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    Chapter 28

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    Chapter 29
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    The inhabitants of Seravezza appeal to the Signory--Complaints
    against Rinaldo degli Albizzi--The commissaries changed--Filippo
    Brunelleschi proposes to submerge the country about Lucca--Pagolo
    Guinigi asks assistance of the duke of Milan--The duke sends
    Francesco Sforza--Pagolo Guinigi expelled--The Florentines routed
    by the forces of the duke--The acquisitions of the Lucchese after
    the victory--Conclusion of the war.

    A few of the inhabitants of the valley of Seravezza, having escaped
    the hands of the commissary, came to Florence and acquainted every one
    in the streets with their miserable situation; and by the advice of
    those who, either through indignation at his wickedness or from being
    of the opposite party, wished to punish the commissary, they went to
    the Council of Ten, and requested an audience. This being granted, one
    of them spoke to the following effect: "We feel assured, magnificent
    lords, that we shall find credit and compassion from the Signory, when
    you learn how your commissary has taken possession of our country, and
    in what manner he has treated us. Our valley, as the memorials of your
    ancient houses abundantly testify, was always Guelphic, and has often
    proved a secure retreat to your citizens when persecuted by the
    Ghibellines. Our forefathers, and ourselves too, have always revered
    the name of this noble republic as the leader and head of their party.
    While the Lucchese were Guelphs we willingly submitted to their
    government; but when enslaved by the tyrant, who forsook his old
    friends to join the Ghibelline faction, we have obeyed him more
    through force than good will. And God knows how often we have prayed,
    that we might have an opportunity of showing our attachment to our
    ancient party. But how blind are mankind in their wishes! That which
    we desired for our safety has proved our destruction. As soon as we
    learned that your ensigns were approaching, we hastened to meet your
    commissary, not as an enemy, but as the representative of our ancient
    lords; placed our valley, our persons, and our fortunes in his hands,
    and commended them to his good faith, believing him to possess the
    soul, if not of a Florentine, at least of a man. Your lordships will
    forgive us; for, unable to support his cruelties, we are compelled to
    speak. Your commissary has nothing of the man but the shape, nor of a
    Florentine but the name; a more deadly pest, a more savage beast, a
    more horrid monster never was imagined in the human mind; for, having
    assembled us in our church under pretense of wishing to speak with us,
    he made us prisoners. He then burned and destroyed the whole valley,
    carried off our property, ravaged every place, destroyed everything,
    violated the women, dishonored the virgins, and dragging them from the
    arms of their mothers, gave them up to the brutality of his soldiery.
    If by any injury to the Florentine people we merited such treatment,
    or if he had vanquished us armed in our defense, we should have less
    reason for complaint; we should have accused ourselves, and thought
    that either our mismanagement or our arrogance had deservedly brought
    the calamity upon us; but after having freely presented ourselves to
    him unarmed, to be robbed and plundered with such unfeeling barbarity,
    is more than we can bear. And though we might have filled Lombardy
    with complaints and charges against this city, and spread the story of
    our misfortunes over the whole of Italy, we did not wish to slander so
    just and pious a republic, with the baseness and perfidy of one wicked
    citizen, whose cruelty and avarice, had we known them before our ruin
    was complete, we should have endeavored to satiate (though indeed they
    are insatiable), and with one-half of our property have saved the
    rest. But the opportunity is past; we are compelled to have recourse
    to you, and beg that you will succor the distresses of your subjects,
    that others may not be deterred by our example from submitting
    themselves to your authority. And if our extreme distress cannot
    prevail with you to assist us, be induced, by your fear of the wrath
    of God, who has seen his temple plundered and burned, and his people
    betrayed in his bosom." Having said this they threw themselves on the
    ground, crying aloud, and praying that their property and their
    country might be restored to them; and that if the Signory could not
    give them back their honor, they would, at least, restore husbands to
    their wives, and children to their fathers. The atrocity of the affair
    having already been made known, and now by the living words of the
    sufferers presented before them, excited the compassion of the
    magistracy. They ordered the immediate return of Astorre, who being
    tried, was found guilty, and admonished. They sought the goods of the
    inhabitants of Seravezza; all that could be recovered was restored to
    them, and as time and circumstance gave opportunity, they were
    compensated for the rest.

    Complaints were made against Rinaldo degli Albizzi, that he carried on
    the war, not for the advantage of the Florentine people, but his own
    private emolument; that as soon as he was appointed commissary, he
    lost all desire to take Lucca, for it was sufficient for him to
    plunder the country, fill his estates with cattle, and his house with
    booty; and, not content with what his own satellites took, he
    purchased that of the soldiery, so that instead of a commissary he
    became a merchant. These calumnies coming to his ears, disturbed the
    temper of this proud but upright man, more than quite became his
    dignity. He was so exasperated against the citizens and magistracy,
    that without waiting for or asking permission, he returned to
    Florence, and, presenting himself before the Council of Ten, he said
    that he well knew how difficult and dangerous a thing it was to serve
    an unruly people and a divided city, for the one listens to every
    report, the other pursues improper measures; they neglect to reward
    good conduct, and heap censure upon whatever appears doubtful; so that
    victory wins no applause, error is accused by all, and if vanquished,
    universal condemnation is incurred; from one's own party through envy,
    and from enemies through hatred, persecution results. He confessed
    that the baseness of the present calumnies had conquered his patience
    and changed the temper of his mind; but he would say, he had never,
    for fear of a false accusation, avoided doing what appeared to him
    beneficial to the city. However, he trusted the magistrates would in
    future be more ready to defend their fellow-citizens, so that the
    latter might continue anxious to effect the prosperity of their
    country; that as it was not customary at Florence to award triumphs
    for success, they ought at least to be protected from calumny; and
    that being citizens themselves, and at any moment liable to false
    accusations, they might easily conceive how painful it is to an
    upright mind to be oppressed with slander. The Ten endeavored, as well
    as circumstances would admit, to soothe the acerbity of his feelings,
    and confided the care of the expedition to Neri di Gino and Alamanno
    Salviati, who, instead of overrunning the country, advanced near to
    Lucca. As the weather had become extremely cold, the forces
    established themselves at Campannole, which seemed to the commissaries
    waste of time; and wishing to draw nearer the place, the soldiery
    refused to comply, although the Ten had insisted they should pitch
    their camp before the city, and would not hear of any excuse.

    At that time there lived at Florence, a very distinguished architect,
    named Filippo di Ser Brunelleschi, of whose works our city is full,
    and whose merit was so extraordinary, that after his death his statue
    in marble was erected in the principal church, with an inscription
    underneath, which still bears testimony to those who read it, of his
    great talents. This man pointed out, that in consequence of the
    relative positions of the river Serchio and the city of Lucca, the
    wastes of the river might be made to inundate the surrounding country,
    and place the city in a kind of lake. His reasoning on this point
    appeared so clear, and the advantage to the besiegers so obvious and
    inevitable, that the Ten were induced to make the experiment. The
    result, however, was quite contrary to their expectation, and produced
    the utmost disorder in the Florentine camp; for the Lucchese raised
    high embankments in the direction of the ditch made by our people to
    conduct the waters of the Serchio, and one night cut through the
    embankment of the ditch itself, so that having first prevented the
    water from taking the course designed by the architect, they now
    caused it to overflow the plain, and compelled the Florentines,
    instead of approaching the city as they wished, to take a more remote

    The design having failed, the Council of Ten, who had been re-elected,
    sent as commissary, Giovanni Guicciardini, who encamped before Lucca,
    with all possible expedition. Pagolo Guinigi finding himself thus
    closely pressed, by the advice of Antonio del Rosso, then
    representative of the Siennese at Lucca, sent Salvestro Trento and
    Leonardo Bonvisi to Milan, to request assistance from the duke; but
    finding him indisposed to comply, they secretly engaged, on the part
    of the people, to deliver their governor up to him and give him
    possession of the place; at the same time intimating, that if he did
    not immediately follow this advice, he would not long have the
    opportunity, since it was the intention of Pagolo to surrender the
    city to the Florentines, who were very anxious to obtain it. The duke
    was so much alarmed with this idea, that, setting aside all other
    considerations, he caused Count Francesco Sforza, who was engaged in
    his service, to make a public request for permission to go to Naples;
    and having obtained it, he proceeded with his forces directly to
    Lucca, though the Florentines, aware of the deception, and
    apprehensive of the consequences, had sent to the count, Boccacino
    Alamanni, his friend, to frustrate this arrangement. Upon the arrival
    of the count at Lucca, the Florentines removed their camp to
    Librafatta, and the count proceeded immediately to Pescia, where
    Pagolo Diacceto was lieutenant governor, who, promoted by fear rather
    than any better motive, fled to Pistoia, and if the place had not been
    defended by Giovanni Malavolti, to whom the command was intrusted, it
    would have been lost. The count failing in his attempt went to Borgo a
    Buggiano which he took, and burned the castle of Stigliano, in the
    same neighborhood.

    The Florentines being informed of these disasters, found they must
    have recourse to those remedies which upon former occasions had often
    proved useful. Knowing that with mercenary soldiers, when force is
    insufficient, corruption commonly prevails, they offered the count a
    large sum of money on condition that he should quit the city, and give
    it up to them. The count finding that no more money was to be had from
    Lucca, resolved to take it of those who had it to dispense, and agreed
    with the Florentines, not to give them Lucca, which for decency he
    could not consent to, but to withdraw his troops, and abandon it, on
    condition of receiving fifty thousand ducats; and having made this
    agreement, to induce the Lucchese to excuse him to the duke, he
    consented that they should expel their tyrant.

    Antonio del Rosso, as we remarked above, was Siennese ambassador at
    Lucca, and with the authority of the count he contrived the ruin of
    Pagolo Guinigi. The heads of the conspiracy were Pierro Cennami and
    Giovanni da Chivizzano. The count resided upon the Serchio, at a short
    distance from the city, and with him was Lanzilao, the son of Pagolo.
    The conspirators, about forty in number, went armed at night in search
    of Pagolo, who, on hearing the noise they made, came toward them quite
    astonished, and demanded the cause of their visit; to which Piero
    Cennami replied, that they had long been governed by him, and led
    about against the enemy, to die either by hunger or the sword, but
    were resolved to govern themselves for the future, and demanded the
    keys of the city and the treasure. Pagolo said the treasure was
    consumed, but the keys and himself were in their power; he only begged
    that as his command had begun and continued without bloodshed, it
    might conclude in the same manner. Count Francesco conducted Pagolo
    and his son to the duke, and they afterward died in prison.

    The departure of the count having delivered Lucca from her tyrant, and
    the Florentines from their fear of his soldiery, the former prepared
    for her defense, and the latter resumed the siege. They appointed the
    count of Urbino to conduct their forces, and he pressed the Lucchese
    so closely, that they were again compelled to ask the assistance of
    the duke, who dispatched Niccolo Piccinino, under the same pretense as
    he previously sent Count Francesco. The Florentine forces met him on
    his approach to Lucca, and at the passage of the Serchio a battle
    ensued, in which they were routed, the commissary with a few of his
    men escaping to Pisa. This defeat filled the Florentines with dismay,
    and as the enterprise had been undertaken with the entire approbation
    of the great body of the people, they did not know whom to find fault
    with, and therefore railed against those who had been appointed to the
    management of the war, reviving the charges made against Rinaldo. They
    were, however, more severe against Giovanni Guicciardini than any
    other, declaring that if he had wished, he might have put a period to
    the war at the departure of Count Francesco, but that he had been
    bribed with money, for he had sent home a large sum, naming the party
    who had been intrusted to bring it, and the persons to whom it had
    been delivered. These complaints and accusations were carried to so
    great a length that the captain of the people, induced by the public
    voice, and pressed by the party opposed to the war, summoned him to
    trial. Giovanni appeared, though full of indignation. However his
    friends, from regard to their own character, adopted such a course
    with the Capitano as induced him to abandon the inquiry.

    After this victory, the Lucchese not only recovered the places that
    had belonged to them, but occupied all the country of Pisa except
    Beintina, Calcinaja, Livorno, and Librafatta; and, had not a
    conspiracy been discovered that was formed in Pisa, they would have
    secured that city also. The Florentines again prepared for battle, and
    appointed Micheletto, a pupil of Sforza, to be their leader. The duke,
    on the other hand, followed up this victory, and that he might bring a
    greater power against the Florentines, induced the Genoese, the
    Siennese, and the governor of Piombino, to enter into a league for the
    defense of Lucca, and to engage Niccolo Piccinino to conduct their
    forces. Having by this step declared his design, the Venetians and the
    Florentines renewed their league, and the war was carried on openly in
    Tuscany and Lombardy, in each of which several battles were fought
    with variety of fortune. At length, both sides being wearied out, they
    came to terms for the cessation of hostilities, in May, 1433. By this
    arrangement the Florentines, Lucchese, and Siennese, who had each
    occupied many fortresses belonging to the others, gave them all up,
    and each party resumed its original possessions.
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