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    Chapter 30

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    Chapter 31
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    Cosmo is banished to Padua--Rinaldo degli Albizzi attempts to
    restore the nobility--New disturbances occasioned by Rinaldo degli
    Albizzi--Rinaldo takes arms against the Signory--His designs are
    disconcerted--Pope Eugenius in Florence--He endeavors to reconcile
    the parties--Cosmo is recalled--Rinaldo and his party banished--
    Glorious return of Cosmo.

    Cosmo in some degree recovered his spirits, and while the citizens
    were disputing about him, Federigo, by way of recreation, brought an
    acquaintance of the Gonfalonier to take supper with him, an amusing
    and facetious person, whose name was Il Farnagaccio. The repast being
    nearly over, Cosmo, who thought he might turn this visit to advantage,
    for he knew the man very intimately, gave a sign to Federigo to leave
    the apartment, and he, guessing the cause, under pretense of going for
    something that was wanted on the table, left them together. Cosmo,
    after a few friendly expressions addressed to Il Farnagaccio, gave him
    a small slip of paper, and desired him to go to the director of the
    hospital of Santa Maria Nuova, for one thousand one hundred ducats; he
    was to take the hundred for himself, and carry the thousand to the
    Gonfalonier, and beg that he would take some suitable occasion of
    coming to see him. Farnagaccio undertook the commission, the money was
    paid, Bernardo became more humane, and Cosmo was banished to Padua,
    contrary to the wish of Rinaldo, who earnestly desired his death.
    Averardo and many others of the house of Medici were also banished,
    and with them Puccio and Giovanni Pucci. To silence those who were
    dissatisfied with the banishment of Cosmo, they endowed with the power
    of a Balia, the Eight of War and the Capitano of the People. After his
    sentence, Cosmo on the third of October, 1433, came before the
    Signory, by whom the boundary to which he was restricted was
    specified; and they advised him to avoid passing it, unless he wished
    them to proceed with greater severity both against himself and his
    property. Cosmo received his sentence with a cheerful look, assuring
    the Signory that wherever they determined to send him, he would
    willingly remain. He earnestly begged, that as they had preserved his
    life they would protect it, for he knew there were many in the piazza
    who were desirous to take it; and assured them, that wherever he might
    be, himself and his means were entirely at the service of the city,
    the people, and the Signory. He was respectfully attended by the
    Gonfalonier, who retained him in the palace till night, then conducted
    him to his own house to supper, and caused him to be escorted by a
    strong armed force to his place of banishment. Wherever the cavalcade
    passed, Cosmo was honorably received, and was publicly visited by the
    Venetians, not as an exile, but with all the respect due to one in the
    highest station.

    Florence, widowed of so great a citizen, one so generally beloved,
    seemed to be universally sunk in despondency; victors and the
    vanquished were alike in fear. Rinaldo, as if inspired with a presage
    of his future calamities, in order not to appear deficient to himself
    or his party, assembled many citizens, his friends, and informed them
    that he foresaw their approaching ruin for having allowed themselves
    to be overcome by the prayers, the tears, and the money of their
    enemies; and that they did not seem aware they would soon themselves
    have to entreat and weep, when their prayers would not be listened to,
    or their tears excite compassion; and that of the money received, they
    would have to restore the principal, and pay the interest in tortures,
    exile, and death; that it would have been much better for them to have
    done nothing than to have left Cosmo alive, and his friends in
    Florence; for great offenders ought either to remain untouched, or be
    destroyed; that there was now no remedy but to strengthen themselves
    in the city, so that upon the renewed attempts of their enemies, which
    would soon take place, they might drive them out with arms, since they
    had not sufficient civil authority to expel them. The remedy to be
    adopted, he said, was one that he had long before advocated, which was
    to regain the friendship of the grandees, restoring and conceding to
    them all the honors of the city, and thus make themselves strong with
    that party, since their adversaries had joined the plebeians. That by
    this means they would become the more powerful side, for they would
    possess greater energy, more comprehensive talent and an augmented
    share of influence; and that if this last and only remedy were not
    adopted, he knew not what other means could be made use of to preserve
    the government among so many enemies, or prevent their own ruin and
    that of the city.

    Mariotto Baldovinetti, one of the assembly, was opposed to this plan,
    on account of the pride and insupportable nature of the nobility; and
    said, that it would be folly to place themselves again under such
    inevitable tyranny for the sake of avoiding imaginary dangers from the
    plebeians. Rinaldo, finding his advice unfavorably received, vexed at
    his own misfortune and that of his party, imputed the whole to heaven
    itself, which had resolved upon it, rather than to human ignorance and
    blunders. In this juncture of affairs, no remedial measure being
    attempted, a letter was found written by Agnolo Acciajuoli to Cosmo,
    acquainting him with the disposition of the city in his favor, and
    advising him, if possible, to excite a war, and gain the friendship of
    Neri di Gino; for he imagined the city to be in want of money, and as
    she would not find anyone to serve her, the remembrance of him would
    be revived in the minds of the citizens, and they would desire his
    return; and that if Neri were detached from Rinaldo, the party of the
    latter would be so weakened, as to be unable to defend themselves.
    This letter coming to the hands of the magistrates, Agnolo was taken,
    put to the torture, and sent into exile. This example, however, did
    not at all deter Cosmo's party.

    It was now almost a year since Cosmo had been banished, and the end of
    August, 1434, being come, Niccolo di Cocco was drawn Gonfalonier for
    the two succeeding months, and with him eight signors, all partisans
    of Cosmo. This struck terror into Rinaldo and his party; and as it is
    usual for three days to elapse before the new Signory assume the
    magistracy and the old resign their authority, Rinaldo again called
    together the heads of his party. He endeavored to show them their
    certain and immediate danger, and that their only remedy was to take
    arms, and cause Donato Velluti, who was yet Gonfalonier, to assemble
    the people in the piazza and create a Balia. He would then deprive the
    new Signory of the magistracy, appoint another, burn the present
    balloting purses, and by means of a new Squittini, provide themselves
    with friends. Many thought this course safe and requisite; others,
    that it was too violent, and likely to be attended with great evil.
    Among those who disliked it was Palla Strozzi, a peaceable, gentle,
    and humane person, better adapted for literary pursuits than for
    restraining a party, or opposing civil strife. He said that bold and
    crafty resolutions seem promising at their commencement, but are
    afterward found difficult to execute, and generally pernicious at
    their conclusion; that he thought the fear of external wars (the
    duke's forces being upon the confines of Romagna), would occupy the
    minds of the Signory more than internal dissensions; but, still, if
    any attempt should be made, and it could not take place unnoticed,
    they would have sufficient time to take arms, and adopt whatever
    measures might be found necessary for the common good, which being
    done upon necessity, would occasion less excitement among the people
    and less danger to themselves. It was therefore concluded, that the
    new Signory should come in; that their proceedings should be watched,
    and if they were found attempting anything against the party, each
    should take arms, and meet in the piazza of San Pulinari, situated
    near the palace, and whence they might proceed wherever it was found
    necessary. Having come to this conclusion, Rinaldo's friends

    The new Signory entered upon their office, and the Gonfalonier, in
    order to acquire reputation, and deter those who might intend to
    oppose him, sent Donato Velluti, his predecessor, to prison, upon the
    charge of having applied the public money to his own use. He then
    endeavored to sound his colleagues with respect to Cosmo: seeing them
    desirous of his return, he communicated with the leaders of the Medici
    party, and, by their advice, summoned the hostile chiefs, Rinaldo
    degli Albizzi, Ridolfo Peruzzi, and Niccolo Barbadoro. After this
    citation, Rinaldo thought further delay would be dangerous: he
    therefore left his house with a great number of armed men, and was
    soon joined by Ridolfo Peruzzi and Niccolo Barbadoro. The force
    accompanying them was composed of several citizens and a great number
    of disbanded soldiers then in Florence: and all assembled according to
    appointment in the piazza of San Pulinari. Palla Strozzi and Giovanni
    Guicciardini, though each had assembled a large number of men, kept in
    their houses; and therefore Rinaldo sent a messenger to request their
    attendance and to reprove their delay. Giovanni replied, that he
    should lend sufficient aid against their enemies, if by remaining at
    home he could prevent his brother Piero from going to the defense of
    the palace. After many messages Palla came to San Pulinari on
    horseback, accompanied by two of his people on foot, and unarmed.
    Rinaldo, on meeting him, sharply reproved him for his negligence,
    declaring that his refusal to come with the others arose either from
    defect of principle or want of courage; both of which charges should
    be avoided by all who wished to preserve such a character as he had
    hitherto possessed; and that if he thought this abominable conduct to
    his party would induce their enemies when victorious to spare him from
    death or exile, he deceived himself; but for himself (Rinaldo)
    whatever might happen, he had the consolation of knowing, that
    previously to the crisis he had never neglected his duty in council,
    and that when it occurred he had used every possible exertion to repel
    it with arms; but that Palla and the others would experience
    aggravated remorse when they considered they had upon three occasions
    betrayed their country; first when they saved Cosmo; next when they
    disregarded his advice; and now the third time by not coming armed in
    her defense according to their engagement. To these reproaches Palla
    made no reply audible to those around, but, muttering something as he
    left them, returned to his house.

    The Signory, knowing Rinaldo and his party had taken arms, finding
    themselves abandoned, caused the palace to be shut up, and having no
    one to consult they knew not what course to adopt. However, Rinaldo,
    by delaying his coming to the piazza, having waited in expectation of
    forces which did not join him, lost the opportunity of victory, gave
    them courage to provide for their defense, and allowed many others to
    join them, who advised that means should be used to induce their
    adversaries to lay down their arms. Thereupon, some of the least
    suspected, went on the part of the Signory to Rinaldo, and said, they
    did not know what occasion they had given his friends for thus
    assembling in arms; that they never had any intention of offending
    him, and if they had spoken of Cosmo, they had no design of recalling
    him; so if their fears were thus occasioned they might at once be
    dispelled, for that if they came to the palace they would be
    graciously received, and all their complaints attended to. These words
    produced no change in Rinaldo's purpose; he bade them provide for
    their safety by resigning their offices, and said that then the
    government of the city would be reorganized, for the mutual benefit of

    It rarely happens, where authorities are equal and opinions contrary,
    that any good resolution is adopted. Ridolfo Peruzzi, moved by the
    discourse of the citizens, said, that all he desired was to prevent
    the return of Cosmo, and this being granted to them seemed a
    sufficient victory; nor would he, to obtain a greater, fill the city
    with blood; he would therefore obey the Signory; and accordingly went
    with his people to the palace, where he was received with a hearty
    welcome. Thus Rinaldo's delay at San Pulinari, Palla's want of
    courage, and Ridolfo's desertion, deprived their party of all chance
    of success; while the ardor of the citizens abated, and the pope's
    authority did not contribute to its revival.

    Pope Eugenius was at this time at Florence, having been driven from
    Rome by the people. These disturbances coming to his knowledge, he
    thought it a duty suitable to his pastoral office to appease them, and
    sent the patriarch Giovanni Vitelleschi, Rinaldo's most intimate
    friend, to entreat the latter to come to an interview with him, as he
    trusted he had sufficient influence with the Signory to insure his
    safety and satisfaction, without injury or bloodshed to the citizens.
    By his friend's persuasion, Rinaldo proceeded with all his followers
    to Santa Maria Nuova, where the pope resided. Eugenius gave him to
    understand, that the Signory had empowered him to settle the
    differences between them, and that all would be arranged to his
    satisfaction, if he laid down his arms. Rinaldo, having witnessed
    Palla's want of zeal, and the fickleness of Ridolfo Peruzzi, and no
    better course being open to him, placed himself in the pope's hands,
    thinking that at all events the authority of his holiness would insure
    his safety. Eugenius then sent word to Niccolo Barbadoro, and the rest
    who remained without, that they were to lay down their arms, for
    Rinaldo was remaining with the pontiff, to arrange terms of agreement
    with the signors; upon which they immediately dispersed, and laid
    aside their weapons.

    The Signory, seeing their adversaries disarmed, continued to negotiate
    an arrangement by means of the pope; but at the same time sent
    secretly to the mountains of Pistoia for infantry, which, with what
    other forces they could collect, were brought into Florence by night.
    Having taken possession of all the strong positions in the city, they
    assembled the people in the piazza and created a new balia, which,
    without delay, restored Cosmo and those who had been exiled with him
    to their country; and banished, of the opposite party, Rinaldo degli
    Albizzi, Ridolfo Peruzzi, Niccolo Barbadoro, and Palla Strozzi, with
    so many other citizens, that there were few places in Italy which did
    not contain some, and many others beyond her limits were full of them.
    By this and similar occurrences, Florence was deprived of men of
    worth, and of much wealth and industry.

    The pope, seeing such misfortunes befall those who by his entreaties
    were induced to lay down their arms, was greatly dissatisfied, and
    condoled with Rinaldo on the injuries he had received through his
    confidence in him, but advised him to be patient, and hope for some
    favorable turn of fortune. Rinaldo replied, "The want of confidence in
    those who ought to have trusted me, and the great trust I have reposed
    in you, have ruined both me and my party. But I blame myself
    principally for having thought that you, who were expelled from your
    own country, could preserve me in mine. I have had sufficient
    experience of the freaks of fortune; and as I have never trusted
    greatly to prosperity, I shall suffer less inconvenience from
    adversity; and I know that when she pleases she can become more
    favorable. But if she should never change, I shall not be very
    desirous of living in a city in which individuals are more powerful
    than the laws; for that country alone is desirable in which property
    and friends may be safely enjoyed, not one where they may easily be
    taken from us, and where friends, from fear of losing their property,
    are compelled to abandon each other in their greatest need. Besides,
    it has always been less painful to good men to hear of the misfortunes
    of their country than to witness them; and an honorable exile is
    always held in greater esteem than slavery at home." He then left the
    pope, and, full of indignation, blaming himself, his own measures, and
    the coldness of his friends, went into exile.

    Cosmo, on the other hand, being informed of his recall, returned to
    Florence; and it has seldom occurred that any citizen, coming home
    triumphant from victory, was received by so vast a concourse of
    people, or such unqualified demonstrations of regard as he was upon
    his return from banishment; for by universal consent he was hailed as
    the benefactor of the people, and the FATHER OF HIS COUNTRY.
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