List Of Contents | Contents of The Borgias, by Alexandre Dumas, Pere
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wrote a furious letter to Vitellozzo, reproaching him for
compromising his master with a view to his own private interest, and
ordering the instant surrender to the Florentines of the towns and
fortresses he had taken, threatening to march down with his own
troops and take them if he hesitated for a moment.

As soon as this letter was written, Caesar departed for Milan, where
Louis XII had just arrived, bringing with him proof positive that he
had been calumniated in the evacuation of the conquered towns.  He
also was entrusted with the pope's mission to renew for another
eighteen months the title of legate 'a latere' in France to Cardinal
dumbest, the friend rather than the minister of Louis XII.  Thus,
thanks to the public proof of his innocence and the private use of
his influence, Caesar soon made his peace with the King of France.

But this was not all.  It was in the nature of Caesar's genius to
divert an impending calamity that threatened his destruction so as to
come out of it better than before, and he suddenly saw the advantage
he might take from the pretended disobedience of his lieutenants.
Already he had been disturbed now and again by their growing power,
and coveted their towns, now he thought the hour had perhaps came for
suppressing them also, and in the usurpation of their private
possessions striking a blow at Florence, who always escaped him at
the very moment when he thought to take her.  It was indeed an
annoying thing to have these fortresses and towns displaying another
banner than his own in the midst of the beautiful Romagna which he
desired far his own kingdom.  For Vitellozzo possessed Citta di
Castello, Bentivoglio Bologna, Gian Paolo Baglioni was in command of
Perugia, Oliverotto had just taken Fermo, and Pandolfo Petrucci was
lord of Siena; it was high time that all these returned: into his own
hands.  The lieutenants of the Duke of Valentinois, like Alexander's,
were becoming too powerful, and Borgia must inherit from them, unless
he were willing to let them become his own heirs.  He obtained from
Louis XII three hundred lances wherewith to march against them.  As
soon as Vitellozzo Vitelli received Caesar's letter he perceived that
he was being sacrificed to the fear that the King of France inspired;
but he was not one of those victims who suffer their throats to be
cut in the expiation of a mistake: he was a buffalo of Romagna who
opposed his horns to the knife of the butcher; besides, he had the
example of Varano and the Manfredi before him, and, death for death,
he preferred to perish in arms.

So Vitellozzo convoked at Maggione all whose lives or lands were
threatened by this new reversal of Caesar's policy.  These were Paolo
Orsino, Gian Paolo Baglioni, Hermes Bentivoglio, representing his
father Gian, Antonio di Venafro, the envoy of Pandolfo Petrucci,
Olivertoxo da Fermo, and the Duke of Urbino: the first six had
everything to lose, and the last had already lost everything.

A treaty of alliance was signed between the confederates: they
engaged to resist whether he attacked them severally or all together.

Caesar learned the existence of this league by its first effects: the
Duke of Urbino, who was adored by his subjects, had come with a
handful of soldiers to the fortress of San Leone, and it had yielded
at once.  In less than a week towns and fortresses followed this
example, and all the duchy was once more in the hands of the Duke of

At the same time, each member of the confederacy openly proclaimed
his revolt against the common enemy, and took up a hostile attitude.

Caesar was at Imola, awaiting the French troops, but with scarcely
any men; so that Bentivoglio, who held part of the country, and the
Duke of Urbino, who had just reconquered the rest of it, could
probably have either taken him or forced him to fly and quit the
Romagna, had they marched against him; all the more since the two men
on whom he counted, viz., Don Ugo di Cardona, who had entered his
service after Capua was taken, and Michelotto had mistaken his
intention, and were all at once separated from him.  He had really
ordered them to fall back upon Rimini, and bring 200 light horse and
500 infantry of which they had the command; but, unaware of the
urgency of his situation, at the very moment when they were
attempting to surprise La Pergola and Fossombrone, they were
surrounded by Orsino of Gravina and Vitellozzo.  Ugo di Cardona and
Michelotto defended themselves like lions; but in spite of their
utmost efforts their little band was cut to pieces, and Ugo di
Cardona taken prisoner, while Michelotto only escaped the same fate
by lying down among the dead; when night came on, he escaped to Fano.

But even alone as he was, almost without troops at Imola, the
confederates dared attempt nothing against Caesar, whether because of
the personal fear he inspired, or because in him they respected the
ally of the King of France; they contented themselves with taking the
towns and fortresses in the neighbourhood.  Vitellozzo had retaken
the fortresses of Fossombrone, Urbino, Cagli, and Aggobbio; Orsino of
Gravina had reconquered Fano and the whole province; while Gian Maria
de Varano, the same who by his absence had escaped being massacred
with the rest of his family, had re-entered Camerino, borne in
triumph by his people.  Not even all this could destroy Caesar's
confidence in his own good fortune, and while he was on the one hand
urging on the arrival of the French troops and calling into his pay
all those gentlemen known as "broken lances," because they went about
the country in parties of five or six only, and attached themselves
to anyone who wanted them, he had opened up negotiations with his
enemies, certain that from that very day when he should persuade them
to a conference they were undone.  Indeed, Caesar had the power of
persuasion as a gift from heaven; and though they perfectly well knew
his duplicity, they had no power of resisting, not so much his actual
eloquence as that air of frank good-nature which Macchiavelli so
greatly admired, and which indeed more than once deceived even him,
wily politician as he was.  In order to get Paolo Orsino to treat
with him at Imola, Caesar sent Cardinal Borgia to the confederates as
a hostage; and on this Paolo Orsino hesitated no longer, and on the
25th of October, 1502, arrived at Imola.

Caesar received him as an old friend from whom one might have been
estranged a few days because of some slight passing differences; he
frankly avowed that all the fault was no doubt on his side, since he
had contrived to alienate men who were such loyal lords and also such
brave captains; but with men of their nature, he added, an honest,
honourable explanation such as he would give must put everything once
more in statu quo.  To prove that it was goodwill, not fear, that
brought him back to them, he showed Orsino the letters from Cardinal
Amboise which announced the speedy arrival of French troops; he
showed him those he had collected about him, in the wish, he
declared, that they might be thoroughly convinced that what he
chiefly regretted in the whole matter was not so much the loss of the
distinguished captains who were the very soul of his vast enterprise,
as that he had led the world to believe, in a way so fatal to his own
interest, that he could for a single instant fail to recognise their
merit; adding that he consequently relied upon him, Paolo Orsino,
whom he had always cared for most, to bring back the confederates by
a peace which would be as much for the profit of all as a war was
hurtful to all, and that he was ready to sign a treaty in consonance
with their wishes so long as it should not prejudice his own honour.

Orsino was the man Caesar wanted: full of pride and confidence in
himself, he was convinced of the truth of the old proverb that says,
"A pope cannot reign eight days, if he has hath the Colonnas and the
Orsini against him."  He believed, therefore, if not in Caesar's good
faith, at any rate in the necessity he must feel for making peace;
accordingly he signed with him the following conventions--which only
needed ratification--on the 18th of October, 1502, which we reproduce
here as Macchiavelli sent them to the magnificent republic of

"Agreement between the Duke of Valentinois and the Confederates.

"Let it be known to the parties mentioned below, and to all who shall
see these presents, that His Excellency the Duke of Romagna of the
one part and the Orsini of the other part, together with their
confederates, desiring to put an end to differences, enmities,
misunderstandings, and suspicions which have arisen between them,
have resolved as follows:

"There shall be between them peace and alliance true and perpetual,
with a complete obliteration of wrongs and injuries which may have
taken place up to this day, both parties engaging to preserve no
resentment of the same; and in conformity with the aforesaid peace
and union, His Excellency the Duke of Romagna shall receive into
perpetual confederation, league, and alliance all the lords
aforesaid; and each of them shall promise to defend the estates of
all in general and of each in particular against any power that may
annoy or attack them for any cause whatsoever, excepting always
nevertheless the Pope Alexander VI and his Very Christian Majesty
Louis XII, King of France: the lords above named promising on the
other part to unite in the defence of the person and estates of His
Excellency, as also those of the most illustrious lards, Don Gaffredo
Bargia, Prince of Squillace, Don Roderigo Bargia, Duke of Sermaneta
and Biselli, and Don Gian Borgia, Duke of Camerino and Negi, all
brothers or nephews of the Duke of Romagna.

"Moreover, since the rebellion and usurpation of Urbino have occurred
during the above-mentioned misunderstandings, all the confederates
aforesaid and each of them shall bind themselves to unite all their
forces for the recovery of the estates aforesaid and of such other
places as have revolted and been usurped.

"His Excellency the Duke of Romagna shall undertake to continue to

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