were not promptly made he would be constrained to disband his company and return home, which for the honor of your Lordships and his own hewould not wish to be obliged to do. His Eminence gave him fair words, and promised him that your Lordships should be written to on the subject; and he directed me to write and reassure Signor Luca, and also to bring the matter to your notice, so that you may reply and provide the means. This messenger left the camp four days ago; he reported also that the greater part of the army was on the Garigliano, where the bridge had been thrown over the river, and that the rest were dispersed in the vicinity within ten miles. He reported many disorders and much difficulty in crossing the river; he also stated that it was reported in camp that Gonsalvo had a number of boats brought by land, which he intended to place upon the river for the purpose of crossing to the other side, for the arrival of the Orsini made him suppose himself superior in number to the French. We asked the messenger what the French intended to do under the circumstances; but he could not tell, nor was he able to give any explanations upon many other points. I can say nothing more on this subject; we must await the issue, and pray God that it may be favorable.
“San Giorgio does not wish that any one should receive the appointment of constable who is a Florentine, or a subject of that republic; and therefore you might name any one to that office whom you thought suitable, and the sooner the better, so that we may get this matter off our hands. But it will not cost you less than two hundred ducats, for it is the money he wants, and not the exchange.”
I recommend myself to your Lordships.
Rome, 2 December, 1503.[Back to Table of Contents]
Magnificent Signori: —
After having written you the enclosed I left the palace with the intention of seeing San Giorgio, for the object known to your Lordships. Having waited a long while without being able to see him, because of his occupations, I returned to the palace where I found his Eminence of Volterra, who had been with the Pope in relation to the affairs of the Duke Valentino. His Holiness had obtained the countersign for the fortresses from the Duke, and had ordered that Messer Pietro d’ Oviedo, as the Duke’s representative, and some other person as representing his Holiness, should leave this evening or early to-morrow for Florence on their way to Romagna. And as his Eminence had written a letter to your Lordships in my absence, which these commissioners should present to you, I must refer to that letter for all that has been agreed upon with the Pope, and for all that his Eminence thinks your Lordships ought to do in this matter. I will only say, by direction of his Eminence, that nothing should be left undone by your Lordships to enable the Pope to succeed in obtaining possession of these fortresses; and to reassure their castellans by becoming surety for the Pope’s promises, and even to expend some of your own money for that purpose; and altogether to act in such manner as to assure and dispose their inhabitants favorably, and to inspire them with the hope that the Pope will deal with those lords that have returned to him in the way they could wish; and in fact to employ all your skill to carry the matter through. For if the Pope succeeds in getting possession of the castles of Furli and Cesena, apart from the advantage that would result to Florence from such an impediment being placed in the way of the Venetians, his Holiness would also acknowledge himself under the greatest obligations to your Lordships.
The Duke Valentino has been removed from the apartment of the treasurer, and is now lodged in that of the Cardinal d’Amboise; he is trying to accompany that Cardinal to Florence, where he will go immediately after the coronation in St. John Lateran.
“D’Amboise received the Duke most unwillingly in his apartment, and is still more reluctant to take him with him. In the matter of receiving the Duke in his apartment, the Cardinal submitted for the sake of gratifying the Pope; but as to taking him with him to Florence, the Cardinal may perhaps not agree to that. And then if the Pope wants possession of those fortresses before the Duke leaves Rome, they could not be turned over to him in time, inasmuch as D’Amboise is on the point of starting. It is not easy therefore to form an opinion as to what the end of the Duke may be; but many conjecture that it will be a bad one.”
The Cardinal d’Amboise will leave immediately after the Pope shall have gone to St. John Lateran, which is to be on Monday or Tuesday next. The Emperor of Germany’s ambassador will accompany D’Amboise, who will endeavor to have an interview with the Emperor before proceeding on to France, in the hope of bringing about an agreement between those two sovereigns. His Eminence of Volterra thinks it would be well that your Lordships should at once send some one of experience and position as your representative to go with the Cardinal d’Amboise, who should meet him this side of Sienna, so that in passing through that city he might see whether some good arrangement might not be effected with Pandolfo. Our Cardinal seems to think it desirable that your Lordships should send some one with the Cardinal d’Amboise, who should be present at the interview with the Emperor, so as to remind him of the interests of our republic, and to find out whether anything is proposed to its detriment, and if so, to counteract it as far as possible, and promptly to advise your Lordships of it. Such a person should be a man of experience, and agreeable to the Cardinal d’Amboise, as well as devoted to our republic. When his Eminence of Volterra related to the Cardinal d’Amboise the message he had received that morning from Messer Luca Savello, which I have mentioned in the enclosed, D’Amboise shook his head and said that the fellow must be a fool; assuring his Eminence of Volterra, at the same time, that he had letters of the 29th of November, saying that the enemy was much worse off than the French, for they were up to their middle in water, and were less sheltered and suffered more from want, having less money to spend. And that the French were still of the same mind as heretofore with regard to an advance, if only the waters of heaven and earth would let them. Since then I have conversed this evening with a citizen of Florence who had talked with Salvalago of Pistoja, who came a couple of days ago from the camp, and relates that he has been several times within the past three weeks in the French and Spanish camps for the purpose of receiving certain prisoners, and that the statements of this Salvalago correspond more with what the Cardinal d’Amboise says than with the reports brought by the messenger from Savello. The end will explain all, and we must abide it in patience.
The Marquis of Mantua left here yesterday for Florence; he is ill of a quartan ague.
I recommend myself to your Lordships, quæ bene valeant.
Rome, 2 December, 1503.
P. S. — After having written the above, and whilst in the act of sealing it, your letter per express arrived, informing me of the capture of Don Michele. We had this news already yesterday morning, and I wrote you yesterday evening at length what the Pope wanted done in the matter, as you will also learn from the brief of his Holiness, which was sent with our letters. And as Giovanni Pandolfini has told me that they were safely sent last night, I do not repeat it now. And although your Lordships’ instructions had been fulfilled, I nevertheless sent the letters to his Eminence of Volterra at the palace; for it being now the third hour of night, persons in my position cannot with safety pass through the streets of Rome.
I recommend myself to your Lordships.[Back to Table of Contents]
Magnificent Signori: —
I wrote two letters to your Lordships yesterday, which will be brought to you by the same courier, whose departure has been delayed until this evening, and who, according to what I hear, will not start for Florence until the third hour of night. I acknowledged in my last the receipt of your private despatch per express, containing the news of the capture of Don Michele. But as this news had already reached the Pope, as mentioned in my letter, and as his Holiness had already written to you, there was no occasion to do anything more in the matter. Nevertheless your Lordships’ letter was communicated to the Pope, and produced the same effect as mentioned in my letter of the 1st; that is to say, his Holiness manifested much pleasure, and then demanded with great earnestness to have Don Michele delivered to him. And he seemed confident that this request would not be refused, and to-day he said, smiling, that he wanted to talk with Don Michele and to learn some tricks from him, so as to enable him the better to govern the Church.
I have told your Lordships in my last of yesterday, that Pietro d’ Oviedo, together with an envoy of the Pope, was to have left this morning for Florence with the countersigns of the fortresses. Your Lordships must know that they have not yet started, for the reason that, as the Pope was negotiating for the amicable transfer of these fortresses, the Duke held back and wanted guarantees, and stood upon other trifles, and at the same time the Pope did not yet want to force him. The guarantees demanded by the Duke are that the Cardinal d’Amboise shall pledge himself in his own handwriting that all the Pope’s promises shall be carried out; in other words, that D’Amboise shall become surety for the good faith of the Pope. The Cardinal d’Amboise has until now refused to do this, and no one believes that he will be induced to consent to it in any way or at any price. And thus this matter has been discussed all day, and the final impression is that without any other pledges on the part of the Cardinal d’Amboise, Messer Pietro d’ Oviedo will start to-morrow morning with the countersigns, “and thus the Duke is little by little slipping into his grave.”
Certain young Roman gentlemen, followers of the Duke, came to-day to his Eminence of Volterra and complained that, whilst the Florentine merchants were well received at Rome, their own men and their effects that were with Don Michele had been seized and taken from them, in consequence of which they made these complaints, and even threats. His Eminence answered them sharply, saying that the Florentine merchants came to Rome unarmed and for a useful purpose, and not with the intent to do harm to any one; and that, if their men and things had been seized and spoliated, it was because of the injuries which they had in the past inflicted upon the inhabitants of the country, and because they had now come amongst them again without any guaranty or assurance not to do them fresh harm. These young men finally went away as they had come. His Eminence thinks, nevertheless, it would be well for you to gather all the facts and proofs of the case, and proceed the same as others who have been despoiled by the Duke. These have made public declaration of their grievances, and have proceeded against the Duke in the regular legal way, and their petitions have already been filed. Amongst these figure the Duke of Urbino, who claims two hundred thousand ducats, and the Cardinal San Giorgio, who claims fifty thousand ducats for account of his nephews. By adopting the same course yourselves, you would always be able to justify this late incident by proving the damages which you have suffered at the hands of the Duke.
The engagement of Gianpaolo Baglioni remains suspended, so far as your Lordships are concerned, for the reasons mentioned before, that the Cardinal d’Amboise is dissatisfied with him; for after having given Gianpaolo permission to go to Perugia, he ordered him to do several things, none of which he has done; and also because, despite of all the letters written and all the money paid him, he has never yet come here. His Eminence fears that, unless measures be taken to remedy this in some way, all the money paid by the king of France and D’Amboise to enable Baglioni to mount his troops may after all have been expended only for the benefit of some one else. And his Eminence of Volterra sees no other remedy than to have this business ratified by your guaranty, — which he thinks can be concluded here if Gianpaolo arrives here with his company before the departure of the Cardinal d’Amboise, so that he may talk and demonstrate to him that everything is in order. His Eminence furthermore is of the opinion, that, if D’Amboise should have left before Gianpaolo arrives here, you should do your utmost to bring this matter to a conclusion before the Cardinal shall have left Tuscany; otherwise he fears the result may be such as has been indicated above.
Rome, 3 December, 1503.
Niccolo Machiavelli.[Back to Table of Contents]
Magnificent Signori: —
I write to-day more for the sake of keeping up my habit of writing to your Lordships daily, than from necessity; and for news I must refer you to my letters of yesterday and the day before, which were sent by a courier from Lyons, who was despatched this evening. The only thing of interest here is that a public consistory was held yesterday, and the names of those Cardinals were published whose nominations had been contemplated, as I had communicated to your Lordships in a previous letter. I must also inform you that the French have received intelligence through a man sent here on purpose, and who arrived two hours since, that the Spaniards had some boats that had been brought by land, and which they placed upon the Garigliano, intending to run them against the bridge constructed by the French, and some of these barges were filled with combustibles and lighted, so as to try and burn the bridge. At a given signal these barges were launched upon the river, and at the same moment a land attack was made upon the redoubt which is held by the French on the other side of the river. Both these assaults were gallantly repulsed by the French, some three hundred Spaniards were killed, and the barges were captured and sunk. Thus the story is related by a Frenchman.
His Holiness goes to-morrow to St. John Lateran; a splendid solemnity has been arranged for the occasion, and unless the weather interferes it will be a brilliant festivity.
It is now the eighteenth hour, and should anything else occur to-day, it will be communicated to you to-morrow.
I recommend myself to your Lordships.
Rome, 14 December, 1503.[Back to Table of Contents]
Magnificent Signori: —
My last to your Lordships was of day before yesterday, in which I gave you the news up to that time. But I had scarcely written it when Pietro d’ Oviedo left, together with the Pope’s representatives, and having the countersigns, etc., etc. As they were to travel by post, they ought to be in Florence by this time, and your Lordships will have seen them in person. The Bishop of Ragusa must also have arrived, and you will likewise have spoken with him, and agreed with him as to the nature of the assistance which he is to furnish you, according as circumstances shall require. Since then nothing is thought of here but festivities.
The Pope went yesterday with great solemnity to St. John Lateran, whence he did not return until the fourth hour of night. On Sunday he goes to San Paolo, and he has ordered that the tabernacles, the triumphal arches, and the temples that have been erected in the streets shall remain, for he wants to show himself on Sunday with the same pomp. I have received a letter from your Lordships of the 2d, and although the news of the arrival of the Count Pittigliano in Romagna would have been of interest, yet all the above circumstances have prevented me from doing anything in the matter. The Pope and all Rome look forward to the arrival of Don Michele as a great occasion, and would like to have it happen on Sunday, so that they might make use of him in the triumphal procession; but the Pope will be glad to have him whenever he may come.
We have no further news from the French and the Spaniards. The Cardinal d’Amboise and the Spanish ambassador have commenced their conferences. It is said that the Pope has sent a commissioner to Gonsalvo to try and bring about a truce between them, and there is fair prospect of success unless some mishap occurs meantime.
In a previous letter I informed your Lordships that his Eminence of Amboise was dissatisfied with Gianpaolo, and that it was to be feared that, after having mounted his company by means of French money, some one else might have the benefit of it. There seems to be no way of preventing this except to induce Gianpaolo to have an interview with the Cardinal d’Amboise, either here in Rome or somewhere on the road, and to make him protest to the Cardinal that he wished to serve him, and declare himself ready to obey his orders; and that then you should endeavor to complete his engagement, from which you would derive great advantages. But if Gianpaolo should not have such an interview with D’Amboise, the difficulty could not be remedied, for the Cardinal has become terribly embittered against Gianpaolo, and has repeatedly sworn as a soldier, that, if Gianpaolo does not return him his money, he would, if he could not injure him in any other way, hand him over as a prey to any one with whom he could come to an understanding about it, no matter whether Italian or Ultramontane. The Cardinal d’Amboise says that he has heard that Baglioni has pledged himself to Bartolommeo d’ Alviano never to enter the kingdom of Naples against the Spaniards; and certain indications which he has noted since make the Cardinal believe that this is undoubtedly true. To prevent such an evil, his Eminence of Volterra and myself have written this evening to Gianpaolo, each one separately, in plain language, enjoining him to endeavor to have an interview with the Cardinal d’Amboise on the road, if he desired to avoid being blamed as an enemy of France, and no friend of your Lordships. I have given you this information so that you may know how the matter stands, and that you may reflect upon it and take such steps as you may judge to be most conducive to the common interest. The Cardinal d’Amboise leaves, as I have said, either on Friday or Saturday next, and the Imperial ambassador will accompany him. D’Amboise has been confirmed Legate of France.
His Eminence of Volterra desires to remind your Lordships to send two or three deputies to meet him at least one day’s journey this side of Sienna, so as to be able to confer with him in relation to the interests of our republic, and especially about Montepulciano and Pisa. He also suggests that you should send some one to accompany him, and who should be present at his interview with the Emperor. His Eminence thinks that this would in every respect be most useful.
The Duke Valentino remains in the apartment of the Cardinal d’Amboise, but is treated very ceremoniously. Yesterday, on account of the festivities, he was placed under the guard and surveillance of Castel del Rio, who took him to dine at the Belvedere, and treated him with great respect all day. It is believed that after the departure of D’Amboise the Duke will be confined for good in the Castel San Angelo.
I recommend myself to your Lordships, quæ felices valeant.
Rome, 6 December, 1503.[Back to Table of Contents]
Magnificent Signori: —
Your Lordships will bear in mind what I wrote you on the 28th ultimo. The Imperial ambassador has again been with the Cardinal Volterra, and said to him: “Your Eminence does not seem to think of what I have told you several times, nor have you ever given me an answer. And yet it would be well to think of it and answer me. And I tell you again now that the Emperor will come into Italy, and intends to obtain two advantages from Pisa; namely, a certain amount of money at once, and a regular revenue for the future; and that he will give the possession of that city to whoever makes him the highest offer for it.” Our Cardinal replied that he could not give him an answer upon these points; but as he was going himself with the Cardinal d’Amboise to Florence, he could there confer with your Lordships and get an answer from you direct. The ambassador agreed to wait until then; and in speaking afterwards of the proposed treaty between the Emperor and the king of France, he said that treaty would certainly be concluded in the course of a month, and that amongst other conditions it would contain one to the effect that the parties would protect the interests of each other’s allies, except in cases where either of the sovereigns had special claims, even though adverse to the ally of the other. The ambassador added, that the Venetians sought to make such a treaty a ground for claiming to be allowed to keep what they had taken. Cardinal Volterra replied, that such a proceeding would deprive the Emperor Maximilian and King Louis XII. of a most favorable opportunity for increasing their power in Italy, and to hold their own states securely, as it would make a formidable state like Venice still more powerful, and would make a feeble state like Florence weaker than before. And therefore he could not help saying, even though his words were insufficient to prove it, that it was evident to him that your Lordships were disposed to come to an arrangement with the Venetians before any one else had thought of it. And that you would only look to the interests of Florence at the least suspicion that your republic was to be dismembered and left to the mercy of others.
His Eminence of Volterra seemed to think that these words checked the ambassador in some measure, and caused him to reflect, and that he went away in a less arrogant mood.
The ambassador will pass through Florence with D’Amboise, and meanwhile your Lordships will have reflected as to how to treat him in relation to the interests of our republic, etc., etc.*[Back to Table of Contents]
Magnificent Signor: —
I have received your letter of the 21st, and although I could not make out the signature I thought I recognized the handwriting and the style. But even if I were mistaken, the reply which I address to you will neither be out of place nor from the purpose. You point out the danger to which the rest of Romagna is exposed by the loss of Faenza, and you intimate that the Florentines have need to think of their own interests, because others who could and should do so pay no attention to them. You fear lest the Pope had given his consent to the proceedings of the Venetians, and you make yourself illusions as to the final result of French affairs, and urge me to renew my instances and solicitations. Although all this had already been officially written to me, and although I have replied to it as fully as you could possibly desire, and so that you could have formed a definite opinion on reading my letters, yet I will not fail in my duty to you; and in accordance with your request I will answer your questions in very plain language, if my communications to the government have been too diplomatic, which, however, I do not believe to be the case.
You express the wish that for once the Pope and the Cardinal d’Amboise should, inthe Romagna business, employ other means than mere words, which you deem insufficient remedies for what the Venetians have done and continue to do; and you have caused both Pope and Cardinal to be solicited upon that point in a way that you know. The results of this have been those resolutions which have been communicated to you; for the Pope hopes that the Venetians will have to act in a manner that will be satisfactory to him; and the Cardinal d’Amboise believes that he will still be in time to remedy matters, either by a peace, a truce, or a victory. And both Pope and Cardinal are so fixed in their opinions, that they will not listen to any one who suggests anything different from their own views. We may conclude, therefore, that you need not expect either troops or money from here, but only briefs, letters, or monitory embassies, which may be more or less vigorous according to the considerations which the Pope and the king of France may have to observe. And what these may or should be you will be best able to judge yourselves, keeping in view the condition of Italy, and then in thinking of your own interests after having seen and examined what may be done by others for your security, and after having seen and examined what you may expect from here. As to what may be hoped for from this latter point, I cannot write more fully than what I have done already. I will add merely, that if the Cardinal d’Amboise asks for anything else, such as the services of Gianpaolo, or for your troops, you must let him know that you cannot spare either, as you want them yourselves for the defence of your republic. . . . . But you cannot reason with him on this subject without his getting as mad as the devil, and calling God and men to witness that he would take up arms himself if any one but touched a hair of your head, or that he would lend his help, so that Romagna should not be exposed to greater dangers; and for this he thinks he will always be in time, as has been said. This is the substance of what I am able to write respecting the state of things here; and I do not believe that any one could write you anything else, if he wished to tell you the truth.
Niccolo Machiavelli.[Back to Table of Contents]
Magnificent Signori: —
I wrote the enclosed yesterday, and by the present I desire to inform your Lordships that the Cardinal d’Amboise leaves to-morrow without fail, and will pass to-morrow night at Bracciano. All the other Cardinals of this court have called upon him to-day, and he is really in great favor with everybody; for he has always been found easy of access and more affable than what was anticipated, he being a grand seigneur and a Frenchman. According to what I have been told confidentially, the Duke Valentino will remain here, although it is publicly said that he will accompany the Cardinal. I would remind your Lordships once more to send some one to meet him, for the reasons given in a previous letter.
I have spoken with Antonio Segni about the case of Mottino, and he said to me this evening that by to-morrow he would have something to tell me. I beg to remind your Lordships about the plundering of Don Michele, so that those Roman gentlemen may not act as Paolo Orsino has done. In a former letter I have written to your Lordships as to what should be done in this matter, and I refer to it again now.
Rome, 7 December, 1503.[Back to Table of Contents]
Magnificent Signori: —
Yesterday I received your letters of the 4th and 7th; as they contain nothing but the acknowledgment of my many letters up to that day, and the arrival of Messer Pietro d’ Oviedo and the Bishop of Ragusa, and a reference to what you intend to write in other letters, I have nothing to say in reply. I write the present for the sake of keeping up the habit of writing, and, as it will contain nothing of special importance, I shall send it by the regular courier. I have already written, on the 6th and 7th, respecting the departure of the Cardinal d’Amboise; and as those letters were sent by a courier from Lyons, despatched in haste by the Del Bene, I doubt not but what they have reached you by this time.
The Cardinal d’Amboise did leave yesterday, but did not go as far as Bracciano; in point of fact, he went no farther than about two miles from here. He will lodge at Bracciano to-night, and will then go on to Florence to proceed from there into Lombardy. I do not repeat what I have several times written, about sending some one with him into Germany, assuming that your Lordships have already decided these matters.
The Duke Valentino continues to occupy a portion of the apartment which the Cardinal d’Amboise had in the palace, and was guarded to-night by some of the Pope’s men. It is believed that, for the purpose of avoiding this inconvenience, the Pope will have him shut up in the castle, although many things are rumored amongst the people, such as that the Pope has promised the Cardinal d’Amboise to release the Duke so soon as he shall have obtained those fortresses from him; and that the Duke’s daughter is to marry the Little Prefect, and that she is to have Romagna for her dower, etc., etc.
Your Lordships charge me to write you what the French and the Spaniards are doing, and what their condition, where they are, and what is said and believed about them. In reply, I say that I wrote fully on this subject on the 21st ultimo, and that both armies are in the same condition as then, only worse in proportion, as they have been suffering from want so much longer. To sum up the whole, I say, that several weeks ago the French threw a bridge over the Garigliano which enabled them to make themselves masters of the opposite side of the river, where they threw up a redoubt, which they still hold. But there are no more French on that side of the river than those who guard the redoubt, which amount to about two hundred men. All the rest of the French army is on this side of the Garigliano; about one fourth is near the bridge, the other three fourths are scattered in quarters, some five, six, and ten miles off. The Spaniards are on the other side of the Garigliano, where they have cut a trench about a mile’s distance from the French redoubt, and above this trench they have thrown up two bastions, which are provided with a guard. A good part of their army is near by, the rest is dispersed in quarters. Such is the relative position of the two armies; they can neither attack nor force each other, being prevented by the river, and the rain that has fallen and continues to fall. Both are suffering the greatest discomforts, and it is believed that the one that can endure it longest will be victorious; but which of the two is likely to endure it longest is impossible to say at this moment, for here, as well as elsewhere, people are influenced in what they say by their passions only. And even those who come from the camp vary in their opinions, so that we can do nothing but quietly await the result. It is true that within the past few days the Spanish have made several attempts to destroy the bridge and drive the French out of their redoubt, but thus far they have not succeeded. Such is the state of things with regard to the armies; and so I wrote you on the 21st, since which the aspect of matters has not changed, and I should not know how to describe it differently to your Lordships. Should any change occur I will advise you of it, but if there is no change I should not know what to write you, wishing to tell you the truth about the matter.
In one of my previous letters I informed your Lordships that, in accordance with your instructions, I had spoken with Antonio Segni. To-day the said Antonio called to see me, and told me that he had spoken with Mottino, and learned from him, in substance, that his engagement with the French had expired on the last day of San Andrea, and that he would not renew it at any price. True, he says that he is not able to get his discharge from them, although he has been constantly after San Severino to obtain it. He expresses himself well disposed to serve your Lordships, but says that he is in no hurry. He has two galleys, but will not serve with only one, wishing to have both engaged, for which he would be satisfied to receive nine hundred ducats per month, and would give any security that your Lordships might require. He says furthermore, that, besides his own galleys, a brother of his has three brigantines, and that for three hundred florins per month he would immediately enter your Lordships’ service with all three. Your Lordships willnow consider what is best to be done in the matter, and send a reply.
I recommend myself to your Lordships.
Rome, 9 December, 1503.[Back to Table of Contents]
Magnificent Signori: —
My last of the 9th, which I sent by the regular courier, will reach you probably at the same time with this one, which will go by an extra courier that is to be despatched this evening. I informed you in my last of the departure of the Cardinal d’Amboise, and of what I had learnt from Antonio Segni with regard to Mottino’s disposition. Since then I have received your last of the 8th, and have conferred with Castel del Rio respecting what you write about the Bishop of Ragusa and the two envoys with the countersigns. He showed himself fully informed on these subjects, and said that the Pope could not be better satisfied with your Lordships than he was. San Giorgio, to whom I also communicated your advices, assured me of the same thing. It is evident therefore that the Bishop of Ragusa has written favorably to the Pope, and given him an account of what your Lordships have done. Both Castel del Rio and San Giorgio showed that they knew the coming of the deputies from Furli; and when they arrive, his Eminence of Volterra or myself will carry out your Lordships’ instructions. Not having heard anything further of Don Michele, I have nothing to tell your Lordships respecting him; but should anything come to my knowledge, I will at once adviseyou of it. I would most respectfully remind your Lordships to reply to the Pope’s brief, and in such manner as will tend to confirm his Holiness still more in his benevolent disposition towards our republic.
I note what you write touching Citerna, and his Eminence tells me that in places of that kind it is usual to send only a Castellan to guard and take care of them. Your Lordships should therefore decide upon this matter, and send the name of the Castellan, provided you conclude to take that course; and let us know at the same time where we are to obtain the money for the expenses.
As to your grievances against the Duke Valentino, it is necessary that whoever may be charged by your Lordships to attend to this matter should have a power of attorney from you for that purpose. You should therefore appoint some one here to attend to the matter, or perhaps it would be still better if you were to place it in the hands of one of the ambassadors whom you are going to send here.
The Duke Valentino remains in the same place where he was when I wrote you on the 9th, and we are waiting to see what the states of Romagna will do with regard to him. We have no further news from the French than what I have given you in my former letters; it is believed that, if the weather continues as at present, the two armies may be able one way or another to attempt some movement against each other.
Your Lordships direct me to leave with the Cardinal d’Amboise for Florence, and in case he should have left already, that I should come per post so as to arrive before him. Your letter came only yesterday, and D’Amboise left on Saturday, so that I should have to come by post, which would be painful and difficult for me, being afflicted with a malady that is very prevalent here at Rome, namely, cough and catarrh, which affect the head and the chest, so that the violent jolting of the diligence would do me serious injury. Anxious always to obey your Lordships’ orders, I should nevertheless have taken the risk, but his Eminence of Volterra would not consent to my leaving; for it seemed to him that, inasmuch as your ambassadors will not be here before twenty days, according to what you write, it would be very onerous for his Eminence, and injurious to the interests of Florence, if he had to remain here without some one of whose services he might avail in public matters. His Eminence was so decided upon this point, that, in the hope that your Lordships may not disapprove of it, I yielded readily to the authority of his Eminence, and influenced by his devotion to our republic, and by the confidence which all Florence reposes in him, and which he so deservedly enjoys. Nevertheless I shall conform strictly to your Lordships’ further orders.
Rome, 12 December, 1503.
P. S. — I have forgotten to tell you that certain Roman gentlemen have handed the enclosed list of things which they have lost to the Cardinal Volterra, who promised them that this list shall be forwarded to your Lordships, and their case commended to you. Your Lordships will please send us what reply you may think proper.[Back to Table of Contents]
Magnificent Signori: —
As this courier leaves unexpectedly I write in all haste to inform you of the latest events here. Yesterday evening news came to the French that the infantry of Gonsalvo, unable any longer to endure the privations they are suffering, mainly in consequence of want of money, have suddenly broken up their camp; so that Gonsalvo with his cavalry was obliged to withdraw to Sessa, where there is much sickness. This retreat was effected with so much noise and confusion that the French heard it, and sent a body of some twenty horse across the river to reconnoitre. These found that the Spaniards had broken up their camp, and had abandoned all their heavy baggage and things of little value. This detachment of French cavalry attacked the Spanish rear, and captured the baggage of Signor Prospero Colonna. This is the account which the French give of this affair, and they have exhibited letters to that effect. It is supposed that if this be true, and the weather permits, the French will be able to advance. Your Lordships shall be advised of whatever happens. I have some few other matters to mention, which I will do in my next, as this courier can wait no longer.
14 December, 1503.[Back to Table of Contents]
Magnificent Signori: —
I wrote your Lordships briefly to-day, and sent the letter by a courier despatched by the French here, which did not afford me the time to write more fully. Still I informed you of the news which the French here had from their army on the Garigliano; namely, that the Spaniards’ infantry, from want of necessaries, and not being regularly paid, broke up their camp contrary to the will of Gonsalvo, who was in consequence obliged also to retreat with his cavalry to Sessa, where a great many of his troops are reported to be dying. It is also stated that the French, on hearing the noise of this retreat, sent some twenty horse to reconnoitre, who found the Spanish camp broken up as though in flight, and much of their heavy baggage, especially their cooking utensils, abandoned; and that these twenty horsemen had captured a portion of Signor Prospero Colonna’s baggage. This is all I have heard; should I learn anything more, I will report it to your Lordships. I have heard from Paolo Rucellai, who is on very friendly terms with the Orsini, that they have not yet received their quarter’s pay, according to promise, and that they had announced to Gonsalvo their intention to withdraw. We hear from all sides that there is great scarcity of money amongst the Spanish forces.
In a former letter I made known to your Lordships that the Signor Luca Savello had sent one of his men here to recommend himself, and to declare that he could no longer submit to the privations he was experiencing for want of money. Your Lordships have not yet replied to this, and Signor Luca’s messenger is in despair, and I know not what to say to him. Besides this Messer Ambrogio da Landriano came here yesterday in person with a letter of credit from the Bailli to the Cardinal, and complained bitterly to his Eminence and myself of the privations and misery which himself and his company are suffering; and he protests that, if the French had not supplied him with money, they would have died of hunger; and as he could not ask them for any more, he would be obliged to leave with his company, to the great discredit of your Lordships. That he was most unwilling to do this, having until now maintained his company as well as any other captain; and that out of his five hundred men, there were forty mounted and ten crossbowmen. He wants pay for at least one quarter and a half, besides the one hundred ducats due him on his former engagement.
I have promised him to write and recommend his case to your Lordships, which I do herewith, and beg you will send an answer which is so eagerly looked for. Messer Ambrogio left the camp eight days ago, and reports great scarcity of forage, bread, and shelter, and that there are not nine hundred good men-at-arms and only six thousand infantry left in camp, whilst the Spanish have received reinforcements of infantry. Nevertheless he thinks that the news of the retreat of the Spanish forces, which he learned here, is most likely to be true; for he affirms that they were not able to pay for provisions, and that for several weeks they had forced the people of the country to bring them supplies. But as they probably cannot force them any more, they have themselves been compelled to go and seek supplies wherever they can be had. He reports three causes that until now have prevented the French from being victorious. The first and most important is, that they have lost so much time under the walls of Rome, — the very time that would have been most suitable for advancing without being impeded either by the river or by rain, for Gonsalvo was not then prepared to encounter them. The second cause was, that they had not sufficient horses for their artillery, which prevented them from making more than two miles per day. And the third was the severe winter, which still continues; and Messer Ambrogio affirms that whenever they had attempted any movement the weather had become twice as bad as before.
With all this he avers that, even if Gonsalvo had not beaten a retreat, he would not have ventured to attack the French, on account of their being in a very strong position and ready to give battle to whoever might attack them. When asked as to the chances of an advance, he said, that although Gonsalvo had retreated, yet if the ground did not dry up, and when dry, if they were not provided with more oxen, buffaloes, or carthorses, it would be impossible for them to move their artillery. He reports that the Bailli d’Occan is greatly dissatisfied at not being paid; and his Eminence of Volterra suggests that, if your Lordships think that you can relieve yourselves of that expense, you should lose no time in doing it.
Your Lordships’ letters of the 10th and 11th, directed to his Eminence of Volterra, under the supposition that I was on the road to Florence, were received to-day. The reason of my not having left was explained in my previous letter; it was that the Cardinal deemed my presence here necessary, and objected to my departure. We learn from your letters the reason why we have no news from Pietro, or Messer Carlo, or from the Bishop of Perugia. It will all be explained in the quarter where it is required; and the same with regard to what you say respecting Don Michele and the news from France. All this will be most gratifying to his Holiness, and particularly the news of Don Michele; and we shall see to it that he is sent for at such place as your Lordships may indicate as most convenient to yourselves.
I recommend myself to your Lordships, quæ bene valeant.
Rome, 14 December, 1503.
P. S. — I must not omit to tell your Lordships that some days ago a former secretary of the Cardinal San Angelo has been arrested for the purpose of learning the particulars of the death of that Cardinal.* And it is reported that he confessed two days since that he had poisoned him by order of Pope Alexander VI., and that he will be publicly burnt, and that the Cardinal’s cook and one of his butlers have fled. They are beginning here to take these matters up again. The Duke Valentino remains in the same situation which I have explained several times before. I beg to remind your Lordships that if you intend to proceed against him you must send a mandate to whomever you think proper, with power to substitute a procurator, etc., etc.[Back to Table of Contents]
Magnificent Signori: —
My last despatches were of the 14th; the first, together with a short letter, was sent by a courier despatched by the French here; and the second I intrusted to Giovanni Pandolfini, who told me he had sent it by the Ferrara post. This Giovanni complains that he has not been reimbursed for the expense of sending it, and has begged me to remind your Lordships of the fact. I do so now constrained by necessity, for if anything were to occur of which it would be important to give you immediate information, I should be without the means of doing so unless the claims of Giovanni had been satisfied. He also tells me that some one has written him, that, apart from the other matter, his services in forwarding despatches are not appreciated, which has increased his dissatisfaction.
In my last letter I wrote you what I had learned about the Spaniards, and what had been told me by Messer Ambrogio da Landriano, who sends one of his men to Florence with letters from the Cardinal Volterra and myself, recommending him to your Lordships. I have nothing else to say of Messer Ambrogio, except that I await your reply with impatience, so that I may know what to say to him. The news respecting the Spaniards is confirmed, as you will see from the tenor of an extract from a letter written at Gaeta which I enclose.* We are waiting to see what will come next; there are many who think that this affair will facilitate the conclusion of peace, unless some greater disaster should follow. Your Lordships will be promptly advised of whatever happens. Your last letters of the 11th, directed to Cardinal Volterra, have been communicated by him to the Pope, who was in the highest degree pleased at the surrender to him of Don Michele. It has not yet been decided when and how he is to be brought here. Our Cardinal thinks it will all be settled to-morrow. His Holiness was also much pleased with the news from France, but regretted that his envoys had been delayed by the snow; he bears it patiently, however, as the cause of it is a power higher than himself, and thus he remains in suspense as to the results of the mission of his envoys. The Venetian ambassador is trying to placate his Holiness, but as yet he has not found the way of doing it. He is most assiduous in paying court to San Giorgio. Some persons here fear that he is endeavoring by his intervention to induce the Pope to acquiesce in the Venetians retaining Faenza and Rimini, and that in return they will favor the restoration of Furli and Imola to the nephews of San Giorgio. It is believed, however, that the Pope will not consent to this, nor are there wanting persons who are endeavoring to find out and thwart this intrigue. We are awaiting your final decision respecting Citerna, and your mandate in the matter of the Duke Valentino.
I recommend myself to your Lordships, quæ bene valeant.
Rome, 16 December, 1503.[Back to Table of Contents]
Magnificent Signori: —
The bearer of this is one of the men of Messer Ambrogio da Landriano, who sends him to Florence to remind your Lordships of his necessities; and as I wrote you at length on the 14th upon this subject, I shall not enlarge upon it any further now; but refer to what I then said, and which will be fully explained by the present messenger to your Lordships, to whom I recommend him and Messer Ambrogio, as well as myself.
Rome, 16 December, 1503.[Back to Table of Contents]
SECOND MISSION TO THE COURT OF FRANCE.[Back to Table of Contents]
GIVEN TO NICCOLO MACHIAVELLI, ENVOY TO HIS MOST CHRISTIAN MAJESTY THE KING OF FRANCE (LOUIS XII.)
Resolved upon, 14 January, 1504.*
You will proceed per post, via Milan, to Lyons, or wherever you may learn that his most Christian Majesty is to be found, and you will take with you two letters of credence, one to his Majesty, and the other to the Cardinal d’Amboise; also two letters without any address, which you will make use of where it may be most necessary; and another for our ambassador there, Niccolo Valori, to whom you will explain on your arrival all the instructions we have given you. You will communicate everything to him, so that he may fully understand the object of your mission, and that he may in turn inform you of all that has taken place, and what he may have learned of the affairs of France since your departure from here. After that you will present yourselves together before his Majesty, and make known to him all the points herein specified, which we desire particularly that his Majesty should fully understand, together with all the circumstances connected therewith; taking care not to omit any part, so as to make him see clearly to what condition our affairs here have been brought, and how they may yet be recovered; and that to save ourselves from destruction it has become necessary for us to see and understand clearly all his Majesty’s thoughts and designs.
One of the objects of your mission is that you may see with your own eyes what preparations they are making, and report to us immediately; giving us at the same time your own judgment and conjectures respecting them. And if these preparations are of such a character that we cannot depend upon them, either from their being too insignificant, uncertain, or too slow, then you must make his Majesty fully understand that it is quite impossible for us to provide forces enough to suffice for our safety; and that it would not be prudent for us to wait and place our reliance upon assistance that is not considerable, prompt, and real. Nor must you confine yourself to this only, but you must demonstrate to them the urgent necessity for us to seek our safety wherever we can find it; for the preservation of our state is before every other consideration, as that is the only small remnant of our liberties left to us, and which it behooves us to save by every effort in our power. And to arrive at this conclusion, it will be necessary for you to explain to his Majesty, as time and place may suit, the dangers with which we are threatened, on the one hand from the Venetians, and on the other hand from the Spaniards, who are acting in concert with each other. And you must make his Majesty comprehend the condition of our affairs; how on the one hand we are involved in war with Pisa, and how on the other the Venetians with an army are threatening our very borders; and how all our other neighbors, who ordinarily are badly disposed towards us, and more particularly so since the late defeat of the French, have already made terms with the Spaniards, or are upon the point of doing so; that we have but few troops, and these in great part scattered in different places, and the other part defeated in the kingdom of Naples whilst in his Majesty’s service; upon which points it is not necessary to give you any particular instructions, because during your stay here you had the opportunity of knowing it all yourself. The same with regard to the events in the Romagna, and what has been learned from Rome respecting the determination of the Spaniards, and what little we may hope for from the Pope. And should you lack information upon any of these points, you will be able to get it from Niccolo Valori, to whom everything has been written, and to whom copies of all documents and despatches have been sent, which he has most probably all with him. In stating the dangers to which we are exposed, and the evil intentions of our enemies, you may also mention the coming of our banished to Castello and to Sienna. After having related all these things, together with the circumstances connected therewith, which you must do in the most effective manner, you will conclude by telling his Majesty that in consequence of these things we have sent you to him to learn his intentions, and to know what provisions he is making to maintain what remains to him yet of possessions and friends here. You will also show to his Majesty that Lombardy is in no small danger, unless he remedies it actively, and shows to the whole world that he will and can save both states; and finally, that we desire his Majesty’s counsel and help to save us and our state.
We believe that the answer will be vigorous, and that a variety of projects will be proposed; but our intention is that you should say, and we charge you particularly to reply, that such plans and resolutions will not suffice us, but that it is essential that they should send help at once, and of such a character that his Majesty’s enemies, and those of his friends, will have to desist from molesting his and their states; and that unless the assistance rendered us be of that character, we shall risk being attacked, which we desire to avoid; and that we do not wish to be compelled to seek our safety by other means; the same as in the contrary case we are resolved never to abandon his Majesty’s friendship, but to share his fortunes, whatever they may be, provided we see the way clear for our preservation.
You will explain to Valori that the principal cause that has induced us to send you on this mission has been a letter received yesterday from Alessandro, informing us that the engagement of Baglioni had been broken,* and that we are consequently to provide for the payment of ten thousand scudi at the period of every fair; and that our letters have been retained. All this seems to us an indication that they have cut loose entirely from our interests, and think only of their own; and that they abandon their friends, who have suffered so much for their sake, and leave them a prey to their enemies; and that they have no memory either for our fidelity or for the services we have rendered them. And as these are matters of much importance, it seems to us that, having to speak of them, it will be proper to make them understand that we deem it necessary to conclude Baglioni’s engagement, for the reasons of which you are fully cognizant yourself, and in accordance with which we have several times written to Valori. And as to the payment of the ten thousand scudi, you can say that we have no wish to fail either in our good faith or in our obligations, but that it is quite impossible for us to burden ourselves with any new expenditures; and as Baglioni’s engagement was for the benefit of their cause, and was made at their request, we cannot assume either the one or the other responsibility, and that they must acquit us of the obligation.
And should it be said in reply that we had never ratified the engagement, you may answer, that it was nevertheless concluded, and that we had the Cardinal’s pledge for it, which we do not hold in so little respect but what we deem it necessary for our honor to have that engagement definitely concluded. And moreover, we think matters ought to be so arranged that we may be able to keep our faith and comply with our engagements; for to be obliged to suffer, and to be assailed at the same time without seeing any refuge, would be more than we are able to bear. You will furthermore demonstrate to his Majesty, that neither the conclusion of an engagement with Baglioni, nor the release from all other obligations, will suffice in all the dangers that surround us; but that it is necessary for his Majesty to rouse himself and provide such help as we have indicated above. Upon all these points you will confer also with the most reverend Legate, with Nemours, and with all such others as may be able to aid in this matter with his Majesty the king. We desire you to use the utmost diligence in all this, and write us the result as soon as possible. And when you have executed our commission, and obtained all the information possible, you will return to your post here, unless the ambassador should think otherwise.
In passing through Milan you will call upon the most illustrious lieutenant, and explain to him also all the same matters, in such manner as may be most suitable; and above all you will endeavor to make him sensible of the dangers to which that state is exposed from the neighboring Venetians, and from the spirit that animates them; as also from the Spaniards, who, it is understood, are gathering their troops for the purpose of an advance; and that one of the most effective remedies against all this would be to sustain Tuscany, and to preserve her life until she shall have recovered her former strength. You will urge him to write to his Majesty upon all the points upon which you will have spoken to him; for experience has shown that few counsels have greater effect in moving his Majesty than those of his own officers.
We have explained to you, Niccolo, our necessities in a general way, and have commissioned you to ask of his Majesty of France aid and counsel as to what to do in the midst of so many dangers; and we judge it unnecessary to say anything more, unless it should be specially asked for. In case it be said to you that his Majesty is willing to make provision in our favor, but that we must say what remedies we think necessary, you may reply, that in our judgment the first thing to do would be for his Majesty to pass the Alps and to come to Milan, and to send fresh troops there; and that these, as well as those already there, should be so organized, and quartered in such places, as not to be exposed to any danger; that his Majesty, by virtue of his authority, should reunite all the states of Tuscany, take into his pay either the Colonna or the Orsini and add to their strength, and if not all, then at least a part of them, such for instance as the Baglioni, by means of whom he could make sure of Sienna, a matter very necessary to be thought of; that he ought to keep his fleet in our waters; and that he should endeavor to have the Pope openly declare himself for him; and in addition, as we have already written on a former occasion, to assure himself of the Swiss and of others, upon which point the Ambassador will be able to inform you, to whom we have written every day, keeping him fully advised of all that has occurred, and of all our views.
I, Marcellus Virgilius.
From our Palace, on the day above written.[Back to Table of Contents]
Magnificent and Illustrious Signori, etc.: —
I arrived here this morning at about the twenty-second hour, and have had an interview with Monseigneur de Chaumont. I explained to him the object of my mission to the king, and that I had come by way of Milan, so that his Lordship might hear from me direct what I had to communicate to the king, and that he might write to his Majesty, and recommend to him the interests of his friends and of his own states, and point out to him the dangers with which they are threatened, and the remedies that should be employed. After that I communicated to him all I was instructed to say, and endeavored to make him sensible of the necessity that we should have assistance; but that such assistance should be real, as indeed the dangers were that threatened us. For if your Lordships should be abandoned, you would inevitably expect to see your city pillaged, and witness her total ruin; or you would have to make terms with those who aim to force you to do so, even if the conditions were anything but good. I spoke of the Venetians according to my instructions, as also of your Lordships’ neighbors, and of the confusion into which they had been thrown, and how necessary it was for the king to preserve them as friends, as well as to win back again those whom he had lost. In fact, I did my best not to omit saying anything that was essential for him to know in relation to this matter, without transgressing your Lordships’ instructions.
Respecting the dangers with which you are threatened, and the remedies to be applied, his Lordship answered in a general way, first, that he did not believe that Gonsalvo intended to advance, and then that, even if he should, the king would take good care of his friends, as well as of his own states; and that you need have no apprehensions on that score, as his Majesty would not fail in his promises. And when I observed that these assurances did not suffice for those who had the enemy, so to say, on their backs, and related to him the evidence which we had of Gonsalvo’s intention to follow up his enterprise, his Lordship said, “When Gonsalvo sees his Majesty’s fleet increased to double its strength, and learns that there is a large force in Lombardy, he certainly will not advance.” I replied, that neither the fleet nor the troops in Lombardy could defend Tuscany. To which he rejoined that the Pope would be a good Frenchman, and that Giovanpaolo was in their pay, and that the Siennese would be able to make a stout resistance. I answered him by saying that both the Pope and the Siennese would want to see with their own eyes the assistance promised by the king, as neither of them had any forces of their own; that it was a good thing to have Gianpaolo Baglioni in one’s pay, but that his engagement ought to be definitely concluded. And I demonstrated to him how necessary it was to close this engagement, and not only to have Baglioni in their pay, but to bind him to serve the state.
I did my best to convince Monseigneur de Chaumont that there was no city in that part of Italy more suitable for being made a point of resistance than Perugia, by quartering there some four or five thousand infantry and four or five hundred men-at-arms; that its situation was one of the strongest, and that with such a number of troops it would be truly impregnable, and could not with safety be left in the rear. I persuaded him, so far as I was able, of the importance for them to preserve that city, and thus to acquire other Italian troops. After that we touched upon the subject of the alliances that should be concluded between your Lordships and the scattered little states of Italy, but to effect which would require the interposition of the king’s authority. His Lordship concluded to write to the king on that subject, as well as about the other matters which we had discussed. I begged him to send one of his own men to come with me, to which he replied that he would cause the post to run, and advised me to lose no time in finding the king, who, he believed, would give me a reply that would reassure your Lordships. And as I took my leave, he said in a voice loud enough for all around to hear, “Ne doutez de rien.” I have forgotten to tell your Lordships that the Lieutenant said nothing respecting the Venetians, except that he would make them attend to their fishing, and that they were sure of the Swiss.
This is all I have been able to get out of Monseigneur de Chaumont, and I have endeavored to give you his very words. Since then I have talked with one who is a friend of our city, and who recognized me, having been at court when I was there before; and having drawn me aside, he said to me, with great show of regret, that he augured ill of the king’s affairs, for he knew that he could not raise any more money; that he had but few men-at-arms here, who were dispersed in different places, that he had no infantry, and that it would require a long time to provide both, but that there were no indications of their taking any steps about it; that on the other hand the enemy were ready in their saddles, fresh, and with all the prestige of victory and good fortune; so that he really knew not what help there was, not alone for his Majesty’s friends, but for his own states even. All this my friend said to me lamentingly, like one who feared these things, but not desired them. At another time I will give you the name of this individual, when I can do so without danger to him in case my letter should miscarry. Beyond the above, I can say nothing to your Lordships about matters here, not having been able in so short a time to learn more. I leave to-morrow about noon for Lyons; and recommend myself to your Lordships.
Milan, 22 January, 1504.[Back to Table of Contents]
Magnificent Signori, etc.:* —
Yesterday at about the twenty-second hour, Niccolo Machiavelli arrived here, and having heard from his own lips the reason of his coming, and having read his commission, and it being already late, we thought it well to defer until this morning all attempts to present him to the king. Accordingly we went to court this morning for that purpose, and, having endeavored to obtain an audience, I was told that it would be impossible to see his Majesty that day, as he was suffering somewhat from dysentery; but that, if the matter was pressing, we should speak to the Cardinal d’Amboise. I believe the excuse was true, for the king had refused to see some men sent by the Marquis of Mantua to present him some birds, for which he had asked the Marquis, and which he was very anxious to possess. Being thus precluded from seeing the king, we decided it would be well to see D’Amboise, and accordingly went to his lodgings. When I made known to him the arrival of the Secretary, he withdrew apart, where, after a few customary and suitable words on my part, Machiavelli presented his letters of credence to the Cardinal, and stated to him, so far as the time and the nature of the audience permitted, the object of his mission, which was in fact to point out the dangers by which our republic is threatened on the part of Gonsalvo and on that of the Venetians; as also from your being surrounded by a number of other enemies, some of whom have already declared themselves either for the Spaniards or the Venetians, and others were ready at any moment to do the same; and also because you have lost your troops in the kingdom of Naples, and find yourselves at the same time with the Pisans on your back, who were resorting to all the tricks of the infernal regions to injure you. He then showed that in all these threatening dangers you had but one confident hope, and that was in the assistance and arms of the king; but that inasmuch as the injuries were real, it was necessary that the help should also be real, and that he had been sent expressly to learn what assistance his Majesty intended to render us; and that it was earnestly desired that it should be of such character that our city might confidently rest her hopes upon them. All this Machiavelli said, with that animation which the subject demanded. Afterwards he added, that if his Majesty declined to grant us assistance, and such as the circumstances required, there would be nothing left for you but to make terms with those who were trying in every way to subjugate you.
His Eminence remained to listen to Machiavelli with evident displeasure, and showing himself to be much irritated; in his reply he complained much of these constant lamentations of your Lordships, who, being wise, should not in these times, and in the difficulties in which they are, use such language. He referred again to those points which I have already mentioned to your Lordships; saying that it was expected that the truce between Spain and themselves would be ratified, and that in less than a week they would be fully informed upon that point; and that his Majesty would not fail, in any way or point, to protect his allies or his own states; and that if your Lordships wished to take another course, they could not prevent you, but that you ought to think well before acting. To this I promptly replied, that there was not a man in all Florence who thought that you would have to take such a step, for every one confidently believed that the king would not let us want for help; and that what had been said on the subject was merely to show to what point our city might be driven, in case the support of his Majesty should fail us. Thereupon Machiavelli, with his wonted sagacity and adroitness, added, with the view of soothing his Eminence and to come to something definite, and also to have occasion to speak of Giovanpaolo, that it should be borne in mind, that the way to save Tuscany would be to save her walls; and that these walls on the side towards Gonsalvo were the Pope, Sienna, and Perugia. His Eminence did not let Machiavelli say anything more, but quickly answered that they were sure of the Pope and of Sienna, and that, as Perugia was a city belonging to the Church, she would do whatever the Pope wanted; and thereupon he rose and left us abruptly. I must not omit to tell your Lordships that, in complaining of your lamentations, and in attempting to show us that the king was doing all he could, his Eminence said that those troops that had come from Gaeta into Lombardy, as it were in nothing but their shirts, were not willing to stop south of the Alps, and that a great part of them were no longer there, notwithstanding the orders given to stop them, and the sending of Monseigneur de Guiche to reorganize them, as I have already reported in previous despatches. And when I expressed to the Cardinal my desire that the king should hear from the Secretary himself the same that he had heard, he said that it would have no other result than to cause fresh troubles to his Majesty, if to the difficulties with his troops there were added complaints from his friends. After this, we could not induce his Eminence to remain or to enter upon any other subject.
When the Cardinal had left us, Machiavelli and myself concluded that it would be well to have this matter made known in every possible way; and therefore Machiavelli together with Ugolino went to see Robertet, whom until now I had not visited, nor had he called upon me, as I had understood that he preferred that neither your Lordships’ ambassadors nor those from other states should be on such intimate terms with him, although in public they show him every mark of esteem and affection. When Machiavelli returned, he reported to me that Robertet, so soon as he saw him, said: “Do not talk to me now on any subject, for the Cardinal Legate has told me everything that you could possibly wish to say; and I repeat to you on his behalf that the truce with the Spaniard will, without fail, be ratified; and that whatever the terms may be, your safety will be provided for; and in case the truce should not be ratified, it will be known within a very few days. And I assure you that the king will defend Tuscany the same as Lombardy, for he has the safety of both equally at heart; and we must wait and see what issue the ratification of the truce will have.” The above is the substance of what we have been able to learn from these two personages, and your Lordships can now conjecture what you may have to hope for. Despite of Machiavelli’s tact, we did not succeed in touching upon the subject of Giovanpaolo, and we did not regret to defer it until another day, so as to avoid the appearance that Machiavelli had come here mainly on that account, which seemed to us the received impression here; for the abrupt breaking off of the interview by the Cardinal d’Amboise had apparently no other motive than to avoid a discussion of that matter. For after having told us that they had the best expectations for their cause from Pandolfo, and having briefly said of Perugia what we have above reported, he left us to go over to join Nemours and the other persons who were waiting for him. And notwithstanding that your Lordships had written to me to obtain the consent of the Cardinal to conclude the engagement of Giovanpaolo, the matter was in a measure left in suspense. But we shall do our utmost to bring it to a conclusion satisfactory to your Lordships; and if we fail, it will not be for want of efforts and diligence on our part.
I had written thus far on the 27th; it is now the 28th, and although both yesterday and to-day we endeavored to obtain an audience of the king, yet we did not succeed, owing to his Majesty’s indisposition both of mind and body, of which I have made mention in a previous despatch; for those who have charge of his health strive to keep him from seeing or hearing anything that might cause him displeasure. To-day, almost immediately after dinner, I received a message from his Eminence the Cardinal Legate to come to him; I therefore went at once to his house accompanied by Machiavelli. Being admitted to where he was, we found him in council, where there were present the Grandmaster of Rhodes, Nemours, Robertet, and eight or ten other personages of the long robe. His Eminence then said to me, within hearing of all present, that he had me call because he could not, on the arrival of your secretary two days since, tell me his whole mind, partly because he had not had the opportunity of communicating with the gentlemen of the Council on the subject, and partly for want of time; but he wished now to do his duty, so that I might write to your Lordships, and keep you in good heart. He then added, almost in the same words, what he had said to me on a previous occasion; namely, that there would have to be either peace or war; and whether it would be the one or the other would be definitely known anyhow within the present week. If it be peace, as they believed it would be, then your Lordships, being the king’s allies and confederates, might rest in security; and if it be war, then you would find that your interests and those of his Majesty would be regarded as identical, and that nothing would be left undone to secure your safety. That orders had been given to assemble twelve hundred lances in the duchy of Milan, and that your Lordships ought also to do what you could, and take care, if possible, to prevent any troops from entering into Pisa. Also that they intended, so soon as they received the answer from Spain, to despatch an envoy to your Lordships to reassure you, and to apprise you fully of their plans and intentions. And in the course of his remarks the Cardinal said, that the king well knew that he had not in all Italy more faithful friends than your Lordships and the Duke of Ferrara, and that his Majesty meant to keep you such. His Eminence was so much more cheerful than I had yet seen him, that this very cheerfulness, and the fact of his having sent to have me called for no other purpose than to repeat to me what he had already told me, left me in doubt as to what all this could signify. I replied for the moment, that, seeing his Eminence and the Council in such good spirits, I could but rejoice and augur favorably from it; and that I was quite sure that, in the event of peace or of a truce, your Lordships would have that position and that security which was due to your fidelity; but that in the event of war, your Lordships could do but little or nothing by yourselves; and that the twelve hundred lances would be a partial remedy if they were actually now in Lombardy, or would not have to lose time in getting there. And then I added such further remarks as seemed to me calculated to stimulate them to furnish you the needed help in case peace should not be had. I recalled to them the conduct of the Venetians, and the means and efforts employed by them to disturb and disorganize the duchy of Milan, and the states of the king. All I said was listened to with great attention; and Machiavelli, who was present as I have said, added that he would delay his departure until the decision of Spain should be received, so as to enable him to carry with him the good news of the agreement, or such resolve on the part of his Majesty respecting aid as would permit your Lordships to rely upon it with confidence; — to which D’Amboise replied that this was well. As the Council was more than usually numerous, I drew Machiavelli and Ugolino aside with me, and then reminded the Council, in any composition or agreement that might be arrived at, on no account to disparage our authority over Pisa; for if the Pisans were named by the Spaniards in any treaty of peace or truce, it would be looked upon as an evidence of their independence. Whereupon D’Amboise replied that such a thing would not be thought of, as they had the matter of Pisa much at heart. And referring again to our good faith, he spoke of the Venetians in a detrimental manner rather than otherwise, and spoke of Pandolfo in such terms as made me judge that they were not very sure of him, notwithstanding what he had previously said of Sienna, and which I have mentioned above; of Giovanni Bentivogli he said that he was an adherent of the Sforzas.
Your Lordships will see from all I have written what we have been able to learn, since the arrival of Machiavelli, of the situation of things here; and although his commission comprises, besides pointing out to the king and the Cardinal the dangers, the duty of seeing with his own eyes what assistance they are preparing to render us, and to learn their thoughts and designs, and then to report to you his own conclusions and conjectures as to the state of things here, nevertheless I do not deem it superfluous, or out of place, for my own satisfaction, to repeat to your Lordships what I have already written you on a former occasion. His Majesty the king, and Cardinal d’Amboise, as well as all the gentlemen and nobles here, are, in consequence of the events until now, more disposed for peace than for war. They are carrying on negotiations for such a peace both with Spain and with the Emperor of Germany; the negotiations with Spain are at the same point which I mentioned in a former despatch, and the ratification of the truce is expected to arrive here during this week. Everybody here at court speaks of it and confidently believes it, and the Spanish ambassadors themselves express that opinion, and regard its arrival as certain. As for myself, I cannot judge of this matter differently from what others do; although I think, according to the experience of the past, it may or may not be, and that the earnest affirmations of the ambassadors may merely be intended to lull the king asleep as to measures necessary to be taken. All this we shall know very soon, as the time is fixed for the answer to arrive; and then we shall see the result.
As to the peace which they are trying to bring about with the Emperor of Germany, nothing definite has as yet been done; true, day before yesterday an ambassador of the Emperor’s arrived here, who is the secretary of that sovereign and greatly esteemed by him. They went to meet him outside of the city, and received him with great honors; but it is said that he has no commission other than to establish relations with his Majesty the king, until the arrival of his colleague, who has gone to the Archduke for the purpose of conferring with him before coming here; but no opinion can be formed as yet whether a peace will be concluded or not. We must wait for time to form a judgment upon this matter; but after the arrival of the other ambassador I shall not fail to watch their movements, and to advise you fully; and so for the present I shall say no more about it, as it is not yet of as much importance for your Lordships as the matter of Spain; which, if concluded and the truce ratified, as is hoped here, will render your Lordships safe from Gonsalvo and his troops. The Venetians will then also take care not to wrong or injure you. But if the truce should not be ratified, to which all the French hold so much, then I should not know what to say of their thoughts and intentions, and what provisions will then have to be made other than what I had written to your Lordships before, and what I write now, and of which you will form such judgment as your wisdom will suggest. And if it so turns out that we shall have war, you can more immediately demand assistance through us, and they will no longer be able to take refuge in their hopes of peace, as they do now; for they must then show their hands, or satisfy your Lordships. As yet nothing has been said to me respecting the money due by your Lordships to the king at the time of the next fair; should they say anything to me about it, I shall reply in accordance with the instructions which Niccolo Machiavelli has brought with him.
I have omitted to tell your Lordships that, before leaving the Cardinal d’Amboiseto-day, I asked him whether he thought that I ought to call upon the newly arrived ambassador of the Emperor of Germany, since it was at his suggestion that I called, on my arrival, upon Monseigneur Philibert; I also asked him whether in his opinion I ought to call upon the Spanish ambassadors. He replied that I ought certainly to call upon both the one and the other, and spoke of them in the most amiable and honorable manner on the part of his Majesty of France. And accordingly I shall call upon both of them to-morrow, and should I learn anything of moment I will promptly advise your Lordships, quæ feliciter valeant.
Lyons, 29 January, 1504.[Back to Table of Contents]
Magnificent Signori, etc.: —
I arrived here last Friday about the twenty-second hour, and thus fulfilled the promise made to your Lordships to be here within six days or sooner, deducting the time occupied in going to Milan. I have nothing to report as to my proceedings here, but confirm fully all that the Ambassador has written you at length. I am waiting for the expected ratification of the truce with Spain, after which I shall return, and bring with me either perfect security for our republic by means of the peace, or I shall bring instructions to prepare for war. And whether this will or will not result in safety for your Lordships I am not able to say; but I know well that it would be impossible to change the minds of the people here.
I recommend myself to your Lordships, quæ bene valeant.
Lyons, 30 January, 1504.
N. B. — The individual whom I mentioned in my letter from Milan as having expressed to me so gloomy a judgment of the condition of the French there, is the Count Piccino da Novara. I write this so that your Lordships may attach more importance to his opinion, for he is well known by all who have been ambassadors to France.[Back to Table of Contents]
Magnificent Signori, etc.: —
By the enclosed of the 27th, which has been retained until the 29th, your Lordships will have been informed of all that has taken place since the arrival of Machiavelli. That letter was not sent for want of the convenience of a courier, and from my desire to forward it free of expense. But as some one leaves this evening for Florence, I will not miss the opportunity of writing to your Lordships what I heard from the king, before whom I presented myself to-day immediately after dinner, accompanied by Machiavelli and Ugolino Martelli. We spoke to his Majesty conformably to what we had already twice said to the Cardinal d’Amboise, as reported in the enclosed. Nor did the king’s replies vary in general from what the Cardinal had said; but he added specially that he was organizing a new corps of fourteen hundred lances and twenty thousand infantry, and had given orders that very day that a cousin of D’Aubigny’s should be placed in charge of the citadel of Milan with one hundred Scottish lances, which he has collected for the purpose of reducing that stronghold to subjection; and that besides these he would send there some two or three hundred lances, of certain detached bands, which he would unite and send into that duchy. We did not fail to encourage him to this, and even to greater preparations, and to point out to him that it would be highly advantageous for him to re-engage as many Italian troops as possible, showing him the course pursued in that respect by his adversaries. His Majesty replied that he would do so, but that it was necessary that your Lordships should take into your pay as many as you possibly could; adding, that the Pope had written him that he was forming a corps of four hundred men-at-arms, and that although he had given the captaincy to the Duke of Urbino, wishing thus to honor the Prefect, yet that this was merely a matter of courtesy; and that he should give orders that these troops should be commanded by able men, and such as were experienced in the profession of arms. His Majesty affirmed most energetically, and showed by his manner, that he felt sure of the Pope; respecting Spanish affairs and the ratification of the truce, he expressed the same opinion as the Cardinal Legate, which I have communicated to you in the enclosed, and he said that by Friday the answer ought to be here, and that then your secretary could return to Florence, either with the news of the definite conclusion of the truce and peace, or of war. Here we did not fail to remind his Majesty, in the event of war being the result, of the measures necessary to be taken for the protection of his own interests as well as those of his allies; the most important of which measures were to have a large fleet at sea, and to strengthen Tuscany with good troops.
It remains for me to inform your Lordships that, before our interview with his Majesty, the envoy of the Marquis of Mantua, and another individual who came here by post, sent by that prince, had an audience of theking. I could learn nothing of the object of their coming, except what his Majesty told me so soon as I presented myself; namely, that these gentlemen had been sent by the Marquis of Mantua for no other purpose than to urge him to attack the Venetians; and that he, on his part, would not fail to furnish what troops and men-at-arms he could possibly raise for that purpose. His Majesty added, that the envoy from Ferrara had made him similar offers; to all which I replied in a becoming manner, urging his Majesty to take that course.
To-day the ambassadors of the Emperor of Germany dined with the Cardinal Legate; they have as yet not had an audience of the king, and it is believed that the reason is that his Majesty wishes first to know what propositions they bring, so as to prepare himself to manage the business with the more credit to himself. The ambassador from Genoa gave us to understand, this morning, that by order of his Majesty and his own government all their vessels that were in port were to be stopped, as he wished to arm them for his service; from the same source we learn the death of the Marquis of Saluzzo. We hear furthermore, from various quarters, that the king has sequestered all the revenues of Monsignor Ascanio; and that he has sent for a number of Milanese gentlemen, noted as being of the Sforza party, and has banished them to different places, fixing the time when they must report themselves there.
After writing thusfar, I went to make my visit to the Spanish ambassador, as agreed with the Cardinal Legate yesterday. I conversed with him on general matters, having due regard to the honor of both sovereigns, as well as that of your Lordships. He replied to me most graciously, and in the course of his remarks assured me that the ratification of the truce would unquestionably come, and would not be delayed beyond this week, and might even reach here this very night.
I mention this to your Lordships, so that you may know what I have learned from that ambassador; beyond which I have nothing to report.
I recommend myself humbly to your Lordships, quæ bene valeant.
Lyons, 30 January, 1504.[Back to Table of Contents]
Magnificent Signori, etc.: —
We wrote to your Lordships yesterday, since which it happened that, whilst the Cardinal d’Amboise was at chapel this morning, we approached his Eminence, who had been conversing for a considerable time with Monseigneur Philibert, and not without some discussion between them. After some general remarks and other observations, such as we have mentioned before, the Cardinal said that it seemed to him noteworthy that Gonsalvo was doing all he could to interrupt the peace negotiations, although he hoped that Gonsalvo would be constrained to obey; and even if he were not, that your Lordships, with the aid and favor of his Majesty of France, would not only be able to defend yourselves, but even to keep Gonsalvo in check. To all this we replied in such manner as we thought to the point, and which we will not weary your Lordships with repeating, having written the same thing before. A friend of your Lordships reported to me the same thing, with the further statement that there was an indication that, in the expected ratification of the agreement, there might be something that would delay its final conclusion until their Catholic Majesties should first be informed of Gonsalvo’s opinion upon it; but that nevertheless the ratification was regarded as certain. I should, however, feel that I had failed in my duty and my office, were I not to report to you daily what we hear.
Nothing else has occurred here worthy of your Lordships’ notice. To-day or to-morrow the other Imperial ambassador is expected here; he is called the Count Gaspar de Verespony, and comes accompanied by one of the Archduke’s confidential men. It was by the Emperor’s orders that these ambassadors went to the Archduke, so that their mission here might be conformable to the views of both father and son. According to what we hear, the ambassador who is already here is a man of high consideration, and bears the title of Chancellor of the Province, but he is not to have an audience of the king until after the arrival of his colleague. We have an excellent opportunity of finding out the designs of these ambassadors through one of their countrymen, who is in our interest. So far as we have been able to learn, they are greatly incensed against the Venetians, and inclined to make terms with the king here, intimating, however, that the Archduke will not yield any of the conditions for the protection of his property that had been subjects of discussion under the former treaty; and he particularly claims the kingdom of Naples as a dowry, as had already been a subject of negotiation. Iwrite these statements such as they are to your Lordships, inasmuch as they are secrets reserved for but a few. Some of the suspected Milanese who have been recalled are beginning to make their appearance here.
I have nothing further of interest to communicate at present, having written you yesterday at length; and nothing has occurred here but what I have stated above. I will only observe that we neither see nor hear anything as to preparations for war beyond the fact that everybody’s thoughts are directed to the providing of money. A good deal is said about laying a tax of ten per cent upon the priests, and about resorting to all possible measures for collecting this revenue, which, according to their opinion, will produce large sums. Beyond this I think of nothing else to mention. Bene valeant DD. VV., to whom I humbly recommend myself.
Lyons, this last day of January, 1504.[Back to Table of Contents]
Magnificent Signori, etc.: —
Should it seem to your Lordships that I have deferred too long since my arrival to write, it is owing solely to the want of facilities for sending my letters without involving you in expense. But we have not and shall not neglect to make every effort, by all the means at our command, to move and favorably dispose the king and the Cardinal Legate towards our republic; nor do we omit to do everything in our power to influence those who surround his Majesty to induce him to think of the security of your Lordships. It is this probably that has caused my receiving a visit at my lodgings to-day from Messer Claudio, who is much employed nowadays by the Cardinal Legate, and is the Datary* in place of Narbonne. He told me, on behalf of his Eminence, how well they were disposed, and how they gave their continuous thoughts to the means for relieving their own condition, and for the security of their friends, and that he had come again to ask me what I could suggest upon that point; adding, that it seemed to them that Pisa was in the greatest danger, and most exposed to the power and will of the enemy, who would, if they came there, cause more ruinous effects than anything else that could at present be thought of; and that, if it were possible to open some communication with the authorities of that city to encourage them not to despair and throw themselves into the arms of the Spaniards or the Venetians, it was believed that it would be most opportune, and for the common security and benefit; but that they would do nothing without the consent and participation of your Lordships; adding that, whenever it was in the power of his Majesty, there would not be wanting ways and means within a few years to satisfy your Lordships. I replied that your Lordships had brought the necessary remedies most urgently to the notice of his Majesty and of the Cardinal Legate, as well as to that of the Council when his Majesty himself was present; and that they must have seen from your letters, as also from your having so recently sent your secretary here by post, that your Lordships have not failed in your duty. But that I believed that it was our ill fortune that the consideration shown to us should have been so unequal to that which another potentate of Italy had received, who, through their coming into Italy, and by his having so often deceived them, had acquired so great a state in Lombardy and in the Romagna; whilst we, after such strict observance of our engagements, our constant fidelity, and the loss of one third of our state, had to make such efforts to persuade them, with so little satisfaction to ourselves as well as to them, to what was no less for the advantage of his Majesty the king, than for that of your Lordships. And if ours was but “a mere song,” as his Eminence the Cardinal Legate had been several times pleased to call it, we should leave it to others to sing it, were it not that we should be the first to suffer. But that if his Majesty wished to maintain his states in Italy, as well as his friends, then he ought to put faith in the Italians; and that it was of the first necessity for your Lordships, as the most effective remedy for your difficulties, that his Majesty should place at least eight hundred to one thousand men-at-arms in Lombardy, secure the Swiss by all means, and carefully watch matters in Genoa by keeping his fleet there; as also to draw towards himself as many friends in Italy as possible, and that mainly from amongst the military men. That his Majesty should bear in mind that neither the Pope nor your Lordships could or should be constrained by force, and that he ought to have confidence in us, whom, after so much experience, he ought to trust as he would his own subjects. And that if Gonsalvo, through the Cardinal Santa Croce or others, influenced the Pope adversely, no means should be left unemployed to show his Holiness that his Majesty, so far from abandoning his interests in Italy, has these as well as those of his friends constantly in his thoughts. That as to what preparations ought to be made in France, in view either of peace or of a mere truce, I could not venture to give any advice, although I would repeat the words of King Louis, who used to say that “it was always during the negotiations that he made greater and better preparations than during peace.” As regards Pisan affairs, I said that his Majesty knew well that it was the duty of an ambassador to hear all that was proposed, and then to communicate it to his government, and that I intended so to act. That I was well aware of the importance for Italy to be well armed, so that she might employ her force whenever necessary; for if powerful princes used words without arms to enforce them, it only served to compromise their dignity. I was answered, that this matter would present no difficulties, for they knew that the company of the Venetians was far from agreeable to the Pisans, and that they were more inclined to trust the French than the Spaniards; that if these negotiations with the Pisans succeeded, then both themselves and your Lordships would be relieved of great dangers; and if they did not succeed, your Lordships as well as his Majesty the king would better understand the Pisans, and that then by common accord better remedies could be devised; and that even if these negotiations with the Pisans were protracted for some length of time, your Lordships should not at once be discouraged.
I made my usual reply, that I would write to your Lordships, as you required me to do, for without special orders or instructions I could not venture to say anything on the subject. Your Lordships must know that all these arguments have been repeated by them several times, and that they evidently have this matter much at heart; for yesterday morning, at the Celestines, the Pope’s ambassador spoke to me about it, adding however that Pisa might be placed in the hands of the Pope, to which the French would perhaps consent. Nemours said the same thing afterwards to the ambassador from Ferrara, and urged him to persuade me to write at once to your Lordships about it. Your Lordships must now instruct me precisely what I am to answer, and how I shall conduct myself, and I shall keep strictly within your mandate and instructions.
The Imperial ambassadors together with the Archduke’s agent had an audience of his Majesty to-day; the impression is, that at this first interview only general matters were discussed. I have not yet called upon these ambassadors, for I was waiting until after they should have had their first audience. I shall speak again to the Cardinal Legate about it, and follow his suggestions, as I have had no instructions from your Lordships upon this point; his Eminence had approved my manner, as well as the remarks which I made to the Spaniards, which seemed to have been very agreeable to him. Through our German friend we learn, from what he has found out by pretty sure means from the Emperor’s ambassadors, and especially the younger one, that his Imperial Majesty is resolved, come what may, to make a descent into Italy this summer, with a large force of his own troops; but that his coming will not be very agreeable to King Frederic, for he knows that the Archduke wants the kingdom of Naples as a portion for his son. In the same way I learn that the ambassador who is called the Chancellor of the Province has frequent conferences with the Spanish ambassadors, and shows them marks of esteem and confidence, and that that ambassador bears the same relations to the Emperor as the Cardinal Legate does to the king of France. On the other hand, these Spaniards aver that their Catholic Majesties, by way of easing their minds and conscience, desire to re-establish the son of King Frederic upon the throne of Naples, by giving him their niece for wife. These diverse accounts would seem to indicate some difficulty in the peace negotiations. And although it would appear reasonable that the Emperor will not make a descent into Italy without the good pleasure of these two sovereigns, and without having concluded a peace with his Most Christian Majesty, yet it is said that he is collecting troops, and has asked the Swiss for five thousand Vj.as (?). These people are reported to be well inclined for such a descent, and particularly those of the three Cantons nearest to the confines of the duchy of Milan.
About four days ago a man from that country was brought before his Majesty and reported to him the above-mentioned order from the Emperor, and the favorable disposition of the Swiss for such an enterprise, together with some particulars as to their demand for a cession of Como and other places; but his Majesty showed that he did not attach much importance to this report, feeling quite sure of the Swiss.
Now I wished to inform your Lordships of all I could find out in relation to these matters, so that, in your wisdom, you may form your own judgment upon them; particularly seeing the delay in the arrival of the ratification of the agreement, and that the truce with Spain will soon expire, and that they are not doing much here in the way of preparations, but continue to affirm that they regard the ratification as certain. We must form our judgment therefore from one day to another, as events may occur; but we shall continue to be watchful, so as to keep your Lordships better informed if possible, and to be able the more promptly to solicit assistance, in case the ratification should after all not come. Niccolo Machiavelli will remain here a few days longer.
Yesterday a cousin of the Bailli d’Occan came to me, and told me he had not yet had his pay for six months’ service, and wanted us to provide for it. I answered him that I believed they did not keep their accounts well, but that I would write to your Lordships for instructions upon the matter; although things had come to that pass that it was necessary for you to think of spending no money except in defence of your own interests, which were closely united and bound up with the defence of the states of his Majesty. It was with some difficulty that I got rid of this man, who kept saying to me that he intended anyhow to speak to his Majesty and the Cardinal Legate about it. I beg your Lordships will instruct me in relation to this matter, for this man is a perfect wasp; they are all starved and ruined, and I wish very much you would write me whether I shall do anything to make it known that the engagement of Baglioni is terminated, for this cousin of his demands it. And although I told him in so many words that death settled everything, and that such was your Lordships’ understanding of the matter, yet I wish you would instruct me whether you think that I ought to go any further.
The generals have sent to claim from Ugolino the payment of ten thousand ducats due at the last fair, as had been agreed, and to ask at the same time whether the ten thousand ducats due at the present fair were ready, together with what was due on the past. Ugolino told me that he had replied that he would speak to me about it; but that this did not satisfy them, and that they wanted to speak to me themselves, as also to the king and the Cardinal Legate, inasmuch as this money had been assigned to them. When they come to talk to me about it, I shall reply in accordance with your Lordships’ instructions. I have nothing else of interest to communicate to your Lordships, to whom I recommend myself, quæ feliciter valeant.
Lyons, 2 February, 1504.[Back to Table of Contents]
Magnificent Signori, etc.: —
I have to-day received your Lordships’ letters of the 26th, 28th, 29th, and 31st ultimo, and of the 1st instant, for which I had been truly anxious, for it had seemed to me a very long time to be without news from Florence. Your Lordships must have received my several letters which I have sent since the arrival of Machiavelli, written on the 27th, 29th, 30th, and 31st ultimo, and from which you will have learned all that we have been able to do since then, and what hopes and conjectures we have formed as to help from here for ourselves and the other allies and states which his Majesty has in Italy. Your Lordships will also have noticed what I wrote more especially in regard to Pisan affairs in my enclosed despatch of the 2d instant, which was not sent sooner because no couriers have been sent to Italy since then. And so as not to fail in anything that could possibly be done to promote your interests, and to arouse their feelings in our favor, we went immediately on receipt of your letters to his Majesty the king, whom I found still in bed, where he has been confined for more than a week. He seemed to me to look better than usual, and, according to what his Majesty himself said, he was in the best way of getting over his ailment. I communicated to him the advices I had from your Lordships, also those from the Romagna, as well as those from Rome which I had received from his Eminence of Volterra, who never fails to keep me fully posted by every courier upon every point which the interests of our republic make it necessary for me to know. I spoke again to his Majesty of the dangers that threaten, first his friends, and then his own states in Italy, and what measures were necessary to avert them. Although our conversation was fragmentary, as seems to be the way in which all business matters are treated here, yet I was careful to touch again upon all the points embraced in your Lordships’ instructions for the advantage of Italy. And as I surmissed that the Venetians are carrying on some secret negotiations with his Majesty, I advised him well to watch their proceedings, as they would certainly deceive him underhandedly; and I demonstrated to him that they had no real intention of making terms with him, but that it was a mere pretext for obtaining better terms in the arrangements they were negotiating with the Emperor of Germany and with Spain. Upon this point his Majesty replied to me to be of good cheer, that he would never make terms with the Venetians, and that the Milanese had offered him one hundred thousand ducats if he would make war upon Venice; and that he would in any event enter into an arrangement with the princes of the Empire and with the Emperor himself, and that conjointly with the Emperor they would beat Venice and Spain together, in case Spain did not consent to peace or to a truce. On the one hand his Majesty seemed to apprehend lest Gonsalvo should disturb the proposed peace, and on the other hand he spoke confidently of concluding an arrangement, unless the king of Spain should demand conditions that were not acceptable to him.
The hostile disposition of the king towards the Venetians manifests itself in many other ways besides his own words; for this very day, after the audience, I met the ambassador from Ferrara, who told me that he had also spoken with the king this morning, and that his Majesty had said to him that he wished that his Duke would, for the love of him, once more put on his armor against the Venetians, and that before dying he wanted anyhow to recover the states which they had taken from him. His Majesty entered fully into the reasons which I suggested to him relative to the affairs of Pisa, showing that he believed that it was from that quarter that your Lordships were more exposed to attack than from any other; and for that reason, he said, he had caused M. de Ravenstein to open certain secret negotiations with the Pisans, so that they might not throw themselves into the arms of Gonsalvo, or of any one else; adding, “that if two or three thousand infantry entered Pisa, they could disturb your Lordships’ state very much, and that in such case it would be very difficult to take the town by force.” His Majesty came back several times to this argument, so that it is evident that he had the matter much at heart, as I have explained to your Lordships at length in the enclosed despatch. And yet it is affirmed here that there is no intention to make any arrangement with Pisa without your consent and participation; it is necessary, therefore, that your Lordships should write me your views upon this point, and how I am to manage this matter if pressed to something definite. Respecting the provisions to be made for his own safety, and for that of his allies, his Majesty held the same views which I have before communicated to your Lordships; and although we have reminded him of the importance of taking Italian troops into his pay, yet it does not appear that he responds in a manner to give any hope for it; and what makes me believe that he is in no way disposed to do it is that the envoy of the Marquis of Mantua told me, that the said Marquis had sent a man expressly to ask the king’s permission to raise fifty Italian men-at-arms in place of the fifty French lances which he has engaged from his Majesty, but his request was not granted, which fact, in every respect, deserves your consideration. We did not omit to urge upon the king again to remember his friends in the agreement which is being negotiated, and to save them, which he has promised to do. After taking my leave of his Majesty, I thought it proper to call with Machiavelli upon the Grand Chancellor, whom, for good reasons, I had not seen since the arrival of Machiavelli. I was more particularly induced to do this, as I had not been able to speak to the Cardinal Legate; and accordingly we went to see the Chancellor, and said to him all we could under the circumstances respecting his Majesty’s affairs, as well as our own and those of the rest of Italy. His Lordship received us very cheerfully, and seemed to listen to my remarks with great interest; he spoke himself of passing events, and what he thought of them, and of his hopes for a favorable issue; and said, in substance, that the king, for his part, had not the least fear, for that whoever should attempt to assail the king in his proper states of France would find out their mistake. And here he gave us an account of the king’s forces, and referred to the example of the past, etc., etc. And as regards the duchy of Milan, they would anyhow within two months have a thousand French lances there, and could send there at any moment six thousand infantry; but that his Majesty did have some fears for his friends who were more open to attack. But looking at it on the other hand, that he held the duchy of Milan, which forms a considerable part of Italy, and that the Pope and all Tuscany were his friends, it seemed to him that he had more than a mere party in Italy, and that if they did their duty, sustained by the power and good will of the king, they would be well able to defend themselves. He came back several times to this point, saying that your Lordships ought to show some vigor and take good care of Livorno, pointing out its importance and its convenience for the French fleet, as well as for your defence.
I remained a long time with the Chancellor, and did not fail to reply to that part of his remarks which seemed most suitable; telling him that it was well for him to say that we ought to take vigorous measures, but that the difficulty was the lack of power to do so, giving him the reasons; and that therefore it was necessary that the king should make such display of vigor, and pointed out to him that there were two ways of his doing so. The one was to bring about a union between the Pope and all Tuscany, Bologna, Ferrara, and Mantua, so that these different members should become one body, and that their united power might act with greater effect; and to bring this about, it was necessary to send some sagacious man, charged with this object, to the several parties. The other way was for the king to take into his pay as many Italian captains as he possibly could, adding that there were not so many military men in Italy but what he could in a very short time engage the greater part of them, provided he was willing to spend his money for that purpose. And as an example we cited our own republic, which in former times, when she was not torn to pieces as now, had many times, with nothing but her money, taken their arms from her enemies. We also cited the example of Gonsalvo, who achieved victory with Italian troops. These arguments satisfied him, and he promised his efforts to bring about either one or the other. Upon the point of employing Italian troops, however, he stated that out of the one thousand lances which they were going to send into Lombardy, as stated above, there would be more than four hundred Italians; and he seemed to wish to infer that, so far as to the taking of Italians into their pay, they had done their part, and that it was for their friends now to do the rest.
Thus, not having been able to see the Cardinal Legate to-day, we have not gathered any further information than what we have above written. Your Lordships will now form such judgment of it as your wisdom will suggest, and see what hopes it will be safe to build upon it. And as there is as yet no solution of the Spanish business, no answer having been received from there, although there is some talk at court that it has come, I have not permitted Machiavelli to leave here, because our intention is to make his departure the occasion for pressing them here a little more, and to see whether we cannot get something more out of them, although I doubt it; and many persons begin to doubt whether this Spanish business has not been protracted on purpose, and that the French have been deceived. It is said that an agreement has been concluded with the Swiss, who promise to serve the king within the duchy of Milan and in France, but nowhere else. If this be true, then it is very opportune. The German ambassadors have to-day received an express from his Imperial Majesty, who is at Olemberg; this messenger made the trip in five days, and after his arrival Robertet passed full two hours or more with the ambassadors, and has written much. It is believed that they are drawing up the articles of agreement. Another envoy of the Archduke is expected here, who is said to hold a high position near that prince. I