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History of Florence and of the Affairs of Italy eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 472 pages of information about History of Florence and of the Affairs of Italy.
a reward at last; and no one ever escaped from embarrassment without some peril.  Besides, it is easy to see from all their preparations of prisons, racks, and instruments of death, that there is more danger in inaction than in endeavoring to secure ourselves; for in the first case the evils are certain, in the latter doubtful.  How often have I heard you complain of the avarice of your superiors and the injustice of your magistrates.  Now then is the time, not only to liberate yourself from them, but to become so much superior, that they will have more causes of grief and fear from you, than you from them.  The opportunity presented by circumstances passes away, and when gone, it will be vain to think it can be recalled.  You see the preparations of our enemies; let us anticipate them; and those who are first in arms will certainly be victors, to the ruin of their enemies and their own exaltation; and thus honors will accrue to many of us and security to all.”  These arguments greatly inflamed minds already disposed to mischief, so that they determined to take up arms as soon as they had acquired a sufficient number of associates, and bound themselves by oath to mutual defense, in case any of them were subdued by the civil power.

While they were arranging to take possession of the republic, their design became known to the Signory, who, having taken a man named Simone, learned from him the particulars of the conspiracy, and that the outbreak was to take place on the following day.  Finding the danger so pressing, they called together the colleagues and those citizens who with the syndics of the arts were endeavoring to effect the union of the city.  It was then evening, and they advised the signors to assemble the consuls of the trades, who proposed that whatever armed force was in Florence should be collected, and with the Gonfaloniers of the people and their companies, meet under arms in the piazza next morning.  It happened that while Simone was being tortured, a man named Niccolo da San Friano was regulating the palace clock, and becoming acquainted with what was going on, returned home and spread the report of it in his neighborhood, so that presently the piazza of St. Spirito was occupied by above a thousand men.  This soon became known to the other conspirators, and San Pietro Maggiore and St. Lorenzo, their places of assembly, were presently full of them, all under arms.

CHAPTER IV

Proceedings of the plebeians—­The demand they make of the Signory—­They insist that the Signory leave the palace—­The Signory leave the palace—­Michael di Lando Gonfalonier—­Complaints and movements of the plebeians against Michael di Lando—­Michael di Lando proceeds against the plebeians and reduces them to order—­Character of Michael di Lando.

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