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Niccolo Machiavelli, The Historical, Political, and Diplomatic Writings, vol. 3 (Diplomatic Missions 1498-1505) [1498]

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Niccolo Machiavelli, 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. http://oll.libertyfund.org/titles/776

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Volume 3 of a 4 volume set of Machiavelli’s writings which contains a lengthy introduction on the life of Machiavelli, the History of Florence, The Prince, Discourses on Livy, and his letters and papers from his time as a diplomat. This volume contains papers and letters from his time as a diplomat.

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CESARE BORGIA

Duke of Valentino and the Romagna

From the portrait by Raphael in the Borghese Gallery Rome

Edition: current; Page: [none]
THE HISTORICAL, POLITICAL, AND DIPLOMATIC WRITINGS of NICCOLO MACHIAVELLI
TRANSLATED FROM THE ITALIAN by CHRISTIAN E. DETMOLD
in four volumes
Vol. III.
BOSTON
JAMES R. OSGOOD AND COMPANY
1882
Edition: current; Page: [none]

Copyright, 1882,

By Christian E. Detmold.

All rights reserved.

University Press: John Wilson and Son, Cambridge.

Edition: current; Page: [1]

CONTENTS OF VOLUME III.

  • MISSIONS.

  • Mission to the Lord of Piombino, November 20, 1498 . . . Page 1
  • Mission to the Countess Catharine Sforza, July 12, 1499 . 5
  • Commission to the Army in the Field against the Pisans, July, 1500 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27
  • Mission to the Court of France, July 18, 1500 . . . . . 40
  • Mission to the Duke of Valentinois, October 5, 1502 . . 141
  • Mission to Sienna, April 26, 1503 . . . . . . . . . . . 281
  • Mission to the Court of Rome, October 24, 1503 . . . . 283
  • Second Mission to the Court of France, January 14, 1504 389
  • Mission to Gianpaolo Baglioni, April 8, 1504 . . . . . . 445
  • Mission to the Marquis of Mantua, John Francis II. of Gonzaga, May 4, 1505 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 454
  • Second Mission to Sienna, July 16, 1505 . . . . . . . . 457
  • Second Mission to the Army before Pisa, August 19, 1505 . 482
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MISSIONS.

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MISSION TO THE LORD OF PIOMBINO.*

Niccolo Machiavelli
Machiavelli, Niccolo
November 20, 1498

LETTER OF THE MAGISTRACY OF THE TEN TO THE LORD OF PIOMBINO.
November 20, 1498.

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 Edition: current; Page: [4] 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.

MISSION OF MACHIAVELLI TO THE SAME.

INSTRUCTIONS.

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 Edition: current; Page: [5] 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
Rep. Flor.
Edition: current; Page: [6]

MISSION TO THE COUNTESS CATHARINE SFORZA.*

INSTRUCTIONS
GIVEN TO NICCOLO MACHIAVELLI ON BEING SENT TO FURLI, TO THEIR EXCELLENCIES THE COUNTESS SFORZA AND HER ELDEST SON, SIGNOR OTTAVIANO.

Resolved on, 12 July, 1499.

You will proceed to Furli and present yourself to the illustrious Lady Catharine and to his Excellency the Signor Ottaviano, her eldest son, and after having offered your homage to them, and presented our letters of credence, with which you will be furnished, to both of them jointly and to each separately, you Edition: current; Page: [7] will state the object of your mission; which you will explain has been resolved upon in consequence of their agent’s having asked of us a renewal for this year of the Signor Ottaviano’s engagement. Upon this subject you will point out to them Edition: current; Page: [8] that we do not consider ourselves bound to do so, having at the proper time, through our commissioner, Andrea de’ Pazzi, made their Excellencies understand the reasons which we believed would readily justify our refusal.

You will also recall the fact, that when, on the last day of January, our commissioner urged the Signor Ottaviano to give his consent to such a renewal, his Excellency replied, “Non teneri, nec obligatum esse, cum pro parte Magistratus Decemvirorum, etc., non fuerint sibi servata capitula conductæ suæ.” This refusal on his part was formally drawn up by a certain Ser Spinucci of Furli; and was moreover confirmed on the same day by letters from the said Signor Ottaviano, and by several letters from Andrea de’ Pazzi, in which he wrote in behalf of the illustrious Lady Catharine that she would on no account give her consent to such an engagement. Whence we concluded that his Excellency was under no obligations to us, nor we to him; it seeming to us that the efforts we had made, and the written replies thereto, were sufficient evidence that their Excellencies would on no account accept a renewal of the engagement. Added to this is the fact that our ambassadors at Milan had written several times that her Excellency the Countess had written to that most illustrious prince, in reply to his letters in which he advised her to accept the engagement, that she would under no consideration give her consent; alleging that she was badly compensated, etc., and that she hoped, in the event of her obtaining more favorable conditions elsewhere, his Excellency would not deprive her of that advantage.

All these circumstances constrain us to think that both by words and by acts their Excellencies will not continue their engagement any longer. And moreover, that, even if all these reasons did not exist, the fact that his Excellency did not accept within four months the conditions which we offered makes it impossible for us now, after a lapse of so much time, to come back to the terms of an engagement which has absolutely expired. In this wise you will clearly justify our course, so that his Excellency may understand that we have acted with good reason in this matter, as the above argument will show. And you will immediately add that, notwithstanding all this, we have an earnest desire to meet the wishes of his Excellency, and to satisfy him as far as we possibly can at this time; and Edition: current; Page: [9] with the view to showing him our gratitude for all he has done for our republic, we have determined to accord to their Excellencies such an engagement at the expiration of the present term. But owing to the present state of things, and the great number of men-at-arms which we have still in our service, we desire that such an engagement should be on a peace footing, and for one year, at a compensation of ten thousand ducats. And we think that such an engagement ought to satisfy his Excellency, if not by its importance, at least by its stability, for in this way it may last longer than if we maintained it at the same rate of compensation and the same number of men-at-arms as heretofore. And moreover we believe that, in accepting our proposition, his Excellency will be influenced less by a desire to advance his own interests than to gratify our republic, and by the wish to secure our affection more and more by adding to his past services this new proof of his liberality.

You will also point out to his Excellency, that, if such an engagement is not altogether in accordance with his wishes, yet it will not be without dignity nor without the prospect of improvement, when once our republic shall have recovered all her territory and is restored to her proper state and power. And should his Excellency refer to the increase of compensation conceded by us to some of our other Condottieri, you will have ample reasons for explaining to him that the circumstances at the time demanded this, assuring him at the same time that, if we had to do so now, it would not be on so large a scale, nor should we have the same considerations for these Condottieri now as we were obliged to have at the time, when our affairs were in the condition in which they were then. And should reference be made by his Excellency to the loss of rations, you will in reply observe that two months of such an engagement have already expired, which is clear gain to his Excellency, and that we could easily compensate him for such loss.

Upon these several points you will enlarge in the most effective language and in the best terms that may suggest themselves to you; so as to convince his Excellency of our sincere desire for an opportunity to benefit him, and to acknowledge the services which he has rendered to our republic, as also of our entire confidence in him. At the same time, you will point out the necessity of the union of our states, employing Edition: current; Page: [10] the most acceptable language in your endeavor to persuade him to that effect.

You will not omit to write to us promptly an account of your proceedings, so that we may reply at once and remove any difficulties that may arise. And you must shape your proceedings so that his Excellency will not take it amiss if we do not at all times meet our payments at the moment they are due. For this purpose you will explain to him, that we propose to make this engagement with him from no necessity of our own, but merely to gratify his desire; and that, weighed down as we are with such heavy charges, we may find ourselves obliged occasionally to defer our payments, in respect to which you will make our excuses in such terms as will be acceptable to his Excellency.

CREDENZIALE.
Illustribus et Excellentib. D. D. Catharinæ Sfortiæ, Vicecomiti, etc., et D. Octaviano de Riario, Imolæ Furliviique D. D. et amicis clarissimis.

Illustres et excellentes Domini, amici clarissimi. Mittimus ad excellentias vestras Nicolaum Machiavellum, civem et secretarium nostrum, qui, ut illi mandavimus, coram multa exponet, in quibus habere illi certissimam optamus fidem, non secus ac nobis loquentibus. Bene valete.

Priores Libertatis et Vexillifer Justitiæ } Pop. Flor.
Marcellus.
Niccolo Machiavelli
Machiavelli, Niccolo
16 July, 1499
Castrocaro
Catharine Sforza
Sforza, Catharine

LETTER I.

Magnificent and Illustrious Signori, etc., etc.:

I arrived here yesterday evening about the twenty-second hour, and reported myself immediately to his Magnificence the Captain-General, and communicated to him your Lordships’ wishes in relation to the powder, balls, and saltpetre. He replied that all the iron balls here, both large and small, had been Edition: current; Page: [11] sent last year to be employed in the siege of Vico; and that the powder that had been left here by the French, amounting only to about fifteen or twenty pounds, had been destroyed two years ago, having been set on fire by a stroke of lightning, and that the explosion had shattered that part of the citadel where the powder had been stored. I then sent for Farragano to obtain information respecting the saltpetre, in accordance with the instructions given me by your Lordships’ purveyor. He told me that he had only one hundred pounds, but that he had a friend in the country who had about six hundred pounds of powder; and although this is but a small quantity, yet I send it to your Lordships by the bearer of this, so that this trip shall not have been entirely in vain; and I beg that you will have him paid promptly at the rate of forty florins per one thousand pounds, which I have promised him. Upon weighing this powder we found it to be five hundred and eighty-seven pounds; the teamster who brings it to you is called Tommaso di Mazolo, to whom you will please pay the value of the powder according to my promise to him; I have paid him for carrying it to you the sum of eight florins and three soldi.

In regard to what has passed between Ser Guerrino del Bello and our commander touching the attempt of the latter to arrest Marchione Golferelli, as well as the other occurrences here, I have learned the following from persons of different conditions, so that I believe it to be true; namely, that your Lordships’ predecessors having written to the commander here that they had some apprehensions lest Dionigio Naldi should enter the place during the night for the purpose of doing some mischief to the Corbizo family, and that a certain Marchione Golferelli was to aid him in this, the commander resolved to lay his hands upon this Marchione; but having been brought by the sergeants almost within the palace courtyard, he was rescued by two of his relatives, who carried him away with them to Furli. And as they believed that this attempted arrest of Marchione’s had been suggested by the Corbizzo family, they cancelled the truce that had for years subsisted between the two families.

Respecting this matter of Ser Guerrino, I called on his father, Bello, who does not attempt to excuse the disobedience of his son, but complains of the inhumanity of the captain in requiring him to send away out of his house in the night four of his friends and relatives. For he believed that his loyalty was so Edition: current; Page: [12] well known that no one could have a doubt upon that point; and that at the time when the enemy was all around them he had received at different times thirty of his friends in his house, and had never been blamed, but rather commended for it by the commissioner, and therefore he recommended himself and his son to your Lordships. This Bello, according to what I learn from the chief priest Farragano, and from a number of other inhabitants of this place, is a worthy and peaceful man, who has never openly taken sides with either party, but has always been rather a peace-maker than a fomenter of troubles. Taking now a general view of things in this country, it seems to me that the people are very united, and that there is no open enmity between any of its inhabitants.

Since the death of Corbizzo some little jealousy appears to have sprung up amongst them, as each desires to exercise the same influence which he had; but unless this feeling is purposely stimulated by some one, it is not likely to produce any bad results. The only thing is a very strong feeling of apprehension lest this Dionigio Naldi, with the aid of the Lady Catharine, should do them some mischief. For although this lady is on terms of friendship with your Lordships, yet they cannot rely upon nor trust her, and thus the inhabitants of the place as well as the country are kept in a constant state of anxiety. It was only yesterday that some fifteen or twenty crossbowmen of the Lady Catharine’s went to a place about a mile from here, called Salutare, belonging to your Lordships, and wounded three men and carried one away with them after having robbed his house. Similar outrages are committed every day, and it was only yesterday that a number of country people complained to me, saying, “Our lords have abandoned us; they have too many other things on their hands.” Your Lordships will doubtless, with your great prudence, take such measuresin this matter as the honor of our republic demands, and as will give satisfaction to these your most faithful subjects.

There is nothing else of interest to communicate. I shall leave immediately for Furli to execute the commission given me by your Lordships, to whom I commend myself most humbly. Quæ feliciter valeant.

Minimus servitor,
Niccolo Machiavelli.
Edition: current; Page: [13]
Niccolo Machiavelli
Machiavelli, Niccolo
17 July, 1499
Furli
Catharine Sforza
Sforza, Catharine

LETTER II.

Magnificent Signori:

I wrote to your Lordships yesterday morning from Castrocaro, reporting what I had done in relation to the balls, powder, and saltpetre, and the condition of things generally there. I went afterwards on the same day, at an early hour, to Furli; but finding the illustrious Lady Catharine occupied with some of her own affairs, I did not obtain an audience until about the twenty-second hour. No one was present but her Ladyship and Messer Giovanni da Casale, the Duke of Milan’s Chargé d’Affaires here. Her Ladyship’s son Ottaviano had gone on a pleasure trip to Furlimpiccolo.

After having presented myself to her Excellency, I explained to her your Lordships’ commission, employing the most suitable expressions to convince her in the first instance of your Lordships’ earnest desire that the time might come when you could show effectually how highly you valued those who had loyally served our republic, and who, regardless of everything else, had shared her varying fortunes, as her Excellency had ever done. And that if the refusal to accept her services now seemed contrary to these assurances, and if we had contested with her agents our being bound and held by an annual engagement, her Ladyship might be assured upon this point, as was proved by the several letters of your Lordships which showed that the reason of it was the impossibility of providing the means, because of the heavy charges to which our republic was already subjected. And as to our efforts to explain that we were not bound to a renewed engagement, I pointed out to her Ladyship that it had never been your intention to refuse to do anything that might be agreeable to her, and that the only reason why your Lordships wished to explain that you were not bound was to make her Excellency understand that nothing, not even the necessity of the evil times, induced you to offer her a renewal of the engagement, but that you do it solely from the affection you have for her, because of her great merits. And that for this reason you had sent me to her Excellency to make known to her that, although your Lordships were not bound, yet in recognition of the valuable services which she had rendered to our republic you were willing to accord an Edition: current; Page: [14] engagement to her son; but that, on account of the number of men-at-arms which you had already in your service, you wished such an engagement to be on a peace footing, and the compensation for this year not to exceed ten thousand ducats.

Nor did I fail to demonstrate to her Excellency, with the best arguments that suggested themselves to me, that such an engagement ought to be satisfactory to her; saying that her acceptance of it would be an addition to her many other merits, and that time would prove that she had not served an ungrateful Signoria; and that she would never have occasion to repent having added this to her other services to our republic.Her Excellency replied that your Lordships’ words had always been satisfactory to her, but that your actions had not always pleased her, and that she had never received compensation commensurate with the value of her services. Nevertheless, knowing that gratitude was one of the characteristics of your illustrious republic, she could not believe that you would now begin to show yourselves ungrateful to one who had for a great while back done more for you than perhaps any of your other allies, by exposing her dominions, without any obligations on her part, to the rapacity of the Venetians, her most powerful neighbors. And that therefore she was willing to abide by the hopes which your Lordships held out to her. Nor would she dispute whether your Lordships were bound or not to renew the engagement, but she desired time for replying to the propositions made to her, inasmuch as it seemed but reasonable to her not to decide at a moment’s notice a matter which you had with so much prudence discussed and consulted about for some time. And having replied to this in becoming terms, I begged her Excellency to hasten her decision, and took my leave.

Later in the day, at about the sixteenth hour, Messer Antonio Baldraccani, first secretary of her Excellency the Countess, came to see me, and told me that the illustrious Duke of Milan had written some five or six days ago to her Excellency, asking her to send him for his own use fifty men-at-arms and fifty mounted crossbowmen. That her Excellency had written on Sunday last to your Lordships on the subject, but had as yet received no reply. And he added that on that very day a letter had been received by her Excellency from the aforesaid Duke of Milan, begging her that, inasmuch as she had not come to terms with the Florentine Signoria about a renewal Edition: current; Page: [15] of her engagement for the year, she ought to enter his service on the same terms and conditions as she had last year from your Lordships. The aforesaid secretary also told me that letters had been received the evening before from the curate of Cascina, saying that eight deputies, members of the Council of Eighty, had given him to understand that they wanted to re-engage the Signor Ottaviano on two conditions. The first was the same which I had already explained to her Excellency; and the second was that she should consent to pledge her state, which the said curate demonstrated to the deputies that her Excellency could never agree to. Moreover the said secretary stated that her Excellency was in doubt what course to take, and therefore could not give a prompt reply. The reason of this was that it seemed disgraceful for her and her son to accept the conditions offered by your Lordships, because others, who had not rendered you the same services as herself, had their compensation increased, whilst that of herself and her son was diminished; and she could not believe that your Lordships made so little account of her as never to give her anything but fair words. And in fact she did not know how to excuse herself to the Duke of Milan if she accepted the conditions offered by you, which were so little creditable, and refused his, which were in the highest degree honorable. At the same time it seemed to her that she was under obligations to the Duke of Milan both by blood as well as by the numberless benefits she had received from that prince; and for that reason she was at a loss, and could not decide so promptly upon a reply, but wanted me to write to your Lordships, so that you might in the mean time write back what you thought of the matter.

In answer to the first part, touching the demand by the Duke of Milan for men, and the other propositions, I said, that as your Lordships had received no notice of this before my departure, you could not have given me any instructions on the subject, and therefore I could do nothing but write to your Lordships and await your reply. Respecting what the curate of Cascina had written about pledging her state, etc., I could also say nothing, but wondered much that, if this matter had been decided upon before my departure, no instructions were given me about it, or that I was not afterwards written to on the subject; and therefore I had also nothing to say on this point, Edition: current; Page: [16] but would write the same as in relation to the other matter. To this Messer Baldraccani replied that this latter point was of no importance, for if we were agreed about the other matters this would present no difficulties whatsoever; for her Excellency did not care to give any written obligation upon this point, but that she intended to fulfil her promises without any writings, the same as she had done in the last year. In my reply to this I observed, with regard to the embarrassment in which her Excellency found herself in deeming it discreditable for her to have the terms of her engagement reduced, whilst those of others were increased, as also in reference to the considerations which he thought she ought to have for the Duke of Milan, and the offers made by him, etc., etc., that if her Excellency would carefully weigh the reasons that obliged your Lordships to increase the pay of your other Condottieri who are carrying on the war for our republic, and those which influence them now to offer to re-engage her Excellency, she would find that her acceptance of the proffered engagement, so far from being discreditable, as she alleged, would be in the highest degree honorable. For whilst your Lordships were constrained to the former by the exigencies of the times, you were prompted to the latter by nothing else than the regard and affection which you had for her Excellency, and therefore your propositions to her were the more honorable and worthy of acceptance, as they were entirely voluntary. Moreover, his Excellency the Duke of Milan could not and should not complain if her Ladyship declined his propositions, although somewhat more advantageous, and accepted those of your Lordships, which for the moment seem less brilliant; first because of the friendly relations existing between his Excellency and our republic, which should make him look upon every advantage to your Lordships as for the common benefit; and secondly because in a certain measure the Signor Ottaviano was still in our pay, and the terms offered him now were in no wise in contradiction with his engagement of last year.

After having thus replied to each other, as the subject required, the secretary reiterated the conclusion that the Countess Catharine could not decide so promptly, and therefore it would be well that I should inform your Lordships of all that had been said and done; and that he would in the same way communicate all that I had said to her Excellency the Countess, Edition: current; Page: [17] although I had the privilege of communicating at all times personally with her Excellency. And on leaving me he said that he had forgotten to tell me on the part of the Countess that she desired much to know what compensation your Lordships intended to give her for former services; and that I should, on her part, beg you to send some reply upon these points. For if you came to some favorable conclusion upon that matter, she would regard it as an evidence of your disposition, and could then with greater confidence and security enter your service.

Having been here but so short a time, I shall not presume to say much of the state of things here; but according to what those Florentines who are near the Countess tell me, her Excellency could not be better disposed towards our republic than what she is. There is here a certain Messer Giovanni da Casale, Chargé d’Affaires of the Duke of Milan, of whose character and condition I shall not attempt to say anything, as he was last winter with the ducal troops in the Casentino. It will be enough for you to know that since he is here, which is now two months, he seems to rule everything.

Valeant Dominationes vestræ.

P. S. — Yesterday I demanded of her Excellency on the part of your Lordships the balls and saltpetre, under the conditions prescribed by you. Her Excellency replied that she had neither, and was herself greatly in need of them.

Iterum valeant E. E. N. V.
Niccolo Machiavelli.
Niccolo Machiavelli
Machiavelli, Niccolo
18 July, 1499
Furli
Leonardo Strozzi
Strozzi, Leonardo

LETTER III.

Magnificent Signori:

I wrote to your Lordships yesterday at length, by the courier Ardingo, what I had done in execution of the commission intrusted to me, and await your reply with impatience. This morning I received through Tommaso Totti, a letter from your Lordships urging me in relation to the powder and saltpetre which I was to obtain at Castrocaro. Having reported fully on Edition: current; Page: [18] this subject on the 16th instant, I shall not enlarge upon it any further; but as your Lordships had charged me also to ask her Excellency for powder and men, I presented myself immediately before her and communicated again to her Ladyship your wishes and the pleasure which her compliance with your request would give you. She replied that she had no saltpetre at all, and but little powder; but that by way of not failing to do what was possible she would be glad to give you ten thousand out of the twenty thousand pounds of saltpetre which Leonardo Strozzi had purchased for her account at Pesaro, and she charged Risorbolo to write to the said Leonardo what she wished done in the matter. I spared no efforts to dispose her Excellency favorably to your requests, but could obtain nothing more from her. Your Lordships will therefore have to see Leonardo Strozzi, and can arrange with him so that you may send your teams at once to Pesaro to bring the saltpetre away. Or if you prefer, you can write and send me an order from Leonardo to have the saltpetre delivered to my order; and I will arrange to have it transported to Castrocaro, where your Lordships’ teamsters can come and take it. This was the course adopted last year, as is well known to your minister, Guaspare Pasgni.

Respecting the troops, her Excellency told me that she was quite willing to permit her subjects to engage in your Lordships’ service, but that it was notpossible to make them march without money. Your Lordships must, therefore, send means to raise the troops, whilst her Excellency will endeavor to send you only picked men, well armed and loyal, and will expedite them promptly. If, therefore, your Lordships are in want of troops, you must at once send five hundred ducats, so that one may be given to each man; and I believe that within two weeks from now they would be on Pisan territory, but not sooner. Your Lordships will decide what arrangement will suit you best, and advise me accordingly, and I shall execute your commands with the utmost diligence.

When I communicated your Lordship’s letters to the illustrious Countess this morning, and before I had time to add a word, she said: “I have good news this morning, for I see that your Signoria are going to make earnest of it; they are collecting troops, for which I commend them, and am the more pleased at it as I was before dissatisfied by their tardiness, and the seemingly irreparable loss of time.” I thanked her Excellency Edition: current; Page: [19] most sincerely, and then assured her that this tardiness had been caused altogether by necessity. Her Excellency readily admitted this, adding that she wished that her states were so situated that she could stir up all her troops and subjects in your favor, as that would show to the whole world that in espousing your cause she had been influenced solely by her affection for and entire faith in your Lordships. But she desired some acknowledgment for this, and that she should not be wounded in her honor, which she prized above all else. This she thought would be becoming in your Lordships, not so much on her own account as for the example which you would thereby give to your other adherents of your not being ungrateful for services received. I replied to the best of my ability, but could not help observing that mere words and arguments will not go far in satisfying her Excellency, unless supported, in part at least, by acts. And I truly believe that if your Lordships were to make some acknowledgment to the Countess for past services, or increase the compensation under the new engagement, you will be sure to preserve her Ladyship’s friendship. For she could not be better disposed towards our republic than what she is, of which I have every day the most striking indications. It has seemed to me proper to write all these particulars so that your Lordships may the better judge what I wrote you yesterday.

Quæ feliciter valeant.

Humilis servitor,
Niccolo Machiavelli.

P. S. — Enclosed is the letter which her Excellency had written to Leonardo Strozzi about the saltpetre.

P. S. — One of the secretaries of the Countess has been to see me, and informed me on the part of her Excellency that two kinds of troops may be raised in her dominions. The one is a corps of fifteen hundred men, which she has armed for her own service as may be needed. Of these she cannot send any to your Lordships, unless they are paid a whole month in advance. Her Excellency would pay them herself, or hold herself responsible for such as do not serve the full time of a month. She wants eighteen lire per man; so if your Lordships want any of them you will have to send fifteen hundred ducats for five hundred men, which her Excellency Edition: current; Page: [20] promises shall be good men and well armed, and shall be sent at once. The other kind of troops are such as are in the habit of engaging with any one for pay, but are not enrolled by her Excellency. Of these the Countess leaves you to hire at your pleasure, and at such rates of pay as you can agree with them for. Your Lordships will in your high wisdom take such as you may deem most suited for your purpose. I am ready with all diligence to execute whatever commission your Lordships may charge me with.

Iterum valeant, die qua in literis.
Niccolo Machiavelli
Machiavelli, Niccolo
22 July, 1499
Furli
Catharine Sforza
Sforza, Catharine

LETTER IV.

Magnificent Signori:

I wrote to your Lordships on the 17th by the courier Ardingo, that the illustrious Lady Catharinewas in doubt as to what course to take; for on the one hand your Lordships wanted to reduce the conditions of the new engagement, and on the otherthe Duke of Milan offered her the same terms as under the former engagement; and that her Excellency therefore wanted me to write to your Lordships, so that you might understand the whole case, and might show more consideration for her honor, and satisfy her in proportion to the services she had rendered, etc., etc. She awaits your reply with eagerness, and as it has not yet been received, it seemed to me well to send the bearer of this, and to beg your Lordships to reply promptly, unless you have already done so, and let me know your final decision; so that, whether I conclude an arrangement with her Excellency or not, I may return to your Lordships’ feet.

I believe the way to content her Excellency would be first to assure her that she will be compensated for her former services, upon which point she has been greatly dissatisfied, and then to increase the pay for this year to twelve thousand florins. This at least is my opinion, in which however I may be mistaken; for her Excellency has always stood much upon her honor, and has never intimated to me that she would accept any less than what the Duke of Milan has offered her; and it is difficult to judge by her disposition whether she is more favorably inclined to the Duke of Milan or to your republic. For, to begin with, I see Edition: current; Page: [21] her court filled with Florentines, of whom it may be said that they almost entirely control her government; and then I see her naturally well inclined towards our city, and manifest the most earnest desire to have the love of our citizens, for which there are the most palpable reasons, for having a son by Giovanni de’ Medici, she hopes to have the usufruct of his possessions, and expects every day to assume his guardianship. And finally, what is most important, she sees the Duke of Milan attacked by the king of France, and does not know what security there would be for her to attach herself to him under these circumstances, all of which her Excellency knows very well.

These are the considerations upon which I found the opinion that she will accept our conditions, even though they be not liberal. On the other hand, I see near her Excellency the Duke of Milan’s agent Messer Giovanni da Casale, who is very highly esteemed, and seems to rule everything here. This is of great importance, and may easily sway the undecided mind of the Countess to whatever side he pleases.

In fact, were it not for the influence of this fear of the king of France, I should be inclined to believe that even on equal terms she would leave us, particularly as she supposes that she would not thereby forfeit your Lordships’ friendship because of your amicable relations with the Duke of Milan.

I have thought it proper to make this statement to your Lordships, so that you may know what impediments present themselves here to my success, and so that you may come to some positive decision, if you have not already done so. Her Excellency awaits your reply impatiently, for she is every day tormented by the Duke.

There was a review here yesterday of five hundred infantry, whom her Excellency sends to the Duke of Milan under command of Dionigio Naldi. A couple of days ago there was also a muster of fifty mounted crossbowmen, equally destined for Milan. These will leave here within the next few days with one of the Duke’s secretaries, who came here to enlist and pay them. I am under the impression that your Lordships have changed your mind respecting the infantry which you wanted to obtain from the Countess; which seems to me the wiser course, as you have been able to obtain them from elsewhere more conveniently. Should your Lordships, however, still be in want of them, then you can have good and faithful troops from here, Edition: current; Page: [22] well disciplined and ready to start immediately. In that case, however, it will be necessary to send the money for a month’s pay, as I have already stated in my last letter to your Lordships, to whom I recommend myself ever so much.

Humilis servitor,
Niccolo Machiavelli.
Niccolo Machiavelli
Machiavelli, Niccolo
23 July, 1499
Furli
Catharine Sforza
Sforza, Catharine

LETTER V.

Magnificent Signori:

I wrote yesterday that I had despatched an express to your Lordships, as a reply to my letter of the 17th seemed to me to be unduly delayed. Since then your Lordships’ courier Ardingo arrived, bringing me your letters of the 19th and 20th instant. So soon as I had perused their contents, I presented myself before her Excellency, and communicated to her in the most becoming terms what your Lordships have charged me with touching the propositions made to her Excellency by the Duke of Milan. After that, I stated to her the offers made by your Lordships, and endeavored to make her understand that you would certainly never fail to do all that might inure to the honor, safety, and advantage of her Excellency, employing such arguments as I thought necessary and proper to persuade her, etc. To which her Excellency replied that all her hopes were in your Lordships; and that the only thing that caused her pain in this whole matter was the dishonor which she feared she would incur, and the respect which she felt she ought to observe towards her uncle. But that, knowing now the final resolves of your Lordships, she would endeavor to come to a prompt decision, and remove, so far as in her power, all difficulties that might interpose. After having replied in a becoming manner, and referred to your Lordships’ letter of the 19th, in relation to the outrage committed upon some of your subjects, I begged her Ladyship to come to a speedy decision, and took my leave.

Later in the day, Messer Baldraccani called to see me, and, after having made excuses for her Excellency’s not having personally informed me of her intentions, alleging that it was owing to her being indisposed, and most unhappy on account of Edition: current; Page: [23] the serious illness of her son Lodovico, by Giovanni de’ Medici, he communicated to me, on behalf of her Excellency, that she did not regret having, regardless of all else, thrown herself into your Lordships’ arms, in whom she placed all confidence and hope. That she consented to accept the engagement on a peace footing for one year, on the basis of your Lordships’ last offer of twelve thousand ducats. But for the sake of being able more completely to justify her taking this step before the whole world, and with the more honor and credit to her government, her Excellency desired that your Lordships would bind yourselves to defend, protect, and maintain the integrity of her dominions, which she was fully assured your Lordships would do anyhow, without any special obligation to that effect. Yet that she greatly desired such an obligation from your Lordships, which she knew you would not refuse her, as it would be in the highest degree honorable for her, and in no way prejudicial to your Lordships. And, lastly, Messer Baldraccani said that her Excellency desired to have a settlement, if not in full, then at least in part, for her former services; that she needs it for her many wants and urgent necessities, and that she cannot believe that the charges which you have to provide for are so heavy as to be an obstacle to such a settlement; and therefore she charged me most emphatically to write to your Lordships, and urge this matter on her behalf.

As to the first point, namely, the acceptance of an engagement for a year, etc., I replied in the most amicable manner, saying that I felt sure that the good opinion which her Excellency had of our republic would even increase with time and experience. But as to the obligation which her Ladyship asked for, I regarded it as superfluous for the very reasons alleged by her Excellency herself. And as I had no authority to conclude anything not comprised in my commission, her Excellency might for the present accept the engagement, and afterwards write to her agent at Florence to present her demands, which I believed would be favorably received.

Messer Antonio replied that her Excellency wished to close the entire business at one and the same time, and that therefore she had requested that I should write to your Lordships to send me the necessary powers, promising at the same time to ratify any agreement that might be made by me in your name. All the arguments I could present to the contrary could Edition: current; Page: [24] not induce her to alter her decision; and I am therefore obliged to submit to you the demands made by her Excellency as they have been presented to me; so that your Lordships may in your supreme wisdom decide, and promptly advise me of, your ultimate resolve, and so that I may be enabled to return to Florence, which is my most earnest desire.

Respecting the indemnity for former services, I observed that her Excellency had spoken to me some days ago about it, and that I had written to your Lordships on the subject, and that you had replied; and therefore it seemed to me superfluous to repeat the same thing over again, particularly as I knew your favorable disposition, as well as the difficulties which prevent you from doing anything in the matter now. Nevertheless, by way of satisfying her Excellency, I would write once more very urgently on the subject.

Yesterday, when I complained to the Countess on behalf of your Lordships of the outrage committed by some of her archers upon your people at Salutare, she made me the most strenuous excuses, saying that she had directed her men to go and gather the harvest of a certain Carlo Buosi, who cultivated a farm on her territory; that this Carlo had been killed not long since by Dionigio Naldi to revenge the Signor Ottaviano; and that when the country people saw her archers carry off the harvest, they had shouted to them that they would be cut to pieces, and otherwise overwhelmed them with insulting words, so that the archers felt themselves as it were constrained to resent this abuse. Her Excellency added, that she was nevertheless grieved at heart about it, and as proof of it she had at once ordered the leader of her archers, who had begun the disturbance, to be disarmed and dismissed from her service; and this has been done.

I recommend myself most humbly to your Lordships.

Quæ bene valeant.
Niccolo Machiavelli.

P. S. — The fifty mounted crossbowmen which the Duke had taken into his pay leave to-morrow for Milan.

Edition: current; Page: [25]
Niccolo Machiavelli
Machiavelli, Niccolo
23 July, 1499
Furli
Catharine Sforza
Sforza, Catharine

LETTER VI.

Magnificent Signori:

Yesterday I received by your Lordships’ courier Ardingo your two letters of the 19th and 20th, and hope to-morrow to close the engagement with the illustrious Lady Catharine, in accordance with your latest instructions; and after that I expect also to arrange the business of your subjects at Salutare in a manner entirely satisfactory to your Lordships. I cannot enlarge upon these matters now, as the messenger is in the greatest haste to depart. I will only add, that, so soon as these matters are settled, I shall return to your Lordships, to whom I recommend myself most humbly.

Humilis servitor,
Niccolo Machiavelli.
Niccolo Machiavelli
Machiavelli, Niccolo
24 July, 1499
Furli
Catharine Sforza
Sforza, Catharine

LETTER VII.

Magnificent Signori:

I had written the enclosed yesterday, and was just about to despatch the bearer of this, Ardingo, when Messer Giovanni da Casale came to see me, and told me on the part of her Excellency that I need not write, as her Excellency the Countess was satisfied not to ask any further obligations from your Lordships, feeling perfectly assured that you would not act differently in your dealings with her than what she would have done towards your Lordships; and requesting me to come to her Excellency this morning for the purpose of signing the engagement, etc.

Fully persuaded that the business would actually be closed, and the curate of Casina being about to despatch an express to Lorenzo di Pier Francesco, I availed myself of that opportunity to write to your Lordships expressing my belief that the matter was as good as concluded. This morning, then, fully persuaded that everything would be closed according to the understanding, and being with Messer Giovanni in presence of her Excellency, she said to me that she had Edition: current; Page: [26] reflected upon the matter during the night, and thought that it would be more for her honor in attaching herself to your Lordships, if you were to declare that you would obligate yourselves to defend her dominions, as her secretary had previously explained to me. She had therefore resolved again to ask me to write to your Lordships about it. Her Excellency added, that, if she had given me to understand differently through Messer Giovanni, I must not be astonished at it, for the more matters of that kind were examined, the better were they understood. I could not but feel disappointed at this sudden change, and manifested my feelings both by words and gestures, saying that your Lordships would also be greatly surprised, as I had written you that her Excellency was satisfied upon every point without exception. But as I could get nothing else from her Excellency, I feel constrained to send you the enclosed, and to inform you specially by this of what has taken place, so that your Lordships may judge of it, and promptly decide what is to be done.

* To-morrow I purpose going to Castrocaro, to see if I can secure the Corbizzos against Dionigio Naldi and his partisans; her Excellency, the Lady Catharine, has offered to do her best to aid me in this matter. Whatever the result may be, I will advise your Lordships, to whom I humbly recommend myself. Quæ bene valeant.

Niccolo Machiavelli.
Edition: current; Page: [27]

COMMISSION TO THE ARMY IN THE FIELD AGAINST THE PISANS.*

Lucas Antonio degli Albizzi
Albizzi, Lucas Antonio degli
July 8, 1500
Florence

LETTER I.
FROM LUCA DEGLI ALBIZZI TO THE SIGNORIA OF FLORENCE.

Magnificent and Illustrious Signori:

We are now at the fourteenth hour, and have as yet no further news from the Gascons, as M. Samper has not returned from there, although we expect him at every moment. Everything remains in confusion and uncertainty, and things augur badly for us, for at every moment we hear of some fresh attempt Edition: current; Page: [28] or outrage against us; and no sooner is one disposed of than four others occur, — enough to convince any one that they are endless. Moreover, a number of Germans came into my chamber this morning, saying that at the time when the Emperor came to Pisa they were three months in our service, and that one hundred and thirty of their companions under command of a captain called Antonio Buner had never been paid; and with insulting and threatening language they demanded immediate payment from me. I told them that I knew nothing whatever of the matter; but if they would depute two of their number I would give them letters to your Lordships so that you could settle with them. But they refused this, and the only arrangement I could make with them, after much abusive language on their part, was that I should write to your Lordships; and if within forty-eight hours they were paid they would be satisfied; if not, they would pay themselves with my blood. M. Saliente and some other Frenchmen happened to come in at the time; they seemed frightened to death, and were as much alarmed by this crowd as I was myself. They excused themselves, and comforted me with fresh water, and approved the proposition that I should write you. Beaumont seemed utterly disheartened, and manifests great regret at this occurrence; but he sees no remedy for it, and seems really distressed that both his good will and his ability are of no avail. The captain of the Swiss seems full of good intentions, but brings forth nothing. All this, however, may be merely pretended, and may have no other object than the justification of the king at our expense.

Edition: current; Page: [29]

As for myself, I augur very ill of the situation, and should deem it well if your Lordships would consider whether, without prejudice to our republic, I might think of my own safety; for what has not yet taken place may occur at any moment. I beg your Lordships, however, not to attribute this suggestion to cowardice on my part, for I am resolved to face any danger that may be deemed for the interest of our republic.

All these proceedings tend only to make us despair of Pisa, and to apprehend even worse, and therefore, as I have several times written to your Lordships, it is well to watch the whole of this game, and amongst many evils to choose the least, and above all promptly to apply the remedies that can be thought of, so as to produce an immediate effect. Weigh all this carefully, and confine yourselves to such measures and dispositions as the times demand; and believe him who tells you in good faith that the eye speaks the truth, rather than the ear.

Your Lordships must understand that I had been notified some days before of the above-mentioned trouble with the Swiss; but not wishing to annoy your Lordships, and believing that I should be able to defend myself against such dishonesty, I did not inform your Lordships of it before; nor should I have said anything on the subject now, but that I recognize the manifest danger.

I recommend myself to your Lordships.

Lucas Antonio degli Albizzi,
Commissioner-General.

P. S. — For God’s sake do not forget the provisions, for that would be the completion of our ruin. De Beaumont must also be provided for; he has begun to importune me, and never sees me without worrying me on that point.

Niccolo Machiavelli
Machiavelli, Niccolo
9 July
Florence

LETTER II.

Magnificent Signori:

The commissioner wrote you yesterday evening the condition of things in which we find ourselves here; and to-day at three o’clock there came about one hundred Swiss to his quarters, Edition: current; Page: [30] and demanded pay for the company of Gianotto; saying that they would not leave without being paid. The commissioner could not pacify them with words or promises, so that after much disputing they have carried him off prisoner. Since then I have heard nothing further, for I have remained at the station of San Michele, so as to be able to give your Lordships this information, that you may take measures to prevent one of your citizens, with so many of his people, all your subjects, from being carried off, and by whom! Valete!

Niccolo Machiavelli.
G. B. Bartolini
Bartolini, G. B.
9 July, 1500
Cascina

LETTER III.
FROM GIO. BATTISTA BARTOLINI TO THE SIGNORIA OF FLORENCE.

Magnificent and Illustrious Signori:

I wrote to your Lordships at the sixteenth hour, and sent it by the same courier that brought me the news of the carrying off of the commissioner by the Swiss, so that he might in his own words relate to you what he has told me; for having nothing else to communicate, I should not have ventured to have written you expressly about this matter. We are now at the twentieth hour, and I have heard nothing positive except that a little while ago Piero Pucci returned with another courier, and told me with his own lips that the commissioner had been liberated, but he could give me no further particulars. He said also that he had been told in camp to stop the provisions here in Cascina, as the camp was to be moved to-morrow to San Giovanni della Vena. Not having any other positive information on this point, I should not have mentioned it to your Lordships were it not for the importance of this place, which is well known to you, and therefore it seemed to me dangerous to leave it badly supplied with everything, as I have already several times written to your Lordships.

Borgo Rinaldi has arrived, but he has only a few men, and these without arms. I have anyhow urged him to make up his company. Believing the Signor Piero in Florence, I have urged him also to the same effect, as your Lordships know. Edition: current; Page: [31] But I fear that unless they act promptly we shall not be in time. We have neither cuirasses, long lances, nor bucklers, nor any ammunition except a few barrels of powder, which I have retained here since yesterday. Everything else is absolutely wanting. I beg your Lordships to provide these things if you think proper, and very promptly.

There is a post here of some eight or ten archers, sent here by M. de Beaumont, at the request of Gio. Battista Ridolfi and Luca degli Albizzi, as before mentioned, for the purpose of protecting the country against the outrages of the brutal camp followers. Up to the present these men have kept good and diligent watch; if I receive some infantry now, so that I can myself protect the country, I do not know whether or not to discharge this post of archers. I believe that the troops which I expect will arrive before I can receive a reply from your Lordships, in which case I will do the best under the circumstances until I shall receive your wiser decision. But I beg you will send me your instructions, and, if received in time, I will conform to them. But above all things I entreat you to send provisions, and that quickly, as otherwise I greatly mistrust the people of the country, particularly in view of the treatment we have experienced at the hands of these troops. Moreover, if the camp is moved to-morrow to San Giovanni, we shall have the Pisans full of courage and confidence after us.

Knowing these things now, I hope your Lordships will weigh them well and provide for them. I recommend myself most humbly to your Lordships, quæ bene valeant.

P. S. At the 20th hour. — Letters from the commissioner inform us that the army will be to-morrow morning at Campi, the other side of the Caprona, whence they are to make their first movement. He directs me to be sure and have a supply of provisions ready. I shall do my utmost in the matter. He moreover charges me to urge Borgo, and the Signor Pietro Guagni and Carlo da Cremona, and Messer Bandino, to have their companies ready and in order; and that your Lordships urge the Signor Piero in Florence to the same effect.

G. B. Bartolini,
Commissioner-General.
Edition: current; Page: [32]
Luca di Antonio Degli Albizzi
Albizzi, Luca di Antonio Degli
9 July
Florence

LETTER IV.
COPY OF A LETTER WRITTEN BY ME, LUCA DI ANTONIO DEGLI ALBIZZI, TO THE ILLUSTRIOUS AND MAGNIFICENT SIGNORIA, 9 JULY, 22D HOUR.

Magnificent Signori:

I know not whether in the last hour of my life (which God grant may be soon!) I shall suffer one fourth of the pain and affliction which I feel at this time; not so much on account of the perils to which I have been, and am still exposed, nor on account of my seizure and detention, but because I see from the letters of your Lordships, and particularly the one of the 8th, written at the fourth hour, that you have not as much faith in me as I had supposed that I deserved; but that I have been abandoned by all, like one forsaken and lost. My sins and ill fortune will it so; but God perhaps will succor him who is so unjustly abandoned! Having fully pointed out to your Lordships the dangers, and you knowing perfectly yourselves the wretched conduct of these men so recently towards the king of France and the Duke of Milan, it was not to be supposed that any expedients would moderate the dishonest demands of these Swiss. But it has pleased your Lordships to have it so, and although for the moment out of prison, yet I continue to be obliged to dispute my life, for at every moment there are fresh menaces and impositions, and new dangers, all on account of our republic, and whether just or unjust, I alone have to suffer without so much as being pitied! May God comfort me by death, if in no other way!

Niccolo Machiavelli has informed you of my capture; after that I was led on foot half a mile or more in the direction of Pisa, and taken before the captain of the Swiss, where after a long altercation, and being threatened with their halberds, I was told that before they would let me get out of their hands they meant that some four or five hundred of their companions who had come from Rome, allured by the prospects held out to them by your Lordships, should be paid, and that I should guarantee it; and if not promptly done, they would not content themselves merely by keeping me prisoner. I recalled to them the honor of the king, the good treatment Edition: current; Page: [33] they had received, and that they would be settled with by your Lordships, and therefore they ought not to maltreat me personally; but neither reason nor the manifest impossibility of my doing anything could move them in the least. So that after much contention and threatening I was told that, if I did not settle with them, not only my person, but our whole republic, would suffer in consequence; and that they had the means of paying themselves with our artillery if they chose to do so. Seeing no help, and being utterly without any means wherewith to satisfy them, I begged their captain to guarantee my promises to them, which he did; but it is evident that he will have to be paid before I can leave him. I will do my utmost to procure the means, and if Pellegrino has nothing left, I must see whether I can have recourse to Lodovico Morelli, and to what little money may remain in the hands of Bernardo Pacini, which, however, would derange everything, unless your Lordships provide otherwise; for I had intended that money for the re-establishment of the garrisons of Cascina and Vico; but I shall do as best I can. Although it was agreed in my arrangement with the captain of the Swiss that the artillery should be brought to me all safe to Cascina, yet I am not certain whether it will be done.

These men intend breaking up in the night and moving towards San Giovanni alla Vena, where they are to remain to-morrow, and then go by the Lucca road to Pietrasanta, to remain until they learn the pleasure of his Majesty the king. I understand that the Gascons are waiting for them on Lucchese territory; and if I am permitted, I shall remain at Vico or Cascina and wait there for my leave from your Lordships. Upon this point I ought reasonably to have no apprehensions, my hope being mainly in your Lordships’ good will; nor do I reply to your third and last letter, for both the times and circumstances favor those at whose discretion we happen to be. I recommend myself to your Lordships.

Although I wrote yesterday at Cascina and Vico urging the completion of the companies, yet I entreat your Lordships to provide for them at once, whilst we are in danger. And so soon as these troops have left here the Lord of Piombino should concentrate all his forces at Cascina; and if you have other troops at your service they should be sent to Vico, so as to establish a reasonable garrison there. And when Cascina shall Edition: current; Page: [34] have been properly provided for, then all the suspected persons whom your Lordships have lately sent away from Florence should be removed from there.

Niccolo Machiavelli
Machiavelli, Niccolo
July 9, 1500
Cascina
Battista Bartolini
Bartolini, Battista

LETTER V.
THE MAGISTRACY OF THE TEN TO GIOV. BATTISTA BARTOLINI, COMMISSIONER AT CASCINA, JULY 9, 1500.

A letter from Niccolo Machiavelli informs us this morning that the Germans have carried off Luca degli Albizzi. Sensible of the discredit and danger which this may cause us, we have deliberated all day as to the means of providing for your safety and of that of the other places near you. Besides remedying these evils as far as we can, we have at once sent the Signori Piero and Borgo Rinaldi in that direction, and have called Messer Criaco and the Count Checco to reorganize their companies, for which the necessary funds will be ready. According to their promises there will be no delay, and we believe that by to-morrow or the day after at furthest troops enough will be ready to suffice for the protection and defence of Cascina. Meantime you must do your utmost to hold the place, and so far as in your power provide also for the necessities of the other places, or at least write and advise them as to what they should do. And inasmuch as the charge of all this may be too heavy a burden for one man, in the midst of all these troubles and disorders, we have to-day sent Piero Vespucci with the authority of a commission with whom yourself and such other of our citizens as may be there will consult as to the best course to pursue.

Of the capture of our commissioner we have but a very brief account from Niccolo Machiavelli, given in a few words, as indeed at the date of his letter he could say no more. He does not tell where they have taken the commissioner to, and whether any other persons have been carried off at the same time; nor what has become of the artillery, or of the four hundred Germans who had gone in the direction of Livorno; nor does he say whether any others left the camp at the same time, or what the men-at-arms intend to do, or what course the captain has Edition: current; Page: [35] decided to take. It would be well for you to give us a full account of all this as soon as possible. We desire also to know what has become of such of our citizens as were in camp at the time, for their relatives are in the extremest degree anxious on the subject.

Niccolo Machiavelli
Machiavelli, Niccolo
10 July, 1500
Florence
Luca Degli Albizzi
Albizzi, Luca Degli

LETTER VI.
THE MAGISTRACY OF THE TEN TO LUCA DEGLI ALBIZZI, IN CAMP, 10 JULY, 1500.

Magnificent Signori:

As much as we were grieved yesterday on hearing of your capture, through Machiavelli, and afterwards through Giov. Battista Bartolini, which made us fear that all our other citizens in your neighborhood had probably shared the same fate, just so much are we elated to-day by the news of your liberation, from which we conclude that the others are safe and free. And although the defection of those troops placed us in the most precarious position possible, because of the discredit and dishonor which it has brought us, yet the discomforts, injuries, and danger to which you have been exposed aggravates the matter so much that we regard it as a great change from bad to good to know that you are safe and well.

We could wish to repair all the other misfortunes in the same way, but as that is impossible, we must accommodate ourselves to circumstances, and think for the present only of consolidating our affairs in those parts. For this purpose it seems to us desirable if possible to have all the artillery and munitions which we had sent you brought back here, and to have them withdrawn to Pontedera for greater security. Also, without loss of time, to withdraw all the artillery and the remainder of the munitions that are still in the hands of the French, and to make every effort to provide for the defence of Cascina; which we have so much at heart that we shall not lose an hour in despatching some infantry there. We should have done so already this evening, had it not been that the danger which threatens Pescia is even more pressing. We learn from several sources that the Gascons are marching on that place, together with Edition: current; Page: [36] some other troops to the number of four thousand, and some hundreds of cavalry; which surprises us the more, as up to this hour we had not heard that any men-at-arms had left the camp. You can well imagine how much we regret this, which we are greatly inclined to attribute to some intrigue of the Lucchese. But we should not have attached any credit to this, knowing how fear makes these people exaggerate everything, were it not that we knew that some one from Lucca had told the same thing at Pescia, and under the influence of fear had withdrawn all his effects from there, which only a few days before he had stored there from fear of the French. We have sent some officers there with their companies, and think of nothing else than to provide for the safety of the two places, but first for that which is hardest pressed.

It would be well for you to notify M. de Beaumont of all this, and to try and get a reply from his Lordship as to the matters that have been intrusted to Piero Vespucci, and respecting which we also wrote to you this morning; and more especially with regard to the offer of troops. We should like to have a reply from him in writing, which we charge you by all means to obtain from him if possible; and you will renew to him the same proposition for troops to serve during the siege; so that the engagement of these troops be made with his consent, and that we may avail ourselves of their service to suit our purpose.

So long as the revolted troops remain in your vicinity, which will probably be not more than a few days, it seems to us that it will not do for you to leave, as that would expose our affairs to complete ruin; but whenever they depart you can advise us and have our reply in a few hours.

As we have no particulars from you as to the cause or the manner of your detention, nor as to the means of your release, nor any other details on the subject, we cannot definitely instruct you as to the course to be pursued when those troops leave, and if they should require you to go with them, either for the reasons that prompted your capture, or for any other reason. We must therefore leave this matter entirely to your own judgment; and fully persuaded that you will do nothing without having thoroughly examined all the circumstances and consequences, we can but approve in advance all that you may decide upon doing.

Edition: current; Page: [37]

Your determination to call to your aid the Lord of Piombino seems to us in the highest degree commendable. We shall write to him this evening, to mount and proceed with all his men in your direction, and if possible to push on to Cascina; and if that cannot be done, then at least go to Pontedera, and to make every effort to send from there as many men as possible to Cascina, and to conform in all respects to whatever orders you may give him.

We have again written to-day in all directions for provisions, and especially to the Vicars of —, and have given them hopes that these hardships and annoyances will not continue long. It does not seem to us advisable to withdraw any men from Cascina, until there is a sufficient garrison of infantry to enable us to do it more safely and more creditably.

We have forgotten to tell you that, in case Beaumont should leave with the troops, and should wish to have some one of our people accompany him, as you cannot go with him, you must try to send Pellegrino or Francesco della Casa.

We wish very much to know the particulars of your capture and detention, as also the cause and the means of your release, if you can give us this information without danger to yourself or ourselves; but if you think it not safe to communicate it by letter, then send us some confidential person who is fully informed on that subject, as well as on all other matters that we ought to know.*

Bene vale!
King Louis XII
King Louis XII
27 July, 1500
Rouen

LETTER VII.
COPY OF A LETTER FROM HIS MOST CHRISTIAN MAJESTY KING LOUIS XII. OF FRANCE TO THE SIGNORI OF FLORENCE, DATED AT ROUEN, 27 JULY, 1500.

Louis, King of France, etc., etc.:

Very dear Friends,

We have been informed only a few days since of the great disorders that have occurred in the army engaged in the siege of Pisa, in consequence of the mutiny Edition: current; Page: [38] and quarrel of several ill-disciplined bodies of infantry forming part of that camp; and who without any cause have risen and left the camp and the siege without the knowledge or consent of M. de Beaumont, our lieutenant, or that of any of the captains or men of rank who were in the camp; which occurrence has caused us as much regret as anything that could possibly have happened. And inasmuch as, besides the injury which it has caused you, it touches our honor and reputation, we are absolutely determined and resolved to remedy and provide for what has occurred in such manner as fully to maintain our power and authority. And to effect this purpose we have decided to leave nothing undone, as you shall see and know very soon by the result. We have therefore sent our Major-domo Corcou,* whom amongst other things we have directed to make us an exact and true report upon this affair, and how these disorders originated and progressed, so that we may provide against them as becomes our honor and to your satisfaction. For the present we have thought, and have so communicated to your ambassadors here, that for the good of the cause, and for the re-establishment of our army, it would be best that some one else should select some suitable spot on your territory where the army might stop and go into camp, without retreating any further this way. And for this purpose we have written to and especially enjoined upon M. de Beaumont and all his captains, as they value their lives, not to move, nor leave or abandon the army, without having fresh orders from us.

We have equally written and made known to your neighbors, that the matter of Pisa touches us personally, and that their giving aid, comfort, and support to its inhabitants will cause us to regard them as our declared enemies. That we Edition: current; Page: [39] have had them advised of this, so that henceforth they may avoid doing so, otherwise we shall provide such remedies as we may deem proper.

You must conclude anyhow to settle this matter in such manner that it shall be terminated with honor to ourselves, and with advantage to yourselves and your republic. And finally we beg you to show your spirit in a matter that concerns you so closely; and to employ all your forces and power to that effect. And be assured that in acting thus we make no doubt, and apprehend no difficulty, but what you will in a short time oblige the city of Pisa to return to her duty.

All that we have said and declared in this letter we have also caused to be said and declared to your ambassadors, so that they may also communicate it to you, etc., etc.

Addio, dear lords and friends.

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MISSION TO THE COURT OF FRANCE.*
18 July, 1500.

COMMISSION.

Magnifici Domini, etc., etc.:

Intelligentes multis de causis oportere non literis tantum, sed per eos etiam, qui in Castris Gallicis fuissent, excusare, purgareque multa quæ objicerentur R. P. obque recessum esset ab obsidione Pisanæ urbis, elegerunt Franciscum Casam, et Nicolaum Machiavellum secretarium secum, ambos nobilissimos cives Florentinos, dederuntque illis in sua hac legatione ea mandata, quæ infra scripta sunt, et cum salario unoquoque die, videlicet Francisco Casæ librarum octo florenorum parvorum, et Nicolao Machiavello, ultra ejus salarium ordinarium, ad rationem florenorum viginti largorum in grossis unoquoque mense.

Franciscus reversus est die 6 Martii 1500.

Nicolaus reversus est die 14 Januarius 1500.

You will proceed with all possible despatch, even to riding post, if your strength permits it, to Lyons, or wherever you learn that his most Christian Majesty is to be found. Upon arrival, you will at once call upon our ambassadors there, Messers Francesco Gualterotti and Lorenzo Lenzi, and communicate to them Edition: current; Page: [41] our present instructions, and confer with them as to whether there is anything to be added or left out; also as to your mode of proceeding in urging one thing more than another. You will then present yourselves, together with our ambassadors, before his Majesty, the king, and, after the customary formalities of the first audience, you will expose to him in our name the substance of the instructions you will receive from us; although we do not believe that we can give you more clear and positive information than what you already possess touching the events of which you have yourselves been witnesses, and in connection with which you were in great part the agents and executors of all that had to be done on our part.

The whole of this matter consists of two parts, viz.: first, to complain of the disturbances that have taken place, and to make known their cause and the names of their originators; and, secondly, to defend and exculpate us from the imputations that may be brought against us. But upon this latter part you will not touch unless obliged by necessity to repel the charges they may make in relation to what we ought to have done under the circumstances, etc., etc. You will, therefore, limit yourselves in your first exposition to enumerating all the reasons Edition: current; Page: [42] that have constrained Monseigneur de Beaumont to despair of success, and finally to abandon the siege of Pisa. And these were, according to our judgment, the lack of obedience of the troops to the orders of the commander-in-chief, the intrigues which at first were carried on by the captain of the Swiss with the Pisans, and afterwards by certain Italians of the party of the Trivulzi and the Pallavicini, by order of Messer Gianjacopo, who, seeing how much our city, after recovering all her possessions, could do to aid in the preservation of the duchy of Milan, had taken this means of thwarting an undertaking which he did not approve of; and perhaps he also contemplated in this way to interrupt the attempt against the kingdom of Naples. It is thus that nearly all the others excepting Beaumont and Samplet have acted; and that the governor of Asti and Monsignore di Buno (on account of Entraghes) have revived all the old passions of Italy. To this statement you will be careful to add the full particulars of what you have witnessed yourselves, and of which you have a distinct recollection, but of which it is impossible for us to give particular details. You must add, furthermore, all that has been done in favor of the Pisans by the people of Lucca, Genoa, and Sienna, of which we have no positive evidence, although we know that ambassadors from these cities were kept in camp to create disturbances and to keep the army in suspense. You will on no account omit to say that these men have often been seen to enter Pisa in secret; and especially Rinieri della Sassetta, who has been pointed out to us as the agent and special favorite of the Pallavicini, to whom, together with all the others who were unfriendly to our enterprise against Pisa, we attribute the defection of the Gascons, and which had no other cause than that, and was the manifest origin of the ruin of this enterprise. For after that the Swiss became turbulent, and refused to perform all service, in consequence of which the camp had to be broken up. The object of stating all this to his Majesty is to demonstrate to him that the failure of the enterprise can in no way be attributed to us.

You may begin your statement with the departure of the troops from Piacenza, and show that, until their arrival under the walls of Pisa, all that could be done was done by us; and then you can go on immediately to state the above-mentioned circumstances, and add all that you can remember as having Edition: current; Page: [43] contributed to the failure of the enterprise. Let that be the substance of your first audience, and be careful to avoid seeming to excuse us in any way, unless it be that we are reproached with having neglected to throw a bridge over the river Osole, or with having allowed the army to remain without provisions and ammunition as well as pioneers. Your reply upon these points will not be difficult, however, for the bridge could not be constructed for want of an escort, which it was their business to furnish; and as regards munitions, you are yourselves aware that they were furnished in more than double the quantity that their bombardiers had asked for, of which we still have their own letters as proof. In fact, they have never been short of ammunition, unless it was after it became manifest that the success of the enterprise was despaired of. And, moreover, they declared that they would not burn an ounce of their own powder, although it was agreed at Milan that they were to let us have all the powder and balls which they had, on condition that our commissioner paid them for it, or returned them an equal quantity. And finally as to the pioneers, notwithstanding the bad treatment to which they were subjected in being obliged to plant batteries by daylight, yet our commissioner had offered and agreed with the master of artillery, in case he should be in want of pioneers, to supply them at our expense from amongst those who were in camp, without any reclamation whatever for their pay; and this offer was accepted, and had satisfied them. As regards the matter of provisions, you have so large a field for explanation in the frequent and manifest dishonesty of the French, that this point will be more easily excused than any other; and you must not fail to relate the greater part of the particular instances that have occurred, which was so frequent a subject of our letters to the camp.

It will, furthermore, be proper for you to speak of the capture of our commissioner, of the persons guilty of this outrage, and of the manner in which it was done, and of the outrages and insults we have had to bear, even from the lowest private soldier. In fact, you must make a summary of all these matters, which will go to prove that we have been treated by them more like enemies than friends, amplifying or extenuating these matters as will best serve our cause. And upon this point you must not forget to say that the detention of Gianotto da San Martino and of his troops was entirely by order of Beaumont; Edition: current; Page: [44] and for our entire justification upon this point you will take his letter with you, as well as copies and originals of other writings that will serve for our vindication.

We deem it unnecessary to add anything more for your information to this commission; for all the knowledge we have has been obtained from the camp, where you were personally present, and could therefore see and know all the facts better than ourselves. You will therefore enlarge upon these facts as much as may seem necessary to you, without departing from the course which we have indicated to you above; namely, you will first explain all the causes that have given rise to these disorders; and then you will show all that has been done by us since the departure of the troops from Piacenza, both for the payment of the stipend, as well as everything else; and when necessary, you will repel and vindicate us from all charges of having been the authors of these disorders that have led to the failure of the enterprise.

And although we have refrained from blaming the commander, not wishing to incur his enmity, nevertheless when, speaking before his Majesty the king, or other personages of importance, the opportunity presents itself of successfully laying the blame upon him, you will do so energetically, and must not hesitate to charge him with cowardice and corruption. You will also state that he had constantly in his tent with him, and at his table, either one or both of the ambassadors from Lucca, through whom the Pisans obtained information and advice of all our plans and our doings. But until such an opportunity occurs, you must speak of the commander in an honorable manner, and throw all the blame upon others, and avoid particularly saying anything against him in presence of the Cardinal d’Amboise; for we do not wish to lose his good will, unless we can thereby gain a corresponding advantage in another direction. Our ambassadors can give you all the information, not only upon this point, but also whether it will do for you to speak openly of Trivulzio and the others, in which matters they can best guide you, for they know the favors and disfavors of the court much better than we do.

You may add in justification of the non-construction of the bridge over the river Osole, that the troops had hastened their march, and arrived there on the very day when they were expected to reach the bridge over the Serchio.

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Touching the Lucchese, you will state that one of their ambassadors accompanied the Gascons at the time of their defection; and that, whilst the French held the mouth of the river Arno, they constantly permitted provisions and troops and munitions of war, etc. to reach Pisa by way of the river; and particularly that Tarlatino of Citta di Castello entered Pisa in that way with a number of companions; and immediately upon his arrival was placed at the head of all the infantry that was there.

REGI FRANCORUM.

Christianissime Rex, etc.

Mittimus ad Christianissimam Majestatem Vestram Franciscum della Casa et Nicolaum Machiavellum, nobilissimos cives nostros, quibus mandavimus multa exponere illi nostro nomine de his quæ pertinunt ad bellum quod gestum est contra Pisanos: quibus precamur fidem habere certissimam, et quia nostro nomine loquentur, et quia presentes in castris omnia viderunt, poteruntque ob id certissime omnia renuntiare Majestati Vestræ.

PATENTES
PRO NICOLAO MACHIAVELLO ET FRANCISCO DELLA CASA, AD CHRISTIANISSIMAM REGIAM MAJESTATEM.

In sending at the present time, on account of certain important matters of ours, our respectable and most valued citizens Francesco della Casa and Niccolo Machiavelli to the court of the Most Christian King, we beg the friends, confederates, and well-wishers of our republic, and command our subjects, that both in going and returning you will receive them with all their servants, goods, and equipage, and treat them in the most friendly manner everywhere within your dominion, without payment of any tolls or taxes. And in case they should require any guides, escorts, or any other favors for their safe conveyance to where they wish to go, we pray you promptly to comply Edition: current; Page: [46] with their requests. Your doing so will be appreciated by us in the highest degree, and in similar or more important occasions we offer you the same service at your good will and pleasure.

INSTRUCTIONS
GIVEN TO FRANCESCO DELLA CASA AND NICCOLO MACHIAVELLI BY LORENZO LENZI, AMBASSADOR, ETC., ETC.

In consequence of the absence of Messer Francesco Gualterotti, and the departure of the king from here, I shall not be able to present you to his Majesty, and therefore deem it necessary to give you the following instructions, namely: —

You will follow the court, and upon your arrival there you will present yourselves to the Cardinal d’Amboise and make known to him the object of your mission. Say to him that you have come for the purpose of explaining to his Majesty all that has occurred in the camp before Pisa; but that before doing so you desire to render a full and particular account of it to his Eminence, so that you may afterwards communicate so much of it to his Majesty and the Council as his Eminence may deem proper. In fact, that you are prepared to follow his advice in all things, inasmuch as our republic looks upon his Eminence as her chief protector and benefactor. Ask him to present you to his Majesty whenever he thinks it best, and to direct you what, in his judgment, it will be proper for you to communicate to his Majesty, as well as the manner of doing it. And in your language to his Eminence be prodigal of assurances of our having the most unlimited confidence in him; in short, do all that can be done to preserve his favorable disposition towards our republic, and to derive from it all the advantages possible.

When you enter upon the particulars of the troubles that occurred in the camp, you must avoid as much as possible laying the blame upon M. de Beaumont, particularly in those matters that cannot be laid to our charge. You may say that the trouble arose from his not having influence enough in camp, and from the natural gentleness of his character, which caused him not to be sufficiently feared as he should have been. But that his intentions always had been most excellent, and that he Edition: current; Page: [47] always manifested the greatest anxiety and displeasure at seeing things go as they did, to our disadvantage and to the discredit of his Majesty; and that, so far as his talents and labors could produce any good effect, he never relaxed his efforts nor his diligence; and that the malignity of others was the sole cause of all the disorders. You must reiterate that it was the envy and bad conduct of those Italians who were in the camp; and whom you may blame regardlessly, for you will be addressing your remarks to his Eminence the Cardinal d’Amboise, and in presence of Monseigneur d’Alby and the Maréchal de Gies.

And when you happen to be alone with his Eminence d’Amboise, you may incidentally state that the conduct of these Italians had been so bad that there could be no doubt but they were acting under orders from outside of the camp. You may point out to his Eminence some of the instances mentioned in your commission, and especially the fact that they had engaged Rinieri della Sassetta, one of our rebels, and employed him in the intrigues with the Pisans, in which a great many of the Lombards participated. In the same way you may refer to the insolence and brutality of the infantry, and the waste of provisions of which they were guilty, and from which all the other troubles originated. Do not fail to testify to the good conduct of Saliente. And another matter to which I must call your particular attention is, that if his Eminence d’Amboise should say to you, when you are alone with him, or in the presence of the king or any other persons, that M. de Beaumont had been appointed to the command of the army at the request of Pietro Soderini, and with our concurrence; then admit that you have heard that this was so, and that it could only have been of advantage for us; for it is most important to preserve the good will of the Cardinal for objects of greater magnitude, or when we may need him to relieve us from even heavier charges.

You will add that you have heard that, notwithstanding what has occurred, his Majesty is disposed to persevere in carrying on the war against the Pisans, and against all who give them aid and support, or attempt in any way to injure us. So that the siege is to be recommenced, and that for that reason it had lately been agreed with us Ambassadors that the camp shall be located in a healthy place in the vicinity of Pisa, and where it can be conveniently supplied with provisions and other necessaries Edition: current; Page: [48] for making fair war against Pisa, until the siege is resumed; but that you are ignorant as to the present whereabouts and the condition of the camp, as well as what Florence may be able to do; knowing that since the departure of the troops the Pisans have ravaged the country to our detriment and dishonor, which would not have occurred but for the fact that our reliance upon the troops of his Majesty made us disband our own, so as the better to be able to provide for the pay of the army and the other expenses of the war. That it is necessary promptly to put an end to these insults, and for that reason, although without having been asked to do so by our Signoria, we have resolved to ask of his Majesty as soon as possible to give orders to his commander and his troops, whenever requested by the Florentine government, to send two hundred lances, but not Italians, to go and remain on Pisan territory; where they are to be quartered in a convenient and healthy situation, the same as has been specified for the whole army, and for the purpose of obtaining the same results. And you may say that you expect to find his Majesty well disposed to do this, as you have heard from your Ambassadors that his Majesty had said to them that, believing his army had crossed the Alps, he intended to send one hundred fresh lances into the Pisan territory for the purpose of carrying his objects into execution. But that in your judgment this number would be insufficient to make itself feared; and that their coming would be rather late, inasmuch as the Pisans had taken fresh courage. Nevertheless, this number would be better than the whole army, for, whilst they would answer the immediate purpose, it would be easier to supply them with provisions, and they would be a less heavy charge; and moreover, if the whole army were there, it would be a shame not to press the place more closely; whilst the small number would seem to be there merely to prevent further insults, until the siege could be really resumed in earnest. It would also show that his Majesty had no thought of abandoning the enterprise, which would comport with his dignity as well as our interests. You must also ask his Majesty to allow Giovanni Bentivogli to come to our aid with his forces, he being animated by the desire to do so in honor of his Majesty and for our benefit, whenever his Majesty will deign to permit it, for he deems it his duty to do nothing without his Majesty’s consent.

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The persons upon whose influence with his Most Christian Majesty we can most depend are, first, the Cardinal d’Amboise, Monseigneur d’Alby, — in fact, I may say the whole house of Amboise; the Maréchal de Gies, and Monseigneur General Robertet, whom you will see as often as you can, and let him see that you have full faith in him, which you will find to your advantage.

I had forgotten to name the Grand Chancellor, who, although he has the reputation of being favorably inclined towards the Lucchese, yet is our friend, and you may safely trust him. Show equal confidence to Messer Jacopo da Trivulzi, and when you come to discuss matters with him, give him to understand that you intend to follow his counsels, and recommend our city to him. The same with Ligny; when you have occasion to talk with him, show him confidence, and use all means to dispose him favorably towards us, or at any rate as little unfavorably as possible.

You have been informed of what the Cardinal has lately written, showing that he is inclined to accept the excuses of the Lucchese. It is possible that on your arrival you may find that this matter has not yet been finally disposed of; if this be so, then let his Eminence know the manner in which the Lucchese have conducted themselves towards us, making it appear as bad as you can, without, however, manifesting any passion. And having done all this, you will say to his Eminence that our Signoria will approve whatever he may decide; but if, with regard to the reinforcements asked for the enterprise against Pisa, his Eminence should be of the opinion that things ought to be left as they are until after the capture of the city, then I think you should insist upon such reinforcements, which would act as a stimulant to keep the Lucchese in greater fear, and make them more circumspect. The same with the Pisans, and such as are disposed to aid them, for they also would feel more restrained by a greater terror than if all the troops were recalled, which would reanimate the courage of the Pisans and of their allies.

Above all, do not dispute upon any of the points on which you see that his Eminence has formed a definite judgment; and when you find him decided upon any particular course, approve all he has done, for the power and good will of the king of France will make up for all that we might lack. And do not Edition: current; Page: [50] fail to say to the Cardinal d’Amboise that the report which has been made to him in relation to the conduct of the Lucchese may be the result of ignorance of the individual who made it, or he may have been influenced by some other motive. Nevertheless, after you have done all you can in the matter, you must conform to the will of his Eminence.

Francesco della Casa
Casa, Francesco della
Niccolo Machiavelli
Machiavelli, Niccolo
28 July, 1500
Lyons

LETTER I.

Magnificent and Illustrious Signori, etc., etc.:

Having but just now heard of the departure of the courier, we have no time to write to your Lordships other than most briefly to inform you that, after travelling with the utmost speed, we arrived here on Sunday the 26th of this month, bbut found that the king had left. To enable us therefore to execute your Lordships’ commission, and some other instructions given us by your Ambassador Lorenzo Lenzi, with regard to the troops of Messer Giovanni Bentivogli, etc., we propose mounting horses here to-morrow, it being impossible to follow the king by post, and to proceed as rapidly as possible to such place as will be most suitable for having an audience of his Majesty. We shall use all diligence and care faithfully to make known to him all that you have charged us with; and will then report fully and at length to your Lordships, which it is not in our power to do to-day.

Valeant Dominationes vestræ.

Servitores
Francesco della Casa et
Niccolo Machiavelli.
Francesco della Casa
Casa, Francesco della
Niccolo Machiavelli
Machiavelli, Niccolo
29 July, 1500
Lyons

LETTER II.

Magnificent Signori:

As the courier of yesterday could not wait we had to write but very briefly to your Lordships, but stated amongst other things the causes of our having arrived here a little later perhaps than your Lordships could have desired. The cause of Edition: current; Page: [51] this delay was an unforeseen accident, which obliged us to stop on the road. On arriving here we found that Messer Francesco Gualterotti had left with the court, as stated in our letter of yesterday, and had taken the road to San Antonio. Your Lordships may judge of our disappointment; particularly as it obliged us to execute our commission as though we ourselves were ambassadors.

We communicated to his Magnificence Lorenzo Lenzi the object of our coming and of the commission with which we had been charged by your Lordships, all of which he listened to with attention, and examined with his habitual prudence. Our justification as to the raising of the siege of Pisa seemed to him complete, and calculated to confute all attempts to blame us, whenever heard and examined. His Magnificence afterwards explained to us the position of the affairs of our republic with his Majesty, and stated what he had written to your Lordships, in consequence of the determination of the king to keep his men-at-arms and infantry in healthy locations on Pisan territory, and convenient for attacking the Pisans at any moment, until he should return from Troyes, whither he had gone now to have an understanding with the Emperor of Germany’s ambassador for the reorganization of his army and a fresh attempt at the capture of Pisa. He stated that all this had been communicated by himself and his colleague to your Lordships; but as in your reply you had declined this proposition, they did not deem it proper to lay it before the king, but had decided at once to write you again, suggesting to your Lordships once more carefully to examine the matter, and that they are still awaiting your reply, which his Majesty also desires to have; for every time that he has seen D’Amboise he has asked after the ambassadors.

We have said, in answer to all this, that we thought the probable reason of the coldness of your reply, and your nonacceptance of the king’s offer, was the want of success in the siege of Pisa, which had disappointed the general expectation, and had brought little honor to the king and great injury to our republic. So that your Lordships, from the experience you have had, can never again have confidence in those troops; and that the collecting of five hundred men-at-arms and three thousand infantry around Cascina, according to the latest resolve of the king, would be impossible, in view of their character, Edition: current; Page: [52] etc., etc.; for they could not be supplied with provisions for any length of time. Adding that it would not redound to his Majesty’s honor that so large a number of his troops should remain here merely to ravage an already wasted and exhausted country, without laying regular siege to a city that had been many times besieged and closely pressed by your Lordships with a less numerous force.

These considerations, we said, might possibly have caused your Lordships not to listen to what your ambassadors had written; and we enlarged upon this in such manner, narrating the events of recent occurrence, and the spirit and disposition of these troops, that he remained silent, and almost changed his views. And in the discussion as to the means of satisfying the king, to whom we would have to speak before receiving your Lordship’s answer, the ambassador was of opinion, that, since his Majesty was inclined to temporize with his troops on Pisan territory until a regular resumption of the siege could be organized, we ought to point out to his Majesty that this could be done equally well with a much less number of men-at-arms, and without infantry. That in fact, if his Majesty thought proper to leave, or, in case they should already have left, to send back two hundred of his lances, to be stationed between Cascina and Vico, and who could scour the country daily up to the very walls of Pisa, being supported by our infantry, his Majesty would gain time, as has been said, until a reorganization of the entire enterprise; and your Lordships would profit by the king’s credit, without incurring any further expense for men-at-arms, whilst the king would consider himself in a manner interested in the success of the enterprise from seeing his name connected with it, and consequently his honor. The ambassador thought that his Majesty would readily consent to this, having already offered one hundred lances in support of your interests, when under the impression that his army had already passed through the territory of Parma, as had been reported to him. Adding, however, that all this ought not to be asked of his Majesty until your Lordships had decided whether you would avail yourselves of this support. Now although we charge ourselves very reluctantly with this commission, as not being comprised in your orders to us, yet, being only conditional, we shall execute it so soon as the opportunity is given to us to be with the king or the Cardinal Edition: current; Page: [53] d’Amboise. And we will endeavor to obtain letters to these captains, instructing them to place two hundred lances at your disposal, if you request it. Your Lordships, however, can examine the whole subject, and will then communicate to us your decision at length. We have nothing else of interest to mention from here to-day.

We leave here positively to-morrow to follow the court; we have been obliged to defer our departure in consequence of our having arrived here denuded of everything, and having to procure at the same time horses, wearing apparel, and servants. All this has become very difficult because of the recent departure of the court; they having stripped the whole country around of all means of travel and transport. Thus the small compensation which we receive, and the heavy expenses to which we are subjected with little prospect of being reimbursed, cause us no little anxiety. But we have every degree of confidence in your Lordships’ discretion and kindness.

In passing through Bologna we had an interview with Messer Giovanni Bentivogli in accordance with your Lordships’ instructions; and after having spoken to him about the mules that had been taken, etc., etc., we offered him on behalf of your Lordships all our good offices during the expedition; which his Lordship accepted in a suitable manner, thanking us and offering his own in return. We shall do what we can to render him service, and so that he may be permitted to come to your assistance, in accordance with your late instructions to the ambassadors; for Lorenzo Lenzi is, to our great regret, positively determined not to follow the court, but to return to Florence.

It remains for us to inform your Lordships that we met between Parma and Piacenza several thousand Swiss, who had formed part of the army, and who were now returning home. Although this fact ought to have been made known to you by Pellegrino Lorini, yet we deem it well not to omit mentioning it, so that your Lordships may avail of the information when occasion offers.

We recommend ourselves to your Lordships, quæ bene valeant.

Servitores
Francesco della Casa,
Niccolo Machiavelli.
Edition: current; Page: [54]
Francesco della Casa
Casa, Francesco della
Niccolo Machiavelli
Machiavelli, Niccolo
30 July, 1500
Lyons

LETTER III.

Magnificent Signori:

By the enclosed we have informed your Lordships of what had occurred up to that time. The present is to let you know that at this very moment, it being the twenty-first hour, we are about to leave for the court; so that we may communicate to his Majesty the king the object of the mission which your Lordships have confided to us. We shall endeavor with the utmost celerity to make up for the time which we were unavoidably obliged to lose in putting ourselves in proper condition, and to supply ourselves with all the necessaries for the purpose of proceeding, which involved many difficulties and much expense, as already stated in the enclosed.

It remains for us now most respectfully to remind your Lordships that it may readily happen that we shall have to despatch special couriers to you for matters of great importance; but which we shallnot be able to do, being without money or credit. It becomes necessary therefore that your Lordships should think of ordering either Nasi or Dei, or some other of the merchants, to forward our despatches, with promise of prompt compensation for such service; for unless this is done we shall be helpless, and might be charged with neglect without any fault of ours. We shall be equally embarrassed, in consequence of our being destitute of money, by the couriers whom your Lordships may think proper to despatch to us. We have deemed it proper to make this state of things known to you, so that your Lordships may have compassion on us.We can but do our best to perform our duty, and the impossibility of doing it will always serve as our justification in the eyes of everybody.

Bene valeant Dominationes vestræ!

Servitores
Francesco della Casa,
Niccolo Machiavelli.
Edition: current; Page: [55]
Niccolo Machiavelli
Machiavelli, Niccolo
5 August, 1500
St. Pierre

LETTER IV.

Magnificent Signori:

Your Lordships know what salary was assigned to me on our departure from Florence, and also the amount accorded to Francesco della Casa. Doubtless this was done under the belief that in the natural course of things I would have occasion to spend less money than Francesco. Such however has not been the case; for not finding his Most Christian Majesty at Lyons, I had to provide myself with horses, servants, and clothing, the same as he; and thus following the court has obliged me to incur the same expenses as Francesco. It seems to me, therefore, beyond all human and divine reason that I should not have the same emoluments. If the expenses which I incur seem to your Lordships too great, then I would observe that they are quite as useful as those of Francesco’s, or that the twenty ducats allowed me per month are simply thrown away. If in your opinion the latter is the case, then I beg your Lordships to recall me; but if it be not so, then I trust your Lordships will take such measures that I may not ruin myself, and that at least I may be credited in Florence with the amounts for which I am compelled to become indebted here. For I pledge you my faith that up to the present moment I have spent already forty ducats of my own, and have requested my brother at Florence to make me an advance of seventy ducats more.

I recommend myself again to your Lordships, and beg that a faithful servant of yours may not, without any fault of his own, be subjected to shame and loss in the performance of services that bring to others profit and honor.

Humilissimus servitor
Niccolo Machiavelli.
Edition: current; Page: [56]
Francesco della Casa
Casa, Francesco della
Niccolo Machiavelli
Machiavelli, Niccolo
5 August, 1500
St. Pierre le Moutier

LETTER V.

Magnificent Signori:

As we informed you by our last, we left Lyons on the 30th ultimo, and made every effort to join the court, with all the speed that our wretched horses would permit, having been obliged to buy such as we could get. We should have succeeded ere this in overtaking the court, had it not been that his Majesty has travelled more rapidly than usual, and has varied his route because of the sickness that prevails in this country; so that in several instances where we attempted to take a shorter and more direct road for the purpose of gaining time, we have actually gone farther away from him. Nevertheless we reached to-day this little town of St. Pierre le Moutier, about five leagues from Nevers, where we were told we should find the king, so that we hope confidently to overtake his Majesty to-morrow. We shall as soon as possible execute your Lordships’ commission; also the additional instructions given us by our ambassador, and which we communicated to your Lordships in our last. And so soon as we shall have been able to do this, we shall immediately notify your Lordships of the result, sending our letter to Rinieri Dei at Lyons, for which we shall pay with what little money may remain in our purses; for the sum which you have given us has enabled us to pay only about two thirds of the expenses which we have incurred thus far.

We take our chance in sending you this letter, as we desire that your Lordships shall be informed day by day of our progress, and because we know how disagreeable it would be for your Lordships if there were any delay in receiving our reports, even if there be nothing of importance to communicate.

Servitores
Francesco della Casa,
Niccolo Machiavelli.
Edition: current; Page: [57]
Francesco della Casa
Casa, Francesco della
Niccolo Machiavelli
Machiavelli, Niccolo
7 August, 1500
Nevers

LETTER VI.

Magnificent Signori:

Since our departure from Lyons, we have written you twice from different places, and advised your Lordships of the causes that have delayed our joining the court, which we will not now reiterate, partly because we do not wish to weary your Lordships, and partly because we assume that our letters have reached you safely, although we sent them at a venture. Since then we have continued our route in disregard of all the fatigue and fear of sickness which prevails in this country; and with God’s help we have arrived here, where we found his Majesty with a very small court, on account of the limited size of the place. Immediately after dismounting we presented ourselves before his Eminence the Cardinal d’Amboise; and although we had no letters for him from your Lordships, which it would have been well for us to have had, we exposed to him summarily on your behalf and on the part of the ambassadors the cause of our coming, and recommended your interests to him, as your only protector, in whom your Lordships always had and continued to have the most entire confidence.

His Eminence replied briefly, showing by his remarks that there was no great occasion for vindicating your conduct as regards the occurrences in camp, which were already an old affair; but that it was of much greater importance to think of repairing the losses in honor and profit which his Majesty as well as yourselves had experienced in consequence. And then he began immediately to question us as to what we thought of recommencing the enterprise. To this we could make no reply, for we arrived at that very moment at the king’s quarters. His Majesty, having just dined, was taking a little repose; but a few moments afterwards he arose, and, having learnt from the Cardinal d’Amboise the object of our coming, he had us called, and after we had presented our credentials, his Majesty made us enter an adjoining cabinet, where he gave us most graciously a very satisfactory audience; to which none of the French seigneurs were admitted except his Eminence the Cardinal d’Amboise and Robertet. All the other lords of the council being absent, Messer Gianjacopo Trivulzio, the Bishop of Novara, and two others of the Palavicini, were called in, as Edition: current; Page: [58] they happened to be there, and remained throughout the whole audience.

In conformity with your Lordships’ instructions we began by submitting that inasmuch as the enterprise against Pisa and the siege of the city had, to our great prejudice and the great discredit of his Majesty’s army, an entirely different issue from his other most fortunate and successful enterprises, and as we had ourselves been present at all the events that had occurred in camp, we had been sent by your Lordships to explain to his Majesty that the cause of the raising of the siege of Pisa was in no way chargeable to any act or neglect on your part. We then related, according to our instructions, all the details as far as seemed to the purpose, and more particularly all that related to the departure from camp of the Gascons, the outrages of the Swiss, and the carrying off of our commissioner, and to the constant parleying of the French commander with the enemy. We also mentioned the insulting manner in which your Lordships and all the Florentines had been spoken of, and how all this had inspired the Pisans with fresh courage to defend themselves, contrary to the expectations of everybody; and how all this had been the chief cause of the ruin of the enterprise. It did not seem to us advisable, notwithstanding your orders upon this point, specially to accuse any Italians; for the individuals whom we have named being present, we thought that such a public accusation would be likely to make us more enemies, rather than prove of advantage to our cause.

The king and D’Amboise replied that the failure of the enterprise against Pisa was as much due to your shortcomings as to those of the king’s army; and when we answered that we really did not know wherein your Lordships had been wanting, they alleged the lack of provisions, munitions, and of many other things, observing at the same time that it was not worth while to say anything more about the matter, as it would only lead to endless recriminations.

Nevertheless, deeming it our duty to avail of the occasion to vindicate ourselves from such charges, we said that your Lordships had never failed to furnish the most abundant supply of provisions, and that there never had been any deficiency, but that they had been wantonly wasted, and that those who had brought them into camp had been overwhelmed with all Edition: current; Page: [59] sorts of insults and bad treatment; and that if at any time it had seemed to any one that there was not a sufficient abundance, it was solely due to the injudicious distribution and the waste to which we had referred; and when we offered to give some special details upon this point, they cut us short in our statement.

As to the ammunition and the pay, in the furnishing of which we were accused of having been tardy, etc., we replied, as to the first point, that your Lordships had supplied more than what the king’s chief of artillery had called for; and as to the second, that the money had arrived in camp at the proper time, but that the paying of the troops had been deferred some five or six days because the captains of the companies had themselves so ordered it, as they did not care to have the troops paid any sooner. Respecting the Gascons, his Majesty showed several times in the course of his remarks that he was cognizant of their perfidy and treason, and that he should not fail to have them punished. And when we remarked that they had gone off by sea, his Majesty said that he had ordered their arrest and punishment on their arrival in their own country.

In relation to the carrying off of our commissioner, of which we spoke very fully, characterizing the act as brutal and infamous, they only said that the Swiss were in the habit of acting thus, and of practising similar extortions. His Majesty finally cut the discussion short by admitting that his troops had not done their duty, but that there had been equal remissness on our part; adding that Beaumont had not always made himself obeyed as he ought to have done, and that, if there had been another commander who had more thoroughly enforced obedience, the enterprise would not have failed. Having been advised by our ambassador that the Cardinal d’Amboise held Beaumont in great affection, and that the least censure of Beaumont would be displeasing to the Cardinal, we were very careful, whilst admitting on the one hand that there had been great lack of discipline, beyond all reasonable limits, which in fact had been the cause of all the disorders, to say on the other hand that we had always found Beaumont extremely jealous of his Majesty’s honor, and very friendly to our country, and that, if the others had shown an equal good will and disposition with Beaumont, we should doubtless have been victorious. Edition: current; Page: [60] And thus we succeeded in satisfying the Cardinal, to whom we knew that what we had said of Beaumont would be most agreeable, and at the same time not contradicting the king’s conclusions as to want of discipline, etc., etc.

As it seemed to his Majesty that enough had been said on these matters, he turned towards us and said: “Since now this enterprise has ended in a manner so prejudicial to yourselves, and so little creditable to myself, and with a view to prevent my army from ever experiencing a similar check, it is necessary to come to some decision as to what had best be done for the recovery of my honor, and at the same time your interests. Some days ago already I made my views known to your Signoria through their ambassadors, and also through one of my couriers whom I despatched for that purpose to Tuscany. I have thus far done all I possibly can, and wish to do the same for the future, and only ask you to let me have your answer.”

To this we replied that we had no orders from your Lordships upon that point, and that our instructions were confined to the events that had occurred in camp, and at which we had been personally present. But that our opinion was, that the people of Florence, who had been involved for so many years in a continual and most onerous war, seeing the unhappy and unexpected issue of this last enterprise, had become impressed with the idea that, owing either to their ill fortune or to their numerous enemies, both within and without Italy, they had nothing more to hope for; that they had lost all confidence, and consequently the courage and the strength necessary for venturing upon another enterprise. But that if once his Majesty restored Pisa to our hands, so that we could see a certain reward for the expenses which we should have to incur anew, in that case we confidently believed that your Lordships would justly and amply compensate his Majesty for his outlays.

At these words the king, the Cardinal, and the other persons present began all to cry out, saying that it would be very unseemly for the king to make war for our benefit and at his expense. We at once replied that such was in no way our intention, but that we meant that his Majesty should be fully reimbursed for all the expenses incurred after having placed Pisa in our hands. To which it was answered, that the king would always Edition: current; Page: [61] do his duty according to the stipulations of the treaty;* and that, if your Lordships failed in yours, his Majesty would be excused by the whole world. The king himself added, that Pisa and Montepulciano were as much in his power as Pietrasanta and Mutrone, if he wished to keep them for himself; giving us to understand thereby that, if he did not keep them, it was merely from his desire strictly to keep his engagements. Thereupon Messer Gianjacopo Trivulzio turned towards us and said that, if we allowed this opportunity to be lost, which the king’s will and disposition, as well as other circumstances, rendered so favorable, your Lordships would in all probability never be able to recover your losses, and especially not by these means. We made no reply to this except that what we had suggested was our individual opinion, and that we had no instructions upon this point from your Lordships. Whereupon the king and D’Amboise remarked that, inasmuch as we had left Florence before the arrival there of the king’s courier, it was not surprising that we had received no instructions upon that point.

We suggested that we should receive within a very few days a reply from your Lordships to his Majesty’s letter, whereupon the king said, that without such a reply and a definite decision on your part it would be impossible to proceed any further in this matter; and that it was important that your Lordships should decide at once, so that he might know whether or not to disband the infantry, which remained on the ground at your Lordships’ disposal, giving us to understand at the same time that the expense thereof was at your charge; and that whilst awaiting your Lordships’ reply we might go on to Montargis, where he would be himself within three days. And with that conclusion we took our leave.

In our reply touching the matter of Pisa we conformed Edition: current; Page: [62] strictly to your Lordships’ intentions; for although no instructions had been given us upon this point, yet having read at Lyons your Lordships’ last letters to our ambassadors, which, in fact, we had here with us, and which state that a reply upon this point would be expressly sent to his Majesty, we availed ourselves of the occasion respectfully to make such reply to him, being convinced that it could not in any way affect whatever new decision your Lordships may have made. We hope most earnestly that our conduct may be satisfactory to your Lordships.

This is all we have to communicate to your Lordships, up to the present, in relation to the execution of our commission. We should have enlarged more amply upon certain points but for the consideration which we were obliged to have for the Italians who were present, and also because we knew that such discussions could not but be disagreeable to the king and D’Amboise; first, because they regarded this whole matter as a thing of the past, and as it were already digested; and next, because we should have made them hear some particulars little creditable to their honor and government. Nevertheless, we thought that we ought not to leave any important particulars unnoticed, except such as we have referred to above; and these we shall relate to the king and the Cardinal on some other and more suitable occasion. We mean more especially the matter of the Lucchese, respecting which we had given some intercepted letters to Robertet, who advised us to have such portions of them as it was proper to make known translated into French, showing thus that he attached some importance to them. It was from him also that we learnt that the Lucchese ambassadors had been recalled on the day previous, so that they might appear at court.

Your Lordships had also written to our ambassadors to obtain permission from the king for Messer Giovanni Bentivogli to come with his troops to your assistance. Lorenzo Lenzi had also directed us to ask his Majesty to leave two hundred lances for the protection of your interests, but we did not think it advisable to speak of this matter in the presence of the other Italians; but we took General Robertet aside, and made your Lordships’ wishes known to him with regard to Messer Giovanni’s troops, but did not mention anything else to him. He replied, that he hardly thought such a feeble Edition: current; Page: [63] assistance would be needed by us, as the king’s troops were at Pietrasanta, and in condition to make effectual war, and that only quite lately one hundred more lances had been sent there. Nevertheless so soon as his Majesty comes to Montargis we shall speak to him and D’Amboise about this matter; and unless we should receive contrary orders from your Lordships, we shall endeavor to obtain the permission and the number of troops you ask for.

Having arrived only to-day, we are unable to say anything as to what is going on here. The reason why his Majesty has given up his visit to Troyes, and has come here instead, is not clearly known; although we had heard on the road that the Emperor’s ambassadors, who were to have gone there, will not go. We shall endeavor to ascertain the truth more fully, and will inform your Lordships in our next letters.

Servitores
Francesco della Casa,
Niccolo Machiavelli.

P. S. — We have kept this letter until to-day, 10th August, as we had no opportunity of sending it sooner, although we made every effort to do so. We send it now, by some one who is going to Lyons, to Rinieri Dei, who is to forward it by first express. We are now at Montargis, where his Majesty also arrived this morning; but we have as yet no further news to communicate to your Lordships, to whom we again recommend ourselves.

Francesco della Casa
Casa, Francesco della
Niccolo Machiavelli
Machiavelli, Niccolo
11 August, 1500
Montargis

LETTER VII.

Magnificent Signori, etc., etc.:

[The beginning of this letter is a copy of the preceding one, after which it continues: —]

To here is a copy of our last letter of the 7th, which we could not send until the 10th from Montargis. In the execution of so much of your Lordships’ orders as had not already been attended to, we called upon the Cardinal d’Amboise, and were fortunate in having a good long audience Edition: current; Page: [64] from him. We had translated the intercepted letter of Piero da Poggio of Lucca into French, and begged his Eminence to read and examine it, as he would find in it many particulars that would prove to him in the most evident manner that the Lucchese had manifestly acted adversely to his Majesty the king. Seeing that the Cardinal did not care to read it, we began to relate to him some of the main points of the letter, but his Eminence promptly objected, and said that a report from Beaumont and the other captains proved that the Lucchese had never acted adversely to his Majesty, but had served him more effectually, and with a better will, than the Florentines, and more especially in the matter of provisions. To this we replied, that it seemed very strange to us that the Lucchese, with a show of fair words and by the influence of some friends, should prevail over truth itself; that in fact we had always striven to uphold the honor of the king, whilst the conduct of the Lucchese had been directly the reverse, and more especially in the affair of Pisa. We wanted again to submit to his Eminence the translation of the letter mentioned above, but he declined; and when we offered to leave it with him, he cared not to accept it.

On our observing to the Cardinal that we had learnt that the Lucchese ambassadors had been called back to the court, he answered promptly that, not having found them at fault in any way, he deemed it proper to have them recalled. His Eminence then began to tell us that, when Corcou was at Florence, he had made known to your Lordships how favorably the king was disposed towards our republic, and most particularly in relation to the matter of Pisa; and then he complained that your Lordships had been reluctant to take any measures for the success of that enterprise; and, further, that you had been unwilling, or cared not, to have his Majesty’s troops in garrison within the Florentine territory; and, moreover, that you had refused to pay what was due to the Swiss, although it was provided in their engagement that they should have pay for their return home; and, finally, his Eminence charged the ill success of the expedition against Pisa entirely to our short-comings. To these charges we replied, first, that our republic was exhausted by the many protracted wars, and, moreover, that the people of Florence could not and ought not to have any confidence in such ill-disciplined troops, who had shown themselves Edition: current; Page: [65] so ill disposed towards our republic. His Eminence answered the same as he had done on a former occasion, that, besides the insufficient measures taken by the Florentines, they were not even united amongst themselves. We expressed our astonishment that he should hold such an opinion, which was altogether erroneous. The Cardinal said that he had been so informed by all the Frenchmen who had been at Florence. We assured him that they could not have heard or known anything of the kind, as our republic was perfectly united upon all important matters, and most particularly in the desire to recover Pisa, as was proved by the energetic measures adopted in raising and sending the money required for that purpose, and which could only be obtained by the concurrence of two thirds of all the citizens of Florence. We begged his Eminence to reflect well upon the character of the individuals who had made such statements to him, as also upon the nature of the things reported to him. As to the pay of the Swiss, we observed that your Lordships were not bound to pay them, for they had not performed the service required of them, and had refused to mount guard or stand sentinel, and, moreover, had nearly all disbanded. To which the Cardinal replied that your Lordships ought to pay them; for if you did not, the king would have to do it with his own means, which would make him greatly dissatisfied with your conduct. Respecting the complaint that the enterprise failed in consequence of your short-comings, we recalled to him very briefly the disorders that had broken out in camp, and closed by saying that, if his Majesty had not been informed that a great part of the wagons had been stolen, and the remainder badly distributed, then the truth had been studiously withheld from him. We urged again that we had come here prepared to submit to the strictest investigation, for the purpose of proving the truth that your Lordships had always supplied abundance of everything that was needed. His Eminence answered by declaring any further discussion useless, and that he was astonished at your Lordships’ unwillingness to do anything to recommence the enterprise, and at the proposition that the king should restore Pisa to you at his own expense. We expressed at once our conviction that your Lordships intended to do your duty in the matter to the utmost extent of your ability; but since the late attempt had resulted in the manner known to his Eminence, it Edition: current; Page: [66] was not to be wondered at that the republic of Florence, fed so long with vain hopes, should mistrust the future, and that consequently she lacked men and money to undertake a fresh enterprise; but that it was a small matter for his Majesty the king to make so inconsiderable a war at his own expense, provided only that in the end he was victorious, which could not fail to be the case, especially when it became known that the enterprise was carried on absolutely in his Majesty’s name and at his expense; for that would keep any of our neighbors or enemies from venturing to interfere at the risk of offending his Majesty. We concluded by saying to his Eminence, that, if the king would assume the enterprise from the beginning as his own, it would not only be more easy, but most certain of success; that it would redound more to the honor of his Majesty, and would give greater satisfaction to your Lordships, and really without any burden of expense to his Majesty, as it was always your intention to reimburse the king, in strict accordance with the treaty stipulations, immediately upon the restitution to them of the city of Pisa.

All these arguments produced no effect upon his Eminence, who constantly replied that the king would never agree to such a proposition. Robertet also told us, that such a proposition on the part of your Lordships seemed almost as if made in derision of the king, and that his Majesty was so dissatisfied and ill content with your disposition that really he did not see any person at court who, under the circumstances, could remain your friends, or could support your interests. Subsequently we stated to his Eminence that, in addition to the other causes that discouraged the people of Florence, was the non-restitution of Pietrasanta, which was now in his Majesty’s possession. To which he replied, that he had informed Pietro Soderini that the reason of this non-restitution was a promise made to the Lucchese not to restore Pietrasanta to your Lordships until after the taking of Pisa. We said that of all others that was precisely the reason that induced the Lucchese to put every obstacle in the way of our recovering Pisa; and, moreover, that his Majesty the king had obligated himself to restore Pietrasanta to your hands before ever he made any promise to the Lucchese, and that the first pledge and obligation ought to have precedence. His Eminence assured us that all of his Majesty’s obligations would be fulfilled, provided your Lordships Edition: current; Page: [67] would do their duty in recovering Pisa; but if you would not, then the king would hold you responsible.

We asked his Eminence to obtain from the king the authorization and letters to Messer Giovanni Bentivogli, so that he may come to your aid with his men-at-arms and infantry, as requested by your Lordships. He said that he would do it with pleasure, and has ordered the letters asked for to be written; and so soon as we receive them we will forward them to your Lordships, to whom we humbly recommend ourselves.

Servitores
Francesco della Casa,
Niccolo Machiavelli.
Niccolo Machiavelli
Machiavelli, Niccolo
12 August, 1500
Montargis

LETTER VIII.

Magnificent Signori:

Uncertain whether your Lordships have received the previous letters which I have addressed to you on my own account, I venture once more to write to your Lordships, so as not to be wanting to myself in the straits in which I am. At our departure from Florence, your Lordships assigned to Francesco della Casa eight lire per day, and only four lire to me. I doubt not that your Lordships had good reasons for doing so, but that you did not suppose that things would happen as they have done. Now you must know, Magnificent Signori, that I follow the court at my own expense, and that in every way I am obliged to spend just as much as Francesco. I therefore entreat your Lordships either to accord to me the same salary as Francesco, or that you will recall me, so that I may not impoverish myself, which I am sure cannot be your Lordships’ wish. I have already spent forty ducats of my own, and have given orders on my brother Totto for seventy ducats more. Again I recommend myself most earnestly to your Lordships.

Servitor humilissimus
Niccolo Machiavelli.
Edition: current; Page: [68]
Francesco della Casa
Casa, Francesco della
Niccolo Machiavelli
Machiavelli, Niccolo
12 August, 1500
Montargis

LETTER IX.

Magnificent Signori:

We had not yet sent off the enclosed, which is in part a copy of one of our previous letters, when we received by the courier Bolognino, who had been sent by Nasi to Lyons, your Lordships’ last letters of 5th instant, with two enclosures, the one for his Most Christian Majesty, and the other for his Eminence the Cardinal d’Amboise; also copies of your correspondence with Corcou and Beaumont; also the deposition of the witnesses in relation to the Lucchese. After carefully reading and examining them all, we called at once upon the Cardinal, his Majesty the king having left three hours before to hunt some three leagues from here, whence, according to what some persons say, he is going about seven leagues farther to a property belonging to the Grand Admiral, to remain some days for his pleasure, after which he will return here. It is difficult, however, to get at the exact truth, owing to the natural uncertainties of the court.

After presenting ourselves before his Eminence the Cardinal, we handed him the letters from your Lordships, and informed him that you had advised us of your having sent commissioners towards Pescia, to arrange with Corcou and the other captains for the distribution of the quarters to the men-at-arms of his Majesty on Florentine territory; adding, so far as circumstances would permit, such remarks as seemed to us suitable to make this matter more acceptable to him; for we found him closely engaged with Monseigneur d’Alby. We have stated in the enclosed how his Eminence had spoken to us, at our interview with him yesterday, of the answer which Corcou had reported as having been made to him by your Lordships, and how he had complained to him of the want of confidence which we had shown him, as well as of many other things, all which we have reported in the enclosed. We deemed it proper to say in reply to his Eminence, that Corcou had doubtless misinterpreted your Lordships’ reply, since you had proposed that the men-at-arms should be quartered in a healthy locality upon Pisan territory, whence they could press the Pisans closely; and where they would be amply supplied with everything, and would in all respects be well cared for by your Lordships; and Edition: current; Page: [69] that you had always left it to Corcou to decide what course to pursue, he being better acquainted with the king’s will than any one else. His Eminence seemed well satisfied with your having sent commissioners for assigning quarters to the men-at-arms; nevertheless, he intimated to us that he expected letters from the captains upon this matter, and that they would undoubtedly go fully into details on this subject. And as to our suggestion respecting Corcou’s having misinterpreted the reply, etc., and that consequently he could not make it fairly known here, his Eminence manifested some displeasure, saying that Corcou was a man of honor and sagacity, and greatly beloved by the king on account of his good qualities. We found no difficulty in removing this little irritation by assuring his Eminence that your Lordships had an equally good opinion of Corcou, but that even a man of honor and intelligence might easily misunderstand a matter of that kind. His Eminence admitted this; nevertheless he deferred his final judgment until he should have received the next letters from Corcou and the other captains.

After that, we broached the Lucchese business and the testimony of the witnesses given in presence of the king’s officers. We pointed out to his Eminence that this examination had been made with all due solemnity, and that the evidence was of a character that left no doubt as to the perfidy of the Lucchese, and of the aid given by them to the Pisans; so that the king might without hesitation restore Pietrasanta to our hands, even if he had to make more account of the obligation which he had contracted with the Lucchese than of that which he had concluded with your Lordships, — which, however, could not and ought not in reason to be done. And holding this deposition of the witnesses in our hands, we wanted to submit it to his Eminence, who however declined to look at it, and repeated to us the same language he had used the day before, and which we have reported to your Lordships in the enclosed; namely, that Beaumont and all the other captains affirmed the very contrary of what we had stated; and that we, being a party concerned, ought not to be believed; and that, even if the aforementioned captains had in their letters confirmed and justified our statements, the Lucchese ought certainly to be made sensible of the error of their conduct, but that your simple averment was not sufficient.

Edition: current; Page: [70]

Thus your Lordships see what foundations you will require if you wish to build up anything good and solid in relation to this affair. It seems to us that in this as in all other matters which we may have to attend to here, for the purpose of satisfying the king or of serving your interests, we shall have to depend entirely upon the reports made by the captains; so that it is of the utmost importance to dispose these officers favorably to your Lordships. The contrary might be very prejudicial to your interests, as the experience with regard to Pietrasanta will prove to your Lordships; for it has not been of the least service for us to meet all the objections to its restoration to us, or to demonstrate that the investigation and examination of witnesses was authentic, and resulted from a public act made in due form. In fact, all that we could say, and all the proofs we could adduce, led to no other conclusion than what we have reported to your Lordships.

We did not deem it well to speak to his Eminence in relation to the pay of the artillery and of the Swiss, nor did he ever say anything to us about it; but the very first time that he mentions these matters, which we believe will be very soon, we shall reply in accordance with your Lordships’ latest instructions. Nothing else occurs to us in response to your letters. It is said that his Eminence intends leaving here to-morrow to join the king, and that both will then return here. We shall not lose sight of his Eminence, and shall govern ourselves in our dealings with him according to circumstances, and as events may suggest.

Although it may seem presumptuous for us to speak of matters here, having but so recently come here, yet we shall write to your Lordships all we can learn of any interest, trusting that you will pardon us if our information should in some instances not prove entirely correct. His Majesty’s court here is very small compared with that of his predecessor; and of this small number one third are Italians, which is ascribed to the fact that the distribution of favors is not as abundant as the courtiers could desire. The Italians are all dissatisfied, some for one reason, some for another, beginning with Messer Gianjacopo, who seems to think that he is not treated with the consideration due to his reputation. He makes no secret of this to any one, for, happening to meet him the other day in church, and knowing his disposition of old, we entered into Edition: current; Page: [71] conversation with him; and when we touched upon the Pisan business he expressed himself in terms of great affection towards us, and laid all the blame of that failure upon the French, adding in a formal manner the following words: “In saying that errors were committed by all parties, the French attempt to make others share the responsibility of the faults which were exclusively their own.”

We shall say nothing of the other Milanese, for they all seem to think the same as their chief. The Neapolitans here, of whom a good many are banished from their own country, despairing of the renewal of an attempt upon Pisa, are in the highest degree dissatisfied; for, according to common report, both the king and queen are opposed to their projects. True his Majesty the king was quite ready for another expedition, but since the Pisan affair proved a failure, he is not quite so anxious for it; for he had counted that, Pisa once taken, he would be able, with the money obtained from your Lordships, and with the help offered him by the Pope and the Orsini, and above all by the influence of his own reputation, to push his army at once against Naples. But as the Pisan affair had quite a different result from what he anticipated, he is more disposed to listen to terms of accommodation than to engage in a new enterprise; and there are already rumors that Neapolitan ambassadors are already on the way for that purpose.

The Venetian ambassador solicits the king’s aid against the Turk, pointing out the danger to which they are exposed, and alleging the loss already of a good many places, and altogether exaggerating the alarm and danger far beyond what it is supposed to be in reality; but up to the present he has not succeeded in obtaining any encouragement.

It is said that the Pope also asks his Majesty’s support most urgently in his attempt to take Faenza, with the view of adding that place to Furli and Imola for his son, the Duke Valentino; but the king does not seem disposed to do anything for him, deeming that he has already done enough for his Holiness. Nevertheless, he does not deprive him of all hope, and goes on encouraging the same as he has always done; whilst the Venetians and some other persons of the court do all they can to encourage the Lord of Faenza. There is moreover an emissary of Vitellozzo’s here, who spreads reports everywhere of the damage which Vitellozzo will shortly inflict upon your Lordships, Edition: current; Page: [72] whenever the Pope or any other power shall declare war against Florence. This individual is constantly on the lookout for some dissension between his Majesty the king and your Lordships, that will permit him to push on his intrigues; and he intimates that the Pope would really be more disposed to favor Vitellozzo’s projects than the attempt upon Faenza, if he could be convinced that the court here would countenance it.

There is nothing else going on here worthy of your Lordships’ attention, unless it be the rumor that his Majesty, accompanied by a few persons of the court, will devote himself for a few days to hunting and other pleasures. Nothing more is heard of the Ambassador of the Empire, who was to have had an interview with his Majesty at Troyes; and it is said even that he will not come at all. It is also reported as a positive fact that the Archduke has been made a Prince of Spain,* which gives force to the suspicion that it will not be so easy to come to terms with the Emperor, and that his Majesty the king will think less of an attempt upon Naples.

There is here in the house of the Pope’s ambassador, a certain Messer Astorre from Sienna; and so far as we have been able to find out, he is kept there by Pandolfo Petrucci. It is said that he openly expresses the confident hope of arranging the Pisan business, and on better terms even than what could have been done some time ago; adding that Montepulciano and its territory will remain theirs. We shall take the greatest pains to discover this intrigue, and if we find that there is really some truth in it we will make it a point to remind the Cardinal of our treaties, and of the honor of the king.

There is not a single Florentine merchant here, nor any other person of whom we could avail ourselves to procure us either money, of which we stand in great need, or to despatch couriers, or forward our letters. Your Lordships will hold us excused, therefore, if you do not receive communications from us as promptly and as often as you could desire. It is important, so long as we are kept here, that your Lordships should provide for this service in such manner as you may deem best; for even before leaving Lyons we had already spent all the money we had received from your Lordships, so that at present Edition: current; Page: [73] we are living upon our own means, and upon what our friends at Lyons could furnish us. We recommend ourselves to your Lordships’ good graces.

We had not yet closed this letter, when news came that his Majesty, in running his horse this morning, had a fall, and has injured one of his shoulders. All his equipages have been sent back here, and he himself is expected to-morrow. In our next we will further report upon the consequences of this accident, and again recommend ourselves to your Lordships, quæ bene valeant.

Servitores
Francesco della Casa,
Niccolo Machiavelli.

P. S. — Deeming this letter of importance, and having no other means of sending it, we have sent Bolognino back to Lyons, and directed this letter to the care of Nasi, who will forward it to your Lordships, and whom we have instructed to pay Bolognino seven scudi. We beg your Lordships will have this amount reimbursed to him, so that we may have credit with him on future occasions.

Die qua in literis, etc., etc.
Francesco della Casa
Casa, Francesco della
Niccolo Machiavelli
Machiavelli, Niccolo
14 August, 1500
Montargis

LETTER X.

Magnificent Signori:

Two days since we wrote at length to your Lordships advising you of the receipt of your letters and instructions of the 5th instant, and rendering an account of all we have done here up to that time. To insure the safe arrival of that despatch we sent it by an express, to whom we promised seven scudi for that service. It does not seem necessary, therefore, to repeat now what we reported in that communication. Up to the present we have not been able to deliver your Lordships’ letter to his Majesty the king, who, as we have already informed you, met with an accident whilst running his horse in hunting. The horse fell on him and sprained his Majesty’s shoulder, causing him a good deal of pain, so that he has been obliged to remain at a little village some six miles from here, where Edition: current; Page: [74] we believe he lies still confined to his room and bed. It seems certain, however, that this accident has had no other bad consequences, and that his Majesty intends to return here within a couple of days. Meantime, letters ought to arrive from Corcou and Beaumont respecting the Lucchese affair. We shall endeavor to learn the nature of the report they may have on this matter, and shall do what we may judge for the best in relation thereto.

We recommend ourselves to your Lordships, quæ bene valeant.

Servitores
Francesco della Casa,
Niccolo Machiavelli.
Francesco della Casa
Casa, Francesco della
Niccolo Machiavelli
Machiavelli, Niccolo
26 August, 1500
Melun

LETTER XI.

Magnificent Signori:

Since our last of the 12th from Montargis, we wrote very briefly on the 14th, but have no letters to acknowledge from your Lordships since the one of the 5th instant. His Majesty the king has been obliged, in consequence of his fall, to remain ever since at some of the small villages along the road here. At first he had to remain quiet in bed, after which he had himself carried in a litter, so that it was only yesterday that he was well enough to return here, although his shoulder is not yet entirely well, but has to be kept bandaged. The whole court is now here, the Maréchal de Gye, the Admiral, and the Grand Chancellor having arrived, together with many other lords. We have presented ourselves several times within the past few days before his Majesty, and have not failed to call at least every other day upon his Eminence the Cardinal d’Amboise, in whatever place he happened to be at the time; although we did not care much to speak to him for some days past, knowing that he was not well pleased because the men-at-arms were not in garrison on Florentine territory. But having been informed by your Lordships’ last letters that you had sent commissioners to Pescia to receive those troops, we hope they have succeeded in quartering them on Florentine territory, and that this act of your Lordships has so gratified Edition: current; Page: [75] the captains of these troops, that they will have sent more favorable reports from there than what they have done hitherto. It was in this hope that at any moment letters might arrive from these captains expressive of their satisfaction, which would placate the king and the Cardinal, that we thought it best for a day or two not to press our own business, feeling convinced that had we done so we should, as usual, have received an unfavorable reply and unsatisfactory conclusions.

In a conversation which we have since had with Robertet, however, we learned that the men-at-arms were this side of Pontremoli, and refused to return to Pisa; and that his Majesty the king was much dissatisfied with your Lordships, and that there was no chance for your friends to say anything in your favor.

We expressed our astonishment at this assertion, after your Lordships’ letter of the 5th, and said that the refusal of the troops to return to Pisa could in no way be laid to your charge, and that before pronouncing such a judgment matters ought to be thoroughly understood; but all we could say was of no use, and Robertet persisted in his opinion that the fault lay with your Lordships, and added some very unpleasant expressions as to dissensions existing amongst your Lordships, and intimating that there was a party in Florence who wanted the return of Piero de’ Medici, and not Pisa, — words not to be disregarded as coming from the mouth of a secretary of state. We said all we possibly could, and which was not a little, to refute this assertion, but it produced no effect upon him. During this conversation Robertet pointed out to us a Pisan who happened to pass at that moment, and who has been a long while in France, but whom we have never seen since. We do not know by whom he is specially protected, unless it be that he enjoys the favor of all your enemies here, and they are more numerous than your friends. It is quite possible that this individual has returned to Pisa charged with some fresh intrigue. We shall do our best to find out, and will then promptly inform your Lordships.

Since this conversation with Robertet we had an interview with D’Amboise, now six days ago, and found him of the same mind as regards his unwillingness to engage in a fresh war, and as to the pay of the Swiss, and the refusal to receive the men-at-arms. It was of no use for us to attempt to refute Edition: current; Page: [76] these charges, which we had already done so often; for he came back immediately to the Swiss whom his Majesty the king had been obliged to pay out of his own resources. And thus we parted from his Eminence, without being able to get anything more from him.

As already stated, his Majesty has returned here now with all the court, and by a singular coincidence Corcou arrived here on the same day. So soon as we heard of his arrival, we thought it important to have an interview with him before presenting ourselves again before D’Amboise, so as to learn Corcou’s opinions, and judge therefrom in what manner to approach his Eminence again. Accordingly we called upon Corcou and assured him that your Lordships had the most entire confidence in him, and that you hoped that he had made a good report as to your Lordships’ favorable disposition and attachment to his Majesty the king; adding all we thought proper to incline him favorably to us.

He replied that he was well affectioned to your Lordships on account of the great honor which you had shown him; but that he could not say anything else to his Majesty than the official answer to him of your Lordships, and what you had communicated to him in writing. He dwelt particularly upon the payment of the Swiss, saying that the king had been greatly displeased at having been obliged to pay them out of his own purse. Having replied to this in the same way in which we had before met this charge, he accused the Swiss of gross brutality, and attributed their dishonesty to their habits; but soon returned to his first complaint, that the king had been obliged to pay them. He then added, that you had never been willing to receive the men-at-arms in garrison on Florentine territory, although these troops had been specially asked for from his Majesty by your Lordships’ ambassadors, and complained that he himself had made a useless voyage to Florence on that account. And when we said in reply, that your Lordships had never refused quarters to the king’s men-at-arms, but had hesitated only as regards the infantry, in consequence of the experience you had had with them, he said that it could not reasonably be expected that men-at-arms would go into quarters on foreign territory without infantry, and that fifteen hundred infantry ought not to have caused your Lordships any apprehensions; but that the real cause of all Edition: current; Page: [77] the difficulties was the want of unity in Florence, where one party wanted Pisa, and the other party did not want it.

As this opinion seemed to have been generally disseminated at court, and was calculated to produce very bad effects, we made every possible effort to refute it, and to eradicate it from Corcou’s mind by the fullest and most earnest arguments, even to saying to him that such a statement exposed him to have his sound judgment called into question. We almost succeeded in convincing him, or at any rate we thought that we had produced a good effect upon him. But we must not omit to tell your Lordships that in the course of this discussion Corcou said: “What has lost you Pisa is, that you did not spend some eight or ten thousand ducats amongst all these lords and captains. In similar affairs, you must keep your money-bags open; for in that way you spend but once, whilst otherwise you spend six times.”

After leaving Corcou we resolved to speak with the Cardinal d’Amboise, and took occasion to call upon his Eminence, to whom we said that now, since Corcou had arrived, both his Majesty the king and his Eminence must have heard from him how things had happened; as also your Lordships’ good disposition towards his Majesty and his men-at-arms, and likewise the bad conduct of the others, and especially that of the Lucchese. His Eminence interrupted our remarks abruptly, and said: “Yes, we have heard everything, and, by my faith, until now I have always done you all the good I possibly could; but now, since your conduct is so bad, I really know not what more to do for you; and his Majesty thinks it very strange that he should be obliged to pay the Swiss for your Lordships.” We replied, that, if his Eminence would listen to our justification, he, as well as his Majesty the king, would find that our republic had always done her duty in all respects; and that the refusal to resume the war against Pisa resulted from the impossibility of doing so, to which the republic found herself reduced, partly because she was overwhelmed and exhausted, and partly from the lack of confidence in the army, which on every occasion had manifested hostility rather than friendship for our republic. We then spoke of the payment of the Swiss, to which the king seemed to attach more importance than to all else, and said that this matter might be adjusted in a reasonable manner, if his Eminence would favor us with his Edition: current; Page: [78] aid and advice. To which he replied: “Neither that nor any other means can now arrange your difficulties in a way that would be satisfactory.” We reiterated our entreaties that his Eminence would not withhold his protection from your Lordships without reason; and not by such words to discourage a people who had always been faithful friends of France, and who had suffered, and in such various ways, for that devotion, that they merited commendation and support rather than disfavor and discouragement, which would only benefit those who wished no good to his Eminence, and still less to his Majesty the king of France. For what could the other peoples of Italy hope for from his Majesty when his devoted friends, the Florentines, who had spent and suffered so much on his account, were treated so badly by his Majesty?

We concluded by saying that your Lordships were more willing and better disposed than ever to render any service and pleasure to the crown of France. To all this the Cardinal replied that these were mere words, and that he had no confidence in all our arguments, and was in short extremely dissatisfied with your Lordships; and this was said by him so loud that all the bystanders could hear it; and thereupon he immediately mounted his horse to follow his pleasure.

The reason of our not yet having had an audience of the king, nor presented your Lordships’ letter, was the accident which his Majesty had, on account of which he refrained for some days from all business, and remained for his pleasure in some villages in the woods, and in other places, where no lodgings could be had for any one else; and since his return here we thought it might seem inopportune to present your Lordships’ letter. His Majesty is constantly and closely surrounded by a few persons, except when he rides out, so that it is difficult to find a convenient moment for approaching him; and all business is devolved upon the Cardinal d’Amboise. We shall, nevertheless, watch the first opportunity of speaking to his Majesty, and will endeavor, in as suitable a manner as the occasion may permit, to impress him most efficiently with your Lordships’ devotion and good will towards him, and to efface from his mind whatever unfavorable opinion he may have formed in consequence of the reported dissensions and want of unity amongst the Florentines that have reached his Majesty’s ears from various sources; and of the result your Lordships shall be duly informed.

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The letter of license for Messer Giovanni Bentivogli has not yet been prepared, nor have we asked for it again; for when this matter was touched upon in our conversation with Robertet, we asked whether his Eminence of Amboise had ordered the letter to be written, he replied, that he had not; and that the Cardinal did not intend to have it done; and that, if we would speak to him ourselves on the subject, we would find that he had changed his mind. We therefore deemed it best to say nothing about it now to D’Amboise, as your Lordships have yet to decide whether you will receive the French men-at-arms in garrison, for his Eminence might have formed an erroneous conjecture as to your Lordships’ intentions, and might suppose that you preferred to employ Italian troops instead of French. We shall not renew the request without further instructions.

Nor have we said anything about Pietrasanta; for the answer we received upon that point, and which we have communicated to your Lordships, discouraged us from bringing this matter up again. We are constantly after Corcou, trying to induce him to serve us in this matter, as the investigation that had been ordered to be made on the spot was made in his presence; also to see whether we can, with the assistance of Robertet, who has much influence over him in this as well as in other matters, obtain any advantageous results. We shall do our best to that effect, although the ambassador from Lucca has returned, and has been well received. All this comes from knowing how to acquire amicos de mammona iniquitatis, whilst your Lordships believe that you need no other help but justice and reason, etc.

We have had a long conference with the Grand Chancellor, and related to him the entire course of things, and how the whole Pisan affair occurred; we also told him of your Lordships’ offer for recovering the honor of the king’s troops, and for repairing the damage which you had suffered, and the reasons why you could do no more. His Lordship was very glad to see us, and listened most graciously to all we had to say. But as to the last point he remarked that he could say nothing except that his Majesty would certainly fulfil the promise he had made to furnish us the men-at-arms; but as to restoring Pisa to our possession, that depended altogether upon fortune, and therefore his Majesty could make no promise upon that Edition: current; Page: [80] point. But he added that, whenever opportunity occurred, he would always favor our cause the same as he had ever done in the past. We begged him to continue the same good will towards our republic, and said that your Lordships regarded him as a real benefactor, etc. We have had an interview with this minister since then, during which he told us that he had not yet had an opportunity to speak with his Majesty in relation to our business; but this did not seem likely, and we believe that he did not wish to make any other answer, having found his Majesty not well disposed towards your Lordships.

We shall endeavor to see his Lordship again, and shall not fail in our duty, sparing no effort, regardless of either fatigue or discomfort; and if we do not accomplish anything, it will be because we cannot or know not how, in which case we hope your Lordships will hold us excused.

Your Lordships’ letters recommending Bartolommeo Ginori* have been received by us and presented to his Majesty, who had already made him come to court and ordered the marshals to hear his complaints, and to have justice done him. Yesterday Bartolommeo appeared before them, and they took him from the hands of Talaru and placed him in those of the king. We shall do what we can for him, and shall employ what credit we may yet have here in his behalf, and believe that we may hope for a good result.

Nothing more is said about the treaty between his Majesty and Pandolfo Petrucci. We believe the reason of this is that it is no longer desired.

Two days ago an ambassador from the Swiss arrived here in relation to the matter of Bellinzona. He had a long audience, but the result is not yet known.

It is also said that his Majesty the king has concluded a truce with the Emperor, to last until next March; and although some personage of importance speaks of it as really true, yet we hear on the other hand that it is doubted by many; thus we can neither affirm nor deny it.

We recommend ourselves to the good graces of your Lordships, quæ bene valeant.

Servitores
Francesco della Casa,
Niccolo Machiavelli.
Edition: current; Page: [81]
Francesco della Casa
Casa, Francesco della
Niccolo Machiavelli
Machiavelli, Niccolo
27 August, 1500
Melun

LETTER XII.

Magnificent Signori:

From our preceding letters your Lordships will have seen the condition of our affairs here; and our latest despatch will have informed you that his Majesty is not at all satisfied with your Lordships, particularly upon two points to which he attaches most importance. The first is your having refused to resume the war against Pisa, and the second, your not having paid the Swiss. To these may be added a third, which to some extent is also deemed important, and that is your refusal to receive French troops in garrison. Whenever either of these subjects is discussed, it gives rise to complaints in such manner and terms as we have already made known to your Lordships. And although all these matters could easily be explained, as your Lordships have endeavored to do at Florence with Corcou, and as we in compliance with your orders have striven to do here, yet we are never listened to when opportunity occurs for us to speak on these subjects; nor do we see any chance for bettering this state of things, unless something quite unforeseen should occur. For as to the first point, we do not believe that his Majesty will ever assume the entire burden of a fresh war; the reason for our thinking so is, first, the king’s indisposition to send money; and secondly, his whole conduct hitherto with regard to the affairs of Italy, being ever anxious to draw all he can from this country, but never willing to spend anything there, seeming to attach more importance to immediate profit than to ultimate results. This causes his Majesty to attach little importance to what your Lordships offer him after he shall have taken Pisa; so that when his Majesty was spoken to on that point he treated it as a jest. And there is the more reason to believe that he will not do it, as (you may venture nineteen sous to a lira) peace will either be made with Naples, or the new enterprise will be deferred for a long time to come, which would cause his Majesty to think no more of the fifty thousand florins, etc., etc. And there are several grounds for looking upon such a peace as probable; first, the will of the queen, who is said to be most favorably inclined to it, and, according to report, spares no pains to bring it about; and it is also said that the majority of the council is of the same mind, Edition: current; Page: [82] deeming the conquest difficult, and the maintaining it still more so, referring to the experience of the past, as well as to other reasons which your Lordships will readily find out. It is, moreover, supposed that such an attempt might arouse the Turk, who certainly would oppose it most determinately; and that the apprehension of the loss of Naples would induce the Emperor and the Empire to take measures such as even the conquest of Milan did not cause them to take. For King Frederick constantly keeps ambassadors near his Majesty, who fears the war and earnestly desires peace. These imperial ambassadors have not yet come to Troyes, and when they do come, it is understood that their demands will be so great that they will not be acceded to.

Your Lordships will have heard that the king of Spain has raised troops for the purpose of supporting King Frederick, and that he has created the Archduke a Prince, all of which facts indicate the same purpose. And then comes his Majesty’s aversion to spending money, and his extreme prudence, which makes him move very slowly in all doubtful matters. Moreover, his Majesty has seen lately, in the case of Pisa, that where force is necessary neither chalk* nor reputation will suffice; and that, if he found the enterprise in itself difficult, the help of the Turk or of others would render it next to impossible, and would expose him to the risk of being obliged to withdraw in a manner that would be anything but honorable for him, and expose him to the loss of all his possessions in Italy; being unable to support such heavy expenses for so long a time, or to be disastrously defeated.

But even if all this were not true, or had not been properly understood, or still worse explained, which is quite possible, yet this much is true beyond all question, — that the secretary of Naples is here and labors incessantly to bring about a peace. And if once they listen to any one here who promises and gives, it is difficult not to believe that they will take what is offered. Thus to return to our own matter. Even if such a peace be one of the things that will be, or if the enterprise against Pisa is to be deferred for a long time to come, which we leave to your Edition: current; Page: [83] Lordships’ wisdom to decide, the fifty thousand florins are not likely to influence the king to engage in that enterprise for his own account. If, therefore, your Lordships’ views on this point are not changed, his Majesty of France cannot remain satisfied; and we are rather apprehensive, from some remarks made by the Cardinal d’Amboise and by Robertet, lest his Majesty, for the purpose of repairing the honor of his arms, attempt some measure adverse to your interests and necessities.

As to the payment of the Swiss, which seems to be the thing that irritates his Majesty the most, and the refusal to receive the French troops in garrison, we have made such answer as we have stated in the enclosed, and which has been accepted, as the enclosed will also inform your Lordships. According to our judgment your Lordships ought to satisfy the demands of the Swiss, or you will have to think how you will defend yourselves against the anger which his Majesty will feel against you; and which, in our opinion, will increase of itself, and from being fomented and kept alive by your enemies. Nor must your Lordships imagine that well-digested letters or arguments will be of service in the matter, for they are not even listened to. It is idle to recall to the French here the good faith with which our republic has always acted towards the crown of France, or the services rendered to some of her former sovereigns, or the large sums of money which we have spent and the dangers we have borne on their account, and how many times we have in return been fed by them with vain hopes; or to point to more recent occurrences, and to the ruinous damage which our republic suffered in consequence; or what his Majesty might still count upon from you if you were strong, and what security your power and greatness would give to his Majesty’s possessions in Italy, and how it would insure the good faith of the other Italian states. But it is all useless, for they hold a very different language about all these things from what you do, and view them with another eye altogether from that of persons who are not of this court; for they are blinded by their power and their immediate advantage, and have consideration only for those who are either well armed, or who are prepared to pay. It is this that does your Lordships so much harm, for they imagine you lacking both these qualifications. As regards the first point of being well armed, they see that ordinarily you are without troops. And as to the second, namely, the question of their own Edition: current; Page: [84] advantage, they have given up all hope, for they believe that you consider yourselves as having been badly served by them, and that you have lost all confidence in them in consequence of their conduct in the late affair of Pisa. They call you Ser Nihilo (Signor Nothing), and baptize your inability discord amongst yourselves; and the ill conduct of their troops they ascribe to your bad government. And this opinion is gaining ground, according to our judgment, in consequence of the departure of your ambassadors from here, and the fact that nothing is heard of the coming of new ones, which they charge to our want of union, or to a wish on our part to alienate ourselves from them entirely. We therefore beg your Lordships, with all due respect, to give attention to this, and to think of remedying it seasonably; for our mission here is evidently not agreeable to them, and our rank and quality insufficient to save a sinking cause. But if your Lordships really desire to maintain your relations with this court, then we deem it absolutely indispensable for you to send fresh ambassadors here. At the same time, we beg you to understand distinctly that they will be of little use, unless they come with instructions to pay the Swiss, and with means enough to make friends; for there is no one here that does not understand his own interests, or who has not managed to secure for himself some patron to whom he can resort when occasion requires. In truth, your Lordships are the only ones who have deprived yourselves of such support; and even the king’s friendship for you, as well as that of the Cardinal, needs to be sustained if you desire to preserve it; for it has been shaken in various ways by your many enemies, as well as by the ill fortune of our republic. But under any circumstances, and however they may come, we hold the sending of ambassadors here as indispensable, if you desire to advance your cause here in any way.

Meantime we beg your Lordships to be pleased to instruct us as to the course which we shall pursue, and what attitude we shall assume in relation to that point which seems to us so important and delicate, and which demands a prompt remedy. Valete!

Servitores
Francesco della Casa,
Niccolo Machiavelli.
Edition: current; Page: [85]
Francesco della Casa
Casa, Francesco della
Niccolo Machiavelli
Machiavelli, Niccolo
29 August, 1500
Melun

LETTER XIII.

Magnificent Signori:

When your predecessors first decided upon sending us here, in the belief that we should find his Majesty the king at Lyons, and your ambassadors near him, they provided us with just sufficient means to execute our commission, and return to Florence in a few days; and it was more particularly to me, Francesco, that the Signori said that we were not to remain here. The very opposite, however, has happened. In the first instance, we found that the king had already left Lyons; and then, being denuded of everything, we were obliged to incur the expense of supplying ourselves in two days with such horses as we could find, to provide ourselves with clothing, and to hire servants. And, without the advantage of travelling in the company of ambassadors, we had to follow the court, and continue to follow it still at an expense of one half more than we should have needed to incur if the court had been at Lyons. It would have been a great relief to us if we had been in the company of ambassadors; for as it is, we are obliged to keep two more servants. We do not live in hostelries, but in private houses, where we have to supply all the provisions and other necessaries, and have the cooking done ourselves. And besides, there are always other extraordinary expenses, such as quartermasters, porters, and couriers, etc., etc., which altogether make up a sum which in our position is very heavy for us. Being thus under the necessity of applying to your Lordships for assistance, we have deemed it proper to inform you of the particulars of our situation; and therefore beg your Lordships most respectfully and confidently to take into consideration, first, that with the salary allowed us of eight lire per day for each, it is impossible for us to supply our wants without adding a portion of our own means. Your Lordships will also bear in mind that at our departure from Florence each of us received only eighty lire, of which we each spent thirty lire for our voyage to Lyons, and having there to provide ourselves with horses, clothing, and other necessaries, we were obliged to borrow money from our friends to enable us to resume our route, and after having spent that, we have been forced to recur to Paris for further loans from others. And if these Edition: current; Page: [86] should fail us before your Lordships order funds to be sent to us, we shall suddenly find ourselves without money and without credit, and your Lordships may judge of the situation in which we should then find ourselves placed.

We therefore entreat your Lordships, most humbly, to send without delay sufficient means for our necessities during the time that your Lordships may determine that either one or both of us shall remain here in your service. Your Lordships will bear in mind that we have neither the means nor the credit of our own that would permit us, like so many other ambassadors, to maintain ourselves here for months, or even weeks, without receiving the means of subsistence from your Lordships, to whom we recommend ourselves.

Servitores
Francesco della Casa,
Niccolo Machiavelli.
Francesco della Casa
Casa, Francesco della
Niccolo Machiavelli
Machiavelli, Niccolo
3 September, 1500
Melun

LETTER XIV.

Magnificent Signori:

To-day is the 2d of September, and we have not yet despatched the enclosed, being unwilling to send them at a venture, and yet unable to despatch them by a special messenger, such is the penury to which our ordinary mode of living has reduced us; and unless your Lordships promptly supply us with means, we shall be compelled to leave here. Our necessary expenses are one scudi and a half per day for each; we have already laid out for clothing, and in establishing ourselves here, more than one hundred scudi each, and are now actually without a single penny, and have in vain attempted to use our credit, public and private. So that your Lordships must excuse us if, in the event of our not receiving funds, we find ourselves obliged to return to Florence; for we prefer being at the discretion of fortune in Italy rather than in France.

Since our writing the enclosed, we hear from all sides, O Magnificent Signori, that his Majesty is greatly dissatisfied with us. The principal reason of this is, that his arms remain Edition: current; Page: [87] dishonored in Italy on your account, and because he finds, according to the answer given by your Lordships to Corcou, that he will not be able to repair this dishonor at your expense; and moreover he has had to pay thirty thousand francs to the Swiss, and for artillery and other things, out of his private purse; whilst according to the terms of the agreement and the convention concluded at Milan between the Cardinal d’Amboise and Pietro Soderini, all these items should have been paid by your Lordships. His Majesty’s irritation on that account has increased to that degree, that it has encouraged a number of your enemies to propose various measures to his Majesty that would be adverse to your interests and necessities. These propositions have all found favor with the king, so that a few days since it was discussed in council, whether it might not be well to accept the proposition made by the Pisans to surrender, on condition that they should not be subjected to the rule of your Lordships. If this negotiation has not been actually concluded, supported as it is by all the Italians here, it is owing rather to a regard for your Lordships’ rights, which has caused it to remain in suspense, than to the interposition of any friend who may have remained true to you here. For amongst the entire court, since his Majesty’s dissatisfaction with you has become manifest, you have scarcely a single friend left, but everybody seeks to injure your cause to the extent of his power to do so.

Although we were of our own knowledge cognizant of this unfriendly disposition, from the several conferences which we have had with the Cardinal d’ Amboise, as mentioned in our several despatches to your Lordships, yet we have become still more sensible of it from the reports that reach us from all sides; so that if your Lordships do not take measures to correct it, you will find yourselves very soon in such a position with regard to the king, that you will have to think more of protecting and defending your possessions, and even your personal liberty, than of recovering the territory you have lost.

This state of things has been made known to us, amongst others, by Robertet, who is the only person that has remained our friend; but we shall lose him too very soon, unless we sustain his friendship with something more substantial than words. The same with some other gentlemen; and even Messer Gianjacopo Trivulzio called us aside one morning whilst Edition: current; Page: [88] at court, and said: “I am sorry to see your republic in such imminent danger, for if you do not promptly apply some remedy, you will be obliged to think how to defend yourselves against the anger of the people here; for it is their nature to take very sudden resolves, and they never forgive those whom they have once offended, but will continue rather in their hostility; so look to your interests, and that promptly.” And he said this with much earnestness, so that from all we have seen and heard we cannot doubt but what he spoke from the heart.

We have been cautioned in the same way by others, on whom we can rely, but who were afraid to speak to us in public, fearing lest they should be remarked as being your friends. These have told us, amongst other things, that it had been reported to his Majesty the king that your Lordships had sent ambassadors to the Emperor and to the king of Naples, with offers of money, for the purpose of stirring them up against his Majesty of France; and that his Eminence the Cardinal d’Amboise had several times said that you had broken your word; and that you would yet be forced, to your shame and damage, to repay his Majesty the amount which he had paid to the Swiss.

All these things seemed to us of great moment, and, unless promptly remedied, as calculated to embroil you with his Majesty beyond the chance of reconciliation. We made great efforts, therefore, to have an audience of the Cardinal d’Amboise, where we should be listened to quietly, and with that attention which the case really deserves. Although we have failed thus far to obtain such an audience as we desired, yet we took occasion to meet and converse with his Eminence; and began by complaining of the malice of your Lordships’ enemies, who were not ashamed to defame you to his Majesty beyond all reason, by telling him that you had sent ambassadors to the Emperor and King Frederick with offers of money for the purpose of turning them against him, a proceeding so incredible that we could not believe that either his Majesty or his Eminence would attach the least credence to it; for the long-continued fidelity of your Lordships to his Majesty, as well as the experience which he had had so lately of your good faith, did not deserve that such a calumny should have been believed; but as such a report had reached our ears, we desired to speak to Edition: current; Page: [89] his Majesty on the subject, more for the purpose of performing our duty than because we believed that you needed such a justification. After that we added, that from the several conversations which we had had with his Eminence, and from what we had heard from various quarters, it appeared that his Majesty the king was dissatisfied with your Lordships, and was engaged in negotiations that did not comport with our friendship and the loyalty which we had always manifested towards the crown of France; that no notice whatever had been given us of these proceedings, at which we were astonished, for we believed that his Majesty ought to have complained in an amicable way of any supposed short-comings on the part of your Lordships, and that he would have spoken his mind openly and freely about it, and would have listened to your Lordships’ explanations; and that if there had really been any remissness of duty on your part, that in such case his Majesty would take every occasion to assert his rights against your Lordships. And therefore we entreated his Eminence to be pleased to tell us what was really going on, and to enlighten us upon those points upon which we had to report to your Lordships.

His Eminence made no answer whatever to the first part of our remarks, as to your having sent ambassadors to the Emperor, etc., but complained at great length that he had been much pained by your Lordships’ conduct, which had deprived him of all means of helping you; for that you had neither been willing to resume the war, nor to receive the French troops in garrison, nor to pay the Swiss; so that his Majesty’s interests as well as his honor had suffered damage in consequence. When we attempted to reply to this, his Eminence added: “We have already heard and know what you would say; we have also seen the answer you have made to Corcou.” And when we urged his Eminence to inform us as to what we ought to write to your Lordships, etc., he said: “Speak to Corcou about it; he happens luckily to be here, and will tell you what is necessary for you to know.”

We therefore went to see Corcou, and he concluded that you must either pay back to his Majesty the thirty-eight thousand francs which he has disbursed on your account, or have him for your enemy forever. And although we said all we could, — that this was unreasonable, and that it would be useless to write this to your Lordships, — yet he remained firm in his Edition: current; Page: [90] decision. And seeing thus how much importance they attach to this matter, we said that we would write to your Lordships on the subject; and Corcou promised to try and induce the Cardinal d’Amboise to await your Lordships’ reply; and thus we left him.

You see thus, O Magnificent Signori, in what condition our affairs are here; and in our judgment it will really depend upon your answer, whether we shall have the king’s friendship or enmity. Do not imagine that reasons and arguments will be of any avail with him, for they would not be listened to, as we have already explained in the accompanying letters. And so important has it seemed to us to preserve his Majesty’s friendship, that if I, Francesco, had not felt so seriously indisposed that I believed I should be obliged to leave the court for the purpose of taking care of my health, one of us two would have come by the diligence to Florence, to tell you by word of mouth, and so to say to make you touch with your fingers, what we cannot make so plain to you by writing.

We must not omit, however, to tell you, that we learn from a good source that there are intrigues on foot to induce his Majesty to take Pisa for himself after having first caused all its territory to be restored; and to form a state out of it by adding Pietrasanta, Livorno, and Piombino, and in course of time also Lucca, and to establish a governor of his own there; which they think can easily be done and maintained, as a portion of the constituent parts are well disposed for such an arrangement, being contiguous to the state of Milan. They see another advantage in the fact that the Pisans have offered an immediate payment of one hundred thousand francs, contributed by your enemies, and afterwards a regular yearly revenue. This project is furthermore regarded as a step towards the taking of the kingdom of Naples, whenever that attempt shall be made. We believe that this project has its origin with and is being urged by your many enemies, and that it may easily be accomplished because of the king’s dissatisfaction with your Lordships, and because of the immediate advantage which he would derive from it. And moreover, amidst the general hatred of your Lordships, it is supposed that his Majesty can only gain in doing what would be a great injury to you.

In accordance with your Lordships’ wishes, we have written without reserve, and very fully, about matters here, as we see Edition: current; Page: [91] and understand them; and if we have expressed ourselves too boldly upon any one point, it was because we preferred rather to harm ourselves by thus erring, than not to write, and thereby risk of failing in our duty to our republic. And we have ventured to do so because of our confidence in the wisdom of your Lordships, who, after careful examination of our communications, can form a more correct judgment upon the points in question, and can thus come to a wiser decision.

We beg most respectfully to remind your Lordships of the importance of promptly sending ambassadors here, so that your next despatches may inform us of their coming, and that they may be in time to achieve some good results; for we ourselves can do no more in the business here than what we have done, and have, indeed, played our last stake. Nor would we like to find ourselves present here at the breaking up of a friendship which we have so earnestly solicited, and nursed at such expense, and maintained with so much hopefulness. And until we receive orders from your Lordships that will permit our presenting ourselves at court, we shall avoid all conversation with them upon other points; for having really nothing to tell them, they might think that we are merely mocking them. We shall simply show ourselves, so that they may know that we are here, and that they may call us if there should be occasion for it.

His Eminence, D’Amboise, leaves to-morrow for Rouen, and will remain there some ten or twelve days. It would be well if on his return we could present to him your Lordships’ answer, which we beg you will send to us; and that we may then also be able to say to him that your ambassadors are on the way here, which is so essential.

Messer Giulio Scurcigliato, a Neapolitan, has had a long conversation with his Eminence, the Cardinal, in relation to your Lordships’ affairs, of which we shall say nothing more, as he will write you himself very fully at Florence. Since then we have heard that the truce between the king and the Emperor has been publicly proclaimed at Milan.

We commend ourselves to your Lordships.

Servitores
Francesco della Casa,
Niccolo Machiavelli.
Edition: current; Page: [92]

P. S. — Whilst in the act of sealing this letter, Ugolino came to us to say that a friend of his, who had agreed to co-operate with him in the expediting of our despatches, had changed his mind, so that we were obliged to promise him twenty-five sun scudi. We must therefore beg your Lordships promptly to pay that amount to Giovanni di Niccolo Martelli, so that we may be able to command his services on future occasions, and not be obliged to pay him out of our own means. He has promised to have this despatch delivered within seven days.

Francesco della Casa
Casa, Francesco della
Niccolo Machiavelli
Machiavelli, Niccolo
3d day of September, 1500
Melun

LETTER XV.

Magnificent Signori:

It is now evening, and we have not yet been able to come to any agreement with the party who had proposed to unite in despatching this courier, nor do we know whether we shall succeed in coming to terms with him, nor the hour at which the courier is likely to start to-morrow.

We cannot think of anything more to say to your Lordships, unless it be to urge once more the sending of the ambassadors, and to decide about paying the thirty-eight thousand francs. For, on returning from accompanying the Cardinal, who started to-day after dinner for Rouen, we met Robertet, and questioned him with regard to our affairs. To which he replied: “They have improved somewhat since our last conversation; but do not fail to write to your Signoria that they must not think of doing otherwise than paying the money which his Majesty has paid for your account. Say to them also, that, whatever they may decide upon, the most important thing is to send ambassadors here, or at least one, who, however, should be the first and most reputed citizen of Florence; and that his having started should be made immediately known here, so that it may in a measure remove the ill feeling and the umbrage given by the abrupt departure from here of the former ambassadors. Write most stenuously upon this point, for it is of the utmost importance.”

We replied that the ambassadors would be sent, and made excuses for the departure of the former ones; and told him that we would write to you about it, as also about the money, Edition: current; Page: [93] although we hardly knew what to write you upon this latter point, owing to the events that had occurred since. And as we wanted to touch upon the Pietrasanta affair, Robertet said, “All can yet be arranged, if you will only hasten the coming of the ambassadors.” We have deemed it proper to communicate all this fully to your Lordships, so that you may be able to decide the better as to the course to be adopted.

It is now three o’clock in the night, and with the help of God we have arranged to despatch this courier by our paying half the cost. Thus, your Lordships will pay to Giovanni Martelli thirty-five scudi, that being the amount which Ugolino Martelli has advanced to us. What we have written in the enclosed upon this point is hereby cancelled. Thus, your Lordships will have to pay only thirty-five scudi, which we trust you will be pleased to do, so that the favor conferred upon us here may not be paid with ingratitude; and so that we may not have to remain debtors to Ugolino, to whom we have pledged ourselves personally.

And thus we recommend ourselves to your Lordships, quæ bene valeant.

The present courier will leave early to-morrow, and promises to be in Florence within seven days.

Servitores
Francesco della Casa,
Niccolo Machiavelli.
Francesco della Casa
Casa, Francesco della
Niccolo Machiavelli
Machiavelli, Niccolo
8 September, 1500
Melun

LETTER XVI.

Magnificent Signori:

On the 5th of the present month we received two letters from your Lordships, the one of the 14th ultimo, and the other of the 30th, together with a copy of a letter from Beaumont to your Lordships. From these we learn your wishes, and the steps you want us to take with regard to the affair of the Marquis of Massa, and the restitution of Pietrasanta.

We believe, Magnificent Signori, that, before the arrival of Edition: current; Page: [94] your letters here, your Lordships will have received our despatches of the 26th and 27th ultimo, and of the 3d of the present month, which were sent to you by a special courier through the agency of Martelli, under cover to Ser Antonio della Valle, and at the cost of thirty-five scudi. We do not deem it worth while to send a copy of it, but merely, by way of precaution, will briefly repeat the substance of it; which was to the effect that his Majesty of France was much irritated against your Lordships because of your inability to resume the war against Pisa, and that thus he was prevented from retrieving the honor of his arms at your expense; and then that he had been obliged to spend his own money to pay the Swiss, and the artillery, and the Gascons, all of which should have been paid by you. This is the sum and substance of all that has to be settled here; and unless these points are satisfactorily arranged, it will be impossible to attempt any new negotiations, or, even if begun, to conclude them satisfactorily.

We desire to point out to your Lordships, that to the above two causes of discontent on the part of his Majesty a third must be added, which is no less important than the others; and this is the suspicion which his Majesty has conceived that you are not willing to take any other course. This doubt has been excited in his Majesty’s mind by the unfortunate issue of the attempt upon Pisa, and makes him think that you may consider yourselves as having been badly served in that affair; and that it was in consequence of this that your ambassadors left, so to say, ex abrupto, and that nothing is heard of the coming of any new ones. These things have been suggested by your enemies here, and so plausibly that more importance has been attached to them than what their nature would otherwise merit. And more than all others have the Italians been active in this; for they may be said to labor without restraint to put your Lordships in disgrace with his Majesty, and to compass your ruin. The story of your having sent ambassadors to the Emperor of Germany had its origin in the sanctuary of Monseigneur d’Arles, the Pope’s ambassador. In fact, they have stretched the cord so tight that, if we had not labored with the Cardinal d’Amboise as we have done, and of which we have sent full report to your Lordships, his Majesty would most probably have decided ere this upon some measures detrimental to your interests, which it would have been difficult, if not Edition: current; Page: [95] impossible, to avert or counteract. And yet matters remain in suspense for the present, for no reason but to ascertain your intentions, which, according to our judgment, should have for their first object the determination to pay the sum which the king claims to have expended for your account; and next to send ambassadors here whose departure from Florence should be immediately notified to this court. And the sooner they start actually to come here, the sooner shall we be able to begin negotiations touching your Lordships’ interests. Meantime we can give you the assurance that everything will remain quiet until the arrival of such ambassadors.

So soon, therefore, as we received your Lordships’ letters of the 14th and 30th of last month, we presented ourselves at court, not in the expectation of effecting anything in the Pietrasanta matter, or in that of the Marquis of Massa,* but for the purpose of acquainting his Majesty with what you had written us from Librafatta, so that he might know it first from us, rather than from any one else, for we had been told that the Lucca ambassador had received a courier at the same time with us. And by way of disposing his Majesty more favorably towards us, and inducing him to give us a more favorable hearing, we thought it well in our address to mention the coming of ambassadors from your Lordships. And although you merely inform us in your letter of the 14th of the election of Luca degli Albizzi, and make no further reference to it in yours of the 30th, yet this seemed to us so important a matter that, seeing no better way of gaining time, we assumed the authority of stating to his Majesty that we had letters from your Lordships, informing us of the selection of the ambassadors, and of their Edition: current; Page: [96] early departure, and that we had every reason to believe that they would certainly be on the way hither by the middle of the present month. After that we told his Majesty of the loss of Librafatta; and to save our credit as much as possible, we said that, although your Lordships had been deprived of your men-at-arms from having relied with too much confidence upon his Majesty’s troops, and that since their withdrawal you had not had the time to reorganize your forces, yet the Pisans never could have taken Librafatta without the treachery of the castellan in charge of it, and the aid and support of the Lucchese, who in that affair, as in all other instances, had manifested their bad disposition and evil-mindedness towards us, caring little at the same time whether they offended his Majesty or not, as was seen but a short time ago, when his Majesty’s army was before the walls of Pisa; that his Majesty could by a single blow make them sensible of the mistake they have made, and at the same time relieve our republic from the wretched situation in which it is placed by the restitution of Pietrasanta. And here we pointed out to his Majesty the good that would result from it, in such terms as the time and the nature of the audience admitted; recommending to him at the same time our republic, and assuring him of your constant good faith, and of the malignity of those who were not ashamed boldly to accuse your Lordships of having sent ambassadors to the Emperor of Germany; but as this would have been altogether a most unreasonable act, we did not deem it worth while to say anything more in excuse of your Lordships.

His Majesty graciously replied, that if your ambassadors were ready to start he would receive them with pleasure, for he should then know that your Lordships felt the same towards him now as you had always done in the past, and as you had said you desired to do in the future. But that he should still be more convinced on the subject when he should see that he was not to suffer any loss, by having to pay what, according to the stipulations of the convention, should be paid by you. In speaking of this blessed money which he has paid to the Swiss and others for your account, after the raising of the siege of Pisa, his Majesty made use of expressions that should be seriously weighed, coming as they do from the mouth of so powerful a person; for he said, “If your Lordships were to refuse to pay this money, I should consider that they are Edition: current; Page: [97] no friends of mine, and should protect myself by all the means at my command.” When we wanted to reply to his Majesty, and relate to him the dishonesty and bad conduct of the Swiss, he replied, “that he was himself very ill satisfied with them; that he had been subjected by them to paying tribute; that he had been obliged to have patience with them, and that your Lordships ought now to do the same.” Coming back, however, always to the money which he had disbursed, he said “that he could not have done otherwise without disturbing and spoiling the negotiations now being carried on in Germany, which he had much at heart and desired to settle, so that it was really necessary that your Lordships should satisfy him upon that point.” We replied that those ambassadors would soon be here, and we believed that your Lordships would, in accordance with your invariable practice, always do what was right and reasonable; and that we hoped his Majesty would be pleased to await their coming, so as to be able to judge fairly of their disposition. To this his Majesty replied, that he was well satisfied, and that we might now dismiss that Pietrasanta affair, as well as the other matters that remained to be settled; and thereupon we took our leave. We did not think it advisable to bring up the affair of the Marquis of Massa, for the reason that nothing relating to your Lordships’ interests or to those of your adherents, would be listened to here, until the departure of the ambassadors is positively known here, owing to the doubts entertained of your real intentions. Moreover, as the Cardinal d’Amboise is not here, nothing would be concluded without him, even if all else were favorable for us. Therefore it seemed to us prudent to defer a discussion of that subject until a more suitable time, when it could be done with greater advantage and less risk for your Lordships.

Since then we have had a long conference with Monseigneur d’Alby, of the same tenor as that with his Majesty the king. His Lordship professed quite an affectionate regard for our republic, and a readiness to do anything that might be to our advantage, but said that, if your Lordships wished that he and your other friends should be able to do so, then you must make up your minds to refund the king the money which he has paid out for your account, and arrange so that something positive should be heard as to the coming of the ambassadors. Edition: current; Page: [98] And then he enlarged upon the subject, showing how much umbrage it had given to his Majesty that your former ambassadors had left at the very time when ambassadors should have been sent, if none had been here; and that the king had on several occasions said, “The Florentines are drawing off from me, and I am sorry for them.” We replied to his remarks about the money the same as we had replied to his Majesty, and excused the going away of the ambassadors; saying at the same time that he would see that your Lordships would send others, and men of such high character that his Majesty would be convinced that your Lordships desired to be regarded as good children to him, the same as they had ever been. He evinced great pleasure at hearing this, and thus we left him, unable to obtain any other answer from him in relation to the Pietrasanta affair than what we had already obtained from the king; unless it be that a person familiar with all the secrets had intimated to him that, by agreeing to refund to his Majesty the money which he had paid out, we might possibly obtain Pietrasanta; and he gave us to understand that it was almost as good as done, provided there was no delay in the coming of the ambassadors.

This is all we have been able to do in the matter; nor will it be in our power to do more, for the reasons explained in our former despatch, and repeated in this. We ask the indulgence of the Almighty and of your Lordships on that account; for to remove the impression that has been created here by our disunion, by our alienation from France, and by our weakness, requires new remedies, and greater authority than we possess. We shall continue, as we have done heretofore, to do our best to prevent the conclusion of any treaty with the Lucchese, or any one else, before the arrival of your ambassadors; but it is essential that we should hear within ten or fifteen days that they have actually started, and that we should be able to show a letter to that effect to his Majesty the king; for when the Cardinal d’Amboise returns, who ought to be here within that time, and does not find that your ambassadors are really on the way hither, it may easily happen that they will not be able to accomplish any good when they do arrive. We beg your Lordships in your wisdom to think of this, and to do what will be of greatest advantage to our republic; also to excuse our presumption on account of our devotion, which makes Edition: current; Page: [99] us speak as we have done. We learn, moreover, to-day that Monsignore di Ligni is coming here in the course of a few days. Some say that he will be accompanied by Piero de’ Medici; so that if this enemy joins the others, who are already quite powerful enough, and if your Lordships do not take care to prevent his Majesty from giving ear to them, the danger to our republic will be increased twofold.

We know nothing of what Monseigneur de Beaumont has had to communicate to your Lordships by his envoy to you, Salient, and therefore can say nothing on the subject; but should anything come to light in relation to it, we will at once inform your Lordships.

The affairs of Italy are more discussed here than those of any other country, and yet we have nothing new to write, for we do not deem it necessary to make your Lordships read again what you know already. In truth, nothing new has occurred here, unless it be the report that ambassadors from the Emperor of Germany are now on the way here; but they are said to be men of little importance, and are not the same that were at first nominated, and to meet whom the king had left Lyons to go to Troyes.

The ambassadors of the king of Naples, however, are said to be coming, notwithstanding that they have been several times ordered to return home, and are in doubt whether to come or return; although at present their coming seems to be the most likely. We shall know by to-morrow what the result will be. Bene valete!

Servitores
Francesco della Casa,
Niccolo Macchiavelli.
Francesco della Casa
Casa, Francesco della
Niccolo Machiavelli
Machiavelli, Niccolo
14 September, 1500
Melun

LETTER XVII.

Magnificent Signori, etc.:

Our last of the 8th instant was a reply to two of your Lordships’ communications of the 14th and 30th ultimo; and although we suppose that our despatch has reached your hands safely, yet we deem it well to send a duplicate. Nothing special Edition: current; Page: [100] has occurred since, nor have we anything else to write beyond what we have already said to your Lordships; namely, that if you wish to preserve the friendship of his Majesty of France, you must make up your minds to reimburse him the amounts which he claims to have paid out for your account to the Swiss and the other troops employed in the siege of Pisa. And this comes to our ears from so many quarters that in our judgment there is really no other remedy; for in matters of this kind his Majesty would demand the same satisfaction, if the amount were only one hundred francs, as he does for the thirty-eight thousand francs which he claims. And so long as his Majesty has such a subject of complaint against your Lordships, it will be useless to argue, or to think of obtaining the least thing in your favor. After this it is of the utmost importance that the ambassadors should come here to remove the opinion entertained here, and which has been suggested to the court here, as to your Lordships’ alienation from the king and the want of union amongst yourselves, to which two causes the departure of the former ambassadors and the non-arrival of the new ones are attributed. Every day fresh rumors are set afloat here; at one moment it is that you have sent ambassadors to the Turk, at another it is to the Emperor of Germany. We do our best to contradict these reports everywhere, but shall not be able to do so any more, if the departure of your ambassadors to his Majesty is delayed any longer. We desire to do our duty in calling your Lordships’ attention to this, and to repeat doing so very often, so that in any event we may never be charged with having neglected our mission in this particular. And we tell your Lordships frankly that our labors here can be of no further advantage, for which we have given you the most conclusive reasons.

At another interview which we have had with Monseigneur d’Alby, for the purpose of contradicting the report that your Lordships had sent ambassadors to the Emperor, etc., he declined to speak on any other subject except the money which his Majesty had paid out for your account, and to inquire of us whether the ambassadors had yet left Florence to come here. We desire, moreover, not to fail to remind you, with all due respect for your Lordships, of the importance of making some one here your friend, who from other motives than mere natural affection will watch your Lordships’ interests Edition: current; Page: [101] here, and will occupy himself in your behalf, and of whose services those who may be here as your agents may avail themselves for your advantage. We will not discuss here any further why and how necessary this is. You have in Florence many distinguished and wise citizens, who have been here as ambassadors, and who can give you better reasons than we can for such a measure. But we will only say upon this point, that it is with just such weapons that the Pisans defend themselves, and that the Lucchese attack you; and that the Venetians and King Frederick, as well as all others who have any business to transact at this court, help themselves; and whoever does not do the same may be said to think of gaining a lawsuit without paying an attorney.

Corcou has returned here; we leave it to your Lordships to judge of his reason for coming back. He has made such a report of the state of things at Florence, that, if Messer Giulio Scurcigliati, on whom, as a disinterested party, some reliance can be placed, had not arrived since then, affairs there would seem to be turning to everybody’s advantage except that of your Lordships. As this Messer Giulio will have fully reported to you of all he has done, we will not weary you with giving an account of it, but shall confine ourselves merely to his request to recommend to your Lordships a lawsuit that is pending between himself and the heirs of Paolo Antonio Bandini, in relation to which his Majesty will also write you.

As we have already stated in our previous letter, ambassadors from Germany are on the way here; but they are personages of less importance than what was reported a couple of months ago. His Majesty the king leaves to-morrow for Blois; we shall follow him there, hoping for the news that your Lordships’ ambassadors have really started. We shall continue with the utmost diligence to do all in our power for your advantage, and humbly recommend ourselves to your Lordships, quæ bene valeant.

Servitores
Francesco della Casa,
Niccolo Machiavelli.
Edition: current; Page: [102]
Niccolo Machiavelli
Machiavelli, Niccolo
26 September, 1500
Blois

LETTER XVIII.

Magnificent Signori, etc.:

On the 14th instant Francesco della Casa and myself wrote you our last joint despatch from Melun, and sent it with a duplicate of our previous one of the 8th, which was in reply to your Lordships’ two letters of the 16th and 30th ultimo. These were sent by royal post to Lyons to Francesco Martelli, under cover directed to Giovanni Martelli; we presume they have reached you, as also the original sent in the same way. From these letters, as well as from our previous one, which we sent by express messenger on the 3d instant, we think your Lordships will have fully understood the condition in which our affairs here are at the present time; also the extent of our ability to be of use here, and how very necessary it is to have started the ambassadors from Florence; also what determination you ought to come to with regard to the thirty-eight thousand francs, and whether it is your wish to temporize in this matter in the hope of obtaining anything from his Majesty. You will have learnt also how much importance the king attaches to this matter, and in what manner he speaks of it. We are in hourly expectation of letters that will bring us the information that your ambassadors have really started; for we are daily questioned upon this subject, and could have desired, as we have stated to your Lordships, to have been able to show such letters to the Cardinal d’Amboise on his return, so as to remove the dangers to which we are daily exposed of the king’s concluding some treaty prejudicial to the interests of our republic, and to close the mouths of your enemies, who employ every argument to prove to his Majesty that your Lordships are ready to turn their backs upon him on the first occasion; adding thereto the statement that you have sent an envoy to the Emperor of Germany, and have come to a secret understanding with the king of Naples; all of which it is easy to make his Majesty believe, for the reasons given in our former despatches.

His Majesty left Melun on the 14th instant to come here, as we wrote to your Lordships in our last; and Francesco della Casa went at the same time to Paris, being troubled with a slight fever, which he desired to have cured before the malady Edition: current; Page: [103] should become permanent; but according to what he writes me, he will be back very shortly. The king arrived here six days ago, and to-day the Cardinal d’Amboise also came, having been absent from here and at his own home since the 3d of this month. When I heard yesterday morning that his Eminence was coming, I thought it well promptly to mount and meet him where he was to lodge over night, both by way of showing him the courtesy of riding out to meet him, as also to have the opportunity of conversing with him at my convenience. It was thus that I came last night to a village about eight leagues from here, but as it was already late, I deferred speaking to his Eminence until this morning; and then I accosted him on the road, and in the most suitable and affectionate words that occurred to me I made known to him the sad condition in which your Lordships found yourselves, on account of the heavy expense which you had been obliged to incur in the past solely on account of France, and lately also in aiding his Majesty in his enterprise against Milan, and since then in the attempt upon Pisa; and that, whilst you were hoping at least to have his Majesty’s sympathy and to be able again to begin to recover your forces and your credit, you find yourselves daily assailed and discouraged by various calumnies, your reputation blackened, and all sorts of plots set on foot against you; so that every Italian here is encouraged to raise his hand against our republic. I related to him the loss of Librafatta, and that Vitellozzo, Baglioni, and the Orsini were up in arms, and that it was the general belief that they intended to employ them against your Lordships. And therefore I begged his Eminence not to withdraw his protection from you, but rather to persist in persuading his Majesty the king to treat you like his own children, and to do so in a manner that would make it known to everybody; and thereby to restore your credit and reputation, which it would be easy to do by the mere restitution to us of Pietrasanta, etc.

His Eminence replied with some feeling and at length, and argued that there had been no default on the part of his Majesty in complying with the terms of the treaty, and that he had loaned you his men-at-arms, and had offered to resume the attempt upon Pisa de novo, and afterwards to maintain troops on the Pisan territory; but that none of his propositions had been accepted by your Lordships; and that as to Librafatta Edition: current; Page: [104] you had only to blame yourselves, and not his Majesty, who had really good cause for complaining because of the money which he had to pay for your account, contrary even to the treaty stipulations. And then his Eminence went on speaking at length, and said that your Lordships did not act prudently, and would not make reparation in time, and that by and by you would not be able to do so. He asked whether the ambassadors had started, and the causes why their coming had been delayed so long, etc., etc. To all this I replied as fully as possible, earnestly contesting every point excepting the subject of the money, upon which he would listen to no argument, so that I was constrained, for the sake of not leaving the matter in dangerous suspense, to tell his Eminence that I had had an audience of his Majesty, and that, when the king complained of having been obliged to make this payment, I had begged his Majesty to be pleased to await the arrival of your ambassadors before coming to any determination, so that he might hear from them the justification of your Lordships and your devotion to his Majesty; and that, as the king had promised to be satisfied with this, I begged his Eminence to do the same, for I felt persuaded that the ambassadors had certainly started before this.

Thus your Lordships will see how your interests remain in suspense until the coming of your ambassadors. There was no other way of gaining time, and even this delay will quickly expire if they are not already on the way. Anyhow it cannot be said that we have failed to bring this matter to your notice, having written so often and so urgently to your Lordships about it, and pointed out to you that it was impossible for us to take any other course; and that, if your Lordships do not consent to the repayment of these thirty-eight thousand francs, all other thoughts of obtaining anything from his Majesty will be in vain; and that henceforth you will have to look upon him as your enemy. It may very possibly happen that, if we succeed in gaining time, the restitution of Pietrasanta may take place. Thus if your Lordships should fail either to send ambassadors here, or to advise us how we shall bear ourselves in this strait, and how we are to gain time in these matters, being without a single friend at court, having lost the favor of the king, who is surrounded by so many of your worst enemies, who present to him daily new projects, pointing out to him your weakness and the great advantages which he would Edition: current; Page: [105] derive from creating a state for himself around Pisa (as we have explained to you in previous despatches) and placing a governor there of tried fidelity, who, unable to maintain himself there except with the support of his Majesty, would of necessity be most loyally devoted to the king, — that then your Lordships, surrounded by the states of the king, would, without waiting for other forces, come to his Majesty with chains around your necks and lay a carte blanche at his feet. All these things are listened to, and there is danger lest they be carried into effect, as I have been given to understand by some one here. And what increases my apprehensions is, that, being lately at court, N. N. approached me, saying, “I have something to tell you; try and come to my house to-day.” I went there, and, finding him reticent and indisposed to say anything on any particular subject, I asked him why he had requested me to come to him, whereupon he said, “Are your ambassadors coming?” and when I replied that I believed they had started, he said, “If they are really coming they may be productive of good, and may prevent some acts that would be prejudicial to your Signoria.” But with my utmost efforts I could not draw anything more from his lips. I am greatly afraid, therefore, lest some secret intrigue is going on which the king may have so much at heart that this person was afraid to confide it to me. I have deemed it proper to write you all this exactly, so that your Lordships may judge of it more correctly than I can; and in any event to urge the coming of your ambassadors.

As already stated in our previous despatch, Italian affairs are much talked of here, and especially the army which the Pope has collected. But no one is able to say what direction it is going to take; whether it will march to the Romagna to attack Faenza, Rimini, and Pesaro, or whether it is intended to meet the Colonnesi. The latter is most generally believed, because that would best please his Majesty of France, and would also serve a better purpose with regard to the king of Naples; for if war be made against the allies of the latter, he would be compelled to defend them; and being thus weakened, it would be easier for his Majesty of France to make satisfactory terms with the king of Naples. Or if he should attempt the conquest of the kingdom of Naples, he would find success more easy. All of these matters I think must now be quite clear to your Lordships.

Respecting the coming of the ambassadors of the Emperor of Edition: current; Page: [106] Germany there are various reports; up to the present, it is not even known whether they have set foot on French soil. And it is evident that there is a slight feeling of uneasiness here with regard to Germany, which accounts for their giving just now less attention to Italian affairs, which may enable us more easily to temporize in your Lordships’ matters.

The departure of Monseigneur de Ligny from Lyons for Genoa has for some days kept all minds in a state of suspense, and is variously interpreted. Some say that he has been sent by the king on some particular business of his own, and perhaps having reference to Pisa; others say that he has gone entirely on his own account, being in love with the daughter of the governor of Genoa; and upon this point more things are said here than I could venture to affirm. But whether it be the one thing or the other, I shall leave to the better judgment of your Lordships, quæ bene valeant.

Servitor
Niccolo Machiavelli,
Secretary.
Niccolo Machiavelli
Machiavelli, Niccolo
2 October, 1500
Blois

LETTER XIX.

Magnificent Signori:

My last despatch to your Lordships was of the 26th ultimo. I therein related to you the arrival here of his Most Christian Majesty, and that I was left alone here in consequence of Francesco della Casa having gone sick to Paris; also that the Cardinal d’Amboise had returned, and my efforts in your behalf with his Eminence; and how essentially necessary it was that your ambassadors should come, if you wished to prevent altogether, or at least delay, the carrying into effect of some projects with regard to Pisa, as well as other intrigues carried on here to your prejudice.

I judge that my letters have reached you safely, for I sent them to Rinieri Dei at Lyons by a special messenger, who was despatched by the agent of Messer Giovanni Bentivogli. Since then I have received your Lordships’ last of the 20th ultimo, by the hands of one of the Prefect’s men, specially sent here for the reasons mentioned in your Lordships’ letter to me. So Edition: current; Page: [107] soon as I received it, I presented myself first before the king, and afterwards before the Cardinal d’Amboise, and communicated to them your Lordships’ instructions to me; and explained to them that the necessity of defending yourselves had obliged you to take men-at-arms into your pay, and to claim the services of the Prefect,* in conformity with the treaties between your Lordships and his Majesty the king. And although the Prefect’s envoy had already spoken both to the king and the Cardinal, yet his Majesty sent me back to the latter, not forgetting, however, first to ask me whether the ambassadors were coming, and to complain about the money which he had paid out. I replied in the very words of your Lordships’ letter; namely, that you informed me that you would not write me again except through the ambassadors, adding, however, that I was firmly persuaded that they would certainly present themselves before his Majesty within the month of October.

His Eminence the Cardinal spoke to me at length, and whilst doing so, he took Monseigneur d’Alby, who was present, by the arm, so that his Lordship might hear him, and said: “The conduct of the Florentines begins to be inexplicable. We offered to keep for their defence five hundred men-at-arms and fifteen hundred infantry, but they would not have them; we then offered them one hundred, or two hundred, or as many as they might deem necessary, but they declined them, and now they go begging for help from others.” And then he turned to me and said, “Secretary, I really know not what to say to you.” When I attempted to reply to the charge that we had refused their men-at-arms, etc., he added, that we knew well how to give reasons for our conduct, but that his Majesty had nevertheless been obliged to pay the money which ought to have been paid by your Lordships. And then he asked me whether the ambassadors were coming, to which I answered the same as I had done to his Majesty the king; namely, that they ought to be here in the course of the present month, if not sooner; and that they would prove that our Edition: current; Page: [108] fidelity to his Majesty had increased rather than otherwise, and could not but continue to increase; and that they would exculpate your Lordships from all the calumnies that were daily originated by those who wished no good to your Lordships, and still less to the honor of his Majesty the king. And when I finally asked his Eminence what I should write to your Lordships in regard to the Prefect, he replied that an agent of the Prefect’s had arrived, and that they would give him their answer, which was all I could get out of his Eminence. I have nothing further to write to your Lordships on this subject; but as this agent is about to return to the Cardinal San Pietro in Vincola, and will be the bearer of this letter, your Lordships will be able to get full information from Pietro Soderini. But I must not omit to tell your Lordships that, after my conversation with the Cardinal d’Amboise, Robertet called me aside, and told me how much he had always had your interests at heart, and how he had always labored for your advantage, and that he had ever been ready to exert himself in your favor, and how grieved he was to see that you had abandoned your own cause; for that in so important and urgent a matter as the present, your not having ambassadors here gives offence to everybody, and is regarded as the result either of disunion amongst yourselves, or of discontent with the state of things here, or because you have not been well informed on the subject. For reason alone demanded that the ambassadors should have been sent here by post, so as to prevent the adoption by his Majesty of some unfriendly resolution, which is daily urged upon him. To all this I answered as for the moment seemed to me most suitable, affirming again that the present month would not pass without seeing the ambassadors here; and that everything would be satisfactorily arranged, provided there was no determination to wrong your Lordships anyhow, which I did not believe, etc., etc.

As I have already said in my former letter, Italian affairs are more talked about than anything else, and more particularly the Pope’s enterprise, which, as I wrote you in my last, was believed to be intended against the Colonnesi. But now we understand that it is just the contrary, and that the purpose is to march to the Romagna. I can say nothing further on the subject, but your Lordships are in a position to know the truth of the matter better than myself. I will merely say that everything Edition: current; Page: [109] is conceded to the Pontiff, more from an unwillingness on the part of the king to oppose the Pope’s unbridled desires, than from any wish to see him victorious; for Messer Giovanni Bentivogli has been written to, with the king’s special approval, to do all in his power for the defence of Faenza, and to act in the matter as a good relative, etc., etc.

I have nothing new to write to your Lordships respecting the embassy from Germany, for we do not yet know exactly when it is likely to arrive; his Majesty himself is altogether in doubt about it. The only thing of interest is that the Venetian ambassador is here to solicit aid against the Turk, more especially now since the loss of Modone and Corone is clearly known. Long consultations have been held on the subject, but as yet it is not known what conclusion has been come to. It was proposed to levy a tithe upon the priests, which formerly had been entirely consumed by the receivers, and which his Majesty intends to revive. With all this the Venetian ambassador is not very well satisfied.

Your Lordships must have heard that the Grand Turk has sent ambassadors to his Majesty here, to reply to the complaints which the king had communicated to the Turk through a herald, and how the Grand Master of Rhodes had placed this herald on the footing of an ambassador, by way of giving him more importance. Upon their arrival at Venice, the Turkish ambassadors were dismissed by his Majesty, at the request of the Venetians, who gave them to understand that they would not be welcome without full power to conclude a peace; and that they must not advance any further, but return whence they had come. His Majesty has since then repented this very much, having been informed that the Venetians had urged this advice upon him, so that he might not hear of the intrigues they were carrying on with the Turk adverse to his Majesty. The Grand Master of Rhodes was also greatly irritated, inasmuch as it was mainly upon his solicitations that the Turk had sent this embassy, and it is said that he has sent one of his knights here to accuse the Venetians, and to treat them as enemies. This is the reason why the aid asked by the Venetians of his Majesty is deferred, and that it will certainly not be rendered in time for this year.

I mention this matter very briefly, so as not to weary your Lordships’ patience, as I take it for granted that you have Edition: current; Page: [110] received from other sources more detailed and accurate accounts of the greater part of this affair.

I recommend myself most humbly to your Lordships, quæ bene valeant.

P. S. — I can but rejoice at the re-establishment of the Magistracy of the Ten, and thank God for it. Let us hope much good from it; for from a better government we have the right to hope for happier results. I shall avail myself of this information as I may judge best for the credit of our republic.

Iterum valete!

Servitor
Niccolo Machiavelli.
Niccolo Machiavelli
Machiavelli, Niccolo
October 8, 1500
Blois

LETTER XX.

Magnificent Signori, etc.:

My last was of the 2d instant, and was sent by the agent of the Prefect; and although I have at this moment nothing special to communicate to your Lordships, beyond what I have urged upon you in every despatch, and have actually persuaded myself that your ambassadors are on the way here, nevertheless their coming seems to me of such supreme importance that I do not hesitate to weary your Lordships with the same story by every messenger that leaves here. And what makes me do so with even increased energy is, to see your enemies every day inventing some new schemes for their own advantage. Not more than a couple of days since, a report was spread at court that your Lordships had recalled, under heavy penalties, all the Florentine merchants that are in France; and this report was confirmed by some Frenchmen just up from Lyons. And although such things carry their justification with them so far as you are concerned, nevertheless they are heard, and together with other rumors that are set afloat every day they produce a bad impression. Until now we have kept these rumors in check by assuring the court of the near arrival of the ambassadors, through whom his Majesty will learn the good spirit that animates you in all things possible and reasonable Edition: current; Page: [111] for your Lordships. This has in part satisfied them, but if the actual departure of the ambassadors from Florence does not become known here very soon, I cannot foresee the consequences, but doubt much whether it will be anything to your advantage. On the other hand, however, if they do come, then I shall hope for good results, if anything good can be hoped for from here; for his Majesty the king has been very much annoyed for the last few days by the German affairs; for the embassy that was expected from there with so much solemnity will either not come at all, or will be reduced to a simple herald, or some other personage of similar rank. Since then we see manifest signs of doubts and suspicions; such as the ordering of three hundred lances into Lombardy again; the drawing closer to the Pope, and attaching more importance to it than usual; and where, as I stated in my last, Giovanni Bentivogli had been directed to act like a good relation with regard to Faenza, he has now been written to just the contrary, with special injunctions not to render any assistance whatever to that city. Moreover, they greatly favor the requests made by the Pope of the Venetians, namely, that they confer upon his son the Duke Valentino the title of Captain-General of their armies and the rank of gentleman, and give him a palace in Venice; all of which they hope to obtain. His Majesty’s conduct towards the Venetians is very much in the same style; he promises them more decidedly than he has ever done before to render them assistance against the Turk. And therefore I believe that the same causes will also place your Lordships upon a more favorable footing with his Majesty, provided that your ambassadors arrive here promptly; for the above-mentioned apprehensions with regard to Germany will not fail in their effects, nor are they likely to be removed, provided you will take advantage of this chance, as seems to me most reasonable. But if it does not very soon become known that your ambassadors are really coming, then his Majesty will be more inclined to believe the calumnies of your enemies than our justifications. Everything depends upon the faith which his Majesty may have as to their coming or not; and should he once think that you are his enemies, then he will take care that you shall not be able to injure him. I therefore pray your Lordships, with the utmost respect, that you will not fail of your duty to our republic in this matter; and that you will not Edition: current; Page: [112] be satisfied to have the ambassadors come in the ordinary way, but that they come by post at least as far as Lyons, for the importance of the matter merits every possible effort.

For the past three or four days it has been rumored that his Majesty will leave here to go to Nantes, — not to remain there however very long, his intention being to proceed to Lyons; but I cannot say anything positive upon this or many other subjects, because the plans and resolutions are changed almost every hour. Your Lordships will therefore pardon me if you should find some contradictions in my letters.

I shall not write at length about relieving my own necessities, for your Lordships know that on my leaving Florence I had but eighty ducats, of which I spent thirty to come here by post. At Lyons I had to renew my entire outfit, and have to keep here three horses at the hostelry; and without money nothing can be done.

I recommend myself most humbly to your Lordships, quæ bene valeant.

Servitor
Niccolo Machiavelli
apud Christianissimum.
Niccolo Machiavelli
Machiavelli, Niccolo
11 October, 1500
Blois

LETTER XXI.

Magnificent Signori, etc.:

My last was of the 7th instant, in which I reported to your Lordships all that had occurred of interest up to the day. I had previously sent two other despatches, one of the 26th ultimo, and the other of the 2d instant; which I presume have safely reached your hands. Since then I have received your Lordship’s letters of the 26th ultimo, with report of the state of things in Florence. After carefully reading and examining their contents, and particularly all that relates to the coming of the ambassadors, and to the calumnies circulated about your Lordships, and to the arrangements of the Genoese for seizing Pietrasanta, I called upon his Eminence the Cardinal d’Amboise, as his Majesty had gone to a village some eight leagues from here, where he was going to pass the evening. And although it was hardly worth while to take much trouble to Edition: current; Page: [113] justify your Lordships from the calumnies, having already done so on previous occasions, to the extent that both his Majesty the king and the Cardinal had promised me to await the arrival of your ambassadors to know the truth and come to some decision, and that I could rather have wished to be able to announce the positive departure of the ambassadors from Florence; nevertheless, encouraged by your Lordships’ letters, I made it a point to declare to his Eminence your Lordships’ disposition, intentions, and desires; and demonstrated to him also how utterly without foundation were the calumnies spread about your Lordships, and in what evil disposition they had their origin; and in fact, that it was the calumniators, rather than the calumniated, who ought to be looked after. I furthermore said to his Eminence, that the future would prove the truth of all this, even if the past were insufficient to do so; and that his Majesty the king, as well as his Eminence himself, would be fully satisfied upon all these points, when your Lordships’ ambassadors should arrive here; and that these ambassadors were on the point of starting, and would assuredly be here in the course of this month. I begged his Eminence, at the same time, to keep his Majesty in his present favorable disposition, and to abide the arrival of the ambassadors, and not to listen to evil tongues, nor to come to any decision for the present, as in fact his Eminence had on a former occasion promised.

I then proceeded to speak of the Pietrasanta affair, and related to his Eminence the reports started by the Genoese, of their having a concession, etc.; I told him of the attempt which their commissary had made, and the injuries which your vassals had suffered at his hands. His Eminence listened patiently to all I said, without particularly replying to any one point; but suddenly he entered upon the same subject upon which he had already spoken to me several times, as reported by me to your Lordships; namely, that his Majesty was exceedingly displeased by your having refused to resume the war against Pisa, by your declining his offer of men-at-arms, and by your unwillingness to refund the money which he had paid to the Swiss and for artillery, etc., etc.; and that for that reason no thought could be given to your affairs, nor could anything be said in your favor. I replied, that as to your refusal to resume the war against Pisa, and the non-acceptance of the troops, I had no other excuse to offer than what I had already Edition: current; Page: [114] presented on former occasions; namely, as to the first, the actual impossibility of your doing so; and as to the latter, the bad disposition of those very troops; and I added that these excuses were so well founded, that neither his Majesty the king nor his Eminence himself could or ought to think differently. And as to the third point of complaint, namely, the money, that I had entreated his Majesty to await the arrival of the ambassadors, who were ready to start, and had instructions to satisfy his Majesty; and that if he wished to see your Lordships’ letters on that subject, I was prepared to show them to him. To this his Eminence replied in the precise following words: “Dixisti, verum est; sed erimus mortui antequam oratores veniant; sed conabimur ut alii prius moriantur.”* And when I replied that the time was short, and that there could be no loss by waiting, he said, “Come back here to-day at three o’clock in the afternoon, and you shall then know the king’s intentions, and the course which these things must take.”

The Cardinal left his house whilst talking to me, and continued his remarks on the way to church; and when we reached the chapel we found Messer Giulio Scurcigliati there waiting for the Cardinal, who, so soon as he saw him, called him, and said that he wished him to be present at this last interview between us, and that he would be obliged to him if he would return with me to his house at three o’clock; for knowing his devotion to your Lordships, he wanted him to be present and hear what was said. And thereupon I took my leave, his Eminence being very angry at what I had told him about Pietrasanta; and he immediately directed Robertet to write to Genoa and give orders that no Genoese should be allowed to enter Pietrasanta; and also to write to Beaumont to give strict orders to the commandant of the citadel to be well upon his guard, and under no circumstances to have any dealings with the Genoese. To the first letter he added a paragraph about the restitution of the stolen cattle, and to enjoin upon the people the preservation of good relations with their neighbors, etc. However, I shall endeavor to obtain a special letter upon this subject, and will send it to your Lordships.

In accordance with the Cardinal’s request, I returned to his house at three o’clock, and presented myself before his Eminence, Edition: current; Page: [115] and found Messer Giulio there. His Eminence spoke for more than half an hour, beginning with complaints of your obstinacy before the first treaty was concluded with his Majesty of France; and how badly your Lordships afterwards observed the stipulations of that treaty; and how tardy you had always been in all matters; and blaming us in a measure for the money spent in the recovery of Milan, after the revolt of that city. After that he came to the new treaty made with Pietro Soderini at Milan, and to the army that had been directed against Pisa; and how, from his affection for you, his Majesty’s arms had suffered dishonor in that affair; and how you had always lagged behind on every occasion of danger, although you had shown yourselves very brave in refusing to pay one farthing of the money for the Swiss and the artillery, etc., leaving it all to be paid by his Majesty. And finally he concluded by saying, that he was willing to forget all the other things, but that it was indispensable for your Lordships to decide upon refunding that money to his Majesty; that there was not a day but what the Lucchese, the Genoese, and the Pisans came about his Majesty’s ears with offers of large sums of money, without agreement or obligations of any kind; which his Majesty could not but admire, seeing on the one hand their excellent disposition, and noting on the other hand your obstinacy, first in refusing to pay despite your obligations under the treaty, and your delay now in putting off to do anything under pretence of waiting for the new ambassadors. “But I tell you,” said he, “from the affection which I have for your republic, although of course not equal to that which I have for the king, that these ambassadors of yours can neither negotiate, nor will they be listened to upon any point, unless payment is first made of the amount due to his Majesty; and if it is not understood that such is your intention, write therefore at once to your Signoria, for we do not wish to remain any longer in suspense upon this point, and let them understand that, whether they choose to be friends or enemies, in any event they will have to pay. But if you remain our friends, as you will if you are wise, his Majesty will pass Christmas at Lyons, and Easter at Milan. Up to the present he has sent two thousand lances into Italy, and over six thousand infantry, of those who have already been there; and we shall see whether Pisa will resist him, and whether those who oppose Edition: current; Page: [116] him are stronger than he is. His friends will know then that he is king, and that his promises will be strictly carried out.” And then, turning to Robertet, his Eminence told him to have the accounts got ready, and to give them to me, so that I might forward them to your Lordships.

Your Lordships will judge whether it would have been possible for me to have made a reply to such a proposition, even if I had been able to constrain them to listen to me with patience. Therefore I judged it best to confine my remarks to touching upon the most necessary points; I could not, however, refrain from saying that the fact of his Eminence complaining of all your Lordships’ actions, and particularly of those that really deserved the highest encomiums, encouraged me also to complain of the Pietrasanta business, and that the restitution of that place to your Lordships had not been made according to the terms of the treaty. This stirred and vexed his Eminence, who said that that was another business altogether; but that all this would be arranged provided your Lordships did not fail in the performance of your obligations. I continued the conversation, and said that I would attempt no further justification of your Lordships, nor weary myself by repeating what had been so often discussed and demonstrated, namely, that no default had ever been made by your Lordships in the performance of your engagements; nor would I say anything more respecting the last point, upon which depended his Majesty’s favorable or unfavorable disposition towards us, than what I had always said until now, namely, that the ambassadors were coming, and would give full satisfaction to the king, provided he demanded nothing unreasonable or impossible. For to demand either the one or the other could only be regarded as an attempt to injure our republic, which I could not believe was intended, because it would be injuring the best friends which his Majesty had in all Italy. I begged his Eminence not to give so ready an ear to the promises of the Genoese, the Lucchese, and the Pisans; and said that he ought not to listen to anything but what was to the honor of his Majesty the king, and to such promises as were likely to be fulfilled; and that he ought to consider whether a small present advantage was preferable to a great and continued benefit. But that I would report everything fully to your Lordships; and that the reply would be in the same Edition: current; Page: [117] spirit that had always been manifested by our republic, which by the heavy and fruitless expenditures to which she had been so long subjected ought to have extinguished all jealousy henceforward, and ought to excite compassion instead.

His Eminence replied to the last part of my remarks, that his Majesty the king regretted the sufferings to which our republic had been exposed, but could take no other action than what he had done; nor could it be reasonably expected that he should submit to a loss by paying out his own money. He advised me to write you at once, and that they would await your reply provided it was not delayed too long; that they wanted acts, having no longer any faith in words; and that the king’s friendship could only be preserved by your paying the amount in question, whilst to refuse it would provoke his enmity. And thereupon I took my leave.

Magnificent Signori, the enclosed memorandum will show you the amount that is claimed, and the reasons why you are held responsible for it. You will find that it comprises the amount which you are to pay for account of the Signor Lodovico, and for which you are held responsible the same as for the other items.* I have taken the memorandum just as it was brought to me, not wishing to examine the calculations, nor to make any further objections, as it would have been of no use to have done so, but might rather have made the condition of our case worse in some respects. I could truly wish this letter had wings, so as to enable me to have a prompt reply; but know not how to manage, having never received any instructions as to what to do in case it should become necessary to send a special courier. I shall pray the Almighty to aid me, and if I can find any one who will carry this despatch, I shall devote to it what little money I may yet have.

I have nothing further to say to your Lordships, unless it be to entreat you, with the utmost respect, to let me have your answer promptly, and, if you resolve to pay, then to prove it by deeds; for I doubt whether they will wait much longer, mainly on account of German affairs, which cause them a good deal Edition: current; Page: [118] of apprehension here, as mentioned in a former letter, and which has made them draw nearer to the Venetians and to the Pope. I want to see now how they will behave towards your Lordships, and how they will employ the money which they demand of you, or what they may obtain from others in the event of your refusing to pay; and how, in case you declare yourselves their enemies, they will act so as to render you harmless. But they are not willing at the same time to be in uncertainty as to your intentions, and leave Pisa open for any one to go in who may be disposed to make war upon them. Your Lordships will also remember, from all we have written, and from the conduct of the court since we have been here, that neither the king nor the Cardinal ever descended actually to ask us for the money, or to name their conditions to us as they are doing at present; but that they only complained to us on the subject on every occasion and in every place, and that they have entertained the Lucchese, have had dealings and close relations with the Pisans and the Genoese, and openly threatened your Lordships. It was this that induced me to go to the Cardinal and to express to him my surprise at his pretended dissatisfaction, and at the treaties that were being negotiated without reference or notice to your Lordships. And when I pressed his Eminence warmly as to what I should write to your Lordships, he refused to give me a definite reply, and referred me to Corcou, as I wrote you fully in my letter of the 3d of September. Then came your Lordships’ letters of the 30th of August, which afforded me the opportunity to speak of the coming of your ambassadors; and since then all my efforts have been devoted to urging your Lordships to hasten their departure, and to keeping matters here in suspense until their arrival. And what has occurred since then is reported above in this despatch. I have not deemed it amiss to make this little recapitulation, so that your Lordships may form a better idea of the state of things here, and may thus be enabled to determine what course will be for the greatest advantage to our republic.

I have no further news to communicate, unless it be that two days since there arrived here an ambassador from the Marquis of Mantua, together with one from the Marquis of Ferrara, and likewise an ambassador from the king of Naples. From this your Lordships will not fail in your wisdom to see Edition: current; Page: [119] that they all have more fear of this king than faith in each other; notwithstanding that Mantua is situated in a lake, and that the king of Naples has the Turk for his neighbor and is on good terms with the Emperor of Germany. I must therefore beg your Lordships again, with the utmost respect, to reflect well upon your answer, and to let me have it as quickly as possible. And yet Robertet has intimated to me that his Majesty the king will send some one to settle these matters; but as the Cardinal has not said anything to me on the subject, I cannot affirm the truth of it. Nor should I advise your Lordships to delay your answer on that account, for I am in daily fear lest something be resolved upon here that would make your answer come too late, and that thus you might be obliged to pay the amount in question without deriving any advantage from it, and without preserving the king’s friendship; and in that case our ambassadors would have to come here on wings to be able to ameliorate our situation in any degree, even if that be possible. Above all things, therefore, is it essential to act with the utmost promptitude, and hasten the time of the ambassadors’ departure.

Being unable to find any one willing to share in the expense of sending a special courier, or to pay the whole cost of it myself, I have been obliged to despatch it by the king’s post, and to direct it to Nasi at Lyons, at the cost of one franc; and have written him, for the love which he bears to our republic, promptly to forward it by special messenger, in case no regular courier is despatched from Lyons; and that your Lordships will reimburse him for it, and in case you do not, then to charge the cost of it to me. I pray your Lordships, therefore, to repay Nasi the amount which he has expended, and of which he will inform you; so that he may be willing to render us similar service on future occasions, and so that I may not be afraid to ask it of him, or that I may not have to pay it out of my private means.

I recommend myself to the good graces of your Lordships, quæ bene valeant.

Servitor
Niccolo Machiavelli,
Secretary, etc.
Edition: current; Page: [120]
Niccolo Machiavelli
Machiavelli, Niccolo
14 October, 1500
Blois

LETTER XXII.

Magnificent Signori:

This is the 14th of the month, and his Most Christian Majesty has resolved to send Odoardo Bugliotto, one of his body servants, and bearer of this, to learn more fully your Lordships’ intentions with regard to the money which he claims from you, as I have explained at length to your Lordships in my despatch of the 11th instant, which, for want of other facilities, I sent by the royal post to Nasi at Lyons, with instructions to forward it with all possible speed to your Lordships. There is no occasion for me to repeat what I have written before, inasmuch as the bearer of this will inform you fully as to the king’s intentions, and will supply any omissions I may have made. I will only repeat what the Cardinal d’Amboise told me, viz.: “That, friends or enemies, we would have to pay, and that thus your real intentions would be made known by your acts, for words and promises would no longer satisfy them.” Assuming that your Lordships have received my letters, and moreover as you will hear what the bearer of this will have to say, your Lordships will decide with your habitual prudence as to the course which it will be best to pursue. But I beg your Lordships, amongst other things in connection with this matter, to take some measures that will oblige the person who comes to you, if he cannot or will not favor your cause in any other way, at least to write the truth when he reports to the king. For the unfavorable reports that have been sent here on previous occasions are to a great degree the reasons that have provoked the anger of the king, and of the bad condition in which your interests are here at present.

Nothing further occurs to me to write, except to recommend myself humbly to the good graces of your Lordships, quæ bene valeant.

Servitor
Niccolo Machiavelli,
Secretary.

His Majesty the king leaves this morning for Nantes, where he will remain a few days, and then return by way of Lyons, etc.

Edition: current; Page: [121]
Niccolo Machiavelli
Machiavelli, Niccolo
25 October, 1500
Nantes in Brittany

LETTER XXIII.

Magnificent Signori:

Having written to your Lordships on the 11th instant, and stated at length all that his Eminence the Cardinal had said to me respecting the money they claim that your Lordships ought to pay, etc.; and having since then repeated the same in my despatch of the 14th, sent by the hands of Odoardo Bugliotto, who was sent to Florence by the king for a similar purpose, I should not have had occasion to write again to your Lordships, were it not that your despatch of the 3d instant had been received, which informs me of the nomination of Pier Francesco Tosinghi, and that he is to start on the 10th or 12th instant. Nothing could have given me more pleasure to learn, for the reasons which I have so repeatedly written to your Lordships, as well as on account of the distinguished character of the man, from whom we may hope for such fruit as it may still be possible to gather on this soil. And although since it was decided to send Odoardo to Florence I have not been so harassed every day about the delay in the arrival of the ambassadors, yet it seemed to me well to inform his Eminence the Cardinal what your Lordships have written me, namely, that the ambassador was to start, and must at the present moment be near Lyons; adding such words of my own as seemed to me suited to calm his feelings. His Eminence replied to me, in a few words, that it was well, and that the ambassador ought to hasten his journey. He asked me why there was only one ambassador, which I readily explained, although I do not know but what they may take umbrage at it; for your Lordships’ enemies here will not fail to comment upon it in a dozen different ways. But I shall continue to be on my guard, and shall spare no efforts to justify your Lordships, if need be. His Eminence subsequently asked me again to write and urge you to come to a good resolution with regard to the money due to his Majesty, and to prove it by acts; assuring me that they had no longer any faith in fair words or promises, and that they should clearly know what to expect, so soon as they should hear from Bugliotto. I replied that I would do so with the utmost diligence, although it seemed to me unnecessary to urge your Lordships to do what was proper, Edition: current; Page: [122] or what you possibly could do in the interest of the king; to which his Eminence replied, that it would have to be proved by facts.

Your Lordships requestme to ascertain the condition of Messer Giovanni Bentivogli’s affairs here. Now, as all doubts as to the preservation of his state arise from the enterprise which the Pope is carrying on against the Romagna, I will begin my explanations with that. Your Lordships will remember that, soon after our first arrival here, we informed you how the Pope pressed the king to aid him in this attempt against the Romagna, and how the king procrastinated and kept the Pope along with promises. For being at that time still more hopeful as to the affairs of Germany, his Majesty wanted the Pope to employ his power against the Colonnesi, as was then generally believed, for the reasons which we wrote you in some of our former communications. And the king had given his consent that, if the Pope should nevertheless attempt this attack upon theRomagna, Messer Giovanni Bentivogli should act the part of a relative, inasmuch as his Majesty had not yet charged the Venetians, as he has done since, to give up the protection of the Romagna. But as since then the ambassadors of the German Emperor have not arrived, and as his Majesty is in daily apprehension of being attacked, he was, as it were, forced to consent to the Pope’s carrying out his plans against the Romagna. For inall the possible events that may occur in Italy, his Majesty counts more upon the Pope than upon any of the other Italian potentates; partly because the Pontiff has always proved himself better armed than any other, and has suffered less from wars hitherto, and has fewer obstacles to surmount, and is moreover head of the Church, etc., etc. The Cardinal d’Amboise aims also at the same mark; for he, beingreally the man that governs, has drawn upon himself the envy and enmity of all the other powerful lords, and therefore hopes through the Pope’s influence so to increase his own credit as to be able the better to resist the envy of the others. It is said, even, that in the creation of the new legates on account of the Turkish affairs the Pope will name the Cardinal his legate for France.

The Venetians also, being afraid of the Turk, and advised by the king to give up the protection of the towns of the Romagna, have done so readily; hoping that the Pope would move all Edition: current; Page: [123] Christian potentates in their favor. They judge moreover, that they will not lose much if those towns were to fall into the hands of the Duke Valentino, as they have taken him under their protection, and have adopted him as their son, and, as is generally supposed, will make him Captain-General of their forces.

Now the well-known insatiable rapacity of the Pope makes everybody here suppose that the same reasons that have made his Majesty and the Venetians yield their consent to the Pope’s attempt upon the Romagna will also cause them to consent to his attempt uponMesser Giovanni Bentivogli. And fearing this, Messer Giovanni, together with the Duke of Ferrara, have made the greatest efforts to induce his Majesty to consent to their rendering assistance to their friends of the Romagna; and it is only quite lately that Monseigneur d’Aubigny, at their request, sent one of his men here expressly for that purpose; who, however, could obtain no further answerfrom his Majesty, than that he could not interfere, as it was a matter of the Church, and that he could not consent to his allies making any opposition to her. And quite lately, when the envoy of Messer Giovanni spoke to his Majesty on the subject, and pointed out to him the danger to which his lord would be exposed, unless he could depend upon his Majesty’s protection in the event of the Pope’s succeeding in his present under-taking, he obtained, after much talking, the following reply: “That when it had come to the point that the Pontiff was actuallyabout to attack Messer Giovanni, that then hisMajesty would hear the reasons of the Pope and of Messer Giovanni, and would then decide against whoever was in the wrong.” This is in fact all that can be learnt here in relation to Messer Giovanni’s affairs; and as I have it from the best authority, I believe it to be the truth.

I have notyet said anything to your Lordships about Agostino Semenza, for the reason that several days ago Giulio Scurcigliati received letters from Messer Antonio Cola, an agent of the Prefect of Rome, informing him of the coming of this envoy, but giving at the same time much more importance to his mission, and a reply highly favorable to affairs here. But as I reported that information fully in a former communication, it seems to me not worth while to bring it up again now.

Edition: current; Page: [124]

I stated to Messer Giulio your Lordships’ favorable disposition towards him, on account of the good services which he has rendered, etc. He thanks your Lordships, and entreats you again to expedite his business. He has never himself written to your Lordships, but has always made every occurrence of interest here promptlyknown to his particular friends in Florence.

Since his Majesty’s arrival here a number of high personages have come here, amongst them Monseigneur de Ligny, Monseigneur de la Tremouille, the Prince of Orange, etc., but not a word has been said about German affairs; nevertheless, there are great apprehensions upon that point; and so soon as the Ogni Santi (All Saints) is over, the court will at once move from here to Lyons.

The ambassadors from Naples are supposed to have arrived at Lyons, and the marriage between the Princess, daughter of King Frederick, and Monsignor della Roccia, is regarded as definitely arranged. The Cardinale di San Severino is expected here.* Beyond this I have nothing to write, but to recommend myself to the good graces of your Lordships, quæ bene valeant.

Servitor
Niccolo Machiavelli.

P. S. — I was just about to seal this despatch when Ugolino Martelli received a letter from Lyons, informing him, amongst other things, that the thirty-five scudi, which he had to pay for expediting my despatch of the 3d September from Melun, had not yet been refunded to him; and that Giovanni Martelli had written that he had as much as given it up. He complains very much to me about it, and I can only say in reply, that he is entirely right, and that I would write to your Lordships about it. I entreat you, therefore, so to arrange this matter that I may not have to pay it myself; and that, should occasion arise, I may not be compelled to do as it happened to me once at Blois, where I was obliged to send an important despatch by the king’s post as far as Lyons. Valete!

Edition: current; Page: [125]
Niccolo Machiavelli
Machiavelli, Niccolo
25 October, 1500
Nantes

LETTER XXIV.

Magnificent and Illustrious Signori, etc., etc.:

Although I hardly think it necessary to ask your Lordships for my leave, firmly believing that you will have sent it to me by the ambassador, as my remaining here after his arrival would be superfluous; nevertheless the necessity for my being at Florence is so urgent that, in case my leave should not have been sent, I do not wish to be wanting to myself, and therefore entreat your Lordships with the utmost respect to be pleased to grant me that favor. For, as you are aware, my father died a month before my departure, and since then I have lost a sister; and my private affairs are so unsettled and without order, that my property is in every way actually going to waste. I hope, therefore, that your Lordships will kindly grant my request, so that I may in some measure restore order to my own affairs. I should want to remain in Florence only one month, after which I am willing either to come back to France, or to go to any other place where it may please your Lordships to send me. I recommend myself most humbly to your Lordships, quæ bene valeant.

Servitor
Niccolo Machiavelli.
Niccolo Machiavelli
Machiavelli, Niccolo
4 November, 1500
Nantes

LETTER XXV.

Magnificent Signori:

Since writing my last of the 27th ultimo, I have received your Lordships’ letter of the 21st, which refers to some particulars of a despatch of the 10th which has not yet come to hand. I am therefore at a loss how to execute your Lordships’ orders. I have determined, nevertheless, to speak to the king and the Cardinal about your Lordships’ apprehensions on account of the rumors that have reached you from many quarters as to the evil disposition of the army of the Duke Valentino towards your Lordships; and how seriously this matter disturbs you, being without any organized force of men-at-arms. Edition: current; Page: [126] I therefore relied altogether upon his Majesty, and entreated him to be pleased to aid you with such means as he might deem necessary; and that on your part you would not fail to do everything in your power to save your liberty; and that if you were assailed by the Orsini and the Vitelli, you would seek to defend yourselves. His Majesty, being at the moment very much occupied, made no reply except that I should speak to the Cardinal d’Amboise about it. I therefore went immediately to see his Eminence, and spoke to him in the same sense as I had done to his Majesty; adding such further remarks in favor of your cause as the time permitted. He replied that he did not believe that the Pope would attempt to engage in any enterprise in Italy, without first conferring with his Majesty the king on the subject; and as he had not done so, he did not think the Pope would make any such attempt. But should he yet consult his Majesty, or attempt such an attack independently, then in the first case his Majesty would not give his consent, and in the latter he would lend you his assistance, provided you maintained your friendly relations with his Majesty. And then he began to complain again of the delay in the coming of your ambassadors, etc., etc. And as to the part of the Colonnesi, he reflected a moment, and then said, “Preserve the friendship of the king, and then you will not need his assistance; but if you lose his good graces, all the help will not suffice you.”

I replied in a becoming manner; but respecting the Lucchese it seemed to me best neither to touch upon that subject nor to make any further reply, for I did not want to irritate them more than what they are already until the arrival of your ambassador, hoping that his instructions may be satisfactory to the king, and that then we may be able to discuss the point in question more freely, particularly as, according to the time of his departure from Florence, the ambassador ought shortly to be here.

Afterwards, on All Souls’ Day, came your Lordships’ letter of the 10th ultimo, and, after carefully studying its contents, I returned again to the Cardinal, and explained to him briefly the causes of your apprehensions; and that it would be easy for the Duke Valentino, after once having taken Faenza, to make an attack upon Florence, and, having one of your rebels with him, it would not be difficult for him to make a hostile attempt Edition: current; Page: [127] against your liberties. Such an act would prove an injury to your Lordships and a dishonor to his Majesty. And we being his Majesty’s most devoted and trusted friends, it would be very proper for his Eminence to write to the Pope and to the Duke Valentino that whatever they might attempt against your Lordships would be the same as if they attempted it against his Majesty.

Thereupon his Eminence took me by the hand and led me to the Grand Chancellor and the Marquis of Rothelin, who were near by, and then began again, as he had done several times before, to speak of all the trouble he had taken for your Lordships’ benefit, and of the dishonor to which the king had been subjected from his affection for you; but that you had broken the treaties by refusing to pay the money due by you to the Swiss, etc.; and that now, being afraid of the Pope, you claimed the aid and support of the king, which his Majesty, however, would not grant unless it was clearly understood whether or not you intended to remain his friends. For to write anything in your favor would be acting adversely to the people of Lucca, Sienna, and your other enemies, whom his Majesty did not want to become his enemies when your Lordships ceased to be his friends.

I replied to the first point the same as I had already done several times; and as to the others, I said that there was no reason to have any doubts as to your Lordships’ friendship, any more than there was for having any particular consideration for either the Lucchese or the Siennese, when the question was as to his Majesty’s giving you his aid and support; for that I could not recall either the one or the other having rendered his Majesty any special service. Nor did I know what they had been able to do in time of peace or in war, nor what service could be hoped for from them now. But that I well knew what your Lordships had done for the present king, as well as for his predecessor; and that in their time of adversity, when the fidelity of friends is put to the test, you alone of all the Italian powers had remained faithful; that you did not deserve to be treated thus, and that a Most Christian King ought not to allow your Lordships to be subjected to it. The Cardinal replied to me merely in the following words: “Write to your ambassador to come at once, or to send his instructions to you, so that we may know the intentions of Edition: current; Page: [128] your government. After that we shall not fail on our part to do all that ought to be done for your Signoria.” I told him of the Pope’s envoy that had been sent to Pisa on the 12th, to which he answered in an excited manner, that that was nothing, and that I had better do what he had recommended, etc.

The day after, which was yesterday, Robertet came to meet me, saying, “I have special orders from his Majesty and from the Cardinal to write to Monseigneur d’Aubigny at Milan, and to our ambassador at Rome, and to charge the one to signify to the Pope, and the other to the Duke Valentino, how displeased his Majesty was to learn that there was talk in the army which was at present in the Romagna of going with rebels and other enemies to attack the Florentines, which his Majesty would not in any way permit.” In short, he told me that he was instructed to write as strongly as possible in favor of your Lordships. I asked him to give me that letter, but he said that he had no instructions to that effect, and that he thought it was better so, as otherwise it might appear as though we had begged for such action.

This is all I have to communicate to your Lordships in reply to your last letter, nor is there anything else new here, except that his Majesty the king leaves to-day for Tours, where he is to give an audience to the ambassadors from Germany.

Bene valete!

Servitor
Niccolo Machiavelli,
Secretary.
Niccolo Machiavelli
Machiavelli, Niccolo
21 November, 1500
Tours

LETTER XXVI.*

Magnificent Signori, etc.:

On the 4th instant I wrote to our illustrious Signoria in reply to two of their despatches of the 11th and 21st ultimo. His Majesty the king having since then left Nantes for Tours, I resolved not to separate myself from the court (although they went by cross-roads); thinking that your Lordships’ answer to the propositions which Odoardo Bugliotto had gone to Edition: current; Page: [129] submit on the part of his Majesty to our illustrious Signoria might arrive during this time. And this happened just as I had supposed; for just as his Majesty reached Champagne, a small village about ten leagues from Tours, the letters from your Lordships arrived, with the answer given by our illustrious Signoria to Odoardo. But as I arrived on the 18th at about two o’clock in the night, I put off until morning to ask for an audience and to speak in accordance with your Lordships’ instructions. The next morning I went to court, and by chance found his Eminence the Cardinal d’Amboise alone and unoccupied. I deemed it best to seize this opportunity, notwithstanding my intention to speak first to his Majesty the king, and approaching his Eminence I told him that I had received letters from your Lordships, with a copy of the answer given to Odoardo; but that it was hardly worth while to repeat it to him, as his Majesty had been fully informed of it by Odoardo himself. I added that your Lordships felt persuaded that their answer and resolution would not be entirely satisfactory to his Majesty, considering the necessities to which circumstances had exposed him. But considering, on the other hand, the anxieties which your Lordships had experienced, and to which you were still exposed, and the heavy expenses which your Lordships had borne, and were still compelled to bear from not being able to recover your possessions, and from your desire to sustain the name and fame of France in Italy, you could not believe but what his Most Christian Majesty would accept their resolution, and would be satisfied to bear for a short time the delay in the payment of a portion of the amount claimed, in recognition of the services which our republic had rendered to him. And if to this were added the restitution of Pietrasanta, which would be no more than reasonable, and which your Lordships’ fidelity had so well merited, and to which a strict observance of the treaty stipulations and the malevolence of the Lucchese fairly entitled you, it would completely resuscitate our republic, and would encourage the Florentine people to devote their substance and their blood to the service of his Most Christian Majesty; and would so restore their credit and reputation, that neither the Pope nor the Venetians would venture to assail their state or their liberties, as they are now presuming to do. I enlarged upon these points as much as the subject and the patience of the Cardinal Edition: current; Page: [130] would permit. His Eminence replied that it was true that, by your answer to Odoardo, your Lordships confessed your indebtedness to his Majesty, and had ordered an immediate payment of ten thousand ducats at Milan; but that this did not satisfy his Majesty, who had suffered great inconvenience from having disbursed this money for your account; and that it would be of no use to argue in favor of your Lordships, unless the whole amount had actually been paid; and that myself, as well as the ambassador, whenever he should arrive, must expect an unfavorable answer from the king. As his Eminence afforded me the time to do so, I replied by showing him at length that his Majesty’s displeasure, if real, was nevertheless very unreasonable; not because he wanted to have back what belonged to him, but in failing to look at it in the way a father should towards his sons, which would be to accept their acts, not according to his wishes, but according to their ability. I enlarged upon this view of the matter with such arguments as the nature of the case suggested; but could obtain no other conclusion from his Eminence than that this money was required by his Majesty to pay the men-at-arms which he had in Lombardy; still, if your Lordships wanted a little time on a portion of this money, they would have to come to an understanding about it with Monseigneurs d’Aubigny and de Chaumont, governors at Milan; and if they were willing to wait a few months, his Majesty would also be satisfied. I observed that this was not the answer which I had anticipated, and which our republic had confidently counted upon. And as I knew that it would only humiliate and discourage your Lordships, I was not willing to communicate it; for I felt persuaded that your Lordships, deprived of all hope of achieving any good, would give yourselves up to despair; and believing that such an answer would neither be of advantage to his Majesty nor to your Lordships, I was not willing to write it; but would rather wait in the hope of a different response, such as your Lordships merited for your good faith, as well as for the actual services rendered to his Most Christian Majesty. Unable to obtain anything else from his Eminence, I took my leave, and the same morning saw his Majesty the king, and spoke to him in the same spirit; and in the most earnest and effective language that I could command, I pointed out to his Majesty how faithful your Lordships had ever been to him, and how sincere your Edition: current; Page: [131] desire was to satisfy him; and how easy it was for his Majesty to show his affection for your Lordships. I also explained the reasons that made the immediate payment of the amount due to his Majesty quite impossible at this moment, etc. But not to weary your Lordships by repeating the same thing over and over again, I will merely state that I omitted to say nothing that I thought would be of service for his Majesty to hear on this subject. But I could obtain nothing from him except the usual complaints as to the money paid out by him, and the dishonor to his arms by our fault. And although I replied in a becoming manner to all these complaints, yet I failed to convince his Majesty upon any one point, nor did I succeed in gaining any other fruit from this interview.

After that we came on to Tours on the same day, and there had a conversation with a friend from whom I have been in the habit of obtaining secret information about the Pope, and more particularly as to the negotiations now going on between the Pope and the Venetians. He confided to me that the ambassador of his Majesty of France at present at Venice, suborned by the Pope’s ambassador, had stated in the Venetian Senate that he had learned from various sources, all worthy of faith, that the Florentines, the Bolognese, the Duke of Ferrara, and the Marquis of Mantua had formed a close league amongst themselves, under the pretext of mutual defence of their states, but in reality for the purpose of turning their combined arms against his Majesty of France, whenever the Emperor of Germany should make an attack upon Lombardy. And that your illustrious Signoria ought to be very careful to inform his Majesty of this, from a feeling of obligation to him for all the benefits received, etc., etc. My friend told me furthermore, that, when the French ambassador made this statement to the Senate, they replied, that this was very probable, for the parties named were all armed, and pretended to be dissatisfied with the conduct of the French; that the Senate would write to their ambassador, and that he also ought to write to the king about it.

This friend of mine told me, moreover, that the Pope’s ambassador here had express instructions to persuade the king of the truth of this statement, and to suggest that he could easily avert this trouble by putting Piero de’ Medici in power again in Florence, and in that way establish a government there that would be entirely devoted to his Majesty. That by doing this Edition: current; Page: [132] he would deprive Ferrara, Mantua, and Bologna of their head, and thus prevent them from carrying on their machinations against the king. Adding to all this, that inasmuch as the Cardinal de’ Medici was a churchman, it was the duty of his Holiness to act thus, particularly as this Cardinal had supplicated the Pope to aid him in his efforts to re-enter his own country and home; and that his Holiness, moved by just such prayers, had been compelled to consent to grant him such aid. But that his Holiness asked no other help from his Majesty the king than to preserve a strict neutrality; and that by consenting to this, and showing that he had abandoned your friendship, and withdrawn the protection hitherto extended to the other princes, he would add to the Pope’s credit and reputation to that degree, that in a short time he should feel encouraged with his own forces, and such as the Venetians would furnish him, to deprive Giovanni Bentivogli of his state, and to compel your Lordships to re-establish Piero de’ Medici in Florence; and that thus he would make Ferrara and Mantua come to him with the halter around their necks. And by way of giving still more credit to this enterprise and to his desire, the Pope begged his Majesty, besides granting his consent, also to send a few hundred lances to the borders of the Bolognese territory, whilst the Venetians would send theirs where they would be of most use.

My friend tells me, furthermore, that all these things are already done, and that they urge, beg, and importune his Majesty the king to give his sanction to it all; and that it was for no other purpose that they had brought Piero de’ Medici from France to Pisa, but to have him near at hand for the execution of their designs.

Upon hearing all this, which seemed to me a plot worthy of our Most Holy Father the Pope, I resolved to say something to his Eminence of Amboise on the subject; and seizing the first suitable moment, I complained to his Eminence of the malignity of your Lordships’ enemies, but spoke only in general terms, without mentioning either the Pope or the Venetians; saying that they persuaded themselves they could make his Majesty the king believe that your Lordships wanted to alienate themselves from him; that I did not want, for the purpose of opposing these rash and infamous calumnies, to allege either our good faith in the past, nor the present proofs of it, but wished merely to show how unreasonable it was that your Lordships Edition: current; Page: [133] should hope for help from the Emperor, who had not even been able to help or defend Milan, which was regarded as belonging to him; and that knowing this you should be willing to make an enemy of a king whom your Lordships imagined they had laid under obligations to them, by so many perils and expenditures which they had borne and incurred for his sake. Nor could I comprehend how the Bolognese or the Ferrarese could place their hopes on any one else but his Majesty of France, being by the very position of their states obliged, under all circumstances, to follow the fortunes of whoever possessed Milan; the one from fear of the Pope, and the other from dread of the Venetians. But that his Majesty ought to be well on his guard against those who sought the destruction of his friends, for no other purpose than their own aggrandizement, and to enable them the more easily to wrench Italy from his hands. That his Majesty ought to prevent all this by adopting the practice of sovereigns who wish to establish their power in a foreign province; namely, to weaken the powerful, conciliate the subjected, sustain their friends, and to beware of associates, that is to say, of such as want to exercise an equal share of power with them in that province. And if his Majesty would look around and see who were the parties that desired to be his associates and share his power in Italy, he would find that it was not your Lordships, nor Ferrara, nor Bologna, but those who in the past had always sought to dominate the country.

His Eminence heard me patiently, and then replied, that the king was in the highest degree prudent; that his ears were long, but his belief short; that he listened to everything, but put faith only in what he could touch with his hands and prove true. And that besides having written to Rome and Milan some time ago, when I had first spoken to him on the subject, he had only three days since written again, of his own motion, and in the most earnest manner, in commendation of your interests. And that although Monseigneur d’Allegri had been allowed to go with a hundred lances into the Romagna to aid the Duke Valentino, yet it was with the express injunction in every way to favor your interests; and that your Lordships would see, when your ambassador arrived, that his Majesty would not be wanting in his duty, if you did not fail on your part, and offered more acceptable terms as to the payment of the money due him. Since then Robertet has spoken to me in the same Edition: current; Page: [134] spirit, assuring me that his Majesty would not himself do anything wrong towards you, nor would he permit others to do so, if only the Florentines would not harm themselves by their disunion and by harboring within their walls persons who had little love for the liberties of the republic; to which, he said, your Lordships ought to look carefully. In replying to his Eminence I had no difficulty in justifying your Lordships upon this matter of disunion, the idea of which it is above all things important to remove from their minds, for the mere belief of it would produce as bad consequences here as the reality would with you in Florence.

I have nothing further of interest to communicate, for no one speaks of the propositions which the German ambassadors have brought. Those who visit them are observed and noted, as well as those who talk about them with too much curiosity.

Whilst writing I received a letter from Pier Francesco Tosinghi, in answer to several of mine, which I addressed to him at a venture. I learn from this letter that his Magnificence arrived at Lyons on the 2d instant, and was to have left there on the 15th on his way here. I expect him with impatience, and may God grant him better fortune than what those have had who have hitherto been charged with this mission.

I recommend myself to the good graces of your Lordships, quæ bene valeant.

Servitor
Niccolo Machiavelli,
Secretary.
Niccolo Machiavelli
Machiavelli, Niccolo
24 November, 1500
Tours

LETTER XXVII.

Magnificent Signori:

On the 21st instant I replied to your Lordships’ letter, and informed you fully of what his Majesty and the Cardinal d’Amboise had told me about the answer given by the Illustrious Signoria of Florence to Odoardo. I also wrote you about the intrigues set on foot by the Pope and the Venetians for the purpose of making your Lordships suspected to his Majesty, and what D’Amboise had said to me on the subject. Although I have nothing of special interest to say, yet I will not lose the Edition: current; Page: [135] opportunity of some one’s going to Italy to inform your Lordships of what has occurred here since my last.

Not being altogether satisfied with the answer made me by the resolution which your Lordships have recently taken with regard to the sum claimed by his Majesty; and news having reached here that the Duke Valentino had seized the Val di Lamona, and that he counted upon obtaining possession of Faenza erelong, and then hearing that Piero de’ Medici was at Pisa, and moreover that a new ambassador had arrived from Lucca, with instructions, it is said, to pay at once ten thousand ducats to his Majesty on condition that Pietrasanta should be given up to them; and in addition to all this that Messrs. de la Palisse and de Chatillon had been sent by the queen to Pisa as governors; — in view of all this, I say, I determined to present myself once more before his Majesty. I pointed out to him again, that if the answer given by our illustrious Signoria to Odoardo was not exactly according to his Majesty’s wishes, it was owing to the absolute impossibility of doing better, in consequence of the heavy expenses to which you had been and continued to be subjected, having the victorious army of the Duke Valentino on your borders, who constantly threatened to assail your Lordships, not so much with his own forces as with those of his Majesty, and who constantly boasts of being thus supported, which is calculated to produce very bad effects unless his Majesty promptly put a stop to it. To all this his Majesty replied at once: “Why, we have written in duplicate to our lieutenants in Italy, that, if the Duke Valentino should attempt anything against the Florentines or the Bolognese, they should instantly march against the Duke Valentino, so that upon this point you may rest in perfect security.”

And then his Majesty began his usual complaints; and as to the other matters that I had touched upon, namely, the queen’s having sent governors to Pisa, and the proposition of the Lucchese with regard to Pietrasanta, his Majesty replied, in general terms, that we had broken our agreements with him in not having at the very first made payment of the money due him, and that even now we were not willing to do so in a way that he might avail himself of. And to all I could say or allege, (and I talked to him so long that I feared to abuse his patience,) I could obtain no further reply. And when I finally Edition: current; Page: [136] said to him that your ambassador would be here within two days, he answered, “Perhaps he may come too late.”

Thereupon I left his Majesty and went to seek Robertet, and in discussing with him all I have written above, he told me there was no truth in the story of Monseigneur de la Palisse having been sent to Pisa; and that if Piero de’ Medici was really at Pisa, he was not there by order of the king, but because he had been called there by the Duke Valentino, to see whether his presence there could in any way advance the Duke’s projects. And that it was perfectly true that his Majesty had written three times, or even oftener, to his lieutenants in favor of your Lordships and of the Bolognese; adding, under a pledge of secrecy, “That the success of the Duke Valentino had become very distasteful to his Majesty.” And as to the Lucchese, he told me that they were making every possible effort to get Pietrasanta back again, offering ten thousand ducats, and even more, for it, and that there was danger of their success owing to the king’s dissatisfaction with your tardiness in paying his claims. And when I had replied to all this in a becoming manner, he stated as his general conclusion, that according to his own judgment, as well as what he had heard others say to his Majesty the king and to the Cardinal d’Amboise respecting your Lordships’ interests, it seemed to him certain that, if your Lordships would endeavor not to injure yourselves, when it came to the proof, you need never apprehend anything that was not for your advantage. And with this assurance I took my leave of his Lordship. I now await the arrival of the ambassador with the greatest impatience, so as to see what turn your affairs will take, and to be able to judge of them more correctly.

I will only now remind your Lordships, with the utmost respect, of a matter that we wrote about very fully on our first coming here, but which we have not touched upon since, partly because we did not wish to appear presumptuous, and also because you have in Florence some extremely prudent citizens, who are much more experienced than ourselves in the ways of this court; namely, that your Lordships should arrange to have some one here who will act as your friend, and who will defend and protect your interests, the same as is done by all others who have any business with this court; and indeed I cannot but think that the ambassador who is coming here is Edition: current; Page: [137] fully prepared upon this point. And I can assure your Lordships that, if your ambassador cannot at least give some proofs of gratitude to Robertet, he will find himself completely at a loss here, to such an extent and degree that he will hardly be able to expedite an ordinary letter.

The embassy from Germany, which consists of a M. Philip de Nanso (Nassau) and two other gentlemen, had yesterday its first audience of his Majesty the king. There were present the Cardinal d’Amboise, Monseigneurs de la Tremouille and d’Aubigny, the Grand Chancellor, the Maréchal de Gié, the Prince of Orange, the Marquis de Rothelin, and Monseigneur de Clary, together with the ambassadors of the Pope, of Spain, and of Venice, and three or four Italian gentlemen. The address of the ambassadors was in ordinary and general terms, to the effect that the Empire deemed it necessary that all Christendom should arm for the purpose of putting a stop to the violence of the infidels; and that, unless this were done, the Christian republic would with difficulty be able to maintain itself against the daily spoliations of the Turk. And as it was impossible for all Christendom to arm, unless peace prevailed between the Empire and his most Christian Majesty, as chiefs of Christendom, they had been sent here for no other purpose than to promote such a peace. The ambassador touched upon no other point in his address, and employed only such words and phrases as are customary on similar ceremonious occasions. After the audience his Majesty appointed four commissioners to negotiate this treaty of peace. This commission consists of his Eminence the Cardinal, the Grand Chancellor, Monseigneur de Bourbon, and the Maréchal de Gié; and the whole is to be completed this week, after which, it is said, his Majesty will leave for Blois; and nothing more is said about Lyons.

I recommend myself to the good graces of your Lordships, quæ bene valeant.

Servitor
Niccolo Machiavelli,
Secretary.
Edition: current; Page: [138]
Niccolo Machiavelli
Machiavelli, Niccolo
24 November, 1500
Tours

LETTER XXVIII.

Magnificent Signori:

Having received several letters from the Magistracy of the Ten, in reply to several of my despatches addressed to your Lordships, and having in turn informed the said Magistracy of all that relates to the interests of our republic, I deem it superfluous to repeat the same things to your most excellent Lordships. The only thing that induces me to write now is to present my homage to your Lordships, and to recommend myself most humbly to your good graces. I am furthermore moved to write by the affection I bear to Messer Giulio Scurcigliati of Naples; not for any particular service that he has rendered to me personally, but because of his warm, fruitful, constant, and affectionate labors in favor of the liberties of our republic. And therefore I beg most earnestly to recommend this gentleman to your Lordships; and humbly to ask that, if you desire to have him continue your friend and defender here, and if your Lordships do not wish to be charged with ingratitude by the whole court here at seeing all Messer Giulio’s services unrecognized, you will be pleased to aid him with your sovereign hand, and to favor him by looking into the litigation in which he is involved with the heirs of Pierantonio Bandini. For I assure your Lordships that when he received the news, some three days ago, that a decision in the matter had not been rendered because of the inhibition, etc., etc., he became so furious at the wrong which he conceived had been done him, that, if I had not been present, he would have rushed to the court to cry out and complain of the injury, etc.

He complains of several things: firstly, that your Lordships had remitted his case to the ordinary tribunal, whilst it ought to have been summarily adjudged by your Lordships yourselves; secondly, that this ordinary tribunal had so protracted the matter that it afforded time to his adversaries to obtain an order of inhibition; thirdly, that the woman has been relieved from banishment; and fourthly, that the person who is charged with watching his interests at Florence has deprived him of all hope of being able to obtain his rights by these proceedings; and finally, that in the inhibition his adversaries Edition: current; Page: [139] had called him “merchant and usurer.” He claims that he asks no more than his own capital, and is willing to forego all accrued interest.

So far as I am concerned, Magnificent Signori, I know nothing of Scurcigliati’s case, but I do know that so long as your relations with his Majesty are so uncertain, and as it were in the air, few persons can be of service to you, whilst it is in every one’s power to injure you; and therefore I have thought it not amiss, but rather necessary on the whole, to manage this man and temporize with him. And if you do not, he will, at the receipt of the first letter from Florence, rush like lightning through the court, and the evil he will say of you will be more readily believed than all the good he has said before. For he is a man of some influence and credit here, — a fluent talker, most audacious, importunate, and terrible, and of uncontrollable passions, — and therefore apt to carry through whatever he undertakes. I have enlarged upon this matter solely from my devotion to my country; and my belief that it was for her good has made me write as I have done. Your most excellent Lordships will, I trust, hold me excused, and will act in the whole matter with your wonted goodness and wisdom.

I recommend myself most humbly to your Lordships.

Servitor
Niccolo Machiavelli.

THE MAGISTRACY OF THE TEN TO FRANCESCO DELLA CASA AND NICCOLO MACHIAVELLI.

Spectabiles Viri, etc.:

As we have promised you several times that upon the arrival of our ambassador at court we would give you leave to return here, we have this day passed a resolution to that effect, inasmuch as two days since we had letters from our said ambassador, dated the last day of November, announcing his arrival. And having replied to him and instructed him Edition: current; Page: [140] upon all points that occurred to us, we have nothing to communicate to you except to instruct you to return here as soon as you can, which we do herewith. Before leaving, you will give full information to the ambassador of all that you have done during your stay at court.

Bene valete!
Edition: current; Page: [141]

MISSION TO THE DUKE OF VALENTINOIS.
October 5, 1502.

Cesare Borgia, second son of Pope Alexander VI., was originally intended for the Church, and had been made Cardinal of Valence by his father. But after the assassination of his elder brother, the Duke of Gandia, charged by all the writers of the day upon Cesare, he doffed the cardinal’s hat and eagerly seized the sword as more congenial to him. His father, the Pope, granted him a bull of secularization, and sent him with letters of credence and strong recommendations to King Louis XII. of France, as bearer of the Pope’s bull dissolving the marriage of the King with the Queen Jeanne, thus enabling Louis XII. to marry Anne of Brittany, widow of King Charles VIII., of whom he had been enamored whilst yet Duke of Orleans. At the same time Cesare Borgia was bearer of the cardinal’s hat for Georges d’Amboise, Archbishop of Rouen and prime minister of Louis XII. In recognition of these services the king, who had already made Cesare Duke of Valentinois, gave him for wife Carlotta d’Albret, daughter of the Sieur d’Albret; and from Cardinal d’Amboise he obtained the promise of aid and support in the establishment of a state for himself in the Romagna, which had been given him by his father, Pope Alexander VI., together with the command of the papal forces. The Romagna, however, was at that time occupied by a number of petty lords and despots, some of whom were employed by the Duke of Valentinois as captains of his troops. These fearing lest the Duke would dispossess them, met in secret at Magione, in the Perugian territory, to devise measures for thwarting the Duke’s projects. Immediately after his return from France, however, the Duke pushed his military movements with extraordinary energy and skill, and very quickly made himself master of Faenza, Urbino, etc. Feeling the importance of having the support and alliance of the Florentine republic, whose territory adjoined the Romagna, Cesare requested the Signoria of Florence to send an ambassador to him with whom he could treat of these matters. The Signoria accordingly sent Francesco Soderini, Cardinal of Volterra, and Niccolo Machiavelli to him at Urbino; but the demands of the Duke for an alliance and a change in the government of Florence, by which he hoped to facilitate his future plans of conquest in Tuscany, were such as the envoys could not accede to. The Duke gave them four days for a final reply, during which Machiavelli returned to Florence for the purpose of consulting the government; the result Edition: current; Page: [142] of which was that the Signoria wrote to Soderini to inform the Duke of the impossibility of their complying with his demands.

Meantime, however, the Florentine government became still more alarmed by the disturbances in the Val di Chiano and Arezzo, which had been stirred up by some of the Duke’s captains, especially Vitellozzo Vitelli. Although these disturbances were quieted and Arezzo restored to the Florentines by the intervention of the French, yet they had produced such an impression upon the Florentine government that they resolved on the 5th of October, 1502, to despatch Machiavelli on a special mission to the Duke of Valentinois and to remain near him and watch his movements. This is the mission that gave rise to the following despatches from Machiavelli to the Signoria, which are of the highest interest, especially as they contain an authentic account of the proceedings of the Duke of Valentinois at Sinigaglia in killing Vitellozzo Vitelli, Oliverotto da Fermo, and the Signor Paolo and the Duke Gravina Orsini.

COMMISSION
GIVEN TO NICCOLO MACHIAVELLI, 5TH OCTOBER, 1502.

Niccolo,

We send you to his Excellency the Duke Valentino at Imola, with letters of credence, and you will proceed thither as speedily as possible. At your first interview you will explain to his Excellency that we have learnt within the last few days that, after his return to Romagna, the Orsini have become alienated and detached from his Excellency; that they have appointed a meeting with their adherents at Magione, in the Perugian territory, and that according to current report the Duke of Urbino and the Signor Bartolommeo del Viano are also to be there for the purpose of negotiating and adopting some project against his Excellency, which we regard as equally directed against his Most Christian Majesty the king of France. Also, that we have been cunningly invited to send a deputy there, with the view to coming to some understanding with them. But that we continue the same as ever disposed and resolved to remain good friends with the Sovereign Pontiff and his Excellency, and firmly resolved not to separate ourselves from them, nor from our devotion to the king of France, on whose friendship and protection our republic depends. And that therefore, when his interests are in question, or those of his allies or their adherents, we cannot do otherwise than to make known to him what is going on and what we hear, and Edition: current; Page: [143] to do our duty towards him as good friends. And that for these reasons we have sent you promptly to his Excellency, as the importance of the matter seemed to demand it, to assure him anew that, in the midst of these movements of our neighbors, we are resolved to have due regard for what concerns him, and to continue our good will towards him the same as ever. For we regard all the friends of France as our friends, and whenever their interests are concerned ours are equally involved. This seems to us sufficient for your first audience, in which you will in every way show his Excellency that we place every degree of hope and confidence in him. You may enlarge upon all this as the occasion may prompt you, amplifying your remarks with all the circumstances that bear upon the subject, and which we need not specify as you are fully informed upon this whole matter. But we desire you not to go outside of it, nor to touch upon any other subject. And should his Excellency question you beyond this, you will reserve to yourself to communicate with us and await our reply. After this first exposé, either at the same audience or at a subsequent one, you will state to his Excellency that you have been particularly instructed to thank him most cordially for the service which he has rendered to our merchants in ordering the restoration of those cloths that had been retained at Urbino for several months, and which, according to the news in our markets to-day, have been restored to the agents of those merchants in a most friendly and courteous manner; and you will say to his Excellency that we regard this service as having been done to ourselves personally, as well as to our republic. And after that, when a favorable opportunity presents itself, you will ask his Excellency in our name to grant security and safe conduct to the goods of our merchants on their passage through his states and territories on their way to and from the Levant. As this is an object of the greatest importance to us, commerce being as it were the vital part of our republic, you will use your best efforts to achieve the success we so much desire.

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Niccolo Machiavelli
Machiavelli, Niccolo
7th October, 1502

LETTER I.

Magnificent Signori, etc.:

Finding myself not well on horseback at my departure from Florence, and believing that my commission required all speed, I took the post at Scarperia and came here without loss of time, arriving to-day at about the eighteenth hour. Having left my horses and servants behind, I presented myself at once, in my travelling costume, to his Excellency, who received me most graciously. After presenting my credentials, I explained to his Excellency the object of my coming, beginning by thanking him for the restitution of the cloths. I then spoke of the defection of the Orsini, of their meeting with their adherents, how they had cunningly endeavored to induce your Lordships to unite with them, and of your disposition in regard to your friendship with the king of France and your devotion to the Church, amplifying in the best manner I could the reasons that bind you in friendship to these two powers, and caused you to avoid any alliance with their adversaries. I assured him that under all circumstances your Lordships would have every consideration for the interests of his Excellency consistent with your friendship for the king of France and your ancient devotion to the Church, as well as the affection which you had ever borne to his Excellency, regarding as you do all the friends of France as your allies and particular friends.

His Excellency made no reply to what I said respecting the restitution of the merchandise, but, passing to the other matters, he thanked your Lordships for your offers and obliging demonstrations. After that he said that he had always desired your friendship, and that, if he had failed to obtain it, it was owing more to the malice of others than to any fault of his own, — adding that he wished to relate to me what he had never before told any one respecting his coming to Florence with his army. And then he told me that ever since the taking of Faenza, and his attempt upon Bologna, the Orsini and the Vitelli had been after him trying to persuade him to return to Rome by way of Florence, which he had refused, because the Pope, by a special brief, had instructed him differently. That thereupon Vitellozzo had thrown himself at his feet, weeping, and begging him to come that way, and promising him that no harm of any Edition: current; Page: [145] kind should be done either to the country or the city. But that, still refusing to consent, they had so beset him with prayers to that effect, that he finally yielded, but under a pledge on their part that no damage should be done to the country, and that the subject of the Medici should not be mentioned.

Wishing, however, to derive some benefit from his coming to Florence, he had thought of availing of the opportunity to form a friendship with your Lordships, which is proved by the fact that he had engaged in no negotiations, or had hardly said one word respecting the Medici, a fact well known by the commissioner who had treated with him, and that he never allowed Piero de’ Medici to come to his camp. And that whilst they were at Campi the Orsini and the Vitelli had repeatedly asked permission of him to present themselves at Florence or at Pistoja, showing him how they could strike some successful blows; but that so far from consenting, he had made them understand by a thousand protests that he would rather fight them himself. That afterwards, when the treaty was concluded, the Orsini and the Vitelli, on pretence that he had consulted only his own interests and not theirs, and that his coming to Florence had been solely for his benefit and to their injury, had tried by dishonest means to break the treaty; and had committed all sorts of outrages for the purpose of giving offence to your Lordships, and to disturb the good understanding between yourselves and him. Nor had it been possible for him to remedy these outrages, because he could not be in all places at once; and also because your Lordships had not paid him the subsidies stipulated and provided for. Thus matters had remained until the month of June past, when the revolt of Arezzo occurred, respecting which he told me, the same as he had previously told the Bishop of Volterra, that he had not heard anything until then. Still he was pleased that it had occurred, for he thought the occasion might be used to render your Lordships a service that would merit your acknowledgments. But that even then nothing was done, either because of the ill-luck of both parties, or because our republic was not disposed to treat and conclude an arrangement that would have been mutually advantageous, which, however, had not caused him much uneasiness. But being disposed to render you a service, and knowing the wishes of the king, he had Edition: current; Page: [146] written and at once had sent messengers to Vitellozzo to withdraw from Arezzo. And not content with this, he had himself gone with his troops to Citta di Castello, and could easily have deprived Vitellozzo of his state, for the principal inhabitants had come to offer themselves to him; and this, he said, was the cause of Vitellozzo’s ill-will and dissatisfaction. As to the Orsini, he said that he really knew not what had given rise to their indignation and their departure from the court of Rome without leave of the Pope. Subsequently, when they saw that his Majesty the king had treated him better than the Cardinal of their name, and had bestowed great honors upon him, to which came furthermore certain reports that had been spread that he intended to deprive them of their possessions, then the Orsini abandoned him, and joined that gathering of bankrupts at Magione. And although he had received several messages from Signor Giulio Orsino, protesting that they had no intention of opposing him, etc., etc., yet he knew full well that the reason why they did not wish to declare themselves openly against him was that they had received his money. But if ever they did so declare themselves, he would look upon them as greater fools than he had ever supposed them to be, for not knowing how to choose a better moment for injuring him than the present, when the king of France was in Italy, and his Holiness the Pope still alive; two circumstances that had kindled such a fire in his favor as all the water the Orsini could command would not quench. Nor did he care much about their stirring up the duchy of Urbino, for he had not yet forgotten the way to reconquer it, in case he should lose it.

His Excellency then added, that now was the moment to oblige him, if your Lordships really wished to be his friends, for he could now form an alliance with you regardless of the Orsini, which he had never before been able to do. But if your Lordships were to defer it, and he in the mean time should make up with the Orsini, which they sought by all means to bring about, then he would be bound again by the same considerations as before. And as no arrangement would satisfy the Orsini that did not re-establish the Medici, your Lordships would be exposed to the same difficulties and jealousies as before. He therefore thought that your Lordships should anyhow declare yourselves at once either his friends or theirs, as delay might bring about an agreement between him and the Orsini, that Edition: current; Page: [147] would be prejudicial to you. For in the case of victory of either party, the successful one would either remain your enemy, or would anyhow be under no obligations to your Lordships. And his Excellency says that when you come to decide upon this matter, which of necessity you will have to do, he does not see how you can take a different course from that in which his Majesty the king of France and his Holiness the Pope concur; adding, at the same time, that it would be most agreeable to him, in case that Vitellozzo or any other should make an attempt upon any of his states, that you should cause whatever troops you have to advance either towards the Borgo or to the frontiers of his states, for the purpose of sustaining his cause.

I listened with the utmost attention to the above remarks of his Excellency, and have given you in full, not only their substance, but his very words, so that your Lordships may be able to form a better judgment of it all. Not deeming it important, I shall not relate what I answered, but I was careful not to go outside of my instructions. In relation to the subject of the troops I made no reply at all, but merely said that I would report to your Lordships his excellent disposition, which I had no doubt would give you signal pleasure. And although, as you will perceive, his Excellency manifested a great desire that a treaty between yourselves and him should be promptly concluded, yet notwithstanding my efforts to get at his real thoughts, he always avoided the subject, so that I did not succeed in getting more from him than what I have written.

But having heard on my arrival here that there had been some disturbances in the duchy of Urbino, and his Excellency having said in the course of his remarks that he did not attach any importance to the troubles in that duchy, it seemed to me not amiss, in the course of my reply, to ask him how this matter had occurred. To this his Excellency made answer: — “My clemency and disregard of these things have done me harm. You are aware that I took that duchy in three days without hurting a hair of any one’s head, with the exception of Messer Dolce and two others, who had made open opposition to his Holiness the Pope. And what is more, I had even confided the public offices of that state to many of its principal citizens, and had placed one of them in charge of a certain Edition: current; Page: [148] wall which I had ordered to be built in the citadel of San Leo. A couple of days ago, under pretence of raising a beam, this individual concerted a plot with certain peasants, that enabled him to obtain possession of that citadel by force, and thus I lost it. Some say that they raised the cry of St. Mark, others say that of the Vitelli or the Orsini; but up to the present, neither one nor the other have openly declared themselves. Now, although I give up that duchy for lost, it being a weak and feeble state, and its inhabitants dissatisfied in consequence of my having burdened them heavily with my troops, yet I hope to put all this matter right again. And you must write to your Signori to look well to their own affairs, and to let us hear from them promptly; for if the Duke of Urbino returns to his duchy from Venice, it will not be for their advantage, and still less for ours; and this should cause us to have more confidence in each other.”

This is all I am at present able to communicate to your Lordships; and although my duty would require me to write you how many troops the Duke has, and where they are stationed, as well as many other particulars respecting the state of things here, yet, having arrived only to-day, it is impossible for me to ascertain the exact truth, and I therefore reserve all that for another time, and recommend myself to your Lordships.

Niccolo Machiavelli.

P. S. — I have kept this letter until the sixteenth hour of this morning, because my courier had no horse and was not able to find one until now. I have to add, that, in the course of conversation last evening, his Excellency told me that Pandolfo Petrucci had sent a disguised messenger to him on the previous evening to assure him that he would not countenance any one that opposed his Excellency, and that he had given him the most positive assurances to that effect. On my way here yesterday, I met Messer Agapito* about two miles from here with some seven or eight cavaliers; and, recognizing me, he asked where I was going, and who it was that sent me. He gave me a cordial welcome, but after having gone on his way Edition: current; Page: [149] a short distance he turned back. This morning I have learnt that said Messer Agapito was on his way to Florence, being sent on a mission to your Lordships by his Excellency the Duke, and that my coming caused him to return.

Iterum valete!

8th October, 1502. — I have given the bearer of this two ducats, so that he might be at Florence by to-morrow, the 9th, before daylight. I beg you will have that sum reimbursed to Ser Agostini Vespucci.

Niccolo Machiavelli
Machiavelli, Niccolo
9 October, 1502
Imola

LETTER II.

Magnificent Signori:

I wrote to your Lordships yesterday, and sent my letter by Campriano, who was to reach Florence this morning before day, for which I paid him two ducats, which I beg you will reimburse to Messer Agostino Vespucci. The courier Ardingo arrived here this morning with letters for several private persons; and as he brought none for me from your Lordships, I fear they were either left at Florence or lost on the road, and I remain in doubt as to how this has occurred.

As this courier is to return to Florence, I have concluded to write you by him what has taken place here since my first despatch. Being at court to day at about the twentieth hour, the Duke sent for me and told me that he wished to communicate some news he had received, so that I might give the information to your Lordships. He showed me a letter from Monseigneur d’Arles, the Pope’s ambassador in France, dated the 4th instant, in which he writes that the king and the Cardinal d’Amboise were well disposed to do what might be agreeable to him; and that so soon as they heard of his desire to have troops for his attempt upon Bologna, they had sent word to M. de Chaumont at Milan to send without delay M. de Lanques with three hundred lances to the Duke; and that if his Excellency should require it, he was to go with three hundred more lances towards Parma. He had sent to his Excellency a copy of the letter which the king had written to the said Chaumont, which the Duke read to me aloud, and wanted me to see the signature of Edition: current; Page: [150] M. d’Arles, as well as the letter written to him. I recognized the handwriting, having seen it often in France and at Florence. In fact, according to that copy, it would be impossible to give more explicit orders for the moving of these troops.

After having read these letters his Excellency said to me: “You see now, Secretary, that letter was written in reply to my request for an attack upon Bologna, and you will note how very positive it is. You may imagine, then, what I could obtain for the purpose of defending myself against those, the greater part of whom his Majesty looks upon as his worst enemies; for they have always sought to cause him some check in Italy. Believe me that this is a great thing for me, and the Vitelli and Orsini could not have declared against me at a time when they could have harmed me less. Nor could I have desired anything more advantageous for the consolidation of my states, for I shall know now against whom I shall have to be on my guard, and who are my real friends. And even if under these circumstances the Venetians were to declare against me, which I do not believe they will do, neither myself nor the king of France could desire anything better. I give you this information, and will make known to you from time to time what takes place, so that you may communicate it to your Signori, and so that they may see that I am far from abandoning my own case, and that I am not lacking in friends, amongst whom I should be glad to count your Signori, provided they promptly give me so to understand. And if they do not do so now, I shall leave them aside, and though I had the water up to my throat I should nevermore talk about friendship with them; though I should always regret having a neighbor to whom I could not render friendly service nor receive any from him.”

Thereupon the Duke asked me when I thought an answer would come to the letter I wrote yesterday to your Lordships; to which I replied, that I thought it ought not to be later than Wednesday. I then thanked his Excellency for having communicated to me those letters, and for his desire to entertain relations of friendship with our republic, expressing myself in such terms as I knew would be satisfactory to his Excellency, whilst at the same time I kept strictly within your Lordships’ instructions. His Excellency said also that he had forgotten, when I had spoken to him on a previous occasion, to reply to Edition: current; Page: [151] that part of my remarks in which I expressed your Lordships’ thanks for the restitution of the cloths, saying that he had done it most cheerfully and would always act in the same way whenever an opportunity occurred to render you a service; and that he had had more trouble to defend these cloths against the Orsini than any other business had ever caused him; that it had been from the first his intention to restore these cloths of his own accord, and without the intercession of any one, as that was his way of rendering a service. I thereupon asked the Duke for a general safe-conduct for all our citizens, which he promptly agreed to give, saying, however, that he did not understand such matters, and that I must speak with Messer Alessandro Spannochi about it, and prepare it with him, which I shall not fail to do. His Excellency having thus referred me in this matter to Messer Alessandro, I shall have to shape my course to suit his views; and although I have reason to believe, from the experience of the past, that he is well disposed towards us, yet I think it would be well if some of our merchants who stand well with him were to write to him and dispose him still more favorably; although I deem it well to caution those merchants not to venture too far in this matter, for in these days of change a country often belongs one day to one master and the next day to another.

His Excellency has talked to me again about the affair of San Leo, much to the same effect as I wrote you in my last; but says that only two small castles in the neighborhood of San Leo have revolted, whilst all the other places are still undecided, and that neither the Orsini nor the Vitelli have as yet made any open demonstrations against him. He told me also that three days since a certain Chevalier Orsino, one of the gentlemen of his suite, had gone to see the Orsini and the Vitelli, and that he looked momentarily for his return; and that Pandolfo continued to write him frequently and to send him messages to the effect that he had no intention of doing anything adverse to him.

On taking my leave of his Excellency he reminded me again to recall to your Lordships that if you remained undecided you would certainly lose, whilst by uniting with him you might be victorious.

I cannot express in writing with what demonstrations of affection the Duke spoke, and what efforts he made to justify Edition: current; Page: [152] the past, in all of which the chief persons of his court concur. Although I tell your Lordships all this, yet it is not likely that the Duke will long remain in this mood; his object is to know clearly your intentions, if not by your first, then by your second answer. I wish to make this known to your Lordships, for if you judge that the course which I have suggested is a good one, you must not persuade yourselves that you will always be in time to adopt it; for the Duke told me at the first interview that, although for the moment he was not obliged to have any considerations for the Orsini, yet such would be the case if he should become reconciled with them. This manifests itself in many ways that are easier to understand than to explain in writing. I beg your Lordships, therefore, to come to some decision, and to write me how I am to bear myself in this matter; also not to fail to instruct me what answer I am to make to the Duke’s request, that in case of any movement on the part of the Vitelli you should direct your troops towards the Borgo. Whatever instructions your Lordships may have to give me, I beg you will be pleased to write them, so that I may the more readily obtain an audience and more easily gain time. And should you really wish to conclude anything essential, then the more importance you give yourselves in the negotiation, the better and the more advantageously will you be able to carry it through. Thus it would be very much to the purpose if you were to reinforce me by sending some one here in the capacity of ambassador or otherwise.

I must now give your Lordships some particulars of the situation of things here. So soon as the Duke heard of the loss of San Leo, he caused the duchy of Urbino to be evacuated, and resolved to concentrate all his efforts on maintaining his power in Romagna with what troops he had, until he should have strengthened himself sufficiently to be able to attack those who had molested him. For this purpose he sent at once Messer Ramiro to scour the whole country, and to visit all the fortresses and put them in condition for defence. He wrote to Don Hugo di Cardona, one of his Spanish captains, who was with his troops on the borders of Urbino, to withdraw towards Rimini; and sent Don Michele Coreglia with money to collect some thousand of infantry, with which to join the other troops; and to-day he has distributed money to some eight hundred infantry from the Val di Lamona and sent them forward in the Edition: current; Page: [153] same direction. At the present the Duke has altogether not over twenty-five hundred paid infantry, and out of all his men-at-arms he has only about one hundred lances left to him, and these are composed mainly of his own gentlemen, who can put about four hundred horses into the field for service. Besides these he has three companies of fifty lances each under three Spanish captains; these, however, have been considerably diminished in number, from having been a long time without pay. The infantry and mounted men which he is now trying to raise, and the auxiliaries upon which he counts, are as follows. He has sent Rafaello dei Pazzi to Milan to form a company of five hundred Gascons out of the adventurers that are in Lombardy; a man of experience has been sent to the Swiss to engage fifteen hundred of them; and five days ago he mustered six thousand infantry into his service from his own states, and which he can have together in two days. As to men-at-arms and light cavalry, he has caused it to be published that he will take into his pay all such as are within his own states, and they are at once to report themselves to him. He has as much artillery, and in good condition, as almost all the rest of Italy together. He despatches frequent letters and special messengers to Rome, to France, and to Ferrara, and is hopeful of receiving from everywhere whatever he asks for. With regard to Rome there can be no doubt; as to France your Lordships know what I have above written on that subject; but what he asks from Ferrara I know not.

As regards your Lordships his Excellency counts upon having you as friends, on account of France and the character of his enemies, or that you will remain neutral. On the other hand, we see all his enemies armed and ready at any moment to light a general conflagration; and yet the people are at heart all for Romagna, but they have been badly treated by the Duke, who has always favored his soldiers more than the inhabitants.

It is feared that the Venetians have a hand in all these movements, and that according as the affair succeeds it may also have the support of Spain and Germany, and of all those who are jealous of the power of France. But if all be true that his Excellency has told me, none of the Vitelli or the Orsini have as yet stirred since the events of Urbino, except Messer Giovanni Bentivogli, who has sent three of them to Edition: current; Page: [154] Castel San Piero, a few miles from here, and four detachments of infantry under the command of Ramazotto and Del Mancino; but has caused them to return home again, according to what his Excellency told me to-day. From the side of the Venetians we hear nothing, except that they have some troops at Ravenna, who have been there for some time; but this also comes to me from a source that is not authentic.

I have thought that my duty required me to inform your Lordships fully of the condition in which matters are here, and how I regard them; and I have done so with the same fidelity which is at once my duty and my habit. I leave it now to your Lordships to judge of them according to your wisdom, and recommend myself to you.

Niccolo Machiavelli.

P. S. — Messer Alessandro Spannochi told me yesterday evening, just as I was about to despatch Ardingo, that the Duke wanted to send some one this morning to Rome by way of Florence, and desired me to delay the departure of my courier. I could not, therefore, send him off until now at the twenty-second hour, and on the 10th of the month. Having spoken with Messer Alessandro about a general safe-conduct for all our people, he told me to wait a couple of days, and that then he would try and do what would be agreeable to me. I shall not fail to do my best in this matter.

I recommend myself to your Lordships.

Iterum valete!
Niccolo Machiavelli
Machiavelli, Niccolo
11 October, 1502
Imola

LETTER III.

Magnificent Signori:

Yesterday I wrote to your Lordships by the courier Ardingo, giving an account of all that had occurred here; and not wishing to omit informing your Lordships each day of what I hear, I must now tell you as the news of to-day that the Signoria of Venice, so soon as they heard of the revolt of the citadel of San Leo, sent for the Bishop of Tivoli, the Pope’s ambassador, and informed him of the revolt, manifesting great displeasure, Edition: current; Page: [155] and complaining that the cry of St. Mark had been raised in that citadel; and assuring him that they had no intention of abandoning either the cause of France or that of the Holy Father, nor the protection which they enjoyed at the hands of his Excellency the Duke, and that they had no idea of supporting the Duke of Urbino in any way. And having sent for the latter, they declared their intentions to him in presence of the said Bishop.

This news has greatly encouraged the whole court, satisfying them that the origin of these troubles is not as has been presumed. His Excellency the Duke, by way of manifesting his satisfaction, immediately sent his secretary, Messer Romolino to the Venetian Signoria, to thank them for their good disposition and for their offers. It is reported here, moreover, that a certain Don Hugo, a Spaniard, and captain of the Duke’s men-at-arms, and Don Michele, captain of his infantry, whom the Duke in consequence of these troubles had ordered to fall back in the direction of Rimini, have altogether transgressed their orders and gone to the assistance of the governors of La Pergola and Fossombrone; that they have taken both these places and given them up to pillage, killing nearly all the inhabitants. Thus we see that events are taking a favorable turn for the Duke rather than otherwise.

I recommend myself to your Lordships, quæ bene valeant.

Niccolo Machiavelli.
Niccolo Machiavelli
Machiavelli, Niccolo
12 October, 1502
Imola

LETTER IV.

Magnificent Signori:

Your Lordships will learn from the enclosed the news which I heard yesterday at court. Since then, at about the fifth hour of the night, your courier Baccino arrived with your Lordships’ letters of the 10th, in reply to mine of the 8th. Having thoroughly examined them and informed myself of their contents, I went at the Duke’s audience time, which is about the twenty-second hour, and presented myself before his Excellency, who said to me, “We have good news from all quarters.” And then he related to me the offers made to him by the Venetians, Edition: current; Page: [156] precisely as I have written to your Lordships, and also what Don Hugo and Don Michele have done in Pergola and Fossombrone, saying gayly, “An evil star reigns this year for those who rebel.” After that he told me that he had news from Perugia through the Pope’s envoy, who on his arrival there found Vitellozzo ill with fever, and the Signor Paolo Orsino covered with scurvy; and that no sooner had he arrived than the Orsini threw themselves into his arms, saying they were soldiers of the Church and did not wish to deviate in the least from the will of the Sovereign Pontiff; and that their leaving Rome was caused solely by their being short of provisions; and that they had implored his Holiness to be pleased to receive them again and afford them quarters as he had formerly done, as they could no longer exist where they were. Of Vitellozzo his Excellency did not tell me anything more; but I have learnt from another source that he had sent word to the Duke that, if he could be assured of his safety, he would come to his Excellency; but if not, then he would go away to a distance, and would thus show him that he was still devoted to him.

After some conversation about the professions of the Orsini, I communicated to his Excellency what your Lordships reply in your letter of the 10th, which I explained to him paragraph by paragraph, as also the reasons that would have caused you to withhold the assistance in case his Excellency should at this time have need of it; and also those considerations that prevented you from being able at the present moment to declare yourselves his friends; making him understand that, as you had written to France on the subject, you would necessarily have to await an answer from there. After that I informed him of the engagement of the Marquis of Mantua, adding, as a suggestion of my own, that I was persuaded his Majesty the king of France had caused your Lordships to do it; for having given a prominent position to one of his friends, for such the Marquis had now become, and wishing at the same time to furnish our republic, which had ever been his most faithful ally, with a reliable armed force, of which both they and their friends might avail themselves, and as it was at the same time the interest of Florence to keep an instrument of such importance from those who were jealous of his Excellency’s power, his Majesty had thought that he could not make your Edition: current; Page: [157] Lordships do a wiser and more advantageous thing than to engage the Marquis of Mantua, at which his Excellency the Duke would also have reason to rejoice. I did not fail on this point, as well as upon many others, to impress his Excellency with your friendly disposition, as requested in your letter. He answered me most graciously as to the first part, showing that he believed in reality what your Lordships say with regard to the troops and the alliance; nor did he insist much upon these points, or solicit them as he had formerly done. He spoke of the Marquis of Mantua in an honorable manner, saying that he was an honest man and his friend, and that he would show me letters from him in which he had quite recently offered to come to him with troops to aid him in any of his undertakings; and that he was very glad to have him in his neighborhood; to all which I replied in a suitable manner. Afterwards, in fulfilment of your instructions, I brought the conversation back to the subject of the Vitelli and the Orsini, of whom the Duke showed that he had a bad opinion, confessing freely that he could not trust them, but would bide his time, etc., etc.

I suggested that in their despair they might perhaps make incursions into our territory, and, although we had no fear as to any of our towns, yet it would tend to disturb the country. I asked what his Excellency would do if such a thing were to occur before the troops which your Lordship had organized could be on the spot. His Excellency replied, that he could not for the world believe that they would attempt anything of the kind, and gave some reasons for it; but if they should, nevertheless, make any movement, and he should know in what direction they were and what troops they had, he certainly would not fail in his duty as a good friend to do all he could in case you should need help. More than that I could not get from his Excellency in this conversation. On taking my leave I asked him again for a general safe-conduct for all our people, which he again promised most freely, telling me to speak with Messer Alessandro about it. I told him that I had done so, but that Messer Alessandro had put me off for two or three days. To this the Duke replied that this delay was caused by Messer Alessandro’s manifold occupations just at this moment; but that I must speak to him again on the subject. This I have done since, and he has again given me fair Edition: current; Page: [158] words, but as yet without any result; the reason of which I do not know.

I recommend myself to your Lordships, quæ bene valeant.

Niccolo Machiavelli.
Niccolo Machiavelli
Machiavelli, Niccolo
13 October, 1502
Imola

LETTER V.

Magnificent Signori:

I have deferred until this evening to send Baccino back with the two enclosed letters, so as to be able to give your Lordships fuller information about matters here; and more particularly to satisfy the desire you express to know the Duke’s disposition, and what he designs doing in regard to yourselves. But not having been able to get anything more out of his Excellency than what I have written, and there being at this moment a secretary of the Duke of Ferrara here, recently sent to his Excellency in relation to late events, I took occasion to talk with him. And going from one subject to another, he told me of his own accord that he had a special commission from his master to advise the Duke to form the talked of alliance with your Lordships; adding, as a suggestion of his own, that it seemed as though such an alliance had been too long thought about ever to be really concluded; and that he was resolved the first time that he should talk with the Duke to see whether he could not bring him to some definite conclusion which might afterwards be proposed to you by the Duke of Ferrara, and that he would talk further to me on the subject before his departure. I showed myself neither anxious to avoid nor to accept this offer, but rather thanked the secretary in a general way. He has since then had an interview with the Duke, and, meeting me again, he entered upon that subject, and told me that he had found his Excellency most favorably disposed; and that having finally told him that if he wished to conclude anything definite it would be necessary to specify particulars, and if he desired that the Duke of Ferrara should take some steps in the matter, etc., etc., his Excellency replied, “Not yet, but that he “would let him know in time.” But as this did not satisfy me, I took occasion to have a long conversation to-day with Edition: current; Page: [159] Messer Agapito, the Duke’s first secretary; and having discussed this matter as between two secretaries who say to each other frankly what each thinks best for the common interest, he spoke to me in the following lengthy argument: —

“See now how well it would be if our two governments could form an alliance together. The friends of your Signoria are equally the best friends of my Duke, and those who are hostile to my Duke are likewise the bitterest enemies of your Signoria. The Venetians are regarded with suspicion by both of us since the Duke has wrested Romagna from their hands. There was no occasion for your Signoria to take the Marquis of Mantua into their pay at this time; they could not be attacked, for the Duke can never more trust the Orsini and the Vitelli, for they have deceived him ever so often. But he thinks that your Signoria have lost a fine opportunity, particularly in giving the position that would have suited the Duke so well to some one else; and he does not know what arguments could now be presented to your Signoria, the Duke being covered with glory, most fortunate, and accustomed to conquer, and his power having increased whilst yours has diminished since the engagement of the Marquis of Mantua. And that it was reasonable that in any arrangement with you the Duke’s rank and honor should be augmented rather than diminished.”

After having spoken of the Duke’s good fortune apart from his successful enterprises, Messer Agapito spoke of recent events, and said that his Excellency could not ask for anything that suited his purpose better; for their result had been, that where the Orsini hoped to stir up all the world against his Excellency, everybody, on the contrary, had declared in his favor; that your Lordships had sent an embassy to him, that the Venetians had written him congratulatory letters, and that his Majesty the king of France had sent him troops; adding, that some account ought to be made of such signal good fortune.

In the course of his conversation, which was by no means a short one, Messer Agapito touched twice upon the subject of the engagement of the Duke as commander of your troops, saying that, unless the past could be undone, there was no chance of doing anything in that way for the future. I will not weary your Lordships by telling you what I replied, but can assure Edition: current; Page: [160] you that I omitted little that can be said to the purpose. But in the end I could not get anything more out of Messer Agapito, except that the Duke still had his eyes upon such an appointment.

I must not omit mentioning to your Lordships that the secretary from Ferrara, in talking with me as to the causes that could make the Duke so reluctant to move, said that he believed his Excellency had written to the Pope on the subject, and that he desired to proceed in the matter according to the Pope’s wishes. I believe, however, that there may be two other reasons; namely, either he does not want to forego the chance of that appointment now,since his affairs here wear a brighter aspect, and therefore he temporizes, etc., etc.; or hewants to wait, before the matter goes any further, until the next Gonfalonier shall have been installed in his palace; for this new order of things has raised the credit of the city of Florence to a degree that no one could have believed.*

I cannot and must not, Magnificent Signori, judge ofthese matters differently, but will continue from time to time to give you simply information as to the condition in which they are; up to the present hour, you are informed of the changes that have occurred. The more favorable the weather, the more difficult will it be to work the soil here; that is to say, the more favorable the condition of the Duke’s affairs, the more difficulty will you have in dealing with him.

Only one thing more I wish to say to your Lordships, and I do so with the utmostrespect; namely, if you make the Marquis of Mantua march promptly, you will at once bring back to reason all those who have strayed from it.

Bene valete!
Niccolo Machiavelli.
Edition: current; Page: [161]
Niccolo Machiavelli
Machiavelli, Niccolo
14 October, 1502
Imola

LETTER VI.

Magnificent Signori:

Your Lordships will have learnt from my letters of the 11th, 12th, and 13th, which I sent by the courier Baccino, all that has taken place here until now. I have therefore but little to communicate by the present; still, having the opportunity of sending by Spinelli, who arrived here to-day from Bologna, and will return by post to Florence, I will write to your Lordships what little has occurred here since my last.

In my previous letter I informed your Lordships that the Duke had sent a certain Chevalier Orsino to the other Orsini at their meeting with their adherents at Magione, to ascertain their real intentions, and to see whether there be any way of bringing them back. The said Chevalier returned yesterday, but I have not been able to learn precisely the result of his mission. All I have heard is that Paolo Orsino has offered to come here, and that the Chevalier has returned to obtain the consent of the Duke, and that he was sent back yesterday afternoon with instructions that the said Paolo may come here in all safety, and that accordingly he is expected here within two or three days.

The above-named Spinelli has told me many things which your Lordships canlearn from him direct. I will only mention specially what he says he has heard at Bologna; namely, that at the Magione meeting it was decided that the said Paolo Orsino might come here and make terms with his Excellency the Duke, provided that whatever arrangement might be made, all attempts against Bologna should be excluded therefrom.

Niccolo Machiavelli.
Niccolo Machiavelli
Machiavelli, Niccolo
15 October, 1502
Imola

LETTER VII.

Magnificent Signori:

To-day at about the twentieth hour, whilst I was at court, your Lordships’ courier arrived with your letters of the 13th. As they contain much the same with regard to the negotiations, Edition: current; Page: [162] etc., as your previous one of the 10th, to which I have replied at length by mine of the 11th, 12th, and 13th, and as their general tenor was of no special importance, I should not have cared to bring them to the notice of his Excellency the Duke but for the information they contain from Borgo about the movement of the artillery and infantry. That seemed to me of importance, and, knowing that it would be greatly appreciated by the Duke, I sought to obtain an audience from him. But his Excellency was extremely occupied in reviewing some detachments of infantry, which defiled in succession before his palace to be mustered into service. I gave a copy of the article of Giovanni Ridolfi to one of the Duke’s secretaries, so that he might present it to him as a matter of importance. So soon as the Duke had read it, he had me called in, and said to me, “What think you of the news?” After having read it, I replied, that if I had to judge of it by the place whence it was written, and by the character of the man who had written it, I could not but affirm that it was true. For the Borgo was only five miles from Castello, and Giovanni is a most prudent man, and as highly esteemed as any one in that city. Whereupon the Duke said: “I can guess how this matter is. You see that Vitellozzo has only started the infantry and the detached lances, but not the men-at-arms, so that he may be able to excuse himself from the charge of treason against me, which would probably be brought against him if he had contravened me with the troops whom I have paid. This movement of the artillery may also be merely a feint on the part of Vitellozzo, for he has certain pieces of artillery belonging to me, which I sent to demand of him only a few days ago. He may therefore make my troops believe that he is sending those pieces back to me under escort, so that they may not be seized by the people of Agobbio; and to the people of Agobbio he may pretend that he is coming to their assistance. But we shall soon see the upshot of all this, and I wait with the utmost impatience for them to declare themselves openly; although I do not believe that the Orsini will do so because of certain negotiations that are going on; and besides, my troops ought to present themselves before Urbino this day.”

After conversing for some time with the Duke upon this subject, I availed of the occasion to let him know how openly Edition: current; Page: [163] your Lordships had favored Grechetto and Bianchino, and how cheerfully you had given leave of absence to Maglianes; and that although these were but small things, yet that out of small things great ones grow; and that the intentions of men could be judged of even in the smallest things. I then told him in a few words, according to your Lordships’ instructions, of your favorable disposition in all other matters, looking always to what was reasonable and possible, and provided that he showed your Lordships all due and suitable respect. At the same time I thanked him for the favorable answers he had given me about the safe-conducts, and that your Lordships would be pleased to have them soon forthcoming in fact. His Excellency thanked your Lordships upon the first point, saying that he regarded the smallest service rendered him by your Lordships as of the greatest magnitude to him; and closed his remarks with general expressions, but in most obliging and friendly language. As to the safe-conducts, he called Messer Alessandro Spannochi, and said to him, “Arrange yourself here with the secretary, and try to put this safe-conduct into shape.” And thus I left his Excellency after some further conversation, in which he told me particularly of the disposition of the king of France to be agreeable to him, and that the day before Odoardo Baglio had been here to confirm to him orally what the king of France had several times written to him, and that he would soon see the practical evidences of his Majesty’s friendly disposition.

In my letter of the 9th, which I retained here until the 10th, I wrote so fully to your Lordships respecting the forces which the Duke has, and the assistance which he expects, that it seems superfluous to write more. The condition of his affairs is greatly improved since it is understood that the Venetians are resolved not to attack him, and since it is seen that he has the upper hand again in the duchy of Urbino, which he had looked upon as lost. To this must be added the fact, if indeed it be true, that the Orsini have submitted or are about to submit themselves to him. But of this we have not heardanything more, notwithstanding that the Signor Paolo Orsino is about to come here, as I have stated in one of my letters of yesterday.

His Excellency has, moreover, taken the Signor Lodovico della Mirandola into his pay, with sixty men-at-arms and sixty light-horse. Besides this, he has ordered the son of the general Edition: current; Page: [164] of Milan, who was formerly the general of Savoy, and who had been sent to enlist those fifteen hundred Swiss infantry, to collect one hundred and fifty men-at-arms in Lombardy, of which the Duke is going to give him the command. Thus the men-at-arms which he expects to have together here in the course of a month are as follows. First, those of his own gentlemen and the three companies under the Spanish captains, which I have mentioned in one of my letters, and those which he is collecting in his possessions in Romagna; — all these taken together will make about 500 men-at-arms. Then there is the Signor Lodovico, and the son of the general of Milan, who will bring about 210; and he counts upon having as many light-horse as he has men-at-arms. As to infantry, I estimate that he will find in Sienna and in the duchy of Urbino about 2,500; and he will have just as many more as he has money wherewith to pay them. Thus you see that he is collecting them from all quarters.

As to what your Lordships say in your postscript, that I should temporize and make no definite engagements, and endeavor to find out the Duke’s real intentions, I think I have thus far done the first two, and have tried my best to do the third, of which my letter of the 13th gives ample evidence; and therefore it would be superfluous to repeat it again now. I believe truly that, besides the other reasons which I have mentioned why the Duke remains undecided, there may be another, and that is that he wishes you to be governed in these matters by the king of France, since you show that you are waiting for his consent.

As I have already mentioned above, Odoardo Baglio was here yesterday; I called upon him, but had no opportunity to learn anything from him, which matters little, as he tells me that he has instructions to go to Florence to your Lordships. Having returned to the palace, Messer Alessandro Spannochi told me that he had again spoken to the Duke about the safe-conduct, but that to make it general would rather be a disadvantage for the Duke than otherwise. And when I wanted to reply to this objection, he said, “I shall have occasion to-morrow to be with Messer Agapito, and we will then see what can be done.” I can say nothing more on this subject except that it would be very much to the purpose if some friend of Messer Agapito were to write to him on the subject. We hear Edition: current; Page: [165] nothing whatever either from Bologna or from the direction of Urbino.

I recommend myself to your Lordships.

Niccolo Machiavelli.
Niccolo Machiavelli
Machiavelli, Niccolo
16 October, 1502

LETTER VIII.

Magnificent Signori:

Your Lordships will see from the enclosed, that since the receipt of yours of the 13th I have had an interview with his Excellency the Duke; also what I have to say respecting the state of things here, which I have deemed proper to communicate to your Lordships in a confidential letter.

Upon receiving the information from Giovanni Ridolfi as to the movement of the artillery and of the troops of Vitellozzo, his Excellency the Duke used, if I remember well, the following words: “Two considerations have prevented your Signoria from sending some troops to the confines of Vitellozzo’s possessions. The one was the desire to await the orders of the king of France, and to know what course to take in regard to the disturbances here; and the other is the small number of troops they have, and the many places they have to guard. And as I could have desired much to gain time, and that your Signoria should show me some favor, I explain these two considerations in the following manner. As to the first, touching the king, you may assure your Signoria that I am more sure than of death itself, that his Majesty would like to have the whole Florentine people come in person to support my interests, and upon this point you will shortly receive a definite reply. As to the other consideration, namely, the having but a small number of troops, you must write to your Signoria, that, by way of preventing any inconvenience arising from the sending of some of their troops from the places where they are, I am ready to go in person to their assistance, and to bear myself the entire burden of the war. In truth, I do not want them to do anything more than send to those places near Castello some fifty or sixty horse and some three hundred to four hundred regular troops, Edition: current; Page: [166] to have two pieces of artillery taken there, and to levy there one man for each house; to order reviews to be held there, and to make other demonstrations of that kind. And I charge you to urge these things upon your Signoria with all possible energy.”

Such were almost his very words. I did not fail to point out to his Excellency our lack of troops, and the apprehensions which their being sent away would naturally excite. He insisted, nevertheless, that I should write to you anyhow and make the request. I deemed it proper to promise it, but I do so in a separate and confidential letter, so that your Lordships may, if you judge it advisable to comply with the Duke’s request, do it without making it publicly known, and without compromising yourselves. In that case you ought to send some regular troops towards the Borgo and Anghiari, hold reviews, and do what else the Duke asks, either in whole or in part, pretending that you fear an attack from that direction. And, on the other hand, you could raise yourselves still more in the Duke’s estimation by representing the number double what they really are; for the Duke will not be able to get reliable information.

I beg your Lordships will not ascribe these suggestions either to presumption on my part, or to a desire to obtrude my advice; but rather to that natural affection which every man ought to feel for his country. Awaiting your prompt reply to all this, I recommend myself to your Lordships, quæ bene valeant.

Niccolo Machiavelli.
Niccolo Machiavelli
Machiavelli, Niccolo
17 October, 1502
Imola

LETTER IX.

Magnificent Signori:

By my last, which I sent yesterday with the courier, your Lordships will have been informed of the state of things here, and of what I had to say in reply to yours of the 13th, to which I expect your answer. By the present I have to inform you that to-day at about the eighteenth hour his Excellency the Duke sent for me, and on my arrival said: “I desire to carry out my Edition: current; Page: [167] intention of communicating to you whatever I hear concerning the interests of your Signori, or our common interests. To-day I have received this letter from Sienna from an agent of mine whom I have sent there.” And then he read me a passage from that letter, saying, “that the Orsini had marched their troops in the direction of Cagli; not as enemies, but under pretence that the Chevalier Orsino had told them on the part of the Duke that, if they would withdraw with their troops towards the duchy of Urbino, the Duke would look upon them as his friends. Moreover, that the Florentines had sought their alliance, and had offered them honorable conditions.” After that the writer of the letter added, “that the Orsini would really be good friends of his Excellency provided he would give up his attempt upon Bologna, and enter either into the states of Florence or of Venice.” After reading to me that passage from the letter, his Excellency said: “You see that I act in good faith towards you, believing that your Signoria will cheerfully come to be my friends, and will not deceive me. And really they ought to have more confidence in me now than ever; nor shall I for my part fail to do my duty.”

I thanked the Duke first on behalf of your Lordships, for his frankness in communicating to me that letter, and then said to him that, if I had to speak to him according to the instructions given me by your Lordships on leaving Florence, and according to the letters received since, I could not but bear witness to the excellent disposition of your Lordships towards him. And I enlarged upon this subject as far as I thought proper in accordance with your Lordships’ instructions. After that, whilst conversing together about the Orsini, as to their whereabouts with their troops, and as to their intentions, the Duke told me that he had information from another source that they were at Cagli, and that upon their arrival there the people of Cagli wanted to attack the citadel, but that the Orsini would not agree to it. And when the people of Cagli had asked the Orsini whether they intended to injure them, they replied, “No, but that they had not come to defend them either.” And thus they go on temporizing in the matter.

Such was my interview with the Duke, and to judge by what he said, and the general tenor of his remarks, which it would be too long to write, I found him to-day even more desirous Edition: current; Page: [168] of closing an alliance with your Lordships than he was the last time that I spoke to him.

I must not omit communicating to your Lordships what one of the Duke’s principal officers told me, whose name I will not mention, having been specially requested by him to that effect. Having conversed with him about the affairs of the day, he began to censure the tardiness of both your Lordships and the Duke in coming to an understanding; and whilst upon this point he said to me: “Only two days ago I told the Duke the same thing that I tell you now, that it is high time to finish the matter, which seems to me easy enough, for both the Florentines and his Excellency the Duke are equally well disposed for it. Both one and the other have enemies, and each has to maintain an armed force to defend themselves, and therefore it is the easiest thing in the world to agree upon all points.” To which the Duke had replied: “Why then do these Signori put off so long making me some proposition? Nothing else makes me doubtful of them except the fact that they do not declare or explain themselves. The only reason why I desire that the first proposition should come from them is to give greater stability to whatever may be concluded between us.” It is not worth while to tell you what I said in reply; I merely wanted to give your Lordships this information, so that you may the better understand the Duke’s intentions, or rather be better able to conjecture them.

I have forgotten to write to your Lordships that in my conversation with his Excellency this morning he said to me: “That agent of mine who writes me from Sienna says that your Signori have sent an envoy there to negotiate the conclusion of some sort of truce.” I replied that it was altogether news to me that there were any negotiations pending between your Lordships and the people of Sienna; nor did I know what truce there could be in question, unless it be the one which was made in 1498 for five years, and which would expire in six or eight months; and that they possibly might wish to renew it. He then asked me what the conditions of that truce were, to which I replied, they were simply that the parties should not injure one another, nor give support to any hostile force that might attempt to assail the territory of either; which the Duke seemed to believe.

We have news from the direction of Urbino, that the Duke’s Edition: current; Page: [169] army which had orders to approach that town have not passed Fossombrone; some say on account of the weather, and others say that it was because a company of Vitellozzo’s infantry had entered into Urbino; or perhaps because of the arrival of the Orsini at Cagli, which I have mentioned above.

There are one thousand infantry here, who are in the Duke’s pay; and I believe this has prevented him from raising more. However, a large sum of money is expected from Rome by way of Florence. The execution of the orders which I have mentioned to you for the French troops, and for the raising of both mounted men and infantry, are urgently pressed forward, and all day messengers are arriving and departing for Lombardy.

The Chevalier Orsino, whom I have mentioned before, returned yesterday evening from Perugia. What news he brings I know not; I conjecture, the same as what the Duke’s agent has written from Sienna, of which I informed you above. I have nothing more to write to your Lordships, unless it be that, if I were asked for my opinion of all these movements, I should answer, with your permission, that so long as the present Pope lives, and so long as the Duke preserves the friendship of the king of France, he will not be abandoned by that good fortune which until now has steadily increased. For those who have given indications of being hostile to him are too late to do him much harm, and will be still more unable to-morrow than they are to-day.

Niccolo Machiavelli.
Niccolo Machiavelli
Machiavelli, Niccolo
20 October, 1502
Imola

LETTER X.

Magnificent Signori:

Yesterday about the twentieth hour I received by the courier Baccino your Lordships’ letter of the 17th, with copies of the letters sent from Perugia. Immediately after their receipt I presented myself before his Excellency the Duke, and after communicating to him what your Lordships write touching the advices you expect from France, and your expressions of good feeling towards him, as also the object of your sending a special Edition: current; Page: [170] courier to me, I read to him the copies of those letters from Perugia. Having listened to them, his Excellency thanked your Lordships very much for the marks of friendship you give him on every occasion, enlarging upon that point in the most amiable manner, and promising you proof of his gratitude whenever occasion should present itself. After that he said that those six hundred men-at-arms of which his adversaries boasted might on review turn out less in number, and added laughingly: “They do well to write men-at-arms in blank, which means to say none. I do not mean to boast, but I intend the results shall prove what they are, and what we are. The more I know them, the less account I make of them and their troops. And as to this Vitellozzo, to whom they have given so great a reputation, I cannot say that I have ever seen him do a single thing that showed him to be a man of courage. His constant excuse was the French disease. All he is fit for is to devastate a defenceless country, to rob those who dare not face him, and to practise treason. And he has shown this very clearly now in this affair of Pisa, so that no one can any longer doubt it; for he has betrayed me, being in my pay and having accepted my money.” He enlarged very much upon this matter, speaking, however, very calmly and without manifesting any anger. I replied to his Excellency in the way I thought proper, and did not omit in this interview, which did not terminate very speedily, to do my best to confirm him in the opinion that he could not and ought not to trust them any longer; bringing clearly to his attention many instances of the past, when, whilst making show of friendship, they were to the extent of their ability scheming and plotting treason against him. I continue to do my utmost to win his Excellency’s confidence, and to be allowed to talk familiarly with him, in which I am aided by circumstances as well as by the friendly demonstrations which your Lordships have until now made towards him. But up to the present time I have not been able to learn anything more from him.

As his Excellency did not himself broach the subject of the affairs of Urbino, I did not touch upon it lest it might offend him; and besides, I can learn about it in great part by other means.

There is an admirable secrecy observed at this court, and no one speaks of things respecting which silence is to be observed; it is quite possible, therefore, that your Lordships may have Edition: current; Page: [171] heard more accurately at Florence than I have here, that the Orsini, the Vitelli, and their other confederates, have all declared themselves openly, and no longer dissimulate their intentions. His Excellency had already told me of it, and accordingly I mentioned it in my letter of the 17th. Three days ago they routed after a fashion Don Michele, Don Hugo, and Messer Ramiro, and drove them into Fossombrone. Some say that Don Hugo has been taken, Don Michele wounded, and that Messer Ramiro has retreated to Fano with the greater part of the troops. Others say that they have abandoned Fossombrone entirely, and others again assert that they left there some three hundred infantry. Be that as it may, the details are of little importance; enough to know that the Duke’s forces have retreated, after receiving some hard knocks. Since then we hear of no further encounters.

As to the Duke Guido, we got an inkling here a few days ago that he had left Venice to enter into the duchy of Urbino; and for that reason his Excellency has promptly sent a large force to try and bar him the way; it is not known yet at what place he has arrived. Some say he is at Urbino, others in San Leo, and others again maintain that he has not yet passed the frontier. I can only write you what I learn, and can only learn what I hear. No one stirs from the direction of Bologna, and there seems to be no apprehension from that quarter. The measures taken by his Excellency are being urged from all sides, as I have several times mentioned in my letters; and he has spent since I have been here as much money for couriers and special messengers as any one else would have spent in two years. He does not cease day or night to send off messengers, and yesterday evening he sent off two of his gentlemen, and with them Guglielmo di P. di Buonaccorso, who had been in his service at one time, and who speaks French well, to meet the French lances that are on the way, and which, according to what his Excellency tells me, might at this moment be on this side of Modena.

I hope to be able to send you to-day the general safe-conduct for our people. In speaking yesterday with his Excellency on the subject, he was very angry that it had not yet been sent; and in speaking of the matter he said, “Would it not be proper that I should have some security for my people in your territory?” To which I replied, that he might see from the facts Edition: current; Page: [172] that there was no need of it; still, if his Excellency desired to have a safe-conduct for those in his service and for his subjects, it would most assuredly not be refused.

I recommend myself to your Lordships.

Niccolo Machiavelli.
Niccolo Machiavelli
Machiavelli, Niccolo
20 October, 1502
Imola

LETTER XI.

Magnificent Signori:

Yesterday, before receiving your Lordships’ letter of the 17th, to which this is a reply, his Excellency the Duke sent for me, and told me that he had letters from France from Monseigneur d’Arles, containing the information that your Lordships’ ambassador had presented himself on your part to his Majesty the king, and had related to him the doings of the Orsini, the meetings held by them, as well as the other movements against his Holiness the Pope; that he had pointed out to his Majesty the consequences that might result therefrom, and had advised him to take the matter in hand himself; and that, in conclusion, he had told him that your Lordships were ready to do whatever you could in support of the Pope and the Duke whenever his Majesty should deem proper. That his Majesty had expressed himself in reply very warmly in favor of the Duke, and extremely pleased at the assurances of the ambassador, saying that the more vigorous the support, the more agreeable would it be to him, and that the Florentine Signoria ought to render such aid by their armed forces and by all other means. When our ambassador replied that your Lordships were short of troops, the king said that he would grant you permission to raise troops in all his states for the benefit of the Church. After having communicated to me this information, his Excellency added: “You must write to your Signoria to send ten squadrons of cavalry to my assistance; and tell them that I am ready to conclude a firm and indissoluble alliance with them, from which they will derive all the advantages that can be hoped for from my support and my fortune.” Adding that, “since his Majesty the king has manifested that disposition, of which your Lordships must Edition: current; Page: [173] now be fully informed, he would wish that that matter should be carried into effect” about which I wrote you on the 16th, which letter was sent by our courier Giovanni de Domenico, and which I will not repeat here. Moreover, the Duke would wish that your Lordships, under color of some excuse, should give the Orsini and their partisan chiefs to understand, either verbally or by letter as you may deem best, that you are obliged to obey the commands or suggestions of his Majesty the king; and that if his Majesty should require you to give your support to his Holiness the Pope, no matter against whom, you would be obliged to give it. And here the Duke protested to me that your Lordships would thus render him a very great service, and desired me to write you immediately.

After that he touched upon various other subjects, to all of which I replied as I thought my duty demanded, but being of no particular importance, I deem it superfluous to give you an account of them; and will only mention this, that in speaking of Pandolfo Petrucci he said, “This man sends me every day letters or special messengers to assure me of his great friendship for me, but I know him.” He then told me that he had been written to from various places that your Lordships counselled the Bolognese to declare war against him, and that those who had so written him said that you had done so either because you desired his ruin, or for the purpose of making a more advantageous treaty with him. But the Duke said that he did not believe it, from all the evidence he had, and especially from the information he had received from France.

Valete!
Niccolo Machiavelli.
Niccolo Machiavelli
Machiavelli, Niccolo
21 October, 1502

LETTER XII.

Magnificent Signori:

I wrote to your Lordships yesterday by the courier Baccino, in reply to yours of the 17th. In the beginning of my letter I told you that I expected at last to obtain the safe-conduct; and for that purpose I went to see Messer Agapito, who told me it was ready, but that he wanted from your Lordships a Edition: current; Page: [174] corresponding safe-conduct for all the subjects of the Duke. He gave me a copy of the one he had prepared, which I send you herewith, so that if you think fit you may have a similar one prepared and send it to me; and I will then immediately get the one from here, and will try to effect the exchange without any expense, provided your Lordships approve of this arrangement.

Nothing new has occurred here since my last, unless it be that Messer Antonio da Venafro, one of Pandolfo Petrucci’s men, arrived here yesterday evening, being sent by the Orsini; he left again to-day, but I do not know the object of his mission. I shall make every effort, however, to find it out, and will then communicate it to your Lordships, to whom I recommend myself.

Niccolo Machiavelli.

Copy of the Safe-conduct.

Cesare Borgia of France, by the grace of God Duke of Romagna and of Valentino, Prince of Adria and Venafro, Lord of Piombino, etc., etc., Gonfalonier and Captain-General of the Holy Church of Rome: —

To all the captains, condottieri, chiefs of squadrons, constables, soldiers, and others in our pay, composing our army; and to the respected President and Auditors of our Council, lieutenants, commissaries, podestas, officers ordinary and special, directly or indirectly subject to our authority, to whom these presents may come: — Be it known and made manifest that we, being desirous that the illustrious Signoria, community, and people of Florence experience, for the convenience of their citizens and subjects, the proofs and demonstrations of our good will, in conformity with the close and fraternal affection which we bear to the said Signoria, — therefore we have ordered that the aforesaid citizens and subjects may with entire liberty and security contract and maintain friendly intercourse with all our subjects, and may travel unmolested in person and with their goods throughout our states and dominions.

And we command and enjoin all the aforementioned officers and persons, generally and individually, not to permit any impediment, real or personal, to any citizen or subject of the Edition: current; Page: [175] aforementioned republic anywhere, and most particularly in the cities, towns, castles, or other places in our dominion of Romagna, or other states; but to let them pass freely with their merchandise or goods of any kind belonging to them, for the purpose of trade or traffic, giving them safe passage, friendly reception, and good treatment everywhere; and to afford them friendly assistance, and whatever protection they may call for.

And let no one act contrary to these presents, on pain of incurring the full weight of our resentment and indignation.

Given at Imola, on the 19th of October, 1502, the second year of our Duchy of Romagna.

Niccolo Machiavelli
Machiavelli, Niccolo
23 October, 1502
Imola

LETTER XIII.

Magnificent Signori:

To-day, at about the twenty-fourth hour, I received through Francesco del Magno three letters from your Lordships, one of the 19th and two of the 21st; and after having read and examined them carefully, I went to his Excellency the Duke to communicate to him your reply to his demands respecting which I wrote in my letter of the 16th. I told him of the arrival at Florence of Messer Guasparre by order of the Pope, and of his demands. To the first two, respecting the hundred lances and the Marquis of Mantua, he replied by declaring the one impossible, and that he had nothing to do with the Marquis, not wishing to begin his engagement before the month of March. As to the third, touching the alliance, etc., I related to him the determination you had come to, promptly to send an ambassador to the Pope, so as to learn his wishes more fully, and to treat of all matters of common interest. I did not in any way make known to the Duke your particular instructions, as suggested to me by you at the end of your last letter; and did not fail to try earnestly to convince him of your desire to be of service to him, and how far you were from having an understanding with any of his adversaries. And as it seemed to me to the purpose, I communicated to him that portion of your letter which refers to that matter.

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His Excellency listened to me most graciously, as he always does; and then, having gone to a table upon which lay some letters, he said to me: “Before otherwise replying to you, I wish to show you a letter which his Majesty King Louis XII. has written to the Venetians, and of which Monseigneur d’Arles has sent me a copy in French. And for the better understanding of it, you must know that these Venetians, under pretext of friendship, have sent word to the king by their envoys, that their love for his Majesty made them apprehensive lest he should meet with some damage to his renown in Italy; that as his most devoted friends they felt themselves obliged to apprise him of the current rumors, and of the harm resulting to him from the protection which he had accorded and continued to accord to the Pope and the Duke of Valentinois, who without provocation usurped the possessions of others, wasted the provinces by war, and committed endless damage and disorders, discreditable to his Majesty who permitted it. That the wrongs of the past were as nothing compared to those lately done at Bologna, which his Majesty had undertaken to protect. The king, after hearing these things, replied to them by letter, so that the Venetians might keep it before their eyes, and thus more clearly understand his intentions.” After that the Duke read me that letter at length, which in effect justified all these calumnies, and concluded by an expression of his determination to reduce all the States of the Church to obedience, and that, if the Venetians were to oppose the attempts of the Pope, his Majesty would treat them as enemies.

Having finished reading that letter, his Excellency added: “I have told you several times, and repeat it to you again now, that I shall not lack support. The French lances will be here shortly; and thus the Pope will not permit me to want for money, nor the king of France to want for troops. Nor will I boast either by act or word, but I think my enemies are likely to have occasion to regret their treachery to me.” And then, turning the conversation upon the Orsini, he said: “That they had lately been guilty of the greatest treachery against him that had ever been committed. You know,” he said, “that I told you within the last few days that they were about to enter the duchy of Urbino in my stead, and according to my orders, which had been communicated to them by Edition: current; Page: [177] the Chevalier Orsino. Believing this, as they had raised the siege of the castle of Cagli, as I have told you, I wrote to Don Hugo di Cardona to march with his troops to Urbino, as the Orsini were coming to my support from the other side. He did so; but had it not been that he stopped on his way to demolish two small castles, my troops would have been all cut to pieces. For when they were about to advance, they were assailed by a great number of the people of the country, and were on the point of being surrounded by the Orsini, who ought to have been my friends. They have now made a descent into the territory of Fano, where, however, they take only what is necessary for their subsistence, pretending all the while to be my friends. Giampaolo Baglioni, another friend of the same sort, wanted to enter Fano, but did not succeed. You see now how they conduct themselves; they keep up friendly negotiations with me, and write me fine letters. To-day Signor Pagolo is to come here to see me, and to-morrow the Cardinal Orsino is to come, and thus they mock me in their fashion; but I temporize, listen to all I hear, and bide my time. By way of answer to what you told me on behalf of your Signoria, I readily accept their excuses, knowing that they are founded in truth. Nor could I be better satisfied with them than what I am, and with what they write me of having gone purposely to Sienna; and therefore I wish you to offer them, on my part, all the service I have it in my power to render them. I did not upon your arrival open myself so entirely to you, because my states were at that time in a very critical condition. Urbino had rebelled, and I knew not whom to rely upon. I found everything in disorder in these new states, and did not want your Signoria to believe that great fears had made me prodigal of promises. But now that my fears are less, I promise you more, and if necessary shall add thereto my deeds, when my apprehensions shall have been entirely dissipated.”

Having made a suitable reply to his Excellency’s remarks, and having returned to the subject of the Orsini and the negotiations, I thought it proper to say to him as coming from myself: “Your Excellency sees how frankly my noble Signoria is in accord with you; for at the very height of your peril they have sent me to assure you of their friendly disposition and their devotion. Regardless of reproaches for increasing Edition: current; Page: [178] your reputation and lowering that of your enemies, they have broken off all negotiations with them, and have opened to your Excellency a free passage through their territories, which acts merit recognition and should not be forgotten. I beg, therefore, to remind and urge upon your Excellency, that, if you should come to treat with the Orsini or any of the others, you will remember our devotion to you, and will therefore not conclude any arrangement contrary to the constant professions of friendship on the part of your Excellency for my Signoria.”

To this the Duke answered that he entertained no such thought, adding: “You know that Antonio da Venafro has been to see me in the name of the Orsini, and, amongst much other news which he has given me, he brought forward a proposition to change the government of Florence. I replied, that the Florentine government was the friend of the king of France, to whom I am devoted, and that it had never offended me; and what was still more, I was on the point of forming an alliance with it. To this Antonio replied by urging me on no account to conclude such an alliance, but to let him return and effect a good arrangement between us. Whereupon I said to him, with the view of not giving him any encouragement in that direction: ‘We have gone so far that I cannot now go back; nevertheless, I repeat to you that I am willing to listen to you and to continue negotiations with you, but will never conclude any arrangement adverse to the interests of Florence, unless that republic should give me special occasion for so doing.’ And in case Messer Antonio should return, rest assured,” continued the Duke to me, “that I will tell you all he may say to me concerning your affairs; this I shall do anyhow.” And thus terminated this conversation with the Duke on this and many other subjects, which it is not worth while to report; whereupon I took my leave of his Excellency.

Your Lordships are informed now of the language held by the Duke, of which I have not written the half; and you will now weigh the matter with your usual sagacity, having due regard to the individual who uttered it. As to the situation of things here I would observe that ever since my being here the government of the Duke has been maintained exclusively by his good fortune, which is founded upon the confident opinion that the king of France will furnish him troops, and that the Edition: current; Page: [179] Pope will supply him with money. Another matter which has operated no less in his favor is the tardiness of his enemies in pressing him; and in my judgment they are no longer able to do him any harm, for he has provided all the important places with garrisons, and the fortresses with ample means of defence. These precautions have so cooled the spirits of his enemies that the Duke can now securely await the arrival of fresh forces. As all these places are commanded by citadels within, they know that, if they were to commit any folly, the Duke on his arrival would let the French troops upon them; and thus the mere apprehension has kept them quiet, if not all, at least the greater part of them.

The city of Pesaro being most suspected by the Duke, he has sent Don Michele Coraglia there with such troops as were left to him; and feeling more sure of Fano, he has left that city to the care of its own inhabitants. But as Rimini has and continues to cause him anxiety, he has thrown a strong garrison into that city. Of Cesena, Faenza, and Furli he has no apprehensions, the inhabitants of the latter city being hostile to the Lady Catharine Sforza, and the other two having no lords. The Duke himself is here at Imola, and can repress any movement on the part of the Bolognese. Having organized things in this wise, he only awaits the arrival of the French to take the field; and according to the report of Rafaello de’ Pazzi they must anyhow be by this time in the duchy of Ferrara. He also reports having left eight hundred Gascons at . . . . . . some thirty miles from here. The six hundred Ferrarese infantry which the Duke had ordered to be raised there have just arrived here. To-day he has expedited the Chancellor of the Signor of Mirandola with money and instructions to have him raise troops; and this captain promises to be here with his troops within ten days. On the other hand, the enemy have partly surrounded Fano, and it is reported to-day that they have opened the siege in regular form. Moreover the Bolognese are in force at Castel San Piero, and for two days have scoured and wasted the country, and are reported this evening to be in the neighborhood of Doccia, three miles from here.

Your Lordships will judge of these matters as may seem fit in your wisdom. As you have sent an ambassador to Rome, my longer stay here will be superfluous. I beg therefore that your Lordships will consent to my recall; for my private interests Edition: current; Page: [180] at home are going to ruin, and I have expended all the money you have given me, as is well known to those who serve me here.

Niccolo Machiavelli.

P. S. — To day is the 24th, and it is announced that the Signor Paolo Orsino will be at Cesena to-night, and that he will be here to-morrow to confer with the Duke.

Niccolo Machiavelli
Machiavelli, Niccolo
27 October, 1502
Imola

LETTER XIV.

Magnificent Signori:

By mine of the 23d, which I retained until the 24th, I have replied to yours of the 21st. Yesterday, the 25th, Signor Paolo Orsino arrived here and presented himself to the Duke, dressed like a courier, and stated that the Cardinal Borgia had placed himself as a hostage for his security in the hands of the Orsini. The coming of Signor Paolo is in great part due to that gentleman, at whose request he has come here to excuse and justify what has occurred, and to learn more nearly the intentions of his Excellency; and to communicate them to the others. He has to-day despatched a courier to them in the neighborhood of Fano to learn their final resolution. I have not been able to learn any particulars of the interview between Signor Paolo and the Duke, nor do I believe that I shall be able to obtain any, as that gentleman is very reticent, and talks with but few persons. At one time an arrangement was under consideration, and Messer Giovanni Bentivogli has sent several messengers to the Bishop of Euna; but now, since the arrival of Messer Paolo, he often receives a chancellor sent by Messer Annibale Bentivogli, who is at Castel San Piero. All the booty taken by the Bolognese three days ago is being restored. The Orsini have not laid siege to Fano, as had been reported, nor are the Bentivogli before Doccia, which I wrote you yesterday had been currently reported here. And thus nobody stirs; and we now see that the negotiations for an arrangement are favorable to the Duke, and that he entertains them willingly; but I will not pretend to judge what his real intentions are.

Edition: current; Page: [181]

To-day is the 27th, and yesterday evening at the fourth hour I received your Lordships’ letter of the 25th. So soon as his Excellency the Duke had arisen this morning I went to see him, and as it seemed to me proper to communicate your despatch to him, I read him the greater part of it. He thanked your Lordships according to his wont for your firm disposition, and for the communication made to him through the mission of Messer Gino di Rossi. He assured me that he could not but believe you, as your words and your letters agreed so entirely. Then, referring to the arrival of Signor Paolo and the proposed treaty, he said: “These men merely want that I should secure them, and it only remains to find the way of doing it, which mustbe according to fixed stipulations, for which they look to the Cardinal Orsino.” And without giving me a chance to say a word, he added: “It is enough for you to know in general that I shall never conclude anything contrary to the interests of your Signoria; I will not permit them to be wronged to the extent of a single hair.” He seemed pleased that an envoy had been sent to Rome, and yet he did not refer to that matter, but passed it over. I did not fail to recommend to him Salvestro di Buosi in the terms suggested to me by your Lordships. His Excellency replied: “Your Signoria desires that I should set Salvestro at liberty, he being their friend. To which I reply, that all my subjects are their friends and servants; and your Signoria should rather interest itself for the great number of my subjects, who would suffer by the liberation of Salvestro, than for him alone. Suffice it for the present that no harm shall come to him, and so soon as I can set him free without irritating my people, I will comply most cheerfully with the request of your Signoria.”

Your Lordships desire me to give them a fresh account of the condition of things as I find them here, having already done so in my last, which I presume was received by you on the 24th; I therefore do not repeat it. Matters are very much as when I wrote you, excepting that the booty taken by the Bolognese is being restored, and neither Fano nor Doccia is besieged, as had been reported. It is true, we have the news to-day that the Vittelleschi have taken the castle of Fossombrone, which held to the Duke. Paolo Orsino expressed his dissatisfaction at it, and spoke very severely of those who Edition: current; Page: [182] caused it to be done. As to the terms of any arrangement that may be concluded between them, they are not sufficiently known; but one may augur favorably regarding it. If we examine the characters of both the one and the other party, we shall find in the Duke a daring and fortunate man, full of hope, favored by a Pope and a king, and who finds himself assailed by the others, not only in a state that he wishes to acquire, but also in one that he has already acquired. The other party will be seen to fear for their own states, and to have been afraid of the Duke before they provoked him. Having done so now, their fears are increased, and it is impossible to see how the latter can pardon the offence, or how the former can dismiss their apprehensions; and consequently how either the one can yield in his attempt against Bologna, or the others in theirs upon the duchy of Urbino. It is argued that an amicable arrangement between them would be possible only if they could unite their joint forces against some third party, in which case neither the Duke nor the confederates need reduce their forces, and both would rather gain in renown and in real advantages.

However, if such an arrangement could be brought about, there would be no other power for them to turn against except Florence or Venice. An attack upon Florence is judged to be the easier of the two, so far as Florence itself is concerned, but more difficult on account of the king of France; whilst an attempt upon Venice would be easier so far as the king of France is concerned, but more difficult as regards Venice itself. The latter would be the most agreeable to the Duke, and the former more acceptable to the confederates. Still it is not believed that either one or the other will be undertaken, although spoken of as a possible thing. And thus I can find no one who can definitely suggest a way for an agreement between the two. But such as nevertheless form some definite idea to themselves on the subject believe that the Duke will succeed in causing a division amongst the confederates, and having thus broken up their alliance he will have nothing more to fear from them, and may then pursue his own enterprises. I am rather disposed to believe this from some mutterings that have fallen from the lips of his ministers; and moreover I have evidence that the Bentivogli are quite uneasy on account of the coming here of Paolo Orsino. The league, Edition: current; Page: [183] however, is so recent, that it is difficult to believe in its being broken up.

Your Lordships, having now been apprised of the various reports current here, will, with your greater wisdom and experience, form a better judgment of the state of things here, respecting which I have thought it my duty to write all I have heard.

A considerable part of the Gascons have arrived at Castello in the Bolognese territory, and the quartermasters of the French troops are expected here from day to day.

I entreat your Lordships again to accord me my recall, for the public weal requires no further temporizing; and if anything definite is to be concluded, then it will be necessary to send some one of greater authority. My own affairs at home are falling into the greatest disorder, and moreover I cannot remain here any longer without money, which it is necessary to spend here.

I recommend myself to your Lordships.

Niccolo Machiavelli.
Niccolo Machiavelli
Machiavelli, Niccolo
29 October, 1502
Imola

LETTER XV.

Magnificent Signori:

In my last of the 27th, I communicated to you what I had learned of the state of things here. Sincethen Signor Paolo Orsino has been to Bologna, whence he returned this evening. It is openly said that a treaty has been concluded between the confederates and the Duke Valentino, and that they are only waiting for the consent of the Cardinal Orsino before ratifying it.

I have not been able to learn anything satisfactory as to the particular conditions of that treaty; but it is said that all the old compacts that existed between the Duke and Messer Giovanni and the Vitelli and the Orsini are renewed by this treaty; that the Duke is to be reinstated in the duchy of Urbino, and that the Duke of Ferrara becomes surety for both parties. Other things are talked about, but I do not mention them, as they seem less credible than the above. Whether Edition: current; Page: [184] such a treaty has really been concluded, and whether its conditions are such as I have mentioned above, I dare not affirm. But besides all these negotiations about the treaty, I see the Duke expending large sums in warlike preparations; it was only yesterday that he despatched a Messer Arcolano into Lombardy with several thousand ducats, to hasten the departure of the remainder of the French troops that are expected, and the other mounted men, whom he caused to be collected under the command of the son of the General of Milan, which I mentioned in one of my letters a few days ago. I hear, moreover, the Duke’s principal officers speak in secret very ill of the Orsini, and call them traitors; and in conversing this morning with Messer Agapito about this treaty, he laughed at it, saying that it was a mere trick to gain time. The Duke’s own remarks have always made me conclude that he was anxious thus to temporize, until he should have completed all his preparations. Nor can I believe that the others should not be aware of this, so that I am really perplexed; and being unable to learn anything from his ministers, I would ere this have addressed myself to the Duke himself, but have not had an opportunity since then. To-morrow, however, unless I should receive letters from you, I shall endeavor to speak to him, and see how he expresses himself with regard to this treaty. For when I think whether they may not have concluded some arrangement prejudicial to our republic, I become uneasy at the secrecy in which this matter is involved; for the Duke’s secretaries have become almost rude to me, rather than otherwise, and even the Duke of Ferrara’s envoy, who used to take pleasure in conversing with me actually avoids me now. This evening, after supper, Messer Alessandro Spannochi made use of certain expressions that did not please me, hinting that your Lordships had had the opportunity of treating with his Excellency the Duke, but that the chance was now lost. I have thought proper to mention all these indications and goings on to your Lordships, as they came under my observation, so that you may yourselves judge of their meaning, and take such measures as may prevent any one from successfully plotting against you.

It is now the sixth hour of the night, and some one has just come in to tell me that the Duke had at that moment received the news of the revolt of Camerino. We shall know better to-morrow Edition: current; Page: [185] morning whether this be true, and if so, it may render the conclusion of the treaty more difficult, unless the Duke of his own accord makes greater concessions to the confederates, for fear of worse.

Niccolo Machiavelli.

P. S. — To-day is the 30th, and Zerino has just arrived with your letters of the 28th, respecting which I shall speak with the Duke, and will then write you fully this evening concerning matters here. I send this letter by Branchino, who is just about to leave, it being now the twentieth hour; he goes to Florence to buy horses, etc., etc. Respecting affairs at Camerino, which I mentioned above, nothing is openly said at court this morning, but the individual who told me of it yesterday evening confirms the news, and says he has seen letters on the subject directed to Signor Paolo Orsino; but that the Duke has requested him not to make the information public. I mention this just as I haveheard it, and recommend myself again to your Lordships.

Memorandum of the Troops of the Duke Valentino.

Infantry.
Don Michele 600
Dionigi di Naldo 500
Comandatore 500
Maestro di Sala 500
Don Romolino 400
Lo Sgallo da Sienna 300
Grechetto 200
Salzato, the Spaniard 300
Don Limolo 200
Giambattista Martino 400
Marc Autonio di Fano 500
Giannetto di Siviglia 150
Mangiares 200
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.

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Men-at-arms.
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.

Cavalry.
Don Michele 100
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: —

Guido Guaini 40
Detached lances 40
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.

Edition: current; Page: [187]
Niccolo Machiavelli
Machiavelli, Niccolo
October 30, 1502

LETTER XVI.

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. Edition: current; Page: [188] 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 Edition: current; Page: [189] 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.

Niccolo Machiavelli.

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!
Edition: current; Page: [190]
Niccolo Machiavelli
Machiavelli, Niccolo
November 1, 1502
Imola

LETTER XVII.

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 Edition: current; Page: [191] 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. Edition: current; Page: [192] 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 Edition: current; Page: [193] 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.

Niccolo Machiavelli.
Niccolo Machiavelli
Machiavelli, Niccolo
3 November, 1502
Imola

LETTER XVIII.

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 Edition: current; Page: [194] 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 Edition: current; Page: [195] 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 Edition: current; Page: [196] 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.

Bene valete!
Niccolo Machiavelli.
Niccolo Machiavelli
Machiavelli, Niccolo
3 November, 1502
Imola

LETTER XIX.

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.

Niccolo Machiavelli.
Niccolo Machiavelli
Machiavelli, Niccolo
8 November, 1502
Imola

LETTER XX.

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, Edition: current; Page: [197] 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 Edition: current; Page: [198] 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; Edition: current; Page: [199] 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.

Niccolo Machiavelli.
Niccolo Machiavelli
Machiavelli, Niccolo
8 November, 1502
Imola

LETTER XXI.

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 Edition: current; Page: [200] 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 Edition: current; Page: [201] 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 Edition: current; Page: [202] 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, Edition: current; Page: [203] 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.

Niccolo Machiavelli.
Niccolo Machiavelli
Machiavelli, Niccolo
10 November, 1502
Imola

LETTER XXII.

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 Edition: current; Page: [204] 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.

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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.

Niccolo Machiavelli.

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, Edition: current; Page: [206] 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.

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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.

Cesare.
I, Paolo Orsino, have subscribed.
Agapito.

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.

Edition: current; Page: [208]
Niccolo Machiavelli
Machiavelli, Niccolo
13 November, 1502
Imola

LETTER XXIII.

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 Edition: current; Page: [209] 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 Edition: current; Page: [210] 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 Edition: current; Page: [211] 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.

Niccolo Machiavelli.
Niccolo Machiavelli
Machiavelli, Niccolo
14 November, 1502
Imola

LETTER XXIV.

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 Edition: current; Page: [212] 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.

Niccolo Machiavelli.
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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.
Niccolo Machiavelli
Machiavelli, Niccolo
16 November, 1502
Imola

LETTER XXV.

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 Edition: current; Page: [214] 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 Edition: current; Page: [215] the price of spices at Venice, and does great injury to that city.

I recommend myself to your Lordships, quæ bene valeant.

Niccolo Machiavelli.

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.

Niccolo Machiavelli
Machiavelli, Niccolo
20 November, 1502

LETTER XXVI.

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 Edition: current; Page: [216] 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 Edition: current; Page: [217] 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.

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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 Edition: current; Page: [219] 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 Edition: current; Page: [220] 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 Edition: current; Page: [221] 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.

Niccolo Machiavelli.

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.

Iterum valete!
Niccolo Machiavelli.
Niccolo Machiavelli
Machiavelli, Niccolo
22 November, 1502
Imola

LETTER XXVII.

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 Edition: current; Page: [222] 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.

Bene valete!
Niccolo Machiavelli.
Edition: current; Page: [223]
Niccolo Machiavelli
Machiavelli, Niccolo
26 November, 1502
Imola

LETTER XXVIII.

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 Edition: current; Page: [224] 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, Edition: current; Page: [225] 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.

Bene valete!
Niccolo Machiavelli.
Edition: current; Page: [226]
Niccolo Machiavelli
Machiavelli, Niccolo
28 November, 1502
Imola

LETTER XXIX.

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 Edition: current; Page: [227] 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.

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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 Edition: current; Page: [229] 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.

Niccolo Machiavelli.
Niccolo Machiavelli
Machiavelli, Niccolo
Morning of the 29th.
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 Edition: current; Page: [230] 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.

Niccolo Machiavelli
Machiavelli, Niccolo
30 November, 1502
Imola

LETTER XXX.

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, Edition: current; Page: [231] 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.

Niccolo Machiavelli.
Niccolo Machiavelli
Machiavelli, Niccolo
2 December, 1502
Imola

LETTER XXXI.

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 Edition: current; Page: [232] 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; Edition: current; Page: [233] 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.

Niccolo Machiavelli.

Please pay the bearer of this six lire. This letter should reach you at least by the 4th instant.

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 Edition: current; Page: [234] 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.

Niccolo Machiavelli
Machiavelli, Niccolo
2 December, 1502
Imola

LETTER XXXII.

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 Edition: current; Page: [235] 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.

Niccolo Machiavelli.
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Niccolo Machiavelli
Machiavelli, Niccolo
6 December, 1502
Imola

LETTER XXXIII.

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 Edition: current; Page: [237] 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.

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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.

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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.

Niccolo Machiavelli.
Niccolo Machiavelli
Machiavelli, Niccolo
6 December, 1502
Imola

LETTER XXXIV.

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.

Niccolo Machiavelli.
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Niccolo Machiavelli
Machiavelli, Niccolo
December 9, 1502

LETTER XXXV.

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 Edition: current; Page: [241] 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.

Niccolo Machiavelli.
Edition: current; Page: [242]
Niccolo Machiavelli
Machiavelli, Niccolo
10 December, 1502
Imola

LETTER XXXVI.

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.

Niccolo Machiavelli.
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Niccolo Machiavelli
Machiavelli, Niccolo
14 December, 1502
Cesena

LETTER XXXVII.

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.

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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, Edition: current; Page: [245] 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.

Niccolo Machiavelli.

P. S. — One of the first gentlemen of the Duke’s court has requested me, on behalf of his Excellency, to recommend to Edition: current; Page: [246] 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.

Niccolo Machiavelli
Machiavelli, Niccolo
18 December, 1502
Cesena

LETTER XXXVIII.

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 Edition: current; Page: [247] 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 Edition: current; Page: [248] 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.

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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 Edition: current; Page: [250] 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 Edition: current; Page: [251] 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.

Bene valete!
Niccolo Machiavelli.

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!
Niccolo Machiavelli
Machiavelli, Niccolo
19 December, 1502
Cesena

LETTER XXXIX.

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 Edition: current; Page: [252] 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.

Niccolo Machiavelli.
Niccolo Machiavelli
Machiavelli, Niccolo
20 December, 1502
Cesena

LETTER XL.

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 Edition: current; Page: [253] 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.

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I have nothing else to write, except to recommend myself to your Lordships.

Niccolo Machiavelli.

Please have the bearer of this paid one gold florin.

Niccolo Machiavelli
Machiavelli, Niccolo
23 December, 1502

LETTER XLI.

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 Edition: current; Page: [255] 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 Edition: current; Page: [256] 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, Edition: current; Page: [257] 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.

Niccolo Machiavelli.

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.

Niccolo Machiavelli
Machiavelli, Niccolo
26 December, 1502
Cesena

LETTER XLII.

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 Edition: current; Page: [258] 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.

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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.

Niccolo Machiavelli.
Niccolo Machiavelli
Machiavelli, Niccolo
December
Sinigaglia

LETTER XLIII.

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 Edition: current; Page: [260] 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.

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.
Niccolo Machiavelli
Machiavelli, Niccolo
1 January, 1503
Conrinaldo

LETTER XLIV.

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 Edition: current; Page: [261] 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 Edition: current; Page: [262] 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 Edition: current; Page: [263] 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.

Niccolo Machiavelli.
Niccolo Machiavelli
Machiavelli, Niccolo
2 January, 1503
Conrinaldo

LETTER XLV.

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 Edition: current; Page: [264] 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 Edition: current; Page: [265] just as it occurred, and your Lordships will draw your own conclusions from it.

I recommend myself to your Lordships, quæ bene valeant.

Niccolo Machiavelli.
Niccolo Machiavelli
Machiavelli, Niccolo
2 January, 1503
Conrinaldo

LETTER XLVI.

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.

Niccolo Machiavelli.

When paid, please give the Captain a certificate of it.

Niccolo Machiavelli
Machiavelli, Niccolo
4 January, 1503
Sassoferrato

LETTER XLVII.

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 Edition: current; Page: [266] 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!

Niccolo Machiavelli.
Niccolo Machiavelli
Machiavelli, Niccolo
6 January, 1503
Gualdo

LETTER XLVIII.

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 Edition: current; Page: [267] 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.

Bene valete!
Niccolo Machiavelli.
Edition: current; Page: [268]
Niccolo Machiavelli
Machiavelli, Niccolo
8 January, 1503
Ascesi

LETTER XLIX.

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 Edition: current; Page: [269] 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 Edition: current; Page: [270] 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.

Edition: current; Page: [271]

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.

Niccolo Machiavelli.

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.

Niccolo Machiavelli
Machiavelli, Niccolo
10 January, 1503
Torsiano

LETTER L.

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 Edition: current; Page: [272] 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 Edition: current; Page: [273] 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 Edition: current; Page: [274] 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.

Niccolo Machiavelli.

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.

Edition: current; Page: [275]
Niccolo Machiavelli
Machiavelli, Niccolo
12 January, 1503
Castello della Pieve

LETTER LI.

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 Edition: current; Page: [276] 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 Edition: current; Page: [277] 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 Edition: current; Page: [278] 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 Edition: current; Page: [279] 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.

Niccolo Machiavelli.
Niccolo Machiavelli
Machiavelli, Niccolo
21 January, 1503
Castiglione Aretino

LETTER LII.

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 Edition: current; Page: [280] 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.

Niccolo Machiavelli.

I have promised the bearer of this three lire.

Edition: current; Page: [281]

MISSION TO SIENNA.

COMMISSION AND INSTRUCTIONS
TO NICCOLO MACHIAVELLI, SENT TO SIENNA BY THE TEN OF LIBERTY AND PEACE.

Resolved 26 April, 1503.

Niccolo,

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. Edition: current; Page: [282] 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
Republ. Florent.
Marcellus.
lf0076-03_figure_002.jpg

Seal of the Magistrates of the Ten of Liberty and Peace.

Edition: current; Page: [283]

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 Edition: current; Page: [284] 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.

COMMISSION AND INSTRUCTIONS
GIVEN TO NICCOLO MACHIAVELLI, SENT TO ROME BY THE TEN OF LIBERTY, ETC., 24 OCTOBER, 1503.*

Niccolo,

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 Edition: current; Page: [285] 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 Edition: current; Page: [286] 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.

Niccolo Machiavelli
Machiavelli, Niccolo
28 October, 1503
Rome

LETTER I.

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 Edition: current; Page: [287] 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, Edition: current; Page: [288] 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 Edition: current; Page: [289] 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.

Niccolo Machiavelli.
Niccolo Machiavelli
Machiavelli, Niccolo
29 October, 1503
Rome

LETTER II.

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 Edition: current; Page: [290] 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 Edition: current; Page: [291] 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 Edition: current; Page: [292] d’Amboise, I can think at present of nothing else of interest to communicate. I recommend myself to your Lordships, quæ feliciter valeant.

Niccolo Machiavelli.
Niccolo Machiavelli
Machiavelli, Niccolo
30 October, 1503
Rome

LETTER III.

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 Edition: current; Page: [293] 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 Edition: current; Page: [294] 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.

Niccolo Machiavelli.

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.
Edition: current; Page: [295]
Niccolo Machiavelli
Machiavelli, Niccolo
between the last day of October and the first day of November
Rome

LETTER IV.

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, Edition: current; Page: [296] 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.

Bene valete!
Niccolo Machiavelli.
Niccolo Machiavelli
Machiavelli, Niccolo
1 November, 1503
Rome

LETTER V.

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!

Valete!
Niccolo Machiavelli.
Niccolo Machiavelli
Machiavelli, Niccolo
1 November, 1503
Rome

LETTER VI.

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 Edition: current; Page: [297] 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.

Niccolo Machiavelli.
Niccolo Machiavelli
Machiavelli, Niccolo
1 November, 1503
Rome

LETTER VII.

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 Edition: current; Page: [298] 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 Edition: current; Page: [299] 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.

Valete!
Niccolo Machiavelli.
Niccolo Machiavelli
Machiavelli, Niccolo
4 November, 1503
Rome

LETTER VIII.

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 Edition: current; Page: [300] 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.*

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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 Edition: current; Page: [302] 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.

Niccolo Machiavelli.
Niccolo Machiavelli
Machiavelli, Niccolo

LETTER IX.

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 Edition: current; Page: [303] 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.

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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 Edition: current; Page: [305] 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.

Valete!
Niccolo Machiavelli.
Niccolo Machiavelli
Machiavelli, Niccolo
7 November, 1503
Rome

LETTER X.

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 Edition: current; Page: [306] 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.

Niccolo Machiavelli.
Niccolo Machiavelli
Machiavelli, Niccolo
10 November, 1503
Rome

LETTER XI.

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 Edition: current; Page: [307] 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 Edition: current; Page: [308] 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 Edition: current; Page: [309] 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.

Niccolo Machiavelli.
Niccolo Machiavelli
Machiavelli, Niccolo
10 November, 1530
Rome

LETTER XII.

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 Edition: current; Page: [310] 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.

Niccolo Machiavelli.
Niccolo Machiavelli
Machiavelli, Niccolo
10 November, 1503
Rome

LETTER XIII.

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 Edition: current; Page: [311] 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.

Bene valete!
Niccolo Machiavelli,
Secretary.
Niccolo Machiavelli
Machiavelli, Niccolo
11 November, 1503
Rome

LETTER XIV.

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 Edition: current; Page: [312] 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 Edition: current; Page: [313] 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 Edition: current; Page: [314] 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 Edition: current; Page: [315] 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.

Valete!
Niccolo Machiavelli.
Edition: current; Page: [316]
Niccolo Machiavelli
Machiavelli, Niccolo
12 November, 1503
Rome

LETTER XV.

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.

Valete!
Niccolo Machiavelli.
Niccolo Machiavelli
Machiavelli, Niccolo
13 November, 1503
Rome

LETTER XVI.

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 Edition: current; Page: [317] 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 Edition: current; Page: [318] 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.

Valete!
Niccolo Machiavelli.
Niccolo Machiavelli
Machiavelli, Niccolo
14 November, 1503
Rome

LETTER XVII.

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, Edition: current; Page: [319] 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 Edition: current; Page: [320] 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 Edition: current; Page: [321] 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.

Niccolo Machiavelli.
Edition: current; Page: [322]
Niccolo Machiavelli
Machiavelli, Niccolo
16 November, 1503
Rome

LETTER XVIII.

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 Edition: current; Page: [323] 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 Edition: current; Page: [324] 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.

Niccolo Machiavelli.

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!

Niccolo Machiavelli
Machiavelli, Niccolo
18 November, 1503
Rome

LETTER XIX.

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 Edition: current; Page: [325] 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 Edition: current; Page: [326] 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 Edition: current; Page: [327] 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. Edition: current; Page: [328] 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 Edition: current; Page: [329] 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.

Niccolo Machiavelli.

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.

Niccolo Machiavelli
Machiavelli, Niccolo
19 November, 1503
Rome

LETTER XX.

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 Edition: current; Page: [330] 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; Edition: current; Page: [331] 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.

Niccolo Machiavelli.
Niccolo Machiavelli
Machiavelli, Niccolo
20 November, 1503
Rome

LETTER XXI.

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, Edition: current; Page: [332] 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 Edition: current; Page: [333] weather may continue clear, as it has begun yesterday and to-day, so that the army may continue its operations with greater ease.

Valete!
Niccolo Machiavelli.
Niccolo Machiavelli
Machiavelli, Niccolo
20 November, 1503
Rome

LETTER XXII.

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 Edition: current; Page: [334] 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 Edition: current; Page: [335] 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 Edition: current; Page: [336] 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.

Niccolo Machiavelli.
Niccolo Machiavelli
Machiavelli, Niccolo
21 November, 1503
Rome

LETTER XXIII.

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 Edition: current; Page: [337] 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 Edition: current; Page: [338] 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, Edition: current; Page: [339] 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 Edition: current; Page: [340] 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 Edition: current; Page: [341] 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.

Niccolo Machiavelli.
Niccolo Machiavelli
Machiavelli, Niccolo
22 November, 1503
Rome

LETTER XXIV.

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, Edition: current; Page: [342] 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.

Bene valete!
Niccolo Machiavelli.
Niccolo Machiavelli
Machiavelli, Niccolo
22 November, 1503
Rome

LETTER XXV.

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.

Niccolo Machiavelli.
Edition: current; Page: [343]
Niccolo Machiavelli
Machiavelli, Niccolo
23 November, 1503
Rome

LETTER XXVI.

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 Edition: current; Page: [344] 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 Edition: current; Page: [345] 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.

Niccolo Machiavelli.
Niccolo Machiavelli
Machiavelli, Niccolo
24 November, 1503
Rome

LETTER XXVII.

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 Edition: current; Page: [346] 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 Edition: current; Page: [347] 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 Edition: current; Page: [348] 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.

Valete!
Niccolo Machiavelli.
Edition: current; Page: [349]
Niccolo Machiavelli
Machiavelli, Niccolo
25 November, 1503
Rome

LETTER XXVIII.

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.

Niccolo Machiavelli.
Niccolo Machiavelli
Machiavelli, Niccolo
26 November, 1503
Rome

LETTER XXIX.

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 Edition: current; Page: [350] 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 Edition: current; Page: [351] 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 Edition: current; Page: [352] 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.

Niccolo Machiavelli.
Niccolo Machiavelli
Machiavelli, Niccolo
27 November, 1503
Rome

LETTER XXX.

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 Edition: current; Page: [353] 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.

Niccolo Machiavelli.
Niccolo Machiavelli
Machiavelli, Niccolo
28 November, 1503
Rome

LETTER XXXI.

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 Edition: current; Page: [354] 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.

Niccolo Machiavelli.
Niccolo Machiavelli
Machiavelli, Niccolo
Rome

LETTER XXXII.

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 Edition: current; Page: [355] 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 Edition: current; Page: [356] 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.”

Idem Niccolo Machiavelli.
Rome.

“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.

Idem Niccolo.
Edition: current; Page: [357]
Niccolo Machiavelli
Machiavelli, Niccolo
29 November, 1503
Rome

LETTER XXXIII.

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 Edition: current; Page: [358] 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.

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.
Edition: current; Page: [359]
Niccolo Machiavelli
Machiavelli, Niccolo
30 November, 1503
Rome

LETTER XXXIV.

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 Edition: current; Page: [360] 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 Edition: current; Page: [361] 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.

Niccolo Machiavelli.

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.

Edition: current; Page: [362]
Niccolo Machiavelli
Machiavelli, Niccolo
1 December, 1503
Rome

LETTER XXXV.

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 Edition: current; Page: [363] 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 Edition: current; Page: [364] 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.

Niccolo Machiavelli.

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 Edition: current; Page: [365] 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.

Niccolo Machiavelli
Machiavelli, Niccolo
2 December, 1503
Rome

LETTER XXXVI.

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 Edition: current; Page: [366] 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.

Niccolo Machiavelli.
Niccolo Machiavelli
Machiavelli, Niccolo
2 December, 1503
Rome

LETTER XXXVII.

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 Edition: current; Page: [367] 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 Edition: current; Page: [368] 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.

Niccolo Machiavelli.

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.

Edition: current; Page: [369]
Niccolo Machiavelli
Machiavelli, Niccolo
3 December, 1503
Rome

LETTER XXXVIII.

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, Edition: current; Page: [370] 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 Edition: current; Page: [371] 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.

Valete!
Niccolo Machiavelli.
Niccolo Machiavelli
Machiavelli, Niccolo
14 December, 1503
Rome

LETTER XXXIX.

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.

Niccolo Machiavelli.
Edition: current; Page: [372]
Niccolo Machiavelli
Machiavelli, Niccolo
6 December, 1503
Rome

LETTER XL.

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 erec